What is Otacore Music? A Clear Explanation

Otacore is music that is heavily influenced by Japanese anime culture. It is short for the Japanese word “Otaku”, which roughly translates to a “geek” that has consuming interests in anime, and the music term “core”, which is used as a label for any type of hardcore music.

Over the last few years, A lot of music enthusiasts around the internet have been confused as to what Otacore means. The reason behind this is that Spotify added it as a specific genre to describe certain anime music, and the genre showed up at the top of the end-of-year Spotify Wrapped summary for many anime fans.

What does Otacore sound like?

Otacore sounds like pop and electronic music that would commonly be associated with the anime scene. It is quite a loose genre as it encompasses an area of interest rather than a very specific musical style.

Check out this Otacore spotify playlist for some examples. As you will hear right away, the music is much more diverse than what you would expect from a style such as Nightcore (shudders…)!


“Otaku” is a Japanese word that describes people with an obsessive interest in anime culture. The English word “geek” would have similar meanings, but the word Otaku goes a step further to describe one that has consuming interests in these areas. Therefore it can be considered a derogatory term in Japan as it has negative connotations and could cause offensive to people. However, its connotations are far less negative outside of Japan, where anime nerds can be far more likely to self-identify as an Otaku.


“Core” can be used as a label at the end of any hardcore music genre. 

Although it’s often used in metal music, there is also a particular genre that is very associated with anime culture—that genre is Nightcore. The name otacore may have been inspired from this, but the sound of these genres are very different.

The term core can be a slightly misleading label in this case, because there are plenty of artists within the otacore scene whose music would not be classed as heavy.

Otacore Artists

Some examples of Otacore artists are Linked Horizon, Neotokio, Steven Universe, Ken Ashcorp.


I hope this cleared up what Otacore means. There has been a lot of confusion surrounding this genre name, and it once again illustrates that categorizing music is a challenging endeavor!

Brian Clark

Brian Clark

I’ve been a writer with Musician Wave for six years, turning my 17-year journey as a multi-instrumentalist and music producer into insightful news, tutorials, reviews, and features.

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