Borja Crespo: «For many kids, El Rubius is already an older man ‘

The director Borja Crespo on the set of ‘Hikikomori’. / David herranz

The director from Getxo presents ‘Hikikomori’ in Zinebi, a short film about emptiness and loneliness that is often hidden behind the apparent success in social networks

Oskar Belategui

‘Hikikomori’ is a Japanese word that can be translated as “seclude oneself” and refers to people who are kept in a state of isolation voluntarily. Without leaving their room, connected to the internet but with no human contact other than their family, it is estimated that half a million Japanese live as modern hermits. ‘Hikikomori’ is also the title of the short film that Borja Crespo (Bilbao, 1971) has shot within the Itxitik project sponsored by the Basque Government, in which eight filmmakers address the issue of confinement caused by the virus.

The protagonist of this piece directed by the director and collaborator of EL CORREO presented in Zinebi is a youtuber passionate about the Japanese aesthetics of manga (Nerea Elizalde), who when the confinement decreed by the authorities because of the covid arrives realizes that her The situation no longer has any uniqueness: we all become ‘hikikomoris’. The first step to get closer to your family will be through ramen and mochis, food for any self-respecting ‘otaku’.

–There are already ‘hikikomoris’ not only in Japan.

-Yes. There are different degrees, people like the protagonist of the short, who do it a bit as a posture, and there are also those who eat food bought online and live surrounded by garbage.

–Do not confuse ‘hikikomori’ with ‘otaku’.

–’Otaku ‘is a fan of oriental culture, manga, anime, Korean K-pop music … It is what has replaced the urban tribes; Before we were mods, heavys, posh, punks … Now the kids become ‘otakus’. The fever for manga is growing, especially the reading of ‘webtoons’, serialized comics that are posted on the Internet. They have spread among Juventus and many times the will is paid. For example, ‘Sweet Home’, a Korean series on Netflix, is based on a ‘webtoon’. The recent Manga Fair in Barcelona has been crazy. The best-selling book right now in Spain, above the Planeta Prize, is a manga, ‘Tokyo Revengers’. There have been queues at the stores since the day before.


Tráiler de’Hikikomori’.

-The protagonist of the short, like all youtubers, is concerned about visits to make pasta.

–The way to reaffirm your identity is to be able to live from what you like by broadcasting your life. One reading is that sometimes it’s not that we feel different, but that we want to be. And the differences can coexist. Many youtubers and influencers no longer know what to say, their lives are running out and they have to consider new challenges.

–There are youtubers who are in their forties and continue to radiate their lives.

– Some reinvent themselves and have known how to use their savings. Loulogio (Isaac Sánchez) now broadcasts his life as a comic book artist in Twich, does tutorials … There are obviously broken toys.At forty-odd years, being with a clown’s nose in front of the camera all day, acting as if you were up to speed, it’s not easy. Another aspect is to tell your dramas. The kids now want to be streamers, like Ibai Llanos, but four can really live on that. Nor do they lead a life as wonderful as it may seem, one thing is what we see on social networks and another is reality. It is likely that when Ibai Llanos turns off the cameras he will not be as happy as we think. He is a responsible uncle who has already warned that not everyone can live like him. Many youtubers live with other youtubers so as not to feel alone. And as soon as they stop generating content, they stop being a trend and enter.

– We already look at Ibai Llanos with envy even the journalists themselves, for their audience and access to star interviewees.

– The new generations follow people of their age. When we started writing about cinema we liked José Luis Guarner, established critics. If we read something of his and we didn’t like it, we didn’t think of saying ‘Ok, Boomer’ … For many kids, El Rubius is already an old man.

Nerea Elizalde and Borja Crespo in the filming of ‘Hikikomori’.

–The pandemic has disrupted the audiovisual from top to bottom.

–It has accelerated the process of consuming streaming at home. We live in the moment when more audiovisual is consumed, but in a worse way. Some watch illegal moso series to comment on them before anyone else, at various speeds … Comic artists tell me that they work with a series in the background, it is like the new radio. That is why the characters verbally remember what they do from time to time, in case the viewer is in the bathroom or tweeting. Other series require delivery, like ‘Line of Duty’, but ‘Elite’ and ‘The paper house’ you can see them doing other things.