You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘madarame’ tag.
Genshiken II, Chapter 86 looks to possibly be a turning point. We’ve had quite a few of those already though. Also, next month there might be more news about the upcoming anime! It’ll be a long 30 days or so.
Sue visits Hato’s place, using Janglish to ask if he likes Madarame. Hato denies, but is clearly hiding something. After a tussle pitting Hato’s judo training against Sue’s freestyle which ends in a win by submission for the American, Sue discovers Hato’s secret Mada x Hato (in drag) drawings. Hato, who is increasingly confused about his feelings for Madarame (he feels that at this rate he might actually start liking Madarame), decides to just stop crossdressing and go back to being “a normal otaku.” This clearly makes Yajima uncomfortable despite her previous objections to Hato’s crossdressing.
With this chapter, I think I finally understand one of the big overarcing themes of Genshiken II. Yes, there’s the generation gap and the otaku/fujoshi distinction, but even more fundamental to the manga is a concept I’d describe as “the complexities of personal perceptions.”
The foremost example is Hato. He is getting to the point where he likely feels something for Madarame. I want to point out, however, the fact that Hato had no problems showing his “Hato x Mada” art to Sue, declaring that it was just the realm of fiction, but for some reason he also felt it necessary to keep his “Mada x Hato” hidden. I think the distinction between the two pairings is extremely important because it indicates a denial of clear-cut narratives about sexuality in describing otaku.
“What’s fiction is fiction, and what’s real is real” is a clear and concise argument. So is “what you’re attracted to in fiction can influence your real life preferences (and vice versa).” The former argument is used by Hato, while the latter was suggested by Kaminaga. With Hato and his feeling towards Madarame, however, it might actually be the case that his yaoi delusions are separate from his real feelings, but he began developing feelings for Madarame anyway due to their growing friendship, and that this manifests as Hato x Mada vs. Mada x Hato. I wonder if this is the case just because Mada x Hato for some reason apparently has to involve Hato crossdressing, as if to say the idea does not “make sense” to him otherwise.
In anime and manga about (or including) fujoshi, often there is significant time spent explaining how important the orders of pairings are important. “It’s like saying ‘curry on rice.’ No one says ‘rice on curry!’ says a character from the 4-koma series Doroko. This is generally played for laughs while trying to introduce to the reader the “mysterious” mind of the fujoshi, to allow the reader to say, “Oh fujoshi, you’re so lovably wacky.” I think that with Genshiken, Kio is trying to discuss that mindset a little more seriously.
I predict Ogiue is going to start playing a bigger role in this, just because Hato looks like he’s trying to run away from his current situation at all costs. Ogiue is more than familiar with this situation, is aware of how much trying to deny oneself can generate a festering wound of self-loathing, and just how complicated the real/fiction distinction can get. I think, or perhaps I simply hope, that Ogiue will manage to be Hato’s mentor, like how Ohno was there for her. Also, Hato says he’s “going back” to being a normal otaku, but was he ever a normal otaku? He discovered yaoi in junior high, so it’s been with him for a long time, which makes me think that Hato is trying to simply act like how a “normal otaku” is supposed to without truly direct experience, somewhat like how Ogiue sometimes tried to approximate a “non-otaku.”
If the Hato example is a little too crazy, I think Yajima in this chapter also provides an interesting case of personal perception. Clearly the reason why Yajima blushes at the end is because she still associates male Hato with the time she accidentally saw him naked, in addition to just the fact that he’s a guy. She doesn’t react this way so much to Hato in her female guise, which means that the wig and dress is enough to “trick” Yajima psychologically so that the first thing she thinks about is Hato’s clean-shaven personal area. What Yajima thinks of Hato is of course its own puzzle having at its origin her own self-image and her lack of experience interacting with men.
I don’t know if Sue counts towards this as well, but I do find it interesting that Sue’s embarrassment over kissing Madarame has nothing to do with him and everything to do with the fact that Kasukabe saw her doing it. On some level, I feel like I can really understand that distinction. Somewhat like that famous scene in His and Her Circumstances when Miyazawa accidentally runs into Arima while out of her “perfect student” guise,” there are people you feel like you can be a fool around and people you don’t. I also continue to think that it’s kind of brave of Kio to give Sue a larger role, as semi-fluent foreigner is not the easiest thing to pull off without reverting to very basic stereotypes. Sue is many things, but “basic” isn’t one of them.
By the way, there’s something I find really impressive about Sue and Hato’s fight scene, particularly the panel where Hato drags her and sweeps the leg. It captures that one moment so incredibly well, while allowing it to transition into the next set of panels. It actually makes me want to see Kio draw an action series.
To end, I want to ask a simple question: Sue x Hato, what are your thoughts? If this were a more popular series, I’m sure that neck-licking thing would have people talking.
Before we jump into the chapter, I have to make sure you’ve heard the news.
You’d think after the Madarame/Saki climax from a few chapters ago that Genshiken would let up for a while, but Chapter 84 is an intense one. In the previous chapter, Madarame revealed that he was going to quit his job near the school (implying he would be unable to visit the college as often as he used to), despite Saki’s advice not to do so. As Madarame appears to feel increasingly alienated from the current club’s atmosphere (and Yoshitake tries to convert him to the church of BL), Hato is having trouble of his own as his emotions become a mystery to even himself. As Ogiue asks him to contribute to a “Tiger & Bonny” doujinshi, Hato begins to wonder about his relationship with Madarame, and the seeds of doubt Kaminaga placed in him about his heterosexuality begin to sprout.
Meanwhile, Sue of all people seems to have feelings for Madarame as well, though her character might mean it’s stranger (or simpler) than that.
I do not think that the change in demographic in Genshiken is the root cause per se for Madarame’s decision. Rather, my suspicion, based on my own experience, is that Madarame’s connection to the actual Genshiken as an on-campus club is starting to weaken. I had a similar group of nerd friends back in high school, and for the first three years after I graduated I would visit the school often to maintain that experience. Eventually, however, everyone who I even had a loose connection to graduated, and I lost any compelling reasons to continue. I’m still friends with a lot of the people I knew from that time, but our friendship has in a certain sense transcended the physical location, and I could see Madarame feeling like the clubroom itself is no longer that important.
That said, I’ve noticed, based on some of the response to the new Genshiken anime, that there are fair amount of readers both Japanese and non-Japanese who feel a bit alienated or even betrayed by Genshiken II, and I think Madarame is meant to embody that feeling to some extent, being the character who most embodies that classic otaku personality. Perhaps the deal with Madarame’s character is that he’s caught in a state of limbo, where he’s not yet fully integrated into adult living but at the same time his old haven away from reality, Genshiken, is starting to fade away.
The more that Genshiken focuses on Hato, the more I realize that he is probably the most psychologically complicated character in the entire manga (though I get the feeling that there’s something up with Nakajima that might be even more complex). Ogiue is one thing, as her story cuts to the bone, but Hato’s situation is such that you can’t even explain it as simply “he’s realizing he’s gay.” There’s a good chance that’s what’s happening, but based on the specifics of the chapter and of his history, doubting his own sexual orientation doesn’t seem to be the only thing going on.
In the chapter, Hato tries to shoo away the suggestions of his imaginary counterpart, only to have the female Hato replaced by Kaminaga, who echoes the real Kaminaga’s statement that the crossdressing likely facilitates the potential homosexuality of Hato. In that scene are a lot of things to take into consideration, starting with the fact that the Stand (i.e. Hato’s inner thoughts?) transforms specifically into Kaminaga. Based on previous chapters, it’s still not clear what his feelings towards her are. Does he want her? Does he want to be her? Does he perhaps desire both? Even the fact that the transition from Stand Hato to Kaminaga is a little hard to spot at first if you just skim through the chapter is indicative of the fact that Stand Hato continues to resemble Kaminaga, despite the fact that Hato has undergone an image change by semi-permanently switching to the shorter wig, as if to show that she specifically continues to influence him. It’s a weighty past and a convoluted present for Hato.
As for Sue, the easiest connection to make in regards to her blushing is the kiss she placed on Madarame’s cheek at the school festival as a sort of prank. Putting aside the notion of “Madarame: mack daddy of American fujoshi,” I’m starting to realize that Sue pretty much functions in Genshiken the same way the penguins do in Mawaru Penguindrum, bringing into the very foreground some of the “hidden” elements of the characters’ relationships at the time. I also think it’s quite appropriate for her to quote Dio Brando, and to have it be not one from the more popular Part 3 Stardust Crusaders story but from the original Phantom Blood.
There’s not much Ogiue this chapter, but there’s probably going to be another chapter at least partly focused around her soon, given the impending Comic Festival, though I imagine it won’t be until at least another three or four chapters.
After the intensity and emotion of the last chapter, this month’s winds down with a post-confession Madarame. In order to try and cheer him up, the old Genshiken girls (+ Hato and Kohsaka) cosplay for him, and for a brief moment the old impassioned expository Madarame makes a triumphant return. As Tanaka and Kugayama leave with Madarame for some male bonding, Saki encourages Madarame to not let go entirely of his past with Genshiken. There also seems to be some bad blood between Keiko and Hato, though the reasons are unclear.
As is the case with recent previous chapters, this one also referenced an old anime, in this case the title of Akuma-kun‘s final episode. Appropriate, because whether you want to call it the denouement of dramatic structure or the ketsu of kishoutenketsu, Chapter 81 feels like a wrap-up of the crazy developments that have happened over the past few months with Madarame, at least when it comes to his feelings for Kasukabe. As such, this chapter feels a lot less overt with its significance and its presentation of information compared to last time, but there are still plenty of moments which radiate with potential. As always, this isn’t an end (well obviously because the manga isn’t finished but you know what I mean), but a continuation.
There’s one scene in particular this chapter that I’ve read over and over because I’m not sure how to interpret it. As the girls (and guys) cosplay for Madarame from the gender-bender game that Kohsaka worked on, Kasukabe herself joins in as well. Before we see Saki in un-drag though, we see her having a conversation with Kohsaka about her character, who’s supposed to be “boyish,” to which Saki retorts that it’s actually a boy. Then, we see two characters off-panel speaking to each other (their words are visible but they aren’t), who I’m pretty sure are Kohsaka and Kasukabe. One of them asks if they accidentally “let it slip” and the other says that it’s not about that. I believe we’re supposed to read it as Kohsaka having hid the details of his game from Saki and her response being that the content of his game is besides the point. However, because of the way she says “it’s a boy,” and the follow-up conversation about a secret being out, and the fact that we see Saki go from what others have charitably referred to as “maternity clothes” to an outfit with a corset such that we can never get a clear idea of her figure, and the fact that even with the corset she looks bigger than she used to (notably in the chest area), I feel as if this chapter is lending credence to the theory that Saki is indeed pregnant.
I might just very well be overanalyzing, and things like Saki’s slightly larger figure and larger breasts might just be either a stylistic change by Kio or a sign that she’s growing older, but it just has me wondering. If my speculation turns out to be unfounded, I’m of course fine with that.
This chapter we get to see the “old” Madarame make a return as he muses on the very concept of “trap” characters and how there are different things to consider when translating them to 3D, a rant which Saki quickly reminds everyone is reminiscent of the Madarame she first met and despised. Is this scene a sign of Madarame getting his otaku groove back? Is it the case that the last few years have been a continuous trial and now that it’s over with he can go back to being himself, or is it that Madarame is trying to force it? Is it a regression to a past identity, or is it a progression, a nerd phoenix rising from the ashes of rejection and anxiety? I’d like to believe that the old Madarame is a new Madarame, and I’m definitely looking forward to where his character will go from here.
As a side note, if you’ve ever wondered what I meant by density of information looking unusual in manga, just look at the page above where Madarame is ranting. If you’re used to manga at all, just the whole page seems to stray from how Genshiken usually flows, though that’s what also gives this page its impact.
An interesting thing I’ve noticed about Madarame’s character is that Madarame seems to get paired with more characters than anyone else both inside Genshiken itself and among fans both English-speaking and Japanese. There’s of course the whole ordeal with Kasukabe, but there’s also Ogiue’s Sasa x Mada fantasies, Angela putting the moves on him hard, the ambiguity of Hato’s friendship, Kohsaka feigning (?) interest this very chapter, and then on top of that I’ve seen fanart and such going all the way back to 2005 that put him with Keiko and Sue, well before they interacted with him like they do now. It might just be that, as Hirano Kouta of Hellsing fame puts it, that “Madarame is the most moe character in Genshiken,” but I just find it interesting that so many, fictional or otherwise, seem to want Madarame to be happy (or at least less pathetic). It’s probably a testament to his enduring character and the fact that he is above all others the quintessential nerd/otaku.
In any case, it makes Saki’s comment that Madarame could very well make his own harem feel both tongue-in-cheek, yet somehow serious, though in the end I interpret it more as Saki telling Madarame that he is actually attractive in his own way. That said, I have to wonder how awkward it would be to have a girl who just rejected you also tell you that it’s okay for you to keep the sexy(ish coplay) photos you have of her. That’s the kind of scenario that so many nerds ae desperate to avoid (“What if she knows that I find her sexually attractive?”), but it’s a new world I guess. I wouldn’t be surprised if Madarame ends up throwing them out anyway, though I also wouldn’t be surprised if he keeps them.
I’ve used this comparison to describe multiple characters over the series, but Keiko is something of a Saki-type for Genshiken II. Yajima is a Saki in the sense that she’s a fish out of water and has the dry wit, but Keiko serves the role of being the character with the most “real world” experience, though as Sasahara remarks it’s more the result of making numerous mistakes. Still, it gives Keiko a type of perceptiveness that’s lacking in the current members of Genshiken, and it makes the moment where she just shows Madarame how his secret never really was one quite hilarious. Given how she didn’t even appear in the second TV series (though as far as I know that was just an unfortunate scheduling conflict, and she does make an appearance in one of the drama CDs), it almost feels like the series is making up for that by giving her more presence in the current manga.
As for the dirty look Keiko gives Hato, it’s yet another ambiguous moment in this chapter whose path will lead us who knows where. If we go by the harem view mentioned before, then this could be interpreted as Keiko exhibiting jealousy, but I think it’s something else. If I had to guess, I’d say that Keiko’s impatience towards Madarame dancing around and avoiding his own feelings for fear of confrontation is also showing itself with Hato and where he might stand with Madarame.
Even though she’s clearly not the focus, I do want to talk a bit about Ogiue’s part in this chapter. When Kohsaka grabs Madarame’s arms and tells him that they could’ve had a polygamous relationship with each other and Saki, I like how you can tell who is thinking what in that moment. For most of the guys, it’s just an awkward moment, but clearly Ogiue and Hato think more of it. Ohno seems much less affected, though it might make sense given her preference for significantly older, hairier, and balder guys. Keiko’s blushing on the following page is probably the most surprising, and another moment in this chapter open for interpretation. Could Keiko be a candidate for the Fujoshi Files after all?
The chapter ends with the reappearance of Katou, who we don’t know much about other than that she has Ohno-esque preferences, and that she’s been job-hunting as of late, but I wouldn’t mind seeing more of her at all. At this point Asada has more development than her, and she doesn’t even have a real face! I don’t have confidence we’ll see much of her, but one can always hope.
Chapter 80 of Genshiken II is a big deal, so much so that I have to ask if you want to read further.
Chapter 79 of Genshiken II is either the chapter everyone’s been waiting for, or the prelude to the chapter everyone’s been waiting for.
After denying to everyone the possibility of having anything to hide in his apartment, Madarame is made aware of the fact Hato already knows about his secret stash of Saki cosplay photos. Hato, in turn, accidentally tells Keiko about it, misinterpreting her awareness of Madarame’s crush on Kasukabe as knowledge of the photos as well. Keiko hatches a plan to finally get Madarame and Kasukabe together and to resolve that whole mess, stringing Hato along as well. Although they run into some trouble, they succeed in their goal of getting the two into the same room.
This chapter is full of something that I associate with many manga but especially Genshiken, which is this dire feeling of awkwardness and embarrassment. It’s practically what Genshiken is built on. Sasahara and doujinshi, Kasukabe and cat ears, Ogiue and the Scram Dunk event, the nose hair incident, here we have a string of moments right along those lines, and the interesting thing is always seeing what happens in the aftermath.
One of the major dangling plot threads of the original Genshiken was Madarame’s feelings for Saki, and at the time the first series finished, I had assumed that Madarame’s case would just be one of those where a guy never confesses his feelings because of fear that things can never be the same again after the fact. It’s certainly not an unheard-of scenario, particularly when it comes to awkward nerds, and I figured that it was just another instance of realism in Genshiken. In this respect, I was totally fine with this sort of non-conclusion for Madarame: it was the other side of the romance coin. Given that Genshiken did end up continuing though, I realize it would be much worse to have that hanging overhead and to have it simply never get resolved.
While Kio Shimoku could still pull a fast one and have Madarame say nothing and solve nothing, it looks like Madarame is finally going to have to say what’s been on his mind for years now. What’s clear, despite the hopes of Mada x Saki fans out there, is that Madarame has a less than 1% chance of success because Kohsaka and her are so comfortable together. You can see this even in the interaction between them towards the end of the chapter, when Kasukabe sees Kohsaka in his crossplay, and their conversation flows in such a way that obviously she finds that to be completely bizarre but accepts it and even congratulates him on his victory at the fighting game tournament. For those of you lamenting, just remember that Spotted Flower exists.
The funniest moment for me in this chapter has to be the panel where mostly oblivious Kohsaka slowly realizes what’s going on. Something about the way he says, “Ah- …Ahhh. Ahhh…..” before asking Sasahara to leave with him had me cracking up. We don’t see very much of Kohsaka anymore, and I feel like this one scene (and remember that he’s cosplaying as the trap character based on himself at the same time) encapsulates his character almost perfectly. It’s also obvious that Kohsaka has known about Madarame’s crush on his girlfriend for a long time, though it may have taken Saki herself to explain it to him.
The second funniest moment, then, is definitely Sue’s “GETS” pose, shown here. If you’re not aware of the reference, just watch this. Sue’s graduated from referencing just anime and internet memes to bad Japanese pop culture in general.
And if we’re talking references, I find it interesting that the next chapter preview for the past two chapters have referenced older series (Getter Robo Go and Wedding Peach), when the trend has been newer shows. I wonder if this has to do with the focus on Madarame, older anime for an older character.
Going back to people’s awareness of Madarame’s feelings, I realize from this chapter just how much Hato has drawn his own conclusions in regards to Madarame’s whole situation. After all, the reason he even knew about Madarame’s interest in Saki is because he accidentally discovered those cosplay photos. When I think about it, it’s interesting that he’s never spoken with anyone else about this, not the new members of Genshiken nor the old ones, not because it doesn’t make sense (why would he share what he believes to be Madarame’s deepest, darkest secret), but because his understanding of the whole situation has been mainly his own (mostly accurate) inference. It’s just that his fear of betraying Madarame is what generates those moments of rambling outbursts, whether it’s at Comic Festival in front of Angela or this chapter in front of the crew.
I don’t know if I could call her a “counterpart,” but I like the Keiko-Hato dynamic quite a bit, I realize. Hato’s attempts to pave things over and the consequences of that interact interestingly with Keiko’s frustration at Madarame’s inaction. It’s also in a character like Keiko that I think Genshiken shows its strengths, because she’s not a main character by any stretch of the imagination, but has her development all the same. When you look at where she came from (shallow “gal” type) and where she is now, while she hasn’t changed significantly it’s still a different place from where she was. You might not call her “mature,” but at least she’s more mature.
Also, I’m under the impression that Ohno was aware of the photos (or something like them) all along. Back when Ohno finally got Saki to take some cosplay photos with her (it was the chapter with absolutely zero word bubbles in it), she brought some photos in secret to share with Madarame. Not only does this mean she knew about his feelings, but that he was on some level willing to have photos of Saki. All Ohno does this chapter is sweat nervously, but I have to interpret that as someone who has some idea of the very thing Madarame is trying to deny.
There was one Ogiue moment in this chapter, involving her in a discussion with Saki having to do with how the club has changed (answer: more fujoshi). Really, though, the main point of that conversation was to highlight the fact that Madarame comes around less often now, and to note how Kasukabe reacts to this fact. The way I see it, her surprise at the fact links to the general idea of Madarame “growing up” in general, though I am extremely curious as to whether or not they’ll end up talking about this in addition to the main topic in the next chapter.
Kasukabe Saki visits Genshiken, bringing pangs of nostalgia to readers everywhere! As Hato puts it, “Is this what Genshiken used to be like?”
As Hato exchanges contact information with his old classmates, Kasukabe attends Shiiou University’s school festival, she catches up with her old friends, showing the degree of wit and perceptiveness she’s always been known for, the conversation turns towards the future, career paths, and even romance. Watching Saki work her magic, Hato can’t help but notice that the club somehow seems more lively when she’s around. Inevitably the topic of conversation turns towards Madarame, whom Saki caught receiving a kiss on the cheek from Sue in the previous chapter. Having heard about Madarame’s full-scale defense against the charms of Angela on top of that, Saki jokes that Madarame must be a lolicon, to which Hato comes to his defense in a rather awkward way.
As Sasahara’s sister discovers the truth of Hato, Saki silently considers that Madarame is finally hitting the point at which a guy like him becomes attractive to the opposite sex. Encouraging him to try out dating, the conversation ends on the kinds of porn that Madarame watches, which apparently is “everything.” We already knew that, though.
The new crew doesn’t get much exposure this chapter, but the hints towards Yajima possibly having feelings for Hato are definitely there. This is evident from the way her old friend Mimasaka, who thinks the world of her, reacts to Hato. Even if Mimasaka is being paranoid, it seems like she knows Yajima well enough to see when something is up. I actually expect them to be the focus in the next chapter or the one after that, especially because Hato’s story is “wrapping up” in certain respects, the mysteries of his existence now being a little less mysterious.
I have to wonder if showing Kasukabe again is a little cruel to the people who really miss the old Genshiken. While I know plenty of people who are fine with the new series, I also know people who much prefer the original style, presentation, and character dynamics of the first series. Giving them a glimpse of that environment once more might be equivalent to saying, “I could have continued Genshiken like how it used to be, but I didn’t!” In this respect it really does make the new club seem like a second generation.
That said, Kasukabe has always been that extra bit of spice which pushed Genshiken into interesting directions, the sole non-otaku in the club full of hapless dorks, as opposed to the current state where awkward isn’t quite what it used to be but no one is so firmly out of that sphere as Saki was. Just the way her statement about being okay with gay relationships getting misinterpreted by the fujoshi minds of Ogiue and Ohno (Saki’s response is that she’s referring to actual gay couples she knows in real life) shows that the rift still exists, albeit a rift that has had a solid bridge of friendship and understanding erected across it for years.
I realize that one of the limits of my analyses every month is that I don’t spend a significant amount of time on Hato, who seems to be getting more and more time in the story. At the same time, personally speaking I don’t think predicting whether or not he’ll end up with someone, be that Madarame or otherwise is particularly fruitful. I think Hato’s sexuality is not meant to be clear cut, whether that’s “he’s gay but denying it” or, as so many have mentioned both within the story and outside of it, that “2D and 3D are different,” and though I don’t have quite so much of a vested interest in the turn-out, I do find the degree to which the manga tackles the ambiguity of the topic to be particularly good. Hato destroys the lines which divide.
To what degree is otaku culture, especially male otaku culture, receptive to concepts like homosexuality or even sexuality in general? I’ve viewed it, both within Japan and outside of Japan, as being somewhat similar to geek culture in general in this regard, which is to say liberal in certain ways but can be quite conservative in others, which is why, as Kio Shimoku continues to bring the topic up through Hato and his potential feeling towards Madarame every chapter, I have to step back and think, “is this okay in a seinen magazine?” Granted, it is a seinen magazine which also runs Ookiku Furikabutte! (Big Windup), but I feel like there’s definitely a risk involved, especially when the potential target of homosexual affection is the most geeky of the otaku in Genshiken. Then again, if the guy was willing to make a detailed and in some ways harshly realistic manga about raising a newborn, then I guess nothing can stop him anymore (aside from lack of sales).
Saki views Madarame now as the late bloomer who’s apparently finally showing his petals. I’ve seen other manga talk about how there are simply times in a guy’s life when he’s more attractive to the opposite sex (and in the context of harem manga this means having it all concentrated into the present), but I don’t think Genshiken is quite going for that. Rather, I think it’s a complex interplay of elements that gives us the Madarame of today. When you actually look at him, although he’s similar to the Madarame we saw back in Chapter 1, he has in fact changed quite a bit. First, he’s not nearly as “aggressively otaku,” touting the lifestyle as a badge of sad pride, and second, he’s nowhere near as uncomfortable around girls as he used to be, probably from interacting with them so much in Genshiken.
Call it whatever you want, maturity, a betrayal of moe values, but I could easily see the how tempering of his passions to still be evident but not quite so extreme, as well as his overall understanding attitude (the result of being otaku in certain ways) could combine at this current point to make a fairly attractive guy. It doesn’t hurt that he dresses better now too. Madarame is seemingly no longer held back romantically by just being too much of an otaku, but by a combination of being unable to accept the possibility that he himself might be attractive, and that he has an unrequited love which he’s afraid to lose or to move away from. That said, I have to wonder if having to constantly interact with the girl he loves while hiding the fact (or at least trying to) also ironically helped him to develop more socially.
I noticed that there’s discussion as to whether or not Kasukabe is actually pregnant, given her choice of clothing, or if that’s just some fashion faux pas on the part of Kio. I can’t decide for myself, but I will say that because he’s tackled the topic of pregnancy and childbirth in his work, it wouldn’t be that surprising. It also might be me just making silly associations, but the way she looks reminds me of that moment in His and Her Circumstances where Yukino is pregnant and her mom, not knowing the truth initially, comments that she somehow looks more mature.
Again, though, I can’t say but it would lend meaning to Saki’s remark that Ohno’s wedding must be getting close. I have no idea whether she’s just joking or not, though Most of the relationship developments in the manga for Ohno and Tanaka have been off-panel (though the anime Genshiken 2 had its own steamy interpretation of things), so I can’t count out the possibility that this is actually for real.
Last thing I’ll say is, the reference for the next chapter is of Getter Robo Go, a decidedly older series compared to what’s been used lately. Curious.
In Chapter 77 of Genshiken II, we learn that while many fujoshi are strong, but Kaminaga may be Strongest of All.
The cat’s out of the bag as Kaminaga learns that Hato occasionally dresses up as her doppelganger, but as much as Ogiue downplays it as coincidence, and as much as Hato’s old classmate Konno mentions that it’s because of Hato’s crush, Kaminaga has other ideas entirely. Presented with an older brother and a younger brother who dresses up like the elder’s girlfriend (and now fiancee), Kaminaga creates the pairing of Yuu x Ken, or Hato’s older brother and himself. This is made all the more outrageous by the fact that she herself is the girlfriend.
Kaminaga throws out the tough questions pertaining to Hato’s sexuality. She brings up the possibility that he might be bisexual, and also the fact that his stance of “I’m not gay but I like yaoi” is similar to the BL trope of “I’m not gay, I just love you in particular.” As Kaminaga presses the question and asks if there’s a guy Hato knows who fits that situation, Madarame shows up, though Hato’s feelings about him are still left ambiguous. Instead, Hato mentions that everything’s fine, because he has plenty of friends, male and female, who know and accept him.
I’ve previously written about how the new Genshiken members in a way resemble Kohsaka in terms of the way they’re able to combine style with their very otaku mindsets, but I feel that, more than any other, including the attractive Angela and Ohno, that Kaminaga comes closest to the idea of a “female Kohsaka.” The ways in which she so unashamedly displays her delusions, especially to a guy she just met (Hato’s brother in the previous chapter’s flashback) and eventually turned him into a lover stands in stark contrast to the complexes that the other girls have about mixing fujoshi lifestyles with significant others. Ohno has Tanaka, but Kaminaga was able to get a decidedly non-otaku boyfriend for the long-term. When you think about Kaminaga that way, her sheer confidence and simultaneous ability to not compromise her compromised mindset is a kind of inspiration.
As we learn more and more about Hato’s past and set up his potential future, I feel that part of his purpose in the story is to “challenge.” Somewhat like how Ogiue flipped the story of Genshiken upside down, Hato really pushes the envelope in terms of assumptions about the club and how otaku behave and the like. The amount of Hato x Mada material in this chapter brings up certain questions about the nature of Genshiken II, and it reminds me of the fact that the new series is more than different enough from the original to seem somewhat alien to those who may have enjoyed the previous iteration.
I’m not referring just to Madarame’s rather confused feelings, but also the way the series has given him what in another work would have been some kind of “awesome harem” but in this case is an exercise in confusion and mixed emotions. While pining for Saki (still), he’s been growing a friendship with a very convincing crossdresser, gets kissed on the cheek by one American girl, and almost gets a full on boob grab on the other American girl.
Speaking of Sue’s “attack,” it’s a reference to Rei from Fist of the North Star.
Have I ever mentioned before how nicely Kio draws the blondes’ eyelashes in the new Genshiken? He out of his way to show only their outline instead of simply using black like he did previously, and it gives them a kind of mysterious quality. Aesthetically it’s quite pleasing, though perhaps it emphasizes their foreignness a little too much? I’m not exactly sure how I feel about it other than that I like the way it ends up looking.
Actually, when you think about Kuchiki and his accidental swipe at Risa’s chest in a previous chapter, which he did while totally unconscious from being choked out by Hato and thus unable to remember, or even the way the older Yoshitake was denied the privilege of seeing Hato come out of the shower, it seems like the series likes to mess with which characters get to have things happen on-panel. The rest of the actual sexual interaction, as we know, happens, it’s just that it’s never really shown. It’s that kind of manga.
As for Ogiue, this isn’t one of her chapters, but the mere fact that she refers to using one’s own boyfriend for yaoi source material as “normal” is rather amusing, and in its own way another sign of significant change within her. Could you have imagined the old Ogi half-admitting that she’s doing the very same thing on a regular basis, and on top of that is calling it normal?
Anyway, next time is Saki time. Watch out.
In this month’s Genshiken II, Madarame and Hato have an awkward but heartfelt man-to-man talk and Ogiue springs possibly the worst question could ask a room of otaku.
The chapter opens up right where we left off with Madarame and Hato, with Hato asking to come inside Madarame’s apartment so that they can have a talk. Hato’s main goal is to apologize, as he believes his actions have led to Madarame not coming to the clubroom anymore. Situated right on his desk however is a copy of the game Kohsaka’s company was selling at ComiFest, inevitably drawing the discussion towards it. As they discuss its rather unique contents (though all the characters you romance are actually traps, you can also get them pregnant and marry them), they also begin touching upon the doubts and dilemmas that are currently bothering them. In the end, Madarame’s nonchalant attitude towards Hato being unable to draw anything but BL (his advice is essentially, “do what you want”) actually helps Hato resolve to work on the planned manga with Ogiue for the school festival.
At the club, both Ogiue and Hato independently decide to do something different and decidedly not BL, going with Sue’s proposed plan of Ogiue on script, Hato on art, with no crossover. Ogiue, looking to do a high school shoujo love story, asks the members of Genshiken if they have any stories of romance in their own high school experiences to share (also making the best face ever in the process). The chapter ends with a collection of dumbfounded stares, which shows that when it comes to teenage romance, no one in there can call themselves experienced.
During Madarame and Hato’s conversation, Madarame wonders aloud if it might be time for him to stop being so attached to his old college life. Hato thinks that he’s the cause for Madarame wanting to leave the club for good, but I think it’s clear that he’s probably one of the less significant factors, if really one at all. Madarame’s lingering feelings for Saki bleed through during their discussion of Kohsaka’s game, and it’s evident from his tone that the decision to move on is more tied to a rather more complex set of feelings. On the one hand, moving on means letting go of Kasukabe and deciding that it’s over. On the other hand, it can also mean that it’s time to “grow up” and stop being the otaku he was during college. Too many strong emotions are bundled together to not make this anything less than a growing concern for Madarame.
The fact that Madarame played a game centered around traps is both surprising and not. We already knew that his tastes could be pretty off-the-wall, and in terms of what’s out there, girl-boys aren’t anything special by comparison. However, this does further emphasize the idea that what one finds attractive in actual people may not be what they enjoy in their fictional characters, like with Madarame and Saki.
What is bizarre though is the whole thing about one of the characters being based on Kohsaka. Madarame mentions in the chapter that, not only is the character also named Kohsaka Makoto (with different kanji), not only does he look like Kohsaka, but his dialogue also closely resembles Kohsaka’s way of speaking. Now imagine you’re playing a visual novel, and you know for a fact that the character in front of you is based on a person you’ve known for years. It’s actually a step beyond finding out a friend of yours does porn now, and it’s one of the stranger kinds of familiarity that I can imagine.
Hato in this chapter is also revealing more about himself, particularly that his fantasies aren’t necessarily restricted to “just” BL. It may be about 95% of what’s going on there, but he begins to entertain the thought of Kasukabe turning to Madarame, though it ends up being aborted part-way through because of something that the old members of Genshiken determined back at the last graduation party in Volume 9: Saki isn’t moe, or more specifically, Saki’s personality and demeanor are such that it’s hard to turn her into a character type (“chara”) without significant changes. As Hato starts to try and think of something, he immediately remembers his first meeting with her, where she instantly saw through his disguise and called him a crossdresser.
Kasukabe’s too sharp, too real, which again emphasizes the contrast between Madarame as otaku and Madarame as a man of unrequited love. Have I ever said that Genshiken‘s really good at characters? Like fifty times? Okay, just so you know.
Going over to the Ogiue side of the chapter (which still involves Hato anyway, so I guess we could more call this a Hato chapter?), let’s talk about that face. Perhaps more than anything else I’ve seen, this expression is a sign that Ogiue’s changed deep inside, because I could not possibly imagine her making that face even up to the point where Hato, Yoshitake, and Yajima join the club. Even with her current problems, it just seems like a great weight has not only been lifted off her shoulders, but it’s also been tossed far away and mined for ore.
It’s also good to see that Ogiue and Hato have resolved to work together for the school festival, and that in doing so they’ve also resolved to work through their respective mental blocks. The fact that they’ve decided to go with a high school shoujo story is an interesting challenge, not only because it means new and unfamiliar territory, but because they’re otaku trying to write what is (probably) going to be a typical teenage romance. This is obviously where Ogiue’s last question in the chapter is coming from; as someone whose only pre-college romance ended in the worst trauma of her life, she can’t use her own experiences to fuel the story.
I think this chapter leaves with us wondering just who among the people in the club actually dated in high school? While Yoshitake might be the most obvious one given her personality, I’m basing my prediction on those last two panels of the clubroom.
Of all the people in there, only one is not shown to be reacting incredulously to Ogiue’s question.
That’s right. I get the feeling that we’re going to find out about the romantic life of Susanna Hopkins.
Translator’s Introduction: This is another post by Japanese blogger Tamagomago about the new Genshiken series that is currently running in Japan. This time, the focus is on the new character Yoshitake Rika.
The original post was actually written back in June, which means that the contents of the post do not take into account any events that have occurred past Chapter 65. Just the same however, the most recent chapter, 68, focuses heavily on Yoshitake, so before you read the latest chapter I hope you take the time to read Tamagomago’s article first.
Like the last translation, I have used translated images in place of the originals because the text contained in them is mostly relevant to the points being made, and the images are larger because of the difficulty in reading shrunken-down English text.
The Dynamo of Nidaime, Yoshitake is Really a Charming Girl
Thank you! I am very fortunate to have this.
Now then, my initial feelings while reading Genshiken Volume 10 (Genshiken Nidaime Volume 1) were about the sense of distance Madarame and Yajimacchi have towards “how otaku have fun,” as can be seen in the article above.
Is it all right for me to like this stuff? How much is it okay for me to open up? As I get older, will the nature of my passion change? And so on. If the first part of Genshiken starts with “coming into contact with otaku culture,” then the current Genshiken is about the extremely wide age gap between the employed otaku, like Madarame, and the freshmen, Yajima, Yoshitake, and Hato.
Don’t make light of that, five years makes for quite a difference these days.
With that said, this time I’m interested in Yoshitake.
This is from Volume 10.
The three newcomers are characters who are extraordinarily bold and rich, but Yoshitake is something else. By the time she’s reached Genshiken, she openly refers to herself as fujoshi, will say “oink” without batting an eye, and wholeheartedly pursues the things she enjoys. She’s a hyper, out-of-control, super express girl.
As you can see, her way of not hiding anything and showing her true otaku disposition to others is really a lot of fun to watch.
So, I talked to a friend of mine who really loves Yoshitake and we had a discussion regarding the topic of, “Just what kind of role is she going to play?” Then I jotted down the resulting notes.
The Glue that Holds Everyone Together, Yoshitake
Last month’s cover is magnificent.
Look at this!
This image makes it clear that the one who connects the individualistic wills of Hato and Yajima is actually Yoshitake. This confirms it.
No matter how you look at it, with the all-too-conspicuous foreigner otaku Sue and the girl-boy Hato, Genshiken right now has an unusually thick, bold flavor. Yoshitake is also worthy of being considered a bold character, but is something like the average between the others.
While Yajima is more plain, her complexes and irritations are expressed to such a painstaking degree that she instead stands out as a character with whom it’s easy to empathize. That she doesn’t put any effort into fashion also makes her stand out.
Yoshitake is fashionable.
You can’t really say she’s “extremely fashionable,” but I think you can at least say she’s “fairly fashionable.” Even dressing casually, she wears clothing that matches her own figure and style to a certain extent, and she has a new outfit on every time she appears.
Red and bottom-rimmed, even her glasses are fashionable. There’s a big difference between hers and Yajima/Madarame’s; the two of them would just say “All that matters is that they work.”
But while she is fashionable, she isn’t really on what you’d call the cutting edge of fashion, and her attire reflects this quite splendidly. Her subtle, child-like clothing choices are also rather charming. You could say that she’s like a Mori Girl, but that doesn’t quite feel right. How can I put it? It’s like she’s still comes off as otaku… but she’s also fashionable… Argh! Whatever, I’ll leave this to someone who actually knows about fashion.
(PS: After consulting a friend, we determined that her style is probably Daily Casual. You can see it at Konshuu no Osusume|tiptop blog.)
Most of all, while I don’t know how to distinguish her style of dress (let’s name it “Yoshitake-style!”), she seems to recognize herself as a so-called “loli-faced character.”
When it comes to the extreme difference between those in Genshiken who care a lot about their attire (e.g. Ohno and Hato, people for whom their clothing is a part of their personalities) and those who couldn’t care less (like Ogiue, who doesn’t care about a lot of things), the middle point between them holds some value.
So then, is Yoshitake’s personality also average among Japanese people? Actually, it’s more like she stands out, but only just a bit.
First of all, her seeming inability to “read the mood” is beyond top class.
But then, I suppose she’s a character who actually just fakes her inability to read the mood, and that she’s instead using her top-notch social sense to liven things up.
It’s complicated, isn’t it? She’s especially similar to characters like Mugi-chan from K-On! and Erika from Heartcatch Precure.
Using all of her power to maintain “fun” and to connect everyone together, I think that’s what Yoshitake is all about.
Yoshitake’s Recent Appearances Have Been All Fun and Games
This month’s cover image connects with last month’s cover. It’s quite nice, wouldn’t you say?
This month’s Afternoon features a Doujinshi Event, and the comic drawn is essentially “All of the Genshiken members cosplaying.”
Homu Homu Ohno, Mami-san Angela (not-Genshiken), Sayaka Yajimacchi, and then Kyouko Yoshitake and Kyubey Sue.
Hato was probably supposed to be Madoka. Ogiue got sick last month and had to bow out. Kucchii is a salesboy.
For everyone in the club to cosplay together like this is in itself rare, but if Ohno doesn’t exercise her influence at an event, then it can’t possibly happen in the first place.
So then, what I want you to see is this.
From beginning to end, Yoshitake makes only a brief appearance (because the main focus is on Ohno and Angela), but you can see that she’s smiling the entire time that she’s cosplaying.
The sweat is probably because it’s hot.
Indeed, this girl really enjoys herself.
Yajima has a body image complex and so must have not wanted to cosplay.
And yet, there she is. It’s a bit surprising.
I mean, if she really were against it she would have rejected it, right? But then she says, “I only agreed to this embarrassment because I thought we were all in this together.” Actually, this “Madoka Cosplay” became a topic of conversation on the internet. Not only that, Yajima winds up cosplaying the most scantily-clad character, Sayaka.
…This is one of the things that makes Yajima cute.
Let’s put that aside.
The reason Ogiue and Saki-chan have already cosplayed is that Ohno pushed and pushed and got turned down, and finally got them to dress up, but with Yajima, she does so surprisingly without making any fuss.
The first thing I felt was that perhaps the bar is lower for this generation when it comes to “cosplay.”
It’s not anything special, but by comparison is instead recognized as just one way among many to play around.
But even so, Yajima should dislike cosplaying.
That’s where Yoshitake comes in.
“But then where would that leave my character? Nom Nom.”
Yoshitake is always, always with Yajima. Here, her good qualities come to the surface.
It’s likely that not just Ohno but Yoshitake also encouraged Yajima to cosplay.
I don’t have a particular reason for using thinking in the following way, but if you can say that the two of them are good friends, and that they’re always together, then it’s quite simple.
Moreover, they must be aware of the pairing of Kyou-Saya.
Let’s take another look.
Hato, worrying (?) about Madarame, splits off this time to be a salesboy. Yajima of course feels something along the lines of, “Why that jerk, running away from this,” which brings about her complex, but Yoshitake pacifies Yajima when she’s in that state.
First, she says that as a pairing cosplay, she would be in trouble without Sayaka.
Next, she suggests that Yajima should find this good for Hato-chan, when one considers how Hato is acting.
That’s right. Let’s look things over.
- Yoshitake, from the bottom of her heart, has fun cosplaying with everyone else. That she also prepared Pocky for it is really nice. Could it be that the title image for Chapter 59 was foreshadowing?!
- Yoshitake understands Yajima’s objections, and knowing them is thus able to follow and respond. She doesn’t just ignore it.
- Yoshitake really understands Hato’s complicated feelings, and cheers him on. She of course does the same for Madarame.
Yoshitake is amazing.
That girl, she’s capable of going along with everyone, and she has a lot of fun while doing so.
Whereas the others up until now have dressed poorly, possessed complexes, experienced trauma, and tried to escape from the world, she’s a little different.
I can feel strongly her desire to have as much fun as she can while considering everyone’s feelings.
At this point, the notions I want to entertain in regards to Yoshitake are, “Just what are her shortcomings,” and “Does she have any problems at all?”
However, to think that her cheerful behavior comes from some kind of inner suffering is perhaps an outdated way of thinking about it? At least, that’s how I’m feeling.
When I asked a friend who likes Yoshitake, “What do you like about her?” he said, “I like Yoshitake because she enjoys the things she likes.”
Ah, I get it. I really do. It has almost nothing to do with her “being an otaku.”
If Yoshitake’s hobby was film, then she’d be a film maniac. If she liked soccer, then she’d be playing soccer.
It just so happens that she likes anime, manga, and BL. That’s why she has fun as an otaku.
Whichever she chooses, she’ll definitely be showing a smile on her face.
She’s not just having fun without any care in the world.
…No wait, that might be an incorrect way to phrase it. She’s definitely carefree, but it’s not like she doesn’t think about anything while she’s having fun.
After thinking about how she should have fun, whether it’s all right to be enjoying herself, and whether she’s being a bother to other people, she consciously tries to have the most fun that she possibly can.
This is the scene in Volume 10 where she enters the club. Right from the beginning, she accurately confirms whether or not liking BL is OK there.
It’s very interesting that she states so plainly, “If it’s NG [no good] then I’ll stop [coming].” In other words, in confirming whether or not the things she likes are okay in there, it shows that she came there looking for a place where she could pursue enjoyment.
She wasn’t relying on escaping or anything, she was being active.
Another friend was saying to me that what she really meant was “If it’s NG then I’ll stop [talking about BL].” If that’s the case, then that’s also amazing.
I might even say that if “BL being NG” means that she would find another way, then that would be the ultimate form of being able to pursue fun.
She’s able to make close friends, and my friend thinks that she has like the greatest smile. That’s why he loves her.
“Yoshitake, has fun doing the things she likes.” Indeed, that’s also why I like her so much.
To have fun doing the things she likes with such firmness, and to even be able to say that she likes it, is truly what makes her so charming.
Yoshitake and Yajima
In the work itself, things are often drawn from Yajima’s point of view, while Yoshitake’s feelings aren’t drawn all that much.
That’s why Yajima can be seen as incredibly cute, but still I’d like to see Yoshitake a bit more.
Yajima’s spirit is filled to the brim with mud.
However, it’s completely different from what’s inside Madarame, Kugapii, Ohno-san, and especially Ogiue, who is an extreme case. She doesn’t have an inferiority complex over being an otaku. She professes her interest in BL, too.
She’s unable to outright talk about her figure. It’s an incredibly vague complex to have, as a human, as a woman, and perhaps more.
That said, it’s clear that it hasn’t turned into hatred.
Currently, she’s enjoying Genshiken. No, it’s more like, she’s able to enjoy herself there.
Here is where I think Yoshitake has an enormous presence.
It’s possible that even if Yoshitake weren’t around, Yajima would have still gone into Genshiken. She possibly would have helped out with Ogiue’s manga as well. She would have probably had fun doing so.
However, that Yajima is able to be in the prime of her youth (it IS the prime of her youth, right?!) is partially because she’s being guided by the raging engine of Yoshitake.
Well, Yoshitake is more like a runaway train going off the tracks, but they’re still really good friends.
They come together through their hobbies, and it really seems like they have fun doing so.
Looking at this makes me happy.
With that in mind, there’s another scene of them with a hint of sorts. This panel is where I picked up on the closeness of their friendship.
Yoshitake is a girl who engages in physical intimacy in the truest sense of the term. She doesn’t go quite as far as Sue, but she clings to Yajima especially.
Yoshitake really cares for Yajima as a friend. This is another instance of “the fun of Yoshitake.”
Yajima also likes Yoshitake. She pretty much reflects on the idea that “Oh well, it seems like I made some fujoshi friends.” Here, “friend” undoubtedly means Yoshitake. It also includes Hato to some extent, but in the end she’s still consciously aware of his status as a “boy.”
“Fun” with respect to Yoshitake appears under a large variety of conditions, but in this case I think one big point is that it’s obtained through being with Yajima.
Hato-kun is of course a friend, but it’s Yajima who receives Yoshitake’s physical intimacy the most. The upperclassmen are another group entirely.
I think the balance she achieves between her “ability to read the mood” and her “desire to pursue fun” shows how wonderful she is.
She never feels like she’s thinking, “I have to look out for Yajima’s sake!” Rather, she truly thinks Yajima is fun.
She also doesn’t act conceitedly, as if to say “I make this place better.” However, if she thinks “this place makes me happier because I have more fun here,” then she will indeed make that place better.
Once again, I’m fully aware of how amazing it is that Yoshitake “has fun doing the things she likes.”
She’s never gloomy. Though, there’s a chance she will be at some point, but currently it has never happened.
A friend of mine said, “Isn’t she a symbolic example of a ‘positive otaku?’” To that I said, “Ah, you’re right.”
It’s not that “something happened so I became an otaku” or that “something happened so I became her friend.”
It’s that “being an otaku is fun so I have fun being an otaku” and “I just like my friends, simple as that.”
So, it’s really fun seeing Yoshitake be that way.
In my eyes, Yoshitake’s excitement is also one of her good points. Isn’t it super cute?
But I think what it might really be is that I’d like to become Yoshitake.
If I were as positive, as capable of finding fun in the things I enjoy, and as able to express my fondness for the things I like, how happy would I be?
Presently, Yoshitake is in a total supporting role. She hasn’t had a chapter featuring her, and her inner thoughts haven’t been revealed.
I think that could be because she says everything she thinks anyway.
I think she’s probably a girl who’s pure in the best sense of the word.
The only problem is probably “What’s to come.”
Yoshitake, perfectly fine with drinking alcohol despite being underage.
I won’t deny the possibility that something problematic could occur given her too-pure immaturity.
I won’t deny it, but… currently no one’s been hurt, and on the contrary Yoshitake’s the catalyst for cheering others up.
I think it could be nice to have her remain in a supporting role, to have her be something like the one who raises the spirits of the other club members.
At any rate, this month Madarame is in the heroine position. That’s dangerous.
Just how cute can he possibly be…!
Madarame-tan, you’re not a loser underdog, you’re a winner overdog!
 Like the last article, “oink” refers to “buhireru” (ブヒれる), an onomatopoeic verb to describe oinking like a pig, implying that one is a disgusting anime fan
 A Mori Girl, or “Forest Girl” is a style of Japanese fashion where the goal is to look like a girl who lives in the forest, generally tending towards light, natural colors and simple-looking clothing. More information can be found here.
 The confusion over the whether Yoshitake meant that she’d stop coming to Genshiken (i.e. quit) or stop talking about BL (i.e. stop) comes from the fact that the words for “quit” and “stop” in Japanese are the same, yameru (やめる). Normally the easiest way to differentiate them is through their kanji (辞める=quit; 止める=stop), but the original Japanese text leaves it ambiguous. As it is my translation of that image that you see above, I interpreted it as the latter.
 The phrase here is “make inu” (負け犬), a phrase which literally means “loser dog” but is generally translated as just “loser.” Tamagomago contrasts it with “kachi inu” (勝ち犬）, or “winner dog,” which is to say that he’s not a loser, but he’s not just a winner either. As translating kachi inu to just “winner” would have removed this subtlety, I went with the interpretation of “winner overdog” if only because overdog vs. underdog is about as ridiculous as kachi inu vs. make inu.
Chapter 67 of Genshiken II hits short and sweet, but that’s also what makes it fun.
Things are mighty awkward in Genshiken ever since Hato loudly proclaimed his BL fantasies at Comic Festival. Madarame and even Kuchiki are avoiding him. Discussing what to do, Sue points out that the loss of Madarame is the loss of Hato’s only male friend, and that there is only one solution: have Ogiue show Hato (and the other freshmen) her old Sasahara x Madarame doujinshi, so that Hato can know that his opinion, at least in the club itself, is not so unusual.
As the three freshmen are shocked by the combination of outright eroticism in Ogiue’s doujinshi how she has depicted her own boyfriend manhandling Madarame, Hato takes “acceptance” one step further, now inspired by Ogiue’s drawings to make his own Madarame doujinshi. Just as Hato makes clear his intentions though, Madarame walks into the clubroom.
To break the awkwardness once and for all, Yajima steps up and tells Madarame that every first-year member of Genshiken saw him as an uke from their very first meeting, and that he should just treat it as the unreasonable delusions of a bunch of “rotten-minded” individuals. Kuchiki, always one to restore awkwardness to new heights however, barges in and tries to pull an anime convention move. Trying to force a kiss onto Madarame in order to please Hato, Kuchiki is neutralized by a swift palm strike from Sue and a legitimate sleeper hold from Hato’s judo skills (where according to Wikipedia it’s called a “Naked Strangle”). For the near future, Madarame is not visiting the club.
This chapter of Genshiken II initially feels a little light on content, but the more I think about it, the more I find that there is plenty of “meat” to go around, particularly in the character interactions and the bridging of gaps that occurs within them. Yajima, who has had the hardest time with Hato out of everyone, goes out of her way to make Hato feel more comfortable within the club. Though Yajima still can’t get too close to him because of the fact that Hato is indeed a man, it does feel like they have something you can call a friendship now. Then there’s Ogiue showing her doujinshi to the freshmen, which is not only the first instance of Ogiue willingly displaying it to others since Sasahara (though Sue found it on her own), but something that makes you realize the history gap between the old Genshiken and the new. To Yajima, Yoshitake, and Hato, all of this information is entirely new and exciting, in every sense of the word.
Ogiue displaying her Sasa x Mada work in front of everyone says a lot about how Genshiken, and perhaps anime fan culture has changed, at least in terms of how otaku “should” behave. We’re reminded early in the chapter that Ogiue suffered immensely for being a fujoshi, that her shame and guilt brought her to the point of an attempted suicide which Ogiue herself refers to as a “Perfect Bad End.” Even with Sasahara, she went through a lot to bring herself to show it to him. With the new members though, their reaction is only one of mild surprise, more astounded by the quality of the work itself than the fact that it actually exists. Yoshitake even wonders if Ogiue would be willing to make copies. After all, one of the first things the three first-years did as a group was think up pairings for all of Genshiken guys at a club party. Times have changed, and what was once the ultimate dark secret has become just another “thing.” As if to emphasize this contrast, Ogiue wears a flannel shirt straight out of 1980s otaku subculture during the whole presentation that makes even Yajima look more fashionable.
What’s also similarly interesting is how “Madarame as uke” became the prevailing opinion among everyone. After all, one of the first things Ohno said back when she was introduced to Ogiue’s private doujinshi was that the pairing should probably have Madarame as the aggressor and Sasahara on the receiving end. Given how they presented themselves to the world up to that point–Madarame exuded a forceful persona of “proud otaku” and Sasahara was a quiet guy who went along with the flow–it seemed to be the more “sensible” pairing, but apparently Ogiue was able to see it on a deeper level, though it might just be that Ogiue came in around the time that Madarame and Sasahara began to change, Madarame from unrequited love and Sasahara from growing a spine. Just as Ogiue’s initial impression of everyone in the club was different from that of Sasahara’s, so too have Yajima, Yoshitake, and Hato formed opinions through their own limited experience. Granted, the freshmen are also kind of a different breed of otaku, so there’s no telling what would have happened had they met Madarame a few years ago instead.
Meanwhile through all of this, Yoshitake shows what it’s like to be an anime nerd seemingly free of worry in regards to the opinions of others, all while actually being socially aware, unlike Kuchiki. If ever there was a character to show how the right kind of confidence and passion can counter any inherent awkwardness from a given topic, that would be Ed Chavez, but in his absence Yoshitake Rika is the next best thing. Reading this chapter, I found myself asking, so when does Yoshitake get her time in the spotlight, and as if to answer me directly, the preview blurb mentions that she is getting center stage next chapter.
I’m excited, how about you?