You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘yoshitake’ tag.
It’s winter break. After the old guard of Genshiken (+ Kuchiki) discuss Madarame’s sudden romantic prospects from their old school otaku perspective, Madarame finds himself being visited by Yoshitake and Yajima. Of the four potential partners (Hato, Keiko, Angela, Sue), Yoshitake recommends Keiko for Madarame due to her similarities with Saki. The chapter ends with the image of Hato visiting home, where he meets his brother Yuuichirou and Kaminaga, who are pretty much married now if not already so.
A lot of previous chapters have been some sort of closure, whether that’s with Madarame and Saki, or Hato’s feelings, but this one feels like a transition. Between the mention of Yoshitake’s sister Risa taking college entrance exams and Ogiue and Hato visiting back home on top of everything Madarame is going through, it gives me an impression of a change coming almost on the level of Ogiue’s appearance and the shift in focus over to her. Given how many chapters Genshiken II has run already this kind of makes sense, as Ogiue appeared at a similar point.
I’m really impressed with how the manga portrays Madarame handling suddenly being the center of romantic attention, because I find that his concerns and his thought process make complete sense for his character. When given time to dwell on the idea, he imagines a simultaneous arrival of all four at his doorstep, like a scene straight out of Infinite Stratos, because anime and manga are his primary “harem” imagery even more than just straight up pornography. When Madarame hesitates in choosing, his explanation is that it is such an unfathomable situation because he expected attracting even one member of the opposite sex to be a miracle, and given his self-image his words rings with the familiarity of truth. At the same time, I don’t think he’s being entirely honest because if he was really okay with any girl, he would have had some wild times with Angela (who’s gone back to America) already.
In Madarame’s situation I think we can see both the exploration of the otaku or geek mind when it comes to romance, as well as an investigation of the harem genre. Madarame’s attitude towards women is initially a kind of passive desperation, a case of “anyone will do” because just that prospect of romance is so out of reach based on his self-image. When given a choice, however, his mind has to adjust because desperation is no longer the driving force because now he has to take the others into account, as well as what he really wants. Obviously he doesn’t really want a harem ending or just sex based on his actions (or more accurately inaction), and I think he’s realizing that there’s more to consider about a love life than just whoever says “yes” first.
If you’re having trouble relating to Madarame, imagine that it’s about being unemployed (which Madarame is!) rather than about romance. In a situation where someone is unemployed for ages, there’s an increasing desperation for finding a new job, to the point that eventually anything will do. Then, one day a bunch of job offers appear and they’re all actually good jobs. Instead of it being about getting paid, there are now a bunch of new variables to consider. Which job pays the best? Which job seems the most enjoyble? Which one is best for long-term planning? Which one is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? If not unemployment, then college also works. Which is the best school? Which is the most affordable or convenient? Which has the subject you want to study the most? There’s a lot more to think about, and of course it’s literally impossible to choose all of them.
All of this puts the typical harem or pseudo-harem anime complaints into a different light. You might hear people say, “Why is the harem lead such a wuss? If I were him, I’d have a go with everyone.” Although many harem leads are generic and neutral characters and that lends itself to that ambiguity, I think generally harem series deep down operate under a moralistic frame which some see as over-valuing virginity or passivity, but which I find to be about not being able to fully escape a sense of empathy (this is why fans tend to have a “favorite pairing”). In order to maintain the fantasy in harem series this aspect typically isn’t terribly prominent, but with the greater realism of Genshiken it comes more to the forefront.
The rest of the chapter reinforces this feeling as well. When the guys are huddled in Madarame’s apartment reading doujinshi, Kugayama brings up the idea that even most otaku who are all into the 2-D girls and such aren’t actually against being with real women, which references an older conversation back in the earliest days of Genshiken when Saki asked about this same topic. Being between all otaku men who are aware of this, however, the conversation becomes more about that otaku image in flux. The battle lines drawn a few chapters ago between virgins and non-virgins comes up again here, as Tanaka with his steady relationship and Madarame with his new circumstances seem to flutter beyond the horizon where otaku are not supposed to reach and yet clearly have. Genshiken has become about how the concept of otaku is in flux, but we rarely get to see it from the older generation’s perspective, so I appreciate this.
Although the chapter is mainly about Madarame, it’s also a Yoshitake chapter in that she’s very prominent in the latter half of the chapter. Yoshitake’s nerdish vibrance is on full display here, whether that’s obscure history references, her now-familiar knowing glances at Yajima, or the fact that at the end of the day she’s still that girl who ignored the opposite sex in favor of debating history from a fujoshi perspective with her friends in high school. Her reaction towards Madarame’s decision and assuming he really wants a harem is maybe the highlight of the chapter as her head tilts all the way back in shock. This chapter also made me realize how differently Kio uses Yoshitake’s glasses compared to, say, Madarame, as their variable transparency helps to give Yoshitake that sense of energy and slyness.
I sometimes see people complain that Genshiken spends too much time on Hato and not enough on Yoshitake and Yajima. While I think it’s a valid criticism for the most part, I find that one of the reasons this is an issue is because even though the other two don’t get as much focus they’re still portrayed extremely well in their moments and interactions. For example, one of the most significant parts of Yoshitake’s advice is strongly hinted at in this chapter, which is that she’s watching out for her friends in suggesting Keiko as the right choice for Madarame, as she doesn’t want to hurt Yajima. Moments like these make you want to learn more about them, because if they were boring or uninteresting no one would care. Nobody ever asks about Kuchiki’s backstory, after all.
As for Yoshitake’s recommendation, I know there have always been fans of Madarame and Keiko, even going back to the days when the original Genshiken series hadn’t even finished and there was no real inkling towards this pairing. I gave my thoughts on this pairing previously, but Yoshitake’s logic that Keiko is the most like Saki in that she’s able to talk candidly is pretty interesting, especially because from what little we’ve seen of Keiko’s love life (in that she has one at all), her communication with her boyfriend at the time was pretty poor in comparison to how she talks with “Watanabe.” Madarame’s mental mix-up of Keiko and Saki aso makes me think that it may not only be a matter of personality but that she also resembles Saki in the way Keiko carries herself. If that’s the case, I wonder if this is simply down to “similarity” or if Keiko is supposed to be someone who’s actually emulating Saki. Kio’s mention of his other ongoing series in the side bar then makes me wonder if indeed Keiko x Mada is the Real Spotted Flowers.
As for Hato, he strikes an impressive figure at the end of the chapter as he works to shovel the snow off of his family home’s rooftop. There’s something about him exuding such a “masculine” aura that feels unfamiliar due to the fact that most of the time the manga shows him as crossdressing. Hato’s interactions with his brother and Kaminaga will be the focus of the next chapter. We see that Kaminaga’s changed her hairstyle, and I wonder if it has anything to do with finding out that Hato basically has a wig matching hers.
In all honesty though, what I really want to see is the other visit home mentioned this chapter, which is that Sue has accompanied Ogiue back to (I assume) her hometown in Yamagata. Not only is there something potentially wonderful about Sue interacting with Ogiue’s family, but we’ve never actually seen Ogiue’s relatives at all. The best we’ve gotten is that Ogiue once mentioned having a little brother, but it was part of a hasty explanation after being outed as a fujoshi, so we don’t even know if this little brother actually exists.
I hope we find out.
NIS America announced last month that they have the rights to the Genshiken Second Season anime, and knowing their history of putting out deluxe box sets that are a little pricier but come with all sorts of doodads (an art book being the main one), anyone who’s a Genshiken fan would be satisfied with their Bluray release (though we don’t know what’s there yet).
The question is, would you be satisfied enough?
For the Japanese release of Genshiken Second Season, there is a special deal: If you preorder all 4 Bluray volumes before September 1st from one of three specific stores, you will get a 12-page illustration booklet AND a color print by Kio Shimoku. Order from Animate for Double Hato, Gamers for Yoshitake and Yajima, and finally Toranoana for Ogiue and Sue.
This is in addition to existing extras, which at least for Volume 1 include a 16-page illustration booklet and an animated extra entitled “The First Meeting to Discuss How a Girl This Cute Can’t Possibly Be a Girl,” as well as a “Post-Clubroom Rambling Discussion.” Whether that’s another animated feature or voice-only, I don’t know.
The only thing is, if you opt into one of these deals, you’re looking at roughly 30,000 yen for 13 episodes. Also keep in mind that a lot of these stores don’t ship internationally so you’ll have to find a way around that, which can cost you even more. You can get them cheaper through Amazon JP but then of course you wouldn’t get the extra extras.
I’ve pre-ordered the Blurays because I am an idiot. As you may have guessed, I went for the Toranoana version. I did not decide to get all three sets of Blurays because even I’m not that insane.
Honestly, unless you’re me, you’re probably better off sticking with the NIS America release as I’m pretty confident it’ll look good. The Japanese Blurays are a realm beyond, for those looking to collect every bit of Ogiue merchandise they can (there’s not a lot, you know).
Actually I’m going to buy the NIS America release as well.
When the cast list for Nidaime first came out, I found the abscene of Risa/Rihito rather conspicuous. Despite my worries that they would skip over her appearance in the anime in order to get to some of the big events later in the series, Risa did show up after all. Interestingly, this appears to her voice actor’s first anime work. If you look at Sakurai Shou’s profile, she seems to only have experience in narration and at her school’s drama club. I’m actually kind of impressed because I kept thinking she was another more established voice actor, like Park Romi.
There are a couple of things from the manga which don’t quite make it into the anime. The first one is that in the manga the reveal that Yoshitake is actually 20 (the legal drinking age in Japan) also becomes the reason she was able to buy all that alcohol the last time around. Without the scene in Episode 2 involving alcohol, this connection is lost. Similarly, when they all go over to Yoshitake’s place to drink, the manga points out that her younger sister is drinking juice instead.
The other cut seems to have to do more with time constraints and keeping the narrative flow intact from the beginning to the end of the episode. In the manga, the partying goes on until the next day, which has them all together in the morning. Rather than Hato changing at Yoshitake’s place, they all go back to Hato’s apartment first, where they find out that the reason he lives so far away is so he can have a walk-in closet for all of his women’s clothing. Again, it doesn’t appear to be for censorship reasons, just timing and pacing. One side effect of this is that when you compare the manga to the anime the characters are wearing different clothing and hairstyles.
In my original analysis of Risa, I didn’t really go into the fact that she’s the first character in Genshiken whose primary interest is shotacon. While other characters have shown the possibility (Ogiue herself is into Roy x Ed from not-Fullmetal Alchemist and who knows about Kuchiki), it feels like a whole other can of worms with the younger Yoshitake compared to the usual fujoshi pairing talk. Even the series itself acknowledges this difference, as you can see how the other characters, although accepting of her tastes, awkwardly react to some of Risa’s statements (she’s mostly into 2D). At the same time, Risa’s also another example of a person who doesn’t quite fit the typical mold of the otaku or fujoshi, being more of an athlete with “unique” interests and for whom competition takes priority over hobbies. She’s neither full-on geek nor simply a “normal.”
Incidentally, if you’re wondering why Risa hasn’t appeared in the Fujoshi Files, it’s because there’s no evidence she’s into guy-on-guy action or pairings.
In the episode, Risa talks about how she’d rather guys be completely smooth down there, but when confronted with the real deal it’s clearly not what she was expecting. It brings to mind Fred Schodt’s Manga! Manga! where he recalls an editor of a BL magazine mentioning to a reader that fantasy and reality don’t match up and that she should stick to the imagination if that’s what she wants.
I do wish we’d see more of Risa.
The next episode preview has some cosplay, but I’ll leave that breakdown for next time.
I might be calling this an episodic review in the tags, but that’s kind of a misnomer. Instead, I’d like to talk about Genshiken Second Season episode 2, or rather, what’s missing from it.
The manga equivalents of this episode would be Chapters 58, 59, and 60, but if you look at Chapter 59 you’ll notice a rather important Madarame story being cut from it. Now, this might be them cutting it out entirely, or it might be a pacing issue or something where they’d prefer to explore the new characters before putting the spotlight on the old guard again. That’s why, for now, we’ll leave it aside and assume it might actually appear in the anime at a later date, and focus on another curious cut. For those who are sticking to the anime, be warned that Chapter 59 is potentially pretty spoilery for you.
In Episode 2, Yajima, Yoshitake, and Hato all go over to Yajima’s place to create their profiles for the club magazine, Mebaetame. Prior to this, they go to buy some drinks, during which Yoshitake talks about her fantastic metabolism. What the anime did not include, however, is the fact that Yoshitake was trying to buy alcohol to liven up the party. The scene was originally a way to show how Yoshitake is as free-spirited as Yajima is straight-laced (her objection is mainly that they’re below drinking age), especially when Yoshitake ends up getting the beers anyway. Curiously, whereas in the manga they pass out due to drunkenness, in the anime, they simply got tired.
Here’s what I’m wondering: Was this cut due to time constraints, or was it cut in order to avoid showing underage drinking?
I don’t know enough about Japanese television censorship or censorship laws to determine if this is the true cause, but I do know I’ve seen plenty of manga to anime adaptations play it safe in roughly similar ways. The Bokurano anime, for example, turned a rape and exploitation storyline from the manga into something much less extreme. Genshiken does not even begin to approach that territory, but maybe for this show it’s still something they’d like to avoid.
Another thing, though not exactly a cut, is a loss of context. The moment when Ogiue slams the door on Ohno is a visual reference to the time Ogiue invited Sasahara over alone. That part of Genshiken isn’t animated, so the connection is lost.
The opening is kind of interesting. It has quite a bit of information about what’s going to happen (including the appearance of a certain saucer-eyed character and her friend), but what I find most interesting about it is that it makes it very clear that Hato is the focus of the new series, something which wasn’t always immediately obvious in the manga. Also, Sue as Koujiro Frau from Robotics;Notes is about as perfect as it gets. That’s something that wasn’t in the manga but fits Sue’s character so amazingly well that I wish it had been. There is precedent for anime stuff to make it into the original manga, though, so hope is not lost.
The new Genshiken has its first trailer, a 30-second clip. It’s just a voiceover with Yoshitake, Yajima, and Hato, as well as a small bit of Ogiue, but there are some things I observed in the trailer.
The main thing I noticed is that the new Ogiue voice, Yamamoto Nozomi, sounds similar to the previous actor Mizuhashi Kaori, though not Mizuhashi’s performance of Ogiue. Mizuhashi is quite varied (Ogiue doesn’t resemble Miyako in Hidamari Sketch), and Yamamoto’s performance sounds a bit closer to some of Mizuhashi’s other roles, such as Rosetta in Kaleidostar or Mami in Madoka Magica. So it’s sort of a match, but sort of not.
The other notable thing, I think, is that they didn’t give Yajima a “fat” voice. A lot of times, heavyset characters in anime have a deeper, rounder voice to emphasize their weight, but Yajima’s voice sounds more normal. It doesn’t quite have the coarseness I was expecting, but it’s still good to see it not fall into that old stereotype.
Genshiken Nidaime starts July 6th. I still haven’t decided if I’ll episode-blog it or not, especially because that eats up a whole bunch of my post slots (even if it would make for easy content). The other issue of course is that I’ve already done chapter reviews of the source material, and I worry that it’d be quite redundant. That said, maybe I can use it as a way to revisit those previous chapters.
What do you think? Are the chapter reviews already more than enough?
The official Genshiken II anime site has updated with a bunch of information, including a full voice actor list, and character lineart images for all of the core Nidaime cast.
At this point it’s no longer a suprise, but the entire cast list has changed from previous versions. My thoughts can be found below the cast list.
Ogiue Chika: Yamamoto Nozomi (Bouhatei Tetora, Joshiraku), formerly Mizuhashi Kaori (Miyako, Hidamari Sketch)
Yoshitake Rika: Uesaka Sumire (Nonna, Girls und Panzer)
Yajima Mirei: Uchiyama Yumi (Sagimori Arata, Saki: Episode of Side A)
Hato Kenjirou: Kakuma Ai (Mariya Hikari, Campione!) and Yamamoto Kazutomi (Kio Asuno, Gundam AGE)
Ohno Kanako: Yukana (Tsukishiro Honoka/Cure White (Futari wa Pretty Cure), formerly Kawasumi Ayako (Saber, Fate/Stay Night)
Kuchiki Manabu: Fukuyama Jun (Lelouch Lamperouge, Code Geass), formerly Ishida Akira (Athrun Zala, Gundam SEED)
Susanna Hopkins: Oozora Naomi, formerly Gotou Yuuko (Asahina Mikuru, Suzumiya Haruhi)
Madarame Harunobu: Okitsu Kazuyuki (Jonathan Joestar, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (2o12)), formerly Hiyama Nobuyuki (Guy Shishioh, King of Braves Gaogaigar)
Sasahara Kanji: Kobashi Tatsuya (Jack Roland, Strait Jacket), formerly Ohyama Takanori
Kohsaka Makoto: Oohara Momoko (Young Heiwajima Shizuo, Durarara!!), formerly Saiga Mitsuki (Rossiu, Toppa Gurren Lagann)
Kasukabe Saki: Satou Rina (Misaka “Railgun” Mikoto, A Certain Scientific Railgun), formerly Yukino Satsuki (Chidori Kaname, Full Metal Panic!)
Tanaka Souichirou: Takayuki Kondou (Saruwatari Gou, Godannar), formerly Seki Tomokazu (Domon Kasshu, G Gundam)
Kugayama Mitsunori: Yasumoto Hiroki (Chad, Bleach), formerly Nomura Kenji (Santana, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (2o12))
Angela Burton: Kobayashi Misa, formerly Kaida Yuki (Fuji Shuusuke, The Prince of Tennis)
Sasahara Keiko: Hayama Ikumi (Nunotaba Shinobu, A Certain Scientific Railgun S), formerly Shimizu Kaori (Nijou Noriko, Maria-sama ga Miteru!)
Yabusaki Kumiko: Yonezawa Madoka (Hirasawa Ui, K-ON!), Takagi Reiko (Kaolla Su, Love Hina)
Asada Naoko: Tada Konomi (Sakaguchi Karina, Girls und Panzer), formerly Saitou Momoko (Touyoko “Stealth Momo” Momoko, Saki)
Kaminaga: Noto Mamiko (Toudou Shimako, Maria-sama ga Miteru!)
They’ve also update the staff list, but most of the main people working on the show are already Genshiken veterans, such as the director Mizushima Tsutomu, and series composer Yokote Michiko, who even worked on the Drama CDs. The fact that it’s being done by Production I.G. is hopefully a good sign, though I have to wonder why in the world this series is going to have 3DCGI. Maybe for the ComiFes episodes?
As someone else pointed out to me, just by having Kaminaga in the cast you can tell roughly how much of the manga the anime will cover. The fact that it goes that far is pretty exciting (for those who haven’t read the manga, she’s a pretty big deal).
Notably missing from the voice cast though is Yoshitake Rihito. You’d need someone with a pretty masculine voice. Paku Romi perhaps?
What I think is especially interesting about the voice cast is that for a lot of the old characters they seem to have found people who are less experienced but have played somewhat similar roles in the past. For Tanaka and Madarame, you go from two veterans of screaming-and-shouting to two who are still capable. For Kuchiki, you go from one smooth and hammy (in a good way) voice in Athrun Zala to another one in Lelouch. About the strangest one might be Ui from K-ON! as the loud-mouthed Osakan, Yabusaki.
In fact, I think the voice I might miss the most is Kugayama’s, as his favorite actor sounded so much like an awkward overweight dork that it really set the tone for the rest of the anime. Not that he appears much in Nidaime though.
I also found out that Yamamoto Nozomi, the new Ogiue, is from the Tohoku region of Japan, so she should be able to do Ogiue’s inner voice no problem. Ogiue’s new character design is looking quite good. It’s really close to her current design in the manga, and while she doesn’t have that seething anger and frustration she used to have, she still shows all of the passion which has always defined her. I do want to point out that she has the glimmer in her eyes from after she started dating Sasahara. By the way, I hope they at least address that significant piece of character for Ogiue that is the Karuizawa trip somehow.
(No, seriously, it’s such a big part of her character that to skip it would be like to skip Darth Vader betraying Palpatine at the end).
Speaking of the character designs, Yoshitake in particular is fantastic, and I get the feeling that seeing her in motion is going to garner her a lot more fans.
The last thing I want to talk about is Angela Burton, who is an utter challenge for any anime to cast because of the fact that she doesn’t know Japanese and has to be shown using Ohno as an interpreter, i.e. English skills are required. Kaida Yuki (whose performance in the third Drama CD was stronger than in the anime), studied abroad in the U.S. While she hasn’t done much by way of anime, I did find out that Kobayashi Misa lists English conversation as one of her skills on her official profile, You can hear a bit of her English on her profile as well, if you click the last “3″ in that small voice sample section, under “その他.” She’s decent. It also turns out she’s also a professional mahjong player, and in fact the only video of her on Youtube I could find is on the channel of a prominent mahjong player, where she’s giving her opinion on a tournament.
So basically what I’m saying is if she came to a convention, I’d probably get her to sign my mahjong set in addition to Genshiken Nidaime DVDs/Blu-Rays.
UPDATE: Small point made below.
Ever since the announcement of the new Genshiken anime, I’ve speculated about the voice cast. Courtesy of one Anonymous Spore and the official anime website, the new cast for the Genshiken Nidaime (or Genshiken II as I prefer to call it) has been revealed, and the big, big shocker is that Mizuhashi Kaori will no longer be playing Ogiue, that most grand of angry, once-traumatized hair-brushed fujoshi.
My initial reaction has been genuine surprise and confusion, as I thought she fit the role tremendously well, and seemed to be well-established as Ogiue. Her Ogiue felt genuinely conflicted about everything, and it’s my favorite role of hers (biased perhaps). She even participated in the Genchoken radio shows with Madarame’s voice actor Hiyama Nobuyuki, and drew a comic about how she landed the role as Ogiue. Even putting aside my own Ogiue fandom I’ve thought for a long time that Mizuhashi ranks among the best voice actors out there.
That said, I think it would be a bit unfair to judge Yamamoto Nozomi before I even get to hear her voice the part of my favorite character. She’s pretty new, but she’s also already played roles such as Yukimura in Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, and Tetora in Joshiraku. When I think about Tetora’s voice in particular, it may actually be a bit closer to how I imagined Ogiue’s voice in my mind when I first read the manga. Actually, Gankyou’s voice would have been even closer, but that’s maybe getting too off-topic.
As for the rest of the cast, you have Uesaka Sumire (Dekomori in Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!) as Yoshitake Rika in addition to performing the opening theme, Uchiyama Yumi as Yajima Mirei (Davi in Dokidoki! Precure, Arata in Saki: Episode of Side A), and a combination of Kakuma Ai and Yamamoto Kazutomi handling the female and male voices of Hato Kenjirou, respectively. If you look at their list of works, all of them are pretty new voice actors, so perhaps there was something on the production side that required the use of newer voices. I read that they may be changing the old characters as well? Or maybe there was just a good old-fashioned scheduling conflict, which even happened with the Genshiken 2 anime and Keiko’s voice actor. In the end, it’s all just speculation, unless someone more familiar with the seiyuu scene could inform me otherwise.
Based on the previous roles of the actors for Yoshitake and Yajima, I can imagine them fitting their roles well, especially if they go for more naturalistic and awkward voices. I think Yajima especially will be a challenge.
In addition, voices aside, the art and character designs look probably the nicest they’ve ever been for Genshiken anime. I guess it all remains to be seen (and heard).
UPDATE: I decided to look at Mizuhashi Kaori’s official site, which isn’t really updated anymore, and what’s really curious is the fact that where once the front page image was of Ogiue in an empty cardboard box, now Ogiue has been replaced by a different character. I’m unsure if it’s meant to be Mizuhashi specifically or if it’s meant to be another one of the characters she played, but just the fact that she used to use an Ogiue image on her front page as early as September 2012 may indicate that she was rather close to the character of Ogiue.
“Just once in my life I’d like to grow a penis!”
Yes, it’s that kind of Genshiken chapter.
Yajima’s birthday has just passed, and noticing that Yajima has never engaged in a truly candid discussion with fellow girls, Yoshitake tries to get the straight-laced Yajima to open up moe. When the two discover a strange object in the club room, Yoshitake immediately assumes it to be an enema plug, and as the two let their imaginations run wild, the two narrow down the most likely owner of the plug to be Hato. As Hato and Yoshitake give their belated presents to Yajima, it becomes increasingly difficult to ask him about the enema. However, it turns out that Hato knows nothing about it, that it’s actually Ohno’s, and that it’s simply a small accessory from one of her cosplay outfits.
That Yoshitake and Yajima believed the owner of the “enema” had to be a guy is very telling of the ways in which yaoi has influenced their imaginations. Rather than simply limiting it to fujoshi psychology, though, I feel like the characters this chapter are showing more delusions run rampant, as if BL was more a key to a forbidden kingdom of the mind. It’s interesting how this contrasts with the predominantly male Genshiken of old in that awkward expression of sexuality has been a part of Genshiken since the very first chapter, and was something of a constant throughout the series, but it usually took the form of professing doujinshi or character preferences. It was certainly never to the level that the guys would wonder aloud about genitalia, and in hindsight it lent a good deal of realism to the series, both in the fact that they all had their own quirks and kinks, and that they were embarrassed about it and kept things understated.
When I think about it, the female characters have always been the ones to discuss sex and relationships more directly. Whether that’s Kasukabe describing her “friend’s” doggy-style with her boyfriend, Kasukabe asking Ohno if she and Tanaka had done it in cosplay, or even Ohno and Ogiue’s tough heart-to-heart discussions, the girls have done a lot less tiptoeing around the subject of sex. It’s even clear from this chapter that Yajima is pretty open with Mimasaka as well, relatively speaking, even telling her all about seeing Hato naked.
Yoshitake, however, takes that prospect to an all-new extreme, and I don’t know if that’s because she’s a social fujoshi of a younger generation, or if it’s just because she’s weird. Either way, the manga portrays Yoshitake as a character who at least wants to be unafraid of taboos, and the fact that she almost manages to ask Hato directly about the “enema plug” shows her as a person who can overwhelm whatever fear of awkwardness might still linger within her. Also, as this chapter and previous ones have shown, get a little alcohol in her and all bets are off. The quote at the beginning of this review is followed by Yoshitake declaring that anyone interested in BL has to wonder about having a penis, a line which certainly blows Ohno’s famous “There’s no such thing as a girl who hates homos!” straight out of the water.
One thing I like about Genshiken is the way in which details are not forgotten and can come up again in later parts of the story. One example is Yoshitake’s hair, which had more of a wavy look in the earlier chapters and then became much straighter down the line, which was explained previously as Yoshitake perming her hair to look good at the start of the school year but being unable to keep up with it. In this chapter, the detail which caught my eye was Hato’s present to Yajima, a basket of skincare products. Back when the first years originally all hung out in Yajima’s apartment, the manga showed how Yajima had a complex about her poor skin condition when compared to Hato’s meticulously kept complexion. It’s unclear whether Hato’s realization of this came from some implied off-panel moment or if she picked up on it way back, but the gesture is clear that she wants to help Yajima look better and feel better. Speaking of, in the image above of Mimasaka you can really see how she is perhaps held back by her own lack of fashion sense, similar to Ogiue in the old days.
The previous chapters with their heavy focus on Madarame and Kasukabe casted a fairly large shadow on the newer characters, but I think this chapter shows how well the new characters can hold up on their own side of things. They’re different from the old crew in many ways but there’s still a sense of relatability to them, and they’re interesting characters in their own right. Next chapter though looks to be focused on Ohno, who actually has never gotten a whole ton of coverage in the manga. I wonder if it’ll have anything to do with her tendency to put off getting a job and entering the “real world.”
In Genshiken II, Chapter 75, friends new and old gather together in what may be the largest conglomeration of named otaku characters so far.
It’s time for the school festival at Shiiou University, and with comics done and costumes ready, the Genshiken have set up their own room. In addition to having much of the veterans around (Madarame, Ohno, Kuchiki, Tanaka), old friends from high school come by to reunite with the new generation of Genshiken members. For Yajima, we have her friend Mimasaka, a shy girl who apparently thinks the world of Yajima. For Yoshitake, we get to see her old crew from the History Club. As for Hato, it’s unclear whether or not they’re actually his friends, but Konno and Fuji basically look like a grown-up Pinoko from Black Jack and Mina the bridge bunny from Macross Frontier with her hair trimmed (or perhaps Q-Bee from Vampire Savior with that striped shirt), respectively.
Keiko also appears, and as always doesn’t mince words. She ends up making things doubly dangerous by first asking aloud if Kohsaka and Kasukabe had arrived yet (Madarame didn’t know), and then following it up by asking if Madarame and Hato are dating, unaware of Hato’s true gender, which makes Hato end up feeling even more awkward.
All of that discomfort is nothing compared to the biggest reveal of the chapter, as the mysterious “senpai” from Hato’s past makes an appearance, and it turns out that she looks almost exactly like Hato in his default outfit, long hair and all. Genshiken‘s had some tough cliffhangers in the past, but none are probably as intense as this one.
So, I just have to say, between all the new characters introduced and all of the interesting information and dynamics they bring to the story, there is so much to talk about that I’m not sure I can get around to all of it. I’m not even going to really mention the hilarity of Sue, Yabusaki, and Asada this chapter other than to show this image.
I’m going to kind of work my way backwards and start with Hato’s senpai, Kaminaga. The fact that Hato actually based his entire feminine look on the girl he may have liked back in high school (it’s still unclear what the “trauma” was) is just so mind-blowing that I have no idea where this is going. Together with the fact that he’s a crossdressing BL fan who identifies as straight but who felt strangely down when Madarame mentioned his lack of interest (“It’s physically impossible”), it makes the enigma of Hato’s sexuality all the more complex even just as we began to have a clearer image ofhim. It seems like Kaminaga’s personality is quite different from Hato’s, though, so I’m looking forward to seeing how this all turns out.
As a brief aside, I’ve noticed a trend with trap characters where they often have a nearly identical female equivalent. If it isn’t Hato and Kaminaga, it’s Bridget from Guilty Gear XX, Maria from Maria Holic, and Hideyoshi from Baka and Test each having twin sisters whom they could pass for. I might write a standalone post about this at some point, but I just have to wonder what the exact purpose behind this recurring concept might be.
It totally slipped my mind that Hato and the other freshmen have never met Keiko, but it obviously makes sense. After all, the only time we’ve really seen her in Genshiken II was when she had the man-to-man talk with Madarame, and her dissimilarity with her older brother makes it really easy to not immediately realize her relation to Genshiken, even if they do look alike. Keiko really hammers home the point that all of the interactions this chapter were basically simultaneous reunions and introductions.
Also of note is how Ogiue behaves around Keiko now, which is the subtle sense of fully accustomed nervousness. I like how Keiko refers to Ogiue as “Onee-chan” now, too. Did you know that the first instance of Keiko calling her “sis” came from the extras of the CD release of Genchoken, the Genshiken radio show starring the voice actors of Ogiue (Mizuhashi Kaori aka Madoka Magica‘s Tomoe Mami) and Madarame (Hiyama Nobuyuki aka Gaogaigar’s Guy Shishioh)? It’s true, and also didn’t make sense at the time because in the anime Ogiue and Sasahara weren’t dating yet (a fact which they acknowledge).
As for the other friends and acquaintances who appear in this chapter, one thing I want to point out is that, for Genshiken, the degree to which we learn about the characters’ histories is unprecedented. Think about it: other than Ogiue’s situation (which got its own entire story arc), the most we know about the characters prior to them attending college is that Ohno spent time in the US and made friends with Angela and Sue, Saki once dated some guy, Kohsaka used to have a shaved head, and Madarame was an awkward fellow. But here, we get to see how the relationships that were created back in high school work may have shaped their respective personalities and quirks.
The fact that Mimasaka is even more awkward than Yajima herself kind of puts Yajima’s initial reaction to the ladies of Genshiken into an even clearer perspective. Yajima no doubt did not have a fantastic high school life, but between her and Mimasaka she was the more socially capable one. With Genshiken, however, when she entered a world where the girls were pretty and talented with good personalities, it was probably like when someone with top grades goes to a top school and finds out that as far as geniuses go, they’re pretty typical. In that respect, it also brings to mind the fact that people can have different interpersonal dynamics with different groups of people, like Tenzin in The Legend of Korra, who is both an old and wizened benevolent leader as well as his mother’s son.
I like Mimasaka’s design. I feel like it really captures this sense of cuteness that can only come from being so awkward, and her lack of fashion sense is distinct from the lack of fashion sense that Ogiue had back then. Also, her first appearance this chapter makes it clear that she was the girl from Yajima’s flashback even though we only see her from behind.
Yoshitake meanwhile is clearly the product of being around a couple of extremely like-minded individuals, as Fukuda and Sawatari are quite similar to her. Just from seeing their opening greeting it’s easy to tell how much fun they had in high school, even if, again, the entirety of their lives as teenagers wasn’t particularly fantastic. At the same time, the fact that Yajima certainly isn’t the same but they get along quite well may say something about Yoshitake’s ability to make friends and break ice.
For Hato, well, we don’t really know how Konno and Fuji act around him, but they know he’s an otaku and they sure seem intent on finding him at the festival. Actually, though, I just want to talk more about their character designs. I thought that Asada would be the sole “silly” design in Genshiken, a one-of-a-kind oddity, but I’m strangely glad that isn’t the case. I thought I wouldn’t enjoy having designs this strange, but I find myself feeling just the opposite, especially when it comes to Konno’s hilariously large eyes (which I was tempted to call “peepers” just to emphasize their cartoonishness). Somehow, Kio makes them work.
What’s probably the most interesting part of all this, however, is the fact that they had these close friends in high school in the first place. Again, from what little we know of the previous Genshiken members’ lives, they didn’t appear to retain very many friends from the past. I feel like this might again speak to the generational difference, where even though all of them were nerds in the end who couldn’t find love in their teen years, they still lived in an era where being an otaku doesn’t automatically mean total social reclusion, just maybe partial.
In any case, I actually like the size of the cast now. For one thing, it provides me with more characters for the Fujoshi Files, but more importantly, the world of Genshiken expands further in a really interesting fashion.
Name: Yoshitake, Rika (吉武莉華）
Relationship Status: Single
Origin: Genshiken: The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture II
Yoshitake Rika is a student at Shiiou University who, despite her youthful looks and demeanor, actually entered college at the age of 20. She initially joined the Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture (Genshiken) after seeing a particularly appealing drawing of Sengoku Basara characters by Genshiken president Ogiue Chika at the club fair. As a member, she quickly befriended everyone in Genshiken, especially her fellow freshmen, Yajima Mirei and “fudanshi” Hato Kenjirou. Yoshitake has a younger (but taller) sister named Risa who is also an otaku, and has bought doujinshi for Risa, who is typically unable to attend events due to her obligations to her basketball team.
Her sense of fashion, forward personality, and willingness to break a few rules in the name of fun (like convincing her slightly underage friends to drink) belie a person who is more comfortable in social settings that the average fujoshi might not be. At the same time however, Yoshitake has a capacity for expounding endlessly on BL-related topics, which allows her to strike up conversation with her fellow fangirls just as easily as she would non-otaku. Yoshitake’s taste in media is also very diverse, going from classic literature to anime and manga to live-action films.
Yoshitake is able to combine both the wide breadth and depth of her interests with her fujoshi mindset, and consider the pairing and yaoi potential of a range of works far greater than the average fujoshi. Notably, she believes that the judo novel Sugata Imatarou is excellent in part for the emphasis on sweaty men forging close bonds with one another.