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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.
When you ask a group of fujoshi (+1 fudanshi) for personal stories of high school romance, you get anything but. That’s Genshiken II, Chapter 73.
Chapter 73 of Genshiken II opens up right where the last chapter left off. In an effort to both have a story that can complement Hato’s drawing style and to also get out of her own creative rut, Ogiue is looking to write a shoujo manga with a high school campus festival setting. However, just as Ogiue is unable to draw on her own experience to write the story (“Actually, I didn’t even have any friends,” as she bluntly states), the only thing she gets from the freshmen are tiny pockets of sadness.
First up is Yajima, who recalls a boy who used to insult her drawings and then rub salt in the wound by actually being a better artist than her. The closest this gets to anything resembling “romance” is that the guy originally came up with a bizarre and insulting nickname for her (Hetakuso (Crappy) -> Hetappy -> Tappy) but eventually stopped using it. As Yoshitake points out, that seems more like bullying than anything else.
Second is Yoshitake, who went to an all-girls’ school and spent all her time in the history club. There, she debated history through the lens of a fujoshi. While plenty of girls in her school had boyfriends, Yoshitake certainly did not.
Last is Hato, who also claims that nothing happened with him. He’d never confessed to anyone, he was never confessed to, and talking about high school makes Hato increasingly nervous. Yajima tries to stop Yoshitake from prodding further by reminding her of what Hato said about being bullied, but this triggers the inner detective in Yoshitake. According Yoshitake, Hato’s difficulties in high school couldn’t possibly just be the result of revealing his interest in yaoi, but that romance was a factor. Before Yoshitake can pressure Hato into telling everything though, Kuchiki comes in and inadvertently rescues Hato from the interrogation through the power of his embarrassing awkwardness.
The chapter ends with Kuchiki revealing that unlike the rest of them, he actually had a girlfriend in high school (though it only lasted a day), and the shock is so great all-around that any remote chance of continuing the discussion fizzles out entirely. Ogiue declares that the high school romance idea is to be scrapped, and that she’ll be writing the cheesy overwrought stories (chuunibyou, or something an 8th grader would find deep) she usually does. Somehow, this whole fiasco may have inspired her to work again after all.
So at the end of the last review, I predicted that Sue would be the one to stun everyone with a tale of teenage love, but it turned out to be Kuchiki. I don’t think I was that far off, so I’m giving myself partial credit. And who knows, maybe we’ll still learn something about her in an upcoming chapter.
I’ve written a good deal about the generation gap that exists between the old and new Genshiken but seeing Yajima and Yoshitake’s respective pasts makes me feel that as much as things have changed, they’re still quite familiar in terms of the social troubles of being an otaku. Neither of them have had anything even closely resembling a relationship, and while you can chalk up some of the bullying to the fact that Yajima isn’t exactly the prettiest girl out there, it’s interesting to see that Yoshitake had to learn something about fashion along the way. If we compare Yoshitake’s style in high school to her sister Risa’s current look, there’s a noticeable difference, even putting aside their extremely different heights, faces, and body types.
At first I thought that the guy from Yajima’s past bore some resemblance to Risa (in the guise of “Rihito”), and that her initial attraction to the latter was somehow influenced by her experience with the former, but when I look at them side-by-side, I’m not sure if they’re similar enough to warrant that comparison. Perhaps if you consider the fact that they’re both tall and have bangs parted to the side, “Rihito” ends up looking like a more handsome version of that guy. Whether or not there’s a direct connection though, altogether I think it puts Yajima’s unease in the presence of the opposite sex into perspective.
While it’s kind of difficult to interpret the behavior of Yajima’s “friend” as him being attracted to her, I think this scenario is essentially the truth behind Hato’s own hidden teenage years. In the chapter, Sue points out that just as Yajima was mentioning the guy being better at drawing than her, Hato’s face turns a shade of red that would make a certain Zaku II Commander Type look subdued. There’s not much information to go on at this point, but I get the feeling that Hato’s inability to draw well when not in women’s clothing is a product of his failed high school romance, and that telling everyone about it may be the key to resolving his art problems. Perhaps he tried to get closer to a girl he liked by showing her his BL drawings, and his talent made her feel small by comparison.
And then there’s Kuchiki, who I think probably comes from the same lineage as Kimura from Azumanga Daioh. Both are extraordinarily creepy individuals, but they have perks in their lives that make the people around them feel worse. For Kimura, it’s a lovely wife and daughter, and for Kuchiki it’s having had a girlfriend at all, as well as having a well-paying job lined up after college thanks to nepotism.
The last two things I want to talk about are kind of small, but I feel the need to point them out.
First, the above panel is actually the first time we’ve seen the high school iteration of Ogiue in an actual chapter, and the second time we’ve seen her in a Genshiken book at all (third if you count Ogiue’s disguise at ComiFest). If you’re wondering about that other time, open up Volume 6 to the first page, and look kind of carefully.
Second, there are of course a number of references strewn throughout. Ohno mentions “HTT” or “Houkago Tea Time,” the band from K-On! Upon seeing Kuchiki, Sue says, “Hyoro-kun?”, a character from Chihayafuru (translated in the Crunchyroll subs as “Retro-kun”). Finally, the next chapter preview quote this time is “Next time, the Culture Festival draws near! That’s not what happens, but look forward to it anyway!” This is actually a reference to gdgd Fairies, which I reviewed previously. Now if you listened to me and watched the show, then you would’ve gotten the joke.
The latest volume of Genshiken came out towards the end of 2011, and I was fortunate enough to get a copy by intentionally pre-ordering it twice (they say we make our own luck). As with every other Genshiken, there are a bunch of extra little things like 4-koma to give us more insight into the world of the characters. While not as packed with new information as Volume 10, there are still plenty of things to discover.
For reference, Volume 11 covers the following chapters, which I have reviewed before.
Sue’s Ogiue collection: The first new thing is the inside cover, behind the dust jacket. Here we see Sue surrounded by Ogiue merchandise. While the PVC figure with its changeable clothing is real, I can tell you with the utmost confidence that the vast majority of the stuff in this room are “what-ifs” at best. You’ll note the Ogiue dolls hanging above, one for each of her “eras,” not counting junior high flashbacks or ComiFest disguises. Interestingly, the picture of Ogiue’s Lilith-esque demon cosplay on that wall scroll is the first time we ever get to see why exactly Ogiue was so intent on hiding her chest when Sasahara came into the room. Lilith-esque indeed.
Women and body hair: A 4-koma where Yoshitake talks about the fact that she has rather long arm-hair makes me realize just how much body hair is a thing in Genshiken, and how much this has to do with the mostly female cast. I think it’s no surprise that it wasn’t really an issue when the club was mostly men, but now we have Yajima talking about how she only shaves her pits when she has to, and Hato accidentally showing his ”smoothness.” While it’s not like you can see tufts of hair on their arms or mustaches, the fact that Genshiken has bothered to make this into an on-going topic shows that it’s not afraid to go some places. Then again, this is from the man who screen-toned veins onto breasts for Jigopuri.
Speaking of breasts: A good number of the 4-koma in Volume 11 are concerned with bust sizes, owing to the fact that Hato wore a large chest for his Yamada from Kujian cosplay. Of these, the ones that I think are most interesting are the one where Yajima points out that you can’t exactly say she’s “busty” when her figure resembles a sumo wrestler’s (her own self-disparaging words), and the one where Nakajima mentions that she’s smaller than Ogiue (which she begrudges). Upon reading Nakajima’s 4-koma, I realized that I did not notice this at all in any of her appearances, which is to say that Kio has drawn and characterized Nakajima well as someone who knows how to dress.
Hato’s ultimate cosplay: Hato dresses up as Charles from Infinite Stratos. In other words, a man cosplays as a woman disguising herself as a man.
Ogiue’s Sasa x Mada doujin is a big hit: The freshmen like Ogiue’s doujinshi so much that they all end up making copies of it. The fact that there are people in the club with whom she can really share it is a big step from where she was back when she drew it, and again I have to perhaps point to how different the new generation of club members has turned out to be. That said, it’s clear from just this one panel that it’s equal parts comforting and disconcerting for her.
Heroic Spirit Hopkins: I know a certain Hisui of the Reverse Thieves is going to get a kick out of this one. In the end-of-volume extra, the members of Genshiken discuss the endless enigma that is Sue, trying to figure out the source of her power, both physical and mental. In the end, Sue clarifies for everyone when she says, “I ask of you, are you my master?”
Totally off-topic but: There’s an insert in the volume for Kodansha’s line of light novels, and one of them is a continuation of the Ojamajo Doremi series with the characters now 16 years old! Aptly titled Ojamajo Doremi 16, it features artwork by the original character designer, Umakoshi Yoshihiko, who also did the designs for Heartcatch Precure! and whose art book you should purchase, because it’s totally awesome. As I haven’t finished the Doremi series, I won’t check it out just yet.
The Hato figure: While I own it (as well as the version from the latest issue of Afternoon), I don’t have it on me, so I can’t show it to everyone. Give me a few months.
Chapter 71 is here, and if you’re wondering about the Hato figure that came with the latest issue of Afternoon, yes I do have it, though the Volume 11 one has yet to arrive.
When last we saw the club, everyone was getting ready for the campus festival, with the pièce de résistance being a special edition of the club newsletter Mebaetame featuring original stories by the members of Genshiken. As this chapter makes us aware from the very start however, things are not going as planned, as Ogiue is in a slump, Yoshitake and Yajima are finding teamwork to not be so simple, and Hato’s drawing style seems to change drastically depending on whether or not he’s crossdressing. As the club tries to figure out not only how they can get anything done in time for the festival but also why Hato would have such an unusual psychological block, Sue suggests that Ogiue and Hato should collaborate, with Ogiue providing the story and Hato the artwork.
This solution, still not agreed upon by the parties involved, seems to create new challenges as well. On top of the difficulties they were having already, Yoshitake and Yajima (with beers) now feel intimidated by the fact that a collaborative work between Ogiue and Hato would completely outclass them, and this frustrations even results in Yoshitake admitting that she finds Yajima’s drawings to be pretty bad where she would previously have sugarcoated it. Ogiue meanwhile is moving towards writing a shoujo-esque romance for Hato to draw, but is aware of the fact that shoujo is untested territory for herself.
Hato too is wondering about whether or not having Ogiue’s script as a guide would provide enough structure for him to not go offtrack while drawing, when he comes across the fact that Madarame bought the game being sold by Kohsaka’s company at Comic Festival. Touting a girl-boy as a significant feature, Hato begins to think about Kohsaka putting the moves on Madarame with the game as pretext, and finds that his “Stand” is going too far. He also realizes an odd fact about himself: “Stand” Hato seems more hardcore and extreme than Hato when crossdressing. Madarame comes home earlier than expected, which results in Madarame walking around for a while to let Hato finish changing. Once Hato is done, he (in women’s clothing) mentions to Madarame that they haven’t met in a while, and that he wants to apologize for all of the trouble he’s caused recently, like the whole incident with Kuchiki. Madarame, reminding himself that despite appearances Hato is definitely a guy, invites Hato back into his place to chat.
I think Chapter 71, possibly more than any other chapter, makes me aware of how different the new Genshiken (both club and title) is from the old one, at least compared to where it began. This in turn has me thinking about some of the comments I’ve read and heard from both friends and relative strangers about how unapproachable or how unrelatable the characters and stories are for them now. So, my intent is to think through how the sense of unfamiliarity plays out in Genshiken II, particularly because I find the changes to be especially pronounced with this chapter.
The first and least, shall we say, controversial point of difference is the fact that a good portion of the club seems to show a kind of creative energy, even if they might not have the talent to match up with it. While they are all having difficulties making their works, all of these are problems which occur after they’ve begun their creative processes. This is a stark contrast to the old club where the primary issue with putting out any sort of material was that it was difficult to get them moving in the first place. I think the best comparison might be Yajima now to Kugayama back when he drew that first Kujibiki Unbalance doujinshi. Both of them are lacking in confidence and don’t believe they have what it takes to be real manga-ka, but where Kugayama delayed things as much as he could, we’re made aware of the fact that Yajima has continued to include drawings in her entries for the club newsletter even though she thinks her own work isn’t good. The fact that Yajima appears to be less skilled as an artist compared to Kugayama anyway seems to suggest that it’s mostly a subtle matter of mentality separating the two, and by extension the mindset of the current club versus the old one.
The second point of difference is that the mostly female cast produces conversations concerning concepts like body image and, more generally, that the characters talk about their feelings regularly. I think this comes across even when the topic at hand is something otaku-related, like how Yoshitake and Yajima are frustrated trying to work on their story. A few harsh words are spoken, but the whole thing ends up coming across as therapeutic for them in a way; even if nothing is solved (and perhaps they might even have made things worse), it seems to be oddly helpful. Not to blindly promote stereotypes about the types of conversations that occur among men and among women, but it’s hard to see this being a regular thing for the old guard of primarily male characters. Moreover, the interactions between Yajima and the rest are framed by their otaku/fujoshi mindsets, as well as the fact that they come from a different “subcultural” generation compared to Madarame and the rest. Not that there isn’t some overlap between the two groups or differences within, but overall I think it’s that the characters, now mostly female, have a tendency to talk about things that they might not be willing to if the club were dominated by men like it used to be, just as there were once certain topics conveyed as being uncomfortable if Saki or Ohno were around.
Hato is a kind of X-Factor in all of this, his crossdressing ostensibly making him one of the “girls,” but the actual physical truth makes things much trickier, particularly for Yajima, who now has that very same physical truth burned into both the shallow and deep recesses of her mind. Hato is the gateway, albeit a “troublesome” one in that he can seem familiar yet alien at the same time.
That leads to me to the third point of difference: Nidaime continuously challenges ideas of gender and sexuality in ways that the original Genshiken only began to touch on, with Hato being the most prominent example. With Ogiue, the “controversy” was about the degree to which being really hardcore into yaoi might affect actual intimate relationships, but that was still a girl being attracted to men, whether or not they were fictional/into other guys. With Hato however, the fact that he is into yaoi but finds himself attracted to women in real life makes for a trickier dynamic, especially when he starts to fantasize over fictional portrayals of real people like Madarame. While Ogiue did the same thing (and even said to Sasahara that she has no feelings for Madarame himself), Hato’s gender makes it feel like the idea is really being pushed to its limits, and every time they add another layer to it as they did in this chapter, it becomes that much more complex.
Overall, I find that when taking the notion of a sequel as more of the same, more of what you loved, more of what you’re familiar with, Genshiken II doesn’t quite feel like that. However, when taking a sequel to mean a progression from what has occurred before it and a development of ideas began in the original, Genshiken II fulfills that definition much more thoroughly. When I look at it and the work that has come between the two Genshiken (notably Jigopuri), I get the feeling that Kio Shimoku as at a point in his life somewhat removed from the typical otaku, especially male otaku, and that this is the result. Maybe this would have been better to talk about in its own separate post instead of as part of a chapter review, but I do think it was relevant here.
By the way, this post is probably going to push Ogiue Maniax’s lifetime hits to over 1 million. When you think about it, there’s no topic more appropriate for this than Genshiken.
Last month, we were promised a chapter with Yoshitake in the spotlight and Chapter 68 delivers in spades. We learn a lot about Yoshitake’s personality, her family, and even her deepest, darkest secret!!! Suffice it to say, a lot happens, so there’s more to talk about than usual, so you’ll have to forgive me if the following synopsis is wordier than usual.
When a couple of guys enter the Genshiken club room in an effort to hit on Hato, and the only senior member available is a spineless coward (Kuchiki), all seems lost until a tall and striking figure appears and shoos them away. The man turns out to be Yoshitake (Rika)’s brother, Rihito, and we learn the following about him: he is one year older than Yoshitake, attends a different university, and is an otaku (also apparently a shotacon). Yajima is completely smitten by this knight in shining armor, which Yoshitake picks up on immediately and uses to tease poor Yajima in subtle ways.
It turns out though that the guy who’d been hitting on Hato (and who had been asking about “the girl with the long brown hair” back in Chapter 60) is a member of the student government named Harima. Harima’s boss, a serious-looking man in glasses named Mikami, is concerned with the fact that this brown-haired girl no one knows has been seen around Genshiken since the start of the semester. There are strict rules against non-students attending, and Hato, though he is of course a student at Shiiou University, is fearful of having his secret revealed. Harima interjects and convinces Mikami to let him handle it.
Harima tries to clear up the misunderstanding about himself with Hato, except that it wasn’t really a misunderstanding and he actually was trying to hit on Hato after all. The awkward situation is only exacerbated when Kuchiki runs in for the “rescue” and is immediately choked out (again) by Hato. Harima is scared off, and Kuchiki falls unconscious with a smile on his face, though in the process inadvertently places his hand on Rihito’s chest. This in turn generates a decidedly feminine response in Rihito, who reflexively recoils away with a yelp, revealing an elaborate charade.
Yoshitake Rihito turns out to be Yoshitake Risa, Yoshitake’s younger sister who attends an all-girls’ high school and is a member of the school’s basketball club (but still actually a shotacon). Risa is a senior and was checking out Shiiou University as a prospective college, when Yoshitake decided to use the fact that Risa is often mistaken for a boy anyway to pull a prank on the others in Genshiken. However, Risa inadvertently reveals that her older sister is older than she seems. Yoshitake, though a freshman in college, is in reality 20 years old due to a combination of having failed the entrance exams the first time around and having an April birthday (the Japanese school year starts in April), and is the reason she was able to buy all of that alcohol back in Chapter 58 without any hiccups (20 is the legal drinking age in Japan). The chapter ends with the first years + Risa drinking over a discussion of the pairing between Mikami and Harima.
With all of the new character introductions and particular displays of characterization contained within Chapter 68, there is a lot to think about, more than even I’m going to talk about, but let’s begin anyway.
As has been pointed out by Japanese blogger Tamagomago, Yoshitake is very socially savvy, and nowhere has it been more obvious than in this chapter. Probably the best example of this is the fact that she is able to immediately pick up on Yajima’s attraction towards “Rihito” because of how Yajima keeps looking away from the
older younger Yoshitake sibling. One might say that it’s as classically obvious a signal as possible, but stuff like this can be surprisingly difficult for nerds to pick up on. While Yoshitake isn’t quite on the level of Kasukabe or possibly even Keiko in terms of perceptiveness, she is still far greater than the average otaku. Sasahara may be considered the “normal” otaku to an extent, but I can’t help wondering if Yoshitake deserves that title more, though its meaning changes when applied to her. On the topic of siblings, this is the first familial relationship we’ve seen since Sasahara and Keiko, and in looking at the interaction between Yoshitake and Risa with a bit of hindsight, Yoshitake really does act like the older sister. This is shown in the way she hits Risa, and how Risa appears to be completely used to it.
When I first saw “Rihito” I thought to myself, “So this must be where Yoshitake gets it from.” It seemed that Yoshitake simply had a good role model who made it look perfectly all right to be an otaku and that it didn’t have to affect your attitude or wardrobe. However, the truth turns out to be far more interesting, as the more likely scenario, given what we know now, would have Rika being the model responsible for Risa’s success in balancing a life of exciting high school basketball competition with one of rampant fujoshi-ing. Yoshitake makes being otaku look cool and normal, and it has an admirable effect on her younger sister and her generation of fandom.
Speaking of basketball, Risa makes me think of that fateful scene from Volume 5 where Ogiue tries to explain away her attendance at a Scram Dunk BL event by claiming that she has a younger brother who’s into basketball. I wonder how Ogiue would react to seeing “Rihito?” How quickly would her mind race in order to conjure up dangerous situations for Risa? Actually, Ogiue doesn’t even make an appearance this chapter, so I have to wonder if Yoshitake is going to try to pull a fast one on her (and the other absent members) in the near future.
Risa’s character design is quite interesting in that generally when you have a crossdressing female character in anime and manga, they tend to still look very feminine regardless of the clothing (Mayo Chiki), and even someone like Fujioka Haruhi from Ouran High School Host Club, who can pass for a guy fairly well, is still smaller than the men around her. Risa, on the other hand, even when her secret is revealed and she stops acting “manly” (an act which I think was clearly modeled on bishounen characters in the manga she reads) doesn’t just suddenly look like a girl. Her mannerisms do change to an extent (her body language differs and she begins to use her older sister’s signature -ssu in her speech), but she’s still quite different from what you’d typically expect out of a “reverse trap.” Her height helps with this of course, being one of the tallest characters in Genshiken and dwarfing her older sister. The fact that she’s so tall also puts a bit of a spin on the fact that she’s a shotacon, though I’m not exactly sure how.
I’d also like to point out how Risa and Harima in this chapter mirror each other somewhat. Both are assumed to be one way at first (Rihito is a cool dude, Harima is a sleazebag). Then the truth comes out (Rihito is Risa, Harima is a member of the student government), but it turns out that there was a grain of truth in the lie (Risa is into shota after all, Harima was actually trying to get with Hato). One of the trademarks of Kio Shimoku is having his chapter titles (“Your Name is?” being 68′s) mean more than one thing, and this parallel showcases that aspect of his work.
As for Yoshitake’s dark secret (being 20 years old), I think many of her fans are probably breathing a sigh of relief that it didn’t turn out to be anything more serious. As it stands, Yoshitake is not cheerful to compensate for something else, she just is that way. That she was embarrassed of the fact that her behavior isn’t stereotypically befitting of a 20 year old shows that she indeed aware of how things are “supposed to be” but willfully flouts them anyway, and at the same time also shows that she’s not invincible in the way perhaps Kohsaka is. She’s concerned with what others might think about her, but not too much. It adds a nice dimension to her character that we knew was probably there, but weren’t quite sure what form it would take.
The last thing I want to talk about in the chapter is Yajima’s reaction towards “Rihito” because I think it perfectly captures the feeling of the nerd crush, complete with the fact that Yajima clearly felt that he was out of her league. In that respect, it feels different from the other attractions we’ve seen in the manga in that Ogiue’s, Sasahara’s, and Madarame’s had the awkwardness that comes with familiarity, and Kasukabe thought herself on the same level as Kohsaka. Yajima also has to contend with her own personality in that instance, so the embarrassing nature of that moment for her comes not just from body image problems but also that she has set herself up to be kind of a “cool” character. It reminds me of Yajima’s introduction to Genshiken where she tried to pass off her interest in the club as something kind of casual, and the emotional confusion this whole situation has caused for Yajima is surely going to be a fun thing to explore.
So there we have it for Yoshitake’s first-ever chapter with internal monologue. Next chapter continues the drinking party, and I hope we get to learn more about everyone, as much as we’ve learned already. The next chapter quote is taken from Mawaru Penguindrum, which is to say, watch Penguindrum for more sibling hijinks (also penguins).
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.