What was once fated to shine brightly for a few moments in the grand scheme of the universe now has been given new life, as Genshiken II has shed its limited-time status and has revived itself as a fully serialized title. That’s right, Genshiken is back in full force and I can only be pleased by the news. Almost as if to symbolize this new beginning for Genshiken, Chapter 62 feels almost like another introduction to the series and the madness contained therein. Let’s take a look.
As Angela returns for her third trip to Japan and Yabusaki puts the finishing touches on her Fullmetal Alchemist doujinshi, Ogiue is working frantically to complete the second half of her debut as a legit manga artist. Luckily she has the help of the current Genshiken freshman as well as Sue, but the whole situation begins to derail when Hato becomes self-conscious of the fact that his facial hair is growing in. Yajima suggests that Hato wouldn’t have this problem if he dressed like a guy, given that guys aren’t embarrassed by facial hair, but Hato has no men’s clothing with him. Fortunately(?), Ohno left everyone some cosplay outfits, but things get quickly out of hand and everyone ends up working on Ogiue’s manga while cosplaying. Even Ogiue decides to join the “party” in an effort to take responsibility. The chapter ends with Yabusaki coming in to help Ogiue, only to lecture them for goofing off. Naturally, Ohno deeply regrets not being around for this rare occasion of cosplay goodwill.
So, this heavy chapter obviously has a ton of references, and it’s not exactly big on character development, so I think it’s a good idea to find out just who they all are. Some of them I got, some of them I needed to do some internet detective work. Here’s a list of the costumes worn by each Genshiken member.
Yajima: Yagyuu Juubee Mitsuyoshi, the rather large and voluptuous heroine of Sekiganjuu Mitsuyoshi.
Hato: Ashikaga Yuuki, the cross-dressing main character of the School Days sequel, Cross Days.
Yoshitake: Kurashita Tsukimi, the Jellyfish-obsessed protagonist of Kuragehime.
Sue: The titular character of Comic Master J, a super manga assistant.
Ogiue: Nakano Azusa, underclassman guitarist from K-ON!
The entirety of Ohno’s selection for Hato consists of crossdressing characters. Though I can’t recognize all of them, at least one of them is Maria from Mariaholic. Yajima’s outfit is arguably the most embarrassing, coming from a manga series by the character designer of badonkadonk resource Real Drive, but given Yajima’s personality that must have been the most conservative outfit of the bunch. It’s interesting that Ohno would see “overweight girl” and interpret that as “cosplay as thick ladies,” though it makes sense in retrospect. Yajima’s outfit this chapter shows that she’s actually quite busty, and much like when Ogiue first cosplayed way back when though, it kind of makes you aware of the fact that Yajima’s baggy clothes are partially the result of shame. How appropriate it is then that Yoshitake is dressed as a character with a similar dilemma.
Ogiue as Azusa of course makes it own kind of sense, especially when you factor in the fact that the girls of the light music club pushed Azusa towards the Azunyan cat motif somewhat resembles Ohno’s own constant persuasion of Ogiue into cosplay. In fact, Ohno can draw a number of parallels to K-ON!‘s Yamanaka Sawako.
Interestingly, everyone except Ogiue is dressed as a main character, despite the fact that Ogiue was pretty much the central focus of the second half of the original Genshiken. If I were to be somewhat liberal with my interpretation, I’d say that this is symbolic of the direction of Genshiken II, where the new girls are starting to establish themselves as the main stars of the new series. As I’ve said before though, I’m quite okay with this, despite my fondness for Ogiue, as it feeds into one of the themes of Genshiken, that of the continuous renewal of the club.
Looking forward, with Angela around, the chances of a Sue-centric chapter rise greatly. And in the spirit of Sue, we’ll end with a fourth-wall-breaking image.