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.