In Chapter 77 of Genshiken II, we learn that while many fujoshi are strong, but Kaminaga may be Strongest of All.

The cat’s out of the bag as Kaminaga learns that Hato occasionally dresses up as her doppelganger, but as much as Ogiue downplays it as coincidence, and as much as Hato’s old classmate Konno mentions that it’s because of Hato’s crush, Kaminaga has other ideas entirely. Presented with an older brother and a younger brother who dresses up like the elder’s girlfriend (and now fiancee), Kaminaga creates the pairing of Yuu x Ken, or Hato’s older brother and himself. This is made all the more outrageous by the fact that she herself is the girlfriend.

Kaminaga throws out the tough questions pertaining to Hato’s sexuality. She brings up the possibility that he might be bisexual, and also the fact that his stance of “I’m not gay but I like yaoi” is similar to the BL trope of “I’m not gay, I just love you in particular.” As Kaminaga presses the question and asks if there’s a guy Hato knows who fits that situation, Madarame shows up, though Hato’s feelings about him are still left ambiguous. Instead, Hato mentions that everything’s fine, because he has plenty of friends, male and female, who know and accept him.

I’ve previously written about how the new Genshiken members in a way resemble Kohsaka in terms of the way they’re able to combine style with their very otaku mindsets, but I feel that, more than any other, including the attractive Angela and Ohno, that Kaminaga comes closest to the idea of a “female Kohsaka.” The ways in which she so unashamedly displays her delusions, especially to a guy she just met (Hato’s brother in the previous chapter’s flashback) and eventually turned him into a lover stands in stark contrast to the complexes that the other girls have about mixing fujoshi lifestyles with significant others. Ohno has Tanaka, but Kaminaga was able to get a decidedly non-otaku boyfriend for the long-term. When you think about Kaminaga that way, her sheer confidence and simultaneous ability to not compromise her compromised mindset is a kind of inspiration.

As we learn more and more about Hato’s past and set up his potential future, I feel that part of his purpose in the story is to “challenge.” Somewhat like how Ogiue flipped the story of Genshiken upside down, Hato really pushes the envelope in terms of assumptions about the club and how otaku behave and the like. The amount of Hato x Mada material in this chapter brings up certain questions about the nature of Genshiken II, and it reminds me of the fact that the new series is more than different enough from the original to seem somewhat alien to those who may have enjoyed the previous iteration.

I’m not referring just to Madarame’s rather confused feelings, but also the way the series has given him what in another work would have been some kind of “awesome harem” but in this case is an exercise in confusion and mixed emotions. While pining for Saki (still), he’s been growing a friendship with a very convincing crossdresser, gets kissed on the cheek by one American girl, and almost gets a full on boob grab on the other American girl.

Speaking of Sue’s “attack,” it’s a reference to Rei from Fist of the North Star.

Have I ever mentioned before how nicely Kio draws the blondes’ eyelashes in the new Genshiken? He out of his way to show only their outline instead of simply using black like he did previously, and it gives them a kind of mysterious quality. Aesthetically it’s quite pleasing, though perhaps it emphasizes their foreignness a little too much? I’m not exactly sure how I feel about it other than that I like the way it ends up looking.

Actually, when you think about Kuchiki and his accidental swipe at Risa’s chest in a previous chapter, which he did while totally unconscious from being choked out by Hato and thus unable to remember, or even the way the older Yoshitake was denied the privilege of seeing Hato come out of the shower, it seems like the series likes to mess with which characters get to have things happen on-panel. The rest of the actual sexual interaction, as we know, happens, it’s just that it’s never really shown. It’s that kind of manga.

As for Ogiue, this isn’t one of her chapters, but the mere fact that she refers to using one’s own boyfriend for yaoi source material as “normal” is rather amusing, and in its own way another sign of significant change within her. Could you have imagined the old Ogi half-admitting that she’s doing the very same thing on a regular basis, and on top of that is calling it normal?

Anyway, next time is Saki time. Watch out.

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