Let’s Analyze Genshiken Chapter 56

Now that a good number of you have received my Christmas present, I think it’s time we take a closer look at this Chapter 56 of Genshiken. Warning, spoilers follow for the original Genshiken series as well as Chapter 56. You might also want to check out my review of Genshiken.

Ever since Genshiken ended back in 2006 or so, I, being rather fond of Ogiue, wanted to see what the club would be like with her as chairman. If you were lucky enough to pick up the two volumes of Kujibiki♡Unbalance, then you got a glimpse into this future. Ogiue changed hairstyles, using the straight-down style from the final chapter of the manga as her default and only switching to her signature brush head when working on manga. Sue started studying in Japan, and her Japanese has improved by leaps and bounds. Ohno is delaying graduation in order to fend off the real world for just a little longer. And now with this new special, we get to see the next generation of Genshiken members.

From left to right: Hato, Yoshitake, and Yajima

While Ogiue is of course always wonderful and Sue pretty much steals the show with her penchant for references and her skillful impersonation of an American Character in Anime probably the most fascinating part of Chapter 56 is the long-awaited arrival of new blood in the circle. Hato, Yoshitake, and Yajima’s biggest impact on Genshiken is that they make you realize the fact that characters like them were missing from the series all along.

“Well yeah, it’s not like Genshiken ever had a crossdresser aside from that one time with Kohsaka,” you might be saying, but we’ve also not seen a guy who’s on the other side of the doujin fence, so to speak. Yoshitake meanwhile is a super enthusiastic fujoshi unlike any we’ve seen before, even among Yabusaki’s friends or Ohno’s American pals. Yoshitake’s the kind of character who would probably fit in best at an American con. Yajima is kind of similar to Ogiue in personality, except that where Ogiue is often like a blazing inferno kept in check by a thick insulated coating, Yajima is actually just a woman of few words. She also seems to have the most “normal” stance on yaoi, asking Yoshitake to restrain her enthusiasm in public. Her weight also can’t be overlooked, as it gives her an interesting quality in that she feels a bit overwhelmed by the previous generation of gorgeous Genshiken girls.

Much like how Ogiue’s first glimpse of Sasahara as a leader colored her perceptions of him, the three new members of the Modern Culture Society are viewing Ohno entirely as that motherly figure she eventually became, and Ogiue as an authority figure. . It’s all summed up in the scene where Ohno starts to “brag” at the new members about Ogiue’s accomplishments, and it just goes to show how different things can be when the person on the bottom of the totem pole has suddenly reached the top.

And though I said that the most fascinating part about Genshiken Chapter 56 is the new members, I still want to spend some time talking about Ogiue. It is wonderful to see how she handles her leadership role, using her talents and ideas to try and grow the club which she has grown to love over time. It’s great to see her relationship with Sasahara, even if it at times becomes awkward and semi-professional. She’s the Ogiue I remember, and yet still quite different from what she was. She’s matured in her time at college and become more comfortable in her own skin, and it’s just a reminder of why I consider her the best female character, period.

So that’s the next generation of Genshiken. To top it off, let’s go through the references Sue and others make, or at least the ones I was able to figure out. The tricky thing about Sue now is that because her Japanese has gotten better, sometimes she doesn’t make references and instead just speaks actual Japanese, and so everything she says you have to first figure out if she’s taking a line from something or just her own head.

Sue: “Oh no! What an awful room! It’s like a rabbit pen in here!

This is from Kinnikuman Lady, a genderbent parody of the original Kinnikuman. Sue is dressed like Terryman’s female counterpart Terrygirl. Keep in mind that Sue actually says, “Oh no!” in English here.

Sue: Ogiue Chika is mah wife!”

Again from Kinnikuman Lady. In the Japanese version, Sue is imitating the Terryman-style of Janglish by saying “Me no yome” instead of “My” or “Ore no.”

Ohno: “I really wanted to be Robin, though.”

Kinnikuman Lady once again, as well as her cosplay.

Kuchiki: “Ramen Angel P (etc.).”

Ramen Angel Pretty Menma is a made-up visual novel/ero game in Genshiken. Sasahara really likes the series.

Sue: “My harsh remarks are made by transmuting…”

A line by Senjougahara Hitagi from Bakemonogatari.

Yuki x Shige

I’m not sure if this is just a made up series or not, but I suspect it’s Sengoku Basara-related.

Sue: “My name is Ogiue and I hate otaku!”

This and the followup is of course from Ogiue’s infamous introduction.

Sue: “Rararame.

Again from Bakemonogatari, but this time Sue is referencing the character Hachikuji Mayoi. The entire gag following this is an extended Hachikuji reference.

Snapple Pricking Gheam

A parody of the Zan Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei OP “Apple Picking Beam.” In Japanese, the original song is “Ringo Mogire Beam” while Genshiken wrote it as “Bingo Mobire Geam.” According to the Genshiken timeline this show shouldn’t actually exist yet, but we’ll let it slide.

Sue: “Yahhh! Your house is haunted!”

This is a line from My Neighbor Totoro.

That’s all. To Genshiken. May it get another anime adaptation to finish its story. May Kio Shimoku feel the desire to revisit these characters again. May Angela and Sue get their own most excellent American spin-off.

Actually, one last question to you all: should Hato be considered for the fujoshi files?

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19 thoughts on “Let’s Analyze Genshiken Chapter 56

  1. I personally think that Hato represents the increase in acceptance for crossdressing males. I think there’s lately been an article that shows that crossdressing males are becoming more accepted in Japan. I’ve also seen them much more frequently, in both otaku-oriented and shoujo manga.

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  2. I was expecting this kind of post from you.

    While in your fujoshi fantasy a person like hato may not be considered as such, in someone else’s they are just as likely a candidate and the rest of the girls. ‘She’ would be quite the interesting wild card if Genshiken were to continue. Don’t count her out.

    Even though the present theme isn’t one that is my cup of tea, I do wish it would continue. :(

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    • It’s more a matter of determining just how and where the gender line falls for this sort of thing.

      It’s not something apparent in my translation, but Ohno for example talks about Hato in a feminine sense, but refers directly to Hato as a “Hato-kun.”

      Similarly, Sue can be seen in the corner in one panel trying to figure out if Hato falls under a different category. “Fukei? Fudanshi?” she says.

      It’s a matter of figuring where I should draw the line. It’s kind of like how I’m hesitant to include Konata on there, but for different reasons.

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  3. No, Hato does not deserve a mention in the Fujoshi Files – you may instead open an XD (cross-dressed) file. It was quite a surprise seeing Madarame unable (again!) to identify a cross-dressed. (Well, Yajima at a first glance seemed a man…).

    “Acceptance”? I guess it is sort of “backwards effect”; acceptance of cross-dressing in the real world appears easier if found on quality manga. A few years ago you couldn’t even imagine a manga or anime series seriously dedicated to otaku world. Rumiko Takahashi

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  4. I’d include him in the Fujoshi Files (that is, if we ever know more about him) myself. Of course, you have to think of it in terms of a nice twist, even though that’s not the main point.

    I’m more interested in what motivates him to crossdress constantly (or I’m assuming that this isn’t a one time time), and if any of that motivation led him to being a fan of yaoi (sexual orientation? gender-identity disorder? something else entirely?).

    Needless to say other than seeing the whole crew again, he was the thing that stuck most in my mind from that chapter.

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  5. I’d put Hato in the Fujioshi Files as an honorary nomation, if only because she’s coming from the ‘other side of the doujin fence’ as you put it. I’d have to call her a transgender really, more than an otaku, although she has fujioshi interests.

    Given that she sees herself (apparently) more as a girl than a guy, it’s definitely a transgender state, or at least what I’d call that. This makes her entry into the Genshiken more interesting… and also explains why Kuchiki was so happy to have her there – in recent manga and anime, it seems there’s always a trap in there somewhere, and now he’s got one.

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  6. Best female character, period. I agree!

    I’m Japanese, read / watch everything in JP and one of those who couldn’t imagine reading in English. Genshiken is the first thing I’ve become addicted to and read in one sitting, all in another language! I’m excited to be able read through it again in a different language. Luck works out in the end.

    It’s the best thing I have ever read. I could watch the characters go on for EVER.

    I’ve never thought about any form of entertainment a month after I finish it until Genshiken. It’s life changing.

    I’m reading everything else you got and thanks for the present!! I gave up on new Genshiken content a while back I thought.

    I wonder how it did in Japan? I wish there was demand for infinite further development.

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  7. I just finished reading all of Genshiken, so laate (and it took me 3 years somehow!) but I wanted to now go and rad all of your posts on the series. This chapter was a blast, especially because of Hato. The first time I saw Kohsaka in drag I was blown away and it felt almost beautiful to me – perhaps because I ultimately have a deep-seated fantasy of doing drag cosplay (lol.) Hato was another fun one, even more fun because he’s into total fujoshi manga!

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  8. I also just finished reading the Genshiken manga for the first time, and I also found it to be a life-changing experience. I am yonsei and half-Japanese, and for me anime and manga represent an attempt to get closer to my roots. Although I have long thought of myself as a nerd, I never thought of myself as a true otaku until I saw my thoughts and actions reflected in almost every character in Genshiken.

    The character I identified with the most was also also Ogiue. When she says to Sasahara “Am I gonna be like this for the rest of my life?” I really know what she means. I’ve often thought that of myself. And her transformation throughout the rest of the story really gives me hope that I can also change. I just wish the story had existed when I was that age.

    I’ve noticed that they are releasing Kio Shimoku’s new novel “Genshiken: Return of the Otaku” in the US next week. Will you be doing a review of that, as well? Also, there were two excellent short stories in the Genshiken Official Book, written by other authors but still managing to capture some of the feel of the original.

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    • I’ve read the Genshiken novel in Japanese, though my literacy still isn’t quite high enough to get everything 100%. Still, I was able to understand enough that I know that story…sure is something. Boy howdy. I’ll probably pick up the English translation at some point.

      As for the Genshiken Official Book side stories, I especially liked the one where they help Ogiue buy a computer.

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  9. Pingback: Ogiuevolution: Thoughts on Genshiken II « OGIUE MANIAX

  10. Thanks for the reference groundwork. ^_^ I was completely unaware of this chapter until a couple of days ago and had totally forgotten that Kio-sensei had restarted the series. ^_^;

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  11. Is it possible to have the original raws of this chapter, please? They haven’t published it in my country, so i want to translate and make some scans…
    If you can, it would be great.
    Thanks in any case.

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  12. I am just glad that Genshiken is back, and is picked up where it left off at. It’s like someone opened a door you’ve spent a year in solitary and the breeze of spring waifs across and fills the room with air of spring and you realize freedom has come to embrace you and that you are forgiven. The new memebers give a fresh feeling to the clubroom as well.
    I have also opened a Genshiken FB group I would like to invite sdshamshel and other fans of Genshiken to come by and join and talk about things related to Genshiken https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/6443714229/ and appoint sdshamshel as Partnered Administrator of said Facebook Fan page. I think the interaction and the fact that Ms. Hopkins decided to come over to Japan and attend the university there just to join Genshiken was humorous but at the same time I’d like to see the ‘Welcome to Japan Ms. Susanne Hopkins” story arc. Oh and I stand by what I said earlier Madarame is so not a Sou Uke.

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  14. Pingback: Pent-Up Penultimate Supernovas: Genshiken II, Chapter 126 | OGIUE MANIAX

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