Note: Fellow anime blogger Pontifus recently posted his thoughts on re-reading Genshiken, wherein he discusses in part Ogiue’s developing feelings for Sasahara. This reminded me of an old post I wrote about the subject, pre-Ogiue Maniax, and I thought that it’d be good to share with everyone.
Keep in mind that this post is originally from 2005, two years before the start of this blog, and so not only had the Genshiken manga not quite finished yet, but my writing is a little more unrefined than even back when I first started Ogiue Maniax. I was considering refining it but I think I’ll let it run as is. I still think it makes a good point of just how Ogiue would start to fall for our main man of the Modern Culture Society.
In Ogiue’s fantasy yaoi world, Sasahara is viewed as an aggressor. This seems to run contrary to what we’ve seen of Sasahara’s character. Ohno seems to agree; she finds the idea of Sasahara being a “giver” to be unusual. And why shouldn’t she? She has known Sasahara for years now, and he has generally been a very passive individual and easily seen as spineless.
However, Ogiue has not known Sasahara since his freshman year and initial awkwardness. Ogiue initially meets Sasahara when he is Genshiken’s chairman. And while Sasahara is still fairly passive in general, there are moments where Sasahara is “uncharacteristically” aggressive.
First, is the scene where Haraguchi comes back in volume 5 to give Genshiken “advice” on their doujinshi. Sasahara tries to get along with Haraguchi as much as he can, politely saying that while Haraguchi’s advice is appreciated it is not needed. Eventually, as Haraguchi continues to press on in his unique annoying way, Sasahara decides to turn it around and asks Haraguchi outright to teach him everything. Ogiue reacts to this. So does everyone else. They’re all taken aback by Sasahara’s sudden decisiveness and the way he has shut down Haraguchi. At this point Haraguchi turns to Madarame asking if it’s okay, but Madarame points out that Sasahara is the current chairman. I believe this is moment is what gets the ball rolling.
Next, is the scene where Sasahara and Kugayama are arguing over the status of Genshiken’s doujinshi they are making for Comifes. Ogiue is seeing Sasahara yelling loudly and demanding that Kugayama actually stay on schedule, and this further reinforces her perception of Sasahara. The real killer, however, is the moment when Ogiue awkwardly suggests that she could do more work to make up for it. To make a stand against Kugayama, Sasahara says to Ogiue that she doesn’t have to do anything. In fact, they can just use a bunch of sketches from Kugayama’s sketchbooks.
Ogiue becomes silent. Then she starts crying.
This has more to do with the fact that she had put her heart on the line, and Sasahara’s words were probably interpreted by her as, “Sorry, but you’re not good enough.” The main thing is that Ogiue has now directly felt the aggressive side of Sasahara, and it has her in tears. It has made her feel vulnerable in a way up to that point we have not seen of her.
From these two examples, it’s easy to figure out why Ogiue thought of Sasahara as the giver in Sasa-Mada when she sees Sasahara pulling Madarame’s tie. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she knows that lying underneath Sasahara’s normally gentle nature is someone who can be very active and commanding. And while she doesn’t even initially think this outright (she believes her own drawing of an aggressive Sasahara to be “impossible”), from her personal history with Sasahara, she had no reason to discard the idea.
Thinking about how much more happened after I wrote that originally, I think my initial thoughts hold up pretty well. The Sasa x Ogi romance arc reached its climax, with the two of them actually becoming a couple.
Ogiue’s view of Sasahara as “pitcher” comes from the fact that he has a quiet, gentle confidence about him. It might not be a strong, hyper- masculine or ever-present confidence but it’s still there. It really shows by the end, and I think this contributes significantly to not only the feelings Ogiue develops for Sasahara but also Sasahara’s eventual success in winning her affections. For Ogiue, who had been searching for a way to reconcile her passion for manga and yaoi with her own self-doubt and sense of shame, Sasahara becomes what she needs, providing just the right amount of emotional support.
Man, Genshiken is awesome. Just thought I’d remind you of that.