Anime! The Cause of, and Solution to, All of Life’s Problems: Genshiken II, Chapter 58

It’s a big day for the newest members of the Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture, as the three rookies spend their very first chapter almost entirely independent of Ogiue and the others. Can Yajima, Yoshitake, and Hato carry the story without backup from the Genshiken veterans? Do they have what it takes to garner their own fans? And is Sue a fan of Hellsing? All these questions and more (or not) will be answered in Genshiken II, Chapter 58.

Ogiue, Genshiken chairman that she is, decides to foster camaraderie among the club members and revive an old tradition by having everyone write/draw their own profiles for Genshiken’s defunct club magazine, “Mebaetame.” If you’re not sure what that is, try to remember the little blurbs they had in between chapters of Genshiken where they talked about their favorite Kujibiki Unbalance characters and what-not; that’s “Mebaetame.” If you’ll recall, Ogiue never actually participated in the magazine, and perhaps we’ll finally learn just how to pronounce her pen name, Ogino/Okino Meisetsu/Nayuki/Nariyuki.


Yes.

Yoshitake thinks this is a good opportunity for some healthy bonding, and invites herself and Hato over to Yajima’s place to work on their profiles together while having some beers. Yajima (kind of) agrees, but is uneasy about alcohol. Hato doesn’t seem to mind either way. Here is where we see our first bit of additional insight on the new members: Yoshitake, cheerful and bubbly, has no qualms about knocking a few back (which creates anticipation for the inevitable drinking session/contest with Ohno) and breaking some rules, whereas surly and practical Yajima, citing age restriction as the primary reason to not purchase alcohol, turns out to be more naive than expected. In fact Yajima’s naivete and confidence (or lack thereof) seem to be a major topic for this chapter.

Lacking faith in her own artistic skills (“I said that I draw, not that I can draw!), Yajima, whose first name we find out is “Mirei,” is arguably the most “typical” of all of the girls in Genshiken at this point, especially in terms of looks. When she compares herself to members past and present, including a curvaceous cosplayer, a fashionable “normal” girl, and an impossibly attractive male cross-dresser, you can see how it impacts her self-image. Even Ogiue is likely included among the “beautiful,” as Yajima has only ever seen her as Ogiue Chika, Well-Dressed Professional Manga Artist with Boyfriend, and wasn’t around for the Ogiue who wore clothes two sizes too big, or her gradual and awkward transition to her current state. You can see Yajima thinking, “Wait, otaku aren’t supposed to be this way! If even my fellow nerds are this attractive, where does that leave me?” It’s all the more troubling for her when she remembers that Hato indeed has a Y-chromosome, and that a guy is passed out in her apartment from drinking too much. Being the innocent straight-arrow of an otaku that she is, when she accidentally/intentionally confirms Hato’s gender via skirt lift, it’s clear that it’s far outside of Yajima’s comfort zone.

Seeing as it’s a chapter taking place in Yajima’s apartment, it’s no surprise that she’s getting the most development of the three, though we still learn a few details about the other two. In addition to Yoshitake’s excited, yet nonchalant attitude towards life and its vices, we learn that she has an appetite on the level of Kobayashi Takeru and equates “profile” with “personal essay.”  And with Hato, we now know that he 1) is an Economics Major 2) has quite good taste in anime, and 3) is pretty damn hardcore with the BL. Among his favorite titles are Hetalila, Doarara!!!, Winter Wars, Fuyume’s Book of Friends, and Sweets Basket. He also likes a series called Femto, which I’d like to believe is some Berserk spinoff all about Griffith but might actually be a reference to Boku no Pico.

So overall, I think that Yajima, Yoshitake, and Hato held their own, though next chapter seems to be focusing on Madarame, which is also welcome. Until then, I’m going to try and popularize the phrase “Dai Ogiue.”

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11 thoughts on “Anime! The Cause of, and Solution to, All of Life’s Problems: Genshiken II, Chapter 58

  1. is Sue a fan of Hellsing?

    For some reason when I read that, I felt like the answer should’ve always been obvious. She just gives me that feeling i guess.

    Maybe Genshiken to Hellsing comparison is dormant somewhere in my mind because of Hirano’s fanart of Madarame.

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  2. So, in some ways, Yajima combines shades of Oguie (self-confidence issues) with parts of Sasahara’s normality as a non-extreme otaku? Damn, but I’m liking Hato more and more now, and not just for being moe when throwing people around with judo.

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  3. Also… Yoshitake has been getting cuter with each appearance. Prettier, even. Is this to make Yajima stand out more? Or is it because she’s learning to yes makeup to accentuate her best features? Or is it because she’s drunk this chapter?

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    • I’d say that Yajima as part-Sasahara, part-Ogiue is a fairly apt comparison, though Ogiue and Yajima’s self-confidence issues are rather different. Whereas Yajima is an unconfident otaku, feeling the stigma of being a humble nerd, Ogiue was deeply depressed about being an otaku, believing that something was inherently wrong with herself. I also think my comparison to Saki in the previous chapter review is still appropriate.

      As for Yoshitake, I think Ogiue puts it best when she compares her to Kuchiki but adds the caveat that, Yoshitake is not socially inept like Kuchiki. That eccentricity can come off as charming when it doesn’t make you feel bad by association. Also I think Kio Shimoku might be good at drawing cute drunks.

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      • Yajima’s got an issue with being an otaku to an extent (Sasahara-style shame) with some of Ogiue’s self-confidence issues… but no, not as deeply affected, although they’re there. She still seems to think it’s something to hide, rather than actively flaunt like Kuchiki or Ohno.

        Yoshitake, though… she’s just an unabashed, bubbly fujioshi of the type who alternatively annoys you or amuses you, depending on how you feel about people who think mostly about BL and squeal whenever they see a possible hot pairing. I think it’s the big eyes and the way she does her make up which helps Yoshitake seem cuter, though – look at how the makeup’s done in that chapter, and how huge her eyes are compared to most of the non-Genshiken women.

        Hato’s role in this is a little unclear to me, besides giving them a trap to cash in on the trend in Japan…. although I’m guessing his shame at being seen as a guy by the club’s a little like Saki’s shame at being around otaku during the early part of the storyline before her KujiUn cosplay and subsequent rescue of the club. Maybe he’s the main source of moe? Ogiue’s main moe points (her vulnerability and fear/shame) are mostly gone now as she’s grown up and into her role as the President… but now we’ve got Hato, who has those lovely legs and complex which are completely misunderstood by Ohno and the others.

        And no, I never found Madarame moe. Clumsily endearing as a character, but not moe.

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