It’s Comic Festival Day 3 (the guys’ day), and Madarame’s in danger! How is he going to fare against a girl who actually wants him? That’s Genshiken II, Chapter 65.
If it wasn’t obvious from the previous chapter (see the image at the bottom of the post), Ohno’s buxom Bostonian friend, has a certain agenda in mind, and that is to get some sweet, sweet scrawny Japanese nerd ass. Angela does what any remotely observant person would call “really blatant flirting,” and the only things preventing Madarame from realizing the truth are a language barrier, his own nerdish obliviousness, and lingering feelings for Saki. Hato, seeing him in trouble, sheds his female guise and offers to help Madarame and the other guys out with the doujinshi run, at the expense of not being able to participate in a round of cosplay with Ohno and the other girls (Ogiue is still out sick).
As Ohno and Friends are cosplaying the cast of Madoka Magica (sans Madoka herself, who was going to be Hato, and before she caught a fever, Ogiue), Ohno asks Angela about her actions in regard to Madarame, and Angela responds that she’s been interested for a long time now, ever since her first trip to Japan, in fact, but hasn’t made a move because of how infatuated Madarame was with Saki.
Hato, also noticing Angela’s attempts, asks Madarame about his interest towards 3-D girls. Madarame vehemently denies any affection for any dimensions beyond two, but Hato knows that he’s lying, having previously discovered Madarame’s hidden stash of Kasukabe cosplay photos. At the same time, they also visit the industry booths at ComiFest, where they run into a crossplaying Kohsaka, whose presence surely reminds Madarame of Saki, and also shows Hato what it is to be a natural at crossdressing.
The chapter ends with Angela planning her next move.
There are a lot of little things in this chapter I enjoy, such as the fact that not only is Ogiue absent from ComiFest but so is Sasahara, Sue’s, uh, “cosplay,” and the reactions on everyone’s faces as Angela continues to flirt with Madarame. Of course, the biggest part of this chapter is Angela’s aggressive interest in Madarame, which probably comes as a bit of a surprise if you haven’t seen the second Genshiken TV series. In fact, in this chapter there is a flashback to a scene where Madarame helps Angela read an anime magazine, the moment that Angela started to have a thing for him, but it only ever happened in the anime. Combined with the canonization of the cat-mouth girl’s name as Asada, it’s clear that either the makers of the Genshiken 2 anime consulted Kio Shimoku about the scenes they expanded upon, or that Kio decided to use those ideas for himself.
It still is kind of out of the blue though, considering that aside from the aforementioned anime scene, the only hints we had previously were Angela saying that she has a thing for glasses-wearing “uke,” which Madarame fits to a tee, and a splash image where Angela is wearing his glasses. And I know a question that’s bound to be on people’s minds is, “Why Madarame?” Having a gorgeous blonde all over a skinny otaku is bound to have people accusing Genshiken of catering to fantasies of regular hopeless nerds getting incredibly hot women, but I don’t think it’s as simple as that. It is, however, simple in a different way.
I think it’s clear that whatever Angela’s feelings are for Madarame, it isn’t a profound love that has grown through constant interaction like with Sasahara and Ogiue, or Tanaka and Ohno. More likely, it’s probably a mix of yellow fever and Angela having a thing for guys who are easily flustered, and I even doubt that Madarame is exactly what she wants in a man. And if anything does happen, I think Angela is comfortable with either having it be a brief fling or something longer-lasting; this may be my own interpretation, but I see her as being okay with sex without any deep romantic feelings. In any case, pure virgin bride she is not, but then that’s never been an issue with Genshiken from chapter 1. Also, as Keiko pointed out to Madarame, it’s pretty obvious to everyone that he has feelings for Saki, and it should be no surprise that someone like Angela has also been aware of this fact.
What I find really interesting about Angela’s flirting is Madarame’s reaction to it, which is “complete denial that such a thing could ever happen.” To some extent, I am with Hato in thinking that Saki’s image is still burned into Madarame’s retina and that he’s having trouble moving on because of it, but I also think it’s Madarame denying the possibility that a hot American girl could ever want him. This is a very realistic response from someone who believes he has no chance with women, or that he has no likable qualities as a man, and you see it with dorks everywhere. Personally speaking, I can remember hearing that a girl really liked me in junior high, and oddly enough, like Madarame, my hands were a point of attraction. My response was to completely ignore this information, because I thought that a) no girl could possibly be attracted to me, and b) it must be a prank. Granted, I was 13 and Madarame is in his 20s, but like me, thinking that it’s some kind of cruel joke is exactly his response.
I guess the only thing left to ask myself is, am I okay with the idea of Angela x Madarame? My gut reaction is “sure,” but letting my mind into the conversation a little, my revised response is, “As long as it’s written well.” That said, there’s no guarantee of anything happening.