Walk that Aisle with Style and Profile: Genshiken II, Chapter 72

In this month’s Genshiken II, Madarame and Hato have an awkward but heartfelt man-to-man talk and Ogiue springs possibly the worst question could ask a room of otaku.

The chapter opens up right where we left off with Madarame and Hato, with Hato asking to come inside Madarame’s apartment so that they can have a talk. Hato’s main goal is to apologize, as he believes his actions have led to Madarame not coming to the clubroom anymore. Situated right on his desk however is a copy of the game Kohsaka’s company was selling at ComiFest, inevitably drawing the discussion towards it. As they discuss its rather unique contents (though all the characters you romance are actually otoko no ko, you can also get them pregnant and marry them), they also begin touching upon the doubts and dilemmas that are currently bothering them. In the end, Madarame’s nonchalant attitude towards Hato being unable to draw anything but BL (his advice is essentially, “do what you want”) actually helps Hato resolve to work on the planned manga with Ogiue for the school festival.

At the club, both Ogiue and Hato independently decide to do something different and decidedly not BL, going with Sue’s proposed plan of Ogiue on script, Hato on art, with no crossover. Ogiue, looking to do a high school shoujo love story, asks the members of Genshiken if they have any stories of romance in their own high school experiences to share (also making the best face ever in the process). The chapter ends with a collection of dumbfounded stares, which shows that when it comes to teenage romance, no one in there can call themselves experienced.

During Madarame and Hato’s conversation, Madarame wonders aloud if it might be time for him to stop being so attached to his old college life. Hato thinks that he’s the cause for Madarame wanting to leave the club for good, but I think it’s clear that he’s probably one of the less significant factors, if really one at all. Madarame’s lingering feelings for Saki bleed through during their discussion of Kohsaka’s game, and it’s evident from his tone that the decision to move on is more tied to a rather more complex set of feelings. On the one hand, moving on means letting go of Kasukabe and deciding that it’s over. On the other hand, it can also mean that it’s time to “grow up” and stop being the otaku he was during college. Too many strong emotions are bundled together to not make this anything less than a growing concern for Madarame.

The fact that Madarame played a game centered around otoko no ko is both surprising and not. We already knew that his tastes could be pretty off-the-wall, and in terms of what’s out there, girl-boys aren’t anything special by comparison. However, this does further emphasize the idea that what one finds attractive in actual people may not be what they enjoy in their fictional characters, like with Madarame and Saki.

What is bizarre though is the whole thing about one of the characters being based on Kohsaka. Madarame mentions in the chapter that, not only is the character also named Kohsaka Makoto (with different kanji), not only does he look like Kohsaka, but his dialogue also closely resembles Kohsaka’s way of speaking. Now imagine you’re playing a visual novel, and you know for a fact that the character in front of you is based on a person you’ve known for years. It’s actually a step beyond finding out a friend of yours does porn now, and it’s one of the stranger kinds of familiarity that I can imagine.

Hato in this chapter is also revealing more about himself, particularly that his fantasies aren’t necessarily restricted to “just” BL. It may be about 95% of what’s going on there, but he begins to entertain the thought of Kasukabe turning to Madarame, though it ends up being aborted part-way through because of something that the old members of Genshiken determined back at the last graduation party in Volume 9: Saki isn’t moe, or more specifically, Saki’s personality and demeanor are such that it’s hard to turn her into a character type (“chara”) without significant changes. As Hato starts to try and think of something, he immediately remembers his first meeting with her, where she instantly saw through his disguise and called him a crossdresser.

Kasukabe’s too sharp, too real, which again emphasizes the contrast between Madarame as otaku and Madarame as a man of unrequited love. Have I ever said that Genshiken‘s really good at characters? Like fifty times? Okay, just so you know.

Going over to the Ogiue side of the chapter (which still involves Hato anyway, so I guess we could more call this a Hato chapter?), let’s talk about that face. Perhaps more than anything else I’ve seen, this expression is a sign that Ogiue’s changed deep inside, because I could not possibly imagine her making that face even up to the point where Hato, Yoshitake, and Yajima join the club. Even with her current problems, it just seems like a great weight has not only been lifted off her shoulders, but it’s also been tossed far away and mined for ore.

It’s also good to see that Ogiue and Hato have resolved to work together for the school festival, and that in doing so they’ve also resolved to work through their respective mental blocks. The fact that they’ve decided to go with a high school shoujo story is an interesting challenge, not only because it means new and unfamiliar territory, but because they’re otaku trying to write what is (probably) going to be a typical teenage romance. This is obviously where Ogiue’s last question in the chapter is coming from; as someone whose only pre-college romance ended in the worst trauma of her life, she can’t use her own experiences to fuel the story.

I think this chapter leaves with us wondering just who among the people in the club actually dated in high school? While Yoshitake might be the most obvious one given her personality, I’m basing my prediction on those last two panels of the clubroom.

Of all the people in there, only one is not shown to be reacting incredulously to Ogiue’s question.

That’s right. I get the feeling that we’re going to find out about the romantic life of Susanna Hopkins.

Whoo!

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13 thoughts on “Walk that Aisle with Style and Profile: Genshiken II, Chapter 72

  1. I find it most interesting that Yoshitake showed the greatest reaction to the question; I’d have expected that from Yajima, maybe. Wonder if it had something to do with the loli look turning off potential boyfriends.

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  2. Probably you haven’t noticed, but i’ve wrote this, about chapter 56, on that post, so i copy here, if you don’t mind:
    “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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  3. I think that expression of Ogiue’s shows she’s finally confident enought about herself AND her past to let go of the Rock-of-Gilbratar sized guilt about Makoto. That, and the realization “You Are Not Alone” with regards to the lack of a high-school love life, no matter what Shoujo manga says about that part of one’s life.

    Also, Sue was horribly cute with that neutral expression. My waifu.

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  4. … I think I know what Spirit Sue is – Saber. Specializes in fast, close-quarters combat.

    And as for the chapter, I can only say that it should be illegal for Hato to blush like that. Every chapter in, he gets more and more attention to detail from Shimoku than any of the girls save Sue.

    Gotta love how Madarame gave Hato that pep-talk too, defusing that major guilt-trip from the ComiFes.

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  5. It’s probably based on the focus that he’s currently been having, but Hato is definitely being very self-centered regarding Madarame, and it will be interesting to see if he actually realizes that. Hopefully Madarame explains things a little better for him, or Hato says what he’s really been thinking all this time.

    Really do like seeing an expression on Ogiue’s face that would never have been seen before in the past. What will be interesting to note is if she really reveals her sordid past “romance-wise” to the rest of the group.

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  6. Really late replying on this post, but what the hell. Anyway I figured better now before the manga comes out in japan (or is translated). Anyway I’m more focused on the idea of the next chapter and the possibilities of Sue’s love life. Some of the more interesting reactions from sue have been the ones with Angela (especially in the vol 11 extras).
    Sue must really want to hold onto the idea of Madarame as an uke, or is actually showing a little bit of dare I say, jealousy. I truly can’t see anyone even being just verbally aggressive with Angela do to the things she was saying. Factor in her reaction to Sue’s reaction to Oguie resting on her lap, plus Angela said that she lets Sue buy all her doujins because they both have similar tastes (which I guess also includes the possibility of yuri considering Sue’s reference to the Oguie on her lap).
    I could be reading too much into it or I’m just grasping at what I hope might happen, but I think Sue might swing both ways OR have/had a thing for Angela or Oguie. Considering that Hato reads BL but isn’t gay could also be a similar thing thing to Sue. She loves BL but it doesn’t reflect her actual tastes for the real world.

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