Drifting Clubroom: Genshiken II, Chapter 84

Before we jump into the chapter, I have to make sure you’ve heard the news.

ATTENTION:

NEW GENSHIKEN ANIME!!

YOUR EYES DO NOT DECEIVE YOU

You’d think after the Madarame/Saki climax from a few chapters ago that Genshiken would let up for a while, but Chapter 84 is an intense one.  In the previous chapter, Madarame revealed that he was going to quit his job near the school (implying he would be unable to visit the college as often as he used to), despite Saki’s advice not to do so. As Madarame appears to feel increasingly alienated from the current club’s atmosphere (and Yoshitake tries to convert him to the church of BL), Hato is having trouble of his own as his emotions become a mystery to even himself. As Ogiue asks him to contribute to a “Tiger & Bonny” doujinshi, Hato begins to wonder about his relationship with Madarame, and the seeds of doubt Kaminaga placed in him about his heterosexuality begin to sprout.

Meanwhile, Sue of all people seems to have feelings for Madarame as well, though her character might mean it’s stranger (or simpler) than that.

I do not think that the change in demographic in Genshiken is the root cause per se for Madarame’s decision. Rather, my suspicion, based on my own experience, is that Madarame’s connection to the actual Genshiken as an on-campus club is starting to weaken. I had a similar group of nerd friends back in high school, and for the first three years after I graduated I would visit the school often to maintain that experience. Eventually, however, everyone who I even had a loose connection to graduated, and I lost any compelling reasons to continue. I’m still friends with a lot of the people I knew from that time, but our friendship has in a certain sense transcended the physical location, and I could see Madarame feeling like the clubroom itself is no longer that important.

That said, I’ve noticed, based on some of the response to the new Genshiken anime, that there are fair amount of readers both Japanese and non-Japanese who feel a bit alienated or even betrayed by Genshiken II, and I think Madarame is meant to embody that feeling to some extent, being the character who most embodies that classic otaku personality. Perhaps the deal with Madarame’s character is that he’s caught in a state of limbo, where he’s not yet fully integrated into adult living but at the same time his old haven away from reality, Genshiken, is starting to fade away.

The more that Genshiken focuses on Hato, the more I realize that he is probably the most psychologically complicated character in the entire manga (though I get the feeling that there’s something up with Nakajima that might be even more complex). Ogiue is one thing, as her story cuts to the bone, but Hato’s situation is such that you can’t even explain it as simply “he’s realizing he’s gay.” There’s a good chance that’s what’s happening, but based on the specifics of the chapter and of his history, doubting his own sexual orientation doesn’t seem to be the only thing going on.

In the chapter, Hato tries to shoo away the suggestions of his imaginary counterpart, only to have the female Hato replaced by Kaminaga, who echoes the real Kaminaga’s statement that the crossdressing likely facilitates the potential homosexuality of Hato. In that scene are a lot of things to take into consideration, starting with the fact that the Stand (i.e. Hato’s inner thoughts?) transforms specifically into Kaminaga. Based on previous chapters, it’s still not clear what his feelings towards her are. Does he want her? Does he want to be her? Does he perhaps desire both? Even the fact that the transition from Stand Hato to Kaminaga is a little hard to spot at first if you just skim through the chapter is indicative of the fact that Stand Hato continues to resemble Kaminaga, despite the fact that Hato has undergone an image change by semi-permanently switching to the shorter wig, as if to show that she specifically continues to influence him. It’s a weighty past and a convoluted present for Hato.

As for Sue, the easiest connection to make in regards to her blushing is the kiss she placed on Madarame’s cheek at the school festival as a sort of prank. Putting aside the notion of “Madarame: mack daddy of American fujoshi,” I’m starting to realize that Sue pretty much functions in Genshiken the same way the penguins do in Mawaru Penguindrum, bringing into the very foreground some of the “hidden” elements of the characters’ relationships at the time. I also think it’s quite appropriate for her to quote Dio Brando, and to have it be not one from the more popular Part 3 Stardust Crusaders story but from the original Phantom Blood.

There’s not much Ogiue this chapter, but there’s probably going to be another chapter at least partly focused around her soon, given the impending Comic Festival, though I imagine it won’t be until at least another three or four chapters.

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8 thoughts on “Drifting Clubroom: Genshiken II, Chapter 84

  1. Pingback: Genshiken Nidame get Anime Series ! | Madarame's Blog of musings

  2. Well now I’m even more curious as to where he’s going to take Madarame’s character. He’s cut his losses with Saki, and now he’s jobless. At the beginning I never even considered Hato and Madarame getting together to be a possibility, but now Kio’s got me second guessing everything with this chapter. I’m still mostly sure it won’t happen, but now Kio’s got me thinking it could. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, but we’ll see where it goes from here.
    Kio’s definitely good at messing with us.

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  3. I doubt any chances of a relation between Madarame and Hato. Because I don’t think Madarame loves or has any feelings for Hato besides friendship.

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    • I agree completely. I’d actually be kind of upset if it did happen because that would be way out of character for Madarame. All I was saying was where there wasn’t any doubt in my mind before, there’s now a tiny bit. But that’s just because of the way it’s been presented. At least that’s how I’ve been reading it.

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  4. Saki’s prediction is coming true. ^_~
    You all may have forgotten, but I remember very well: Saki predicted that Madarame’s “motemote” time was coming, and that he would soon find himself in a real life “harem” situation in which Angela, Sue, Hato and Sasahara’s little sister would all develop some sort of romantic interest in him. And it’s coming true, yay! I foresee Angela’s surprise-return to Japan in the coming chapters. Madarame’s harem FTW, tee hee hee.

    By the way, I want to point out something: Hato is not gay, there’s nothing gay about him. In Rika’s words, “there’s not a gay bone in his body”. The thing going on with him is something any otaku can recognize immediately, a real-life example of that most basic and popular of BL formulas: a heterosexual guy falls in love with another heterosexual guy, and stuff happens between them, but they both remain just as heterosexual as before — the thing between them is “special” and “just for that particular guy” and doesn’t change their sexual identity in the least. It’s completely wrong to make statements like “Hato is becoming gay”. There’s nothing like that going on.

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  5. As someone who’s paid close attention to Hato and his attempts to come to terms with being comfortable with his identity, I enjoyed this chapter. It’s interesting to see how it seems like he’s becoming more honest with himself, noted by his impression of a more “real” Kaminga replacing his original cosplay copy of her in his thoughts. Though it says a lot as well about how easily he gets swayed by the circumstances around him.

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  6. Side note: I just noticed that Sue’s quote is almost entirely in katakana, indicating a certain simplicity of speech. (See also Yotsuba&!.)

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