If Only There Was an Angela Burton Spinoff

While I’m naturally excited about the new Genshiken anime that’s been announced recently, there’s one thing I wish could happen but most likely never will: a spinoff about Ohno’s American friend Angela Burton. I feel like it would be fun to see some of the quirks of American anime fandom accurately and painfully conveyed.

One big element of American fandom that for the most part doesn’t exist in Japan would be the convention scene, with its fan panels, industry Q&A, and AMV competitions, providing a unique venue and experience compared to the chapters about Genshiken‘s Comic Market analogue, Comic Festival, but also giving it a similar treatment concerning scale and impact. The huge otaku that she is, it would be no surprise to see Angela attending multiple conventions as a cosplayer, especially Anime Boston given that she’s from the area.

The Angela spinoff I’m picturing would have the same strong sense of characterization as Genshiken proper, giving the same sort of loving but at times harsh portrayal to the personalities that tend to crop up in college anime clubs in the US. I also see Angela herself making for an interesting main character, despite the fact that she has a fairly minor role in Genshiken because of her forward personality and her undeniable love of anime and manga.

One potentially serious topic could actually be the whole “fake geek girl” thing, as I can imagine Angela being subject to it fairly often. Angela is not only portrayed as extremely attractive to the point of being able to make guys nervous, but also as someone with relatively liberal views on relationships and sex (she doesn’t think one-night stands are that big of a deal) that might cause people who didn’t know her better to accuse her of not being “real.”

Incidentally, in reading Japanese comments about the new anime, it’s clear that the concept of the “fake geek girl” exists in Japan as well. There, it’s tied to the whole Densha Otoko boom and the “mainstreaming” of Akihabara, which at least a few commenters claim the Genshiken manga is reflecting.

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7 thoughts on “If Only There Was an Angela Burton Spinoff

  1. Svetlana Chmakova’s three-volume TokyoPop series “Dramacon”–a romantic comedy about an aspiring OEL-manga writer who keeps running into the same handsome but somewhat stand-offish cosplayer at a series of anime cons over a period of several years–also features some pretty amusing stuff about the kinds of things that go on at North American anime cons. It’s more of a would-be Western mangaka’s-eye view, though–a lot of it is focused on weird things that happen in artists’ alley and in the course of portfolio reviews/attempts to make connections with publishers and artistic role models, etc. The final volume came out in 2006 or 2007, which was apparently before the discovery of the alleged “fake geek girl” menace. However, the heroine does experience other gender-related problems like potential customers at their table chatting up a storm with her then-boyfriend/artistic collaborator while totally ignoring her–mostly in the form of flirtatious female cosplayers whom her boyfriend enthusiastically flirts back at, then self-righteously claims to have been “friendly” with only in order to increase sales of their self-published comic.

    Unfortunately, as mentioned above, the series came out long enough ago that even the big omnibus collection of it that came out later may have gone out of print before TokyoPop went out of business (or whatever). So your chances of getting hold of it now if this piques your interest may not be that great, short of eBay.

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    • I have that series, but I always thought Dramacon was more about the emotional development of the characters, and less of the fan scene. Even if all the characters are at a convention, there is nothing denoting them as an “otaku,” in the extreme sense of Genshiken. There is a general avoidance of materials that could be copyright protected (outside of the Tokyopop titles), there is a disconnect about being too broad in referring to the fandom.

      I also highly recommend this comic, though, since I own all the comics made by Chmakova, and casually refer to it as “North American Genshiken” when I try to convince people to borrow it from me. XD

      Don’t buy the print-on-demand copies, I read on Christie Lijewski’s (RE:Play) DA that the creators don’t really get any money out of it. @_@

      I really liked Angela when she first appeared in the manga, it’s the contrast between the characters makes the interactions interesting.

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  2. That’d be interesting though I doubt Kio would have enough knowledge of the American otaku scene to accurately portray what you’re talking about.

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  3. Congratulations, you’ve given me another fanfic idea.

    We totally had an Angela in our anime club; nice girl, but prone to drinking way too much and making out with anyone in reach, boy or girl.

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  4. I agree with Matt about Kio Shimoku most probably not having enough knowledge of an American otaku’s life.
    It would be nice if someone, preferably somebody with knowledge of both Japanese and American scenes for comparison purposes, took up the project. But I am against using an established character, not only due to copyright reasons and the authors having to accomodate each others’ workings with the character.

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