The new Genshiken anime has begun airing, and with it comes not only a time skip over the conclusion to the original manga, but also a new cast of characters. Seeing as the anime is pretty much covering the manga panel-by-panel, and I’ve already reviewed the individual comic chapters along the way, there’s not much need for me to do a thorough analysis, but I do want to give some thoughts about the adaptation process at least. If you do want to see my thoughts on the events of episode 1 of Genshiken Second Season (or Genshiken Nidaime, or as I prefer to call it, Genshiken II), you can find them here and here.
While the anime is faithful to the manga so far, in watching the first episode I feel that the pacing of this newest anime is a good deal more frantic than what I’m used to seeing from Genshiken anime. While the series was never quite subdued moe comedy or Maria-sama ga Miteru levels of “slow,” there was always a kind of mellowness to them even in the sillier situations. Think of Saki talking to them about how Kohsaka (probably) watches anime while they’re having sex. The humor crescendoes, coming out gradually. With the new series, it feels like one gag after the other with little room to breathe in between.
The thing I’m not as sure about is to what degree this has to do with the adaptation itself by Production I.G. (and along with it the new voice actors), and to what degree this is because of the new cast of characters and their different personalities. Certainly as much as Madarame could get rather crazy in the old days, he’s no Yoshitake, whom Ogiue accurately describes as like Kuchiki, only with tact and sense. At the same time, I’ve re-read the manga recently and I didn’t get the impression that the pacing is different, even if some of the energy shown by its characters is.
If I had to pick out a major difference, I think it may have to do with the fact that the manga often presents varying pieces of information such as different dialogues and facial expressions at once, from panel to panel, while the anime presents the same stuff isolated from its connective moments. Of course, the fact that I’ve seen all of this already may also mean I’m more sensitive to this, and someone entirely unfamiliar with the new Genshiken might be taking in the crazy world of a girl-dominant Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture first and foremost.
I do also want to say just a couple of things about the voice actors. First, although they’re fine (but will take some getting used to), I experience cognitive dissonance when hearing Yukana as Ohno. No matter what, I can’t shake Cure White from my head. The other thing is that, in addition to finding Yamamoto Nozomi’s Ogiue performance to be somewhat similar to Mizuhashi Kaori’s other non-Ogiue roles, her Ogiue is actually closer to how I first imagined the character’s voice back when she appeared in the manga. At the time, I heard her voice as just the tiniest bit high-pitched with an equally small amount of nasalness, which Yamamoto has.
Speaking of Ogiue, one thing that didn’t occur to me while watching but I realize may be an issue with the animated Nidaime is that, for someone who had stuck only to the anime adaptations previously, Ogiue’s character might come across as way different from what they remembered. Whereas the last time we left Ogiue she had a tendency to stare daggers into everyone she met, now she’s kind of good-natured and filled with a good deal more joy, and without the Karuizawa arc from the manga showing both what her traumas were and how she eventually overcame then, this contrast in her old and new personalities is potentially jarring.
Anyway, to end things off, here’s a fun comparison for Ogiue fans everywhere.