Genshiken Second Season Episode 4, Familiar (?) Old Friends

Genshiken Second Season Episode 4 features both cosplay antics and some Comic Festival drama. My overall thoughts can be found in my reviews of the equivalent manga chapters: 62 63 64

You can also see my thoughts on Ogiue cosplaying Azusa from K-On! The anime went and kind of made it more…fanservicey?

One of the differences between the anime and manga in this episode have to do with format pacing, as the arrival of Ogiue’s old hometown companions occurs at the end of Chapter 63 and acts as a cliffhanger, whereas the same event occurs in the middle of the second half of Episode 4 and resolves by the end. Some of the dramatic impact disappeared from the scene in my opinion, and I think that they could’ve done more, whether with timing or music choice or something else.

Also, I noticed that because some lines of dialogue were cut from the anime, the Crunchyroll subs didn’t quite accurately translate certain points. Yabusaki wasn’t saying that Genshiken president is a perfect job for Ogiue, the line was meant to convey that Yajima isn’t at all surprised that Ogiue would have such a past of making yaoi out of her boyfriend and the ensuing trauma which came out of it. The manga dialogue also has Yabusaki mention that it was her and the other Manga Society girls who pushed her to jump out of a window, a tinge of guilt in her expression.

That’s me nitpicking, though. The real purpose of this post is actually to ask a question.

I’m really into Genshiken, and while I don’t have the whole thing memorized, it’s something I’ve obviously thought about a lot. Thus, when Nakajima first shows up again, I had a strong reaction, somewhere between “oh snaaaappppp” and “holy crap.” It was a big deal for me, and I remember my body tensing up and me having to re-read that point just to let it all sink in. That’s because I recognized Nakajima and Shigeta instantly, and I’ve come to realize that simply not everyone has Genshiken on the brain to the point that they would have that instant reaction. Not only that, but for those who stuck with the anime exclusively, the series never delved heavily into Ogiue’s past, so this is the first time those viewers are learning about her suicide attempt and the events surrounding it.

So, what I want to ask is, what was your impression when Nakajima first arrives in Nidaime?

Did you recall her immediately? Did you need some of the dialogue to jog your memory? Did you totally forget who she was? For those who are anime-only, did you learn something significant? Could you remember Nakajima from that one episode from Genshiken 2?

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10 thoughts on “Genshiken Second Season Episode 4, Familiar (?) Old Friends

  1. Well, my response was: Uh-oh.
    Considering I own most of the volumes of the manga in both English and Japanese, I suppose that’s not a huge surprise.
    Now to find Korean volumes…

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  2. I read the first 10 volumes of the manga and all the anime…way back when.

    As for episode 4, I knew it was a notorious individual from the voice, although I didn’t remember her name or who she was exactly. I knew it was one of Ogi’s old friends from her backstory. However I basically forgot what happened and as she was explaining the situation I begin to recall the rough story from that.

    I think the voice acting spoke volume as to what the viewer is to expect, even for someone who doesn’t know the details. Maybe our reaction is more like Yajima’s.

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  3. Anime-only here. I felt like this part of the episode was the weakest bit. It felt like some kind of context was missing, but I couldn’t place my finger on what. Had I met Nakajima before in the other seasons, and forgotten about her? Was she in an OVA I hadn’t seen? And even with that niggling thought, I probably wouldn’t have minded it so much if it wasn’t for the lack of follow-through in the encounter. Oguie is too sick to register the conversation that’s going on in front of her, and Nakajima later says she has no intention of ever seeing Ogiue again. So where was this going, then? That gave it the feeling of the final chapter of a story arc I had forgotten about. And since it had been years since I’ve seen Genshiken 1&2, to the point where I had even forgotten what Oguie was like as a character, I assumed they must be referencing something in an episode in season 2 I had forgotten.

    But the details they dropped about Ogiue’s past were really interesting. Think the anime will revisit them soon? I can’t help but think this scene demands some kind of elaboration.

    On a side note, this series’ opening theme has been drifting in my mindspace for the past few days and driving me (slightly more) bonkers. The opening hook is so VICIOUS.

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  4. I’m hoping the anime uses Nakajima as some kind of Chekhov’s Gun to finally delve into Ogiue’s past.

    (I still want my Karuizawa arc!)

    You don’t have Nakajima show up, drop dark little hints regarding Ogiue’s past, including her former boyfriend, and then let it go. For those who have followed Genshiken up to the present this is just the anime staying true to the manga. To those who have little or no knowledge of the original manga this is just, at best, a throwaway or, at worst, a tease.

    They better follow this up otherwise having Nakajima in the anime was totally unnecessary.

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  5. I have all the mangas but I read them several years ago so I didn’t recognize them until they said who they were; I thougth they would probably cause trouble. And yeah, they left a nasty impression.

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  6. Well I too am a Genshiken fan(atic) and first got the anime DVDs after renting whatever was available then and followed with the manga volume by volume,
    To me it represents an expression of the creativity of youth which sort of creativity was smothered in a Catholic HS in 1951-1955 for myself. In Genshiken I see the group itself as a character and the temporary(?) members as merely(?) expressing the life of the Genshiken with all their quirks and foibles as they actively pursue their hobby with the talents available to each.
    I think this show could go on forever if the mangaka can manage to stay in touch with youth or even go on into imagined futures where the technological geniuses who will create giant robots relax from their strenuous studies at the Genshiken.
    Watching Genshiken is almost more fun than anyone deserves.

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  7. This is not really related to this particular post, but as the premier English-speaking Genshiken resource on the ‘net, I was hoping to get your thoughts on something I’ve noticed recently and has been bothering me.

    It’s seems to me that Kio did NOT originally intend to make the 3 new Genshiken members girls. See Genshiken volume 9, page 175 (chapter 55 page 28), a flash forward at the end of the original manga series where it shows 3 normal guys walking into the Genshiken room sometime in the future.

    However, in the (originally) one-shot chapter 56 that came a year or two later, Kio clearly changed his mind, changed the new members to 3 girls (or girls and “girl”), and never even bothered to fix this apparent inconsistency.

    Is this truly a plot hole, or am I missing something? Also, if it is, what do you suppose made him change his mind?

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    • I don’t think that Kio originally planned on continuing the series, period, after Volume 9. The original ending is pretty much saying, “Some time in the future, Genshiken still exists. Isn’t that grand?” This is also reinforced by the fact that the original series ended about 2006, and the serialization of Nidaime didn’t get into full swing until 2011, so there was plenty of time to change his mind on a number of things.

      One thing I’ve noticed about Kio’s work is that he has gotten increasingly experimental with his themes (to a certain degree of course, they’re still dealing with humans and emotions and such). Kujibiki Unbalance is a meta-series brought to life, Jigopuri is about raising a newborn child with none of the stereotypical glamour, Nidaime is about an anime club very much unlike the traditional image of it. It makes sense that he would go that far.

      At the time Genshiken was ending, the fujoshi character “boom” was still in its infancy, and I think that Kio’s desire to expand and experiment brought him as an otaku (it’s pretty obvious he is one) and an artist to tackle this different generation and mindset of younger otaku. Call it post-Densha Otoko otaku social relations or whatever, but I think that perhaps just having the “boys club” continue wouldn’t quite get those ideas across.

      Though if you really want the original ending to be canon, they don’t show who the club president is in that image. It could be Ogiue, it could be someone else. All we know for sure is that there’s a poster of Sanger from Super Robot Wars on the door and so someone has good taste.

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      • Interesting, thank you for your thoughts.

        As a quick followup, what is “post-Densha Otoko otaku social relations,” and how did it change from before? I’ve heard you mention this a few times in different blog posts now. I am aware of the Densha story, and I’ve read the translated 2ch posts, but did the story actually change how otaku are treated/viewed in overall Japanese society?

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        • Although the idea of the ideal otaku boyfriend faded from Japan shortly after Densha Otoko was made into a TV show, movie, etc., one thing it definitely did was make “otaku” more mainstream. This is perhaps most evident in the transformation Akihabara underwent after Densha Otoko, as it became home to not just the otaku goods and the electronics which had previously defined it, but even some mainstream large department stores.

          Others may disagree with me on this, but I think Densha Otoko was the first mainstream overtly positive portrayal of otaku since Miyazaki Tsutomu and his murders became the stereotype of the creepy, socially depraved otaku back in the late 80s. Granted, it just ended up creating different types of stereotypical images, but it basically introduced on a wider scale the possibility of otaku being decent people, to the extent that some people might start acknowledging themselves as otaku to others. What you see in Yoshitake, Yajima, and even Hato is that attitude to varying degrees.

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