When the cast list for Nidaime first came out, I found the abscene of Risa/Rihito rather conspicuous. Despite my worries that they would skip over her appearance in the anime in order to get to some of the big events later in the series, Risa did show up after all. Interestingly, this appears to her voice actor’s first anime work. If you look at Sakurai Shou’s profile, she seems to only have experience in narration and at her school’s drama club. I’m actually kind of impressed because I kept thinking she was another more established voice actor, like Park Romi.
There are a couple of things from the manga which don’t quite make it into the anime. The first one is that in the manga the reveal that Yoshitake is actually 20 (the legal drinking age in Japan) also becomes the reason she was able to buy all that alcohol the last time around. Without the scene in Episode 2 involving alcohol, this connection is lost. Similarly, when they all go over to Yoshitake’s place to drink, the manga points out that her younger sister is drinking juice instead.
The other cut seems to have to do more with time constraints and keeping the narrative flow intact from the beginning to the end of the episode. In the manga, the partying goes on until the next day, which has them all together in the morning. Rather than Hato changing at Yoshitake’s place, they all go back to Hato’s apartment first, where they find out that the reason he lives so far away is so he can have a walk-in closet for all of his women’s clothing. Again, it doesn’t appear to be for censorship reasons, just timing and pacing. One side effect of this is that when you compare the manga to the anime the characters are wearing different clothing and hairstyles.
In my original analysis of Risa, I didn’t really go into the fact that she’s the first character in Genshiken whose primary interest is shotacon. While other characters have shown the possibility (Ogiue herself is into Roy x Ed from not-Fullmetal Alchemist and who knows about Kuchiki), it feels like a whole other can of worms with the younger Yoshitake compared to the usual fujoshi pairing talk. Even the series itself acknowledges this difference, as you can see how the other characters, although accepting of her tastes, awkwardly react to some of Risa’s statements (she’s mostly into 2D). At the same time, Risa’s also another example of a person who doesn’t quite fit the typical mold of the otaku or fujoshi, being more of an athlete with “unique” interests and for whom competition takes priority over hobbies. She’s neither full-on geek nor simply a “normal.”
Incidentally, if you’re wondering why Risa hasn’t appeared in the Fujoshi Files, it’s because there’s no evidence she’s into guy-on-guy action or pairings.
In the episode, Risa talks about how she’d rather guys be completely smooth down there, but when confronted with the real deal it’s clearly not what she was expecting. It brings to mind Fred Schodt’s Manga! Manga! where he recalls an editor of a BL magazine mentioning to a reader that fantasy and reality don’t match up and that she should stick to the imagination if that’s what she wants.
I do wish we’d see more of Risa.
The next episode preview has some cosplay, but I’ll leave that breakdown for next time.