Episode 7 of Genshiken Second Season covers Chapter 70 as well as parts of Chapter 71, 72, and even 73 of the original manga. You can read my manga analyses there, though keep in mind that the missing parts of 71 through 73 are likely going to appear in Episode 8, so you might want to avoid them for spoilers.
First thing’s first, I must fulfill the promise I made last time and explain each of the cosplays at the beginning of the episode. I’m sure everyone at least recognizes one or two, but just to play it safe I’ll lay them all out.
Sue is dressed as the ever-enigmatic Princess of the Crystal, from Mawaru Penguindrum (a show I would highly recommend).
Kuchiki is Mr. 2, the master of “Okama Kenpou” from One Piece.
Ohno is the titular character from the popular PS3 game Bayonetta.
Other references include Sue’s “Nu-nu-nu Piccon!” which comes from Ramen Saiyuuki (thanks Anonspore) and Ohno’s mention of “HTT,” or “Houkago Tea Time,” the main characters’ band in K-On! who have a tendency to sit around and snack on sweets.
As I continue to watch the anime, one of the things I find interesting about the Genshiken Second Season anime compared to the Genshiken 2 anime is that where the latter would create additional scenes which didn’t exist in the manga, the current series cuts and rearranges things, and that in both cases it was so each series could reach a specific stopping point. With the previous anime, you even had entire episodes devoted to topics which were only barely touched upon, like how Tanaka and Ohno started going out, or an extended 20-something minute look at Ogiue’s BL fantasies.
I’m beginning to wonder if this relatively sped-up Nidaime is having an effect on how the narrative plays out. In the process of hastening things to get to “key points,” I sometimes feel like the meat of Genshiken gets kind of lost, that the little comments and rambling conversations played out in full have a lot of details and bits of characterization which flesh out the psychology and complexes contained within the characters. In looking again at Episode 6 versus Chapter 69, the manga version puts a strong emphasis on Risa feeling like she’s at a crossroads. Even though she enjoys basketball that if she keeps down this path she’ll never have the opportunity to do other things, a problem I don’t think any other Genshiken character has ever had to deal with. In comparison, Risa in the anime seems a bit…abrupt?
Also, the way the show shifts things around so that each episode contains a specific focus as opposed to the relatively constant shifting of the manga makes for somewhat of a different experience. I do wonder if it makes the show feel even more Hato-focused than the manga. In any case, I may just be over-thinking things here, or valuing the manga in my head too much. If I had approached the anime without the prior knowledge, I obviously wouldn’t be able to make comparisons in this manner, though I don’t know if I’d still feel like something’s just a bit off anyway.
Some other things:
Seeing the show zoom in on Male Hato’s drawing made me really want to see an entire comic drawn in that peculiar style. Even if it isn’t “beautiful,” it could be something great.
In this episode the series once again references Ogiue’s past with the assumption that you’d already read the first series, though at least this time the anime’s provided some information in a previous episode about those traumatic events. I feel like there’s a small issue with the Crunchyroll translation in that scene: when Ogiue remembers her past collaborations with Nakajima it’s not that they “usually don’t work out” but that it largely didn’t work out for Ogiue in particular, referencing the fact that her last collaboration with Nakajima was the foundation of Ogiue’s eventual suicide attempt and years of psychological turmoil. It’s sort of nitpicking, but I think that the context is pretty important, and that the translation should reflect that more thoroughly.
As always, I also like to keep track of the voice actors for new characters, which in this case is just Yajima’s old friend from high school you see in the flash back. The mousey friend is voiced by Akutsu Kana, who hasn’t done a lot of work, but was Henrietta in Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatriano.
As for the lack of romantic experience with Yoshitake and Yajima, I think it sort of shows 1) why the club was initially intimidating for Yajima and 2) Yoshitake is extroverted and excitable but not a master of all things. As I did in the manga, I also liked Yoshitake’s statement that part of fashion is communication between girls, albeit in this case aggressive communication. It’s a small way of saying that girls don’t necessarily dress up to be attractive to the opposite sex, as is often assumed when looking at girls who do dress boldly.