Things Are Tight: Genshiken II, Chapter 96

Ohno and Yoshitake are thinking about going to a beauty salon, and try to rope Yajima along. Yajima, being the consummate otaku she is, resists to the best of her abilities but eventually concedes. (Un)fortunately, the latest fujoshi-targeted anime hit comes out and all of their plans go out the window as Ohno and Yoshitake spend all of their money on buying the blurays. Yajima gloats.

I enjoy every chapter of Genshiken that comes out, but this month in particular I found myself literally laughing out loud multiple times while reading. Even though most of it is just Yoshitake, Yajima, and Ohno sitting around and talking about whether or not they should go pretty themselves up, the combination of Yoshitake teasing Yajima and the way their conversation always re-emphasizes their identities as otaku makes the whole thing feel delightfully endearing. At one point Yoshitake suggest bringing along Kasukabe and going to a particularly expensive salon, only to be reminded by Ohno that they just all went to ComiFes and are mutually low on funds.

In a way, I find the beginning of the chapter to be kind of a fake-out even ignoring the way Ohno and Yoshitake backpedal, because the fact that it begins with Ohno talking about finally cutting her hair short brings to mind an older conversation where she mentions that the long hair can be an interview while job-hunting, and so we’re led to believe that she’s referring to finally getting serious and moving out into the adult world. It even ties a bit into Tanaka’s implicit proposal back in Chapter 83. Then we find out it’s just so that she can cosplay more character and that goes out the window. Ohno’s refusal to enter the “real world” is an interesting character flaw, to say the least.

(Also notable is the appearance of Kantai Collection references. It had to happen!)

The real focus of the chapter though is Yajima, who once again is feeling the pressure of fashion and appearance, though notably this time Hato is in no way involved outside of a mention by Yoshitake. It’s interesting seeing this topic again after so many other other developments have occurred, like the resolution of Mada/Saki and Hato’s realization about his own feelings, as I think it makes it easier to connect to Yajima who appears to feel almost lost in the madness. Yajima scoffs at the idea of going to a beauty salon initially, stating how she prefers getting 1000-yen haircuts to whatever madness other girls prefer, and it’s entirely understandable. Hell, when it comes to conversations like this, I am mostly on the side of Yajima, and I even recall recoiling in horror at seeing the price of haircuts when I lived in Japan myself.

Of course, as a guy I don’t have to deal with the same societal forces which tell me that appearance is important, and when you look Genshiken it’s clear that even though all of the guys have become more fashionable over time, it’s not nearly the same as what girls have to go through. Like the most significant pieces of fashion advice I’ve received are to not wear clothes that are too large for me, and to never wear yellow (it doesn’t match me apparently), and that’s pretty small potatoes compared to going to a beauty salon. That said, I’m reminded me of what Yoshitake had to say about fashion, which is that she dresses up not to attract men but to intimidate women. Fashion becomes a tool, rather than an identity, though that’s probably still too much for Yajima (or myself for that matter).

Out of all of the funny moments this chapter, the biggest one has to be the reveal of the fujoshi-bait show of the fictional in-universe Winter 2014 season of anime. Suikyuu! is an anime about water polo of all things, a kind of mix between the team competition of sports series (like volleyball manga Haikyuu!!, namely) and the lithe, well-defined fanservice of Free! It even has the exclamation point! From Yoshitake’s reactions to seeing a team of elderly men join in (and thus set up the obvious reveal that Ohno watched it too), I think this is the first time that Nidaime has its own Kujibiki Unbalance, something which is grounded in the tropes and trends of the time that can be a consistent source of discussion for the Genshiken members. At least, that’s the potential, as we’ve of course yet to see more of it.

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5 thoughts on “Things Are Tight: Genshiken II, Chapter 96

  1. Seems like a fun chapter away from all the harem craziness, and I think people have waned some more Yajima for a while. The Suikyuu is a nice touch, I think having it’s own Kujibiki Unbalance for them to talk about would be great.

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  2. I’m happy to hear about the details of this chapter. I have loved Genshiken for a long time, but something about the way the series is progressing lately just doesn’t feel right to me. The Madarame Harem is really unrealistic and feels so fanficy to me, and that they’ve spent so many chapters dwelling on it… It doesn’t feel like Genshiken. It sounds like this chapter finally goes back to the heart of what the series was about.

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  3. I am glad you’re keeping up with Nidiame is there any word when the 95, 96 scanlations might be out perchance as well, so I still have some sanity left in the mental recesses of my brain? I have Vols 1 thru 3 on shelf right now I’d love to be able to get #4 added but there is nowhere to find much info on it.

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  4. Of course the Madarame Harem is unreal but the only thing it has to do is be funny.

    My volume 4 is on order from TSRI and I should have it some time next month.

    Google “Genshiken chapter 95” I do it every day. The raws have been
    up for some time and you can inspect them online. As to when the scanalations will show up depends on the free time of the guy/girl or team
    working on it.

    I fell in love with the Genshiken Anime when I rented it locally years ago, since then I found the manga, bought the anime 9 volumes of the original
    with Unbalance, watched and downloaded the Genshiken Nidame anime,
    and bought the first 3 volumes of the Genshiken Nidame anime.

    Everyone talks about the characters of the story but the lead character is the Society for the Study of Modern Visual Media itself. The is no reason to ever end it, every year it gets a chance of renewal and the star characters sort of drift into it because they fail to fit in the other more limited visual media clubs. With the wide categories of the off-campus
    sempai they should be able to amuse us gaijin forever(assuming enough
    people who are smart enough to appreciate it find it.

    Genshiken forever!

    later
    bliss

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