Spotted Blessing? Genshiken II, Chapter 103

Genshiken has portrayed elaborate fantasies, some nudity, and implied sex, but Chapter 103 may be the most erotic chapter the manga has ever seen.

At the end of the last chapter, Madarame was headed with Keiko to her apartment. While it was a little unclear (though heavily implied) that Keiko was using this situation to her advantage, all doubts are erased in Chapter 103 as Keiko does everything in her power to seduce Madarame. On the verge of success as she bids Madarame to feel some real skin, they are interrupted by a phone call from Keiko’s boyfriend, who plans to come over. After Keiko casually admits to having affairs pretty regularly, Madarame escapes, though Keiko expects for him to return.

When I say that this month’s chapter is especially erotic, it has a lot to do with the fact that this is the first chapter ever in Genshiken that has been primarily devoted to one person’s efforts to seduce another. Not only that, but this chapter creates an atmosphere of anticipation and sexual excitement through Keiko’s actions and gestures, going one step even further than the last chapter. Everything Keiko does, from her decision to shower to her choice of clothes, from her subtle choice of words that boost Madarame’s confidence to her serious bedroom eyes, implies advancement towards sex… not to mention that they’re in such a confined space. While I’m not typically one to analyze erotic manga (and this doesn’t quite count as eromanga in the typical sense), I would like to discuss the first panel in the image below, where Madarame’s hand is above Keiko’s open sweatshirt after she’s invited him to touch her breasts.

There’s a real sense of tension in the panel, created by its size, the lack of word balloons, and especially Keiko’s expression, which conveys excitement, anticipation, and even arousal. What’s also notable is that this eroticism is different from the fanservice scenes in the anime Genshiken 2 (not to be confused with Genshiken Second Season), which at times were virtually pornographic (the studio that made Genshiken 2 is best known for its work on Ikkitousen and Mezzo Forte, among other things). Instead, in terms of portraying sexual acts, this veers closer to what can typically be found in more adult josei manga in terms of buildup.

When looking at this chapter, I get the strong feeling that Kio Shimoku’s work on Spotted Flower is bleeding into his work on Genshiken. After all, he has a history of sorts with this, as the very first chapter of Genshiken II was made at a time when his latest work was Jigopuri, and characters looked much rounder and more in line with a moe aesthetic. One can think of Spotted Flower as essentially an alternate universe Genshiken where a man very much like Madarame is married to a woman very much like Kasukabe, and it has been an opportunity for Kio to portray adult sexual desire with far more detail than Genshiken is known for. Whether that’s through depictions of nudity, scenes about the wife trying to get the husband erect, or just the general expression of romantic lust, Spotted Flower has distinguished itself from Genshiken by being a more mature and sexually explicit series. Keiko’s interactions with Madarame venture deep into that territory, and I wonder if this will have a long-term effect on Genshiken going forward.

I think it’s useful to compare Keiko to Angela, not only because Angela once attempted to seduce Madarame herself, but that they have much in common when it comes to men. In my review of Chapter 93, I mentioned that Angela and Keiko look like they could be friends, and I think it’s no accident that Kio has portrayed them as both aiming for the boob grab as the lynchpin of their pursuits of Madarame. Both of them are quite experienced with sex, and both are aware that, for guys in general but especially a virgin like Madarame, breasts are placed on this grand pedestal. Keiko is even shown planning to moan erotically as soon as Madarame makes his move as a way to draw him in further, a bit of characterization in a sexually charged scene that indicates Keiko’s understanding of Madarame and further shows that she and Angela are of similar minds.

Now, I think a fair number of people, upon reading my description and analysis of Chapter 103, might feel that Genshiken has hit the point of no return. “Seriously? A scene where Madarame is basically about to have sex with Sasahara’s sister? What is this harem stuff? What happened to this manga?” Interestingly, the chapter features an explanation as to how Madarame finally started being viewed as attractive. At one point, Keiko says that seeing an otaku like Madarame in love with a person like Kasukabe who is (from Keiko’s perspective) completely out of his league actually makes him pretty cute in her eyes. In other words, as Keiko puts it, it’s thanks to Kasukabe that Madarame was able to exude his awkward charms. Not only that, but Keiko is sort of fond of no-good, pathetic types as well.

When thinking about the other characters, Sue, Hato, and Angela, they’ve all been shown to have also come from similar angles, either implicitly or explicitly. Sue’s wild denial that she has feelings for Madarame is the direct result of Saki seeing her kiss him. Angela already had a thing for sou-uke characters in anime and manga, and she began making her move upon learning that Madarame was feeling heart-broken. Hato, why, much of the series at this point is about his growing affections for Madarame’s character flaws, and it was even prompted by him learning about his unrequited love for Kasukabe. Of course, with Keiko it’s not as if she only has eyes for Madarame; he’s but one of many that she wouldn’t mind sleeping with. The fact that not everyone interested in Madarame has the same view of sex and relationships (which is often the case with actual harem anime and manga) is part of what makes this story arc intriguing. I do have to wonder if Keiko’s boyfriend is of a similar personality in spite of his greater financial success (he’s a subordinate of the president of an IT company).

Next chapter will be about Hato, but the question on my mind is, how will Sasahara react when he finds out about this?! I’ve read comments where people think it’s all over for Keiko x Mada, but I get the feeling that she’s not quite yet done.

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23 thoughts on “Spotted Blessing? Genshiken II, Chapter 103

  1. Maybe Keiko isn’t done, but rather than that, what has changed is my view of Keiko.
    Before I felt that she wouldn’t be a bad choice for Madarame.

    I’ve made a total 180°. First we know she has a boyfriend. Then that she’s cheating. Then that she hid those facts until she was cornered. That’s… Bad, bad, and really bad no matter what. Then, it feels like she doesn’t even care in the slightest about Madarame but just want to “get him” first, out of some twisted sense of pride (she doesn’t want to lose to Hato).

    I can’t even believe a word she’s saying when she’s in “seduction mode” now. She like losers? Sure, because perfect-Kousaka was such a total loser.

    She’s a fun character and I do want to see more of her (and that’ isn’t me wishing for her to strip more), but I don’t want Madarame to chose her.

    I guess now, my personal ranking would be Sue, Angela, Hato, Keiko.

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      • “Dating” being different than “being in love”. Kousaka has been the only one we’re sure she’s “fallen for” at some point.

        The ones she dated, well, she’s either cheating on them, or wanted to cheat on them. Her current boyfriend sounds more like some mean to get expensive gifts.

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        • While I’m not a full-on Keiko supporter, I do think that what you describe is partly what makes her dynamic with Madarame relative to the rest of the “harem” so interesting. Typically a harem in a manga will involve many characters in love with one guy, but here it varies tremendously, and Keiko being attracted to Madarame in some way but not necessarily being in love with him (while also being pretty frivolous when it comes to sex and relationships in general) adds a wrinkle and even a bit of commentary on this whole business.

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          • True, as I said in my first comment, I find her funny as a character. I do like what she’s bringing in the manga. And I’m not saying she’s the least likely to get him but rather she just isn’t what I’d wish for Madarame, as he is the character I can relate to the most. Believe me, I’d still enjoy reading the manga to see how it’d turn out if Madarame ends up with Keiko.

            And even if they end up together, I still wouldn’t be sure it’d be a “happily ever after”. A part of what is making this romance in Genshiken more interesting than most romances in other mangas to me is that it’s impossible to know how it’s going to end.

            No matter the genre or target audience, usually it’s pretty obvious who’ll end up with. But here, poor Madarame could even get an “alone” bad ending, who knows.

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            • The thought has crossed my mind that the big four are still Saki-chan’s observations that eventually made their way into the rest of the group as an accepted thing. Madarame may be over her, but her influence on his life is still at large.

              I think Madarame is not going to end up with any of the harem, and it’s not because of the bad ending scenario, but it’s because he’ll finally believe in himself enough to know that there’s ladies out there for a guy like him. His “happy ending” is seeing a girl that catches his eye, approaching her, and striking up a conversation. Taking the shot that even after The Confession, even after all the Harem hijinx, he still hasn’t taken himself.

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  2. I think that nothing in the Spotted Flower strip is ruling out Mada X Keiko but it is certainly ruling out Hato X Mada or even Mada X Hato. The Hato-like character in SF is certainly more mature and more predatorty nearly as predatory as Keiko. Keiko is upset with Hato because of her
    own consciousness of inferiority except that she can make babies with
    Madarame. So she wants him and she wants a “normal” life.

    I doubt very much that Keiko will be disappearing from the story and
    my ranking is Keiko, Sue, Angela and very remotely though lots of
    Hato will be on hand with the very conflicted emotions he is
    experiencing.
    I remember Hato falling asleep on Madarame’s bed and he made
    it clear that he is not gay. This is a very common line in b/l as the participants generally consider themselves straight. I don’t care for
    the anal rape stuff which is their usual mode, but this might relate
    to the Japanese culture where women were passed about for centuries
    to cement alliances which might be broken at any time. So a lot
    of women’s experience with sex were rape to continue family lines.

    Enough for now as while I have looked at 103 in the raw I really
    need to see the translation to know as much as the Japanese
    readers.
    We must trust the author/artist to deal properly with Madarame
    a character he must love as otherwise he would have made him
    keep working at the plumbing fixtures company and would not
    be playing with him still.

    Oh and the problems with Hato’s gender are normal. Not all
    transgenders know their course in life but it emerges into consciousness
    as they age this aside from the ones raised in very open-minded and
    liberal households. Needless to say this was not Hato’s experience.

    bliss

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  3. I would agree that this doesn’t have to mean the end of Keiko x Mada, but it will probably greatly affect the way those two act with one another. This will be interesting.

    These last chapters have been good. And always right after reading the new one (and a few times even before) I keep coming back to your blog for the analysis. Great stuff!

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  4. From a story-telling perspective, giving Keiko a backstory as a female playah (and I am sure the chans are full of nastier language to describe her attitudes towards and expectations of fidelity in relationships) goes a long way towards keeping the plot ball in the air. She needed to be de-Saki V2’d and she is a hostess, right? She promised ruin and heartbreak towards Mada and his annoying virgin dweeb delusions, right? On the other hand she does think that he could use a bit of “waiting for me when I thought that I just can’t go on” to snap him out of his rut. Kio Shimoku loves to confound fan expectations, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he later swings the pendulum back in another direction, say giving her top marks at her business college or writing her IT dept boyfriend as a complete respectable sophisticated raiju or…
    Angela best girl! Not-Keiko for the retired hostess running a chic izakaya where not-Mada can drown his sorrows and get some snarky relationship advice in Spotted Flower land.

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  5. I hope Mada doesn’t get with Keiko.
    Cheaters are very selfish.
    Ya can’t trust them.
    And considering how sensitive Madarame is….it’d just be a bad bad choice.

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  6. I think some here are being overly harsh of Keiko. She’s a cabaret girl/hostess. These girls are expected to go on dates with their clients. Some clubs even require it. Sex is often expected.

    I hope this is the case for Keiko. Boyfriend could actually just be an important client for her, her rent/food. She may have just gotten tired of waiting for Mada, and then this situation fell into her lap, and she tried to take advantage of the opportunity.

    And I agree with sentiment for Mada, Keiko is the closest to Saki in all ways. Her personality, fashion, speech, outlook etc. Saki though is a little more empathetic.

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  7. This doesn’t look good for Mada x Keiko ship. I thought Keiko would be a good choice for Madarame, but now this came around and I had a change of heart. Cheaters are not the way to go for Madarame.

    I guess you could say that Madarame’s problem is that he never had a girlfriend in his life. Some would say say that Keiko is trying to help him “experience” a “real” relationship with a woman.

    But not like this, never like this.

    What he needs is someone with a true feeling and love for him, someone with pure motivation to help and love him, not just someone who thinks that he is kinda cute in a pathetic kinda way, so it’s okay to play around with him a little bit. That is not a good thing, -trying to control someone by using their weakness-, in any kind of relationship.

    That being said, I’m now convinced that the only one who has any real and genuine feeling for Madarame is Hato. We saw how Hato’s feeling grow over time, how he struggles to accept his feeling for Madarame, and how, now that he has embraced his feelings, he is willing to express it and show Madarame how much he truly loves him.

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  8. Sueeeeee..!! More Sue please..

    While I can see that Keiko camp is getting more realistic expectation and I’m half in there too, I always vote for Sue. Most of these time she’s portrayed like a filler (can’t help since its in her character nature). Hopefully she can speak up a little and given more real spotlight.

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  9. Well now I have read the dialogue and comments whereas before i had only
    looked at the illustrations.

    Well she is morally careless but who am I to throw stones?

    But the author makes a comment there about Hato asking is there
    only victory or defeat?

    No from my years I would say that there is victory and defeat in
    nearly every life. Every path not taken may have led to glorious
    circumstances. Hato might win Mada then find he really did not
    want a sou-uke. And it might just go the other way around.

    I would like both to be happy but happiness for either may not
    be with each other. Mada may meet someone outside the
    Genshiken that will make him happy. Hato looks like he will
    be walking the proverbial “Thorny Path” for some time to come.

    bliss

    Like

  10. Hmmmm. A set-back for the Sasa x Mada train to be sure, but not exactly a derailment either. Obvious failings of character aside (and come now, surely you didn’t think Keiko was a good girl…), I think Sasahara’s little sister still remains the best fit out of the options given… Actually, I’m starting to think the most “realistic” option would be for the whole harem thing to blow-up/over and the n to have Mada bump into some random girl at the conbini. Well, in any case, in the mean time we still have the Sue route to look forward to…

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  11. Actually, to me this isn’t totally unexpected from Keiko (though, it is still quite unbecoming for her character). She’s never stricken me as a modest girl, with her aestetic so close to a gyaru gal on her first apperances from the original Genshiken. Like Saki, she has had a big social life, both before and after meeting the cast (meaning through high school, college and work), and with that, relationship experiences. She pursues Madarame for reasons only known to her (perhaps Madarame pushes some kind of button on her, or maybe she wants the thrill of taking the prize on a guy so strangely sought by other girls. She’s kinda competitive, a lá Saki. Either way, she feels something about him, she is playful with him, but not manipulative or pushy.)
    Anyway, I still think that Keiko would have been a good “one-night-stand”.
    The poor guy needs to overcome his fears of “3d-female-relationships” (I’m obviously talking about the big taboo that Mada has on gettin’ to the personal thingy ), and neither Sue or Hato can provide explicitly on that part, at least for now.

    P.D.

    Yes, that Keiko is “cheating” (I don’t think Madarame would have gone to even third base in this “sesion”) on her boyfriend is not a good sign. In that sense, Madarame dodged a bullet, in the sense that’s a bad start for a relationship, if he ever had thought of having one with her. But still, what a waste, Madarame. Chances like these are slim for you. On a second thought, this means that by Mada’s morals (ethic code? there is a nerd code for this? just kidding.) Keiko won’t be on his list from now on. Is Kio Shimoku already starting the count down on disposables? Whom will be next? Sue? Hato?

    P.D.2:

    I loved the “hornyness” in the chapter, when Keiko talks Madarame into feeling her boobs. Most glorious depiction of Madarame’s desire, shame and all that, indeed. Felt like a virgin dude all again on that one xD

    Like

  12. Goodbye Saki, you just broke the Madarame Flag.

    In a guy like him, those things are really important, she could just lie to him and say some BS, but she treated Cheating like nothing, and for a naive guy like Madarame, Netori is the worst thing ever, for that reason al, that BS with Saki, because she already had a boyfriend.

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    • Yep, that´s pretty much the thing with Madarame. Jesus, even Kugayama could get over it (the pretense of being “innocent” or “pure” from the ways of the world), that, while still being a virgin, though. Looking forward to the doubtful staaaares from Madarame the next time he sees Keiko, and even the awkward banter that will ensue between the two . It´ll be fun.

      Still, that was quite the cold shower for Madarame… I hope he doesn´t get more scared around girls than he already is.

      Like

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