You Must Be Tripping: Genshiken II, Chapter 106

As Hato and Yajima struggle to make more manga, Kuchiki announces that he’s finally finished his senior thesis and wants to have a club trip in celebration. Though Kuchiki would prefer to travel abroad, the other members can’t afford to do so and they ultimately decide on going to Nikkou, and to stay at Yajima’s parents’ house, which is close to Nikkou. However, the club soon finds out that not only is Madarame coming along but so are some of the girls interested in him—Angela and Keiko. Moreover, Yajima somewhere deep inside sees this as an opportunity to get closer to Hato.

I feel a bit sorry for Kuchiki at this point. Think about it: Genshiken is the closest thing he has to friends, and all of them barely tolerate his existence. They have good reason for treating him that way, of course, but even what’s supposed to be a farewell vacation in celebration of Kuchiki finishing his senior thesis is secretly a “finally Kuchiki will be out of our hairs for good” adventure. On some level, I respect Kio for keeping Kuchiki around all this time, even if he’s rarely present. I feel that with a character this grating, most manga would have jettisoned him for the sake of popularity, but there Kuchiki was, being “that guy” after Haraguchi graduated long ago. It’s as if there’s a need to remind people that being a dork isn’t always endearing, but that the issue comes less from just being socially awkward and more from lacking consideration for others in your words and actions. The only question is, if this manga continues, will someone new and equally irritating eventually take his place?

As for the real meat of the story this month (sorry Kuchiki but you’re a side note even in this chapter), it looks like the feelings of jealousy (?) expressed by Hato towards Yajima and her superior manga-making skills are blossoming into something more. Though, to be accurate, it’s more like Yajima is trying to passively seize this opportunity to get closer to Hato in a way she never could, as an equal (or perhaps even a superior). It wasn’t so long ago that Yoshitake was barely able to get Yajima to admit that she has feelings for Hato, and to see her begin to sort of, kind of make a move is nothing if not impressive. I think the idea being expressed through their interaction is that, for Yajima, being able to see Hato as imperfect boosts her own confidence and thus her ability to see Hato as a “possibility” in her life. This comes across clearly when Yajima gives Hato advice on his manga, saying that it’s only half-done. Yajima has never acted like that around anyone, let alone Hato, the closest being when she acts as the “big sister” (or maybe something more?) to Mimasaka, or when she’s looking to strangle Yoshitake. There’s also something very real about the creator’s blocks that Hato and Yajima are experiencing, as Hato is struggling to get his story out in a cohesive sense while Yajima’s brilliance came from a lot of pent up emotion and a situation that is just difficult to replicate.

One of the main factors in the trip to Nikkou is Madarame and the Girls Who Love Him, which is not only a cruel joke against Kuchiki but also evidence that, despite some traumatic experiences with them, Keiko and Sue’s stories aren’t over yet (Sue isn’t mentioned but I’m sure she’ll be a part of the trip somehow). On top of that, it’s now Angela’s turn to have her chapter, and the fact that the setting is a trendy tourism spot makes me wonder if it’ll be Angela’s flirtation cranked up to 11 (especially if she catches wind of what Keiko attempted), or if she’ll go for a more subdued approach in her (mostly accurate) assessment of how to nab an otaku boyfriend.

As a final, Ogiue-related note, Ohno’s comment on the Karuizawa trip being the start of Sasahara and Ogiue’s romance made me realize that, probably much like Ogiue herself, I had always associated that whole thing with trauma and pain. You can even see Ogiue’s reaction to this when Kuchiki mentions Karuizawa and she’s the only one with a sweatdrop. However, Ohno has a point, and it really is the turning point for Ogiue, her sense of self, and her happiness. Karuizawa is when she managed to finally let it all out, whether in a long and sad drunken rant to the other girls, or to Sasahara as they were walking. It’s kind of amazing that the meaning of such a significant moment in Genshiken, for Ogiue, and by extension for this blog Ogiue Maniax, could still continue to change.

 

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7 thoughts on “You Must Be Tripping: Genshiken II, Chapter 106

  1. Didn’t fully understand the talk between Hato and Yajima, so I’ll wait for the scanlation before talking about it, just to be sure.

    As for the rest… Well first, Kucchi, I’m pretty sure he won’t *completely* disappear (like Kugapii), still, we’ll probably see even less of him and I can’t help but feel sympathy for him as he was the origin of some of the funniest chapters, with the Kucchi x Mada chapter being on top (Kucchikiss…)

    As for Madarame and the Harem, with Keiko it didn’t turn out good, with Sue it didn’t turn out good… I can see a pattern, and I’m pretty sure it won’t turn out good with Angela either (probably Keiko and Sue, maybe even Hato being the cause)

    Also, doesn’t that event-trip feel like the one that was done in the last episode of the anime? Not exactly similar, but still…

    I’ll probably read the Karuizawa trip again, just to be sure I won’t be missing any references or similar layout/situations in future chapters.

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  2. The situation in karuizawa was different. Sasahara and Ogie had feelings. In this trip the mistery is Madarame, he probably doesn’t like anyone (a good reason to refuse the girls)..

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  3. Hum, yes, there seems to be a pattern to Madarame´s romances, or at least a running gag theme ;D. Nevertheless, this trip looks like it won´t be a “game changer” for the group (not like the Karuizawa trip, at least). I think Angela will have her shot at Madarame, but it won´t be so “lethal” for Madarame (I hope…). Mostly, because he´s catching a bit of the game (of love?). A little, yes, but something at last. He´s not completely vaccinated, though.

    I can´t say I appreciate Kuchiki, he´s more like a resort for gags and situations in the manga than anything else. But in this case, it (¨he¨) helps to get a bit of a sense of temporal progression of time and the circunstances of the Genshiken: he´s a senior, he has gone on that job hunting at the same time as Mada and Kugapii, now we know he has done with his thesis, and that´s likely the reason he didn´t appear as often recently than before Nidaime. This gives a subtle context. We, as readers, never get full wind of what´s happening on the lives of the old Genshiken menbers, or the time period progression. But the information seeds itself, in little “windows” or chances. This gives a realistic “slice of life” feeling, conecting the Genshiken happenings with the “exterior”, until some of the cast venture in outings, or go “explore” in the case of Mada visiting Keiko´s job. In this sense, it is a good and reliable use of the supporting cast to move the setting outside the “Genshiken” canvas.

    Anyway, good thoughts on the KajimaxHato issue. I´ve seen them in the last issue of Spotted Flower (13,5?)… I can´t help but to feel that the pairings on that manga, aren´t in the realm of “possibility” more than “established future canon” for “Genshiken Nidaime”. It is my gut feeling, though. Or it is Kio Shimoku sucessfully trolling us…?

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  4. Prediction: Sue and Keiko give him a cold shoulder, Angela doesn’t like being “the last choice”, Hato is too concerned about his manga, Madrame expresses happiness at finally escaping the harem that he’s convinced never really existed… and then upon reflection, wonders if he’s missed his shot forever.

    Yajima and Hato are absolute magic. I can’t wait for the horrifying awkward moment Kio puts the two in that makes one or both of them want to leave Genshiken forever in embarrassment.

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  5. Sue wasn’t mentioned, but she was part of the second meeting where Yajima said that the seven Genshiken members were welcome. So the plan is for her to be there, even if she was angry about this unexpected twist.

    I’d kinda like to see Sue and Angela have it out. They are friends from America, but now are rivals. So I’d like to see them have a frank discussion, though I know that won’t happen.

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  6. Never was a big fan of the usage of star losers in narrative. Kuchiki’s story is “tolerated fool who never grew up” dragged for a long time. It is just depressing

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