A Flying Pussyfoot or Two: Genshiken II, Chapter 107

Chapter 107 of Genshiken II mostly takes place on a train. Unlike Baccano!, there is no trail of dead bodies, thanks mostly to Yoshitake.

The crew is traveling to Nikkou, a popular domestic and foreign tourist destination, which happens to be located near Yajima’s hometown. As Kuchiki feels that his spotlight has been stolen by Madarame and the women who love him, Yoshitake placates his (somewhat justified) anger by playing with him various classic school trip games, like UNO UMO, at the same time she tries to encourage Madarame towards a romantic conclusion. Before arriving at Yajima’s place, Yoshitake reveals that she deliberately split off Kuchiki and Madarame into their own hotel room to keep boys and girls separate, except also intentionally failing to mention that Hato is considered one of the girls in this instance.

Genshiken can generally be considered something of an ensemble series, with a rough protagonist in each part. First it was Sasahara, next it was Ogiue, now it might be considered Hato. However, if you were to take just this chapter by itself, and define protagonist in the conventional sense as the character whose actions move the narrative forward, then Yoshitake is clearly the hero in this instance, setting the characters on their paths, or at least trying to do so. That, or she’s like Satan, purveyor of half-truths, hiding her ulterior motives by giving reasons that appeal to her targets’ senses. For Madarame, pushing him towards altruism by bringing closure to his harem woes and preventing any potential fractures in the club hide her simple desire to see her friends end up happy.

Not that I dislike Yoshitake, but rather, as Japanese blogger tamagomago once said, Yoshitake is very good at being the glue that holds a group together. Here she demonstrates that ability to full effect using her silver tongue, managing to set up two different groups that take on different dynamics depending on which guy is placed within them. Madarame surrounded by Angela, Keiko, and Sue is pretty self-explanatory, but as soon as he shifts over to Yoshitake, Yajima, and Hato, it becomes an opportunity to see how Hato and Madarame react to each other. At the same time, Kuchiki being with the other girls lets him somewhat fulfill his harem fantasy, if only in the most bare-bones manner.

Of course, the other characters get their own moments too. While Yoshitake is the one moving things about, it’s the others’ lives that are the concern. Angela makes her appearance after a long while, and in a few moments she gets tied directly into the developments of the previous chapters. Specifically, she has a duel of confidence with Keiko, which references the close call that Madarame had with her, and she gets her breasts fondled by Sue, who is still mad about Madarame’s comment about breast size. Despite being so far away, she still perhaps has a “chance.”

Another character makes her return in Mimasaka, Yajima’s old friend, only this time she has tiny hearts literally emanating from her being. Previously I had considered the possibility that her affection for Yajima might merely be platonic (or at least something like what Sue feels towards Ogiue), but this little detail changes things.  For one, it makes for a complex chain of romance where a girl likes another girl who likes a boy who dresses like a girl who likes a guy who recently had his heart broken and is currently popular with the ladies. We also get to see Yajima’s mother, who clearly resembles her. The chapter mentions something about genetics in terms of appearance, but I do find it interesting that Yajima’s mom is so much more cheerful than her daughter. Obviously their lives and circumstances are different, but it does make me a bit curious what her home life was like.

Ogiue literally took a backseat this chapter, staying out of the storm while on the train. One notable moment is that you can see her internal speech is still Tohoku-ben (Watashi wa zutto Sue to issho nandabeka…).

As for next chapter, the preview mentions that it’ll be centered around the Yajima household. I for one am curious when that Angela-centric chapter will happen. It’s really on a matter of when.

One last thing to mention: a new volume of Genshiken came out in Japan, and once again it comes with different store exclusives. This time, they’re Christmas-themed, and they feature Sue, Hato, and Angela, as well as a group shot.

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4 thoughts on “A Flying Pussyfoot or Two: Genshiken II, Chapter 107

  1. I love that the new group is getting a big trip together “like old times”, this can only result in some kind of craziness. And I can’t imagine how Madarame’s managing himself around Keiko.
    I feel bad for Kuchiki somewhat, but hey, it’s Kuchiki.

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  2. Haha, Kuchiki´s foiled again. Good dynamics there. Darn, I want Madarame to get on the prowl like a boss… but well, then again he wouldn´t be Madarame… :D.

    P.D:
    Do you think if Hato and Yajimachi will cement in this trip the buddy-mentoresque relationship that was hinted in the past chapter? Hmm. Yajima, you´re closing in… I like this character.

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  3. Yoshitake is a future club president

    I absolutely loved how she placated Kuchiki and got every single ball for every major storyline rolling all the same time. Great setup that promises some climactic awkwardness for this trip

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  4. A rather late comment but better late than never.

    Though I find this chapter to be rather dull I was surprised and quite delighted by Yajimachi’s comment near the end about Hato being able to stay at her place despite being male because of “gender dysphoria” though he doesn’t necessarily identify as female. She understands gender is fluid. Hato’s identity is complicated but not invalid, wrong, or in some ‘teen’ phase.

    It could be the fact that I’m an American and gender/identity politics is rather huge here but the way Yajimachi candidly remarks on this was rather heartwarming to me. She was neither dismissive or skeptical. Granted, she never seemed dismissive in earlier chapters but I always got the feeling she never did really approve of him.

    I really hope this gets developed further as it can really add a nice refinement to her ‘fujoshi’ character or at the very least provide a nice contrast to Keiko’s view, if one presumes she holds a conservative notion of gender and thinks Hato lesser than her because he’s not ‘whole’ (the face/attitude of that chapter and not wanting to lose to a guy who dresses up as a girl).

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