orz: Genshiken II, Chapter 111

Chapter 111 of Genshiken II more or less features Madarame on top of Hato for the entire duration. Is it a sign of Madarame’s feelings gradually changing, an extended comedy scene, a heart to heart pep talk, nerds nerding it up, or something more?

I find it very appropriate how the conversation between Madarame and Hato goes, with respect to the mix of anime/manga analysis, sexual confusion, genuine desire to help, and how all of this connects to the basic premise of Genshiken as the story of a club of awkward otaku. Almost as soon as Madarame accidentally falls onto him (see last chapter), Hato starts to talk about Madarame as a “lucky pervert” (lucky sukebe), the trope often found in anime and manga (especially harem series) where guys and girls will accidentally fall on each other in compromising positions. Like gusts of winds blowing skirts up, it’s generally regarded as something that only conveniently happens in fiction. By mentioning it, Hato attempts to deflate situation and, as we can later see, to avoid having his imagination go wild. “It finally happens, but it’s when I’m a guy. How unfortunate for you.” While “This isn’t manga!” has itself become a trope of Japanese comics, here I think it’s used to different effect as a way to highlight Hato and Madarame’s characters.

I believe the fact that Hato is a guy during this situation is an important factor, and not simply for the possibility that Madarame might be feeling something for Hato even without his female guise. Rather, it’s because Hato is a guy that Madarame can speak comfortably to him in this situation and even encourage Hato to not be so down on himself. Madarame basically says to Hato to stop mentioning “reality” as if it’s the final destination, the end of hope, the cruel master that rules over him, and uses his own feelings about Hato giving him chocolates as the example of how Hato’s actions have meaning, pperhaps playing into the idea that reality is a social construct and that people can attempt to change reality through the same channels. At the same time, he engages in a dialogue with Hato that follows a similar flow to the typical Madarame/Genshiken discussion over anime, manga, moe, and other otaku topics. In a way, because Madarame has a tendency to freeze up when confronted with the opposite sex, even though it’s clear that he is attracted to them, all of this could only have happened when Hato was a guy.

As mentioned above, Hato tries to use otaku talk to deflect, but Madarame actively engages with it to bring the situation back to “reality.” I think it’s because, while Madarame certainly doesn’t confuse fantasy for reality, he long ago embraced his 2-D complex and his love of anime for all of its worth, seemingly at the expense of his connection to the real world. Of course, the current arc with its emphasis on potential romance for Madarame is partly about how much this has changed, and the more I think about it, the more I find it interesting just how these two characters, as well as every other character in Genshiken, approaches that anime/fantasy vs. reality question in different and fascinating ways. It’s actually one of the topics that’s been with Genshiken throughout, and perhaps it should be the subject of a future post. It’s been a long time since I wrote about Genshiken outside of these chapter reviews, after all.

I think at this point it’d more than make sense for Madarame x Hato to happen, but at the same time I find that the other girls have their own interesting interactions with Madarame as well, so it’s not like this one outshines the others. In that sense, perhaps Genshiken provides more of a “harem” feel than most actual harem series, because often times those will have one girl clearly stand out among the rest as the “main heroine.” For Genshiken, all of the possible Madarame romances have potential, and all operate under different dynamics. Connected to this somewhat, when Madarame brings up the topic of BL, which Hato tries to mentally resist, he says that this situation isn’t right for Madarame, who’s supposed to be an “uke.” While admitting that he doesn’t really know anything about BL in the first place, Madarame replies that Hato is the only person out of the “harem” where Madarame would probably be the aggressive one, even if alcohol were to be involved.

Upon reflecting on Madarame’s words, I find that he’s actually right. Only Hato would end up in this situation because Angela, Keiko, and Sue are very strong-willed. With any of the three girls, with the possible exception of Sue, it’s hard to imagine them even in that position, and if Angela and Keiko were it’d probably be of their own devices, an intentional seemingly passive action to appeal to Madarame’s otaku senses/fear of women.

In any case, I feel like this is a point of no return for Madarame and Hato, not least because they were “interrupted” by Kuchiki, rather than breaking apart of their own volition. Whether or not it ends in love, pain, or just mutual yet awkward friendship, they’ve arrived somewhere new.

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18 thoughts on “orz: Genshiken II, Chapter 111

  1. About the harem girls, I just wanted to say that I feel one of them is actually completely outshined by the others lately: Angela. I even thought this little trip would be the occasion for her to have an event, but:
    1°) Sue and her love and hate attitude is more interesting
    2°) Keiko’s constant teasing makes her and Madarame closer, no matter how hard Angela tries, like “partners in crime”.
    3°) And I don’t need to say anything for Hato, right?
    I hope she’s going to have something, then again, each girl having their events in turn is also a trope in harem mangas.

    Also, I wanted to react over something you said about a previous chapter (or at least I think, you did) and didn’t have the time to answer at the time… it was something like, how’d readers who can relate to Madarame react if he’s somewhat becoming bi? I do feel like I’m a bit like Madarame, and I’m not bi at all. And well, I’d just feel like it’s a difference between us, just like there are other differences between us here and there (like my lack of an actual harem). I do feel like most readers wouldn’t hold a grudge over something like this… or they didn’t learn anything from the previous chapters!

    I wonder, though. After all, I kind of feel he’s just opening up, venting out things on his mind, or trying to cheer up Hato. Things he’s actually doing with friends (not with that much blushing and awkwardness, sure), and almost the opposite of his interactions with Kasukabe. But then again some people can eventually date their best friends.

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  2. >I think at this point it’d more than make sense for Madarame x Hato to happen,

    Not really, since Madarame isn’t a faggot like you.

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    • ure an idiot, wont accept it cuz its not gonna goes to what u want, its just his thoughtfull about the whole chapter dude..hato in 1st now face it lol

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  3. This sounds exciting as hell. A harem tripping situation turning into a genuine bonding session. I never actually expected Madarame to start falling for boy Hato, even if just a bit, so we’ll see if anything comes from that. Thanks so much for your summaries and thoughts as always.

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  4. Somehow I found Nidaime so interesting, I feel identified with how it goes :P sometimes the fantasy you have makes you desire things you never imagine and do those things to. In this case I see how Madarame found someone with whom he feels comfortable and Hato someone who accept him, the result of this would be a close friendship but there are more things involved, fantasies, unclear feelings, a possible dysphoria in the case of Hato, and the alcohol xD and yes I have to say it… you don´t have to be gay, bi, whatever, to be in this kind of situation -in the case of Madarame- and we have to consider that Hato has much more female than male things not only in how he looks like but in his personality. As a fact: An androphilic male (a male attracted to males) is obviously homosexual, BUT a gynephilic male (attracted to females) is heterosexual EVEN if the female is not really a she… this maight sound complicated for closed minds, but is real. It couldn´t be a “happy forever” but it´s something for real, and if “Spotted Flower” is a parallel world, Hato could even stay as a girl in this “world” too…wherever it goes, I support this couple, I think they are the only ones who are honest when they are together (sorry for the limitations I have, english is not my language)

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  5. It’s kind of amusing how invested some commenters are in Madarame’s heterosexuality, when he himself doesn’t seem all that concerned with asserting it. Certainly I think Madarame is more straight than not (his attraction to Hato seems largely based on the feminine persona he so often projects), but if MadaHato’s going to happen, I would hardly count Hato’s biological sex as the biggest roadblock – not compared to the way their passive/skittish personalities play off of each other.

    Obviously alot of readers identify with him, quintessential otaku that he is. Before you were kind of discussing his not-quite-straightness in contrast with his position as the typical otaku, but I kind of wonder if it’s actually an extension of his otakuness that allows for this. Is Mada so starved for a partner he feels he can connect with, both on a physical level, and the emotional level of being able to talk easily about his hobbies, that he’s willing to overlook something as trivial as Hato’s maleness? Or has his exposure to the otokonoko genre allowed him to keep openminded about someone like Hato?
    Likewise, is Madarame actually the typical otaku, or is he just our idea of what a typical otaku is like?

    Also, I wonder how this storyline was received in Japan. Do you have any idea how 2chan’s taking it?

    Sorry, a bit off-topic. I think we read this chapter and its implications very similarly. It’s excited to see what will happen here, and with the rest of the harem too. Always enjoy your summaries+analysis. And I’d like to see your take on the fantasy/reality split in Genshiken, since it’s been one of the series’ core themes from the get-go.

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  6. Tangential thot:

    I remember reading some Japanese gender politics issues stuff in connection to Otaku culture, and I can’t remember the exact quote, but the writer suggested that one of the reasons why there was no massive western style gay politics movement in Japan, was because Otaku fixations absorbed all the oxygen in the room. The undertone being that otaku sexuality can be rather fluid and scattered, even if it does restrict itself to 2D.

    This would of course be a gross generalization, and the politics of rights is heating up in Japan, of late, but still after a couple of decades of Comiket, Japanese fans have had to opportunity to see it all. IRL, they probably sort out according to the usual demographic curves, but when it comes to their hobby reading/ viewing, it is pretty hard to surprise them.

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  7. Just because jewish media in the west pushed faggot/tranny/otherpsychos politics in order to create a smokescreen for important issues like international jewish bankers starting wars and putting countries in debt-slavery, doesn’t mean Japs are as stupid as libtards int he west.

    Faggots and trannies are rightfully seen as degenerated psychos and treated as such. It’s normal human behaviour to be repulsed by them.

    Remember, Japland is not a marxist liberal country full of self-hating idiots who get flooded with hostile, violent, criminal immigrants like the west. Common sense is still not lost in Japland, and jews don’t own all media there yet. This is why the majority is still not forced to subject themselves to the mental illness of race-damaging minorities like faggots and trannies.

    And it’s not like you guys ever lived in japland and could even have a clue about what you’re talking about.

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  8. I identify with Madarame here, because my life sadly mirrors his: otaku, wishy-washy, no job, afraid to even approach a woman but only understand men… More importantly, some men are starting to look good and I don’t know whether it’s desperation that’s nudging me towards a connection I have a chance with, or genuine bisexuality.

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  9. Haha the comments are pretty hilarious here.
    Lots of people pissed off about this development.

    If anything, if you go reread Nidaime as a whole, the entire thing has had a very strong focus on Hato. This thing right here, shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. It’s easy to lose track of the whole picture when you read it monthly.
    Speaking of which, one of the things I’ve noticed is this manga has treated this entire subject with grace and care. It’s felt extremely mature when you compare it to other romcom mangas.

    BUT I’ll be surprised if hato x mada really does happen. If it does, I doubt the author will go through with it completely. If anything Madarame and Hato will get together, realize its not a good fit and break it off.

    That’s my prediction.

    As you can see it’s already upset a lot of people. Manga artists tend to bend to the will of the readers.

    That said this entire thing has been a ride that I’m really enjoying.

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    • It’s a total roller coaster and I love the developments. I’ve heard all the complaints for years about how genshiken is dead, the sacred character of madarame is being tarnished, and especially how much they despise hato and wish he’d be written out (hilarious), but I appreciate that Kio still seems to be sticking to his guns about it.

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      • I really do think it’s daring that Kio has given so much development to Madarame, not only in reference to the stuff with Hato but also the fact that he provided closure on Madarame and Saki. I mean, how often do you see a manga devote so much to portraying a rejection and all of the various emotions that go into it?

        It’s kind of funny that you mention Madarame being tarnished, because I recall people wanting more of Madarame back when the series began. “What’s up with these new characters? Where are my beloved veterans?” While I think it’s perfectly okay to disagree or dislike what’s happened to Madarame over the course of Nidaime, I think his developments are also a strong indicator that the series was never going to be the same, or simply revert back to its old style.

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  10. One of the most important Genshiken chapter to date, to me anyways. Didn’t think Kio would take this development path, but this can only be a good thing, to take the path less traveled by other authors, particularly in regards of the question of sexuality.

    Great chapter review as always. Your reviews are the only source of Genshiken reviews and dissection I trust wholeheartedly in the whole world.

    Keep up the great work! Cheers from Indonesia!

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  11. Kio Shimoku is not dumb. He wants to drive the plot to a full conclusion, not because he wants to shoehorn Hato as a “pintoresque” excuse to move things along, but because there’s something he wanted to show to the readers, specially those who pay attention to the ”otaku” subculture, both recent or decades old, and while doing that, how society changes. Hato had to be “explained” as a complete person, not as a mere ”okama” or whatever. I hate autors who simply ditch in the recicle bin a character like nothing, or use them as a excuse. That speaks of weak storytelling, and Shimoku doesn’t do that. Anyway, I love the schweet comedy and confidance atsmosphere between Mada and Hato. But MadaxHato? Highly unlikely. But it will mark a stepping stone for Madarame. I could hope for him to get something straight of this , but then I would be putting too much hopes on him, XD and he must be confused as hell. That way he fulfills the typical role of the indecisive harem guy. But what if he surprises us? Ditching any of the choices would be square one again, and a predictable fallout.. But what if he chooses actively, and sticks to it, all of this on his own volition? I think that would be more interesting.

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