Sakuraaaaaai: Genshiken II, Chapter 112

After the bomb drop that was last month’s Genshiken, Chapter 112 winds things down a bit, only to then create anticipation for next month. In a way, it’s a much needed break, but the fact that it ends by mixing up the formula a bit basically makes me want to read the next chapter already.

As Yoshitake nerds out about the history of Nikkou and its connections to Japan’s past (something I don’t specialize in but would totally make an interesting post by someone other than me), they remember Hato’s return the previous night. While a lot of the girls are suspicious about what happened, especially Keiko, Hato quietly resigns for the evening, and Yoshitake turns out to be the kind of snorer you can’t ignore. Yoshitake then proposes an idea: draw straws (“kujibiki” in this case), and randomly pair off. While the hope to further some romances looms about, the gods of probability crush almost all hope of that happening.

I’ve never been a part of Hetalia fandom, but I’m aware that it’s encouraged a lot of girls (and even a few guys) to study history more extensively. In that respect, I wonder if Hetalia fans feel a significant connection to Yoshitake, even if Hato is the one who’s explicitly stated that he’s into that series. Speaking of Yoshitake, I’m always impressed by the translators who bother to work through all of her text. The way it’s hand-written, and appears as if it’s trying to economize every last bit of word balloon space, and the fact that this chapter even features a map in the middle of one onslaught of verbage makes it seem like you’re not really meant to read what she has to say.

As is often the case with Genshiken, this chapter is primarily about setup, a brief pause after the weightiness of Hato’s heart to heart talk with Madarame. While of course the decision to break these characters off into specific pairs was probably not random (unless Kio actively chose to replicate what Yoshitake does in the manga itself), I think it’s both telling of Yoshitake’s desire to be the grease that moves the wheels forward, and that both the author and the characters haven’t forgotten about good ol’ Kujibiki Unbalance.

While it’s doubtful that anyone who’s still reading Nidaime doesn’t know what that is, it’s kind of fascinating that the series which so dominated the conversations of the old generation have all but vanished with these youngins. I wonder if Kio misses that a bit. Not only is the chapter title, “Kujibiki Unbalance 1” a reference to it, but at one point Yoshitake says, “Kami-sama no iu toori,” or “Do as God says,” which is a line from the Kujibiki Unbalance anime opening.

When Yoshitake revealed the kujibiki, I was hoping for the wildest and nonsensical pairings to happen, and in the end my wishes were fulfilled where it counts. While it wasn’t 100% off-the-wall (Ogiue + Sue and Angela + Ohno are obvious ones), seeing things like Hato + Keiko and Madarame + Yoshitake has a certain odd thrill, either because there’s so much tension or because there’s none at all. It’s almost like when characters have to change seats after a semester, and it becomes an opportunity to really see sides of them that we the manga readers haven’t before, or when you’re watching a fighting game tournament and two characters who rarely fight each other are in the grand finals. You’re not sure if you like it more, but the novelty alone keeps you glued.

If we’re allowed to speculate (and seeing as this is my blog I’m going to say it’s okay), I think that the main focus of the next chapter will probably be Hato and Keiko, which will involve Hato trying to pussyfoot around the subject of Madarame and Keiko going straight for the proverbial jugular. Keiko, while not the sharpest tool in the shed in certain respects, is still very perceptive, and even if that’s not enough she’s the type to really egg someone on and force them to admit something. From there, I predict Keiko will really try to force Hato to confront why exactly he crossdresses, and might even explain directly what she finds to be so disingenuous about Hato’s personality and behavior.

Also, on the topic of Keiko, is she purposely wearing a coat that’s similar to Madarame’s? It’s not the kind of clothing I typically associate with her, and as stated previously, she’s intentionally toned down her makeup to appeal more to Madarame’s sensibilities.

And if I were more into yuri, I’d probably make a bigger deal out of both Ogiue and Sue pairing off for the trip, and the fact that they slept in the same sheets at Yajima’s home. I’ll leave that to the other intrepid fans.

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7 thoughts on “Sakuraaaaaai: Genshiken II, Chapter 112

  1. >>[i](something I don’t specialize in but would totally make an interesting post by someone other than me)[/i]

    Tamagomago?

    I’m also intrigued by Yoshitake and Madarame’s group. I think it will be a mirror to Hato and Keiko by with both of the males think hard about what it is they really want out of a relationship if it’s going to get that far. And given how she’s really been trying to push Madarame’s harem to a conclusion for a while now, I only feel like that will intensify when she gets time with him along.

    Poor Kuchiki. Yajima will be fine.

    I figured it was also too late to mention in your review for the last chapter, but I really did enjoy the conversation between Hato and Madarame, if just for once again getting Hato out of his defensive denial bunker.

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  2. Well Yoshitake does not understand the will of the Tokagawa very well.
    She calls him “superstious” but the point was a religious re-inforcement of the shogunate he founded. He understood superstition very well and it was
    his successor who elevated the cult, who was himself superstious or understood the power of belief very well. 5 centuries later the Tokugawa
    mythos still stands behind the imagination of Japan just as the Samurai
    tradition is re-enacted in numberless media.

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  3. While I’m intrigued by the Hato/Keiko group I was really more disappointed by angela being paired with ohno. Even though I don’t place to much stock in her and Madarame (even if it would be cool) this just solidified that Kio isn’t seriously considering her at all. Unless they follow up with drawing sticks again later and she gets the same as Madarame, then I’m officially pulling Angela out of the running for potential girlfriend.

    Also, I really wish that angela or someone would bring up the idea of new jobs for Mada. Not for nothing but he’s been unemployed a while now, and I’m sure in a perfect world (or doujinshi) love would be all they need for an amazing relationship. It’s the one aspect of Fantasy vs Reality that they haven’t seemed to address yet.

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  4. Pingback: Zen and the art of harem maintenance | HEARTS OF FURIOUS FANCIES

  5. @Steve, yeah. That´s definitely something Kio should adress, as this manga strives to juggle between comedy and a somewhat “realistic” depiction of “otakuness”. Still, that would be a sensitive subject to bring up in this trip. I expect something like Keiko or Kugayama (why not?) giving Madarame a “push” to move on that, not now, but much later on. Now that I remember, didn´t Keiko say something before about that… she´s, perhaps the most keen on things this ragtag group of otakus miss about, in some aspects of everyday life. To this point, she´s only in the race for Madarame by simple competitiveness (with Angela). She´s not hooked on love like Hato or Sue, so maybe she can speak with him and bring some sense to his head, just as how she will confront Hato , probably, in the next chapter. . Let´s see, then.

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  6. Pingback: I’m Bad, I’m Cool, You Know It’s True: Genshiken II, Chapter 113 | OGIUE MANIAX

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