The truth comes out in more ways than one in this chapter of Genshiken. Not only does it turn out that this entire trip was an elaborate way to help Madarame towards finally making a decision about his love life (much to Kuchiki’s chagrin; it was supposed to be his graduation trip after all), but now Yajima knows that Hato is aware of her feelings for him. Within all of this is… the potential for yuri?!
I should be clear about that last point. Thus far in Genshiken outside of Hato and Madarame and the magical fictional world of BL, same sex relationships haven’t really been a factor. The closest thing we’ve seen is Sue being very attached to Ogiue in a way that makes it unclear whether she’s using otaku and manga references to assert her friendship with Ogiue in an odd way (Ogiue wa ME no yome!) or if there’s something more. Sure, there are yuri fans who ship certain pairings (Ogiue and her old middle school classmate/friend/bully Nakajima for example) but here even I who normally forego donning a pair of yuri goggles saw a few things that caught my attention. One was of course intentional by Kio, when Ohno comes onto Ogiue to make Kuchiki jealous (it’s complicated), but then you have a moment like this:
Actually, it almost feels like a “yaoi” moment using female characters. Has anyone done a study of how interactions are portrayed in yaoi vs. yuri? There’s also significantly more Ogiue in this chapter compared to the previous ones, but more on that later.
What I find especially fascinating about this whole Nikkou trip as a way to move Madarame forward is just the idea that he (and perhaps anyone) should not be able to let his relationships stagnate. As Evangelion has taught us, staying in the same place unable to move forward can be a crippling experience that appears comforting when it is seen as avoiding pain. While it could be seen as them pushing Madarame unnecessarily, his passive personality likely means that nothing would ever happen, and it would hurt everyone on all sides if it persists. Of course, there’s still a chance that Madarame will probably still come out of it indecisive because that’s just how he is, but the very fact that Genshiken is having its characters try to constantly prevent the “series of misunderstandings” that can occur when too many secrets are kept gives me the sense that everyone wants the best for each other.
Probably the biggest surprise of this chapter is everyone’s accepting attitudes towards Sue potentially ending up with Madarame, including the other girls interested in him. I mentioned in the previous chapter review that Yoshitake’s comments about Nikkou being a fake-out meant to draw attention away from Tokugawa’s real grave might be meta-commentary on the statuses of the others gunning for Madarame, and it looks like it’s panned out. Hato and Keiko have gotten so much attention, and Keiko even commented on how Sue is unlikely because of her personality, but here Keiko is in Chapter 116 saying that she won’t interfere with Sue like she does the others because that’s the one other person she’s okay with.
Given the cunning with which Keiko has competed, does this mean that she sees something special between Sue and Madarame that doesn’t exist with the other potential partners, including herself? Perhaps the fact that no one wants to interfere with Sue x Mada is because they understand both of their personalities, and that Sue in particular has her own battle to fight regarding her own feelings. Maybe it’s the fact that everyone other than Sue appears to be using wits and charm to pull Madarame towards them (or at least Keiko believes Hato to be doing this), and that if Sue turns out to be the one, that she’s “won” in more than one sense of the word. Again, suddenly Sue looks increasingly likely when she had previously been dismissed, turning everything upside down.
Kuchiki, in his jealousy, argues a version of a point that I’ve mentioned before, that Madarame has shown how his 2D and 3D tastes don’t necessarily line up. While he has mentioned that Sue is exactly the kind of person that matches his favorite anime archetype, there’s also no denying his lost love for Kasukabe. At the same time, Genshiken Nidaime plays significantly with the blurring of real and fictional interests, or rather the reveal that the difference between them is possibly fairly porous even if the two aren’t the same. However, there’s another possibility, which is that Madarame and Sue’s connection goes well beyond looks, and that, other than possibly Hato, Sue is the only one who match him blow for blow when it comes to otaku power levels, creating a truly ultimate “otaple.”
As I mentioned above, Ogiue has gotten more attention in this chapter than every other one in this “Nikkou Arc,” though not enough to make her a particularly important character for this story. However, it does give us many glorious Ogiue faces.
A lot could be said about Hato and Yajima, but it seems like they’re saving the big guns for next chapter, alongside Sue & Madarame’s Excellent Adventures. Until then…!
If you liked this post, consider becoming a sponsor of Ogiue Maniax through Patreon. You can get rewards for higher pledges, including a chance to request topics for the blog.
I wasn’t to big into the Sue/Mada pairing, well except as a joke. But they actually seem to look really cute together. Hmm, this is destroying my shipping reality.
Re: “”Has anyone done a study of how interactions are portrayed in yaoi vs. yuri?”” I presume you mean visual presentation/staging, As both (if you restrict the definition of yuri to sympathetic treatments of f:f intimacy rather than pr0n) are Shojou offshoots differences should be subtle. Closest to this I’ve heard of was a mention of cover chara staging btw Bara and Yaoi in a Jp work by Hori Akiko (2009) per journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/article/view/628/540
Yaoi as Shojou=couples, Bara=one Tom’o’Finland guy.
And I only ran into it because I was going to take a swing at “No Yuri In the Genshiken Dammit” — which, from the looks of this chapter needs to wait to see how it follows on the treatment in Nidaime OVA4. (you never, what you think on it?)
A more important question however is begged, from yours: What are the diffs btwn interaction/staging in Shonen/Seinen manga and Shojou/Josei manga? And; is Genshiken drifting towards the girl’s shore?
Meanwhile…. What about Spotted Flower 16.5 ???
I swear Shimoku Sensei is his works’ own best fanfiction maker.
(And slightly older, non-binary gappleHato is curiously hawt! Yikes!)
Thanks and all the best /M
Ps /OMT: You in for Hatozine?
PPS: My gawd… Sue is glowing like a phaser on overload!
Pingback: Genshiken 116 | HEARTS OF FURIOUS FANCIES
As someone who read both Yuri and Yaoi on a semi-regular basis, I must say that the presentation correspond mostly with the gender put forward in these works: as men, BL characters have more stereotypical masculine attitudes, are more assertive and aggressive, while yuri characters, as women, are generally sweeter, more delicate, in short “girlier”.
In this panel, Yoshitake seems to embody mostly these “manly” characteristics and add to that “shonenish” graphics, which are more common in yaoi than in yuri, and it leans more towards BL. By contrast in the panel with Ogiue and Ohno, the latter touchy-feely attitude and the flowery background gives a “feminine” vibe closer to yuri. But that’s just my humble opinion. ^^;;
Lately SueMada have been the option that appealed to me the most, but I look more forward to Yajima and Hato’s interactions .
I have know several couples like yajima and Hato, so they are realistic. Well, about Sue and Mada, they are probably the best pair: they are both pure otaku.
I’ve always been a Sue x Madarame shipper, but I honestly think Kio-sensei is going to work things so that his Saki x Madarame ship is the one that wins.
It’s a win regardless if Madarame ends up with Sue or Saki. Now I’m curious what Sue is like in Spotted Flower now.
Argh, I don’t know anymore XD . Whatever, Madarame will be (almost) happy with any choice… I hope. Interesting take on Kuchiki’s remarks, he’s an uncoherent boke”, but Kio makes him as a contextual voice of otaku views. Like when Hato was struggling with the BL stuff and crossdressing, Kuchiki pointed that Hato shouldn’t dissmiss the very things he loves just for convenience or for other’s sake. Of course, he said so in a less conventional way XD. Anyway, it’s a interesting case of how to use a secondary character as a “pointer” to both readers and main characters. Moving into the HatoxYajima issue, I want to see how Yajima handles this. She’s such a well built character (no pun intended) that I can’t help but to root for her. And, seriously Madarame, up your game…