Nayami Heat: Genshiken II, Chapter 121

The trip to Nikkou winds down with a final stay at Yajima’s family home. Yoshitake presses Madarame to make a decision about who to date, but as each potential partner makes their case (or has their case made for them), Madarame is still hesitant to pick. However, when Kuchiki suggests that it be done by lottery if Madarame doesn’t care one way or another, Madarame chooses not to leave it in fate’s hands and declares that he will make his decision…next chapter.

Is it at long last the end of the Madarame harem arc? Will he end up with anyone or perhaps no one at all? Will Genshiken actually have Madarame choose, or will it be a Naruto-esque string of chapter titles each more final than the last?

Personally speaking, the harem aspect itself, the fact that four individuals are attracted to Madarame to varying degrees, is less interesting in terms of who ends up with who, and more in terms of its opportunities for characterization. This includes characters both inside and outside of the harem.

One of Yoshitake’s recurring traits is that she always has the group dynamic in mind. Much of the reason she wants Madarame to just choose already is because she’s worried about the relationships, the friendships, that exist among the members of Genshiken. The longer Madarame takes, the more these threads get frayed, but at the same time she wants the decision to be a real one, not a spur of the moment fancy. That’s why she arranged the whole Nikkou kujibiki dating scheme in the first place.

Angela is an impossibly attractive blonde American who encourages polygamy, having the least to lose due to the distance between the US and Japan. She has an interest in Madarame, but is more about having a good time. Sue, as Ogiue puts it, is Madarame’s ideal character: a blonde loli who’s also fluent in both “Japanese” and “otaku.” However, even after her confession it’s clear she still isn’t entirely sure what she wants their relationship to be. Hato is a “girl-boy” straight out of a visual novel,  but interestingly enough is still espousing the potential pitfalls of a homosexual relationship to ground Madarame in reality. They all carry some element of wish fulfillment that borders the realm of perverted imagination with some counter-balance in the fact that they’re all actually human.

In contrast, Keiko’s points out that she’s the most similar to Saki out of all of them, and this hits Madarame like a ton of bricks. While that makes Keiko in a way the most “realistic choice,” her words also carry an element of fantasy to them. She is the closest to fulfilling Madarame’s unrequited love for Saki, the most profoundly grounded woman he has ever met. The fact that Madarame reacts so intensely to Keiko’s words shows that he still holds a torch for Saki, and perhaps even suggests that his indecisiveness towards both accepting and rejecting others is a product of a desire to be wanted but also to want someone like Saki.

It’s surprising that Keiko of all people objects to Angela’s “harem ending” suggestion, stating that she’d rather not be involved at all if that’s how it’s going to end up. She wants to try a monogamous relationship, and she’d rather be single than deal with some fantasy otaku arrangement. Given that Keiko is not above seeing more than one guy at a time, I think it might say something about how Keiko sees Madarame as an opportunity for some stability, and further puts into relief the differences between her and the rest. At the same time, being an approximation of Saki isn’t actually being Saki, so in a sense Keiko becomes the most “ideal” choice of all. Of course, she certainly doesn’t see it that way, and I wonder if she in fact sees herself as what Madarame ultimately needs.

Madarame, as much as he acts like anyone would do because he’s just a dorky, desperate otaku, is suddenly against the idea when it’s suggested that he pick randomly when Kuchiki brings it up. Madarame is neither totally noble nor utterly selfish, and the realization that he cannot just keep the harem in stasis as is common in long anime and manga series ultimately forces him to try and choose on his terms rather than leave it up to luck. I think somewhere in his decision is the belief that having the choice made for him is utterly irresponsible and would lead to more harm than good, while also clarifying that he clearly does not see all of them the exact same way. In the end, actions have consequences, and I look forward to seeing how this plays out.

To end off, this month’s Ogiue moment is more of an Ogiue focus than anything in a long while. As briefly alluded to above, Ogiue gets really invested in presenting Sue as the best possible choice for Madarame, even going so far as to say that this is Madarame’s once in a lifetime chance to be with this girl of his dreams. What’s really notable about her behavior in this instance is that Ogiue has never really come across as being particularly invested in the Madarame/Sue combination even if she does believe it’s the right choice. It feels like there’s something more at stake here. Is it being able to finally get Sue to abandon the “Ogiue is my wife” joke (probably wouldn’t happen)? Does she truly believe that Madarame and Sue are best for each other? Does she want to give Sue some happiness? Whatever the case may be, I quite enjoyed seeing Ogiue’s fire.

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11 thoughts on “Nayami Heat: Genshiken II, Chapter 121

  1. Perhaps it is just me, but maybe there is a dark horse in this race? Yeah, there ain’t any solid hints that point into this direction, but in some way at least for me Madarame and Yoshitake combination would feel the most right and proper.

    Let me explain myself in detail. Of course they have differing tastes but both of them are clearly otakus with capital O. And from time to time Yoshitake even presents her own madaramesque moments when she gets immersed in her own imagination. And outside their otaku lifestyle they both seem to be quite average young adults, so from the point of daily life (Madarames adventure to the terra incognita of Hato x Mada of course looms over all this) and interests they seem to be mostly on the same page.

    From this pair Yoshitake is clearly the more extroverted type with hers much more cheeky side, and during this whole harem thing she has been pushing hard Madarame on and on. For many these kinds of acts would be real life trolling, but despite all that they seem to interact quite naturally (outside this harem log rolling) with each other. And that page 35 from this chapter 121… ah. Somehow that just sums it up for me.

    But most likely i am just completely wrong. Next month and next chapter. Ah, this long and agonising waiting.

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    • Yeah. I would love a Yoshitake and Mada. In the first Kujibiki, when she took his arm and troll him… and when she went to his house before when he was ill…

      But i feel it won´t happen. Kio choose not to use that card at these moment. He better make a great plot for Yoshitake, she deserves it.

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  2. This chapter kind of came out of no where for me because I did think Mada chose Hato in the end of the last chapter. But upon rereading the past few chapters, I realized the point of the dates was to give Madarame some one-to-one time with each harem member, and to decide afterwards.

    In a way I’m glad the group is having a bit of a melt down, and Yoshitake has every right to be concerned about how the harem affects everyone else’s relationships outside of Madarame. Its something that isn’t really shown in harem manga, I feel. In harem manga everyone tends to be very friendly with each other, even if they may all love the same person. But in real life people are more perspective, and more jealous when it comes to romance.

    I’m definitely looking forward to next month’s chapter more than this one. I’m rooting for Hato, but its strange how he didn’t seem to give himself any closing statements here. Oh well, all’s well that ends well!

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  3. Remember the words Misato in Evangelion used to say at the end of every episode? “Next week, there will be saabisu!” “Next week, saabisu, this time for sure!” “Okay, there wasn’t any saabisu today either, but I swear there will be some next week! You believe me, right?”

    I’m starting to get the same sort of vibe from Kio. “Next chapter, Madarame makes his decision!” Yawn. Sure. Perhaps in a couple of years, with any luck.

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  4. I think/hope that the most likely outcome will be Madarame choosing none of them. Like you said, they all represent some aspect or another of wish fulfillment and that’s not what Madarame needs. He needs to grow a spine and finally let go. Let go of Saki, let go of his old college life and Genshiken, let go of his image of himself as worthless loser otaku. Finally move on and make some actual choices for himself.

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  5. The situation is silly. Having to choose from 4 persons? Madarame is not in love for any of them. At least as he was with Saki. He will probably only make the person he choose unhappy.

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  6. Next month’s extended chapter will be nothing more than a blatant plug for the new Genshiken Nidaime Eroge/ Visual Novel. Play all routes! Mada gets to try every choice! Clear them all and bonus routes are unlocked, plus 18+ material !!! Order Naow!

    I’m re-activating my MadaAngela ship. I have excellent reasons. Time for Mada to steal a few pages from Hato’s book: sacrifice himself for his friend’s greater happiness and stop running. Save everyone’s face, end the harem, leave a bit of rotten steam in the air and get the babe. Kerching!

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  7. I enjoyed the rundown of the combatants and Ogiue’s shilling for Sue.

    I am still backing Keiko. She is the only resident that has actually had a boyfriend before, and I go back to her reactions at seeing Madarame at the Hostess Club and at the last Comiket. She was obviously truly pleased to see Madarame in a “3D” non-fantasy way. Sue and Hato come off as mentally younger in a very adorable way, enjoying the thought of romance without knowing what it really entails.

    All the club’s fujoshi are like the stereotype of fan boys; their heads seem full of the drawings they enjoy. Ogiue’s changing of personality after entering into a real relationship is one of the best parts of the current Genshiken. Keiko crossed that line long before being introduced into the story. Who was she most envious of in the past? Saki; and her 3D “normal” relationship with the cute but also VERY nice Kousaka. Keiko probably believes that Madarame will fall for her hard and long and not be a jerk.

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  8. I do favor Hato, he´s very honest, and perhaps the most dedicated to being supportive in a relationship (dat girl power) and a beauty to boot (lel). But Sue is perhaps the one who could embrace best Madarame´s eccentricity and otakuness, his vast knowledge of otaku fandom :) They both nail anime quotes to the core. Such dorks!

    Hato can stir the fantasy in Madarame, but there´s the thing, as Keiko said: physical intimacy (as in true sentimental significance fgor eachother) is a big rift to overtake, not one thing you can pull overnight. And there´s also that Hato is still exploring himself for clues of what to do with his life. All in all, Madarame won´t make a choice that easily. If not for Yoshitake, he would “weasel” his way out.

    As I said, perhaps what will happen is the most unlikely outcome in our minds: Madarame being completely honest, and saying he´s not prepared and in good conscience, not wanting a rebound out of neccesity. Not exactly in my words, but I expect him to say it.

    That´s the “spine” he needs, and probably the most liberating thing he can do for his “would-be” lovers. Keiko would leave of the race without losing face, Hato would be free to take Yajima seriously and Sue… Sue will have to take action herself to make Madarame look at her as just not “moe” or “otaku”, but something more true, and perhaps charming. Her confession scene has shown that she can do this, taking herself in a barehanded and honest way to show her feelings to whom she cares. But that will only happen if she can steel herself to do what she really wants, cracking that college image she has created of herself. After all, the “I´m Ogiue´s waifu” joke is starting to jade a bit, even for Sue.

    I would like a future arc depicting Sue more closely. Transforming her persona of comedic relief to something quirky but full of awesome? (the Spotted Flower bimbo grown-up persona of Sue was a bit of dissapointment, but then it was only a sketch, I may be biased…) Who knows? I want her to become a mini-Saki full of otaku and sass, using the moe sparingly for her wiles. She can still beat Yoshitake!

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  9. About Keiko, i think the article miss the mark. For me, the fact that she remembers “Saki neesan” tells more about her than Madarame. Saki is the person she admires the most, and envy her, because she has Kosaka, and a good and more “respetable” job. Saki didn´t chosee Madarame, but it was not an imposible thing. Then keiko doesn`t have kosaka, but Madarame was at her hand. Stable, good person, monogamous.

    So, in my opinion, she believes… that Madarame wil not forget Saki anytime soon. But that`s her wishthinking.

    Sue is my bet.

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