And Time Moves: Genshiken II, Chapter 122

NOTE: It seems that an inaccurate translation of the contents of this chapter have been floating around. Please look at this supplemental post after reading this review to get the right picture.

At long last, Madarame makes his choice in Chapter 122. And in the end the winner is…

Is…!

…No one. Madarame chooses to abstain.

I get the strange feeling some readers might be pulling out the pitchforks, but I think it’s best to put them away. I believe the reasons behind Madarame’s decision are worth exploring, as they really show the kind of consideration Genshiken has for its characters and their connections to both the real world and that of their awkward nerd fandom.

Madarame says that there is no universal reason he’s chosen not to date any of the girls. Each circumstance is unique. When you add them all together it paints an interesting picture.

For Angela, it’s a matter of a long distance relationship, but Madarame explicitly mentions that it has to do with the idea that being with the hottest thing on Earth, but only having physical contact twice a year, would be like “torture.” Implied is the notion that Madarame is open to the idea of a relationship based on bodily desire, but that’s untenable unless Angela moves to Japan.

Physically, Madarame is ready, but emotionally he’s not. This is what puts Keiko out of contention, as the possibility that Keiko will remind him of Saki, whether because of their similarities or because Keiko might just mention her in conversation is difficult for him at this point. While Madarame is indeed attracted to Keiko, the important thing is that he needs more time to come to terms with his lost love. As Madarame mentions, he’s just been kind of passively going along with everything, and that’s probably what he needs least at this point.

Sue’s is an odd rationale, because Madarame’s “reason” for not dating her is because he likes seeing Sue’s displays of yuri affection with Ogiue. This feels like a cop-out, but I really do think there’s more to Madarame’s words than meets the eye. Given how positively Sue reacts to Madarame’s explanation, I think it shows that Madarame not only understands Sue well, but that he sees Sue herself as not being ready for a relationship. She’s still shy and sensitive, and might need more time to step out of her shell.

Madarame’s basis for rejecting Hato is the most complex of all, but it all comes down to not wanting to hurt Hato. Madarame explains that, even if he and Hato were to work out as a couple, the constant worry that Hato has had to suffer because of Madarame risks being not simply a short term thing.

In all likelihood, their relationship would be forever plagued with doubts and second-guesses as to whether Madarame likes the fantasy more than the reality, or whether Hato feels comfortable being who he is. As Madarame puts it, Hato should be with someone who just simply accepts him as he is, and lets Hato feel like his identity as a crossdressing fudanshi is a matter of course. This mindset mirrors a conversation the two once had, where Madarame mentioned that Hato’s just the way he is and it shouldn’t be a big deal.

I think some readers might also be concerned that Hato says that Madarame will be the first and last man he ever loves. Hato says a lot of things, like how he has no interest in men at all. Pretty much every character in Genshiken changes their mind, and Hato is just the best example of this.

All of this means that, of the four prospective love interests, only Hato has truly been rejected. Madarame considers both Keiko and Sue as not having any faults that aren’t rooted in Madarame’s own broken heart, and if Angela were to move to Japan, I think he might die from crushed pelvis (it’s also worth nothing that the virgin vs. whore thing doesn’t even come up, which might say something about Madarame’s maturity). Essentially, Madarame has been on the rebound this whole time, and his clouded judgment, combined with his propensity for waffling, has been a bad combination that can only be solved with time and some space.

I think it all makes sense.

Genshiken sets up two new threads in the aftermath of the Madarame harem arc. First, as Hato mentions that he likes the idea of finding someone who accepts him without much fuss, Yajima sees this as possibly her opportunity. The irony here is that Yajima didn’t accept him for the longest time, as her more conservative values as well as her poor self-image made Hato a target of mild disdain and jealousy. Things are different now, but the real question is…how different? Spotted Flower different?

Second, as if to speak directly to those readers who missed the way Genshiken was once upon a time, the next chapter preview basically says that the manga is going back to doujinshi and clubroom antics. Something tells me that this isn’t giving the whole picture though.

As for Ogiue, I feel as if Kio put in extra care when drawing her this chapter. Call it a hunch.

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36 thoughts on “And Time Moves: Genshiken II, Chapter 122

  1. After about 2 days of seeing this so-called pitchfork wielding reaction from other fans, its nice to see a more reasonable response. Is it disappointing that Madarame didn’t pick anyone after alllllllll this time? Yes, but it does make sense. I’m sure some readers are just happy this harem arc is over no matter what the outcome.

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    • Let me be a bit offwall: he may be implying a more decisive appearance of Oguie in the following chapters… Sometimes an author can’t help but to draw best his preferred characters, and sometimes those have a lot of “screen-time”.Otherwise, it’s nothing to think about.

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  2. Called it. This was the way it had to be, would’ve been sorely disappointed with any other outcome. Madarame needs to move on and start making choices for himself.

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  3. I really didn’t like the handling of Hato in this chapter and I thought it bizarre how the characterizations for those in his harem were whittled down to very simplistic observations, but both of these criticisms can be fixed by upcoming chapters. Now that Madarame has decided this, I hope he can finally move on and mature – past Saki, past his harem, and past his 2d fixation. That at least would make the excessive focus on him worthwhile.

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  4. Madaramare’s choice isn’t surprising, after all he didn’t know what to do in the previous chapter. Plus, he never asked to be there in the first place: it was Yoshitake who decided to include him in the trip and organize the speed dating. She forced this situation for her entertainment.

    However, why was Kuchiki so happy ? Is it because Madarame will remain a “pure” otaku comrade or because Hato won’t be “stolen” from him ?

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    • Kuchiki: I think the poor guy is just happy the drama over. He’s been an amazingly good sport about being mocked, cold-shouldered, and used as a patsy by his “friends” …

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  5. This was a total Yoshitake win, but at great cost. It was not just entertainment but the preserving of “no boys allowed”. She is a stealth Kaminaga. Fantasy stories of same-sex ok. IRL scary, something not serious, dangerous to the group, exterminate, exterminate. In context, (and since it’s easter, whaottheheck) two (Sue, Hato) existential denials, one more left to go?

    The Genshiken is broken, not saved. It did not protect.

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    • Hey, I like you take on Spotted Flower. I recently came up with a theory of my own. Spotted Flower is a sequel, in that it takes place in the future. But the manga is drawn by one of the characters from Genshiken. I mean, Kio is the author, but he is channeling a character (Hato and Yakima collaboration for example). I think at some point Spotted Flower will appear in Genshiken while they are drawing it. Or it will appear as someone’s side project they’ve been working on. Would explain why everyone seems to basically be Genshiken characters but not quite, and the fact that no one is named. It’s one of the characters fan fiction of their own life where Reme and Saki get together. Oguie does this kind of stuff all the time.

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  6. Glad this arc is done, hopefully Kio won’t end the series any time soon. While I still believe there’s a world where Mada x Sue is still possible, I just want to go back to reading Genshiken without having to cringe at the laughable harem scenery this arc has been.

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  7. I must be one of a few that doesn’t want (or think) Spotted Flower to be anything but an alternate universe. What meaning would there be in Madarame ending up with the woman he idealizes. Plus, Saki and Kousaka are happy together, so I don’t see why Kio would jump through hoops to bring us a conclusion that, imo, would come off as unrealistic wish-fulfillment.

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    • Before ch 122, I hadn’t seen any people who think SF is a sequel, at that time I’m the only one. Now ch 122 comes, some people start to take it seriously. You said “What meaning would there be in Madarame ending up with the woman he idealizes”, we don’t need such thing, it’s just what Kio wants the story to be. As for Saki and Kousaka, yes they’re happy couples, but there has always been happy couples ending up breaking up.

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      • I guess my biggest problem with such an ending (aside from the wish-fulfillment) is that I’ve always thought that Madarame can only grow up by finally letting go of Saki and moving on. Since we’ve spent so much time with him as the protagonist with so little progress to show for it, reverting to his infatuation for Saki would seem regressive, imo. I’ve been mostly disappointed by the second half of the story though, so I’m a little more negative than I otherwise would be.

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        • Does the guy (presumably Madarame) in Spotted Flower look like he has grown that much? Aside from the fact that the guy has a job, I don’t think that much has changed. So you are right, there really isn’t that much sense of maturity in him. But does it really matter? Point is, I think you are imposing social expectations here, that a person should be this or that after experiencing such situation. But it doesn’t always work that way. You would think that a person who almost died due to smoking would eventually stop smoking because that is the normal thing to do, right? It is what the society expects after all. But sometimes it doesn’t turn out that way, some smokers (more like most of them actually) will still go back to their smoking habit. But who cares? That’s the way they want to live their lives. Nothing wrong if Madarame wants to revert back to his old ways (or if Kio Shimoku wants to write this character that way) even after being put in a tough spot in this harem fiasco. It may not be a socially accepted decision as the social norm is for a person to grow, but to begin with being an otaku isn’t socially normal either lol.

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        • well i agree that we grow up when we leave behind our first love, and Madarame seems that he left Saki behind, he was very troubled with the decision with the harem thing and almost chose wrong (stupid yoshitake)… but things happened, nobody in the harem were good for him, and (if spotted flowers were the real second part) time passes and some people encounter again, some people don’t, is lucky, is life, things fall under its own weight, Mada and Saki are very alike and very compatible

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  8. The previous chapter was pretty much clear on this outcome. Still, pity…

    I still feel like Madarame lost an opportunity: Nobody would have objected if he had chosen Sue… Instead he chose to do a very Japanese thing: defuse a situation with words, and avoiding direct confrontation, while explaining why. The small compensation is that he managed to make his personal situation clear to them, and being clear about what he realizes he may truly need is no small feat. But the issue stands still, and the Gordian knot awaits the slash that will resolve this(his) conundrum.

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    • from my point of view, Sue was the best choice, she is beautiful, petite, blondie, otaku (and in spotted flowers she has THE BODY :P )… but i also think that she wasn’t the best choice for Madarame, i mean, Madarame likes aggresive girls, who tease him and make arguments and discussions, he wants fights, not for anything in the past MAda was wainting for Saki everyday, he LIKES it, and Sue didn’t fill up this hole, not Hato , not Angela.. (from this point of view, Keiko could be the most similar to Saki, but Keiko has her own defects too xD )

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    • From my point of view, the words he used to “reject” Sue were very pity. You can’t say to someone who confessed her feeling, something like “you (Sue) are not ready for a relationship”. Who are you to say that?. She gathered her feelings and cofessed! That only thing made her ready. She said that because she wanted a relationship. Madarame’s answer sounded fake. I think the author made a mistake in that part. If he wanted a rejection he should be clearer.

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      • I don’t think so. The ridiculous words showed that Madarame didn’t reject Sue(or other three) for the reason he said, but he himself was not ready for or willing to be in a relationship with her.

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  9. Among the excuses he gave for rejected them all, it feels the excuses for Sue is the flimsiest. Like you said, it’s more likely he feels that Sue isn’t ready for a relationship. At the same time, I can’t help but think he is also projecting his insecurities and lack of relationship experience onto Sue.

    They’re “kindred spirits” (to use your previous words) so to speak, and I think that now that Sue has publicly confessed to Madarame, he will pay more attention to her. We haven’t really explored Sue’s history of how she became who she is today. With Madarame officially turning down Hato, I think her background will be the focus of the next story arc.

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  10. I’d considered the possibility that Madarame might not choose anyone, but I was thrown by the incredible disrespect with which he did it. Throwing Sue at Ogiue instead of taking her feelings for him seriously? (I agree with you that she’s probably not ready for a relationship yet, but assuming that /Madarame/ knows that based on what we’ve been given seems flimsy.) Condescending to Hato by telling him he’s just a crossdressing fudanshi, with the implication that he’s not really gay/bi, just confused? (Because THAT isn’t a harmful or exhaustingly overdone trope at all.)

    And yeah, I ship Madarame with Hato, but even removing my shipper goggles this doesn’t make sense. There was just /so much/ emphasis put on their relationship and how they helped each other grow, never mind the blatant parallels to Ogiue/Sasahara in Season 1. And Madarame arbitrarily deciding that Hato will continue to sabotage himself if they get together–despite Hato literally telling him two chapters ago that he won’t–feels weak. It feels like a fizzle-out ending to a story that could have been something really fresh and different in seinen manga.

    I just don’t understand what the point was. I thought Kio was a better storyteller than this. Why waste YEARS on an arc only to hit the reset button on every single character? Everyone’s been shoved back into the same boxes they occupied when Nidaime started.

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    • I don’t know if you can say that they’re being reset, especially not Hato or Keiko. That remains to be seen of course, but one of the key points of this entire story has been that you can’t make time go backwards, or hold a harem in stasis. Something’s gotta give eventually, and what gave was Madarame.

      As for trying to remove Hato’s potential self-sabotage, I don’t think that’s quite what Madarame was going for. To me, it’s more about Madarame wanting Hato to fall in love in a way where he doesn’t have to feel so self-conscious about who he is.

      By the way, I don’t know where people are getting the idea that Madarame is calling him “just a crossdressing fudanshi” with the implication that he’s not gay or bi. What Madarame is actually saying is that he hopes Hato can find someone where he feels that he is “just who he is,” and that the fuss over what he is or isn’t doesn’t matter. Are people reading a bad translation or something?

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      • I kind of feel like they are being reset, though. I’m not sure what kind of character growth Keiko was supposed to be getting out of any of this, especially when she ended up seeming apathetic about her rejection. And Hato did get a lot of growth, but going by his words at the end of the chapter, it seems like he’s going to shove his sexual identity revelations down as far as he can. I’m curious to know why you think that isn’t the case? (I’m not being snarky, I swear, I really want to know. I want hope. ;~~;)

        As for Hato being able to fall in love without being self-conscious…isn’t that what he was trying to do? He had a lot of personal shit to sift through, but he outright said he was working through it and would stop running away if Madarame was willing. He didn’t have to be self-conscious about the crossdressing, or the BL, or even the gay thing with Madarame because Madarame repeatedly said he didn’t care, so it doesn’t really feel like that conclusion was for Hato’s sake, imo.

        I’ve only read a rough translation, and to be honest I really hope you’re right about it being wrong because that line pissed me off like you would not believe. I’ll wait for a better translation, and I’ll read the next chapter to see if any lingering faith in Kio is justified. But 122 really dropped the ball for me.

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  11. Yes, this feels like the most reasonable outcome, but I’m still disappointed. If they take some time and develop a relationship for him in the background of the next year or so I’ll feel much better about it all.

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  12. Am I the only person who is actually relieved that Madarame chose no one ? Because for me the longer the harem arc went the more the incompatible aspects of our haremettes became visible.

    The problem of a long distant relationship with Angela was so blatant no reader thought she could win and Keiko being Saki 2.0 is something that would have caused a lot of troubles, so I’m glad these points were mentioned.

    Now as for the controversial cases …
    What always bothered me with MadaHato (besides my YajiHato bias) is that it stood on very fragile grounds: Madarame never really shown any interest in guys beside the “otoko no ko” fantasy and a relationship between the two would mean a lot of anxiety. “I don’t know if I can accept you as you are”, “I’m afraid I’m projecting a fantasy on you”, “I might hurt you or reject you without meaning to” : that’s why Madarame turned Hato down. One was broken-hearted, the other in full questioning of his identity and sexuality. A painful, shaky relationship was the last thing they needed and Madarame knew that.
    As for Sue, Madarame argument surprised me, but he might have gotten the impression the others tried to push her on him, when she gravitates more naturally towards Ogiue. He knows how it is to be out of his comfort zone and preferred to let Sue stay in hers rather than, again, hurt her. Her mysterious age perhaps also disturb him but it is just my speculation.

    Overall I’m glad this arc is finished and I hope the characters move on and we get to focus on Sue, Yajima and/or Yoshitake.

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  13. Nice explanation for Angela. Nice for Keiko, but i differ from the author of the blog about Saki being a problem for Madarame; i think the problem is with Keiko, and Madarame saw that. In any discusion, in an hipotetical relation, Keiko would mention Saki.

    Hato, i think the explanation was aceptable. He said so himself. Besides, it was obvious that Hato and Yajimacchi would have their own arc.

    But with SUE!!! FRAAAUUUDDD. What kind of answer is that? “You are too perfect for me, better stay like now because i`m a fool,” Ok, it`s credible that Madarame says something like that. But SUE! She declares her love for madarame. It`s unreal that she accept that kind of answer without more explanation. At least a private explanation. I`m a yuri fan, but that was not the moment for a Sue Ogiue. Highly anticlimatic.

    I guess Kio really didn`t want to lose Sue for the Genshiken. Maybe at the end of the manga Madarame will come back for Sue. But right now, that scene was unrealistic. Fake.

    So, he will sacrifice Madarame for a time, and keep Sue. New members will enter. As Kuchikiand madarame are put, he will need a male new character.

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    • I really agree with you. In eveything. Except that I think that Mada is the main character. There’s no way that the manga continues without him. So, I’m really starting to thing (and I hope to be wrong) that Spotted Flower IS in deed a secuel. SUE is my favourite option for Mada, in SF he’s not with her and that sucks… On the other hand, how can the story develop for Ogiue being actually the SF Ogiue like character? I mean, do you think it is possible in Genshiken reallity a MadaxOgiue??

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      • Don´t see that happening. Maybe at the beginning, after Ogiue enter Genshiken and draw about SasaxMada (at that time i dreamt about Mada Ogiue myself). But right now she is pretty fine with Sasahara, and even in an imaginary line where Sasahara was out, she has always liked semes (males with initiative). And Madarame, right now, is far from that.

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  14. After Keiko said her piece on why she’s OK with it, she gets her own little mini panel and makes what looks to be a very smug expression, like she’s totally content with this resolution. If Madarame’s relationship status changes though, I think her sense of satisfaction also changes. Hato’s been officially crossed off in my book. As for Angela, I feel that a scenario where they sleep together once can still happen, based on Madarame’s (and Angela’s) response. But Sue’s response was the most interesting. She was all happy go lucky when he mentioned her being lovey dovey with Ogiue, but when he says that she’s truly better off this way, her cheering stops. We get another mini panel and she gives a look that to me says “Should I be OK with this response/resolution to this arc?”. It really does feel like Madarame’s saying that she’s the one not ready for a relationship. I really don’t want think it’s over between Sue and Madarame, and by extension Keiko and Madarame.

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  15. Pingback: Boyz II Men: Genshiken II, Chapter 125 | OGIUE MANIAX

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