Commencing the 14,567th “This Month’s Genshiken Was Great” Discussion.
It’s time for Kuchiki’s graduation, and the members of Genshiken have gathered to celebrate . They haven’t really put much effort into wishing Kuchiki well, but their half-hearted gifts (flowers and a signboard with messages from everyone) move him to tears. Kuchiki, meanwhile, reminisces about his time in Genshiken, and how one of his greatest memories is seeing the Madarame Harem crumble in person, only to find out the news that Madarame and Sue are dating, which ruins his schadenfreude.
With graduation comes time for a new president, and Ogiue chooses Yajima. In spite of her misgivings, Yajima is eventually convinced to do it, especially thanks to support from Hato. The chapter transitions to a new spring, and Hato visits the club room, eager to spend time with his friends.
And So It Goes…
If anything stands out in this chapter, it’s the artwork. While I’ve felt the quality of Kio’s drawings have been fantastic these past few chapters, I can really feel that this finale wasn’t rushed at least in terms of the TLC put into it. Ogiue is beautiful. Hato is beautiful. Everyone is beautiful
The conclusion to Nidaime pretty much came about Chapter 126, so this one feels much more like an epilogue. In many ways, it mirrors the original ending of Genshiken: a graduation, a transition in power in the club, some delightful nerd moments, and then a positive look into the future for the club. In fact, both series all but conclude after the establishment of a romantic relationship, with a lot of “falling action” following.
The big difference in feeling is that one involves the graduation of Sasahara and Kasukabe, two very vital characters central to the Genshiken narrative, while the other involves… Kuchiki. While he’s been with the club for a very long time, even the characters themselves treat him as an afterthought. They’ll treat him with just as much respect as they think he deserves. As Kuchiki points out, they didn’t even bother dressing up for his graduation (and if you recall, their graduation trip was more of a “Kuchiki is going away” celebration excursion).
Kuchiki is Human Too
The big exception here is Hato, who in general tries to look good when he crossdresses, but I wonder if he has a soft spot for Kuchiki. It wouldn’t be anything remotely resembling romance, and might lean more towards pity than anything else, but he seems to treat Kuchiki with noticeably more restraint and tact than the others. This might just be in virtue of the fact that he’s also a guy, so even if Kuchiki pictures Hato as part of his potential “harem,” it doesn’t faze him as much. Kuchiki also inadvertently instigated a number of Madarame/Hato moments.
It might also be that Hato can kick his ass.
In a way, it feels weird that the series would end on Kuchiki’s big day. I think that many readers of the series wouldn’t even mind if he fell off a cliff. At the same time, he hardly ever got any real attention, and had nary a sense of character growth. Now, at the finish line, we see a rare moment of Kuchiki being genuinely happy. I’d like to think that, somewhere deep down, he realizes what a terrible person he can be, and the fact that the other members put up with him is something he can appreciate. Granted, that’s only one heartfelt moment in an otherwise incredibly awkward display of how not to behave as a human being. It doesn’t help him that he loudly declares in the middle of campus that he spent the prior day masturbating furiously to his favorite doujinshi.
I do find it kind of interesting that, when Kuchiki mentions that his desire is to create his own harem, he doesn’t exactly include Yajima and Yoshitake in it. It makes me wonder if there’s something to the two of them that puts him off.
Passing of the Torch
With graduation comes a new president, and this transition always provides plenty of delightful reflection and insight in terms of the characters. Seeing prior presidents fidget and their newly chosen successors doubt themselves is the kind of tradition I can support. After all, it once provided one of the best moments in Genshiken: Sasahara and Ogiue’s racy near-kiss. No such thing happens this time, but there’s still plenty to chew on.
In the past, new presidents were chosen because they either seemed likely to carry on the spirit of the club or because the alternative (Kuchiki) would have been far worse. Ogiue picking Yajima makes sense in this regard, because she always appears to be the most stable and grounded member out of all the new generation. What’s more, Yajima’s careful personality and the way she doubts herself often is indeed quite Genshiken-like, and the way that she feels caught in the transition between generations of otaku makes her able to understand a range of potential newbies. I also do love the fact that Yoshitake agrees that she would probably abuse any power given to her, and the role of advisor/confidant is about as perfect as it gets for a lover of history.
I also only just realized after reading this final chapter that Ogiue likely abolished the doujinshi honeypot trap tradition, where current members spy on new recruits from outside and then bust in on them while they’re in the middle of revealing their tastes. Being a victim of it herself and also not being a fan of embarrassment, I could see why the secrets behind this would not be passed on to the next generation, especially one with Yoshitake in it.
Speaking of movements between generations, it’s notable that Madarame does not show up in spite of his prominence in Nidaime. Granted, none of the former members show up at all, so I imagine that the goal was to focus on the current iteration of Genshiken for the final chapter.
Thanks from other Manga Artists
Accompanying this final chapter in Monthly Afternoon are a series of congratulatory images from 30 other Afternoon manga artists, including Yoshikazu Yasuhiko (Gundam: The Origin), Samura Hiroaki (Blade of the Immortal), and Suenobu Keiko (Limit). Fun for all, and I really hope it’s included with the packaged volume release. Samura clearly drew Madarame with the wife from Spotted Flower, so I think we know where his ship sails.
Final Thoughts (This is actually as long as a regular Chapter Review!)
I discovered Genshiken many years ago, back in my college days. I can’t quite remember if I discovered the manga or the anime first anymore, but I remembered how real it all felt: these characters reflected to a scary degree the thoughts, behaviors, and mannerisms of me and my fellow nerds. It was an enjoyable series to be sure, but then a study abroad semester to Japan would elevate the series to the apex of my love for anime and manga, for it was there that I discovered Ogiue. With her came a number of realizations, such as my extreme(ly strange) fondness for “dead eyes” characters, but also an overwhelmingly powerful emotional connection with her fear that her passion would hurt others. By the time I came back to the United States, Genshiken was actually gearing up for its first ending, but it and Ogiue would remain with me.
Ogiue Maniax originally began well after the Genshiken manga had ended. At the time, I felt I had so much more to say about Genshiken and Ogiue, so I kept writing about it. I followed the second TV series. I gave testimony as to how I became such a fan of the series. I started the Fujoshi Files. Gradually, this site became much more than a Genshiken blog, though it wasn’t quite ever entirely one in the first place. I was content with the overall direction of Ogiue Maniax, and my own fandom.
Then Chapter 56 happened.
One of my long held desires was to see how Genshiken would be like under the leadership of President Ogiue, and this one-shot (at the time, no one knew it would become the precursor to a new series) provided just that. Two things stick out in my memory about Chapter 56. First would be the art style. Back then, Kio had been coming off of doing Jigopuri: The Princess of the Hell, and it showed in how much softer and cuter the character designs were. Second would be the mostly female cast. If you look at the original end of the first Genshiken, it clearly shows a very different kind of club with male members, a natural extension of what Genshiken was like back then. This was a retcon of sorts, but it set the stage for a more thorough exploration of the changing landscape of otakudom. Where once the female fan was seen as this rare gem in terms of characters, Chapter 56 went above and beyond to show that things were different, and the presence of female characters as otaku and fujoshi would not only be normalized but dominant.
When the announcement that Genshiken would be getting a full-on sequel hit, I was ecstatic. It provided me with a feeling of renewal, but also an opportunity. Chapter reviewing Genshiken on Ogiue Maniax hadn’t been possible, and I thought it wouldn’t ever be. But now, if ever there was a series for me to analyze every month, it had to be this one.
At the time, I could look back and go, “Wow, it’s been seven years since I discovered Genshiken, isn’t that wild?” Seven has now become 12. I began as a college student who saw himself in Genshiken, and now I’m in a dramatically different place, with a well-respected (if obscure) anime blog, a degree from studying manga that required me to move to another continent, and many good friends whom I met not only through my love of anime and manga, but also because the fact that Ogiue confronted and conquered her own fears encouraged me to do the same. Both I and the world around me have changed, and the fact that Genshiken has also shifted to reflect this made it a constant source of fascination for me.
It was truly unusual for this series to spend so much time exploring the Madarame harem, but I think that it became the focus inadvertently because it overlapped so much with Hato’s own development. You had these two tracks of characterization, one from the old guard and one from the new, and the result was that it pushed the classic otaku question of 2-D vs. 3-D into new and unfamiliar territory. In the end, any of the pairings would have worked for me, and while relationship drama was probably the last thing people expected out Genshiken, the series defied even those newly created expectations at every turn.
While it would have been all right for Genshiken Nidaime to have been more of the same as its predecessor, I’m happy to see how different it became. It confronted a new world of and around otaku, it tied up one of the vital loose ends with Madarame’s unrequited love, and explored topics concerning gender, sexuality, and self-image that went even beyond Ogiue’s plight in the first series.
Now that Genshiken is over, that means the end of Ogiue Maniax’s monthly chapter reviews. That doesn’t mean it’s quite the end, though, as the supplements included in the collected volumes usually provide more insight and a true epilogue. And who knows? Maybe there’ll be more someday. I wonder where I’ll be in life at that point.
I’ve also been considering going back and reviewing the first series.
And please create that series I want where Angela is the main character.
So with that, I bid you adieu. OG(iue) 4 life.
Kio saying thanks and lamenting that he never got to do another beach chapter.
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There’s always Spotted Flower. ;-)
I’m sad to see Genshiken end for a second time. I’m kinda hoping that after a break, Kio-sensei returns to the Genshiken world. I’ve read that he and his staff are unable to keep up with current otaku trends outside of current popular series, which might be a reason the manga is ending. If true, then this would be it, except for Spotted Flower, for however long that continues.
Thanks for the reviews. ^_^
It makes me sad to think that this is likely the end of our wonderufl gensiken adventures.
I would definitely love to read any new thoughts on the first manga series you put together! I think I felt a similar connection to the original Genshiken as you and I actually think it really shaped my university life and beyond to some degree. I think it’s absolutely worth revisiting.
Honestly, the new series didn’t click for me in the same way; I think I’ve enjoyed reading your posts on it more than the chapters themselves! Thanks for all the work you’ve put in for the Genshiken fandom!
I always get astounded by the passage of time; Ogiue Maniax has been around for nearly 9 years?? Amazing! I thank you for your marvelous coverage of Genshiken Nidaime as well as all your fun posts over the years. I’m a little sad the series is over – but maybe there will be a third generation down the road.
(I myself date back to VHS fansub days and Anime Web Turnpike… so I’ve seen a lot of anime come and go.)
To think that it’s the last chapter and it’s focused on… Kuchiki.
Among all the characters, Kuchiki…Oh, please! Everything but Kuchiki!
Sigh, it’s always sad when a manga that you love reading ends.
For all we’ve been on tumultuous terms lately, I have always loved this series dearly and I’m sorry to see it go. (Again.) I’ve also loved following your reviews – I truly hope you decide to cover the original series as well, because I’d love to read more of your thoughts!
All good things…
I hope Kio can get a new series off the ground sometime in the future without having to tie it to Genshiken to attract interest. That always seemed to be the reason why Nidame even happened in the first place.
Well, hooo… ho. It has ended. And with Kuchiki, no less. I´d hit Kio with a wet sock if I could, but I can forgive him for giving us such a great manga for like, so many years. That´s more effort than I could muster. It´s not the perfect ending, nor a dramatic one. But it is realistic. Slice of life-like, and open-ended. I, for one, will look up your analysis on whatever Kio Shimoku creates. Those are good and sastifying to read!
Spotted Flower may suggest that the SuexMadarame romance didn´t last, because the protagonists look quite a bit more grown up. Madarame looks like he´s in his starting road for the middle thirties, and Sue´s very developed. Let´s see, then.
Why do you hate Kuchiki so much? As far as I can tell he’s a decent person who gets treated like garbage for comedy value but takes it on the chin.
I first found the Genshiken anime about 2005 and found it very interesting as I could identify with more than one character, then I got into the manga
and have all the published volumes.as well as Kukibiki Unbalance and the
volumes to date of Genshiken Second Season as it is called in North America. This is the first note I made about it.
“December 3 – 2005 Started watching Genshiken
An interesting story about a girl in love with an Otaku,
a bishounen otaku who plays games and watches anime but has
had to have help to complete model. The club supplied
the help, a talented sempai, not so bishi but nice.”
You can tell that I had no idea how the story about Saki, Makoto,
Tanaka, et al would be going
Nidaime is far different from the original 9 volumes except for two major
matters 1) it is all about anime and manga fans and 2) it is great. I have
followed it online and bought every volume.
No matter I am still watching at every chance all the Genshiken
anime again as I re-read the story in the manga and in “the Return of
the Otaku” as Madarame saves the world
Someone says above that they will have a hard time finding a replacement for Genshiken but there are lots of worthwhile serious and
less than serious manga to be read.
In the meantime I discovered lots of other manga about fans and creators of both manga and doujin. Some are just wish fulfillment fantasy
and other concentrate on education of the prospective fans as to the tools
of the trade.
One of the best was this story of an mangaka and her teacher.
AKUKAKU SHIKAJIKA Manga
Released: Author & Artist Genre(s):
2011 Higashimura Akiko Josei, School Life
This is an autobiography of the mangaka-author, whose real name
is Akiko Hayashi, which begins while she’s in her third
year of high school. Through her friend Futami, Akiko
starts going to an art class led by Kenzou Hidaka, an
intimidating teacher who spends much of his time yelling
at his students and keeping them focused on drawing with
the use of a bamboo sword. Akiko is initially confused by
the behavior of the teacher and her fellow students in
the class, but she keeps going regardless, eventually
becoming the manga author she is today.
I hope this gets translated into English and that I can afford
to buy it when it comes out. This by the way is the author
of “Jellyfish Princess”. The anime ain’t as good as the manga.
Another thing that happened along the way is that I started
reading the serious autobiographies of mangaka, specifically
“A Drifting Life” by by Yoshihiro Tatsumi and “Showa: A history of
Japan” by Shigero Mizuki. I got into Kitaro from that.
So I am a long way off topic of the end of Genshiken but each story
has two ends and you can always with a good story and that includes
a good manga, go back and start reading again.
Thanks for the comment, and for the recommendation on Kakukaku Shikajika. Now that I think about it, I actually have heard of this series through the Japanese television program Manben. I love Higashimura’s work, and I do find that Princess Jellyfish actually gets more amazing as it progresses.
I always find the positions that “stories about fans” take to be extremely fascinating as well, especially given how the perception of “nerds and geeks” has changed over the course of decades. For example, I’m sometimes asked why Sailor Mercury is my favorite Sailor Moon character, and it’s because when I was a kid there weren’t very many portrayals of nerds as cool and attractive characters. Nowadays, things are quite different, and you even sometimes get hateful, arrogant portrayals of nerds and geeks as superior. It’s not something I exactly approve of, but it’s interesting nevertheless.
I´ve read that one. AKUKAKU SHIKAJIKA is very autobiographical, as you say. It has already complete (all the volumes) translations in english in the internet, if you´re interested. It is interesting, because it is a very honest manga. The mangaka doesn´t hide the less than flattering traits of his own younger self, and the manga itself nudges the reader directly into the difficult relationship (non romantic, hey) they shared. Also, it is a better depiction in someways about the makings of a mangaka, than, let´s say, “Bakuman”. Not exactly at the industry level, but more into what really pushes a person into that path or career. There are interesting bits that are truly enlightening, at least for me in the personal level ( I did a degree on Fine Arts, so, I kind of “get” it.). The best work of Higashimura Akiko, I think.
I concur with you that Nidaime encountered its own identity. It´s not a perfect sequel (by the book) but it, at the same time wasn´t really meant to be that way. C´mon, that Risa and the possible wacky hijincks with Hato we will never see…
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I’m very sorry to see the end of genshiken. I preferred the first season, since it was more oriented to the different hobbies. Or it’s simply that I belonged to that generation and I didn’t identify myself with the new generation. But I’m still sad with it.
I, like everyone else on here, am saddened to see the end of Genshiken. This series was probably the only manga I actually looked forward to the next volume, I really loved its characters (Yoshitake and Madarame being my favourites). I do hope Kio returns to the Genshiken someday in the near future (As there really is so much more to explore).
Over the years, my love of Genshiken has softened into affection, but I will always cherish it for nearly replicating the experiences I’ve had of being a Madarame who goes to his university’s anime club long after graduating. And I have always liked this blog’s reviews as a chance to connect with other fans and read detailed analyses that pointed out subtext. I still reread the translated essay on the divide between old and new fans and their representation in Niidame.
So thank you – for making this blog, for letting me feel like I wasn’t alone and for keeping the discussion about fandom alive.
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Thank you for your reviews. Just like you Genshiken was a series that I found that connected to me and the other nerds around me. Especially when a variety of fujoshi were brought in which(seeing as I am a fujoshi myself) made me feel even more of a connection. I would love to have him continue to draw and possibly create a Spinoff for Angela or even Madarame & Sue’s relationship > v<(. . . Just me? Ok = v=). But for now :) I'm going to be grateful that this series came to such a beautiful close.
If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have know about the final updates (Thanks to no one updating the manga with the english translation online). :D Hope to see you do more awesome stuff. <3
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