You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘fujoshi’ category.

Name: Nakano, Amane (中野あまね)
Alias: A-chan (あーちゃん)
Relationship Status: Dating
Origin: Kiss Him, Not Me

Information:
Serinuma Kae’s best friend and fujoshi comrade, Nakano Amane shares in Kae’s penchant for pairing boys in their class. They disagree as to whether their classmates Igarashi and Nanashima should be paired in that order, or the opposite (7×5, Amane’s preference).

Amane is into seiyuu talk shows and otaku events, and has a non-otaku boyfriend named Mikoshiba.

Fujoshi Level:
Little is precisely known about Amane’s fujocity, but it appears to be comparable to Kae’s.

Name: Nishina, Shima (二科志麻)
Alias: N/A
Relationship Status: Single
Origin: Kiss Him, Not Me

Information:
Nishina Shima is an extremely wealthy cosplayer, fanfic and doujinshi creator, and fujoshi who finds herself attracted to fellow fujoshi Serinuma Kae. As the only girl among Kae’s suitors, as well as the only one who directly understands her taste for yaoi, Shima uses this advantage to get a leg up on her rivals. Like Kae, Shima is a fan of the series Mirage Saga and Katchu Love, but their interests in opposite pairings can cause some tension.

Shima loves beautiful things, though her definition of beautiful focuses on how people are inside. Though Kae believes she met Shima at Comic Market for the first time when Shima rescued her from a creepy photographer, in fact they had met much earlier. Shima had been interested in Kae prior to her weight loss, but was originally unable to recognize her after the fact.

Fujoshi Level:
The quality of Shima’s doujinshi is high enough for Kae (pre-transformation) to buy all of them. In addition, her collection of fujoshi material outstrips even Kae’s.

Name: Serinuma, Kae (芹沼花依)
Alias: Ekka (えっか)
Relationship Status: Single
Origin: Kiss Him, Not Me!

Information:
Serinuma Kae is a high school student whose dramatic weight loss as a result of the trauma of her favorite anime character dying gives her an inadvertent makeover.  Afterwards, she attracts the attention of a number of boys (and even a girl) at her school. At first unrecognizable to even those close to her, Kae’s devotion to her favorite pairings and series at first overwhelms her potential suitors (especially her extensive merchandise collection), but they all come to accept it sooner or later, especially given the genuine passion she exudes for her yaoi pairings.

Kae’s favorite series are Mirage Saga, which is home to her dearly departed favorite character Shion, and later Katchu Love, an anime about a samurai armor that can transform into a handsome man. She shares her fujoshi hobbies with her best friend Nakano Amane, as well as one of her suitors, Nishina Shima.

Fujoshi Level:
Kae’s fondness for Katchu Love and the pairing of hero Sametora Hyakka and his armor Akane may or may not have caused the angry spirit of the real Sametora to achieve peace and pass on to the afterlife.

Name: Sennokimi
Alias: N/A
Relationship Status: N/A
Origin: Moehime

Information:
Hailing from the Heian Period, Sennokimi is a part of the inner circle of Chuuguu, the Empress of Japan. Together, she and the others read literature from throughout the land about male-male relationships.

Fujoshi Level:
Nothing is known about the extent of Sennokimi’s fujoshi inclinations, though being a member of Chuuguu’s inner circle means she is at least considered very appreciative of it.

Name: Tomoe (十萌)
Alias: N/A
Relationship Status: Single
Origin: Moehime

Information:
Tomoe is a voracious reader and highly imaginative writer living during the Heian Period. Having an interest in BL (before the term existed as such), she not only regularly creates works of guy on guy pairings, but befriends a group of youkai who are also mostly into yaoi. In addition to creating works of that specific genre, Tomoe also writes regular fiction, notably “Collection of Rice Water.” She loves stories of men in adverse circumstances.

Tomoe’s tastes in BL vary, but she is especially interested in pairings where the older or senior individual is on the bottom. This can be seen in her pairing of the younger scissor merchant x older paper merchant, as well as writing stories where the Emperor is an uke. However, at one point, in order to enter the inner circle of Chuuguu, the Emperor’s wife, and gain access to her group’s collection of BL fiction, she writes a story about the Emperor and a pirate boy.

Fujoshi Level:
At times, Tomoe becomes so devoted to her pairings of real people that she will arrange for them to meet by “coincidence,” such as ordering scissors and paper from their respective merchants and timing it so that they run into each other.

It’s finally time to see Sue and Madarame’s date, which apparently involves ring tosses and ultra obscure references. After Hato comes by and advises Sue to express her feelings not in anime quotes but in her own words, Sue finds an opportunity to say what she really thinks of Madarame.

This chapter is all Sue x Mada all the way, and makes a rather strong argument for why they seem to fit together. Madarame is the only one high-level enough to not only immediately get Sue’s anime and Japanese pop culture callbacks, but also to build on them. What really stands out about their time together, however, is that we finally get to learn the truth behind Sue’s peck on the cheek during the school festival.

You might recall that it was a move to get Madarame to jump out of hiding so that Hato would notice that Madarame’s looking out for him after all, and that Saki saw the whole thing. When next we saw Sue, she would blush profusely whenever looking at Madarame, while denying any feelings towards him. The reason, as Sue explains, is that she herself thought she was just teasing Madarame, but having someone like Saki witness it made her self-conscious of the fact that the only reason she can mess with Madarame is because Sue views him differently. To Sue, Madarame is special. That’s why she can call him Nekoyasha and then ride on his shoulders. That’s why she can be so comfortable around him.  That’s why she can finally confess to him, and be the first of the potential four love interests to do so.

I think it makes sense. Genshiken is full of otaples at this point, and a Sue and Madarame relationship would be at the top of the food chain. Not only that, while “I’m comfortable around you” can seem like the most generic of non-reasons to fall for someone, we see how their interactions play out. To some extent, Sue’s able to behave similarly with Ogiue, and even make jokes about Ogiue being her “wife,” but there’s a certain understanding that it’s all a friendly joke. That’s how Sue was with Madarame, but now Madarame’s open-ness and existence as absolute embodiment of nerdery have transformed into a strange attractiveness. Moments when characters realize their feelings are always highlights of Genshiken, whether that’s Madarame and the Saki nose hair incident or Ogiue seeing Sasahara smile, and this one seems to shout, “kindred spirits.”

Visually, Chapter 118 is unsurprisingly the Sue Show. As a character that doesn’t talk much, her facial expressions carry a great deal of weight. Combined with her sharp yet wistful eyes and exaggerated further by her pale features, light-colored coat, and knee-length blonde hair, it’s like her nervousness and emotional tension either take over the entire page, at least whenever Sue herself isn’t being put side by side with Madarame and his darker features (mainly his hair). Nowhere is this more apparent than at the moment when Sue says, “Madarame, I like/love you.”

I almost didn’t want to include this image, just so it could be a surprise to even those who read this review before the chapter itself. However, I think it makes too striking a statement to leave out, especially when considering the fact that Sue purposely prevents Madarame from responding, as Hato hasn’t had his chance yet.  Also, there is arguably an even better moment at the end of 118, and I think I’ll leave that for you, the reader, to discover.

In the end, what I find interesting about all of the members of Madarame’s “harem” is that they connect to him in different ways. Angela’s attraction is physical, and while that might seem shallow she’s the one who brings to the forefront the idea of Madarame as a sexual being. Keiko is somewhere between physical and psychological, and her strategies reflect this. Hato has the closeness of being a guy, the intrinsic understanding of how Madarame might be thinking of a situation. Sue is as awkward as Madarame in many ways, one of their many similarities.

Next up is Hato, and this, perhaps, is where the show really begins.


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Name: Ominaeshi (女郎花)
Alias: N/A
Relationship Status: Single
Origin: Moehime

Information:
One of the four Heian-period youkai who comprise the “Kachou Fugetsu,” Ominaeshi is, much like the rest of her group and her human friend Tomoe, a bibliophile. Possessing a more masculine personality compared to the others, Ominaeshi also has the ability to manipulate plants.

Fujoshi Level:
Willing to read anything and everything, while Ominaeshi is not much of a yaoi fan compared to her friends, she is slowly becoming more of a fujoshi due to constant exposure.

As Hato becomes aware of Yajima’s feelings for him, a heartfelt discussion between the two ensues, where they share their doubts and beliefs about what it means to live with oneself. Though ostensibly a prelude to the last “date” of their trip to Nikkou, the moment between Hato and Yajima might well end up being one of the highlights of Genshiken Nidaime.

Over and over, I think one of the questions asked of Nidaime has been, why a harem arc? Why go for the most stereotypical anime trope that potentially damages Genshiken as this realistic depiction of otaku and fujoshi? Given how Genshiken has turned out in its exploration of Madarame’s awkward love life, one answer has been that it’s commenting on the disconnect between the fantasy of the anime harem and the reality of interpersonal relationships. This has been supported by the characters themselves sometimes even saying as such. However, there’s a second possible answer that’s arguably much simpler, and perhaps even extends out from the original series, which is a desire to portray greater diversity in the otaku population, and that includes a greater number of girls and women.

While I cannot attribute any proof of intent to creator Kio Shimoku’s goals with the second Genshiken manga, there are a few factors that have me considering this. First, there’s the higher female to male ratio. Second, there’s Hato himself, who is, suffice it to say, rather complex when it comes to ideas of gender, sex, and sexuality. Third, there is the greater emphasis on the idea of body image in Nidaime. I think this is perhaps where the “harem,” one of the most upfront formulas for having a heavy amount of female characters in a series, becomes integrated into this idea of diverse representation.

In this chapter, the discussion between Hato and Yajima essentially falls on what it means to “look” or “behave” like a woman. Yajima tells Hato that his crossdressing affects her deeply because it reminds her that she is not beautiful, that she’s overweight and lacking in anything that would attract men. Hato responds that he’s jealous of Yajima because he has to constantly put on this ideal act of being a woman in order to keep from getting found out, whereas Yajima naturally exudes femininity even when she does not fit societal standards.

Moreover, Hato remarks that he totally believes a relationship between him and Yajima would be possible, and fondly imagines the idea of being able to share a love of BL with a fujoshi girlfriend, while also specifically mentioning that not just any fujoshi would do (Yoshitake’s personality he considers possibly incompatible). The very things that make Yajima hate the way she looks, the tension of being a woman but not “acting the part,” are what Hato finds appealing about Yajima. And yet, Hato resists starting a relationship because he came to Genshiken to make friends, fujoshi friends, and doesn’t want to taint that desire and pervert it into a pursuit of a relationship.

There’s a lot to unpack there! We have a clear indication that Hato is bisexual, or somewhere deep in that middle area of the Kinsey scale. We have Yajima, who’s not even part of the Madarame harem, sharing these everyday questions that can haunt the mind and subtly cripple one’s self esteem. Basically, there are these two embodiments of so much inner and outer pressure, and they are opening up to each other in a way that, while it technically fails the Bechdel Test in multiple ways (one of them is sexually a man after all, let alone Madarame being a major topic of conversation), it speaks to something deeper about how people view themselves relative to societal standards. For example, why is there sometimes the assumption that an attractive woman can fall in love with an unattractive man for his inner qualities, but that an unattractive woman has no chance with a beautiful man?

On top of all of this, Yajima shows something that I think is truly impressive: she isn’t fully comfortable with homosexuality still, despite being a fujoshi. At one point, Yajima thinks to herself that she should tell Hato, who has said that a relationship with Yajima isn’t out of the question, that he should make the “right” choice and go with a girl. In her mind, she sees that as the proper way things should go. However, and this is key, she holds back because she realizes how much Hato has gone through when it comes to his relationship with Madarame and the soul searching that he’s had to do. Here is a character who is in her own way affected by the standards society puts on women, yet is vulnerable to assumptions of what is normal and what is not as seen in how she opposes Hato’s crossdressing for so long, and over time is learning and changing her mind at a pace that is her own. In the end, Yajima encourages Hato to try his best in his pursuit of Madarame, and it means so much given what Yajima is thinking and what kind of person she is. It’s a real struggle that is rarely talked about.

Diversity and representation are two of the biggest topics when it comes to current American comics and cartoons. Japan’s history in this regard is different, with things such as shoujo, BL, yuri interacting with a traditional and contemporary sexist society. In Genshiken Nidaime there’s something powerful, almost as if there isn’t an overtly political motivation to improve representation of other sexes, genders, and sexualities, but a simpler desire to show more of the world in all of its complexities using the tools of manga. I’ve had a feeling along these lines the entire time I’ve been reading Nidaime, but this is perhaps the chapter where it stands out more than any other up to this point.

(Obligatory Ogiue sighting)

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Name: Kazabune (風船)
Alias: N/A
Relationship Status: Single
Origin: Moehime

Information:
A member of the group of Heian-period youkai known as “Kachou Fugetsu,” Kazabune has a far wider knowledge of yaoi due to her ability to time travel. By creating an ark in the shape of a die, she can go into the future, a talent she uses to exploit the modern era’s photocopying technology. Kazabune also has an older brother with whom she used to share her books. Together, they created a secret code to communicate using sexual positions to signify Japanese letters. In terms of genre she prefers anything, as long as it’s hardcore.

Fujoshi Level:
In addition to exceeding the boundaries of time and space in order to maintain her record of yaoi fiction, Kazabune is able to determine whether a book has erotic content just based on the cover; an impressive feat when considering that BL from the Heian period only has written text.

Name: Izayoi (十六夜)
Alias: N/A
Relationship Status: Single
Origin: Moehime

Information:
One of the “Kachou Fugetsu,” a group of youkai in the Heian period, Izayoi is a strong-minded individual who will say whatever’s on her mind and will work hard towards her objectives. She has an eye for men, and often finds herself having the opposite tastes of her fellow Kachou Fugetsu member Kazabune. Upon meeting the writer Tomoe, she learns that Tomoe is the author of one of her favorite books, The Bamboo Prince.

Fujoshi Level:
Izayoi prefers works with strong “seme” characters, and appeears to be quite into BL overall.

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