So it finally happened: I got my first case of COVID-19. I’ve been isolating, but I’ve also finally started testing negative, so I think I’m over the hump.
I already announced it on Twittter, but anyone who attended Anime Central 2023 should probably get themselves tested if they haven’t already. While I was masked for pretty much the entire time, I most likely had COVID-19 during the entire event, and it’’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the coronavirus.
While it might be too late for anyone who’s first reading about my COVID-19 case here, I still wanted to talk about it in this status update for a couple reasons. First, well, this is technically the “status of Ogiue Maniax.” Second, many people are afraid to admit they got COVID, worried that they might be looked upon negatively if they say anything, or feel a sense of guilt about how they put themselves and/or others in danger. But I think the more we publicly talk about it, the more we can reduce the stigma without downplaying the ongoing severity of the pandemic (it’s not just “the flu.”)
Thank you to my Patreon subscribers, who allow me to continue to indulge in this hobby of mine:
Kio Shimoku goes back to fulfill one of his old unfinished projects in this month’s tweets.
Replying to manga creator Kusada (who just got done selling at the doujin event Comitia), Kio mentions that he’s also hesitant about posting URLs to his 18+ doujinshi on Twitter for fear of being shadowbanned.
Kio has decided to undertake a rather massive personal project. Back in 2010, Kio sold at Comiket a very rough manuscript of a genderswapped Episode I parody called Sister Wars. Now, he’s turning the entire thing into a fully illustrated doujinshi. (Note that I will be making a separate post about this at some point.)
One person shows a Sister Wars drawing Kio did, to which he replies, “Oh…? Did I draw that…?”
Another person talks about wanting to own Sister Wars, but Kio says that if it’s something where money needs to get involved, then it’ll cause issues, so his intent is to keep it free and online-only.
Kio says the whole thing is 350 pages, but it’s someone he always wanted to do, and he feels that it’ll be a waste if he doesn’t use the free time he has now to work on it. He put a lot of thought into it beyond the genderswap aspect too.
When asked if there will be a female Jar Jar, Kio replies that the Gungans have been cut entirely.
Another commenter recalls there being no Jar Jar, to which Kio responds that other characters from Episode II were also cut, as they seemed to mainly be there originally to just make things more confusing.
Kio realizes a line during the theme song for the variety show/special series How Do You Like Wednesday? comes from a spoof drama they did called Shikoku R-14. Kio originally thought it may have been unused footage.
Finishing the drawings of the Kujibiki Unbalance dating visual novel, here are Koyuki and Chihiro routes as reviewed by Kohsaka and Ohno, respectively.
Some old Genshiken-related drawings. Kio couldn’t remember when it was or what it was used for other than being part of some multi-creator piece, but a fan points out that it was part of an Afternoon 20th Anniversary illustration, as seen on the above library card.
And a Genshiken drawing used for a calendar.
High-quality version of the cover illustration for Genshiken Volume 5.
A fan comments that they remember not being able to read the doujinshi the Genshiken club made, to which Kio responds that most people couldn’t [because it was heavily mosaic’d as part of the joke].
One commenter says that Genshiken is the reason they decided to first attend Comiket, with Kio going “Hoho!”
A Genshiken drawing used for the cover of a 2004 issue of Monthly Afternoon with Saki helping to zip up Ohno’s Kuradoberi Jam cosplay, and Ogiue staring awkwardly in the background. Kio also responds positively to people talking about how great Ogiue is in this image, even saying that Ogiue looks like she’s seeing cosplay for the first time. He recalls wanting to draw a scene that doesn’t happen in the actual manga.
I actually found my old instructions for the Kotobukiya Ogiue figure, as well as the glasses for her, all of which I had thought I lost! Kio retweeted it.
“For those feeling that Sunday afternoon ennui.”
Kio saw the 2022 movie Bullet Train. Even though the depiction of Japan is not at all genuine, he was entertained nevertheless. In fact, he even liked the scene in the quiet car. He really wishes he saw the movie in the theater like he had originally planned.
Shocked to discover there’s gonna be a Bullet Train 2.
Kio bought Go Go! Ghostbusters Club by Kusada, and mentions wanting to see more of the assistant and wanting to find out why the club president would start a Ghostbusters Club when they’re afraid of ghosts. Kusada thanks Kio as well. (Note that Kio often retweets Kusada, which is not fully reflected in these tweet summary collections.)
“The train has air conditioning.”
Kio saw The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and thought it was great.
He also saw the movie Psycho-Pass: Providence. Though he didn’t remember a lot of what had happened prior, he felt this was a must-watch.
Kio watches and reacts to the DVD for the How Do You Like Wednesday? special, How Do You Like Japanese History If We Only Travel by Late-Night Bus for Three Nights Straight?
(Without context, I can’t really properly summarize the reactions so I will leave it like this.)
Kio read Love Comedy Experiments Manga by Shima Toki and really liked the part where they have to stop right before climax (sundome). Shima thanks Kio as well. (Shima is another author who often gets retweeted by Kio; both them and Kusada all do manga for Rakuen, the magazine that runs Spotted Flower.)
Star Wars model kits.
Showing the Padawan hair braid.
While trying to figure out how to fix the warping in this kit part, Kio receives various pieces of advice ranging from pliers to dryers.
Kio answering a fan’s questions in English. No need for me to summarize!
I think this is Kio struggling with a model kit?
The art for a Genshiken DVD box set.
Kio building a 1/144 Gundam Aerial model kit. He added a bit of weathering effects to the paint job. It also felt like a long while since Kio worked on a Gundam kit.
Starting up on two more The Five Star Stories kits.
I find myself in a constant state of worry that I’m not doing enough with anime and manga. It’s not like I’m avoiding it entirely, but I think my very focused consumption of it has receded slightly both in an attempt to do things I’ve never tried before and to make up for time lost in other categories.
There’s an entire Breathof the Wild sequel coming out this month, and I’ve only just gotten the glider in the first game! I want to build my language skills in Japanese as well as in others. I worry about being the person chasing two rabbits, but at the same time am perpetually unable to pursue just one without regretting losing the other.
In the meantime, shout-outs to my Patreon subscribers, including a new supporter among the Sue Hopkins fans.
I’m actually going to Anime Central this month for the first time! I’m hoping to get to see Kubo Yurika (aka the voice of Hanayo).
And you probably have heard about this, but the Writers Guild of America has gone on strike to protest unfair wages from streaming and the threat of companies potentially trying to use AI to hamstring writers. Funnily enough, the last time a writers strike started was on November 5, 2007—the same month as the birth of Ogiue Maniax.
Kio Shimoku announces the release of his first original 18+ doujinshi in his tweets this month.
Kio made these cool photo/drawing composites featuring his characters sitting on the manga they’re from.
Kio drew his first original 18+ doujinshi, called It’s All Your Fault, Sensei, which is now available on FANZA and DLSite under the circle name ぼたん堂. Content note: It is futanari on cis girl, and in terms of depictions of sex goes well beyond anything shown in Spotted Flower.
Those who have been following Kio’s Twitter account might recognize one of the girls, as he drew an earlier version of her around the New Years in a bunny outfit.
New side chapters of Spotted Flower on the Rakuen website.
Kio mentions that had he wanted to draw what happens between Sasahara and Ogiue on the couch, it would have been “something similar,” though the original tweet has been deleted, so it’s not clear if he’s referring to his doujinshi or the fact that Not-Sasahara and Not-Ogiue are in bed together in the side chapters.
Video of Kio’s tortoise eating!
Kio learned the trick of modifying model kit boxes to make them smaller in order to store completed kits.
A doujinshi cover of Ritsuko from Genshiken Volume 1.
From Genshiken Volume 4, reviews of different routes in the Kujibiki Unbalance visual novel. Madarame reviewed Renko’s, Sasahara Ritsuko’s, Tanaka Izumi’s, Kugayama Kasumi’s. Kio agrees with a commenter that Ootani Ikue (voice of Pikachu) fit the character perfectly.
Good weather for the tortoise.
Kio sometimes finds model kits he forgot he bought, and then gets in the mood to want to build them.
According to Kio, drawing ero manga is sort of the opposite of regular manga, and that’s what made it tough for him when planning it. In regular stuff, his thought process is paneling -> text -> art, but for pornographic stuff it’s art -> text -> paneling.
Kio is shocked by the developments in Princess Principal: Crown Handler Part 3.
The tortoise stepped outside to rest, despite it not being all that sunny.
A rough manuscript of Kio’s 18+ doujinshi. It was originally 20 pages but became 50 in the final product.
Kio recalls a special on Do You Like Wednesdays? called “Butt Rhambutan.” A commenter finds a screenshot of the title screen.
Kio shares a drawing he made of the school doctor from his doujinshi.
Kio tells everyone to visit his Pixiv via the link on his Twitter profile.
The doujinshi manuscript is also on Pixiv.
Kio brought his tortoise outside and checked to see how it was doing, only to find it flipped over. He went out himself and flipped the tortoise back.
Art of Tokino from Kujibiki Unbalance from Genshiken Volume 1. Kio mentions that he actually forgot to post this in previous months.
April is cherry blossoms in Japan, and their fleeting nature is associated with an aesthetic valuing of the ephemeral in Japanese culture. I normally don’t get all poetic about it, but recent events have me reminiscing and feeling the passage of time. One month after the death of Matsumoto Leiji, one of my favorite character designers, Kimura Takahiro, passed away. Ash Ketchum is being retired as the lead of the Pokemon after two decades. Not one but two VTubers are graduating: Heavenly King Mirai Akari and Pikamee Amano, one of the lights of the early COVID pandemic. And just today we learned that Sakamoto Ryuichi of Yellow Magic Orchestra passed on the 28th of March—the second member to go this year after Takahashi Yukihiro.
March has been a big month for Kio, as Spotted Flower Volume 6 just came out today, the 31st! Not only that, but he’s been posting lots of high-quality art from the original Genshiken run, particularly about Kujibiki Unbalance.
Spotted Flower Chapter 42 is out.
Front and back covers of Spotted Flower Volume 6. Like all volumes, the underjacket cover features the characters in their underwear, and you can just barely see it peeking through.
Kio stepped away for a brief moment, and in that time, his tortoise claimed Kio’s electric hot water bottle.
Clean version of the title page image for Genshiken Volume 3.
A commenter talks about how the line “You have a nose hair sticking out” comes to mind. Kio replies that such a line would be in a Saki route, and it would lead straight to a Bad Ending.
Kio has finished the manuscript for his first ero manga, clocking in at 50 pages.
A model kit of the Knight of Gold (K.O.G.) from The Five Star Stories that Kio built. When asked if the kit is lacking a Buster Launcher (a standard weapon in that universe), Kio replies that there actually aren’t many design specs for the K.O.G., and modelers had to use their imagination to make these kits. Likely, the K.O.G. doesn’t have a Buster Launcher because it would need a counterweight to balance it.
Unfortunately, the head portion might be warped a bit, and might need some epoxy to fix.
Genshiken Volume 3 extras: Artwork from Unbalance Fighter, a fictional Kujibiki Unbalance doujin fighting game. Kio notes that while Berserk Tokino is based on Berserk (Orochi) Iori from King of Fighters, all her attack names are based on NECO from the game Zero Divide.
The strategies as they’re written in the volume are inspired by the guides from the magazine Gamest.
Starting from here are “screenshots” from Unbalance Fighter. Here is Renko and Yamada vs. President (Ritsuko). Supposedly this isn’t an unblockable, but it is an incredibly strict high-low mixup.
Someone asks if this game will ever come out. Kio replies that if anyone out there in the world wants to make it happen, well…
Renko and Yamada vs. Izumi, demonstrating Renko’s super move “Giant Swing with Yamada.”
Komaki vs. President. According to Kio, not shown is the following moment where Ritsuko counters with a Bajiquan elbow attack and sends Komaki flying.
President vs. Shinobu-sensei. Ritsuko’s fighting style isn’t based on a fighting game character, but rather Jhons Lee from Air Master. Kio is an Air Master fan.
Vice President Kasumi vs. Izumi. Kasumi is using her “Mist” (i.e. “Kasumi”) super to move through projectiles.
Vice President vs. Tokino. This “screenshot” demonstrates Kasumi’s great reach and jump height.
And Spotted Flower Volume 6 is literally out by the time this blog post goes up.
Renko and Yamada vs. Lisa. This is an animation frame from Lisa’s “Coin Toss” attack. A commenter mentions that they used to play a lot of fighting games (like KoF ‘94) but not anymore. Seeing the fine details of Kio’s explanations takes him back, though. Kio responds that the depth of the characters is based on SNK, and that he owned a NEO-GEO. However, the animation impact is Capcom-esque.
Lisa’s super being performed on Kasumi. As mentioned in Volume 3, Kasumi loses a lot of her abilities if she gets grabbed as a way to be lore-accurate at the expense of game balance (Kasumi basically faints if she gets hugged).
A commenter replies that in the modern era, broken stuff in fighting games gets patched, and this probably wouldn’t last. Kio replies that because Unbalance Fighter is a doujin game, it might have gotten a patch at some point.
President vs. Berserk Tokino (specifically, it’s “Tokino Drunk After Eating Komaki’s Brandy-Soaked Apple Cheesecake).
Berserk Tokino getting a perfect.
A Hellandeath mirror match. The character’s name is a reference to Fernandeath, the final boss of Waku Waku 7.
Kio got to use for the first time neodymium magnets to help stick together two model kit pieces that weren’t fitting right.
Kio reacting to the death of character designer and animator Kimura Takahiro. “What?! No…”
The title page image for Genshiken Chapter 18, which was later turned into a jigsaw puzzle. Kio tried to fill it with as much stuff as possible to make it good for a puzzle, but he feels like the results were iffy. One fan shows their completed puzzle, and as noted by another, it originally came in the Nov 2003 issue of Monthly Afternoon.
A fan recalls that the figure version of Ohno on the TV from Volume 3 was from a Wonder Festival. Kio replies that he has the entire series stored somewhere.
Kio’s Super Sasadango Machine plastic kit has arrived.
Kio is starting to build another kit: the Demi Trainer from Gundam: The Witch from Mercury. It has three sets of runners and no polycaps. He’s also resisting the urge to start filing things down right away.
Kio’s progress on the Demi Trainer. His comments are basically marveling at the quality and advancements of current Gundam model kits, including the lack of need for polycaps (which used to be the standard for kits in the old days).
The completed kit!
This is the art used for store display for Spotted Flower Volume 6.
Kio learns about “hell puzzles,” jigsaw puzzles where there’s no picture to help. Your only hints are the shapes of the pieces themselves.
Copies of the cover jacket for Spotted Flower Volume 6.
“Sprites” and “backgrounds” for Unbalance Fighter. Someone in the replies comments that all this fine and detailed work shows how much love Kio put into it, and they’re glad to know that he had fun drawing it. Kio responds that “youth” was also a big factor.
Spotted Flower Volume 6 will have exclusive illustration cards at six different stores in Japan. (For the record, I plan on getting the one at Toranoana).
The illustration from the cover of Genshiken Volume 4. Someone in the replies says that her wearing a mask feels like this picture is happening in real time, and Kio says he has the same thought.
In response to a hashtag prompt, artist and character designer Kotobuki Tsukasa shows a drawing of his from 30 years ago: a manga titled Go Go! Our Marbet-san, from his Victory Gundam short story parody series. Kio mentions having this book all this time.
The back cover of Genshiken Volume 4. Kio wanted to draw Izumi from Kujibiki Unbalance in a cute manner.
The famous and long-running Akiba Blog wrote about Spotted Flower Volume 6!
The end of last month hit with some tough news as the world learned that Matsumoto Leiji had passed away at the age of 85. I’m still thinking about what an end of an era that is, and I’ve been spending time with his works. In addition to finally watching more Space Battleship Yamato 2202, I decided to revisit my favorite anime of all time, 1979’s Galaxy Express 999. It’s as gorgeous as the day I first saw it.
This month’s Kio Shimoku tweets are a real treat, as he’s been posting a bunch of old Genshiken art without any text, including at least one piece that’s never been released widely see above)! Genshiken was also trending on Japanese Twitter thanks to being spotlighted on a TV show!
On Duck King’s birthday, Kio mentions that he used to play Duck King. He could do Duck King’s command throws from jumping or out of a block, but never from standing.
In response to a Kim Kaphwan player, Kio refers to Kim as a “demon.” Another commenter replies with “Obenjo Baby!” (Toilet Baby)—a mishearing of one of Kim’s attacks. Kio jokingly says he never could figure out what Kim was saying, so he’ll accept this interpretation
Kio bought a Playstation 5 and Elden Ring despite a lack of free time. He also wants to try SEKIRO.
A long-time fan asks him to please not die without releasing any new works because he was playing nothing but Elden Ring. Kio says he’ll be careful. (Others in the thread do not mind encouraging him to play more.)
These three books just happened to arrive in the mail at the same time.
Kio accidentally misplaced some parts for a model kit. Manga artist Ikuhana Niiro and Kio talk about how this sort of thing makes them grateful for the quality of Gundam kits.
Kio showing the parts he’s built. When asked if this is a garage kit, he says that it’s technically an action figure kit Kaiyodo used to sell, but it’s functionally a garage kit.
Kio found the missing neck parts from earlier: Turns out he accidentally threw them into the trash!
Kio built one of the kits from the box in this older tweet: Knight of Gold from The Five Star Stories. It turns out one of the parts that went missing earlier is actually for this.
Kio learns that Genshiken is going to be on the TV show Sukkiri the next week, on the segment “Hot Comic.” He’s excited about this, and naturally receives a bunch of congratulations from fans (too many to list in this post).
I will make an exception for this one person who says they love Ogiue and Sue. Kio responds “OgiSue! ……Or Sue/Ogi?”
Kio has been so busy with Spotted Flower and other things since the end of last year that he hasn’t had time to work on his ero manga project. Even though it’s the same amount of work that he had when doing a monthly series, it somehow feels unsustainable these days.
Speaking of, Spotted Flower Volume 6 will be on sale in Japan on March 31st!
Kio describes his ero manga as basically being a very ero manga–ey ero manga focused on the essentials.
Kio posts this old drawing of Madarame and Jin, to which someone responds that they wish they could see both Genshiken and Hashikko Ensemble continue. Kio thanks them, and says he’ll continue to work hard on Spotted Flower.
Kio attended Wonder Festival for the first time in a long time.
Another older drawing, but this time someone shows Kio that they have the hot-spring bathing Ohno bust that came free with an issue of Monthly Afternoon. Kio calls it a fine product.
Kio gives the disclaimer that Sue and the blonde who’s just like Sue in Spotted Flower are technically different characters, kinda sorta maybe.
An Ohno fan says they loved Ohno so much, they ended up with a girl like her, and that Kio is responsible for this “severe” crime. Kio jokingly says that’s unforgivable.
Repeat Saki drawing.
Someone started making a garage kit based on that Ohno drawing!
Genshiken on Sukkiri at 9:25!
A fan mentions that he used to be embarrassed to say the word eroge before Genshiken. Kio replies that they actually checked if there was any issue using it for the anime, and the response was “none at all.”
Kio finished watching Sukkiri. He jokingly equates hearing all the old lines he wrote 20 years ago to humiliation fetish play, and says he’s happy to see it regarded as a story not merely about otaku but about human beings.
Kio feels the depiction of otaku in media has changed since then.
Director Mizuhima Tsutomu (Girls und Panzer, Shirobako) mentions working as staff on the first Genshiken anime and the Kujibiki Unbalance stuff in there. He also worked on the Kujibiki Unbalance light novel as part of the group called “Yokote Michiko and Her Pleasant Companions.” (Yokote Michiko is a writer who’s worked on Genshiken.)
Kio thanks Director Mizushima, but is a bit confused, as Mizushima directed Genshiken Nidaime.
Singer Atsumi Saori talks about how if it weren’t for Genshiken, she wouldn’t have wrote the ending theme for it, “Biidama.” She’s grateful to the series for that reason.
Kio thanks her back, and talks about how he likes the fact that the song contains both happiness and sadness.
Manga creator Shikizawa Kaya describes Genshiken as if actual real people were chiseled and dug out for it. Spotted Flower uses an even sharper chisel, and results in something very thrilling. Kio responds with gratitude.
A fan didn’t realize that the name Genshiken Nidaime is in part a reference to the second club president. I.e. Madarame. Kio responds that this was one thing he considered when naming the series.
The official account for a Japanese plastic wrap company shows off their Kio Shimoku manga collection.
A Japanese model, Ikeda Miyuki (aka Michopa-san) said something along the lines of it being weird to experience works from an era before the concept of otaku had proliferated in the culture. Kio agrees.
A fan remembers the character Saki and the way she’d misplace the emphasis on the word “anime.” Kio recalls that as well.
Kio thanks a new fan, who discovered Genshiken thanks to their favorite VTuber talking passionately about it.
Kio thanks the host of “Hot Comic” on Sukkiri, actor Okayama Amane, as well as the staff for talking about Genshiken.
He then promotes Spotted Flower by calling it “What-if after-story, or maybe a spin-off, or maybe a parallel world—even the author isn’t sure.” He then shows the above drawing of Not-Sue and Not-Ogi and says “Characters like these show up.”
Kio is salvaging HD versions of old drawings from Genshiken.
Middle school Ogiue from Genshiken Volume 8’s title page.
The cover of Genshiken Volume 8. Also, it turns out that my Twitter mutual and fellow Ogiue fan Noori actually went to the spot referenced in the cover! Kio thinks that’s probably the place?
Another old piece of art from 20 years ago, this time of Ohno. Kio is not a fan of his old coloring skills.
Genshiken Volume 1 title page.
Kio attended a Choraliers chorus club mini-concert.
Genshiken Volume 1. “It all started here.”
When asked if this is also when Kubijiki Unbalance started, Kio replies that it was largely undecided at that point.
A reader talks about how he first saw Narita-san Shinso-ji temple through Kio’s work, and Kio recalls having drawn it.
Genshiken Volume 2 title page.
Kio responds with a “Nice!” to someone telling him that they grew up wanting a senpai like Madarame, and eventually found one after they started working.
Kio responds to the death of manga legend Matsumoto Leiji. “A great achievement…My prayers…”
A Genshiken drawing of Saki and Ohno on a bench from a calendar. It might have also been included with a supplemental CD.
Genshiken Volume 2 cover.
Ritsuko from Kujibiki Unbalance in a school swimsuit, from the back cover of Genshiken Volume 2. When shown a sealed figure of the same character, Kio points out that the figure in question is based on an illustration by Yagumo Kengou (who illustrated the light novels, and was later in charge of the designs for the anime).
A commenter mentions to Kio that the Midnight Blissed version of Hydron (Nool) from Capcom Fighting Evolution is clearly based on Ritsuko from Kujibiki Unbalance, and not only does Kio know that, but the artist who made those drawings has also made a Ritsuko doujinshi.
Kio responds happily to someone who made a real-life version of Ritsuko’s oversized helmet
Kio responds to someone posting an autographed drawing of Sue cosplaying as Ritsuko they received with shock that it’s been 10 years.
Genshiken Chapter 5 title image. It was actually gray in the collected volume. And as one commenter points out, they’re doing a Vagrant Story cosplay.
An early version of a drawing that’ll be in Spotted Flower Volume 6.
Title image from Genshiken Chapter 9. Kio notices that the colors seem different on Twitter compared to how they actually are, and one commenter replies that it might be because they need to be converted from CMYK to RGB for viewing on screens. Kio realizes this is the case and proceeds to repost many of the earlier illustrations.
The color-corrected RGB versions.
Kio bought a plastic model of Super Sasadango Machine, a wrestler from the comedy wrestling company DDT. He’s a parody of Super Strong Machine from New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
A beautiful, lovely, amazing, wonderful drawing of Ogiue for a 2011 New Year’s card used by the Afternoon Editorial Department.
I love this so much, I had to show my gratitude. I know he does it for everyone, but I’m glad to get his thank-you.
Kio responding to another person posting a signed Ogiue drawing. (Can you feel my envy?)
Kujibiki Unbalance art from the inside covers of Genshiken Volume 2. These have not been seen in color before.
Kio explaining about how the first anime had a special addition with the Kujibiki Unbalance OVAs, and this is what led to Director Mizushima helming the TV series.
The cover art of Genshiken Volume 3. Kio also replies to a commenter talking about how he thinks the quality of the old Genshiken trading figures is really high for how small they are.
It’s been many years since the late-2000s peak of the tsundere archetype, when the girls with prickly personalities all but captivated anime and its fandom. I was no exception to this—while I don’t consider myself a huge tsundere enthusiast, many such characters are included among my favorites. But as their novelty has aged into a well-worn trope, I’ve found myself almost forgetting how potent they can be in terms of the emotional force they exert upon fans. What‘s more, the reminder I needed was to realize how much has changed in my own life.
In certain ways, I’m not who I was 15 years ago. Mentally and emotionally, I’m in a different place, no longer constantly doubting whether my social awkwardness would ever keep me from connecting to others. However, I can recall what that felt like, and the crushing fear that it might never be overcome. And I can also recall the amazement and comfort I felt seeing characters who had similar struggles. This is essentially what led me to becoming so fond of Ogiue Chika from Genshiken and naming this blog after her. Her fight with herself felt so very real, even if it wasn’t exactly what I was going through.
It’s arguable whether Ogiue is a tsundere, but one can think of tsundere as characters who face a similar conflict between what they feel inside and how they wish to express themselves, but also boiled down to a powerful essence. There is a difference between the old-school and new-school tsundere (a distinction that’s quite long in the tooth these days), but either way, it is an easily digestible personal trait that can be eminently relatable. To see a tsundere lash out is to see a character fight within in a clear and distinct fashion.
You might hear someone say “I wish I had a tsundere partner,” and they could mean that they want someone straight out of anime—a crystalization of a fetish. But they might instead mean “I want someone who understands me because they face similar challenges.” It’s in the ability to occupy both spaces that the tsundere is strongest.
I originally did not intend to bring up Ogiue, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Not only does she skirt the kind of tsundere, but she’s also been portrayed as growing out of the inner turmoil she carried when she was first introduced. She is no longer the same person, and it’s reflected in her personality and even her visual design, but I still love the heck out of her character. Even though the severity of anger and awkwardness she carries has waned, the struggle was undeniably there, and its marks are noticeable. The tsundere is powerful because of how succinctly they capture a variety of heavy feelings in a digestible fashion, and it would behoove me to keep that in mind.
Last month, another Genshiken side character analogue finally appeared in Spotted Flower: the editor’s sister, Not-Keiko. I’m not sure if her having a kid (named Mani) should come as a surprise, but I am definitely not shocked that her husband appears to be an older wealthy dude named Michiaki.
The funny thing about Not-Keiko is that she seems to run counter to the common trends of Spotted Flower: illicit affairs, open relationships, and general promiscuity. In fact, this same bonus chapter features Not-Keiko asking Not-Sasahara about when he’ll finally settle down with Ogino-sensei (Not-Ogiue)—the latter of whom is living with Not-Sue in a very close and intimate way. Somehow, Keiko is the mellow and monogamous one. This story is an unpredictable one for sure.
In recent tweets, Kio has expressed a desire to draw porn manga, and apparently has been putting some practice in. I wonder if we’ll actually see his work come to fruition, and whether the lewder moments in Spotted Flower set the precedent for this.
By the way, Spotted Flower Volume 6 will be out in Japan in March! I’m not sure if it’ll include Not-Keiko, but at least it’ll have a lot of Ogino drama.