The Fujoshi Files 110: Konno

Name: Konno (今野)
Alias: Kon (コン)
Relationship Status: Single
Origin: Genshiken: The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture II

Information:
A former classmate of Hato Kenjirou, Konno is a fujoshi who discovered that Hato likes yaoi and is inadvertently responsible for spreading the rumor that Hato was gay. A resident of Niigata Prefecture, Konno was a member of the high school art club along with Hato, Kaminaga, and her friend Fuji. Somewhat high-strung, Konno has feelings for Hato but has difficulty making them known, and feels a good amount of guilt over the incident with him in high school.

Fujoshi Level:
Unknown, other than that she always looked forward to Kaminaga’s BL work back in their art club days.

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AdviceFujoshi: Genshiken II, Chapter 94

Hato is back home in order to try and sort out his feelings. Kaminaga and Hato’s brother Yuuichirou are there too, and though Kaminaga (who now insists of being called “sister”) does her best to give advice to Hato about Madarame, her fujoshi brain interferes with her words and intent quite a bit. Eventually, thanks to a meeting with Konno and Fuji, Hato realizes that his feelings for Madarame mean he doesn’t want to leave Genshiken, and resolves to head back to Tokyo.

Chapter 94 is the first time in Genshiken that we’ve actually seen a character’s hometown life elaborated upon to this extent. Sure, there have been flashbacks, like Ogiue in junior high or Madarame discovering doujinshi for the first time, but ask yourself this: how many of the characters’ parents have we seen? The answer is just Hato’s.

Hato’s thought process shows that part of his turmoil is his desire to try and justify his own feelings, to try and compartmentalize everything internal into a consistent emotional map. It doesn’t appear to be a matter of latent homophobia, and if I had to venture a guess it might have more to do with trying to defy his past reputation when gossip spread about him reading yaoi and his classmates constantly made reference to how gay he is. It reminds me of a documentary I watched recently where a girl raised by two gay men talked about how she spent most of her life strongly insisting she was 100% heterosexual as a way of fighting back against the people who assumed that gay men would inevitably raise gay children, but eventually realized she was bisexual. Of course, I don’t know if Hato’s situation is quite the same, but I sense similarities. Kaminaga’s advice to essentially not sweat the small stuff, albeit filtered through her fujoshi self, is perhaps the moral of this chapter.

Kaminaga has grown on me more with this chapter. Her new hairstyle (did she dye it or un-dye it?) gives her a real “classical Japanese beauty” look reinforced by panels like the one above, which then clashes heavily with her ever-“rotten” personality. It’s an interesting contrast, and when I think more about it, the fact that Kaminaga is the way she is but has married (or is about to marry? it’s not entirely clear) a super normal guy in Yuuichirou speaks to something a bit different from the other relationships in Genshiken, even Kohsaka and Kasukabe’s. I think it’s because Yuuichirou and Kasukabe are different kinds of “normal.” One is a straight and narrow type, the other is socially successful, and it speaks to how “normal” is a kind of spectrum in itself.

Being Konno is suffering. Her own feelings for Hato turn this into a kind of love triangle, but Hato doesn’t even realize she likes him, and the fact that her advice of “if it’s causing you so much suffering, why not leave the club?” actually helps Hato realize that, yes, he does like Madarame after all. Not too long ago I wrote that a common form of moe we see is a normal life filled with a series of tiny tragedies, and I think that describes Konno’s situation quite well. I can only imagine how Konno would slide further into despair if she knew the person Hato likes is a guy. After all, when Konno originally learned about Hato’s crossdressing, she assumed that her responsibility as the root of all the gossip that had spread about Hato in high school had actually turned him gay, in turn sabotaging her own chances at romance. Of course, this isn’t resolved yet and Hato x Konno might actually become a thing in the end.

The best moment of the chapter in my opinion comes at the very end. We find Kaminaga drunkenly watching Yuuichirou and his old judo club buddies grapple each other under the influence of alcohol, clearly enjoying the fantasies inspired by reality. It’s unclear to what extent the redness of her face is due to alcohol versus perversion. Juxtaposed on the page next to a reference to a Whisper of the Heart reference (for Hato) and a Samurai Troopers reference (for Kaminaga’s own entertainment), it encapsulates her character pretty much perfectly, the manga panel equivalent of a bumper sticker saying “801 Fujoshi 4 Life.”

For any enterprising business folk, that one’s for free.

Speaking of business, Kio’s comments this month are about how Sue is a DLC skin for Akihabara’s Trip, a game where you search through Akiba and find witches by stripping them. Questionable qualities of the game aside, Sue is somehow incredibly appropriate for this, and would probably make the proper Those Who Hunt Elves and Doki Doki Majo Shinpan! references to boot.

Amazing Fantasy: Genshiken II, Chapter 76

If last chapter was crazy, this one is downright mental.Genshiken II, Chapter 76 is the origin of one Hato Kenjirou, and what an origin it turns out to be.

After the truth of Hato’s identity is revealed by his former senpai and doppelganger Kaminaga, Hato tells everyone the story of his high school trauma. As has been previously revealed, Hato was in his high school’s art club, which was populated by fujoshi. Though a fan of BL himself at that point he denied any interest, until one day he found himself alone in the art club with Kaminaga’s doujinshi lying there.

Taking it to the bathroom so as to avoid anyone walking in on him reading, his classmate Konno found out about it and completely misinterprets the “reading it in the bathroom” aspect in a way that probably most people would. Konno told her fellow club members, who spread the rumor through the school and Hato became “that homo.” To rub more salt in, upon graduation Kaminaga, who Hato seem to have had a crush on, ends up dating Hato’s older brother, Yuuichirou.

And it looks like there’s going to be more next chapter! Not quite a flashback perhaps, but something.

Honestly, I am completely surprised they revealed Hato’s background so soon into the run of the new Genshiken. While it probably makes sense given that it’s been something like 19 chapters at this point, I always thought they would save something like that for a much later period. Thankfully the origin of Hato is a solid one. It’s the degree of trauma that would most certainly make life miserable for Hato, but not so miserable that he would end up like Ogiue, who had to deal with suicide and deep self-loathing.

Hato’s backstory is also fortunately supported by some really interesting characters. Truth be told, I was just a tiny bit concerned as to how Hato’s old classmates might turn out story-wise, but I’ve turned out pretty impressed. Kaminaga for one seems like a character with many layers to her. If there’s one word I would use to describe her, it’s perceptive.

Throughout this chapter, whether it’s pulling off Hato’s wig as he tries to throw off the girls by pretending to be someone else, or when she brings up the fact that Kuchiki mistook her for Hato “for some reason,” or even in the extended flashback, Kaminaga shows herself to be really smart and observant in a way that might even exceed Kasukabe. Probably the character most similar to her in Genshiken would be Yabusaki’s friend Katou. On top of the fact that she could talk so candidly with Hato’s brother about yaoi (in spite of the fact that Yuuichirou had zero knowledge about it) and then start dating him on top of that shows a new kind of fearlessness.

As great as Kaminaga turns out to be, however, I think Konno might actually be my favorite character of the new cast, and not just for her saucer eyes, though I find them to be hilarious. It’s quite clear that Konno had a crush on Hato all through high school and did not truly mean to make Hato’s life more difficult by spreading rumors. I think that Konno just had to confide in someone in order to deal with this problem, and I can imagine that Konno felt inferior to Kaminaga in both looks and talent, and to have the boy she likes have only eyes for her must have felt bittersweet. Moreover, the scene at the very end of the chapter where Konno now believes that she’s responsible for turning Hato into a full-on crossdressing homosexual makes you want to tell her everything will be okay.

Poor girl.

The biggest mystery that still remains is just why Hato dresses like Kaminaga most of the time, and while a less savory answer would have something to do with how she started going out out with his brother, I’m more inclined to believe that it’s because Hato, in transforming himself into the perfect fujoshi, saw Kaminaga as the ideal basis. With all of the positive attributes mentioned above, which includes physical appearance as well, it makes sense. The fact that Hato probably had feelings for her really puts an additional twist on the whole matter, but I’m inclined to believe that it still all relates to Kaminaga as the ideal girl (of sorts).

Another thing to consider is the fact that this chapter reveals that Hato can draw well, like when he copies from a still life. Perhaps Hato, who believes he can only imitate Kaminaga’s drawing style, might have more of an issue with trusting his own imagination?

So, not a ton of analysis compared to what I normally do this time around, but I am definitely looking forward to seeing what happens.

By the way, Genshiken Volume 12 goes on sale in Japan on June 22nd. There don’t seem to be any special editions, so I’m grateful I won’t be spending as much on it as I have the last two volumes.