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Hi Score Girl is the story of a beautiful romance where a young gamer who meets a girl who’s even better at Street Fighter II than he is. Though antagonistic at first, they begin to develop a friendship, and eventually something more. If you ever get the chance to read it, I recommend checking it out, as does my good friend Dave of Kawaiikochans fame. It’s a shame that the anime adaptation (and a lot of other things) got cut down at the knees due to SNK arguing copyright shenanigans.
I noticed a few things about the girl in the story. First, she has long, thick black hair. Second, when she plays Street Fighter II, she picks mainly big, bald, and/or burly characters: Zangief, Dhalsim, E. Honda. In fact, when she plays Final Fight, she selects Haggar. Third, her name is Ohno.
I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence or what, but I’m looking forward to the possibility that one Ohno might cosplay as the other. Also, now that I think about it, the Ohno in Hi Score Girl is more like a cross between Ohno and Sue, given her violent and eccentric temperament.
Ohno is worried about her job prospects, when Tanaka mentions that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to provide for Ohno. Misinterpreting his words as a criticism of her for not being able to support herself, however, Ohno decides that a career selling cosplay photo CDs might be in her future. During the photoshoot, Tanaka manages to clear up the confusion, and in the process even implicitly proposes to Ohno when he says that he wants to create costumes for her for the rest of his life. Ohno, who had downed a whole bottle of liquid courage in preparation for the photoshoot, decides to maybe stay another year in school (unfortunately).
Meanwhile, Madarame’s quit his job.
Chapter 83 feels very significant to me, a culmination of multiple threads but in a way different to the climax of the Saki-Madarame storyline. There’s the big plot development with Tanaka’s tacit proposal to Ohno, of course, but Ohno’s plight of employment (whether she brings it upon herself or not) has been around since before Genshiken II even began (and after Genshiken finished, technically, because it was first brought up in the Kujibiki Unbalance manga extras). Here, it finally takes center stage and we also get to see where Ohno and Tanaka have gone since they began dating so many years ago.
This chapter is definitely full of fanservice, particularly in how we get to see Ohno completely topless in private with Tanaka, but rather than just pointless titillation, I find that whole scene and its portrayal of (albeit obscured) nudity to speak of both the increasing maturity of not only the relationship portrayed but also of the Genshiken manga itself. The scene is portrayed with a strong sense of comfort and familiarity between Ohno and Tanaka, the kind where two people are just close enough with each other to bare it all without having it be an event. And while the nudity isn’t quite to the level of Spotted Flower, it still gives a sense that this is an adult’s world, at least emotionally and physically. Though not “canon,” for those who’ve seen the Genshiken 2 anime this chapter is a stark contrast from that episode portraying how Ohno and Tanaka got together in the first place, where Tanaka felt overwhelmed by his own inadequacies and awkwardness.
Even Tanaka’s “proposal” shows the level their relationship is at, as he naturally talks about a future with her moments before realizing what he had said (but still sticking to it). I also actually really love the change Tanaka made to his own words. As he realizes just how much Ohno has impacted his life, as he realizes that he was able to pursue his dream of working in fashion because Ohno was the perfect model and companion for him, he goes from having an attitude of sacrifice to holding onto his dreams no matter what. When he says he’ll find whatever means he can to keep making costumes for her, he includes Ohno in those dreams as a vital component, and I find the whole thing rather beautiful.
Seeing this sharp focus on the employment situation of so many characters, focused on Ohno and Tanaka but also giving us glimpses of Ogiue, Madarame, and even Kuchiki’s lives beyond the university, I feel that Genshiken more than ever has this real sense of life moving forward, even if people aren’t ready for it. Certainly it’s not an old or unfamiliar idea in the manga, with Sasahara especially getting some serious page time as he struggled to find a path for himself, but with Chapter 83 and Genshiken II in general I find that there are not only significant differences in the challenge each character faces in terms of work, but that with the new characters in Genshiken II you can really see a spread of values from people just entering college to people looking at marriage and the future, and how the former can turn into the latter but still seem just as strange. Genshiken has always been a seinen manga, but here I think it really starts to reach at an older seinen audience, beyond just the folks for whom college is a fairly fresh memory.
I’ve previously discussed using anime to support one’s Japanese studies, where I pointed out that it is very possible to do so.
Recently, this topic of discussion came up with a friend who also studies Japanese, and we determined that context can be very useful for learning any language, and in the case of Japanese that context may very well be the anime you watch. Just remembering a scene where a word is used can be enough to recall the meaning of something.
It might be looked down upon, but hey, whatever works, right?
Actually, more than anime and remembering vocabulary, I feel that making mental connections can be very useful in learning kanji. As an example, while studying with the help of flash cards I came across the word 油断 or “to be off-guard” and I immediately recognized it for one reason and one reason only.
Of course, don’t rely totally on anime, and don’t let it be the sole focus of your studies.
Name: Ohno, Kanako (大野加奈子)
Alias: Kannazuki Yohko (神無月曜湖)
Relationship Status: Dating
Origin: Genshiken: The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture
Ohno Kanako is a member of the Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture aka Genshiken at the prestigious Shiiou University, and is quite possibly the first willing female member to join the club since its inception. Ohno spent much of her childhood living in America and thus has a firm grasp of the English language, something shared by fellow female member Kasukabe Saki. While Ohno had previously visited both the Anime Society and the Manga Society at Shiiou University, she ultimately decides to stay with Genshiken due to their understanding nature. Although very nervous at first, Ohno slowly gains confidence in herself, eventually becoming a surrogate fujoshi older sister of sorts to Ogiue Chika and ultimately becoming the fourth Chairman of Genshiken after Sasahara Kanji steps down.
Ohno has very unique taste among fujoshi, one that resulted in her being ridiculed by many friends: A passion for middle-aged and retirement-age men that is matched only by Ohno’s love for cosplay. Ohno participates in cosplay events so often that she has to maintain a schedule. Her cosplay is so successful that she has become the main attraction of Genshiken’s booth at school festival. It is for these reasons that Ohno forms a friendship with Genshiken member Tanaka Souichirou, an avid costume designer, but it is their care and understanding for each that leads them to start dating.
Ohno is mainly known for her love of older men and her cosplay. However, all of that pales in comparison to the fact that Ohno will actively attempt to transform her friends into fujoshi and reinforce ones who already have taken the step. Though only implied, it is clear that Ohno introduced yaoi to her young friend Susanna Hopkins at a rather early age, creating a dangerously powerful female otaku in the process. It is this active corruption of the youth of America that earns Ohno Kanako a remarkable place among fujoshi.
A third post on this simple 3-page omake. Unlike the first post, there will be spoilers here, and this isn’t exactly fair game like the anime or manga, so this is your warning.
Ohno is waiting in the club room in a Yamada cosplay outfit. Ogiue, with hair down, comes in accompanied by Sue. Ogiue questions why Ohno seems to just be cosplaying for no reason, and Ohno in turn laments the loss of Ogiue’s fude. Ogiue says that she can’t wear her hair the way she normally does when she’s at work, which is fairly often these days. Ogiue then asks why Ohno is cosplaying as Yamada when she normally cosplays as the Vice-Chairman, and Ohno says it’s because the Vice-Chairman’s voice actor changed. Ogiue, switching her hair back to normal fude mode, asks how Ohno could be so tired when Ohno hasn’t even been looking for a job, and Ohno nonchalantly mentions that she’s actually postponing her graduation for another year. Ogiue accuses of her of purposely delaying her job search, which Ohno weakly denies. Ogiue tells Ohno that Madarame is the only super senior that Genshiken needs, to which Ohno replies that that’s not quite what Madarame is. Then Sue chimes in with
I’M IN DESPAIR! JAPANESE PEOPLE WHO CAN’T SEEM TO EVER GRADUATE HAVE LEFT ME IN DESPAIR!
Ogiue remarks that her despair is a little too valid. Ohno then says that Kuchiki will be gone by next year, implying that it’s a good reason to stay. Ogiue says she’s rather he leave sooner. Sue mentions that she’d like to see Madarame cosplay as Zetsubou Sensei. Madarame sneezes.
What can we learn from this?
First, is that this chapter clearly takes place after the events of volume 9. Ogiue’s un-fude hair is a direct reference to an image of her in volume 9 where she questions whether or not to have the fude at job interviews.
Ohno’s Yamada cosplay is from Kujibiki <3 Unbalance, instead of the normal series, and the implication is that this takes place in 2006, and Genshiken the manga has always been pretty good about maintaining its timeline. Sasahara, Saki, and Kohsaka all graduated in 2005. Further reinforcing this is the mention that Kuchiki will not be there anymore next year. So clearly this means that the Ogiue we are seeing is, in fact, Chairman Ogiue.
YES. Oh man, how I wanted to see Ogi-kaichou. Thank you, Kio Shimoku.
Sue is in Genshiken, and these events take place after her appearance at the beginning of Volume 9. I think that she has fulfilled her dream and is studying at Shiiou University. Her Japanese has improved considerably, as her remark that Madarame should do Zetsubou Sensei cosplay is not a direct quote or reference, but rather just her speaking normally, if with an American accent. Congratulations Sue!
Ohno delaying her graduation means that Ohno and Ogiue graduate the same year. I’m sure that was part of her plan.
I am thankful for the fact that even two years after my discovery of Ogiue, that I am still being provided with excellent material in the form of Genshiken 2. I am also thankful for the fact that despite its official November 26 release date, some book stores are already selling Genshiken Volume 9. Thus, I am thankful that finally, you can experience the complete joy of Ogiue and that I may finally discuss her with you in full detail.
I’d like to see Ogiue cook a turkey. It would probably come out as good, but not great.