Kio’s tweets this month feature lots of his preliminary sketches for Hashikko Ensemble! It’s worth a look if you want to see how the characters began.
All the drawings used for the cover of Hashikko Ensemble, Volume 8!
Kio comments on the passing of Fujiko Fujio (A), remembering a Ninja Hattori-kun story he loved where Hattori moved next door and turned the house into a ninja mansion.
The pet tortoise at an active time.
Kio recommends that B the Jin fan go see Oedo Coraliers, a chorus/gee club Kio previously worked with.
The artist Shigisawa Kaya is feeling conflicted about waiting for things to calm down but that never being the case. Kio comments that he’s finally gotten around to checking things off his bucket list, but it’s after 28 years as a manga artist.
Kio has always felt that preparing salads is a pain even though it’s good to eat more vegetables, but then realizes that he basically makes salads for his tortoise every day.
Kio went to the library for the first time in a long while. The drawing of Kozue talks about the feeling of getting an author’s new work, only to realize that it’s already five volumes long and also finished. He then recalls borrowing tons of books from the library as a kid and reading through all of them before going back for more, but looking back wonders how in the world he managed to make the time to do that.
Kio comments that it’s the season for haramaki (stomach bands), and jokingly states that this year’s Fanta vintage is good.
A drawing for Afternoon that didn’t end up in any of the collected volumes of Hashikko Ensemble.
Kio began sharing some preliminary character design drawings for Hashikko Ensemble. Akira is described as having a contrast between his timid personality and his newly acquired bass voice.
Jin’s initial background had him singing since he was five years old, and that he can even sing soprano.
Kousei the baritone was always intended to have a heavy backstory.
Shion was a more serious character, though had the quality of being made to learn piano by her mother, as well as having poor grades.
It’s interesting that some of the character designs changed significantly. Also, a few of these drawings were actually used in the teaser for Kio’s “new manga” back before the series began.
The student work uniforms.
Mimi-sensei, mostly unchanged. A capable person despite how she might appear, though lacking in experience.
Probably the biggest departure of all: A male character named Koizumi Yuusuke who would eventually morph into Akira’s neighbor and childhood friend, Himari. Described as an idiot who thinks he’s smart.
Kio mentions that people might ask “That’s it?!” when seeing how few planning drawings he does, but that’s just how he works. He mentions that he did have to design all the students in Class 1-5 afterwards, and that’s where Kanon, Kozue, and Shinji came from.
Kio elaborates on the point above that he tries to get a solid idea of how the characters will be in the roughs, and by the time he’s inking, he more or less knows how they’ll be. Someone asks if this was the same process he used for Genshiken characters, and he says yes. Kio also says that he feels the drawings feel the best in that rough stage and he wants to keep that feel, but that the designs inevitably change over the course of serialization.
An even earlier Shion sketch. Apparently “not owning a smartphone” was in there from the start.
A Chinese-speaking individual thanks Kio for all his work, to which Kio thanks them. Also, the person is clearly an Ogiue fan, and therefore a superior human being.
The rough versions of those early Hashikko Ensemble designs. Kio is asked how he came up with the names for Akira and Jin, to which he replies, “Intuition.”
To come up with various students and teachers, Kio gathered image references online and then started doing sketches based on them.
This month was the release of the 8th and final volume o f Hashikko Ensemble!
Kio saw the anime film Goodbye, Don Glees! and enjoyed it. He’s particularly fond of the last scene, which he likens to a large mosaic.
The man can’t find his copic markers, but eventually does.
Kio made his first trip to Akihabara, but took a different route this time. The last visit, he went to Melon Books, ZIN, K Books, etc. This time, it was Yodobashi, Volks, Yellow Submarine.
When asked if his interests are going from books to 3-dimensional things, Kio says that his interest in ero is growing weaker, while his desire to build gunpla is growing stronger.
Another reply shows Kio that the old Genshiken capsule figures still exist, to which he expresses surprise. He’s also amazed at how the swimsuit figures of Saki and Ohno managed to happen. The original replier says he likes this Ohno figure, but likes the bouncing boobs Ohno bust that came with an issue of Monthly Afternoon.
(Ogiue Manaix note: I have this one too, but I never managed to get the Ogiue counterpart because it was Japanese mail-order only…)
Countdown to the release of Hashikko Ensemble, Volume 8—the finale!
Kio mentions that the Hashikko Ensemble characters feel like they could keep going. (I agree.)
Kio was exhausted, so he ended up just drinking beer and falling asleep.
Kio’s pet tortoise isn’t going to have the garden space it used to, so Kio is trying to set up a habitat for it on his balcony.
The Kimura Jin super fan known as “b” talks about how pure and innocent Jin looks, and asks Kio if Jin is saying “ni” (two) in the countdown image above. Kio gives an affirmative.
A close-up of the back cover from Volume 8.
I had to ask if there’d be any limited store exclusives for Volume 8. Kio answered “no,” which helps me a lot because it determines how I order the book.
Kio thanks b for giving him courage.
Technically not Kio tweets, but manga artist Shigisawa Kaya drew some Hashikko Ensemble fanart! In the first image, they mention loving Kozue’s fat fingers.
Artist Ikuhana Niro mentions wanting to get a new back and shoulders sometimes, and Kio agrees with the sentiment.
The artificial rendition of “Kanade” by Sukima Switch, as performed by the main characters of Hashikko Ensemble, goes away April 25th, 2022! Make sure to listen.
Kio wonders who the heck “Nagayama Koharu-chan” is. (Note: It’s actually a weird troll account by the author of Chainsaw Man where he pretends to be a third grader into Chainsaw Man).
This month’s tweet highlights for Kio Shimoku are a little different: I’m doing them in chronological order rather than grouping them by subject. Tell me what you think!
January is also the month that Hashikko Ensemble ended. Check out my review!
Kio decides to drink and bathe at the same time, then watch some DVDs. He can’t drink the next day, so he hopes he can indulge in the moment.
Various model kits he built.
Kio talks about what a big personal step it was for him to start a Twitter, and that he’s gradually learning how to use it. He thought he had to do it at some point, and thinks it was good timing in more than one sense.
A compilation thread of all the various drawings he posted on Twitter over the past year.
Kio compliments a follower’s Kurotaki Mai fanart.
Kio wishes everyone a Happy New Year.
The man loves Dennou Coil, (like everyone of great taste).
Kio draws Kousei as a tiger man to celebrate the Year of the Tiger. B, the “I love Jin” superfan for the Hashikko Ensemble character asks if Kousei’s always been that buff (while also stating how Kousei’s cat-like qualities make the image work), to which Kio says he added a bit of fantasy to the drawing.
(Just as a warning, that Jin fan’s Twitter account is very NSFW. Their love of the character is serious business—as the Ogiue Maniax, I should know.)
Kio mentions finishing the manuscript for the final chapter of Hashikko Ensemble. When the Jin fan asks if the series got canceled, Kio says “more or less.” Elaborating a bit, he says he got the call to start wrapping it up in summer of 2020, but was given the opportunity to go past the School Festival arc and end on eight volumes total. For reference, the original Genshiken was nine.
Unbuilt model kits, including Girls und Panzer.
And Five Star Stories kits, of course. He actually got the first one as a gift from a reader!
Feeling some nostalgia from when he got this at Wonder Festival. A fan shows a similar arm from a model kit of theirs, and Kio replies that he was never able to get that one (the Mighty Beta).
Kio found an old L-Gaim Mk.II model kit he built 25 years ago. He loves the look of the mecha, and finds that it has a real “Showa” feel to it.
Kio got a new scarf, and decided to draw what it looks like with Madarame as the model. He saw it being called an ascot scarf, but found that it didn’t match his Google searches. “New York scarf” seems to fit the bill better.
In light of the death of famed baseball manga artist Mizushima Shinji (Dokaben), Kio reminisces about growing up with Mizushima’s manga. In his home, there would always be assorted volumes of Dokaben around, and he would read them voraciously. In his estimation, a lot of baseball know-how for kids his generation came from reading Mizushima manga, and he especially enjoyed the series Dai Koshien. Kio offers a prayer at the end.
Also, at some point, the Dai Koshien character Kyuudou looks like a Scope Dog from VOTOMS (I don’t understand the context to this).
Kio wanted to reference an old chapter of Spotted Flower for his manuscript, and opened his old file, only to remember that he did it in the program Comic Studio. He’s switched over to Clip Studio Paint now, and seeing Comic Studio start up took him by surprise. He also notes that Asaka-sensei had a different hairstyle in this earlier chapter.
B the Jin fan has a question for Kio, asking how Kio managed to get a music note generator version of Sukima Switch’s “Kanade” because it doesn’t seem to be for sale. Kio responds that he uses a program called Score Maker Zero by KAWAI, which can also sing using a synthesized voice. Kio can’t read sheet music, so it’s very helpful for him.
Kio says that he generated these notes for “Kanade” himself, and asks if B lives nearby. B thanks him and doesn’t say anything about location, but he does mention going to the high school that Hashimoto Technical High School is based on. Kio is impressed.
As Kio was rearranging his desk in his room, his pet tortoise awoke (after barely moving during these winter months), and then stepped out of its box, ate some food, went outside, and then peed and pooped.
Kio made a Hashikko Ensemble Youtube channel, and uploaded a video of his tone generator version of “Kanade” by Sukima Switch for two male voices. It’s supposed to evoke the image of Akira and Jin singing together.
Kio made a Hashikko Ensemble Youtube channel, and uploaded a video of his tone generator version of “Kanade” by Sukima Switch for two male voices. It’s supposed to evoke the image of Akira and Jin singing together.
Some old NEO-GEO games from his college days that he found in a cardboard box. They include a bunch of Fatal Fury games, Samurai Sho-down, and even Far East of Eden.
Every month, I collect highlights from Genshiken author, Kio Shimoku’s, tweets. This month’s provide some interesting insight into Kio’s work history beyond the manga he’s known for!
Kio started filling this bookshelf back when Rakuen: Le Paradis (home of Spotted Flower) began, and now it’ll be full in two years.
Later, he remarks (while promoting a half-off sale) that he only does three chapters a year, but somehow it’s reached the point of having so many.
Kio doesn’t know how to use the Stream Lines tool [for making Speed Lines] in the art program Clip Studio Paint.
Color proofs of all the covers from the Genshiken Shinsouban Edition!
The announcement that next month’s Hashikko Ensemble is the final chapter. “I hope you’ll all stick around to the end.”
Kio quotes a tweet about a special one-shot manga in Monthly Afternoon by Samura Hiroaki (Blade of the Immortal, Wave, Listen to Me!) about the life of the renowned second chief editor of Afternoon, Yuri Kouichi—a man who, prior to Afternoon, was responsible for bringing hits like Akira and Ghost in the Shell to publication. In the manga, Samura mentions his interactions with the famous manga artist Takano Fumiko, and Kio says in his quote tweet that he once worked as an assistant for Takano. He only did screentones for her, but she smiled and said to him, “I don’t care whether you’re a rookie who’s yet to debut—you did a good job.” The moment stuck with Kio.
3 out of 4 of the CDs for his 2010 doujinshi work seems to not be working. While he has the original 350-page paper manuscript somewhere (for a Star Wars parody called Sister Wars Episode I), he doesn’t know where it is. A fan mentions wanting to buy it, but Kio’s not sure what format he should sell it in. He also feels a desire to make Episode II. He’s had plenty of ideas for it, but he feels like he’s been forgetting them lately, so he probably needs to get it done sooner than later.
(Kio mentioned Sister Wars in his interview with the Vtuber Luis Cammy. You can read my summary of that interview here.)
Oguro Yuuichirou, the chief editor at Anime Style, gives high praise to Hashikko Ensemble and its characters, story, and visual presentation of music. Kio tweets being happy about it, to which Oguro re-expresses how genuinely good he thinks the manga is. Kio gives a thank you.
December featured an online extra for Spotted Flower that focuses on the editor character Endou. Kio responds to fan feedback, including from a fellow Ogiue lover and Twitter mutual of mine!
Kio is done with the last rough drawing, whose expression he changed around four times. A fan (who’s a huge Jin from Hashikko Ensemble fan) asks which character it is, to which Kio responds “the ostensible protagonist, Fujiyoshi,” and then reacts to the fan’s Jin profile picture.
Kio gets excited over fellow artist Ikuhana Niro making good on his word and getting a new car.
Kio bought another Motorhead figure from Five Star Stories.
Ikuhana Niro mentions that a new doujinshi of theirs is out, and Kio comments that he remembers how “that doujinshi” is under a different pen name.
Kio makes a cryptic tweet about not being able to ride the turbulent waves, and says, “See you tomorrow.”
We’ll come to know what “fogged glasses” looks like in the winter. I think this refers to Spotted Flower, but I’m not certain.
He took some kind of online quiz, I think, and the result it gave him was that he lives life on “hard mode.” Kio responds with “What the?” The test also apparently says that someone like him wants a life where they love and are loved. He thinks this might be fitting for a manga artist.
Kio got a back-support corset for when he has to do heavy lifting, like taking out tons of garbage.
Kio retweets Kotobuki Tsukasa (character designer for Saber Marionette J, Gundam: The Origin) talking about turning 50, and realizes he himself turns 50 next year.
Next month is going to be the end of Hashikko Ensemble, so I suspect there is going to be lots of reminiscing on Kio’s timeline. Here’s hoping!
These are tweets from mangaauthor Kio Shimoku from June 2021 that I found notable and informative. They include a number of early sketches from Genshiken, and his dreams of having a vacation home just for building model kits.
Genshiken and Related Drawings
Though he can’t quite remember, Kio presumes this is Ogiue practice from Genshiken. He thinks he made her too loli in these drawings.
Original Sue design from Genshiken. Kio thinks she comes across differently here.
Early Madarame. Kio thinks he captured the spirit of the character well. Character descriptions on the drawing include: close-cropped hair, thin, lolicon, high-energy, glasses, and likes fighting games. Originally, he was supposed to be the best at fighting games among the group, and his preferred main was Nakoruru from Samurai Shodown. The notes also describe him as being essentially the leader of the club despite being a second-year, and also that he likes to tease others.
(What I find interesting is that the fighting game skills went to Kohsaka, and that the character gained a lot more vulnerabilities in the actual manga. Those flaws are part of why people like Madarame, and here we see sort of what could have been.)
Ogiue autograph boards, the purpose for which Kio doesn’t remember.
By the way, if anyone has the actual final versions of these, I would like to make a deal.
A rough manuscript of a manga Kio was planning before Genshiken. It would have been an action series featuring magical sage powers (senjutsu).
The wife’s ex from Spotted Flower, crossdressing as part of a prank on the editor character.
Giant Robots and Model Kits
A custom design for a Zeong. Kio feels like he still doesn’t have what it takes to make this work.
A 20-year-old photo Kio took of a model kit he built. The robot is the L.E.D. Mirage from Five Star Stories, and the photo was taken with a non-digital camera. Airbrushing was probably involved.
Kio saw Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway’s Flash. Even though the Universal Century timeline has been around for a long time, the film is full of imagery he’s never seen before: what first class looks like for civilian space travel, a military mess hall that’s like a food court, the terror of having to move around the legs of mobile suits in combat. He was glued to his seat while watching..
A 1/144 model kit of the Waff from Gundam: The Origin. It’s the only airbrushed Gundam model Kio has, and he likes how it’s small but still looks chubby.
Kio’s first tank model kit: the Panzer IV Ausf.D from Girls und Panzer. Kio mentions not really knowing how to do weathering, and that he used the darkest paint from the Waff on this kit as well. He also likes how sharp the details are.
The first thing that Kio thinks of when he sees the term “plastic model training camp” is Plamo Kyoushirou, the proto–Gundam Build Fighters manga. He recalls wanting to be like the characters taking the kit boxes out and saying, “I’m gonna make the Dougram!” and “I’ve got the Real-Type Zaku!”
After he became an adult, he started collecting them to his heart’s content. It’s why he wants an extra vacation home, so he can have room for all the kits—though actually, he has so many he can’t add any more. But model kits keep on evolving, and he wants to keep up.
Kio continues to describe his dream of a lodging just for model kits that would have all the equipment and features needed to build kits, and stacks of manga to read. Then, he and the others there would go out at night for drinks.
After someone mentions that the possibility is closer than he might think, the conversation mentions a Wonder Festival dealer named “Backyennew.” Kio responds that he knows this garage kit maker.
Responses to Other Works
Kio recalls this crossover drawing between different Shounen Sunday characters. After trying to remember what happens on the next page, a follower answers that it was a kind of fourth-wall breaking moment where they mention that the other manga authors said to do this.
Kio watched the anime film Pompo: The Cinéphile, and thinks it’s a really interesting movie. He talks about how important the editing process is, and recalls that back when he worked on Gonensei [The Fifth-Year], he tried to cram every idea in. For that reason, the progress the character Gene makes as a first-time director is impressive.
By the time of Genshiken, Kio knew how to edit down better, though he actually just took the cut material and turned them into extras in the collected volumes.
The director of Pompo, Hirao Takayuki, is happy that Kio “of Genshiken fame” tweeted about the film. Hirao says he read Gonensei, and that the pain from that manga is still with him today. Kio gives him a big thank-you, mentions how young and inexperienced he was at the time of Gonensei, and compliments Hirao for the highly technical edits. Kio also says the movie being shorter is a good thing, and that he still want so get the second half of the limited-edition extra booklets.
…And here he is with both extras.
Kio says that even though he only read a little bit, Uncle from Another Worldis a manga that made him think that he’d like to see it as an anime.
In order to get all the limited-edition goods, Kio went to see Shin Evangelion four times. The fourth time around, he felt he could just sit back and enjoy the movie.
Kio points out that this song, “Ame” (Rain) from “Mizu no Inochi” (The Life of Water) is mentioned in Volume 3 of Hashikko Ensemble.
Kio went to see this mini concert by the Oedo Coraliars. He was blown away by the harmonizing.
This past month saw the unfortunate passing of Miura Kentaro, author of Berserk.
“I can’t believe it…Berserk is actually…”
“Whether it was his art, his storytelling, or his characters, he poured his overwhelming passion into everything. I’m trying to find the right words, but I don’t have them…My deepest and heartfelt condolences for Miura-sensei in his passing.”
Shin Evangelion Reaction
“I saw Shin Eva. It wasn’t an illusion. It wasn’t, right…?”
Kio watched a recording of The Professional: Anno Hideaki where Anno says, “I’m okay with dying for my creations.” This made Kio’s head spin. (Having come so soon after Miura’s death, it seems to have hit Kio extra hard.)
A rough nude sketch of Ogino-sensei from Spotted Flower and a preview of the next chapter out.
Kio’s first drawing of first-generation Kasukabe Saki from Genshiken in many years.
Kurotaki Mai from Hashikko Ensemble.
Otaku moments with Hasegawa, previously posted on the @hashikko_music account. She worries about having accidentally outed herself as an otaku, but when asked if she’s a fujoshi, Hasegawa responds, “That isn’t the setting this time.” Also, when Shion expresses interest in Miyazaki anime, Hasegawa considers going into the deep end: Horus: Prince of the Sun, Panda Go Panda, Heidi, 3,000 Leagues in Search of Mother, Anne of Green Gables.
More previous art. Orihara loves the “AMEN”s, and Hasegawa does a pose from what I believe is Hellsing?
The pet tortoise
Kio explains that the “broken Gouf leg joint” incident from Genshiken wasn’t exactly based on reality, but he had a similar experience as a kid. In a later tweet, though, he realizes that the reason it happened to him is because model kits in those days didn’t use polycaps on ball joints, which made for a less maneuverable limb.
Kio quit his habit of downing energy drinks before starting his work.
Spotted Flower is Kio Shimoku’s refracted-universe version of his hit manga Genshiken, but as the series goes on, more and more major differences crop up. Recently, I realized that one major change might be that a few characters are, in essence, fused together from different Genshiken characters.
Since her first appearances in Spotted Flower, there has been a certain character who looks and behaves much like Sue Hopkins from Genshiken. Outside of age—Spotted Flower characters are all far into adulthood as opposed to being roughly college age—the major difference between Sue and Not-Sue is that the latter has much wider hips and larger breasts. From the neck down, she’s much closer to Angela Burton, the other Genshiken American character.
I originally chalked up Not-Sue’s physical qualities to just being another way to slightly bend the details of Genshiken to make it “different enough,” but a recent side chapter of Spotted Flower, 35.5, makes me think that the merging of characters might be a recurring aspect of the series.
In it, Not-Sasahara racks his brain over trying to interpret Not-Sue’s signals, and the possibility of a threesome. As he’s trying to shake off the mental image of Ogino-sensei (aka Not-Ogiue) and Not-Sue together nude, he has an expression that is very uncharacteristic of Sasahara but makes him look just like Kuchiki, the annoying guy from Genshiken who has issues with boundaries. The resemblance to Kuchiki is further enhanced by the character’s hairstyle. This leads me to believe that Not-Sasahara might actually be better described as a kind of “Kuchihara,” though mostly dominated by the Sasahara side in terms of personality.
Endou, the “original character” who’s actually closer to Yoshitake than anyone else is probably not a fusion, but she feels like she belongs in a similar territory. In her case, it’s almost like she’s a mix of Yoshitake and a Genshiken character who never made it off the drawing board.
Not every character in Spotted Flower is a mash-up, as plenty map onto their Genshiken characters pretty comfortably. However, I’m keeping my eye out for any potential combos from now on.
Another month of Kio Shimoku tweets is here! The guy has finally learned how to thread tweets, which makes things easier for me. A lot of the month was promoting his books, as well as other titles in Rakuen: Le Paradis, where Spotted Flower runs.
Crossover Images Featuring Genshiken, Hashikko Ensemble, and Spotted Flower
Also, it turns out that teenage Madarame, Tanaka, and Kugayama doppelgangers (in an actual Genshiken club) actually did make a cameo in Hashikko Ensemble!
Old drawings from the @hashikko_music Twitter. In the first, Hasegawa is commenting that Sue has a nasty expression. In the second, Himari is about to make the same comment about Ogino-sensei, but is struck by their similarities.
More old drawings from the other account. This time, it’s Not-Sue holding Himari, only to realize it’s not Ogino-sensei.
Ohno and Mimi-sensei…and also Shion, who wants a grab.
Sleeping Tortoise Pose Series. Pose: Manji
Kio recalls a moment from 10 years ago, where a stray cat was curiously poking at the tortoise as the latter slowly tried to scuttle away. He remarks that, amazingly, this is the same tortoise who now actively rams the window asking to be let in.
Here’s how the turtle crawls in.
Thanking Taniguchi Jun’ichirou for his animation work on Genshiken. This includes Nidaime and the original series, where Taniguchi and Mizushima Tsutomu (who would later go on to direct Nidaime) worked on the infamous “nose hair” episode.
And another old drawing about washing your hands. I believe this was from early on in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kio bought an L-Gaim model kit!
Kurotaki Mai from Hashikko Ensemble with extremely realistic bunny ears.
Kio Shimoku has historically been a very private person, not even revealing his face until 2018. Shockingly, the Genshiken author had his very first audio interview, and it was by a Virtual Youtuber to boot! Luis Cammy is apparently a big fan of Kio’s work, and talked with him for a whopping 80+ minutes.
Translating the whole thing would be a whole endeavor in itself, but you’ll find all the notes I’ve taken from the interview. There’s a lot of it that’s all-new information and insight into Kio’s creative history.
Note that Kio has a remarkably deep voice. Personally, he reminds me a bit of Kugayama from Genshiken.
Also, as a final disclaimer, it’s possible I misunderstood some of the things spoken about. If anyone has corrections, feel free to leave comments!
Introduction and Miscellaneous
Luis has been a fan of his work since Gonensei (“The Fifth Year”), an early Kio manga and dark sequel to his prior work, Yonensei (“The Fourth Year”).
As part of their collaboration, Luis sang a cover of the Kujibiki Unbalance opening, and Kio provided drawings of Luis cosplaying as Ritsuko Kübel Kettenkrad for a music video. The video
It’s meant to resemble late 1990s to early 2000s galge/dating sim intros. Luis looks like Saki from Genshiken/Ritsuko already, so it was a challenge to differentiate her.
Kio learned about VTubers from manga author gatherings. He doesn’t watch YouTubers much, let alone VTubers.
When asked if he knew how popular his work was at the time, Kio said he didn’t really look at comments online, but felt he rode the wave of the era.
The very beginning of Genshiken was Kio wanting to draw otaku as normal people. He want to madk what he himself wanted to read.
Luis mentions that otaku and their status have changed drastically since the days of Genshiken (when otaku were picked on and persecuted), like how there are light otaku now. Kio says his daughter is in middle school right now, and to her, she doesn’t get the whole otaku-as-negative thing. A group of popular kids in her class have Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba merch. Kio responds, “Times have changed, huh?”
Luis talks about how even regular folks say they like her, and it’s like the wall between normies and otaku isn’t there. Madarame has become a popular representative of otaku (to the extent that he’s Kio’s visual stand-in for this interview).
Kio talks about how, in the very earliest planning stages, the first idea he sent to editorial was about the relationship between Madarame, Kousaka, and Saki. The love triangle was inspired by Ping-Pong Club, the nose-hair chapter in particular. That scene was thought up very early on, back when Genshiken was a mere chick. In a sense, Madarame and his romantic relationships were a part of Genshiken from the start.
Luis talks about her mahjong teacher, Saito Go (a professional player and mahjong VTuber), likes Genshiken. He especially remembers that scene with Madarame and Saki eating sushi together, and then not talking afterward on the train ride home.
Luis points out that Kio likes to use silent panels, which Kio agrees with. However, he thinks overdoing it with those types of panels isn’t good either. The nose-hair chapter ends in silence too. Luis says a lot of information can be conveyed in such panels. Kio says it can convey a sense of realism.
Luis points out that the recording was the day of Saki’s birthday!
When creating character profiles for the compiled manga volumes, Kio had to come up with birthdays. He actually used Gundam Horoscopes to think them up. [This has been mentioned in other sources before, like the Japan-only Genshiken Official Data Book.] Actually, it was sort of like a backwards horoscope, in that he picked a mobile suit that would fit Saki well, and decided the birthday based on that. Sasahara is a Ball.
Personal Questions and Family Life
Kio is into Gunpla. He got into it when he was a 6 thanks to his bigger brother. Plamo-Kyoshiro (the 1980s precursor to Gundam Build Fighters) was his “bible.” He would categorize himself as a plastic model otaku above all else. He still wants to continue it as a hobby, but he’s busy. In Plamo-Kyoshiro, the way they used cardboard boxes in the manga really sparked his imagination as a kid.
Luis asks if Kio’s daughter ever says, “Why is our home filling up with more [otaku] stuff?” Kio says that his workplace is different from his home, so it’s his workplace that gets filled up instead. Doesn’t think his daughter is an otaku, but can’t say for sure. Luis jokes about Kio’s daughter showing up on the live recording and telling him not to say so much. Kio mentions that she doesn’t know about this, so Luis responds that she could come in saying, “It sounds like you’re doing a broadcast with someone from Nijisanji.” Kio comments that she might actually know what VTubers are.
Kio’s daughter has always walked in while he’s drawing manga, so she’s been reading manga for a long time. Kio still reads current manga. Luis says that manga has become like a “communication tool” these days, like, “What? Do you know this title?” as a conversation starter.
Genshiken More In-Depth
Luis describes the first Genshiken as being about ancient otaku. She asks Kio, if there was a Genshiken Third Generation, would it have VTubers and stuff in it? What kinds of characters and what sort of content would it include?
Kio concurs that they’re ancient otaku. His thinking was, “If I try to draw something totally new, it’ll quickly date itself. But if I make them feel older, than it’ll age better.” He doesn’t consider himself to be on the cutting edge. Genshiken came from whatt he personally wanted to draw. As it continued, it progressed into fujoshi stuff.
As for VTubers, once they become old, maybe then they’d show up in Genshiken. Kio says that plenty of current manga have VTubers in them already.
Luis asks if Kio is happy to have ended Second Generation when he did, and Kio says yes. “It felt like, ‘That’s about where it should stop.’” He explains how the sequel started out as a one-shot, but he’s not good at doing extra stories and the like, so he kept on working on it. Kodansha editorial (the publisher of Genshiken) said he should do enough to fill one volume. It was originally supposed to be a short serialization.
Kio began with the thought of “How would Ogiue and the others continue the club?” and of course, it would end up with a bunch of fujoshi. But would it be all girls? What about guys? Hence, Hato.
Kio really went back and forth about whether or not to include a character like Hato. When he was drawing the manuscript, he kept having the feeling of “Is this really okay?” Coming up with the idea of Hato purposely using a more feminine voice is when he finally thought he could make it work. Fujoshi and otoko no ko (boys who dress convincingly as girls) are the main aspects of Second Generation. Kio didn’t want to put Hato through so much hardship, but as the story progressed, he felt that’s what should happen—though he did worry over it.
The original Genshiken was supposed to be in real time, and things moved quickly. But it stopped being that way during the Ogiue story at Karuizawa. At the time, Ogiue was a “problem child” when it came to drawing the manga, as he didn’t know if he could resolve her backstory. It’d be difficult to do that and still maintain the “real-time” thing, and he would’ve selfishly wanted to end the series in the Spring if it had stuck to being in real time. But it took multiple months to get through the Ogiue story.
The series was supposed to end at Volume 8, but then there were plans for the second special official doujinshi [the first one was included with Volume 6]. Because of that, they decided to continue the series up to Volume 9. The original Genshiken features Ogiue’s turmoil, and Second Generation features Hato’s turmoil.
Luis comments how there are the Ogiue fans, and then there are Hato fans. Kio responds, “The Ogiue fans really are somethingl…” and then trails off. [Ogiue Maniax note: I feel attacked.]
There are things that were hard to put into Genshiken, like sexual stuff. That’s where Spotted Flowercomes from. From here, the two jokingly pussyfoot around Spotted Flower’s similarities to Genshiken.
Luis talks about how Spotted Flower is a different world (tongue-in-cheek), but it has kind of a crossover feel. Kio responds that they’re ostensibly different characters. Luis replies that the series is like a “what-if” universe (if-sekai in Japanese).
Kio says it’s not supposed to be them, but through it, he can do what he couldn’t in Genshiken.
Luis says, “What-If Madarame has a ‘Why youuuu!’ feeling.” Kio laments the husband as well.
Spotted Flower was supposed to be just a few short pages for Rakuen: Le Paradis magazine. The resemblance to other characters was originally not planned, but is actually something he noticed after the fact. He didn’t explain the meaning of the title to them when he submitted it [madara means “spot” and saki means “bloom”], so they probably didn’t realize at first. So he figured, “Why not keep going?” and it developed along the way.
“And now there are four volumes,” says Luis..
Kio’s feelings: “It’s not a book that comes out often, but if it interests you, I’m grateful.”
It was one thing when it was just the husband and wife, but then he added the Hato-like character, and the Kousaka-like character, and so on. He still can’t really say for sure that it’s them.
Hashikko Ensemble and Kio’s Overall Career
Luis finds the Hashikko Ensemblemain character Akira cute. Kio says that he began with the idea that Akira would have that gap between his very deep voice and his shy personality.
Volume 5 of Hashikko Ensemble should be coming in September.
Kio says he’s been in the manga business for 25 years. Luis thinks all his works are great, in terms of information provided, emotion, and atmosphere all being wrapped up in them. “It’s no small stuff.” To Kio, he sees all the things she mentioned as his shortcomings Luis comments that she enjoys seeing Kio reflect on his work.
Kio is the type to regret not saying this or doing that. Luis remarks that this is a live broadcast—is Kio okay?
Kio doesn’t recognize his own voice when recording. Luis said she never thought of her voice as anything special but the fans would say it’s cute. Luis compares Akira’s voice to Kio’s. Kio never had any experience with singing or choruses, but figured, why not give Akira a deep voice like himself?
He thinks people who can come up with characters purely from imagination are amazing.
Hashikko Ensemble a story of the passion of youth, but Kio didn’t originally plan it that way. Like Genshiken, he wanted the story to be something ridiculous and fun, and landed on “chorus club high schoolers.”
Luis loves stories about the passion of youth (seishun), like Yowamushi Pedal and Big Windup. Kio replies that he’s never drawn manga in that vein—like Chihayafuru—but thought, “If I put all I had into it, could I draw one?” The characters in Genshiken are all pretty mellow. He wasn’t that good at drawing the kind of youthfulness that appears in Hashikko Ensemble, at first.
Luis makes the argument that the original Genshiken is a “passion of youth” story, because it’about figuring out what club to join and what to do? Like, Kugayama’s waffling on whether or not to draw, or Ogiue’s decision to go, “I guess I’m gonna draw.”
The kinds of “passion of youth” stories Kio enjoys are a little strange—not so much “hot-blooded stuff.” Luis describes Madarame as a hot-blooded otaku. As for being a passion of youth story, what about that story with Saki mentioning Madarame looks good in his new glasses?
Originally, Genshiken was supposed to be a club that doesn’t put anything out. One of the things that made Ogiue tricky is that she wanted to draw herself, so Kio had no choice but to make a story about her trying to get into Comic Festival [the Genshiken in-universe equivalent of Comic Market].
Luis says Genshiken is what made her want to attend Comic Market as part of a circle. She asks Kio if he ever participated as an artist. Kio says yes!
Kio released a doujinshi at Comic Market in 2003 (Luis points out that 2004 was the year of the first Genshiken anime, which Kio totally forgot about).
Kio did not use the name “Kio Shimoku” for Comic Market. He sold 200 books, which impresses Luis. For reference, Luis says that 100 is considered a lot, and she herself sold 50 copies of her own doujinshi at a Comitia [a major doujin event primarily dedicated to original, non-fan works].
The doujinshi was indeed pornographic, and an original work. It bears resemblance to Kujibiki Unbalance and Genshiken.
Luis talks about how big sister loves Kujibiki Unbalance, to the extent that she put out a pornographic doujinshi starring Ritsuko. Luis helped her a lot with it, including stapling it together.
“Putting out a Kujibiki Unbalance-esque doujinshi yourself is like actually being in Genshiken,” says Luis.
Kio also participated at Comic Market a second time—in 2010. It was a doujinshi based on a “certain space opera that uses Episodes,” flipping around the genders of the character roles involved. The inspiration was that with some wordplay, the title resembled the phrase “Sister Wars.” He drew what was supposed to just be a manuscript based on Episode 1, but it ended up being 350 pages. Kio wanted to draw up to six.
“Please complete it!” Luis says.
“But I wouldn’t be able to sell it!” Kio replies.
[Ogiue Maniax note: One of Ogiue’s characteristics is prolific output, just like Kio here.]
Luis asks if there’s anything he’s watched lately, old anime or new anime. Kio doesn’t have anything, and Luis says his free time to just sit down and watch without moving must have decreased. Kio agrees.
Kio wants to absorb more shows, but just doesn’t have the time.
Questions from Kio for Nijisanji
As future reference for manga, Kio asks if VTubers wear sensors to track movement. Luis responds that it uses 3D tracking. She quickly “corrects” that the animated figure you see is the real her.
Luis says that Kio’s participation in Comic Market makes his manga feel more real.
The two talk more about the Kujibiki Unbalance music video they collaborated on. Kio says it’s like a doujin-style fan work. Luis talks about how she has Genshiken and Kujibiki Unbalance merch. Luis has the Kujibiki Unbalance Ritsuko school swimsuit clear file drawn by the light novel artist, Yagumo Kengou. Kio mentions that the image was a request from him [Ogiue Maniax note: Not 100% sure about this last sentence].
Kio mentions that he gets some harsh comments, but others will say “That’s the kind of author he was all along!” But he doesn’t want to remember himself from the Gonensei era.
What an Interview!
There’s a lot to unpack in this interview. I hope to follow up with an analysis.
Also, I can’t believe there’s a Virtual Youtuber who’s into Genshiken, Kio Shimoku, and mahjong! It’s like someone designed a VTuber especially for me.