Review: Genshiken

About once or twice a year, there is a series that only (anime) otaku would be able to fully appreciate. Famous ones in the past, or that are still ongoing include Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai and Gintama. More recently, it’s been Lucky Star, Sayonara Zetsubuou Sensei, and of course, Genshiken 2 (amongst others that I don’t know much about – you’ll find them if you read enough year-end reviews).

The original series was heavily focussed on the male side of otaku, what with Ohno’s huge love for cosplay and the eventual production of a male-oriented (i.e. hentai) doujinshi. Hence, the second half of the series obviously had to introduce the female-oriented half. This was accomplished by the introduction of Ogiue, a closet fujoshi, in the first OVA.

I started on Genshiken when I was in Europe, though I didn’t finish watching until at least a year later, IIRC. It is one of those series that I remember cringing at a little when I was watching it, as I found out just how much of an otaku I was, but nevertheless, it was a wonderful trough of hilarity. Needless to say, I was always going to watch the second season.

To be honest, I wasn’t really into this series at the start of the second season. Whilst the OVAs were good, the gap between releases made it somewhat difficult to maintain interest. (With the Macross Zero OVAs, I actually waited 2 and a half years before I started watching…) However, once Ogiue started opening up and revealing her fantasies, it because a traumatising if exceedingly amusing experience. (In contrast, I found the first series simply hilarious.) It should probably be much more traumatising for any otaku who has amongst his friends a hard-core fujoshi…though I guess that it would work both ways. Call me naive (or just don’t believe me), but until I saw this series, I never thought about how otaku might think about their real life friends. In that way, this was a rather enlightening series. Despite the time problems that crept up once I had 7/8 series going, Genshiken 2 was one of the two that I never regretted starting. 8/10

So, well, you’d only see this if you saw the first series anyway. However, anyone who has started using the word “(anime) otaku” needs to watch this – I hope you’re not using the term on yourself! However, there are many types of otaku, as it simply refers to someone who has an obsessive interest in anything. By that definition, you could say that there are a number of otaku in the OkiJET community. And depending on the interest, it’s not necessarily a bad thing – in Nodame Cantabile, the otaku tendencies of the main couple are taken as evidence for why so many Japanese people and products are so successful. It’s not just about hard work: people who are passionate about something are the ones who tend to do whatever it takes to improve whatever it is that they love.

About karice
MAG fan, translator, and localization project manager. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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