Synonyms: The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 10, 2004 to Dec 26, 2004
25 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.841 (scored by 37052 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
comedy otaku school slice of life
SynopsisSasahara Kanji is a college freshman who decides to join a student society to share his hidden thoughts on manga, anime and gaming.
When he first visited Genshiken, short for "Gendai Shikaku Bunka Kenkyuu Kai" (Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture), his groundless pride was destroyed by the plotting of Madarame, a sophomore student in Genshiken, but he still couldn't admit that he is an otaku.
However, as he participates in society activities such as visiting dojin (private publishing) shops and anime festivals, and hangs out with other society members Kosaka (a hardcore otaku despite his extreme eccentricities and good looks), Kosaka's girlfriend Kasukabe Saki (who isn't really an otaku), Ohno (a cosplayer) and the others, he opens his mind and resolves that he will make his way into the otaku world. With their help, Sasahara slowly adjusts to otaku life in Genshiken.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Genshiken
Spin-off: Kujibiki Unbalance
Sequel: Genshiken OVA
Characters & Voice Actors
If you were ever sitting around with your friends one day talking about anime, munching on pocky, sifting eagerly through the plunder and spoils after a grueling day at your favorite convention, wishing you could find a date, dreaming about selling your own Japanese animation idea, and wondering about your future, well then, my fellow otaku, a show has been made about you.
Genshiken, adapted from the manga by Kio Shimoku, is about a college club for otaku who never quite grew out of the doujinshi, cosplay, and resin-kit building phase of their lives, and how the members of the club find support and acceptance in the eyes and hearts of each other when the rest of the world labels them as, in the words of one of the characters, "failed human beings". Reoccurring themes throughout the anime are the ritualistic attendance of a Tokyo-based doujinshi convention, Comi-Fes, hanging out aimlessly in the club room discussing the latest installment of Kujibiki Unbalance (a fictitious anime series that often acts as the catalyst for many of the series' early events) and dealing with real life vs. otakudom.
The story of Genshiken, much like the relationships between the characters, starts off uncertain and it may seem to the uninformed viewer at times stuck in second gear. But as the characters begin to mingle and expose their personalities more and more, so too does the storyline of Genshiken grow in cohesiveness and also direction. Fans of the slice of life genre will not be daunted by the slow beginning, and will find themselves hooked by the third or fourth episode, as the storyline picks up the pace and wastes no time with the pestilent fluff that is the downfall of many mainstream series today. In a lot of ways, Genshiken reminds me of Azumanga Daioh in that as the series begins, you're indoctrinated into a newly formed circle of friends, almost like a silent observer, but you feel like you're there because of the strong storytelling and realism; by the end, as characters move on with their lives, you feel that profound sense of sadness that one feels leaving their friends behind from high school or college as the next phase of life's journey awaits them.
Artistically, Genshiken is on the mark. Tsutomu Mizushima, who adapted the series from Shimoku's manga, was true to form in favoring a mute, more realistic color palette and style of artwork. The background artwork is never shunned and scarcely ever will a frame or series of frames be blatantly recycled. Viewers might be puzzled, however, as toward the end of the series there seems to be some sort of shift in both coloration and style.
The sound effects of Genshiken are average, but the voice acting might as well be deemed stellar. Clearly, the brightest and most illustrious of Japan's voice talent was assembled for this job. In a series like Genshiken, where bells and whistles and intense action sequences or gratuitous nudity or fan service can't distract you from poor voice acting, the seiyuu chosen from each role is a critical choice. Each voice actor fits their role flawlessly, especially the character of Harunobu Madarame (voiced by Nobuyuki Hiyama), a high-strung, ultra-hardcore otaku and fetishist.
I'm a tough critic, so my numbers may be skewed from what you're used to reading. But truth be told, Genshiken deserves a 9 when it comes to characters. Very rarely do you come across characters in an anime with real problems, real vices, and real dilemmas. Genshiken characters are not stock, folks. They're you. They're your friends. And you'll get attached to them so much that it hurts. It is purely the characters that drive Genshiken, an echo of a world all to familiar to the series' sympathetic viewers.
You'll doubtlessly get a lot of enjoyment out of Genshiken, and each time you watch it, you'll learn something new, not only about the show, but about culture and the world you live in. Henceforth, the replay-ability of Genshiken is pretty high up there. Overall, it's a great show and worth forking over money for that pretty DVD boxed set your friends will envy. read more
NOTE: This is a review of the entire Genshiken anime series including both seasons and the three-episode OVA.
The first question on your mind might be the same one that was on mine when I first heard about Genshiken; so I think it might be appropriate to answer it right away. What exactly is a genshiken? Genshiken is an abbreviation. This anime revolves around a university club called [GEN]dai [SHI]kaku Bunka [KEN]kyūkai which translates to “The society for the study of modern visual culture”. The club was, as it is explained in the anime, originally formed ten years prior in order to bridge the gap between anime, manga, and video games. However, with the blending of these three originally separated sectors in the recent years, Genshiken has somewhat lost its purpose and is therefore a very inactive club in the beginning of the series.
Genshiken is a comedic slice-of-life parody that revolves around the daily activities of the members of the club. Genshiken doesn’t really have a story with a set beginning, middle and an end. It is an episodic series that sets out to examine what it means to be an otaku in its entirety. The series touches on virtually every subject, issue and area of interest you can think of with regards to the otaku culture. It delves into Cosplay (costume role-play), Plamos (plastic models), Eroge (erotic games), Dōjinshi (fan-made manga that often contains erotic content), “otaku merchandise” (posters, limited edition items…), Akihabara (aka Akiba), anime and manga conventions, fashion, women, money and more. The only area that I can think of that the show doesn’t really touch on too much is with regards to hikikomoris or shut-ins (although they are mentioned and hinted at a few times throughout the series).
Genshiken is often compared to the Welcome to the N.H.K. manga and anime series. There are defiantly similarities but there are also some noteworthy differences. Welcome to the N.H.K. is about the very serious social issue (… or psychological disorder if you will) of hikikomoris and the continual increase of this problem. Welcome to the N.H.K attempts to examine this serious issue using bits of parody and comedy in order to better relate to the viewers, but all the while it never forgets the seriousness and severity of the problem. Genshiken on the other hand is more than anything a comedy. The show never gets too serious (… possibly a bit in the last one or two episodes of the series; but not really). Both shows do examine the otaku culture but unlike Welcome to the N.H.K which concentrates mostly one particular sector (hikikomori), Genshiken looks at the entire otaku culture. You may think of these two shows as complements to each other. Welcome to the N.H.K. fills in the hole that Genshiken leaves by not examining the hikikomori too deeply.
This anime, as you can probably imagine, is full of references to many anime, manga, and video game titles. The writers have tried to avoid using the real names of the titles and events in question in many cases (I assume to avoid lawsuits), but the references are obvious. You can expect to see and hear things such as Gungal (Gundam) and Comifes (based on Comiket which is the largest anime and manga convention in existence). There are also several references to titles that don’t actually exist such as Kujibiki Unbalance which is a fictitious anime series that is displayed throughout the series (Although, Kujibiki Unbalance actually does exist now as a spinoff result of the Genshiken series).
The characters are probably the best part of the Genshiken anime series. The characters each have their own unique personalities, hobbies and interests, and it is through these differences that the series manages to touch on every aspect of the otaku culture. Let’s examine some of these characters:
+ Kousaka Makoto: Kousaka is like a creature from another planet. On the outside, he seems to be almost every woman’s dream guy. He is good-looking, full of confidence, smart, friendly and on top of that he has a great fashion sense. However, the inside is another story. He is a complete otaku (probably more than any other character on the show) and he appears to be hopelessly clueless. If my memory serves correctly, he is at one point rightly referred to as “a race of his own” or something of that effect.
+ Kasukabe Saki: Kasukabe is a great addition to the cast mainly because she is not an otaku. She only appears at the Genshiken doorsteps because she is attracted to Kousaka. Her only desire in the beginning is to stop Kousaka from being an otaku (an impossible task) and she believes she needs to destroy Genshiken to achieve this goal. She is loud, outgoing and violent and hates everything otaku. However, she turns out to have good heart and eventually start to soften up a bit after some time at Genshiken.
+ Madarame Harunobu: Madarame is what you would typically picture when you hear the word otaku. He has the voice, the look, and the demeanor. As he himself says at one point, he is from “planet otaku”. He is also very non-confrontational and that makes him even more fun to watch.
+ Ohno Kanako: Ohno is a Cosplay manic with a cute face and a nice figure. When she is introduced into the story, she has just returned from studying abroad and has been somewhat out of touch with the otaku culture and cosplaying. However, it doesn’t take her long at all to get back into the groove. Most conversations with her somehow end up related to her cosplaying or her trying to make someone else cosplay. Her passion is only fueled when she meets Tanaka Souichiro who loves making cosplay customs, at Genshiken.
+ Manabu Kuchiki: Kuchiki or as he likes to be called, Kuchi, is by far my favorite character in the series. He is only a supporting character but for me, he induced more laughter than all of the other characters combined. Think of the most over the top anime character you have ever seen and assign a number to how over the top that character actually is. Now take the number to the power of fifty and you will have a general idea of how over the top Kuchiki actually is. He overreacts to just about everything and says things others would only think of but never actually say. One of my favorite quotes from the series is one that Kuchiki says about himself which roughly translates to: "when it comes to going ballistic, I've never lost to anyone!”
+ Ogiue Chika: Ogiue is introduced into the series in the three-episode OVA and sticks around for the remainder of the series. She fits perfectly into the Tsundere character archetype. Much to her dismay, she has a serious fetish for yaoi manga (boys’ love / homoerotic manga usually created by females). She is very self-conscious and her interest in yaoi makes her embarrassed enough to hate herself and by a process of transference every other otaku on the planet. Much like Saki, she also starts to loosen up a bit after spending some time at Genshiken.
+ Sasahara Kanji: Genshiken doesn’t really have any characters that can be called THE main character. But if one had to be picked, it would be Sasahara. Now you may be wondering why I am mentioning the main character last. The reason is simple. I found him to be the dullest of all of the characters in the series. He is the boring good-for-nothing harem male lead character that strayed from the yellow brick road and found himself in a non-harem anime. His only redeeming quality, as is common with male harem leads, is that he is nice. That pretty well sums up Sasahara Kanji.
There are other characters in the show that I would like to talk about, but the character section of this review is already more than large enough so I will be skipping the rest.
There is not too much to say about the art and animations in Genshiken. The art and animations are not great, but they are definitely more than acceptable. The style and quality of both can be compared very closely to that of Welcome to the N.H.K.
The voice acting is done pretty well and the characters match their voices in every case. My personal favorites are the voices of Manabu Kuchiki performed by Ishida Akira, and Mitsunori Kugayama performed by Nomura Kenji which I think are done quite brilliantly.
The music is one of the strong points of Genshiken. I love all of the opening and ending songs. Soft and mellow songs were chosen for the ending themes and more upbeat songs for the openings. The lyrics are great and the visuals are fantastic. I was especially impressed with the season 2 OP that contained Gundam lookalikes alongside a song that could very well have been used for a Gundam series.
In sum, Genshiken is a great parody slice-of-life anime that never takes itself too seriously. It will make you laugh and it will even educate you a bit at the same time by giving you great insight into the otaku culture. While full of fun and laughs, the non-story of Genshiken also has a moral theme. That theme is acceptance. Many unique and fascinating characters are introduced throughout the series and despite their differences they befriend each other and all manage to find some common ground. This anime belongs on your must-watch list.
shows about being an otaku...experiences, people you meet and the trouble being part of a subculture or fitting in the "normal" world...NHK goes even further...the main protag is a NEET and not only a plain otaku. Genshiken is much more light-hearted opposed to the often very dark sarcastic humor of NHK.
its more seriusly into the Okatu thng.. its as much as funny.. not much school stuff involved but it has more emotions involved in it.. etc its awesome
It's all about otakuness and relationships between people.
Genshiken is an anime about otaku.
NHK is about hikkikomori.
hikkikomori and otaku share many traits,and so the animes are similar. Although NHK has a serious undertone to it because it actually looks into the disadvantages and reprocussions of being a hikkikimori.
Both are looks into the social structure of Japan, primariy of the otaku subculture. This similar thread runs throughout the series.
Genshiken is a comedy focused solely on the otaku lifestyle, while NHK is a dramatic look at the larger society and at the human condition as a whole.
Though Welcome to the NHK's Satou technically isn't an otaku, he does start producing an eroge and is a hikikomori shut-in. I would say that whoever watched whichever show might be interested in the other even though the style, narrative and humour are completely different.
Both are otaku and slice of life themed. On a personal note, Genshiken is better than NHK Ni Youkosu.
Like Genshiken, NHK deals with different geek and otaku subcultures in Japan. Both can be simultaneously comedic and uncomfortable. However, where Genshiken stays primarily focused on light and geeky themes, NHK delves into the hidden, desolate lives that many social outcasts have found themselves in.
Many people are attracted to Genshiken because they see a part of themselves in it, and personally know the unique humor of being an outcast. But at the same time, the reality can also be very lonely, and even painful. In the end, NHK ultimately centers around one question: when a person has become completely trapped in a hopeless life, do they still have the ability to turn around and come back? Genshiken, on the other hand, speaks for otaku culture as a whole: at the core of their beings, are they really as strange as they're made out to be?
Both are about people who are otaku's even though Welcome to the NHK has a more serious tone and Genshiken is comedy and everyday school life.
Genshiken deals with otaku's and Welcome to the NHK deals with a hikikamori and a otaku.They both had the same feel.
It explores the Japanese subcultres in the same way like Genshiken but goes a step further while exploring many subcultres
Both animes are about otakus or NEETs, and the main characters have poor experiences in finding jobs and try to create a game and doujinshi. Otakus themed animes are more into how to interact with people but at time they include comedy scenes or ecchi. NHK is much better for its comedy.
both animes deal with oktaku-ness. i had some good laughs watching both these series
Both series concentrate on otakus. NHK takes a more serious approach and deals with hikikomoris in particular while Genshiken takes a much more comedic approach and deals with the otaku culture in general. Both however deal with a lot of similar things such as spending all your earnings on "otaku merchandise", otaku clothing, cosplay, women and the otakus...
These two shows are not similar enough to say that if you like one you will definitely like the other. However, if you find the subject matter of otakus and the otaku culture interesting, you will likely have an interest in both of these series.
(This recomendation is refered to Genshiken in general, not only the first season)
Well, both are of otaku tems and have some romance. But Welcome to the NHK! is for a more adult public, not only becouse there are more H tems, it also traets the terms in a more psycological way. Genshiken treats the topics in a more optimist point of view and all is more easy, while in Welcome to the NHK! it´s like a more real series, where not all goes well everytime and there are described the dark side of the people, like in real life.
Both are great great animes
Both animes share similar themes dealing with otakus. Genshiken's story is more broad, exploring the comings and goings of an otaku club in a university, while NHK's story is more focused on the story of an otaku hikikomori and a girl who is trying to help him
Both Anime are about the Otaku lifestyle, and the hardships Otaku's face. Everything about Otaku lifestyle are portrayed, including anime, figurines, games and more. Both anime also have very good life lessons and are actually fun to watch.
both are centered around otaku with main characters trying to make a dojinshi.
In both series we find a critique of social phenomena. If Genshiken shows us the depths of Otaku phenomenon, by people who assume who they are; NHK shows a figure exceeded by that, living in hikikomori (young adults who live isolated from the world and others, cloistered at home, the more often in their rooms for months ... or more). Both anime then you will discover these aspects of society, these sub-cultures in many situations sometimes completely offset and others incredibly dramatic. (Sorry for my english)
For starters, both series focuses on the theme of otakus. Yes, otakus who are obsessed with anime, manga, and video games. Both series takes the otaku theme and transform in into a cultural product, based on many Japan references. It is realistic and reflects on the typical "nerd-culture".
Both series follows a slice of life style that has strange humor, comedy, and occasionally some emotions.
Both series contains a small cast of characters but are highly likeable with the way they portray themselves, their dialogues, and their every day interactions.
Both series focus rather, "Down to Earth" issues in dealing with the everyday lives of young geeks, otakus, shut-ins, and outcasts as they attempt to find their place in society.
On one hand Genshiken doesnt have romantic stories.But still it's a slice of life and narration is rather melancholic.
If you like calm series about normal life, so you can enjoy Genshiken as well as Honey and Clover
Students from university trying to find happiness in life. Both anime are bitter-sweet, but they leave a viewer with a simile on his or her face, claiming that we really can be happy, even in spite of difficulties.
they explore similar concepts and ideas revolving around friendship, love, self identity and progressing through the various stages of life
Both series has a slice of life feel that details the main characters' every day activities and what the make of it during their daily lives.
Both series' characters has similar age ranges where they try to find a connection between themselves.
Both series are lighthearted and has comedy, drama, and some romance. Friendship also connects these group of friends together as they live out their days like most people.
Opening Theme#1: "Kujibiki Unbalance (くじびきアンバランス)" by UNDER17 (ep 1)
#2: "My Pace Daioh (マイペース大王)" by manzo (eps 2-12)
Ending Theme"Biidama (びいだま)" by Saori Atsumi
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