It's the start of a new year for the Genshiken crew, and that means recruiting new members. Always a dreaded task, The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture manages to get Chika Ogiue pushed onto them from the Manga Club. With her introduction of "I'm Ogiue and I hate otaku," this year certainly will be anything but boring.
This OVA links together the first and second season of the series and introduces the new members of the otaku circle known as Genshiken. It goes without saying that it's almost mandatory to have watched the first season prior to the OVA and while it isn't a catastrophe to skip it and just watch Genshiken 2 right away, I wouldn't recommend doing that. Not only because this is a direct continuation of the story. Moreso because it is pretty darn good; these three episodes are among the best entertainment that the series as a whole has to offer.
Genshiken follows the daily lives of the members
of a university-based club consisting mainly of otaku. They watch anime and read manga (Kujibiki Unbalance-related doujinshi mainly), play hentai games, put together Gundam models and visit the big fair known as ComiFes twice a year. Genshiken does not offer a quasi-philosophical storyline full of twists and riddles. There are some serious moments, but all in all we're talking pure, awesome comedy.
New to the club is Ogiue Chika. For some reason, she jumped out the window from the university's manga club and the chairman suggested that she'd join Genshiken instead. The first thing she says when she enters the club room is that she absolutely hates otaku. However, it is soon revealed that her secret passion is drawing and reading yaoi and it's hard for her not to imagine indecent scenes starring the male members of the club. Every time her secret passion is talked about, she gets flustered and starts blathering incoherently in her Touhoku accent. Ogiue alone makes Genshiken OVA (and season two) worth watching. I love her.
Another new member is Manabu Kuchiki. He made an apperance in the first season, but for some reason, he didn't join Genshiken. Kuchi, as he wants to be called, is one of the most crazy and whimsical characters I've ever encountered. In real life, I would hate him. However, together with Ogiue he adds a batch of randomness that the first season lacked and I can't help but love his frequent and crazy outbursts.
Genshiken OVA isn't impressive audiovisually. The art and animation are decent but far from marvelous. This being a comedy anime, it doesn't matter that much, in my opinion. Same goes for the music: it fits the mood and is rather enjoyable.
Genshiken's main strength is the characters and the two new members of the group add a lot of humour of the kind that the first season was lacking. The OVA is a great introduction to the second season and offers some of the best laughs I've ever experienced watching anime. Wathcing these three episodes of pure awesomness is an hour well spent.
Genshiken OVA's are the continuations of the 1st Series.
Story wise Genshiken is amazing but you can really say much because there are only three OVA's, but it’s really the same awesomeness of the Genshiken series
The music is the same which give it a Familiar feel. The opening and ending are great giving it more of a feel like Genshiken.
The Art is what really let these OVA down; the backgrounds are fine it’s just the characters. After the great art we had with Genshiken I thought it would be just as great but it is a real let down the characters look really
retarded and their expressions are even worse it looks like someone drew the characters in paint.
The characters are the same crazy otakus doing what they do best: be otaku. Some more characters are added and their lives continue.
If the like Genshiken then you will like the OVAs. If you hoping for the same art then you will be disappointed.
You will like the Genshiken OVA's if you’re a fan of Genshiken. It would be really hard not to like Genshiken unless you are a Shonen junky. You might find it hard to find the OVA's but you will find them eventually.
After the lofty standards set by Genshiken, I found the OVA's to be a big fat disappointment. The gulf in quality between the first series and the OVA was comparable to the difference between "Seikai no Senki III" and the rest of the Seikai no * franchise. I guess I should just be thankful that at least Genshiken OVA did not kill off its franchise like the way Seikai no Senki III did...
What can possibly go wrong in 3 episodes of Genshiken, which had previously shown so much consistency in the first series? Quite a lot, apparently.
The failings of the OVA's cannot be attributed to
the lack of new content. In fact, the OVA contains the introduction of two new characters, both of which feature in "Genshiken 2", so skipping them isn't really an option if you intend to watch the second season.. Well, I say they introduce two new characters, but one of them is a returning character, and it's one that I would have preferred to see the back of, because he happens to be one of the most annoying characters in the first season who, thankfully, only appeared in one lone episode. His presence was fine enough in that one episodes, but having him as one of the regulars really tested my patience.
The second character, Ogiue, is the more important one, because she is one of the central characters in "Genshiken 2". Her introduction isn't exactly the greatest, as she became a member of the society through some really contrived event. I don't really get the whole otaku hating part of her character either. But other than that, Ogiue does show some promising potential, and can probably be considered one of the few successes of the OVA, albeit a rather moderate one.
The returning characters provide one of the main reasons why I found "Genshiken OVA" so disappointing - they were just all so different from the ones I knew and loved in "Genshiken". Kasukabe seem to have lost her edge and become tame. I know she was supposed to have mellowed slightly in the club, but still, the change is so large when measured against what she was like at the end of "Genshiken" that she barely feels like the same person. What Kasukabe lost, Ohno appear to have gained. In "Genshiken", she was a very timid character, only expressing enthusiasm where cosplay is involved. In the OVA however, she has become a lot more aggressive and confrontational, almost unrecognisable from the Ohno in "Genshiken". Even Madarame, while not changed too much, appear to be going back through old ground by mulling over the feelings that was already subtly hinted but dealt with during one episode in the original series. Though it was never fully resolved in that one episode, I always felt that its unresolved state was probably the best conclusion of all... but now they've gone and dug it up again needlessly just to make more of a meal of it. But some things are best left alone, especially since in the case of the OVA, this exercise of repeating what was already done doesn't exactly throw up any new conclusions. The subtlety in "Genshiken" was one of the reasons that made it so good, and it's a quality that is sorely missing from the OVA.
And it's a feeling prevalent throughout that the OVA is a completely different beast from the series. Even on surface, the differences are clear from the style of the animation. In "Genshiken", the general feel of the art is suitably mundane for a slice of life, despite the odd moment where the SD (super deformity) effect is used. In the OVA however, the colours are brighter and everything seem more cartoony, more comical, with the feeling that the characters are more prone to suddenly go into SD mode. Being someone who likes his slice of life anime to be mundane, I preferred the old style.
Just about the only point during which I felt the charm of the old "Genshiken" within this OVA is at the "that's a definite fail!" moment at end of the "makeover" episode. I'd watched the original series several years before I watched the OVA. With so much of the anime's feel modified, and most of the character consistency thrown right out of the window, it probably would have been enough to make me doubt my memory of the original series had I not rewatched it before the OVA. The worst thing is that, due to the OVA being an essential bridge between the two seasons of "Genshiken" as opposed to standalone stories, I can't even pretend it doesn't exist, so it's left as a permanent blemish on the franchise.