Another college semester begins and the returning members of Genshiken attempt to recruit new club members. Three new members join the club, attracted by Ogiue's BL drawings. She welcomes the new members but fears the club will become a "fujoshi" haven for yaoi fans and is getting a bit too far removed from it's original purpose.
I often find myself puzzled by the anime industry's undying obsession with high school. Genre or story appear to have no influence-- teenagers are here, there and just about everywhere else. It is rare to find an adult (or any character above the age of 17) unless they are filling the obligatory teacher or villain role. Which is a bummer, as titles like Genshiken show just how fun the university setting can be.
Coming after two full seasons, Genshiken: Nidaime might seem confusing or out of place. The characters' voices have changed. Nearly everyone from the main series has graduated and moved on with their lives. The identity of the anime club has shifted from a male-dominated space to a fujoshi-dominated one, pushing major characters into minor (sometimes non-existent) roles. Still, Nidaime is the same old Genshiken that we've come to enjoy. It may have a new coat of paint, and sure, a few extra screws loose, but everything that was great about the original Genshiken remains-- and more still. Change doesn't always have to be a bad thing.
The story of Nidaime follows Ogiue (now club president) and the horde of freshmen who (perhaps inadvertently) find themselves pulled into the Genshiken club. Most notable of whom is Hato, a male BL fan who... well, cross-dresses as a woman. Almost too convincingly, as he seems to have no problem pulling off a female voice.
Assuming you aren't a fan of effeminate males or BL, this will inevitably set off warning signals in your mind. Has Genshiken now turned into an anime for yaoi fangirls? Not exactly. Whereas the previous seasons focused almost entirely on the moe and yuri fandom, Nidaime merely flips that around and shows us the otaku subculture from the female perspective. Very, very rarely do we see that in anime. It quickly becomes apparent that, hey, males and females aren't all that different when it comes to enjoying nerdy hobbies. Even if you have zero interest in understanding the BL fandom, Nidaime's characters are still cute enough to appease both sides of the audience. Male viewers have just as much to enjoy here.
That aside, Hato's character is written with a surprising amount of maturity. He could very easily have been a vehicle for pandering, but he is not. There is a genuine reason for why he cross-dresses in the company of female otaku. Hato's friendship with Madarame also proves an interesting view on sexuality, as god knows how many anime would start and end his characterisation at "jk lol, he actually has a penis".
Speaking of Madarame, anyone who enjoyed him in the previous seasons (I'm sure there's more than a few) will find much to like in Nidaime. There is no shortage of him here. Sure, while Madarame's scenes may lack the usual craziness of his character, there is instead a much greater satisfaction in learning that he is an ordinary person like anyone else. He finally finds closure to his feelings for Kasukabe, and while Genshiken's strong point has surely never been its drama, the scene where Madarame finally confesses to her is easily the most powerful moment in the entire series. The drama works well here because it is not overused. It knows its place.
The only real issue with the characterisation is that while Hato, Madarame, and Ogiue receive plenty of focus, the rest of the cast (both new and old) are relegated to the background. Sue, Yoshitake, and Yajima are just along for the ride, occasionally adding to the conversation or having a funny moment here and there. Most importantly, what the heck's going on with Sasahara's new job as a manga editor? We never got to see what happened with him after the end of the second season. I suppose this is for the better, though, since splitting 13 episodes between a massive cast of characters would undoubtedly lead to nasty results. As for Coochie, well... you know what to expect from him.
Nidaime perfectly captures the otaku subculture that it is rooted in. Rather than parody it like Lucky Star or critique it like OreImo, Genshiken seeks instead to provide a realistic portrayal of the otaku lifestyle. Because the characters are adults capable of doing their own thing (unlike the billions of high school anime), we get a detailed look at cosplay, conventions, and even what it is like to sell ero-manga at Comiket. I have never had any interest in interacting with anime fans outside of the internet, but Genshiken has me thinking that it might not be such a bad idea after all. For the most part, anyway.
The visual quality is surely nothing that will blow your mind, but it is well above the average anime. The character designs look a bit more 'modern' now, though whether that is a downgrade or not depends entirely on personal preference. The added colour is also a nice change as I always found the previous seasons to be visually bland.
More impressive is the audio. The opening and ending songs are stellar, effectively conveying the light-hearted atmosphere of the series and continually bringing a smile each time they played. The biggest issue that people will have with Nidaime is the change in seiyuu, but after a few episodes it ceases to be noticeable. I actually thought that Ogiue's seiyuu was the same as before because it fit her character so well.
Genshiken Nidaime is a joy to watch from start to finish. Rather than be complacent as "just another Genshiken season", Nidaime takes the series a step further by realising the full potential of the setting. There is a sense of maturity to the dialogue and characterisation that so few anime have managed to accomplish. It is truly the anime industry's strongest portrayal of the otaku subculture, and a damn good show in its own right.
Hey, Japan, can we have more anime like Genshiken?read more
“To a hikikomori, winter is painful because everything feels cold, frozen over, and lonely. To a hikikomori, spring is also painful because everyone is in a good mood and therefore enviable. Summer, of course, is especially painful...” - Welcome to the N.H.K.
For most fans of anime or manga, we might all once experienced a moment when we went through a phase where we couldn't stop watching/reading a piece of work from a franchise until we get that feeling of, “ah, now that was a masterpiece....”. I know I have and those moments feels great especially for something we've enjoyed. However, it may also feel a bit painful as well. Then again, there's always a better series out there in the future that comes by. (most times anyways) Why am I saying this? Well, that's because I've enjoyed the previous seasons of Genshiken and never thought the day another season would be adapted. Then, a news came in the month of January of 2013. Genshiken gets another adaptation. From there, I thought, “Thank you wishing stone, thank you”.
Genshiken Nidaime is a new season adapted from the manga of the same name written by Shimoku Kio. There's a few important points to take notice here though. Even though the series is titled as such, it is imperative to watch the previous seasons and from my perspectives the OVAs as well. The reason being that is because some of the main characters from the previous seasons all make their debuts but plays more of a minor role. Therefore, to get a satisfying experience, I recommend watching the previous seasons in order.
For a brief refreshment, the show Genshiken is an abbreviation of a club's name - Gendai Shikaku Bunka Kenkyūkai. As for the club itself, it consists of a group of young college students that embraces the otaku culture and its lifestyle. As such, prepare to experience references from other franchise (anime/manga/video games) thrown at your face every episode. These can include popular anime from both the past and present times such as Madoka, School Days, Squid Girl, Bakemonogatari, and the list goes so on. The show constantly portrays the otaku culture as a fun way of lifestyle presented in a comedy manner. This is especially true involving the characters' cast of this series.
This season follows a set of characters that offers a different type of enjoyment for viewers. Chika Ogiue now plays a sort of leader role in her position at the club. In fact, she even manages to recruit new members with her artistical skills. These new characters offer a fun new outlook on the show especially in the comedy department. It's no surprise though that the new characters seems to have some trouble adjusting to the club at first. In fact, one particular character is a cross-dresser that seems to have trouble getting in and out of his clothing. At many variances, it plays on the gender bender trope with humorous results along with compromising situations. However despite this, the clubs' members continues to bring forth entertainment and offers great promise.
For returning characters, there are some noticeable ones such as Susanna Hopins and Marunobu Madarame. In particular, Susanna takes the role of the cosplay girl portraying as various characters from other popular series. For fans unfamiliar with her, Susanna is the type of girl who is antisocial but comes with a great fascination in yaoi. The way she blurts out various anime and manga references is also hilariously amusing. Marunobu's return to the show is also quite refreshing as there's not much change to his character. He is still in love with a particular girl from the previous series but at the same time offers to help out a new crossdressing member of the club. Other characters from the show also makes their cameos from here and there to progresses through the slice of life style of Genshiken.
The new club members might be a bit difficult to get used to at first. Even for some people, the gender bender theme plays on the new member of the club, Kenjirou Hato. Nicknamed as the “mysterious beauty”, Hato embraces on a feminine side by putting on a wig, speaking in a feminine voice, and attends the club meetings as a 'girl'. This spells out some awkward moments and confusion at first. Even later on, his interactions with Madarabe creates tension. It doesn't also help by the fact that Hato is fan of BL and this brings forth even more complexity in their relationship. Along with our cross-dresser, there's also a fujoshi and a somewhat antisocial girl introduced to the club. All three members brings a new and natural experience to Genshiken as we witness their daily lives and experience the way of an otaku.
Because Genshiken plays on the otaku culture, there's plenty of activities related to it beyond just cosplaying and referencing. In this season, the club also work on their own to present to the world their own pieces of work. These comes in the form of BL manga and doujinshi. With the new three members in check, they all offer their talent in building their dreams. These dreams takes them to places such as the Comic Festival, a large anime/manga convention. They each possesses their own skills whether it's background imagery, page cleanup, or getting by deadlines.
The comedy of the show is generally tolerable although sometimes feels a bit repetitive. The heavy doses of BL vibes can feel like a loop at times since it's played out a bit more than what I expected it to be. Furthermore, there's the character interactions that offers various forms of entertainment. In one way, most of the character seems to get along well. On the other hand, there are times when we scratch our heads and may ask 'what just happened?' For me though, Genshiken's character interactions focuses more on reality. It portrays it as a slice of life anime and succeeds in presenting the otaku culture. Viewers gets the chance to feel as if themselves are there with the club. The way the members work around the club to perfect their art also shows how dedicated they are. The pieces of comedy connects together even with a touch of supernatural to it with a floating spirit in particular episodes. If comedy is what you're looking for, then Genshiken will not be a painful experience. However, it can be somewhat painful to witness a few of the characters' interactions to sudden situations or scenes in the show. It becomes a bit cliched and predictable along with its awkwardness. Trust me, if you're a guy, then it might even be more awkward.
The artwork of this season also remains not only consistent but also realistic. The simple club room is presented exactly as the way it should be with the background anime/manga images. The merchandise that appears here and there also fun to take notice. Along with that, character designs gives a refreshing appeal to how an otaku is dressed such as Madarame's glasses, Susanna's various cosplaying outfits, or Kuchiki's body proportions. Even Susanna's American friends gives off their refreshing feelings of being foreigners accompanied with their English accents.
Unfortunately, soundtrack is perhaps one of the lesser focus of Genshiken. There's not much strength in the OST as most of the soundtrack remains generally the same and hardly noticeable. The OP song “Genshi, Joshi wa, Taiyou Datta." by Sumire Uesaka is perhaps the only catchy tone with its J-Pop like rhythms accompanied by its montage plays. However, if we talk about voice acting, then there's definitely some to take notice of. In particular, Kazutomi Yamamoto gets praise for her double portrayal in voice acting because of the gender bender involving her character. Voicing a character with a dual personality is not easy but she pulls it off marvelously. Naomi Ohzora's voice for Susanna can also be noticeable for someone who plays a girl that is not sociable towards others. The accents of the foreign characters seems more out of place though and can be more taken in as comedy although not too impressive on any scale.
The Genshiken franchise is the ultimate portrayal of the otaku culture. It's a place where we get to see the lifestyle of otaku in various ways. The cosplaying and references brings forth both an entertaining and refreshing appeal to fans. It might also bring back some nostalgia as well for fans of the original series. There's a lack of highlights though in some of the main characters from the previous seasons so be aware of that. I don't take this as a backlash though because it gives chances for our new characters to shine that offers potential. That potential and execution carried out might give you a different impression. However, it's not just this series that impressed me. It's the way of Genshiken. Otaku isn't just a culture for the kids in this show, it's a way of life.read more
There were too many things done differently with this installation of Genshiken. So much to the point where in the end I was left with mixed feelings.
After re-watching Genshiken (the originals) then coming back to Nidaime it's sort of like the new characters make the story a bit.... complicated so to speak. I mean personally, I'm okay with gays and transgender or BL (I have no issues with trans) however this series focused a bit way too much on Boys love, transgender, etc that I just couldn't enjoy it as much. I found it rather difficult to continue watching, however if it wasn't for the most of the original characters I would've just dropped it.
A few things I liked was that the new characters, Mirei, Rika, etc they were tolerable. I like how after a few episodes they really blended in as part of the OG cast. Honestly, I would've been happier if the Nidaime focused more on Chika, however and again, to a certain extent the main focus was on Hato, the trap and Harunobu. I did like how towards the middle of the series I got to see Chika get the spotlight and all but still...
The parodies. homages, easter eggs whatever you want to call them were great. I loved how they had little parodies of Bakemonogatari, Attack on Titan, Panty and Stocking and so much more. But my favorite of them all is the skit between Sue and Madarame because I like Bakemonogatari and my favorite skit in that show is the "Oops I stuttered" bit between Araragi and Mayoi. So seeing another show do it was like really funny.
The soundtrack to the show wasn't really good to me. In fact, as i'm writing this, I can't even say if the music was any good or not. I did however love the voice acting. I really liked Yukana Nogami or Oono's seiyuu. It came as a bit of a surprise that she could speak English pretty well and I don't remember her ever using it in the other series. Madarame and Sue's voice actors were great too because again, the Bakemonogatari skit was so spot on.
Lastly, I'd say that I enjoyed Nidaime just a little. Once again the sense of enjoyment I got from this series compared to the rest was a bit of a downgrade. However that didn't stop me from actually liking the show even if it was just a little bit.
Overall I gave this show a 7/10 because while it was good in a sense, it just didn't seem like the story went in the right direction. read more
I'm not sure if you seen anime or read the manga of the first series of GENSHIKEN but I personally love the first series more. Why, simple because the characters in the first series is more interesting with more humor. The second GENSHIKEN series didn't really got me interested I hated how it killed off my favorite characters from the first series Saki Kasukabe and her boyfriend Makoto Kousaka I always wanted to see more how his & her relationship more after graduation as everyone knows he IS a hardcore otaku even tho he got the looks.
This second series focus mostly on a boy who cross dress Hato, from the first series hardcore otaku Muradame, and a fujoshi Ogiue while the others are either just tag along, or occasionally have some or a few moments not much. But to have Muradame with no Saki and kousaka just makes me lose a bit of interest.I don't mean I want Saki x Muradame ..becuz I love Saki x Kousaka together more, but when Saki there it makes things more hilarious fill with humor.
Well if your interested BL or effeminate male u might enjoy this more than I do not tat I have anything against BL or anything but because I'm personally not a fan of a guy who cross dress as a girl and act like one when watching anime.read more
The term otaku is often used in the West to refer to anyone interested in anime. But is that what it really means? Learn about the history behind the otaku phenomenon and how different anime have reacted to it, as well as anime fandom in general.
Crossdressing in anime is mainly played for laughs and giggles, but you might be surprised at the depth some anime crossdresser characters exhibit, each with their own reason for dressing the way they do. Let's explore this complex theme with the help of some of our favorite gender benders!