Sunday, March 24, 2013

Genshiken Afterparty

Fujoshis for a new generation
First published in 2002 and finishing its initial run in 2006, Genshiken is (for those not acquainted) a manga that follows the activities and lives of a group of college otaku, who are members of the Gendai Shikaku Bunka Kenkyūkai or the "society for the study of modern visual culture" their fancy way of saying that they're all obsessed with games, manga, and anime (along with various other related meta-hobbies like cosplay). I remember first picking up the manga when it began its run in the U.S. in 2005 and being instantly taken in by it. Genshiken had appeal to me because unlike many other 'slice-of-life' style manga and anime, it wasn't abstract or surreal in its style. As a person moving from high school into college (and deeper into the deep dark cave of otaku-dom) I could really relate to the disaffected weirdos in the Genshiken, and how their lives were centered around their hobbies. At the time I was getting really involved in the anime club at my school, and so I could see my own life paralleling the lives of the Genshiken goons. (I'd like to imagine I was like Sasahara, but I think in the end we're all probably Madarame).

I feel the same way when gay porn spontaneously appears
in my possession.
As the manga goes on (and the anime follows the course of the manga) one of the major things that the members of the Genshiken have to deal with is the idea of moving on. Eventually, they all graduate, and have to find jobs, move to new apartments, and otherwise just generally cope with and address getting on with the rest of their lives. This transition goes more smoothly for some than others, and that was something that I found myself having to deal with. If I'm being real, I'm still trying to deal with it. The feelings that the members had about not wanting to move on was one I shared, both in regards to my own college/anime experience, and also in regards to Genshiken itself. I had grown really attached to the characters and didn't want to let them go.

Saki really mellows out as the series goes on that's for sure.
Fortunately, I haven't actually had to yet, and it doesn't look like I'll need to any time in the near future either. Starting in December of 2010, and currently ongoing, Kio Shimoku (the manga-ka who pays his bills seemingly JUST with Genshiken) started a continuation of the Genshiken storyline, with old characters returning, but also a new batch of underclassmen ready to carry the otaku torch on into the future. It would seem that I was far from the only person who wasn't ready to move on from the halcyon days in the Genshiken club room, and I have so far really been pleased by the fan-servicey plot arcs that Shimoku has delved into in Genshiken Niidaime.

This is Chika Ogiue. She is grumpy and adorbs.
The last issue of Monthly Afternoon (the magazine Genshiken is serialized in) revealed that there's currently another Genshiken anime in the works as well, which is super exciting. The only real rain on my Genshiken parade is the absolutely glacial pace at which the new manga is being released in the good ole US of A. The first volume was released back in the beginning of September, and only now has the second finally been released. I assume that Del Rey is trying to keep the Japanese release well ahead of them, but still, it is a bummer as a fan to be receiving new manga at a rate of roughly two volumes a YEAR (volume three is slated to come out in September, oof). What am I supposed to do in the meantime? (the answer is read scans online of the released chapters which I do but even those come out SO SLOWWW T_T)

That's all for now, and for those wondering, Genshiken Second Season Vol. 2 is available now so go buy it and if you don't have the previous volumes, They've been re-released by Del Rey in Omnibus form, so you can snap up the whole series for relatively cheap (certainly less than I paid).

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