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Having gotten enjoyment out of earlier seasons from Genshiken, this new season was a definite snag for me with the Summer 2013 anime season. Ogiue, Kuchiki and Ohno are the only veteran Genshiken members that are regular characters here as several new members of Genshiken make their appearance. Three of the four don't get much focus here, as prominent focus on the club's new members come in the form of Hato, whose fascination with cross-dressing and yaoi lead him into awkward predicaments with the Genshiken members as they adjust to the cross-dressing quirk of his personality. With the club now consisting mostly of female members, this does present a new focus for the Genshiken franchise in exploring otaku fandom from a female perspective with focus on elements of the fujoshi fanbase. For those unaccustomed to the new members, older members from the first two TV seasons make an appearance at points in the series and even get some prominent storyline focus, such as Madarame coming to terms with his feelings for Saki and Ohno having graduation woes like the guys did from Genshiken's second season. |
One major beef I have with the series though is that it makes mention of events involving Ogiue's developments that weren't covered in anime form such as the reasons surrounding her past trauma and her relationship with Sasahara, so be warned if you've only seen anime adaptations of earlier events in the Genshiken franchise. In addition, the animation here is still on the subpar side as this baby still lacks the polish and smooth details designed for characters and scenery from Genshiken's very first season and Your mileage may vary with the older Genshiken members having entirely new seiyuu take over their roles.
Otherwise if you enjoyed the earlier animated seasons of Genshiken and don't mind the new female focus with the franchise from this season, then Genshiken Nidaime will be a definite watch for you.
Last updated Saturday, September 28 2013. Created Saturday, September 28 2013.
(All episodes watched):|
Who are these people? It's been so long since I last watched any Genshiken that I couldn't remember more than two or three of the people who now make up the club. I wondered if I had missed some OVAs, or even an entire season. But when I re-read my reviews here, I see that I couldn't have missed more than one-and-a-half OVAs. I think the problem is that in my mind season one established distinctive, memorable characters but the characters that have gradually replaced them in the succeeding ones haven't been quite as notable; perhaps because season one apparently took some serious liberties with the manga to make things funnier while everything that has come afterwards has been more faithful, but less amusing. Comedy certainly hasn't been discarded, but the show is taking things more seriously now, and dealing with the problems which otaku persons encounter. Genshiken now largely consists of a mix of new recruits and characters who I've forgotten what sort of audio-visual they are into. I'm glad the old-timers like Madarame haven't completely disappeared, even though they no longer have quite the same personalities as they did in the memorable season one. But the otaku theme in itself is interesting, so I decided to watch.
In fact, Madarame turns out to be probably the second most important character of this season. The main character is Hato, a cross-dressing guy who has recently joined Genshiken. Apparently he falls in love with Madarame; I can only say that this is 'apparently' so because exactly what his preferences are is never made clear, and as a result the main plotline of the entire series is confusing and frustrating. I thought for awhile that this Boy's Love angle was being played for laughs, since it was too ambiguous to get emotional about, but it is decidedly unfunny as well. My confusion and frustration reached the point at which I found myself wondering if I should be watching this show after all. Is Hato gay? Bisexual? Transgender? None of the above? I have no idea, so I can't say how serious his affection for Madarame is or whether the jokes regarding them are funny or not. As a result I didn't really care how Hato's affection for Madarame would work out, I was more interested in things like whether Ogiue's manga will be a success. It just seems like this season of Genshiken decided that it would absolutely immerse the plot in BL, letting it seep into every crack and crevice, since surely the viewer would find that uproariously funny and/or moving. But it was neither.
I didn't really get many laughs out of Genshiken; certain jokes like the one which persuaded an aggressive American girl to leave Madarame alone in episode five seemed painfully unfunny. Indeed, 'painfully unfunny' was a term that seemed appropriate to several episodes. The Kuchiki guy is a total asshole and about as funny as fingernails screeching on a chalkboard. But because I'm curious about the otaku lifestyle and this show is informative, I still managed to look forward to new episodes to a certain extent. Much more interesting than Madarame's supposed romance was his realization that the intense interest in anime and manga that he had held as a student seem to be slipping away as he pursues a career.
And the show ends with no real resolution of the Hato-Madarame affair, unless the term 'unrequited love' is appropriate. Hato must have felt some sort of attraction to Madarame, but Madarame was never interested in the least, which makes me wonder what the point of the whole thing was to begin with. It basically peters out with neither a happy nor an unhappy ending, just a slice-of-life one. As a result the series as a whole seemed pretty lukewarm to me, doing nothing brilliantly right and nothing terribly wrong. Maybe the lesson is that what was done with season one, namely allowing the anime people to take some liberties in order to spice things up, wasn't such a bad idea after all.
Last updated Friday, October 25 2013. Created Wednesday, July 10 2013.