The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Media Factory
HIYAMA Nobuyuki
OHYAMA Takanori
R1 License - Media Blasters
SAIGA Mitsuki
SEKI Tomokazu
UEDA Yuuji
YUKINO Satsuki
Kanji Sasahara is a first year college student. He watches a lot of Anime and reads Manga. He was thinking of joining the Manga club when another student Makoto Kohsaka strikes up a conversation with them about joining. Kanji is embarrassed and leaves. Later he visits the Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture (Aka a bunch of Otaku's). While alone in the club room, he looks up the skirt of a Haruka doll (KGNE), and is caught red handed flipping through their porn collection. He is so mortified, but finds out it was a form of Hazing and the other guys were just waiting nearby for the president to catch him in the 'act'!. "Now that we know we're the same kind" Genshiken member Madarame says, "how about you join us?"

Be forewarned that this is a serious parody of the Japanese otaku lifestyle, as we get to tag along with Sasahara Kanji while he leaps into the world of anime, manga, video games, pornographic doujinshi, and the more.

[12 TV episodes based on the "Genshiken" manga (licensed by Del Rey, who are doing a great job) by Kio Shimoku. R1 anime license by Media Blasters.]

Note : The reason for the KGNE reference is both KGNE and Genshiken are owned by Media Factory.]
[edit] The ↗Genshiken & ↗Kujibiki Unbalance franchise:

Original story: Series in a series:
Episode Details 
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 8 8 8 7 8 8 Ggultra2764 [series:909#1552]
I first heard about Genshiken about two years ago with folks calling it a down-to-earth take on Gainax's 1991 "mockumentary" on the otaku culture called Otaku No Video. I guess that description fits well about the series since Otaku no Video was much more over-the-top in its comedic parody of the many facets of the otaku culture during the time. Here in Genshiken though, the actions of the group are like any normal group of friends participating in this club. Each of them have their interests and personality quirks that stand out much like a normal person would and many of them are well-adjusted to one another, even having their discomforts when dealing with those unfamiliar with their way of life. Big case for the series, Saki. Hanging around with the club proves to be a test of tolerance for her as she learns to develop patience with its members' obsessive interests throughout the series, especially with her boyfriend Kousaka's large interest in video games. Over time, she learns to accept the members of the group as friends, even if she doesn't necessarily get much of what they discuss, read and watch. The series does well at nailing its slice-of-life aspect with the normal, everyday interactions of the members of Genshiken.

The series looks into enough areas of the otaku fandom that are popular around this time. Beyond anime and manga, the series also looks into conventions, model kits, cosplay, doujinshi, video games and merchandise. The members of Genshiken are big fans of a series called Kujibiki Unbalanced which they obsess and discuss about enough throughout the series which was an original creation made by Genshiken's series creator (and later spun-off into its own series). Beyond this, the members of the club also make mentions to a number of well-known anime titles, video games and influential anime makers which further adds to the nodding made to the otaku subculture. Because of these references and the fact this show is geared towards the otaku crowd, Genshiken won't be for those who don't regularly follow the latest trends of the otaku lifestyle.

There were a couple issues that I did have with the series. The first being the lack of a clear ending as events from the final episode give away that there will be more to come, which would occur with the show's second season. The other issue was that I found much of the show's attempts at humor being hit-or-miss. I found myself accepting many of the show's comedic gags just being a part of the show's slice-of-life premise yet I couldn't really find myself laughing at many of the things that took place within the series.

Beyond these flaws, Genshiken made for a solid watch for me. The slice-of-life approach created a decent down-to-earth feel at exploring the interactions with members of the club and the various aspects of the otaku fandom that they strongly care for. I didn't really enjoy it enough where I would be tempted to see the show's later OAV and second season. But for anyone wanting an anime that offers a down-to-earth look at the life of an otaku, Genshiken would be your best bet at getting such an offering.

EDIT: Okay, guess I've had a change of heart. I've seen the OAV and my temptation to see Genshiken 2 is climbing. Both parts of the franchise were still decent for me to check out.

Last updated Wednesday, October 20 2010. Created Sunday, May 02 2010.
Watch 7 7 7 6 7 7 Dreamer [series:909#2279]
Hahaha! great series. It's "in the life of an otaku".... or rather, 6 of them. It's a no-holds bar depiction of a subculture of japanese people and it's quite funny at times.

The animation was fairly descent and the plot itself wasn't anything special but had enough to keep you watching through the episodes. If you're just getting into anime, avoid this until you've become a seasoned otaku..... I mean, anime enthusiast. Otherwise, you might believe all anime is stupid and don't make sense. At the same time, this does shed light on the lifestyles of an otaku, which was a humorous learning experience.

Last updated Sunday, February 17 2008. Created Sunday, February 17 2008.
Buy 8 8 8 8 8 8 AstroNerdBoy [series:909#436]

Anime adaptions of manga have to juggle the expectations of the fans while trying to pull in new audience members. Some adaptations are good and some are bad. Fortunately, this is one of the good adaptations.

I'm glad I started reading the manga first. Starting the anime off as if it were Kujibiki Unbalance would have made me think that I'd screwed up my download. As in the manga, Kujibiki Unbalance plays an important part with the members of Genshiken being fans of the manga and anime series. Through this made up manga/anime work, Genshiken manages to look at the otaku world were fans of a manga series see their favorite title brought to life as an anime. The discussions on how the anime was directed were deeper than I go, but I could relate to the discussions on the story progression and the modifications of the anime over the manga. From this aspect, the more hard core anime fans in the U.S. (ditto sci-fi and fantasy fans) should easily be able to relate.

Genshiken has a great cast of characters brought to life by a great seiyuu cast. Yukino Satsuki being cast as Saki-chan works, though Inuyasha fans may immediately think, "KAGOME-CHAN!" (which of course she's the seiyuu for). In episode 2, she sounds more like Chidori from the various Full Metal Panic series. Odd that of all her roles she's played, this one she's playing as a combo of previous roles, but I got used to it. She really is a great choice as Saki-chan. KAWASUMI Ayako (Aoi-chan in Ai Yori Aoshi among others) is a great choice as the cosplay fan Ohno-san.

The anime covers the first three volumes of the manga and parts of volume 4. The series is as funny as the manga which is a tribute to the writers. The anime expands some of the manga stories, but with good effect. For example, when Genshiken is looking at two new club members, the anime expands this so that the club goes to one of these Japanese eating places where they constantly order food and beverages. It is very Japanese and another great look at a piece of life in Japan. Hats off to the anime writers for expanding on the original manga without loosing anything or making the show feel stretched.

As to the DVD, I'm not happy that a title so rooted in Japanese culture has subtitles that exclude the Japanese honorifics. It was OK to say "cosplay" or "doujinshi" but God forbid we display a Japanese honorific in the subtitles. It really frosts me when companies do this. Another strike against my buying stuff from Media Blasters.

Bottom line: A good adaptation of the original manga that keeps the humor and charm of the manga and expands upon it. If it weren't licensed by Media Blasters, it would surely be in my DVD library.

Last updated Monday, April 03 2006. Created Wednesday, March 15 2006.

Unevaluated Stretch [series:909#628]
I was reading an article in Protoculture Addicts magazine about the otaku subculture in Japan, and it mentioned this series. It sounded like Otaku No Video modernized and expanded into a TV series. "Otaku" may be a derogatory term in Japan, but I am proud of my unconventional preference for entertainment from another culture, and am especially eager to sink my teeth into any halfway decent anime that deals with persons with similar interests. Sometimes we use the expression that a show "has two strikes against it before it even steps up to the plate" (i.e., was poorly planned and the subject matter has little appeal to viewers); in the case of Genshiken, I would say this show already had two or three balls going for it before it stepped up to the plate. I read a claim that Genshiken could be considered a documentary of sorts, and is funny because the behavior of otaku are often inherently amusing. The first episode seemed to get off to a bit of a slow start, in part because I thought I'd been sent a disc with the wrong series ("Kujibiki Unbalance") encoded on it. At first it seemed a little too realistic--that is, nothing particularly funny was going on. But it was all building to a big gag, and suffice to say that by the end of the episode--actually well before the end--it was clear that Genshiken was just the sort of show I've been looking for. This show is indeed quite hilarious--I love this humorous yet also educational stuff. I was tempted to assign it a "buy" already.

Character designs are distinctive and believable (probably because the club members aren't supposed to be generic "handsome" guys). You might even be able to recognize these guys with their hair shaved off! Madarame definitely gets most of the good lines, being the most militantly outspoken otaku. Several times while watching Genshiken I couldn't help wondering if it is really a vice to be an otaku. Does infatuation with a hobby automatically come at the expense of one's social life in the "real world"? Or are those just stereotypes? The way Madarame tries to decide what he should do when alone in the clubroom with Saki by drawing upon his experiences with dating sim games was amusing. Sometimes I wonder if my view of life hasn't been distorted somehow by all the anime I watch--like the time I found myself in a Taco Bell and wondered why every girl in the building wasn't cute as a button like they would inevitably be in a high school romance anime. I feel sorry for Madarame, whose stunted social skills may preclude him from ever having a girlfriend or a wife. Have you noticed how we haven't a clue what subjects any of the characters are majoring in at the university? That's the way it should be--pure, noble passions like anime and manga must not be corrupted by nonsense like career choices! Perhaps the moral of the story is that although otakus may be frowned upon, they are by no means the most obnoxious and annoying people around.

At one point the show got kind of "deep" (if that's the right word) as the two outsiders Saki and Keiko discuss the conclusions they've reached about what it means to be an otaku. "You don't become an otaku by trying--you're just one before you know it" seems to sum it all up. That makes sense to me--if I had thought to write the dates down, I could point to one day on the calendar when I was virtually ignorant of the existence of the anime industry, and the next day (when I stumbled upon Adult Swim's Saturday latenight lineup) when I found myself intrigued by it. There must have been some sort of wish for entertainment of this sort already buried within my mind beforehand. One episode which seems to depict an otaku activity in a positive light is the one dealing with plastic kits of Mecha. Bravo, Tanaka, I couldn't have put it better myself. I used to build plastic models wholesale, but only once did I buy a Mecha kit (which I shelved when I found it wasn't really capable of the cool pose which the artist had depicted on the boxtop). Countless identical plastic models are mass produced, but, as Tanaka points out, no two are ever completed in exactly the same way, since the buyer has a hand in the process. Thus, something unique is created. Perhaps it could be argued that a person can watch the same anime episode as countless other people, but by committing one's impressions to paper (or internet), likewise something unique, which can be appreciated by others, is born. Or maybe I'm just trying to justify all the time I spend on the keyboard.

Somehow this show manages to have me continually smiling and giggling, even if it doesn't make me Laugh Out Loud all that often. I doubt if it would have the same effect if it was about some hobby I'm not interested in. It seems to keep me constantly giggling with all sorts of little jokes, plus occasionally laughing out loud--all-in-all, a good deal more humor than is packaged in the average comedy anime, though perhaps in terms of quality rather than quantity. The ED sequence suggests a new member (with an odd hairstyle) may turn up, and I'm curious about how a project that is proposed by the new Chairman will go. So, plenty of openings for a continuation of the story. There never was all that much of an ongoing plot, but it's good to see that the club is on it's feet again as the first run concludes.

I'm curious to see how the English dub of this series will be handled. My impression is that the anime which are most vulnerable to "localization" are those that are set in present-day Japan (since surely no American would have the slightest interest in another culture, right?), so I hope the dubbers don't forget that this is a show about Japanese otaku, not American ones. As of yet, I haven't gotten around to checking out the R1 discs, though.

My favorite line: "Those people who say they can't jack off to anime must have something wrong with their brains!" --Madarame

Last updated Monday, February 18 2008. Created Tuesday, February 14 2006.
Rent Forbin [series:909#1573]
Anime Type
If you liked this you will like
Animation Runner Kuromi
Note: As this is a very episodic show, it really is mostly secondary plot with a timeline overlay

All Episodes Watched
This is pretty funny. I laughed in pretty much every episode. It showed me a side of the Otaku that was fairly normal. It also showed me a side that was completely strange. Adding the straight and narrow Saki who cannot seem to get enough of Kosaka is the real comedy. Them waiting in line for the convention reminded me of waiting in line for a sale.

I laughed, a lot. But now that it is done, I don't feel the need to rewatch it. It was good, I'm waiting for the 2nd series to come on, but I don't feel the need to revisit it, hence the Rent Rating.

BTW : This should not be your first anime. This should be in the 50+ category like Azumanga or School Rumble.

Last updated Tuesday, February 21 2006. Created Tuesday, August 09 2005.
Rent 7 7 5 6 8 8 Iceman_Aragorn [series:909#1517]
A rather interesting look into the life of an otaku or 6. My favorite character is kousuke...he's got the best personality ;-)

Its quite a comical anime, as long as you can stand the brutal honesty it displays in making it known that yes, guys like porn. (don't worry, theres nothing explicit)

There are a few subplots, but its mainly about life as a club member of Genshiken.

Last updated Thursday, April 21 2005. Created Thursday, April 21 2005.

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Japanese Language Series Web Site
DEL REY manga series (English language)

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