Hein (fub) wrote,

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Finished series: Genshiken

We've finished watching Genshiken. My first episode review is here.

Genshiken is set in a university/college. It's a contraction of the kanji for "Society for Research of the Modern Visual Culture". Basically, it's a club that concerns itself with manga, anime, models, toys and all the various paraphernalia that interest otaku. And yes, the whole club is made up of otaku.
We get to know Sasahara and Kohsaka, freshmen who joined the club this year. Kohsaka is a very pretty boy, and he has Saki trailing him. She is not too pleased that Kohsaka is a die-hard otaku (he beats anyone in computer games), but somehow he is always kind and always says the right thing. They get together, and since that time, Saki becomes a member of the gang -- though she absolutely refuses to do anything vaguely otaku-like. The rest of the members (single guys, most rather unattractive) are scared of her reactions to their otaku plans/stories/activities.

Anyone who has had any interest in geeky activities (such as anime, RPGs or trek fandom) knows these kinds of guys (because they're almost always guys): bad fashion sense, a lack of social graces, and a seemingly endless fount of trivia about things that no-one in their right mind cares about. There are some really funny scenes in this series, like the die-hard otaku proudly explaining that there must be something wrong with your brain if you can't get aroused from animated porn, or how he turns an awkward social situation (at least awkward for him) into a dating sim in his mind, to determine how he should behave.

The existance of Genshiken does not go very smoothly, though: due to various troubles, the club is almost forced to quit twice -- but both times Saki is instrumental in restoring the club to it's former glory, much against her expressed wishes or better judgement. It's interesting to see how she grows to accept the otaku for what they are, and how they, in their turn, grow to accept her as one of them.

During one of the episodes, it is hinted that the original chairman of Genshiken has installed hidden cameras in the club room and throughout the building. No-one knows how long he has been at the university, and it comes as a shock when he announces that he will be writing his thesis soon, because he has gathered all the data he needs.
It is not explained in the anime, but we strongly suspect that the subject of this thesis is Genshiken itself, and the otaku and Saki are actually 'test subjects' that are observed, as some sort of social experiment!

Good points:
- No schoolkids!
- A nice view into the life of the average otaku, including trips to ComiFest;
- Decent voice acting.
Bad points:
- Not every character design is as attractive -- some are obviously caricatures;
- Too short, I would have liked to see more -- and have some sort of resolution.

All in all, I'll give it an 8. But if you're not really acquainted with the nerdy/geeky/otaku lifestyle, it's probably only a 6.5 because of the lack of recognition.

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