So, pressured by my overly Ogiue-obsessed friend SDS, I’ve finally gotten around to reading all nine volumes of the Genshiken manga. It’s amazing how much character development Shimoku Kio crammed into those nine volumes. Ogiue gets the most attention, of course, to the delight of tsundere fujoshi fans everywhere. Strangely enough, Sasahara is just kind of…there, most of the time, which is perfectly fine, because him just being…there reminds me a lot of myself (I’m the one in the back of the room that never talks to anyone unless spoken to), although, tragically (or not) my outward personality is Sasahara, and my inward personality is Madarame (his classic speech on the sanity of people who don’t do it to anime porn is still one of the most awe-inspiring moments of manga and anime ever, and it’s even better that he’s voiced by HIYAMA NOBUYUKI).
Ogiue is a wonderful girl, and Sasahara and her make a good match. The whole sequence leading up to Sasahara confessing his love to her (from the beginning of Ohno’s clever plans to stick the two together) was wonderfully done, and as any astute follower of this blog (all five of you) knows, I am a big fan of romance. The relationship was convincingly done, and given my aforementioned tendency to behave like Sasahara, Genshiken reads a bit like “Dating for Dummies: The Manga”. It’s certainly along the lines of drawing circles around each other for a long time that I foresee for myself eventually.
Hopefully, however, in my case, the girl won’t be drawing yaoi starring me. That wouldn’t go down as well as it did with Sasahara.
On another note, I think my favorite Genshiken girl would have to be Saki. I really don’t understand this myself–she’s the exact kind of seemingly airheaded, fashion-obsessed person that I couldn’t stand to be around, and, certainly, at the beginning of the manga, that’s how she acts. However, and this, I think, is Shimoku Kio’s true talent, she turns from hating everyone in the Genshiken to actually respecting them as people. In a sense, she rises above her prejudices and “normalness” to accept people for who they are, not denigrate them for what they do. And there’s something about that I find incredibly inspiring, like a statement that there’s really not that much difference between otaku and non-otaku, or between any nerdy-type person and a non-nerdy-type person. At the end of the day, Genshiken says, throughout its nine volumes, we’re all just human beings trying to find a place in the world.
I think that sentiment is why Genshiken is so well-liked, and I find it interesting that a series that started off as a kind of modern-day Otaku no Video-esque comedy turned into something with a message for just about everyone.
Say it with me, people: BEHOLD…THE POWER OF MANGA.
(I miss those cheese commercials)