After six years off the air, Genshiken is back! New cast, new voices and a new commentary on the otaku culture of today.
A lot has happened in six years in the anime and manga industry. We’ve seen many studios and publishers undergo drastic changes and quite a number of popular series have come and went. Those changes are well within the expectations for the industry and as such don’t compare to the biggest change and most rational explanation for the new generation of Genshiken: the rise of fujoshi. Female fans have become a considerable force to be reckoned with. Spending more than their male counterparts, they become a key demographic to please when aiming for commercial success. Pandering to the male otaku is no longer the best way to get money; pandering to the female otaku is.
I could go on for ages about the rise of the fujoshi and their influence on the anime world, but I’ll leave it at that for the time being. The reason I brought up that subject was to outline the key difference between the first generation of Genshiken and the second, which happens to be about the type of story we can expect. The first was less about “current” cultural relevance and more about a coming of age story, with the simple message of, “it’s okay to be an otaku.” The stigma of the label was explored as was the concept of self-acceptance. Of course many otaku habits were discussed in detail – eroge and doujinshi mostly – but the message remained on point.
Genshiken Nidaime is a little different. It too has a message about identity, but that has yet to be seen. The first episode of both generations didn’t jump into the deep end so quickly, but the first episode of Nidaime displayed the change of style in comedy. Now what we’re getting is a little more obvious and, because of the female dominated cast, different. Not to mention, the references to current anime and manga is taking up a bigger role; this was the Bakemonogatari episode. We saw that with Sue watching the anime, playing out a scene with Madarame and then cosplaying.
So what you can take away from the first episode?
Expect something considerably different. Different doesn’t mean bad, it just means it won’t be the same Genshiken we’ve known for two seasons and a set of OVA’s. It’ll be different story-wise – new characters, new dynamics etc. – and even animation-wise; one could say it looks a little cheap at times.
My biggest concerns were with the pacing and voice acting. Things moved a little too quickly in this episode, made only clearer by the pacing of the first seasons and proving to be a little unsettling. Not bad enough to be a flaw but enough to throw me off. The bigger problem was the selection of voice actress. Ohno and Kuchiki didn’t feel like their original characters and somehow Madarame is a completely different person now. I suspect newcomers won’t have this problem, but for those who’ve seen all previous seasons it’s disturbing.
Nevertheless, it’s good to have my favourite otaku anime back!
Final Thoughts: Nidaime skps a little of the manga that explains how Sasahara and Ogiue got together.
Genshiken Nidaime OP
I swear I spot some Kuroko no Basket doujinshi.