Only in a series like Genshiken would the trap character play a role in the comedy and the drama. Whatever your feelings on Nidaime thus far, you can’t deny its versatility.
In just the second episode, no time is wasted in transitioning us the viewers to the new characters and in turn the new Genshiken. Highlighted by the OP and throughout the episode, the new members are the ones in the spotlight, with Hato being the “face” of the new series. As we see here, Hato’s involvement has quite an interesting effect on the plot.
With the first half of the episode, we had the unsurprising comedy aspect of Hato’s transvestism. On its own it’s a seemingly minor detail but with Yajima and Rika there, things get a little more humorous with each character contributing in their own way. Rika’s extroverted adds the obvious type of comedy when it comes to traps, and you can’t help but smile at her slightly perverted nature, meanwhile Yajima’s at-arms-length attitude towards Hato makes for a more subtle type of comedy. Here in particular, it had to do with Hato’s perfect skin and complexion and that inadvertently led to an awkward and effectively funny moment involving the trio.
The second half saw a turn to the serious. Cross-dressing is rarely seen as anything but a gag in anime, so the surprise here was the change of tone brought about by the same person who was involved in the first half’s comedy. Whilst surprising from the anime point of view, it’s a common reaction. It’s a more realistic response, reminding us that there is still a stigma when it comes to cross-dressing which Genshiken has used to replace its focus on the stigma of being an otaku.
Yajima’s heated objections against Hato’s transvestism brought some serious elements into the series but only for a little bit. In the end the episode ended with a return to comedy, and as such left this issue to be discussed at a later date. We’re not done here and with Hato in the spotlight, its unlikely the serious plot elements will be left as is.
A fine episode overall, but there was something unsatisfying in the transition between the two halves. Not something we had to deal with in the original Genshiken, and most likely the reason for my objection. I don’t tend to be a fan of “split” episodes, and I do hope this was a one-off. Other than that, it was a good episode to set the precedent for the rest of the series.
Genshiken Nidaime Episode 2 References
- One Piece was brought up as Two Piece as well as a reference to the Smooth Smooth fruit.
- Various other anime in Ogiue and Hato’s profiles – included were differentiated names of Durarara!!, FMA and Natsume Yuujinchou to name but a few.