Genshiken Nidaime (Production I.G.) – Genre: Comedy, School, Slice of Life
Episode 01 – “The Other Side of the Path. The Promised Place.”
I suppose the first thing I should say about Genshiken Nidaime is that it’s actually the 3rd season of the series, but it’s treated more like a new series because it focuses on mostly new characters. In Genshiken, it’s all about the antics of the Society for the Study of Modern Visual Art, abbreviated as Genshiken. In other words, it’s the otaku anime club at the college. Between the events of the first two seasons and this new one, the torch for this club has been passed by its old owners to new young hopeful members. Since most of the characters are new, anyone can easily get into Genshiken Nidaime.
The new generation of Genshiken members are quite different from what they once were, comprising mostly of female otaku (i.e. fujoshi). The club’s new president, Chika Ogiue, is a talented artist but is against any sort of boys’ love drawings, mostly due to a traumatic experience from middle school. However, that doesn’t stop any of the new members from indulging in yaoi and the like.
These new members include the overly excited, glasses-sporting Rika Yoshitake and the calm Mirei Yajima. And then there’s a cross-dressing boy named Kenjiro Hato. I hate to say it, but he’s probably the most attractive character in the series. Oh yeah, then we have a veteran member with Manabu Kuchiki (CV: Jun Fukuyama, Lelouch from Code Geass), who happens to be a complete idiot and pervert. Finally, we have the transfer student Susanna “Sue” Hopkins, a super otaku and great cosplayer.
As a series about otaku culture, we can definitely expect plenty of referential material. In the first episode, we already have at least three to Bakemonogatari. First, they watch it in the club, then we have Sue cosplaying as Shinobu and then reenacting classic Hachikuji/Araragi dialogue. Despite some over the top scenes like these, the situations that occur throughout feel very real. Like, you could definitely imagine that there’s a club out there that acts like this, which is part of the appeal of the series.
Even though I wasn’t a big fan of the first series, it was still nice to see more of the Genshiken club and even all of the old members making short cameos in the first episode. Whereas the first series focuses more on the stereotypical male-centric otaku lifestyle, Genshiken Nidaime is kind of the opposite with the stereotypical fujoshi side.
Of course, there’s a bit more complexity to the situation, which avoids generalization. Not everyone in the club is a girl goes crazy over yaoi. In fact, there’s a guy who cross-dresses just for the opportunity to discuss otaku culture, and I’m interested to hear more about his story. I’d say give Genshiken Nidaime a chance if you like a less slapstick comedy that references otaku culture, even if you haven’t seen the first two seasons.