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Genshiken: The Society for the Study of…

Genshiken: The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture, Volume 1

by Kio Shimoku

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293738,321 (4.24)4
  1. 00
    Bakuman., Volume 1: Dreams and Reality by Tsugumi Ohba (miniwark)
    miniwark: After the mangakas lets go studing the otakus

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
This is a great series for delving into how interconnected the different subcultures of visual media have become. The plot in this series revolves around a club that is looked down upon by the purists groups that it integrates into one setting.

The members of Genshiken are video game enthusiasts, manga readers, cosplayers and anime fans. They don't really "do" anything specific, they are primarily a hodgepodge of people with mixed interests that happen to overlap.

This plot and it's characters could just as easily be a totally American group of "Otaku." As with the characters in this series, American comic books fans, sci/fi fans, movie or tv show fans, et. al, could easily be substituted into a comparable setting. The reactions and interactions would be very similar.

I'm really enjoying this series. I'm going to have see what else there is by this author/artist. ( )
  Angelina-Justice | Feb 3, 2014 |
This book is more than just a chronicle of a bunch of college otaku (and one non-otaku). It's an examination of culture and the media, relationships and character growth. And, it's some of the best black and white art you'll see anywhere. ( )
  groovykinda | Jan 17, 2012 |
Geeks are the same all over. While I've seen/read a fair amount of anime and manga, I can still tell that I'm missing tons of references. I don't think I'd recommend this to a manga newbie for that reason.

That doesn't mean that the book is particularly hard to follow, however-- the characters and situations are familiar enough to anyone who was in a social-outcast type club in high school. ( )
1 vote tchemgrrl | Sep 4, 2009 |
For people who enjoy stories about Japanese geek culture, this is the perfect story for you. The unassuming story about a circle devoted to anime, manga, and video games doesn't seem like much superficially, but the likeable and quirky characters are sure to appeal to the closet nerd in all of us. ( )
  takenoko | Oct 26, 2008 |
Reading this series is incredibly nostalgic for me. Much of what goes on at 'The Society for Modern Visual Culture' feels like my own college experiences--regardless of the difference in culture and time. Nerds are nerds wherever you go, I guess and the personal journeys you see for individual characters 'accepting their inner otaku' or learning how to deal with the people around them socially or even just the single-minded devotion to discussions that are the anime/manga equivalent of 'which tech is superior, Star Wars or Star Trek?' ring absolutely true. Shimoku holds a big mirror up to nerd-culture and does it with a light touch that makes this series accessible even to the armchair otaku.
  mscongeniality | Apr 1, 2007 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Outside Japan, “otaku” has become synonymous with “anime fan”. In Japan, it means “jerk who has no life outside his hobbies”. Taking this into account, one would expect Genshiken, a comedy about a bunch of hard-core otakus, to make fun of them and their super-dedication to their hobbies. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

Genshiken tries to show what otaku life is really about and in particular what otakus see in their hobbies. From watching and discussing anime to collecting rare doujinshi manga to assembling plastic model robots, almost all aspects of Japanese otaku culture are shown during the twelve-episode series, and surprisingly, they are shown with a very affectionate view. Most situations are shown from the view of a character who absolutely hates otakus, the stylish Kasukabe, but even she learns to respect what they do when she decides to take a closer look at their hobbies.

Of course, having a character so totally different paired up with the others is a failsafe recipe for great humor. Genshiken definitely doesn’t fail to deliver here; all episodes have hilarious moments in which Kasukabe’s ignorance and disdain for the club members lead to unexpected developments. There is also plenty of humor that comes from her verbal fights with Madarame, the club’s most perverted member. And the fact that she’s in love with a gaming otaku who often prefers his hobbies to his girlfriend also plenty of entertainment.

Unfortunately, aside from Kasukabe and Madarame, most of the other characters have no personality at all. Sasahara, for instance, never has another minute of character development after the pilot episode, and the other club members are only defined by what they like. There is the cosplaying shy girl Ohno, cosplay tailor Tanaka, Kasukabe’s gamer friend and a large guy who adds absolutely nothing to the plot at all and of which we only hear that he can draw manga. In a series devoted to showing the lives of otakus, I would have expected them to have at least a personality beyond their hobbies.

Also, while most of the episodes were entertaining as a whole, three or four were just lacking in fun. A side plot where the club members visit a manga convention has exactly one good moment, and another where they all go to beach totally misses all opportunities to entertain. And when Sasahara’s sister is introduced later, nothing at all is made of her character except for the fact that she’s trying to hit on Kasukabe’s boyfriend. In a long series of 26 episodes, this wouldn’t have been too bad, but if one fourth of a comedy series is just not funny, something is wrong.

Genshiken is probably one of the best looks at otaku life ever since the famous Otaku no Video and has many funny moments, but all too often, the humor is missing, and the cookie-cutter characters only rarely make up for it. It can be enjoyable to watch if you can relate to the otaku club and their culture, but if you can’t, leave this series alone.
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It's the spring of freshman year, and Kanji Sasahara is in a quandary. Should he fulfill his long-cherished dream of joining an otaku club? Saki Kasukabe also faces a dilemma. Can she ever turn her boyfriend, anime fanboy Kousaka, into a normal guy? Kanji triumphs where Saki fails, when both Kanji and Kousaka sign up for Genshiken--The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture. Undeterred, Saki chases Kousaka through the various activities of the club, from costume-playing and comic conventions to video gaming and collecting anime figures-learning more than she ever wanted to about the humorous world of the Japanese fan . . .… (more)

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