Genshiken Nidaime Manga Chapter 68 Review

げんしけん: 二代目
Genshiken Nidaime Manga Chapter 68

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Genshiken Nidaime Manga Chapter 68Kuchiki enters the Genshiken club room hoping to be able to attack Madarame so that Hato will be forced to put a sleeper hold on him and knock him out. However, only Hato and Yajima are there. After Hato explains the situation to Yajima, two guys show up, one of whom Yajima recognizes as asking about “Hato-chan.” The two guys begin aggressively trying to pick up Hato-chan as Kuchiki sulks in the corner and Yajima frets that Ohno, Ogiue, and even Sue are out.

Another tall guy comes in with Yoshitake (Rika) and forces the two other guys out. Rika introduces the guy as her older brother Rihito, who’s attending another university and came by for a visit. Yajima insults Kuchiki for his lack of actions and he leaves. Yajima, in spite of herself, finds herself attracted to Rihito. Hearing that Rihito is into shouta, Yajima gains confirmation that he’s related to Rika and just as strange. Rihito compliments Hato on his female attire and Rika gives Hato a hand signal with Hato tries to figure out.

Rika observes Hato and is now sure that Hato is hetrosexual based on his lack of reaction to Rihito. However, Rika sees Yajima’s reaction and smirks at Yajima’s attraction to her brother. Rika whispers to her brother as Hato notes something odd about the two. Rihito talks with Yajima about her manga drawings which makes Yajima even more flustered. Rika says they should all come by her home for the evening, which Hato and Yajima agree to.

On the way out, they encounter one of the guys who hit on Hato. They press on but are stopped by Mikami, from the Campus Activities Organization. He is looking for a certain girl who’s supposedly a member of Genshiken and for whom rumors have been circulating about. As he aggressively challenges Hato, the others are helpless until the first guy shows back up, protesting to “Mikami-senpai” that he would get the information and that Mikami didn’t need to. In fact, Mikami and the other guy belong to the Circle Activities Club and the other guy was using the club to pick up girls. So, he starts asking Hato questions when Kuchiki arrives to attack the guy simply as a way to get Hato to put him into a sleeper hold again.

Hato complies and as Kuchiki goes down, his hand touches Rihito’s chest. Rihito screams like a girl and clutches “his” chest as Rika is not happy with this reveal. The other guy “Harima” leaves at seeing Hato’s ability and Yajima is stunned that Rihito is actually “Risa” and is Rika’s younger sister despite being taller. Risa reveals she didn’t want to do this but Rika insisted.  However, as Rika is teasing Yajima, Risa lets it out that she’s two years younger than Rika, meaning that Rika is a 1-year rounin and 20-years old even though she doesn’t look it. Yajima realizes this is how Rika was able to buy alcohol during their previous get together. However, because of Rika’s actions, Yajima demands that she pay for the booze.

After Hato has a talk with Kuchiki about changing his ways, Hato, Rika, and Yajima drink and talk about Mikami and Harima pairing up while Risa sits off to the side, uncomfortable at the discussion.

Thoughts/Review:

You know, it is easier to believe a guy believably cross-dressing as a girl than it is to believe that a high school girl passing off as a 2nd-year, hot college male student.  Don’t get me wrong, I know there are lots of cases in history of women passing themselves off as men.  Indeed, there’s even a website out there that educates women on how to pass themselves off as a man for battle reenactments of the War Between the States. Generally speaking though, I’m not aware of any girls passing themselves off as guys looking like HOT guys, but that could be true.  There have been many men passing themselves off as hot women and scarily looking the part. (IT’S A TRAP!)

That aside, for the sake of the story and my love of Genshiken, I’ll let the Risa fake pass, especially if Risa doesn’t pretend to be a guy any more even if she dresses in guy clothing. I really don’t want to see a reverse Hato here.

The main point of this story is to see if the new Genshiken members, sans Sue, can carry the story.  After all, if this new Genshiken manga is to succeed, those three are going to have to carry the load as Ohno graduates soon, followed by Kuchiki and Ogiue. Risa can come in a year from now as Ohno leaves, but as time passes, more and more attachments to the original Genshiken will vanish. So, it is important for Kio-sensei to discover now if those three can in fact carry a story.

My opinion?

Well, I think Kio-sensei did a good job and that Yajima, Rika, and Hato can carry a story solo.  Don’t get me wrong, I missed Sue something fierce and she will be there the fill gaps.  Yajima, Rika, and Hato are still a long way from carrying the entire manga though. The main problem, as I see it, is that they are all three fujoshi and nothing else. Hato’s crossdressing is tied to the fujoshi aspect and that limits the three of them as characters.  Sue escapes because her longer history with Genshiken combined with her quirks which make her so much fun as a character.

Back in the original Genshiken, the guys were all into hentai and normal doujinshi, manga, anime, and games, but they also had varied other interests. Tanaka was into models, photography, and cosplay, especially making costumes before getting a girlfriend. Tosaka was a hardcore gamer and had a girlfriend. Madarame was into computers. Kugayama was into drawing. Sasahara tried many different things before getting into the manga creation process and getting a girlfriend.  On the female side, Ohno was into fujoshi and cosplay and had a boyfriend. Saki wasn’t into any of it and thus gave an outsider’s perspective.  Ogiue was fujoshi but also into manga writing and drawing and then got a boyfriend.

Unfortunately, while Hato, Yajima, and Rika have some interest in the manga drawing aspects, they are mainly just fujoshi. They haven’t been shown as interested in games. They haven’t been shown as interested in anime. They haven’t been shown as interested in regular manga. The cosplay stuff they’ve done has all been because of Ohno but they haven’t shown an interest in that (Hato’s cross-dressing isn’t the same as cosplay). They haven’t shown an interest in models or figures. They don’t have boyfriends (or in Hato’s case, a girlfriend).  Instead, they are purely into fujoshi activities, period.

Because of this, the characters seriously limit Genshiken as a manga, in my opinion. The original Genshiken had massive crossover appeal because their varied interests allow others to relate to them, even people who aren’t specifically into anime or manga.  I knew a hardcore Star Wars (or was it Star Trek?) fan who really wasn’t into anime and manga, but loved Genshiken because it reminded him of other fans like himself. Where is the same crossover appeal for a group of girls into gay porn and nothing else?

So, while I personally have enjoyed Genshiken‘s new incarnation, I do confess to worrying about the future of the manga. There are enough other characters to cover things for now and it is possible that Kio-sensei brings Risa in to add some much-needed flavor to the group (apparently not being fujoshi and being into basketball).  However, as I see it, for Genshiken to survive, it needs to be more than some fujoshi-lovers manga.

Now, as to this chapter itself, I do like how Rika was able to put to rest the notion of Hato’s sexuality. Despite Hato’s insistence that he’s heterosexual, there are still many doubters or those who refuse to accept it. By Hato not showing signs of being interested in the “hot” Rihito, Hato confirms by action that he’s not gay despite whatever wacko gay fantasies he has.

The other really interesting aspect to the chapter was Yajima’s attraction to Rihito.  Earlier, I remarked on the need of the manga not being completely one dimensional, and I suppose this is a way that Kio-sensei does attempt to reach out.  Yajima is not an attractive woman.  She’s overweight and an otaku, thus while she might find a hot guy attractive, what can she do about it?  I’m guessing there are other girls and guys whom are overweight and geeks who find themselves attracted to someone considered hot.  I chuckle, thinking about a late-40’s geeky guy at a nearby arcade hitting on a young, college-age hot babe. He got nowhere but he tried, which I think most people like him wouldn’t do. In that light, I think of Yajima’s uncertainty over what to do regarding Rihito.

Regarding Rika’s being a rounin and 20-years old, that had no impact on me seeing her as a character.

The less said about Kuchiki, the better. *_*  Just when one thinks his fetishes can’t get any worse, they do.

So, while not the best chapter of the new Genshiken, it was fine.  I guess the next chapter will continue with the party that the girls and Hato are having.

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