Genshiken Volume 10 (Tankoubon Manga Review)

げんしけん: 二代目/Genshiken Nidaime



The Genshiken manga series was quite popular in Japan, and as I understand it, it did pretty well in the U.S. as well. However, Kio-sensei decided that his manga would only cover the four years of college for the series two leads, Saki and Sasahara. So, once they graduated, the manga ended with nine volumes.

As happens with cartoonist and manga-ka, sometimes the appeal of places you’ve been is too strong to resist, and thus new stories are created.  This appears to be the case here where Kio-sensei initially did a special “chapter 56” of Genshiken back in late 2009, showing Ogiue as president and the new four new members of the club, including American transfer student Sue, who’d played a major role in a couple of stories in the later part of the original Genshiken run.

A year later, Afternoon magazine announced Genshiken‘s return as Genshiken Nidaime, picking up where the special chapter 56 left off, and enough chapters would be done to produce volume 10 of the Genshiken series.  However, the popularity of the relaunched series showed Kodansha and Kio-sensei that this initial “limited run” could easily go on for a while, and the series was given a permanent home again in the pages of Afternoon.

That brings me to volume 10 of Genshiken, otherwise known as Genshiken Nidaime. Covering chapters 56 through 61, the tankoubon has a few nice extras (which I REALLY hope show up in the U.S. release, should Kodansha Comics actually license it) such as two extra images, one at the beginning of Sue bathing in a wooden tub, saying “close the door” and one at the end featuring a panicked Madarame closing the door. *lol*

The four-panel strips at the end of chapters are here, which are always good. Three of the Mebaetame Magazine entries to introduce Ohno, Sue, and Hato.  It is similar to what Kio-sensei did originally, only these three introduction pages were part of the story (well, Hato’s and Sue’s were).  There’s also a 2-page omake featuring Keiko at her hostess (cabaret) job.

One thing also included in the the tankoubon are the color pages that originally existed when it was first published.  Unfortunately, most U.S. manga companies don’t bother with these as they add to the expenses.  Dark Horse showed how this could be done with the Ah! My Goddess (Oh My Goddess) re-release.  Hopefully, any U.S. company licensing the manga will also include the color pages.

As to the story, Kio-sensei wisely has the original Genshiken members, save the first president, cameo so as to bridge this next generation of Genshiken with the old. In addition to current club members Ogiue, Ohno, and Kuchiki, the American otaku Sue transfers to Japan (as I mentioned earlier), and moves from a character that I found to be not my favorite, to a character that just about steals every scene she’s in, thus making her a favorite.  It is a remarkable transformation, made possible because of her previous experiences in Japan with Genshiken.

The three freshmen joining are the petite, glasses-wearing Rika; the fat, frumpy Yajima, who is apparently best friends with Rika; and then there’s Hato, who is a trap who so perfectly looks like a hot babe, he invokes the song, “Dude Looks Like a Lady” from Aerosmith. (You’re welcome for the song now in your head. ^_^)

The original character, Madarame, is woven into this first volume quite a lot since he lives close to the school, thus at Sue’s insistence, he agrees to allow Hato to use his apartment to change from male (which is his appearance while in school), to female, his appearance at Genshiken.

Because all of the new characters are fujoshi lovers, the Genshiken club has shifted from an all-purpose otaku club to one dedicated to boy-love (shounen-ai)/yaoi lovers club, with Ohno and Sue still retaining a cosplay aspect. The manga-creation aspect is retained via Ogiue, who’s become a pro, and carried on via Hato.

At this point, it is really hard to see where Kio-sensei is going with this manga.  I guess traps are very popular in Japan at the moment, but does the fujoshi elements need an even deeper exploration that it is now receiving here?  Certainly, one will starting learning more than one may have originally wanted to when reading this manga.

This takes me back to Hato, who despite being a trap who loves homosexual porn that the other fujoshi girls love, even to the point of drawing it, he denies being homosexual.  Further to this, since Hato also appears to have a split personality, whereby his female self, whom I call “Hato-chan,” appears as a naked, female hovering nearby him.  As such, I do wonder if this is just a joke, or if this is the beginnings of Kio-sensei exploring certain mental issues in regards to sexuality.  I guess we’ll find out.

I’m guessing that original fans of Genshiken who’ve not yet read any of the Genshiken Nidaime stuff might be questioning whether they’d even want to read this. Well, it will certainly frustrate some fans, but despite its much deeper delving into homosexual porn, cross dressing, and the like, there are a lot of things I do like, Sue being chief among them.  There’s no doubt that this doesn’t have the strong appeal to me that the original Genshiken did, but it is starting to gain its own appeal, which it will have to do if it is to survive.

Should Kodansha Comics decide to license this in the U.S., I’d certainly buy the English version as well as the Japanese version.

Update: My review of the Kodansha Comics release can be found HERE.

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One Response to “Genshiken Volume 10 (Tankoubon Manga Review)”

  1. […] I recently reviewed the tankoubon version of volume 10 of Genshiken, where I applauded the inclusion of color pages in the tankoubon release. This is […]

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