Review: Genshiken

You don’t become an otaku by trying

Kio Shimoku

8 Volume – Completed

Plot Summary
Genshiken, or The Society for The Study of Modern Visual Culture, is a college club for otaku. They do all sort of activities that otaku usually do. From just collecting figurines, playing video games, cos-playing, attending comic conventions – and later on participate in it, or just hanging up in their club room just to discussed the latest anime episode or manga issue.

Deep inside Kanji Sasahara realized that he is an otaku, but he is to shy to admit it. His decision in joining Genshiken brought him a whole new experiences. Slowly, he begins to accept himself for who he is.

While Saki Kasukabe is an otaku hater who reluctantly involves with the club because his boyfriend, Makoto Kousaka, is a member of Genshiken. Kousaka, whose appearances is not fit the otaku stereotype at all, is actually a video game maniac, specially fighting and porn games. Together with the other ‘unique’ members, their bonds is tighten. Not just by sharing the same hobby, but also friendship.

Personal Opinion
I have to admit, I don’t expect much when I’m starting to read it. I thought it just about a bunch of otakus doing … uhm, whatever they usually do. But I was wrong. It’s more than that.

It’s a slice of life genre manga that shows that no matter how ‘different’ otaku is, they just an ordinary person who true to their desire. There is a quote in the manga that I think will describes what Genshiken is about in general: “You don’t become an otaku by trying, you just wake up one day and realize that you are one.”

Through the story, will se various kind of otaku. Beside Sasahara and Kousaka, there are: the mysterious club president; Madarame the hardcore otaku who doesn’t care his obsession is taking up almost all of his fortune; Tanaka who likes to make cosplay costumes, and Ohno who loves to do the cosplaying; Kugayama who likes to draw dojinshi. Later one there is Ogiue who likes to draw yaoi dojinshi, but still hard for her to not hates her otaku nature.

The presence of Kusakabe here is the like the balancer. Like most of people, she never can agrees to otaku’s lifestyle, or understand them. But, before she realizes, she can enjoys herself around the Genshiken member.

The story itself is flowing nicely, and not exaggerating. I think this is the best story about otaku I ever know. Even if you don’t like stories about otaku, I think you can still enjoy it. Just give it a chance.

Personal Rating

[Reviewer: Adityo Ananta]


2 thoughts on “Review: Genshiken

  1. I’m only at the beginning and as you said in your review, I don’t expect much from this title. Up to chapter 7, if I’m not mistaken, there’s not much fun from reading Genshiken. I have to admit that what I’ve been reading right now was still an introduction, but I can’t something interesting that could make me read further. I’m still going for the finish though. I hope to see that 8.5 rating you gave to Genshiken.

  2. I’ve finally managed to finish reading Genshiken. As I said before, the beginning is practically introducing a long line of otaku activities. For those who are interested, this might be a good chance to really get to know the life of an otaku. Looking at my current friends, Genshiken is actually the best opportunity I have to get to know more about otaku; which is actually full of surprise and somewhat hilarious. :p

    One fun point in this manga is to see how Kusakabe tries to fit in this group of otaku. Just like the reviewer said, a balancer. Looking at Kasukabe’s behavior really showed me how “normal” people would react to otaku. Seeing how I am also amazed about the life of Genshiken members, I guess it simply proves that I am not an otaku. :p

    The story was quite fun. As the reviewer said above, it’s not exaggerating and it flows nicely. Though I’m afraid some of you -like myself- will get a little confused in what the characters are talking about. Other than the story, I also liked the characters. I especially liked how the author combines the different characters in Genshiken. Each character has their own uniqueness that completes one another in an otaku kind of way. The author also decides to add new characters along the way. This is a good thing because with new characters comes up new stories. 🙂

    Personally, I think Genshiken is more than just manga, anime, doujinshi, video games, and the like. The presence of Kasukabe made sure of that. We could a whole lot of other things that affect the life of an otaku in this manga. In the end, reading Genshiken allows me to get a glimpse of what’s going on in the head of an otaku.

    Genshiken is fun and, as the reviewer said, you really should give it a try. 😀

    Thumbs up for the “Moments Later” section.

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