Genshiken Second Season Vol. 1 – Review

Aw shit what’s all this I’m reviewing manga now too. Genshiken is one of my favorites, which makes it a kinda funny thing to review – it’s weird to be giving something you consider one of your favorite works a bunch of A-minuses and B-pluses and whatnot. But yeah, Genshiken’s great, the sequel starts strong, and reviewing manga is a lot of fun.

My full ANN review is available here. I also took a bunch of notes, which you can check out below!


The manga style’s strength still comes through in the details. Shimoku Kio also has a great understanding of dramatic pacing across a scene – his layouts can seem cluttered at times, but then open up for key moments

Part of the fun here is in checking in with old friends

But the majority of this is actually dedicated to new characters, which is probably as it should be. One of Genshiken’s core strengths is that it is incredibly good at creating naturalistic dialogue that makes you very quickly feel like you’ve know its characters for years – but the other side of that is that eventually, you pretty much know exactly how these characters are going to spend their days and react to anything. New characters offer new personalities to “solve,” as the new cast grows up and comes to be more comfortable with themselves and the club in general

Great comic pacing – love the random two-panel cut to Madarame taking a break from his job in the middle of a stressful club fair for the college club

In spite of the focus on the new characters, the manga does constantly bounce off events from the first season, so this probably isn’t the best place to start. That’s not really a fault, though – the original is great, and well worth reading

The club has shifted to almost all girls, but the atmosphere has only changed in liveliness. “In place of an introduction, I’ll show off some of my favorite boys’ love doujinishi!”

Yajima is the standoffish one, Yoshitake the enthusiastic one, and Hato is Hato

As Ogiue laments “I knew it! This is a club that only attracts weirdos!” Sue stands up and announces, “I’m Ogiue, and I hate otaku!” A key point, and maybe one of Genshiken’s most core points – its characters are strange and awkward in ways that aren’t always great or healthy, but they’re still very human, and the Genshiken itself is a great thing for bringing them together. At its best, Genshiken is more documentary than celebration – it shows its characters warts and all, and their humanity is clear through the honesty of the telling

As of yet, Genshiken seems to be without motive when it comes to Hato – he has his reasons and feelings, they’re something we’ll explore

The cramped patter of conversations filling panels give way to big single panels with space to breathe, like Saki appearing

This artist really favors a thin line, the better for detail work. It also assists in the documentary style, since the “art style” kind of fades into the background a lot

Genshiken totally nails the way nerds sometimes have one-sentence conversations with themselves that kind of trail off in a group context. Unvarnished awkward

Full page spread of Hato laying out Kuchiki. The artist can handle momentum and action

Third chapter, dealing with the problem of where Hato-kun can change

“The difference between their crossplay is that Kousaka’s is “for women” while Hato’s is “for men.”” A really sharp offhand comment about how representation works in these fan circles

Fourth chapter, the new members hang out and get drunk together

Yajima getting frustrated about gender spaces, and femininity relative to Hato

“If he’s actually a guy, think of how miserable this makes me by comparison.”

“The powers of the smooth-smooth fruit!” Many anime in-jokes. The manga very fortunately includes a reference glossary

Really sad panel of Madarame imagining how the club used to be, cutting to him alone in the empty room

Sasahara’s sister confronting Madarame about his love of Saki. The story’s finally willing to address that

The expression work is good enough to sell you on the moments that are truly meaningful for the characters

A strong contrast between how comfortable Madarame is with the new people and his childish hangup over Saki

Ohno waiting for Tanaka to propose

Yajima’s self-image issues are core and handled well, and create for great natural drama with Hato’s choices

“Second Hato” is basically his self-aware fujoshi self – a not-so-unusual invention given a somewhat unusual execution due to Hato’s circumstances. The crossdressing is so far used more to articulate someone who distances their day self from fandom self than anything about gender identity

And yet it’s a lie, because he clearly does think all the same things in both identities

5 thoughts on “Genshiken Second Season Vol. 1 – Review

  1. I really, honestly, didn’t like this one like I enjoyed the first Genshiken. I actually saw this one first since it was still at the top of the Crunchyroll list at the beginning of the year when I got back into anime. However, after I watched it, then watched the first, and compared the manga, I just feel like the first one was altogether better. Maybe I’m just dumb. IDK.

    I’ll be interested to see what you think about this one as time goes on, but for me, the best parts were Sue’s humor and the old cast getting some love. I genuinely disliked Yajima and Yoshitake at times, and Hato was… uh… Hato. That, and Kuchi went from being “that guy” who still had his moments to being worse than Jar-Jar Binks. V_V

    Now I feel like I’m just being mean to it… but that’s honestly what I thought about it.

    • No at all. I found the change between the two season rather odd. Needless to say, im with you on this. I remember being perplexed about what the anime is about when i started season 1. It grew on me and by the time it ended i really liked it. Season 2 was, i dont know, but the words generic and mediocre are the first that come to my mind.

    • I have some problems with this series (as I’ll get to if I keep reviewing it), but I think it generally maintains what made the original good – it just shifts a bit from more slice of life to more focused and character-driven drama. It’s different.

      • I suppose. Although there is still the fact that the main cast has been changed and lots of the characters got new voice actors. That makes for a dramatic change of the show’s personality. Not everyone is fan of such surprises, myself included.

      • If you like it, then good. Because after Genshiken, I WANTED to. I hope you DO keep reviewing it. I like reading your viewpoints of things we disagree on. 🙂

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