I don't know which part about this chapter I liked most, but I have to say that Hato as Aoki Ko was completely unexpected and hilarious. Cameos from Kugappi and Tanaka (and Kuchiki, but he doesn't matter) were also welcome in their own way.
Spoilers below the cut.
More about the three freshman members (I actually typed girls at first before shouting "Haaaaaaatooooooo!!" at the heavens while shaking an angry fist).
The additional delving into Hato's motivations was very interesting, especially the part where we're told why he crossdresses. I kinda figured that he might've been teased for his tastes before he came to the Genshiken, but man. Hiding your love for BL because you knew you'd be given shit for it, and then your resolve weakening because you see the fujoshi of your art club having fun talking BL, and breaking down and gathering the resolve to, just once, try to join in, and then getting teased for being different? That's harsh, and sadly realistic. It's the difference between 2D and 3D rearing its head yet again--the fujoshi in Hato's club were probably in love with the idea of effeminate gay guys, but when faced with the reality of one... well, they probably panicked.
In that aspect, it's kinda funny, because Hato didn't start crossdressing to try and be a girl. He started crossdressing to try and be a fujoshi, which is an entirely different matter entirely. It wasn't just the common TS fetish or even an attempt at becoming an otokonoko--the crossdressing was entirely a means to an end to achieve his true objective, which was to be accepted by people who shared his tastes. In that sense, I find it pretty heartwarming that he's been taken into the Genshiken so wholeheartedly, treated as one of the girls (Kinda--Yajima's still workin' on it) and all. And of course the fact that he's come to enjoy crossdressing is amusing as well--as Yoshitake said, trauma alone wouldn't be sufficient motivation.
And then comes the bit where he admits he can objectively see himself as a fudanshi--that is, the actual implications of a guy who likes BL. Not only can he just dream about situations (as a certain brush-headed Genshiken president once did), he can actually enact them. That's what he meant when he mentioned HatoMada, and from their reactions perhaps it was a revelation too abrupt and shocking for even the open-minded Genshiken members to accept:
Hato is living the fujoshi dream.
Again, there's that dissonance from just fantasizing about something in your head (cue doodadeedoo-lala Ogiue daydreaming music from Genshiken S2!) and facing the reality of it sitting in front of you wearing an Aoki Ko wig, but from the looks of it it didn't seem to leave a lasting impression.
Though, from her thoughts, I'm guessing that Ogiue was only shocked by the realization of just how totally uke Madarame is, for Hato of all people being the seme to make sense. She's the Genshiken president; she's made of sterner stuff! And you could see Sue was all over that, since she's a HatoMada shipper herself, ahaha.
Maybe it's my yuri goggles malfunctioning, but I can't help but notice how Yoshitake kinda drapes herself over Yajima
Not that I'm objecting.
Speaking of Yoshitake, I take back what I said about her before. I think she's really a great supporting character. That is, she's never really in the spotlight, but she's pretty much always there and providing some sort of, uhh, I guess, spice to the situation. I wouldn't go so far as to say she's the pillar in the new Genshiken, but she's very strong without stealing the center stage, like salt or pepper. This may or may not be my love for ponytails shining through.
We get another glimpse at Yajima's issues shining through, but despite her bluntness (which I find appealing even if it is driven by her insecurities) and her self-doubts I think she's a fundamentally good person. And just compare her to her first appearance in chapter 56--she's already come forward leaps and bounds and opened up immensely compared to back then. I feel like I've said this before, but I'm really look forward to her development during this run. If Hato is the obvious, I dunno, centerpiece of Nidaime, I feel like Yajima is the hidden factor that'll turn out to be just as important.
For the older girls' part. Ogiue is, of course, Ogiue, and therefore awesome as ever, but Ohno feels like she's fading into the background a bit and in this chapter she really seemed to appear solely for the sake of appearing. I dunno, I guess I just expected more from her in regards to helping Hato get through his issues, but Yajima and Yoshitake seem to be doing just fine there, in their own ways.
Overall, great chapter, just like the ones before it. I wouldn't object to more Madarame development (or even Sasahara! Where'd he go, anyway?!), but I love the new characters just as much as the old ones.