Baccano! 1934 Alice in Jails - Streets Episode - Chapter 1, Part 2 of 3 (10/29)
Gonensei Chapter 1 (10/37)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Let's Talk About Genshiken 86

So like I'm not hosting scanlations or anything anymore, and this is late as hell, but fuck it, let's ramble.

Needless to say a ton of spoilers below.


This chapter I wanna talk about Hato and Sue a little.

To put it bluntly, I don't think Hato's going to stop crossdressing and BL just because he said so. It's iffy but possible in the terms of the story itself, but if you look at it from a more meta sort of perspective, I find it highly unlikely that a mangaka who's previously drawn about topics like teen pregnancy and single parenthood and infidelity and failed relationships would build this up for thirty chapters just to say "Well the obvious answer to having a socially unacceptable hobby is to acknowledge that it's weird and stop doing it" at the end of it. I mean, seriously.

Also, I thought it was pretty neat how Hato's stand was the cause for Sue finding the MadaHato art, and how it was referenced within the story. "A part of me was hoping that someone would stop me," Hato says, and we suddenly remember that Hato's stand has repeatedly insisted that she's also him, despite Hato's own insistence to the contrary.

Anyway.

I think that in a lot of ways that Sue was the focus of this chapter despite Hato's part in it. It was pretty cool how she dropped character and spoke in English, even if it was only inside her head. We know that Sue has been using her own status as a wacky foreigner to do things that'd be considered socially unacceptable for a Japanese--honestly, a lot of the stuff she does is only okay because there's the sorta feeling of "Oh, Sue, you silly goose" with a smile and a sigh and a shrug going on in everyone's minds (including the reader's!), which itself is only accepted because Sue is blonde and has blue eyes, even in the context of a manga where everyone's reactions and emotions are exaggerated for the sake of telling a story.

Madarame, for instance, pretty clearly buys into the Sue is Just Naturally Weird thing, because the way he reacts around her makes it obvious that he sees her less as a girl and more of a strange lifeform who is even more unknowable than the fabled girl--and bizarrely this is more comfortable to him.

I like how it's been hinted recently that Sue's antics are deliberate and not just the way Sue is naturally, from  Ohno's comment that Sue is actually a quiet girl and something of a loner. It lends more weight to her defense of Ogiue to Nakajima earlier on in chapter 64 in retrospect, because it took a lot out of her, even more than we knew back then.

Thing is, I feel that Sue herself might even have bought into it her own act a little, and this chapter is her really realizing that for the first time.

Part of it is like Yoshitake implied last chapter: It was fun for a while, but only while things were still believably in the realm of fantasy, at least enough to joke about. Things have gotten increasingly serious and therefore uncomfortable as of late as Hato's other personality takes the reins. I wouldn't call it homophobia, per se, but there is the definite worry in everyone's minds that Hato might be on the verge of attempting something he'll regret, since Madarame himself has never shown himself to be anything but straight.

Everyone, that is, except for Sue. Like Hato's said, Sue's been the most ardent shipper of HatoMada so far and I think that to an extent, she's sort of fallen into the same trap that Hato did. That is, she lost sight of the fact that they're people in favor of the fantasy. In Sue's case it's not nearly as bad as it was in Hato's, but I do think that she forgot that a little, perhaps partly because she does want Madarame to be happy and she honestly thinks he should move on--it's just that to her as a fujoshi, Hato is a viable option for moving on, while in reality he's most probably not.

When she sees the MadaHato drawings, though, things change. The HatoMada drawings represent the fantasy, which Hato himself is fine with showing to Sue, and Sue looks at them without turning a hair. But the MadaHato drawings, especially with Hato crossdressing like he does in real life, represents reality, which at this point Hato himself is already thinking of something to be ashamed of (which is why he hides it). Sue instinctively realizes that as well.

When she thinks in English, I think it's more than Sue breaking character. It's Sue breaking out of her character. She's realizing that for Hato, this thing is very much caught between reality and fantasy, and that even Hato himself doesn't know what he wants.

And perhaps, if I were to extrapolate outlandishly even further from an already tenuous position, I might even say that perhaps she'd already labeled him (perhaps unconsciously) as gay because of his fudanshi interests, and never stopped to think that he himself was really struggling with his own worried regarding his sexuality. And that's why she's continuing to be so bummed about it even after Hato goes "back to normal," because of her own blunder.

And yeah, I think about this sort of thing way too much, I think I'll shut up before I make myself look like even more of a loon.

12 comments:

  1. I don't think Hato is going to give it up either.

    But yeah, that's the problem when fantasy & reality blurs. Gotta catch yourself to make sure it doesn't.

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  2. I'm so happy that you've decided to still analyze Genshiken chapters even though you don't scanlate it anymore. Genshiken is seriously underrated and not many people talk about it openly.

    I was floored by Hato's decision to dress "normally". The issue with Hato is that we don't really see him when he's not crossdressing. But in actuality, as far as we know, Hato dresses as a guy for the rest of his university classes and outside of Genshiken. So I actually thought Hato saying he couldn't do it anymore was him being overwhelmed by his crossdressing persona, like he started to identify being a woman. And he wants to experience BL and yaoi as a woman than as a man.

    As a fujoshi I see this happen often in yaoi parodies. Traditionally the character you make the uke has a personality that you identify with, and sometimes fandom begins to interpret the uke with more feminine qualities. Over time crossdressing and genderbender get mixed into the fanon as well, as if to say that if the uke were actually female, the pairing could become canon. I think this is why often yaoi fandoms will get hung up over one pairing order over another.

    I'm really glad Sue was the one who observed Hato's situation though, and your analysis was excellent. I wonder if there is a specific person Sue is based on, her personality and character are excellent. It would be great to see of her backstory as well.

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  3. Honestly, Spore, while I like your analysis, you failed to mention something I thought was rather important for your in-depth on Sue's current situation: Dat Blushing.

    One might say that it WAS due to embarrassment of being seen by Saki like she says, but that seems a tad simple for such extreme reactions, especially since she should be embarrassed around Saki in that case, not Madarame. In a way, this chapter kind of made me think that the reason Sue is encouraging HatoxMada is because she's fallen into the same trap that Hato just got himself out of (i.e., the whole SakixMada situation), where she's focusing on working on someone else's relationship rather than focusing on her own feelings. In fact, the situation with Hato's obsession with Madarame being exposed reminds me a bit of how Sue started becoming embarrassed around Madaram after her supposed joking around was exposed to Saki, that being, she started realizing that there was something a bit more there. It might even be that Hato's reaction after she saw the MadaxHato drawings further rubbed this point in to her, hence her overheating on the last page.

    Or all these ramblings could just be total bull. Well, part of the fun in many series is the speculation, so it doesn't really matter either way. Still. The point remains that, to me, while your analysis is sound in areas, it doesn't feel absolutely complete in others.

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  4. So in the end it comes down to 'it's time to stop crossdressing and liking BL and be a REAL GUY again'? Just like that?! That's a rather lame and pretty disappointing way of handling this, to be honest...

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    1. Sorry to ask this but did you actually read what I posted, or are you venting?

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  5. To be honest, I'm picking up a lot of Ogiue-esque vibes from this chapter - this strikes me as much like when Ogiue at one point, after getting turned down for Comifes, that she'll stop drawing yaoi. That lasted for what, all of a chapter? But what gets me most curious in this chapter is the ending, with Yajima blushing like mad at the appearance of male Hato. I've been a pretty staunch HatoxYajima shipper (or maybe YajimaxHato?), so to me thats a really interesting development.

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  6. Thank you for keeping the chapter discussions alive. And... once again thanks to you and other's comments that seriously raise the bar for anyone who would blog on (and on, and on) about Genshiken. What a shock to have that revealed to Sue - no more Hato seme, but Hato-trap as uke to Mada the sou-uke. Who eas the sins of a sin eater? (though telegraphed prev chp with Ogiue's request for a reverse pairing scene) I await Hato's backsliding when pressed to draw (he promised Ogiue some stuff) and then more torment. I do see him as "in training" for the role of future club president, unless Yajima gets a crisis to resolve and thereby grow. I wont give up on Sue X Mada, but perhaps Hato-kun remembering that neck trick will get a somewhat shojou manga lurv triangle going and start pining for Sue. And as for more Sue backstory/ hidden super powers... Yes!!! M9E Gernsbeck!!!

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  7. Are you talking about not hosting Genshiken translation s anymore or all translation s in general??

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  8. Yeah, is there any point in waiting for Baccano or u dropped it and just forgot to remove the status?

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    1. Unfortunately work comes before hobby.

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  9. can you guys go for the Genshiken first season the manga is not over pliz end the seires thx

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