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

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Genshiken 60

I only skimmed the English scanlation that was put up, and out of respect for the scanlator who did that (there were some mistakes here and there, but at least s/he cared enough to take less than a month working on it, yeah?) I'll try not to harp on the errors. But if you spot something that doesn't jive with what you read, that might be it.

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 Yajimacchi all the time. Read the chapter again. I swear it's all over the place!

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. And of course there's the true heroine, Madarame.


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.


  1. I sometimes get the impression that Spore likes Genshiken a whole lot. Not sure why.

    I'm kinda iffy on the hints that Madarame might turn lovey dovey for the cock. Kinda of a kick in the balls of the readers that can relate to him.

    And i'm pretty sure there's a lot of them.

  2. Me? Like Genshiken? Perhaps a little. Just a tiny bit.

    I don't really understand why so many people seem to be surprised or put off by Madarame being attracted to Hato. It's been made pretty clear throughout the series (even before Nidaime) that Madarame is extremely lonely and in desperate need of human contact. I'd imagine that at a subconscious level, he doesn't really care anymore where that contact comes from. When I think of him in that sense, I can relate to the Madarame of right now perfectly.

    The way I see it, whether or not Madarame actually falls for Hato or not is totally irrelevant. What's important is that he's finally starting to come out of his shell. He's a long way away from it--in fact, he's only just now realizing that there might be something he can do about it--but I honestly think that this is the closest he's ever been to actually facing his fears and misgivings in regards to forming meaningful (3D) relationships since the time he almost confessed to Saki.

    Rather than seeing this as a "kick in the balls," I think that Madarame's interactions with Keiko and Hato (and Sue?!) are really an opportunity for him to get himself out of the rut his life has become--honestly, Madarame's situation right now tugs at my heartstrings if I think about it too long--and mature.

    I don't know. It might be a bit sad to consider that Madarame (and through extension, real life otaku like Madarame) will never fit into the world the way he is right now, but on the other hand, well, people are meant to interact with other people. If Madarame could find happiness, with Saki or otherwise, by peeking out of the barrier he has imposed between himself and the rest of the world (an AT Field?!), I don't think that would be so bad. You can't just stay the same and expect everyone else to change--there has to be some give and take on both sides, and in this case that means that Madarame will have to change as well.

    Man, I've strayed from that original topic so far that you could probably charter a plane to get back there, but yeah. I don't have a category called "rambling" for nothing.

  3. I thought part of Yajima's jealousy was that Hato was so PERFECT as a girl, despite having only dressed as one for a few months by his own admission. Perfect skin, great wig choices, perfect makeup, good style, very feminine manner and voice... and he can draw too, as attested to by his intro sketch at the end of Chapter 58 and his work here.

    I suspect that Ohno's role in this chapter was just to basically be there to provide a sense of the old Genshiken, the same reason that we got Tanaka and Kugiyama in the non-speaking appearances. I'd also have to say that the silence after Hato revealed his cute (and sudden) HatoxMadarame pairing idea was... well, I think Ogiue wasn't dismayed, or even surprised by the idea that Hato pegged on Madarame as the uke; she was just wondering how the idea'd go over with him, and how that'd work given Hato-chan's effeminate manner and the way a yamato nadeshiko isn't usually the pants-wearer of a 'standard' relationship.

    But gods... Hato is horribly cute with short hair. It appears that Shimoku's skills have increased in the few years since Genshiken ended, since I don't recall even Saki being drawn as cutely as Yoshitake or Hato-chan are these days.

  4. I rambled a bit about Yajima and her insecurities in my post about chapter 58, but to elaborate: Yajima feels herself as inferior to pretty much every girl in the Genshiken, and that includes Hato. It's just that almost none of them are valid targets to provide a sort of outlet for her frustration, see.

    Ogiue is outside the area of comparison because she's a professional mangaka. Saki is impossibly beautiful and also a "normal" person. Ohno is an upperclassman if nothing else and therefore beyond snapping at; and she's still pretty with a great body even when not taking that into consideration. Sue is Sue. Yoshitake is far too bubbly and altogether already too much of a "friend" (in Yajima's eyes) to start an argument with. That leaves Hato.

    Hato is not only great in all the ways you've described, but he has the affront to be such a perfect girl while being a boy. Yajima and Hato are still on the level of tentative friends (that perplexing stage between casual acquaintances and actual buddies), so I imagine that Yajima did feel sort of safe in grouching at her. Still, I don't see it so much as a lashing out specifically at Hato alone, as Yajima's pent up frustration finally finding an outlet through which she could let off some steam. This shows because she's immediately repentant afterward, which is largely what makes me believe that she's a good person at heart.

    For Ogiue, the scanlation kinda made a mistake in that regard. She was thinking that the problem was that she actually AGREED with Hato on the pairing (HatoMada instead of MadaHato), muttering to herself that wow, Madarame was such an uke that he'd bottom even with a guy like Hato. Not really important, but I think it's worth mentioning.

    Regarding Ohno, I still don't think her appearance in this chapter was totally necessary, even considering what you said. I guess it's because I'm not really that opposed to the new members and just see them all as part of the Genshiken, so I don't actually feel the need to have old guard like Ohno appear just for the sake of it. It felt sort of pointless, story-wise, to have that bit with Kucchi and Ohno at the beginning and then Ohno appearing at the end only to get turned down out of hand by Ogiue. Eh, I dunno. Maybe something will come of it later.

  5. Hato may be an easy target for Yajima to lash out at... but at the same time, I don't think the reason she lashes out at him is only because he's an easy target - but that he's the type of target which beats her in every category possible while not being out of her league.

    Yajima's not an artist by her own admission, so Ogiue isn't a rival. She's not outgoing like Yoshitake, nor does she seem like she wants to be. She's not a cosplay maniac like Ohno, and finds her somewhat embarrassing... but Ohno is her senpai, so she can't really see her as any sort of target. And Kuchi doesn't count. ;)

    Nor does Sue, who isn't anything but herself - and shamelessly so, on top of being a foreigner. Hato she lashes out at only because he, in a sense, represents everything that she wishes she could be. Cute, skilled without being a pro, relatively normal... except for the fact he's a boy. She knows lashing out at him is wrong, but she keeps doing it because he's the only one who she could lash out at without IMMEDIATELY feeling bad about doing so.

    Mind you, that bottom panel on page 12 was both revealing - in terms of why Hato was so repressed to begin with, and why he decided to dress as a girl - and dangerously cute. Frighteningly feminine - he makes SAKI look somewhat plain in that panel, especially with the way his eyes are drawn.

    And everyone who's met Madarame, with the exception of Saki, has seen him as a bottom - except Ohno, who quickly repudiated her initial 'reluctant seme' position. I still think Ogi was having issues trying to imagine how Hato being a top would work in that situation.

    Ohno was really there, in my books, just to show this was still the Genshiken we knew - even if it isn't quite that anymore. You see either her, Kuchi, or Madarame showing up just to confirm that Ogi's Genshiken still has a link to the old incarnation. Otherwise, she might as well not have been there... except for the first page, to serve as the butt of a joke which implied that even Kuchi was more employable than her.

  6. I agree that Yoshitake is pretty glorious, and I feel a little bad that I never really write about her because she's never quite in focus.

    It's difficult to say whether or not she's better off being a good side character or having any sort of direct focus on her. Either way is fine, but there's only three of them so I think Kio could afford to do so.

  7. Sup Spore, anon scanlator here. Sorry about the mistakes; it was a rush job as you might've expected. If you've got more criticism to offer, I'd love to hear it, so don't hold back on my account.

  8. Could you drop me an email or something? If you want a list of things I thought could be fixed I could send one to you, but it'd probably take a while.