Anime Review

Anime Hajime Review: Genshiken Second Season

Original Run: July 7, 2013 - September 29, 2013
Number of Episodes: 13
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
Based on the Series Created By: Shimoku Kio

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Genshiken Second Season. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

For the third time, welcome to The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture, a.k.a.,  Genshiken.

This is the place were anime, manga, and video game enthusiasts can come and love what they love, regardless of how lewd, crude, or weird it might be. There is no judgment here.

With the start of the new year, the circle has itself a new president and a fresh batch of members. However, once a part of Genshiken, always a part of Genshiken. Thus, old faces reappear from time to time.

Weather green or veteran, the love of otaku culture remains strong.

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Series Positives

Time for a little housekeeping:

  • Genshiken (Genshiken 1) – Reviewed on November 4, 2016
  • Genshiken 2 (Genshiken 2) – Reviewed on December 23, 2016
  • Genshiken Second Season (Genshiken 2S) – Reviewed on SEPTEMBER 30, 2019!

One of these things is not like the others. One of these things makes me look bad.

Generic excuses aside, there was one aspect of Genshiken I remembered when going into Genshiken 2S. This series is, without a doubt, the best adult franchise out there. Pause your assuming for a moment and let me explain what I mean when I say, “adult franchise.”

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Most importantly, I’m not saying the Genshiken series has relied on fanservice and sexual encounters. Although Genshiken has never been averse to showing skin, and sex has been brought up as a topic, they have never been the sole purposes. No, Genshiken is an adult franchise because:

  1. It stars adult characters, and
  2. All the jokes, situations, and dialogue are far more mature than their high-school-story counterparts.

The anime which go down this road suddenly have the freedom to do so much more, and they don’t have to worry about the awkwardness – and sometimes creepiness – of having characters be underage. Coming from someone who watches as much anime as I do, not having to worry about that is a relief.

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Genshiken is the standard-bearer for these sorts of shows. That was proven in season one and in season two. Genshiken 2S only kept the track record alive. This installment was so much fun, as well as slightly bittersweet. After all, Genshiken 2S aired back in 2013, and with this post releasing in 2019, and with no news of a follow-up in the works, this could very well be the end.

If that is true, then this franchise took its bow while it was on a high. However, saying that doesn’t give the full picture. This installment, unlike its direct predecessor, Genshiken 2, introduced a (mostly) fresh cast. Many of the original members of Genshiken took on supporting roles in Genshiken 2S, and many of the once supporting characters took the lead and were joined by a slew of new faces.

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Essentially, this third season tried to move the story forward while still retaining much of what allowed the first two to succeed. Rather resoundingly, it was a mission accomplished.

I’m curious, just from the first half of the first episode, who is the person people would say is the main character of Genshiken 2S? The answer to that question was what made this season so compelling. For you see, there is a way to give both a right and wrong response at the same time. There were several characters who you could argue were the main protagonist, but no one had an all-encompassing claim to that title.

For me, I would say the winners were Chika Oguie, Kenjirou Hato, Mirei Yajima, and Harunobu Madarame (voiced respectively by Nozomi Yamamoto, Kazutomi Yamamoto/Ai Kakuma, Kazuyuki Okitsu, and Yumi Uchiyama). All four of these characters took prominence at one point.

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They were all fantastic, but Chika and Mirei only maintained the heart of what has made Genshiken, Genshiken – otakus enjoying and creating otaku content. Now, although I say “only,” I assure you, few series do this brand of comedy better than Genshiken, and thus, don’t go thinking I’m brushing aside what has been this show’s bread and butter. Nevertheless, it was Kenjirou and Harunobu who allowed Genshiken 2S to carve its own identity.

The relationship that formed between these two characters is hard to define in a single word. There was a bit of budding romance, a bit of admiration, and a bit of reliance. They weren’t just one thing. It was far more complicated, and that complexity was something I wish I could see more of in anime.

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If you are wondering, there is a reason why I listed Kenjirou as having two voice actors. Kenjirou was a crossdresser, and his male and female personas were so authentic, you could almost consider them to be separate characters. That said, in the season, Kenjirou did identify as male; therefore, I will be using the pronouns “he” and “him.”

Where I’m going with this is Kenjirou and Harunobu grew very close throughout Genshiken 2S. Seeing their relationship turn into what it turned into was fascinating because it wasn’t black and white. It was many different shades of color, and the result was a strong human connection. Or in other words:

It was sweet.

When you get down to it, that is Genshiken in a nutshell. This series can be silly, wild, crazy, absurd, goofy, and all-around ridiculous, but it has never been unbelievable. This is the story of people who like what they like, and they will not judge others for doing the same. I won’t speak for you, but I know I can relate to that.

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Series Negatives

Before I go on, know that Genshiken 2S did as well as any show could do when in the same setup. When a single story has so many characters to pay attention to, especially one with so many main characters, it is hard to adequately divvy out screen time. This becomes even trickier when a series is only working with thirteen episodes.

All three of the Genshiken seasons should have been twice as long as they were. There was so much content throughout this series, and there was no way for everything to be covered to full satisfaction. Just looking at what happened in this installment – or instead, what didn’t happen – there was so much left unsaid.

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I liked the development of Kenjirou, but my favorite character was Susanna Hopkins (voiced by Naomi Oozora). She was that special type of wild-card that kept everything random. You could never guess what she would bring to any given scene she was in, other than, it would most likely be hilarious.

For a more concrete example, Susanna’s attachment to Chika Oguie was adorable; a highlight of the season, if you will. As an unfortunate side effect, this prominently demonstrated how much Chika was sidelined in Genshiken 2S.

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Yeah, you could argue Chika had her turn in Genshikent 2, but here, she was the president of the circle. She was the one in charge and watching her step up to fulfill the role was enduring. Sadly, compared to what was seen in season two when Chika’s boyfriend was president of Genshiken, one can’t help thinking her story was only half-told.

Again, I have seen my fair share of anime fail when put in this situation. Genshiken 2S didn’t fail, but just imagine how much more it could have done had it been given more time.

Also, and this actually did get on my nerves, Genshiken 2S had a lot of super-cringy anime-English. For those who don’t know what I am talking about, anime-English can be heard from anyone from an English speaking country, and they sound like lifeless robotic textbooks with legs. Even in shows I like, this remains a huge pet peeve of mine.

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Final Thoughts

When I said this installment marked the end of this franchise, that was only 90% true – I assume. There is still Kujibiki Unbalance, the anime the Genshiken members were watching back in season one. Believe it or not, there is an actual anime adaptation of that show, so in a way, we will get to return to this series.

However, for the storyline of the past three seasons, it would seem we have come to a conclusion. And what a solid conclusion if there ever was one.

The same great humor and personality which could be seen in the first two installments made a glorious return one last time.

Accordingly, Genshiken Second Season has earned a recommendation.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? How would you advise Genshiken Second Season? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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