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Genshiken 1-4
Author: Ross Liversidge

Ross founded the UK Anime Network waaay back in 1995 and works in and around the anime world in his spare time.

Genshiken 1-4

Del Ray
Kio Shimoku

Genshiken is about you. Yes, even you at the back there, hiding ^^

Like Comic Party, Genshiken finds its inspiration from otaku themselves, in this case a University club full of typical otaku stereotypes, told sympathetically and with characters and situations you probably know all too well. This, my friends, is a sitcom about you. Or at least, you if you lived in Japan.

With the start of a new term, freshman Kanji Sasaharais a reluctant otaku, who attends the usual after class activities drive and spots the Genshiken table from afar. Intrigued but cautious, he manages to talk to the presenters (after several attempts) and from here we get to know about the oddballs that make up the club.

Where Genshiken scores points is in the way it doesn't exaggerate the characters or situations, and pokes fun by looking at situations we all recognise. That first time you read a doujinshi? Check. Meeting someone who simply cannot be beaten at computer games? Yup. The cosplay fanatic? Met her several times. For those of us who have lived "the life" you'll recognise many elements of the club's activities, the kind of conversations we pointlessly engage in, and even events that we've attended. It's all here, it's dead on accurate and it's bloody funny.

The artwork is excellent too. The character designs are all rooted in reality, so there are no impossible haircuts or outrageous clothes, and the skill that goes into some of the panels is breathtaking - witness all the tables at Comic Fest and each cover has a different style on it. That's attention to detail you rarely see. The real-world limitations on cosplay character outfits are all there too, so anyone into that scene will know exactly how dedicated cosplay nut Tanaka has to be. It's excellent, excellent stuff.

Quick summary? Genshiken is "Friends" for the Otaku generation.

Your life in manga.
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