Infobox animanga/Header
name = Genshiken

caption = Cover of the English version of volume 1 of the "Genshiken" manga.
ja_name = げんしけん
ja_name_trans =
genre = Comedy, Slice-of-life
Infobox animanga/Manga
title =
author = Kio Shimoku
publisher = flagicon|Japan Kodansha
flagicon|Canada flagicon|United Kingdom flagicon|United States Del Rey Manga
flagicon|Germany Heyne
flagicon|Italy Star Comics
flagicon|France Kurokawa
demographic = Seinen
magazine = flagicon|Japan Afternoon
first = June 2002
last = June 2006
volumes = 9
Infobox animanga/Anime
title =
director = Takashi Ikehata
studio = Palm Studio, Genco
network = Chiba TV, Kids Station
licensor = flagicon|USA AnimeWorks
first = October 10, 2004
last = December 26, 2004
episodes = 12
Infobox animanga/OVA
title =
director = Tsutomu Mizushima
studio = Ajia-do Animation Works, Genco
licensor = flagicon|USA AnimeWorks
episodes = 3
released = December 22, 2006April 25, 2007
runtime =
Infobox animanga/Anime
title = Genshiken 2
director = Kinji Yoshimoto
studio = ARMS, Ajia-do Animation Works, Genco
network = Chiba TV, Kids Station
licensor = flagicon|USA AnimeWorks
first = October 10, 2007
last = December 26, 2007
episodes = 12
Infobox animanga/Novel
light =
title = Hairu Ranto no Yabō — Return of the OTAKUcite web|date = December 20, 2007 |url = |title = Goods/Book |publisher = Genshiken Official Site |accessdate = 2007-12-21]
author = Kazutoshi Iida
illustrator = Shimoku Kio
publisher = Kodansha
publisher_other =
published = January 23, 2008
magazine =
published =
first =
last =
volumes =
Infobox animanga/Other
title = Related Series
content = *"Kujibiki Unbalance"

nihongo|"Genshiken"|げんしけん is a manga series by Kio Shimoku about a college club for "otaku" (extremely devoted fans of various media) and the lifestyle its members pursue. The title is a shortening of the club's official name, nihongo|"Gendai Shikaku Bunka Kenkyūkai"|現代視覚文化研究会, or "The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture". The series has also been adapted into an anime directed by Tsutomu Mizushima. The manga originally ran in Kodansha's monthly manga anthology "Afternoon" from June 2002 to June 2006, and has been reprinted in nine bound volumes. The ninth and final volume was released in Japan in December 2006. [cite web|date = August 29, 2006|url =|title = Genshiken: The Saga Continues|publisher = Heisei Democracy|accessdate = 2006-08-29]

Plot summary

"Genshiken" follows the lives of a group of college students drawn together by their shared hobbies, and the trials and adventures associated with being otaku. The story begins with the introduction of Kanji Sasahara, a shy, confidence-lacking freshman who on club day at university, decides to join a club he would actually enjoy, Genshiken. Over his four years at Shiiou University, Sasahara comes to accept himself for who he is and loses the inhibitions and guilt he once felt and associated with otaku culture, becoming an enthusiastic clubmember, and for a time, a capable club president. As the story of "Genshiken" progresses, focus is also placed on Saki Kasukabe, a determined non-otaku who initially struggles to drag her boyfriend out of the club, and Chika Ogiue, a self-professed otaku-hater who feels a deep-seated shame and self-loathing toward her own interests and hobbies.

During the course of the series, the reader bears witness as the group grows in its cohesiveness over time, and bonds form between the characters as they begin to see themselves as more than fellow club members, but friends as well. In this context, club activities such as group outings, the biannual pilgrimage to Comifes, and even simply hanging out in the clubroom, allow the characters' complex relationships to grow into friendship, infatuation, and at times, even love. While a few of them never quite see eye-to-eye about their interests or the lives they lead, they are held together by the bonds of friendship that they share.


; nihongo|Kanji Sasahara|笹原 完士|Sasahara Kanji : At the beginning of the series, Sasahara is just coming to terms with his "otaku" nature and much of the beginning of the series focuses on introducing him to the "otaku" lifestyle. He is the most balanced member of Genshiken, with no real focus on any particular aspect.; nihongo|Makoto Kousaka|高坂 真琴|Kōsaka Makoto : Kousaka is the character who most focuses on video games, particularly fighters and porn games. He also does not fit the "otaku" stereotype in that he is much more outwardly fashionable than would be expected. He likes his girlfriend Kasukabe very much, though she doesn't share his interests.; nihongo|Saki Kasukabe|春日部 咲|Kasukabe Saki : The only non-"otaku" main character, Kasukabe hates "otaku" and their lifestyle, but is forced to hang around the Genshiken in order to be with her boyfriend Kousaka. A down to earth, practical & manipulative attractive young woman, Saki is somewhat ruthless & easily angered. She most of the time physically abuses the other male members of Genshiken.; nihongo|Harunobu Madarame|斑目 晴信|Madarame Harunobu : Madarame is the most hardcore "otaku" of the Genshiken members. He carries his obsessions to an almost dangerous degree, spending nearly all of his money on "dōjinshi", which leaves little money for food or other living expenses.; nihongo|Souichiro Tanaka|田中 総市郎|Tanaka Sōichirō : Tanaka focuses on designing costumes for cosplay, and thus has a strong connection with Ohno. He also has a strong focus on plamo, or plastic models.; nihongo|Mitsunori Kugayama|久我山 光紀|Kugayama Mitsunori : Kugayama is a stuttering, overweight member who is Genshiken's only artist until Ogiue's arrival. However, he lacks the motivation and commitment to create a full-fledged "dōjinshi".; nihongo|Kanako Ohno|大野 加奈子|Ōno Kanako : The first female to join Genshiken of her own free will, Ohno is a soft-spoken, well-endowed girl who enjoys cosplaying. Her enthusiasm for her hobbies serves as a foil for Kasukabe and later Ogiue, who both resist her attempts to get them involved in club activities. She has what is known as "oyajicon", meaning that her preference for anime men is that of middle-aged characters.; nihongo|Chika Ogiue|荻上 千佳|Ogiue Chika : Not introduced until later in the manga series, and not introduced until the OVA for the anime, Ogiue reads and creates female-oriented, "yaoi dōjinshi". The other female members of Genshiken sometimes call her a "Fujoshi" (腐女子, "rotten girl") because of that. She is deeply ashamed of her "otaku" nature, but gradually comes to accept it as the series progresses.; nihongo|Manabu Kuchiki|朽木 学|Kuchiki Manabu : Also not introduced until later in the series, Kuchiki is a loud and annoying (but good hearted & helpful) member that sometimes is disliked by the rest of Genshiken, especially by the girls. He's actually the expansive cute-fixation otaku: he calls other members with the -chan suffix, his movements and behaviour copy those of many popular anime and most of the time he speaks imitating the voices of cartoon characters.

Cultural references

The series, being focused on the "otaku" lifestyle, contains numerous references to other manga, anime, video games, and other aspects of "otaku" culture. Common plot points include such "otaku"-centric activities as the buying and creation of "dōjinshi", fan-made manga usually of erotic content; convincing a character to try cosplay (the dressing up as characters from manga, anime, or video games); the creation of plamo (plastic models that must be assembled); visiting Akihabara, Tokyo's electronics shopping district; or attending the biannual Comic Festival ("Comifes"), a reference to Comic Market ("Comiket"), Japan's single largest anime- and manga-focused fan convention.

Because the anime is co-produced by Sega Sammy Holdings, the "Guilty Gear" video game series is heavily referenced, with actual gameplay sequences being shown multiple times, Ohno cosplaying as Kuradoberi Jam, and various other minor references. The Sega puzzle game "Puyo Pop"ref label|name|a| also serves as an important plot point as Kasukabe tries to gain Kousaka's attention. Numerous other non-Sega/Sammy properties are also referenced throughout the anime, but their names are changed slightly, such as "The King of Fighters '95" being alluded to as "COF 95" and "Capcom vs SNK 2" as "S-Cup". Discussion of "eroge", erotic video games usually of the visual novel genre, also occurs often.

Similar to the treatment of video games in the series, popular anime and manga are often alluded to by pseudonyms, such as "Gungal" ("Gundam"), "Haragen" ("Fullmetal Alchemist"), "Scram Dunk" ("Slam Dunk"), "Neko Yasha" ("Inu Yasha"), and many others. "Genshiken" usually avoids referring to these series so in-depth that it would require the use of names and lines from their real-world counterparts, with several notable exceptions: in the model-building chapter of the manga (but not the anime), actual "Gundam" mecha and characters are referred to throughout, while the dialogue quoted by Sue (except for one "Neko Yasha!" outburst) is pulled directly from "Evangelion", "Lupin III", "Azumanga Daioh", and other series.

These cultural references have remained intact for the English adaption of the manga, which include a section for translation notes. However, due to the number of allusions made and the inability for a translator to always know what is being referred to, many explanations of "otaku" references are still absent. The anime however, has been criticized for having "excessive script variances" with its English dub translations, such as injecting English specific references like "talk to the hand" and for inconsistently including liner notes. [cite web
date = October 13, 2005
url =
author = Theron Martin
title = Genshiken DVD 2 review
publisher = Anime News Network
accessdate = 2007-03-15

"Kujibiki Unbalance"

The majority of manga and anime references made in "Genshiken" are on the then-fictitious series known as "Kujibiki Unbalance", a stereotypical romantic comedy. "Kujibiki Unbalance" was likely originally conceived (at least partially) to avoid potential copyright problems from referencing another series too heavily, but has since spun off into its own full fledged manga and anime series.

"Ramen Angel Pretty Menma"

Another fictitious series created for the series is "Ramen Angel Pretty Menma", a generic adult visual novel. Mentioned in passing as Sasahara's first such game in the manga, it is given much greater emphasis in the second season of the anime. The plot revolves around Kaoru Torigara, only son of a ramen shop owner, who is going to renovate his inherited ramen shop. He discovers that his shop has a guardian angel named Pretty Menma. Pretty Menma tells Kaoru that his dead father's intention is making him succeed in the "Food King Wars", a battle of restaurants around the world that is held every 4 years. Kaoru and Menma must help each other to go through the struggles of the "Food King Wars". [cite web
url =
title = ラーメン天使 プリティメンマ
accessdate = 2007-12-21
] In the anime, there is also "Ramen Angel Pretty Menma 2", which continues from the first version. Additionally, the third version of the opening sequence (that uses the same song, but adds scenes and edits existing ones) shows Ogiue cosplaying Pretty Menma, Ohno cosplaying Cutie Tonko (another heroine in this series who represents "tonkotsu", a form of ramen broth), and Kasukabe cosplaying Menma's mother. [cite web
url =
title = ラーメン天使 プリティメンマ
accessdate = 2007-12-21
] This series is also spun off into its own Internet radio show, manga (serialized in "Monthly Comic Alive") and a drama CD. [cite web
url =
title = ラーメン天使 プリティメンマ
accessdate = 2007-12-21

Anime adaptation

The manga was brought to television by the production company Genco in 2004 as a twelve-episode anime and in 2006 and 2007 as a three-episode OVA, adapting the first five volumes of the manga. The TV series was licensed for North American release by Media Blasters.

The anime adaptation is very faithful to the original work, with few revisions being made, with the exception that many references to specific anime, manga, and video games are changed or removed. The previously fictional "Kujibiki Unbalance" manga series was also turned into an anime series to match the medium, with three complete episodes being created for sampling in the anime version of "Genshiken". The three "Kujibiki Unbalance" episodes are provided as bonus OVAs with the purchase of the "Genshiken" DVDs.

It was originally announced by Media Factory at Comiket 69 that the second season of "Genshiken" would premiere in October 2006. [cite web|date = January 10, 2006|url =|title = NEWS FLASH: Genshiken Anime Season 2 Announced|publisher = [ Heisei Democracy] |accessdate = 2006-05-24] However, Media Factory clarified their statement in May 2006, saying that the series airing in the fall would be a full-fledged "Kujibiki Unbalance" series, rather than "Genshiken" season 2. [cite web|date = May 24, 2006|url =|title = New Kujian Anime|publisher = Anime News Network|accessdate = 2006-05-24] Nevertheless, the DVD releases of the new "Kujibiki Unbalance" series each included an OVA episode of "Genshiken", for a total of three new episodes. The first new episode was released with "Kujibiki Unbalance" DVD Box 1 on 22 December 2006, with the two subsequent installments following on 23 February and 25 April 2007, respectively. [cite web|date = October, 2006|url =|title = ("Goods" page on the official "Genshiken" website)|publisher = |accessdate = 2006-10-12]

On 23 April 2007, it was announced on the "Genshiken" homepage that a second season of the TV anime would be produced, including the character Ogiue, who had been introduced in the OVA episodes. [cite web|date = 23 April 2007|url =|title = 「げんしけん」アニメ第2期シリーズ制作決定!|publisher = |accessdate = 2007-04-23] The first episode of the second season aired on 10 October 2007 on Japanese TV. A radio webcast runs simultaneously with the second season's terrestrial broadcast. The final episode of the season aired on 26 December 2007; however, it did not conclude the story.

The TV version of "Genshiken 2" aired with minor censorship. Oddly though, the censorship was that of a highly erotic kiss that involved no nudity. The DVD version shows the kiss uncensored. [cite web|date = January 5, 2008|url =|title=Genshiken uncensored|publisher=Heisei Democracy|accessdate=2008-02-02]

Critical response

"Genshiken" has been praised for its execution of the slice-of-life genre, in that it is able to be funny while still maintaining a strong sense of reality.cite web
date = June 21, 2005
url =
author = Bamboo Dong
title = Genshiken G.novel 1: Society for Study of Modern Visual Culture
publisher = Anime News Network
accessdate = 2007-03-15
] Anime News Network reviewer Bamboo Dong's review of the first manga volume called "Genshiken" "one of the best manga series out this year", praising Shimoku Kio's attention to detail and David Ury's translation work. "Genshiken" was also a 2005 Japan Media Art's Festival jury recommended manga. [cite web
url =
title = Jury recommended works: manga division
publisher = Japan Media Art's Plaza
accessdate = 2007-03-15

ee also

*"Comic Party"
*"Otaku no Video"
*"Cosplay Complex"

Notes and references

:a: The series "Puyo Pop" is known as "Puyo Puyo" in Japan. Also, the specific game played is different for each medium: in the manga, it's "Puyo Puyo 2", and in the anime, it's "Puyo Puyo Fever".

External links

* [ The official Genshiken web site]
* [ The official Ramen Tenshi Pretty Menma web site]

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