by Luke Carroll,

Genshiken V6

Genshiken V6
Ogiue is determined to sell her own doujinshi at the next ComicFest. What genre is she attempting? Why, a gay romance – starring none other than Madarame and Kanji Sasahara! But when Saki-san catches a glimpse of one of Ogiue's sketches, she gets the wrong idea. Now Saki is convinced that Ogiue is in love with Kanji, and she's dead set on playing Cupid. Meanwhile, as Madarame and Tanaka prepare to graduate, Kanji is about to become a busy senior. He's ready to step down from the Genshiken oval office, but who will take over the role of club president? Here's a hint… can you say cosplay?

Ever wondered what your otaku life would be as a manga? If you have, then do yourself a favour and check out Genshiken, a story for the fans… about the fans. In amongst the hundreds of clubs at Shiiou University, is the Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture, or Genshiken. A club where fans of all types of otakuism can come together, read doujinshi, and watch as much anime as their body's can handle. There is no better satisfaction than reading about the many situations the cast does find themselves in, and saying phrases to yourself such as “I'd never go that far” or “I've done way worse” Genshiken certainly isn't a story just for the hardcore fans out there. Anyone with an anime obsession, and even friends (and girlfriends) of such people, will find a part of themselves somewhere within the cast. Volume 6 not only continues in providing the brilliant content that the previous volumes have had, but also gives us a snapshot of some interesting situations, such as life after college, and how an otaku may face it.

In a slight change of pace, this volume of Genshiken strays away from focusing mainly on the male leads, and gives its attention to the female cast in the series, primarily the latest member of the club, the irritable Ogiue. Nothing is held back as we are straight away thrown into the ploy of getting Ogiue to cosplay. Ogiue denies continuously until the forever present Saki steps in and deviously forces her with some humorous psychological clothing tricks. Later in the novel, Ogiue decides to draw her own haregan book for the next comic festival. Whilst sketching a love scene involving Madarame and Sasahara, Saki conveniently steps in. This turns into a very funny and well done chapter because the cast's developed personalities not only add a lot of believability to the situation, but only makes it seem funnier. The last chapter is a farewell to a number of the cast who are graduating. This is a touching and well done chapter to finish the volume on.

The art in Genshiken is something to marvel at. An otaku loves to have the evidence that they are obsessed. This stands true here where artist Kio Shimoku has gone to extraordinary lengths to fill the Genshiken club room with piles of books, posters, and even figures. Amazingly, all the detail does not clutter the frames or detract from the characters and the conversation at all. Great care has also been taken with the characters. Their detail blends with the background art well, and their quirky physical traits make them very easy to distinguish from everyone else. Overall, the art in Genshiken is very well done. The backgrounds are brilliantly detailed whilst not being cluttered, and the characters are given the same detailed attention that lets them blend in with the rest of the art perfectly.

If there's one thing Genshiken has a lot for, it is conversations. DelRey has done a wonderful job with this, keeping a constant flow of dialogue that can be easily followed. The sound effects are thankfully kept intact, with small translations of their meanings written nearby. The production of the novel is very well done with sharply printed images that rarely fault in detail and tone. DelRey has also included a number of pages for explanations and an excerpt of the Project G doujinshi which features small stories of the cast penned by a group of professional artists. DelRey once again shows us that they have some very high production levels, and as such, it is always a pleasure to read anything that they release.

Six volumes in, Genshiken amazingly remains just as funny and addictive as it started. Although the novel ends with a loss of some of the memorable cast, you can't help but anticipate the next volume just as much. This volume only helps to prove that Genshiken is not only about making fun of geeks, but is also about friendships, and the experiences that being around a group of friends can have. Like the otaku fandom, Genshiken may seem like something that you should only go into if you enjoy it, but given the chance, you may just find a comedic character driven story under the surface that is a delight to look at, just as much as it is to read.

Production Info:
Overall : A-
Story : B+
Art : B-

+ Almost perfect portrayal of the otaku. Great art and funny moments.
Occasional cluttered dialogue.

Story & Art: Shimoku Kio

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