By bluemist on March 30th, 2005


Again, this anime is about this group of guys composing of Genshiken (short for Gendai Shikaku Bunka Kenkyuukai [Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture]) club members. Frankly, they are ‘otakus’ and this is their life story. Yup. Them otakus like everything. Anime, manga, videogames, cosplay, models and toys, doujinshi, ero-games, blah blah blah. They also love Kujibiki Unbalance.

I was quite surprised that this anime is actually licensed, considering that this has a theme that Americans may not accept. In America, otakuism is like having a cool, elitist lifestyle, regarded as somewhat honorable. In Japan, being an otaku means being in your self-contained hobbyist world, without much social life, neglecting your physical appearance, and basically obsessed with your hobby. Moreover, many anime fans in America think otakuism in Japan is popular, meaning anime, games, and stuff like that are really popular in Japan. They think anime is mostly not for kids. Hell no in Japan. Maybe through this series they would be kinda surprised that the regular mass Japanese viewpoint is from the Genshiken character Saki, who is your typical Japanese girl forced to hang out with these otakus because her boyfriend is (sadly) also one.

Culture barriers are really complex at times. In America otaku are honored, in Japan otaku are oppressed. In other countries anime is cool, in Japan (where anime itself originates) anime is childish. Of course there are subsections to this kind of issue, but this is generally the case. In any case, Genshiken is somehow a generic mirror to the otaku society of Japan. They watch and discuss anime (mostly Kujibiki Unbalance), they play games (actual Guilty Gear footage is being used all the time), attend those doujinshi festivals, do mecha plastic models, and the ever-loved cosplay. The multitude of Japanese cultural (and otaku-cultural) references may alienate me, but generally this is a very fun watch.

Genshiken OVA