Genshiken: Second Season, Vol. 5

By Shimoku Kio. Released in Japan by Kodansha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Afternoon. Released in North America by Kodansha Comics.

I’ve reviewed the last couple of volumes of this sequel to Genshiken in Bookshelf Briefs, and have remarked several times that it almost feels like they’re trying to aim for a new demographic with all of the new cast being of a more BL tilt, and the graduation of most of the previous players. That said, there are still characters dropping in and out throughout, and Madarame has been a constant, if smaller presence. Well, that changes here. The new volume starts with a definitive ending to the most talked about plotline of the old series, and helps to set up a new one that will also star Madarame, who has never been the viewpoint character but has always been the face of Genshiken, so to speak.


The old plotline is, of course, Madarame’s crush on Saki, and the fact that she’s been sort of aware but ignoring it. Last volume she admitted this, and the rest of the club set things up so that they could be alone and he could confess. No one – not even Madarame – seriously expects anything but a rejection. After all, Saki has been dating Kousaka since the series began, and while the majority of fans aren’t really thrilled with that, their love for each other has never been in question. (In fact, the scenes with Kousaka here are some of his best, as I finally begin to understand a character I’ve always had trouble with. As for the “confession” itself, it was very Genshiken, being both hilarious and heartwarming, and the aftermath slips to purely being the latter.

It feels like an ending, as Kio himself lampshades, but there’s still a lot of things to resolve. For one, as Saki notes, Madarame is busy obliviously gathering a harem of his own. Keiko gets a lot more face time here, and we see more of why she’s interested in someone with all the baggage that Madarame has – baggage that gets worse when he decides to quit his job, saying himself he wants to see how far he can fall. As for Hato, his crush on Madarame, if it is one, is still wrapped up in his own identity, which is in flux. This is painful for him, and it’s almost reminiscent of Wandering Son at times, except Hato is far less accepting of his own desires. Having Hato and Madarame intersect like this is a perfect plot – they’re the two most interesting characters of all of Genshiken.

Other than that, it seemed appropriate to devote a chapter to Ohno and Tanaka, who are almost the forgotten couple of the manga (partly die to Tanaka mostly being together about thin gs – even here he’s the adult.) This is also quite cute, and has a nice heartwarming scene that could be construed as a proposal – that’s certainly how the club takes it. And while there isn’t much Sue, the cliffhanger makes me think we may get more of her next time. Genshiken hasn’t forgotten about its old fans, but still has plenty for new readers. If you enjoyed the series before, this volume will not disappoint you.

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