Thursday, June 12, 2014

Genshiken 2 - A Dusty Shelf Review (Anime Review)

Welcome to another of my Dusty Shelf Anime Reviews.
It is kinda sad that this series sat for so long unwatched.

The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture.
It is really sad considering that I love the manga by Kio Shimoku. I read the series possibly more times than any other series, and eagerly await each new volume of the second manga series.

4 out of 5 stars
Ogiue, hiding in plain sight.
Man that rating is really being used a lot right now. But it is accurate. I enjoyed Genshiken 2 thoroughly... but it ended far too soon.

Yes it ended too quickly. The series is only 12 episodes long (with a strange strange 13th OVA episode). However before you should watch it, you should see season 1 and the transitional OVA. The problem is that the OVA is attached to the Kujibiki Unbalance anime DVDs. Yes, that is right... the anime that the members of Genshiken always talk about is an actual anime... and to see all of Genshiken, you need to get the OVA that comes with the Kunji-Un DVDs. Confused? Hope not.
I'll make it easier:

Ogiue can't leave the room, she can't stay. She's trapped!
- Genshiken Season 1: covers graphic novels 1-4
- Genshiken OVA (attached to Kujibiki Unbalance): covers graphic novels 4-5
- Genshiken Season 2 : covers graphic novels 5 - 7.
- NO ANIME covers graphic novels (end of) 7, 8, and the latter half of volume 9.
Genshiken 2 adds more complexity to Ohno x Tanaka.
- Genshiken Nidaime no Roku: covers the first half of volume 9, which is odd. (Came bundled with manga volume #15 in Japan).
- Genshiken Nidaime: A third anime that begins the story in the manga Genshiken Second Season (the second manga).

Okay, maybe that was not the most helpful list ever. 

I have the same reaction to Yaoi.
I do think you can see my big complaint from Genshiken 2. It fails to cover the end of the first series of manga. Nothing at all covers that section of manga. Which in my opinion is the mist important part of the manga. It's about Ogiue coming to accept herself, and accept Sasahara's feelings. It sets up everything to come, so not having it animated is irritating. At least they did do an OVA to introduce Ogiue, but they did not do one to finish out the manga.

And yet, I really do like the series. I understand these characters. These are characters that I can absolutely and completely get into the mindset of.

This is Ogiue's fujoshi imagination.
I laughed constantly as I watch the series, there is so much depth to the humor. Referential humor, social humor, it is all there...

The introduction to Ohno's American friends.
There is one thing you must do when you watch this series or any Genshiken series. You must, must, must watch it in Japanese with the subtitles on (or without if you are fluent). There are many reasons, but the single greatest reason is found near the end of Genshiken 2. Entire dialogues spoken in English by the Japanese voice actresses. It is amazingly fun, the constant swapping between of Japanese and English, the back and forths, the accuracy and reality of these scenes can only be replicated in a dub if they were to do these scenes with the English speaking VA's speaking Japanese. I watched the scenes dubbed in English, and it really lacks the impact... it does not show the problems in communication, nor do they fully convey the confusion of the characters. It really fails at times, and fails big.

Now, that being said... the dub of Genshiken does at least have Sue speaking in Japanese, which is important since all of her lines are (at least in Genshiken 2) simply anime quotes, even the ones she speaks while opening all of Tanaka's Gundam models.

So, in all seriousness, do not watch this series dubbed. I'm not knocking on the English speaking VAs. It just is not meant to be watched that way. It is meant to be watched in Japanese.

So I heartily endorse this series, but please watch it in Japanese. You will not regret that decision. 

"Anta Baka!" (Actually that's not the line she speaks while pointing at Madarame, but whatever).

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