Chapter 87 of Genshiken includes this panel of Sue greeting Angela at the airport. Is this not the best use of speed lines? You can follow the precise action as Sue mimes raising a shotgun, lowering it slightly and moving it from side to side, all in one motion. [Sorry, it's a missile launcher.]
Right about now they're watching the sun come up at Narita Temple. If Douglas can draw something in 2013 as good as this panel from Genshiken chapter 51 he'll be happy. See here for some pics of Narita at New Year's Eve.
Having linked to the closing theme of Genshiken, "Biidama", it's only right to acknowledge the opening theme "My Pace Daioh" by Manzo. Here he is in concert. The crowd know the song. The electric guitarist sounds like he might be a follower of Brian May.
In chapter 61 of Genshiken, in the newly-released Second Season volume 1, Madarame proves his bachelor abilities by preparing Hato a shrimp and uncured ham and cherry tomato pasta dinner. You can too if you follow the instructions at umebon's Manga Cafeteria blog.
Also: Is there still anyone doing Genshiken doujinshi? Yes.
Also: For a while there if you did a Google search on the name Kio Shimoku you were shown a picture of Nobuyuki Hiyama, who voiced Madarame in the anime. Now there's no picture at all. So not even Google knows what Kio Shimoku looks like.
Genshiken chapter 77 is out, and it contains several fantastic panels. Kio Shimoku has been using screentone with increasing mastery and, clearly, enjoyment since restarting the series. The contest of historical knowledge between Yoshitake and her high school clubmates in chapter 75 draws a huge amount of energy from the lightning crackling in the background. In chapter 77 Shimoku uses a gasoline explosion effect to emphasize the transgressive power of the pairing Ken X Yuu. And in the Sue's Final Technique panel she's surrounded by supernatural vapour.
In the panel above Shimoku employs screentone for a subtler but more cinematic effect. Hato, in black wig and argyle vest is lit strongly. Ogiue and Kaminaga, who have been doing most of the talking through this chapter, are drawn with few or no facial features and are thrown into shade as Hato focuses on a momentary glimpse of the chapter's B plot, the action between Madarame and Sue. The oddness of the moment is emphasized by the tilted (camera) angle. The panel feels like a scene from a black and white film.
Hato is the central character of the revived Genshiken. Through about twenty chapters his crossdressing, and the motivation behind it, have been the mystery that has drawn the reader onward. But at the same time we're shown Hato trying to figure everybody else out, and you get panels like the one above in which you are positioned to take his point of view. You look over Hato's shoulder and his curiosity becomes yours. Here's another example from chapter 76:
Hato is both the mystery and the one trying to solve the mystery, like in a Hitchcock film.
It's appropriate to be a complete nerd about Genshiken, because Genshiken is about nerddom.
Each month around the 21st I check Amazon.co.jp to see when the new Afternoon Magazine will drop, and once that day arrives (or rather on noon of the day before because of the time difference) I start to search on the term げんしけん with a view to finding a few panels from the new chapter on some Japanese fan's blog. You can usually get a scan of the whole chapter in Japanese within a couple of days, but I'm really sick of how those sites try to monetize their piracy. And usually within a couple of weeks there's a excellent scanlation available from a dedicated amateur whose work I respect, so I'm happy to wait for that. And in the meantime there's always a spoiler article at Ogiue Maniax which I can never resist reading. You can rest assured I will buy the Kodansha release when it comes out, because I must have it in English-language paperback format, and oh yeah it's the right thing to do. But until then I scrounge for tidbits, like the image above.
I had no idea there were Genshiken calendars. This one, currently available at Amazon.co.jp, dates from 2004, or around the time of volume 3.
There's a poll going on at the Manga Fox forum area about which other Genshiken character Madarame should pair off with. You'll have to register to vote, if you have an opinion in the matter. Considering that the story is grounded pretty firmly in the real world I think he'll likely wind up with some office lady we haven't even met, though it could be volume 13 before we find out for sure. I think the existence of the what-if story Spotted Flower is an indication that Mada x Saki is not going to happen in Genshiken. But I trust the storyteller enough to believe that whatever resolution he has in store will feel right.
Genshiken chapter 71 is out, and as part of the marketing of the simultaneously released tankōbon 11 there are several colour pages in the magazine, one of which includes this portrait of Sue Hopkins as Ritsuko Kubel Kettenkrad, the student council president in Kujibiki Unbalance. Most of the interest in the chapter revolves around Ogiue's writer's block or else the ongoing Hato x Mada storyline, but this picture was the thing that popped out for me.
Kuji-Un is the manga within a manga, read and discussed at great length by the club members in the earlier part of Genshiken's run, but by the fifth year it's a bit archaic, to the extent that when Hato cosplays Kaoruko Yamada at Comicfest he wonders if anyone will get it. Yet the Genshiken clubroom is plastered with Kuji-Un art, in particular an image of President Kettenkrad in the window directly behind the club president's chair. A picture of President Kettenkrad on the outside of the clubroom door is the focus of the last page of the original run of Genshiken. It is as if Kio Shimoku is saying: this is the eternal spirit of this group.
The character most famously associated with The President is Saki Kasukabe, who is manoeurved into cosplaying her in chapter 19. Despite not knowing or caring about Kettenkrad's character, Saki manages to embody her by confronting and thwarting an illicit videographer. The presidency of the Genshiken passes from the First President to Madarame to Sasahara to Ohno to Ogiue, but for most of the series the de facto presidency belongs to Kasukabe. It's Kasukabe who defeats Kitagawa when the latter attempts to dissolve the club, Kasukabe who dictates that the clubroom be cleaned up (though with disastrous results), and Kasukabe who knocks heads together when it looks like the deadline for the Comicfest doujinshi won't be met. If ever the First President needs to influence the course of events he goes to Kasukabe. It's Kasukabe who talks Ohno into taking the presidency, and you have to think that the craftiness that Ohno develops in that role comes from thinking, "What would Kasukabe do?"
On the surface Saki and Sue are as far apart as could be. Saki is a fashionable, social, normal person with little interest or comprehension of otaku culture, who at first just wants to get her boyfriend out of the club. Sue is at the opposite extreme, a foreigner whose knowledge of Japan is almost entirely taken from otaku culture (though she does know her Buddhist chants). She communicates by quoting manga, and cosplays possibly more than Ohno. She seems to be in her own otaku subculture, puzzling even the other club members. But often it's Sue's imput that sets the direction of the club. She came up with the solution to Hato's change-room dilemma, and she also had some romantic advice for Madarame which he may or may not ultimately follow. In the newest chapter, when the school festival magazine seems on the brink of implosion, it's Sue who mandates a new partnership between Ogiue and Hato.
It's very likely that Sue will never be Genshiken president. I think Ogiue's concern for the survival of the club will lead her to a safer choice, either Yajima or Yoshitaki. But I expect to see more of the eternal spirit of The President from Sue in coming chapters.
This post started out as a search for a photograph of Kio Shimoku (木尾 士目), author of Genshiken. It was not successful, because either Google Image isn't as encyclopedic as I thought, or because Shimoku-sensei is camera-shy (I don't know -- he does describe himself as timid in this interview) or maybe just because I don't know enough to pick him out. If you're trying to find out what someone looks like it helps to know beforehand what they look like.
But this is a good portrait of the artist's hands. You can tell it's Shimoku from the signature and drawing both. The artwork is an alternate version of the cover of Genshiken, Volume 6. Instead of cosplaying Renko in school uniform, Ogiue is modeling her swimsuit.
The photo is also a fine portrait because it includes quite a bit of the artist's workspace and pens and stuff. The source is this blog entry, dated February 2007. The sweater dates from the 1990s.
The search for Shimoku turned up two other drawings, both of them sketches from an event on November 27, 2010.
If I were at a show where Kio Shimoku was selling sketches, which character would I ask for? I have the same birthday and blood-type as Ogiue, but a voice in my head is saying Kugayama. We don't see enough of Kugapii. D
[Update: more shots of Shimoku's hands at thisDigopuri signing in Taiwan in 2010.]
[Here's a twist. According to his Japanese language Wikipedia article 'Kio Shimoku' is a pen name.]
I haven't had a new favourite song for a while but "Biidama" by Saori Atsumi is quietly slipping into that position. It's performed in Japanese so there's no way I would have ever heard it if it were not over the closing credits of season one of the Genshiken anime. So it's not new -- 2004. I think the thing that makes it work is that, with its nostalgia for perhaps unhappy times, and its waltz time, it's actually a French chanson. You can listen to it here three times if you need an earworm. These are the lyrics in Japanese and English. Here is a list of other songs of hers that have been used in anime. I would very much like to hear it sung in French. D