Genshiken (げんしけん) by Kio Shimoku
Convention season always puts Genshiken back on my mind. This year though, Genshiken is officially back in the spotlight with a currently airing anime. Plus, here in the states we are slowly getting the new class’s story in manga form, and to top it off, Kodansha USA has also releasing omnibus editions of the original story.
Simply put, Genshiken is about the geeks that we all are and know, albeit a bit exaggerated. The story is centered around an otaku club in college where we encounter various personalities, relationships, struggles, hijinks, and, of course, geekery. From cosplay to doujinshi, from figures to eroge games; everything and more is referenced, discussed, argued over, and loved within the pages of Genshiken.
Genshiken truly begins when new student Sasahara joins the club as a freshman. It follows him over four years in the club as he gets to know its members, learns a lot about himself, and even becomes more of an otaku in the process. But Genshiken is truly an ensemble story that shines brightest when it is about the group dynamic of the club. Sadly (though not really), characters must graduate and move forward but that doesn’t mean Genshiken ends as new students are always knocking on the door of the club room looking for a friendly place to share their fandom.
In Genshiken, sometimes the stories are strange, sometimes the stories are very poignant, and these stories are always told with big dose of humor. The appeal of Genshiken is that you are part of the club. You may or may not see yourself as one of the characters, but you always see yourself within the context of their lives.