Reviewed by: Spike
Released by: Media Blasters
Age Rating: 13+
Region: 1 - North America
Volume 1 of 3
Length: 100 minutes
English Dolby Digital Stereo
Japanese Dolby Digital Stereo
It is Sasahara Kanji's first day of college, and as such he must pick which college clubs he wants to join. However, something dark stirs with in young Sasahara?s soul and threatens any chance he may have of achieving popularity in college. For Sasahara is a fan of not only video games, but anime, manga, doujinshi and cosplay as well, not only that, buy he'd like to join a club that could teach him more on these subjects. Stumbling through the labyrinth of available clubs he finds a few anime and manga related clubs but falls short of approaching them.
Saki's only motivation in college is to find a cute boyfriend, and she thinks she's in luck when a childhood friend, Kohsaka, turns back up in her life as a full grown pretty-boy. But Kohsaka too has a dark side, instead of wanting to join the popular clubs like Saki would want, he too would prefer to join an anime or manga club.
Thus, both of them are drawn to the Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture, or Genshiken as it?s more commonly known, the barely legitimate home of an entire fan base of Otaku. Now between Sasahara's awkwardness at joining the club, along with Saki's resolve for the totally addicted Kohsaka weakening by the minute, the new members of Genshiken are going to have a hard time just keeping up.
The characters are diverse and represent all of the different facets of Otaku life, and some others forced to interact with it. Kohsaka is the video game expert and seems to have no idea that Saki likes him in THAT sort of way, while Saki is pushy and aggressive and follows Kohsaka constantly no matter how repellent she finds the other members of the group. The other characters that are all introduced through the eyes of Sasahara, and vary from the costume designer Tanaka and his fellow cosplayer Ohno, through to the perverted Madarame and the quiet Kugayama, to the more rounded, but rarely seen, club chairman Shodai.
Most of the animation is quite bright and slightly washed out, although sometimes alters slightly in different location and situations, although the artwork changes notably when displaying other anime and manga that it is expertly lampooning. The sound is light on music with only a few background tunes audible beyond the main themes, while the sound effects are accurate, but, like any other semi-realistic anime, go more for that accuracy than any form of ?wow? factor. The subtitles are identical in every respect to the dubbed version, almost to the letter, and no real faults can be found in the translation.
Most fans will find something familiar with Genshiken, be it the conversations overheard at a club or convention, or the people in the show that you could swear you knew someone quite like. One thing to notice here is even though there is a huge level of parody here, especially on the anime, manga, models and games, where you can expect to find extremely close but not-quite-right copies of your favourites; though sometimes the series delves into the more cerebral aspects of modern visual culture and its origins, which makes for an interesting change of pace.
Genshiken is definitely a series for anime fans (Well, I suppose most anime series are, but you know what I mean!), the jokes are for the fans who have seen it all, or at least think they have, and the parodies of both the subject matter and the people who like it will leave you sometimes laughing, sometimes crying, and sometimes cringing, as all the little foibles of the Otaku world are taken outside for some fresh air and a good spanking. Like I said earlier, this one is for the fans, though for those who have attended anime clubs and conventions this series is a real comedic winner.