a.k.a. The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture 2
With Sasahara as the new club president, Genshiken is apparently looking into a bright future of more doujinshi publications, more cosplay and more fun altogether. Unfortunately, with the end of their high school lives, the club members have to start worrying about their future lives, careers and relationships. Faced with the challenges of real life, will the club remain together, or will it slowly fall apart. And will everyone find a job to make them happy?
summary by Taleweaver
Highs: Parodies that really hit the spot; worthy conclusion to Genshiken; all characters finally developed
Lows: A few bland moments
If you’ve already got to know the boys and girls of Genshiken in the original series, this sequel will have quite a few surprises in stock for you. First of all, while it is still comedy at heart, it is much less wacky than the former installment. Secondly, only the first few episodes are about otaku activities the same way the prequel was. And finally, the personal drama that unfolds here is so deep that I had a really hard time before deciding not to add “Drama” to the genre description you see above.
Here’s why I didn’t: Genshiken 2, as already mentioned, is still a comedy at heart, and even in its deepest, most introspective moments, it gives you a little nudge to your funny bone to make sure you’re not losing that smile you’re wearing. On top of that, in every moment where the series really makes an effort to be funny, it manages to be absolutely hilarious. The parodies that permeate everything absolutely hit the spot, from TV culture references like 24 to cameo appearances of Japanese celebrities. And, as expected from the Genshiken universe, there are more anime, manga and game spoofs per minute than anywhere else.
Aside from being genuinely funny, Genshiken 2 also offers a worthy conclusion to the entire plot. People finally develop steady relationships with one another, loose ends from the prequel are tied up, and the conclusion wraps things up nice and tidy, with a positive look to the future but no unfinished story threads that would absolutely require a Genshiken 3. Most importantly, however, all the well-loved characters are finally developed, even the formerly bland Tanaka and Kugayama. Now that the series is at an end, it’s good to see the creators went that extra mile.
There’s really no single major problem with Genshiken 2 that would prevent it from being ranked brilliant, but in the course of the series, there are a few moments where the script lags a little. Maybe it’s just because of the abundance of good comedy in some places that makes Genshiken 2 appear bland in some other places; these moments where everything seems to drag a little are what brings the series as a whole down a little. With only twelve episodes, there shouldn’t have been time for anything even remotely boring.
All in all, Genshiken 2 is almost everything you could have hoped for if you were a fan of the original series. It’s witty, funny, more entertaining that its predecessor almost all of the time, and it gives an optimistic outlook on life in general the prequel definitely couldn’t. While not as strictly devoted to otaku life as you might have expected, it offers a much warmer view on the people behind the otaku façade, and that’s what makes it great.
Genshiken 2 can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.