Anime Review: Genshiken

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The anime series called Genshiken is one of the best comedy animes around.  It has a gentle pace and pokes fun at the otaku (hard-core anime fans) in a mocking, but ultimately lovable way.  The show has charm and wit and moves along at its own pace.  It has the feel of real life instead of the more over-caffeinated anime comedies around such as Excel Saga or FLCL, but that suits this wonderful series just fine.  The complete title Genshiken: The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture refers to the anime club that the the main characters belong to at their college.  Sasahara’s first day at college starts off the show as he chooses to join Genshiken.  Genshiken is run by hardcore otaku fans who love anime Doujinshi and Guilty Gear and their fav anime called Kujibiki Unbalance.  The other characters include the nerdy leader of the group “The Chairman” and Saki, a pretty young woman who despises otaku but falls for a bishonen (pretty boy) who is a member of the club. She joins the club to pursue the cute boy she likes.
Along the way Genshiken spoofs anime culture and in one of the best episodes, they spoof a Comic/Anime Con with pinpoint precision.  By setting an entire episode at the Con, it feels like both a break from he major storylines and a wonderful change of pace.  The nice thing about the show is even as Saki is the stand-in for MANY people who don’t understand the allure of anime, she does slowly grow to understand (if not totally like or embrace) the members of the club.  There’s also hilarious storylines involving a new girl who loves to cosplay (and has an odd fetish) and a lot of jokes about building models and learning to be the girlfriend of an Otaku…..something that can’t be easy.

Genshiken runs a scant 12 episodes and is available in a DVD box set (economy collection) for around 30 bucks at many online retailers.  It’s well worth that amount of money.  A no-brainer for anime fans (Otaku and non-Otaku) alike that is both funny and surprisingly well-written its a treat for everyone and easily one of the best anime comedies of all time.  No wonder the show was just given a second season, and will be available in America shortly, I can’t wait.  This is a series that ultimate celebrates geek culture and nerd society all over the globe, a theme we can all relate to.

Series Grade: A

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