Genshiken, like Otaku No Video, Animation Runner Kuromi or Comic Party before it, is an anime for Otaku by Otaku. Think of it as an animated version of Trekkies.
Otaku, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a label with a mixed past. In Japanese, Otaku is actually the honorific form of house - a way of saying "your house" to your boss or teacher. As a title in Japanese, it refers to an obsessed individual; someone so involved in their hobby that they seem never to leave their house. Americans, hearing the description as "a devoted fan" adopted the epithet with pride. Which brings us to why the callout for this title is "The Truth Hurts."
Just like the Trekkies film or the earlier "Otaku No Video," Genshiken holds up a mirror in which the fan can see himself. Creator Shimoku Kio and director Takashi Ikehata have assembled a work that is, while still fiction, also a pretty honest portrait of the Otaku lifestyle. The characters each represent a particular stereotype - whether it is the cosplayer or the gamer - plus there is the observer, a girl who has fallen for one of the club members but can't understand the obsession.
Unlike Animation Runner Kuromi or Comic Party, Genshiken is more about life than goals. There is no huge target - get the anime done on time! - simply just following the Genshiken, the name means "Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture" as they wander from comic conventions to debates about which is better - the manga or anime version of a favorite title.
The characters are nicely drawn, and the overall look is smooth and professional. But, what makes this title a notch better than the rest of field is the emotions of the characters. The Japanese voice cast does an excellent job, and the animators have made these 2D drawings into real people.
If there is an Otaku in your life, this is the video for them.
Volume 1: "Dojinshi Or Bust" Plot Summary:
In the first four episodes of Genshiken, we meet the members of The Society for Modern Visual Culture as the new year begins at their university on the outskirts of Tokyo. Genshiken sits at the crossroads between three other clubs - anime, manga and gaming - and is therefore looked down upon by all three. The Genshiken sees a common thread connecting all types of Otaku and is place for them to come together.
First-year students Kanji Sasahara and Makoto Kosaka are drawn to this philosophy. Though Kanji is shy about his Otaku ways, pretty boy Makoto is not. In fact, Makoto is so deep into his own world that he does not realize just how far out of normal he is, much to the dismay of his would-be girlfriend, Saki.
Before it is all over, hentai will be flipped through, animes will be debated, comic conventions endured and even cosplay will be performed, all in the cause for the understanding of modern visual culture.
Languages: English & Japanese with subtitles
Video: 4:3 NTSC Standard Aspect Ratio
Audio: Dolby Digital
American Release Status: Unavailable
(click on linked names to view a listing of all their works)
Creator: Shimoku Kio
Director: Takashi Ikehata
Character Designer: Hirotaka Kinoshita
Animation Director: Hirotaka Kinoshita
Animation Studio: Palm Studio
American Producers: Anime Works
Volume 1 Information
Title: Dojinshi Or Bust
Running Time: 100
Number of Episodes On This Volume: 4
1: The Study of Modern Visual Culture
2: Comparative Classification of Consumption and Diversion among Modern Youth
3: The Issue of Regional Cultural Advancements and its Merits
4: The Sublimated Process of Mental Blocks Regarding the Dissimilation Between Dress and Costume
Sorry, a synopsis of this volume is currently unavailable.