Saturday, 6 July 2013

Genshiken Second Season - Episode 1

Okay, okay, I know this is actually the third season of Genshiken in animated form, but Crunchyroll are sticking with Kodansha USA's nomenclature for the manga for this summer season show, so what can you do?

Anyway, the adventures of The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture continue in this Production I.G. offering for the new season, and with many of the old hands leaving it's up to Ogiue to bring in some new blood to keep the club alive - something she duly seeks to do via a live drawing demonstration to try and snag some new members at their stand when the time comes for newcomers to the university to define their after-school interests.

Whether fortunately or unfortunately, what Ogiue ends up with is a rather interesting set of members - aside from transfer student Sue and existing members Ohno and the ever-dangerous Kuchiki, we're introduced to a pair of fujoshi with rather contrasting outlooks on their fandom in the form of Yajima and Yoshitake, and perhaps most importantly Hato, a beautiful female addition to the crew.  Or is she?  I mean he.  It's fascination with, and troubles caused by, Hato's gender and cross-dressing that underpin much of this opening episode, and will continue to do so throughout the series no doubt.

Put simply, this opening episode of Genshiken Second Season is a whole lot of fun - the references to other anime, most notably via Sue's love of Bakemonogatari, offers no shortage of moments of comedy, and there are some wonderfully animated stand-out moments as well as the new cast quickly gels into a cohesive unit.  The only real downside here for long-standing Genshiken fans are the changes to the show's voice cast - these are without exception all incredibly jarring, but there's little to be done aside from being patient and letting the new voices for some old favourites sink in and become the norm.  This is but a small issue in an otherwise promisingly entertaining opener though, and it's certainly great to have the Genshiken crew back in the custody of what is seemingly safe hands.

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