24 October 2007 | prsd_yr
Brilliant offbeat anime
This is one of my favourite animes, as it combines comedy with drama incredibly effectively. It focuses on "otakus", a Japanese subculture made up of people who obsess over anime, manga & video games. It provides an insight into their lives as comparative outcasts without mocking or parodying them as often happens in American shows about nerds, etc. There is some subtle criticism, and personal quirks are shown without flinching, but the characters never become "ultimate nerd"-type caricatures, their humanity is never sacrificed.
There are several characters that make up the club for otakus in a college that this anime's about. The hardcore otaku Hanarobu Madarame, the cosplay(dressing up as anime/manga characters) maniacs Souichiro Tanaka & Kanako Ohno(introduced later). Ohno is surprisingly beautiful & well-endowed for an otaku, but ironically she's one of the most obsessive. There's the artist Mitsunori Kugayama, and the video-game otaku Makoto Kousaka, who is strange in that he is handsome and not the typical misfit you'd expect an otaku to be, and has a girlfriend- Saki Kasukabe-who isn't an otaku in any sense of the word but is forced to hang out with Genshiken because she's attached to her boyfriend. Saki is violent & bad-tempered but also kind and slowly begins to understand the otakus & even help them out, subtly changing them, making them more socially acceptable and less reclusive. The interaction between the fashionable & popular Saki and the otakus is a relationship at the very core of the series in terms of how interesting it is. Also, there's Kanji Sasahara, the most normal otaku, who is initially in denial, but slowly accepts his otaku-ness.
It's highly critically acclaimed & completely brilliant, but is meant for the more discerning viewer, so if you though "Dragonball Z" was complex, turn away.