Cross-Appeal: Genshiken

So those of you who chat with me / have chatted with me in the past know that my mother watches anime with me sometimes, particularly when I’m re-watching a show I really like. At the moment, we’re watching Genshiken, and she enjoys it a surprising amount. This made me realize that Genshiken actually has a very broad appeal.

It’s enjoyable for someone who knows nothing about anime or manga culture because they can relate to Kasukabe so much and laugh at the nerds being nerdy, appreciating the show as a Big Bang Theory type of show. That’s the category my mom falls into for sure. She has no interest in being an otaku, but indirectly is learning a lot about otaku culture (just as Kasukabe does) through saturation.

It’s enjoyable for a new anime fan who wants to get more into anime. I can confidently say that what inspired me to get into yaoi so much was Genshiken Nidaime. Heck, Digibro himself said that Genshiken inspired him to learn more about anime when he was younger. That’s what Genshiken does to you! There are so many anime references and otaku culture things that you become saturated in it while watching and want to be that saturated in it all the time. You enjoy it because you want to become Madarame or another member (Hato, for me).

It’s enjoyable for an experienced anime fan because then you get those references. You understand all of Sue’s quotes. You understand all the subtleties. And watching others do the things that you already do is even more gratifying.

I’m not saying Genshiken is for everyone. The show is ugly and parts can be unbearably slow. Often for anyone in the first category, the parts more just showing some otaku culture things (say, the episode where Tanaka instructs Ohno and Sasahara on making a plamos) can be pretty dull. Often for anyone in the third category, the kind of cliché or Big Bang Theory -style jokes may be kind of repetitive and annoying. Often for anyone at all, some characters can be a bit too expository for what feels natural and realistic, which is exacerbated by the fact that the show is typically so good about having realistic and natural scenes.

But you know what, it’s good enough for me to love it. If you can’t tell from previous posts, Genshiken is one of my favorite manga and anime.


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