Review : Genshiken.

It's the first year of university for Sasahara, an average Japanese student. In Japan it's common to join a university club, or social circle. But anyway you guessed it, he wants to join an anime club and thus ends up joining Genshiken, the society for the study of modern visual culture. Basically a really long description for a club that does nothing but sit around and watch anime, play games and get into all sort of nerdy situations.

The second primary character is Saki, a beautiful, tall, bright haired woman, who's into fashion and all the normal cliche girly things. She gets stuck with the Genshiken crowd when the guy she likes turns out to be a closet anime-fanboy. Saki is a comedic character, she gets weirded out by a lot of the strange otaku related activities (cos-play, conventions, computer games, etc) and also causes a lot of conflict with Sasahara.

Genshiken is mostly filled with hardcore otakus who get into discussions about which director is better than others and quote from famous animes left, right and center. The general plot of the chapters lies in character relationships and otaku related activities. The best part of the manga lies in the constant referencing of other anime. Regular fans should be able to spot them quite easily, but if your not too knowledgeable about anime it's probably best to skip this novel, as you'll either miss or not understand nearly all the jokes.

The art of Genshiken is clean, everything is in the normal anime style, nothing strange or new. It is based on people going through university and thus would probably be best enjoyed by a 16+ audience. There's no graphical reason why, it has more to do with some of the themes covered in particular chapters of the book, including hentai video games.

Genshiken is a great graphic novel for manga/anime fans, unfortunately, if your not one of them, this is not a good place to start. The chapters are written in the short-episodic format, each have their own mini-plots and there is really no overall story, but it still remains interesting and funny enough to read on.

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