Unknown studio and an unknown director were involved in the making of Genshiken. Unfortunately, this was basically the only thing made by Studio Palm and pretty much the only directing job for Takashi Ikehata. Genshiken is a shortened version of the club’s name “The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture”. Are you an otaku? Are you an anime fan? Do you like manga? Do you like ‘naughty’ anime and/or manga? If there was a yes in any of those questions, then Genshiken could be a series worth watching for you.
This anime is about the college club itself and how each member of the club contributes their own unique take on anime and manga culture. There is even an ‘outsider’ character by the name of Kasukabi. She is the girlfriend of one of the club members and dislikes all otaku culture including the people involved. Madarame is a character representing the best or worst aspects of being an otaku depending how one looks at it. However, the main character is Sasahara whom starts out as a casual fan, but quickly gets engrossed into the culture completely. Yes, Genshiken is about the characters more than any story, and how the characters act during certain events and situations. There are episodes of going to a convention to a lazy day being at the club. Each episode does serve a purpose for the audience to connect with each character.
Some interesting aspects of Genshiken range from the simplicity of episodes to ‘animeception.’ Simple episodes like… yes… a beach episode where outside girls compete for a club member’s affection like becoming an otaku is hilarious. There is even another episode dedicated to the making of Gundam models where a character actually learns a valuable life lesson. Finally, the ‘animeception’ where in the show, a fake anime called Kujibiki Unbalance is loved by the characters. It was made to show the characters love for a single show, but then it was later made into a real show that now ‘us’ the viewers can watch like in Genshiken… woah! It really touches on all aspects of anime/manga culture including the less publicly received.
The animation looks dated. Even in 2004, the show appears to have been made with an incredibly low budget. This ranges from countless still animation sequence and little to no music throughout. However, a show this simplistic luckily does not need much of these things. The team involved created enough character development and designs to make the audience care about them. One note are the backgrounds seen throughout Genshiken. From the convention to the outstanding club room the characters are usually in have an incredible amount of detail that a viewer will find themselves pausing just to see if they can notice anything familiar. References like the Guilty Gear video game series to Gundam and Inuyasha add to the already relatable story.
All and all Genshiken is a great show about the otaku culture in a well-rounded sense. It truly embraces the culture and makes the viewer feel good about their own hobby. There is nothing to be ashamed of as an anime fan, and this is why Genshiken is a very enjoyable slice of life comedy.
TL;DR: Genshiken is a comedy slice of life show that enables the viewer to experience a college club filled with otakus. The comedy never stops for the duration of the 12 episodes. Simplistic style or episode driven stories create nice character development moments and life lessons. Unfortunately, the animation quality is very low to go along with a short budget. No matter, this anime is very enjoyable experience.
Recommended Audience: If you part of the anime fandom and culture. This is for you. It can even be a gateway anime for new fans showing them the possibility of what they could be getting into.
Genshiken puts the ‘ku’ in otaku for a 3.5/5