The Shipping News

(wherein your correspondent goes all fanboy for a bit, as an exercise in reacquainting myself with the effect – yup, sure thing, How’s that working out for you..)

Just as I had began to sour on the imaginary social of the Genshiken, on how the bonds of friendship and concern seem to be failing its members and alumni at critical moments, my faith is renewed by the enthusiasm of other fans.

Over at Astro Nerd Boy’s blog good coverage of the recent Genshiken chapters and a resurgent argument for a Sue x Mada arc!

Squeeeeeee! My eyes go all cartoon starbusrst-y!

PLAYSET FIELD AT MAXIMUM!!!

A Sue x Mada arc might save the day, if only because it would be the perfect excuse to give Sue some back-story. This is long overdue – heck even Kuchiki got a one-evening confession and the promise of a job at graduation, but Sue remains a cypher. For all we know, Sue could be a filthy rich 24 year-old divorcee who used to pilot an M9E Gernsback for Mithril. Time for her to drop her no-speaky-except-anime-quotes act and get some serious character attention.

Besides doting on Ogiue – not falling for Kio-sensei’s red herring – where is the interaction with her old friend Ohno? Ohno and Tanaka must keep her supplied with loli costumes – One would think there would be girl-talk. Could Ohno really have given up her urge to play matchmaker after loading Madarame up with Saki cosplay pix? Does Ohno have a nice thicky envelope of Sue loli cosplay pix stashed away, ready to drop on Mada’s rebounding heart?

Sue feels comfortable enough around Madarame to ride him, ship him, kiss him, and volunteer his apartment as a change-room for Hato. While she has little hesitation and no guilt over shipping Mada in general or in particular (get over your broken heart – try yaoi ruv!) there must be more to her continuous choice of loli cosplay outfits than her chibi stature. Shimoku could always re-jig it to suggest that her pushing lewd dojins at Madarame was a tactical maneuver to hide her growing urge to poke at Madarame with a stick.

As for Hato, while there are sure to be a few more odd Hato/ Mada moments, neither’s virtue is in any danger from the other. Per previous, Hato has worked hard for his quasi-lesbian fujoshi status. But he is (as one fan suggested) deep in the throes of “Iwantonlythebestforyou” sentimentality for his sempai (all that sempai/kouhai stuff is a recurring Hato delusion), so we can expect more comedic errors. Meanwhile Madarame remains very het, but so wrapped in 2d pervy delusions (trap ero games too!) that he can’t talk to real women without his head filling with embarrassing distractions.

The best thing about having Hato underfoot is that Hato serves Mada as training wheels to get over his “can’t talk to girls” shyness. Stand-chan will ensure that Hato will prefer being Hato-chan while interacting with Madarame for the time being; so in effect Hato-chan becomes Madarame’s quasi-lesbian buddy. And having a lesbian buddy is a damn fine thing for a shy het guy: no pressure, nothing personal in the friendzoning, good practice interacting and perhaps a few insights into the inscrutable female mind (or an unreasonable facsimile thereof).

A furreign eccentric mystery girl is the next step up, but still far enough removed from a paralysing confrontation with a rai-ju like Saki. Watch out Mada! That’s how they trick you!

Meanwhile, Hato is about to get “moetekied” big time too, and have his hard-won membership in fujoshi paradise threatened by smoothness-lust from at least 2, possibly 3 or more girls. If Shimoku-sensei can’t pull a Mada & Hato Sadie Hawkins run-and-hide scene out of this one (“Dammit Hato, I thought you understood them!” “Yeah right! – I just dress like them, keep your head down..”) he should pack up his pen-set.

I have already placed my bets for this chase: Tuxedo-Mask-Risa x Hato Moon.

Something has to happen soon for Sue, and Mada is as good a candidate as any. As pointed out by observant fans, Ogiue and Ohno (heck Kuchiki too) will be graduating this “year”. Sue has senior status as well, though being a magical exchange student she can stretch out her studies as long as Shimoku needs her to hang around and stir the pot. Still she is one of the few remaining originals who remember Madarame as more than the odd sou-uke alumnus.

What of Keiko? First off, can we really assume she is a slut? (ooops, lets say sexually experienced and perhaps inclined to bestow her favors upon Madarame) She might have been a typical over-wrought teen drama queen, but now she has studies to hold down at business college, and a big brother who doesn’t seem too concerned with her part-time job – wouldn’t Ogiue say something if it was obvious that sister-in-law-to-be was self-destructing and boyfriend didn’t care? Perhaps she really is just a bar hostess who talks up weary salarymen and then sends them home. In any case, she is still much too rai-ju for Madarame to handle, too inscribed by her job as a financial predator to be taken seriously, and almost family with Sasahara-big-brother close at hand. Unless Shimoku wants to crank Madarame’s moeteki up to 11 and recast him as a Host (which would be a hilarious nod to Kumeta – Hosts being the traditional weakness of love-struck hostesses) Keiko is safe from Mada and vice versa – though she cares enough about him to meddle a bit. Kuchiki (Mmmmmmm Banker Boy!) – perhaps, Madarame, no way. Such are Good Endings for foot soldiers.

Maybe Madarame just walks off into the sunset? What a waste. A Sue romance would be sparks-fly-a-licious – far more fun than Spotted Flower and a great excuse to keep one standard-issue Otaku male somewhat involved with the current Genshiken. Madarame having no idea how to act; either in a relationship, or in an intimate situation. Sue with her own ideas about how a proper boyfriend should behave, trying to get it across to him in manga/ anime quotes, even if she is fluent in moon-speak. Plenty of fun about furreigners never really really being accepted in Japanese society. And… you can still have Hato underfoot, so everyone has to move to pair him off to get him out of the happy couple’s hair.

Yup,  you end up on this island, and then they hunt you…

So Sue.. If she can break the gaijin prime directive she has been operating under for the last year. How to start? Hmmm lets hook one extra battery to the playset field generator..

After Saki, Madarame finally leaves the clubroom. Keiko, Hato and Sue surround him and press for juicy details, Madarame demurs , but in the process of the conversation shifting to the next comiket, Madarame asks Sue for Angela’s email address. Sue stops dead, glares at him, looks down at her elaborate loli cosplay outfit, yells (in english) “IDIOT!”, throws her magical girl staff at him and stomps off.

Sqweeeeeeeeeeee!

Ain’t Genshiken a big heaping pile o fun, or what!?!

One day later (dammit!)
Ogiue Maniax has the early preview for Ch81 up! Darn! Shimoku-sensei proved that he can leave the playset far behind in the dust, by doing something totally unexpected: getting the whole gang to have some FUN TOGETHER to cheer Madarame up. Then to top it all off, Tanaka and Kugayama go off with Madarame to go drinking (!?!) ABOUT TIME! There is also a whole bunch of trap themed cosplay & ribbing, and plenty of subtle clues planted for future character development. Note to self: never underestimate Shimoku-sensei’s ability to juggle a whole bunch of chainsaws and cabbages at the same time, while moving the whole mess towards a glorious mini-epiphany. Impressed I am! (but not quite giving up on Sue x Mada yet…)

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