the wind from a burning (uh?) woman

In chapter 67 of Genshiken, Hato Kenjiro has just exclaimed that he will draw
his desires: ???? (Hato?) X Mada, and then all hell breaks loose!

Welcome to my oh-so-serious bwog on stuff about Genshiken.

So who and what is Hato?

Of course, any resemblance to real-life Japanese or other m->f transgendered humans is coincidental and ludicrous.

Hato is first and foremost an exquisitely crafted plot puppet.
Starting with this year’s model – the trap among the fujoshi, (wiki Kuragehime) the author has raised the stakes and posited a transgendered fujoshi lose among the new female members of the Genshiken. Hijinx to Ensue. . .

A moment please: What this annoying little blog is supposed to do, and what will happen if I don’t exhibit some self-control are two different things! With a strong series like Genshiken, it is sooooooooo damn tempting to jump in, get immersed, and start messing with the whole playset.

First come the synopsis, then the reviews, then the discussions, then full-blown speculation and the next thing you know it’s fanfiction time! Gahhhhhh! I am in despair! Must stay focused! Besides, others are dong it so well !!!
(see bibliography / tarted up links section – the second I get it posted)

Big Thanks to the Ogiue Maniax blog and other well respected blogs on related subjects – for the inspiration to commit this crime. The purpose of this blog is going to be an evolving essay on the curious game of reflected desire that pops up screaming at the top of its lungs in Genshiken, and occasionally rears its head in other manga – with detours to older western vernacular modernist fiction (eyuckkk! you hidin’ some sci-fi on me boy???!).

This way I hope to get some greater value out of it.

More on this folly in the about/ why etc sections once I build them.
Welcome to my blog, I am new here, please treat me well.

Ok, back to Hato..

The Author interviewed: Genshiken: Kio Shimoku and the Otaku Soul:

(http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/1-legacy/24-comic-book-reviews/article/15931-genshiken-kio-shimoku-and-the-otaku-soul-.html)

” I don’t know about others, but I feel the shame. The reason, I’ve already told you. But I think what influenced public opinion in Japan toward otaku culture was a well-known serial murder case in the ’80s, where the mass media reports claimed and stressed that the offender was an otaku. This image has been slow to wear off, and the media still treat otaku as a strange animal with perverted tastes.”

The play of desire and shame in Genshiken is what has set the hook and has kept me reading it. After a solid story arc and ending, the series has restarted, with a fresh bunch of Otaku – only this time they are mostly female. No big plot stretch, thanks to Ogiue who assumed the leadership of the Genshiken at the end of G1 and through a heroic feat of public drawing, refilled its ranks with like-minded members and then spurred them towards productive activity. They all appear to share Ogiue’s taste for Yaoi, including Hato.

So, Hato? Not fudanshi (“rotten man”) or fukei (“rotten older brother”) ?

Remember this is written as ch67 makes itself available to gaijin eyes through embarrassingly unofficial sources. A few months from now this is going to look either dead wrong or so-what, but this blog is all about how desire is mirrored and reflected and exchanged within a narrative, so out comes the playset..

Based on close re-reading, the best guess I can make out is that Hato was a young man who came to terms with his perverse desires by creating a special form of female alter-ego to deal with them.

Note choice of the term perverse. Sorry, in order to create a powerful libidinal exchange, these desires must be open scare quotes –perverse– close scare quotes. It ain’t hawt if it aint dirty, and dirty/hawt is just the thing we need to get the story rolling.

Hato-kun: “I am not gay!”
Hato-chan “I am a straight female, but because I am a fujoshi, I can only handle 2D men in Yaoi fantasies, -snif-”
Hato-san “It’s complicated….”

The Hato solution is a ball of laughs, unless perhaps your are a real transgendered individual, japanese or otherwise, but leave that for now. . .

As a plot device, this can be run as fast or slow as needed – which is why Hato is such a brilliant creation. Also, you can wind him up and let him do all kinds of neat things; besides Shimoku Sensei, so can legions of Jp and (later) western fans, so this is like money in the bank. Quick I need a postmodern critical theory term like economies of desire or libidinal exchange or sumthin. The GN series seems to be writhing on the floor crying out “Ship Me! Ooohhhhh Pwease… Ship Me!”

Another useful thing about Hato is that he is a particularly effective snake of male desire in a place where women thought they had it under control (and finally doing honest work). Most of the G1 porn stash had been cleaned out and burned (guess who) and the male old guard is reduced if not completely driven out of their eden by a motley group of scowling young angels wielding Oh My Gawd! What are they Doing ???? and war-cries of SOU-UKE!!!

Which is funny for a while, but makes for a real short story.

Bonus points for not ripping off the show-the-ugly-fujoshi-how-to-be-pretty routine from you-know-who.

Having Ohno drop by to encourage cosplay (internalization of the male gaze / fetishization vs re-appropriation + empowerment vs fantasy fun for fen) just cannot keep the story rolling along for any length of time.

Out comes the playset:

1) Don’t read it!
Boy finds Yaoi, gets really into it, recoils in horror and shame, wants moar! denies self, but it is no use: wants really lots moar! Moar shame! Accepts terrible secret, explores obvious alternatives and rejects them for lack of satisfaction. Boy must now come up with his own solution or jump off roof.

This alone is full of plot mojo. Boy must be so damn moved by effect Yaoi has on him that he is willing to change his life. We are going to have to get out the anti-grav hooks and drag this powerful Yaoi stuff into the lab later, but not quite yet. That stuff is made by women and it looks friggin dangerous as all heck. Why is Shimoku Sensei playing with this shit? More importantly, how will he handle it so that %80 of his male readership does not give up on Genshiken?

1A) Fairy tale Hato
Boy falls for beautiful princess girl, but she is rotten, she has no interest in him and shoos him away with Yaoi, repeat as above, he has internalized this princess as a legitimate persona by which to enjoy Yaoi, BAWAHHH! It was really all the women’s fault! Be afraid of the women!!!
Bonus points if scenario mirrors what Ogiue inadvertently did to her high school crush.
Shark Jump if it IS HIM she did it to, he changed name, etc. Plenty of amusing detours with Yuri and Bara. The use value of “contemporary visual culture” in the Genshiken narrative to be explored later, starting with rule 43
-please drop by again soon.

1B) Scary psycho Hato-chan
The more Hato-chan pursues her desires, the more SHE takes over, the more the accursed remainder – the devils share – Hato-kun vexes her (beard etc) Sooooooooo lets use the annoying little raping puppet for some fun, after all, it knows judo…. Evil Laugh! Who will stop this monster???

A fine reworking of grad-assitant-chan VS call-girl-chan from Paranoia Agents.

Who cares if some solid (a term i will sometimes deploy in this blog to indicate the residents of the outermost circle of this hell; you, I and the 7.3 billion others on planet earth) queer folk in Japan get offended. Nobody trusts trannies anyway (Unless they can tell really great postmodern theory stories.. hiya Sandy, guess who’s getting into trouble here, I was speaking in scare quotes, honestly, respect, ouch!!!) Controversy be good for sales Nest pas?.

1C All you Zombies
As 1B, but as Hato-chan and Hato-kun battle it out they realise that what they really wanted was to ship each other. Hato X Hato! True Love redeems All!!
Narcissism, in the guise or the First President drops in for a quick visit! Sue, cognisant of the western canon, buys the Hatos a his ‘n’ hers orouborous ring set (switch as needed) from ebay and proclaims them as the vanguard of a new dojinshi army.

Sounds like a win to me.

Aside from all this fun, there is another fine reason to stick Hato into the Genshiken narrative, and that has to do with the meta-fact that Yaoi is dangerous as all heck..

Which will the subject of my next few posts.

Once again, Thank You for dropping by and reading!!!!

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