Genshiken ch 89: with a little help from my friends

A busy time for me at work and in real life; perhaps too busy to be searching out Bulgarian and Peruvian scanlations of Genshiken and trying to figure out what the effing hell is going on with the gang at Comiket in ch 89. From other reports, and my efforts at stuffing incomprehensible text into Google xlate, it appears that Yajima and Hato are trying to figure out their feelings, (not towards each other) and are beginning to realize that they are completely clueless when it comes to processing 3D longings.

Yajima appears to be convincing herself that Hato x Mada might still be on, precisely because Hato has stopped cross-dressing. (???) This gives her an excuse to backtrack from the irrational, irresistible urge she felt to ply Hato-kun with his fave BL dojins, as a prelude to (???)

Meanwhile Hato has come to the brilliant conclusion that cross dressing and too much yaoi have not left him gay, but only – in the manner of so many y/BL plot-lines – with a man-crush on Madarame and only Madarame. Since this would compound his previous sin of publicly labeling Madarame a sou-uke, he decides that he must atone for it all by ensuring that Madarame gets well and properly laid by Angela this time around.

Kuchiki decides to lend a hand:

I give you the otaku

grrrr

why thanks

…need more? http://bit.ly/14cpBUO

Then again, my Google-xlate-fu might be weak and foolish…

By now it is painfully obvious that Shimoku-sensei is trolling his fujoshi readership, while extracting every last once of bathos from the social ineptitude of his characters. He is being relatively easy on Yajima; she only has to suffer the first pangs of desire. Hato, as the mangaka’s prized creation gets a far more difficult role to play: He has to independently discover the concept of friendship between guys, but only after trying on and ruling out all manner of ridiculous rotten-girl scripts.

as previously quoted:

“…reminds me of a German guy I knew in Tokyo to whom I lent some Eroica slash stories. Helmut returned them to me in agitation. ‘Don’t these writers realize men can be friends and not want to have sex?!’ Naturally, I said, but the point of the slash exercise is that the guys do have sex. He didn’t see it.”
– M. J. Johnson writing ca. 2002 in her Aestheticism site column”

Hato’s character is like a lab rat that has been raised on a diet of rotten-girl melodrama. Of course he is going to screw up the whole make friendship thing. Lets us count the ways…

Or not..

Madarame, for all his social faults has had male friends, but it looks like his patience, understanding and acceptance is beginning to wear a thin. And if he had entertained any thoughts of getting better acquainted with Angela, his “friends” have once again “helped” him straight into shit-out-of-luck land. First the sou-uke mess, now this!

Hato is really loading his karma. Besides having a rather odd view of male friendship, he is also under the illusion that his now-abjured hobby gave him a special place in the company of women. He has little idea that since he has de-cloaked and dropped shields, at least three rotten girls are looking at him with renewed interest. Judo throws are not going to be much use against them.

Man’s timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that god gave him isn’t his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husbands, each confirms the other’s tale —
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.
– some bitter dead English guy

I am also wondering if Shimoku sensei is completely aware of how some of the fans of the first part of the Genshiken saga are squeamish about the whole yaoi/ bl/ rotten girl/ whiffs of homosexuality and transvestism that the newer Genshiken has been playing with, and is giving them a bit more discomfort to drive home a point. Genshiken is all about an otaku mangaka poking at otaku foibles and weaknesses; specifically how their retreat into simple fantasy plot-lines masks a profound conservatism when dealing with 3D social complexities, A sharp edge hides behind the comedy. If the scalpel was ever put aside, the whole series would soon degenerate into 4-koma filler.

In other words, it would be easy if Hato was cartoon gay, or finally succumbed to a long-repressed urge to jump Madarame, just as it would be easy if the rotten girl tribe got to see their fave plots play out in 3D without consequences, and if Angela the “loose” gaijin amazon could be publicly prevailed upon to sex down a heartbroken uber-otaku. The whole club could then decamp to the beach for a swimsuit mini-arc. Hijinx to ensue, no painful hurt feelings displayed on the pages, and a few old-school fans could put aside the work and proclaim: “It used to be good, but now it’s just some gay fujoshi thing!”.

You don’t build a decade long slice-of-life franchise that easily.

The only danger that Shimoku-sensei’s approach holds is that sooner or later he may decide to end the tale in a massive cluster-disaster of embarrassment, misunderstanding and hurt feelings that leaves the club room empty and its former members unwilling to ever face each other again.

I wouldn’t put it past him.

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