“Among the first people who show up as early adopters of memory technology […] The first are pornographers and the second are ideological fanatics…”
— Abby Smith Rumsey: “When We Are No More: How Digital Memory is Shaping Our Future”, Talks at Google http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZJDFDscmWE (17:15)
I find the former far more interesting.
So this is not much to do about Contemporary Japanese Visual Culture, at least on the surface, but… wait for it… We might get a few ideas.
My long thinky piece on the representation of fujoshi homosocials in manga and anime, including the valid complaints against such and how the Genshiken gets BORING because fujoshi practice is represented as monolithic, is taking a bit longer to come together than I expected.
Plus an IRL gig is going to eat all my time for a while.
Whatever spare time remains and does not get eaten by yard-work (dammit grass is growing high!) will probably go to a quick and nasty examination of the flood of rude Genshiken doujinshi now readily available in the grey corners of the intertubes. It looks like the Harem Arc had one useful spin-off: it fueled the lurid imaginations of “secondary producers”.
Holy crap! (as Ogiue muttered) “My characters are making love” .
Well, they are doing something.
Oh, and chapter 123 should hit the stands soon.
Well it seems as though a real homosexual or a transgender who does not dress as a woman for a hobby instead of a transvestite heterosexual might be an interesting addition to Shimoku’s character mix. They can be regular otaku or incipient mangaka(as are Oguie, Mirai, and Kenjiro.
If anyone can make love in this series beside Saki and Motoko, Oguie
and Sasahara it would make it more interesting for a while and it looks like we have the coupling of Mirai and Kenjiro coming up. But real gay characters, male or female are sadly missing. As for Kuchiki he will be leaving shortly and is simply queer but will probably get into a contracted marriage(family requirement).
Madarame will move away from the campus but he is due a true romance and if the Spotted Flower scenario is carried out it must be with Saki who is the only one with access to certain memories mentioned in Spotted Flower as well as the wife’s remark that she ended up with 2 otaku back to back.
Oh well as long as Shimoku keeps it coming I will follow the Genshiken.
As for the net or some aspect of it remembering stuff for us it has to be translated to digital format to get into that wholesale memory. Right now that means commercial as in the anime and manga, LA entertainment and the like. Profitable (for some ) memory in other words,
Howdy and thanks for dropping by. Forgive me if I use this reply as a chance to digress. It might be amusing.
VIEW FROM A HEIGHT:
From the end of the “harem arc”, it looks like Kio Shimoku’s main concern with the new Genshiken and its characters is managing them so that they don’t get too “minority” or “non-conforming” or “queer” or whatever for the simple reason that such characters are easier to GET WRONG AND SCREW UP. Hato is as close to different as it will get; as the “virtual lesbian”, because Kio can draw from the theory and testimonial writings of Japanese fujoshi “who just so happen to like women in real life”. Anything else and he has to either do interviews, read too much source material or steal manga anime tropes and pray that they don’t turn out to be landmines.
He’s a straight married guy in his late 30’s or early 40’s. Amazing that he’s got this far.
I had occasion lately to follow some tracks on discussions of chapter 121-122 back to online communities of folks who are -ahem- lets say, “suspicious of activist interpretations of games and anime” and was surprised by a few of the well-articulated complaints against the current Genshiken. It wasn’t all just “It’s all fujo-shyte now” but a more nuanced lament for the diversity and depth of fannish experience that used to be portrayed in the (male) Genshiken social. Of course, as a guy cartoonist faking it, Kio Shimoku can only represent what he has heard and what he can juggle without breaking the spell. That’s why the big post on “fictional fujoshi socials” is dragging out.
Real -life fujoshi don’t like to blab to social scientists or mangakas. Manga / Anime depictions are pretty monolithic: ship and sketch (or fic) At least western fen do “vidding” still. So yeah, the girl-Genshiken reads as boring. And no “WHY” is ever really discussed. Lookie at all the research and powder I had to burn and academic stuff I had to consume to get my head around the “why?”. Kio Shimoku didn’t offer anything. The anime offered one instance of Hato mumbling about “gender theory”, once. Fujoshi fascination with what they fascinate with is taken as an opaque “given”. There is little discussion about activist/ utopian desires in early bishonen works vs contemporary ideas of “play/asobi” in today’s younger fans and works, divisions of interest (there is a term for Yoshitake’s warring states fandom done by females). And then her sister the shotacon, who is absent. But what is Ogiue? What is Yajima, besides an fan of alt-“Free” and how does one situate Hato-as-chan’s fandom? Oh, yeah… Ohno is into oyagi. Ho Hum… Any plasmo? Any otome games? Voice actor fetishes? Etc…
There is no female analogue to “Kujibiki Unbalance” in the female Genshiken, no imaginary show/ manga they all follow and agree on and that Kio can whomp up sample pages of with guest mangaka, like Kumeta, et al.
So Hato was/is also a smoke=screen and a matador’s cape; a diversion to keep our eyes off the thin lines that sketched out the current club.
The grumbling guys over in the “loyal opposition” have a point, even if it took a while before I could find an articulated version of it. The old Genshiken was a “shocking otaku secrets revealed!” tale. The new Genshiken promises “shocking fujoshi secrets revealed!” and instead delivers one doujin-making marathon and a shy, clumsy hint of curious same-sex interest that passes “like April rain”.
RETURN TO YOUR APPOINTED TASKS! (Cf Mote in God’s Eye)
And even with all the shipping, doujin pr0n, libidinised fiction and “gender theory/ gender politics” stuff, nothing ever really happens with the scared young virgins of the Genshiken.
Excuse for a moment a personal digression…
By the time I was 19, I was already the survivor of two intense and intimate romances and many more cases of heartbreak and “made- an- ass- out- of- myself” crushes. I looked like the “First President” (and I have a Frank Kelly Freas sketch from a con to prove it) and acted half the time like Kuchiki and the other half the time like a scared angry dweeb; that is to say, I was by no means any kind of Alpha-dude-lothario. And I would not shut the eff up! Ever… Blah blah blah blah. Sometimes I think the women-folk grabbed me just to make me stop talking. I didn’t even have a pile of romantic poetry to quote on dates. I once “won” a courtship by making ridiculous big eyes at a wonderful woman and reciting Jabberwocky! Honestly, it is not that hard for younguns to fall in love. Even dweeby young guys like I could do it. How the heck are the entirety of the Genshiken, minus the paired few, so CAUTERIZED?
These poor critters are more traumatised than zoo pandas. They are scared crapless of fail and intimacy and the fail that intimacy or even interest presumes. It is a wonder that all Japanese eroge and dating sims don’t have sex scenes that involve the characters poking at each other with meter-long chopsticks and then recoiling in shame and embarrassment, repeat. While it is an improvement over the Lunge-at-the-female of Royal Space Force Honamise, there are viable alternatives out there, just saying… Kio has even explored them in earlier works, even if they mostly end in sullen heartbreak.
I’ll keep reading the Genshiken, possibly until the sun grows cold. Kio will set up mangaka-bots to continue his work, I’ll set up a Muda-bot to read and perhaps blog on the juicy bits. But he needs to get his game up a notch and have some happy romance endings along with the broad and deep “Fannish secrets revealed!” comedic anthropology that won the first run of the Genshiken a place in the hearts of so many fans.
And then, to get to the last bit, the digital archives of the world will fill with grey scanlated copies of the Genshiken in all the languages of the globe, along with the same multiplicity of rude Genshiken pr0nish doujins and fanzines, with bad scanlations in oh so many languages, and the story of that club that never really existed, except in the hearts of its readers will never be erased from human memory.
Mwah Hah Hah!