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Manga / Genshiken

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From left to right: Madarame, Tanaka, Ohno, Ogiue, Kuchiki, Sasahara, Kugayama, Kousaka, Kasukabe, and Keiko.note 

"I now call the fourth 'Is Kousaka Really an Otaku?' meeting to order."

Genshiken, short for Gendai Shikaku Bunka Kenkyuukai (or The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture), is the story of the members of this ostensibly-useless club. Formed in the past as a sort of bridge between the manga, anime, and gaming clubs, most members of those three are at best indifferent to the continued existence of the Genshiken. The new extracurricular activities board has decided to close all clubs who don't hold any meaningful activities, the Genshiken is among them, and it's up to its members to do something that prevents the club from getting closed.

From obsessing over a favorite anime to buying and reading doujinshi, from playing one's first Dating Sim to attending a Fan Convention (the anime's "ComiFes" is a direct play on the real-life convention Comiket, which is held twice yearly), and many other things along the way, Genshiken puts the otaku culture under the microscope for all to see.

Comparisons to Otaku no Video are nearly inevitable, though Genshiken is much more down-to-earth. (No creating a giant one-off Macross that can actually take off, for instance.)

Genshiken also had a companion anime (in the manga, it was a companion manga, naturally) called Kujibiki♡Unbalance. It was the series that the members of the Genshiken obsessed over, and was the Bonus Episode for the series' disc release (one episode per disc). It turned out to be so popular that it was produced as a separate series in its own right.

The manga first ran from 2002 to 2006 in the seinen magazine Afternoon, with an anime adaptation airing in 2004. A three episode OVA series was released with the Kujibiki♡Unbalance DVDs, much the same way as the three OVAs of the first Kujiun were released with Genshiken Season 1. A second full season of the anime was released in the fall of 2007 and covers some of the remaining plot from the manga, while simultaneously introducing original material, though this meant the entire manga couldn't be animated within the season.

In 2009, the manga started back up again as Genshiken Nidaime (Genshiken: Second Season in the North American release) starting with Chapter 56, which was released as a bonus together with the Japanese Genshiken 2 box-set that covered the start of a new Genshiken headed by Ogiue and continuing in Kodansha's Monthly Afternoon magazine. Originally Nidaime was intended as a limited-run continuation that was only to last a volume or two, but it was picked up for regular serialization until its conclusion in 2016, with the volume collections published as volume 10+ of the original series, although localization overseas pegs it as a new series.

An anime aired in July 2013, adapting the Nidaime material. The material from volumes 8 and 9 of the mang remains unadapted.

There is also a novel entitled Genshiken: Return of the Otaku.

This series provides examples of:

  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: Evident at points with all of the English spoken in the anime, though most obvious with Ohno.
  • The Ace: Kousaka, in a more down-to-Earth version than most Aces. He is good-looking, athletic, and taught himself how to program in a month.
  • A-Cup Angst: Saki and Kitagawa, when they see Ohno.
  • Animal-Eared Headband: Ohno tries thoughout the manga to get Saki to wear a cat-eared one. Also, Madarame once put one on her, and she responded by chasing him through the halls with a broom.
  • Anime Accent Absence:
    • While not a foreign character, Ohno spent about 8 years living in the US prior to the start of the series, and shouldn't be nearly as fluent in Japanese as she's portrayed. On the other hand, her English is grammatically correct, but her accent (in the anime) is absurdly thick for having spent her formative years abroad. This could be handwaved with the explanation that though Ohno lived in the US from age 10 to 18, it was because she had moved with her parents, so presumably they spoke Japanese at home. And Angela mentions that Ohno used to spend quite a bit of time with other Japanese people in the vicinity. Or you could just say it's due to the limits of the actress playing her.
    • Angela's voice actress tried to avert this as much as she can, as she voices her while attempting to affect an American accent. Instead, she had some weird Ruritanian thing going on.
    • In Second Season, Ohno's accent at least isn't nearly as strong, and Angela's replacement VA also attempts an American accent, but while she has the pronunciation down for the most part, she still ultimately sounds like a Japanese woman trying to sound American.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Keiko Sasahara to her brother Kanji. In contrast to Kanji the closet-otaku, she's a fashion-obsessed gyaru with an ever-changing list of boyfriends. She is immediately attracted to prettyboy Kousaka, spending the rest of the series trying to steal him away from Kasukabe, and joining the Genshiken in the process. She can be seen as a subversion of the idealized "little sister" trope among Japanese otaku, as Keiko is anything but (and Kanji is quick to emphasize this).
  • Art Evolution:
    • The characters start out drawn fairly realistically, but grow more stylized and cartoonish as the series goes on. By the time the ninth volume rolls around, you wonder if this is how the characters in the first volume would have depicted themselves in a doujinshi.
    • The first season of the anime negates this somewhat, as it adapts the early chapters to a roughly mid-series art style. For the full effect, you have to read the manga.
  • Art Shift:
  • Attractive Bent-Gender:
    • Hato, much to Kuchiki's delight.
    • And as as of Chapter 59, possibly Madarame's too.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The second season's opening is Sasahara dreaming his life as a Real Robot mecha anime.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: When Kasukabe is in the shower.
  • Beach Episode: "It's embarrassing to go to ComiFes with a tan."
  • Beard of Sorrow: Sasahara in the anime, when he believes he will never find a job.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Ask Kasukabe if she's in Genshiken or if she'd like to cosplay. On second thought...don't ask her.
    • Or perhaps you should try disgracing the honor of cosplay around Ohno. Or trying to reveal her preferences for balder and older guys, she'll be going for your throat, literally!
  • Bilingual Dialogue: In a one-sided example, episode 11 of season 2 has Angela (speaking English) ask to see the book Kugayama made, sparking a brief back-and-forth between her and Tanaka (speaking Japanese). While Ohno has to translate for Angela, Angela apparently knows at least enough Japanese to respond to Tanaka's dissents without needing a translationnote . Probably from all the anime.
  • Blackmail:
    • The first club president does this to Kasukabe to make her join Genshiken.
    • Also used by Kasukabe against the club council president to prevent her from closing Genshiken forever.
  • Bland-Name Product: Comifes, plus pretty much every anime or manga series mentioned—apart from Kujibiki♡Unbalance, which is more a pastiche of otaku-marketed Moe. Also, "Starbooks" Coffee, and "Kujifilm", which is also a pun on Kujibiki♡Unbalance. And the university itself, which is Chuo University in real life but "Shio University" here. Also, don't forget "Pooky".
  • Blind Without 'Em: Ogiue, when she trades her contact lenses for her old glasses in order not to be recognized at the convention.
  • Bottle Episode: Episode 9 has only two characters, Kasukabe and Madarame, with the majority of the acting simply being Madarame ranting in his head about his feelings for Kasukabe, and the majority of the animation being Madarame on various minimalist backgrounds as he struggles in his imagination, while Kasukabe turns the pages of her book.
  • Butt-Monkey: Manabu Kuchiki; he rather enjoys it, and usually earns it.
  • Call-Back: After a botched hazing at Ogiue's expense, it's revealed on video that she attended a doujinshi event, she makes the same expression Sasahara made when he was hazed after he got caught looking at the club's porn magazines.
  • Captain Oblivious: Once again, Kousaka.
  • Cat Girl: Tanaka claims that wearing a pair of cat ears is the cheapest form of cosplay.
  • Censor Steam: A strange example, when Angela is shown naked from behind in the bath-house scene, her rear end is obscured with steam.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Relatively speaking... in the omake for the Kujibiki♡Unbalance manga, the Genshiken members happen across a new issue of the Kujibiki♡Unbalance manga. While they immediately recognize the new artist for Kujibiki♡Unbalance, they have no idea who Shimoku Kio, the creator of both Genshiken and Kujibiki♡Unbalance, is.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Kasukabe (the unlucky one), much to the surprise of the others, seemed to be like this with Kousaka until he agreed to date her.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Kasukabe, though she outgrows this more and more as the series progresses.
  • Club President: The club goes through five of them by the end of the first series.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Kousaka, all the time (except when gaming).
    • Also Kasukabe's reaction when Ogiue shows her the Sasa x Mada yaoi drawings:
  • Conversational Troping: Being avid fans, everyone in the club will talk about which character types they fit and what sort of plot they are in.
  • Cosplay Otaku Girl: Ohno. Also, Kasukabe the anti-otaku reluctantly cosplays when shamed into doing so. In the last OVA, initially-resistant Yaoi Fangirl Ogiue is talked into cosplaying in private. In Second Season, Angela isn't devoted to cosplay but clearly has none of the Japanese cast's problems with humoring her old friend Ohno, and Sue manages to do this significantly more than Ohno.
  • Couch Gag: The ending credits show the club members watching an episode of Kujibiki Unbalance in the club room in the immediate aftermath of the episode, featuring some sort of visual reference to the events of the episode.
  • Covert Pervert: Ogiue, who loves yaoi but is very ashamed of it.
  • Creepy Child: Ogiue's impression of Sue before getting to know her better.
  • Cute Little Fangs:
    • Madarame has these, though he is not conventionally cute and it might play into his creepiness instead. But his friends see some cuteness in his awkward manners and this may be part of it.
    • Sue as well, but only when imitating Madarame.
  • Daydream Surprise: In the anime, the scene with Madarame and Kasukabe alone in the clubroom is expanded to include a scene where Madarame starts talking to Saki about the latest episode of Kujibiki♡Unbalance, to which she responds with increasing interest, then enthusiasm, and then finally full-on fangirlism — and then we snap back, she's still reading her shoujo manga, and Madarame berates himself for coming up with such an out-of-character fantasy for them.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Kuchiki gets his own episode about midway through season two, as well as the episode starring Madarame and Kasukabe alone in the clubroom.
  • Death Glare: Early on this appears to be Ogiue's default expression, primarily because every time we see her she's being reminded of how much she hates otaku culture - including herself - but still can't really stay away.
  • Denser and Wackier: Not within the main series, but the novel has supernatural elements and a bizarre plot.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: In the fanbook there are some short dialogues between the Genshiken members, and Kuchiki brings up that he downloads all of his software from the internet, which makes Sasahara think "He's such a jerk." Sasahara does work in the media industry (as an editor), though, so his point of view isn't exactly unfounded.
  • Demoted to Extra: In the anime, Keiko, Kanji's sister, has fewer appearances after her initial introductions than in the manga, with some of her later roles being filled by Kuchiki. Most of the old members fit as well in Nidaime, due to having graduated and getting jobs.
  • Double Standard: Kasukabe regularly punches strangers for doing as much as asking her if she's an otaku, but when Kuchiki donks Ogiue lightly on the head for repeatedly insulting him, she screams at him for "assaulting a woman", and promptly decks him.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: When Angela takes off her top, Ohno punches her boyfriend Tanaka hard enough to knock him out just to prevent him from seeing Angela's flesh. This is Played for Laughs. There is also Saki's violence towards Sasahara (but only once, and she later apologizes), Kucchi (who brings it on himself), and Madarame (who actually likes getting hit by Saki and deliberately tries to provoke her into hitting him at least twice).
  • Doujinshi: Featured very prominently in the series: Sasahara spends the first few chapters getting used to buying erotic doujinshis, they never miss a single Comifes to return with entire trainloads of them, in the first few chapters of the second season they actually create one for the Comifes, and Ogiue later draws another one for the next Comifes.
  • Driven to Suicide: Ogiue threw herself off the roof of her old school after her "friends" betrayed her and traumatized her crush; her doing so after the Manga Club incident indicates she hasn't worked it out of her system. In later instances it's Played for Laughs, though.
  • Elephant in the Living Room:
    • Kousaka never realizes you aren't supposed to discuss it.
    • Kasukabe picks up this trait as well given that she doesn't give much of a damn about beating around the bush.
  • Embarrassing Hobby: Ogiue's character arc involves starting out with a downright crippling sense of self-loathing over being an otaku and an amateur artist who's into yaoi manga. Over time and Character Development, however, she manages to move beyond (and put the reason she feels that way), and eventually becomes a competent club leader and a published manga artist.
  • Endearingly Dorky: Madarame. "He's actually kind of moe, isn't he?"
  • Evolving Credits: Each episode has subtle differences on the "Genshiken members sitting in the clubroom watching TV" end sequence, putting in or taking out characters and changing how they look. For example, episode 4 (which ended with Kasukabe going on a rampage after Madarame stuck a pair of cat ears on her) has everyone slumped over the table looking worn out, with Ohno standing nearby still dressed as Jam Kuradoberi.
  • Everyone Can See It: Keiko puts it bluntly that she's very sure everyone knew about Madarame's feelings for Kasukabe, probably even Kasukabe herself. Kasukabe reveals that she knew and decided to never say anything about it unless Madarame confesses - she admits this to him when he finally does.
  • Expospeak Gag: The episode titles of the anime's first season, which describe aspects of otaku-culture in the academic argot of a graduate thesis. For instance, the episode titled "The Fetishism of Leisure Time Expenditures Considered by their Economic Result" is about the younger Sasahara deciding to "become an otaku" (fetishizing the idea of "otaku" itself) because she thinks doing so will have the result of getting Kousaka to notice her, not because she actually enjoys said "leisure time expenditures".
  • Fake-Out Opening: The first episode of the anime actually starts out as the intro, OP and first few seconds afterwards of Kujibiki Unbalance, before revealing that it's actually Sasahara watching the show. It goes on just long enough to make the viewer wonder if they're watching the wrong show by mistake.
  • Fan Convention: The characters make a major deal out of the club's (both current and past members) visits to "ComiFes", which is clearly based on the real-life Comiket convention. Their visits involve elaborate plans requiring multiple people, maps of the convention, and carefully laid timetables to get in line for and obtain a variety of promotional items and limited-edition releases by doujinshi authors (who sell primarily at these conventions) before the supply is sold out.
  • Faux Fluency: Ohno's "English" dialogue in the anime. One can imagine Ayako Kawasumi reading off a card written entirely in Katakana, with Yūko Gotō and Yuki Kaida (competent and fluent in English, respectively) standing beside her and shaking their heads.
  • Fish out of Water:
    • Kasukabe in the first series.
    • Yajima is this in the second relative to the more extreme otakuness of the other members despite being an otaku herself.
  • Fanservice: While the manga has some of this, the anime is rife with this, especially during the episodes covering ComicFes, half of this is supplied by Ogiue running into much taller and bustier Ohno.
  • Funbag Airbag: Ogiue running into much taller and bustier Ohno.
  • Genius Ditz: Kousaka. While he appears to be extremely manipulable and oblivious to most things, he is unbeatable at videogames and manages to secure a respectable career at the end of the series.
  • Glamour Failure: Figuratively speaking. Hato's upperclassman, when she finally appears in the flesh, has very noticeable sacks under her eyes and generally looks a lot thinner and "imperfect" than she always does in his imagination. He is very startled when his "inner female" (that looks like an idealized version of the girl) suddenly transforms for a moment into the "real" one, giving her a far more sinister look.
  • The Glasses Come Off: Madarame takes off his glasses in preparation for saying something to Saki that he knew she would hit him for.
  • Gentle Giant: Kugayama; tall, huge, fat, and so shy he even finds it hard to talk to a cashier.
  • Gorgeous Gaijin: Angela, the fit foreign bird who eagerly takes off her top in the presence of Ohno's boyfriend.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: In the English dub of episode 10 of season 2, Angela still introduces herself to Kousaka in Japanese. And this is after the dub had been bending over backwards to write around the language barrier. In a more meta example, all of Sue's lines are left undubbed.
  • Gyaru Girl: Kanji Sasahara's sister is a kogal. She changes towards the end of the manga, shedding it by the time Nidaime starts.
  • Harem Series: Of course never really, but invoked in-universe in Nidaime when Saki muses to herself that Madarame managed to unwittingly find himself right at the point in one where he's spent some personal time with several girls and they've all shown interest.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Hato, usually in response to his inner maiden.
  • Hot-Blooded: Madarame, as voiced by Nobuyuki Hiyama.
  • Hot Springs Episode: While the bath is more of a semi-outdoor furo — much to the characters' disappointment — they nonetheless self-consciously treat it as a hot springs episode, complete with lampshading, when Ohno prompts Kasukabe on the lines she's supposed to say as the two share the bath.
  • Huge Schoolgirl:
    • Sort of. Although a university student, Ohno is unusually tall and busty and at the same time shy about her physique. Except when cosplaying.
    • Katou, who seems to be friends with Ohno, fits as well, with the other members of the manga club barely reaching her shoulder. She's more of the willowy type.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That:
    • "Not even my own father hit me." in the manga after Kanji is on the receiving end of a slap by Kasukabe. Kasukabe, being completely out of the anime loop, takes it seriously at first until the other club members congratulate him.
    • In Nidaime, Kuchiki uses Hato's crossdressing as an excuse to say, "There's no way anyone that cute could be a real girl," and then says he can die happy now.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: See Expospeak Gag, above. Which may reference the first President's research project, having used the Genshiken club as research subjects without their knowledge. Once he's gone (to write his doctoral thesis), the episode titles become much more mundane.
  • I Have This Friend: When Kasukabe asks the Genshiken for advice on how to get closer to Kosaka, she couches the request as such. Naturally, they all see through it.
  • Ignore the Fanservice: Kasukabe starts hitting on Kousaka in the most blatant way possible... and he just goes out to line up for a videogame release.
  • Ironic Echo: Sue goes meta and quotes Genshiken itself in chapter 56, when Ogiue is fretting over the club's eclectic group of new recruits. Predictably, Ogiue panics when her infamous self-introduction is presented out-of-context to the new members, as she screams for Sue to shut up before she gets to the part about yaoi fangirls. She does it again near the end of the series.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Its still a little unclear whether Hato is a homosexual or just Madarame-sexual. He strongly denies being a homosexual and yet admits to being in love with Madarame, though since switching one's sexuality just for one person is pretty much impossible in real life, he's likely bisexual.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Madarame gives this as the reason for why he does not want to tell his feelings to Saki in the novel.
  • Jerkass: Haraguchi, also a Smug Snake.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Yabusaki. She terrorized Ogiue when they were in the manga club but Katou later reveals that it was just a front. Later on she helps Sasahara to understand Ogiue, at least from her perspective.
  • Karaoke Box: They go to one to help Kugayama become more outgoing - he ends up interrupting Madarame's performance of the Combattler V theme.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Well this IS a series about an otaku club, this sort of thing is bound to happen at least once... or a few dozen times.
  • Language of Love: Angela and Madarame.
  • Last Episode, New Character: Ogiue.
  • Left Hanging: The second season of the anime doesn't cover the final arc of the manga, leaving about two and a half volumes' worth of material un-animated. It's even lampshaded, as the preview for the last episode has Madarame stating proudly "INCOMPLETE ANIME ARE THE BEST EVER!" Though a new series was made, it's an adaptation of Nidaime.
  • Lovable Nerd: Pretty much the entire cast.
  • Love Confession:
    • Madarame tries to confess his feelings for Saki in chapter 53, but is unable to and just ends up "thanking" her for putting up with the club for four years. He finally confesses in chapter 80 of Nidaime, and is turned down.
    • In Nidaime, Sue tells Madarame her feelings in Chapter 118. Later, Madarame reciprocates in the penultimate chapter.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Although many circles admit that Haraguchi is very capable of making a plan to sell 3000 copies of doujin at the price of 1000 yen in a single day without any of them doing any work, they all know none of them would see a sen of it.
  • Multi-Gendered Split Personalities: Hato, the Wholesome Crossdresser is male but has a female inside voice/spirit/personality/whatever, teasing him each time he is with Madarame, much to his annoyance.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Yajima is... not as skilled with being a manga assistant as the other members of Genshiken...
    It's a scene of pure chaos with everyone helping President Ogiue meet her deadline for the 52-page long second half of her serialized story.
    Hato Kenjirou, the guy now completely in charge of doing the backgrounds.
    The peerlessly steady-handed inker and white-outer, Suzanna Hopkins.
    Yoshitake Rika, now capable of cutting and pasting in simple tones!
    Yajima Mirei, female.
  • Necktie Leash: Just the thing to set Ogiue's fujoshi imagination alight...
  • Nerd Glasses: Madarame's regular glasses. Also Ogiue's old glasses. Good thing she changed for contact lenses.
  • No-Dialogue Episode: Chapter 54 covers the rest of the current school year (several days) without any dialogue and still manages to focus on Madarame's lingering crush on Kasukabe. The only sound heard is Madarame laughing, and we know why.
  • Noodle Implements: Yoshitake is badgering Yajima, saying they can ask Hato all the things they couldn't ask before they knew him. Suitably primed, Yajima finds a strangely suggestive piece of plastic left in the clubroom and both their imaginations run rampant.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Exactly what Ogiue said to the girls of the Manga Club before she joined the Genshiken is never revealed, but it was bad enough to split it up into warring factions.
    • Also summoned when they discuss the difference between a scene from the Kujibiki♡Unbalance manga and its anime counterpart: while the manga has the girl just saying "If I stop being a crybaby...", the anime also has her saying "... will you be my bride?". The club agrees the manga did better by leaving it unexplained.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Kuchiki notices someone stealing costumes, but nobody will listen to him...
  • "No Peeking!" Request: In an early episode, Kasukabe warns Kousaka not to peek at her while she changes clothes. Totally absorbed in a video game and barely paying attention, Kousaka mumbles his agreement. She gets incensed at his lack of interest, she yells, "I'm SERIOUS! DON'T!"
  • The Not Secret: It's not exactly clear exactly when the others found out, but everyone in Genshiken knows about Madarame's crush on Kasukabe. Yes, even Saki herself - she kept quiet about it because she didn't want to make things awkward. Yes, even Kosaka, who somehow noticed it and never blabbed about it. The new club members in Nidame pick up on it almost immediately.
  • Occidental Otaku: Angela and Sue.
  • Official Couple: Kasukabe and Kousaka of course, Tanaka and Ohno, and later Sasahara and Ogiue.
  • Older Than They Look:
    • Everyone speculates just how old the Prez actually was after finding a box of his old manga 'zines, all of which dated back to 1987.
    • Yoshitake is past 20 despite her teenage appearance. To confuse the issue further, her sister is herself Younger than She Looks and looks like the older one.
  • Out of Focus: Since Nidaime, some of the former Genshiken members have pretty much disappeared from the radar, save occasional appearances. Not too surprising for Kasukabe and Kousaka, a bit more for Sasahara since he's Ogiue's boyfriend. Actually, even Ogiue seems more and more absent in the latst chapters, the story being increasingly focused on Hato. This was explicitly the point of Nidaime, to show what was happening with the new Genshiken membership. However, a drifting focus has been built into the series from the start as leadership has changed hands and the group has added and lost members. Kasukabe and her struggles with understanding otaku took much of the early focus; it drifted more onto Sasahara for his tenure as president; Ogiue grabbed the focus once her backstory started to come out, and now it's drifted towards the new group with Hato. Meanwhile, the other characters have moved in and out, retaining a secondary focus and sometimes losing it. It's remarkably alike to the feeling of watching a real college club evolve over several years as membership changes and the social circles rebalance.
  • Parody: The OVAs opening title parodies the opening theme of the remade version of Kujibiki♡Unbalance: See Here.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Ohno's two American friends (and fellow Otaku) Angela and Sue are both pale and blonde, the former being blue-eyed and the latter green-eyed. Angela fits the body build (being taller than most Japanese), though Sue looks like a child.
  • Plotbunny: Ogiue just can't help herself when she gets an idea.
  • Plot Hole: A flash forward at the end of the original manga series shows 3 normal guys walking into the Genshiken room sometime in the future. However, in the first chapter of the new series, the author clearly changed his mind and made the new members 3 girls actually 2 girls and a "girl". The inconsistency was never explained, though one can chalk it up as even more into the future.
  • Postmodernism:
    • It's a manga about a manga club.
    • Afternoon, the magazine Genshiken was published in, exists in-universe. Madarame quips that it's sort of obscure and only really caters to otaku.
    • Ogiue decided to submit her debut work in Monthly Afternoon, the same publication Genshiken is on. This is taken further when the club is helping Ogiue finish one of her doujin drafts on time, Yoshitake holds up one of the issues the manga was in for inspiration. It turns out to be the issue of Afternoon with Genshiken on the cover.
  • Product Placement: Kousaka is a champion at Guilty Gear, and one of Ohno's cosplays is of Jam Kuradoberi from the same series.
  • Progressively Prettier: Happens to everyone, Madarame in particular benefits.
  • Proud to Be a Geek:
    • Kuchiki, who is shameless about it.
    • To a much more appropriate degree, Madarame, who may have been more shameless about it early in the series.
    • Yoshitake too, except without most of that shamelessness.
  • Reference Overdosed: Not surprisingly, given the focus on otaku, they're quite fond of dropping quotes or references to various series in a heartbeat. The ability to do this is even prized - Sasahara quotes Amuro's response to the original Bright Slap after Kasukabe nearly knocks the wind out of him in the first chapter, and the rest of Genshiken applauds that he had the presence of mind to do it despite the pain. The appearance of Sue, who Speaks in Shout-Outs, later in the manga only puts this in overdrive.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Sue, both in-universe and outside it. Sue is successfully attending a Japanese college without anybody but her closest friends (and even for them it takes quite a while) only vaguely hinted at that she can even speak or read Japanese beyond parroting lines from anime. Likewise, Sue gets away by being a possibly uncomprehending foreigner to push the envelope on cosplay far beyond what would be socially acceptable in either Japan or the United States. From an "out of universe" context, Sue's ability to physically and emotionally protect her friends, usually while conveying complete boredom and disinterest, is unrealistic enough (both for her age and in general) that at least by contrast with the more realistic characters it borders on a superpower, and the series uses this to set up and resolve situations which without her presence would otherwise have darker and longer-term consequences.
  • Retcon: Angela's introduction scene with Madarame in the anime gets referenced in Nidaime despite never appearing in the manga prior, because the author really liked it.
  • School Clubs Are Serious Business: Around chapter 8, the people who decide which clubs are official are cracking down on those that don't do anything, because there are so many clubs that even the Genshiken's remote space is coveted. (Admittedly, the list of clubs we get to see has some amazingly suspicious entries.)
  • Scenery Censor: The second series inserts a Furo Scene where, possibly in the interests of fanservice, Sue flashes Ogiue.
  • Secret-Keeper: It's implied that Ohno is this for Madarame. Then it turns out to be The Not Secret.
  • Serious Business:
    • Each character is completely devoted to his/her hobbies. Best exemplified in Madarame's expense management and his rant about 2D vs. 3D. See the quote atop this page.
    • Nidaime reflects a sea change in fandom - a slackening of the seriousness of hobbies. The new members do take them seriously, but it's no longer their identity.
  • Sequential Artist: 2 specific arcs are built around attempting to be in this trope. Ogiue creates the Yaoi variety.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Sasahara and Ogiue get one of these after they start kissing when she shows him her Yaoi Doujinshi of him and Madarame.
  • Scare Chord: Prez's appearances are often accompanied by one in the anime, just to underline how creepy he is.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Kitagawa, and sometimes Madarame.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • The series was acclaimed for its attention to scenery detail early in its serialization. There are a lot of panning shots of the Shiiou University campus, which were inspired by two campuses that the author knew of.
    • Nidaime does this for the countryside as well.
  • School Festival
  • Ship Sinking:
    • As of Chapter 80, Madarame x Saki is given a viking funeral.
    • During the "Harem" arc, more Madarame pairs are subsequently sunk, including Angela and Keiko.
  • Ship Tease: The novel has some pretty blatant Ship Tease for Madarame X Kasukabe. It's possible a bone thrown to all the Mada x Saki shippers with Spotted Flower, a manga by the same author about a suspiciously familiar otaku and his pregnant non-otaku wife.
  • Shout-Out: So, so many, often under fake names, good thing the fansubs offer footnotes about the fake names in the manga and anime. Sadly, the official translations of both, do not.
  • Show Within a Show: Kujibiki Unbalance, an in-universe manga/anime that the members of Genshiken obsess over. Despite being an intentional Cliché Storm that features a lot of tropes common to anime and manga at the time Genshiken was first published, KujiUn eventually became popular enough to be spun off into its own series.
  • Shrines and Temples: The club members visit the Narita Temple during New Year's Eve.
  • Skinship Grope: Lampshaded and then played straight, when Ohno fails to get Saki and Ogiue interested in her breasts, but Sasahara's sister proves all too willing to get a feel of them.
  • Special Edition Title: The series opens with the Kujibiki♡Unbalance opening credits.
  • Spin-Off: Kujibiki♡Unbalance, which started off as a Show Within a Show in this series but eventually became popular enough to become its own small franchise.
  • Spoiler Opening: Kasukabe's cosplay.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Prez.
  • Stock Footage: That Sol vs. Jam match? Expect to see the exact same footage a lot, even when different people are playing. Fortunately, the final episode of the first season mixes it up with different footage, as well as the OP.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Referenced by Katou of the rival Manga Club, who wears her hair over her face; but subverted when she brushes it away and reveals that her eyes and facial features are actually quite pretty.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: In the manga, the rest of the guys comment on how Kousaka's legs look when he crossplays. Ogiue just asks "Is he really a guy?". It's hammed up even more in the anime.
  • Take That!: Not too prevalent, given that it's a series about enjoying being an Otaku, but in one episode preview the club members mention that you really shouldn't sing "Motteke! Sailor Fuku!" and "Hare Hare Yukai" in public.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Kasukabe saves the club for precisely this reason.
  • That Came Out Wrong: In one of the guest artist omakes for Volume 6, Sasahara, Madarame, and Kugayama are discussing if anyone would read a manga based on the Genshiken. They talk about how Ogiue would be the moe character with a ton of erotic doujinshi about her. Just at that moment, Ogiue walks in.
    Sasahara: Yeah, I bet there'd even be some otaku at the fest who'd get all pissed and yell... [Ogiue walks in] "How dare you whack off to my Ogiue!"
  • That One Player: Kousaka.
  • This Is Reality: When Ohno is trying to invoke a Skinship Grope during the Hot Springs Episode, Saki tells her "we're not manga characters."
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Sue's default expression. Unusually for the trope, this seems more a practiced habit than the result of trauma, and carries more intensity than emptiness - in fact, the visual contrast with Ogiue is the main argument against calling it an unusually hollow Death Glare. Effectively, Ogiue's original gaze conveyed "I hate you and everything otaku and yes I know I am one" while Sue aimed more for "I have been brought back from a place of existential torment to consume the living".
  • Took a Level in Badass: A mild example, but the novel features Madarame leading the charge against some people who have taken over the university club system by throwing molotov cocktails to break down a barricade. Saki and Kugayama also get in on the action, with Kugayama tearing down some of the barricade with his bare hands and bodily strength.
  • The Rival: Yabusaki, artist for the Manga club.
  • Tsundere:
    • Ogiue, so adorable but so mean too. Poor Sasahara. Lampshaded in the bonus chapter of the final volume.
    • As their friendship develops, Saki becomes quite a bit nicer to Madarame and otaku in general.
  • This Is Reality: One of the arcs in Nidame concerns Hato and his confusion over his feelings for Madarame. Yoshitake tells Yajima that while 'falling for a straight friend' is the preface to many yaoi couples, it pretty much always results in heartbreak in real life.
  • Time Skip: A slight one in Chapter 56, which was created and released as a bonus together with the Japanese "Genshiken 2" box-set. The chapter told us what the characters had become, and what's going on the Genshiken club right now.
  • Translation Convention: Angela and Sue, two Occidental Otaku from the USA, visit the club. In the Del Rey localization, their English dialogue is printed in a different font, and in the anime, they speak English while the regular cast speaks Japanese. This causes problems in the English dub, since both Angela and Madarame are speaking English to the audience, but the point of the scene is that neither can speak the other's language.
  • True Companions: The Genshiken members, are very close friends. Even after they have graduated from College and are no longer official members of the club, they still like to keep in touch and help each other out.
  • 12-Episode Anime: Two seasons' worth, plus the three OVA episodes.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Usually happens to people when they're told about Hato, like in chapters 56 and 78.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Kasukabe in general; about ninety percent of the violence inflicted in the club has had something to do with her. Strongly shown early in the series when Madarame placed cat ears on her.
  • Vague Age: Ohno refuses to elaborate on Sue's age. And with good reason, given that she was the one that introduced Sue to yaoi, most possibly at a rather young age.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • Kasukabe claims to hate the otakus at Genshiken, but she still hangs around the clubroom without Kousaka there, and is more than willing to stand up for them.
    • Keiko eventually tolerates Genshiken's members to the point where she can casually talk to them, although it's mostly her trying to advertise the hostess club she works for.
  • Wall of Text: If given a good enough reason, Yoshitake will go off on her own tangent.
  • Wardrobe Flaw of Characterization: Madarame spends the better part of one episode considering the slovenly state of his wardrobe and agonizing over the high cost of stylish clothes. He finally screws up his courage enough to buy some very nice clothes that earn a stamp of approval from The Fashionista of the group. However, at the end of the episode it's revealed that he now wears the exact same outfit every time stylish clothes are called for.
  • Webcomic Time:
    • A one-off form of it, when the series got Uncancelled after about four and a half years, but events in-series had only moved on a couple months at most. Suddenly characters move from making references to series current to early and mid 2006, to referencing series that wouldn't even have existed yet if a strict chronology was followed on with the continuation. Angela's references to the Bakemonogatari series get only the narrowest pass if she's quoting the original light novel which came out within the rough time of Nidaime thus far, but the Puella Magi Madoka Magica cosplay doesn't fit anywhere.
    • Showcased even more blatantly in the animated Nidaime's Comifest episode, where aside from the aforementioned Madoka Magica cosplays, one can spot Muromi-san and Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet cosplay. Later on there's even a reference to Free!.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser:
    • Kousaka, who crossplays to help sell doujinshi. He doesn't expect Kasukabe to show up when she does.
    • Also, Hato in chapter 56.
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?: In the bonus content included in Volume 6, one of the guest artist omakes is "The 121st 'Could they actually make a manga about the Genshiken?' Meeting", where Madarame, Sasahara, and Kugayama discuss whether their lives would make a good manga.
  • Will They or Won't They?:
    • Stretched out a bit in the anime with Ohno and Tanaka. In the manga, they hook up offscreen and reveal that they are already a couple when Kasukabe teases them about their relationship, catching her off-guard (she's actually the last to know). In the anime, they are much more timid about things and need Kasukabe to play matchmaker, helping them overcome their mutual fear of rejection.
    • This is much truer of Sasahara and Ogiue's false starts at their relationship, with lots of matchmaking going on behind the scenes by Ohno, Kasukabi, and Madarame to get them together. While the anime never reached far enough along in the manga's storyline to see the Genshiken vacation where Sasahara and Ogiue finally express their feelings, the anime shoehorned those emotional elements into Tanaka and Ohno's relationship. It still works, but seems a bit strange after reading the manga first.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Oddly enough, Hato the crossdresser in chapter 56. Though it makes sense: to actually pass as the opposite sex, one has to not only look it, but also speak and act in a way that epitomizes that gender, down to body-language. This hyper-femininity is presumably what Saki picks up on when she meets him.
  • Yaoi Fangirl:
    • Ohno and Ogiue. Season two, episode five. Not content with hinting, they animate Ogiue's fantasies. Be afraid, or not, or collapse from laughter.
    • Incidentally, all the girls who joined Genshiken under Ogiue's tenure of presidency.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Discussed a bit by Ohno and Tanaka in the novel Genshiken: Return of the Otaku.