I recall seeing the original Genshiken anime in stores some time ago, but paid little mind to it as I collected and viewed other, more action oriented anime shows back then. Now some years later, a thirteen episode follow up series has been released called Genshiken: Second Generation. This two disc Blu-ray collection continues the story of a group of otakus (obsessed anime/manga fans) trying to keep their after school club together while also making their way through life with hilarious and touching results that viewers who give it a chance are sure to enjoy.
Genshiken follows the members of The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture, aka an after school club for otakus obsessed with anime/manga, video games and even cosplaying. This series picks up not long after the first season and the made-for-video specials released after it. Most of the old members have graduated and moved on into adulthood, and it’s up to the new club president named Chika Ogiue to whip the club back into shape by recruiting new members. One would think that this would be a simple task, but it turns out to be more troublesome than it’s supposed to be, especially when most of the new members turn out to be girls obsessed with all sorts of wild stuff out there. Add in a guy named Hato who is nearly flawless as a crossdresser and wants to fit in with the rest of the girls, a member that dresses up in cosplay all the time and most of the group bickering with each other, and you’ve got one heck of an anime show that pushes both comedy and drama to wild heights as the club does their best to keep things together while also traversing the road of life.
I didn’t think I would enjoy Genshiken: Second Generation as much as I did. It was a little tough to get into at first, especially with the wild sense of humor presented here and not having seen the first series. But luckily things are setup where newcomers can jump in and enjoy it despite having that feeling you’re still missing out on something. The cast is also a lot of fun and makes it exciting to find out how they handle problems that come their way, whether they take it seriously or comedically. As with their previous releases, NIS America has done a fantastic job with the transfer presented here. The high definition visuals make sure every detail and frame of animation is brought to comedic life, and the Japanese audio rings in loud and clear to serve up plenty of dialogue as viewers try to keep up with the often hilarious subtitles.
Unlike their other anime collections, there’s actually some special features on the discs this time around. Besides the clean intro/outro, there’s some bonus Genshiken discussion topic shorts that give viewers some details into the making of the series and more. If that wasn’t enough, this collection comes in a sturdy hardcover box to hold the two disc cases along with a 64 page hardcover art book that contains full color pictures, an episode guide, detailed character bios, interviews with the Japanese cast and staff, and an otaku terminology guide that’s sure to help folks understand all the crazy jargon throughout the show.
I found Genshiken: Second Generation to be a fun, wild take on the slice of life genre. It’s one of those shows that may not be for everyone, but those who give it a chance will find something to like with its zany cast of characters and the situations they deal with. Throw in a nice collector’s box and book along with some informative extras, and you have an awesome anime series you’ll want to add to your collection.