So I finished reading the full 9 volumes of Genshiken manga a few days ago and it was worth the effort. it turns out the anime missed the last one and a half volumes, mostly concerning the developing relationship between two of the characters. Ogiue is the fujoshi I mentioned in the previous entry who was having yaoi fantasies about two of her friends. The fact that she's actually interested in one of them just makes it all the more strange to me. I mean, it's one thing to fantasize about perhaps a threesome when it comes to someone you like, but simply imagining them as being homosexual (or heterosexual if they're already homosexual) just seems whacky to me. If they actually are gay...wouldn't they want nothing to do with you romantically?
Anyway, it turns out that this is not the first time her yaoi obsession has gotten her into trouble. In junior high she was just starting to date a guy and her friends talked her into illustrating a sexually explicit manga featuring the guy as an 'ultra-bottom'. This was of course leaked to the guy who freaked out and stopped coming to school, eventually transferring away. Not that you can blame the guy considering the fact that 'ultra-bottom' in this genre seems to be equivalent to rape victim who asks for it.
This entire incident leads Ogiue to a cycle of self-loathing, resulting in a stated hatred for otakus and especially female ones. Of course, over time she's unable to resist her impulses and is slowly drawn back to yaoi, including drawing a couple of manga which she puts up for sale as well as slashing the guy she's interested in with another club member. If you're thinking that it's almost some twisted Aesop about homosexuality itself, you're not the only one. It seemed sort of disturbing to me too to equate a love of yaoi and drawing people you know in those relationships with an uncontrollable (and almost biological) urge. It reminds me a little too much of the pedophile defense where the claim is that just like sexual orientation, it's all biological, unstoppable, and thus should somehow be accepted. Hell, maybe you can't help yourself from thinking certain thoughts or maybe even getting aroused upon seeing such material, but it's fully within your realm of control whether to seek the material or to act upon it. So take it as a lesson from me, don't draw your friends or potential love interests in pr0n unless they ask you to.
Anyway, eventually she confesses to her love interest about all of this after he tells her that he loves her. She refuses to accept his confession though until he sees all of the yaoi she's drawn featuring him, figuring he'll change his mind afterward. I have to admit this hit me as being incredibly stupid. I don't know a single guy who even if he were horrified at the idea of being drawn in such a manner wouldn't just fake it. Lets take the most cynical view of it....here's a girl who's hot and who you like. She's ready to be your girlfriend and put out and all you have to do is look at some homosexual pr0n featuring yourself and not freak out and run out the door. Ya...I don't think it's a very high bar to hop over especially when you're a full blown otaku among otaku anyway. You might run into some more problems if this was some baptist minister's straight-edge son or something.
In case you're curious what Ogiue's yaoi fantasies were like, someone provided a youtube AMV mashup.
The art style is not usually this fruity either, but this entire episode featured her animated fantasies.
The rest of the manga also features the return of a couple of American characters who showed up once in the anime as the friends of one of the club members. It's not all that rare for English-speaking characters to show up in anime but the voice acting and English itself is usually horrible. It's not the seiyu's fault really as they're pretty much set up to fail. Expecting anyone to be able to speak a foreign language as if they were a native is just asking too much. That said, it would be nice if they actually sent the script to an average 12-year old in this country just for quality control purposes. The grammar issues are often egregious and so obvious that you know it was mostly a result of no one caring than anything else.
Genshiken is actually better than 95% of the anime I've seen in this regard. The voice-actress they got to play one of the American characters spoke the best English I've ever heard out of a Japanese seiyu. She clearly still had an accent and no one would have mistaken her for a native, but it was leaps and bounds better than what you normally get. Here's a clip of her:
If you think that's at all problematic, realize that she's heads and shoulders above the rest. Turns out the character's seiyu, Yuki Kaida, was actually educated in the US which explains the fluency. The other American character only speaks in Japanese manga/anime quotes so her seiyu was spared having to try any English other than a heavily accented "Thanks".
Altogether, I'm not sure there's enough left in the one and a half volumes of manga the anime didn't cover to fill out a third season. That probably means that there won't be any more Genshiken in the future which is a shame. There were some truly touching and hilarious moments in the manga that really deserved to have been animated. Oh well. Que sera, sera.