Genshiken Second Season Vol. 9: Manga Review

Volume 9 of Genshiken Second Season puts us in something of a double focus situation. On the one hand, Kuchiki has completed his senior project and is going to be graduating, so the Genshiken is going on a retreat. On the other hand, all of the members of Madarame’s Harem are coming along, and at their insistence – so is Madarame.

Cover of Genshiken Second Season vol. 9

Now, I’m happy to see Kuchiki go. While most members of the Genshiken are coded as some degree of on-spectrum, and Kuchiki’s variety is one that I’ve definitely encountered before, as in addition to being part of various anime clubs I’ve also run a variety of autism-related support groups through High School and College. That said, the people who displayed those behaviors, while they were not necessarily good at reading the room, did pick up a degree of social grace over time.

Kuchiki, on the other hand, over the course of the series has kind of shown an utter absence of character growth, with any insight he had during the first series apparently banished due to his frustration with Madarame having a harem instead of him. So, he’s basically come to exist as a character who only really exists to be hit. Thus, Kuchiki, may the road rise to meet you… in the face.

That leads us to Madarame. This arc (which is going to continue into the next volume), feels like the story is going to go into something of a head for what form the harem is going to take. We’ve still got three volumes to go, it’s clear from here that we’re going to come to the point where he’s going to have to choose – and then presumably we’re going to have some denouement.

Thus far, I’d put it at two candidates – Sue and Hato. That said, of the both of them, Sue is the character who probably is going to push as hard for it. Hato… Hato is somewhat hamstrung by how their sexuality and gender identity is being written here. By this point in the series, they’ve basically decided that they are genderfluid. However, they’re not entirely sure about how that relates to their attraction to Madarame and how to move forward on that.

And the thing is, Madarame, as written, might be bi, but he also doesn’t come across as comfortable enough in his sexuality to act on it that way, and Hato isn’t written as willing to quite take the next step on this – so I think Hato is going to be stuck in the “I want my beloved to be happy.”

Sue, on the other hand, is willing to be aggressive on this (including an absolutely hilarious bit in this issue where she handcuffs Madarame to a chair and tries to hide the key in her utterly nonexistent cleavage). That said, while other characters have tried to get aggressive with Madarame in the past (including Sasahara’s sister and Angela), they’ve generally made him very uncomfortable or otherwise put him off, while he was generally less threatened by the situation with Sue.

We’ll see how things go from here, but as things stand, one thing is clear.

GIF of Dr. Strange saying "We're in the end game now" from Avengers: Infinity War

Volume 9 of Genshiken is available from Amazon.com in print or Kindle editions.

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