Geeks on campus Genshiken (DVD version)

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 December, 2006, 12:00am

Genshiken, or 'The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture', is an anime that looks at the lives of a group of university students who are otakus.

Genshiken was originally a manga by Kio Shimoku that ran in a monthly anthology magazine called Afternoon between 2002 and 2006. It had 50 chapters, and was later made into an eight volume graphic novel set.

A limited edition version will also include an audio drama, featuring the original voice talents from the anime show. An English version is available from Del Rey Manga.

The Genshiken club is considered an outcast among the university clubs. This reflects the general public's opinion of otakus in society, pre-Densha Otoko (Train Man - a film that gave otakus more credibility). The club is often threatened with closure by the Student Union.

Unlike the anime and manga club members, who are purists, Genshiken is an all-encompassing otaku club that focuses on anything in Japanese culture that could be labelled as otaku-ish, from video games to cosplay, manga to gunpla.

The story centres around Sasahara Kanji, a shy college freshman who is looking to join a university club. He decides to join Genshiken because he finds the members are laidback and friendly. Episodes revolve around events such as trips to the Akihabara district (otaku heaven), and attending Comiket (a Japanese anime/manga convention).

There are a lot of in-jokes in the series, and occasionally viewers are required to have an extensive knowledge of anime and manga.

One of the funniest aspects is the episode titles. Each is made to sound like a thesis. For example, episode two's title is Comparative Classification of the modern Youth Through Consumption and Entertainment: it's about shopping, karaoke and eating out.

Budding otakus should watch this show to learn what our lifestyle is truly about.