Saturday, September 12, 2009

Genshiken 2

Overall Rating: A

Summary: Genshiken is a comedy/slice-of-life anime series based on the manga of the same name by Shimoku Kio. The story revolves around the lives of the members of Genshiken, a college club for otaku, and the adventures (and misadventures) associated with being otaku. The first volume of the anime (and the beginning of the manga) begins with the introduction of Kanji Sasahara, an introverted college freshman who is obsessed with anime and manga, but isn't comfortable with that aspect of his identity. On club day he decides to join Genshiken, a club that's only purpose is to enjoy the otaku lifestyle. He also meets Makoto Kousaka, a fellow freshman who is attractive, laid-back, and completely comfortable with his otakuness. The other club members are Harunobu Madarame, a hardcore otaku who spends all of his money on dōjinshi, Souichiro Tanaka, who is an expert cosplay designer and loves plastic models, and Mitsunori Kugayama, who is stuttering, overweight and an excellent artist. Soon after Sasahara's arrival, two female members join, Kanako Ohno, who loves cosplay and Saki Kusakabe who only joins because she's in love with Kousaka. However, over time Saki comes to be a true member of the club, and even tries cosplay. The first volume of the anime follows the group for roughly the first year of Sasahara's college life, and includes two new members joining a year later, Chika Ogiue, who is obsessed with yaoi and is embarressed about her otaku nature, and Manabu Kuchiki, who is loud and annoying and completely unashamed of his otakuness.

The series follows the group as they travel to Comifes, hang out in the club room, and even go to the beach. At the beginning of the second season, the club has recently been accepted to participate as one of the dōjinshi vendors at Comifes, and Sasahara has become president of the club. Now they just have to complete the dōjinshi and get everything ready, but it's a lot harder than anyone realized.

Genshiken is one of my favorite manga and anime. The anime series is incredibly faithful to the manga, and I'm so excited that they finally made a second season. The first season aired in 2004 and an OVA was made in 2006 and 2007, so it's been a long time in between everything. One of the reasons I love this series so much is that it gives a very realistic take on life as an otaku (or geek), and there just aren't enough of those. All of the characters are well-developed and I recognize a lot of the personalities of my friends in them. I can't wait for volume 2 of Genshiken 2 to come out, but unfortunately I have to wait until October 27th. I may have to reread the manga in the meantime.

If you're a geek, and if you're not I have no idea why you're reading this, check out Genshiken (both the anime and the manga) now! You'll thank me.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

X-Men: Misfits

Overall Rating: A+

Summary: A superhero/romance shōjo series written by Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman (both of whom used to be regulars on Girlamatic with their comics Smile and Astronaut Elementary), and Illustrated by Anzu, which follows Kitty Pryde, a young high school girl who has the ability to phase through solid objects. In her public school, she suffers from the ridicule of her classmates, and alienation because she is a mutant. However, at the beginning of the manga, Kitty is invited to attend Professor Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters, a school for people like her, and her whole world changes.

For one thing, she is the only girl at the school. As you can guess in a high school full of boys this means she gets a lot of attention. They're also all mutants like her, so P.E. means practicing in the danger room, and science class discusses the differences in DNA between humans and mutants. As Kitty adjusts to life at Xavier's, she catches the eye of the Hellfire Club. Led by Angel, the club seems to have it all - money, looks, and they can get away with anything they want. Now, the Hellfire Club wants to add the only female student to their group as their mascot. It doesn't hurt that Kitty can't take her eyes off of Pyro, one of the club's hottest members, and he can't seem to take his eyes off of her either. Throw in cold-as-ice (pun intended) Bobby Drake, the intimidating but sweet Kurt Wagner, and the radical Scott Summers and you've got an exciting high school. Who will Kitty end up with? Is the Hellfire Club more dangerous than it appears? Just how adorable is Beast? You'll have to read the series to find out!

X-Men: Misfits is everything that is great about the X-men comics shōjo rolled into one manga series. I have been eagerly awaiting this one since it was announced more than a year ago, and it does not disappoint. I absolutely love the character designs for Beast and Colossus, Cyclops works perfectly as a vegan, and the Hellfire Club is essentially a host club like Ouran! Brilliant! Seriously though, if you enjoy either X-Men or shōjo (or both, like me) then do yourself a favor and pick this one up. I can't wait to pick up volume 2, but unfortunately there is no release date information yet. Now if you'll excuse me, I have an Angel costume to go work on.