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It is Sasahara's first day of college, and a fateful choice awaits him. Which college clubs will he chose to join? But Sasahara is no ordinary young man; a dark secret lurks within his soul. For one thing, he knows what "cosplay" is, and he'd like to know more. He knows how to unlock all the secret characters in "Guilty Gear X", and he'd like to know more. He knows what the plot twist is in episode twenty-five of "Kujibiki Unbalance" because he's read the manga, and he'd like to know more. He's heard of Doujinshi, and he... NEEDS to know more. Enter Genshiken, the barely legitimized Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture, home to all subspecies of Otaku!
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Based on the manga by Shimoku Kio, the broadcast series Genshiken (2004) pokes fun at fandom in a good-natured tone that recalls Comic Party and parts of Nadesico. On his first day at Suioh University, Sasahara has to choose a club, and opts for the Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture. That grandiose title conceals a small group of fans of anime, manga, video games, and Cosplay--which means Sasahara has found a place where he belongs. He quickly befriends big, stuttering Kugayama; Cosplay costume maker Tanaka; and permanent club president Madarame. For a good time, the guys go to a karaoke parlor to sing old anime theme songs. Kohsake is the oddball in this crowd: although he loves the same geeky pastimes, he's attractive and has a girl friend, Saki, who hates otaku culture. Directors Takashi Ikehata and Tsutomu Mizushima keep the pace slow, reflecting the idle lives of the club members. Genshiken may be an enormous inside joke, but it's one anime fans will delight in sharing. (Rated 13 and older: cartoon violence, risqué humor, tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
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