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Genshiken Nidaime

August 9, 2013

The society for the study of traps… err, modern visual culture is back! The original “げんしけん” manga by Shimoku Kio already spawned two anime seasons and an OVA, now the sequel manga gets its own anime adaptation as “Genshiken Nidaime”.

Rather enjoyed the first manga’s anime adaptations, so made time to watch this new anime and was rather interested to see one of its main plots focuses on trap character Hato.

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All about current otaku culture, there is little surprise this franchise might feature a trap character (an impossibly cute girl who is actually a cross-dressing boy), especially considering traps have become an increasingly popular character type in manga, anime and games.

While trap characters have been rather popular as of late, “Genshiken Nidaime” really goes all out by breaking through the surface and overall illusion that is the female version of Hato, showing us much more about Hato’s motives, feelings and his interaction with the other characters.

The show uses its trap character and plot quite cleverly, considering it uses all the popular elements and tropes of a trap character, hamming Hato’s cuteness up for all its worth, as well as showing everything beneath the surface, giving viewers an interesting look into what lies beyond the illusion.

As such, “Genshiken Nidaim” has been interesting to watch since I do enjoy certain trap characters like Hideyoshi in “Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu”, Mako in “Minami-ke”, Ruka in “Steins;Gate” or reverse traps like Charlotte in “IS: Infinite Stratos” or Yumikura in “Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai”, but the show also gave me pause for some introspection in what I personally find enjoyable about franchises with trap characters.

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Undoubtedly there will be other fans of cute trap characters who feel the same way, in that their interest lies primarily -if not solely- in the illusion created by this medium that is ideal to render an irresistibly cute character who is claimed to be another gender underneath.

The illusion and the feeble hope the lie is real are the attraction, when it is shattered or pierced as it is in “Genshiken Nidaime”, it looses its innocent appeal. Luckily, this show makes up for it by elaborating on Hato’s motives, background and everyone’s interaction with him/her.

Most returning characters from the first “Genshiken” are voiced by different voice actors and actresses in “Genshiken Nidaime”.

Club president and mangaka Ogiue is voiced by Yamamoto Nozomi, she previously voiced Yukimura in “Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai”, Tetora in “Joshiraku” and Nakajima in “Girls und Panzer”.

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Cosplay afficionado Ohno is voiced by Yukana, she previously voiced CC in “Code Geass”, Ai in “Amagami SS”, Kuugen in “Wagaya no Oinari-sama”, Cecilia in “IS: Infinite Stratos” and Tessa in “Full Metal Panic!”.

Trap character Hato is voiced by two different voice talents, with the original male Hato being voiced by Yamamoto Kazutomi and the female version voiced by Kakuma Ai.

Uesaka Sumeri voices hyper Rika, she voiced Dekomori in “Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai”, Nonna in “Girls und Panzer”, Sora in “Papa no Iu Koto o Kikinasai” and Manai in this season’s “Fantasista Doll”.
Yajima is voiced by Uchiyama Yumi, she previously voiced Momiji in “Binbougami ga!”, Nagi in “A Channel”, Yamashita in “Aiura” and Youko in this season’s “Kiniro Mosaic”.

With all its references to other franchises and typical elements of otaku culture, the interesting plot about cross-dressing Hato, definitely recommend “Genshiken Nidaime” for those looking for a nice slice-of-life show about otaku life that also offers some extra depth.

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