Manga and anime review: Genshiken

I actually wanted to write a review about the anime of Genshiken Nidaime, but as I was thinking it out, I realised I couldn’t do it before telling you guys more about the original Genshiken. And since I’ve read both the manga and seen the anime, I thought it was best to review both at the same time.

Manga

  • Romaji name: Genshiken
  • Mangaka: Shimoku Kio
  • no. of chapters: 55
  • original run: 2002-2006
  • Status: finished
  • genre: comedy, slice of life.

In Japan, every high school and university has after school time clubs. Most students are a member of such club and in some schools membership is even mandatory. There are cultural clubs, such as art, drama, and history, but also sports clubs, such as football, tennis and kendo. Students are even allowed to form their own clubs, as long as the school board allows it.

Genshiken, which is short for Gendai Shikaku Bunka Kenkyūkai (The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture) is such a club. Although the club name may sound pretentious, the club contains of nothing more than a bunch of otaku’s who spent their time watching anime, reading manga, gaming or discussing them. The word otaku can be roughly translated as ‘geek’. But it has a slightly stronger meaning. The average otaku is a socially awkward shut-in, who’s built his entire life around manga, anime and gaming.

In the beginning of the story we meet Kanji Sasahara, who is in his first year of Shiiou University (Tokyo) and decides to join the genshiken. As the story progresses, we meet the other members and follow their everyday lives, and also learn a lot about otaku culture in Japan. Manga, anime, video games, eroge (which is short for erotic games), cosplay, figure collecting, model kits, dōjinshi (fan-made manga), visual novels,fujoshi (literal translation: rotten girl; a girl who’s into boys love), visiting Akihabara (the electronics shopping district of Japan), and comifes (comic festival), nothing is left out. As a non Japanese otaku, or a noob otaku, this manga is really interesting to read, because it basically learns you everything you need to know about otaku life in Japan.

Although we follow Sasahara at the beginning of the story, there are a bunch of characters that get just as much attention or even more, so there isn’t really any lead character. It’s almost as the mangaka wanted you to pick your own leading character. Is it Sasahara, new to the otaku world? Or Madarame, a real otaku-veteran. Or maybe Saki, who actually despises otaku, but is forced to join because her boyfriend is a member. You can also pick Ohno, who’s really into cosplay, or Ogiue, who has to come into terms with her fujoshi-ness. As we follow the members for four years, old members leave university, new ones join, and relationships develop.

Genshiken is one of those manga that really stuck with me. Because you follow the characters over a course of four years, I was really able to develop a bond with them. There is lots of humor and you learn something about otaku-life.

Grade: 8/10

Anime:

  • No. of seasons: 2
  • No. of episodes season 1: 12 (2004)
  • No. of episodes season 2: 12 (2007)
  • No. of OVA’s: 3 (2006-2007)

Although there are some slight differences, the first season of the anime almost literally follows the story of the manga. There is a gap between the first and the second season, which is filled by the OVA’s. Unfortunately, the second season skips a lot that happens in the manga. So if you want to know the whole story, it’s not enough to only watch the anime. The first intro (King of my own pace, by manzo) is really catchy (I prefer to listen to it right before I attend to an anime/manga convention to get into the mood) and the anime is really able to catch the atmosphere of the manga. But because I know they left out a big part of the story in season 2, it’s hard to enjoy it as much.

Grade: 7/10

Star Trek Into Darkness (Director: J.J. Abrams) – Spoiler Free

Cast your mind back four years to 2009 and J. J. Abrams was the talk of Hollywood.  He already had created two very successful television series in “Alias” and “Lost”, produced the alien disaster movie “Cloverfield” and revitalised the “Mission: Impossible” film franchise with the third entry into the series.

Then he managed to perform a feat that Doctor McCoy would have been proud of by breathing life into the tired “Star Trek” franchise by returning the franchise back to its origins whilst rebooting it through the device of establishing a new timeline which included the death of Kirk’s father, along with his becoming more rebellious than the original version, and the destruction of Vulcan.

Since then, he has created another hit in the popular television series “Fringe”, directed the smash sci-fi film “Super 8”, produced further hit series such as “Person Of Interest” and “Revolution”, along with the cancelled “Alcatraz”, and produced the smash hit “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” and the lesser known “Morning Glory”.

So, it was only a matter of time for Abrams to take his place in the Captain’s chair behind the camera with this follow up to his “Star Trek” reboot.

Whereas the original film centres on the building of the Enterprise crew, along with re-establishing the spiky beginnings of the Kirk/Spock/McCoy relationship and Kirk’s journey to being given the centre seat, “Star Trek Into Darkness” is a darker film which puts the crew of the Enterprise to the test whilst exploring what makes them a family, of sorts, and forcing Kirk into a lesson that being given the Captain’s chair and truly earning it are two entirely different things.

The script by Abrams’ regular collaborators Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof also intelligently explores the psychological definition of how people view the term “evil” especially the way that darkness can taint the most noble of motives through the character of John Harrison, as portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, whilst not stinting on the action and humour of the previous Abrams “Trek” film.

Abrams uses the script to deliver a pacy action film that keeps the audience entertained, whilst allowing for natural slowdowns, partly for the audience to catch their breath and partly to pose the interesting moral dilemmas facing Kirk and Spock due to Harrison’s actions.

Chris Pine has definitely settled into the role of Kirk, taking the character on a journey from the cocky young man who still writes his own rulebook, rather than following Starfleet’s rules, through a man driven by pain and revenge, into a true captain who truly cares for his “family” and sets the example of leadership which inspires his crew to care about him.  Pine’s portrayal of the role is primarily of his own making, yet also allows enough room for William Shatner’s portrayal to peek through, especially in moments of playful humour alongside his co-stars.

Zachary Quinto takes the opportunity to build on his original portrayal of Spock, crafting a character which honours Leonard Nimoy’s portrayal of the role, but not to overshadow his interpretation.  This is a Spock who is truly conflicted between his Vulcan and Human natures, both in moments of humour and drama.  Whilst the previous film portrays the Kirk/Spock working relationship as spiky at best and downright hostile at worst, “Into Darkness” really lays down the platform for the Kirk/Spock “bromance”, especially in the film’s closing act.

Karl Urban cements his place as Doctor McCoy with the same acidic wit and cantankerous nature that DeForrest Kelley brought to the original incarnation.  Urban also gets the opportunity to portray McCoy’s role as the human conscience in this film to balance Kirk’s gung-ho nature and Spock’s steely logic… plus he get’s to deliver the classic McCoy “I’m a doctor not a…” line.

Zoe Saldana is given more to do as Uhura, taking on the action duties alongside Pine and Quinto whilst serving as Spock’s love interest and his emotional compass.  In addition to this, Saldana and Quinto provides some well balanced comedy to demonstrate the problems of a relationship between the passionate, caring Uhura – who is the emotional hearbeat of the Enterprise crew – and Spock’s emotional repression which neither veers into the mawkish or the inappropriately silly.

Unfortunately, the remainder of the Enterprise command staff is underserved with Scotty, portrayed by the brilliant Simon Pegg, making the most of his limited screen time by being humorous in the role whilst adding in a couple of interesting moral questions to beef up his role from the previous film, whilst Sulu, portrayed by John Cho, and Chekov, portrayed by Anton Yelchin, being relegated to bit parts. (Although Yelchin does get a great gag about the traditional Starfleet “red shirts”).

Bruce Greenwood returns as Kirk’s mentor Christopher Pike, whilst new major introductions to the Starfleet Roster comes with Peter (“RoboCop”) Weller coming in as Admiral Marcus, whilst British actress Alice Eve adds potential, if only underplayed in this film, romantic interest in the role of Carol.

But the big new entry into the cast roster is Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of John Harrison.  Harrison represents the current obsession of the “enemy within” and whilst there have been other portrayals of Starfleet officers and agents gone rogue, Cumberbatch is certainly the most engaging, as far as I’m concerned.  He takes the character and moulds and manipulates it into somebody who, on a certain level, you can’t help but have a degree of sympathy for, whilst on the other hand he has to portray the character as somebody who will stop at nothing to achieve his aims whilst using people as simple accessories to help with those achievements… plus the Cumber Collective/Cumberbabes (whatever you wish to call yourselves) can revel in his vocal performance.

“Star Trek Into Darkness”, like the previous film, builds itself on the firm foundations of the original television series, whilst giving itself the latitude to establish its own identity.  Whether the franchise continues with Abrams in the director’s chair is open to speculation, given that he has now signed up to direct “Star Wars: Episode VII”.  However, he , along with the talent in front of and behind the camera, has created a winning formula which Paramount would be daft not to build upon further.

All I want for Christmas is Who: A Christmas Carol

Hello my hot, cute, geeky girls and boys! This is your favourite swede typing! If Mendy is hosting a Doctor Who special you know I have to be part of it, right? This took me and hour to write so you better darn well appreciate it 😉

As the title of this episode implies this episode is a take on Dickens’ old classic, a Christmas Carol. In the old classic, one of my favourite Christmas films, the old grumpy man is met by three spirits of Christmas, and something similar is what happens in this episode.

Starring in this episode we have Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor along with Karen Gillian and Arthur Darvill as The Ponds, Amy and Rory. We also have a few other characters as usual in these Christmas specials. The two to focus on are Kazran and Abigail. The episode is written by the great Steven Moffat and directed by Toby Haynes. I’m not going to go into any major details but more or less swoosh you through the story adding my own thoughts as we go.

Doctor Who Christmas Carol.png

We hit the story during Rory and Amy’s honeymoon that they seem to be spending on a cruise spaceship. The first scene is pretty intense, Amy, in her policewoman outfit, and Rory, as a centurion, barge into the control room of the ship that is, without a doubt, going to crash. The ship is caught in a strange cloud belt and the crew seems to think it’s all over. Amy, on the other hand just knows that they will be saved. You sit staring into the stars, hoping, as the message “Come along, Pond” appears on the window and the TARDIS swooshes by.

The Doctor can’t save the ship, but lands on the planet below to try and get the leader Kazran Sardick to help him. You see, Kazran has a machine that controls the cloud layer but he is one grumpy man and he just refuses to do it. (Can you see the similarity to Ebenezer Scrooge? I CAN!) The machine is built by Kazran’s father and the Doctor can see that Kazran has a fear of his father by the way he talks and acts around the machine. So, the cunning and brilliant Doctor decides to go back in time, and make Kazran a better man using the old classic tale as inspiration.

Present Kazran is shown what happens in his past by a film monitor, and he watches the Doctor appear in his bedroom when he was just a young boy. The Doctor presents himself as young Kazran’s new Nanny (Imagine having Eleven as your Nanny… YES PLEASE!) Young Kazran is an imaginative and curious boy who, more than anything, wants to meet one of the flying fish that appear in the clouds, but his father won’t let him. The Doctor sets a trap using his Sonic Screwdriver and the two hid inside a closet. The result of this is that a Shark eats the Sonic and the Doctor can only retrieve half of it. The shark is wounded in the process and cannot fly back into the cloud belt. Young Kazran has an idea about using cryostorage to help the shark back. Cryostorage is more or less a big freezer with containers created by Kazran’s father. He gave loans to his people if they had a person that he could freeze as security. This is where Abigail enters the story. She is one of the people in the cryostorage and she is released from her container and sings the shark to health and calms it down. Something about the cloud particles resonating with the sound from her singing. (Everything isn’t logical in Doctor Who!) Using Abigail’s container the Doctor gets the shark back into the cloud belt and as they are about to lock Abigail up again Kazran promises that they’ll come and release her every Christmas Eve. The Doctor uses his TARDIS to jump forward one year and we are treated to a montage of crazy. A montage where Abigail at first is interested in the Doctor and then becomes infatuated with Kazran as he grows older. During these visits they go places using the TARDIS and he takes them to a party where Abigail lets Kazran in on a little secret. We, the audience and the Doctor, are not told this secret but we can tell that Kazran is heartbroken by the news. When they lock Abigail away Kazran tells the Doctor that he doesn’t want him to come back next Christmas and their little tradition should be cancelled. The Doctor agrees, but turns up anyway, trying to change his mind, although Kazran won’t budge.

Old Kazran, who watches all this happen smiles at his memories but is saddened by the news given to him by Abigail and still refuses to help save the spaceship.  He is visited by the holograms of the 4003 people on the spaceship, singing Christmas songs, and a pleading Amy but he waves them away. Suddenly the Doctor appears infront of old Kazran and he mocks the Doctor, asking if he will take him to see his future. He continues to say that he doesn’t care if he dies old and alone because Abigail won’t be with him anyway. It turns out that Abigail had an incurable disease when she was handed in as security and she now only has one day left to live. And how do you chose what day should be the last you spend with the love of your life? What old Kazran doesn’t know is that the Doctor had brought Young Kazran with him and he now sees that he himself grows up to be very alike his much feared father. This means that the memory that Young Kazran gets upon seeing this is the equivalent of the ghost of Christmas Future. When Young Kazran decides to change so does old Kazran and Young Kazran releases the controls to save the ship. However, the machine is isomorphic. AKA it will only work for Kazran, and now that he has changed, the machine doesn’t recognize him. Every hope seems to be gone until the Doctor has an idea:

THE OTHER HALF OF HIS SONIC SCEWDRIVER IS STILL INSIDE THAT SHARK!

Now, do you remember that Abigail’s singing calmed the shark down? Well, apparently her voice can make the cloud belt go away aswell. But, this means that Kazran must release her from her container and doing this will inevitably kill her. With this knowledge in mind he still releases her, and she understands him, telling him that it’s high time that they spend Christmas Day together. She sings into the half Screwdriver that the Doctor still has and her voice resonates into the cloud belt and the clouds vanish and the ship can land safely. It starts to snow as Amy and Rory are reunited with the Doctor and Kazran and Abigail enjoy one last shark-led carriage-ride.

I think that this is my favourite Christmas Special, maybe because it contains the old classic mixed in with my favourite show or maybe because it contains love and adventure just like a good Doctor Who episode should!
Then again, I’ve been slacking immensely in the watching of Doctor Who episodes and have not seen last year’s Special yet so who am I to talk?

Now I’m going to take my milk carton TARDIS and my crocheted Adipose and wait for my dad to finish the English Christmas dinner downstairs. Who knows, maybe this year the Doctor will come for me?

Until next time, keep rocking that geek!
xx Zandrina

Guestblogging hiatus

Oh My Geek, I am so sorry for just disappearing off the face of the planet.
I cannot really pinpoint the exact reason, but I’ve been silent on pretty much every platform except for twitter and instagram, since you can update those on the go. I have not made a video since August, nor a blog post.  I started school in September and it was not pretty. Oh my, the amount of homework we had to do!! I took two courses at the same time, and NEVER again!

I’ve also had some disheartening news concerning a disease in my immediate family, and to say that it hasn’t affected EVERYTHING, would be a lie. I’ll tell you this much, it involves my mum and she is currently in treatment to get rid of this monster inside her, and she is responding very well.

I now have a job, finishing off one course and trying to move closer to christmas! First of Advent tomorrow, and I might film a video that I might just be able to put on this blog for you to enjoy! =)

Keep rocking that geek,
xx Zandrina

The Sacrifice Trailer

Hey Hot Cute Girly Geeks,

Thought you might be interested in this trailer on YouTube..hope you enjoy it.

It’s called the sacrifice and it was made by me.

Youtube specials

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Hi Hot Cute Girly Geeks,

Hi Mendy, how have you been?

Hope everyone has an awesome thanksgiving and enjoys the holiday.

Now for YouTube specials I recommend the Obama Impersonator- Alphacat. All videos come out every Thursday, I encourage you to check them all out.

By the way, Camgal now has an official Facebook page 🙂 You can like and subscribe to. https://www.facebook.com/Camgal2?ref=hl

Also, you can answer this question on my channel. Do you think a man hitting a girl can ever be justified? Watch the video and share your thoughts