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Genshiken Vol. 9

by Kio Shimoku

Publisher: Del Rey Manga

Format: Softcover, 5 x 7, black and white, $10.95

ISBN: 978-0-34550-197-4

Reviewed by: Library Journal

This excellent manga follows the college lives of the members of Genshiken, The Society for the Study of Visual Culture, otaku (hard-core fans) devoted to anime, manga, video games, and cosplay. In this final volume, three members graduate. Self-loathing but talented manga artist Ogiue, coming out of her shell thanks to a new romance with aspiring manga editor Sasahara, submits a story to a major magazine; Madarame, already graduated but still hanging out with Genshiken, deals with his unspoken feelings for Saki, the club's only non-otaku member, who joined only because her boyfriend did but gradually became a friendly club fixture. Since Vol. 2 ( LJ 11/05) this series has acquired an uncommon subtlety and depth of feeling along with its comedy aspects. Shimoku depicts the challenges and rewards of the group's otaku activities with understanding and insight. But, crucially, his characters also deal with more universal issues: finding jobs, finding love, gaining self-knowledge, and accepting change, responsibility, and each other. Rated ages 16+, this belongs in adult collections—there are no explicit images or sexual situations, but pornography is often discussed and purchased (and Ogiue even creates yaoi porn featuring Genshiken members). This affecting, true-to-life series is strongly recommended. —Steve Raiteri