In which Ohno and Ogiue have mad passionate lesbian sex* and we learn the meaning of “fujoshi”.

Genshiken chapter 38: Kosuken [previous chapter]

serialized 05/25/2005 in Afternoon

It’s at this time of the month that the effusive fanboy in me rises to the surface to sing the praises of the greatest and best manga currently in serialization, Genshiken. This month’s installment focuses on Ogiue, who recieves her Comifes circle participation acceptance notice in the beginning of the chapter. Her mood swings from excitement to unease as she faces the prospect of baring her yaoi otakudom to the world, and she decides to confide in Ohno – a move which seems to be a mistake at first, as Ohno is firmly out of the otaku closet and can’t see eye to eye with someone unwilling to shoulder the shame that public exposure brings.

After the initial confrontation sparked by this difference, though, Ohno gradually comes to understand Ogiue’s position. She presents a gentle argument as to why Ogiue should be straight with herself and let her inner “fujoshi”* shine through. This ends with Ogiue tearfully exclaiming that she hates herself, Ohno saying that she likes her just the way she is, and we come as close as we’ve been to a little quality yuri ai in the story since Ohno straddled Saki in her room in chapter six. We don’t get hot lesbian sex, but we do get what is undoubtedly the next best thing: Ogiue takes her first step out of the closet, agrees to show Ohno her doujin after she draws it, and mellows to the idea of cosplaying again. Ohno pounces on this with a new costume she just got from Tanaka, suits her up, and then Sasahara comes along.

The whole thing unravels in the last few pages of the chapter as a Lilith-clad Ogiue tries to avoid further embarassment by running out into the hall, only to be seen by several fellows on a moving crew. She retreats back into the club room, Sasahara is ordered out, and we’re left with the feeling that any gains in the Ohno-Ogiue relationship have pretty much been erased.

Although I thoroughly enjoy Ogiue’s character and sympathize with her predicament here, the highlight of this chapter for me was seeing Ohno transformed into a strong, gentle, and wise Yamato Nadeshiko-esque figure in her handling of Ogiue’s self-image problems. If she continues in this vein as club president I see great things ahead, at least for those of us with shrines to Ohno-sama installed in a dark corner of our bedrooms which we venerate every night with a sacrificial volume of bald guy yaoi doujin.

*“Fujoshi” (腐女子) is a new term in the otaku lexicon for me. Literally translated as “rotten girl” or “corrupt girl,” Japanese Wikipedia notes that it is a homonym of 婦女子, meaning “wife” or “woman” (the first kanji changes from “rotten” to “at home”), and that its essential meaning is “a girl who enjoys viewing/fantasizing/theorizing about male homosexual relationships.” It is typically used in self-derision by girls with this particular hobby, apparently. Who knew.