Last month we were promised that the “Sasa-Ogi climax” would be coming in this issue. Will the relationship between our intrepid heroes finally be culminated?

Chapter Title: Modoribashi (trans: “the bridge back”)
Release Date: January 25th, 2006
Serialized in: Afternoon
Author / Illustrator: Kio Shimoku

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The chapter opens with Sasahara and Ogiue on the bridge at twilight, where we last left them at the end of chapter 45. “If you don’t like me, just say so and I’ll give up on you,” Sasahara begins.

“Putting it that way is a little unfair…” “Yeah, I guess.” “…because the one I don’t like is myself.”

“…why don’t you like yourself?” “because I’m an otaku, duh… sorry, that’s a bit harsh. …but yesterday, I remembered just what sort of person I am.”

“I should never have drawn doujinshi.. or joined Genshiken… I should have just stayed holed up in my room back in the countryside… not come to Tokyo… that time… I should have died.” Ogiue remembers falling from the roof of her junior high, but then thinks about the good times she’s had with Genshiken, and the good people she’s met there, and Sasahara.

“…I’m sorry… I’m sorry… saying I hate otaku… I don’t have the right to say that…”

“When we get back from this trip, I’m going to quit Genshiken.”

The scene shifts back to the cabin, where Ohno and Saki are discussing the situation with concern. They agree to wait and see what happens, for the time being. It gets dark outside (ed. and the scans get crappier).

Sasahara stands silently in shock for a few moments. “I don’t really understand what you mean… why you’re putting yourself that far down… and what does that make me, the person who’s come to like you so much? I ask myself.”

“The Ogiue I know is pretty otaku, but she’s embarrassed by it… is great at drawing.. is short, with big eyes… well, I can’t put it better than that, but… is that not you? Am I wrong? If I’m wrong, then what’s different?”

“…You’re on top, and Madarame is on the bottom.”

“…what?”

“I’ve been daydreaming about you and Madarame together in a yaoi manga… with you on the top and Madarame on the bottom. I’ve drawn dozens of pictures… from a long time ago…”

“..ahh. Ahhh, really. Ehh… heh…. I’ve been made into a picture? With Madarame, eh… and is it a “physical” relationship?”
“Yeah… you’re together…”
“….Ohohoh! Hmm, hmm. Yeah, now that you mention it, I’ve heard it’s pretty common for girl otaku use real people as background for their material. …So, yeah. I don’t really see a problem.”

“You can only say that because you haven’t seen the pictures….
When I was in junior high I did the same thing… and a friend of mine, a boy, transferred schools because of it.”

Upon hearing that, Sasahara has a eureka moment. He realizes he’s found the source of Ogiue’s complex, as she keeps on talking.

“Knowing just how bad it would make him feel, just how much it would hurt him, I knew it… and yet I couldn’t stop drawing. That’s the kind of person I am.”

“Alright, then… why don’t you show me?”

“No!!”
“It’ll be fine.”
“No way, I can’t..”
“Hmm… I don’t think it’s anything that terrible… I’ve seen this sort of thing before, I’m prepared.”
“No, it’s no good.. you can’t.. it’s really bad…”

“Well.. it’s not like anyone can stop themselves from daydreaming… and if I end up dating you, that’s just another part of you I’ll have to accept.”
Ogiue’s heart skips a beat at the word “dating”.
“So, for the time being… until you decide you’re ready to show me… let’s leave all this talk of quitting Genshiken and whatnot… let’s just take it and put it aside.”

The scene shifts back to the cabin, with Saki and Ohno turning to see Ogiue and Sasahara approach up the path.
“Eh? It’s not settled yet?” Ohno asks as they enter.
“Well, yeah… we decided to talk things over again once we get back to school…” Sasahara replies.
Ohno is mildly pissed that he didn’t take full advantage of his opportunity alone with her on the trip, but Ogiue fetches her glasses and calls Ohno and Saki aside.
“When we get back, I’ve decided I’m going to show him. You know, ‘that.’ … I’ve decided… I think I’m not going to run away anymore.”
Ohno crushes her in a big hug. “Come here Saki, you too! …sorry to pile all of this on you today, Ogiue… it must have been hard… tomorrow we’ll have half a day at least to have fun.”
We cut to the next day, where the club is wandering through the shopping district of the mountain town where they’re staying, and the chapter ends with a shot of Sasahara’s cell phone displaying a message from Ogiue:
“Can you come to my room tomorrow? I’m thinking I’d like to show you what we discussed earlier…”
The end.

Well, well well well. If we don’t have another ringer of a chapter here… the promise of a “climax” wasn’t exactly fulfilled, but it hardly matters; I for one got what I came for. Despite the contrived relocation of the club to the cabin, this recent arc has restored my faith in the realism of Kio’s characters. Sasahara still seems a bit too emotionally stable, but then again Japanese males tend not to let their reactions to severe emotional shocks surface very easily. I do think it would have been more interesting for him to be somewhat less psychologically balanced, but the story right now is really all about Ogiue with Sasahara acting only as a foil for her to work through her personal issues. She definitely shines here, and I can see why she’s developed the considerable fan following she has.

The real payoff is at long last virtually guaranteed to come next month, barring an act of a cruel and capricious manga god; this will be a great note to wrap things up on, though I’m not sure what he’ll do with the last couple of chapters if (as I suppose) the manga will come to an end in April. Looking forward to next month’s installment with barely-restrained glee…

Omake: the evolution of Kio’s character designs, through the volumes (image courtesy of SDS)

And a link to a great Genshiken fan artist portal, again, thanks to SDS. May your Ogiue fervor never be undiminished!