This second season to Genshiken
had quite a bit that made it a bit different for me from the first season (much of it good, some bad) which has led me to think of this season as perhaps the best offered by Genshiken and which impressed me quite a bit. The series retains its mundane mood looking into the everyday activity of the Genshiken club with the addition of new members Ogiue and Kukichi introduced from the Genshiken
OAV . This season is noticeably a bit more on the serious side at points when exploring how the club members respond to anything beyond their club activities and interests. The older members are looking into jobs in the workforce as they are in the final days of their university years as we get a look at how they struggle through interviews and rejection letters. Some of the members do find themselves becoming attracted to other members of the other sex and struggle with handling their feelings on the matter. The handling of the characters with their otaku interests with these situations came across as quite believable for me with the characters feeling awkward when confronted by the questions they receive in interviews or dealing with their romantic interest or resorting to escapism by using their interests to escape from the pressures they've faced from both ends, especially in the event of rejection. Ogiue's character gets some development in this season as she slowly opens up to her interest in yaoi by drawing her own doujinshi for a comic convention. Sasahara is also a bit more assertive as the club president compared to when we last seen him in the first season.
For those expecting the focus on aspects of the otaku fandom that Genshiken delves into from last season, it returns to explore more aspects to it. The series delves into the complicated process of being a vendor for a comic convention such as the application process, the challenges of making a doujinshi with clashing personalities and tending to a booth. The series also delves into aspects of eroge manga and hentai dating sim games at points through many of the various characters developments. With this comes a noticeable appearance of fan service at points mixed between fantasy scenes, shots of hentai games and actual shots with both the male and female cast members of the series. The scenes are mostly relevant in getting into the heads of the characters with what they are thinking about their present situations and becoming familiar with the more hardcore stuff related to the otaku fandom. Yet on the other hand, some scenes serve nothing more but to show off the female characters in stages of undress or in bath scenes that are a waste of space for the series.
A couple additional issues I have to press have to do with the character designs and the ending to the show. Genshiken II noticeably lacks a bit of the polish and detail that the character designs were given from the show's first season with coloring looking noticeably drab and details on the characters looking noticeably simpler compared to the first season designs. Another issue is that the anime does leave some developments of the characters hanging, especially with Ogiue whose character gets quite a bit of fleshing-out in a later volume of the manga series.
Beyond these minor issues, Genshiken 2 retained its look into the mundane activities of the club and expanded on its focus of the characters by exploring how they deal with their lives beyond their hobbies and looking into how they deal with being a vendor at a comic convention. I guess I can see now after seeing both seasons and the OAV where Genshiken could be considered the Otaku no Video
of the current otaku generation, though without the over-the-top portrayal delivered two decades earlier from Gainax. If you want a down-to-earth look into what being a college otaku can be like right now, look no further than Genshiken.