Chapter 1: Genshiken
It’s springtime and Kanji Sasahara is looking for a club to join. As he looks at the anime and manga clubs, the story shifts to Saki Kasukabe, a young lady who is in love with Makoto Kousaka, an otaku. These three people run into each other at the manga club booth; Sasahara becomes nervous and shy so he walks away. He notices the booth for “The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture” (or Genshiken for short).
The next day, Sasahara is in front of the Genshiken clubroom. Kousaka runs into him and they both enter. In the room, Harunobu Madarame, Souichiro Tanaka, Mitsunori Kugayama, and the president of Genshiken are in the room. As they made small talk, each member starts leaving the room for various excuses leaving Sasahara by himself. He starts looking around the room and eventually finds explicit doujinshi. As he looks through then, the Genshiken members reenter the room and start talking about how they haze each potential member of the Genshiken. Saki enters the room and Sasahara asks if she was a member. She punches him immediately.
Chapter 2: Prepare to be Persecuted…
Sasahara and Kanji start eating lunch together, discussing about Sasahara joining the club and how, supposedly, Kasukabe is not Kousaka’s girlfriend.
Eventually, Sasahara was invited to Kousaka’s apartment and he notices the totalmess of otaku goodies adorned all over Kousaka’s room. They invite the Genshiken gang over and they start playing video games, Sashara feels like everyone is bonding. Kasykabe calls Kousaka about coming over but Sasahara eventually grabs the cellphone and says everyone was about to leave. All the Genshiken members leave Kousaka’s place and they talk about Kousaka’s ignorance of Kasukabe’s crush on him.
Chapter 3: The Most Meaningless Strategy in History
The Genshiken members take Sasahara to Akihabara. Sasahara visits his first doujinshi (fan created magazine) shop where he learns of the different techniques each member has to buy doujinshi.
Meanwhile, Kasukabe and Kousaka are out shopping in an undisclosed location. They go out to eat and get a little tipsy. Kasukabe asks if Kousaka had any “plans” for tonight and he starts talking about how he would be going to a sale for a video game.
Chapter 4: Gather ‘Round the Round Table
Tanaka starts talking about his hobbies of collecting figures and cosplaying. Then they start talking about the manga Kujibiki Unbalance and how it could become an anime and should be a game. Kasukabe enters the room and talks to Sasahara, the seemingly normal one, about Kousaka’s obsession with anime porno magazines (the explicit doujinshi). Madarame then gives a speech about the greatness of the 2D complex. Kasukabe admits that she knew Kousaka when they were kids, making her the real life equivalent of the “girl next door” character. Kousaka enters the room and they both finally admit that they like each other and then they leave the room together.
Chapter 5: Fighting the Crowd
As the Genshiken members go to the summer doujinshi convention known as Comic-Fest 2002 (or Comifes for short), Sasahara notices the really long lines to get in. Madarame goes off into a tangent about your job at a convention is “not to buy stuff. Your job is to get in line. If it sells out, then move to the next line. But stay in line even if it kills you.” When Sasahara goes shopping alone, he becomes more comfortable. As Sasahara browses, he finds Haraguchi, a member of the manga club. They talk about how the Genshiken is a meaningless club at school. Haraguchi tries to recruit Sasahara to join the manga club but was unsuccessful. Sasahara leaves and rejoins the Genshiken members as they leave the convention.
Chapter 6: The Secret Room
Madarame and a member of the manga club start talking about Comifes and they run into Kanako Ohno, a lady who transferred from the . Kasukabe and Ohno start talking in English and they form a really close bond. Everyone starts talking about the school festival and cosplaying which led to Ohno admitting she has done cosplaying before. Tanaka gets really excited and starts asking Ohno if she wants a costume. She says yes and Ohno, Kasukabe, and Tanaka go to Ohno’s place to take measurements. Ohno becomes embarrassed about her obsession with old, balding men (because her posters on the walls have these characters), but they both accept her quirks.