Am I My Sempai’s Keeper? Hato and Madarame in Genshiken Nidaime

The other day, I got an itching to pop in my DVD set of Genshiken to feel the camaraderie of one of the great casts of anime characters.  As I watched, I was reminded of Genshiken Nidaime, which I was “meh” about and hadn’t kept track of.  Still, infected by the Genshiken bug, I went back to it and caught up very quickly, becoming absorbed in the story and feeling an affection for the new generation of characters, who I had cared little about before.

Hato Genshiken

This image of Hato may be confusing if you haven’t been keeping up with the manga…

The last few chapters have been very Hato-heavy, as we learn more and more about his personality (explored further in the most recent chapter, for which I’m eagerly awaiting translation and resisting the temptation to read all about at Ogiue Maniax).  In particular, I’m really enjoying exploration of the bond Hato has with Madarame and the empathy he feels toward him.

Hato knows about Madarame’s feelings toward Kasukabe (they eventually have to get together, right?) and is obsessed with the painful longing that he imagines Madarame must feel.  He wants Madarame to be happy, but what can he do about it?

While we in reality live in a world where we value friendship and often see our friends as family, there’s often a curious detachment when it comes to getting involved with others’ personal lives.  While we certainly don’t want to step over boundaries, I’m often amazed how we might feel bad about others suffering, but still leave a situation as is with the idea that the person in need has to deal with his or her own problems.  True, oftentimes, there’s a good reason to let things be – tough love, boundaries, and the feelings of others involved among them.  But sometimes, we’re using these ideas as an excuse.

I think the most important thing in this world is relationships.  And we cultivate those through love, which is dead if not demonstrated.  Are we our brother’s (or sister’s) keeper?  Heck yeah, if you love someone as a brother or sister, you should be watchful over that person.  You should care for her and keep her from harm or comfort her when you otherwise can’t – and oftentimes even help further.

This is love.

So what happens when an opportunity presents itself?  What is Hato, for instance, to do?  Should he just offer a shoulder to lean on?  Should he stay in the background and help where he can?  Or should he boldly try to bring Madarame and Kasukabe together?  The choice is difficult, as they are for us in situations where we must decide how to help those we love.

Every situation is different, but this answer is always the same:

Don’t ignore.

Don’t be lazy.

Don’t be scared.

Do be there for your “brother” or “sister” and love them as best you can.

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About TWWK

TWWK, known to outlaws and lawmen alike as Charles, lives deep in the heart of Texas, where he drives cattle and boot scoots (not really - though he does sport a pair of rattlesnake boots). Somehow in this frontier, he also finds time for his wife, children, and church. Oh, and anime, too.

Posted on 06.28.2012, in Manga and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Will of the Wisp

    Fascinating read as usual.

  2. @ work at the moment but have you written a followup report on this stage of Genshiken Nidaime and are you watching the series as well? If so how are you enjoyng it so far?

    • I haven’t! In fact, after Anonymous Spore dropped translating the manga, I feel behind in it. I have been watching the series and though both it and the manga don’t capture me nearly as much as the original, I am indeed enjoying it.

  3. I don’t anything ever captures the feelings of the original, rather it ends up either being entirely different for other reasons. For me right now, it’s the Madarame Story arc so far and I’ve read Nidaime up to Ch.88 and am up to Ep 6 anime wise. and find it somehow emotionally invoking if that make makes much sense. I’m on pins and needles for the next Ep myself.

    • That’s usually true, particularly when there’s been some time between iterations of a show, even if some of staff remains the same. And I think that’s how I’ve approached the series, having transitioned into that thought process in the manga as well. Regardless, I’m enjoying it, and I’m glad to see you’re liking it so much as well!

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