Japanator review: Genshiken Official Book


This review will be a bit different from our usual manga review, as this is more of a guidebook than a story.

You like Genshiken, right? Yeah, who doesn't. I wouldn't call it the end-all otaku epic, but many would, so it makes sense to create and release an official book for series fans. Genshiken Official Book is just that, packed full of background information and highlights on the nine-volume manga. It's laced with insight from creator Kio Shimoku, and features other bonuses, like an interview with Negima! creator Ken Akamatsu.

It's clear that this book is a easy purchase for fans, but let's take a look inside anyway.

Genshiken: Official Book
Kio Shimoku
Published by Del Ray
Released December 30, 2008 ($14.95)

An unexpected side benefit of this book is that it details otaku life. The multi-chapter recap of Genshiken's story does a pretty great job of giving the new otaku some guidance, and the bonus features fill in the holes. If you're new to the scene, you'll come out a better otaku. Most chapters follow up with terminology used in the previous pages. Chapter 8, "It's a Beautiful Otaku Life," gives readers a rundown of need-to-know things, like Akihabara, fanzines, yaoi, games, anime, cosplay, Gundam models, and more.

If you're a fan of the series, you'll enjoy the recap and highlights of the manga for the first several chapters. You'll also love the included unofficial side stories. A nice bonus is Kio Shimoku's character-by-character rundown, giving the reader some insight behind the creation of the characters. Did you know all of the characters' birth dates and blood types were pulled from the Gundam Fortune-telling Book? Shimoku just picked the mobile suit that best fit each character's personality. This book gets deep: there's even a Kujibiki Unbalance character guide and script.

We're not even close to done: The book opens to a nice, full-color poster of your favorite Genshiken characters. Near the back, there's a great interview with Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina, Negima!). When you read it, you'll see how his life plays out like a live Genshiken episode (or series!). You'll have no doubt in your mind that he's one of us. Finally, there's a 30-question quiz that will help you gauge how otaku you are. I don't think anyone that buys this book needs to know their numerical score, though!

The only bummer is in the back. The advertised Kujibiki Unbalance trading cards are nothing but drab copies of the color versions that came in the Japanese version of this book. But hey, at least the poster is color!

This book is a natural for fans of the series. It would make for a nice holiday gift if it wasn't going to be released five days after Christmas. Regardless of when you get it, it's a fun look at anime and manga fandom, as well as a reflection back on a great series. The extras are worth the price alone, though. Recommended.

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reviewed by Dale North


Dale North
Dale NorthAssociate Editor   gamer profile

I am Destructoid's Editor-In-Chief. I love corgis. I make music. more + disclosures



Filed under... #del rey #reviews



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