Genshiken: Church for the Broken (Otaku)

I’m so happy that there’s new Genshiken, even if the voices are different (and some are hard to get used to).  Even the Oguie/Sasahara arc was skipped.  Even if I didn’t really like the initial chapters of the Genshiken Nidaime manga.

It still felt like visiting old friends I hadn’t seen in years and not losing a beat.

And of course, there are new characters in the mix:  Yoshitake, the self-admitted “rotten” otaku; Yajima, the frumpy fujoshi; and Hato, the fudanshi who dresses like a woman.  They’re all fun characters and fit right into Genshiken.

Well, I think they do.  The club president, Oguie, isn’t quite sure.  Throughout the episode, we get insights into her worries about what the club is beginning and her trepidations at attracting these three new recruits, none of whom she seems to be particularly high on.

It seems that Ogiue has forgotten her humble beginnings.

Ogiue Chiba Genshiken
Art by マ~さん

As often as the episode focuses on her worries about Genshiken, it also brings up her own past, as Ohno mentions the foibles of all the older and previous members; Sue points out how Ogiue used to “hate” otaku; and Yabusaki even reminds the president of how she leapt out of a window as a freshman.

Ogiue is now fairly self-confident and her worries are in regards to the club and other external matters.  She resolved or is on the way to resolving the matters within that she carried into college.  She was once suicidal young woman who didn’t know who she was – she only knew that she hated herself.  But through her interactions in Genshiken, Oguie was able to develop and mature.

I wonder if church-goers, like many of us are, fall into the same trap, thinking perhaps too highly of who we are now, and too little of who we once were.  I know that I let my pride in my standing (and who knows where this comes from, when all I see in myself are places where I need to grow!) sometimes effect how I feel about others.  I’m too quick to judge and too slow to think upon Paul’s admission that he was the worst of sinners.

For believers, we can’t forget the depths of our sin and depths of God’s grace.  If we have, we’re gutting the heart of Christianity and we’re in danger of contributing to a body – whether on a local level in our church on the greater level of Christian believers – that puffs up instead of picks up.  The church should be place for the broken.  Genshiken, too, was a place for the outcasts – and one in which they all grew.

But it’s impossible to grow in a place that makes you feel lesser.  And how you can help but feel this way when everyone thinks they’re greater?

Ogiue would be wise to remember this – as should we all.

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