Friday, July 11, 2008

Kujibiki Unbalance, vol. 1

Story by Kio Shimoku and Art by Koume Keito
Released in the US by Del Rey

Slugline: So little to do with Genshiken, which is the reason people will pick this up in the first place.

The reason that so many people will be willing to pick up and check out Kujibiki Unbalance is due to its connection to Genshiken, a series that we have previously reviewed. Kujibiki Unbalance was the show within the show that the characters of Genshiken watched, collected the merchandise and doujinshi of, and argued over. That being said, this is not that version of Kujibiki Unbalance that was seen in the Genshiken series, but a standalone series that was broadcast after the Genshiken as a sort of unofficial sequel. That explains why the plot sounds different from any memories of the original Genshiken show.

But what made Kujibiki Unbalance special in the first place was not any intrinsic characteristic of the story itself, but how the characters in Genshiken reacted to it. They were a mirror of the reader's own fandom, and one could see one's own obsessions and behaviors in how the Genshiken loved, hated and just generally enjoyed Kujibiki Unbalance. So seeing it on it's own, doesn't have the same punch or meaning. It's just another, well, it may not technically be a harem comedy, but it sure acts like it. And while the story works and the art is fine, this isn't even in the same neighborhood as Genshiken. Maybe it would have been more interesting for me if I had seen the anime, and you can see some of the character work that Kio Shimoku had earlier lavished on Genshiken showing in the characters here, but the story is not deep enough to allow that many layers of characterization.

Needless to say, we have reviewed volumes of Genshiken here.

Kujibiki Unbalance, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga


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