Episodes seen: 1-5 of ?
This is the story of college freshman Kanji Sasahara and his fellow members of the college club he joins, The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture (aka Genshiken), as he goes shopping for doujinshi, attends conventions and slowly but surely makes his way down the road to fandom.
Herself the Elf sez: Amusingly self-referential, this anime-about-anime-fans doesn't take itself too seriously and shows the flaws and failings of its otaku characters at the same time as it shows their humour and humanity. It's almost a documentary of anime/manga culture, an unjudgmental portrayal of otaku in their natural environment.
Each character shows a different aspect of fandom - there's Kugayama, the big guy with a speech impediment who's very sweet but would be a total outcast anywhere else, Ohno, the shy girl who comes to life when cosplaying, Tanaka, who loves to make costumes, Madarame, the military otaku who's so devoted and single-minded that he goes to Comiket even after breaking his hand, Kosaka, the pretty-boy gamer geek who seems outwardly normal (unlike, say Madarame), Sasahara, the new guy who's slowly learning his way around in fandom, and the club president who is kind of disturbing and appears to be some sort of Puchuu bear. *lol* Their connection with the outside world comes through Saki, Kousaka's girlfriend, who's being sucked into fandom somewhat unwillingly.
The style is fairly realistic, with lots of detail in the interior of the clubroom to show all their lovingly collected figurines, books and videos. The humour is, again, realistic and fairly understated rather than indulging in dumb hijincks or pratfalls. The show pokes gentle, affectionate fun at its subjects while showing that they're just people like everyone else, and that even if you have 'weird' hobbies there's always someplace where you can fit in and feel like you belong. In this way it's sort of like the Japanese equivalent of 'Trekkies'.
Genshinken is good clean fun and the subject matter can be appreciated by pretty much anybody who's ever been involved in fandom. Definitely recommended.
Available from Media Blasters/Anime Works.