Character Focus: Madarame Harunobu

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR GENSHIKEN AND GENSHIKEN NIDAIME

Hey everybody, back again with yet another character focus post. This time, surprisingly, it’s not a cute girl. It’s a character from a show called Genshiken – which conveniently enough is also my favorite manga series of all time. But more on that in a bit. It was a little bit hard to actually decide who to write about for this week – I’m stuck thinking about several different characters I would like to do but while I get my thoughts sorted out on them I’d like to write about Madarame. So, I’ll do just that. Hope you all enjoy the article, for all those Genshiken fans out there.

madarame

So. Why choose this guy? Well, first off is a fairly personal reason, and why I enjoy him as a character so much. For a while after watching anime I never really thought about who I would relate to most as a character, in any show, until I was pretty much directly asked about it. For a comprehensive blog post I was asked who I related to and I answered with Madarame – that was a bit early on when I had first started the blog, so I decided to expand upon that a little bit with this article.

First off it’s pretty easy to just see myself in this character. Scrawny, wears glasses, brown hair, huge otaku, you know. Even more so than that though I saw changes that I went through similar to what Madarame went through. At one point he was a massive otaku who boasted about it to those around him and never seemed to show any restraint regarding the hobby – but eventually he calmed down and learned to take all things in moderation. As he grew up and started working he realized that for some hobbies like dojins, h-games, and anime, it’s important to keep a lid on it from time to time.

Now, I didn’t go through the same progression at the same age. You would have to adjust the years from about… middle school to high school for me, then into college I became a lot more relaxed about enjoying anime. I don’t really talk about it unless asked directly, and I don’t go crazy about certain subjects unless I’m basically presenting on them at conventions. But I still saw the similarities with Madarame in myself, including going back to college clubs to hang out with a group of friends we felt comfortable with.

Without getting too detailed about my past as well, I also related to some points of Madarame’s relationship struggles. Of course, I never really ever said “2D girls only” but there were points where I just wasn’t interested in a relationship until I realized that there were girls interested in me, or that I had developed feelings for one. Unfortunately, I can’t quite relate to the harem aspect that is currently going on in Genshiken Nidaime. I was never really in a spot where that many girls were vying for my attention all at once, but seeing how much of a struggle it is, I don’t know that I would want to be in that situation, particularly.

I think, then, that most of why I believe Madarame is a good character is because of some of these character struggles he’s been put through and the development he’s gone through as a character in his years at college and his after years. College was a safe place for Madarame. He didn’t have to necessarily worry about money too much or paying any major expenses, so he spent a lot of money  on dojins and other anime related merchandise freely. But oddly enough when he got the job and a steady influx of money he didn’t spend it as recklessly, since he needed to save it to, you know, live. Watching his safe place disappear into the past was relatable to me as a 23 year old who’s been out of college for only a few years now.

Seeing his attitude change over the years of the manga has been a very interesting experience as well. He starts off loud and somewhat crass as to what his hobbies are and takes no shame in showing off dojins or the like. But after he graduates and brings someone like Hato over to his place he tries to hide the dojin games and other 18+ material, out of some type of embarrassment. In a manner of speaking the wind has been taken out of his sails and he is much more relaxed even around other members of the club. We even see him getting flustered thanks to the harem situation – he doesn’t know how to deal with it so he doesn’t confront it.

He questions what he’s doing after he graduates college. He realizes that showing up to his college club as a worker in the force so often might seem as if he’s having trouble moving on. He quits his job after Saki rejects him and is confronted about that as well. It’s obvious he has trouble making decisions on his own. He’s constantly called on his choices by members of the club in Genshiken Nidaime  whether it be quitting his job or choosing a girl to go out with.

For Madarame, his relatability isn’t just exclusive to me. I’m sure quite a few people who have just left college would be able to relate to him as a character. While all his friends have moved on and only show back up for special occasions he seems stuck in the past, unable to make decisions and unable to move on. He’s not sure how to proceed either and seems to require others to help push him forward. As the manga isn’t over yet I can’t comment on how his issues resolve, but I’m very excited to see if he’s able to become happy by making his own decisions and supporting himself. If the manga doesn’t end after his arc wraps up, I’m sure he will slowly fade out of the picture given the amount of development he has received.

As usual, thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed this (slightly personal) character focus.

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