Genre: Real life, comedy
Score: Excellent
Length: 2 seasons + OVAs (27 episodes) and ongoing

When Kanji arrives at university, he looks about for clubs that will accept him. The manga and anime societies both look scary, but the Society For The Study Of Modern Visual Culture (Genshiken for short) might be easier?

An anime about an anime club may sound lame, but this series is really well written. Unlike some series with a similar premise, Genshiken isn’t overstated – it’s about the characters rather than the events. The initial conflicts gradually grow into subtle understandings. The character of Saki, a girl who’s dating one of the geeks and resents everything otaku, is the hub of much of this conflict – particularly with Madarame, the most unabashedly committed fan (and pervert) in the group – but it gradually becomes clear that while butting heads they actually appreciate each other. While never hiding what’s bad about geekdom, the story also appreciates what’s great about it.

The show that the geeks in Genshiken watch and talk about most is Kujibiki Unbalance, a sort of mash-up of various shows. As a sign of the creators’ dedication, they made three episodes (1, 21 and 25) of Kujibiki to go along with the main series, so it could be shown in the background and so on, putting one on each disc. When it proved bafflingly popular on its own, they remade a whole series of Kujibiki, and also three new OAV episodes of Genshiken – and put one on each disc.