story by Kio Shimoku; art by Keito Koume; adapted by David Ury
published by Del Rey Manga; $10.95 US
I have a hard time believing this manga exists, let alone that I’m talking about it.
Kujibiki Unbalance was the manga (and anime) that the Genshiken characters were fans of. In that context, KU was supposed to be generic, a property that the author could have his characters react to and make fun of and love without infringing anyone else’s rights. That may explain why the actual property is nothing but a collection of clichés.
“Kujibiki” means “lottery”, and the setting is a school where everything is decided by random draw. Our hero is a new student there, a regular guy who has a cute girl as a best friend. She’s there mostly for fan service; there are plenty of panty shots and lots of focus on female body parts. (Even though students wear the usual pleated skirts, hers manages to cling so tightly that we see cameltoe, which is quite a trick.)
Unsurprisingly, he winds up with a harem, consisting of a shy little girl with superpowers; a mean genius with unexplained cat ears and a secret soft heart; and her sidekick, who does whatever she’s told. The leaders of the school council are also female (with huge breasts, I guess to show they’re older), but they mostly order the younger kids around. Toss in explosions and giant robots, and you’ve got a limp salad of all the most popular shonen manga elements.
Following the early adventure sequences, there’s a beach vacation, to provide excuses for swimsuit shots; a night on a deserted island; and a traditional-dress festival. I was surprised to note the occasional profanity, perhaps to raise the rating and keep the book from the younger crowd.
There are three self-referential pages at the end in which a couple of Genshiken characters read this volume and make fun of their author’s name. I missed seeing that gang, but I don’t recommend getting this book just for that small bonus. It’s forgettable, of interest only to completists. (A preview galley for this review was provided by the publisher.)