I was just putting some thoughts together as to why I like Genda and why I ship GenKi so hard since, as a character, Genda didn’t really reveal much about himself in any dramatic way, so a lot of these are just speculations but I find them quite interesting.
Firstly, I like the fanon idea that he’s team mum. I don’t really know where that originated by it’s really cute and I’m a sucker for those types of characters, like Hijikata and Toda (except they’re canonly maternal, one way or another).
Secondly, I’m intrigued by his identity as King of Goalkeep. He was given this title before the events of Inazuma Eleven, the title of best goalkeeper in all of Japan. However, with the emergence of Endou Mamoru, that was no longer the case. Interestingly enough, to some degree, during the events of Shin Teikoku, Genda followed through with the standard ideals of a “tragic hero”. The “tragic hero” once knew light, as Genda did as he was at the top, but once they lost sight, as he did (in this case because of Raimon’s victory over Zeus), he fell from grace which optimised the sense of loss as the audience knew all about his potential for good.
Imagine that, at the start of the year, you were the cream of the crop, the best of the best… then within the span of a few months, some previously unseeded school which had not had a soccer club in years comes in and, not only defeats your school (amicably though), but also, in that instant, shatters that title. Not only that, one has to remember that Genda wasn’t even scouted to be part of Inazuma Japan, that is to say, in terms of goalkeeping, he’s ranked below both Endou and Tachimukai. Tachimukai, a first year who’s only been goalkeeping for a few months as opposed to goodness knows how long Genda did before the events of the series started.
If you suddenly fell from the top down to someone who wasn’t even considered to be a representative, how much would that hurt your pride? Yet, they are friendly rivals. It’s never shown that anyone from Neo Japan held any animosity towards Inazuma Japan, the most only bitterness at their own weakness. Genda, in my opinion, must have felt helpless and must have felt stricken by being outdone since he joined Shin Teikoku, yet he overcame all his hurt and pride to try and become someone who’s worthy once again. However, more on that later.
Next, is GenKi… I started shipping it because, as I rewatched episodes, I noticed in the beginning that besides Genda and Jimon, everyone in Teikoku, including Sakuma (though this changed later), referred to Kidou by an honorific. Not just in the anime, when you play the first and second games, while you’re running through Teikoku Academy, all the NPC sprites refer to Kidou as “Kidou-san”. This made me theorise that Jimon and Genda were, in fact, the closest to Kidou and his confidants. And if you really think about it, Jimon and Genda were the ones who defended Kidou’s decision in front of Kageyama and it was also them (and Narukami) who came into Neo Japan from Teikoku. So… What does this mean?
Well, think about it this way, if the three were close in that way, then don’t they resemble the Break Trio just a tiny bit? So in that regard, with the idea of Genda no longer truly being KOG in mind, doesn’t that mean Endou has, not only replaced Genda as Kidou’s goalkeeper but also as one of his closest friends? And the fact that Kidou chose to stay at Raimon can imply a lot of things because, let’s face it, Endou has all the charisma and charm that anyone could ever only dream about. … I’m making Genda sound like Rococo at this point HA HA HA.
Anyway, but with that in mind, it kinda made sense for Genda to join Shin Teikoku. He couldn’t protect any of his team and someone whom he respected and considered fairly close to him, went along with another team. Found a better team and a better goalkeeper. Even though it’s true that, as the audience, we know that Kidou didn’t mean that but for the Genda who already has the loss of his title on his mind, along with the defeat of his team and his own powerlessness, Kidou’s actions were borderline traitorous and played up at all those hidden insecurities. His desire to prove himself as someone who’s worthy of Kidou and all of Japan’s approval even drives him to put his body on the line with Beast Fang. While that destructiveness was bad and he lost sight of the reason why he wanted power in the first place, his determination was remarkable and even though his goal to be recognised again wasn’t even achieved by the next arc as he didn’t make it in for the selections for FFI, he decided to prove himself in a more positive way, that is, through Neo Japan.
This action within itself is character development. How? Well, theoretically, Jimon had just as much reason to join Shin Teikoku as Genda did, however, he didn’t because 1) he doesn’t have the same frustrations as Genda as he didn’t fall from glory, so to speak and/or 2) he isn’t as susceptible to influence emotionally as Genda. I like Jimon because I’ve always sensed that he was a rather mature character through this. Neo-Japan was his first step in proving himself and challenging Kidou because he felt it was the most appropriate course of action to take but Neo-Japan is Genda’s second… meaning he understood what he did before was wrong and the fact he learnt like that is endearing.
I guess in the end, the reason I ship GenKi and not JimonKi is because Genda’s more emotionally susceptible and can generate quite a balloon of angst due to all the insecurities he could be hiding and Jimon is more like… just a big brother. This is also the reason why I love Genda so much because, despite everything, if you really think about it, he has a lot on his mind and a lot of expectations he needs to meet… and he tries to shoulder them all the best he can and when he can’t, he makes mistakes and learns from them. Also he is very attractive. But that’s another story for another day.