There's going to be some mixed emotions about some of the content in this book, because at times it feels so vastly different than the first "season" of Genshiken. This is both a good and a bad thing, depending on how you look at it.
Part of what made the original set of Genshiken manga so much fun was how realistic it felt, giving so many of us a feeling of "we've totally experienced this". To an extent this is still present in this volume, but over all of this there's a veneer of complete and total unrealism that comes with fictional manga. You know what I mean: that feeling that no matter how "real life" the manga tries to be, you can't shake that this is utterly a manga and doesn't seem like it'd be the least likely to happen IRL. The volume is full of typical manga-esque setups and the like on occasion that sort of bring this into focus even more. This doesn't make the various situations in this volume bad, mind you, but it is a change from the first season and some will slightly begrudge that the series has taken this turn. I have to admit that even as I loved this, part of me mourned that this is sort of becoming "fictional". I know this sounds vague, but there's not a lot of other way to describe this.
That being said, this was a pretty fun read. The new characters are nice and I especially love Hato, even as this character seems to be a symbol of the change from "actual life realistic" to "fictional manga realistic". Once you read about this character you'll understand. My only big gripe is that one of the characters seems a little too abrasive at times for the rest of the laid back Genshiken members and occasionally says and does things that she should've been called out on earlier in the volume. Slight spoiler there, but it's frustrating that it took so long for someone to say something. Sue is also fairly present in this volume, although at times I really wish that she was more than just comic relief. Maybe this will improve in the further volumes, hopefully. For now her strangeness is fun in this volume but I can see where it could eventually become overbearing.
What really makes this a joy is that despite the growing feeling of fictional-ness, there's still an overly healthy dollop of otaku culture. I really can't dislike the changes in this manga overall. The series couldn't stay as it was, as the first season covered a lot of the basics and the second season would be ill served if it were to simply be a re-hashing of the first one with different characters. Like I said, this will probably irritate some readers but I think most will take this in stride.
But if you haven't read the first season, do so. The publisher is releasing the series in chunky volumes and while you don't absolutely positively have to read the first season to completely enjoy this one, you'll miss out on so much that it'd be like drinking Diet Coke when you're expecting Pepsi.