BL Fan no Yuutsu

Wait, is there a specific term for when an English-language speaker fucks up Japanese?

Meh, irrelevant.

When was the last time a decent BL manga got adapted into an anime?

Yeah, that’s what I thought – and, no, Junjou Buttsexica doesn’t count as “decent”.

Being a BL fan is in many ways supremely frustrating. BL doesn’t have the same market cachet as does yuri. Now, leaving aside the whole debate over who makes up the bulk of the yuri audience, let me point out that yuri has cross-audience appeal where BL simply doesn’t. This is, interestingly enough, a reflection of a more generalized pattern, which is that women are much, much more likely than are men to be willing to read/watch stories intended for a male audience than the reverse.

There are a lot of reasons for this, probably most obvious of which are that a. women are not socially/culturally penalized as strongly as men are if they happen to enjoy a piece of media intended for the opposite gender, and b. the market is, ultimately, male-dominated, as men control the bulk of levers at every level on the production side of things – which is to say that properties are more likely to come from a male mindset and more likely to be meant for males. Interestingly enough, but not terribly surprising if you’re at all familiar with anime/manga and genre specifically in Japan, the Japanese media sphere is actually more diverse in this respect than are American media – “interesting” because of the fact that Japanese society much more patriarchal than is American (although America still, honestly, has a long way to go itself).

However, I digress.

More to the point – many women will read yuri. Many men will not read BL. Thus, yuri inherently has a larger audience (even so, though, yuri is by and large not written for lesbians… and neither is BL meant for gay men).

I feel as if this is, well, mainly due to socializing patterns which we all go through as we grow up. Culture has a male gaze; thus, it is permissible for women to look upon other women as attractive, and for it to not have any indication of homosexuality on their part. A man looking upon another man as attractive is inherently suspect – otherwise, there would be no need for that obnoxious suffix of “no homo” when guys make positive comments about one another that are not related to athletic prowess or ability to seduce women. It also helps to explain the “bro” phenomenon, which has no female counterpart. Women don’t feel the need to justify close, intense relationships with one another because it is considered par for the course and not potentially threatening to heteronormative standards.

Ugh, I keep drifting into these tangents that I don’t really want to address, but come up as relating to the topic at hand regardless. So, shorthand version – women will read yuri because no one is going to point at them and go, “THAT’S SO GAY!” Men? Yeah, I think you can see where this is going. And, yes, I think the same applies, essentially, even if a guy protests, “But I don’t like gay stuff, that’s why I don’t read it!” because I’d argue that one wouldn’t react so viscerally to it if they haven’t been receiving such negative cultural feedback about it for years.

But, really, my main issue here is that because of market forces being what they are, BL languishes in the backwoods of anime, particularly in the new age of reduced OVA-output. And because of this, then, the BL fan is forced to watch the shittiest shows in the universe in pursuit of even just a few drops of BL. The BL fan also pursues shows that have absolutely no explicit BL content because they are willing to read between the lines, their desperation so strong. Meanwhile, yuri-service has basically become a prerequisite for getting people to watch you tits-and-ass parade shows… and good yuri manga have found themselves in animated land.

Meanwhile, I’m sitting in the corner with Junjou Buttsexica. And an incomplete Close the Last Door (WTF?!?!). I prefer not to think about Maiden Rose.

Sighhhhhhhh.

On the other hand, though, BL manga has found a much stronger toehold in America than has yuri manga. DMP’s BL imprint, June, has flourished astoundingly in an increasingly difficult market, while Blu Manga seems to be plugging along steadily. Seven Seas Entertainment, which had seemed to be interested in cornering the yuri market in America, hasn’t done so hot (of course, it would probably help if they didn’t waste their time on pseudo-yuri junk like the wholly bland Voiceful). This may be due to the make-up of manga buyers in the U.S. – roughly 60% of manga buyers in the U.S. are female (something which is in sharp contrast to the comics marketplace as a whole).

So at least there’s something.

I guess I also have to be thankful that the denizens of fanfiction.net aren’t in charge of BL as a whole – otherwise I’d have to be gritting my teeth through rape scenes and male pregnancy all the time. And it’d probably all be Axis Powers Hetalia and… Hitman Reborn. Oh, fuck, and Naruto. Hmm. I must be old – where’d all the Gundam Wing stuff go? I’d even settle for some Digimon crap… just as long as I never have to see another Durarara!! fic in which Izaya rapes Kida ever again. Oh, for my long-lost youth… the spring of my youth! How I weepeth for thee.

I would, though, like to be able to look at a TV schedule for a coming season and see a good BL show on it for once, and I am positive that I am not alone. I’ll watch the Junjou Romanticas, but it doesn’t have to be that way! I suffered through Strawberry Panic, and ye deities of the anime world rewarded me with Aoi Hana and more MariMite! Why must my BL fan-self not be rewarded similarly?!

ぜつぼうした~! !!!!!!

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11 Responses to BL Fan no Yuutsu

  1. Shin says:

    There’s always the soon-to-be-aired Sex Pistols.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      It’s an OVA, something which is important to note given that one of my primary issues is the lack of broadcast material.

  2. Kiri says:

    I agree with pretty much everything in this post. :O Though I’ve kind of given up on actively pursuing BL titles and make due with the reading between the lines. I guess this also explains my habitual re-reading of old favorites on FFN because the new stuff doesn’t cut it. Woo.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      I would heartily recommend trolling through Baka Manga Updates for BL manga; there are a number of gems to be found out there.

      As for licensed stuff, June has an extremely strong catalogue to choose from. If you’re not interested in spending that much money, emanga.com has a decent amount of BL that can be “rented” digitally for about $2 apiece.

  3. Anca says:

    I find Maiden Rose to be one of the best yaoi anime ever released. There is, indeed, rape, but it’s not presented as something positive; the ‘uke’ character is the one in control, the ‘seme’ tries to compensate by dominating in bed, which is not appreciated, but the ‘uke’ has a too fucked up mentality to leave the other. And his fucked up mentality is also given as negative, something that’s rare. Another thing is that the guys act like GUYS: even is the ‘uke’ looks effeminate, he doesn’t ACT effeminate. You can feel the male pride in all their interactions.

    We also have Ai no Kusabi (which is getting a new OVA soon), Uragiri wa boku (…) (which is set to air soon, but I can’t remember honestly whether it was good) and Loveless. …and that’s all I can think of, gah.

    But there’s the casual BL in non-BL series. Tieria was in love with Lockon in Gundam 00, Anubituf/Gurigaief in Simoun, Subaru/Seishiro and Kamui/Fuuma in X (and every single CLAMP series except Chobits and Kobato), or Peacemaker Kurogane, or Gil’s crush in Pandora Hearts. Even Naruto had Haku/Zabuza and Naruto and Sasuke’s obvious non-subtextual crush on each other.

    It’s not like 20 years ago, when Please Save My Earth broke up its BL couple and married the half that was more insistent with his fangirl. The mangaka’s excuse was that it was ‘perverted’ and ‘unnatural’.

    Fanfiction.net isn’t all bad either. The trick is to filter either the completed stories, or the ones with 40000+ words (20000+ for small fandoms, 60000+ or straight 100k+ with character filters for the big ones).

    I’m optimistic about our genre.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      Maiden Rose just wasn’t to my tastes – a lot of it felt rushed, and I’m just not really into rape scenes even when we are meant to, as an audience, see it as negative.

      As for the BL titles you list, they are spread over a VERY wide range of years – which is to say that there isn’t a ton of newer stuff out there.

      The same goes, honestly, for the “casual” BL instances you mention. Several of these are extremely tiny scraps, anyway, and not at all satisfying.

      I’d also point out that twenty years ago we had extremely good titles such as Kaze to Ki no Uta, so I don’t really jive with the comparison of it being so much better now. I think its much more to do with perceptions as Western fans, which is to not really notice older properties while being well-aware of newer ones. If anything, I’d argue the primary difference between older manga and newer manga in the BL genre is the level of explicitness in regards to sex.

  4. Baka-Raptor says:

    But I don’t like gay stuff, that’s why I don’t read it!

    I’d argue that one wouldn’t react so viscerally to it if they haven’t been receiving such negative cultural feedback about it for years.

    Since when do anime fans care about negative cultural feedback?

    Another thing to consider is that society doesn’t approve of women liking gay stuff either. Most women don’t like gay stuff…until they read BL manga. Most men don’t like gay stuff either…and still don’t after reading BL manga.

    It’s easy to blame everything on culture, especially when you’re theorizing about a perspective you don’t have and thus can never truly understand. The reflexive stomach-churning I experienced when I saw the opening picture isn’t something you can explain with anti-gay propaganda. Biology is the culprit here.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      I just can’t say I fully agree – otherwise, why do straight women read yuri?

      I did explicate upon this more originally in my post before deleting it because I wanted to get to my main point, which was to bitch about the fact that BL gets left in the dust a lot. I’m not claiming that different acculturation would suddenly make guys love Brokeback Mountain; I just think there’d be a less viscerally negative reaction to stuff like that, maybe more of a willingness to see the forest in spite of the trees.

      Society is more approving of women reading gay stuff than it is of men doing the same (of course, here I mean gay male material, not gay female material – we all know what Girls Gone Wild thrives on, after all). Please note the Gay Best Friend fad.

  5. Enthousiaste says:

    As a (former) fudanshi, I think that BL as a whole is pretty shitty in the first place, and BL manga which are actually good are a very rare occurrence. I’m still delighted when I read a good BL story, but that quite seldom happens.

    Yuri, having a much wider audience, has a diversity which makes possible a number of awesome and very different titles. It’s also written mainly by women, and I think it may explain why the characters are often (but not that much) more believable than in BL. I’m a big fan of Takako Shimura, but I must admit that I found the BL stuff that can be read in Happy-go-lucky Days to be quite inferior to her other stuff. I guess her understanding of the feelings of male characters is not as good as her treatment of female characters.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to the Sex pistols OVA.

  6. kluxorious says:

    I hear you sista! Junjou is shit. I suffered brain damaged because of it. I want something with less buttsex and more depth. I’ve read BL manga that have those. They just to pick that up and animate it!

  7. 2DT says:

    I watched Maiden Rose. Honestly, physiologically speaking, a penis should never slide into someone’s bottom so easily. Like sticking one’s finger in the center of a banana cream pie. It was laughable.

    What else to say… Well, I think you’re very right, and unfortunately I don’t see it changing. There is no bread for BL fans, so let them eat subtext.

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