on Hoshino Lily
Recently I got my hands on some of Hoshino Lily’s manga as a gift, and because of that along with constantly seeing Hoshino’s character designs for Mawaru Penguindrum I’ve been on something of a Hoshino Lily kick lately. To be honest, she was the very first mangaka where after reading one manga by her I just had to seek out her other stories. She was probably the first mangaka whose name I memorized. I found her stories so endearing and her character designs adorable. I think I spent an entire day and night reading her manga and fell in love with her. To this day I absolutely adore her works, so I’ve been rereading them all one by one (even her shoujo titles this time around) and looking for new information about her, but mostly I just keep running into a lot of disapproving opinions and reviews.
It makes me sad to see fandom’s treatment of Hoshino’s manga. I suppose it’s understandable—not everyone is a fan of super shoujo-esque romance and big bubbly eyes and huge ‘moe tears’ during the sex scenes. But sometimes I get sick of people writing off her work as ‘generic‘ and lacking substance. The entertainment factor in her work is really high, and even though I don’t want to force my preferences down anyone else’s throat I still think her work can be read and enjoyed by anyone who doesn’t take it too seriously. If someone personally doesn’t like her work that’s fine, but that doesn’t mean they have to insult her accomplishments and write her off.
I see that a lot in BL fandom, actually, much to my dismay—many perfectly talented mangaka who write quite entertaining stories often get shunned and treated as inferior. People sometimes act like if a mangaka doesn’t write deep stories or realistic characters or depressing and tragic plots then her works are somehow inferior to the other artists who do write such things, which I must respectfully disagree with.
I mean, in the end manga is all about entertainment. Yeah, some of it tries hard to teach you about life. But that doesn’t mean it all has to. That doesn’t mean that if it doesn’t try to teach you about living, or is unrealistic or cheesy or silly or foolishly optimistic, then that means it has no purpose. Even if just one person is entertained or interested I think that should be enough. And that’s how I feel when I read Hoshino Lily’s manga. It bothers me a lot that when I read her work, part of me feels like I’m going to be looked down on for openly admitting to reading it and loving it. It bothers me that my first instinct is to refer to my enjoyment of her manga as a ‘guilty pleasure’. It shouldn’t be guilty—her manga, by me enjoying it, is fulfilling its ultimate purpose and I think that’s what matters more than anything else when reading a comic or a novel or watching a show or movie.
I don’t like seeing this argument all the time, over and over again, in BL fandom. I don’t like that Hoshino Lily gets so much hate that even her wiki article refers to her work as ‘generic’. Yes, her stories are not deep and thought-provoking. And not everyone likes her work. But I really like it. I like her characters and her stories and her cheesy unrealistic moe-tear feminine-uke sex scenes, and I think her work has just as much a place in BL fandom as, say, Aniya’s or Yoneda’s or Nakamura’s or Jaryuu’s. When I read Hoshino’s work I’m so happy that BL fandom is so vast with so many different mangaka with different perspectives and style—I feel like I have BL to match my mood, whatever I feel like reading any given day.
For that reason I will always love Hoshino Lily’s manga and will always be sad when I see people bashing it.