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.


14 responses to “on Hoshino Lily”

  1. Khursten says :

    Well said~ <3 And while I'm not a fan of hers, saying that Hoshino Lily widens the variety of BL makes me think that she brings the candy coloured bubbles of BL. It's light and yet captivating and while not a lot of people enjoy those kinds of bubbles, there are those who will look and have a smile on their faces. <3 Maybe, I might have a chance to look closer into Hoshino Lily's work. My friend is a big fan of hers and I'll give her a look over.

  2. Lacy says :

    I completely agree with you! I bought her works in english when they were on sale, but I needn’t have waited – I pounced on them first from my big buy and enjoyed every chapter and story. I think that her fantasy stories really shine as her gorgeous shoujo style suits it, and let’s face the fact that we aren’t always reading BL for a dose of hard reality. I also think that Hoshino Lily’s works are very emotive and actually make you feel something, unlike some mediocre mangaka that churn out cliches (must be the huge crying uke eyes haha!).

  3. Kei says :


    I admit I’m not a huge Hoshino Lily fan, but I appreciate the cuteness and light-hearted entertainment factor of her work. I really enjoyed her hanamuko(?) series because the characters were so adorable and I have a weakness for sweet fluffy marriage BL plots. :3

    And I had no idea she designed Mawaru Penguindrum characters! That’s quite cool.

  4. eli says :

    I admit to having a ridiculous fondness for Lily Hoshino, since she was one of the first bl mangaka I’ve read. Fluff and happy endings can be pretty good things! And there’s nothing wrong with fantasy and sparkly things once in a while.
    And she draws doujinshi for Tiger and Bunny, so I’m really, really biased about her. <3

  5. Snakey says :

    To be honest, I was never aware that there was any visible ‘hate’ on Hoshino Lily until I read your journal entry; my friends and I all adore her artwork and creative designs, both from her BL and josei works! However, I suppose because of her increasing popularity, some people just want to find ways to put her down. It’s childish, so I totally understand why you are bothered by this treatment! Sometimes people take the BL fandom too seriously and forget to appreciate those trying to get through to us with their stories and art.

  6. Nell says :

    I hate it when people get that snooty “my-super!realistic-mangaka-is-better-than-yours” attitude. srsly guys: We are reading porn. Gay porn. Which, whatever route the mangaka decides to go, is still a romanticized, glitter-sprinkled version of relations between men (cause really, I don’t think the “real” gay world would be too appealing to audiences– *gasp* ugly men!!!!!). And none of us is in a place to judge other members of the fandom for their story preferences. The whole point of these stories is sex. And while I don’t want to say /how/ the characters get to *bowchickabow*-time is unimportant, it’s like saying that one porno about the milkman and the lonely mum had more heart and realism than that one about the slutty cheerleader because, OMG the milkman and the mum overcame so many problems together so that they could… have sex with each other. Umm. Wait. Yeah, both are still base entertainment… regardless of the story. Huh. well, whaddayano.

    this probably doesn’t make sense. lol. it’s like four in the morning here. basically, moe tears & hot gay sex ftw, brutha. amen.

  7. Midnightveil says :

    Hmm i don’t dislike Hoshino Lily’s work, but I do appreciate the POV you’re bringing here. It does happen that as longtime BL fans we get a bit ‘elitist’ about certain things, and forget that we started out with good ‘ol sweet fluffy BL romance before we scorched the path to – so called- realistic angsty BL plots with substance.

    It’s a good reminder to appreciate how there’s something for everyone in the manga world, especially for such a ‘personal’ genre as BL, and that each mangaka is doing their best for every type of fujoshi there is : )

  8. kokiden says :

    I’m one of those who really likes a meaty, serious story. But I also love Lily Hoshino’s stories and characters. I’m a huge fan of “Mix Mix Chocolate” but was disappointed that the English version left out my favorite story.

  9. Utena says :

    I share your views on Hoshino Lily. Also, I like how usually her stories are really cute with people actually in love and not abusing the “I love you so I rape you” cliche that is so typical in yaoi manga.

    And well… it’s not like yaoi is that original overall. There are some stories that are different, but usually it’s made of different cliches copied and pasted in a collage that depends on the taste of the mangaka, but I think this comes with the fact that it’s unusual for yaoi mangas to last many volumes and more often than not they are published as standalone books.

  10. Kery says :

    Okay, I never thought much of Hoshino Lily after reading a couple of her books (I generally don’t like feminine ukes). But surprisingly her first T&B doujinshi was pretty good :O I really enjoyed it. So I’ll be watching out for more of her doujinshi for now on, though I can’t say the same for her comics.

  11. Suimu says :

    I love Hoshino-sensei to pieces and I think her designs are seriously to die for. I basically agree with everything in this post. Nothing left for me to say.

  12. cheezy says :

    Woah, I’m glad I haven’t stumble upon any Hoshino Lily bashes. I didn’t know she was er… considered generic until you pointed it out. That said, I love sensei’s fluffy story to bits! \o/ Well, you can’t believe everything on Wikipedia. Unless the person who wrote that article did a massive world wide survey instead of throwing in his/her own opinion, then I’ve nothing more to say. :’D

  13. AppleSweetRose says :

    Fan of Lily Hoshino here.
    I fangirl her art like a madwoman. Seriously, her art is just so gorgeous that even if her stories were absolute junk, I would still read them XD
    Because they are that gorgeous.
    So when I got into MawaruPenguindrum and saw her art at the end of each episode, I went all fluttery for them.

    That said, her girlish ukes do annoy me just a tad when I first look at them, but they’re her trademark so I suppose it isn’t a big deal and I immediately disregard said annoyance once I start reading and delving into the story.

    Admittedly, I haven’t read all of her stories, but the ones I have captured my heart.
    Their cute, fluffy stories are really sweet and magical and I love it.
    Generic? Not really.
    In any case, I find that her stories, to me, are just really shoujo.
    The ukes are basically girls, just with something extra.
    Then again, ukes often are so it isn’t like she invented them.
    Hers are just happen to be one of the the prettiest out there.

    So all in all, I pretty much agree with all you’ve said.
    I didn’t know she got bashed that often, which is a shame.

  14. Lea Lu says :

    I’m a huge Hoshino Lily fan ever since I read Hanayome-kun. I love her style, I love her characters, I love the way she writes her stories, I just can’t say anything bad about her. I know that her stories are nothing grand or ‘original’, but the way she presents a really simple plot and turn in into something wonderful at the end, I think she should get some credit for that. I could read her works and not get tired of it. I can’t read Japanese yet so I’m reading her works online, but because of that I’m trying to learn to read in Japanese just so I could support her even more.

    And her ukes are the prettiest! They look so beautiful I could cry.

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