Dame BL Anthology | Full Review
Finally! I finally finished the whole book! orz;;; Well. Kind of, since there are some stories I didn’t read super closely. But I at least got a good idea of what all the stories were about so now I can post small summaries here and help all of you decide if you want to buy the book or not. Personally, I love it—initially I had my doubts, thought that even though I LOVE the Moe Danshi Gatari series that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll really like this as well, but even though I don’t absolutely adore all the stories the book as a whole is fantastic and was well worth the money.
Anyway let’s take a look inside! Vague warning for R-18 content though this book is, for the most part, mostly clean and plot-driven.
Obviously I won’t be reviewing Kumota Haruko’s story since I already wrote about it here. I still love it, though. The amount of times I’ve read it so far is maybe a bit embarrassing. Would it be too much to be hopeful for a continuation? A full story about these two, even? Their lovey-dovey fetish-driven romantic life? Please?
After that is Morozumi Sumitomo’s story, which deals with an old civilization and a stone carver. A somewhat odd story to see in the BL genre, to be sure. I liked how at the end it showed two people from current times digging up the remains of the two men in an embrace.
Then is Est Em. In usual form, I don’t think I understood this story nearly as much as I would have liked. It’s probably as my friend pointed out—I have a lot of trouble reading Est Em because her dialogue doesn’t necessarily always have to do with that’s actually happening in the scene. Sobbb back to studying Japanese. Anyway, this story is about a poor orphaned boy who grew up to be an ultimate fighter, but when he finally loses a match as an adult he gives up hope and seems to lose interest in fighting. Luckily another youth shows up and says it’s his dream to fight Khaa in the ring some day. And they are able to have their match. There’s an odd amount of sexual tension in two guys in short shorts kicking the shit out of each other.
Aoyama Toomi’s short column had to do with anti-social college guys who barely know each other lmao.
I admittedly didn’t read this one but the illustrations are interesting?
Kusama Sakae’s ‘dame’ story was really involved ahhhh. orz;;; Included were themes such as childhood friends being seperated, a kappa lake, porno videos, and other random mysterious things. I’d read it. Or at least try to.
Umematsu Machie’s story was just sad. ;; It’s not the first time I’ve read BL involving two older men who have been together for a long time, but it still left an impression. In her story, one of the men is now quite sick but is able to go home from the hospital with his friend and partner. While at home and lying in bed, they recall when they first made their vow to be together forever. But then the sick man falls into a restful sleep and dies in his partner’s arms. ;A;)/ AHHHHH SO DEPRESSING.
Luckily there’s a non-depressing follow-up: Okadaya Tetsuzou’s story! This one is… weird haha but I guess that’s to be expected. Some guy (with a Star Trek name) shows up at a gay club looking for the love of his life but evidently finds the wrong guy. Oh well, they have hot dirty sex anyway. Then later on while they’re talking they realize who the guy (Jean-Luc Picard) was actually looking for and then they have hot sex and just. Yeah. lmao Okadaya knows how to write a fun, silly story—that’s for sure.
Onto Chiba Ryouko! Honestly I was a bit surprised to see her name in the line-up initially since… well… a majority of her stories fit the ‘standards’ for BL pretty damn closely. Her ‘dame’ story was fairly odd, though, definitely: a young man is having a spat with his lover, so he rents a robot to his lover’s likeness. In the story the young man and his lover settle their differences and again declare their ongoing love for one-another with the help of the robot. But in reality it’s kind of sad since well… the robot was made in Nichika’s likeness so it was almost like it had also come to love Saki. So for it to just be shut down in the end was a bit… ;w;)
Takeuchi Sachiko’s comic-column. orz;;; She’s definitely a weird one haha. Talking about BL between a dead body and a mortician. But even with the gross mental image that gives me, her short comic was really funny and cute. Makes me tempted to buy her other essays books!
Definitely another weird story is Uno Zinia’s about a young man who ‘meets’ another man at an appliance shop and brings him home. From the surface it seems like they’re in love but later on you… well… realize the man he met at the appliance shop isn’t a man at all, but is actually an electric fan. I was partly fascinated by this story because of the whole ‘mental illness’ type theme it insinuates. But I was also partly confused lmao. orz I just hope he didn’t have the fan running while he was licking and making out with it—it would be terrible if your ‘boyfriend’ cut your tongue off.
Zin’s story. tbh I didn’t really read this one either—just glanced through it—since it deals with war and war rape and idk that’s unfortunately not something that appeals to me. orz I do know he said ‘gut!’ (as in German for ‘good’, not ‘gut’ as in… you know… your belly or innards) a lot.
Ahhh I loved Kevin Komine’s column. ;A;)/ She said she wants to write a story where the seme has this gorgeous defined body and the uke pretty much just likes being held (and dry-humped??) from the back. Unfortunately she said her idea was turned down by almost everyone she brought it up to because it either sounded ‘gross’ or like the seme may as well have been a train groper. orz You should write it, Kevin Komine!! I at least would love to read it. ;;
Cotorino Deathco wrote about BL without sex scenes. Pretty interesting. I must admit that I’m someone who likes the pay-off of a good H scene at the end of a BL story, but at the same time it shouldn’t be a necessity and there really are stories out there where no obvious sex would also make it have better sexual tension.
Psyche Delico wrote about ‘onabe’ which is pretty commonly translated as ‘female transvestite’ but somehow I’m not sure if they mean female by sex or female by gender. But Psyche Delico seems to mean it as female in sex only. Honestly, I think that would make a pretty damn interesting BL—shared affection between a gay man and a trans man. Psyche Delico usually handles such themes really well so I’d love to see her pull it off. ;;
As for Yoneda Kou, she has some pretty uh… interesting ideas floating around in her head. Pictured are pairings dealing with homeless men, male crossdressers, a seme who is still in elementary school, and fat men. Hmm she should write them, definitely. I kind of wonder how her huge fanbase would react haha.
Mochimeko was another artist I was fairly surprised to see. While I wouldn’t consider her stories to be just like most BL (they stand out above the crowd somehow) she’s still not an artist I could see publishers saying ‘dame’ to. Her story dealt with some yakuza taking a hostage (who I think is a cop??) but somehow the hostage gets free and knocks out one of the guys. However, he seems to bond with and feel affection for the other yakuza dude and so he helps him carry out his mission. And then they have sex. And it’s actually much weirder than I could have imagined Mochimeko coming up with.
Then for my second-favorite story in the entire book (my favorite being Kumota’s, obviously): Rotta Ikumi’s story about two otaku who met and bonded over twitter, then met in person and became very good friends, and then fell in love. One is an attractive otaku who doesn’t have an ‘otaku’ vibe on the surface, but the other is a chidebu (fat and short) otaku who is admittedly cute but just screams ‘nerd’. A very sweet, charming story. *A*)
And finally, Momoyama Naoko’s story! About professional biking and rivalries and… idk. orz
Overall, I think a lot of these stories aren’t absolutely unheard of in BL publishing and fandom. The thing is, some of these… well, I could totally see them running in maybe Cab or OPERA or Citron or another one of those more ‘alternative’ BL anthologies. So I wasn’t really struck by any feelings of “wow this really is weird and would have no place in BL publications with the assistance of this particular anthology.” I think they have more to do with ‘lacking in usual moe points’ than actually being ‘too weird for publication’. One admitted fault of BL as a genre is that is has to often fit this set of standards—the seme usually has to be a certain way, the uke usually has to be a certain way, the characters have to have some sort of ‘charm point’ or have to be somehow relatable, the characters have to actually be romantically entangled by the end of the story, they have to have sex, etc. Which is why you tend to see a lot of the same plots and characters used really often. I think moreso than the actual ‘dame’ factor, it’s the fact that this book has a lot of stories that don’t fit the usual BL mold and timeline that makes it so interesting. Even the fact that a lot of these stories have two boys who don’t literally end up together and aren’t making out probably makes many of them ‘unfit for publication in BL genre’ by most editors’ standards.
But I do think that’s changing. Yeah, there are still a lot of more standard stories (which are also very fun to read!!) but they’re starting to intermingle more and more with really unusual, interesting BL such as the ones in this book. I think the ratio of ‘normal’ BL to ‘new’ BL (which is how I shall refer to the more non-standard stories that have been popping up more often in the past few years) is around 7|4 at this point and I think that’s pretty damn good. It’s pretty easy these days to find a BL story that isn’t what many people make BL as a genre out to be: two high school boys who randomly fall in love and fuck like bunnies. Really, I think those stories are getting harder to find. I think reading this book was almost more eye-opening to realize how varied BL as a genre is because I really read so much BL that none of these are overly-shocking and I’m sure anyone who reads BL not even as often as I do would agree.
Anyway I’m getting pretty off-track here but idk. I think part of what makes this book so endearing is that it’s a reminder that BL artists and publishers are slowly trying to break down some of the barriers that surround BL and hold it to being a very standard ‘1+1=2’ type of genre. All of these weird, interesting stories are in the minds of these artists and if there’s a market for them then they’ll be let out. And I think it’s getting more and more obvious that there really is a market for this non-traditional BL. And I don’t think it’ll be slowing down any time soon. Quite the contrary, really.
I look forward to being able to read lots and lots of different types of BL in the future! *w*)/ Thank you, Bookman, for giving these BL artists a chance to show what the BL genre can be made of!