So as I said, part one of my purchase came in the mail today and I haven’t really even started looking through many of them yet but I nonetheless wanted to talk a bit (or maybe a lot idk) about a specific book I bought because I think there’s a bit of a misunderstanding of what the book is. And that book would be the recently-released Light BL e Youkoso which a lot of people seem to be thinking is an anthology of light, sweet BL stories but actually it’s a guidebook.
As you can see the cover is by Kumota Haruko so its garnered a lot of fanfair. And it’s a really good book, albeit not what a lot of people are probably expecting, so I will try to go over what this book has to offer if not actual comics.
Citron ♔ →
Even though the actual anthology doesn’t come out for a couple more days, the Citron website has already been updated with the cover and lineup of their latest book! As always, a very enticing collection of mangaka. I had forgotten that Psyche Delico would be in this volume! Also, I’m pretty excited about the last chapter of Kitabeppu Nica’s dramatic Ichiban Suki na Hito uwaaa I wonder who he’ll choose? Kind of depressing for people like me who have no interest in seiyuu, though, instead of having two chapters like usual Itoshi no Nekokke will have one chapter and then a ‘drama cd report’. orz;;;;;;;; I don’t care about a bunch of middle-aged dudes—I’d much rather have more Mii-kun and Kei-chan!
Somewhat surprising, however, is the lineup information for the next anthology: Jaryuu Dokuro has the next cover.
Frankly, considering it’s been eight issues since she last released a chapter of Coyote, I was kind of… thinking… she dropped it. orz Sorry Jaryuu—I guess I am someone of little faith! But it’s really awesome that she gets the cover again; originally when she had the cover of volume two, that was before they started including the interviews and information about the mangaka so I was thinking I just barely missed out on a lot of interesting stats on one of my favorites. I wonder if they’ll ask her about her favorite food haha. But really, most interesting in those interviews is always when they ask them about their influences and inspirations.
Daria ♔ →
No Ootsuki Miu this time, so it looks like my hopes for a tankoubon by her through them are still pretty far off. Still, they have a really great lineup this time around that includes both Kumonosuke and Achi Harufumi!! So awesome for them to now be releasing stories outside the companies they originally debuted with. *w* Here’s to hoping their careers really take off! I admittedly hate how tempted I am to buy this issue for Kumonosuke. orz;;
OPERA ♔ →
The cover for the latest issue was posted, and it’s pretty beautiful.
Ahhhh Kusama Sakae!! ;A;/ So excited for her tankoubon release next month! Anyway, I was totally originally planning on not buying this issue (though it was hard, since Aniya is in this issue again finally) but I have since been convinced to toss it in my cart. As if the calling of a new chapter of Mic & Neo wasn’t enough, this is yet enother book that has such an awesome lineup sobbb. orz Plus I’m just too curious about the Sotsugyousei special that’s supposedly in this issue.
Speaking of Sotsugyousei… I don’t know what to think about the cover of Nakamura Asumiko’s artbook. It’s pretty, but there’s just something about it I don’t like. Oh well—it’s not the cover of the book that matters, and I’m sure I’ll love all the inside illustrations when it arrives!
onBLUE ♔ →
And last but not least, onBLUE’s website has been updated. I already posted about onBLUE’s lineup and such but I was still excitedly waiting for their website update so I could know who will be in the next volume. For those who don’t know, onBLUE is an anthology that always includes these insanely long and interesting interviews for the mangaka who has the cover spot, so it’s pretty exciting to see who’ll take the next cover. Actually, this next one is none other than Yamashita Tomoko!! I’m pretty stoked. There will be an talk between Yamashita and Hideyoshico.
Also, as for the upcoming lineup, Ishino Aya will be making her debut appearance in onBLUE! Then of course there will be more Yamanaka Hiko, Kumota Haruko, Hideyoshico, Yanagisawa Yukio, Shinomiya Shino, Koiwazurai Shibito, etc. etc. The list of amazingly talented mangaka goes on!
So on tumblr right now there’s a meme going around where you ask people to name a celebrity and then you post your six favorite photos of that person. And then anime fans turned it into an anime meme, where you can name an anime character instead. However, I don’t know many celebrities (my family probably gets annoyed when we watch TV and I’m like ‘who’s that person now??’) and I also watch almost no anime (unless you want to ask me about Inazuma Eleven characters), so I decided to do the meme with BL mangaka.
Obviously, I’m not posting my favorite pictures of BL mangaka—generally speaking, I only know what less than 1% of my favorite mangaka even look like. I pick panels and illustrations. So far I have Ootsuki Miu, Ogura Muku and Yamashita Tomoko.
I know we’re already three days in, but happy June! I guess this month is arguably an important month for BL fans if only because of the pun, but it’s 100% an important month for something that BL, as a form of entertainment, has ties in: LGBTQI pride. I know that this subject might come as a surprise to some, because while BL (and its female partner in crime, GL) technically deals with individuals who’re interested in the same sex, it does not necessarily try hard to speak for the gay community. Which is as it should be, since people who are not gay (which would be BL, since it’s generally written by—assumed—heterosexual females for a heterosexual female audience) should not necessarily speak for the gay community at large.
At most, BL can be considered a form of entertainment. It’s somewhat the romanticized equivalent of lesbian porn made for men—it’s interesting and fun but it doesn’t really try to teach you anything. Which is why many gay men take issue with BL; though it’s not written for a gay audience, it doesn’t try to inform nor even be realistic. I’m not one to say that’s a bad thing (because BL is entertainment and should be taken as it is, not just by its fans but also bystanders), but I won’t argue that gay men have every right to be uncomfortable with such a topic being taken out of their hands and treated in a way that may misinform about a community they’re a part of.
However, as a gay rights activist and someone of an alternative sexuality myself, I often try to find a way to connect my participation in and enjoyment of BL fandom with my place in a community that often shuns it. While I do know there are a fair handful of homophobic people in BL fandom, I still think it’s not a 100% bad genre. Admittedly, it was my finding and avidly reading in BL doujinshi at a young age (embarrassingly young, really) that opened my eyes to alternative sexualities and made it much easier to accept my own as I got older. Even just as a form of entertainment—one that is often unrealistic and cheesy—BL has done at least that much for me. And I think that’s important. I think that BL can do harm in some ways, but it can also do good in introducing its fans to empathy directed toward standing strong with those who are of alternative sexualities.
So I wanted to make this connection on my blog. I think it’s important not only to show that not all fans of BL consider gay men as just their entertainment but also—of course—as human beings, but also to introduce other fans to ways to help the gay community. Perhaps not all people who read my blog as going to necessarily care, which is a shame but you can’t really force people when the interest isn’t there. But for those who are interested, here is a nifty link on the top ten ways to help with gay rights. Also, here is a list of GLBT organizations you can volunteer for. More allies are always welcome!
Anyway, I wanted to end this with a call for discussion on BL manga that tries a bit harder to be truly ‘gay friendly’—whether it’s by including the idea of coming out, gay issues, gay bars, using the proper procedures in anal sex (lube!!), plots about society’s views of gay men, or even just the glorious absence of the fairly disheartening “thank god I’m not gay but I suddenly and randomly fell for my best friend” cliche. BL manga that tries hard to not just be entertainment, but also tie itself to and inform about gay culture in some way or another.
sorry that I’m so spammy today jeez. orz;;;;;
Day 32: a BL manga that’s the best of the best in your favorite sub-genre
Nobara by Kumota Haruko
Actually I cheated—technically my favorite BL sub-genre is ‘real gay’ stories, where it’s still BL but within the context of BL the character is acknowledged as homosexual and has to deal with the troubles of being gay in modern society. But I would have just been recycling the easiest answer: anything by Yamashita Tomoko.
But since that’s boring and because I don’t want to recycle answers and because I haven’t mentioned Nobara yet, I figured “what the hell!” because I do adore kozure-type stories. They have so much potential for extreme fluff, and even het relationships often have troubles when a single person with a child wants to break back into the dating scene. Plus the children are soooo cute. Mone is an adorable little girl, Kanda a doting father whose wife left him after he came out to her as gay, and then there’s attractive Take who can’t help but become curious about Kanda after he finds out he’s gay—and becomes attracted to him as a result. It’s pretty much a big mish-mash of my favorite parts of the kozure sub-genre.
However, kozure is becoming really popular lately! So perhaps there will be one that comes along later that will be valid competition next to Kumota Haruko’s masterpiece. :9
Day 20: a BL manga that would make a great porno
Can’t really answer this one, tbh. Because what I like so much about BL is that (if it’s good) it makes me feel happy and fluffy. To turn it into porn would be like taking the story out, and most BL sex scenes without the story and emotion just… wouldn’t be any good. Even the ones from Junet. Though honestly, if it were handled well I would love to see something like Katekyo! turned live-action. Mmm delicious home-tutor sekuhara plot.
Day 21: a BL manga that deserves more recognition
Everything by: Aniya Yuiji, Morozumi Sumitomo, Est Em, Yamashita Tomoko, Furutsuji Kikka, Jaryuu Dokuro, Taumi Mayu, Junko, Matsumoto Miecohouse, Kusama Sakae, Shimaji, TATSUKI, Yamanaka Hiko, Tojitsuki Hajime, Koshino, Koiwazurai Shibito, Kojima Lalako, Yamada 2choume, etc. In my opinion, the list is very long—very often, amazing artists will be all but ignored because everyone is too busy circle-jerking over the same old artists and stories. Many new BL manga are published each month but then when you look at recommendation posts it’s always the same ten or twenty titles recycled over and over. More works from Marble Comics and Citron and Canna and OPERA need a place on the BL platform.
I’m not saying those other ones are bad—obviously, I like them too. But it’s just such a shame that the excitement over those stories and magazines and mangaka continues to overshadow many other interesting artists who are just as worthy of capturing the hearts of everyone in the fandom.
Bonus points to anyone who can name all of the mangaka (in order) in the above picture.
If my over-dramatic title didn’t already give it away, there are currently lovely things happening in Japan right now. “Lovely things” meaning a summer fair from Marble Comics. And here I was thinking I wouldn’t care about Marble’s going-ons this month since all they’re releasing are two doujinshi anthologies for a shounen manga. But no. I clicked on their summer fair link just to see if there was anything worth my interest and it just so happens that it’s one big clusterfuck of “I bet you wish you were in Japan now, don’t you?”
As with all general manga publisher fairs, you buy a product (in this case, a book published by Tokyo Mangasha/Marble Comics) and you get a free gift. It’s not life or death or anything because for this fair all you get is a set of colored paper inserts. But if you will kindly look closely you will notice that every single one of the artists is one of my favorites. Every. Single. One. Though I must admit Set C is especially delicious if not only because it is Aniya Yuiji’s Mr. Convenience but also because it’s Jaryuu Dokuro, Morozumi Sumitomo, Yamashita Tomoko and Kitabeppu Nica all rolled into a little package of paper perfection.
Baww to live in Japan and not only not have to pay ridiculous shipping fees but also get free things drawn by your favorites artists with your purchase. ;A; /pitiful foreigner
Anyway, in slightly happier “well that made me smile!” news, Aoi Seri made a link banner for her blog. I’m almost tempted to use it (even though I try not to use link banners) because it is Aoi Seri and her art blog actually kind of deserves the special pimp of having an entire banner to itself.