March 4, 2012

Slash Fan Fiction: Yaoi or Not?

I’ve been wondering lately how I should classify my reading of all the slash fic that I troll for. I mean, technically I only go looking for stories between two male characters, and I always select the mature content ones when they are there… however, I am hesitant to call it yaoi or BL. I wouldn’t be unheard of it to call it as such, since the genre started within the doujinshi community, and crossovers or dream pairings within said market are considered part of the genre.

I wonder if it has to do with the difference between having been drawn or only written down. If it isn’t drawn, it isn’t manga, and if it isn’t manga, does it still count as Yaoi? There is a whole genre of BL and yaoi novels and light novels in Japan, a few of which have been translated into English (and probably many other languages). Are those titles given some kind of status because they have been published in magazines, books and anthologies?

I’ve been trying to write a xxxHolic fanfic for the longest time, and still can’t get my head around it. I used to be full of short fiction goodness in my head, but when writing characters that already exist and have a following, in addition to fitting it into world created by someone else, I find myself at a standstill. My point here? Fan fiction is hard to write. It should be given, not necessarily equal footing as published works, its dues.

So, now that that’s been said, does that make it yaoi? Does the quality and or medium quantify a story as BL or yaoi? I’m at a loss!

Help me out, guys… Am I being biased against slash/fan fiction? Or am I right to consider it different?

February 27, 2012

Not Quite Yaoi, but More Than Noteworthy!

Hello, my dear, dear fujoshi. Have you missed me? I've missed you all.

No! Really! I have! I've just been really busy with a new job and stuff. You can see my full apology and lamentation here on my "mainstream anime" blog. ;)

I must share with you, and the world, my new obsession. Although it is not technically yaoi (even the author/artist is hesitant to classify it as such), it is one of the most beautifully drawn, wonderfully told, realistically approached story about two men falling in love that I have ever read. And, as some of you know, that is a lot of stories about boys falling in love (or lust, or just fucking... you get the idea).

My friends, I introduce to you, E.K. Weaver's The Less than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal (<epic). A quick warning first, it is written in standard Western Webcomic format, so you're reading the panels from left to right, ok? I know we're all used to reading backwards by now, but we should all keep up our Western reading, too. And this... this... I can't even come up with words to describe how much I love this comic. That's how good it is! EK has created characters with such depth that she can tell you the life stories of those we never see, but who had a profound impact on the protagonists' lives.

For a quick run-down: Amal, in a spectacular fashion, cancels his arranged marriage by coming out to his traditional, South Asian parents. His father then disowns him, leaving this med student to wallow at the local bar, eventually taken home in a drunken stupor by TJ, who he finds in his apartment the next morning smoking while cooking eggs and singing Paul Simon. He soon learns that, apparently, in said drunken stupor, he agreed to drive cross-country with this stranger. And so the journey begins from here.

They each have their reasons for escaping from their current situations, some more up-front than others at this point (EK, you tease me with TJ's past!!). Along the way, this mis-matched pair pass the time becoming "not strangers".

The artwork is something I can't even describe, being not-so-artistically inclined. I can, however, appreciate the beauty and attention to detail that oozes from every panel. I've taken to watching her livestream whenever I get the chance, and now follow her tumblr religiously! Although she doesn't put much ecchi stuff in the comic itself (I said not much, not none), she does have some work on her DeviantArt and y-gallery pages that compliment the story sexily. In fact, one of these images is currently my desktop. (o^_^o) (sadly, Y-gallery is down, and that's the image is... so I can't link it yet.... -_-* ) She has even done some stuff she calls AU, since it is future TJ and Amal. I love it all. ALL!!!!

So, to wrap up, because I could honestly gush for a lot longer, but don't want to give anything away, I will say this:


Okay. I think I got my point across. Next time, yaoi, I promise! But trust me, this is worth the venture back across the Pacific.

Jya ne!

January 3, 2012

Seme or Uke?

I really thought that I didn't have a preference. I really thought that I loved all of my bishies equally. After commenting on the SH forum, I think I realized that may not be the truth...

For the uninitiated, I shall briefly define the terms used in the title: "seme" and "uke". In North America, you might translate them as "top" and "bottom", but that doesn't really do it justice. In the world of Yaoi there are some nuances that delve deeper into these definitions.

Seme: Yes, the majority of the time is the "pitcher", or the one performing the penetration, to get all technical and such. However, you can usually figure out who that is before the sex even starts, or if it is missing altogether, like in many shonen-ai stories. Essentially, the seme is the instigator, the assertive, confident character of the pair. He is the one who approaches the other. Traditionally, he is taller, and slightly more muscular. He gives off a cool air about him and often oozes "sexy".

Uke: The "bottom", or "catcher". He is the one getting fucked, to get all crude and such. He is usually identified by larger, doe-y eyes, shorter in stature, and mildly naive. Often, he is unaware of his sexual preference, and is often nervous at the prospect of loving another man. He is sexy in his innocence and often feminine charm. He is the "girl" in the relationship.

For the most part I find that within the stories, roles are defined purely by the physical, so essentially who "pitches" and who "catches", but in further analysis, there are several characters I have met who cross the line between both, but not because their position in sex has changed, only because their personality is unexpected.

As mentioned at the beginning, I thought I love both equally, and that it depended upon the story. As I tried to make my point, I slowly realized that I really do tend towards the seme. I like the ukes, often think that they are cute, but in a friendly, little kid kind of way. Semes, on the other hand, drive me to hard breathing and hash-marks on my face... Semes get me hot and bothered, in all the best ways. (o^_^o)

Do you have a preference?

November 24, 2011

Yokozawa no baai FTW!!!!

OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! I'm currently having to wipe the tears from my red face having just finished reading September Scanlations' English translation of Sekaiichi Hatsukoi(SH) - Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai! There are only a few pictures, but mostly it is a light novel. Although it is not 100% Nakamura Shungiku, it still comes across in that same, wonderfully BL way!

I mean, I love Nakamura sensei's works, like Junjou Romantica(JR) and the SH manga, but holy crap did the peeps over at September Scanlations do an awesome job! It has a nice flow and was sooooooo touching! I had started reading it directly from their site but then just downloaded the files once they were available. If you like JR, SH, touching love stories, grumpy tsunderes, and HOT HOT MAN SEX, then you have to read it! And if you don't, why on Earth are you reading this blog? (Seriously, I'd really like to know!)

November 11, 2011

Real or imaginary?

I always have questions going on in my head about the yaoi I read. For instance, there are some that clearly depict sex acts, with full on genitalia, some with creative angles in order to tastefully hide them, and then there are some that just "blur" it... (Level C! Invisible penis!). Sometimes the blurring is pointless, since we have outlines, fluids depicted, hands and fingers defining it...

So, it makes me wonder. Are there some yaoi mangaka who are just being help back by Japanese decency and censorship laws? But then, if that's the case, how come others are able to go all out? Does it depend upon the magazine that initially publishes it? I also believe that sometimes it is the mangaka who does not want to draw it, but does not want to leave it out, either because of personal discomfort or because of lack of confidence drawing realistic penises. Remember, MOST yaoi mangaka are women, so these are both plausible possibilities.

What do you think?