Yaoi Reading Day with a ninja!

18+ Discussion

The Podcast

Erin from the Ninja Consultants was in a bit of a bind. She had a whole box of yaoi manga that needed to be reviewed and not nearly enough time to review it all. So she invited a good deal of people to come to her apartment, read some yaoi, eat some snacks, and give some brief reviews while talking a look at the yaoi phenomenon in general.

Into this mix comes your faithful dynamic duo of anime blogging, Reverse Thieves.

I think we brought a mixture of qualities to the gathering. We brought the only male to the active discussion of yaoi. We are both well versed in the lingo and concepts of yaoi but not well versed in reading it. Also I think we had a genuine interest in learning more about yaoi but did not want to go and spend money on such a risky expedition.

I have admittedly been curious about yaoi if for nothing else it seems to have really taken off at a running pace here in the U.S. But I had never really ventured into the sector for a number of reasons including the perceived graphic nature of the genre. Just as I don’t read hentai or most things with a lot of full-frontal sex in them straight or otherwise.

I like kissing, can we see more kissing? And not that creepy kind! So this was both an experiment but also an observational study!

Kohaku, Narutaki, and I made the treck down to Erin’s apartment without incident. When we arrived there was already one other guest who had arrived. We we given the grand tour and got to see Erin’s rather eclectic but fascinating doujinshi collection. There was a huge pile of books on the living room table so we had quite a few choices.

I was cowardly and basically read books that were handed to me by group selection. I started with something light and funny, Clan of the Nakagamis, and then dove into one of the more graphic works with Brother. I started to read Antique Bakery but a mixture of the heat, my own tiredness, and the fascinating ongoing conversations prevented me from getting too far into it.

I set one rule for myself once we started reading. I don’t read shota-con stuff, I don’t want to, and basically refuse to do so. I like young boy characters because I find them cute and adorable and have NO desire to see them molested, raped, or anything else sexual. I was actually surprised to see a few titles that were definitely this genre. I remember some company mentioning how they are trying to stay away from those types of titles because they don’t want to see a backlash. But I can’t remember who said that or when.

Anyway, I also let the group pick my first yaoi to read. It was Picnic, a short story collection, with varying degrees of sex. This made me notice how much of yaoi is either a group of stories like this or just one book. I then moved on to Soulege, a one book story, whose story just got weirder as it went on. I rounded my day out with Dear Myself, which I really liked, also a one book story but with no sex.

One thing I found really frustrating is there is really no way to tell how much sex or how graphic the sex is in any of the titles.

Erin mentioned that a pink strip on DMP manga usually means more tame whereas a purple strip would be more hardcore. But everything I read was pink and there was everything from sex to masturbation but you never actually saw a penis. So I guess that is “tame.”

Most yaoi is sealed at the store so you can’t look through it, I just found this to be problem. I would probably read some of these titles but I certainly wouldn’t be picking up a series blind.

In the end yaoi like any other genre of manga has a good deal of range. There are well written and intellectually stimulating stories that are a credit to the genre. There are apocalypticly awful things that are an insult to man and god that just happen to have two or more men having sex.

Most of it is in the middle with the majority having the same level of plot as harem or moe anime. There is a plot but it’s nothing special. It’s mostly there to move from fan-service scene to fan service scene while occasionally provoking an emotional response from the reader. They are not bad they’re just mostly written to service their limited audience. Women in general are going to avoid harem shows because they don’t have much for them and they don’t really try to cater to their tastes. The reverse is equally true for most yaoi. It never tries to offer men (atleast straight men) a reason for reading and does not care if they ever do.

I also found it be a credit that most of this stuff isn’t taken seriously by its own readers. They know it is ridiculous and silly most of the time. I mean we made sure to read aloud anything really over the top or silly at this little shindig. Once and a while you really do get an emotional connection but you can’t expect it.

Though if you aren’t interested in two boys kissing or further nothing seemed so good that you should just get over that so you could read an amazing story. Yaoi turns out to be just another one of the many guilty pleasures in the world.

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8 thoughts on “Yaoi Reading Day with a ninja!

  1. Scott says:

    I can’t really see how any heterosexual male would even consider reading yaoi, especially given the slight homophobia we’re all raised with in America. From a guy’s perspective, it’s just not comfortable to see two dudes kissing each other, and no one wants to feel awkward when reading a comic. Even as a liberal and open-minded individual, I still cannot tolerate any of these comics unless I convince myself that one of the characters is actually a flat-chested female.
    But I completely understand that it’s just a “girl thing” and I appreciate and stand behind it for that reason. Just as Hisui said, it’s probably very similar to how we enjoy our harem and moé comics only because it strokes our male egos.
    But I’m very surprised to read Narutaki also feeling uncomfortable with the sexual nature of these books. You’re probably the only girl I have ever heard talk like this, so it’s a relief to know not every fangirl out this an absolute yaoi maniac. ;-)

  2. Anomalous says:

    Regarding the sexual content thing: the color of strip on DMP’s manga has nothing to do with it; they used to publish all of their manga, yaoi and not, with purple and later switched to pink for just their yaoi titles. The only way to really tell is the age ratings on the back. :)

  3. reversethieves says:

    Scott:

    I fight the battle daily to prove that not all otaku girls are fujoshi! I’m not really sure how this misconception got started.

    Anomalous:

    Ah! Thank you for the information. Though I do find the age rating completely unhelpful. Maybe they should do it like movies rated 16+ for blah blah blah. Because like I said I prefer loooowwwww full on sexual content.

    -Narutaki

  4. Scott says:

    “I fight the battle daily to prove that not all otaku girls are fujoshi! I’m not really sure how this misconception got started.”

    I’m sorry, you’re going to have to say that a little louder. I can’t hear you over the thousands of screaming fangirls with their Yaoi paddles at AnyCon right now.

    :-P

  5. reversethieves says:

    Scott: I guess I am more liberal than most heterosexual guys then. I generally see it like this. I read manga about men dating and having sex with women I would not date in real life and I still enjoy it. I would not date other men in real life but I can still read stories about men dating and having sex with other men the same way. But that is just me. I perfectly understand why men would not touch yaoi manga with a ten foot non-phallic object.
    Also I do not own one single hard yaoi title. I do own Banana Fish but that is hardly hard yaoi. I suppose that says something. I may read yaoi if it’s in front of me but I am not spending cash on it. Still I don’t want to assume something is automatically not worth reading.
    I also think that fujoshi are the minority of female fandom. They are just a vocal minority. I would speak more about it but we have an upcoming article about that.
    Also don’t let Narutaki mislead you. I have seen his doujinshi collection. I have seen the Zack X Cloud collection. I have seen his hand go over the Lavi X Allen doujins at cons. Narutaki just does not like graphic material. This does not me he has no interest in BL at all.
    Anomalous: I still like my joke idea that they use food ratings. Such as:
    18+, Contains hot dogs and buns dipped in chocolate with extra mayonnaise” : )
    boxingoctopus: Here is the deal: We take any and all reasonable requests. So the real question is what is your request for a hentai for us to watch? If Narutaki won’t watch it I will review it alone. We want you the readers to be happy. We will give any and all shows a shot with one major exception. Anything with lolicon and/or shotacon will get Narutaki to hunt you down and kill you.
    And I will help.
    And then we won’t review the show you requested as well. : )
    – Hisui

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