Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wow, which direction am I headed?

I realize that this blog is called, "Men on Yaoi". Thus, readers presume Yaoi will be discussed from a male perspective. That hasn't happened very much at all, has it? I have posted 2 reviews so far from a point-of-view that doesn't really exist. You see, in my collecting of 70+ volumes of Yaoi, I still do NOT understand the genre. That is because-it's now painfully true-Yaoi is solely entertainment for women. There's really nothing there for men, gay or straight, at all.

I have some 70+ books I could review for you, dear readers, but I will say now which ones truly have touched my heart. These manga are: Virtuoso di Amore, Ichigenme Vol. 1, Only the Ring Finger Knows, and Poison Cherry Drive.

Virtuoso di Amore was my first foray into DramaQueen's quality BL line and still remains the only profound book of the bunch. The dark and complex plot coupled with the gorgeous art in painstaking detail made for the most dramatic night reading I've ever had.

Ichigenme Vol. 1 was my first book by Fumi Yoshinaga. It went beyond the typical Yaoi stereotypes and presented a wonderful story of an ACTUAL gay relationship progressing through law school.

Poison Cherry Drive seems like a strange choice, but it remains dear to me as my first ever explicit yaoi. Being that it had only some explicit sex, as well as weird jokes only a crazy person would understand, I know that I am in the minority on this one.

And saved for last is the most heartfelt Yaoi manga I've ever opened, Only the Ring Finger Knows. Way back when, I was at my major book retailer. There was only one Yaoi manga sitting on the shelf at the time. I picked it up instantly and found myself so enthralled, that it remains as one of the most memorable manga that truly stuck an arrow in my heart.

I won't be buying Yaoi like a lust-starved and hormoned-driven maniac anymore. I've just invested too much hard-earned cash on it. This was cash I made while toiling away serving customers thousands of ugly hamburgers and boxes upon boxes of greasy fries.

To all the readers of this blog, I urge you to spend your money more wisely and choose only the titles that mean something to you.


  1. Well you're right about Yaoi not offering anything much (if at all) in the way of representing actual gay relationships and such since it's mostly about pandering to the fangirls with teh smex and such -_-" I'd be interesting if you managed to sift through the entire genre to reveal the 'gems' that focused more on actual relationship aspect and less of the "But we're both guys! Stop touching me like that" rolls eyes* cliches, that could be your viewpoint as a guy on Yaoi :P

  2. @issa-sa:

    First of all, thank-you for posting a response to this blog. Your suggestion about finding the genuine relationships in Yaoi is a good one. Finding Yaoi that offers more than stereotypical stories and characters would be a useful way to represent a guy's opinion on the subject.

    I realize it is kind of silly to find a guy's opinion useful. I just wanted to provide a blog with a different view on the matter. While there's not much for gay readers, I still enjoy manga like Death Note.

  3. Wow, you bring up a point that I'd never considered.
    If Junjou Romantica is any good indication of the rest of the yaoi genre, it's remarkably similar to many shoujos - replace the girl with another guy, and add a lot more tsun-tsun. In that regard, I can definitely see why non-female readers would find it disinteresting, regardless of sexual orientation.

  4. I see what you mean, but "Junjo Romantica" has a lot more self-consciously cracktastic situations and emphasis on wacky humor than the average shoujo manga republished here for English-speaking readers--unless you count something like "Ouran HIgh School Host Club," which has plenty of wacky situations, but virtually no actual sex or romance. The relatively little use "Junjo Romantica" makes of tired yaoi cliches like the bashful, helpless uke (bottom) is usually played for laughs, as in the running gag about the purple prose-filled boys' love novels bestselling author Usagi writes. These present a hilariously inaccurate, yaoi-cliche-filled fictionalized version of his relationship with the prickly college student Misaki, who invariably begins ranting and raving with rage whenever he stumbles across these wishful-thinking descriptions of his allegedly adorable behavior toward Usagi in bed, etc.

    I forgot to mention in my second comment on the Yoshinaga post below that Joe, my gay friend who likes FAKE and "Banana Fish" (the latter of which has a lot more crime and violence in it than fully-developed gay relationships), was also a big fan of the "Only the Ring Finger Knows" manga, as was I.

    Do NOT spend your money on the DMP translations of the original "Ring Finger" novels unless the store is having a major sale. The first one is basically a less interesting and effectively-told prose version of the events covered in the manga. (The DMP translation of the novel is kind of lame and full of grammatical errors, or at least things which come across as grammatical errors when translated literally into English, so possibly it sounds better in the original Japanese. Personally I wouldn't bet on it, but another female yaoi-fan friend of mine liked the book a lot better than I did, so your mileage may vary.)

    The second two novels, which follow Wataru and Yuki(?)'s relationship for another eighteen months or so after Yuki(?) graduates and enrolls in a nearby college, kept their relationship in such an unhealthy and repetitious rut that I wanted to shake and/or kick the two main characters. Especially Yuki(?), who appeared to have learned nothing from the events of the original story arc and consistently behaved like a jackass toward his boyfriend throughout, this time without the overcompensating-for-forbidden-feelings-by-treating-the-object-of-affection-like-crap excuse that the manga, at least, implied had inspired his gratuitously snarky behavior toward Wataru during their bickering anti-courtship.

  5. Finally, a male perspective on one of my fave genres. I have been a yaoi fan since I was nine, so that makes me a yaoi fan for about a decade now. What drew me to yaoi was the idea gender equality in the relationships (something missing from mainstream anime, where girls exist as stupid sex objects and 'innocent loli nymphos.') I'm frustrated at the growth of yaoi plots featuring ridiculously effeminate 'innocent slut' ukes and their cheesy supermarket-romance-book semes. Yaoi, at its best, explores issues of masculinity while keeping its characters MALE (I'm sick of all the fanservice cross-dressing, the mpreg, and the chicks-with-dicks passed off as ukes.)

    That said, your blog could use more pictures, since it's a pain to google all the title you list. Keep writing!