For the last time, I’m not a homophobe!

September 14, 2006

Wow, my post, Scary Yaoi Fangirls, really brought some of them to my blog’s door (just read some of the comments under the post). Now that I have my brush with them, let me just say that I’m glad that I live half a world away from them.

Before I was a yaoi reader, one of the most irritating response I get when I say I don’t like the genre was the accusation that because I don’t like it, that means I’m a homophobe.

Excuse me, I get really irritated at that because a) you don’t know me b) I have gay and bisexual friends c) that’s a dumb way to defend the genre you love – by accusing those who could be won over to your side by saying that they’re a bigot of some kind. Way to go.

It’s a little bit interesting to note, that despite me reviewing Yaoi manga and writing actively about the issue and admitting that I’m a Yaoi lover that I still get accused of being a homophobe just because I happen to not like everything about the genre.
Also, if you have read the post, you’d realise that it’s a tongue-and-cheek kinda post about a phenomenon I am mystified by – how fans can take their love for yaoi so far that they take it personally if others don’t share their love.

To these people – please get a life.

Ok, I am testy today. The past few weeks have been tough on me (hence no posts!). Had to deal with wicked, manipulating [beeps] at the office, and the last thing I wanted to see was flames in my blog. But yeah, yeah, the blog is public so it’s free game and all that.

But, really, pleaaaaaaaaase read the post carefully, not just the first few lines, before you send over your flame. If you flame, at least flame with some logic.

Merci!

I promise i’ll be less cranky tomorrow. (I just found out I have to work 8 days a row next week, so I’m a tad pissed. But I’ll get over it.)


Jazz Vol.1

July 30, 2006

jazz.jpgWow. Reading Jazz is like reading the yaoi version of Hot Gimmick. And you know how well that turned out for me.

To be honest, I was aware of the negative reviews it received on Amazon, but there were positive ones as well, so I thought to myself when I saw it in Borders: “Why not?”

(Note to self: Don’t buy a manga without reading it first, even if it embarasses to read it at the counter in public.)

It started out so promising too. Dr Narusawa treats a patient, Naoki, who has an overbering mother. Naoki feels really grateful to Narusawa, and they get closer, having many deep conversations together. Narusawa thinks that it’s just natural that Naoki will go to university and get on with his life. They have one final dinner before Naoki goes to university where Naoki gets him drunk, brings him back to his home and … rapes him. YUP.

At that point, I went: WTF?? What happened to the sweet Naoki who had soulful talks with Narusawa? Overnight, that guy morphed into an abusive boyfriend who demands to find out, after that yucky night, why Narusawa was avoiding him. Like, DUH!

All the yaoi cliches are here – weepy uke, overbearing bullying seme, and that ever popular plotline of seme rapes uke who ends up falling in love with seme.

Narusawa, apparently, hangs on to Naoki because he wants someone to love him and Naoki is the only person who can. Sure. When he actually develops a backbone and decides to leave Naoki for the States, he actually angsts about it.

I heard that Jazz Vol.2 is even worse, with yet another rape scene. This time Naoki actually feels guilty about it – you deserve a whacking, you!

Narusawa, of course, misses and pines for him despite what Naoki did twice. Man, doesn’t this sound familliar?

Jazz can’t even be categorised as fluff. It’s just simply bad. Naoki is just simply unlikeable and Narusawa needs to be put in counselling.

Avoid this, I tell ya! Avoid this!


The Tyrant Falls in Love (Koisuru Boukun)

July 4, 2006

tyrantcap.jpgAttention, DramaQueen! Here am I doing wonderful publicity for you guys, so when The Tyrant Falls in Love is finally released, I expect to get a free copy, k?

Well, it was worth trying anyway. 😛

Now, if there’s a yaoi manga that I wholeheartedly recommend, it’ll be Tyrant. In fact, not only do I love it, Tyrant is the yaoi manga that was responsible for corrupting changing me to a yaoi observer to a yaoi lover. 😛

Before, I read yaoi scanlations with a “Meh, so what?” or a “OMG!!” (Runs away) attitude.

But when I stumbled unto Tyrant, I fell deeply and madly in love with the characters.

Morinaga Tetsuhiro is in love with his senpai, Tatsumi Souichi, who is, to put it very simply: a terrifying person. (But cute, of course. I have a thing for long hair. hehe) He’s also … homophobic. Doesn’t like gay people much because his brother ran off to America with one – and to Souichi’s mind, all gay people are to be blamed. 😛

Despite all that Mori loves Souichi, but is he in for a difficult time. One night, Souichi accidently drinks an aphrodisiac Mori was given (very long story, that) and … Mori takes advantage of, uh, the situation. 😛

This is the oddest thing. There is a non-con scene in Vol.1. Yet … yet … the mangaka, Hinako Takanaga still makes it funny. Yes, it’s truly hilarious what happens “the day after”! I know, colour me amazed. Souichi demonstrates that he is no weepy uke despite the non-con. And that’s what I love about the guy.

After the whole non-con incident, Souichi is understandably enraged (a big understatement) and Mori is so guilty that he disappears for weeks. Surprised at his MIA-ness, Souichi begins to feel … anxious.

I won’t spoil the plot for you, and I don’t think I’m doing much justice to the story at all. Many would probably read it and say it’s another one of those yaoi things where the seme rapes the uke and they fall in love and live happily ever after. (shudder shudder)

The biggest pull Tyrant had for me was the comedy. I actually laughed out loud at certain scenes. My favourite parts were not the smexy scenes, but the small little incidentces like when Mori gives (or tries to) Souichi a haircut at the extra chapter in Vol.2 but gets overwhelmed by Souichi’s, uh, sexiness. Souichi of course … flips. And when he flips, blood is shed. Totally my favourite chapter ever.

(Though I have to say Takanaga really draws romantic smex scenes. No, I’m not kidding. Some yaoi have hot sex scenes, but it has a kind of dirty quality to it … this one makes you realise that there is some kinda love involved.)

Typically, the seme is always this broad-shouldered, manly, bullying type while the uke is a total girl. But Souichi, who is obviously the uke, is so bad-tempered and dominant that you really pity Mori for being in love with the guy. He’s arrogant, loud and short-tempered. (But he has a kind heart, really.) And Mori is a sweet, gentle guy who spends a lot of his time moaning at his bad luck for falling for Souichi (it’s funny, trust me) and weeping over Souichi’s exasperating behaviour. 😛

The two are really sweet together, and part of me went, ARGH when I found out Drama Queen licensed it because I really wanted to read more now. But better they than any other publisher as DQ does good work with their published works. They come very well translated and in high-quality materials.
Vol.2 is my favourite so far – I’ve only read Vol.1 and 2 – because it delves into Mori’s angsty past. 😛 One has got to love that. We see how Mori’s family has turned their backs on him because of a scandal he was involved in back home that involved Mori’s brother’s best friend. Big bro is not too happy with Mori, and basically treats him like something you wipe your feet with.

Therefore, the real life issue of how homosexuality is not really an “acceptable” thing for some people and families is not swept under the carpet here. Very often we read yaoi where it takes place in a kind of alternate universe where everyone is so okay with homosexuality (that’s not bad, really) so it’s refreshing to read something real.

Again, it’s not the s3x scenes that do it for me but Mori’s relationship with his brother that I really found very touching. I want more of Nii-san! But not in the brotherxbrother way, okay?

Souichi is also a darling in this volume, as he comes to Mori’s defense. Awww.

The art is very nice … no complaints there. All in all, Tyrant is perfect to me. Comedy, romance, family angst … it has everything. Hopefully, some of you would like it as much as I do. 🙂

And yeah, of course I’ll buy the DQ copies when it comes out … barring the customs doesn’t seize it … because I’ll cry a bucket of tears if they do.


Scary yaoi fangirls

June 29, 2006

jazzy.jpgI’ve recently come across this new species. They’re called: Scary yaoi girls.

Maybe it’s because I’m not an American anime fan, but I’ve never in my life encountered this otaku fan species. From reading bloggers and lurking around fanforums, the general consensus is that these yaoi fangirls are worse than irritating. Some come close to calling them abominable.

As this post on Tainted Blog says in her rant, I Hate Fangirls, or How I Spent My Summer Vacation Part I of II:

So stop writing your fanfics slashing every male character known to man together, stop acting like Gravitation is the pinnacle of genius (and if you honestly think this, then you are either lobotomized, under the influence of heroin, or a fucking retard), and sit down and shut the fuck up because you’re making all of the more subdued and discreet fans look like jackasses.

And from travels around the animeblogosphere, this species have the tendency to:

  • Look longingly at actual gay guys and follow them around
  • Slash every known canonical character (do not, for the love of God, tell me how much you love Roy heart Ed! Don’t touch my Roy!)
  • Think you’re a homophobe if you don’t like yaoi
  • Think you’re a loser if you don’t like yaoi
  • Talk really loudly about yaoi and make sure you know that they are yaoi fans.

Wow, this makes me very reluctant to admit that I read yaoi. The fact that I’m not of ideal size would probably lump me in the “fat yaoi fangirl” category which would really suck.

So I read yaoi? Big deal. I read Monster and Black Cat too. In fact, I wouldn’t even really categorise myself as solely a yaoi fan because I read a wide variety of manga; the bookstore person where I buy my manga from even know what I’d like: deep, dark, and gloomy stuff. 😛

Yeah, yeah, I do find yaoi fascinating. But most of the time I find it quite stupid. 😉 I mean, hello? What’s with this constant “I like you,” remarks in the genre? And you love the guy after a night in the sack? Sure. I find it funny. But I enjoy it for what it is: Fantasy.

Slash fanfics? I hate it. I vehemently cannot read them. I suppose scary yaoi fangirls would start sending me hatemail when I say that. 😛

And no, I honestly don’t think Gravitation is the pinnacle of genius. I think the art sucks big time, but I find the relationship between Yuki and Souichi funny – touching even at some points. (Btw, there’s nothing pron-ish about Gravitation, honestly, but that’s just me.)

Fake is another widely-praised shonen-ai series, which I don’t understand why to be honest. Art was awful in my opinion and the little kids that tag around Ryo? I want to murder them. Bloody annoying creatures. And Ryo is way too much of a tease. Of course it does wonders to the Unresolved Sexual Tension. But it’s not all bad. You do want to see them hit it off. (cough cough)

The fangirls I’ve met in my country are rather … normal ones. Sure they love anime and stuff, but you wouldn’t guess it if they sat next to you. The ones I’ve met are successful career women while some are quiet, studious students (in Malaysia, smart people are generally more popular in school, not “losers”).

Or maybe us Asians are just generally more subdued. 😉

You know, I generally hold this principle: You can act however you want to celebrate your love for whatever fandom you’re in. However, when you tell me how I should love my fandom and the way I show my love of it is inadequate and on a loser scale? Stay away.

So I think this is the main reason why people dislike rabid fans of any genre be it yaoi, anime whatever: you just get this general impression that they think you suck because you don’t like the same things they do or do the same things they do to express their love for the genre.

This really makes me think twice about attending an anime convention in America. (Maybe British anime fans are less crazy.) I even cheekily suggested to my friend that we attend yaoi-con, but after reading about scary yaoi girls, maybe I should run.

They’d probably drive me ballistic.


Don’t bring your manga to Canada!

June 20, 2006

mangaread.jpgGee, and I thought that my country was strict. This blogger had her manga looked through by Canadian customs officers and ..

As soon as I declared that I had some of the japanese inspired comic books called manga, a Custom’s officer said, “That’s the stuff from Japan; there is some really obscene and filthy stuff.”

No, I pointed out, these was printed in America and very mainstream. As more and more officers were called in, the six manga books I had were examined in detail. They were looking, they told me, for pornographic, obscene and adult material. “The age rating is on the back of each book.” (each manga book has ratings like 13+ or 15+ – mine were 13+).

I was informed that I could have put different covers on or done anything else I could to get the pornography in and that if I spoke anymore, the books would be seized. So I stood there and watched my previously new books get examined page by page, thumbed through and pressed open because it was assumed if I read manga, that I was a sex offender.

That sounds like a joke doesn’t it. Except the exact same phrase “That stuff from Japan…” was used two weeks earlier on my last trip through Customs and my manga examined for the same reason; because Japanese manga is “really filthy stuff.” The reason I was so heavily raided this time, I found out afterward, was one of the manga titles had the word “boy” in the title, which “alerted” them to pedophile materials. Huh? Can someone please go get my next issue of the romance manga Tokyo Boys and Girls from the US? I’m too scared.

Gee. This is as good as the time when a Malaysian daily claimed that all anime was h3ntai. 😉 (Read this blog entry: Anime is pron)

t was a big hoo-haa in my country and thank goodness a few other newspapers quickly corrected that newspaper. Not that they'd admit that they did wrong. 😉 To them, it was justified. Hmm.

So, much misconception about the terms "anime" and "manga" still exists. Ask any book supplier in Malaysia and they'll tell you the problems they have with bringing some manga over. Many are confiscated – and I'm not talking yaoi stuff. Some are regular shojo and shonen titles. Someone told me that Saikano was on the "banned" list for one of the bookstores because it had love-making scenes.

I remember the time when my good friend brought some yoai manga from Singapore across the border to Malaysia. She was worried that she'd be arrested. (Incidently, in Singapore, you have to produce your passport/ID if you want to buy yaoi! Look ma, I'm buying pron!) I laughed it off then, thinking that it's such a joke, but with the post above, now I am starting to worry. -_-" And the manga that she got was more shonen-ai-ish than anything else. It's definitely not in the "hotness" realm like Embracing Love.

And that's why I live on scanlations. In my country, where sodomy is a crime, yaoi is just banned.

Ah, thank your lucky stars if you live in America, people! You guys not only have anime conventions and the like, you get to buy manga without fear!


What kind of yaoi girl are you?

May 24, 2006

You are the Jane yaoi girl!
Yaoi Personality Quiz brought to you by Yaoi-manga.com

Yup, pretty much spot-on. 😛 So, I'm one of those that can go "incognito" eh? That's nice to know!

If you look at the list I'm currently collecting, I read mostly shonen. I tried shoujo, but I really can't stand all the pussyfooting around. I have no patience with romantic triangles, squares and hexigons. I prefer action – no, not between the sheets, though I'm not impartial to them – but not mind-numbing tournaments ala Dragon Ball (that anime drove me nuts). I like strong plots and strong characters, and this applies to my yaoi as well. They have to have both for me to be interested, period.

PS: I do not, however, dream of men being in each others arms 24/7. 😉 I still prefer heterosexual relationships, and I don't read slash fanfic of any kind because I find it unrealistic (realism is a very big thing for me for some reason) and silly. I only read yaoi based on original characters and only if they have anything going for each other besides smex.


That’s right, there will be a yaoi category!

May 22, 2006

I was wondering whether I should, at first. Especially worried that people I know will stumble on this blog and say, “OMG! She reads yaoi!”

The common misconception people have about yaoi is that it’s gay porn. Yeah, admittedly some of the yaoi out there is nothing but gay porn. However, yaoi is orientated towards women and are mostly written by women. This is a concept I found difficult to believe in my pre-yaoi, shonen-ai days. Why would women want to read about gay relationships?

I spoke about this briefly in my post, Boys’ Love, anyone?, but basically it’s the idealised romantic notion of men, and women just like bishies … getting it on. cough. I really don’t understand myself, seriously. 😛

So, this category will just host my reviews on the yaoi out there – only what I consider worth mentioning, that is.

I’m not sure whether I should password protect these posts. Let’s see, let’s see …