Of Boys’ Love and the Closet Fudanshi

When I am not watching anime, there’s 90% chance you can find me in the Yaoi land.

Warning: The title says it all. This post is about me blabbering my wonders and horrors of the ever famous yaoi demographic. If you are one of the dude bros who do not stomach BL or any fujoshi tainted discussion, kindly leave. Thank you.

It was 2015 when a fellow fudanshi told me to watch a Sekaiichi Hatsukoi film. Well, I accepted his offer since he is a friend and I was still experimenting with my taste in anime shows back then. To tell you the truth – the film was okay, it was just a normal story if you make the uke a girl. I still did not get how Haikyuu!!!, Kuroko no Basuke and Shingeki no Kyojin were massive fujoshi shows because I watch these three for the action. How did I end up like this?

It all started when I watched Hetalia right after and I willfully dragged myself into the fujoshi hell since then. That series clicked heavily in me because I am a Geography Geek and I have a soft spot of homoerotic interpretation of World History. Then, bam! I became a Hetalian right after they presented a dramatic take on the independence of the United States.

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Hey, do not fool yourself. You just saw some hot biseinen like Spain, Netherlands and Turkey so you watched more of Hetalia.

Who does not love some good Spain x South Italy and Germany x North Italy fanfics or doujinshis? I mean, there is this chapter in the manga where Spain actually proposes to Romano about gay marriage and I was like…. “What have I done to receive something so good?” No. 6 was also good, if you just take a look with the relationship of the leads. Just throw the convoluted plot aside for your convenience. Best? Damn Samurai Flamenco for giving me us the dynamics of Gotou and Masayoshi. Yeah, I am still a Gotou-baka since I watched Samurai Flamenco last September.

Not everything works in the fujoshi lore though. Ironically, I did not feel that much for the celebrated Yuri on Ice despite its commitment on same-sex relationships. BUT JJ WAS HOT! – ehem. Even after converting to a full-pledge fudanshi, I still do not get why people are shipping characters from a sports show or Levi x Eren from Shingeki no Kyojin. Do they really have some headcanon that these characters have some sort of pent-up tension that needs to be released through uhmm… you know?

As to how I became an avid manga reader, it was really that simple to be honest. You cannot complain anymore when you basically finished the whole of Bleach, Special A, Maid-sama and Mushishi. Hence, it was just a demographic shift from what I am usually reading.

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Then there’s this major barrier….

I had a major complaint on how relationship works in yaoi titles. The prominent themes of harassment, rape and Stockholm syndrome really irked me, although the artwork is normally deliciou– err… good. That eliminated about 50% of the potential titles I would have read and tried to search for works whose stories worked like a normal romance.

YAOI WITHOUT HARASSMENT OR SEX SCENES” –  I saw titles, then I tried to take a look for the artwork. I was traumatized by the yaoi hands back then, I am glad I am laughing to it now. Seriously, if not for those keywords, I probably erred to the wrong side of elitism today because I would have dismissed all BL works as trash.Then I stumbled on a great title called Seven Days.

It was my first BL manga and it was an eye opening experience. I have a girlfriend but why am I gushing over these male fictional characters?! Seriously, the shock was so great the poor samui is still munching a rate of two-three shounen/yaoi mangas up to this day. Hidamari ga Kikoeru, Doushitemo Furetakunai, Tamayura and Yozora no Sumikko de also hit my sweet spot. Goodbye shounen and shoujo flicks, Samui heads for the yaoi.

I never thought yaoi can also produce naturalistic romances that have universal appeal. I do support same sex relationships in real life (I am a fudanshi, duh) and seeing well-crafted BL stories is perhaps a positive sign that mangakas are taking this stance seriously. The ones that hit me the most are those whose characters act like normal guys who only happened to love one another. For me, a good yaoi work does not have to have too much sex scenes. On how the author builds the relationship between the characters is more important, to say at least. Dudes have their own things, and you cannot just switch the gender of one character then make it work like a shoujo manga. That quirk makes this demographic really interesting.

Just like any demographic, it has its quirks and tropes that still make me roll my eyes but hey – there are diamonds here and it pays off looking for these in a pile of mediocre ones.

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Then there’s the kinky…

One of my Twitter nakamas tweeted about Yoru to Asa and I cannot describe my thoughts after reading it. It was unique… to say at least. It was as if the gates of hell opened and I entered the dark doors of this demographic. Black Monkey Pro? Resfrio? Sure. I ate those colored works like a hungry wolf especially the latter. Someone please find me an exit. Or maybe I do not want to get out of this mess after all.

Ahhh… I am so going to hell for this.

Well, only few people in real life know that I am a fudanshi. I accidentally outed myself to an officemate when I made her read my second shounen-ai novelette. Since then, she is shipping me with just about everyone (save me please). I am having fun with her gushing over Yuri on Ice last Fall though. Lastly, I converted someone to a fujoshi when I make her watch the whole of Hetalia. Spread the darkness, samui.

That ends my blabber about my yaoi manga journey. So long my dear readers.

PS: I looked back in my Shingeki no Kyojin days and I wondered why I was so into Jean and Marco. I realized I must have been like this a long time ago. Listen to “Hey There, Jean Kirschtein” in Youtube and thank me later. Teehee.

PPS: Gosh – I read a boys’ love work yesterday called Yami BL and it crept the hell out of me. I thought I already saw everything in this demographic. Oh. My. God. Then there’s Paradise View which is good, but I never expected despair from that work. Monokuma is laughing at me somewhere right now.

PPPS: Do not ask me about yuri because I don’t want to sin more. Yaoi does not affect my line of thought. Yuri does. I am reading it from time to time though when I am seriously bored.

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