Why Yaoi?

This is something I have personally been wanting to write since 2012, but in all honesty my writing skills were not at a point where I was confident that I could get across with my thoughts and feelings on the subject.

In a way this will be an essay from my personal point of view of the yaoi genre from a long time fan’s perspective. I feel however I have to explain myself as a person for my point of view to get across. This is also an introduction into the next couple of reviews I will be posting here, so think of it as a segway into my thoughts and feelings on a genre that for the most part I think is misunderstood from those outside it’s fandom. I will not deny that there are certain beliefs outsiders have on those within the fandom that are true but at times can get blown way out of proportion to the point for myself at least that has been insulting.

I have always been a lover of character driven stories and this for me comes from my love of reading. As a child in primary school I remember reading Goosebumps books and the Animorphs series and enjoying them immensely because I loved the characters in the stories. Later as a teenager I started reading classic literature with books like ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ and ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ (which is still today my all time favourite novel) as well as reading anything I could find by Stephen King.

It was in my teenage years that I also became obsessed with a television show that looking back now I probably should not have been watching at the age I was, but the characters of the series just sucked me in, their drama was my drama. I laughed along with the characters, I was on the edge of my seat when something major happened to the characters. The show was Queer as Folk, and I instantly fell in love with all the characters in the show. I enjoyed the melodrama of the series and the taboo nature of the subject matter within the story, they talked about things like homophobia, drugs, addiction and aids. These were all things I had never seen in any sort of media before and my young brain sucked it all in like a curious sponge watching something she probably wasn’t suppose to be.

It was also around this time that I discovered fan fiction and though I did not actively seek out male on male stories I eventually found them within the Pokemon, Dragonball Z and Ultimate Muscle fandom. It wasn’t until later that I would learn the word yaoi and what it entailed and like many I just assumed when I found out what hentai was that yaoi was just a sub genre of that. I will admit I thought that for a long time and I think there are a lot of people out there that probably think that today as well. As a word yes that is what it is porn,but as a fandom it encompasses so much more.

There was a moment that changed this perspective for me and drew me into the fandom even deeper. I was browsing an anime forum which I had been a member of for a while (it was within this forum that I gained the nickname Mistress of Yaoi because I was able to find yaoi fanfiction for other users who were looking for certain pairings) that I learned of an anime being subbed online and posted on YouTube called Gravitation. After the first episode I was hooked on the characters and from that point on I was waiting each week for the next episode to come online so I could watch it. Gravitation was the first anime I actively seeked out to watch online and when I learned much time later that it had an English release here in Australia I could not wait to get the series and watch it dubbed. To be young and naive, anyone within the anime/yaoi community knows the infamy of that dub, it was an early Right Stuff dub so yeah if you have not seen it you can probably imagine what it is like. Not that I have anything against Right Stuff but that’s something to write about another time.

I started watching more anime of the yaoi genre on YouTube (this was of course a time before CrunchyRoll and before the whole YouTube copyright saga) and found other titles of the yaoi genre over the years including Zetsuai/Bronze, Haru Wo Daiteita, Fuyu no Semi, Okane ga Nai, Earthian, Loveless and of course the original Ai no Kusabi anime adaptation just to name a few. I enjoyed all these stories but I was not blind either to how bad some of them were plot wise many filled with giant gaping plot holes if you had not read the source material, something that can be very jarring to new comer to a series. There is also sadly a lot of anime in the genre that ends with the ‘read the manga to get the rest’ plot.

Haru wo Daiteita’s plot jumps all over the place and can be very confusing unless you have read the manga, especially the second episode which leaves you with major plot points completely missing. Another example of major plot points missing comes with the anime adaptation of Love Pistols (a manga series that I adore) the anime tried to put too much plot within the two episode series and skimmed over important plot points just telling you barely enough to know what is going on. Okane Ga Nai on the other hand is an anime that yes finishes the story within the series, but sadly has an ending that is so open like it’s hinting at something more but to get that more you have to read the manga. (Of which I eventually did do)

When a person mentions yaoi the first thing that comes to the mind of many people within and outside the fandom is the idea of two attractive males fucking each other and a lot of yaoi stories are exactly this, there is enough plot to get character A and B together and then yaoi goodness, anime examples of this include Level C and Sensitive Pornograph. There are many theories out there as to why women like myself like these kind of stories and believe me I have heard them all even the insulting ones.

I do not doubt that there are fans out there that get some kind of sexual gratification from reading and watching these stories but this is not always the case. How do I know this? Because I am one of the viewers that does not get that kind of gratification from yaoi. For someone like myself it all started out as simply morbid curiosity and to a certain extent it still is. There is also the sheer hilarity of how bad and unrealistic some of these scenes can be or how some scenes can just make your heart melt with pure emotion. (This more than likely explains my own personal obsession the last few years of Transformers Yaoi, well that and the fun that can come perverting something so.. not sexy would not be completely right but that’s perhaps some thing I will write about later on down the line.)

Yaoi is such a broad genre when one thinks about it, we at one point called the softer side of things Shonen Ai but that kind of all changed after the release of Boku no Pico and the word became attached to shota-yaoi. I personally find it ironic the softer stuff is referred as Boys Love or BL these days considering the English translation of Shonen Ai. You will find all sorts of stories within the genre. Coming of age stories like those in Loveless and Gravitation to a certain extent, to stories of fighting the status quo like in Ai no Kusabi and Fuyu no Semi. There’s also porn if that’s what your looking for though just look up Sensitive Pornograph and if you are lucky you might find the uncensored version.

Of Love and Distance

This Review is Dedicated to the love of my life, I will always love you Simon.

The first time I saw Voices of a Distant Star I instantly fell in love with it and I have loved the work of Makoto Shinkai ever since then and I’m always excited when I learn there is something new he has in the works.

His work just seems to grow more visibly stunning with each new work, you just have to sit down and watch ‘Garden of Words’ to see how gorgeous the artwork he and his team can create is, every scene is wallpaper fodder for anime lovers.

That being said the art style of Voices is very dated (art wise at the very least) compared to his newer works, but it is an amazing work of love it really is and that is part of the reason why I wanted to review it for Valentines Day this year.

Voices of a Distant Star tells the story of two lovers who are separated by a war and of distance. I must admit this is a story that has been used to death in many different story telling mediums but there is a fresh take on this story that makes me love it so much.

Teenage girl Mikako Nagamine is recruited into the UN Space army to fight an alien menace threatening the very existance of mankind. This story on it’s own would have made an amazing anime series and yet the story instead chose to focus on the struggle that is placed upon Mikako as the distance between her and her beloved boyfriend Noboru and how it and their love grows.

We see them both struggle more and more as the distance between them grows. Its not just distance between them its time its very self. The only way Mikako has to keep in contact with her lover is text message from her mobile phone. (unrealistic I know for a sci-fi story if you think about it for too long but the emotions of the story suck you into such an unbelievable story) Mikako tries so hard to keep her connection with Nobaru by texting him nearly everyday, but the farther away from earth the fleet moves the longer it takes for her messages to reach Nobaru. The final message takes several years to reach the one she loves.

We don’t just see Mikako’s side of this love in the movie though, we also see Nobaru go through his own journey of missing Mikako and his love growing to the point of almost being to painful to bare, my favourite quote from the movie actually comes from Nobaru himself when he is contemplating his love of Mikako.

Nobaru: The time between Mikako and I drifts further and further apart. That is why I have made a goal: to make my heart harder, colder and stronger. The door that I know will never open. I won’t knock on it eternally. I will become an adult, even alone. 

I am of the belief that true love, cannot be changed by distance or time. In fact I live my own love this way because my love is a distant love. It could be because of this why this particular love story hit’s me so hard, this is one of those movies that when I watch it I cannot help but shed a tear, even though I know the story off by heart because I have watched the movie so many times.

I am coming into nearly ten years into my current relationship (that is if I include the time he became a precious true friend to me, through a time when I had lost a lot of trust in the people around me).

It is a love that a cherish more than anything in my life, a love that has helped heal me through some of the traumas of my life and helped me grow into the stronger confident person I am today

I live in Western Australia and the person that owns my very heart and soul lives all the way in England. My mum bought me a mug she found last year that has the United Kingdom flag on it and before that she bought me a money box that looks like a London bus. These simple jesters from her showed me that she accepts and approves of the choice I have made to be in this relationship.

Over the years the one I love has sent me necklaces, a bracelet, a pocket watch and a T-shirt with the Decepticon Insignia on it. When I wear these items and I will admit a day does not go by where I do not wear at least one of these items I feel close to him. When I’m having a bad day or a day where despite everything else in my life I feel lonely I just look at the item I am wearing and I am reminded that I don’t have to be lonely because he is in my heart.

The distance between us physically is roughly 14,470 kilometres, but the space between our hearts is thinner than the head of a needle.

To all the lover’s in this world separated by distance, Happy Valentines Day

Blog Update and a Little About Me

First of there will be no new Review this weekend and there might not be for a while as I have been having major issues with my laptop. I am really hoping I can get it repaired tomorrow though but even after that it might be a while before the next review.

Still I thought I would use this week’s post as a chance to let anyone reading this blog to learn a little bit about the author of this blog. You can just call me Mistress of Yaoi. I am a long time anime fan and if the name is anything to go by you can probably guess my favorite genre. I’ve been a yaoi fan for over a decade now, so I think I’m past that squealing fangirl stereo type. (that being said I was probably one of those in my early years as a fan) I’ve also been an anime fan for far longer.

My earliest memories of anime are watching shows like Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion (though I hope that does not make me sound older than what I am, when I was a kid those shows would air very early in the morning on Nickelodeon)

Other shows I grew up watching and loving included Sailor Moon, Dragonball Z, Pokemon and other’s that use to air before school. I also remember watching shows like Gundam Wing on toonami as well as Transformers Armada (yes that one is an anime so it counts)

After anime my other passion is Transformers and I’m not ashamed to admit at times my interests have crossed over if you catch my drift. Also I hope I don;t have to name my favourite.