The first ever boys love game to be released by western yaoi producer Yaoi Press is now available for purchase over on MangaGamer! And right now it is on sale, so now would be an awesome time to check out the kinky adventure of wizard in training Tristan and his lovable demon lovers? What path will you choose?
The noble Harse?
The sadistic Karn?
Or the flamboyant Soren?
With numerous endings, you’re bound to find an ending that will suit your yaoi tastes!
Before I get into the review of this OVA series a little background on the story of this anime that does not give away any plot of the story but does give some kind of context to the story told in the anime. Fuyu no Semi has a very familiar art style and the cast of characters if you are a long time fan in the yaoi genre. This is because the OVA is a spin-off of another anime and manga series called Haru Wo Daiteita. Which is an anime and manga that tells the story of a blooming romance between two former adult video actors (porn stars) making their debut into the world of mainstream actors. A story that focuses on the struggles that their former career choices are having on their personal and professional life. Fuyu no Semi is a movie these two actors end up working on, so yes they are the same characters in Fuyu no Semi but they are playing the role of the characters in the story, like any other actor. Now that, that is out of the way let’s begin the review of the yaoi anime that broke me emotionally the first few viewings and still tugs at my heartstring even today when I go back and watch it.
This anime is to date one of the few anime that has brought me to tears and I am not just talking about sitting there silently crying like I did the first time I watched the movie Grave of the Fireflies or that one scene from Clannad After Story, no I’m talking crying mess – tissue box in hand and my own mother asking what was wrong with me when I came out of my room after watching it for the first time. Even now I find myself tearing up when I watch it.
Released in 2007 and produced by On-Lead with animation by studio Venet which was the animation studio behind the Angel Feather anime adaptation, these two BL titles seem to be the only animes they have worked on. It also has a western release through Media Blaster who have also released yaoi titles on DVD and Blu-ray (American Region only sadly) in the west such as The Legend of the Blue Wolves and the most recent adaptation of Ai no Kusabi and of course Embracing Love. Fuyu no Semi or Embracing Love: A Cicada in Winter as it was released in the west, tells a story with a plot that will feel familiar to anyone who knows of the Shakespeare story of Romeo and Juliet, in fact, this anime is often compared to the classic tale of love and tragedy.
Set during the war-torn era of Japanese history when the countries rule changed from Shogunate to Imperial rule and began opening its borders to outside trade with the rest of the world (1862-1869) Fuyu no Semi tells the story of blossoming love and heartbreak between two samurais on either side of the conflict. Touma Kusaka is a part of a clan that wants to keep the country closed off from outsiders, and because of this belief decides to learn English in secret away from his clan. He is a gentle soul that wants to see the good in those around him. Keiichirou Akizuki comes from a powerful family within a clan that wants to open the borders and due to a chance encounter twice with Kusaka agrees to help the man learn English as a sort of teacher and through this sharing of knowledge the two become friends and then lovers, but with their clans at each others throats can love survive in this time of conflict? Seeing as this anime is often compared with Romeo and Juliet you can probably already guess the answer to that question, but it is what these two do to keep their love for as long as they can with each other that truly makes their love a beautiful tragedy.
This anime is my all time favorite anime and this because out of everything I have watched over the years no anime before it or since has hit me so hard on an emotional level. Love stories especially within boys love, can be a dime a dozen and begin to fall with the same tropes and trappings to the point where they can become predictable. It is for this reason why I have many genres I do not enjoy to watch or read because I find them over predictable. The best example I can give for this is old western movies. Both my parents love western movies and I watched them as a kid, but after a while, once I learned the usual stories formula they just became dull and boring to me, even if they did have some cool action scenes.
This is also a problem I know a lot of old school and older anime fans are having with modern anime. Each season we are told we are getting new anime, but it is beginning to feel like all these anime seasons are blending together into something I honestly do not want to watch anymore. Every season we will have some anime set in high school, every anime season we will have some sort of harem or ecchi anime and as of the last few years nearly every single season we have yet another isekai series and you just know at least one of them will be set in an MMO! (heck I think we have two of these this season) This is why a lot of anime fans are looking to older series just to find something different. If you are looking for something different to watch this anime season or a boys love anime with more heart and plot than anything else, you owe it to yourself to give Fuyu no Semi a watch, you do not even have to watch Haru wo Daiteita first. That being said I had a lot of fun at the beginning of this month marathoning both anime one after the other!
When I was but a newbie to the wonderful world of yaoi I happened to stumble upon an art book while on a trip into the city to explore a shop I had been told sold manga and anime items, sadly the store no longer exists but I still have the beautiful art book I bought that day, which was Kiss of Fire by Nitta Youka.
Born March 8, 1971, in the Fukui Prefecture, Japan she has been a popular manga artist within the yaoi genre and communities around the world with her cross-gender appeal of her artwork gaining fans in not only the female-driven yaoi community but also welcoming male fans who usually go for the more homo-erotic or bara style of manga. (not to say that bara is just for men or yaoi is just for women, I myself have a few favorite manga within the bara…
Alongside titles like Gravitation and Zetsuai/Bronze when I first came into the yaoi genre this OVA right here was one of the big boys love anime you needed to watch if you were a true fan of the genre. It seems however that in recent years this anime once highly recommended throughout the community has become unknown to newer fans of the genre and this is a real shame. Though far from a perfect story what is found within the two episode OVA is a rarity within the yaoi genre. Male characters that even gay men can relate to. This is Haru Wo Daiteita.
Released in 2005 and based on the popular manga by Youka Nitta this two episode OVA series with each episode running roughly thirty minutes tells the story of AV actors (Adult Video aka Porn Actors) Kyousuke Iwaki and Youji Katou as they work on a new television series in their debut into mainstream acting, Katou the younger of the two actors sees no shame in his past as an AV actor, but Iwaki lacks his co-stars confidence in his past. As the two play lovers in the show feelings begin to develop between the two of them, will this love be as fleeting as Iwaki believes it to be or is there something more there like Katou is hoping?
Art imitates life it seems for these actors in this story as their feelings for each other deepen the more they work with each other and this is one of the biggest draws for this series, the characters throughout both episodes discuss sexual orientation and how society would see such a relationship in society and the second episode even goes into discussion how times are slowly changing to being more accepting and how such a scandal for an actor years ago would have been career ending. It is these discussions on the subject that make the story of this anime that most likely brings the broader appeal of this series to more than just a fujoshi audience. These are real issues that gay men working in entertainment have and sadly for some will deal with, this brings a sense of maturity to the story that is lacking in a lot of modern yaoi and boys love anime. All too often when the subject of sexual orientation is brought up in boys love stories it is often met with statements like “I’m not gay! I just love him!” see Close the Last Door for a perfect example of this trope and this overused trope can get very tiring to a veteran yaoi watcher and reader such as myself.
This is an OVA series that is a must watch for any yaoi fan and the good news is it is one of the few to have an official western release under the title Embracing Love Cherished Spring on DVD through Kitty Media and can be picked up for a bargain bin price online through Amazon as well as the tie-in pseudo-sequel Fuyu no Semi aka A Cicada in the Winter which will be next weeks review here on Yaoi Playground, till next time I’m your Mistress of Yaoi.
This is currently my favorite comic over on Webtoon, I am just so in love with this satirical comedy about a young dictator who has just inherited the country from his retiring father while trying to hide from those around him that he is well gay and that is not easy when it becomes obvious he has a major crush on his newly appointed bodyguard and the bodyguard feels the same for the adorable young dictator.
Like Small World, another awesome comic I have been loving on Webtoon this is a very sweet and lighthearted comic to read and with all the darker stories I have been reading lately, namely the new Killing Stalking and Caste Heaven. Both of these stories are very dark psychological thriller stories aimed at a fujoshi audience and as brilliant as they have both have been for me sometimes even I need a break and like to read something just light, funny and downright adorable! If you have not checked out My Dictator Boyfriend yet, I cannot recommend this cute comic enough.
I did not really want to write a full review for this little comic but have been enjoying it so much I just wanted a chance to write about it here on Yaoi Playground, if you like this format let me know and I might start writing more smaller pieces to go along side my reviews.
Kaze to Ki no Uta or as many will know it as Song of the Wind and Trees is a true classic of the yaoi and boys love genre and is considered by many to be one of the first yaoi manga’s even though it was released at the time as a shoujo title. With its themes on race and homosexuality, it was a story before it’s time and is beloved by many within the yaoi community the world over, even though the manga itself has never had an official release in the west and the same is sadly true for the OVA anime, which I reviewed here. A recent announcement from JPopManga an Italian publisher which releases manga in Italian has announced an official release of the manga series.
This is huge news for the western yaoi and boys love community and has this fujoshi herself hoping for a future English release of the series.
Jast Blue which is a part of Jast USA a company that is an American publisher that releases English versions of Japanese games, in particular, dating sims recently announced a collaboration with Nitro+Chiral for English releases of their popular yaoi games to the west. Games announced so far include Sweet Pool, Dramatical Murder, and Lamento.
Keeping on the topic of gaming, MangaGamer another company that specializes in the western and English release of visual novels have announced another yaoi title coming to their catalogue of games and the game they have announced has this fujoshi excited. It’s LuckyDog1! A yaoi game about mischevious mafia bosses and a lot of hot yaoi action! As you can see from the release of the opening video below the artwork is vibrant and gorgeous. The only downside to this announcement is there does not seem to be a set release date just yet.
Lastly in gaming news Argent Games has announced a new comedy BL game set for release in the next couple of months. The game is titled Your Dry Delight and is to be set in 1920’s America during prohibition and looks to be a very cute and amusing game. All details about this project can be found here on their official site!
The last piece of Yaoi News comes from Nozomi Entertainment with an announcement that was made at Anime Expo 2018! Boys Love Classic anime Gravitation is getting a Blu-Ray release! This is beyond awesome news because it will give a new generation of yaoi and boys love fans a chance to own a piece of boys love history on Blu-Ray! I went into the importance this title has to fans of yaoi and boys love in the early 2000’s in my review of the series, The Gravity of Gravitation.
As I wrote at the beginning of this post there have been so many awesome announcements for the yaoi community recently and if I have missed anything I’ll be sure to get back to you guys soon, till next time, I’m your Mistress of Yaoi!