OWLS Blog Tour Grotesque | Humanity and the Grotesque of The Orc Bride

Welcome to my usual readers, to those who have randomly stumbled upon this post and of course a big welcome to those following this month’s OWLS blog tour, which has had a focus on the grotesque in honor of the spooky season. If you are following along like I have been this month then you would have already read the wonderful post from Lyn. I am your Mistress of Yaoi and in this post, we will be exploring the amazing body horror found within The Orc Bride piece by delicate piece. I hope your stomach can handle it. This is because this month’s theme is grotesque…

“In honor of Halloween, we will explore what we find vile and ugly in pop culture. For this month’s topic, OWLS bloggers will be exploring characters or aspects of the grotesque in a piece of media and how it is a metaphor or allegory for society, human nature, or some other philosophical or humane idea.”

Body horror is something that when done badly can come across as a laughable and downright lame mess. But when done right it can send the most disturbing of chills down your spine. There is, however, a very thin line between good and bad body horror and in the realm of yaoi and bara, there is one manga that comes to mind when I think of the grotesque and that my readers is Nishin’s The Orc Bride a manga that has scarred many within the yaoi community for its vile depictions of torture and rape. There are many disturbing moments throughout the story, but for me, the most gut-wrenching and disturbing moment is in part one of the most relatable moments. It is the following scene.

Chikuhyou no Hanayome_p08_Eng (2)

This image right here is the most haunting and disturbing moment throughout the whole manga for me. Now I know what you are thinking compared to the other content that is known to be in this story including rape by inhuman pig-like orc monsters, implied self-cannibalism, male pregnancy, monster birth a murder this is the scene that disturbs me? It is the relatability of a sliver of skin being pulled away, like say when one pulls on a hangnail and takes a small sliver of skin along with it. I hate when that happens and the fact that this moment reminds me of this small painful moment brings a strange grotesque sense of reality to an otherwise almost unrelatable dark fantasy story. The Orc Bride forces its reader to confront some very disturbing moments most of which so over the top they force us to come to terms with what really disturbs us.

This theme of pushing bounds and disturbing the reader continues through the torturous story of the adventurer who is magically altered so that he can ‘mother’ the children of the monsters that rape him, as he is fed a putrid stew made up of his own sawn-off legs and other prisoners in an act of forced cannibalism and then finally dumped to be found by his allies pregnant and in the pain of childbirth. In his final moments of life, he is given freedom from his hell when the brother he endured all this for takes one look at the disgusting state his is in and kills him. Ending his suffering. However I am left wondering in this moment of the story, did the brother do this to really save him or was it his own disgust that brought him to the conclusion that saving him would be a quick death? In that final moment what gave him the right to make that decision? I’ll let you my reader ponder that thought like I have, but I ask you the follow-up question, what gives us the right to know what is best for someone else? If the adventurer had not taken his brothers place and the situation was reversed would the outcome had been any different?

Chikuhyou no Hanayome_p24_Eng (2)

It is not an easy read by any means but by taking in and reading or watching that which grotesque and disturbs us can help us explore our own moral compass. The fact that the things within a tale like The Orc Bride can get these visceral reactions from us is proof of our own humanity and morals, it is when we can read or watch stories like these and they don’t affect us on some level that we should really be disturbed. Thank you for taking the time to read my post in this months blog tour, as this months blog tour comes to the end there is one last post you get to read and it comes out tomorrow from the lovely Fred. Till next time I am your Mistress of Yaoi.

People are Missing the Point of Goblin Slayer Already

I can honestly not remember the last time I have seen so much hate around the anime community for the first episode of an anime, and I know I am a little late to talk about this but I just really wanted to put my two cents into the discussion about this first episode that has so many anime fans pissed and on a side note personally I liked the first episode and plan to continue watching the series.

As someone who over the years has read countless fantasy stories, played fantasy games and watched a few fantasy anime, I knew this was not going to be the usual power fantasy cliche of a story when one of the characters asked if they had enough potions and another character said no and laughed it off. These adventurers were idiots in a dangerous world and it was almost a relief to actually see some danger and consequence in the story for such idiotic adventurers.

The biggest issue I am seeing about this series around though is people being ‘uncomfortable’ with rape being shown in the first episode and that it is just there as a cheap attempt to make the story edgy. Now as someone who has read and watched countless yaoi titles and knowing that at this point rape could be considered a cliche within that genre this scene did not bother me that much and there was a reason for this. The rape itself was shown as a cruel and depraved act. It was not glorified or fetishized it was shown for the cruel act it is and this has apparently pissed off a lot of people. I have written countless times that I personally do not have an issue with subjects like rape happening in fictional media, in fact, at times I outright support the depiction of it because sexual violence is something that does happen, but what I do hate is when these acts are glorified into something enjoyable. Odd I know for someone who is a yaoi fan to say right? News flash, just because rape is a cliche in yaoi does not mean all yaoi fans like or fetishize rape. In fact, I went into this fact with my review of The Tyrant Falls in Love, this was an anime where the rape made me uncomfortable, Goblin Slayers rape scene not so much.

The other scene that is making people uncomfortable is the slaying of baby goblins, this is a scene that like the rape scene earlier in the episode is here to prove a point about the world that the story of Goblin Slayer is taking place in. This world is a cruel and dark place and though to a certain extent with the title character at least it could be seen as a power fantasy much like the original Berserk this is a power fantasy in a world where you need to be powerful to survive and not a power fantasy that comes from being surrounded by weak easily defeated enemies.

Hardcore Yaoi Game Coming to Nintendo Switch!

What a perfect and amusing piece of yaoi news to come out in October, it fits right in with this months theme of all things spooky. Even if vampires have been done to and after death within yaoi. It is just a shame that this will be a Japan-only release, however after doing a little bit of research, I do know that unlike previous Nintendo consoles the Nintendo Switch is not region locked so if you can read Japanese there is nothing to stop you from importing the game for yourself.

37

Set in a future society where scientist have created a synthetic substitute for a blood shortage at the same time vampires come out of the shadows of society declaring they wish to ‘peacefully’ coexist with humans and that this new substitute for blood can help them do so. By nature however vampires still prefer human blood over this new fake blood and not all humans and vampires are happy to just coexist in peace. From what I have read about this game’s story as well as being a vampire yaoi story is also plays with a narrative from an omegaverse like society. To those not familiar with omegaverses I recommend watching this video to learn more about it.

Omega Vampire will be the first yaoi game to get an official release on a Nintendo console so that is pretty awesome and Nintendo themselves have not confirmed or denied whether the game will get a western release, I’m kind of hoping it will but with visual novels still being a niche genre for gaming in the west and yaoi and boys love being an even smaller part of the marketplace I would not be surprised if it does not receive a western release. Still, a western fujoshi can remain hopeful that one day we will get our share of hot yaoi action on our home consoles.

Why I HATED Devilman Crybaby

If something is declared by the greater masses to be a masterpiece, does that mean that you have to find enjoyment in it? Of course not. Enjoyment of any sort of media will always come down to personal taste and this is a subject I have written about before on this blog, though that was ages ago. In my post What defines a ‘Guilty Pleasure’?, I discussed my own history with watching Adult Swim as well as how different opinions on a show can define whether or not a show could be classed as a guilty pleasure to someone while to others a masterpiece. I bring up this post because I can understand why so many people love Devilman Crybaby, but for me at best I can call it a guilty pleasure or at least I would have up until the ending of the series, the last few episodes left me hating the series, but I am going to start at the beginning of my journey for Deviman Crybaby and tell you why I ended up hating what is considered by so many in the anime community as a modern masterpiece.

My journey with Devilman Crybaby started with the hype for the series that began almost as soon as the series started on Netflix in January of 2018. Everyone in the anime community was going on and on about Devilman Crybaby and how awesome of an anime it was and how different it was from anything before. There was some excitement around the net as well before it was even released solely because of who the director of the series was, Masaaki Yuasa. The only other works I have seen by this director are Kaiba, which I dropped after the fourth episode and Ping Pong the animation, which I loved so at the news that he was directing the series I was on the fence. It would not be until August that I would sit down and watch Devilman Crybaby as I had yet to set up a Netflix account.

kaiba-featured
Kaiba was an anime I really wanted to love as the art style reminded me of my favorite manga artist Junko Mizuno

It was a want to watch The Little Prince among other movies that I finally decided to set up an account and Devilman Crybaby was the first series I binged watched in two sittings. If I had enjoyed the series I probably could have finished it in one sitting but well… I needed a break at the halfway point. By the end of the first episode, I came to realize I was not going to enjoy this series and a big part of that came down to the characters, none of them I found likable. They were either dense fucking idiots or snide little assholes and this description especially goes to the two leads Akira and Ryou. Which is ironic because in both the manga and the 1972 anime series I enjoyed both characters. They had a camp charm to them, but here as I said I just found both of them extremely unlikable. Ryou was so stereotypically ‘evil’ and such an obvious manipulator that his character lacked any of the charms he had in the manga and the lack of charm from Ryou made Akira’s trust and faith in his ‘best friend’ make him look like a gullible idiot at best. It is because of this lackluster character dynamic between the two that the reveal at the end of the series of Ryou being the main villain just seemed to have next to no impact what so ever.

devilman_crybaby_queeen_bee_clip_02-0
One of the biggest draws for me when I first read the Devilman manga was the relationship between Akira and Ryou, where when watching Devilman Crybaby there is next to no chemistry between the characters. To the point where I do not even want to Ship the two of them!

My biggest issue however with the series is the pacing throughout the episodes, I found it to be just all over the place, there were several seemingly unimportant scenes where the story just seemed to drag on and it became a bore to watch and then at other times scenes felt so rushed that they lacked any impact that they were supposed to have. The worse of the scenes to have no impact was the episode where Akira’s parents show up and are killed. Throughout the series, we are told what good people Akira’s parents are but we don’t see any of this, we the audience are just told. Then when we do finally see them they are on screen for a few minutes and then are massacred by a monster and because they are Akira’s parents we are supposed to sympathize with Akira for the tough decision he has to make in ‘killing’ them a second time? It’s almost like the writing behind this is ‘oh the audience with sympathize because he has to do this to his parents’ it’s a cheap tactic to get audience sympathy at best, like writing a story about a dying child. Of course, you are going to feel sad, it’s a child dying so, of course, you are going to feel sorry for Akira having to do that to his parents, after all, they are his parents and we don’t have to worry about giving them any character development.

Then there is the ending, it felt like a rushed mess and by the end of it all I had just had enough and was so happy it was finally over, of course, I sat down and watched the whole series two more times to try and understand why so many others loved this series. I also read countless reviews and watched countless videos on Youtube praising the series. One of the biggest compliments I saw the series being given is the themes it explores but to me the themes it did try to cover felt like they were just scratching the surface. At the end of the day, I just had to come to the conclusion that this masterpiece of anime that everyone was loving was to me at least just garbage. Maybe I could have enjoyed it more if I had not read the original manga last year but who really knows.

This Boy Suffers From Crystallization Trailer

It seems that nearly every time I write up a yaoi and boys love news post something new comes up online mere hours after that post goes live. This Boy Suffers from Crystallization is probably one of the most underrated stories in the This Boy series of anime and seeing the trailer for the release of the dubbed version of it, well you just know I will have a review for this beautiful anime in the future. (maybe next month)

 

Yaoi and Boys Love News, October 2018

New yaoi games, English releases of classic yaoi game titles and new anime to watch this season, let’s get into the yaoi news for this month!

seiyuu-danshi-ner

Starting out as a Kickstarter project by Meyaoi that I have been following closely through their Tumblr blog, the full version of Seiyuu Danshi is now available for purchase through the games official site. This visual novel style game centers around a career as a voice actor and you play as a newbie voice actor to the industry and you must help your character reach his goal and along the way find love. This game features many possibilities you do not get in any other yaoi games including all characters being reversible, (meaning no matter who you end up with, you can be the bottom or the top), foreplay mode which lets you play with all the boys and dress them up to your bedroom liking and so much more! This is also an English yaoi game with full voice acting! So if this sounds like a game that would interest you, you really need to go check it out!.

Earlier this year Jast Blue announced their collaboration with visual novel company Nitro+CHiRAL for English releases of their popular Yaoi titles such as Togainu no Chi, Lamento – Beyond the Void, Dramatical Murder, and Sweet Pool. Sweet Pool will be the first to get a release and two versions of the game are up for pre-order now over on J-List. Sweet Pool Limited Edition which costs $40 USD includes the following…

 – Game DVD
– Original Soundtrack (2 CDs)
– 5 Illustrated Cards
– Steam Key
– JAST USA Download Key

But if you have some extra cash to splurge on something cool you could put a pre-order in for the Sweet Pool Premium Fan Collection edition for $150 USD which includes the following…

-Premium Art Book (A4-size)
Packed full of beautiful artwork from a wide selection of sources, including magazine releases and limited edition merchandise.

-Exclusive sweet pool Tote Bag
A classy tote bag featuring each major character’s animal motif.

-4 Acrylic Figures + 4 Backdrops
Let the characters keep you company beside your keyboard or recreate tableaus from the game with these figures and backgrounds.

-Exclusive sweet pool T-shirt
A gorgeous design that lets you show your fan spirit without compromising style. Free-size.

-10 Piece Can-Badge Set
Featuring cute stoats and chibi character artwork by Yupon. Wear them on your jacket or start an itabag!

-5 A4-sized Clearfile Folders
Beautiful folders to display or use. Includes SD artwork by Yamada Uiro.

-Exclusive Set of 5 sweet pool Postcards
Featuring artwork from the game. Send them to fellow sweet pool fans or decorate your wall!

-Proof of Purchase
Each set carries a unique serial number, proving that you’re a loyal fan of sweet pool!

-Steam Download Key
Each package includes a download key for the Steam version of sweet pool.

please note however that this version does not include a physical copy of the game.

So what is Sweet Pool you might be asking yourself, it is not as well known amongst yaoi fans outside of Japan like Lamento and Dramatical Murder but it is still a really cool game worth your time. It tells the story of Sakiyama Youji who spends a lot of time in hospital due to a mysterious illness that just seems to be getting worse. Bizarre symptoms plague the young man’s body including vivid and disturbing hallucinations. This is a not a yaoi title for those who are easily squeamish but if you enjoy a darker yaoi tale then this is a game worth your time.

 

thumb_6db93265-3916-4e15-83f5-89c19bd119d3

The last little bit of news I would love to share with everyone is the awesome boys love options we have this anime season, yes I said options! As most of you already know Dakaichi I’m Being Harassed by the sexiest man of the year (which is streaming over on Crunchyroll)  but another series you might not know about this season is Hey, Your Cat Ears are Showing! Though sadly not picked up by any of the big legal streaming sites sadly if you search the net hard enough you will find some other sites streaming the series. With each episode only running a few minutes, it is one of the most adorable anime I have seen in a long time and is based on a Chinese webcomic by the same name. If you get a chance to watch this cute little anime you will not be disappointed I promise.