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.
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?
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.