2018 really was a great year to be a yaoi and boys love. From awesome anime like Hitorijimi My Hero, Yarichin Bitch Bu, and Dakaichi coming out to the announcement of a Ten Count anime! Not to mention the growing number of awesome webtoon and manhwa yaoi stories being released it truly is a great time to be a fan of the genre of my choice. As well as the mentioned anime however there were also releases of some awesome Boys Love animated series in both China and South Korea though like with any medium you will find a mixed bag of good and bad and unfortunately this is one show that falls into the bad.
Maybe its because it’s a South Korean animation but with it’s short run time per episode I found it hard to follow the plot that seemed to move very fast and the prologue that is episode 0 of the series just made things even more confusing. After the confusing episode 0, the story follows two boys whose names I can not remember because of how forgettable they are. One seems to be a quiet student who gets tormented by his classmates until the other steps in and a friendship blooms between the two that I think slowly becomes something more, for one of them or both of them I’m honestly not sure, though the series does use the yaoi/boys love trope of two younger male characters watching porn together out of curiosity, though that seems to be where the series just ends before anything else happens.
I really wish I could say something more positive about this series, the animation is ok I guess and the voice acting is very good. Advertised on Bookcube’s website as the first BL Webtoon original animation the short episode time does not do the series any favors and if you want to follow the story properly you are better off reading the webtoon the series is based on.
In early December 2018, social networking site Tumblr made an announcement to its user base that sent massive shock waves through many a fandom that for years have called the site home. To put it in the simplest of terms as of December 17, 2018, all NSFW content considered pornographic or Adult in nature would be purged and banned from the site. This was a big blow for the yaoi community that for years has called Tumblr home. It was a safe haven for many of us to get to know some of our favorite artists, but this was not my first time having to deal with a purge that has affected the fandom I love so much. To be honest when you are part of certain groups and fandoms you do get used to it after a while. Tumblr is different to other sites of the past that this has happened to however and in this post, I will be explaining why this is different for Tumblr and my personal journey with the site.
Fanfiction.net is a perfect example of purges happening to fandoms. Whether certain sites do not wish for explicit content. The site does not allow work with a rating over MA and outright porn without plot fics are technically not allowed on the site, so this has included a lot of yaoi fics. Another reason works can be purged from a fanfiction site is that the owner of the work the fanfiction is based upon does not allow fanfiction to be created of their work. Ever wondered why there is so little Interview with a Vampire fan works out there? Anne Rice is not a fan of fanfiction and has threatened to sue writers and sites that post such work. I and many other authors have lost much of our early works due to purges within fanfiction communities and the fact that when we first started out we did not have the hindsight to back up our work once it was online. It was in these early days of this happening that I and many others turned to save our favorite posts offline and even printed out and stored favorite stories of ours.
Gaia Online and Neopets are perfect examples of communities who over a decade ago went through such purges. Neopets outright banned certain usernames containing words like yaoi and Gaia Online banned all NSFW groups. Sites like Gaia Online and Neopets were always intended as sites for children and as those children grew up the communities within the site would slowly change. Of course, this was not always the case as with any community aimed at children you would get multiple sickos on these kinds of sites that target children for their own disgusting means, sites like these have always been grooming grounds for the sick and twisted to get access to children. Tumblr however, is different to these sites. It was never intended as a site for children, but over the last few years, it seems to have become a playground for them as well as another group that began on the internet.
Launched in February of 2007 as a microblogging and social media platform the site slowly grew into a site where all were welcome and this was even encouraged in the early years and the site became a safe haven for many with many with different tastes to the norm, and many subjects not discussed elsewhere soon became topics of discussion amongst the members of the site. In fact, it was not yaoi or the shipping community that originally brought me to the platform, no it was monster girl ‘artwork’… ok it was outright porn, but it was really well-drawn porn. That’s right I was one of the users who came to the site for the art and the porn, but I stayed because of the communities and friends I made through the site.
Whenever I told people I was a part of the Tumblr community on other sites I would all too often be told, that site is nothing but drama. But if I am completely honest, on the parts of the site and communities I was a part of I saw very little drama. In fact, the only time I ever got into any sort of ‘drama’ was when some of my followers started complaining that I was reblogging hardcore transformers yaoi because they were not into that. I must admit though these complaints just had me rolling my eyes because at the end of the day it was my Tumblr page and I was going to reblog what I wanted to reblog. That is to say, though I was not blind to the drama going on in other sections of the site.
A lot of shipping flame wars have happened over the years on Tumblr from the drama that was Hetalia in its heyday to more recent drama within the Voltron community (a shipping community I will admit I took no part in because and I must confess, I never got into the Voltron series because I did not like the show) and of course if I am going to talk about modern fandom drama I must mention the whole Steven Universe fanart incident. One piece of drama that has not been given nearly as much spotlight, however, was one that disturbed me and many others on the site in recent months.
A growing number of NSFW artists had been getting art commissions and requests from underage users, who were indeed advertising that they were underage. To the point that they had their age stated on their home page, there was also a growing number of underage artists creating explicit NSFW art. I myself came across one such page where the artists stated they were 12 years old! This, of course, brings up a lot of the dangers that I brought up in my post last year, It Should Be Common Sense in the Yaoi Fandom Right? It was because of this growing trend on Tumblr that I came to the decision to write that post. I must admit though, I found myself constantly wondering why the parents or guardians of these children were not monitoring their children’s online activity, yes I said parents and guardians because it is their responsibility to keep an eye on what kids do online, not the sites.
Back when I was under 18 we were not allowed internet in unsupervised parts of the house, now admittedly there was no wifi back then, so as long as the modem was outside the bedrooms this was not an issue, but all our time on the computer was done in areas of the house where a parent would always be watching us. I understand that in this modern age it is hard for parents to monitor everything their child does, but when it comes to online activity there are so many dangers for children.
Child pornography. This is why Tumblr was removed from the Apple store, or at least what they claimed to be the cause. Now I will admit I did come across the occasional shotacon and lolita anime art on the site, but me personally I never came across CP that involved actual children. The laws pertaining on whether or not drawn artwork counts as child exploitation material has been a hot debate in many NSFW communities for years and in many countries including Australia, England and the United States of America such imagery is in fact illegal. So as a yaoi fan I know with many works I am treading a very thin line when it comes to legality. At the end of the day though, Tumblr had to make a business decision concerning the Apple Store because chances are it would not be long till the Google Play store would more than likely make the same decision.
Do I think they rushed the decision to outright ban all NSFW artwork and blogs from the site? Yes, I do, in my opinion, it was like trying to put our a dumpster fire with a kitchen fire extinguisher. Do I think it was a damn stupid decision to use a bot to enforce these new rules? Fucking oath I do, Youtube is a perfect example that these sort of content blocks DO NOT WORK, perfect example the infamous cat killer that still has his channel! While others are fighting tooth and nail to keep their content on the platform! Tumblr making all NSFW banned from its site is a band-aid solution to a bigger problem that was and still is plaguing it and many sites and I am sorry to be that person but that problem is under-age people having access to content they are not supposed to and of parents and guardians expecting these websites to protect their children when at the end of the day it is, in fact, their responsibility.
Right first anime season of 2019, that being the Winter season and it looks like we have a yaoi anime, characters look cute, the trailer looked interesting and it seems it is a short format series with episodes less than five minutes long and there are two versions of the series. One a broadcast series and the second one a streaming series that promises to not hold back sounds like an awesome way to start the year right? RIGHT?
With a tagline like ‘There are Times I Cannot Hold it, Even if I’m a Father’ I thought perhaps we might get a story about a single father seducing the cute housekeeper and the story could still go there, but the first episode though cute… it gave similar vibes to the first episode of Souryo to Majiwaru Shikiyoku no Yoru ni... from last year and that is an anime I would not like to compare anything to. I really hope as the series goes on it does not turn into a story like The Tyrant Falls in Love and that there are consequences for what just happened in this episode.
I’ll be holding my breath and hoping that this one get’s better, on the bright side this is a yaoi series that goes all the way…
Beginning in the Summer 2018 anime season and ending in December of the same year Banana Fish is by far my favorite anime of 2018 and this is coming from a yaoi and boys love fan who was spoiled within her genre of choice this year, but what is it about Banana Fish that had me hooked right from the very beginning?
Based on the manga of the same name by Akimi Yoshida, Banana Fish is not a series for everyone. In fact, with a lot of the themes the series explores that will be downright triggering and upsetting to a lot of people and if you need your story to have a happy ending… well you really really need to look elsewhere. I will be going into the ending of Banana Fish in a future post and I want this post to be an overall review of the series and to show whether or not this will be a series for you to watch or not.
The story of Banana Fish begins with one question. What is Banana Fish? It seems to be something everyone wants to know and some very dangerous people including a powerful mob boss by the name of Papa Dino, are after the answer that just happened to literally fall into the lap of a local gang leader. Ash Lynx is a handsome young man with a dark past, a past that connects him to the dangerous men after Banana Fish. Eiji Okumura is a young man very naive to the dangers of the world and has come to New York on a job with a journalist who wants to interview local gang leaders for an article. When their paths cross it is the beginning of a powerful and dangerous journey for both of them. Ash is running from a past he would rather forget and Eiji who was lacking any direction in his life has found a friend in Ash he wants to protect.
Now reading that summary I can imagine a lot of you are thinking, this sounds like an interesting plot for a boys love series. In fact, the manga is considered by many as a very influential work within the genre and is frequently categorized as such. However, if you come into this series expecting a romance story you are going to be very disappointed.
Throughout the series yes we a see a growing friendship and bond between Ash and Eiji but at no point does it go beyond just that, a deep friendship. At best I would call it borderline boys love but it just does not completely cross that romantic line enough for me to consider it part of the genre, this is just my personal opinion though. Many of the themes explored within the series can be found within boys love and these are many of the darker themes from within the genre.
Child abuse and pedophilia are the darkest themes explored within the series and this is why I say the series is not for everyone. There a many scenes throughout the series where characters just casually talk about these subjects and to those who are sensitive to such issues will find many of the over arching themes within the story very uncomfortable. That being said I want to applaud the series for it’s realistic look at victims of this kind of abuse especially when it comes to one of the lead characters.
The overarching mystery of what is Banana Fish will hook you in but it is the amazing character growth that happens throughout the series that will keep you hooked, much like Game of Thrones however do not get too attached to the characters because not everyone will make it to the end and speaking of endings keep a look out for next post about Banana Fish where I write about why the ending to the series was perfect for the story it has told.
Greetings and salutations to everyone new and old to the Playground filled with hot men and all the yaoi fun you could ever ask for. I am your host on this lovely little blog and I go by Mistress of Yaoi and this is Yaoi Playground and I hope to have so much more fun with everyone this year!
Now I will confess things are going to start off slow here on Yaoi Playground this year. This is my third year of blogging here and for this special milestone I am working on something special that will help me in the near future bring more wonderful yaoi and boys love content to all of you! Very Hush Hush for now, not going to ruin the surprise just yet. I do have a few announcements for you guys.
Firstly and this is the saddest bit of news I have to share with all of you, the Yaoi Playground Tumblr page which was the original home for me and this blog is no more. That’s right I was purged by Tumblr! I will have a post about my thoughts on what many are calling the Tumblr purge but what I have dubbed ‘The Great Tumblr Sexodus’ in the coming weeks if not days of this post on the way.
Second, late last year I started a Facebook page for Yaoi Playground to help you guys keep up to date with posts and it can be found right here. The third announcement I have to make is the following and it does concern the Facebook page as well as Yaoi Playground in the coming future. It’s no secret that a lot of the anime, manga and other subject matters I write about here are not intended for children and as such in light of the fiasco that happened with and around Tumblr (I will go into details in that upcoming post) I will be cracking down on a lot of my social media accounts when it comes to underage readers and my content. I know it is a hard thing to police online when you really do not know the age of some people and because of this a lot of innocent adults have been getting in trouble. I’m sorry to start out this year on such a somber note but at this stage, things are getting out of hand, it’s why I wrote It Should be common sense in the Yaoi Fandom, last year.
Happy New Years everyone, sorry this was not the happiest post to start the year on but things are the way they are. Let’s make 2019 an awesome blogging year together!