I must confess I am not a fan of one popular trope that can be found in many romance stories and that is the will they won’t they story. It’s why I very rarely enjoy romantic comedies. I’m not saying I hate all stories with this trope. It just feels very over played for me, especially when it comes to romantic comedies. There are some exceptions to this for me though and today’s manga which I read on Futekiya is one of the most adorable boys love titles I have read in a long time.
The manga tells the story of salaryman Ayumu Koiwai and his little crush on the man who refills the vending machine in his building and for Iwai this is a crush that is driving him mad, he can not even talk to the man without blushing, little does he realize the Yamashita also has a little crush on the cute salaryman.
Now if this story had gone down the route of the two of them constantly trying to ask each other out only for the punchline of a joke being for them to constantly be interrupted, I would have lost interest in this manga very quickly. Lucky for me and many other readers the story sees the two of them begin a cute romance of dating, getting to know each other and even a little bit of drama that is just enough to bring a little excitement to the story but not enough to break the adorable slice of life aspects of the story. It
It’s a comfy read that leaves you wanting to keep reading at the end of each chapter with a very satisfying and adorable ending and with each chapter originally being released daily the story kept me coming back each day to see what happens next. The whole story is now released and is a cute read I recommend for those new to the BL genre but also has enough of a touch of spice near the end that will keep veterans of the genre satisfied as well.
And we are back with the second installment of Meet the Fans! For today’s post I got a chance to talk to one of my favourite fudanshi content creators on YouTube the amazing Dynamic Dylan!
Let’s start this off with you introducing yourself
I am Dylan, a vlogger of ten years who talks about yaoi, manga and books. I use my channel to talk about the media I love, with the hope that it helps people smile and find something new.
What first got you into yaoi?
I was visiting my sister when I was still questioning my sexuality, and we went to Powell’s Books. I stumbled across the manga section and found myself in the boys love section. I found two titles Border by Kazuma Kodaka, and Only Serious About You by Asou Kai. I immediately gave them to my mom and she bought them for me, not knowing the content inside.
I read them alone upstairs and it was like my sexuality started to blossom. I cried reading Border, it’s still very special to me to this day. To see two men fall in love with each other and date was so validating. Back then, being a lonely confused teenager, seeing a gay couple in a form of media I love was so important to me.
Wow that kind of already answered the following question, but I will still ask anyway. What title has had the most emotional impact on you?
That would actually be Twittering Birds Never Fly. The discussion on trauma left me reeling. I didn’t think a yaoi could ever stare deep into my soul, but this one managed to do just that. Victims of trauma have different coping mechanisms. For Yashiro, he becomes a masochist who turns his pain into pleasure. I find that very empowering as a former victim myself.
Now, there is a lot of negativity out there for problematic tropes found within yaoi, are there any subjects you have seen in yaoi that will make you stop reading a title?
If you asked me this question a couple of years ago, I would probably have a different answer. I think context and intent is very important when talking about dark subjects. Rape is often a no go for me, but I’ve also read titles that handle the sensitive topic well, either as a crime or exploration of trauma. But when a title glorifies the subject, that is when it bothers me. I also recognize that these kinds of stories aren’t written for me and would never shame anyone who chooses to read them.
Do you take part in the shipping side of the fandom or have you ever in the past?
Absolutely! I used to draw fan art of Gundam ships I had. Tiera x Lockon from Gundam 00 is one of my OTPs. I also love Rei x Nagisa from Free! Kazuki x Soushi from Fafner (shout out to the small community of people that love that show.) I think shipping is a fun way to form a community and make friends. Reflecting on it makes me want to draw more fan art again.
That’s wonderful to hear you have had such a positive experience in the community. A lot of people see the yaoi and boys love community as a very toxic part of any fandom. Have you yourself ever experienced this toxicity?
I haven’t seen it within BL fan communities. Though, I have experienced homophobia, both from random trolls and other Youtubers who are much more popular than I am. The male toxicity in our otaku community is very real and very disconcerting. To the point where I only converse with female fans whom I trust. I don’t understand why anyone would want to bring someone down for something they enjoy. They should take a look at their actions and think “Would I like someone to say this to me?” If the answer is no, they shouldn’t say it. Period.
Very well said. To finish this interview do you have anything you want to say to non yaoi fans about our community? Also feel free to plug any of your yaoi and boys love projects in this last section as well.
Yaoi is a genre for people of all different kinds. And there are so many subgenres within the media that more people should give a chance . It’s not all smut, there are some lighter content for those that are weary to give it a try. Some recent additions explore beautiful subjects ranging from parental acceptance of a gay child (Don’t Call Me Dirty by Gorou Kanbe) to making friends with the outed gay boy in your school (That Blue Sky Feeling by Okura and Coma Hashi). Give them a chance, you may be surprised by what you find. Some of the most creative people I know read boys love, and are inspired by it. You might be too.
If you want to see more of my content you can on my YouTube channel: DynamicDylan
One of my favourite videos by Dylan you can really feel the love for boys love and yaoi in this video.
Are you a yaoi / boys love fan who would love to share your story about the genre and help break the stereotype of the type of fandom we are? If so and you are over the age 18 and would like to be interviewed as part of the Meet the Fans project feel free to comment on any of the Meet the Fans posts or message yours truly over on Twitter @mistressofyaoi, till next time my beautiful fans have an amazing day!
Now here is a manwha that I had on my to read list for ages and finally got around to reading and can I just say, hot damn I wish I had read this one sooner. This is a series that ticks so many boxes for me when it comes to yaoi and even the stuff I normally do not like within yaoi is treated the way it should be and touches on some very dark subject matters with the needed seriousness without romanticizing it!
Legs That Won’t Walk by Black Apricot tells the story of a very broken man that has not given up, even though with his lot in life you think that he would have by this point. Suyeong has retired or more like limped away from a sport he enjoyed, but injuries mean he can no longer be a boxer, but according to his world be lover Ji-Sung it will be ok if he just let’s him look after him.
It is made very obvious from their interactions that Ji-Sung is very possessive of Suyeong, whispering sweet words of love in his ear while threatening him at the same time and this is a powerful representation of an abusive relationship. Ji-Sung forces his feelings onto his so called friend who just can not fight back so all he does is take it, because he is a broken man but there are small glimmers of Suyeong fighting off his so called friend of lover, he refuses to stay with him but at the same time he knows he has no where to go and if things could not get any worse now there are powerful criminals after him because of his father’s debt to them. Even when confronted with these impossible odds he still bares his fangs and fights back.
Seeing such a broken man fight to just keep going is a very inspiring take on this kind of character and I must confess in a lot of ways Suyeong’s character within this story very much reminds me a lot of Riki from Ai no Kusabi. Both are characters fighting to survive in a world that has just used and abused them and though constantly backed up into a corner they will still fight with a powerful fire within their eyes and much like Riki, Suyeong is given savior of sorts in the form of a powerful man. Those gangster’s that wanted to collect a debt from him, their leader is a very powerful man and at what first seems to be a fascinated pity for the young man begins to bloom into something much more powerful, but also dangerous for the both of them.
Suyeong has gone from the world of boxing into a pit of vipers, and though he may not be a snake himself he is more like a mongoose waiting to strike and willing to fight for himself, he does not want to be some kept man, he wants to walk on his own legs, they may be broken but he will keep taking it one step at a time, but like any good story this is more than just the tale of Suyeong.
The leader of the gangsters Park Taesong is an extremely intelligent but violent man, who grows very protective of Suyeong and may god have mercy on anyone who lays a finger on him without his permission whether they claim to be friend or foe. Then there are his underlings one of which has become quite infamous within the yaoi fandom. Min-Hyuk can be described as looks like a cinnamon roll but will fuck you up. He has such a sweet and innocent face and demeanor for a gangster but as the story moves forward it is hinted at that there is something very dark beneath that pretty smile and when it is revealed how sadistic this man can be you will never trust that smile again.
The art for this series is gorgeous and I must confess that the scenario for this dark tale ticks a box for one of my biggest kinks, a powerful man in a suit. That’s right I find a man in a suit so much sexier than even the hottest naked of bodies. From a nicely tailored suit that shows off the best of a man’s assets to a suit and tie ripped open in a moment of passion these are some of the hottest of scenes. Those who follow me on twitter will quite often see me retweet artwork or just images of men in suits – what can I say I know what I like.
If you are looking for a dark yaoi manhwa with a very similar feel to that of Ai no Kusabi then just maybe Legs That Won’t Walk is the manwha for you, as long as you don’t mind themes of rape played out very realistically and violent characters being just that in a realistic way then perhaps this is the manhwa for you and you can read it right here over at Lezhin Comics. If you do choose to read this title, please know that this is the only site where you can read it legally and support the creator and seeing as the story is currently on hiatus now is a great time to start reading.
Greetings and salutations my fellow yaoi and boys love lovers, and welcome to a new series here on Yaoi Playground I am officially calling Meet the Fans. This project began as a simple thought I had last year. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about the kind of people that love boys love and yaoi. Many still see us as the loud an obnoxious fangirls starting flame wars over our favourite ships and attacking the creators of the media we claim to love when they do not make our favourite ships canon. Now I am not going to turn around and say that this kind of behavior never did or never does happen, but I do want to say not all fans are like this, in fact it is a very small very loud minority. Through this project I want to give a voice to the other part of the fandom.
There is so much more to this fandom and genre beyond the surface level of fluffy love stories and hardcore smut and of course more to the fans that love this genre than those scary fangirls. I want to change how people see this fandom, to let those outside see the wonderful community that I love so much. To do this I put the word out that I was looking for fellow fans to interview so that I could share their very own fandom stories and experiences with those outside and within the fandom.
I want to start this off with a great big thankyou to everyone who has chosen to take part in this project. With so many others sharing their stories I decided that the first story I would share would be my very own journey within this fandom so welcome to the first ever Meet the Fans with me, your Mistress of Yaoi.
Can you start with a brief introduction of yourself?
Hi, I’m Jamie and I identify as nonbinary, but most people online will know me as Mistress of Yaoi. I am thirty three years old and I have been a fan of yaoi and boys love since I was about nineteen, yeah I was what one might call a late bloomer within the fandom.
That seems a bit hard to believe with an online name like Mistress of Yaoi, can you explain your journey into the world of boys love and yaoi more?
I have always been influenced by LGBTQ+ media ever since I first saw The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Dessert as a child. I loved that movie so much as a child and was never shunned away from accepting those who were different by my parents. I enjoyed stories about those who were seen as the other and was fascinated by seeing a view of the world I had never seen before in media. Then later as a teen I found the tv show late at night called Queer as Folk and it was just a big wow moment for me. As I got older and started spending more time online I discovered the world of fanfiction and fanart and started seeing fics and art of characters that were not canonically together and was like, oh people can do this?
I even remember the first ship I started shipping at 16, it was Shinji Ikari and Kowaru Nagisa from Neon Genesis Evangelion which I had recently watched. Then when I was either 18 or 19 I purchased my first boys love manga from store in the city, this manga was The Paradise on the Hill by Momoko Tenzen. This manga pulled at my heart like nothing I had ever read before and I was a big bibliophile and comic nerd by this point. I wanted more stories with canon couples like the two in this manga and this is when I fully dove into the rabbit hole that was and still is the yaoi and boys love genre.
What Yaoi or Boys Love title has had the biggest emotional impact on you?
For me that has to be Ai no Kusabi. I first saw the original OVA series in my late teens early twenties and I was instantly in love with the cyberpunk world of the anime as well as the characters within the story. Then by chance I found the first volume of the light novel series online and I purchased it. The first time I read volume 1 Stranger I read the whole novel in a single sitting and I fell in love with the world all over again.
I love stories of forbidden love always have, as well as stories of those fighting against impossible odds plus there are so many inspirational characters within the series. From Riki fighting against his low class mongrel status that he has simply because of where he was born and what he looks like, to Iason learning what it means to love and it does become a sort of love between him and Riki to a real love that is worth fighting for. For me though the most inspirational character is Katze a man whose own backstory and rise to power is proof that when you put your mind to it you can achieve what you aim for and never let those who underestimate you determine your worth in life. I have spent a lot of my life being underestimated by those around me especially when I was a kid and teenager. I have learned as an adult to accept that people are just going to underestimate what I am capable of because of my ADHD they think I am stupid and think they can take advantage of me because of that. I will admit it has not been an easy journey finding my place in the world and in a way I still am forging my own path forward but that is just it like Katze I will keep moving forward.
Have you ever experienced any negativity from being a yaoi/ boys love fan?
Yes, I have unfortunately experienced some negativity for being a yaoi fan, this negativity escalated within an offline anime fan community to the point that I was labeled by those within the group as a pedophile and I want to take this opportunity to share this story with my readers.
Offline I am very shy and awkward with those I do no know. At work I can put on a smile and act like an out going and very bright and happy person, but the truth is in social situations I am very awkward and this was even more so when I was younger. I joined a local offline anime group not long after high school and made friends within the group which made me very happy as I had very few friends during school because I was never interested in what everyone else was into. There were even other yaoi fans within the group and quite often we would talk about the latest anime fansubs we had watched online and other times we would talk about the ships we liked. I never put down others for liking different ships to me and being naïve I thought the others in the group would do the same to me. Little did I know at the time but some people in the group were not happy with the kind of ships I was a fan of at the time, in particular Orochimaru x Naruto which looking back now yeah I can see why that ship would be seen as problematic.
Things came to a head when Boku no Pico was released online and a conversation came up in the group many saying they would never watch it and I responded with something along the lines of “Why? It’s not that bad.” This comment got me some strange looks and after that many people within the group started out right ignoring me and others saying they did not want to be around me anymore. Then I got told by a friend within the group that they did not want me coming to the meet ups anymore because many within the group did not want me around the younger members within the group because they thought I was pedophile. I could not believe what I was being told and thought it was not true but when I finally got others within the group to talk to me they felt the same.
I knew I would never ever touch a child or anyone under the 18 in a sexual way, heck I myself do not even like being hugged by others unless they are family or very close friends. These accusations mentally broke me, to be accused of something so disgusting over something fictional just made me so angry. It took me a long time to put myself out there in any anime community again after that, but slowly over the years I did but even now I still have trust issues with others and letting them in.
To finish this off do you have a message for those out there about the fandom?
Different people like different things even within fandoms. You can be a fan of the same franchise and get a very different enjoyment out of the series. Some people like shipping some don’t. Some people lie canon ships and others like to mix things up with crack ships or just ships that might seem a bit out there to others but that does not make them any less of a fan.
Some people will enjoy stories and games that tackle difficult and triggering subject matters, and this in no way makes them a supporter of the subjects tackled in these stories. Fiction can be a healthy and safe place to explore such subjects without anyone getting hurt. Yes there will be titles out there that you may not approve of, after all I have made my opinion of The Tyrant Falls in Love quite obvious over the years as a title I do not like, but at the end of the day I will not hate others for liking it or reading it and having a different opinion as me. We are all different, we live in different countries are raised in different environments but instead of hating each other for these differences we should instead embrace each other for what we have in common and a common ground a lot of us can share are the fandoms we choose to be a part of.
Judge a person for the kind of person they are and get to know those who are fans of something you might not be a fan of and you never know you might find a new fandom filled with new friends to make.
If you are a boys love/yaoi fan and would like to take part in this project as an interviewee and share your story and are over the age of 18 please feel free to contact me via Twitter @mistressofyaoi or email me with the subject title Meet the Fans at email@example.com