Meet the Fans – Liz

meet the fans

It would seem there is quite the large yaoi and BL fanbase over on TikTok even though the app is notorious for not liking adult content, that being said there is a thriving BL community over there many with a strict no minors policy. One BL TikToker I have already interviewed and that is the amazing DynamicDylan then I got the chance to interview one of my favourite TikTokers which turned out to be an amazing interview!

Could you start of by giving us an introduction to yourself?


Hi, I’m Liz and I am a BL/Manga collector on TikTok known as @itslizmangacafe. I have been collecting for 15 years, though my collection has grown exponentially in the last year due to the pandemic. I hadn’t collected in a very long time and with the manga community on TikTok, I recently got back into serious collecting. I currently have over 500 in my shelves. Personally, I’m 29 years old and identify as queer. I live in Kentucky with my boyfriend and his daughter, and our zoo of 4 dogs, 5 cats, a lizard, and a chinchilla!

Wow that is an impressive manga collection. I have heard you say before on your TikTok videos that your favourite boys love manga is The Tyrant Falls in Love… a title I am somewhat infamous on my blog for hating, so I guess my question is what about this title appeals to you?

Ha! I fully acknowledge that it is a very problematic series. Any time I recommend it, I always provide a disclaimer that it is not a happy story. I fell in love with the characters and Hinako Takanaga’s art style in High School. She to this day is my favorite mangaka, and I have most of her works in my collection. What appeals to me specifically is that despite how toxic the relationship is, we know Morinaga cares for Soichi, and I’ve enjoyed the development of the series. It is one I’ve kept up with for well over 10 years. I admit when I initially began the series, I also did not like how their relationship began. Both are problematic characters but seeing the growth and development of their relationship has really appealed to me

Brb going to reread for the 500th time and cry

This is one title I will never be a fan of…

Well I always say in this fandom we love what we love and should not pull those down for having a different opinion.

Exactly! We are all adults and at the end of the day, it is fiction. I also love Soichi. He’s just a mess but also really a strong character

I will give the author some credit he is hot…

Funny that you mention we are all adults as that leads into my next question as I am curious if anyone else in the fandom has this issue, I myself have been accused in the past of ‘gate keeping’ for saying that 18+ material is not for minors. As someone who is part of the TikTok community I can only imagine the amount of minors who try to interact with your videos, how do you deal with this?

I personally do not allow minor interaction on my page for multiple reasons. I acknowledge I’m not the “purity police” and I myself got into BL and explicit manga when I was 15/16. However my boundary is because I am nearly 30 and choose not to discuss adult content and media with minors. It makes me very uncomfortable and I stand by this rule. I also get a lot of horrible comments from minors that I as a female BL fan am fetishizing gay and MLM relationships because of what I choose to read. Many minors can’t tell fiction from reality and it’s a waste of time and mental energy trying to engage them.

Yes, I can agree with that. Would you believe I have actually been accused of being homophobic for being a yaoi and bl fan?

That’s horrible and absolutely not okay. I’m so sorry to hear that. Unfortunately I’ve also been called a fetishizist and a pedophile on several occasions purely for even mentioning the classic Yarichin Bitch Club. Again all from minors who don’t understand.

Problematic?

Oh yes I have been called the pedophile in the past for admitting to watching a certain infamous anime once when younger. And then rewatching for research purposes to give it an honest review.

There is so many other problematic series out there. Even beyond anime and manga. Most of my hate is sadly from gay and MLM teens. I know I am cisgender but they fail to acknowledge I am on their side as a fellow queer identifying person. As I always say, at the end of the day… if you ain’t paying my bills, I’m paying you no mind. I am 30 and can choose to read as I wish. Intimacy is a part of most peoples’ lives so who cares if I am reading 18+ content?

What we do to relax is our own business as long as we are not hurting anyone or doing anything illegal.

Exactly!

Speaking of legality here is a big question within the yaoi and BL community. What is your opinion on scanlation sites? I know many of us within this fandom have used them before but with yaoi and BL media being more readily available over the last few years do you think we still need them?

My opinion of the scanlation sites may be different than most but I will say this. I don’t shame people for using them or say that it is “wrong.” I don’t gatekeep. However, I personally want and enjoy supporting artists when I can. I buy a lot of physical manga, and have a Lezhin subscription. In the past I’ve also had a subscription with Futekiya (I just didn’t utilize it enough so I temporarily stopped) and on my page I promote sites like Tapas, Webtoon, etc. I have used scan sites in the past but do try to avoid when I can. Only times I use them are when there are legitimate and no official English translations or print. If I can though and I enjoy the story enough I’ll buy the physical Japanese copy so I am still supporting. But I know this is not realistic for some. I do want to have artist support so I personally do not promote scan sites, though we know it’ll still happen.

That’s a really good answer.

I am though very happy that BL is becoming more popular and readily available. We didn’t have scan sites when I started getting into manga, and I didn’t really use them anyway.

To finish this interview do you have any words of wisdom you would like to share with those new to the fandom? Also feel free to use this section to promote any BL related projects you have.

Words of wisdom, particularly to those who are new and old to BL. You are allowed to enjoy what you want, and shouldn’t feel ashamed. Collecting and reading is a lifelong passion and there is no age limit or cap. Find fellow adult fans who enjoy as you do, and be open to reading new things as well as sharing what you love. There’s so many terrible things happening in the world, so find comfort in what you like. For those wanting to get into serious collecting – do research, be patient, and try to not follow FOMO. Stick to your budget and just have fun! Collect what you want, read what you want, and live your best life.

Wise words from a fun fujoshi! A big thankyou to Liz for letting me interview her here on Yaoi Playground and if she sounds like the kind of person you would love to follow make sure to check out her awesome TikTok and join the fun discussions on all things BL and Yaoi, till next time I am your Mistress of Yaoi!

Our Kickstarter needs help! — Y Press Games

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We are not far from the end of the Vampire Slave Kickstarter and we still have a long way to go to reach the desired goal. We need your help as much as possible to be able to give you the best experience! You can learn all about the game’s history, rewards and more by […]

Our Kickstarter needs help! — Y Press Games

Working my way through the demo for Vampire Slave and omg guys don’t sleep on this one! If you love boys love and classic vampires you need to support the Kickstarter for this one! This is a title that needs your help to get released!

Dick Fight Island – Manga Review

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Oh how this yaoi lover wished they could have a hold of a physical copy of this title but due to high demand it sold out so quickly that I myself had to purchase it digitally through Amazon (And physical copies are still sold out)! Set on the fictional archipelago of Pulau Yong’Unda, every four years a great tournament known as ‘The Great Wyrm Tournament’ to name the new king of the land, with each of the eight clans within the archipelago putting forth their greatest of champions to battle it out. As you might guess however, with a title like Dick Fight Island this is no ordinary tournament, instead of battling in fights of brute force and power the clans fight a different kind of battle that shows their true strength of a man, with armor that covers their most sacred of jewels and shows of the barest of asses in honor of their manliness! Strap yourself in my yaoi and BL lovers because you will not be disappointed if you choose to pick up this title that has taken the manga world by storm in the last month.

Whether you love yourself a cute little twink or a burly older gentlemen or anything in between believe me you will find your type within this title

With a title like Dick Fight Island I was honestly expecting this manga to be nothing but fanservice with just enough plot to get the characters to do the deed, so when I began reading this title and found that not only did this manga have some absolutely gorgeous character designs but it also had a very intriguing and at times hilariously melodramatic storyline. Each of the competitors in the competition has their own motivations as to why they are competing. From proving that even though they are from a mostly female clan they are just as manly as any other man at the tournament, to fighting for love after all this is a romance manga and it delivers very much so on the romance as well as action!

Believe me this is a title where you will come for the ridiculous premise and action but you will stay for the romance. From forbidden love between clans, classism and culture shock from the point of view of an outsider looking in as he watches his lover compete in this competition there are plenty of moments that will leave you on the edge of you seat. Do I wish some characters got a bit more of a spotlight? Yes. Am I hoping we get another volume to continue this story? That would be a hell yes! It’s not that often I say a title is a must read for a yaoi fan but this title truly is a must read! And if you want to see some awesome artwork from the creator Reibun Ike then you really want to follow their Twitter!

This Fluffy Love – First Impression

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If you are looking for a light and fluffy boys love to read, then my latest favourite read over on Webtoon might just be the title for you to read. Sarith just wants to spend his school life having fun with his friends and having a peaceful school existence but when the class delinquent Ashen pushes his way into his life by chance, he can not help but notice he is kind of cute and as he is forced to get to know the other boy more he begins to think maybe he is not as bad as people say.

How is this for an adorable first impression?

Sarith is one of the most adorable BL leads I have seen in a long time and I also love the fact that he is well, an adorable chubby boy! All too often in a lot of escapist media we see a main character that is what society would deem the ideal ‘body type’ and I just love that this series on webtoon breaks that trend, because can I just say we need more BL with chubby boys! I also love that the opening chapters of the story establish that even though he is a bigger boy it does not mean he has an issue with food or is a depressed person wanting to change as it is established early on that he comes from a loving family that just loves food. Being big does not mean you are miserable or dirty or unpopular and I just love that positive message the story has.

Then you got the character Ashen who is easy on the eyes and from the outside looking in looks like he could have anything he wants. His father is a powerful politician and he is surrounded by ‘friends’ all the time at school and the teachers even let him get away with breaking the rules in fear of his father, but the truth is he is a really sad and lonely boy who at times can be a bit of an air head and because of that those around him take advantage of him. He almost seems shocked when he receives genuine kindness from Sarith and it would damn near break your heart when he puts on the most adorable pout.

As the friendship between the two boys grows their relationship also evolves and begins to become something more and seeing these two adorable boys work their way through their new found feelings for each other will keep you coming back to read more, but do not let the title fool you yes this is a fluffy love but no relationship is perfect and watching the two of them grow through the pitfalls is what will keep you coming back every Sunday for the next chapter. If this sounds like a story you would love to read follow this link to read it over on webtoon to support the creator.