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

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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.

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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?

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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.

OWLS Blog Tour Self-Care | Ten Count – Self-Care is not a Selfish Endeavor

owls, yaoi

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Welcome to the next stop on this month’s OWLS blog tour, if you are following along this month you would have already read the wonderful post from Mel! It has been a while since I last took part in an Owl’s blog tour, and I missed taking part in the tours I really did. So to my new followers who may not know about OWLS we are a group of bloggers who do monthly blog tours where we all write posts based around a monthly theme. OWLS bloggers work hard on these posts to share positivity and acceptance to everyone no matter where you are from or who you are whether that be gender, sexuality or religion. We love to share positivity with the blogging community through our shared love of pop culture. This month’s theme is one that has hit close to home for me and as soon as I found out what it was I knew exactly what the subject for my post would be and which wonderful yaoi manga I wanted to write about. This month’s theme for the blog tour is “Self-Care”.

In favor of positivity and good mental health, we will be exploring the importance of self-care. Sometimes, we are lost in our thoughts and emotions that it can cause a negative impact on our lifestyle and our relationships. For this month’s topic, the OWLS bloggers will be exploring the mental health of pop culture characters and how their mental health affects their environments. We will explore the dangers of mental health illnesses and how it might lead to self-destruction and/or how one has the power to overcome their demons. In addition, we will share our personal stories and struggles about mental health and discuss positive ways in handling mental health issues.

I have chosen to write a post inspired by the yaoi manga hit, Ten Count as such there will be minor spoilers within this post for the first few chapters of the manga. Other than those first few chapters there will not be any spoilers for the series. I will go into more depth for the manga when I review it.

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Even in this modern day and age mental illness can hold a harsh stigma for many people. Yes, it is not as bad overall as it once was. In the mind of someone who suffers from any kind of mental illness, it can still make them feel like a pariah. Even if those around them do not see a person that way. Perception is reality and if this is how they believe the world sees them and the sad fact is that they believe it to be so and because of this they will do everything in their power to hide their mental illness from those around them, and this can include avoiding getting treatment. This is because even though someone might be suffering internally they do not want to be a bother to anyone around them, they have found their ‘comfortable place’ in life. They are suffering but (in their mind at least) they are not causing any suffering for those around them so in their own world that is ok, but it is truly not ok a single moment or bad circumstance can rip that comfortable place away from a person. This is the position we find Shirotani Tadaomi in at the beginning of Ten Count.

Shirotani suffers from obsessive-compulsive-disorder that has manifested itself into mysophobia, though you might know this better as germaphobia. Everything around Shirotani is dirty and he hates it, but he has a career as a corporate secretary and has his own way of doing his job that keeps him happy as well as those around him. Others might see him as strange but he works hard not to bring attention to himself and as long as it does not affect anyone else he knows he can just cope with it. Even if his hands are a mess of wounds and cuts from constantly washing them with alcohol, it’s ok he will just cover those horrid hands with gloves. But won’t wearing gloves all the time draw attention? Well, that’s ok, whenever he goes out he wears a suit and the gloves don’t look out of place when he wears it. As long as nothing breaks his status quo he can go on living like this, but life is not that simple. It never is.

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An accident one-day involving Shirotani’s boss changes everything. He is put in a situation where the only way to save his boss is to touch him and he can not bear to do it and so watches on in horror, lucky for him someone else comes along and saves his boss. The whole situation, however, frightens Shirotani but he still even then does not want to reach out for help. The hero who saved Shirotani’s boss, however, turns out to be someone who recognizes Shirotani’s condition and offers to help him.

Whether it is asking for help or accepting help when it is offered can be one of the most difficult questions when dealing with mental illness, believe me I know. I have grown up with ADHD which I was diagnosed with at a young age. I know those looks that people fear because I have been seeing them all my life. Those looks of…

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‘Oh they are strange’

‘What is wrong with them?’

‘Why can’t they be normal like everyone else?’

‘Are you an idiot?

‘How do you not know that at your age?’

Hell, I have even had those questions going around constantly in my head at night while I lie in bed finding it difficult to fall asleep, trouble with regulating sleep is a common side effect of having ADHD that not many people know of. So I got to the point that when I met new people I would not tell them, even when it came to starting new jobs. Hiding this, in the long run, did not help me because I began to get a reputation of being unreliable. I was reluctant to reach out for help because when I was ‘helped’ when I was younger all that was done is I was put on medication that zonked me out. I don’t regret being on meds when I was younger because they did help, but when I reached the age that I could make my own decisions based on my treatment my first decision was to go off those meds because I did not like how they made me feel numb to the world.

I wanted so badly to ‘fix’ myself at least in the eyes of those around me. I did my own research into ADHD and learned how to control certain aspects through diet and exercise and I took control, but every time life threw me a speed bump my status quo would shatter and I would find myself spiraling. Recently I hit one of the hardest speed bumps I have ever hit in my life and I bottled it up because I did not want those around me to worry. I did not want to be a burden to those around me and over time those feelings grew into something very dark that began to scare me more than I had ever been scared in my life. My anxiety skyrocketed and at a moment of weakness I reached out to family and loved ones and I finally asked for help. It was not an overnight fix and is still ongoing but as I learned as I began to get help for myself and to help myself I came to realize that self-help was not a selfish endeavor because it has improved my relationships with those around me. Helping yourself can greatly help those around you that you care about because if those around you that love and care about you see you suffering then they suffer too. This is why it is ok to ask to help and if it is offered it is ok to say yes.

I hope you enjoyed my post for this months blog tour, next up we have Marina from Anime B&B and I look forward to reading their post!

OWLS Blog Tour Movement |Yaoi and the History of the Fujoshi

fujoshi, owls, yaoi

There has been some absolutely amazing posts throughout this month from my fellow OWLS and if you are following along you will know that the theme this month has been Movement and you would have already read the amazing post from Shokamoka all about One Punch Man, I know I did and I absolutely loved it! As stated this month’s theme is Movement and oddly enough by pure chance this gave me the perfect chance to end this month of Fujoshi on the perfect subject, a brief history on the movement that began all this drama. But first when we talk about Movement here on the blog tour we mean the following….

We join movements, organizations, and systems that align with our personal values and beliefs. Sometimes we join these groups because they believe in doing good and making positive changes in society. However, these movements can turn sour when a dictator arises behind the good intentions, there’s a hidden agenda of oppression. It is in these groups that individuals start to shape their identities by questioning their values and beliefs or conforming to the system.

Throughout this month on Yaoi Playground I have been delving into the less happy side of the fujoshi fandom. From toxic fandoms past and present, to the legal issues that can ensure within the fandom for a fujoshi, you might be wondering one thing. If this fandom is so toxic why does it continue to grow so much? That is a more difficult question to answer, but it did start with a movement in the doujinshi and manga world back in the 1970’s and that movement is the subject of my blog tour post this month.

 

There were a lot of revolutions happening in the world of manga and anime back in the 70’s and one that is not talked about as often as many others is the Shoujo boom that began seeing not only the increase of stories written for women by women but also saw the beginning of the genre we would know today as Yaoi and Boys Love. Gender norms were already being explored within shoujo at the time with works like The Rose of Versailles and Princess Knight taking on gender norms and stereotypes within their pages and then later in their perspective anime adaptations. At the same time however another genre had began. A genre of romantic stories pairing men with other men by woman for a female readership. Some might wonder where the term yaoi itself came from during this time?

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The word Yaoi itself is a japanese acronym for the following.

YAma nashi, Ochi nashi, Imi nashi which when translated can be read as No Climax, No Point, No Meaning. It is believed that manga great Osamu Tezuka was the first to use this statement to describe the boy on boy stories that were being circulated at the time because he believed many of them were well a pointless poor quality kind of manga. If only he knew what was on the growing horizon when it came to this genre and the fans it would create. Though he must have known something even back then. From obvious scenes of male fan service pandering in his popular series Black Jack to homosexual content in his adult series MW (though like many works of the era when homosexual characters were introduced they were quite often bad guys) I can not recommend enough looking into Osamu Tezuka’s more adult aimed content when you get the chance, the god father of anime was a brilliant man indeed and for beyond his time.

Through these works and many others of course a new type of fan emerged that being the fujoshi. The term Fujoshi in of itself is a self defecating one in that means ‘rotten girl’ and this does not come from the toxicity of the fandom in it’s present state. Woman who like such taboo must not be ‘proper’ women after all this is something not discussed in normal society right? Well maybe it was just behind closed doors, its hard to say because before the internet it was very hard to see where this all really started.

The invent of the internet and online communities saw a huge influx of fan communities especially in the early 2000’s a subject I went into in detail with my post A Brief History of Fanfiction this is where we see the growth of the modern fujoshi within many fan communities. For many like myself the genre of yaoi and boys love gave us the chance to explore themes we could not before. It was a kind of revolution of movement for women to explore sexual content that did have a female character as a submissive character. This could have also been found within Yuri but this is a subject I am very lacking knowledge in. Being a fujoshi gives a freedom to be pervertive which many would not find elsewhere with fear of being labeled a deviant or worse. It is a chance for growth and all growth comes with growing pains.

This is where we see the young crazy fangirls that can get on the nerves of those around them. The over enthusiastic fangirls that fujoshi are best known for. But as we grow older I like to think most of us mature and grow a more level head when it comes to online discussion. Of course I am not blind to think this goes for everyone. Some people never really mature when it comes to behavior online, but I do ask do not judge a whole fandom for the group of a small few who just happen to have the loudest voice within a fandom.

Yaoi started a movement that turned into what we know as modern fujoshi culture and as I have shown throughout this month on Yaoi Playground it is not a place of rainbows and everyone getting along, but it is the fandom I love so dearly.

There is one more stop this month on the OWLS blog tour and that goes to the wonder BeckNaja! I look forward to seeing what the final post this month will be about!!!

 

 

OWLS Squad Blog Tour|The Broken Friendship That Turned Into My OTP

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Welcome to the first stop this month on the OWLS blog tour. For those who are new to an OWLS blog tour we are a group of bloggers dedicated to sharing the themes of acceptance for all individuals regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, religion and disabilities and like to highlight the importance of kindness and respect. The theme for this month might say Squad but it delves into something deeper than just team mates.

Although some people may like to be alone at times, we all have that one special friend or a squad of friends who we kick it and have some good laughs and fun with. However, there are friendships that don’t last a lifetime and usually, they end due to a falling out or misunderstanding. For this month’s topic, we will be exploring some of the best friendships in anime and pop culture as well as the friendships that ended suddenly. We will talk about what a true friendship means to us, what we learned about ourselves and others through broken friendships, and our definition of a ‘good friend.’

As soon as I read this prompt I knew this was it, this was my perfect chance to write about my all time favorite ship and why they are my all time favorite pairing. To those who have seen my previous post about my favorite pairings you will already know the pairing I am about to talk about here, but to those who do not know; Mistress of Yaoi’s OTP is that of Starscream and Skyfire from the first generation of the Transformers cartoon and it was a single episode that started this ship for me and many other Transformer Yaoi fans, and I promise we might be a small group within a fandom, but we are dedicated. That episode is Fire in the Sky and it is the birth place of this ship, through a sad and broken friendship.

 

A bit of history first though, for those who are not familiar with the original The Transformers Show. It was an episodic cartoon series that was made for the purpose of marketing toys in the 80’s and like many toy based cartoons then there was no real over arching story. Plots were very basic. Good guys vs bad guys stories and very formulaic. The horrible Decepticons would do something bad and the heroic Autobots would come and save the day, rinse and repeat for four seasons and a movie. This simple formula did make for some pretty cool stories a times, A Decepticon in King Arthur’s Court is an amusing episode involving time travel.  Every now and again however there would be an episode that would give a little backstory or a little more development of a character and Fire in the Sky is an episode from the first season that does this for a character who over the years and generations has become a fan favorite for many. That character is Starscream, the treacherous and untrustworthy second in command of the Decepticons who wants nothing more than to overthrow his leader Megatron, in fact Starscream’s treachery as a second in command has become so infamous there is even a trope named after him, The Starscream.

zpxp84jFire in the Sky tells the story of the Decepticons draining the Earth of it’s energy from the arctic circle, which has caused temperatures to drop world wide. This is what clues the Autobots into what the Decepticons are up to because there base is in a desert area that is currently blanketed in snow. Got to love 80’s cartoon logic. Anyway while digging in the arctic the Decepticons come across a giant Transformer buried in the ice and when Starscream see’s who this mysterious giant robot is he does something not seen by the audience and guessing from the other Decepticons reaction, not seen by them either. Starscream shows concern for some other than himself. This adds so much to his character in this one moment, Starscream the selfish brat of the Decepticons has concern for someone else and when inquired by Megatron why Starscream shows so much concern for this ‘creature’ Starscream reveals that the giants name is Skyfire and that he was a former colleague of Starscream’s before the war. They had been explorers together, exploring an uncharted planet and were separated in a storm. Starscream then vouches for Skyfire’s loyalty and convinces Megatron to him become a Decepticon. One thing becomes obvious however as Skyfire spends time with Starscream and the other Decepticons, he is far too gentle and kind to be a Decepticon. He hates the idea of hurting innocent bystanders. This is shown when Skyfire rescues the Autobot’s human companions when they fall into the icy waters of the arctic. Later in the episode Skyfire is ordered to execute a group of Autobots by Starscream and when he refuses Starscream attacks him calling him a traitor. A moment that many shipper of the pair likes to explore with how this moment changes their friendship forever, for this is the moment that ends the friendship.

 

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So we have two former friends who have been separated for a long time, a whole war between them literally. The way Skyfire talks about Starscream being a scientist before the war and how different his friend seems now really puts things into perspective and as an avid shipper of tragic couples, well the wheels in this fujoshi’s brain started turning long before the episode ended. Could Starscream had been a completely different character if Skyfire has not disappeared from his life? If Skyfire have been different if he had seen the start on conflict on Cybertron? I wanted so badly to explore this and other themes and that’s when I started searching out fanfiction and you know what? This pairing has a lot of really brilliant fanfiction about it! The best of them however in my opinion is Breaking Free which I featured in my Fanfiction Rec series.

A typical Skyfire x Starscream story is usually one of the following. Skyfire saves Starscream from the Decepticons, quite often in this scenario Starscream is in an abusive relationship with Megatron. It’s prewar and Skyfire and Starscream are working together and we get a sweet workplace romance or the more common kind of story in recent years, the war has ended in a different series of Transformers, like Prime as an example and Starscream goes searching for an old friend or he is found by his old friend, but why do I and so many others love this pairing so much?

 

For me at least it was the character growth for Starscream shown upon the appearance of Skyfire in the cartoon that hooked me and had me wanting to explore more, which made sad when I later found out that Skyfire was removed from the cast of the show due to some legal issues with his toy. See the original toy released as Skyfire did not come from the same line as the other G1 Transformers toys. Skyfire’s toy was originally from a toyline called Macross and due to some legal issues about who was allowed to release him and how the toy was discontinued.

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Another reason why this pairing might resonate with so many Transformers yaoi fans is that this pairing is one of the few pairings for Starscream where he is not abused and used or the abuser of the relationship. There are a few exception to this rule when it comes to the pairing of Starscream and Skyfire but these kind of stories are few and far between. Skyfire is so different to many of the other character that Starscream is shipped with and believe me he get’s shipped with a lot of different characters in different iterations of Transformers, in nearly every Transformers series he is the character most paired with others, whether that be Megatron X Starscream, Other flyers X Starscream and the occasional Optimus X Starscream. The later being a pairing I must admit I am also a fan of. Skyfire is a gentle giant. He is kind and intelligent and let’s the viewer think that maybe at one point in his life perhaps the back stabbing Decepticon second in command use to be kind and naive as well and that maybe just maybe someone like Skyfire can bring that kindness back to Starscream. The lost bond between the two is a tragic one, two friends ripped apart by disaster and war and then stuck on opposite sides. It’s enough to make this tragic love story loving fujoshi swoon and since this is a good chance to, I’m going to share my favorite AMV for to two of them here to finish this post.

I hope you enjoyed my post to begin this months Blog Tour, I am very much looking forward to where the other Owlets plan to take this prompt and look forward to reading so many awesome posts! Next up on the tour we have Matt in the Hat with a post about a certain anime I must confess I really need to get around to watching.

OWLS Competition Blog Tour|Pinned! A Competition of Ego

manga review, owls, yaoi

Greetings and salutations to the next stop on this month’s OWLS Blog Tour! If you are following along this month you will see that we have been extra busy and if you are following along you will have already read the lovely post from Shokamoka over on their blog! The growing number of bloggers joining OWLS has been amazing and this makes me really happy because it means I get to read even more awesome blog posts each month.

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As soon as I read what the prompt was going to be for this month’s blog tour, I knew exactly what I was going to cover for it, but first, let’s have a look at that theme this month!

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In honor of the 2018 Winter Olympics, this month’s topic will focus on the theme of ‘competition’ because the Olympics is where athletes from all countries join together to compete in sporting events. Through these events, we see how competition’ brings out the grit, the teamwork and the competitive spirit within athletes. This month, we will be exploring anime and pop culture media that discusses the good and the bad when it comes to competition and what it can teach us about ourselves and the world around us.

Pinned! is a western yaoi graphic novel released in 2005 with art by Studio Kosaru and written by Yamila Abraham. Regular readers of this blog should recognize the name as she is the yaoi author behind the crowdfunding campaign I posted about last month for her project My Magical Demon Lover. Yamila Abraham is not only an author with the company Yaoi Press but is also its founder! But I’m not here to gush and fangirl over one of my favorite western authors, (I will write a separate post for that later) I am here to write about this month’s theme of competition in a story about pro wrestling! But wait I hear you ask, how can there be competition in a sport that is completely scripted for television and audiences? Well, that’s what I am going to dive into in this part review part analysis piece for OWLS.

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Pinned! tells the story of the up and coming professional wrestler Synn who has just made his debut as a pro wrestler after being scouted from grassroots wrestling. To those who do not know much about the world of pro wrestling grassroots is where a lot of wrestlers start off their professional career. It is where a lot of them learn the basics of the sport and perform in front of live audiences for the first time in ‘house shows’ which are untelevised events. Synn is very happy to be making his debut, he has even been able to get back in contact with his good friend he use to wrestle with back in grassroots and he has caught the attention of the top card wrestler of the company Renegade, who in my opinion has a striking resemblance to HHH back in the nineties. There is just one catch and it is a pretty big one that could make or break young Synn’s career as a pro wrestler before it even begins.

It would seem that Synn was brought into this world of pro wrestling for one purpose only in the eyes of the guy in charge, bossman. He was brought into the company to be a perk for the top card wrestler Renegade who wants Synn all to himself in more ways than one. Will Synn get a chance to become the pro wrestler he has always wanted to be? Can he put a stop to Renegade’s unwanted advances and as he gets to know the other wrestler do those advances stay unwanted? Well, you will have to read the graphic novel yourself to get all those answers but I will go into a few of them here so if you don’t want to be spoiled for the awesome story that this is you can purchase a physical copy or digital copy right here on Amazon.

One of the biggest themes in the story of Pinned! in my opinion, is the competition of ego between the wrestlers, especially in the second half of the story when the title belt comes into play within the story. As Synn and Renegade spend more time together both outside and inside the ring tensions and ego grow around the both of them for you see through all the competition inside the ring is scripted and played out for the audience what happens backstage is very competitive. From working out the upcoming story arc for the show to who gets the belt next, there are those who think they are more deserving of certain perks than others and this becomes very evident when Synn is taken into Renegades stable. But the biggest of these issues come up when it is decided that Synn will be winning the belt from Renegade. This one decision pisses off many of the older wrestlers who have been with the company longer than the newbie.

To add fuel to this fire there is also the problem with Synn’s friend Rae from grassroots who makes it very clear he does not like Renegade and outright tries to poison Synn against him with rumors of unspeakable acts between Renegade and his former wrestling partner. This makes Synn very wary of Renegade and even makes him lose trust in him just as they are getting close, but that is seriously that is all I am going to go into about this story because the final act is just too good to spoil.

So we have a battle of egos between all these wrestlers that shows some of the worst of bad sportsmanship. When the ego takes hold and someone begins to think they are so self-important that they can do anything well that is when we can see some of the worse behavior in people and characters. Now one could argue this can be seen in Renegade with his unwavering obsession with Synn, but for the most part, he really does seem to keep his ego in check. I mean let’s just say there is more gossiping amongst the wrestlers going on backstage than in an all-girls high school. This undermining of each other really makes for what seems like a toxic workplace, but this is what happens when you have so many big egos working together and this isn’t something that just happens in a sport like pro wrestling.

We see it time and time again in the news. Some big sports star is accused of some outburst out in public, whether that be a sexual assault charge, a brawl in a club, pub or some other night spot, caught speeding in a high power vehicle or even turning to drugs in their downtime. Their feeling of self importance and ego has been blown so far out of proportion that they seem to be in this state of mind where they think the law does not comply to them or they think that whatever code of sport they play for it’s ok the club will cover their asses so they can play in the next big game. It is a sad dark side to the professional sport.

I want to end this post on something a little bit lighter however and it is also something wrestling related. Growing up in the nineties I was a huge fan of pro wrestling with my siblings and mum. We use to watch the Monday night wars every week and being in Australia neither one (that being WCW and WWE) aired on the same night so we got to watch both. About ten years ago I lost interest in pro wrestling to the point where I had to watch it every week. But I do believe that a lot of my likes and dislikes today was shaped by watching wrestling as a kid and a couple of years ago, 2015 to be exact I got to meet one of my childhood heroes at a convention over here called Supanova!

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Yep, that is yours truly Mistress of Yaoi herself with none other than Jake the Snake Roberts! Yes he was before my time of watching the wrestling in the 90’s but he still showed up as a special guest now and again and I always loved it! And below you will see one of my favorite moments from his career. Also, I must warn you, if you don’t like big snakes, you may want to not click on this video on how he cleared the ring during Royal Rumble 21.

Now that I have had my fun I will turn you over to Matt, who I am sure will have another awesome post for you to read in the near future!

Finding Warmth in the Greatest of Gifts|OWLS Warmth

anime, owls

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It’s the season of joy, thankfulness, and love. This month’s topic is “Warmth.” Whether it is spending time with family members during the holiday season or with that special someone during New Year’s, we will discuss moments in anime and pop culture media that convey a feeling of happiness in our hearts. During times of struggles, we look towards the things that matter to us as a source of strength, hope, and happiness. We hope you enjoy this round of posts and that you will have a wonderful holiday season!

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Here we go again it’s another OWLS Blog Tour post and I must say this month’s topic of warmth was so much easier to write for than last month’s topic and I think some of the other bloggers can agree with me on that. If this is you first time checking out an OWLS post welcome and if not welcome too! OWLS is a group of otaku bloggers who promote acceptance of all individuals no matter your race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, disability or gender. If you are following along with this months blog tour I hope you have already checked out Let’s Talk Anime‘s post earlier this week and at the end of this post I will let you know who is next in the tour!

As soon as I saw what the theme for this month would be, well I knew exactly what anime would be perfect for this theme. An anime I have wanted to talk about for ages on Yaoi Playground, Antique Bakery. A series that I think perfectly shows how one can find the warmth in life and a quick spoiler warning is needed for the character of Chikage as he is the focus of this post because he best represents the theme of this month!

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Chikage Kobayakawa is one of the sweetest most adorable characters I have ever seen in anime, and I must confess now this post will be a lot of me gushing over this amazing man. A childhood friend of Antique’s owner Keiichirou Tachibana and a man in debt to the Tachibana family who raised him after his mother, the family’s housekeeper passed away. He is a clumsy man and a little slow on the uptake so it takes him a while to sometimes understand what is going on around him. Because of these factors he has a hard time finding work and just ended up staying by Keiichirou’s side to look after him.  No matter how tough things seem to get for this man he just keeps moving forward and if he makes a mistake, well he apologizes profusely for his own stuff ups which in some characters can be annoying but with Chikage it comes across as endearing.

This positive attitude is something a lot of people can learn from and not just at this time of the year. Showing kindness to others without wanting anything in return seems to be something this world is lacking. Which is quite sad when you think about it. One of Chikage’s greatest moments of kindness is revealed in episode 8 of the series. A young girl by the name of Deko arrives at the bakery in absolute tears looking for ‘Chi-Chan’. Chikage immediately to the surprise to everyone except Keiichirou pulls the crying girl into his arms and comforts her. It is later revealed that the naive and clumsy Chiaki is this girls father! And that the girls mother is a famous author named Sakurako. The woman it seems approached Chikage at nearly the age of forty and asked him if he wuld father a child with her because she wanted to be a mother before it was too late. Chikage agreed just to bring her joy.

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Chikage gave Sakurako a gift that no one else could give her without a second thought. If a gift of something as precious as a child does not represent the warmth of the season then I don’t know what is.

I hope you enjoyed my post for this months owls. I am looking forward to reading more wonderful posts throughout this month and if you are following along with the blog tour next up we have Andrea who’s post will be about one of my favorite anime this season!

Till next time I am Mistress of Yaoi and I say love what you love and share the love this festive season!

 

Pride and Tolerance through Diplomacy|OWLS ‘Diplomacy’

lgbtq+, owls

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Welcome to my first ever post as part of the OWLS blog Tour, before I start this post I would like to explain to my followers who are not familiar with OWLS as to what it is. OWLS stands for Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect. It is a group of bloggers that work to promote acceptance of all individuals regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or disability. I myself decided to become a part of this group because acceptance is something I like to promote through Yaoi Playground and to those who are following along this blog tour I hope you enjoyed Scott from Mechanical Anime Reviews post as much as I did.

This Months topic for discussion is Diplomacy

“Whenever we have a disagreement with someone, we use our words to express our thoughts and opinions. However, there are those who would rather use fists instead of words, those who forget that being “right” isn’t the most important thing, and those who lose sight of compromising and acknowledging differences in opinion and belief. Diplomacy is an important skill and tactic that not many of us have or are able to utilize properly especially in “social media wars” for sensitive issues and anime discourse—we just express our opinions without really listening. For this month’s prompt, we will be exploring some of the best negotiations scenes in pop culture media and discuss how effective these diplomatic moments are and what we can learn from them. We will also discuss why communication and listening are important traits to have and whether or not there are other means to enforce peace.”

The beginning of tolerance between any group of people who think they are so different they can not get along is to not look at not what makes you different, but to take a step back and look at what you have in common. This is where the story of Pride begins to teach us the lesson of  tolerance through diplomacy. The year is 1984 and the miners of the UK are on strike fighting to keep their pits open to keep there jobs and a young gay man in London see’s them protesting on picket lines and being in his words bullied by the police and government and in that moment he realizes something amazing. Our community has a lot in common with these out of work miners. That community is the Gay and Lesbian community marching in the Gay Pride parade. In his eyes he see’s a chance to help and so he starts a group within the gay community. LGSM or Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. They raise money to help the miners but are then met with a problem, they won’t to help but no one wants there help because they are loud, proud and gay, but by a misunderstanding over the phone a small mining village accepts their help not exactly knowing who they are.

And so begins the journey of discovery on both sides because at first it seems no one can see eye to eye. Tolerance is something we all need to learn at some point in our lives, but I sometimes wonder if a lot of people actually know what tolerance means. It is the act of tolerating the existence of opinions or behaviors that one dislikes or disagrees with. To tolerate something or someone does not mean you have to go against your beliefs or even change said beliefs it just means accepting that not everyone is the same. This is a struggle that LGSM go through throughout the movie, from the men in the small mining town not wanting to accept the help of LGSM because they do not want to be associated with ‘their type’ to down right bigotry from one council member in town who does everything in her power to not only try and turn the town against a group that just wants to help them, but goes as far as to poison her own sons with her bigotry.

So how does diplomacy fit into teaching tolerance within this movie? In many fun ways actually. One of the best examples comes early on in the movie when LGSM goes to visit Onllwyn the town they end up helping. They have trouble socializing with the locals, because everyone is weary and untrustworthy of each other. While this is happening one of the more flamboyant men in LGSM is out on the dancefloor with the town women having a blast, but then the women comment how it is rare to see a man on the dancefloor so he decides to bring a little extra fun. The scene can be seen below…

You know what this scene leads to? It leads to one of the men in town asking for dance lessons to help him be more confident with women and there it is right there. A door to diplomacy has been opened, a conversation started and the beginning of tolerance and acceptance has begun. This dance is more than a little fun for a struggling town. It’s a moment for everyone in the room to forget there troubles, forget their differences. And though the miners did not win there protests against the government, LGSM did help them survive through the protests, their donations brought the community food and dignity.

As the old saying goes as one good deed deserves another and the Welsh Miners did not forget what LGSM did for them and on June 29th, 1985 they stood up proud and marched along with LGSM right at the front of London’s Gay Pride March. They stood in solidarity with those who stood by them. But that is not all they did to help those that supported them. A year after the strike ended, a motion was tabled at the Labour Party conference to preserve gay and lesbian rights into the party’s manifesto a motion that had been raised before and had lost. This time however it passed and do you know why? This was because of a block vote from one union, The National Union of Mineworkers. This one act opened the doors in the United Kingdom for gay rights. Which just goes to show you that you can find friends and allies in the strangest of places, whether that be a gay bar in London or a mining village in Wales. We all have the power to make change in this world for the better, it just takes a little bit of Diplomacy and looking for what we have in common.

Also there is a lot more covered in this movie that I would love to cover at a later date on Yaoi Playground, these include themes of Coming Out to ones family and AIDS and what it did to the LGBT community back then and now. So you can look forward to a full review of the movie in the coming weeks on Yaoi Playground.

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Next up on the blog tour we have Crimson and I look forward to reading their post!