Meet The Fans – Dynamic Dylan!

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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!

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Legs That Won’t Walk – Episode 1 – 20 – Manhwa Review

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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.

This is the face of a man that will fuck you up

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.

Meet the Fans – Mistress of Yaoi

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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.

As much as I hate this pic from FunnyJunk.com this is still how many people picture a yaoi fan to be like

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 was probably too young when I first saw this movie but I remember being glued to the screen the entire time, which was rare for me as a kid with ADHD

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.

One of my all time favourite pieces of fanart of Katze for Ai No Kusabi

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 naΓ―ve 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 mistress_of_yaoi@hotmail.com

Killing Stalking Animated Series – Thoughts on the Latest Preview

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It’s been a while since I have talked about the ongoing project from mOss that being the upcoming Killing Stalking Animated series. Since the teaser trailers were released last year I have been keeping a close eye on this project. From the release of more teaser trailers, the latest of which sent chills down my spine because that dryer scene was one of the most suspenseful scenes within the first season of the comic in my opinion, to character models previewed and so much more. I have also had a good time talking with other Killing Stalking fans within the art livestreams for the project over on Picarto and it has been so much fun spending time with other fans who are still loving this series after it has come to an end. Plus slowly watching the world of Killing Stalking being built within these livestreams has been an amazing experience.

If you want to keep up with the updates on this project the best thing you can do is check out mOss’s twitter page which is frequently updated. In today’s post I would like to talk about the biggest update we have been shown so far. The storyboard preview for the first episode which can be watched right here.

Even though it is still just a rough storyboard it shows us a lot about the upcoming project. Not only showing us a preview of the stories opening coming to life before us but also demonstrates the voice acting and sound design that bring a whole new level of tension and unease to a story the fandom knows so well. The sound design in this preview has given me chills each and every time I have watched this preview which is absolutely amazing at how much atmosphere just the right amount of sound or lack there of can give to a scene. Also the voice actor for Bum captures just the right amount of creepy yet pathetic to his voice.

This preview has left me even more excited for this upcoming project.

Dramatical Murder – Demo Review

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On the surface this games world comes across as a cute cyberpunk aesthetic, with it’s bright colors and beautiful character designs that pull you in thinking you will have a cute adventure with some strange but harmless characters, but there is something darker peaking out from just below the surface. Behind the cute designs of the city and characters there is a corrupt and dangerous city where though things seem calm enough there is most certainly something sinister going on. This is the introduction we are given to the world of Midorijima in the demo for JAST USA’s upcoming English release of Dramatical Murder.

In this upcoming game you play as Aoba a young man who seems to be at a point in his life where he has calmed down from the crazy days of his youth and has settled almost comfortably into the responsible life as an adult. He works hard at his job, he spends time with his friends and he lives with his grandma, but his life is not as perfect as it seems. Rumors around his home town of people losing their minds in a game known as Rhyme is only the beginning of his adventure and there is also the mystery of the headaches that constantly plague him.

This poor boy will go through so much and I look forward to playing it, sorry Aoba

The demo gives you just enough of the story to hint that there is something more going on but leaves the mystery open and also gives a few introductions to important characters to the story. I did however through my own playthrough notice a few grammar errors in the translation the most obvious of which being the one below and I hope the team behind the game can fix these before the games full release.

My own playthrough of the demo has only left me more excited to play the full game once it releases later this month! You can order a physical copy from J-list here or pre-order a digital copy through Steam and Steam is where I downloaded the demo.

Maelstrom – Yaoi Light Novel Series Review

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First off I want to give a big congratulations to Y Press Games for reaching their funding goal for the Indiegogo campaign for the Maelstrom Yaoi Visual Novel project a game I have high hopes for if my review last week.

In the trailer for the game they mention the story for this title is based on the bestseller novel series by Yamila Abraham, so today I want to take a look at the lovely series in question and why for a long time it was my favourite series to read on my kindle.

Demetri is a man haunted by a mistake in his past and now he paying for that mistake on the dangerous planet of Secren. He needs to do whatever it takes to survive on this unfamiliar world but can he get past his own heterosexuality to so what it really takes to survive. Looking back now after not reading this title for years I can see now why this aspect of the plot could be off putting for some readers.

Internalized homophobia was a common trope in a lot of yaoi stories in the early 2010’s and even worse before then, with the trope I am only gay for him being a common cop out plot in a lot of early 2000’s plot, you just have to read my review of Close the Last door where I touch on this subject. It is however, a little different of a circumstance with the story of Maelstrom though I can not say if this makes things better of worse for some readers. At the beginning of the story Demetri clearly states that he is straight and has no interest in men in a sexual way, but I will say the exploration the story takes into the exploration of love versus sexuality is one of the stronger points of the story and it is a theme I would love to see further explored in the upcoming visual novel.

Malstrum is the main love interest within the novel series who is introduced as Helix in the trailer in the game. He makes it clear early on he wants to be with Demetri and makes it clear to him that this is a world he will need help in.

Another character worth mentioning which I failed to mention in the previous post about the visual novel is the comedic relief of the story, that being Brainbox. He is the device attached to Demetri’s pack that is his internal translator so that Demetri can communicate with others, so he is a voice in his head that feeds him important information. He makes a for a fascinating plot device to introduce the world to the reader and as the story moves forward his own dry wit brings many an amusing moment within the story.

Though not one of Yamila Abraham’s best titles on Kindle (I will continue to stand that her best work on Kindle is Her Twin Brother) this was the title that got me hooked on her novels and is a must read for any fan of her work as well as a great read who want more from this wonderful world after playing the demo for the upcoming game.

Why You Should Support Maelstrom: A Yaoi Visual Novel

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Long time readers of Yaoi Playground will know my love for Y Press Games as well as the work of author Yamila Abraham, but what you don’t know is that my favourite work of hers is a series of light novels available on Kindle titled Maelstrom. Released back in 2014 the first volume of this series was one of my very first Kindle purchases and has been a title I have wanted to write about for a while and with the announcement of this game I plan to very soon. So when Y Press Games announced they had a game in the works titled Maelstrom: A Yaoi Visual Novel I could not help but smile because it meant I would be able to once again enter the world of planet Secren and with the story moving from a light novel to a visual novel with diverging routes it means further exploration of this fascinating world.

Then I saw the character designs for the game with the release of the demo and it has me even more excited with beautiful character designs from artist duo Dany&Dany and I knew I had to download the demo and give it a play and I am optimistically cautious with my excitement for the game, mostly because of my playthrough of the last Y Press Games release.

My biggest complaint of their last release Mister Versatile was the lack luster plot of the game over all and the one note characters. Don’t get me wrong it is a very entertaining game to play with some gorgeous character designs, artwork and some really hot scenes and for some players that is enough but I went in expecting maybe a little too much from the plot, something I really hope does not happen with Maelstrom and from the game demo it most certainly looks like this will be a more plot heavy game.

The demo for Maelstrom opens with you as the main character Demetri a former soldier at the beginning of a twenty year sentence for disobeying orders and I like that the opening gives us a look at the mental state his current incarceration has left him in and the decision is made for him for his sentence to be finished on planet Secren for his own mental health, but this comes with a catch. He has to find a mate for his own protection and this will mean partnering with another male which is not something Demetri is comfortable with, then add to the fact that on this alien world is a phenomenon known as Lightening which can cause a strong pull between those who are meant to be and let’s just say my curiosity is peaked, after all soul mates is always a story theme that peaks my interest and it is rare to find it outside of fanfiction works, even more so than omegaverse these days with that becoming its own whole separate genre within romance fiction these days.

Within the demo we are introduced to three possible characters to romance. Helix who was the sole love interest in the original novel series is the owner of the largest mine on the planet and treats all his workers underneath him right. He is a hero type with a kind heart.

Then there is Zheng-Li the one in charge of the planet who sees workers criminal or otherwise as disposable assets to do with as he pleases who seems he would treat a partner exactly the same as if they were beneath him as well. In my playthrough of the demo there seemed to be an intriguing level of chemistry between him and Helix or more to the point Helix is someone he wants and I hope this is explored in the full game.

The last possible partner is the one that intrigued me the most and that was Jader one of the local rustlers who also happen to be cannibals, he takes an interest in Demetri due to Lightening. He is not happy with his life as a rustler and comes across as a victim of circumstance and I am very curious to find out more about him in the future. There is also a fourth possible route not featured in the demo for a character named Sawyer but very little info has been released about this character as of yet.

The game promises four different routes which most likely means very linier storytelling for each characters routes, but if the story is engaging enough then this is fine by me. I personally would rather play a game that is more linier with a stronger story than a game with many routes with a story that becomes over tedious or has a repetitive plot that just swaps out one character for another but has no real effect on the finale of the story.

If this sounds like a game you would love to support then please go check out the indiegogo page (they need just under another thousand dollars to make the game!) and for the game or if you want to try out the demo for yourself first then you can check it out here.

If you want to know more about the world of Maelstrom keep an eye on this blog because next Sunday I will be releasing my review of the novel series, until then my fellow yaoi and boys love lovers out there!

2021 Plans Revealed!!!

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Greetings and salutations fellow yaoi and boys love lovers, I am your Mistress of Yaoi and I would like to make this little post about what I have planed for the blog this year. First of all I have decided on what my main focus for this year will be and I have decided I want to do more to support the creators out there of the genre I love as well as other fans!

2021 will be the year where here at Yaoi Playground where I will stand by official releases of the media I love and I will get into more by what I mean by that in the next couple of weeks, I will also be putting a spotlight once again on the fans that love this genre. I plan to make 2021 a year of positivity and growth of what I love most and I want to begin this with the official announcement of my biggest project ever!

I am still trying to search for the perfect name for this project so if you my loyal readers have any suggestions I would love to hear from you or if perhaps you would like to take part in this project please feel free to let me know below.

2020 Faves

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I know this post is a little late but here we go!

It would be an understatement at this point to say that 2020 was a shit year for a lot of people. From the year starting with half my home country on fire to Covid-19 basically shutting down the world it has not been an easy year. This was also my first year without my father which has brought it’s own emotional challenges, but I want to start 2021 right by talking about some of my favourite things from 2020, so that I can remember the good.

Anime wise I found 2020 to be a very meh year over all. The series I was looking forward to the most was delayed, that being the previously announced for 2020 anime release of Ten Count and the other I had been looking forward to The Titan’s Bride was a huge disappointment in more ways than one. Not to say I did not watch some awesome anime this year. Dorohedoro over on Netflix is a series I have rewatched countless times throughout the year and has given me a good laugh, especially any scene with the hilarious Ebisu, and though delayed upon premiering Balance: Unlimited once it started releasing episodes again was also a very enjoyable watch for me. The stand out anime of the year for me comes down to two titles.

The first which will not come as any surprise to any fellow boys love fans out there and is probably my favourite movie of the year. I am of course talking about Twittering Birds Never Fly The Clouds Gather. This is a movie that brings together every single trope within the boys love and yaoi genre that I love. One sided love, mutual pining, a gangster story with men in suits, and an older man as a power bottom! I loved this movie so so so much. My only disappointment was there was no legal way for me to watch this year and that makes me sad because I really want to support all those who made this amazing film.

My other favourite of the year is a series that has become a true hidden gem of anime because so few people still seem to be talking about it. I can understand why with it’s slow pace it might appeal more to the slice of life anime lovers but with it’s overarching melodrama of the story that might make the series less appealing to those kind of viewers, but trust me when I say sitting down and watching The Case Files of Jeweler Richard is well worth the time investment. It is a slow pace almost calming mystery series that is a mix of mystery of the week type stories but also holds a fascinating over arching mystery that slowly unfolds. It’s the kind of anime that makes you just want to sit back, relax and enjoy the quieter moments of life.

I did a lot of reading in 2020 mainly on two websites that I joined last year. After seeing them as sponsors in many of the anituber videos I have been watching I finally decided to join Bookwalker this year and found some amazing titles to read. Standouts for me include the fantasy yaoi titles Zhenniao and Monster and the Beast. The beautiful and heartbreaking story of gender identity that is Love me for Who I Am and an amazing story of friendship between generations that is BL Metamorphosis. The other site where I have been doing a lot of reading this year has been Futekiya and I have read some absolutely amazing titles there. Lover by Hana, Lust -Fantasy; by Makuno and my favourite read of the year It’s Fine Even if it’s Just A Dream by the amazing Aya Yamane who this year has become one of my favourite writers and artists within the BL genre.

One of the biggest highlights of last year for me and many others was Fujocon which was my first ever virtual convention and I am so excited of the announcement that there will be second Fujocon later this year! I had so much fun talking and laughing with fellow yaoi fans within the discord, bought some gorgeous artwork in the vendors rooms, got to watch panels in the comfort of my own bedroom that were both educational and entertaining and of course got to have so much fun playing games with everyone and I look forward to having more fun later this year once again!

Like many others through 2020 I did a lot of gaming. From playing visual novels like Naked Butlers and Sweet Pool to enjoying a few more mainstream games as well. I have been having a blast playing Animal Crossing New Horizon and of course I ship the bug and fish loving cuties Flick and C.J. as well as losing hours playing through Final Fantasy 7 Remake a game I had waited so long for and I must confess I still have not finished but am loving every time I get a chance to sit down and play.

I know 2020 was a piece of shit year it really was and sadly 2021 hasn’t started off much better, but the only thing I can see myself doing is to just keep moving forward, to keep enjoying the things I love and to keep sharing a little bit of fun with everyone so maybe our days can be just a little bit better than yesterday. A late happy new year to all my friends, fans and followers. Stay safe, don’t do anything too stupid and remember to love what you love!

12Days of Yaoi – Painter in the Night – Season 1 Review

manhwa, webcomic review, yaoi

I have been wanting to write about this manhwa for a while now, but then I fell behind in reading the end of the first season (that’s chapter 1 – 44) due to volunteer work but now that I have had time to finish the first season I know this would be one of my big posts for the 12 Days of Yaoi, after all to say this manhwa from Lezhin has taken the yaoi fandom by storm is a huge understatement. There is no part of the fandom not talking about this manhwa and like I wrote in yesterday’s post I have not seen this much hype around a title from Lezhin since Killing Stalking!

Before beginning this review however, if you are not familiar with manhwa and are not a fan of dub con or abusive relationships this is not the manhwa for you and this will be the only warning I give.

First previewed on Lezhin July 10, 2019 and then officially released almost two months later Painter in the Night by Byeonduck, this manhwa tells the story of two individuals from opposite ends of society that never should have met, if not for one of them having an obsession with the erotic art of the other to the point where he orders his underlings to find him the artist so they can work personally for him and become his own private painter.

If you have been anywhere in the yaoi fandom this year you have seen this smug face, but don’t let that handsome face fool you… unless you are one hell of a masochists’

Yoon Seungho is the apittimy of a spoiled rich brat who because of his power as a noble can do whatever he wants without consequence. He is an impatient man with an insatiable apatite for sex with men and a violent streak for when he does not get his way. There are a lot of similarities between him and Sangwoo from Killing Stalking, except where Sangwoo is calculating and sneaky with his predatory ways, Seungho knows he can get away with what ever he wants so sees no need to hide who he is, so in a way he is a much more dangerous man than Sangwoo. If you are interested in a deeper dive into the type of psychopath Seungho is I highly recommend reading the article Yoon Seungho’s Psychopathy analysis. Painter of the Night, 2020’s most captivating webtoon by bkty5181. In the article they write about what makes is a psycopath and why Seungho could be classified as a high functioning psycopath. I found it to be a fascinating read while I waited for updates back in July.

And don’t be fooled by this innocent face either…

Baek Na-kyum would be considered by most the lowest of the low in society. Orphaned as a child and left of the steps of a Kisaeng, which is pretty much the ancient Korean equivelent of a brothel he at a young age showed an aptitude for art. Unfortunately the subject of his drawings was male one male sexual acts in particularly sodomy. As he grew older he would sell collections of these sexually explicit images under a pseudonym before becoming nothing more than a traveling drunk. But when Yoon Seungho wants the artist behind his favourite erotic pictures found he is pulled out of hiding and forced to work in the palace as a painter while watching the nobleman partake in these acts.

Seeing as the nobleman Seungho is paying attention to this young artist, jealousy begins to rear its head in other noblemen who enjoy there activities with Seungho so of course this is where the drama begins. From acts of jealousy to try and get the young artist banned from the house to other deeds the life of luxury is not at all kind Baek Na-kyum but because Seungho wants him to stay and paint for him he will do anything to make the man stay.

Now I can not talk about the relationship between these two without talking about the biggest thing that will keep some away from this manhwa. There is a lot of rape, non-con, dubious consent and out right abuse in this manhwa and it even a few times made me uncomfortable for the level of cruelty. That being said at no times during my reading of the first season did it ever feel like those elements were being romanticized, it came close a few times but it was treading a very fine line. So fine in fact I’m still on the fence even by the end of this season whether I consider this even a romantic relationship or just sex for the sake of sex. There is an obvious connection growing between the two, it is just not a very healthy one in my opinion.

As I wrote this is a series that has amassed a lot of popularity this year in and even out of the yaoi community. From reactions and reviews of the series on YouTube to some damn stunning cosplays on Instagram and even boys love TikTok (which I did not even know until a month ago was a thing because I do not use TikTok) to say that this series has taken over is an understatement.

Be warned headphone warning

But why the sudden popularity? I think a lot of it has to do with timing, after all this series came out around the same time Killing Stalking was coming to an end, plus a lot of people have been home to read thanks to this year. I am happy to see this community growing and loving new works. There has been however, one small tiny detail about the fandom surrounding this series that has me just a little concerned and it once again goes back to my post about minors in the fandom. Like Killing Stalking before it this series has and continues to cover some dark and heavy themes and is in no way suitable for younger boys love fans to read, I don’t care how pretty you find the art this is not content for minors. Call me a gatekeeper if you must, but 18+ fucking means 18+ for a reason at the end of the day.

Other than that though I have been enjoying my time in this fandom and have also been enjoying the latest chapters over on Lezhin, and though I do not enjoy this series as much as Killing Stalking or BJ Alex it has still been a fun journey I don’t intend to get off of any time soon…