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OWLS Blog Tour Pride | My Brother’s Husband – Through The Eyes of a Child

Welcome my friends, followers, and readers to the next stop on the June Blog Tour for OWLS, if you are following along you would have already read the lovely post from Zoey over at Let’s Talk Anime. If this is your first time here on Yaoi Playground, you can call me Mistress of Yaoi and I am your expert on all things yaoi and boys love! I have something extra special for the conversation this month. This is because this month’s theme is something that hits very close to home for me that being Pride!

In honor of “Pride Month,” we will be discussing the word, “Pride” and its meaning. We will be exploring pop culture characters’ most satisfying and joyful achievements or skills that they possessed and whether or not these qualities could be seen as a positive or negative aspect in their personal lives and/or society

For this theme, I knew right away what manga I was going to cover, a modern masterpiece in not just the manga world but also when it comes to LGBTQ+ media as a whole. First published Monthly Action magazine from November 2014 to May 2017 the story spans four volumes that have an English release of two omnibus volumes from Patheon Graphic Novels and was penned by the legendary Gengoroh Tegame, who I wrote about in a previous post. My Brother’s Husband is the first all audiences manga released by the homoerotic artist who up until releasing this story had worked exclusively on hardcore bara titles and when I say hardcore I do mean very very hardcore BDSM bara titles. My Brother’s Husband tells the story of single father Yaichi, his daughter Kana (who will be the focus of this post) and Mike Flanagan who is the husband of Yaichi’s estranged and recently deceased brother.

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This is a story that tackles a lot of powerful themes for the LGBTQ+ community. These include family acceptance and estrangement, coming out, attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community within Japan and self-acceptance. Yaichi never really accepted his brothers choices and through meeting Mike learns not just about his brother but also about what it means to be gay and that there is more to being gay than having sex with someone of the same gender. When Mike first arrives at his doorstep he does not know how to treat the man and is very standoffish to put it politely. Like many he see’s this stranger as a deviant because of his lifestyle. Kana on the other hand just see a cool new person to meet and the more she learns about Mike and her uncle she loves him like family.

It is not until the mother of one of her friends says her friend cannot meet her cool Uncle Mike that Kana begins to see the stigma towards people like Mike and her reaction is one of confusion. Why would someone who has never met Mike hate him? They don’t even know him! She sees him with such innocence, love, and curiosity. She does not hate Mike or finds him disgusting. Her reaction to this is just so pure that it made my heart melt, she simply did not get why someone would hate someone they don’t even know.

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Hatred towards others is something I feel a lot of the time is taught to children and this can be a very sad reality. I child is not born hating someone just because they are different. They see how those around them treat others or are sadly taught by parents, teachers, and guardians in there life that ‘these people’ are bad because they are different. I know I am oversimplifying a big issue with society, but just maybe instead of hating people because they are different we could do more to learn what we have in common with each other like Kana does with Uncle Mike and see that just because someone is different it does not mean they are a bad person and that you should get to know someone before you pass such harsh judgement on someone just for one aspect of what they are; whether that being gay, straight, male, female and everything in between.

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Thank you for taking the time to read my post on this months blog tour! Next up we have the wonderful Zel over at ARCHI-ANIME and I very much look forward to reading their post! Till next time let’s all love and respect each other!

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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.

Pride and Tolerance through Diplomacy|OWLS ‘Diplomacy’

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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!