Hey fujojo! Happy Yaoi no Hi!
As always, I wish you all the best when it comes to BL! It’s been a good year for BL with many exciting titles released in English, Japanese, and online! But as BL fans, we’re probably familiar with a lot of criticism with regards to our beloved genre. We’ve seen it here and there how BL is unsophisticated because it’s all about sex. Sometimes, we as readers are also seen as virginal women who have no critical thought because we enjoy shameless boy bonking. And the list goes on and on and it even spreads within the community. We are critical of what is good and in the eyes of many, BL is not good.
Somehow, that got me thinking. Actually, Alan McKee’s book called Beautiful Things in Popular Culture made me think of the situation of BL and how popular culture’s position in the grand scheme of things is similar to BL’s position in the grand scheme of manga. So I got some of my closest fujoshi friends, Ami of Hazukashii kedo and Airin, and we discussed these criticisms in BL and discover if Boys’ Love has more to say than boy bonking. We’re discussing the Beautiful Things in BL and hopefully you can join us in this discussion through the comments on what you think makes beautiful BL.
So for those who will be listening, you might want to think about the following questions. These are the same questions I raised to Airin and Ami and let’s see if we all thought of the same thing.
1.) Think of a BL title that you believe is beautiful. If you can’t think of a title, think of the best BL author out there. if that’s still hard, just think what makes you want to keep a title in your shelf or give it away?
2.) Why do you think this title is beautiful? What are the criterias in which you name this title as the best or beautiful? Do you use this criteria for other titles?
3.) How does your selection fare with other fans? Is it just as popular?
4.) Do you think that BL fans also have particular criteria in selecting some of the most popular titles in Japan and outside of Japan?
5.) Do you think that our perspective/position as foreign fans change our appreciation of BL? Do we consume BL as the Japanese do? Or are we different?
6.) What are the things that makes BL reading shameful to you?
As much as you’d love to listen to our responses, I’d also love to hear your answers to these questions too! Yaoi no Hi is a good day to reflect on the genre that we love and why we continue to love this genre.
OP/EP Music: Odore, Amars from the Kuragehime Soundtrack
This is a podcast about the fans who love an author’s work and a publisher who has been a bit of a hit and miss when it comes to maintaining the quality of their titles.
Saezuru Tori wa Habatakanai (Twittering Birds Never Fly) is a work written by Yoneda Kou that features the relationship of high masochist yakuza boss and his loyal bodyguard. It is possibly the most popular title of Yoneda Kou to date, one that is loved dearly by many BL fans in Japan and abroad. It also has one of the most visually stunning cover designs in BL to date and these designs have been lauded by many fans.
In this show, I have Himi, owner of Com801 and organiser for the Licensing of Saezuru Tori wa Habatakanai, an online fan campaign that seeks the support for a better quality release for this title. The title has been released by Digital Manga Publishing as part of their June titles. The online edition is available in Amazon US and e-manga and the print edition will be made available in September.
Throughout the show, Himi and I talk about the issues they raised in the campaign, particularly in the quality of translations and editing that DMG have done to some of their works. It’s an interesting talk that really gets into the expectations of fans as consumers of a niche genre and perhaps some insights about translation, post-production work, and the manga industry.
OP/ED – Season of Love by Pinky & Killers (Evangelion 2.0, You can (NOT) Advance OST)
In the end, as fans who know that DMG publishes the largest amount of BL for us, we want to put our money on something worth it. No shoddy translations, lazy editing and cut up printing. We want DMG to set the same standards they have in their Tezuka titles for their BL titles as well.
When I planned my trip to Japan last April, I had one non-negotiable location.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t a fujoshi spree in Ikebukuro. Nor was it even paying homage to Akihabara.
There was one thing that I really wanted to do in Japan — I wanted to see Haru, Nagisa, Makoto, Rei, and Rin’s hometown, Iwatobi. I honestly love beaches and I loved the scenery I saw in Free. I thought, if I’d visit the place, I’d get to appreciate the boys’ life a little more.
If I visited Iwatobi, my fujoshi life for this year would be complete. Maybe.
Hence, I turned to Japanese websites and found out that Iwatobi was based on Iwami, a coastal town in Tottori! I couldn’t resist the temptation and researched all things Iwami.
With season 2 happening, I hope this post inspires you to visit this awesome town!
Perhaps this is the first “breaking news” podcast I’ve done. Not that this is completely breaking news but it, nonetheless, an interesting development in things that we do in fandom.
Last week, there was a bit of a stir when it was made public that a particular scanlation group has said that they’re blocking Japanese IPs so that publishers and doujin creators can’t access their works. Clearly, this doesn’t sound right on all angles but in this podcast, Nellie, who works for Crunchyroll and is an editor genre fiction, discusses with me the complex story that arises from this decision of said scanlation group as well as discussing the complexities we face as fans of Japanese animation and manga.
Some of the things we definitely discussed is the protective attitudes and measures of artists and with regards to the fan works which goes on both ends (Western fandom side and Japanese fandom side). You might have seen pages or websites with the mark OFP which is Online Fanarts Protection group (now defunct). If you want to consider the economic states of doujin artists, you can read this research on how much doujin artists make in Comic Market. Or maybe you can also see the problems of Manga artists too. And for those who are thinking of permissions, here are some things that can help in case you are lost in translation. Asking permission does make an artist happy. Of course, stealing and sharing it a whole lot early can make artists mad, as is the case of Yamamori Mika’s page leak for Hirunaka Ryusei.
OP/ED – Rage On! by Old Codex (Free! Season 1 TV Opening)
In the end, we are in a conundrum, finding no real solutions (although honestly we hope that attitudes DO change). Personally, I’d love to hear every one’s comments on this. But let’s not make this a bashing of the group or that scanlations is wrong but rather really open up discussions on fan attitudes and what needs to be changed so that we can meet fans and content producers in Japan halfway.
If you wanna tune in our future discussions, we’re in also ITUNES now, so feel free to subscribe!
So you’ve been seeing all these blogs or twitters highlighting these so and so items for these so and so anime at these so and so events. Chances are, you’d want these items. Chances are, you’ll be going to Japan soon. Chances are, these are limited edition or event-only items or even gashapon. Chances are, these items are sold out. Chances are, you’ll be fighting for these items.
In order to help you make your trip less disappointing, here are some tips I’ve learned about buying goods for all your fujoshi needs.