This is part of the series:
- A history of the fujoshi love affair with Jump
- Jump History and Fujoshi (2): Captain Tsubasa love
- Jump History and Fujoshi (3): Men and their Poses and Cosmos
- Jump History and Fujoshi (4): Move aside Son Goku, it’s all about Rukawa x Hiei x Kenshin. TOTALLY!
1990 to 1994 can be considered by many as one of the strongest periods of Jump. The title that carried this period was an epic intergalactic superhuman masterpiece named Dragon Ball Z. It was so popular that no one in this world could not have encountered this anime. However, despite its popularity, the fujoshis focused their attention towards the other titles that were also great but somehow fell under the cloud of Dragon Ball Z.
For the Fujoshi, Goku and his dragon balls did not spark a fire to their fragile fangirl hearts. Instead, they looked at the bishounens from other Jump titles. The era of androgynous men have come to an end. In this era, it was all about the handsome boys of Jump.
1990-1994: Move aside Son Goku, it’s all about Rukawa x Hiei x Kenshin. TOTALLY!
There were 3 major titles that caught the attention of the fangirls. These were Slam Dunk, Yuu Yuu Hakusho, and Rurouni Kenshin. There were two factors that became crucial in the recognition of these titles as fujoshi havens. The first factor were the bishounens. I have to give dibs to Inoue Takehiko, Yoshihiro Togashi, and Nobuhiro Watsuki. These men have immortalized some really handsome faces in Jump history. Who can’t forget the sweaty face of Rukawa? Or maybe Hiei’s cold stare? Might I add Aoshi’s smirk1? These boys were drawn quite handsomely by Shounen Jump standards. Compared to their predecessors who either had comical faces, if not realistically masculine faces; these mangakas managed to create a great balance. They were handsome but not pretty. They were masculine but not scary.
The anime industry also provided great help in feeding the fandom. First, for whatever rough lines that were drawn in the manga, the anime made it more smoother and appealing. Any girl would agree that the anime posters for Yuu Yuu Hakusho would have blown them over the moon. The characters look cleaner than their weekly manga counterparts. More so, it would have reached a particular standard once it goes in anime. Gone was the once chubby and lion mane hair for Kenshin. For any detail missed in the weekly, it is somewhat compensated with the anime poster. It was partly a marketing ploy, but it worked for the girls. Especially those damn YYH posters with the four guys in suits. GOD! Although this marketing strategy was introduced with Saint Seiya, it reached it’s full potential with these three animes. Imagine all the character albums just for the characters alone is amazing!
Invasion of handsome demons, foxes and boys from the dead.
Now, let’s look at these series closer and see the popular pairings in them. Let’s start with the series that pretty much started the fujoshi in me, Yu Yu Hakusho. Ah, going through this series is a constant reminder of my bad fangirl beginnings and my fujoshi awakening. <3 This series is hardcore makai2 action with Yuusuke as the leader of his ghost hunting team. He has three underlings of sorts, Kawabara, Hiei, and Kurama, that he has whipped to submission sometime during the series.3. The story for this series is rather simple. The YYH boys had to protect the earth from greedy spirits and monsters, at the same time ferry some lost souls back to the spirit world. It’s rather sad that the series had no complete closure, but the mystery of the future always leave a good aftertaste for fans.
There really is just one main pairing that catapulted the series to great fujoshi heights — Kurama x Hiei. Since the revelation of Kurama’s demon form, the girls even experimented with Demon Kurama x Kurama x Hiei. It was their strange closeness that piqued the curiosity of many fangirls. Kurama teased Hiei more than any man should and Hiei, to an end, feared Kurama’s wrath. This relationship eventually inspired a lot of doujins and fandoms. A favorite of mine is the Petit Hiei series by Private Label4. In this series, you have have Kurama taking care of toddler Hiei. It’s primarily gag, but deadly cute. It’s also quite interesting how Yun Kouga5 is also a known doujinshika for the series. She’s been doing doujins for other Jump Series like Tsubasa and Saint Seiya, so creating doujins for another Jump was nothing new to her.
There were other pairings in YYH. Another favorite is Yuusuke x Kurama. Then it gets more obscure with Yuusuke x Kuwabara. Throw in some Toguro in there and Sensui. Yeah. No one was spared from the pairings. Maybe it has something to do with the guy:girl ration again. Ah~ the fujoshi imagination is really scary. ^^;;
In my experience, YYH was one of the early Jump fandoms that I witnessed taking over the internet. I mean, I type Yu Yu Hakusho back then and there were a lot of information sites, fanfiction sites, and so on. In Anipike, it had tons of sites related to YYH! And the fanfiction sites and mailing lists were amazing. Being fresh into the fandom, with no shounen-ai experience whatsoever, the idea of Kurama and Hiei doing the deed with KY6 was beyond my imagination. It was shocking at first. But just like that first hentai video you accidentally borrowed from your video lady thinking it was just another anime, it was a guilty pleasure that you kept on reading out of your own personal curiosity. I wasn’t too big into the YYH Yaoi movement, although, I cannot deny its existence. There was this one fic7 I enjoyed because of all the crazy pairings that were in the series. For one it had that Yuusuke x Kuwabara pairing. PLUS, it had a whopping chapter size that my friends and I printed it so that we can read it while we were not online at home. It was crazy but I do remember that by the end of it, even I found that sly fox as one seductive demon. God Kurama, you’re hot. And you know it. ><;;
On a side note, there’s also a bit of sexual ambiguity with Kurama which could have affected his image. It was quite obvious that in the Philippine dub of YYH, they had the mistake of calling Kurama, Denise. Later on, they just called him Dennis. lol.
And then there was that Basketball team…
Around the same time that YYH started was another manga written by the ambitious Inoue Takehiko. For him, his manga was all about perseverance and the struggle to change your life and fulfill your dream. Retribution, pride, and victory became the key themes in his Jump masterpiece, Slam Dunk.
The art of Slam Dunk was rather interesting. Takehiko-sensei’s art style is very realistic but unlike JoJo and Hokuto no Ken, it was neither violent nor gory. This made the series a little more pleasing to the girls. Plus, the guys didn’t look too bad altogether. Sure, Akagi (Gori) looked scary, but his character earned him the respect of many. The rest of the team were charming but there was one guy that many girls (and boys) swooned over. L-O-V-E, Rukawa!!
Rukawa was handsome beyond words. I know guys who are actually in love with him. And they’re straight. He also had that ‘cool’ factor that girls found very attractive. On the other hand, you have Sakuragi who was more of a monkey than GoriAkagi will ever be. Unlike Rukawa, he was emotional and temperamental. Their domestic banter in every panel was so charming and amusing that girls used this as their base for their relationship. Rukawa played the Kichiku-seme in this scenario. He would generally appear cold and uncaring, but in the end he would do anything for Sakuragi. Sakuragi was the wild monkey he had to tame. Their chemistry is interesting and very dynamic. The RuHana swept the hearts of many fujoshis, such as BL mangaka Yamane Ayano.
There were some doujinshikas who experimented with other couples. One such doujinshika was Yoshinaga Fumi who drew Mitsui x Kogure. Oh yes. You read that right. Yoshinaga Fumi. I’m not sure if her claim to fame were her Slam Dunk doujinshis, but checking her doujinshi list, it seems to be the she’s been faithfully creating MitKo doujins even after winning her manga awards for Antique! It’s amazing really. I didn’t sense that she was the doujinshi type, but I guess Kogure’s megane charm totally drove this megane otaku crazy. God, her doujinshis go where her mangas would never be. Unlike her BL doujins that maintained a balance between the sex and the story, her doujins just go all the way with sex! And some lovey dovey lines in between. When I crossed one of her doujins, I was just blown over with the rate that Mitsui was going at it with Kogure. Amazing! It’s like all of her dreams of Ono’s escapades were placed in Kogure’s doujins. lol. That aside, this is one of the more mature pairings in the series. They’re both handsome plus it had that nurturing atmosphere. And slightly naughty too, especially with Mitsui’s character. *blushes*
After a chit-chat with Ed, I realized that there were other interesting pairings that were present in Scram Dunk… err Slam Dunk. Apparently there’s a GoriKawa movement. It’s the whole Beauty and the Beast aspect which I think can work, but only after I have drunk around 5 bottles of vodka. I know there’s also a Sengoku x Rukawa (SenRu) movement as well. Pairing the two aces together is really interesting. A very sexy dynamic, in my opinion. *blushes*
Now, the $20 question. For fans of Genshiken, I know you’d be asking “So, who’s the pairing that lured our dear Ogiue to reveal her fujoshi side in the Genshiken Room?” Based on the illustration of the cover it was a MitKo doujin. The number on the guy with the glasses is 5 (Kogure’s) and the other guy, based on his hair and features is Mitsui. In her heart of hearts, she’s really quite a romantic. If she had drawn Scram Dunk instead of KujiAn, I can only imagine what kind of MitKo doujin she would have drawn. I mean, just imagine Angela’s reaction and add the dynamics that Yoshinaga Fumi uses for her MitKo doujins… *blushes* :3
Then those boys with their swords.
Next up, and perhaps the last for this set is Rurouni Kenshin. Kenshin started rather slow for fans but picked up once the Shishio arc was in motion. Watsuki’s art was stunning, if not brilliant. He had a knack for motion and drama. Drama involved a lot of tension between Kenshin and his rivals. I think those cold piercing eyes drove some fangirls insane.
Although sexual tension is the key for most of the pairings, in this case, it’s the close friendship between the protagonist Kenshin and Sano that pushed some crazy fangirls to draw. Of the lot, their pairing was most popular. Their relationship is funny and comforting. It’s almost like an “I Love Lucy” but this time it’s like “I love Kenshin” at work. Sometimes, they’ll introduce a third wheel, either Saitou or Aoshi, just to break up the lovey-dovey relationship that these two have. But in the end, you can expect some fluffy ending (and luckily some schmex) afterwards. The likes of Erio Horio and Misato Ibuki were some doujinshikas who drew for the Kenshin x Sano x Kenshin pair.
There were crazier pairs, some bridging shota and some bridging S&M. The SaitouxAoshi pair delved into that sadist side that Kenshin’s Saitou seems to project. Although I think the real Shinsengumi Saitou is far from tying a young ninja leader til he bleeds, but the idea is definitely hot and sexy. And quite a lot of doujinshikas abused that. lol. Especially if you’ve got an uke’s who’s got battle-scarred chest.
Shota comes in many forms for RK. The most popular is the Hiko x Kenshin. And just like the predecessor, Kenshin x Yahiko has a following as well. In one occasion, I read Sano x Yahiko. That was kind of funny, but the circumstances were also weird. *sigh*
Internationally, I think the distribution of Samurai X for Rurouni Kenshin also raised the popularity of the series, exposing many anime fans to the world of samurais at the same time, exposing the girls to yaoi. On a global scale, this was kind of a big fandom, and possibly succeeded Yuu Yuu Hakusho in terms of popularity. Most fangirls of my age would probably have joined a mailing list that involved Rurouni Kenshin, whether it was simply a discussion list or a fanfiction list.
The fuel to feed the fire
In essence, this time became crucial in the development of the popularity of the yaoi genre. If Seiya and Tsubasa were responsible for building or setting the foundations of the fandom, it was this age that may have successfully been responsible in corrupting girls en masse. More girls became exposed to the magazine especially after they chased their favorite bishounens. Their stories, relationships and characters became the playground of many popular mangakas who wanted to try making it big as a mangaka. The amount of sales made by the doujins made publishers see the potential of the fujoshi market. After this came the birth of magazines beyond that of June. Biblos and Wings took in these writers and eventually built a burgeoning genre which we will eventually know as BL.
Yeah, a lot happened in this period and I’m sure I missed out on some despite having written a LOONG ENTRY about it. But one thing’s for sure, if it weren’t for these three titles from Shounen Jump, we prolly wouldn’t know BL as we know it today. Of course they weren’t entirely responsible, but you can say that they played a big part in building the genre.
Internationally, these three titles also opened a lot of girls in the genre. With the beginnings of the internet, the presence of these animes in local channels, and the publishing of the localized version of these mangas, foreign fans finally saw the potential of what a crazy girl’s imagination about her favorite manga can do in a boring Algebra class.
Coming up next… unbelievable middle-school children, rivalry, and an explosion that not everyone can stop. Oh god, this entry is long. >3< But I might dedicate the next one to just Tenipuri! >3<
- God. Aoshi. So much memories [↩]
- demon underworld [↩]
- Ugh, did I just say that? It’s really hard to get those fujoshi comments out, but it’s partially true [↩]
- Doujin Circle for Fuji Shinichi [↩]
- Creator of Loveless [↩]
- Whoever remembers this fic, the author, and where I can read it again, I’ll give you big virtual hugs!! XDD [↩]
- Only Yuu, I think. [↩]