Last night, I was thinking about the first thing that I should blog about here in Champloo. I’ve had a couple of hiccups last year and this year, I made a resolve to write more for my blogs than elsewhere.
But what should I write?
Should I write a review?
Or should I talk about some handsome boys?
The idea of talking about handsome boys for the first day of the year excited me and there’s no other book that came to mind other than the collection of handsome boys that caused waves last year, Moedanshigatari.
Moedanshigatari is a hilarious and beautiful collection of boys that sets the heart of the fujōshi ablaze. The preface, short and tactfully illustrated, said it best.
Girl A: A guy with glasses looks nice.
Girl B: So does a guy in a suit.
Girl A&B: But a guy wearing both glasses and suits looks just as good.
Girl B: And, he’s even holding a curry pan, right?
Girl A: A guy in school uniform looks nice.
Girl B: So is a guy in a team.
Girl A & B: But a guy wearing a school uniform who is also part of a team looks just as good!
Girl A: That team should never be a sports club!
Girl B: So he should be in a band?
We girls imagine a lot when it comes to the boys that whet our fantasies and this book is lovely reminder of the boys that really turns us on. And surprisingly so, it also showed the things that turn Japanese ladies on.
There’s the usual rag tag crew of the usuals. The guy in the apron. The sports team. And so on and so forth.
What I find amazing is some of the tastes of the authors. Take for example, Tetuzoh Okadaya who loves macho crossdressing men. Yes. A macho cross dressing man. If you have the chance, try reading her work The Man of Tango.
My personal favorite, Asumiko Nakamura, loves glasses-wearing boys with bad fashion tastes. Fan favorite, Yoneda Kou, particularly loves tired salary men.
With every picture drawn is an explanation on why the author was particularly turned on with this idea. I particularly enjoyed it as a fan because it gave a glimpse of their opinion on the moe, and in some way, they’re also trying to corrupt you with their vision so that hopefully you can see it as well.1
For example, Setsuko Kato explained that she got into the whole apron look after having worked in a restaurant and seeing her male co-workers wear them. Est Em, for example, set her standards high by insisting that what turns her on are men with a type of elegance. Inaki Matsumoto admires the courageous charisma that comes with the likes of a banchō. Aoi Levin loves the mystery that comes with one-eyed boys.
As you go through the book, you’ll enjoy the funny, quirky, and often sexy opinions of these authors about the guys that they love. It’s an eye opening experience for me because as I go through the boys, enjoy the sexy art and read through the explanation, a whole new kink is entertained in my mind. Just like the sample conversation in the preface, I find myself in a conversation with my favorite authors and what they like and love and start to love what they love as well.
Another factor that I enjoy with the book is it features, what the Eureka BL2 issue noted as the “New Wave” of BL mangaka. These mangaka are known for their forward art style and their brand of storytelling which bridges the fujōshi fantasy with unbridled male homoeroticism. Not that this hasn’t been done before but unlike the previous years, according to Eureka, the authors in this “New Wave” are able to explore, with great reflection, intensity, unconventional art, and delicate storytelling the true ambiguity of BL. These are the authors who make BL a true genre of their own and not something directly associated with the styles of shoujo manga.
Moedanshigatari is a fascinating book that shows the power of the fujōshi imagination and how exponential it can get. I am amused and ashamed of the things that are in this book. My god we’re a scary lot. But my god we’re totally hilarious for thinking about these crazy things.
After reading this book, I thought to myself, what exactly do I consider moe danshi? And while my list runs infinitely, I think for me, these will by top five: the chef, the seasoned army veteran, the personal servant, the tsundere, the laidback guy with the shounen heart.
How about yours? What kind of moe danshi turns you on?
Moedanshigatari is published by Bookman-sha, a Japanese publishing company. The book is available only in Japanese for the price of 1200 yen. There’s also a second book, Moedanshigatari 2 which only came out December of 2010.