I thought that this has got to be the funniest joke but it turns out, it was no joke at all.
I’ve seen this being tweeted for some while but it wasn’t long until I finally saw the commercial for Shueisha’s new quarterly BL magazine (under its subsidiary Homesha), BL-ink.
But don’t they have Weekly Shounen Jump already?
I know. It’s crazy. But it seems Weekly Shounen Jump is not the “Sweet BL” that BL-ink is trying to offer. The magazine is a dedicated BL magazine for Homesha and I think this is perhaps an outright acceptance of the popularity of BL.1
What I found interesting was it took some google powers to find the site. It’s mostly mentioned as BLink which doesn’t come out much in searches. Looking at Shueisha’s website doesn’t even announce the magazine (or at least I didn’t see it.) I had to find the websites of actual authors in the magazine to actually figure out that it should be searched as BL-ink to finally find the proper search term for the said magazine.
As I mentioned, BL-ink will be sold more under Homesha, but it’s inevitable to not associate this publishing firm with Shueisha. In fact, in the advertisements, they would proudly put the banner of Shueisha as if it’s quite important and crucial that Shueisha’s involved in this. After all, the company has had a love affair with fujōshi especially with Shounen Jump.
This love affair can be seen with the appearances of some famous JUMP BL doujinshika turned mangaka in the magazine. The two that I recognize are Aoi Levin, who is notoriously famous for Dino x Hibari from Katekyo Hitman Reborn, and Ichinomiya Shihan, known best as the circle Love Potion No. 9 and is known for Gintoki x Hijikata doujins from Gintama. I’m quite sure that other mangaka in the magazine had also done some SJ doujin at some point. Upon researching, the mangaka for the opening story (in color) is Natsume Isaku who has done Sanji x Zoro from One Piece at one point. So does Takaoka Nanaroku who did Inui x Kaidou from Prince of Tennis, and L x Light from Death Note.
The other authors that are contributing in this magazine are Sakura Haiji, Haruno Ahiru, Takanaga Hinako (The Tyrant Falls in Love), Kusunoki Jun, Akiba Touko, Kamon Saeko, Hashimoto Aoi, Enzou (who apparently made a Gintama doujin BUT I DON’T KNOW AS WHAT CIRCLE! THIS IS PREPOSTEROUS!), Tamaquis Wren, Misasagi Kumiko, Kawamura Natsu, Murakami Sachi, Kuju Sham, Cotonorino Desuko, and Jaryuu Dokuro.
The magazine presents itself as a collection of “Sweet like chocolate” BL stories and it shows in the number of authors that will be present in the magazine. I’ve read most of these author’s works outside of the magazine and they’re the kind of authors who will write sickeningly sweet BL that would make you either believe in romance again or for rather cynic readers, make you flip over the next page. Of course, the road to love might come a little different for everyone, but I’m quite sure that those in the magazine will make any fujōshi squee and giggle. What is amazing is that hardly any of these artists are familiar to American audiences as only Takanaga Hinako has been licensed in the US. Still, a number of these authors has been causing waves in the fujōshi world that their presence in this magazine is nothing but important.
Minazuki Yuu also contributes to this magazine by writing a column. To cap it all off, magazine will also include a CD called “Icha icha CD” and eventually they’ll also have a net radio.
I’m completely roaring in laughter upon hearing this endeavor. I am totally amused and mildly excited for this issue, hoping to see new works, familiar works, and at least evolution of the Shounen Jump BL doujinshika into a full-fledged mangaka.
It’s interesting how it comes full circle doesn’t it? These girls starting out in admiration for Shueisha’s titles and now they are writing for that magazine. I wonder if it’s greater respect if they can actually manage to write a title in Shounen Jump. CLAMP (who did St. Seiya parodies) managed to break through Jump Square… but it’s not quite Jump yet. Other authors like Natsume Ono (who did Kakashi x Gai from Naruto) and Yoshinaga Fumi (who did Mitsui x Kogure from Slam Dunk) have found their niche and have soared far from the pages of Shueisha. These BL-ink authors may have possibly tickled the fancies of Shuiesha’s Homesha enough to at least merit them the pride of writing for the first BL magazine for that company. Of course, I wasn’t surprised that they got some of the most romantic mangaka in BL, but hey, Shueisha’s the kind of company that takes pride in formula. These girls can sell and for their first BL project, they’ve got to make sure that it sells.
BL-ink will be on sale in Japan on February 7. You can visit the site (which still seems to be in construction) at bl-ink.net. You can view the Niconico douga ad here. You’ll need a niconico account to view the video.
- strangely, the niconico video has only been seen by 1000++ people! [↩]