Shueisha ventures into BL with BL-ink

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.

  1. strangely, the niconico video has only been seen by 1000++ people! []


8 thoughts on “Shueisha ventures into BL with BL-ink”

  • You’re right, I was absolutely SHOCKED when I saw this link come up in S-manga!!! So I guess Shueisha is presenting its affiliation with BL-ink very clearly!

    I also noticed that they’ve recruited an impressive lineup for its first issue…Many kanban artists in the BL world, that’s for sure.

    I’m not sure if you’re familiar with other BL magazines but this one seems eerily similar to Shinshokan’s Dear +…

    • I’m quite sure about that too. In the end, I think it also boils down to business. Many of these mangaka started out as doujin artists who profited from making doujins of SJ series. While I say that’s not the entire reason, the profit that can be earned from this is inevitable, especially with the lower magazine sales outside of Jump.

      I suppose so. We’ve only seen the advertisements for the first issue and I’m thinking that it might take a different direction and the themes might vary with every issue, similar to what some BL quarterlies do. I’m not so familiar with Dear+, but I would take your word for it.

      To be honest though, I only read so few BL magazines when I can (Opera, Craft, and Drap). I should probably look into these other magazines sometime.

      • Yeah, I think it’s pretty neat that most of these mangaka (who are now famous in their own niche) started off as doujinshika for Shueisha mangaka!

        I don’t know if Dear + is really worth your while, especially because it seems that you may like more mature/serious series (this is purely my guess!). Dear + tends to be very fluffy & cute…Here’s the link and you can be the judge….Dang, even the websites & furoku are very similar!

        http://www.shinshokan.com/dearplus/

        You have a great webisite, btw! I noticed that you get a subscription to Morning magazine…I LOVE Cesare and also Chii’s Sweet Home (LOL). Just started to check out Kami no Shizuku, as well. 🙂

        • Lol I do like manga with mature themes possibly because I’m a bit older now. But upon looking at the Dear+ website, it seems I’ve read some of their titles before and they’re not bad. I think they’ve tickled my fujoshi heart at one point or another but only select titles. It seems to be a little too sparkly for me at my age. XD Lol and I haven’t even reached cougartown yet.

          To be honest, I don’t follow BL magazines so much as I’m busy with work and I only manage to keep my Morning subscription (and even that I don’t manage to read it every week.) I’m glad you enjoy Cesare and Chii’s Sweet Home. There are other interesting titles running in Morning like if you like Chii, you might enjoy Toripan then (it’s about birds.) XD

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