The dangerous Boys Love (BL) manga of 2016

BLgayabai2016

Another year. Another set of dangerous BL. WHERE DID THE YEAR GO!?!

I started the year writing about Kono BL ga Yabai and here I am writing about it again!?! And I hardly reviewed any awesome BL this year since I’ve been busy writing other things. OTL. But I did manage to find time to read a handful of new BL titles this year. Sort of. I’m quite sure I’ve read a couple but it’s quite sad that I really remember so few. That said, the number 1 title in Kono BL ga Yabai 2016 is definitely no surprise although it’s one that truly deserves the term dangerous. Here’s this year’s list of Kono BL ga Yabai and Chichil’s Best BL.

  Kono BL ga Yabai 2016 Chil-Chil BL Awards 2015
1 Ten Count by Takarai Rihito Ten Count by Takarai Rihito
2 Dakaretai Otoko Ichii ni Odosareteimasu by Sakurabi Hashigo Soredemo yasashii koi wo suru by Yoneda Kou
3 Renai rubi wo tadashii furikata by Ogeretsu Tanaka Yatamomo by Harada
4 Hana wa saku ka by Hidaka Shouko Dakaretai Otoko Ichii ni Odosareteimasu by Sakurabi Hashigo
5 Yondaime / Ooyamato Tatsuyuki by Scarlet Beriko Koisuru Intelligence by Tange Michi
6 Owaranai fukou ni tsuite no hanashi by Ogawa Chise 10Dance by Inoue Satou
7 Kaori no keishou by Nakamura Asumiko Yuutsu no Asa (Blue Morning) by Hidaka Shouko
8 Saezuru tori wa habatakanai by Yoneda Kou Tamayura by Yuki Ringo
9 Sonna me de Mitekure by Moudama Choukusen O.B. by Nakamura Asumiko
10 Koisuru Intelligence by Tange Michi Ore to kareshi no koi no hate by Nana Meguri 
11 Yajirushi by Harada Toshishita Kareshi no Renai Kanriheki by Sakurabi Hashigo
12 Barbarities by Suzuki Tsuta Links  by Kizu Natsuki
13 Okite saishou ni suru koto wa by Shimura Takako Kuroneko kareshi no aishikata by Aya Sakyou
14 Links by Kizu Natsuki Stay Gold by Hideyoshico
15 Watashi to anata no najimi no kankei by Koshino Henai by Harada
16 Yagisan Yuubin (Lost Letters) by Kusama Sakae Iberico buta to koi no dorei by SHOOWA
17 Hare tokidoki, wakabasou maa maa by Habuyama Hebiko  Hidamari ga kikoeru by Fumino Yuki
18 Yoru wa tomodachi by Ido Gihou In these words by Guilt Pleasure
19 Yamada to shounen by Mita Ori Yoru wa tomodachi by Ido Gihou
20 STAYGOLD by Hideyoshico Koi to wa baka de aru koto da by Ogeretsu Tanaka

As for the Best Characters, here are this year’s list!

Best Seme: Kurose Riku (Ten Count, same with Chil-chil’s list)
Best Uke: Saijou Takato (Dakaretai Otoko Ichii ni Odosarete Imasu) | Shirotani Tadaomi (Ten Count, Chil-chil list)
Best Hetare: Mayama Hideyuki (Sabita yoru demo Koi wo Sasayaku)
Best Megane: Sawa Junichiro (Lost Letters)
Best Oyaji: Wato Mitsuaki (Kemu ni Makarete)
Best Tsundere: Seijou (Sore wo koigokoro to yobu nara)

tencount

Truly dangerous

Takarai Rihito tops the list this year, for both Kono BL ga Yabai and for Chil-Chil’s BL Awards, with her seductive yet personally uncomfortable title, Ten Count. I am not surprised by this choice granted that the manga’s plot finally moved towards a truly confronting narrative where Kurose’s pushing Shirotani in an uncomfortable yet ‘pleasurable’ space. My feelings towards this title continues to be conflicted where I continue to ask myself why do I exactly enjoy this confronting scene? Have I been so corrupted that I’m numb to this? Why don’t I feel this way over Pet Keiyaku which features more graphic and even abusive sexual scenes? Does Takarai Rihito’s innocent visual style make Kurose’s advances more invasive and confronting and to a degree, thrilling? I’ll possibly never figure it out and perhaps when I’ve got my emotions sorted out over Ten Count, I’ll write a proper review. But after having read the comments this year alongside my own conversations with friends, it seems that for some, Ten Count’s appeal lies in this very difficulty of continuing to find pleasure in a story that is knowingly uncomfortable.

In fact, when I read the rest of the list, it seems that there are a handful of titles in this year’s list that romanticises uncomfortable situations, one that shakes our very notions of what we can consider as enjoyable or pleasurable. Titles such as Nakamura Asumiko’s Kaori no Keishou (6) and Shimura Takako’s Okita Saisho ni Suru Koto wa (13) rattles us with incestuous romances that makes our minds say no but our hearts say yes. While this is not something new in BL, I continue to find it very fascinating that this genre can take us to emotional places we cannot imagine.

The top 20 list this year also had a handful of romances that do not necessarily use any special character tropes but offers refreshing narratives to familiar scenarios. A personal favorite is Ogeretsu Tanaka’s Renai Rubi wo Tadashii Furikata, two stories that feature men finding a love they have lost. It helps that Ogeretsu Tanaka visual style has a pleasant muskiness, the kind that looks clean and chiseled before she beautifully messes them up once they get laid. I really hadn’t heard of Ogeretsu Tanaka until this year. It took one of my stalker friends (that’s Airin) to convince me that Ogeretsu Tanaka’s worth a look. And she is. She seems to be the Harada of last year, the darling child of the dojin world who now concentrates on her original works. So far, I like what she’s offering and I can see her grow over the years. It helps that she doesn’t fall in her ‘dojin trap’ where she seems to be just making/rewriting what she’s written in dojin. BUT I DUNNO. Maybe Airin has better insight on that one.

Kizu Natsuki, another child of the doujin world, also made her debut last year and seemed to have made an impression among readers but not as big as Tanaka. I had an inkling that given that she’s Gusari, one of the best selling doujin authors in the last few years, she’d have better clout in this year’s list but I’m quite surprised that she didn’t have as much success as Tanaka. Perhaps her doujin readers didn’t follow her. Perhaps Tanaka’s work is truly unique. I haven’t read Kizu Natsuki’s work so I can’t really make an opinion but when I have time, I’ll give it a shot.

Another favorite of mine from the list is Sonna Me de Mite Kure (9), a hilarious love story about a young boy’s desire to win the heart of a boy with a ‘killer’ look. It’s not as erotic as most titles but certainly one that has made me squee. Some of the titles I enjoyed last year did not make it to the top 20 list but somehow managed to make the top 100 (Ame to Kiss [63], Buchou wa onee [63], Suki na hito hodo [37]). A personal favorite of mine, Ohayou to oyasumi to soshite didn’t make the cut at all which is kinda sad since it’s a really cute title and deserves some love.

minori no te

BL’s promising new artist: Scarlet Beriko!

The best new artist in Kono BL ga Yabai is Scarlet Beriko with Minori no Te and Yondaime Ooyamato Tatsuyuki. She’s a BL artist who has made such an impact under digital manga distribution. The interesting bit about this year’s list is how readers have also been choosing a number of titles popularised in sites such as Renta! or Ebookjapan. I find this quite comforting as I know I can easily buy these titles online. At the same time, it makes me think that digital BL is raising their game and is beginning to produce good, if not great, work that competes with traditionally published BL. A few years back, finding a good digitally distributed BL is like finding a needle in a haystack. These days, titles such as Minori no Te are also making the cut, diversifying not just the genre but the medium as well. Such fun.

Kono BL ga Yabai also features two shorts from Ten Count and Renai Rubi. It’s not porny at all but is still a cute read.

I honestly wish I have more insight on this year’s list. To be honest, I haven’t read a lot of the titles here and the ones I’ve read are not in the list at all. The popularity of well-publicised authors continue to influence the list which is perfectly understandable but I’m happy that new authors, even those outside of bookstores, are making the cut as well. Well, this list was not as exciting or as porny as the previous year but at the very least it remains as interesting as ever, even if it is a bit uncomfortable.

So what did you think of the list? Did your favorites make the cut? Do you have other favorites that aren’t in this list? Let me know! It’s nice to talk BL at the start of the year! If you haven’t read some of the titles here, check out ebookjapan! They have the shortlisted titles on sale



2 thoughts on “The dangerous Boys Love (BL) manga of 2016”

  • I was surprised to see 10 count as the no.1 in both list. It is good, and I know many are crazy about the book, but I didn’t feel really comfortable reading it.

    Totally agree with Scarlet Beriko. Her works are awesome, same with Oguretsu Tanaka.

    Links would be great if it’s a doujinshi, but as an original work it’s not really good. Gusari’s character just didn’t have their own strong characteristic. But that’s probably just me.

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