NB: Fujoshi (腐女子, lit. “rotten girl”) refers to female fans of manga and novels that feature romantic relationships between men.
I wasn’t always a fujoshi. Somewhere down the road it just happened; symptoms of fanaticism had stricken me after much exploration through the wonders of the internet like daggers of sharp icicles that eventually melt into your skin. With thanks to Mangafox, the cause of my incurable sickness, curiosity had gotten the better of me. But I wouldn’t say that it was for the worst.
I have to admit, there hasn’t been all that great stories under the shounen-ai/yaoi demography, particularly the latter. While there’s been a few that’s enjoyable, it’s the obvious lack of realism which leaves you craving for a different touch after reading pile upon pile of manga. Perhaps this is because the majority of yaoi mangaka are female hence series such as Sekaiichi Hatsukoi and the works of Minami Haruka, the supposed crème de la crème, are no better than generic story lines and spicy sex scenes. If the only difference between steamy smut-filled shoujo and yaoi is the gender of the love interests, then this is a lacking distinction.
Homosexuality has never seemed so mundane nor has the female population been so insignificant. Where is the angst, the utter disappointment in the cruelty of humanity and the realization of one’s inability to let others adorn our worn out shoes? If only we could control living people like a mummer’s puppets, then surely heart-throbbing romance would never have to come hand in hand with troubles deeper than simple jealousy at your boyfriend’s ex or potential lovers.
But don’t get me wrong – this doesn’t mean I hate cliché yaoi stories (a bit of an overused term here since originality nowadays is arguable). Possessive lovers, silent protagonists and student x teacher relationships are enticing concepts but seeing something different sure won’t hurt my eyes.
No, no – I’m not talking about Bara manga. That’s taking it a bit too far. I still prefer heterosexual-esque relationships with the masculine seme and feminine uke types. Nitro+chiral’s ero games and Jigoku Meguri are the best I can handle when it comes to two muscular men doing this and that.
Seinen wa Ai o Kou and Konbini-kun are series which I read not too long ago and am rather fond of. The first, in particular, addresses the issue of homosexuality in a way which I feel is rather lacking in other yaoi stories. The use of pathos is empathic. Though the happy ending is perhaps too good to be true, too much angst would have resulted in fans pouring their tears out at the sight of a pitiful tragedy. But being only three chapters long, this leaves little room for character development.
Konbini-kun presents a similar tragic experience on the protagonist’s behalf. Tormented by the scorn and repulsion others hold towards his sexuality, it’s not surprising Hiroshi resigns himself into hiding. But tripping on a small stone and knowing the pain of grazed, bleeding skin leaves one no choice but to limp the rest of the way home. Another short series but worth the read.
Yuri fans are dominantly men and I’ve always wondered whether thoughts like mine ever across their minds.
In the end, does realism matter when it comes to fiction and do the publishers even give a damn? No, probably not. But I would still like to see my yaoi stories with an intricate and realistic plot than just steamy bumsex.