Wait, Are those Guys Kissing?!: My Yaoi Journey- Part I

So, there’s something that I have been meaning to get off of my chest for awhile now and it is important that I say it now.

…I…like…y…i….

Ah, there I said it, I feel so mu-, oh, you didn’t quite catch that? I’m sorry, let me say that again then… ahem…

I…kinda…sorta…maybe…okay ilikeyaoi!

What’s that? You say you still can’t hear me? Okay, this time for sure! Are you ready?

*clears throat*

 

yaoi south park


I LIKE YAOI!!!!!!!

Okay, so I know that’s not really a secret, but it’s just occurred to me that I have never actually taken  the time to explain how I got into yaoi. So, what better time than during Yaoi/BL Week!

How to Talk about Yaoi

While, I’m not especially open about my love of the genre,  I’m also not hiding it either. I guess it’s one of those unspoken things, that I don’t really go out of my way to talk about too often. I mean, it’s not something you put under the Interests section of your resume, and it’s certainly not really something you bring up on a first date either. So, how do you go about bringing up the topic of yaoi with other people?

You don’t.

For most people, yaoi is a secret, it’s something you look at while holed up in a closet in your room with the lights off and the shades drawn. Even among fellow anime fans, a seemingly open and accepting community, there’s the stigma that yaoi is something “weird” or “dirty”. When you bring it up in chat rooms or in polite conversation, more times than not you are immediately labeled as “one of those people”. But, what does that mean? Who are those people?

In popular culture, fans of the genre are depicted in one of two ways: 1) as lonely women with absolutely no social life who spend their time pairing up random men or 2) as over sexed fangirls who get off on watching two guys hump each other like rabbits. Neither one paints a pretty picture of yaoi fans… Even, the terminology used to describe fans of the genre is not without the self-depreciating bite. Fujoshi, is a pun on the Japanese word for respectable woman, but can literally be translated to mean “rotten woman”, when the kanji for fu is changed. The term has since been reclaimed by fans who wear it like a badge of honor, but the ridicule from outsiders still remains.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Yaoi Conversation

So I treat yaoi, the same way I treat politics or religion, very carefully I tell people if they ask about it and gauge their reaction. If the person seems open to the topic, then I count them as an ally and continue the conversation at their pace. This is key, do not info dump yaoi to a newbie, you’ll scare them away. (Think Gen I Safari Zone, throw some food first then throw the Pokeball.) Gently ease them in to the topic, answer questions (when asked) as simply as possible. When asked for suggestions give them the light, shounen-ai stuff first (DON’T give them the angst filled rapey stuff)! Maybe even suggest a nice DJ or something. If, however, the person is not open to it, I listen to their opinion and politely agree to disagree and that’s it. Do not try to convince them that yaoi is the best thing ever and that their opinions are wrong. Stop, listen, and then change the subject!


Origins: Rise of a Fujoshi

So, I have a confession to make…in the beginning, I was one of those people who detested yaoi and all that it stood for. I avoided yaoi like the plague, to me it was something dirty, I even jokingly referred to it as “gay anime porn”. I looked down on girls who claimed to like the genre, there must be something wrong with them, I thought as skirted around them nervously at school or in the bookstore. Mind you, I had never even looked at yaoi, but some how I knew that there was something inherently wrong with it.When I think back on how closed minded I was back then, and I laugh, if only 16 year old me could see 25 year old me…what would she say? …I have come to terms with that part of my life, I was young and ignorant.

But, what changed? Well, I guess I was about, 17 years old give or take, when I experienced my first Boys Love anime. Back then my access to anime in general was limited to sneaking my parents computer when they went out or watching whatever was available on Comcast On Demand. I don’t know if they still do this, but, back then you could watch Funimation anime for free if you had cable, so that was where I consistently watched anime. There were some good series up there, but there are only two that are really important for this post: Gravitation and Descendants of Darkness.

gravitation.png
The Kiss that started it all

Officially, Gravitation was the first BL series that I ever watched and I didn’t even realize that I was watching a BL anime. In hindsight, it was obviously a BL anime, but at the time I just thought it was just an anime about a band, with really affectionate characters. I even thought that Shuichi was a girl (it was the pink hair)…The story was compelling and I really liked the songs, so I didn’t think much of it when Shuichi would hang all over Eiri Yuki…It wasn’t until my younger brother walked in on me watching it and asked, “Are those two guys kissing?” That I realized my mistake, I quickly bribed him into silence and shooed him out of the room. But, the damage was done, I had done the unthinkable…I had watched a Boys Love anime…and…I liked it! I realized it wasn’t the big bad as I had always thought, it was the same as any other anime I had watched in the past. I was confused and a little scared at this discovery, but I was in too deep…Well, Mama didn’t raise no quitters, so I quickly finished watching Gravitation (which I definitely recommend for newbies) and reflected on my feelings.

DoD.png
Can you feel the love?

I didn’t feel any different… all of my limbs were in place and I wasn’t sprouting boils or anything weird, I was still me!  After a momentary BSOD, I moved on to the second title, Descendants of Darkness, a supernatural, occult detective anime series. Since I had watched Gravitation right before it, I immediately recognized the BL undertones for what they were. That show was dripping with sexual tension, but the most compelling aspect of the show was the plot. Asato Tsuzuki is a ‘Guardian of Death’ investigating a series of mysterious murders happening in Nagasaki, when he is assigned a new partner, Hisoka Kurosaki. The pair investigate the strange goings on, while fighting supernatural beings along the way. A lot of time is spent on the character development between the main pair, but it is never over done, nor does it take away from the plot. Everything seemed to develop naturally along with the plot, so you ease into the idea of a romance between two men. Now, the show leaves a lot of questions unanswered, and the plot could be downright campy at times, but DoD was a solid introduction to the yaoi/BL genre.

For what they are, Descendants of Darkness and Gravitation showed me that yaoi and BL aren’t about sex,they are much more than that. Yaoi and BL can have plots too, they can have compelling stories, and damnit they can have interesting characters too! Yaoi wasn’t the big bad I thought it was, it was just anime that just happened to feature male on male relationships. Once, I came to terms with that fact, I was open to learning more about the genre and exploring more titles, but that didn’t mean I was open about it. I was still very much in the yaoi closet, and it wasn’t until college that I discovered yaoi manga and became open with my yaoi obsession….but I’ll save that for Part II.

 So how did you discover yaoi/BL? What was your first series/title? Should I write a part two, or are you guys content with just part I? How are you enjoying Yaoi/BL Week so far? Do you have any suggestions for posts? Any burning questions? Want me to review a specific game, manga, or anime? Feel free to Comment on this post or Ask Me on my tumblr! As always Thank You for reading!

Advertisements

31 thoughts on “Wait, Are those Guys Kissing?!: My Yaoi Journey- Part I

  1. It was so long ago, that my firsts blur and I don’t know if it was Ai no Kusabi, Papa to Kiss in the Dark, or Gakuen Heaven/Gravitation/Kyou Kara Maou. I have no idea, but I deifniteoy got hooked.
    Bummer about Yami no Matsuei is the manga continues the story but never got finished translated and I got punched in the gut when I understood I’d never get to know the whole story.
    My first slightly queer manga was Utopia of Homosexuality, a mangwha actually, which I read just for the title because I was expecting more sexy times then anime’s gave me xDD;
    I do remember I has the biggest crush on Loveless, but I don’t know when I saw what, and which came first. Though, if I have to say a first to perk my gay antlers was: Card Captor Sakura and Sailor Moon (one for gay and the other for lesbian). I remember so being down for the whole Yukito/Yue/Touya thing, even though I was way too young to understand what it was until I rewatched it when I was a bit older and got all tingly.
    I love reading origins stories, so definitely do more!

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Both Yami no Matsuei and Loveless there’s no reason to read them if they aren’t finished. Loveless the author got sick and entered in thousand hiatus, but then she’s now writing a lesbian story that got an anime (about assassination or wtv) and I got angry because she could do that with Loveless. If she’s too sick to draw, she could write names and find someone that draws similar/or willing to emulate her style, to continue and finish the story ORZ
        At least Earthian is finished and it has a good story (unlike the mess the OVA was) if you haven’t read it yet, I thumbs up it for gay angels xD

        Liked by 1 person

  2. While I don’t dislike all yaoi fan girls,I must admit that the ones RBI constantly pair up guys for the sake of their own satisfaction gets really annoying after a while. I’d love to have one instance where I look up Kuroko images without seeing him spooning with Kagami. :l

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re telling me. But it speaks to how out of hand yaoi shipping it can get at times. I’m not trying to stop people from doing what they like, but everything in moderation.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This was so perfect and it really got me thinking about when my first yaoi experience was! Honestly I’m not even sure… This is going to drive me crazy! It’s like it was always there hahaha I’m not sure what that says about me :p

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I genuinely don’t know what the first one would have been given I don’t really recall when I became okay with it. Probably went through some softer BL and just gradually progressed. I think anime has this tendency to blur lines between genres so you regularly start watching one thing and end up with something else and that leads you on to finding something else again.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love reading origin stories. If it’s not too much of a hassle, a part 2 would be awesome!
    I don’t go out of my way to watch or read yaoi, but reading DJs where crossdressing boys are violated (or violate!) is one of my lowkey passions. I’m in there, but I guess I’m not fully commited yet.
    You ain’t thattt late for the 77th kickass festival, by the way. At least compared to some other people, haha.

    Thanks for sharing your story of origin. It was really funny and made me smile, but it was also a good read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL Part 2 is a work in progress… so I have no idea when that’ll be out 😛

      OOOOh on the fence… I love it! 😀

      Ha ha ha, I feel like I am always late to the Carnivals… mostly because I spend so much time trying to figure out which post to share!

      Aww thank you Remy, I’m really glad you enjoyed the post!! (PS. every time I see your username, it makes me think of Gambit lol)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Take your time haha. I’m sure many people are looking forward to it. No pressure or anything (;
        Ahaha yeah. Maybe one day I’ll do more exploring.
        Mmm I know how that feels. Being decisive is hard!
        You’re very welcome! It was my pleasure to read it!
        (Oh, snap, there were more fictional characters named Remy than I thought haha. I go by Remy in a different community and they were like “Remy? From Street Fighter?” That dude is sooo edgy from what I’ve read, but I’ve always liked Gambit so yay lol).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ha ha ha no pressure, eh? 😛

        When you do, be sure to let me know! I’d love to hear about your BL exploits XD

        Yup so many Remys lol, oh my gosh I completely forgot about the one from Street Fighter, but Gambit is by for my favorite!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. No pressure at all! c:
        Haaah I’ll have to think hard to remember exactly when I realized that traps are great. Maybe it could be a post in 2017. 2016 is almost done, wow!
        Gambit is just so stylish and cool. Nice pick!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it’s high time I started watching it! Everyone has been on me about it for awhile now. However, I have heard that some of the couples are less likable than others… But, I will be sure to keep an eye out for Nowaki and Hiroki when I do watch!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. My family knows that I like yaoi. I have a step-cousin who loves watching them as well, and we openly talk about yaoi series at the dinner table. I also sometimes watch BL anime openly at our living room with my siblings and parents watching. They just shake their heads but other than that, they let me watch to my heart’s content. They don’t understand why I like this kind of shows, but I’m thankful and I feel blessed that they respect my preferences and don’t judge me negatively or try to stop me from watching.

    Saying all of these, however, like you I also didn’t start out liking BL series immediately. I was suspicious at first and avoided them as a teenager. It was only very recently that I got hooked by the genre. I’m still not comfortable with openly calling myself a “fujoshi” but I do say that I have “fujoshi sensibilities”. It’s just that there are a lot of negative connotations associated with the label. However, I’m very glad to find that there are a lot of awesome fellow BL fans who are very open and fun to discuss BL series with. I agree that it’s not wise to dump BL info on a newbie, but once the ice is broken, it’s pretty fun to discuss it. Anyway, this was an enjoyable post to read. High-five, my friend. Keep it up. And of course, thank you very much for sharing this post at my blog carnival. I appreciate it. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story Arria!! That’s so awesome that your family is so accepting of your preference! My folks know I like anime, but I’ve never told them about yaoi! One of my little bros knows lol, but he doesn’t get it… I was lucky enough to make some amazing friends when I went away to school that love anime and yaoi, so we talk about it all the time!!

      You are so right, there is still some stigma associated with fujoshi and fans of BL, which is a shame! People should be free to watch or read what they like without being judged for it!!

      *High fives* I’m really glad you enjoyed my post Arria and I absolutely love your Carnivals!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL with the quickness, I knew that if I didn’t act fast, my mom would have killed me! O.o

      I’m really glad you liked the post and I look forward to reading your post when it’s done, it sounds really interesting!!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s