Beijing’s Picks: Yaoi Edition


I guess this officially makes me a disgrace to the anime community now.

Welcome once again fairies and cheshires to this month’s Beijing’s Picks!  As for this month, we shall be exploring my top three favorite yaoi mangas!  The yaois highlighted in this blog post are exclusive to mangas because that is the predominant media yaoi is seen in.  It is also my personal preference of tending to enjoy manga over anime, but that’s just me.

Despite yaoi being a part anime I do not hold it to the same standards as my overall anime favorites.  I do the same thing for any genre favorite picks.  The reason for my overall picks being overall picks is because of the overall impact that those series left on me after I watched/read them — that’s a lot of “overalls” in one sentence!  With genre picks my criteria is more geared towards character development, plot, and my personal analysis of the characters.  To me there are two types of people: those who put emphasis on plot, and those who put emphasis on characters.  I am the latter of the two.  I of course believe that a good plot is important, but I also belive that a mediocre plot can be upheld by strong characters.  Therefore to me, a story with phenomenal characters is much more important to me than a complex plot — which is probably why I enjoy romance over horror or physiological/deep animes.  Furthermore, because yaoi is a part of the romance genre, I also have picked these based on their romantic qualities such as the character dynamic and developement of the romance.  Yes, yes, all very offical stuffs.

Now that we are clear on the criteria, let us descend into yaoi hell!

3) Love Lesson

“Shall I give you a love lesson?”

A simple phrase is all that it took to send Ayami and Mineyuki down their path of love.

Love Lesson is full of fluffy romance scences between the two protagonists, but still contains healthy doses of smut and angst.  It would be a lie to say that the plot line used in Love Lesson is not over done, but despite the copious amounts of cliché just seeping through the pages, the dynamic of Ayami and Mineyuki’s relationship just continues to pull me in.

Mineyuki is absolutely adorable in his timid way of progressing his relationship with Ayami.  Ayami is his first true love; meaning that while he is experienced in dating others, Ayami has been the first he’s experienced real romantic attraction to, and he’s scared.  Moreover, he  is also afraid of what others will think of their relationship, and rightfully so, with both of them being entertainers.  Mineyuki only wants the best for Ayami and it is shown in the final chapters that he is willing to give up what is most precious to him if it means that Ayami will be safe, prosperous, and happy.  Mineyuki is definately not your typical uke — submissive one in the relationship — who relies on his seme — dominant one in the relationship — to protect him.  If anything, Mineyuki is more of the protector.

But let’s not leave out the sweet cinnamon bun Ayami!  Ayami is absolutely clueless about love which leads to him being rather dependent on Mineyuki — in the respect of love at least.  However that does not mean that Mineyuki is the only one putting any effort into their relationship.  While Mineyuki is insecure about his emotions and scared of what the future holds for the two of them, Ayami is confident and acts a pillar of support for Mineyuki to lean on when he doubts both himself or their relationship.  Because Ayami only knows of true, pure love, he has no doubts that his relationship with Mineyuki is real.  Ayami is definitely the ideal boyfriend!

2) Hana to Usagi


“…I can’t see his face, so I don’t get what he’s thinking, but I think… he’s not a bad person.”

The terribly shy bunny and the cheerful and upbeat delivery guy.  It’s the perfect recipe for romance!

I have already meantioned Hana to Usagi in “Tea Party Talks: My Opinion on Yaoi” which explores my personal opinion on both yaoi and it’s fandom.  There, I use Hana to Usagi as an example of yaoi done well, and here, I stand by that opinion.  Not only is Hana to Usagi adorable and funny, but it also gives highlight to the simplicity of pure romance between two people who love each other.  There is no noncon, incest, or complicated angst, just pure love.  That is not to say that this manga is void of conflict, but the conflict that occurs is out of pure love.  Furthermore, the conflict is not unnecessarily drawn out, and the same conflict doesn’t repeat itself.  The characters fix the problem, talk about it, get to the root of the problem, then establish what must be done so it doesn’t happen again.  You know, like mature adults in a healthy relationship.

See!  If a person who is so insecure that they have to wear a bunny head can have a healthy and happy relationship with someone then — almost — anyone should be able to.  Right?

1) Sayonara Note


“I will do anything for the sake of that smile.  I will let go of you so please don’t notice.  I have always liked [you].”

Love, trust, selflessness, and moving forwards.  All of it tied up in a neat little bow.

This manga.  This manga is — and forever will be — the holy grail of yaoi.  Sayonara Note is a one volume manga that packs a real punch.  To the feels.  Filled to the brim with the angst that comes with pure — thought to be — unrequited love, Sayonara Note will forever leave a — good — dent in your little fairy heart.  Not only are the characters lovely, amazing, and all deserve a big hug, the plot is also well paced, and very thought through.  Our two protagonists — Takumasa and Ken — are both lovely little cinnamon buns who honestly care about each other more than should be humanly possible.

Both Takumasa and Ken are willing to give up on their own love for each other if that means the other will be happy.  Due to each of their selflessness, intense love and care for one another, and lack of communication however, their best trait ends up turning against them.  Both think that they are doing the right thing by letting the other go when really they are only hurting both each other and themselves by doing so.  This is why communication is key in any relationship kids.

However, both learn from this experience and by the end of the manga, they have the happy and healthy relationship that they both deserve.

I recommend this manga to anyone who is interested in romance mangas period.  Despite Sayonara Note being classified as a yaoi/shounen-ai, I honestly believe this manga to be an exemplary manga for romance manga across the board.  Sayonara Note highlights on the purity of true love in an amazing way that is both captivating and truly heart-wrenching.  It is a shame that more people do not know about this manga.

If you couldn’t tell by now, I have an obvious bias towards romances with pure, caring love between innocent little cinnamon buns.  I also tend to bias lesser known mangas for some reason.  Perhaps this is a mindset or perhaps I am subconsciously trying to be a “special little snowflake”.  I have honestly no clue.  In any case, if you are already a yaoi fan fairy then yay!  I just pushed you deeper into yaoi hell!  And if you are new here, even better!  I honestly hope you enjoy living amongst us trash!  But in all seriousness, I do hope you enjoy these titles, and remember, love is love, no matter the form it takes.

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Beijing’s Picks: Anime and Manga Edition

Anime is a medium of story telling that holds a wide range of content.  Ranging from cute romances filled with fluff, to absolutely horrifying tales of death and despair, there is really something for everyone.  Being an advid fan of anime and manga for many years, I would like to say that I have seen my fair share of animes and mangas.  In that sea of madness, I have found a couple of gems that I would like to share.

Here I will presenting to you my top three favorite animes/mangas.

I have had the pleasure to have these wonderful stories enter into my life and touch my life in an unimaginable way.  As I have stated in my blog post “Mainstream Animes: Why I Don’t Watch Them”, I put a lot of weight on what I personally can take away from an anime or manga after I experience it.  To me, the true mark of an amazing story is how the viewer feels after they experience the story and overall, if they learn something from the story.  All of the amazing stories I will be sharing with you are memorable stories that I believe, truly changed my life for the better.

However, be warned, spoilers lie ahead, so proceed with the upmost caution.  That being said, I hope you enjoy this list!

3) Nanatsu no Taizai/The Seven Deadly Sins


This is an anime/manga that I have already addressed in my previous blog post, “Mainstream Animes: Why I Don’t Watch Them”, and there I stated that this is the only Shounen anime/manga that I have watched and enjoyed.  Why exactly?  Well the simple answer is because of how well each and every character is crafted.

I do admit that the anime was rather… subpar in the way that it was ended with so many loose ends — thankfully a second season is being released soon.  However, the manga is honestly one of the best things I have ever read.  Here, I will focus on the manga.

Nakaba-sensei does an amazing job of revealing the backstories and motives behind all of his characters.  Every character — even the seemingly insignificant ones — holds a heart wrenching backstory.  You can tell that everything has been put into all of the characters.  I find myself ridiculously attached to all the characters, and this includes the antagonists.  There are no “throw-away” characters that just are there to be there, and all of them have their own distinct personality.  The personalities of each character are consistent and defined while still being layered and deep.

2) Puella Magi Madoka Magica


This anime.  I could honestly go on about it forever.  If you have been in the anime community for at least a decent amount of time, you have probably heard of this anime.  Puella Magi Madoka Magica is the most well known dark magical girl anime and is the one that all other dark magical girl animes are — sadly — compared to.  This anime is also one that has a rather bad reputation for being “overrated”.  I do agree that this anime is not perfect, but what anime is?  However, I have a more… personal reason for liking this anime so much.

Madoka Magica was the anime that I believe saved my life, if I am being totally honest.  At the time that I watched Madoka Magica I was going through a very hard time in my life to say the least.  However, as I watched this anime and saw all the tragedy and pain these girls went through, I began to think.  I thought about the messages and underlying themes behind this anime and even to this day, I still turn to those lessons when in hard times.  There are several things that I learned from this anime, but I think the most important one is about moving forward.

You probably thought I was going to say hope, right?  After all, the message of hope is the most prominent one that this anime tells, and even in my takeaway, hope is a big part of my main one.  However, for me, I was going through a time of intense self-pity and self-loathing.  I honestly despised myself and my life, and I was always dwelling on the past.  As I saw Homura, one of the main characters, continuously try to go back and change the past, only to make it worse, I saw a lot of myself.  Homura almost fell into despair because of her constant efforts to change the past, and that was honestly the big slap to the face that I needed at the time.  It took forever, but it finally clicked in my mind that if I choose to dwell on the past and try to change it instead of moving forwards, I will always remain in a state of self-pity and self-loathing until I eventually fall into despair.  After that, I feel like I have become a more optimistic and generally happy person, and this anime was what caused that change.

See, anime is not useless!

1) Akatsuki no Yona/Yona of the Dawn


This is the anime that I hold almost anything and everything to as a standard.  The manga is the holy grail in my eyes and Mizuho-sensei is a goddess.  Everything from art style, the romance, the characters, the plot, the action scenes, just everything is incredible.  It is, of course, with it’s faults, but this manga, is just the best thing I have ever seen.  I can honestly go on and write an entire article about all the characters in this anime, but I’ll try to make this brief.  I’ll only discuss two characters; these two being the two major reasons for my complete and adoration of this manga.

Let’s just start off with Yona, the heroine.  Yona is my favorite female character of all time; no exceptions.  The way that she has developed so much from a selfish and bratty princess and into a strong, kind, and brave warrior is astonishing.  Her character developement is the best that I have ever seen, and the pacing of her developement is well done.  It doesn’t happen over night; it takes time for her to move forward after the death of her father and to become strong, and it takes even more time for her to get over her feelings for her long time childhood crush that completely betrayed her.  Yona is amazing and a very independent and capable young woman that I look up to a lot.

Furthermore, I am completely head over heels for the main antagonist of this story, Soo-won.  Yes, I said antagonist.  In this artfully written story the main antagonist is Yona’s childhood friend, cousin, and previous crush who kills her father in order to take the throne and as revenge for him supposedly killing his father.  However, there is much more to Soo-won than what meets the eye.  Soo-won is probably the most dynamic and layered character I have ever seen.  He benevolent, logical, a person who puts his people first, thoughtful, shy, cheerful, nice, brave, and above all else, a person that is both capable and willing to put his own emotions aside for the greater good.

What is especially interesting to me about this manga is that the protagonist and the antagonist have the same goal; to better the Kingdom of Kouka.  However, while Yona leads with her heart, Soo-won leads with his mind, and the constant push and pull between these two dynamic characters is absolutely beautiful and completely enthralling.

Anime and manga have a lot to share with us and as the loyal fans we are, these many stories will forever touch our lives in unimaginable ways.  I honestly encourage you to think about all of these lovely stories and to allow them to touch your lives as well, because stories are the most important thing we have in this world.

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