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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