Tea Party Talks: My Opinion on Yaoi

Yaoi.  Also known as: Boys Love(BL), Shounen-Ai, gay porn, and useless crap.  Then again, I think you can describe all anime with that last one.

Okay, well, there goes the few followers I had.

However, in all seriousness, I do have to admit that I am a yaoi fan fairy — or fujoshi — myself.  Call me a pervert, sinner, or an untrue anime fan if you must, but I honestly do not think that liking yaoi should be a thing that you are ashamed to admit.  Yaoi is just another genre in anime; just like how shoujo is a genre.  Furthermore, to like a certain genre shouldn’t make you any less of a fan of the media art form as any other fan.  As much as we — refering to the anime community as a whole — tries to shun out the yaoi, yuri, and eiichi fans in our community, they still exist, and we will always exist.

While the anime community is slowly growing and becoming more excepted in western culture, we are still a minority in everyday life.  What do I mean by this?  I mean that even though our presence on the internet is large, respected, and noticable, we are still vastly outnumbered by the “jocks”, “populars”, and “cheerleaders” encountered in our day to day lives.  Heck, just the other day some random stranger called out “NERDS” as they drove past me and my friends while we were walking to our local anime convention.  At least we think that’s what they said; all we heard was “RRDS”.  Man, if you are going to insult us, at least do it right!  However, I digress.  My point is that while our community as a whole has been becoming more excepted, we are still a minority, and with so many spiteful people out there that decide to attack our little safe haven, we shouldn’t be making our safe haven a hateful place by holding prejudice against those who like a certain genre.

To make things easier I have split this blog post up into two parts; one discussing the fans of yaoi, and the second discussing my opinion on the genre itself.  This is all done based on my own opinion — obviously — and I in no way represent the yaoi community or anime community as a whole.  I also don’t mean for this blog post to pursuade you to watch or read yaoi if you don’t want to.  If anything, I hope that this post helps to ease out the tensions in the anime community towards yaoi and its community.

Part 1) The Fans


Before I go any further I would like to make it clear that I am not saying that we yaoi fan fairies are perfectly innocent; we are to blame as well.  A lot of hate towards the anime community does stem from the bad attitudes that a small minority of us have.  However, that can also be said about that same minority of general anime fans who start wars with other fandoms as well.  What I mean is, there will always be a small minority of “bad” fans in any fandom or community no matter the genre or medium.  However, those fans are exactly that, a minority.  Not every single yaoi fan is a rabid fangirl that fetishizes gay men, and not every anime fan uses random Japanese in everyday speech and hates anyone who doesn’t like anime.  Just because the more annoying people in the fandom are more vocal and prominent doesn’t mean that everyone in the fandom is like that.

However, like I said we yaoi fan fairies are not completely innocent.  I do admit to shipping certain things that really don’t make sense — Norway x Denmark anyone?  Additionally, I am not denying the existence of the several badly written yaoi fanfictions that exist nor the totally irrational internet wars we have either started are participated in.  Furthermore, it would be a blatant lie to say that yaoi has not turned me into a pervert and made me really kinky.  However, I would say that the previous version of myself was about a thousand times worse, but that is a story for another time.  Moreover, there are nonsensical straight ships too — Lucy x any male character in Fairy Taill for example.  There are also many badly written anime fanfictions in general and the anime fandom is kind of known for internet wars.  So really, we are really no different from normal anime fans.

While the things you like are a minor part of your personality, for the most part, they really don’t effect your personality traits much.  I have met so many sweet, kind, and shy yaoi fans through interaction with the community.  We are all individuals and that means that we are all different.  At the end of the day, we are all severally different people who all just so happen to enjoy gay romance.

Part 2) The Genre



It’s not for children.  Let’s just make this clear, most — if not all — yaoi is basically just gay porn with plot and I don’t think anyone is going to argue that point with you.  At the same time however, there are many heartfelt and sweet scenes in yaoi.  The way I think about it is that shounen-ais — pure gay romance with no sex — are like shoujos — romances for young girls — while yaois are like joseis — romances for older teens and young women.  It can be argued that yaois are more closely related to eiichis, but I feel that that only accounts for certain works.  An example of a said work I feel is more like an eiichi is Koisuru Boukun — pictured above — because this manga has way more sex than some other works and also has noncon — nonconsensual sex.

Speaking of noncon, why don’t we discuss the morality of some yaois!

The morality seen in the yaoi genre is one of the most highly debated topics in the anime community.  I will not deny that many yaoi works contain rape, molestation, pedophilia, and incest.  However, this only accounts for a fraction of the works in the yaoi genre.  There are several beautiful romances in the yaoi genre that I simply adore with no immoral actions at all.  Furthermore, there is a lot of sweet romantic fluff in yaoi.  Despite popular belief, not all yaois only have sex scene after sex scene after sex scene.  One work that I think is a perfect example of this, and is one of my favorite works, is Hana to Usagi — pictured below.


This romance story is filled to the brim with cute and funny scenes that just made my heart swell.  I simply adore all of the characters and the main couple is nothing less than adorable.  No noncon, no incest, no molestation, no pedophilia, just straight up sweet romance between two guys who love each other.

However, there is also the issue of pushing a gay romance into the mold of a heterosexual romance.  I being a cisgendered female with no romance experience at all am not the best person to dicuss real life romance with.  As a result, I don’t think I can say whether the romance in any yaois are accurate or not.  Yet, I, nor any other [non] self-respecting yaoi fan, really and truly believe that any real gay romance is like the ones we read.  I know that makes us sound like hypocrites and perverts who fetishize gay romance, but hear me out.  Do you honestly go in reading a shoujo manga thinking that real life romance is like that?  I don’t know about you, but I don’t, and neither does my friend who is the self proclaimed, “Queen of Shoujo”.  Romance is meant to fantasy.  I get that misrepresentation is something totally different than that, and that saying this may sound like I am calling real gay romance “fantasy”, but if we are talking about how realistic a story that is meant to be complete fiction is, then I really don’t think that’s fair.  I do however believe that we do need to normalize homosexual relationships more across the board, but that is not what yaoi is about.  I actually hope that one day we can have an action anime with a homosexual relationship and no one will even bat an eye, but that’s not what yaoi is nor what it was meant to be.

Maybe yaois are about fetishizing gay men.  I honestly have no idea, but know that even if you think that and even if that’s what yaoi is meant to be, us fans of it do not see it like that; at least not the majority of us do.  To us, yaois and shounen-ais are just cute relationships between two guys that love each other.

If you’re really asking for my opinion, I belive that at the end of the day, yaoi is just a genre and us yaoi fan fairies are just plain ol’ anime fan fairies.


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Otome Games and Anime: Reasons Why They Shouldn’t Mix!

Ah yes, the infamous otome game; otherwise known as the dating simulation.  The mere mention of it’s name can make even the most devoted and accepting fans of anime cringe.  Filled to the brim with “attractive” guys, useless filler scenes of fluff, and the constant reminders that the main girl lacks a brain, the anime adaptation of otome games have become shun worthy material in the anime community.

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the vast majority of anime adaptations of otome games are outright bad. Everything from a brainless main character to episodes of plotless fluff that seemingly have zero connection to the rest of the plotless fluff, otome game anime adaptations have all the qualities of what would be considered as a “bad anime”.   At the same time however, these adaptations have widespread popularity amoung (mostly) women….. as guilty pleasures, which really should not be the case.

Otome games are great.  They contain in depth characters and interesting plot lines when handled correctly.  They make you feel warm and fuzzy inside when you play them and sometimes there are even deeper storylines hidden beneath the surface.  However, when companies try to adapt a game where the storyline changes based on the character of your choice, well, the results are obvious.

Here I will explain the reasons why the anime industry should stop making bad adaptations of otome games.

Keep in mind though that this is all based on my own experience and observations that I have made from being in both the otome game and anime communities.

1) They are Looked Down Upon by the Anime Community/They do not Serve their Purpose as Commercials


Let’s just use Diabolik Lovers as an example.  This anime is infamous for being the absolute worst vampire anime in existence.  Why?  Because the heroine is the ultimate Mary-Sue, all the guys are jerks, the plot is confusing, the episodes hardly connect, traditional vampire lore is completely rejected, none of the characters are developed, and that is only the tip of the iceberg!  But wait…. If this anime was so bad, then why does it have such a large following?  Because the game is just about 10000% better than the anime!

Ok, I will admit, when I first found out about this anime I thought it was absolute crap as well, but after doing a bit of research, I actually found that this was an amazingly done otome game.

The entire point of this game was to appeal to an audience that enjoys BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, Masochism) and more specifically, masochists — or just general subs.  All the guys are purposefully made sadistic, and if you actually play the game, you find that they all have wonderful backstories and do not treat the heroine as a blood bag to just pass around.

By trying to showcase all the routes at once in a 12 episode long anime the plot becomes muddled and a lot of key information is left out.  The guys become presented not only as sadists but as complete and utter jerks, and the brainlessness of the heroine becomes painfully apparent; all things that make anime only fans walk away thinking that otome games and their fans are stupid.

2) They are Marketed as Reverse Harems


You may be thinking “Oh Beijing, what’s wrong with that?  They are essentially reverse harems, right?  So what’s the problem?”  The fact that they are being set up to fail is the problem!

Some of the best and most well known romance animes are reverse harems and by putting these already bad adaptations in with those big fish is nothing but a recipe for disaster!


Let’s just start by comparing Haruhi from Ouran High School Host Club, one of the most well known reverse harem animes, to Haruka from Uta no Prince Sama, one of the most well known otome games with an anime adaptation.

Haruhi has a distinct personality that is rather unlike most average girls; she is strong-willed, tomboyish, independent, harsh and blunt at times, a realist, and naive about romance.  She is her own character but is still compatible with all of the other characters in the series.  At the same time she also succeeds at not being a Mary-Sue.

Haruka however is generic, bland, naive about everything, optimistic, “perfect”, and flat out clueless at some points, and that is all on purpose!  Anyone who has played at least 2 traditional otome games can tell you that otome game producing companies make their heroines (MCs in otome game terms) as genetic and bland as possible so any girl can pick up the game and be able to connect to the MC in at least one way.  Furthermore, the MC’s personality changes slightly depending on the route chosen so that she is as compatible as possible to the chosen character.

3) The Plot Becomes Muddled


This is Alice in the Country of Hearts, infamous for being the most confusing anime adaptation in existence.  The sad part? This is my favorite otome game with a plot to die for.  I will try not to give away any spoilers but if you haven’t heard of this game before go check it out; it’s absolutely amazing.  I know there isn’t an english version of the game (sadly) but there is of the manga (someplace, I haven’t found all of the volumes yet) and some very nice people have done english translated walkthroughs.  Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

This otome game actually is very confusing in itself (but what else would you expect from an Alice in Wonderland adaptation?), but it is done well and dare I say, perfectly.  The madness of it all actually enhances the dark and mysterious (but still sweet) plot of the game.  However, the way that the game developers got away with such a thing was by doing a distinct separation of the MC from the rest of the routes depending on who the player picked.  In simpler terms, it would be impossible for all the routes to be showcased at once.  So if that’s true?  Then how was an anime adaptation created?  If the point of an anime adaptation is to showcase all the routes, then how would that be possible with this impossible game?  Well by purposefully making the sequence of events totally jumbled and out of order apparently.

In case you didn’t know there is actually a “legend” surrounding the anime adaptation of Alice in the Country of Hearts.  It’s said that only those who have played all the games and read all the manga volumes can understand the adaptation.

…..

I’m sorry but I fail to see the logic in that.

I get that by doing that it forces anyone who wants to watch the adaptation to play all the games and read the manga but that is still beyond ridiculous.  The adaption just makes the entire franchise seem stupid to an unknowing viewer.  Honestly, whoever thought that adding more madness to something that had found the perfect equilibrium to madness and sanity has to be fired.

Hopefully one day soon we will see a day when an otome game gets a good anime adaptation, but honestly, I don’t see that coming anytime soon.  For now, all of us otome game fans must just endure the pain of only being able to see our precious games as bad adaptations and suffer through the hours we take out of our days to explain that otome games aren’t that bad to anime only fans.

And to all of you anime only fans.  We are not stupid.



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