anime

Favorite ramen maker at work in Nakano

fave_nakano_ramen1

There’s an amazing, always crowded ramen shop in Nakano that always features anime music and workers in tank tops, dark tans, and big tattoos. Blondie is my all-time favorite ramen maker.

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I am starting to watch the series Sekaiichi Hatsukoi. It’s a Boys Love anime about first love by the creator of Junjou Romantica. BL is basically man-on-man (or girlish male adolescent-on-adolescent) romance written by and for women. Oddly, I learned about it from my male cosplay friend, Bangin Sensei. He claims he cosplays BL stories only as “fan service” for his female otaku audience. Really?

Fundoshi v Fujoshi

Fujoshi, illustration

Another simple mistake in Japanese. Inquiring about the cultural activities of takenoko gathering, I innocently asked my in-laws, “Will there be any fujoshi?” Ooops. What I meant to ask was about fundoshi.

Above, a fujoshi, an anime and manga-addicted girl who enjoys boy-on-boy romance and sex stories known as BL (boys love). Below, fundoshi, a ritual loin cloth worn by men for some religious holidays.

Fundoshi

Finally, one more fujoshi image, courtesy of recent commenter and blogger, imbeleth.

Fan girl ramblings blog

Types of tops (攻め), bottoms (受け), and Boys Love anime

Prince of Tennis

My favorite blogger on otaku and manga language, Bangin, has recently released a second typology for seme (攻め) and uke (受け). Apparently new types of Boys Love roles are constantly being created and new words emerging.

The beauty of these top/bottom terms are their endless variety, unexpected reversals and melodrama. Here are two of my favorites. Follow the links to read both posts with over a dozen types:

ワンコ攻め[wanko-zeme]; Sounds cute, doesn’t it? Well, ワンコ[wanko] means a dog here(but it’s not correct) It derives from the fact that they howl ワンワン[wan wan “bow wow”]. At any rate, dogs are so obedient to their masters but they also fawn upon. Yes, no matter how cold 受け is, how many times 受け refuses to accept him, he never gives up, and eventually it comes to pass. It sounds like a relationship between 先輩受け[sempai-uke] and 後輩攻め[kouhai-zeme]. 先輩 means a senior at a company or school, and 後輩 means a junior as well. 先輩 is more superior to 後輩. In such a relationship, 後輩 becomes 攻め…the position is switched, isn’t it?

姫受け[hime-uke]: [hime] means a princess. This type of uke is surrounded by several semes(more than two tops). I can’t think of a better example. Maybe Shibuya Yuuri? He can be paired up with Gunter or Conlad…but he ends up being uke.

These two posts also provide an evolving typology of BL (Boys Love) literature:

  • リーマンもの[riiman-mono] or office settings;
  • 学園もの[gakuen-mono] or schools;
  • ナマモノ[namamono] or slash fiction about movie stars, singers, sports stars and “vocal actors”;
  • イロモノ[iromono] or minor characters;
  • 兄弟もの[kyoudai-mono] or brothers, often step-brothers;
  • ML or men’s love, versus boys or minors;
  • ロボやおい[robo yaoi] or robot love;
  • 匂い系[nioi-kei] or “smells” type, meaning no sex but plenty of homo-erotic scent (like Water Boys, Ouran High-School Host Club, Hanazakari no Kimitachi e, Prince of Tennis);
  • 健全[kenzen] or sound, meaning Normal Love (NL);
  • 微裏[biura], an abbreviation of bimyou ni ura, which means “slightly porno” and should be no more than kissing

Wow. Thank you, Bangin sensei!

Writing as someone almost entirely untouched by anime and manga, I am certainly inspired to start reading. What about you?

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Mother-Daughter Boys Love

The last post was unusually wholesome, with the image of the pious family, respect for dead zoo animals, and bi-national friendship. Welcome President Hu Jintao to Japan!

Now back to the main themes of this blog. While the majority of otaku, or anime/manga geeks, are men, there’s a huge female sub-genre called Boy Love (BL) or yayoi, produced by and for women focused on sex and romance between men. Many say that yaoi stands for ama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi, or “no climax, no resolution, no meaning.” Others say it’s an acronym for “yamete, oshiri itai” – “Stop it, my butt hurts!” Female BL fans are known as fujoshi 腐女子, and Bangin Sensei provides sub-groups depending on age and marital status. This genre goes back to the late 1970s.

boku-no-sexual-harassment

While male otaku congregate in Akhihabara (also famous as electronic city for all the gadgets for sale), fujoshi visit specialized stores in Ikebukuro on Otome (Maiden) Road. In addition to books, dvds, figurines, etc, there’s even a butler cafe named Swallowtail, the female equivalent of the maid’s cafe.

Swallowtail butler cafe in Ikebukero

I am planning to visit in the next few days during the Golden Week holiday. Back to the promised family theme, I was struck by this quote about the customers from Ayako Abe at K-Books, which runs manga/anime stores and the cafe:

Our shops’ prime target customers are not women in their teens and 20s, but those in their 30s and 40s who got used to ‘boys’ love’ comics while they were young, and come to the stores with their daughters.”

Wow! What’s the right age for a mother to introduce her daughter to the wonders of boy love? 5? 8? 12? I can’t wait to visit Maid’s Road and find out!!

More links:

Boys on Boys on Film terminology list and Film Reviews

Nanya’s BL terminology list

Canadian comic geek Christopher Butcher’s visit to Otomo Road in Ikebukuro (lots of photos)

Jeeves takes Japan: Time magazine article on Swallowtail


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