romance

Giving too much: Another trailer for Behind the Candelabra

Cannot wait to see this maudlin romance featuring narcissism, Amerikan success, and daddy-son love and family-making. Is that Rob Lowe inside that giant hair pouf, playing Liberace’s  fantastic 70s plastic surgeon?

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

アイ・ラブ・ベジ, or “Aye Rabu Begi”

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Suntory’s new drink offers human-plant romance as the backstory for a new vegetable drink. Father-in-law thinks Donna’s vegetable boyfriend is creepy looking.

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I am amazed at the tag line, アイ・ラブ・ベジ, or “Aye Rabu Begi.” This is supposed to be the Japanese way to say, “I love vegi.” No wonder Japanese, for all the years studying English and the media ubiquity of “foreign words,” have trouble communicating in English.

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“Er, well, I suppose I was in love with a man myself”

Junjou romantica

Following a few blog links, I discovered this year’s most popular Boys Love anime, Junjou Romantica, with seasons 1 and 2 appearing on television. With a cast featuring university students, professors, and a famous novelist, this story tells the connected stories of four male couples.The title can be translated as Pure Romance.

Like all Boys Love, this anime is clearly written by and for women. Gay romance and sex is a fantasy displaced onto men for maximum erotic exploration. Few if any of the characters identify as gay. The sex is generally forced and desire denied, while simultaneously there’s also sweetness and true love.

Super hen, ne. ちょう変、ね!(Very twisted).

Equally amazing is that these shows have a huge international fanbase, who fansub them into English within a week or two of broadcast. All episodes can be found online for free. Season 1 can be found here.  The first five episodes of Season 2 here.

Here’s some more stills, showing ostensible rejection of attention, “but” . . .

Junjou Romantica

Sex that’s borderline rape.

Junjou Romantica

More denial of desire.

Junjou Romantica

A rare role reversal, saved for the finale of Season 1.

Junjou Romantica

The voice actors are hilarious, and the visual style very entertaining. When the characters frequently become mad, the drawings get simplified, and characters regress to children. There’s also some excessive use of falling flowers.

Season 1 has a rock and roll love song in the opening. I’ve learned most of the lyrics:

君に会いたくて会いたくて
I want to see you, just want to see

二人でいればいる程寂しくなるなら
If the more we’re together, the lonelier we get,

寂しくなくなるまで手を繋ごう
Let’s hold each other’s hands until we’re not lonely anymore

その手離さないで離さないで
Don’t let go of that hand, don’t let go

僕がそばにいるから
Because I’m here beside you

どんな時でも笑って笑って
Keep on smiling, always smiling

花を咲かせてよ
And make flowers bloom

Junjou Romantica