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JacobC
ANN Past Staff


Joined: 15 Jan 2008
Posts: 3727
Location: SoCal
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:02 pm Reply with quote
rizuchan wrote:

People often begin to warm up to people with other interests and lifestyles by knowing people who are affected. My friends and I grew up in a town where, even now, most gays are fairly closeted, and so we hadn't knowingly met anyone who wasn't able to marry their partner, or couldn't talk about it for fear of losing their job or family. So through Yaoi, and anime fandom in general, we were able to start to understand the issues faced by LGBT. Don't get me wrong, I know how many things are wrong with the depictions of gays in Yaoi, but I just wanted to share how much of difference Yaoi made in my little circle of naive friends.


Oh, don't get me wrong! I wasn't trying to imply that yaoi is inherently bad or that it only leads to bad attitudes about LGBT issues or any of that whatsoever. In broad strokes, your experience largely mirrors my own, and all the girls I was talking about who were anti-gay back in high school (as was I) are not that way anymore. It's tough growing up in extremely conservative backwoods states, and for all I know, maybe those girls came around to progressive attitudes over time because of their love of BL, even if it only happened years later in retrospect. And yes, a few of them also came out as lesbian, something I mentioned in the podcast. So by no means would I consider yaoi a negative influence on them or young women in general, I'm only saying that it's not a hallmark of positive representation that changes minds. So I guess you could call it "neutral." If you're a bigot, it's easy to remain a bigot and get really into yaoi. If you're not, yaoi is not going to make you somehow more close-minded about LGBT realities, as long as you keep in mind that it's a sexual fantasy.

The only reason I was so down on it in the podcast (and generally when it comes up) is because I see the opposite extreme espoused much more often. Most of what you see on the internet about it is either people dismissing the genre entirely as "pandering" porn for dumb girls (hilariously misogynist reaction, considering that the people who say that don't consider the stuff that "panders" to them with cute girls in that light), or if not dismissed, it professes the love of slash shipping or yaoi to be some signal that you are automatically a true progressive, as if the idea of shipping two boys together is some inherently feminist or sexually enlightened act. (It's not. It's really not, and I can't wait until female sexual empowerment becomes mainstream enough that the reality of women's ability to be just as gross as dudes when it comes to objectification takes the bloom off that rose a little.) That's the attitude I find myself butting heads with a lot, and that along with the generally low narrative quality of BL anime keeps me generally out of its court when it comes to discussing representation.

For surprisingly positive yaoi anime portrayals of relationships, I guess I would defend Love Stage! (It helps that it's the only yaoi I've seen tacit approval for from other gay men, and I do mean just the anime, which removes the rape stuff from the original manga.) But that's about it.
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TarsTarkas



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Posts: 4214
Location: Virginia, United States
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:43 pm Reply with quote
Thanks for mentioning Murcielago. Never heard about it before, and it sounds great. Hopeful Yen Press will have it out on the Kindle.
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raich8



Joined: 25 May 2014
Posts: 17
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 4:08 pm Reply with quote
I'm a little disappointed no-one mentioned Bokura no Hentai, but I guess it is still just scanlated. Still holding out hope for an official translation.

Anyway it is definitely a "queer" manga for lack of a better word -- LGBT characters as well as just characters with gender role issues, and explorations of teenage sexuality. There is one big misstep which occurs near the end, which is kind of inexplicable -- it doesn't really serve the story and the author seems to have done her research (she mentions interviewing a trans woman and a clinician in the author's notes).
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-Ana-



Joined: 24 Jun 2015
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:18 pm Reply with quote
Big yikes at them promoting Takanaga Hinako's works since they are filled with this rape fantasy.
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TarsTarkas



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Posts: 4214
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:00 pm Reply with quote
-Ana- wrote:
Big yikes at them promoting Takanaga Hinako's works since they are filled with this rape fantasy.

Don't know why you say "Big yikes", as rape fantasies are a popular theme in western romance novels.

If you can have strong men overpowering women, and turning their 'no's' to 'yes's' in western romance novels and other media, then there is nothing wrong with this playing out in Japanese manga and anime, no matter what genre.

Don't get me wrong, I hated Diabolik Lovers, if anything it should have been a revenge play, but sadly they went for romance. Where was Van Hellsing when we needed him?

Point is, what is good for the goose, is good for the gander.
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ptolemy18
Manga Reviewer/Creator/Taster


Joined: 07 May 2005
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Location: San Francisco
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:01 pm Reply with quote
-Ana- wrote:
Big yikes at them promoting Takanaga Hinako's works since they are filled with this rape fantasy.


Just wanted to say that specifically I, Jason, was the person who talked about Hinako Takanaga; there was limited time to do the 'cast so I don't think anyone else responded to my comment but I'm sure the rest of the ANN people -- Jake, Zac, Erica and Valerie -- would probably not like being lumped under this "them"! It's just me, folks.

I love Takanaga. She's done some rapey manga, like "Tyrant," but she's also made plenty of manga that are very sweet and consensual -- "Challengers," "Croquis," "Little Butterfly" etc. Really dig her stories and her art and she does have some concern for actual LGBT issues (at least relative to many BL artists). But if you want to talk about it I am on twitter @mockman !
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rinmackie



Joined: 05 Aug 2006
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Location: in a van! down by the river!
PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:11 pm Reply with quote
Takanaga's Tyrant is my favorite yaoi. I don't mind non-con/rape so long as it serves the purpose of the story. And most BL/yaoi are erotic fantasies; they are not supposed to be about what it's like to be LGBT. (Though that can be part of the story.) So for those of you looking for "representation", you might what to consider looking elsewhere. Or just accept that Japanese creators don't really have your interests in mind and take what you can get.
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ChibiKangaroo



Joined: 01 Feb 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 12:02 pm Reply with quote
It's so rare to see positive, explicit representations of homosexual love and relationships in anime that I can't even recall any off the top of my head. (Everyone is talking about Yuri on Ice as perhaps the one example, but I still haven't watched it yet and I get the impression from discussions about it that even there the relationship is more implied?) I could probably think of some if I spent a bunch of time going through everything I've seen, but it's just not very common. Instead, the majority of positive representations are implied. The explicit representations tend to be of the predatory nature, or they are turned into a source of comedic relief if not being used for titilation.

Two examples in recent "popular" anime - the predatory relationship between older and younger brothers in Super Lovers, and the comedic bisexual pedophile in Maria the Virgin Witch. These two examples are repeated in many other shows, as well as the "gay panic" character that has also been discussed so much here and elsewhere. I think the "crossdressing masculine guy with 5 O'clock shadow" that was mentioned in the podcast is generally included in the gay panic character trope.

Personally, I think one of the reasons that explicit LGBTQ representations are not that positive in anime is because of common writing problems in anime in general. In other words, LGBTQ representations in anime suffer in similar fashion to moe anime or harem anime or other subgenres of anime. Subtlety in writing is a common failure in anime. Thus, when a gay or lesbian character for example is introduced, they will tend to be written in such a fashion where extremes get emphasized. You can see how that applies to the "panic" character, the over-the-top aggressive lesbian characters who are constantly grabbing the breasts of every girl around them, or the predatory seme who's passion is so overwhelming that he can't help but force himself upon the innocent uke, even if he must later be "punished" for his "rudeness."

That being said, up until more recently, Anime was still on the "cutting edge" so to speak since they at least had the implied relationships and American animation didn't. That is starting to change a bit though. There's been a lot written about Korra and Asami. I think that relationship was about as subtle as you can get, but was still compelling. Now we have explicit lesbian relationships in Steven Universe which are presented as loving, not fetishized, and again somewhat subtle. I actually used to dislike Steven Universe, because the first season seemed so immature to me and I didn't really like the character designs. However, that show has grown on me a bit, particularly for the way that it treats gender and sexuality issues.

I think if American animation starts to do more stuff along the lines of what we saw in Korra and SU, anime is going to fall behind in this area, because to be honest I really don't see anime changing for the positive at this time, notwithstanding the success of Yuri on Ice. There is still too much rigid adherence to common tropes and habitual ways of doing things in anime and too many fans defend such things to their dying breaths, so producers have no real incentive to move the ball forward. We will get an occasional positive show on LGBTQ issues (again, they are still rare and tend to be implicit, not explicit), but then we will get immediately flooded with 10 times as much crappy representations.

Maybe that will change as women gain more power in the anime creative community. I say that because I think a lot of the rigidity in anime is due to the producers being able to play to a very specific audience for so long. Yea, women who create abusive Yaoi relationships are also offenders as far as making negative representations of LGBTQ issues, but I do think an increasing female audience may break up the rigidity more such that both male and female content creators (and their editors) feel less constrained to recycling the same (poorly written) tropes that seem to appeal to a narrow fanbase.
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Chester McCool



Joined: 06 Jan 2016
Posts: 322
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:36 pm Reply with quote
ChibiKangaroo wrote:
IThat being said, up until more recently, Anime was still on the "cutting edge" so to speak since they at least had the implied relationships and American animation didn't. That is starting to change a bit though. There's been a lot written about Korra and Asami. I think that relationship was about as subtle as you can get, but was still compelling. Now we have explicit lesbian relationships in Steven Universe which are presented as loving, not fetishized, and again somewhat subtle. I actually used to dislike Steven Universe, because the first season seemed so immature to me and I didn't really like the character designs. However, that show has grown on me a bit, particularly for the way that it treats gender and sexuality issues.

I think if American animation starts to do more stuff along the lines of what we saw in Korra and SU, anime is going to fall behind in this area, because to be honest I really don't see anime changing for the positive at this time, notwithstanding the success of Yuri on Ice. There is still too much rigid adherence to common tropes and habitual ways of doing things in anime and too many fans defend such things to their dying breaths, so producers have no real incentive to move the ball forward. We will get an occasional positive show on LGBTQ issues (again, they are still rare and tend to be implicit, not explicit), but then we will get immediately flooded with 10 times as much crappy representations.


If only anime could be progressive enough to show two friends holding hands after 4 seasons of dating and kissing a guy. A shame anime wi!l never reach such a pinnacle of explicitness or boldness.

I always laugh when people use Steven Universe because it's one of the biggest anti-gay propaganda shows out there if you really try to apply a gay lens to it. If you go the whole "fusions = sex" theory then gem fusions (homosexuality) always being portrayed as chaotic, destructive, or manipulative while human (straight) fusions being portrayed as normal and beautiful. It's like an old religious anti-gay PSA on homosexuality. Either way none of the characters are "explicitly" lesbian. They're magic genderless rocks from outerspace. It's all implied because of censors. I'm sure those shows wish they could do a quarter of what Super Lovers could do.

Quote:
Maybe that will change as women gain more power in the anime creative community. I say that because I think a lot of the rigidity in anime is due to the producers being able to play to a very specific audience for so long. Yea, women who create abusive Yaoi relationships are also offenders as far as making negative representations of LGBTQ issues, but I do think an increasing female audience may break up the rigidity more such that both male and female content creators (and their editors) feel less constrained to recycling the same (poorly written) tropes that seem to appeal to a narrow fanbase.


Women are precisely why the market is like that. Stuart Smith and rinmackie already covered why. Yaoi isn't aimed at gay people, its aimed at women. More women isn't going to make it "better", just more fetishized. I would suggest bara stuff like Gengoroh Tagame's works but that's just fetishized for gay men instead.
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ChibiKangaroo



Joined: 01 Feb 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:32 pm Reply with quote
Chester McCool wrote:


If only anime could be progressive enough to show two friends holding hands after 4 seasons of dating and kissing a guy. A shame anime wi!l never reach such a pinnacle of explicitness or boldness.


No, instead we get an older brother grooming his child younger brother to be his sex object. Wohoo! I guess maybe you prefer that to showing two people genuinely growing close to each other over a few seasons and overcoming various obstacles together to form a real bond of companionship. We just can't have that in anime right? Instead we need to have aggressive "maybe" lesbian girl just grabbing every girl's boobs so that the viewers can still act vicariously through her. But yea, this is the point I was making. People just eat this stuff up. Anime will not change as long as they do.

Quote:

I always laugh when people use Steven Universe because it's one of the biggest anti-gay propaganda shows out there if you really try to apply a gay lens to it. If you go the whole "fusions = sex" theory then gem fusions (homosexuality) always being portrayed as chaotic, destructive, or manipulative while human (straight) fusions being portrayed as normal and beautiful. It's like an old religious anti-gay PSA on homosexuality. Either way none of the characters are "explicitly" lesbian. They're magic genderless rocks from outerspace. It's all implied because of censors. I'm sure those shows wish they could do a quarter of what Super Lovers could do.


I'm not the best person to defend the show, but from what I've seen the fusions are not portrayed as chaotic, destructive or manipulative. Garnet's fusion is always portrayed as beautiful and special. And when the rest of the main gems fuse together, it is always portrayed as just POWERFUL Obviously, two separate beings converging into one is going to have some eccentricity about it, but I have not seen that being shown in a negative light unless its a villain trying to fuse with someone (like Jasper). There have been plenty of interviews done with the creator of the show though and she has explicitly stated how the show does represent an empowering portrayal of LGBTQ issues. Saying the characters are just "magic genderless rocks" is just being blissfully ignorant.

Quote:
Women are precisely why the market is like that. Stuart Smith and rinmackie already covered why. Yaoi isn't aimed at gay people, its aimed at women. More women isn't going to make it "better", just more fetishized. I would suggest bara stuff like Gengoroh Tagame's works but that's just fetishized for gay men instead.


Women who are offenders on using negative LGBTQ portrayals are doing the same thing that the men have done. Tailor their content to a narrow audience. However, I think as the audience becomes more broad in general and there is more crossover between male and female audiences, content creators may feel like they are safe to take more chances and divert more from the rigid anime formulas.
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TropicaliaSoup



Joined: 02 Jun 2014
Posts: 18
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:44 pm Reply with quote
My interest in manga started with Ranma 1/2 in middle school and I became more interested in stories with gender bending elements after that. Hourou Musuko was a manga I got really invested in and appreciated, after coming across a lot of bad series. I was so excited when the anime came out. I am collecting the Fantagraphics release of the manga and should revisit them soon. I've been more into older series lately and really like the Rose of Versailles. I got into BL manga in highschool after seeing the Gravitation anime and then the manga. I recall being annoyed by the problematic tropes in BL series, but I still like some of them. More recently I have read and really enjoyed an older series, The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio.

No.6 was an action/ sci-fi series I liked that was sweet and simple about having a little romance between the male leads. Most of the gay characters I think of in mainstream anime are flamboyant guys that were goofy supporting characters in a comedy. I like those characters when they are written to be interesting and have some kind of personal development.

These days I really like manga by Fumi Yoshinaga. Antique Bakery is a popular work by her that I was initially turned off by in the first few chapters. I heard about What Did You Eat Yesterday? on a manga episode of this podcast and I love that series for the characters and the food. It's a simple story about a lawyer who's very concerned about saving for retirement and plans meals for himself and his boyfriend meticulously to save money. It was refreshing to read a manga with an established couple in their 40's, and it's mostly about food. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is the most recent anime I have watched and I really enjoyed that.
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Dragonsandphoenix



Joined: 21 Jan 2015
Posts: 79
Location: Malaysia
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:21 am Reply with quote
Yeah, so the part where they were talking for Boku no Pico, I actually assumed it was for a male audience, not a female one but I honestly don't care. Correct me if I'm wrong. Has anyone ever heard of the Otokonoko genre? The genre of anime/manga revolving around crossdressing men aimed at a niche audience, typically men.
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TarsTarkas



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:08 am Reply with quote
ChibiKangaroo wrote:
Instead we need to have aggressive "maybe" lesbian girl just grabbing every girl's boobs so that the viewers can still act vicariously through her. But yea, this is the point I was making. People just eat this stuff up. Anime will not change as long as they do.


Well, it is much more acceptable for women to be molesting women, rather than having men do it. As you said, it is what the audience wants.


It comes down to supporting the shows you want (even if it is far from perfect). You are right though, as long as Japanese male teenagers and young men continue to outspend all other groups, you are going to get more of the same.

So when Yuri on Ice becomes available go buy it, and then buy Flip Flappers (I hope), and other shows where your interests are highlighted.
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darkchibi07



Joined: 15 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:02 am Reply with quote
ChibiKangaroo wrote:

I think if American animation starts to do more stuff along the lines of what we saw in Korra and SU, anime is going to fall behind in this area, because to be honest I really don't see anime changing for the positive at this time, notwithstanding the success of Yuri on Ice. There is still too much rigid adherence to common tropes and habitual ways of doing things in anime and too many fans defend such things to their dying breaths, so producers have no real incentive to move the ball forward. We will get an occasional positive show on LGBTQ issues (again, they are still rare and tend to be implicit, not explicit), but then we will get immediately flooded with 10 times as much crappy representations.



That's what I'm hoping that the success of Yuri on Ice isn't some exception but trendsetter for future titles to be more direct with its homosexual themes. I especially hope parts of the anime industry who tends to do stuff aimed for male otaku would pay attention to Yuri on Ice's success and they start following their footsteps with female-cast counterparts.

It will be fascinating to see how the Citrus and Netsuzou Trap anime will do. Heck, it could be a one-two punch for both male and female audiences.
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CCTakato



Joined: 24 Jul 2015
Posts: 514
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:07 am Reply with quote
I loved the episode and thought it was very thoughtful and interesting and I really appreciated everyone's perspectives. I was disappointed though nobody brought up CLAMP. Sailor Moon was the first anime I ever saw with openly gay characters, but growing up gay, I was always more inspired by the characters in CLAMP's manga more. Like I love Uranus and Neptune and Haruka is my favorite of the Outers, but I don't relate to them in the way that I do the characters in Cardcaptor Sakura. Even like two decades later, Cardcaptor Sakura still has some of the most positive portrayals of LGBTQ characters in anime that I've seen. Almost every other character in the series is LGBTQ and it's never presented in a mean spirited or comic relief way.

Even with Tomoyo, the running gag is about Tomoyo's obsession with the battle costume and not about her being a lesbian. Sakura herself is also bi and is portrayed as having crushes on both guys and girls and the series never makes a big deal about it. I think the series made a bigger deal about Syaoran realizing he liked girls too than they did about his crush on Yukito. There are also characters like Nakuru and Yue who have no gender. While Nakuru is an antagonist, Nakuru isn't evil either and Nakuru is never portrayed in a sinister or mean spirited way. The CCS world is always portrayed as a safe and gentle and kind place so Tomoeda is always a safe environment to openly explore LGBTQ relationships and identities. Most CLAMP works in general always seem to include at least one gay couple and it's never portrayed as a huge deal or in a fetisishized way.

They're just portrayed as characters in the story and their sexuality is apart of that. Growing up gay in a fundamentalist household, CLAMP's manga was always so inspiring to me and I always found the Cardcaptor Sakura fandom to be very supportive and affirming. In fact, I first came out on the Internet at a Cardcaptor Sakura forum in my late high school years. They were very important in helping me through those difficult times and we're still good friends to this day even though I'm almost 32 now and that was way back in like my junior year or something. So even though CLAMP isn't as big now as they were back then, they still mean a lot to me for helping me get through those awkward high school years and I'll always find them inspiring. i hope the upcoming CCS sequel will do the same for younger LGBTQ anime fans.
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