Monday, January 21, 2008

Hot man angst, or why I love yaoi.

by Madelynne Ellis

Many moons ago, in a bar in Birmingham a certain werewolf loving Lustie twisted my arm and said: “You are going to write about yaoi, aren’t you Madelynne.” And seeing as my arm was being twisted, and quite painfully I might add, I agreed.

Well, you know what, I lied.

This post is going to teach you very little about yaoi. It is in fact a really cheap excuse to post lots of pictures (like this one) of yummy bishonen getting it on with one another, and maybe
I’ll make a few remarks in the background. I mean, you didn’t actually want me to give you a pronunciation lesson (that’s Yah-oh-ee BTW), or warble on about what exactly yaoi is or isn’t and how it differs from slash, gay fiction, or even slash masquerading as ersatz yowie. And I’m quite sure you don’t want to read all about its convoluted history from its underground doujinshi roots to its increasing presence in the west. If you do, check out here and… erm here. Meanwhile, I’m just going to hang around a bit and enjoy the view.



Ah, boy! Long flowing locks just does it for me every time, and I love the whole hair over the eyes thing. Actually, these men just have lovely eyes, and the sort of eyelashes that women can only achieve with that super-curly-extendy-turn-your-eyelashes-into-hairy-spiders mascara. Oh, and look at these butts, so tight and firm you just want to dig your fingers in and have a nice big grope.


I realise I might be giving you the wrong idea here. I mean it’s not all about the sex and man oogling. It’s the soap opera angst that gets me too. I mean how am I supposed to resist pages of heartbreakingly beautiful men engaging in complex, romantic and exceptionally torturous relationships…

…with the occasional bit of bondage thrown in too.


The answer is, I can’t.

I will point out that I’m actually very picky when it comes to my yaoi choices. For all their beauty, I like my men to look and act like adults, which can be a problem when there’s a whole slew of stuff set in high schools and colleges. The only exception I’ve made to this so far is by Korean manhwa artist Sooyeon Won, and let me tell you, Let Dai is exceptional. It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s cruel and completely brutal.

Sensitive Jaehee has to deal with his feelings for the dangerous, disturbingly attractive and sociopathic Dai, following his girlfriend’s brutal assault by Dai’s gang.



Perhaps not a good starting recommendation, but then most of my favourite titles lean heavily to the dark side.

Okay, try Yellow, Makoto Tateno, or Ai No Kusabi (yaoi anime based on a novel). The premise of Yellow is simple, two guys, one’s gay, one’s straight, and they both have some serious baggage to work through. It’s fun, it’s edgy, and some of the situations just had me squirming in delight. These guys are seriously cool, and yet it somehow manages to be romantic as well.


Ai No Kusabi is set in a futuristic world with a strict caste system and an almost exclusively male population. It’s considered something of a masterpiece, combining a complicated plot with scorching sex, angst, bdsm and truly poignant tragedy.


Other recommendations include: Fake by Matoh Sanami, Antique Bakery, Fumi Yoshinaga (complete with scratch and sniff covers), & Gorgeous Carat by You Higuri. Also, yaoi interactive novel Animamundi (read my review here).


Oh, and absolutely don’t forget my very own yaoi inspired erotica, Dark Designs, winner of Scarlet Magazine’s Best Male-Male Sex Scene Award in 2007.

I'll leave you with one final picture.

Madelynne Ellis

PS: Please share your recommendations and or comment on your favourite image.
PPS: Go check out my newly revamped website too.

30 comments:

shojomangarox said...

OMG OMG OMG!!!!!! I LOVE THIS ARTICLE!! XD i've read and watched many of these and want to read some of these too. ^//^ i love it. XD yea, i've only been obsessed w/ yaoi for a year but w/e i'm just about as head over heals (or more) than most girls (or guys w/e) XD.

p.s. Chitose Piko, Honjou Rei, and Haruka Minami are my top 3 favorite authors. XD

Portia Da Costa said...

I've never read any Yaoi, but the artwork is intriguing and beautiful. I will have to seek out some of your recommendations and give it try!

Mathilde Madden said...

Wonderful. You know how long I've waited for this post.

Madelynne Ellis said...

About a year, wasn't it!

Janine Ashbless said...

Madelynne, ever since reading the opening chapters of Dark Designs I have so wanted to read these comics! So - WHERE DO YOU GET THEM FROM? Do Amazon peddle gay Japanese porn? Do I have to ask in my local comics/games shop (which will I guess cause the nice gentleman behind the counter to go into cardiac arrest)?

BTW my Blogger verification word is LECHEERS. How appropriate!

Madelynne Ellis said...

Hi Janine, Amazon are very good purveyors of Japanese smut. Just type in yaoi and you'll get a very long list.

Forbidden Planet have a good selection of manga, but you have to hunt out the yaoi titles, and I've even picked up some stuff in Waterstones!

Janine Ashbless said...

Thank-you.

Smell the melting plastic as I take my credit card to Amazon ...

Olivia Knight said...

And now the plastic's really burning, because I'm also taking your credit card to Amazon...

Gorgeous post, Madelynne; I've been vaguely aware of the word "yaoi" (and pronouncing it "yowie", thanks for putting me straight!) but had no idea of the wonders...

shojomangarox - put me out of my endless puzzlement and misery - what's XD? a cross-eyed smile? an arcane acronym?

Really showing my ignorance today ;-)

Kate Pearce said...

Beautiful pictures! I shall take your list and go and check out the big manga/Japanese art/comic section in my Borders, which is conveniently located on the same aisle as romance! sounds just my thing :)
thank you!

Donna said...

Gorgeous images, but I like the opener best--I like just a bit left to the imagination. I don't know what it is about bishonen, they definitely make me feel like a gay man trapped in a woman's body....

Great article!

Donna

Shay said...

I <3 Yaoi too!

Also, I love how similar our posts for today are.

QB said...

I always pronounced it YOW, rhymes with COW. No surprise there that I got it wrong.

Here's the thing with Yaoi, the artwork is lovely and I DO luvs me some man on man luvin', but from the perspective of an old lady, why do they all have to look like they are 15? That just sends my squick-o-meter alarms clanging and I feel like a pervert looking at them!

Are there any that have characters that look at least legal age? I think I might actually enjoy these if I could get past that jailbait art.

Madeline Moore said...

Yowie Zowie. I can't input new info right now as I am three days away from my BL deadline. But when it's over, oh God when it's over, well, I'll have a hot bath and relax until I don't type in my head anymore and then - why then I think I'll take a good look at this yaoi. Thanks for the post!

Katrina Strauss said...

Goodness, I am majorly nosebleeding after scrolling through these yummy images, but what's a little blood loss first thing in the morning? Mmm, yes, yaoi is my anti-drug, from the beautiful bishies, to the inherent D/s dynamic of the D/s relationship, and everything (or everyone) in between. When I'm not at work on my own yaoi series, Blue Ruin, I indulge entirely too much in other fine offerings of the hot bishie goodness. My favorite yaoi manga series would be Yamane Ayano's Viewfinder, Miyamoto Kano's Rules, and Lee Young Hee's The Summit, each with their own distinct take and style on the genre. I also confess I hit the fanfic and doujinshi boards for ShikiXAkira of Togainu no Chi, SephXCloud, and pretty much any pairing from D.Gray-Man. My favorite yaoi visual, by far, would be full-dressed seme taking his fully-nude uke (a theme I enjoy in het romance, too, but yaoi artists and writers seem to explore it more frequently!)

Katrina Strauss said...

Er, the inherent D/s dynamic of the seme/uke relationship, even. Yes, I iz srs writer. I told you I'd suffered blood loss. ;)

Sabrina Luna said...

Oooo! A full moon & Yaoi --what a delicious combination! *grin*

Thanks for the wonderful, inspiring photos too! *drool*

QB said...

*blink blink*

I think I need a Katrina-to-English translator.

;-p

Katrina Strauss said...

QB - LOL! Like I said, I read entirely too much of this stuff. ;)

Madelynne Ellis said...

Yes, qb. With the exception of Let Dai, all the yaoi mentioned features adult characters who appear in their 20s.

Madelynne Ellis said...

Okay, here's a go at translating Katrina.

Bishies = bishonen = beautiful boy

Seme = Top

Uke = Bottom

SephXCloud = Sephiroth paired with Cloud (characters from Final Fantasy VII) etc

Sabrina Luna said...

I've purchased my copy of Katrina's Blue Ruin and can't wait to read it! ;) *squeeeeee!*

Anne Tourney said...

This opens up a whole new world for me, Madelynne -- I'd heard about yaoi, but had no idea about their origins. If I'd known there were so many passionate manly kisses, and dangerous boys tying each other to bedframes, I'd have been dipping my toes in this dark pool long before now.

I can see their influence on the characters in your dark, demonic novella Broken Angel, which by the way I read with rapt attention on the bus this morning on my way to work . . .

Madelynne Ellis said...

Hi Anne,

Yes, Broken Angel is heavily influenced by my love of anime and manga, and also western comic books. I frequently see scenes as a series of images, like panels in a comic.

PS Rapt fascination sounds good! I'm afraid I haven't got round to looking at the rest of the collection yet.

Ally said...

Late again. Don't know if you'll get to see this. Awesome article regardless. Yummy. I never really looked into anime befor, thanks for turning me onto something new. The pictures called chains was my favorate.

Deanna Ashford said...

I knew little about this subject before your article

Wonderful pictures, they really make me want to read Yaoi.

Helen said...

Absolutely loved this one. The artwork is great and I appreciate the recommendations for reading. Now I desperately want to sit down and do some drawing. I've been meaning to draw some yaoi images, but haven't had the time so far. I do have a bishie pic though...

Here's for you Madelynne, to say thanks for the post - http://www.helenehmadden.com/Galleries/2D/20071224_letitsnow.html

Helen said...

Well piddle. I suppose it would have helped if I had used html...

Helen's Bishie Pic

Let's see if that works.

Madelynne Ellis said...

Weeee! Thanks for that, Helen. It's lovely.

Helen said...

I'll send you more naughty pics if you like };)

Glad you liked it, Madelynne.

Madelynne Ellis said...

Please do.