Friday, May 29, 2009

fanboy memoirs - part 1

(this is a self-biographical post about how I came to know what is now widely know in the western world as "bara" - gay porn comics drawn by Japanese artists. I've been a huge enthusiast since its very early steps in the English-speaking side of the wide internet, and after its surge of popularity in recent days, I felt like explaining how I relate to it. It's very long, so I split it in a couple posts. The second part will be published shortly)

When I came to terms with being gay, in the late 90s, I was still a young teenager and a major anime-manga junkie. I figured there had to be other gay people like me (gay men who liked manga) and, having already seen and liked some Western gay art, I was determined to search for something similar -except manga-styled. I wanted Japanese comics aimed at gay men. I obviously couldn't be the only person in the world who would be into that!

At first, the closest thing I found was yaoi. It's a style of comics drawn by women that focus on romantic relationships between men. First thing you notice about it is that men in yaoi are terribly effeminate, extremely thin, long haired, with long eyelashes. Some even wore make up and were barely distinguishable from women. But that's because yaoi isn't only drawn by women: it's also aimed at women - and Japanese women at that, who usually prefer their men soft and delicate. It was never meant to cater to gay men, and thus it never appealed to me. Disappointing.

However, one day, to my surprise, I found an artist who drew some very peculiar yaoi. Her name was Inuhiko Murano. That was some good eight or even nine years ago. I found her Gakuran Tengoku (School Uniform Paradise) book - six or seven stories about high-school teenagers, with a focus on sport clubs. They had short hair, muscles, some even had body hair - but, most important of all, they were anything but feminine. They were perfectly shounen-manga style. And they were having sex with each other. It was then that I noticed that yes, more people liked what I liked. Exactly what I liked, as a matter of fact. And there had to be more of that.

So I started looking where I should have been looking from the start: Japanese sites. And in my searches I found several artists who drew porn featuring characters I liked from manga and anime. It was everything I could ever ask for. By then, I came to learn the term uncanny accuracy everything I liked and was looking for. And best of all? There were other people who not only liked oyaji but were also immensely talented artists to boot. First one I found was the good old Masanori and his Rival Schools artwork, in the ancient year of 2002. I was in heaven.

But it was looking for more Inuhiko Murano - the girl who drew shounen yaoi I mentioned on the paragraph above - that I found out the one site that changed my very life forever.

(to be continued)

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