Sunday, November 23, 2008

So, you wanna read BL...

I'm a bit tired of cranking out reviews, so this time around I'm going to do something a little different. My posting will have a BL nature to it, but read on to see what I'm talking about.

I'm fairly new to the world of manga and anime. When I was younger I would watch fairytale anime that was played on Nickelodeon, but there wasn't much there to keep me interested. Early last year (2007) I was deathly ill and stayed home from work. I was looking for something to watch and came across Howl's Moving Castle by Hayao Miyazaki. I was enthralled immediately. Once I headed down that path I didn't look back. I then started checking out anime series that were featured through our cable system in the on demand service. Manga was still not something I was interested in though. That all changed earlier this year. The cable system started airing a show called Piano. It was about a girl who loved to play the piano but had lost some of that desire. I also play the piano and so it was a story line I was interested in. The episodes weren't coming out quick enough for my own liking so I purchased the DVD's. While checking out the trailers featured on the DVD there was a trailer for a show called Gravitation. Seeing a show about rock stars might be interesting and the song that accompanied the trailer was so amazing I filed the show's name in the back of my brain. When Gravitation came to the on demand service I thought that I would check it out. I figured a show about a cute pink haired girl who was the lead singer in a band and a gorgeous blond guy was an interesting idea (and I couldn't forget the song, it was burned into my psyche by this point). However, I was surprised to find out that the cute pink haired lead singer was in fact a guy. I've never had a problem with homosexuality (just because I live in the Salt Lake City area doesn't mean I'm closed minded), but I was pretty surprised that there was an anime series out there like that. This piqued my interest. The on demand service wasn't showing the episodes quick enough (actually I saw the first couple episodes and couldn't wait any longer) so I ran out and purchased the entire series plus the OVA. I was so taken in by the story, for the first time in my life I decided to check out the manga. After I read the entire series, I found myself interested in the BL genre. But because I didn't know much about boys love I dove in head first and found myself swimming in an ocean of BL without a life preserver. This posting is to be a life-saver for those who might want to read boys love but don't know which titles to read, how graphic they are, etc.

Boys love can be kind of scary, but keep reading on because I'm going to provide some great titles that are good titles to get started with, or you like boys love but you just aren't into the hardcore PWP stuff (PWP stands for "Plot? What Plot?" and is used for those titles that have no story, just sex).

Gravitation by Maki Murakami– Like I said, this was my first series. Shuichi Shindou wants to be a rock star. But he seems to be lacking a muse. That is until he meets the mysterious author Eiri Yuki. This is a wild and wacky roller coaster ride. I laughed, I cried, it even made me think. It is a good series to start off with because there are plenty of moe moments, passionate kisses, and sex, but the sex isn't graphic (it's been a while since I've read through the series but I don't think you even see the sex but you know it's going on).

FAKE by Sanami Matoh – I was initially confused by the covers. How on earth could a book with guys brandishing guns on the cover be a boys love title? Randy 'Ryo' Maclean gets transferred to the criminal investigations division with NYPD's 27th precinct. He's partnered up with the bad boy of the department, Dee Laytner. In between solving crimes and raising a child Ryo has his hands full trying to fight off the advances of Dee. There is quite a bit in the way of passionate kisses but because this is a crime manga there is quite a bit of violence as well. This is a great read and you don't get any sex until you get to the final volume in the series. Even there the sex is tastefully done.

The Paradise on the Hill by Momoko Tenzen – Kijima and Ono teach at an all girls' school. These two teachers seem to be attracted to one another but don't know how to put their feelings into words. Plus they seem to be misleading one another without even realizing it. There is kissing but that's all you'll see in this beautiful sweet romance. This is a great title strictly for the art, but the story really makes this a good read.

The Alley of First Love by Ellie Mamahara – Shusuke has been crushing on his best friend Atsushi for like forever. He was heart broken when Atsushi move to England to go to college. After six years Atsushi is back in town. Worried that things are going to be tough on his poor heart Shusuke approaches the situation with caution. There is kissing and sex at the end (like you get in many BL titles) but the actual sex acts you don’t see but you know that they had a good time.

I know that this is a list of only four titles, but Gravitation is a series of 13 manga (12 in the original series, 1 in Gravitation EX) and two novels and FAKE has 7 manga in the series. Feel free to get started with these titles and I'll provide another list with many more great titles that I've read!


Narutaki said...

This is a perfect post! There has been a BL explosion and if you are just testing the waters it is hard to know where to start.

I am adding Paradise on the Hill and Alley of First Love to my list of reads. I will pick them up on my next shopping trip hopefully.

Kris said...


I'm glad this posting will help. I know what it's like to test the waters and not know where to go. That was the main reason I started this blog. I do read more than just BL but it is a genre that intrigues me so that's what I read.

Please continue to check back, I'm going to continue the beginners BL postings. I'll be your water wings for when venture into the BL ocean.

Iggy said...

Fake was one of the first yaoi mangas that I read and I loved it! I was really happy to see it in your beginners list, it's perfect for beginners because it's funny and has a good plot line.
Also thanks for the other recommendations I'm definitely going to be watching you blog from now on ^.^

Kris said...

Welcome Iggy! I'm glad to have you here. Fake was my second series just behind Gravitation. When it comes to BL it is so hard to find quality reads. If you just want hot sweaty sex there is plenty out there, but it is so hard to find good stories.