Jenre, who I believe is one of the top reviewers in the m/m romance genre and also happens to be one of the most gorgeous people you could ever meet, has been waiting patiently while I got my shit back together in relation to my m/m graphic novel and yaoi appreciation series.
So, here it is. Finally! Thanks, Jen. 🙂
Angst or Fluff?
I’ve only been reading Yaoi manga for a year or so, but in that time I’ve been exposed to a range of genres from fantasy to westerns, however, my favourite still remains the contemporary yaoi.
One thing I’ve noticed about the contemporary Yaoi books is that even though they all contain the similar characters of the Seme and Uke, the familiarity of the ‘no, no, no, yes, yes, yes’ sex scenes, and the bewildering lack of lube or condoms, they can usually be divided into two distinct groups: The angsty or the fluffy.
I’ve been thinking about this recently and trying to decide which of the two types of contemporary yaoi I like the most. Let’s have a look at a few examples and examine the evidence:
These tend to be characterised by a lighthearted plot, often with a high dash of silliness. Serious stuff is usually relegated to a secondary character or subplot, with the main focus on the sweet and/or daft relationship between the main Uke and Seme.
My absolute favourite fluffy yaoi is Maid in Heaven by Hisami Shimada, which tells of Midori who takes on his sick Grandma’s job of maid in a grand house, whereupon he’s forced into wearing a maid’s outfit, much to the delight of his boss Asagi. There’s lots of cheeky humour in the story and I loved Midori’s initial outrage and then acceptance of the uniform he’s made to wear.
Another fluffy favourite is Chocolate Surprise by Lily Hoshino which is a amusing story involving a group of giggling girls and cute guy Ogasawara who take part in a silly game involving chocolates spiked with an aphrodisiac, leading to Ogasawara propositioning handsome Kakiuchi.
Finally there’s Love Mode vol 1 which could have been a very disturbing ansgty story as it follows student Sakashita who is mistaken for a male prostitute by Takamiya, plied with drink and seduced. However, the way that Takamiya then falls in love and sets about wooing Sakashita, turned this into a super-cute fluffy read.
These stories often follow serious themes, many involving prostitution, addiction or drugs. Many revolve around gangsters or characters who are trapped in what seems to be a hopeless situation.
My favourite Agsty yaoi is Age Called Blue by Est Em, which follows two musicians who love each other, but one is addicted to drugs and his lover finds it hard to live with him. The artwork as well as the story is haunting.
U Don’t Know Me by Rakun is another one of my angsty favourites, although is much more lighthearted in tone than Age Called Blue. It tells of two lovers who are forced apart by circumstances and secrets, but whose love for each other is an unbreakable bond *sniff*.
There’s one final angsty story which I wasn’t as keen on, but I know is a favourite with the Yaoi swap people and that is Totally Captivated by Hajin Yoo. I wasn’t keen on the gangster plot, but it’s one to consider if you like such things.
So considering the evidence, which sort of contemporary do I really prefer? Actually, both. Sometimes I’m in the mood for light and fluffy, and sometimes something more serious. Fortunately there’re both types about to satisfy my every whim!
But what about you, my Yaoi loving friends? Which type of contemporary Yaoi appeals to you – something fluffy, something angsty or maybe, like me a bit of both?