Photos and videos have to be the most perfect inventions ever created. No matter where we go in life or where we are right now, there’s a frozen version of us that we can look back on whenever we want. In that photo I’m still in love. I can feel the joy of his smile and his hand in mine long after it’s over. In that photo it isn’t over. In that Polaroid I’m still happy. I can feel the sun on my face as I’m squinting at the camera, my friends huddled around me as the summer heat presses in. In that photo, life is good. In that video I’m still young. The wide expanse of years in front of me doesn’t matter as I run along the beach. My smile brighter than the reflection of the sun on the water. In that video I was so free.
I watched the Manga Publishing Industry Roundtable at this year’s Comic-Con@Home event and watching it made me think about whether we now have a second mainstream manga category after shonen - “boys love.”
Halfway around the presentation, a question was asked about titles or categories that maybe wouldn’t have gone well years ago. Yen Press’s Mark de Vera said that 2 of the publisher’s biggest releases of the year for them were BL titles - Shou Harusono’s Sasaki and Miyano and Mika’s I Cannot Reach You. Both titles became 2 of their best-selling titles of the year. Kodansha USA’s Ivan Salazar mentioned Keito Gaku’s Boys Run the Riot and how well-received the title has been by BL fans, not just fans who want to see transgender representation in their media. Square Enix Books’ Leyla Aker mentions Yuu Toyota’s Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?! getting a 3rd printing in the United States despite no anime adaptation and Okura’s I Think Our Son Is Gay surpassing all of her sales expectations. VIZ Media’s Kevin Hamric talked about Reibun Ike’s Dick Fight Island making the top of Amazon’s romance manga section, Okura’s That Blue Sky Feeling selling well, and Natsuki Kizu’s Given being Sublime’s best-selling title of all-time. DENPA Books’ Ed Chavez mentions that the books under their BL line, KUMA, have been getting reprinted as well.
I think it’s phenomenal that BL has made its mark here. Some of the publishers have been wondering why BL has just exploded the 2-3 years. I’ve been thinking about this myself. Ivan mentioned how BL fans really want to see themselves in various different media and BL manga gives them a chance to do so. I remember writing about the power of fujoshi so many years ago and never could have foreseen BL manga reaching new heights in the West. This isn’t as simple as saying “Shueisha fangirls have leveled up!” or “Women are finally getting recognized as powerful consumers!” or “It’s the pandemic, duh.”
I do think there’s greater awareness about exploring sexuality. Let’s face it - people have a hard time talking about sex. Sex education also sucks. I do recall that BL fans are drawn into BL because it allows them to explore sexuality at their own terms. A lot of sexuality has been defined by patriarchal systems since the dawn of time. There’s also the rise of Thai BL drama series which have generated huge fandoms. I often wonder what makes BL series popular is their portrayal of relationships. There’s a lot of exploration about character’s thoughts and feelings that you don’t get in other manga titles.
BL is a outlet for self-reflection - something I don’t see being encouraged a whole lot in this day and age. A lot of people, most especially women, feel confined by their gender roles and are always judged. I just read this article from Savvy Tokyo about boys’ love and there’s some quotes about why the genre has proliferated in Japan. There’s one concept that comes to mind - “pure love”, a love free of judgment. As someone living with mental illness, I sometimes feel like I want some kind of pure love myself. Can I get the love I need despite what my mind sometimes says otherwise? I also identified as a non gender-conforming male and worry about how others will perceive me. I still reflect on this from time to time as I’m not sure if I truly am non gender-conforming (ie. does doing feminine things truly count?).
I also read a really fascinating post about U.S. high school culture and how it’s encourage freedom of expression due to its emphasis on adolescent exploration. Starting in the 1920s’, secondary education was heavily promoted to the masses. As a result, more parents were willing to let their kids get educated. This created a major part of a young person’s life - the high school environment. The high school environment allowed teens to try and explore new things. From jazz music to comic books to fashion over the span of several decades, peer influence has become a powerful force in the development of the self. I see this in the popularity of boys’ love and its audience due to continued promotion of youth expression as it allowed for more diverse views growing up. Given that a majority of the Western audience for BL is women, maybe it’s current adolescent experiences in high school (i.e. looking up things on the internet and exploring BL fandom) combined with greater acceptance of LGBT+ individuals (which is also tied to past generational adolescent experiences) that has fueled this sales growth of BL manga tiles. Does that make sense?
I do plan to read more BL titles because I think they’re here to stay. While BL does have its criticisms, I think it allows for some kind of critical thinking on how we view relationships, sexuality and connection. There’s people are failing on all 3 as Western culture provides mixed messages on how to nurture them. I’ve heard several stories of LGBT+ folks who struggled to embrace their sexuality around people who are often closed-minded and took a long time to figure out how they really wanted to live while facing mental disorders and substance abuse.
In a time where manga reading is more and more celebrated, BL runs the riot. May its pure, worthwhile defiance continue to shine with every page unveiled to the world.
A DISASTER IS A DETOUR TO AN UNEXPECTED AND WELCOME OPPORTUNITY When we find ourselves unexpectedly hit by A hold up, a blockage or a loss we can add first feel that this is a disaster, and tend to overreact emotionally believing that at first glance this is a terrible setback or delay . However if we take a moment to breathe and release this habitual reaction we will see that all unexpected events both good and bad are serving us in unexpected ways. The bigger picture of our life is seen from the grander perspective of the BIG U and it is always orchestrating things to serves us on a level beyond our small viewpoint, as quite often we cannot see beyond whats in front of us . What at first glance can seem like bad luck is actually a detour leading to a timely rest , diversion or experience that is needed but not realized . So next time you are are confronted by adversity release the impact of your immediate reaction , surrender the impatience , let go of your control , be willing to shift your agenda and open up to the new opportunity that can arise from it , because it just might prove very magical . If this resonates Please like , share and comment below and join my mailing list at my website for more on the new Human operating system for life HOS3 WWW.PAULGOTEL.COM IF YOU ARE READY FOR YOUR OWN SELF REVOLUTION , then For Self Revolution Coaching Sessions email paulgotel.BIGU@gmail.com. #paulgotel #innerpower #thebigu #bigu #evernow #selfrevolution #selfhelp #selfdiscovery #inspiration #lifeteachings #love #reflection #gift #experience #discover #wellness #HuManOS3 #adversity # challenge #disaster #unexpected #luck # (at Kihei, Hawaii) https://www.instagram.com/p/CSH_NBsh-29/?utm_medium=tumblr
emailing my undergrad professor back with a large block of text about my academic pursuits and plans after realizing he thought i was applying to an MFA program like
#i did write up a GREAT explanation of how all of my interests intersect that i didn't even know was fully possible but #LISTEN I'M SORRY EVERYONE'S LUCKY I'M AT LEAST APPLYING TO A MEDIA DEGREE #I HAVE A LOT OF THOUGHTS #tbh in general media studies is great cuz it's like... a reflection of culture and society #like philosophy annoys me long-term cuz it's so untethered #i know you can apply it but that's largely like ...for economics or STEM #whereas I'm here like 'yes good theory of how culture describes itself' #anyway it's FINE everything is FINE #THIS IS ALL FINE #pls somebody just let me go hide in a library or an archive or a museum somewhere #i wish to become one with the relics #also THIS MAN RECCED ME LAST YEAR I'M JUST #[internal screaming] #i mean i got waitlisted at one of the most competitive programs outside LA so like clearly his letter was not in anyway ill-suited for this #but SIR
I am trying to write more. I feel like I have so much to say, so much to tell and so much to do all at the same time. I’m in desperate need for time off. That I will be granted very soon. I miss writing. I miss it more than photography. I haven’t really worked on anything photography related stuff for a long time and I know why. But I don’t feel disheartened by it all. The lust is still there but my joys are with other creative things like writing and reading. Here is a photo of some flowers. I am not even drawn to flowers because they are flowers but because of their colours. And I love yellow. Yellow is a close favourite to my favourite colour blue.
If we open our minds enough to find meaning in the little things we can make life beautiful. The other day I took a picture of a seagull standing on the wet sand and for no reason whatsoever decided to flip it 180º. The reflection was so well-defined that for a second I could not say with certainty which version of the seagull was the true one. And then I thought, how do we know, really, which reality is real? And who decides in which reality lies truth? Oh man, I found meaning in that image and it gave me life.
I’m skimming through pinestars choice rn bc I was curious and wanted a refresher and I’m honestly torn on whether the cats telling pinestar to kill tigerkit are supposed to be a real starclan message or just a dream from pinestar’s subconscious :0 I think its fair to interpret it either way?
the dream itself does read like a “normal” dream but the way goosefeather acts and how pinestar refers to it later in the novella also makes it feel fair to interpret as an actual starclan dream, or at least pinestar thinks that it is
and this from pinestars narration later in the chapter, tbf even if you dont read it as actually a starclan message i think the idea that pinestar believes thats what they want is super interesting
#also i accidentally reread the scene where shanty dies and now im fucked up its SO sad #the part where pinestar is like reflecting on how her owners seemed to grieve harder for her than thunderclan did for sweetpaw #and hes like 'have we forgotten how to grieve' is one of the most poignant things in a warriors book bar none imo #i dont have a pdf btw sorry this is a library ebook #long post /