October brings me many wonderful things. Cold mornings, cool afternoons, crispy leaves beneath my feet, sweaters, scarves, boots, pumpkins, Halloween, and my birthday. But best of all: October also has Yaoi Con!If you’re unfamiliar with yaoi con, you ought to be ashamed of yourself and cry in the corner. Or simply read the introduction page here and get on with life.
Yaoi was my first foot into the door of the wonderful world of male on male romance. Wikipedia has a nice article on it here. In short, yaoi is a representation of gay men in loving or plain sexual—healthy or unhealthy—relationships with a target audience of women. There’s manga, novels, drama CDs, animes, and computer games.Fans of the genre will tell you about the “rules” yaoi must live and die by. The top is always taller, older, larger, than his bottom. The bottom is usually a clueless sort and more feminine than his top. Sometimes these rules are broken, but it seems to be a faux pas in the industry. I admit my library of yaoi manga is measly compared to most fans, but I’ve read enough to know the filthier ones are strictly to squeeze your legs together while reading, or marvel at how that little guy took that big guy without lube or a fingerfuck first.
For a starter manga (comic) series, I suggest The Sex Therapist. It’s pretty much a "plot-what-plot" with something that might resemble plot if you squint and turn your head. Mainly, the therapist has sex with men who are too chickenshit to confess to their crushes, and he cures them of their stage fright so they can admit their love. You can read it online in the USA, UK, and probably other places too because it doesn’t seem to be licensed and for sale outside of Japan. (Just do a quick search online to be sure.)
Junjo Romantica is a long, popular series that is enjoyable for the plot and sex. If you don't want to read comic form, that's okay because it’s also an anime available online to buy in your (maybe) region! It is not dubbed, so you’ll have to read subtitles. Yaoi novels are now being released as digital format for your e-readers. I prefer the written novels over the comic format, so I’m happy I can now buy as an ebook and save some shelf space. (not to mention how much easier ebooks are to hide!) These are most like the M/M romance novels we all know and love, but if you're used to the western style romances, you will notice a difference.
If you’re a fan of M/M romance novels (which you should be if you’re reading this), I recommend branching into Yaoi. You might find a niche you enjoy.I don’t like every anime or manga that’s released, but I do find a few I love. Netflix has a few older titles available that I can't suggest completely because I've only seen Descendants of Darkness, but if you ever have a free Sunday afternoon, might as well check them out.
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If you're in the San Francisco area between October 21st through the 23rd, swing by Yaoi-Con and find Hayley B. James at the Dreamspinner Press table in the dealer's room. She'll sign a book and give you a free bookmark too!
(You can also read a guest blog from me, J.R. Loveless, on Hayley's blog! So be sure to stop by and visit her at http://www.hayleybjames.com/ !!!)
*1: Logo from http://www.yaoicon.com/
*2: Image borrowed from: http://iamfujoshi.tumblr.com/post/9536644684
*3: Image from Right Stuf store: http://goo.gl/WPvRH
*4: Image from June store: http://www.junemanga.com/digitaledition/