For the record, I prefer using the term Boys Love (aka BL) rather than “Yaoi”. I feel that 801 (ya-oh-ii) is limiting according to Wiki-san:
‘Yaoi is an acronym created in the dōjinshi market of the late 1970s by Yasuko Sakata and Akiko Hatsu and popularised in the 1980s standing for Yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi (ヤマなし、オチなし、意味なし, Yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi) “No climax, no point, no meaning”.’
Most products of the BL genre have strayed from that flimsy description and many have really good stories. The inspiration for this blog post came with the news of a few Classic BL titles being animated.
Classic BL is a term of my own creation, which I use to describe BL titles that I feel have the power to survive the ravages of time. In a nutshell, it refers to BL material that will never grow old and continue to exist as favorites among both old and new fans of the genre. Some characteristics that define Classic BL is a strong original story plot, that concentrates on character and story development, and has the ability to stick in the minds of the audience. To do so, Classic BL titles are often long running series that involve complicated and highly emotive characters. And of course, these titles have to consist of fanservice elements to keep BL fans ensnared. Here are some titles that, in my limited opinion, fit in this category.
Ai no Kusabi, by Rieko Yoshihara,was a novel series that was born in the late 80s. The plot goes beyond mindless male on male action,and delves into creating a world plagued by discrimination between social classes. Unfortunately, I have not read the series, nor watched the original OVA. Which is a pity, as I have learned through my google searches, that Ai no Kusabi can be called a Classic BL title, due to it’s long lasting fanbase. It being remade into a 13 part anime, due 2009, is good news, as it influence a whole new generation of fangirls. Read more about the English translated novel here, and about the original OVA here.
The art of Riki and Iason is by Tata (image above) and it was for Taming Riki Vol I, Part 2, by Kira Takenouchi. Taming Riki is an Ai no Kusabi-based trilogy, part of which can be read online here.
Another series making it’s animation debut in the form of two OVAs is Sex Pistols by Tarako Kotobuki. This manga series has a unique premise that revolutionizes the nature of living creatures and reproduction. Thought not as old as Ai no Kusabi, Sex Pistols has collected a huge fanbase and continues to become a part of a Fujioshi’s must-read booklist. I have read this series, and become an instant fan. Though the art is not fantastic, the mangaka has the ability to created characters that look sensual and very primal, in accordance to the manga’s theme . It has serious story line that is balanced with lighthearted comedy that appeals.
Next, are two titles by Sugiura Shiho, that are personal favourites. First is 氷の魔物の物語, Koori no Mamono no Monogatari (The Ice-Cold Demon’s Tale), it’s an epic 24 volume manga that works like an action adventure fairy-tale. Review of each volume can be found here . This title barely has any explicit BL action, nothing more than a few chaste kisses. It relies heavily on the relationship and dynamics between characters, which is something that I personally adore. The art style is nothing elaborate, but polished and tasteful. 24 volumes is quite a feat , and even has an additional side story in a separate volume, but the story never felt long winded nor draggy. Sugiura Shiho managed to capture such a loyal fanbase with KnMnM, that her next project, Silver Diamond, was an instant hit.
Silver Diamond follows its predecessor’s fantasy adventure formula, with a new plot and fresh crop of characters. Again, there is little physical BL action beyond a few group hugs, and the mangaka ventures more into working the characters as a four man team, rather than just a pairing in KnMnM. At 15volumes, the story has yet to reach a climax and looks set to challenge the length of KnMnM. Not that I am complaining, for I truly enjoy this series for the story and the idiosyncrasies of each character. While KnMnM can be easily branded as a Classic, I reserve granting the status to Silver Diamond until its completion.
Another classic in the making is Junjou Romantica by Shungiku Nakamura. I would fail as a fangirl if I did not to mention this popular title. The anime adaptation has continued into its second season, catching up with the original manga plot. Unlike the first few examples, Junjou Romantica is in some sense more commercial and acknowledge even by non-fujioshi otaku as an example of the BL genre. It is definitely a staple food in a Fujioshi’s diet, milking the franchise with novel spinoffs and related merchandise. I find it hard to explain why the series is attractive to fangirls. All I can say is that Junjou Romantica manages to score maximum “moe” points, from the character types to storytelling.
There are definitely many more titles that could go under the Classic BL label, but I am getting sleepy, as it is almost 3a.m. -lol- So I shall be wrapping this post up with a few more titles and let Wiki-san do the introductions. ^^
some other Classic BL titles:
Okane Ga Nai, created by Hitoyo Shinozaki and illustrated by Tohru Kousaka
Gakuen Heaven, game by SPRAY
Zesuai 1989, Minami Ozaki
(this list is subjective and incomplete)
Before I end, here is a link I found that provides, “Your One Stop Guide for Yaoi, Anime & OST.” I’ve been wanting to do a list like that but since someone else beat me to the cake, I am happy enough to be able to share the love. ^^