So, back in May, I had the opportunity to attended Animazement in Raleigh, NC with Shira Anthony. I got to meet a bunch of great people and, along with Shira and Aishlar Snow, offered a panel on Yuri!!! On Ice and gay romance. We talked about how Yuri!!! is a mainstream anime with a canon gay couple as the main couple and what that means for yaoi and gay romance.
As we prepared for the panel, I realized that I hadn’t seen nearly as much yaoi anime nor read as much yaoi manga as I thought I had. Since we were planning to do the same panel for AnimeFest in August, I thought it’d be a good idea to fix that oversight.
Well. I may have fallen down the yaoi rabbithole. First thing I did was research and watch as much of the anime as I could. I had been meaning to subscribe to Crunchyroll for ages and this gave me a good excuse. 😉 There isn’t a huge amount of current anime available in the more, um, commercial channels, but I managed to catch up on Junjou Romantica, Super Lovers, as well as a few others.
Then I started looking into getting into reading the manga. This is where things kind of went a little crazy.
As an author, I do, of course, buy where I can. I’m all too well aware of pirates–all of my own titles–audiobooks included–are out there on the torrent sites. As such, I bought what I could afford, and borrowed from friends everything I could. I’d long since read most of Junjou Romantica and Love Stage as well as the Finder series. The problem is, a lot of manga isn’t officially translated in English and even some translated works aren’t available in the United States.
This is where scanlation groups come in. These are groups that take the Japanese releases, scan the pages, clean up the kanji and kana, then translate it into English (as well as Chinese, Spanish, Korean, and even Italian), and finally put the English back in place of the Japanese. It’s a very time-consuming process and it’s all done by volunteers. It’s a pretty amazing thing. I am currently working on my Japanese, but I still have a very long way to go with it before I can order the magazines and read the raws (pretranslated versions). So, for those of us who can’t read Japanese and can’t get a hold of an official English translation, it’s a godsend.
There are a few places out on the internet for finding scanlations of Japanese manga. My favorite site is Mangago.me. It gives me a place to keep track of what I’ve read, what I want to read, and even lets me keep albums of pages, lists, and notes. I’ve been (not-so) slowly going through their yaoi section and have amassed a pretty ridiculous pile of read manga.
I’ve considered looking at other sites to see if there’s one that will let me organize it a bit better, but I suspect I’m going to have to build my own database if I want anything more than what I have now, and I have other things to do with my time.
Which is what has led me here. I have read some of the most amazing yaoi and shounen-ai manga out there. I have found a few mangaka that I anxiously await new works from. And I realized it’s a shame if I don’t share them with you guys.
Thus, Manga Monday is born. I don’t even pretend I’m going to be able to make this a regular thing. I’ve never been the best at writing reviews. What’s more, unlike Western books, translated manga rarely has reasonable summaries or blurbs to share, so I will have to summarize them in my reviews. That means it might take a bit more time to write the reviews than it would otherwise, so my posts will be more irregular because of it.
I plan to put together a short set of definitions from a yaoi perspective (because they really do not look at things the same way we do) and will link to that on my blog posts. I will also include links to purchase the manga when it’s possible (including the Japanese). Do support them when you can, even if you can’t read the original, the money still goes to help support the mangaka.
Let me know if you have yaoi/shounen-ai stories you’ve read and want me to see. I’d love to find new stories. (And don’t let that number in the screenshot fool you. There are still thousands I haven’t read yet!) I also would love to know if you do go read the ones I review and what you think of them. I love talking about them.
I look forward to sharing with you!