thebibi asked: What do you think of people who hate yaoi of Weekly Shonen Jump series?
(extra bit added from follow-up because this really needs the whole section)
This is a good question, because… Well… I’m a person of moderate opinion on just about anything. I hate to fall on extremes, because opinions are mutable and Tharg knows I’ve said things that I no longer agree with that I wish I’d never said in the first place.
That said, this is part of a larger exception. I hate them. Well, a large subset of them. More on that as we go. And I hate aspects of the yaoi fanwork communities myself. Because both sides of the pro/anti yaoi doujin/fanart argument have problems, even if the anti-yaoi side is stupid and dumb and based heavily in the heavily phobic problems shonen demographic readers have as a majority.
Oh and to keep this interesting I’m going to pepper this answer with cover images from yaoi dojinshi featuring series I’m surprised were given such treatment. Because some of these just surprise me by their mere existence.
fig.1: A Bo-BoBo dojin about Hatenko and Don Patch. You… Wha?
So the ones I hate who hate, by and large, are the phobics. There’s a huge problem with those who read Shonen Jump comics, be it legally or illegally, who are completely averse to anything racial, effeminate, or (heaven forfend) gay. Let’s be real here, a lot of it is because they’re 14 year-old brats who are only just learning to internet and call lame things gay and people who annoy them fags, and that’s a whole new fucking issue to do with how teens choose to be as part of growing up into regular human beings who hopefully don’t pull that shit, but far too often they’re actually adults who just *seem* like 14-year olds; it’s just because like the vast majority of vocal fans of anything that falls into that disgusting net of “geek culture”, these people are stuck in a perpetual state of arrested development without a sense of reality or humanity to make them more amiable towards those who are different to them. And I hate those dudes. It’s so hard to do work examining titles aimed at teenagers if those who consume them are only interested in being the scum of the universe, after all.
Not every reader of Jump is like this, naturally, but those who hate the yaoi stuff mostly fall into this sort of thing and these people get me so het up.
fig.2 an Akaboshi -ibun suikoden- dojin. I know, I’m amazed it exists too.
But yeah, that’s not everyone. I understand a lot of the other types. Those who are readers of, say, The Basketball Which Kuroko Plays are… what, 90% based in its explosively popular yaoi market? Imagine you’re part of the 10% who don’t fit into that demo, where you’re trying to have thoughts and opinions on any given chapter on the merits of what’s actually there and then what dominates any discussion is the (beautiful and occasionally sordid) misinterpretations and imaginative analyses of the relationships between any male character that exchanges as much as a glance towards each other. It can get overbearing when it’s at such an extreme, and so hate can fester. It’s petty, but not altogether loathsome. It’s just something born from an imbalance in the discussion of the megahits of yaoi circles.
fig.3 a non-porny P2! Let’s play ping-pong doujin. Adorable!
Or, um, there’s the part that makes me hate yaoi stuff sometimes (sometimes!), which is how it affects the greater parts of the fanbase. Yaoi interpretations, as with any fan-interpretation of anything, is prone to such painful things as headcanons, aggressive shipping (e.g. flaming those who question or disagree with your ship), and just plain overexposure and obsession. They can be reductive to the original intent of any work and damage the purpose of a title (which is FINE, because creative works can mean whatever anyone wants them to mean to them on a personal level). But I think that aspect of hating on it isn’t limited to yaoi fanworks. I mean with me that level of fan behaviour is basically the case for anything fans get too obsessed with. It’s just that manga communities tend to have this happen far more with yaoi stuff than anything else.
I dunno, that’s a minor gripe, and I don’t think it affects my or really any such person’s opinion of yaoi itself. As an effort to pay tribute to a series that has touched someone on a personal level it is *magical*. People pour their hearts into creating something that matters to them enough to… Jesus, have you seen these things? Heck, the images I’m using here are from obscure or unpopular shonen jump titles, and look at the effort put into those covers. People care! They care so much and make beautiful things, to share their love of this stuff with the world. And so much of it isn’t even porn, as the common misconception goes! It’s romance, it’s the fulfilment of the active imaginations of people who have hearts bursting with hope and love for these prospects they’re seeing for characters that they know will probably never be fulfilled. That’s fucking beautiful.
fig.4 A Soul Catcher(s) dojin. They don’t waste any time getting onto new stuff, huh.
I love this stuff. There’s no area of fan-creations that really rings as true as yaoi doujinshi, adult or otherwise. Even if I don’t read much of it (excl. research material and stuff like Moyashimon doujins because oh god my heart), it’s still something I will just never truly see the point of hating on any level, even when I end up doing so myself.
ramble ramble ramble. I’m worried that on some level admitting I sometimes hate this sorta stuff reflects poorly on me but let’s pretend that I totally made up for it with that last bit.
Final thought, because I really don’t know where I’m going with this. I do actually come across a lot of this sorta stuff while researching for that one podcast I do that makes me feel like crying because I can’t manage to get back on the wagon of creating episodes for it anymore. Sometimes it’s obtrusive, but more often than not it’s great. Seriously, I usually have no idea what my angle is on an episode prior to me doing pre-writing research, and gauging how fans handle the title is core to what I’m gonna talk about. That’s totally why Reborn! talks about fujoshi (I really wish I’d made that just about female readers though, because that’s a naff term that pigeonholes the audience as something other and shameful, like otaku or weeaboo can do with some. for real, it’s far removed from who these fans actually are and proudly wearing the terms like badges only perpetuates the stupidity of others), or why the TeniPuri episode was part of valentine’s month. It’s why the upcoming Shinmai Fukei Killco-san episode focuses a whole bunch on the straight porn that poured forth from the second the serial hit the stands. Readers/fans/et cetera are a great way of understanding a title on a different level than just what a book is.
fig.5 A ST&RS dojin. I just… Yes. Great. I’m super happy about this existing.
Wait, what was the question again? Hmmm… In short, the answer is “they suck, even when it’s me. Because they’re wrong to do so, even when there’s reasonable reasons behind their reasoning”. And also I wish I had a better answer to this because I’m basically rubbish.
Cut, print, publish.
thebibi asked: Have you ever bought WSJ manga from Amazon's kindle store (in Japanese)? I was going to make a post on how you can support manga digitally, but I realized it won't let me order it as I'm outside Japan. Thoughts?
I haven’t bought any WSJ manga off of Amazon Japan’s kindle store, no, but I’ve been sampling volumes off of other japanese ebook services and the like, and am currently working on A) how to successfully order volumes (ebookjapan in particular isn’t playing ball with me on this one) and 2) making a guide to it all. With any luck it’ll surface around the same point my creative drive does.
God, I hope that surfaces.
Oh, what’s this? IT’S THE EPISODE OF FRIENDSHIP! EFFORT! VICTORY! I PROMISED WEEKS AGO!
Yes, sometimes I actually get around to doing things, and so we come to episode 28 of FEV, focusing on Katsutoshi Murase's Dois Sol, a comic from 2011 that was published as part of a strange string of attempts to make a successful football comic. It didn’t work.
And yeah, episode 28. Renumbering is cool! We’re gonna have weekly podcasts again until episode 30, by the way, then series one is over. FEV’ll return in 2014.
Oh and EPISODE GALLERIES ARE BACK. This one is pretty great. It’s PRETTY GREAT.
Anonymous asked: Somewhere (I don't remember if it was here on Tumblr or on your blog) you talked about 3 ( or 4?) titles which you think are the future of Jump, which ones are these?
I, too, couldn’t remember where I said this. Seriously. I just spent way too long rummaging through FEV archives and old scripts, until I kinda decided that I either said it in the Nisekoi episode of the podcast (when talking about the NPG) or stated it at one point or another as one of my typically know-it-all opinions.
Of course time has passed since then, so rather than *just* bring up what series these were, I’ll talk about the titles at current that I feel are the future of Jump. After all, it’s clearly all I think about.
Some time ago I declared quite loudly that the New Power Generation, the self-monikered group of 4 titles that hit it big in 2012 (and The Basketball Which Kuroko Plays/Kuroko’s Basketball by Tadatoshi Fujimaki), were the first significant step towards the future of Weekly Shonen Jump in the face of changing times. These four titles were Assassination Classroom by Yusei Matsui, The Disaster of PSI Kusuo Saiki by Shuichi Asou, Nisekoi by Naoshi Komi and High Kyuu!! by Haruichi Furudate.
Now, I kinda exclude Kuroko because it’s so far in and feels like it’s building towards a climax in the next year or so, but these other four are worth looking at as the future of the publication, not for being revolutionary as much as being a strong enough foundation to build the future upon, four new series that are popular enough to be ready to help take up the slack as the late 90s/entire 00s titles reach the end of their lifespans.
Of course it helps that they’re diverse, being a rom-com (Nisekoi), sports (High Kyuu!!), Gag (PSI Kusuo Saiki) and a weird hybrid mash of genres that somehow defies a single categorisation (Assassination Classroom). What’s more, none of them are battle titles.
Now, I like battle manga. They’re fine. But Jump’s entire upper tier of titles before these 4/5 started making waves is just battle manga upon battle manga. Even the relative newcomer to the upper levels, Toriko, is a ruddy battle manga. Weekly Shonen Jump is built on these, yes, but they’re so regular a feature that you can’t really introduce new battle series and hope to have them build up to take their place whilst the previous series are still running. There’s a reason Toriko’s sales aren’t as revolutionary as its popularity in the anthology seems to indicate, after all.
But these 4 aren’t the only titles I’d call the future of jump. No, there’s two more. One of them is cancelled.
The first is Shokugeki no Soma, the stunningly popular ecchi/cooking title that features storytelling far and above what most shonen manga dare to even attempt nowadays. The combination of its unusual focal point (cooking) and the artistic flair of Saeki Shun and his overblown reactions have made for a title that represents what can find success in Jump if authors only *try* to do something far removed from what’s already popular in the book.
The other is Rookie Policewoman Kiruko-san, a low-selling procedural sitcom that lasted about half a year before dying. This is part of the future for Jump for two reasons
It Has Returned! Rookie Policewoman Kiruko-San has debuted alongside a bevy of new series over in the new Shueisha manga anthology Jump live! Other series include some new stuff by Shinya Suzuki (Mr. Fullswing, Bari Haken) and Akira Amano (Reborn!) but this series by Masahiro Hirakata is totally the one I care about, being the return of the internet cult star featured in many a filthy pornographic fanart/doujin, as well as being a genuinely funny comic worthy of revisiting in this continuation.
The first issue of Jump live is available in its entirety if you go to THIS LINK using IE or Firefox. Enjoy, and welcome back Kiruko!
Let’s get some content back up on here, shall we? This is an interesting bit of art, being one of some 20 images produced back in 2011 by all the then-current Weekly Shonen Jump artists (and Akira Toriyama) in support of the Japanese people following that year’s earthquake/tsunami. It was a nice show of solidarity during difficult times.
This particular piece features the characters of Dois Sol, a short-lived and decidedly average football series by Katsutoshi Murase, who has a new series debuting in Weekly Young Jump this monday, a fighting manga called Mongrel. Boy, that sorta timing would be great to bring back Friendship! Effort! Victory! with an episode about this series, huh?
Anonymous asked: Have you gotten around to checking out the recent Jump addition "Soul Catcher(S)"? Any thoughts you care to give on what little has come out so far?
I have! Soul Catcher(s) is pretty interesting, as manga concepts go. To have a series about music in Weekly Shonen Jump is one thing, but to make it an expressionistic and twisted look at the hearts of young folk and the effects music can have on it is… well, it’s a bit of a high concept above what would really work in the magazine.
I was kind of expecting it to be something so unusual, and with good reason. The author, Hideo Shinkai, is a former assistant of Hirohiko Araki, that guy who does the extraordinarily surreal ex-Shonen Jump series JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and his previous work, Light Wing, decided the best way to show exciting football action would be to have metaphorical wings sprout from the back of the main character and his enemy. So weird stuff? Pretty much par for the course.
But yeah, what thoughts do I have about it? I think it has problems. The first chapter was pretty much just the one-shot, and since then it’s been methodically and slowly opening the hearts of the other band leaders. These have been pretty interesting, but there are a LOT of these characters to go through, and the story just doesn’t feel like it’s been progressing that much in light of that. And I mean we’re just past the one volume mark in the story and it’s like… c’mon, something has to actually happen soon, yeah?
This isn’t helped by the fact that Hideo Shinkai, interesting creator that he is, isn’t that great of an artist. Instruments look *too* referenced, to the point they don’t fit in, and the main character’s hair…
(he’s the one on the right)
LOOK! I’m sure he’s going for a good visual here, but it just looks like he’s two people, bisected and joined together. You can’t have two disparate hairstyles on one head without problems occurring. It’s these ill-thought out touches, alongside his unconventional (by modern standards) art style that makes me think it’s short for this world.
I mean I’ll keep reading, and probably enjoy the journey (as bad at kanji as I am), but I don’t see Soul Catcher(s) being another hit, whether with the native audience or the online communities (are they even translating it? I remember chapter 1 surfacing at some point)
Not a great answer, and pretty vague, but then that’s Soul Catcher(s) for you.
OH! I will say this: There’s room for a fujoshi market here, if the series lives long enough to get animated or Hideo really plays up to it. Pretty-boys with emotions almost always work for them.
thebibi asked: I want to pick your brain on Beelzebub! What do you think of the current arc? Do you have a favorite character? And um, as someone who reads it in Japanese, do you think it'll ever have the potential to be licensed in English? (I'd ask you about what you think of its popularity as well, but only if you're comfortable in answering -- "popularity" is a very broad and abused term, after all).
I’m going to answer the final kinda-question before answering the actual questions, because talking about the popularity of manga is kinda one of my many bags over on FEV.
Beelzebub is a hell of a series (P… Pun… Intended?), and a really strange example of how something can be serialised weekly for over four years, have three novels, a 60-episode anime (plus OVAs), a notable doujinshi following, at least one drama CD, a significant sales base for its tankobon releases, and STILL not be considered popular or successful by those-who-suck (read as: “online manga fans”, or “pirates”). It deserves to be held high for its successes and should be immortalised in the mind of Jump readers both in Japan and wherever people may read it, as its made it one of the most notable titles of the 2005-2009 period of Jump. Not quite as huge as Toriko, Bakuman and Kuroko’s Basketball, but shoulder to shoulder with Medaka Box, Sket Dance and Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan.
I mean it’s not doing too hot in the TOC now (unreliable system though that is to judge things seeing as, and this is important, WE DON’T REALLY KNOW HOW MUCH IT REFLECTS READER POPULARITY), but for a series that’s lived this long I don’t think it really represents much other than a need for Tamura to wrap up his story before it gets wrapped up for him.
For me the series has rarely had a dull moment, and this latest arc is no exception (SEE! I GOT TO THE FIRST QUESTION!). The idea is sound enough; having a whole new bunch of students come to the recently rebuilt (again) school, causing havoc and giving Tamura excuses to show off both his comedy and action chops, even if the latter is getting previously unseen precedence in the story. But to have had this go towards a fairly climactic-feeling face-off between demon lord-wielding spell user people, and involving all this combat harem goodness? Excellent.
Oh, and of course the fact that the arc took a massive swerve and is now a soft parody of Kinnikuman’s greatest arc, without it ever actually being anything like it?… Okay, perhaps I’m reading too much into how this stuff with Furuchin’s heart is skewing close to Meat getting his body split into pieces and shared out between opponents, but c’mon that’s amazing.
I *do* think this is the final arc for Beelzebub, it must be said. All the important elements are appearing on the board and whether it can be topped or not, it’s important that it bows out while it’s on top.
My favourite character? That’s hard, and I strained my brain over this for a while before settling on two, conveniently pictured below in the same panel!
Yeah, it’s Natsume and Kanzaki! I’m a sucker for enigmatic prettyboy types, and Natsume is literally nothing if not that, so any appearance by him is relished by my “ooh I wonder what his whole deal is” grey matter. Kanzaki is more of a combination of aesthetic appeal (PUNK! PUNK! PUUUUNNNNK!) and a general enjoyment of his character arc as he’s gone from incredibly minor antagonist to reliable source of straight-man comedy and badass moments, none more than his recent fight in this very arc, placing him as the first of Oga’s Zebub-sealed knights or whatnot. It’s like he’s… Tenshinhan in Dragon Ball. An initial opponent who joins the good guys but continues to get left in the dust by the power gulf between him and his stronger allies, but with the added bonus that he gets to step up and become strong once more in the final arc. Much more successfully than Tenshinhan did, at that. Love Kanzaki.
Now… will it ever have the potential to be licensed? No. Not even a little. For one the anime, despite doing good enough to go as long as it did, doesn’t seem to have a huge caché with western audiences. That’s a pretty big factor for something to get licensed by Viz, as it shows a built-in audience, and Beelzebub just doesn’t have enough of one of those. It’s also in excess of 20 volumes, the sort of marker where I can imagine Viz are hesitant to take a risk on a title. Strawberry 100%, Reborn! and Gin Tama left some scars with their long-term failures, and a quirky series that would be difficult to market doesn’t exactly scream “try me” after all that.
Finally, Baby Beel sure does have his penis out all the time. This shouldn’t really be an issue, as it certainly isn’t a sexualised penis or really even slightly inappropriate as far as these things go but no licensor, even one that’s had instances of such things in titles like Dragon Ball, would be willing to risk the controversy inherent in such a repressed society as the united states of america. And sure, they could censor it, but with beel’s on-panel presence all the time it’ll quickly become a costly and time-consuming endeavour that probably wouldn’t even pay off, especially with how fickle manga readers can be about even the slightest bit of censorship in their children’s comics.
… Yeah, I think that covered it all. I hope you got some of what you wanted out of these answers, and if not… Well, I’ll be talking about Beelzebub the second it’s over on FEV! Thanks for the questions, Bibi!