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Half-Baked Scanlations has posted the scanlated last chapter of Lucky-kun, and thoughtfully added a link to an essay titled 'Yaoi-Ronso: Discussing Depictions of Male Homosexuality in Japanese Girls' Comics, Gay Comics and Gay Pornography'. There's a lot of great stuff to mull over in that essay, but first I want to start with a quick word on Lucky-kun.

For those who don't know, Lucky-kun was a popular and groundbreaking BL (Boys Love) manga published starting in 1989. In it are two young teenage men, Mura and Subaru, who are brought together by their parents' marriage. The manga depicts their relationship from somewhat friends/stepbrothers into lovers in a realistic manner, meaning it wasn't your traditional Yaoi (Porn Without Plot in a simplified sense) story. As these characters grow to understand and love each other, the reader also sees in the unfolding story the discrimination and fears that a homosexual relationship endures, particularly in the time period it was made. Additionally, what made Lucky-kun particularly controversial was the ending - I'm not going to spoil it here, but suffice to say many readers were disappointed that the manga ended in such a conventional, almost stereotypical fashion. (The first time I read the entire series, I wasn't aware of the ending. Instead I spoiler-ed myself by reading the author's omakase, and boy was I in shock. Now that I've seen the ending in its full form, I have to say I'm disappointed as well - because the author had no idea it would be such a big deal, not because of what actually happened.)

If you have a spare moment, do read the Yaoi-Ronso article. It has the uncomfortable remarks of a Japanese gay-activist on the female mangaka who write Yaoi/BL that made me personally check my (bisexual) privilege. While the comparison of the mangaka of being like 'dirty old men' who watch pornography including women engaging in sexual activities with each other" may seem extreme, I believe he's kinda got a point. Earlier this year I saw that same attitude prevail whilst in a group with other women who were discussing gay sex and slash as if it was entertainment solely for them. Or when speaking to Yaoi readers in a bookstore I frequently go to and learning that in real life they think homosexuality is gross unless the men are good looking. I'm not saying that Yaoi is something shameful (dude I'm a bi woman who enjoys reading bara, I'm a huge offender) or that slashers are wrong (honestly, I don't think you are!). In fact, it was by reading BL that made me feel more comfortable with my sexuality. And sure, there's nothing wrong about fantasising a same-sex relationship of your favourite male characters. But I do think it's worth it that as fans, we examine why it is that we enjoy BL/Yaoi and understand that by doing so, we can create resentment by certain members of the gay community.

And that's my two cents. I also have to note that the female counterpart of BL, Yuri, is kinda still unchartered territory for me. It's probably because I came so late into discovering Yuri that my impression is that of the Shoujo-ai mangas with girly-girly characters, that one androgynous character whom the entire girls' school is in love with, and you know, flowers floating in the background. Makes me wonder, damn, where are the butch women in Yuri? That's probably my fault for not searching hard enough ;___; By the way, if you're wondering where to find quality Yuri works, head on over to Lililicious, which is doing an excellent job in scanlating and introducing Girls Love stories that aren't creepy male fantasies about lesbians. Because heaven knows, there's plenty of that floating around on the intarwebs.
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