Digging myself deeper

I made a pathetic stab at organizing my “to read” pile over the weekend. It wasn’t terribly productive, but I did notice a gap in my reading, and I was hoping for some suggestions. The shortage I discovered was in the boys’ love/yaoi category.

Anyway, here are some general preferences:

• I’m partial to stories about grown-ups.
• I like stories with proper character development, or some semblance thereof.
• I tend to look more favorably on stories with some lightness to them or a humorous bent.
• Non-consensual sex is pretty much a deal-breaker with me.

Any suggestions?

20 Responses to Digging myself deeper

  1. jun says:

    I agree 100% with your preferences. I haven’t read any of these yet, but bearing in mind similar tastes, I found many of the works of Yugi Yamada to be appealing and they’ve joined my own personal “to read” pile.

  2. Deb Aoki says:

    I think Seduce Me After the Show by est em fits the bill — would you like me to send you a copy so you can check it out?

  3. Oyce says:

    I think I tend to like the same things, and definitely re: the non-consensual sex as a deal-breaker. So far, I’ve very much liked the two Yumeka Sumomo short story collections put out by DMP (Same Cell Organism and The Day I Became a Butterfly, linking to old write-ups on my blog because I think I link to some images), although her characters tend to be high-school students. I think a handful of stories in the collections aren’t BL, but the rest are. The other caveat is that she sometimes draws guys who look exactly like girls (I mean, even more so than usual in manga), but other than that, I love her very spare artwork and the quietness of her stories.

    I also like Konno Keiko (Star, Words of Devotion) for her older men (working guys for Star, college guys for Words of Devotion), her characterization, and how she includes women in the stories without making them evil or stupid. Mely at Coffee and Ink recommended Fujiyama Hyouta to me for the same reasons, and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of hers as well (Lover’s Flat, Spell). Konno tends to have more explicit sex and Fujiyama tends to have better and more consistent characterization, though her protagonists usually are college guys or fresh out of college.

  4. danielle leigh says:

    second the rec for Yugi Yamada — I would say she and Yoshinaga are the only authors available in the states so far that actually portray “realistic” (this is yaoi, so I must use the sarcasm quotes) male couples.

    Of everything she’s got released so far in the states I would say…..”Don’t Blame Me” is probably the best in terms of real characterization, but her short story collections are surprisingly well done (Picnic and Glass Sky), and “Laugh Under the Sun” is pretty nice as a complete story, considering that it is 10 years or so by now and she’s much more advanced in her techniques with later works….

    Just beware, many find her art style quite ugly. I, however, have grown to like it over time. But it usually does take time to become accustomed to it.

  5. Ellie says:

    Love Pistols is whole heaps of fun (with a semi non-con story very easy to skip later on in the series’ run), and while Yugi Yamada’s art tends to be hamstrung by her own stories when she does both roles, Close The Last Door is lovely stuff all round. Aaand Love Mode as well, for old times sake, as there’s something to be said for managing to sustain those soapy, angsty stories over so many volumes. Sometimes it’s nice to read a proper *series*, rather than one-two-done.

    Sifting for recs reminds me all over again how many BL titles I love to pieces have at least a little non-con – god, have I become immune?

  6. Elizabeth says:

    While the premise sounds like it’s not making any sense, Voice or Noise by Enjin Yamimaru (Blu) is surprisingly good and deep.

    Fourthing Yugi Yamada, lol. She is great when it comes to comedy.

  7. jun says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot about “Seduce Me After the Show.” Feel free to send me a copy, Deb! (kidding) I do have a review blog! 🙂

  8. thirstygirl says:

    Another vote for Yugi Yamada, Hyouta Fujiyama and Konno Keiko.

    Possibly the Embracing Love series by Youka Nitta- not terribly light-hearted but there is definite character development, career woes, dealing with being openly gay actors in Japan. The art’s pretty and there isn’t that weird uke-as-female-substitute thing happening, which is one of my deal-breakers.

  9. Deb Aoki says:

    Heh — I only have one copy, but since I’m done w/ my review, I can probably pass it on to the next reviewer.

    If David doesn’t want it, I’d be happy to send to you, Jun.

  10. davidpwelsh says:

    I could just pass it on to Jun after I’m done, or vice versa. Thanks for the suggestions, everybody.

  11. jun says:

    Oh, I’d love to get it. David can have first dibs; I’ve got a bunch of good stuff I need to read (and more coming in July) so I’m not in a hurry.

  12. Eva says:

    I can’t remember if you’ve read Shout Out Loud yet. Not so much with the lighthearted funny, but great character development between grownups who act like grownups.

  13. davidpwelsh says:

    Shout Out Loud is one of my absolute favorites, Eva. I love the family and workplace dynamics and the multi-generational aspect.

  14. davidpwelsh says:

    Oh, and Oyce, I completely agree that “how [a manga-ka] includes women in the stories without making them evil or stupid” is always a key indicator of a yaoi or BL title that I’ll really enjoy.

  15. […] work of Kazuo Umezu (The Drifting Classroom, Cat-Eyed Boy). Back home at Precocious Curmudgeon, he asks readers for some BL suggestions and gets a heaping helping of […]

  16. thirstygirl says:

    Hmm, your mention of ‘non-evil or stupid women’ makes me wish that more Miyamoto Kano was licensed. Her work is chockful of ANGST! but she has interesting women- who are people in their own rights and not just plot-devices [gasp!], bi-sexual characters, much personal growth, etc etc. Her universes are populated by strangely realistic people instead of being that weird yaoi-verse where Everyone Is Gay. Plus in between the angst, she has some very nice dialogue.

  17. Alex W. says:

    Yep, I’ll third (or fourth) the vote for Seduce Me After the Show (although if you can stomach some high school loving, I really enjoyed Little Butterfly by Hinako Takanaga. But if high school seniors are out of bounds then the first book of her series Challengers definitely got a chuckle or two out of me as well. Both books have smart, funny dialogue, likable characters and very little or no non-con…)

    Good luck! 🙂

  18. davidpwelsh says:

    Oh, I can totally stomach high-school loving. I mean, I find a lot of shojo to be total crack. So if it’s smart and funny and has interesting characters, I’m all in favor. Thanks!

  19. Alex W. says:

    Well, then, I really do like Hinako Takanaga’s work. Some of it is just meant to be silly, but like I said, I just find her writing to be clever and compelling. “Little Butterfly” is her writing a more “serious” work, but there’s still plenty of humor and silliness along the way. I also am quite fond of her art. If you can stomach sweet high school romance, check it out — it’s the one I recommend to my (admittedly female) friends looking to sample the yaoi…

  20. jun says:

    I just finished Seduce Me After the Show today. Man, it was good. And original, too!

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