Thursday, July 06, 2006

Angel Cup & other yaoi & yuri/lesbian manga

After I managed to get my yuri (girl/girl love) & yaoi (boy/boy love) manga through Canada Customs, I had such a good time reading them, I just had to talk about them. But first, some reasons why you might want to try reading manga: As an article in the Toronto Star states “The fantasy gay-male sex in Yaoi is leading to a lot of actual sex between women.” This is due to bisexual/lesbian women who like seeing femininity enacted sexually. Plus if you are LGBT or LGBT friendly, manga is a worldview where being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered makes you not only normal, but usually the hero. Under the “only in mangaland” umbrella, take for instance President Dad, which is about a teen girl whose father is the President of South Korea while she is falling in love with an assassin from North Korea. And of course her bodyguard is a stunningly beautiful crossdressing guy who becomes her best girlfriend, but has a few issues of his own (like the gangster boss he married as a bride who knows he’s a guy and still wants him back). If there was ever a medium that constantly preached the message of love without regard to sex or gender, it's manga.

My favorite yuri themed manga is the just released female soccer oriented Angel Cup. Through the recent upswing of sports oriented girls manga like volleyball themed Crimson Hero, we are seeing strong, butchy, athletic girls taking on the world. Angel Cup goes one better when So-jin, faced by sexist male soccer players immediately challenges them to a game, without even having a team. She soon collects one including a lesbian goalkeeper Yee-Ju (who lifts So-Jin’s skirt to check out her figure before joining the team), and Soo-hee, the girl in love with Yee-Ju amoung others. When it comes to the game itself, the guys dominate the start but So-Jin refuses to give in, blocking shots with her body until she is bleeding. Frankly she’s got the sort of “all the way” attitude that scares the guys. For me, seeing girls who are so passionate that they will do whatever it takes in sports is a far cry from the “play nice” themes of western literature when I was growing up. The lesbian Yee-Ju ties a red ribbon around So-Jin’s forehead to hold back the blood and they fight on. Inspired by the example of her love (the goalie Yee-Ju) the timid Soo-Hee is determined to meet the challenge, and blocks a shot to goal with her face, which knocks her unconscious as blood pours from her wounds. Go team!

Some Yuri popcorn is Magical x Miracle which has ultra femmy girl Merleawe arriving in the big city to start magic training, only ala Prince and the Pauper, she is needed by the kingdom to replace the Master Wizard Viegald, who is an ultra femmy guy (and looks just like her). Beyond trying to fill the shoes of the Master Magician, no one told her that as Viegald, she has a female fiancee, and kissing is involved. In typical Mangaland fashion, even when she returns to her ultra femme dresses as Merleawe, everyone now just assumes that she is the male magician Viegald wandering around in drag. Oh well, sometimes a girl’s got to be a femme guy.

For some more gender bender/same sex love romance I recommend the Series Angel Diary by the same creator of yaoi themed classic Demon Diary. We have an angel princess who is living disguised as a boy on earth named Dong-young (hey, I don’t make up these names). And her best friend is the openly gay Bi-wal who has claimed “him” as a boyfriend (with some interesting situations as they get assigned the same room on a field trip). Of course there is a love triangle with another boy at school who seems to want to know Dong-young better. Meanwhile, the angelic guardians sent to search out the princess are falling in love with each other, only due to their own gender bending histories, some aren’t sure if they are in love with boys or girls. Luckily a Tree spirit drag queen steps in to help sort everything out. It’s like a pride parade in a book!

Another light read is the single volume Angel Dust, which is like a lesbian Evangelion. Yuina is a shy school girl who finds a female angelic android name Seraph from the future who must “integrate” with her through kisses. Seraph helps Yuina grow in confidence and starts a love story across time and space. It’s candy, but pretty candy. Mmmmmmmmm, yummy.

7 comments:

kathz said...

I wonder if there's something else going on in the popularity of same sex romance. For straight women it offers a negotiation of the romance that steps outside patriarchy. If you go back to the 1920s and 1930s there's a lot of not very concealed male/male romance in D.K. Broster's historical fiction (D for Dorothy, by the way), especially Mr Rowl which includes a cross-dressing hero (for reasons of escape but even so ...). There's the same thing - only less romantic - in Marion Zimmer Bradley's earlier fantasy novels (before The Thendara House) when men are so dominant they have to take the full spectrum of emotional roles. And nowadays there's slash fiction, which is certainly predominantly written by and for women about men. Sheenagh Pugh has written about this in her book on fan fiction and I also heard her speak on the subject recently. I find her very interesting on this - really considering how she responds to fiction. Obviously these don't just work for straight women. But the absence of conventional assumptions about power is attractive - I think it's one reason why so many straight women like reading lesbian crime fiction too.

Yoga Korunta said...

Let's hear more yuri; I've always wanted two women at the same time!

GayProf said...

And yet you don't buy/read/worship Wonder Woman?

Anonymous said...

Let's hear more yaoi. Yuri is a turnoff. >:O

Rowena Butterbeer said...

Thank you for your review of some of your favourite yuri/yaoi manga pieces. Because of this, I have learned of some more great yuri manga reads out there!

Thank you! (:

Milenska said...

Hey there, stumbled on your blog when I googled "gay and lesbian manga, where to start?" becuase I've been wanting to get into reading all kinds of manga (went to the Asian Art museum in San Fransisco and saw an Osamu Tezuka exhibit...got inspired...) so wanted to thank you so much for the overview! Much needed and appreciated to make sense of everything that's out there. Any advice for just general manga? Where would a fan-wannabe start reading?

Elizabeth McClung said...

I think if you tell me what makes you laugh or what types of films you like I can narrow it down for you. I think Iono-Sama Fanatics is a great lesbian title - also girl meets girk also known as Kashimashi; Day of Revolution (I review in a later blog has intersex AND lesbian), The last uniform is a good high school lesbian romance series (2 volumes). Loveless has both gay and lesbian couples - and of course - the classic Kamikaze Girls. I have other reviews scattered about, once every month or two. Have fun and there is a link to a Yuri (lesbian) manga review site on the right hand side; I don't always agree but she is a great resource.

Happy reading.