Sep 14, 2014

Manga: Gay Japanese Comics

When I visited Japan in 1986, I saw manga everywhere: thick, heavy books of sequential art, similar to Western comic books but with a different history, a distinctive style, and a much larger audience.  Everybody was reading manga, not just fanboys, and they came in many different genres, from comedy to drama to the hardest of hard-core porn.

In the absence of Western hysteria concerning gay people, same-sex desire and relationships are commonly portrayed as unremarkable facts of life, even in manga aimed at juveniles.

Yaoi are manga involving romances between teenage boys, both drawn as ultra-feminine and girlish, aimed at an audience of teenage girls.  They seem to be the Japanese equivalent of Western teen idols, who are commonly presented as androgynous.

(Yuri are the female equivalent, involving romances between teenage girls.)


If you prefer more masculine men, try bara, manga involving hirsute man-mountains in love.

Here are some of the more popular (but non-pornographic) gay-themed manga available in English translation.  Many have also been turned into anime (Japanese cartoons).

But be careful...they are convoluted, multi-volume, so once you start, you'll have to read a dozen or more to get the whole story.

1. Close the Last Door! Nagai is a salaryman who is secretly in love with his coworker, Saito, who is about to marry a woman.....

2.Silver Diamond. High school student Sawa teams up with the intergalactic outlaw Chigusa, to try to save Chigusa's planet from evil plant creatures.


3. Punch Up. Sophisticated young architect Motoharu has lost his pet cat.  Rough, husky factory worker Kouta has found it.  The two mistrust each other at first, but....

4. Three Wolves Mountain. Kaya runs a cafe in a small, isolated town.  One night he meets two werewolf brothers (fox spirits in the original Japanese).  He falls in love with the younger brother, but the full moon is coming....

5. Antique Bakery. Famous baker Ono is accustomed to getting any guy he wants, using both his superlative physique and his baking skills.  But his boss, Tachibana, seems oblivious.  Until....





6. One Thousand and One Nights.  The sultan keeps marrying women and killing them, and Sehara's sister Shahrazad is next in line!  He is willing to do anything to save her, including....

7. Loveless. Ritsuka is a "catboy," who will lose his cat-like qualities when he loses his virginity.  He and an older man named Soubi team up to find his brother's killer, and encounter a mysterious organization called The Seventh Moon....

8. Hetalia Axis Powers. World War II is recreated by characters named after the countries involved: Italy, Germany, Japan, America, England, France.  Except now they can form hidden alliances and fall in love...






9. Crimson Spell. Prince Vaid suffers under a curse: he turns into a demon every night!  He seeks out the assistance of the powerful sorcerer Halvi, who is afraid to tell him about the one act that can break the curse....

10. G-Defend. Ishikawa is an instructor for the Japanese Security and Anti-Terrorist Squad. His assistant, Iwase, has a secret crush on him....