You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘fujoshi’ category.

Name: Urashima, Hono (浦島帆乃)
Alias: N/A
Relationship Status: Single
Origin: f ningyo

Information:
A freshman college student at the university where marine biologist Tsubaki Reiji teaches and the BL-loving mermaid Mero resides, Urashima Hono comes to college interested in snagging lots of guys. However, she instead becomes a friend of sorts with Mero, who teaches her the way of the fujoshi.

Fujoshi Level:
Urashima has only just begun to adopt a fujoshi mindset, but is helped along by Mero.

comicit-issue1-cover

Last month, the publisher Kadokawa Ascii Media Works announced a new manga magazine. Comic it advertises itself as a publication for “adult otaku girls” who “want more than just romance in their stories.” As if to emphasize its defiance of the common trope that manga for women revolve around love stories, its first issue came out on Valentine’s Day.

I find a few things fascinating about the premise behind Comic it. I’ve often seen readers, male and female, criticize shoujo and josei manga for being so focused on romance, that it seems to come at the exclusion of other possible and interesting narratives. However, it is quite intriguing that the demographic that is assumed to be most dissatisfied with the state of manga for female readers would be otaku, hardcore fans of manga. This also assumes that for many non-otaku readers, the state of manga, and romance in manga, is fine. Of course, the idea that there should be “more than just romance” also implies that the manga in this magazine will still feature love and relationships.

There’s another aspect of their advertising, however, that is less apparent. The term “adult otaku girls,” or onna otaku joshi, essentially indicates grown women who are otaku, but are still girls at heart. Though they continue to age, they’ve never let go of the thrill of being otaku. In a way, this seemingly feeds into the celebration of you that is common to Japanese culture and its portrayal in anime and manga, but I wonder if it’s also a jab at it, that youth is a product of the mind, rather than the body.

Below I’ve translated a chart included with the article on Natalie Comic linked above, which is designed to help readers figure out which stories in Comic it they’d enjoy. Note that all of the possible results emphasize the word “girl” instead of “woman” in the same manner as described above, and that there are some… interesting… yes/no questions on this chart.

comicit-chart-translation

According to the article, these categories indicate the following.

Kizuna Girl: You’re into families and brothers, and are moved by connections and bonds.

Mama Girl: You’re into helpless guys and the dramatic joy of seeing them change, as if you were a mother or older sister.

Fujoshi: You’re into buddy stories and past connections, and special relationships between guys

Subculture Girl: Though you appear to be just like everyone else, you’re actually a little peculiar, and you’re interested in philosophies of love that are a bit different.

I’ve yet to read Comic it, but I’m highly interested in doing so. I’ve already ordered a volume, and  plan to review it for Ogiue Maniax in the future.

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Name: Mero (メロ)
Alias: N/A
Relationship Status: Single
Origin: f ningyo

Information:
Mero is a mermaid who is discovered by a marine biologist named Tsubaki Reiji. Having spent much of her young life under the water reading BL, her fellow mermaids failed to understand her fascination with the human world. Upon reaching the surface, she finds herself caught up in a series of misunderstandings with Reiji and those close to him, partly because of her own mistaken assumptions about humankind, and partly because everyone else is equally dim in their own rights.

Fujoshi Level:
Mero actually believes that BL is a 100% accurate reflection of human life, and so assumes that all men are in love with each other.

Name: Ebina, Hina (海老名姫菜)
Alias: N/A
Relationship Status: Single
Origin: My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

Information:
Ebina Hina is student at Sobu High School, and is often seen with her classmates, the soccer ace Hayama Hayato and fashionable gal Miura Yumiko. She is extremely open about being a fujoshi, and constantly wonders aloud both what pairings here classmates can be in and what they might do to each other.

Hina also has a creative talent, working as a director and script writer for her class’s play for a school festival, though she unsurprisingly loads it with BL innuendo.

Fujoshi Level:
Though very much a fujoshi, she intentionally uses her image to keep guys from asking her out.

Name: Wakaba, Chikage (若葉千影)
Alias: N/A
Relationship Status: Single
Origin: Susume! Otome Road

Information:
18 year old Wakaba Chikage is an apprentice manga artist who, unlike her sister Chiharu, is open with her identity as a fujoshi. Chikage is also Chiharu’s opposite in many other ways, rejecting fashion and makeup while favoring yaoi with big burly men. For this reason, she is also fond of Chiharu’s hairy teacher Mr. Kumada.

Fujoshi Level:
Chikage is able to approach being a fujoshi at full force, uninhibited by social pressures.

Name: Wakaba, Chiharu (若葉千晴)
Alias: N/A
Relationship Status: Single
Origin: Susume! Otome Road

Information:
Wakaba Chiharu is a 16 closeted fujoshi. Unbeknownst to her classmates, she enjoys drawing doujinshi of bishounen, and fantasizes over her classmates, Okamoto Kei and Tajima Ryouichi. Her favorite anime is Cat-eared Akira, a series for which she owns a good deal of merchandise, including a life-sized doll of Akira. Her older sister Chikage is also a fujoshi.

Fujoshi Level:
Chiharu is able and willing to indulge in her fantasies to the fullest extent right in the middle class.

Name: Chitose, Sakurako (千歳桜子 )
Alias: Cherry (チェリー)
Relationship Status: Single
Origin: Princess Ringo’s Adventures in “Wota” Land

Information:
Chitose Sakurako is a fujoshi who first meets Himenogi Rin and Yamada Moe at an event for her favorite series, Prince Salaryman. Afterwards, she lands a job at their office, but when a manager named Hayami Yorimichi manipulates Sakurako into having sex with him and then posts the pictures on the internet, the three of them hatch a plan to get back at him.

Fujoshi Level:
At the doujin event where Sakurako first met Rin, she got so into her cosplay as the Prince Salaryman character Red and her yaoi fantasies that she ended up french kissing Rin (also cosplaying the same character).

Name: Torisawa, Mii (鳥沢美以)
Alias: N/A
Relationship Status: Complicated/Dating
Origin: Tora to Ookami

Information:
Torisawa Mii is a high school student who works at her family’s restaurant, Himawari. One day while preparing food at the restaurant she meets two older men one day. Sengoku Torajii and Ookami Ken turn out to be two new student teachers at her school, but Mii also uses them as fodder for her BL fiction which she posts on her blog. Mii finds herself attracted to both of them, but due to her familiarity with the two she becomes a target for jealous bullying. Mii ultimately begins a relationship with Ken, moving away to live together.

Mii is an excellent cook and has a very strong sense of responsibility, especially when it comes to managing Himawari and taking care of her grandmother. When a businessman attempts to buy out the land under Himawari, she remains steadfast in her desire to preserve the restaurant that her parents left behind. In the end, she arrives at a compromise with the businessman where Himawari would be sold and replaced by a restaurant that serves food based on her family’s recipes, but Mii also opens up her own new version of Himawari in her new town.

Fujoshi Level:
While she was already into BL, meeting Torajii and Ken made Mii get more into writing hardcore material.

In Chapter 108 of Genshiken II, Yajima’s mom plays “Are you a Man or a Woman,” Yajima tries to get closer to Hato, and the club meets Yajima’s dad. As Kuchiki has a surprisingly heartfelt moment.

I think Genshiken in general has a knack for conversations that feel natural while reflecting the awkwardness of its characters, and nowhere is this more evident than in the scene between Hato and Yajima this chapter. As Hato and Yajima are going to pick up Madarame and Kuchiki from the nearby hotel (motel?), Yajima begins to talk to him about his comic. It’s the one subject where she believes that they’re on roughly even ground and that they can both relate to in a way that the others (sans Ogiue) cannot, so she’s going to use it for all that it’s worth. It’s a moment that really says, “Yes, this is what Yajima is about.” What makes this scene really work for showcasing Yajima’s feelings, though, is the artwork itself, where Yajima is trying her best to work through her own awkwardness and continue conversation.

Obviously that scene references the previous chapters where Yajima and Hato have been working on their manga, but there are actually quite a few callbacks to events much further back in Genshiken as well. The first one worth mentioning is Yajima’s mom trying to guess which of the girls is in fact a boy. You might recall that this happened in Chapter 56, the very first chapter of Nidaime, when Madarame predictably couldn’t figure it out and Saki was able to with one look. Looking back, it’s kind of amazing how that was Madarame and Hato’s first meeting, and now it’s gotten to this crazy stage. Also, the logic Yajima’s mom uses to single out Keiko is clear, even if she’s off the mark: all of that effort put into her makeup and appearance has to be for something, right?

Poor Keiko. Poor Yajima. Speaking of Yajima, she really does look like the halfway point between her parents.

Speaking of Yajima’s mom, I do find it interesting that the chapter goes out of its way to point out her similarities to Yoshitake in terms of personality. I think we’re supposed to interpret that comparison in two ways, the first being that she has a kind of subtly aggressive personality as she questions everyone’s gender (including her own daughter’s!), and the second being that she gives off a warm, inviting personality. One could even argue that Yajima, who takes after her father in terms of temperament, would get along with someone who’s just like her mother. That’s probably a stretch, though.

The second callback comes from the bath scenes. Recalling the Karuizawa trip, it’s quite telling that Keiko treated the disparity in chest size between her and Ohno back then not as an attack on her confidence, but in the case of Angela she sees the American character’s body as more of a threat. No doubt this is done to show that Keiko views Angela as the most dangerous rival of all for Madarame, reinforcing also her initial view of Angela upon finding out that Angela has a thing for Madarame. I’ve talked about this before, but the friendly antagonism that exists between Keiko and Angela is something you don’t see in a lot of manga, let alone manga about a group of otaku. Both clearly have a lot of sexual experience, both are aware of this fact, and thus both see each other in a different light compared to the rest.

To a lesser extent, Ogiue and Sue’s bath scene also references Karuizawa, but it’s not as significant. It’s mostly just an opportunity to make a joke at Ogiue’s expense, though in this case it’s her own self-deprecation. Actually, when I think about it, most of the time when the subject of Ogiue’s chest comes up, it’s usually her putting words into another person’s mouth. “Now you’re going to say… I’m a small-chested tsundere!” exclaims Ogiue “Joseph Joestar” Chika, as Sasahara or Sue or whoever denies her accusation.

The last reference to the past is the most obvious, as Kuchiki is told to recount how he became a member of Genshiken in the first place. Between his initial club visit, his running away upon seeing the lovey-dovey interactions between Kousaka and Saki, his re-joining the club and causing trouble from the get-go, the scene for the most part reinforces Kuchiki’s role in the story as that annoying guy in the club you just can’t get rid of. However, Kio takes the time to put a bit of a twist on all of that when he has Kuchiki reminds everyone of Genshiken’s origins as a home for misfit otaku (the rejects of the rejects).

In this regard, I  find that his apology to Ogiue actually says a lot. As he’s giving his speech before the toast, Ogiue jokingly reminds him that in their first meeting he laid her hands on him and that she’d never forget that, and Kuchiki gets down on his knees (“dogeza”), and immediately says sorry. Within this one moment, we can see that, as much as Kuchiki is generally a completely tactless and grating individual, that he cherishes Genshiken as more than just a place where he can fantasize about being a harem lead. Rather, it’s his home, a place that accepted him when nowhere else would, and to lose that connection is to lose a sense of belonging.

A few days ago I posted a translation of Japanese blogger Tamagomago’s latest article on Genshiken, where he asserts that the distinction between otaku and non-otaku, at least as it was in the mid-1990s to early-2000s, no longer really matters or indeed exists in the same capacity. Kuchiki clearly comes from before this time (as does Madarame of course), and I think given how Nidaime has gone it’s easy to forget just how awkward the club used to be. Kuchiki is a refreshing reminder of its origins, of a time that has arguably passed ages ago, and how places like Genshiken can be important for the awkward. On a personal level, as I’ve gotten older myself I’m no longer quite the nervous teenager I once was, and though vestiges of it still exist within me (and I’m still an awkward individual to be sure), it can be easy to forget just how intense it can be to worry that you don’t belong.

In a way, I wonder if Genshiken and its titular club at this point embody not simply the idea of a group of otaku, but the idea of a space to grow.

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Name: Ero-hon G-Man (エロ本Gメン)
Alias: G-Man (Gメン), Ero Books Government Man, Class President (委員長)
Relationship Status: Single
Origin: Denkigai no Honya-san

Information:
This Japanese government agent inspects erotic books in order to find inappropriate content. However, as a fujoshi, she herself is a fan of erotic materials and reads them in her off-hours. She treats her job not so much as a form of censorship but rather a form of protection for ero manga, preferring that they be labeled correctly in order to reach their desired audiences, while being appropriate enough that they don’t get removed outright: at one point she dressed up as Santa Claus to distribute orphaned erotic comics.

The Ero-hon G-Man has known the employee at Comic Umanohone famous for his excellent recommendations, nicknamed “Sommelier,” since they were little. Sommelier introduced her to the world of erotic books, forging a life-long friendship and a mutual attraction. As a child, she was a fan of the badminton-themed manga  The Prince of the Shuttlecock.

Fujoshi Level:
She occasionally attends Sommelier’s manga recommendation evenings, and is notorious for being very specific in her interests in yaoi manga. At the same time, her tastes are fairly broad including both pretty boys and muscley men.

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