Pinup Boy by Michinoku Atami


Straight boys get up to a lot of Gay in Japan, it seems.





The hero of Pinup Boy, however, doesn’t waste time trying to find Teh Gay in some slow burn office romance.  No, he goes straight to the tap (as it were).  Masaki works at a gay bar–specifically his uncle’s gay bar.

His coworker, Hajime (pictured above), hates him.

And for good reason.  Masaki might be handsome, but he’s a class-A jerk.  He’s rude to customers and sneers at all the ‘okama,’ cross-dressers, and trans-folk who populate the bar.  He’s only working there because the money is good and because his uncle gave him the job.

Even after Hajime gives him a stern talking to…


…he doesn’t listen.

In fact, it takes an incident with a very rape-y customer before Masaki figures out that maybe he should stop being such a raging A-hole.

After that, and the threat of expulsion from the manager/his uncle, Masaki vows to try to learn from Hajime.

They get along. You know, when he’s not being a jerk, Masaki can be all right. They share talks and test cocktails (the DRINKS!) together. Then, one day, Masaki sees Hajime take a package from one of the customers.

…what is it?

Illegal drugs?  Something more/less sinister?

When Hajime gets all weird about changing into street clothes after work, Masaki figures he’s trying to hide whatever is in the contraband package.  Seeing something hanging out of Hajame’s pants, Masaki confronts him.

The big secret turns out to be…. lacy underwear.


Okay…. somewhat unexpected.

Hajime was so secretive about it because Masaki was so disdainful of anything gay.  Masaki, being so VERY, VERY straight like he is, decides he really wants to see… you know, Haijme in it.

Sex ensues.

Or at least some heavy making out.

However, Masaki, like the reader, is left with a massive boner and nowhere to go with it, because, like so may yaoi out there this one only has one chapter scanlated.

Does anybody know why this happens?  I mean, I understand that scanlation is a fan-run, volunteer ‘business.’  I presume a lot of projects get dropped for all sorts of reasons, including interest and lack of resources.  But, from what I can gather from Baka-Updates Pinup Boy is only one volume.

I mean, maybe this is, in fact, all there is.  I’ve noticed that in some cases when a volume is actually a series of unrelated chapters, those chapters get split up and published as separate stories.  So, maybe this whole chapter was just a one-shot tease published in some BL magazine and then put into an anthology volume.

But, the story doesn’t feel complete.  Like, you kind of at least want a bit more of a love confession from somebody… or more sex with costumes…. or for Masaki to maybe not only stop being a jerk, but ALSO realize that perhaps he’s been so poo-poo about queer folks BECAUSE HE IS ONE… something.

Ah, well.

The art is fairly good.  The tease-y bits are tease-y.

If you want to read what there is of it, I found it here:

Doushitemo Furetakunai by Yoneda Kou


I found Doushitemo Furetakunai by using the search terms ‘straight seme’ on Baka-Updates. I sorted the results by release year, under the assumption that maybe things produced more recently might have decent art and a more modern sensibility.

What this does have, however, is a live-action movie that pretty much goes line-for-line (though having watched several minutes I feel like the manga does a better job with the initial characterization).  But, so, with this one, you have your choice: you can either watch it: or read it:





Doushitemo Furetakunai is a slice-of-life office romance.  Apparently, straight male Japanese office workers are very susceptible to Teh Gay.  I don’t know if it’s all that nomikai, the after-hours drinking, or what, but you really have to be on your toes or a drunken meeting in an elevator might make even the straightest of the straights change their tune.

Enter Togawa, drunk at 8 am, into said elevator, where he meets shy, vaguely-autistic Shima.  Apparently, as late as 2008 it was still pretty common for Japanese businesses to allow smoking in the office… sort of.  Or at least when Togawa smokes in the office, people put up with it, with only the most mild, “use the smoking area” admonishments.  (As an American where smoking is pretty much banned in most public spaces, it’s very off-putting to see both in the manga and the live-action movie.)

But, this gross drunken meeting is Shima and Togawa’s meet-cute.

I’m not exactly sure what about this we’re supposed to find charming, but Togawa does grow on a person.  Maybe we’re supposed to be shocked and turned off, so that later when he’s shown to be sort of a nice guy, he seems that much MORE amazingly nice.  But, Togawa is a classic red oni–loud, aggressive, fun-loving, and crassly charismatic.  I think I tend to personally gravitate towards characters like this (see: Renji from Bleach, Mugen from Samurai Champloo, Jin Tadokoro from Yowapeda, and a half-dozen others,) because they give me hope that my own personality wouldn’t be absolutely horrifying to the Japanese.

As the manga progresses, Shima is slowly bullied into liking Togawa. Togawa basically inserts himself into Shima’s life, inviting himself to share lunch with him, taking him out to eat… and then finally there is kissing and the classic straight guy excuse, “What? You were so cute I couldn’t help myself!”

The romance kind of sucks.  There’s only implied sex in the manga (didn’t get that far in the movie yet), so I guess the real heart of this story is Togawa’s backstory.  His whole family is dead–there’s suicide and houses burning down, it’s all bad.  Due to this, Shima doesn’t think that their relationship can be more than physical, but it’s very clear that Togawa wants a family, particularly kids (the Japanese have NOT figured out adoption and I swear to all the gods this is the only thing that makes me want shake my computer screen and shout ‘come to America, boys, you can adopt!’ Or Canada!  Get out of Japan and this won’t be such a f*cking deal breaker for you idiots!”)

But that would deflate the angst, so that doesn’t happen.

They do at least work things out and we get a love confession from Togawa at the end.  I’ll be curious to finish watching the movie version of this because, Togawa and Shima’s story is basically over in two chapters.  The rest of the manga follows people who seemed like side characters, Onoda (a bespectacled bestie who is the ‘straight’ best friend who is sympathetic to the gay romance) and a salesman guy from the place Shima used to work, Deguchi.

Helping Togawa and Shima hook up makes Onoda think about his own attraction to Shima, and he talks to his drinking buddy Deguchi about it, without realizing that Deguchi is a flaming homo.


I liked their story a bit more than Togawa/Shima, if only because Shima was a bit of a crier, and that’s a turn off for me, as has already been discussed.

Anyway, in the Onoda/Deguchi storyline we finally actually get the scene I’ve been craving where the straight guy actually READS THE INTERNET for clues on how to do Teh Gay and pushes Deguchi to take him to a gay bar so that he can actually sort of absorb a bit of gay culture before instantly hopping into bed and being converted by magical yaoi sex.

Magical yaoi sex is a pretty powerful conversion tool (as it were!), but it’s nice to see gayness acknowledged as something a bit more than just sex.  I mean yes, for some people, the Gay Agenda is living a normal life with 100% more gay sex, but to pretend there hasn’t been an actual culture that goes beyond the mainstream house with the picket fence is disingenuous as well.  I mean, I’m fine not always having stories match reality, but that just means when I do find moments like this, small though they may be, I cherish them.

So, yeah, this one was interesting.  We’ll see how much more of the live-action movie I can handle….

Ote o Haishaku by Sakumoto Ayu


Did you ever wonder if there was a yaoi manga for hand fetishists?  Well, yes, there is!  And, Ote o Haishaku is it!  Yaoi hands for the hand fetishists!





I was instantly charmed by the beginning of this manga.  You get a panel of two hands reaching for the same book and colliding, with, script that reads: “This is very typical. But, a fated meeting…such a beautiful thing.  His hand.”  To which, the other party says, “Just the hand?”  At this point we find out that our hero narrated that whole opening out loud, “like a creepy prologue.”

This seems accurate to my own life.  I narrate a lot of my own life, and this is totally something I would be caught doing.

So, I liked Arimura Satouru instantly.

Yuasa, the object of Arimura’s hand obsession, is less than impressed.  He’s a handsome. popular guy, who has adopted an icy persona in order to keep the fan girls (and boys) away. But, he’s never had to deal with someone like Arimura who really only wants one thing… his hands.


Love this reversal of: “I’m up here.”

For this reason, Yuasa tolerates Arimura.  He even lets Arimura sketch a picture of his hands.

When Yuasa leaves his backpack at school, he has a chance meeting with Arimura after he’s had a few drinks with his BFF/roommate, Katou.  When Yuasa is looking though Arimura’s designs (naturally Arimura wants to be a ring maker), he gets a paper cut.

This leads to… possibly one of the longest, most erotic finger sucking series of panels I have ever read in a yaoi manga.


I mean, this REALLY is yaoi for hand fetishists.

This little encounter, however, freaks out Yuasa.  Well, truthfully, he’s kind of into it until he realizes that it’s made Arimura hard, THEN he has to run away.

The next chapter starts with Arimura trying to apologize and best friend Katou running a little interference for our boys.  Katou tells Arimura not to give up.  We find out that Yuasa only picks friends who aren’t interested in his looks.  In fact, he seems to prefer otaku–anyone who is more focused on their own interests to notice his looks.  Katou himself, we’re told, is into magical girl figurines.  But Yuasa has opened up far more to Arimura, so that’s a precious thing, Katou tells us.

This gives Arimura the heart to keep apologizing until he gets through to Yuasa.

Yuasa, meanwhile, has problems of his own, in the form of an overbearing fellow named Kamijou, a colleague of Yuasa’s from his part-time job at a design firm. Kamijou really wants to TALK BUSINESS over a few drinks, and the way he asks involves a lot of leaning in close and touching, if you know what I mean.

So, yeah Yuasa is super not interested.

Luckily, Arimura blunders in, hoping to apologize again, and so Yuasa grabs him and acts like they had plans.  Yuasa decides to accept the apology since Arimura rescued him, in a way.

But, Yuasa can’t entirely blow off the guy from work.  He really, really wants to, and wonders why everything in life involves having to be so damn accommodating. (Again, I can relate). He just wants to secure a job after graduation, why does it have to involve being nice to people!  But so, when Kamijou texts him, Yuasa agrees to meet up again.  We find out in a flashback that Yuasa isn’t just an anti-social curmudgeon for no good reason.  When he was a kid, he loved being complimented for his good-looks and he worked very hard to be pleasant and please everyone.

And that instantly led to unwanted (lewd) advances.

From all sides.

He feels he can’t even smile at someone without them taking it the wrong way.

And… it turns out, that’s exactly what sleazy, pushy Kamijou is after: all the lewd!  When they meet up again, he pushes Yuasa into the back seat of his fancy car and proceeds to force himself don Yuasa.

Luckily, Arimura is a total stalker.  This time he confronts Kamijou more forcefully, and Yuasa escapes… by pretending Arimura is his over-protective boyfriend.  This, of course, grosses out Kamijou, who might have wanted to rape Yuasa, but OMG GAY IS SO ICKY. (Not a strategy I would have thought of, nor would I have thought it would actually WORK… but the vagaries of yoai men escapes me.)

The chapter ends with candid talk and a lot of romantic handholding.

And, unfortunately, that’s all there is.

The other chapters have not been scanlated, and since it came out in 2014, I doubt they ever will be–which is a shame because I would have liked to have read more of this.

Arimura’s hand fetish isn’t something I share, but it was nice to see pages devoted to a different kind of lovemaking than we usually see in yaoi.  I think, too, because it’s an unusual attraction, Sakutmoto-sensei put a lot more effort into the character building, really working to make sure these characters stand out in other, more likable ways. You get the sense they were headed for a more traditional affection/attraction.  Like, for all of his hand obsession, we see Arimura at the end of the second chapter starting to want to see Yuasa’s expression, more than his hands.

I also really enjoyed the art school setting and the fact that our main hero, Yuasa, comes with a BFF who seems like a genuinely nice guy, if a bit odd, himself.

If you’re interested in reading what’s out there, you can find it here:

Ao no Exorcist/Blue Exorcist #83

The newest chapter is out! Go get it:





This chapter begins exactly where the previous one left off: with the arrival of Amaimon. He struts up to Rin, shoving Shiemi (Plant Girl) aside.

We get a flashback from Shiemi’s p.o.v. that helps remind readers like me, who have forgotten who even Amaimon is and why he’s calling Shiemi his ‘bride’ (chapter 13).  He continues to act like he has control over her, but she’s having none of it.  In fact, her confrontation with him is the impetus for her to ‘come out,’ as it were.  She finally confesses that she’s determined to become an exorcist.

Amaimon continues to be a a$$hole-bully, by saying “Then Die” (which is sort of interesting since one assumes, wearing the school’s uniform would mean he’s also an exorcist-in-training?)  But, Shiemi’s heart-felt declaration of intent causes Rin to be able to shake himself from his rejection daze and stop Amaimon’s blow.

In typical bully fashion when his blows do no damage to Rin, he basically says, ‘well, I’d love to murder you now, but I promised my big brother I’d be a good student, so I guess it will have to wait.’

Then we have a lovely moment where the two would-be-paramours have a lovely exchange where Rin, the ever giving, decent one, shouts out to Shiemi, “Hey, we’re still friends, okay?” And Shiemi accepts with a blush and a “Yes, let’s do our best!”


What I love about this scene is that Rin’s friends are still standing thereby him, ready to take him out for a cheering-up meal, and Shiemi gets to be her own woman, too.  This is the kind of romantic subplot in a shounen manga that I can really appreciate.

Just as everyone starts heading off to class, Suguro/Bon gets a text from his mentor, Light. The two of them have been doing some extra-curiculuar investigation into “The Blue Night”  They end up at the place that Rin and Yukio were raised, the Southern Cross Boy’s Monastery. When one of their targets, Mr. Misumi, doesn’t want to talk about why he transferred to the monastery things get ugly. Light tempts to torture a confession out of Mr. Misumi, until Bon interferes.  Light acts like Bon’s interference was all part of the plan, but the whole scene made me uneasy.

Apparently, however, it had a similar effect on Mr. Misumi who decides to confess.  He starts to tell our heroes something about how he’d been in something called “Section 13” which has Light looking freaked out… and then this happens:


Death literally shows up. There’s an awesome image of Death (Kin of Time!) breaking a complex looking hour glass type thing that then causes Mr. Misumi to fall over dead on the spot.

Light notices something on Mr. Misumi’s neck that he calls, “A contract of Morinath.” Turns out Light has no clue about Section 13, but he figures this contract thing is a connection to an elixir for immortality and thus is a connection to the Illuminati.

Bon gives us this face:


Crap. That puts me at odds with Pink-Haired Shima!

Also note the blue flame like flash in Light’s eye.

So…. things are getting complicated and divisive and I’m deeply worried about my precious cinnamon bun, Bon.  He’s clearly willing to stop anything that goes over his moral line, but I worry that he’s going to already be way too deep in by the time everything comes to whatever head it’s building to and he’s going to end up in a very bad place.

Meanwhile, I have no idea what Mephisto Pheles is thinking letting Amaimon out to cause trouble at the True Cross Academy.  But, I kind of literally trust none of the Satan spawn except for Rin and Yukio (and I worry about them, half the time too!)

Ao no Exorcist/Blue Exorcist continues to impress me. Katō-sensei may be one of my favorite mangaka, currently.  I thought she deftly handled the interpersonal stuff, and is masterfully keeping me in suspense/on the edge about the storyline/plot.  Also, some of her art is downright creepy.  The image of Death breaking the hourglass with their scythe is the stuff of nightmares–and very… mystical.  I love when you get a sense that there are even some things that are freaky to practiced exorcists like Light.

Anyway, I’m still deeply hooked.

Your thoughts?

Illumination by Yamashita Tomoko


When everything sucks and then you’re gay, this is the manga for you.





Illumination is a play in three acts, each of which is a character study. We start with Mikita Ryuuji, 29, public servant/drunk.  Ryuuji is a serious curmudgeon, maybe all those years working in government office, but he’d really like to just be left alone to drink.  “He thinks personal relationships are nothing but a hassle.”

Enter childhood best-friend Koya Naomi.  Even though Ryuuji isn’t gay, he’s pretty sure he loves Naomi.

Ah, I thought when I hit this point: one of these.  The stories where the straight guy just needs a nudge and he falls heels over head into fabulousness!

Except it doesn’t quite work like that in Illumination.

He does try out gay sex.  You know, just to be sure.  A hostess that he hires tells him that maybe he’s just not able to get things up because he’s a closeted gay man, and to Ryuuji’s credit he thinks, “Okay, maybe so.”  He hooks up with a guy, Sudo Kiyotoshi.  It’s… awkward.


Sudo tries to leave behind his phone number, but Ryuuji isn’t having it.  He deletes it right away.  Sudo is persistent, though, and so he keeps showing up.  They kind of have a relationship, though mostly it’s Ryuuji telling Sudo to go away, and Sudo saying, “Okay, but first I’ll make dinner.”

No one cries, but the sex is ‘meh’ even when Ryuuji decides he’s “used to it” and wants things rougher.

Then, one day, Naomi shows up with his own plans to cook dinner for Ryuuji.  He’s met, of course, by Sudo.  Things are awkward.  Naomi wants to know who this guy is and how it is he’s even penetrated (as it were!) Ryuuji’s defenses enough to be bringing over something so intimate as dinner.  Sudo, being the only out gay guy in this manga, says, “Well, that’s because I’m sleeping with him, and you know, trying to get to know him. Who the hell are you?”

The rest of the two chapters are… well, realistic, I guess?  The shift perspective, so you get Sudo’s point of view next and OMG so much sad of being the gay… Sudo says he’s a guy that everyone likes/but no one likes.  He’s popular enough to be invited to all the parties, but he’s never been anyone’s someone special.  It’s pretty heartbreaking.  Every queer’s nightmare, IMHO.

But, that being said, I actually really love how this manga ended. After this second chapter, I was thinking ‘oh, this is going to be like that horrible yuri where the ladies broke up because one was getting married to a man.’  But, since there were only three chapters, I thought, fine.  I’ll see it through to the bitter end.

I was really pretty happy (well, at least not any MORE depressed) when, even though Ryuuji rejected Sudo, he also rejected Naomi.  He was like, childhood friend, I know you. You’re a skirt chaser and would never be loyal to me, besides it would fuck up our friendship and I just really, REALLY want to be left alone to drink in peace.

Is this a happy ending?  Well, it’s certainly NOT a gay one.

Like I said, I was… okay with this.  I liked that in Naomi’s chapter we realize that Naomi at least loves his friend enough to wish that he be happy.  He wants, specifically, for Ryuuji to find someone to love, but really, I think Naomi would be okay if Ryuuji could just learn to love himself.

I almost think this is an asexual coming out story, except Ryuuji never gets there.

When I saw on Baka-Updates that there were more chapters, I quick hunted down a site that had them all.  Alas, it became pretty clear that Ryuuji/Naomi/Sudo’s story ended here.  The other stories follow other characters, so I decided not to read them at this time.  I’ve also only linked above to a site that has the first three chapters.  However, if you decide you like the art/writing enough for the whole volume, you can find it here:

Hakushi no Tsukurishi Inu/The Dog Created by the Professor by Duo Brand (Haruka Akatsuki & Nobuyoshi Watanabe)



My first science fiction yaoi!

However, I feel like , maybe, Duo Brand (Haruka Akatsuki and Nobuyoshi Watanabe) were watching Blade Runner together one night and thought, “You know what would be cool?  Hot replicants who were also furries.”

And, I’m not entirely sure they’re wrong.

Not entirely sure they’re right, either, but… there are some interesting bits here (and not just the naughty bits).





First of all, the world of Hakushi no Tsukurishi is a dark, futuristic world where there is apparently high demand for artificial human-like creatures called ‘chimera.’  (Read: replicant : super strong, artificial extra-human.) Like the replicants of Blade Runner, they’re a bit on the child-like side.

They seem to be… hmmmm, maybe mostly sex slaves?

But, it’s really not clear, though there are a LOT of them, so many, in fact, that the professor tends to think of himself as a machinist, just grinding out order after order after order.


All those containers have chimera in them…

Even though his personal chimera, Kusanagi, pleasures him, the professor isn’t really sure Kusanagi is intelligent.  There is a lot of gazing into Kusangi’s big, brown eyes and saying really sensitive stuff like, “Ah, if only you could understand me!” (And  then when Kusanagi talks a few panels later, I was  actually kind of shocked because I figured maybe he couldn’t, if the prof was talking to him like that!)

It takes a misunderstanding and the help of some decidedly creepy chibi doll-like pro to-chimera to get ‘our boys’ back together. (Bonus: these creepy things follow the prof around and stare balefully at him like some kind of miniature Greek chorus from Hell.)


Look at these creeptastic things!

See, it turns out the professor is barely sentient enough to remember his own birthday, but his dog/sex-slave not only did, but bought him a present.

Luckily, the professor knows right where Kusanagi will go: the clock face of Big Ben (or similar future clock tower)  While, hanging out of the edge of this edifice the prof confesses his mistake.  What he’s not expecting is that Kusanagi has figured out that he’s modeled after the prof’s ex-lover/ex-mentor and is decidedly disappointed by this revelation–you know, having not only thought himself unique, but also as not entirely some kind of psychological plaything for the prof.

Weirdly, this is not a big hiccup in their relationship, because, you know, the present was thoughtful, and they seem to be all back together by the end.

Not a lot of sex (one early very ‘implied’ scene right at the start), and the art style, as you can see, is kind of retro wispy.  I was intrigued by the “science fiction” yaoi label, but the rest was kind of a disappointment.

This is where having further chapters/volumes might be a good thing..?  According to Baka-Updates there are two whole volumes available in Japan, though only this one single chapter has been scanlated.

Even though I personally would hope for a continuation of the main story where Kusanagi grows a back bone and goes off to be his own man/dog, I suspect if anyone could find the raws of the rest of this, they’d reveal a series of shorts with other characters and situations.  This idea/this universe, I’m sure, is just too porn-y not to play around with. I mean, who doesn’t love the whole master/slave + dog thing?


Well, if you ARE curious, you can read it here: 

10 Dance by Inoue Satou

10 Dance is a yaoi sports manga that’s heavy on the sport.  Thankfully, that sport is competitive ballroom dancing.


Here we have Sugiki, a classical dancer, and Suzuki, a Latin dancer.  Despite their similar sounding names, they couldn’t be more different. The story begins when Sugiki, tired of coming in second in all the major competitions, decides he must learn Latin dance in order to do this 10 Dance competition and asks Suzuki to help.





I was really attracted to the cover art of this one.  Like a lot of lesbians in the early 90s, I learned to two-step, because ‘country dancing’ was a Thing at the time.  I love to dance, but I’m fairly terrible at it.  At least the formal stuff.  So, I thought this could be a fun romance.

I had high hopes.  Early on, there’s this wonderful instruction scene where Suzuki paints lines on his body for Sugiki to watch.   It’s remarkably hot.


That little tattoo playing hide-and-seek? What are you trying to do to me?

But… well, this is pretty much the extent of the action.

This yaoi is on-going, but, if it’s actually leading somewhere (and I’m not sure it is),  it’s a slooooooooow burn.

There’s a lot of girlfriend drama for something labeled yaoi.  I mean, at one point Suzuki doesn’t answer Sugiki’s call because he’s having sex with a  random female hook-up. Sugiki is all cut-up about his ex-girlfriend who is marrying his rival…

You’re saying, “But, Lyda, obviously they’re bisexual.”

Yeah, and I’m down with that, except for how it’s played when it comes to the gay stuff. Suzuki is the first one to kiss.  He’s trying to get Sugiki to understand that Latin dance is a giant flirtation.  Yet, when Sugiki asks him about his tattoo and Suzuki makes some flirtatious comment about people going down on him that Sugiki misinterprets as a come-on, Suzuki gets all, “Whoa! You think I let a guy do that to me!?” (Um, you literally just kissed him, so… yeah? Seems like a reasonable assumption.)

At another  point, when he’s tagged along to Sugiki’s competition in England, Suzuki complains about having to sit at a table full of ‘gays.’  Ten minutes later he’s back to thinking about how being led around the dance floor by Sugiki made him feel like a “princess.”

Then, there’s Sugiki who oscillates between “Hey, my sexuality is fluid” and then friend zoning the heck out of Suzuki.

Maybe dancers are like actors.  Maybe these two guys are just that dramatic and emotionally volatile.  This whole manga reads like: Please touch me/no, don’t touch me you perverted homo/wait, why won’t you touch me?  Frankly, this is honest to god why I gave up theatre.  I don’t need this particular kind of crazy in my life.

Also eleven chapters and no sex yet (unless you count straight sex, which in a yaoi, I DON’T.)

So, yeah, count me out.

But, maybe you’re thinking to yourself: yeah, I loved those crazy theatre boys and their push me/pull me flirtation.  In which case, you can read 10 Dance here:

The art is pretty at least.