Fanart Friday returns, happy to serve every fandom. Last week, we started our month-long "shipping" theme with straight couples that aren't exactly canon, but this week's installment is about as straight as a rainbow. I first found out about the community for gay pairings while looking for Dragonball Z fanfiction back in 1997, you could say that I was pretty surprised. But yaoi and shounen-ai fans--armed with their art skills, their unexpected pairings, and those terrifying paddles--are a force to be reckoned with, and are one of the most active and prolific fanart communities around.
I'm not kidding at all about that--every week I'm looking for pictures for Fanart Friday, I always come across a ton of dude-on-dude art, a lot of it done by some of the most talented artists online. To make things clear, "yaoi" is shorthand for erotic or pornographic work, with more romantic male-on-male stories falling under the "shounen-ai" genre--both of these are primarily aimed at a female audience. Work specifically aimed at a gay male audience is called "bara," but we don't actually see many of those titles in the west.
Now, let's get started!
DISCLAIMER: None of the art presented is the property of myself or Crunchyroll. All characters and series are tm and © their respective creators and corporate owners. All art is the creative property of their respective artists. Any artists who wish to have their work removed from this article may contact me, and appropriate action will be immediately taken.
Let's start with the O.G. of slash fiction, namely the Kirk/Spock or "Spirk" pairing. It's commonly believed that this is the granddaddy of all slash pairings, and its fandom is still in full force today thanks to the reboot!
Well, when characters' power rating is measured by how fabulous they are, you shouldn't be surprised at all at how often the two male leads are paired together. Star Driver is an awesome show, even with the loads of fanservice it gives in terms of M/M, M/F, and F/F pairings.
Speaking plainly, I was kind of a homophobe when I was younger, so I flatly denied any chemistry between Shinji and Kaworu. I actually started being cooler later on, but that had more to do with growing up and being able to accept that love is love, no matter what gender a person is. Looking at the later episodes of Evangelion and Rebirth 3.33, it's pretty clear that Shinji and Kaworu have something there.
Whoa there, guys! What if a client sees you? GetBackers was pretty slashy from the start, and anybody who tells you otherwise is full of crap.
However, in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, I didn't see the Fai and Kurogane pairing as plainly. I guess if you bent things just a little it would make sense to me, but I see them more as battle buddies who have two vastly different worldviews.
With Jason Collins coming out as the first-ever gay pro athlete, I think the world is ready for some slashy NBA fanfiction. Until then, we have Kuroko's Basketball, which practically writes the stuff itself. I'm surprised that Kuroko and Kise is such a popular pairing--you'd think it'd be Kuroko and Kagami topping the list!
Maybe this pairing is just the wishful thinking of fans, but around the Soul Society arc it made perfect sense. Seriously, Ichigo and Renji spend more time thinking about each other and screaming each others' names at the top of their lungs that there's no way they couldn't be getting all hot and bothered about each other.
Okay, so you don't have to dig up any sorta-implied pairings in Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi, because it straight-up is a male-male romance series. The only shounen-ai series I've watched was Loveless, and that kinda sucked despite the great art--how's this one? It seemed more grounded and normal.
Yep... I can see it. Again with the whole "this dude is always on your mind" thing, in this case with Fairy Tail's Natsu and Gray. And since I like to fuel fires, y'ever notice how Gray doesn't seem to give a rip about Juvia, or how Natsu just treats everybody the same, guy and girl alike?
I noticed a lot of pieces like this while looking for this week's art--where one partner is inches away from killing or strangling the other. While I could certainly see this happening in Persona 4 proper, maybe Yosuke just got sick of Yu constantly spamming Raging Lion (214A/B) in Persona 4 Arena?
Okay, I wasn't completely honest earlier--I did read some of Gravitation, but I haven't seen any of the anime. What can I say? I really like music titles.
Tiger & Bunny was tailor-made for this fandom. The only real question: who's uke, and who's seme? You may fight it out in the comments below starting... now.
Dude, Goku! Personal space! Vegeta seems to be pretty big on being left the hell alone, but here's another pairing where I can (sorta) see where the fans are coming from.
Remember what I was saying about how talented a lot of artists in the yaoi/shounen-ai/BL/slash community are? There's a lot of Naruto Shippuden fanart, especially of Naruto and Sasuke (I was tempted to put Lee and Gaara here instead), but this one really stands out.
There's one thing that always terrifies me about this month's theme--when pairings "keep it in the family." I never got so much as a whiff of this from Blue Exorcist, but plenty of fans seem to disagree with me...
Right from the start, I knew this would be pairing #1 for Attack on Titan. You have the fearless, hot-blooded Eren, and the milder, meeker Armin. SLASH ARTISTS, GET YOUR ART KITS READY!
Betcha anything I have a ton of double-standard-havin' motherf**kers complaining about this (admittedly terrifying) Code Geass picture, then whooping and cheering and wolf-whistling at next week's yuri art. Betcha anything.
That... is not really something I expected Zoro to be wearing. Like I said last week, Eiichiro Oda has plainly said that romance is not really part of One Piece, but again... tell that to the fans. Zoro and Sanji will probably be showing up again in two weeks' time for "Get a Room Already Edition."
Don't get me wrong--Big Windup is one of the best, smartest sports series I've seen in a long time. It's also slashy as hell, considering it's literally about the relationship between a pitcher and a catcher. That's a statement of fact, I am not making the easiest joke this side of the Xbox One.
But... they're kids! I do tend to find more innocent fanart of Hunter X Hunter's Gon and Killua, but every now and then it takes a turn for the horrifying.
Out of all the possible pairings that the slash fandom can think of, which one do I think is the most important?
Yeah, it kinda goes without saying. Gundam Wing introduced a lot of people to anime, to Gundam, to mecha titles in general... and it was instrumental to this fandom. I'm actually impressed that people are still making Heero x Duo fanart to this very day.
And just to close up, we'll have the other big Gundam W favorite pairing--Wufei will die alone.
And that's all for this week!
If anything, this week's Fanart Friday has taught me that I can handle anything. BL fans, you know I couldn't possibly include every pairing this week--who are some of your favorite couples? While on the subject of comments, keep in mind that I absolutely will not tolerate any hateful bullshit, so keep it civil in there, folks.
Like I say every week, your work is always welcome here on Fanart Friday, regardless of your skill level or experience. Just PM me a link to your work, and I'll make sure to include it in a future installment! There's still two weeks left of June's SHIPPING theme, so here's what's next!
Next week, on JUNE 21st, we're following this week's theme with YURI/SHOUJO-AI PAIRINGS!
To end the month on JUNE 28th, we're dealing with hilarious sexual tension in JUST GET A ROOM EDITION!
Thanks again for checking out Fanart Friday! Have a great weekend, and we hope you drop by next time!