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Is there any actual anime targeted towards the Gay Male Demographic?
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Posted 4/1/17 , edited 4/1/17
Having read a lot of both yaoi and bara, they really are different. I think bara gets a bad rap, actually. Yes, it can have extreme elements, like any sexy thing, though I've tended to avoid those sorts of bara (I get literally nauseous if there are kids in something sexy, for example, and it's not like I don't run into inappropriate relationships with underage people in yaoi as well *cough-SuperLovers-cough* - they both have fringe weirdness).

Regular bara is often very romantic and sweet, and it treats both men like real people, instead of shoving them into "uke" and "seme" categories. Yes, the men are bigger and hairier, but they're also usually BOTH adorable, instead of one being all "unattainably handsome" and the other being oddly feminine and childlike. Bara men are more like big teddy bears, and they seem to me to have more balance between their strengths and flaws, and more respectful equality as couples.

Bara is very rapey, but the problem there is that SO IS YAOI, but it acts like it isn't. I don't think either genre is better or worse than the other on that score. They both have serious misunderstandings of the importance of consent.

I consider myself a fan of yaoi, very much so, but I prefer bara, and I wish there was more of it out there in general. I don't know of any bara manga that has the kind of commercial success required to inspire an anime. Most of the manga I've read are short-lived and many are fanfic.

The CLOSEST thing to a successful bara manga I can think of is Haru wo Daiteita, which I would still call more yaoi than bara, but there's no clear uke and seme, and the men are eventually both out publicly as a gay couple, with lots of attention paid to the social ramifications and family complexities, etc. I think it would be more appealing to most gay men than typical yaoi, but I think think the primary target audience is still women. I found out while writing this post that there is an OVA of this manga, but I haven't watched it yet. I don't know how long it is, or how well it adapts the manga.

And I would REALLY love to see a truly bara anime series. Bara is a wonderful genre, with more depth and breadth than it gets credit for.
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Posted 4/1/17 , edited 4/1/17
. . . . . . . not all things written by women are 100% seme/uke, though. To assume they are is to say all women are shallow.

I don't read romance in general, whether it's BL, yuri, het, whatever, but Yuri On Ice is too seme/uke for my tastes and I have a friend who agrees with me on that and reads a lot of yaoi, and she says she likes a lot of things that are less seme/uke than YOI.

I dunno, I just don't like the idea that all women only write seme/uke, because I write things with m/m pairings that aren't seme/uke. They're not macho types, but their society doesn't expect that (there's sort of no such thing as gender in my settings)... it's not about them being men, or being gay or straight or bi or whatever... it's about them being sorcerers and investigating a mystery, and they happen to fall in love along the way... so it's not a romance, it's a fantasy/mystery story, that has a romance subplot like everything else, except it happens to be between two guys who aren't seme or uke, and the writer is female.
Not really relevant but like... just thought I'd say that. Not all female writers are that shallow... (and most male writers are shallow too, because most people are shallow and it has nothing to do with gender...)
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Posted 4/12/17 , edited 4/12/17
I'm not talking about writers -- more about intended audience. I'm not talking about shallow vs deep either.

Haru wo Daiteita, which I mentioned before, is by a female author (who, incidentally, prefers to avoid the seme/uke tropes in general -- that's part of her personal style). I don't assume that women can't write relationships between two equal men or that women can't write things that address gay male issues. But an author (of any gender) trying to appeal to a straight female fan base may make different decisions than an author trying to appeal to a homosexual male fan base. There may be some overlap in some stories, especially in deeper stories, but in other stories the demands are different.

I also, while I'm using Haru wo Daiteita as an example, wouldn't necessarily call it deep either. It has some deeper meaning later in the manga, and I feel like the plot and characters mature as the writer matures, but it starts out as full on porn, with a very flimsy premise and bizarre character motivations. It was sexy enough, so I kept reading, and after a while noticed that hey, these guys are dealing with the career implications of their sexual orientations. They're coming out to their families and facing the complexities of their relationships. They have other gay friends. Eventually, they even start to grow a bit older together. So the series runs the gamut from shallow titillation to meaningful social commentary.

(as an aside, I've seen the OVA now, and I think it's a poor and disjointed adaptation, but with some nice voice work *shrug*)

Anyway, the point is, I was never talking about authors -- only about intended audience.

One of the things going on with a straight female audience is usually the desire to evade the question of gender. Gender roles screw up romance. They complicate everything. An act that can be taken one way between two men means something completely different between a man and a woman. So the gay romance aimed at women isn't about the gay male experience at all. It's not about gayness. It doesn't really address gayness. It is a romantic relationship that avoids the complication of gender roles, and tells a story between equals. Male-male relationships are more comfortable for women seeking an escape from the complications of their own oppressive gender roles. It's like a hypothetical question: what would/could romance be like if everyone had access to male privilege? It's a reasonable question to ask.

The seme/uke trope appeals to some of these women because it helps them better relate to the stories taking place, though to other women it's just an irritating way to reintroduce gender roles after they've already been ditched.

There's nothing necessarily bad or wrong about any of that. I personally don't find it to be necessarily shallow or exploitative. However, it's not addressing a gay man's perspective or his experiences. It's doing a whole other thing.

Gay men don't necessarily have the world's greatest relationship with traditional gender roles, but the nature of the divergence is different, and the desire to explore post-gender romance is different too. That's only natural. I don't think it's strange or unfair for gay men to want some of the gay romance anime out there to be aimed at themselves instead of at women. It's not inherently a criticism of yaoi to also celebrate bara.
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Posted 4/12/17 , edited 4/12/17
That's sort of assuming all women are all the same and all gay men are all the same.
I'm a woman, but I don't really have much feeling about gender roles. I'm one of those girls who always had more male friends (I never really had female friends until the past year or so). Gender is meaningless to me, in whatever situation.
I see gender the way other people see religions they don't belong to. Like, the line between "male" and "female" is to me like the line between "lent" and "not lent", or the line between "the temple grounds" and "not the temple grounds" is to an atheist. Like, you can do that, and I'm not going to pick a fight with you over it, but I'm not going to get emotional over it in my story, because I don't believe in it.

(And yeah, you can say that sexism/homophobia/whatever has a lot more practical implications today (depending on where you are - religion still has a lot of power in some places). So, maybe, it's not like being an atheist today, it's like being an atheist 200 years ago.)

Either way... I always cringe at the idea of "the (group) experience", because... I've never "co-experienced" with a group. Gender, race, sexuality (obviously), mental issues/depression/autism, whatever it was, my experience never conformed to "The Experience".
So, I don't think that what I "want out of post-gender romance" really goes along with what you would call "the female experience".

My settings and characters - not really post-gender, but just genderless to begin with - reflect how I feel. I don't think I would be able to write something with gender acknowledgement. My stories get rid of gender roles by like... just not having them. Make up a setting. Make up a reason why that culture just never felt a cause to separate out males and females. Go from there. The m/m pairings, f/f pairings, and m/f pairings in that world really are equal, and the story has all of them.
One of them is clearly a fantasy world, but one of them is a made up country in a world that looks like the real world, except the countries and cultures are a little different. In that story, the main characters are musicians in their country's traditional style, and one of their culture's great epic poems is about an m/m couple, and there's just... no issue there.
They happen to feature mostly bishounen characters because most of the media I watch features mostly bishounen characters, and I... just like bishounen characters. (I have a few bishoujo characters, but I'm always a little nervous about getting attacked for drawing sexy women...)

I don't think my stories are just for women any more than, say, Code Geass. It just happens to have a bishounen protagonist. Anyone - male, female, whatever - has a right to not like the style of it, just like I don't like, for example, Berserk. But I'm not going to go around saying "no man could ever enjoy this" because that's just... assuming things about people I don't know. And saying that straight men can't enjoy a story with an m/m couple as the protagonists is...

I also think that, if someone is really bogged down in discrimination and things, it would be nice to see a setting where everything really is equal, not for the sake of this-one's-issue or that-one's-issue (e.g. your feeling about why women write things), but just, a setting where everything is equal because why shouldn't it be?
"Isn't now" does not equal "can't ever be" and definitely does not equal "shouldn't be".

Just saying, there are more different types of people/"experiences"/ideas in the world that just those two.
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Posted 4/12/17 , edited 4/12/17
Sorry to interrupt. Actually, the conversation between FlashAshen and LvenderMint is greatly interesting.

But I'm surprised nobody mentioned Love Stage!! a show you can see here, on Crunchyroll. Is about a romance between two males, so should be close to what is being discussed here and what the TC is looking for, right?
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Posted 4/12/17 , edited 4/13/17
I like "Love Stage" but it's very yaoi-trope-laden. It's clearly targeted toward women.

As for group demographics ... yeah, I tend to think they screw up fiction more than help it. I've never been easily reached by anything targeted at my supposed demographics either. Targeting anything at any audience is mostly about leaving other people out. It's about sorting people into boxes. I would rather fiction was produced because it was good, not because of who is most likely to consume it.

But the reality of a money-driven art world is that producers care about demographics. Lots of women dislike yaoi. Lots of gay men like yaoi. But the bottom line is that what gets money thrown at it is the stuff marketed to women, not the stuff marketed to gay men.

Yuri on Ice has appealed pretty broadly in some circles, and I personally don't see it as very seme/uke at all, even if Yuri is pretty childlike for his age (I see Victor as more effeminate and their relationship as much more balanced in both power and attraction than typical seme/uke situations). The series is yaoi trope-y in other ways, some of which bother me and some of which don't, but overall I find it heartening that it's been so popular. Well-made yaoi with well-drawn characters isn't necessarily bad for gay men or their social standing.

But until we live in a perfect world where all art is judged based on its actual art-value instead of on how much money it can make, demographics still have relevance, and fiction targeted at gay men will be different from fiction targeted at straight women, and there's no excuse not to address the gay men's needs as well as the women's needs.

Consider the reverse situation, with American pornography. There's TONS of lesbian porn out there. How much of it is remotely appealing to lesbians? Most lesbians find it offensive and off-putting. It's a little bit difficult to find lesbian porn targeted at women. Instead, most lesbian porn exists to titillate men, not to serve an LGBT demographic. Japan is oddly slightly better on this score, though most yuri is still targeted at straight men.

With lesbians and the male demographic, it's very obvious that something abusive is going on. Men who enjoy both male privilege and straight privilege are objectifying women who lack either. It's a nasty power dynamic.

With gay men and the female demographic, it's more complicated, sure. Gay men have male privilege, at least in certain circumstances, while straight women have straight privilege. Who's more oppressed? I don't personally care. I don't like making those comparisons. But I do think it's obvious that it's ethically wrong not to serve both demographics.

Again, my arguments are made barring a perfect world where art is judged on art value, not monetary value. In THIS world, no matter how much one may hate demographics, one has to deal with the reality that they exist.

And man, I've seen some lovely, sensitive anime about trans kids and lesbian girls -- Shimura Takako is amazing and really deals with LGBT topics. I know nothing about her private life or self-identification, but she's obviously an LGBT ally, if nothing else. I'd like to see more of that, and more from a gay male perspective, AND more from an adult LGBT perspective instead of just about kids.

And, because we don't live in a perfect world, and art IS judged on it's monetary value, the thing that I want will happen when there's enough of a demand to make it financially viable to produce. Until then, I do think it's important to educate people about the difference between gay romance intended to empower gay men and gay romance intended to titillate straight women.
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Posted 4/12/17 , edited 4/13/17

FlashAshen913 wrote:
Until then, I do think it's important to educate people about the difference between gay romance intended to empower gay men and gay romance intended to titillate straight women.


And I think it's important to remember that stories can have m/m pairings and not fall into either category, because m/m couples are people, and there's room for all kinds of people in any story.

But also, there's a big difference between "stories that get made into anime" and "stories that exist at all". And in this day and age, there are tons of examples of things breaking into that "high-budget production" area through self-published/"indie" success. No big publisher can stop a story from being written and made available. And, like you said, what they want is money. If it looks like it will be popular, it'll get made and published, no matter what it is.

So instead of trying to teach random forum users about the difference between yaoi and bara... support bara.
Support those bara artists on Patreon. There's tons of them. Or maybe it's the same five people that I keep seeing over and over again, but if it is, that means they're really popular.
Find artists you like, tell people about them, reblog their posts, review their books on ebook sites, etc. Same with bara manga from Japan.

Write your own stories, even. There's a quote about, "if the book you want to see doesn't exist, write it yourself". That's always been my attitude.

Whatever genre, subgenre, niche, individual series, anything, a person likes nowadays, it really is in the fan's hands to make it popular.
Find indie things you like - things you can really support - and support them.
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