OP: 「瞬き」 (Mabataki) by 「ミラクルチンパンジー」 (Miracle Chimpanzee)
「好きな子。」 (Suki na Ko.)
“Someone I Like”
I’ll be honest, the more I read about how fudanshi culture is around 15% heterosexual the more my mind twists itself in knots and my anxiety rises. As our culture progresses and homosexuality becomes less and less of a taboo more straight men become comfortable admitting they enjoy gay content. My brain is unable to compute and my system drive crashes. Blue screen error of death.
Society is hetero-normative driven.
On one hand, my instinct is to gatekeep this content, why would any hetero guy even enjoy such range, what’s there to like if it’s not even meant for you? And I think that comes from a place of jealousy. Heteronormative has well, been the norm, for all but the past 2 centuries. Since the age of silent films, a man and a woman have always been what big studios want to portray on screen. The greatest romances are between men and women. Casablanca comes to mind. And with the wake of Disney, that sentiment becomes even more ingrained in our collective consciousness. The thing is; straight people just take it for granted.
Being in a gay relationship comes with its own set of societal problems that straight people just don’t have to deal with. PDA might make people around you uncomfortable, for example. There’s a big backlash in Japan against PDA even in hetero relationships, it’s something cultural. But I’m talking that gay relationships might suffer backlash or even violence, just for the fact they were holding hands in a public space.
When it comes to advertising with sex, i.e. a perfume commercial, it’s always a gorgeous ripped six-packed ab guy, with girls hanging to his side. Or It’s about promoting a specific lifestyle with that girl you’ve always dreamed about. Of course, it’s only but a generalization and it’s not always the case, as we move into the new millennia, adverts have become more about expressing yourself the way you want rather than them selling you a lifestyle to flaunt to your friends or the immediate bubble around you.
After all, high-end brands don’t advertise to the rich, but to the middle class who wish to posh out to other people, who desire to portray fake debauchery and make other people think that they themselves are rich. All inevitably but one credit card swipe away. This is why so many clothes end up in burning landfills so that it doesn’t have to go on sale and the brand can keep that faux-rich-identity.
And this sentiment is so engrained and focuses upon Sasaki to Miyano. In fact, it’s the driving force behind Sasaki as a whole. He has little bursts of doubts and becomes contemplative, pulls back when he wants to touch Miyano, or even makes a mental note that he shouldn’t pronounce his love so much. And well Miyano doesn’t help either, he teases Sasaki with the pocky thing, but when Sasaki wants to buy some chocolate for him to give on Valentine, Miyano adversely refuses. I mean he could try to give Sasaki’s way a little bit. Since Sasaki is a hopeless romantic, and Miyano sort of hates that stuff unless it’s in manga form.
On the other hand, how does one accidentally stumble upon BL and accidentally read’s it and accidentally enjoys it? Like – I don’t believe that for one second. It’s curiosity that kills the cat, not an accidental drop and fall. There’s shame in that walk and you can’t tell me otherwise. Sasaki is super chill about it though, which in turn helps Miyano relax a bit as well. Sasaki being so openly naive about the things he wants, I think helps Miyano realize that he might be into Sasaki as well, but both of them don’t want to admit it just yet. Because of different reasons.
I think Miyano doesn’t believe he could be with someone like Sasaki because he’s not worthy or something, and Sasaki doesn’t want to burden Miyano with overbearing feelings that put some type of unwanted pressure on him and maybe make him not talk to him anymore. I think the conversation they had after class was the most revealing about them both.
Overall this was a great episode, and I really appreciated it took its own sweet time building the more nuanced and intricate parts of the relationship between these two. They are opening up to one another and becoming vulnerable. Which I think Miyano has a really hard time with, but Sasaki does not. Be it because of his extroverted demeanor or just his general sense of not being able to read the room.
Being a fudanshi doesn’t necessarily mean you have to like men, but I find it hard to believe that gushing and blushing over two men hugging in a way that suggests some type of romance – is still somehow able to be considered straight in some circles. However, I ask you to remember if such a case applies to you, that some men seek this type of story because they wish to see themselves and the way they were born into this world, represented and mirrored in the pages of a narrative form. So when you declare yourself straight but still like gay media – you’re exoticizing and fetishizing homosexual relationships. However, keeping this in mind goes a long way to making sure LGBTQ+ finds general acceptance and removes altogether the taboo surrounding such relationships. We can work together as allies and bring together the community as a whole!
Full-length images: 39.
My jaw dropped when Sasaki found out that Miyano listened to BL audiobooks on his iPod Shuffle. I understand carrying around the manga because it’s easy to access and the artwork has the same bubbly aesthetic that Miyano claims he likes BL for. But Miyano has to be far further down the BL rabbit hole if he’s brave enough to listen to the raunchier material at school in audiobook format where you have actors gasping and panting out loud.
It was nice to get more of Sasaki’s POV in this episode though. I thought it was neat that he was talking his way through his feelings and realized early on that Miyano would be more comfortable around him if he wasn’t as affectionate as he wants to be. It’s hard not to feel bad for him too because it is becoming more apparent that there are more walls that Miyano puts up now that he’s somewhat aware that Sasaki wants to get to know him and get closer to him. Where Sasaki has made more of an effort to confront himself and question his identity and desires if he wants Miyano’s company as much as the couples in BL stories. Meanwhile, Miyano seems to only like BL stories based on their similarities to shojo manga. It might’ve been easier for Sasaki to make that kind of connection, but Miyano still feels uncomfortable with saying he exclusively enjoys BL and is a lot more flustered when he comes forward to say he’s somewhat of a fudanshi.
The concept of a straight fudanshi is also interesting to me because of how close BL and shojo are in concept. In a way, it’d make more sense for a straight guy to read and enjoy BL to experience love stories between slender, daintier men. With bara being geared towards more overtly gay men who are attracted to buffer, bulkier guys, I can see why Miyano would be defensive about liking BL when he seems to prefer romance stories acted out by two guys who adhere to more hegemonically heterosexual norms through their gay relationship (the uke looking/acting similarly to a shoujo heroine). Some like Miyano might be able to divorce sexuality altogether from the stories given that he could easily see himself imagining that the uke is too effeminate to count as him being interested in men. There would have to be a lot of mental gymnastics to be done since the ukes are still men nonetheless. And it is an easier task for straight fujoshi considering that BL relationships play out as a way to admire the male form in a shojo-esque story. Watching two conventionally attractive guys kissing or being intimate doesn’t sound half-bad if you are a girl or guy that’s attracted to cuter dudes. But I imagine heterosexual fudanshi would tend to treat BL like Kaichou wa Maid Sama or Hot Gimmick, but with an effeminate man being the protagonist who has a dramatic emotional shift towards loving the main guy.
Why is it that ukes must play hard to get? (xD) Anyway, all jokes aside, that’s really interesting you would point that out, as it is true that there’s a stereotype that feminine men steer more towards looking like a ‘prince’ (in Japan at least) and women flaunt over them so Miyano would just assume what you said to be true because of cultural context. And would impose that ideology on himself, because he too has a somewhat feminine complex and face, so he must already assume Sasaki to be wanting to be the seme because Sasaki is inherently more masculine, with his soft goth aesthetic. (You know the piercing and all of that.) So in essence his pushback comes from a place of fear and unwillingness to accept his role in what’s their upcoming relationship, which he might not want to see happen because he’s being a realist and can see who would take what role. But yeah – Honestly, I’m just riffing on what you said, but it was a great character dissection, thanks!
Sasaki stumbling quite accidentally into the discovery that Miyano listens to BL audio drama on his earbuds has to be the hardest and longest I ever laughed at a seasonal anime. Just the timing of that scene and editing was top tier.
oh absolutely, for me it didn’t really register until the awkwardness set in then finally let out a hard laugh. xD
I’ll be honest as a Fujoshi I can relate so much to Miyano, of course even the Drama Cds.
Back in school I would listen to them pretty much days when I would have to study in the library and it was embarrassing at first but eventually I got used to it lol
I just love this show though and the best thing is seeing Sasaki and Miyano keep on getting closer and bonding. I just wonder how long can Sasaki hold back his feelings for Miyano, at this rate he won’t be able to contain his feelings much longer.
I’m expecting a saucy confession scene. 😀