Fudanshi Haven’s October Giveaway: Kuroko no Basuke’s doujinshi!

Free stuff!

So I’ve decided to start a free giveaway to reward many of my fans! This is going out to my tumblr fans (to the guys following me through wordpress, your time will come; don’t worry!). And to all my friends who spent countless hours engaging with me in critical analysis on this blog, I have my own way of thanking you personally as well! But for now, here’s the details for the giveaway:

Doujinshi Giveaway:

1. Glory Days by kuzumochi

2. Kimi to Kingyo by Diana/Assa


1. You must own a tumblr account.

2. You have to reblog for one entry and follow the official blog for one entry.

3. No giveaway blogs because I will check!

4. The winner will be generated by a random number generator.

5. I ship world-wide.

6. This contest will end by the 31 October 2013, 2359 (GMT + 8)

7. The results will be announced through PM. You have to reply to the PM within 24 hours or the prize will be forfeited to the next individual.

8. I reserve the right to amend any of the rules, add additional rules and to determine the winner.

9. Items will be shipped by 15 November 2013.



On Shingeki no Kyojin

Fall, bitch.

I’ve just started my semester in one of the universities in Tokyo and what better way to kickoff than to finish a Shingeki no Kyojin marathon? Some thoughts:

1. I may be a self-professed fudanshi, but I’m more of a Eren X Mikasa shipper. (Well, personally I’m not inclined to ship Eren at all because I find his characterisation to be particularly irritating and to a certain extent, 2 dimensional at times. ) I don’t actually see the link between Eren and Levi simply because their relationship throughout the entire series has always been firmly maintained as strictly professional.

2. The plot is brilliant; I love the plots and twists which seems to occur once every two episodes or so. Fantastic writing, brilliant direction and the animation is pretty well-done too. The only issue I have is that:

a. there is an overused motif of the power of friendship, love and courage will save the day. This motif has been flogged halfway to death by anime since the 1950s and it can get slightly tiring after a while.

b. I find it sociologically problematic how the mini plot lines find its resolutions (especially the ending of the anime) in brutality, violence and outright strength. To win, all you need to have is brute strength and whoever has more power, wins. I can of course, bring in a hooksian analysis on how such an ideology is complicit with patriarchal, misogynistic structures of power in society but I think what is important is that, even as the anime tries its best to subvert an overriding theme that the world is not a kind of Schopenhaueresque landscape filled with cruelty and darkness: we see this in the selfless bravery of Eren as a little boy, the camaraderie of the 104 Cadet Corps. However, even as this ideology is subverted at times, the subversion only acts to reinforce that very same ideology as the very 104 Cadet Corp members who was seen laughing and cracking jokes in one episode were abruptly killed off in the next. We see how the selfless bravery of Eren eventually becomes an impetus for Mikasa to turn into numb killing machine in order to protect her “brother”. What I find intriguing really, is how this ideology is maintained and restructured, even in the face of impeding destruction of Mankind. Is it perhaps, to borrow a certain phrasing from Zizek, easier to imagine the end of society rather than to think of a post-patriarchal, post-capitalist ideology that restructures society?

Just my first few thoughts so pardon the incoherence!


Event: No.6 Doujinshi Convention

My loot.

This is my first time writing an event post so I’m still trying to figure out the direction of how it goes generally. I’ll try not to bore you with the general details tinged with a certain narcissism, but more of my observations of the fujoshi community, certain things to look out for if you’re going for such conventions in Japan etc.

So I went to the No.6 doujinshi convention with the lovely fencer-x from September Scanlations last Saturday on the 7th of September. The date has special significance because because it’s the exact date—September 7, 2013—when Shion and Nezumi meet in the anime. You don’t have to buy a ticket to enter the convention, but you have to purchase the programme booklet which costs 500 yen and looks like this:

Apparently, this is pretty standard procedure for most doujinshi conventions so do take note. Within the programme booklet are various details on the doujinshi circles that are attending and the convention is segregated by pairings:

Left: Shion X Nezumi, Right: Nezumi X Shion

The doujinshi artists will generally be the ones selling the doujinshi, so yes you get to see the artist that’s drawing your porn. Most of them are in their 30s and above and some of them look as though they are in their mid 50s. Which is particularly interesting because while a huge number of the customers are around in their 20s, I’d seen some really old obaasans in the crowd as well. In contrast, the only Caucasian that was present in the convention was fencer-x herself, while fencer reminded me that I was the only male customer present there. It’s interesting though, I would have expected a more international crowd considering this is the biggest No. 6 convention around and I would expect at least a few gay guys? And No.6 does not have a strong BL focus anyway.

Lastly, they have some limited edition No.6 goods that are limited only to this event. You cannot buy these items anywhere else:

Which is…. a muffler towel and 2 files.

I’m a sucker for limited edition goods so I bought the towel:

Anyways, I probably will be selling some of the doujinshi at reduced pricings for anyone who is interested in future. It’s probably going to be around what, 5 bucks for one doujinshi? Let me know if anyone’s interested.😀 And if there’s any convention that you want me to go take a visit, let me know!


Going for the Animate Girls Festival 2013!

So I’m now in Tokyo and I’d just bought my ticket to Animate Girls Festival which falls on the 2nd and 3rd November! The Animate Girls Festival is one of the biggest BL conventions in the world, with usually tons of exclusive merchandise that is not sold anywhere or anytime else from the event, much less out of Japan. I’ll also be heading off to this No.6 convention tomorrow. Let me know if anything strikes your fancy and I’ll try my best to get it for you!

Also erm… I’m a little out of the anime circle considering that I’ve been doing a lot of sociological research for a prof of mine and I’ve also been involved in a series of queer feminist activism. If there are any conventions or comic markets or any must-go events in Tokyo which I’d missed, please let me know and if the fandom or event is interesting to me, I’ll try to go for it!

I do not like Free!

Even though there’s loads of half naked men…

I find Free! to be particularly problematic. It doesn’t sink (pun not intended) well with me for two reasons:

1) the anime feels like a capitalist exploitative venture in order to grab as much fujoshi cash as much as possible. Let us remind ourselves that Free! was not even originally conceived as an anime, it was a short commercial in order to display kyoto animation’s prowess at… animating things. It was solely due to the amazing response and feedback by audience that Free! has gotten the green light to develop from a lowly commercial into a full-fledged anime.

Firstly, there is little to no plot to speak of; the characters feel like typical anime character molds that has been lifted straight off tvtropes.com, there is no character progression, no plot complexity and just loads of gratuitous stripping which brings me to my second point:

2) It feels like an anime that was created in order for girls to gawk at a) delicately drawn muscular nudity and b) the bl pairings that was crafted so deliberately, it seems out-of-place and awkward to begin in the first place.  In this sense, I’m reminded of Mulvey’s theory of the male gaze: basically in film, women are objectified because men are in control of the camera, in ways that are voyeuristic and scopophilic (more on the male gaze on another topic.)  Wikipedia gives a good introduction: “(The male gaze) may linger over the curves of a woman’s body, for instance.The woman is usually displayed on two different levels: as an erotic object for both the characters within the film, as well as the spectator who is watching the film. The man emerges as the dominant power within the created film fantasy. The woman is passive to the active gaze from the man. This adds an element of ‘patriarchal‘ order and it is often seen in “illusionistic narrative film”. Mulvey argues that, in mainstream cinema, the male gaze typically takes precedence over the female gaze, reflecting an underlying power asymmetry.”

What is particularly interesting was that Mulvey mentioned that men can never be a subject of the female gaze, since the gaze is always already male. The females always look at herself through the eyes of man, which is why when she looks in the mirror, the female that she wants to be belong to the beauty standards that men wants. Man never wants to be made an object under the gaze, insists Mulvey. I wonder whether Free! would prove her wrong. In the name of capitalist profits, anyone and any gender can be made into a sexual object as long as there is a healthy demand in the market because I swear, few would watch Free! for the spectacular plot.

But if watching gratuitous shots of half naked men is your thing, go ahead. Free! in this case, seems to belong to a long-forsaken term that fujoshis want to move desperately away: yaoi. Yaoi originally stood for yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi which meant, no peak, no fall, no meaning. It’s used to describe a subcategory of BL manga, usually of low-quality, which depicts scenes of men having buttsex with each other just because. Manga that depicts actual relationships, actual plot and actual characterisation are called BL manga in Japan. Thankfully, Japan has largely moved away from the production of yaoi to BL but anime like Free! just crops up once in a while I guess.

K Movie

There’s no official announcements yet but insider info within Japan informed me that it’s going to be a movie released in 2014. No plans for a second season as of yet… which means it’s going to end off like Tiger and Bunny (the movie version which is going to be released this year. :P)

FAQ Part 1: On Becoming a Fudanshi.

As I’m waiting for Psycho-Pass and Magi to finish loading and am considering whether to follow Shingeki no Kyojin, I thought that this will be a great time to answer some of the questions that some of you guys has asked me. それじゃ、始まります!

Q. I’d like to know the story behind how you personally/publicly first ‘became’ a fudanshi.

A: Well, I think it began when I saw Junjou Romantica when I was 18. Note that this was during the interim period after I finish high school and about to enter army so I was in this liminal stage where I’m caught between the end of one phase of my life and about to enter the next phase. At that particular time, I was devouring all forms of queer representation in media: Queer Eye, Latter Days, Eating Out and it’s all nice and good but I didn’t really like

1) How homosexuality is almost always diffused through a western, anglo-centric perspective. As a result of that, the dominant image of ‘homosexuals’ is always usually a white, middle-class male individual who usually faces some form of institutionalised oppression that is motivated by A) religious bigotry or B) misogynistic ignorance. As an asian male, living in an Asian society where Christians make up only a less than one quarter of the population, I struggle to identify how homosexuality is portrayed in the West as compared to my own personal experiences living here in my tiny little island in Asia. I also note that there is little black or latino queer representation in dominant gay discourse which is an entire different subculture from how white gay men live their lives. (Paris Is Burning is an excellent documentary on black and latino gay subculture by the way, if any of you are interested.🙂 )    

2) How homosexuality is always conceived beyond a sexual identity, but also a process of cultural formation. I’ve always pictured homosexuality as just same-sex romantic and/or sexual attraction in its purest form. However, there’s always a series of cultural baggages that is attached to homosexuality especially in Western media. For instance, how male homosexuality is conflated with effeminancy, an ability to recite Bette Davis lines by heart, a natural inclination to Broadway and theatre and how there’s always a fag hag running around in the background. I’d always find this particularly fascinating on how a sexual category can evolve into such multiplicity and convergences of cultural identities. However, I guess I had (and still have) this desire to read a nice novel or watch a movie about just two guys falling in love. Without the baggages. 

And in this sense, that’s where shounen-ai comes in. Yes, granted there’s still a lot of cultural baggages as well: the seme is always masculine, tall with giant yaoi hands and the uke is always portrayed to be dainty, delicate and very feminine which is generally a reflection of how Japanese view gays in modern contexts. (Just that in Japanese society, the seme-uke relationship is known as tachi-neko.) I usually don’t like these stereotypes and I think it can be rather problematic as it perpetuates various untrue stereotypes about gay life and the power/gender dynamics within a gay relationship. But once in a while, you hit a rare story about just 2 guys falling in love with each other without any of such baggages: No.6 for instance. Zetsuen no Tempest is another. 

But yes, back to Junjou Romantica! It was the first time that I’ve seen a gay anime and I thought the portrayal of that gay relationship between all three couples were so… real and honest and it’s all about navigating through a world where there’s so much hurt and betrayal and unrequited love that is unrewarded and I love how Nakamura twists it all around. That for every tear you shed, for every hurt that you experienced, it all adds up towards a certain vulnerability that allows you to become more susceptible to love, and that love will always come back to you, no matter how much you think your love that you had given is in waste. That being hurt is part of a greater journey of being in love and there is beauty in the conflation of suffering and love and that is life. :) 

Coming soon: FAQ Part 2: On Sociology and Yaoi. 



The Swimming Anime has a Title: “Free!”

So I’m disrupting my exam studies to bring you this exclusive news that totally made my day: Kyoto Animation has announced that the Swimming Anime will be made into an anime entitled “Free” and it will be released this July! (Source here.) For those of you who are interested in the whole seiyuu scene, notable seiyuus voicing the characters include  Tatsuhisa Suzuki who voiced Takao from Kuroko no Harem. In case you forgot about his lovability here’s a video:

Also, Mamoru Miyano who voiced Fushimi Saruhiko from K is one of the main seiyuus in this anime as well. Yes. MI. SA. KI.

Awesome graphics + awesome seiyuus make this anime a must watch. I really really hope that it doesn’t turn out like K though. Let there be kickass plot and characterisation that we can care about please.