Click Manhwa, Volume 6 (English)

October 18th, 2010

Click: Volume 6 (Click (Netcomics)) (v. 6)In the first 5 volumes of Click, I was able to pretend there was some Yuri and have therefore reviewed it. In Volume 6, there is none; the one “Yuri” character has disappeared from the narrative – literally. A few times someone comments, “gee where is she?” and is met with the complete and total unconcern of any of the main characters. So much for Heewon. She got a panel or three eventually, but no one really cares that the “beeyotch” is missing.

So today I’m going to use my review to “beeyotch” about something apparently inconsequential. The icky-making bad translation of “gay sex” terms in manga and manhwa.

You know, there’s this whole Internet thing, which *ought* to be able to help manga companies (who somehow manage to employ not one single gay person among their staff) to get the right equivalents to things like Uke and Seme, Tachi or Neko. But. Apparently Not.

When ADV and Infinity translated Yuri as “girl-on-girl” I assumed that it was LoserFanBoy-itis and laziness combined to not give a fuck. What do I blame “catcher” on? Seriously? “Catcher?” Is it that no one at Netcomics knows the term “Bottom” or did they think this was funnier? Is this a literal translation for the term in Korean? I don’t know. All I know was that every single time someone threw “…and you’re the catcher, no less” at someone else as an insult, I squirmed in discomfort. First of all, I can’t think of a single thing bad about being a bottom. Or a top, or anything. It’s just sex, for pity’s sake! What *is* the big deal about who is on top?

Secondly, the fact that on the one hand, there’s a doctor admonishing Jinhoo (whom I loathe) on the one hand that being gay is rare, but not perverted and on the other, there’s every single character throwing accusations of gayness around like it’s a booger. Gah. And the rare line….? Gauchet’s Disease is rare. Gayness, not rare. Just not a majority. A minority is not the same thing as “rare.”

The only character I like in this series is Taehyun. He is so much better a man than Jinhoo that at this point I want him to find someone not in this series at all and live happily every after with someone who would never grace the pages of this story.

Oh, and Fake BL. Joonha is a a girl, as we mention like every other panel, so there is no Boy’s Love in this series and the whole fakey BL thing is absolutely gag-making.

So, so very done with being the “catcher” here. I think I’ll “pitch” this manhwa into the circular file.

Ratings:

Art – hasn’t gotten better, which you’d think it ought to
Story – same
Characters – same
Yuri – .1 (Since we have to assume Heewon is still pining for Joonha)
BL Service – This would be the only reason to read this

Overall – N/A I can’t even rate it. I’m striking it from my memory. (Hear that brain? Make it so!)

The one truly wonderful thing about this manhwa is that it provides me with a brand new Okazu Hero, Nadia C.! Nadia, email me at anilesbocon01 at hotmail dot com for your Okazu Hero badge, suitable for display on social media profiles and websites!

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16 Responses

  1. judi(togainunochi) says:

    I’m only up to 5, but I hear ya!

  2. JRBrown says:

    Erica:

    There’s been a lot of discussion in BL circles about which English terms best correspond to uke/seme. There’s no perfect equivalent, so I personally prefer to keep them in Japanese, but in general I think pitcher/catcher work better than top/bottom, since the latter have more possible meanings (in BDSM, for instance), which may correspond to the uke/seme roles in a given story but do not always (despite stereotypes). The most basic definitional aspect of uke/seme is (anal) penetration, so pitcher/catcher is the clearest equivalent.

    Also, I don’t know Korean, so I have no idea what the original terms were in Click, but Japanese BL generally avoids the terms used by the actual gay community (in part to reinforce the distinction between BL-fantasy and actual gay culture), and I wouldn’t be surprised if Korean BL does the same. It would be perfectly appropriate for the English translation to avoid “real” gay terms as well.

  3. @JRB We will have to disagree on this.

    The concept of “catcher” was clearly meant as a cipher for “ewww, you take it up the ass!” and therefore was an equivalent of “bottom.”

    Furthermore – it was clearly meant *as an insult,* which I found rather offensive.

    The idea that the BL community wants to distance itself from reality is not an argument in its favor, IMHO, but an argument that this is a girl’s porn world and icky real gay men things need not apply. Not something I can support.

    In every possible way the use of the term “catcher” annoyed me and BL values of “Eww, gay! Squee, gay!” just set my teeth on edge.

  4. JRBrown says:

    “The concept of “catcher” was clearly meant as a cipher for “ewww, you take it up the ass!” and therefore was an equivalent of “bottom.””

    I’m not sure I follow this distinction; I, at least, associate catcher = anal receptive, bottom = (potentially) submissive/masochistic as well as anal receptive. Uke-ness only absolutely requires the former.

    I haven’t read much of Click, so I’ll take your word for it on the “intended insult” front. If your explanation of the dynamic is accurate, then it does seem weird for BL-ish stuff to treat it like that. I don’t think BL as a genre treats gayness itself as “icky” (although it tends to take a dim view of the hypermasculine aspects of Japanese gay men’s culture, which is at odds with BL’s blatantly feminine esthetic). And I assume that you’re aware of this, but a significant percentage of BL readers are lesbian/bisexual/queer women, both in Japan and in the West.

  5. JRBrown says:

    On this point:

    “The idea that the BL community wants to distance itself from reality is not an argument in its favor, IMHO, but an argument that this is a girl’s porn world and icky real gay men things need not apply. Not something I can support.”

    (Warning: TLDR rant incoming)

    There’s been a lot of discussion of this, too, and in my opinion it’s based in an irresolvable problem: BL is made by and for women, and so long as women are socialized to want, admire and value different things than men are, most of it is not going to reflect the same mindset that Japanese gay men’s media (in general) has.

    There’s been a certain amount of discussion of this in Japan, too, and the result is largely a state of détente: publishers and authors advertise that BL is unrealistic fantasy, gay advocates dismiss it as irrelevant girl-stuff (in public, anyway), both agree that it doesn’t have anything to do with real gay men or real gay culture. Trying to put real gay issues into BL is somewhat discouraged, since it breaks down the illusion that BL has nothing to do with real gay men, which would leave the genre open to criticism not only that it doesn’t deal with real gay issues, but also that it doesn’t reflect real gay men’s values and self-image. I don’t think BL can reflect Japanese gay men’s cultural values without losing much of what makes it appeal to women, and I don’t know how realistically BL can handle gay issues if it doesn’t reflect Japanese gay culture; there’s already been complaints that when BL does tackle gay issues it does so in a way that reflects Western gay politics rather than homegrown Japanese gay men’s values.

    [more coming – too long for form…]

  6. JRBrown says:

    [rant continues]

    For me, I don’t want BL to become like gay men’s manga. I’ve read a modest amount of gay men’s manga, and for the most part I find the more commercially-oriented stuff tremendously dull; the things that make BL “unrealistic” are the very things I read BL for (gender fluidity, soppy emotionality, polished prettiness, gratuitous angsty melodrama, and, especially, positive valuation of “feminine” characteristics in men). Conversely, gay men’s manga tends to emphasize values that I don’t share or particularly appreciate (traditional masculinity, physical prowess and dominance, male-exclusive cultural spaces and pastimes). (The gay manga I’ve actually enjoyed has been mostly the more personal/quirky stuff, which tends to be more about individual experience, but that’s a small minority of what gets published.) I’m sure that there are gay readers who find the we’re-all-men-here, masculinity-is-great atmosphere of gay men’s manga welcoming and liberating, but I don’t. BL does things that gay men’s manga doesn’t, and I’d be sad to lose it.

    So yes, it’s women’s fantasy, not gay reality or gay ideals, and I don’t think that’s going to change unless women and gay men start thinking alike. You could argue that women shouldn’t write about gay men unless they’re going to do so in a “realistic” manner, but that’s kind of regulating people’s fantasies, which I don’t think is a profitable move as long as we’re all clear that it is fantasy, and doesn’t necessarily reflect what actual gay men are or want to be.

    (/rant)

    I expect that you will disagree with much or all of this argument. I do think that BL can deal with gay issues, in the context of its own esthetic, and there is certainly room for more works that do so, although that may have to come from GloBL rather than Japanese BL authors. And it’s somewhat odd that no-one has stepped in to serve the market for gay men’s manga in the West, although perhaps the expected size of the audience is discouraging potential publishers.

  7. Atarun says:

    @JRBrown I get the impression (maybe wrongly so) that you missed the point.
    No one can “regulate” fantasy and forbid authors from creating however unrealistic fiction they want to.
    I cannot picture Erica trying to do that at all ^^’

    Now, I see two distinct problems highlighted by Erica’s review and subsequent comments :

    1) Shame kills.

    Click is a BL manga. Granted, it is a _fake_ BL, manga, since, duh, one of the two guys was magically turned into a girl… Still, it fits into the mold of classical girl-fantasy-unrealistic-BL mold. That, in itself, is fine.
    What is definitely NOT fine is to fill a BL manga with “gay insults”. By that I mean using terms that normally apply to gay things (tropes, sexual practices, whatever) but are meant in a demeaning way.
    People die of shame and humiliation. It is serious.
    Even more so in works of fiction targeted at young people, many of them queer, as you mentioned yourself.

    2) Agenda ex translation

    Whenever we see a suspicious translation, in the sense that it doesn’t make much sense and is not the de facto standard, we may suspect a hidden motivation behind that choice.
    To you, it seems that the pitcher/catcher analogy works great to imply anal penetration. I disagree wholeheartedly (and I hope I’ll be able to strike – ha ha – that analogy from my mind before I read yet another baseball manga).
    So, there, it’s not a 100% safe analogy, since it freaks at least one person (me) out.
    And it clearly is not the default choice (top/bottom would be, if the sexual practice was the intended meaning, even in the unrealistic realm of BL).
    Which leads us to the question : why? Why did they shy away from the default choice?
    I do not have the answer (and it might be innocuous enough, like a stupid accident or an open-minded attempt at finding a “better” translation), but I thank Erica for bringing this interesting question up.

  8. @Atarun – Thank you. I think you synopsized my points quite well.

    @JRBrown – I feel that you proved my point, as well. In effect, you educated me on why BL is “not for gays” and that they/we shouldn’t get annoyed at the stuff that is annoying.

    I’ve also been “educated” many times as to why Yuri is a man’s world and I shouldn’t be pointing out how insulting/abusive/dismissive it is.

    You’re most welcome to disagree with me, but just because BL is ‘for women’ doesn’t mean I will sit down and be quiet and not say anything when something comes off as insulting. Sorry. That’s not how it works here at Okazu. ^_^

  9. JRBrown says:

    @ Atarun:

    Point 1: I haven’t read beyond V1 of Click (and I found it dull enough that I remember very little about it), but if you or Erica find the latter volumes offensive then of course you can say so in whatever forum you wish. I don’t know what Youngran Lee thinks about gay men, and I don’t know whether she intended her dialog to convey a negative perception of gay men, or if it was an attempt to be funny that went badly wrong, or whatever the cause may be. I take exception to Erica’s extension of “Click uses homophobic insults” to “BL thinks gay men are icky”; I assume that Erica does not read much if any BL, but I do not see this in the genre.

    Point 2: As I said above, I can’t read Korean, so I don’t know what was used in the original, but if Korean BL parallels Japanese BL then it is likely that it did not use whatever the real gay terms are. In such case, it is perfectly reasonable for the English translation not to use real gay terms either. I don’t see any evidence for “agenda ex translation” in what Erica reports. And I don’t see what the freaky part of “catcher” is; besides lack of authenticity, is there some connotation that I’m missing?

  10. JRBrown says:

    @ Erica:

    “In effect, you educated me on why BL is “not for gays” and that they/we shouldn’t get annoyed at the stuff that is annoying.

    I’ve also been “educated” many times as to why Yuri is a man’s world and I shouldn’t be pointing out how insulting/abusive/dismissive it is.”

    I don’t think this is a parallel case. “Yuri”, especially in Anglophone usage, is applied to all f/f manga regardless of audience, while m/m manga is clearly segmented into BL, which is designed for women, and gei comi/menslove/bara/whatever-you-want-to-call-it, which is designed for gay men. Of course there is some crossover readership in both directions, but there are distinct publishers, distinct authors, and, as I said above, a quite distinct esthetic. Hinako Takanaga is not writing for men, Grengoroh Tagame is not writing for women.

    BL was invented by women, is written almost entirely by women, and is marketed to women (even if some men buy it). Gay men’s manga has its own separate history. If you want works for men by men which deal with values and issues relevant to men, you should be reading gay men’s manga. BL is a female product, and it focuses largely on things important to women. Some of those things are universal and also speak to gay men, some of them rather less so.

    “You’re most welcome to disagree with me, but just because BL is ‘for women’ doesn’t mean I will sit down and be quiet and not say anything when something comes off as insulting.”

    As I said to Atarun above, you have a perfect right to be offended and to say so. But when you say that “BL values” are “Eww, gay! Squee, gay!”, especially on the basis of one book, I think you are entirely wrong.

  11. Atarun says:

    @JRBrown

    1) You quote “BL thinks gay men are icky”. I assume you refer to “The idea that the BL community wants to distance itself from reality is not an argument in its favor, IMHO, but an argument that this is a girl’s porn world and icky real gay men things need not apply.”

    If I am correct in that assumption, please read the next sentence as well: “Not something I can support.”

    It seems to me (again, maybe wrongly so), that you misunderstood Erica completely.
    As I understand it, she did NOT make the case that gay men are shunned in BL. She reasoned that the whole “BL cannot be realistic because it is not intended for gay men” argument stinks. Period.

    2) A connotation you’re missing? Well, I don’t think so. You did use the word “anal” three times after all. It’s just that the analogy between anal sex and baseball appeals to you and freaks me out. You know, colors and tastes. It’s perfectly okay for people to use analogies that freak me out, though. That’s freedom of speech after all, and that wasn’t my point 2.
    You say you do not see any agenda behind the translation, neither do I. But just because we do not see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. And even if there is no such thing in this specific instance, I still think it’s worthwhile to talk about it.
    So do you, judging from the lengths of your comments on this topic :)

  12. JRBrown says:

    @ Atarun:

    “You quote “BL thinks gay men are icky”. […] As I understand it, she did NOT make the case that gay men are shunned in BL. She reasoned that the whole “BL cannot be realistic because it is not intended for gay men” argument stinks.”

    Erica also said “BL values of “Eww, gay! Squee, gay!” just set my teeth on edge.”, which adds to my perception that Erica thinks that “BL thinks [real] gay men are icky” (try to diagram that sentence!).

    As to realism, well, I think BL, as a genre, is as capable of portraying convincing, psychologically realistic individuals as any other genre (allowing that BL has a healthy share of inept writers, but not any more so than any other genre; Sturgeon’s law and all that). But it does so largely within the bounds of the genre, which is romance for women and therefore conforms to romance and women’s-fiction tropes.

    For instance, BL on the whole privileges femininity and gender play, and does not particularly validate traditional masculinity. One of the most common complaints by gay male readers, in Japan and in the West, is that BL men are effeminate, which many male readers find stereotypical, annoying and/or insulting. But gender fluidity is one of the things that female readers, as a class, find most appealing about the genre; there are certainly BL authors that prefer to write about manly men doing manly things, and they certainly have their fans, but it’s a niche within the BL niche. Bringing BL men in line with real gay men’s preferred image would remove one of the things that its readers are most actively seeking and would, as far as I can see, pretty much destroy it as a genre.

    There is a certain amount of BL that deals (although usually fairly lightly) with Real Gay Issues, but the handling and resolution conforms, again, to romance and women’s-fiction tropes, and does not necessarily please Japanese gay male readers. For instance, there have been complaints by Japanese gay critics that BL men will give up professional status and social respect to pursue socially stigmatized relationships, which is a trope well-represented in heterosexual romances but which gay readers have interpreted as saying that gay men “should” privilege love and relationships (i.e., femininity) over success (masculinity). Likewise, stories featuring longstanding BL relationships generally emphasize domesticity, and frequently manage to work in children, which Japanese gay critics read to imply, again, that BL thinks that gay men “should” share feminine preferences. Should BL writers stop tellings stories about men who cook for each other and do laundry and raise children because it’s not “realistic”?

    And my comments are long-winded because I do not have the gift of being able to express myself concisely. :(

  13. JRBrown says:

    Hmm, that last comment said it didn’t go through because of length, so I broke it into two, so now there’s the whole thing and the second half… Perhaps Erica could delete the latter, for clarity and not to clutter up the comments thread?

  14. Atarun says:

    @JRBrown
    First, let me clarify something. I mentioned the length of your comments as an argument backing my claim that you think it is worthwhile to talk about the issue (i.e. uke/seme translated into pitcher/catcher). I did not mean and I do not think that your comments are too long. I apologize for offending you. :(

    Now, your extensive knowledge about BL is impressive (and dwarfs mine right into oblivion), but it still seems to me that you miss the point.

    – BL authors can make their mangas as unrealistic as they want.
    – Homophobic statements, such as gay insults, are offensive to a lot of people, across gender, age and ethnicity.
    – It seems strange to find homophobia in a BL work, since it is supposedly about gay men, however unrealistic their portrayal might be.

  15. @JRBrown – I deleted the extraneous half.

  16. JRBrown says:

    @ Erica: Thanks.

    @ Atarun:

    I was not offended, so don’t apologize. :)

    “Homophobic statements, such as gay insults, are offensive to a lot of people, across gender, age and ethnicity.”

    Agreed.

    “It seems strange to find homophobia in a BL work, since it is supposedly about gay men, however unrealistic their portrayal might be.”

    Also agreed (unless it’s a plot point / thematic topic, of course), but whether or not, Click, specifically, is homophobic, I don’t think BL as a genre is, which Erica’s comments implied she does.

    I do think BL avoids or sometimes even ridicules aspects of real Japanese gay culture, but because of gender-values-mismatch rather than homophobia; not because it’s icky gay stuff but because it’s icky guy stuff. And I do think that some of the reluctance to deal with Real Gay Issues comes from intentions of courtesy (even if Erica finds it misguided); Japanese gay men have made it fairly clear that the proper persons to identify and discuss gay men’s issues are gay men themselves (example academic study – PDF), and that they don’t want a bunch of women doing it for them.

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