Yuri Danshi Manga (百合男子) Volume 1

November 30th, 2011

Yuri Danshi, Volume 1 (百合男子) is…unsettling.

The premise, for those of you not reading it, is the life of a Yuri Fanboy. Hanadera-kun is sincere, but creepy. In fact, that’s kind of the point – he’s sincere in his love for Yuri and his desire to see and nurture true Yuri love in the girls around him. Which is just creepy when you’re one of those girls.

Each chapter begins with a challenge – buying Yuri at a bookstore, uncovering what he considers to be a pure Yuri love in his classroom, visiting a Yuri doujinshi event…and each chapter ends with a realization that his love for Yuri, as passionate as it is, is completely hopeless and empty, because where there is a “Yuri couple” someone like him would be no more than an annoyance at best.

It’s a funny series, overall, but I still can’t quite get a hold of who it’s supposed to be for. As a portrait of Yuri fanboy life, it’s a little distressing. I asked a friend in Japan his opinion of it and he said that he also finds it unsettling, as that is pretty much him on those pages. I commented that the series gave Yuri Fanboys a little taste of what it feels like to be a lesbian reading Yuri manga. And maybe that’s the point.

Katherine H has the best line about it, “I’ve never read Comic Yuri Hime thinking ‘Gosh, I’d really like to read a satire about the daily life of a Yuri Fanboy.'” Yup.

In the end of Volume 1, there is an interview of creator Uso Kurata, by Comic Yuri Hime editor Nakamura-san. In the interview we learn that this is Kurata’s semi-autobiographical tale of being a Yuri Fanboy, but that doesn’t make it any less unsettling. As a portrayal of a Yuri Fanboy, it’s the equivalent of Mai HiME‘s Shizuru as a lesbian. Not really wrong, per se, but not really a comfortable or laudable portrayal, either.

So, while I don’t hate Yuri Danshi, I probably won’t be getting the next volume unless there actually is some Yuri in it that isn’t in Hanadera-kun’s imagination.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – …
Characters – …
Yuri – …
Service – …

Overall – …

Who is this comic *for*? The 70% female of readers of Comic Yuri Hime to have some lolz at the 30% male readership? Or the 30% male Yuri Danshi readers to teach them what it feels like to be a lesbian reading Yuri? I don’t know. I just don’t know.

13 Responses

  1. “that gave Yuri Fanboys a little taste of what it feels like to be a lesbian reading Yuri manga. And maybe that’s the point.” <- I hadn't thought of that before reading this, but I agree. The Mai Hime analogy is apt.

  2. @Katherine – I’ve been thinking about this book for weeks, trying to get at what the point is. That is the best I can come up with. ^_^

  3. Anonymous says:

    From the way you describe it, it sounds to me something like a community service project: “No one’s really going to ENJOY this, but let’s try and broaden the minds of our otherwise socially conservative / creepy LFBs. It’ll be good for them!”

    Failing that, maybe it’s just trying to mine the awkwardness comedy that makes shows like Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiams such successes (and incidentally makes me unable to stand them, but whatever).

  4. Mara says:

    I will definitely be getting this as it should explain to me what some seem to want form Yuri that I do not get.

    People seem to mention ‘purity’ but doesn’t that just mean made of a single substance? Surely that is boring. Being boring is the exact opposite of what fiction should be in my massively self-important opinion.

    Another thing that threw me was this idea of the main character being conflicted about observing couples in real life. Surely that is just stalking. Same as the idol obsessives who invade their idol’s private life. It is ilegal (and inpolite) so you don’t do it, no matter what your disposition.

    Am I missing something fundamental here that would be solved once I buy and read the manga?

  5. @Mara – In Hanadera-kun’s head, it make sense for him, until it conflicts with the real world, then he has a crisis…that *is* the plot.

  6. Sariel says:

    Well, there is a shoujo manga about a LFG(Ie, a yaoi fangirl). I think the english release is called “fujoshi kanojo”, although it later turns into an actual shoujo manga about two guys (And later on, a girl) competing for the heart of a yaoi fangirl.

    The difference from what I can tell from this review seems to be that this is a comic joking about yuri-fanboys, instead of having a main character who just happens to be a yuri-fanboy and indeed has other issues in life.

    Or maybe the people making the magazine are convinced that “We’re Japanese. This is a comic about yuri. Thus, it’s probably aimed at males. Let’s joke about it, because no matter what the statistics say, most of the readers are men!”

    I might want to read this. I’ve been wanting to see a counterpart to fujoshi kanojo for quite a while now, and I generally never see actual yuri-fanboys in fiction(IE, ones who think the relationship is cute as well, instead of just teh hawt sexxors). And if it isn’t good, I’ll just have to write one myself!

  7. Anonymous says:

    “Or maybe the people making the magazine are convinced that “We’re Japanese. This is a comic about yuri. Thus, it’s probably aimed at males. Let’s joke about it, because no matter what the statistics say, most of the readers are men!”

    That’s pretty obviously not the case, and Yuri Danshi even goes into it. I think you want to read this manga, too :)

    Not that I get the point of this, but it’s popular among the readers and amuses its creator seems to like it, so I guess no harm done?

    As long as I don’t have to buy it? ^^ I rather buy Fu~Fu

    Fufufu.

  8. bb says:

    are you sure this series isn’t just the male author making fun of himself? I can’t read Japanese so I can’t read the interview or the manga, but did he actually make it seem like this manga was dead serious and about his psychological turmoil over his anime lesbian obsession? if anything it could just be a melodramatic parody that in the end is just saying “lol I’m such a nerd”. hell, sometimes fanservice ecchi anime for guys has a ‘loser otaku nerd’ character and nobody gets mad, it’s just a joke.

    also, it could be aimed at BOTH. I’m sure both fanboys and fangirls could get a laugh out of this without any serious hate/self-hate.

  9. @bb – Yes, that is basically what I said. “…the series gave Yuri Fanboys a little taste of what it feels like to be a lesbian reading Yuri manga. And maybe that’s the point.”

    But, like Katherine, I don’t really have to find it interesting. No one I know cares about the inner life of an LFB, not even the Yuri LFBs. We’re interested in Yuri.

    So my question remains – who is this for? Female Yuri fans (and lesbians particularly) are *not focused on the guys.* This is why we like Yuri. We do not care about the inner life of an LFB.

    Male fans read Yuri for, presumably, the very same reason – they like to see the girls together. They too are not interested in male characters. And they already know what goes on in their minds.

    The series is funny, but not fun. And no one wants it. So…who is it for?

  10. レイチェル ランフォード says:

    Like most of you, I can’t say with certainty that I know what the demographic of this manga is, but I myself do have some interest in this at some point.

    Personally, I love hearing/reading the “reasons” why people like something, as well as how they interpret and express said feelings. So from a “research” or “psychological” standpoint, this kind of manga appeals to me.

    Secondly, I love yuri in all forms. Preferably less tawdry and “unlesbian” yuri, but I love the idea of GL so much, I don’t just have yuri goggles or even yuri lasik, I have a yurigan. (百合眼). So even something like this, catches my attention, whether or not I’d actually enjoy the contents.

    And thirdly, being a girl who holds yuri at her heart, and wants nothing more then to share a simple, happy life with a wonderful wife, I can relate with the idea behind the story, being a transsexual woman. Even if the story is about a cisgendered male just enjoying the world of yuri, I can relate with the feeling of being “trapped outside of a gated garden, never to be allowed in”.

    All in all, I have yet to read it, but it sounds interesting enough to do so, but depending on how good it is will determine if it deserves a place on my bookshelf along with yuri ranging from “Omoi no Kakera” to “Choir!”, lol.

  11. Valued Poster (A3) says:

    The “funny” part of this manga is that all yuri MC sees doesn’t actually exist. He’s severely deluded in seeing the girls be together, while in reality they are indeed just friends. Or one of them is a crossdressing guy. Or will be married to one of his yuri fanboy friends, just like the tradition prescribes.
    So not only it’s poking fun at male yuri readers for “wrong” way of enjoying it, it also laughs at all of yuri fandom for having hopes of “two girls together” being a serious relationship.

    • That’s patently untrue in this series. If anything the eventual plot drivers are – “Dear girls, be proud to be Yuri fans” and “Real love between women is cool, but it’s not actually cool to fetishize it.”

Leave a Reply