Your know that we’re up to our necks in Yuri when it takes me 2 years to find time to answer random questions about stuff. And, in fact, it’s been months since I solicited these questions and am only getting to them now. Viva la Yuri. ^_^
You asked me questions about…life, love, blogging, anime, manga, Yuri, whatever. And I did my very best to answer you without lifting a finger to do research. ^_^ For previous editions, check out the Now This is Only My Opinion Category here on Okazu, and take a look at the kinds of things people have asked previously.
Here were the (increasingly complex) rules for Okazu’s Q&A feature:
1) I will not answer questions about “what is your favorite….” I find them difficult to answer, as I really don’t have favorites.
2) No A/B choice questions like “ham or cheese” or “Coke or Pepsi” questions, please. They aren’t all that interesting for any of us and I can tell you honestly, the answer is almost always “neither of the two.”
3) If you want to ask me what I see as the future of Yuri or why I like Yuri, I beg you to read all the previous iterations of my answers to these questions. If you have a real question about Yuri that I have not previously addressed, bring it on!
4) Please, please, no questions that can be answered by 30 seconds of actually READING one of my reviews here. Also, asking me “what do you think of so-and-so anime/fandom” is not going to give you the external validation you crave nor will I rise to the bait of using it as a springboard to rant about a fandom, either. Don’t know if I’ve reviewed a thing you want to know about? Look to the right-hand sidebar —->
See that empty box on the sidebar that says “Search Okazu”? Try that first. ^_^
5) Lastly no “define the term” questions. The answers have been posted here: http://okazu.yuricon.com/glossary/.
With these in mind, here’s the 2013 edition of “Now This Is Only My Opinion”!
Jin asks: Yes, hello, I had two questions please. I had wondered if in all this time involved in anime, manga, etc., have you felt discouraged, to say, that you have felt a desire to give up on these arts? I do not know if I have asked this properly. For all the anime and manga I love, especially in Yuri genre, sometimes my frustration or ill feelings about the misogyny, sexism, poor writing and such, brings a despair rather than a happy feeling and being entertained.
I also wondered if there is a place where one can ask some small questions concerning plots or other things in regards to light novels especially Oyuki Konno Maria-sama?
E: One of the most amazingly frustrating things about anime/manga fandom is that it is constantly changing and inconsistent. What you want out of anime may not be what someone else wants. So while Yuricon communities focus on female-positive anime and manga, some Yuri fandom is looking for porn pictures of girls having sex. So, yes, of course, sometimes I am discouraged – especially when series I dislike are popular and manga I really would love to see as anime never gets the chance. But there is so much out there to read and watch, I don’t let it bother me too much. It’s entertainment. If I’m not enjoying myself, I’ll go do something else. ^_^ I also avoid a lot of fan spaces, so I don’t get involved in the drama.
I can tell you this – you can ask questions about plot and character all you want in any Yuricon community. Yuricon Mailing List and Yuricon on Facebook. Of course you can ask questions here, as well. I’ll always do my best to answer.
There are other Yuri communities, although they change all the time. The ones we link to are usually pretty friendly. ^_^
Remember, opinions are always personal – and only the creator can ever be 100% right about what happened. You get to have your opinion, even if other people disagree.
Josh wants to know: Do you find Yaoi being more popular than Yuri a hindrance to creating a stable Yuri market in the states?
E: What an interesting question! On the face of it, it seems like there ought to be a correlation between these two genres, but really…there isn’t.
When manga was first brought over to the west, one of the reasons it became so almost instantly successful was that it tapped into a previously under-served market – female comic readers. And of those readers, while some of them might like romance and/or sex between women, more prefer romance/sex between straight couples or between guys. (If this seems confusing to you, ask a few of your straight male friends which they like best – straight porn, lesbian porn or gay male porn. Chances are a lot of straight guys are going to feel uncomfortable with the idea of watch gay guy porn – especially if those guys you’re asking are sexually immature. It’s the same for some women.)
Because of the double standards around porn – and the double standards around women’s interests in general – it was easier for women to talk about an interest in BL than it is for men to discuss an interest in Yuri (especially when, for many guys saying “Yuri” meant bodily-fluid-gouting porn.)
So Twilight is excoriated, 50 Shades of Gray is the butt of jokes…but they make millions. BL is the same. Guys pay no attention to it, they disparage it if they mention it at all, but it makes lots of money.
Where in Japan, it’s seen as an expression of pure fandom to be the first on line, to buy the super-special exclusive books…here in the west, a big bulk of Yuri fandom are downloading Yuri…but not as often buying it. That college age guy audience that is the presumed core audience for games, TV and movies (and Yuri)? Hardly buys anything. Games, books, movies, manga, anime. It all gets downloaded. Later they’ll buy it, when they have a job. So the largest chunk of guys who like Yuri in the west is also the demographic that spends the least on it. Female fans buy it, but not as many as buy BL. So the market is wayyyyyy smaller than the audience.
And, as I’ve discussed here many times, Yuri is not one thing. If you like moe, Yuri looks like Yuru Yuri. But if you like actual stories of lesbians who actually love each other, it looks like Morishima-sensei’s or Takemiya-sensei’s work. They aren’t anything the same, but they are all called “Yuri.”
So, we have a smaller audience than the BL audience *and* a market that’s smaller by orders of zeroes. So the Yuri audience sticks with scanlations and sometimes buys a book, if it’s something they already know. It’s a vicious cycle and unless I hit the lottery, there’s little chance for it to end at the moment.
I don’t resent BL in any way. I have other resentments, though they are the topic of some other conversation. ^_^
Mara is curious: What was it about Girls und Panzer that turned you off it as something to watch?
I ask because now that the series is over I cannot help but notice that it has many of the conventions you said you liked in stories that have sports/training elements in them. My apologies if this seems to prying or cruel a question.
E: Everything. Sorry. I like adult characters and am vastly, heartily sick of moe military-fetish schoolgirl series. I disliked Sora no Woto, I cannot stand Strike Witches. While I deeply respect Nogami-sensei and Dan Kanemitsu, the whole fandom creeps me the fuck out. I’m reading Marine Corps Yumi (Marine-ko Yumi) and enjoying it, but then…no school girls and it’s not moe.
Justin S asks: I have a question, we’ve seen a few good Sci-Fi Yuri anime and manga, but what are some sci-fi settings/tropes/concepts that you would like to see in a Yuri story?
E: This is an almost impossible question! ^_^
Let me begin with - what I want to see in Yuri is women who actually have affection for each other. THEN, it would be cool to see a good sci-fi series built up containing that.
What you probably don’t realize is that sci-fi was one of the first genres where lesbian fiction thrived. Lots of women-only spaceship and colonies…and they were all excruciating, because an idea is not a story. ^_^
Bodacious Space Pirates is benchmark series. It has a great Yuri couple- and it is great sci-fi. And really, that is the point. When a great sci-fi story has some lesbian characters and it’s not ” a very special episode” of the story, then it’ll be a good Yuri sci-fi story.
So, that having been said, I am currently working on a cyberpunk novella myself, in which I am combating tropes like the all-female world or damseling a character. (It seems easy to remember to be diverse in creating characters, then you look back and see that everyone is one race, or one sex or all cis or something – merely by not mentioning that they aren’t. You can say someone is dark- skinned, dark-eyed, and still find her played by a white girl in the movie version, because the privilege of privilege is not noticing their privilege. How does someone mention a character’s ethnicity without calling attention to it? Or how do you have the girl save the girl without damseling one of the girls? Really not as easy as you’d think.)
I like Space Opera, I like action. I like complex world/systems-building and I like stories in which two women can be in love without it being a plot complication. ^_^
ArcaJ wants to know: With the upswing of quality Yuri titles (or Yuri-ish titles) available, is there still a place for EPL’s (Evil Psychotic Lesbians)?
E: Sure thing! More Yuri with class, doesn’t mean there isn’t place for cheeseball crap. I submit the popularity of Sharknado as Evidence A. Crap is fun. Evil Psychos are fun. A really full-on EPL baddie would be terrific in an anime, if they didn’t go all coy and loser-y on us. ^_^
David wonders : Are there any good manga / anime series you’d like to recommend but haven’t because they lack the Yuri content to make it onto this blog?
E: Hrmmmm…..I read tons that never end up here. (I’m not as voracious a reader of English manga as Sean Gaffney – you might want to follow his blog: A Case Suitable for Treatment for more suggestions than I can supply.) Anime is harder. I don’t watch much, honestly and most of it makes it here.
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit is a must-watch. No Yuri at all, so I’ve not really been able to mention it here too often. It’s amazing all the way around. Story, characters, animation – all fantastic. It’s out in English from Media Blasters and is family friendly. It was a good enough story that I’ve been reading the Light Novels and reviewing them here. Check out the Light Novels category for the reviews.
I’m winding down reading the manga for Yakushiji Ryōko no Kaiki Jikenbo, which was turned into a fantastic anime some years ago. Neither anime nor manga are released in English, but I desperately wish the manga would have an ounce of Yuri, so I could review it here. Spider women and giant snakes! ^_^
Brian asks: Are there any Yuri visual novels you have experience with or would recommend?
E: I get asked this alot. The answer is no. I don’t read/play VNs for many reasons I’ve discussed here before. The time it takes to make one’s way through a VN for not-terribly much content is not a sacrifice I find worth making. I’ve tried a few and end up wanting stab my eyes out from boredom. So I’m not really the person to ask. We’ve had a few guest reviews here, check the Yuri Games category for any applicable ones.
dm00 wonders: With regard to the Friedman Addendum to the Bechdel Test, what defines “male hero things” and, more specifically, what makes them inherently “male” to the point that when a female lead does them that it makes the female lead really a male lead in a female-shaped body?
gveret adds: Ooh! Can I second this, and add: how do you make that distinction, considering gender is dependent on nothing but a person’s own sense of identity?
In this sense, I am defaulting to gender roles “as understood by Hollywood execs.” Male hero behavior in the Rambo/Chuck Norris tradition. Semi-covert assault on overwhelmingly superior odds that magically are defeated one-soldier-at-a-time – while wearing skintight body suit with at least one scene where said “Strong Female Protagonist” finds herself slowly slinking through vents, shafts or other small crawl spaces, only to magically find GIGANTIC gun at the end of all this and blow the bad guy away. It doesn’t really take a Freud to see what’s going on there. ^_^
Michael is curious: I’m heading to Japan for a five-week visit this summer. I’ve travelled there several times in the past, for a total of almost a year, so I have some experience getting around. I have some facility with the language — enough to read “Yotsuba” and, with some work, “Amanchu.” So, can you recommend any places I ought to visit? Places that might not appear in the usual “top 20 things to see and do on your trip to Japan”, perhaps those which are out of the way and not marked on lots of maps? Or maybe just your favorite parks/bars/bistros/bookstores/hangouts?
Gosh Michael. You mean other than the 7000 “shopping for manga in Japan” guides online? ^_^;
I don’t have a favorite hangout. I hit up the stores in Ikebukuro (which recently all shifted around, so are even more BL-focused than they were) and Akihabara, Nakano Sun Mall and Shibuya, just like everyone else. Last year I wrote this update on shopping for Yuri in Ikebukuro, Akihabara and Nakano. Danny Choo did a recent overview of places, which isn’t too out of date (as they often are). Check that out, too.
Other than that, I spend a lot of times visiting Shinto Shrines and Buddhist Temples. I’m not a monotheist, so Japan is a refreshing change of pace in terms of religious edifices. ^_^ Pretty much the largest complexes are the best ones for festivals and junky food and souvenirs – check any guide book for their suggestions. I don’t do bars or clubs, so I’m hopeless in that category. Sorry. You know what our secret hangout really is? The Yamanote. We <3 the Yamanote Line and spend a lot of quality time with it. ^_^
If you look up “Tokyo Trip” on Okazu here, you’ll find dozens of entries on places we’ve gone, things we’ve done and seen. They are all my favorites. ^_^ /cop-out
Steve M asks: Anyways, I know you’re not big on dubs in general but are there any you’ve heard that have stuck out as particularly good? I won’t ask you to compare them to the original Japanese, as that’s an unnecessarily contentious question, just any dubs that you felt were very good or appropriate for whatever reason.
Yes, I actually do have a recommendation. The Shinesman dub is the best dub ever. The story is a short OVA spoof of sentai series. It’s very funny and the dub is even funnier than the sub. It’s a pretty old, obscure series, but sometimes you can find it on DVD still. The Digimon Tamers dub was pretty good – I watched the whole series on TV when it first ran. It was the first Saturday morning cartoon I watched religiously since the 80s. ^_^
That’s it for this time, I think. Thanks to everyone who sent in a question. This time, we’re going to finish it off a little differently – I’ve got a question for you!
What do you want to see from Yuri in the immediate future?
Answer in the comments section. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!