Monthly Archives: September 2010

I Now Pronounce You Woman and Pillowcase: A Look at Official Male Dakimakura

I’ve lamented it many times before, and I’m sure I’ll be whining about it for years to come– girls just don’t get enough anime merch.  Companies are happy to churn out a million Yoko figures and hugging pillows for even the most obscure bishoujo show,  but when it comes to pandering to female audiences, the machine comes to a screeching halt.  As a result, the only option we have to satiate our wish to collect is to turn to doujinshi and buy the occasional trading figure.  That’s not good enough!  Doujin stuff is great and all, but I want acknowledgment from the animation companies themselves!  I want them to tell me, “You have [sick and twisted] desires, so we will satisfy them!”

So that’s why I’m glad for those rare times a full-sized (none of that jumbo cushion crap)   fabric representation of a male character comes out.  They may be sold out before I even get to think about them, but dammit, it’s something!  Here’s a run down of all the official releases that I know of.

These came out in 2007, and are actually bedsheets, not dakimakura.  Gintama seems like a weird choice in terms of content, since it’s a long-running comedy/action Shonen Jump anime.  It’s very popular with fangirls though, so I imagine it must have been doubly so in 2007.

Anyway, these bedsheets are rare in loot pictures.  Actually, I don’t think I’ve even seen a picture of these, since every picture of these has the Gintoki one as a pillowcase.  Unless these people are skilled at turning bedsheets into pillowcases, I think its safe to say those are bootlegs.

The Simon dakimakura came out in 2008, but I don’t think it actually exists.    For one, this is an utterly bizarre character choice.  If Gainax wanted to whore off one of their male characters, wouldn’t Kaworu be the more logical and profitable choice?  And if this was meant to ride the Gurren wave, wouldn’t it make more sense to make one of Kamina?  Or even adult Simon?  But even if we lose the bishonen angle and go with the idea that this dakimakura meant for cross-gender appeal, that still doesn’t make sense.  He looks like a boy, not a trap, as seen in his prominently-displayed chest.  So who in the world was meant to buy this pillow?

I’ve also never seen this dakimakura in a fan’s loot picture.  Ever.

This Rippongi pillow isn’t due until next month, October.  If I’m not leaving anything out, that’s a full two-year gap between official male dakimakura releases.  Anyway, Miracle Train is an amusing show, but don’t think it set the fujoshi world afire.  Still, the Miracle Train committe has pulled out full stops to appeal to them (off the top of my head, there was a yaoi café event and the creation of the Ikebukuro station — I’ll have to write another post about that later), so a dakimakura seems like the logical conclusion.  Picking Rippongi makes sense, since he’s the most popular character on the show.

Finally, we have these lovely Durarara bedsheets, which are slated for release in November.  Very similar situation with Gintama bedsheets– same company, same cross-gender appeal, same crazy fujoshi fandom.  Admittedly, I haven’t seen Durarara yet, so I don’t know what the fuss is about yet, but I’ve seen these guys everywhere since the show’s aired.   And looking through the character goods, I’m led to believe that these guys are the main characters, and the show’s about their homosexually-charged rivalry.  Is that correct?  Hahaha.

Anyway, that’s about it for the body pillows.  I really hope I’m missing some.  There are a few cushions of male characters, but those are mostly just promo art pasted on a small pillow.   It may be a little something, but it’s a cop out.  I’m sick of cop outs– just give us what we really want!

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Underrated Anime Butler Time

 

Name: Raven
Series: Earl and Fairy
Age: 18
Occupation: Butler/Bodyguard

I never understood what it meant to watch a show for a character until Earl and Fairy.  It’s a good show, with lots of bishonen, a strong female lead, and an interesting fairy folklore angle, but I’m not so into  domineering male love interests.  Ordinarily this would mean watching one episode and keeping the show on hold indefinitely, but this was different.  This show had The Greatest Butler.

It’s a bold claim, but I think Raven deserves the title.  He meets all the standard requirements:  says little, keeps to himself, and does his job well.  With his battle skills and half-demon powers,  he may seem awfully similar to thatother butler, but unlike Sebastian, Raven has no ulterior motives.   He’s just that loyal.   Raven’s  sense of duty ties into his tragic back story, which involves him being enslaved and forced to become an emotionless battle machine until, of course, he’s saved and given a reason to live.  Cliche, but effective.

There’s just something about how dehumanized Raven is that really appeals to me.    Not just in the pity aspect, but in seeing him overcome it as well.  It’s a slow process, but when he shows even just a hint of emotion, it warms my heart.   Raven’s cold personality also acts as a foil to pretty much everyone else in the show, which is a welcome relief, considering how hot-headed and impulsive the other characters are.  He spouts some great deadpan lines, and is probably the only anime character that hasn’t freaked out upon seeing a girl changing.

Lastly, there’s Raven’s skin color.  No getting around it, the man is tan.   Very tan.  And he actually has black hair.  It’s wonderful.  Usually tan bishonen aren’t so tan, and have blond or silver hair as a racial cop-out.  Then again, Raven isn’t completely off the hook in that aspect, considering his green eyes and straight hair.  I still have no idea what race he’s supposed to be  (it doesn’t help that his twin sister’s bone-white either),  but hey!  Tan bishonen!  The world needs more of those!

So is Raven original?  Not exactly.  Is he a great character?  Definitely.  He’s a wonderful combination of traits, and I don’t think Earl and Fairy would have been half as entertaining without him.

Too cute for words.

Review: Complex

More re-posts!  This time a review from a blog I had last year, but filled me with so much shame (don’t quite know why) I deleted everything.

Artist: Manda Ringo

# of Volumes: 4

Genre: Yaoi (18+)

Here’s an interesting question: what happens to the boys in BL after they’ve hooked up?  In most series, we never  know —  the story stops right there.  In Complex, however, we don’t get to just see the relationship, we follow the couple throughout their lives.

It’s an ambitious idea, but it works.  We see two boys grow up from being childhood friends to confused young men and to wrinkled old ones,  and all  the drama that comes with it.  Yes, there is sex, but the emphasis is placed more on the relationship than the fanservice.  It starts a bit hokey (two boys becoming more than  friends because of a pedophile teacher?  Really?), but once the boys become adults, depicts the situations the characters are in  more realistically, making it something that is believable.  From being scared of being “open” to society to nasty breakups to raising children, it shows the difficulties of being gay in society.  At the same time, the series makes sure to depict  characters as human, with no idealized exaggerations and sexualities that aren’t exactly black or white.

Overall, Complex is a gripping romantic drama that shows that  yaoi is more than capable of having depth. It’ll sadly never be published in the states, but it’s  a must read for anyone interested in the genre.

Pros: Becomes more realistic as the story progresses, tackles issues such as gay parenting, heart wrenching ending

Cons: Starts unrealistically, random shota thrown in (volume 2 chapter 7), rough art in the beginning