How to wash the bishie from your eyes
(originally posted here)
Yeah chances are you might be finding yourself less than inspired with anime lately
Not that surprising turns out most of it is for young people and if you have enough experience with it this stuff begins to look cliched and terrible.
There have been complaints that lately anime or at least the anime that influences fandom for americans has become stale, lifeless, and lacking. Though it isn't their or even their fangirls fault for me this can be summed up by an element I hated before I knew what it was.
Growing up I hated the fawning for the villain types and though I've grown up a lot more dirty (I just watched and went gaga about a gay yakuza flick with two old people having incestous breast play) I hated how it seemed how a person looked or appealed in the immediate and attractive not only made up for moral failings but justified them having people jump to glorify the faults of a character and demand they stay and take over the narrative *cough* Zuko*cough*Spike*cough*. Even after the testosterone began to flow I still preferred good and mighty as to just mighty.
And one fateful day I found the thing that would encapsulate all my hate for the worship of evil as justified and laudable.
Okay technically Sephiroth.
But ultimately my feelings extended to bishonen. Its not that I hate a blending of genders in characters in design or execution. Its that bishonen are ultimately so pretty they immediately elicit sympathy and easiness and justification for everything. I was more than a little put out how Barret in online FFVII fandom was nothing, despite being black, built, militant, a father, and alot of things over well Sephiroth who everyone kept drooling over and overanalysing and feeling sorry for and ressurecting to the exclusion of the character that interested me.
Bishies to me epitomizes that style over substances, looks over behavior, image over truth that I hate in humankind turned up to eleven. That is drawn ones. Men who actually look like that just look like that and I have no negative reaction whatsoever to them...okay I'm lying alittle I don't prefer them as much but to the point Bishies just hit so many buttons for me. but just as moe grils aren't often just young girls who happen to be pretty bishonen are more than just boys who happen to have long hair and smooth faces.
Worse they've become prevalent along with commonly weak-character interaction and traits as standbys using the pretty to cover the banal or nonsensical
It's our own fault. artists go with what works and thanks to bishi-lust we have had an arms race of pretty men. Admittedly it seems the pendulum is, thankfully, swinging the otherway (bara finding a comfortable medium, and though many character look like bishonen they can just as likely be Kyon as they are Tamaki)
But man compared to 'back then' on order of magnitude the men are just hella-smooth and chicklike. I mean I don't think anyone in Gintama is meant to be a bishonen character (to be fair I'm misusing the term not just to refer to objective traits) in and of themselves but they still look prettier than actual classic male characters ones of back in 1996!
Admittedly how much of this is "the material we are seeing now favors more smooth and pretty character designs and such," and thus its *always* been this way we stupid american fanboys are just noticing and how much is this an actual change is impossible to accurately say.
Still, having a like for big jocular characters and them being allowed to be competent and badass, or just lovable, or anything besides stupid, slow, and strong then obsolete (because as the slimmer dexterous characters advance so long as it isn't moving a boulder by hand chances are their strength with subtly surpass the strong guy), is something I like. Bishies tend to suck the story, characterization, plot, and competence outta the room and right to them. This isn't unique to bishonen characters but it is such a common characteristic that points out the flaw in fiction of what is appealing having the most functional effect than what rationally should.
So we all hate bishies, well I do and anyone still reading. Hirai Hisashi's character designs are driving us mad and one more X-boy secrely loves y-boy as they angst and try to kill each other with lame and overly familiar characterization and storytelling held aloft only by how this time its redhead and blonde might just drive dear readers to murder.
There are somethings to wash the unforgivable bland bishiness from your eyes.
Seinen/pulp/jigoku manga. This is some old stuff. The men *are* good looking. The seinen mangaka king is Ryoichi Ikegami and even his ugly guys are not bad for the eyes. Before anime and manga exploded beyond the point of no return from ghetto to more mainstream than American comics volumes such as Mai the Psychic Girl, Benkei in New York, Sanctuary, and Crying Freeman almost had a destructive hold as the face of manga in the US. Now *I* look back at them fondly. At least it ain't another dating sim.
Pulpy plots that carry themselves with a vermisu...internal reality with primetime drama meets ripped from the headlines feel with some extra pulp thrown in for good measure.
Again there can be bishies but as the characterization and plots are slightly different as well as the conventions you just might be surprised. Oldboy, the manga, falls under this category.
Revolutionary Girl Utena. Is here mainly because I feel I have to point to one bishie caked work I LOVED LIKE HELL as manga or anime and even the movie. It has the Bishonen-portrayal that finally broke me into having to not react in ignorant seething pure HATE whenever one appeared. Akio Otohori OWNS bishonen and even evil but supposed to be sympathetic characters everywhere. Hell after his full ass deconstruction of the character-type and several genres, and that's pretty much what he is, as well as ditching any pretense and being the tortured sex-addict badboy adherents think they want its hard for me to like any "straight" takes on the character or to be teased by such plays unless there is something else. All that and the lines and the goddamn car.
He's as intelligent and captivating as it gets and hot as hell too. Also he doesn't just flip his hair and make people love him. He's skilled, charismatic, and actually written to be seductive. IT takes skill and class to be the top bishi in a setting overloaded with them, say nothing of media, But he does and actually comes off as manly while he does it and a sexual being as to just object too. Due to his revolutionary design and characterization even Square copied the guy when creating their ultimate crossover series villain Ansem/Xenahort.
The series is also here because I think it as a whole deconstructs alot of the stuff that goes into bishi-ness as well as by throwing you so much excessive pretty makes you inured if not bored with it. I mean really Not even the Ouran boys can keep up playing it straight thank goodness they are such meta-comedians.
I still consider Akio more Bara than Bishi but that's really due to mere comparison with his competitors and his voice and there are plenty of jeunes stories that have guys that make him look like crossdressing little girl.
Sakigake!! Otokojuku. You know Cromartie High? This is the series that series is totally ragging on. Jigoku manga
for kids. Its basically the same premise. THIS SCHOOL? Everyone is the unruly bigass meanguy type or deliquent if you will. I've just seen the first episode. Its hard to believe there is a viable gay porn manga line in Japan if this is what they sell to kids back in 1988. TONS of big, mean looking guys in longcoat leather school uniforms (that look kindalike dresses). Stubble, muscle, and bad hair abound. The most unfeminine bodies ever and before the ten minute mark in episode one? They are asked to drop their pants for an underwear inspection. In addition there are about four spanking scenes and the guys strip to wrestle. Again in merely the first episode. The only thing manlier is Mad Bull 34 and new scanlations aren't forthcoming, yet.
Yes this is the point of the article. Me recommending a 20 year old series about deliquents. The animation will *hurt* (its worse than older eps of Dragon Ball) and the premise is so damn ridiculous its embarassing. It doesn't take itself too seriously but compared to Cromartie its almost a heavy drama. Well sorta, one of the guys sings a pop song when roll called so its not serious at all just very very corny and less absurd the CroHigh.
Its not perfect there is already a rivalry set up and classification of characters. These two are the best, this one the lame ass, and this one the accomplice. And again this was made back in 1988 and not exactly by the most prize studio guys or anything. The kitsch factor on this one is through the roof and the main guy is sorta pretty. The bodies are a little off and lumpy aesthetically. and there are just cultural context stuff I guess you're meant to know and understand.
But really this is an overwrote drama of spirit, justice, honor, where boys become men to lead the true future of Japan (of 1988).
The other cool thing is being able to watch the anime and see artifacts of the time as well as as the origins of some others. I mean seriously Tekken's Heihachi (though I suppose the look predates if THAT character its likely off of some demonfaced buddhist statue or something). Still for a series set in a school with a primarily male cast about social interaction (with action) its sure as hell not Gakuen Bell or fuckin' Loveless.BT here. c'mon ya just might like it Current Mood: dirty