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Blak Rayne is a published author of gay erotic and yaoi style fictional romance. She loves to write and believes it's one of the greatest forms of self-expression. What better way to see inside the human soul?


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Monday, May 9, 2011

BARA~THE NEXT PORN EXPLOSION


This was an article I wrote for RLJ and posted last week. I thought I'd share, as Bara is another major player in the world of erotic manga and anime, which everyone knows I love. Having said that, please note I'm not a big Bara fan, but that doesn't mean I hate it. Hate is a very strong word. Bara just isn't my favourite, but I do find the artistry to be equally as amazing and note worthy as that of yaoi. Some of the pictures below I've chosen as favs. Enjoy!

Bara– ‘Men’s Love-menzu rabu’ or ML is Japanese slang for fictional media that focuses solely on homosexual love and desire. It is very similar to yaoi, as it is another form of homoerotic media with gay romanticism/adult content, but I assure you that’s where the similarities end. To put an explanation into easy to understand terms, Bara in many ways is the complete opposite of yaoi, as it is generally written by men for men, the characters are far from the uke/seme dynamic you find in yaoi, and no one is effeminate. Bara can vary in artistic style and of course plot, but the characters are masculine men with differing levels of muscle mass, body hair and so on (a man’s man) as we in Western culture would refer to as beefcakes or bears. Bara is also more realistic in terms of the themes and may also have an autobiographical side.

First established in the nineteen-sixties, Bara was published within fetish magazines that featured gay content. Most Bara has been written as short stories, single chapters or what’s called a ‘one-shot’, but now this has changed and more are becoming series. The majority of the content isn’t suitable for everyone and certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste. A large portion of Bara contains violent and often exploitative material. Usually the lead character is a muscular man, but again, body size and so on does vary, but these leads and their partners do not come anywhere near the almost feminine equivalent in yaoi.

It has been said that Bara is more realistic and representative of actual gay men and their lives, which again, differs greatly from yaoi. Yaoi has a formula of the dominant and the submissive, which Bara in contrast doesn’t use, the characters are more equally matched. In Japan Bara is considered a subgenre of ‘seijin’ or ‘men’s erotica’, strictly for gay males–comics designed for men. Bara stories place more emphasis upon the sex than creating a lasting relationship. There is no ‘soap opera’ or drama involved, where yaoi there usually is and the relationship between the uke and seme usually develops over time. Yaoi can be highly romanticised.

There are those who claim Bara will be the next pornographic wave to hit Western culture from Japan. Sorry, but I don’t see it. According to the statistics more women purchase Japanese anime porn and if that’s true, Bara may be doomed. I’ve read some Bara comics and in short, I found they lacked any major plot development and for me, no matter what I’m reading I want some type of storyline, even if it is lukewarm. Every theme was sexually based, gritty and at times brutally violent. Now, I’m no expert, but I’m not sure if every gay man out there would find being gang-raped enjoyable. There are fantasies and fetishes–BDSM and so on, yes I understand, which are also used, but the latter to me is questionable. I appreciate the draw to Bara, that a gay man may find more muscular and hairy men attractive but as for the rest, I’m not so convinced. Bara isn’t for the faint of heart and if you’re looking for a tear-jerker you’ll be barking up the wrong tree. These comics are explicit, they possess little to no empathy and they’re definitely geared for men, it’s all about the hardcore, graphic sex. For those who enjoy, so be it,  personally I’ll stick to yaoi.

 

Happy Yaoi Hunting!
Blak Rayne ^_^!!

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