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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tribute to an Iconic Story #ainokusabi #yaoi #manga #adult

Welcome to BRB, everyone! This article is dedicated strictly to OVAs, and graphic novelsThere isn’t anything new about either form of media, both have been around for decades. OVA means ‘original video animation', and it's an animated movie released as ‘direct-to-video’, which translates the movie hasn’t had prior theatrical or TV viewings. A graphic novel is a narrative work where the story is presented to the reader through art in either an experimental design or a traditional comic format. These novels have plots that range from romantic to action and every genre in between. I like to call the GN a fancy-shmansy comic book. LOL It’s like taking LOTR, and cutting out all the description, add basic dialogue then pump it full of amazing images. Yeah that works! 
My awakening happened in 1998. I was surfing through the Internet on a friend’s computer (because I didn’t have one of my own) when I happened to come across these unbelievable Japanese anime pictures. I’ve been into anime since childhood, and I’d seen some yaoi images, but nothing quite like Ai no Kusabi. It was love at first sight. The story and characters were amazing, and I was instantly hooked. This was the very first yaoi OVA that I watched. After downloading every picture I could find, I took an interest in writing yaoi-based novels, which was a departure from my usual fantasy, science fiction and romance writing.

As an artist, I find Japanese anime/manga to be unique, beautiful and unparalleled in the animation world. To this day Ai no Kusabi remains my favourite yaoi. Iason Mink and Riki are gorgeous. In my opinion the art work in the original OVA is the best and the new OVA (released in 2009) doesn’t quite do the characters justice. Also I didn't care for how the ending was changed in the newer version. Sorry to spoilt it, but if you're a die hard fan like I am and you've read the novel, watched the original, etc. I don't think you'll care for the new anime. Honestly, I was disappointed that such a classic was, from my perspective, butchered.

Written by Rieko Yoshihara, Ai no Kusabi, which has several English translations, ‘Wedge of Interval’ or ‘Love’s Wedge’ is a sci-fi drama. The central characters are Iason Mink (seme/blond) and Riki (uke/dark). These two men meet by fate, and Iason, though considered above the slum dog, Riki, ends up falling for the young man. Of course the sex is borderline abusive in the beginning but that soon fades. These two men have quite the history together as you discover later, and their relationship seems to be in constant peril spanning a long period of time. Soon as they reach some type of understanding and Riki begins to accept the feelings he has for Iason, someone tries to destroy their relationship. 
If you're looking for humour, a huge climax or maybe a happy ending, move on my friend. This story doesn’t have any of those qualities. Ai no Kusabi is dark, dramatic, and bitterly sad. Believe me, I cried at the end. But that isn’t to say the story is poorly written. ANK just doesn't have a HEA ending, which is rare but remains true to the original yaoi guidelines. The very first Japanese homoerotic stories didn’t have happy endings. Most were filled with angst, and if you’re a yaoi fan you know exactly what I mean. 

When I first discovered this yaoi, no one had heard of it–-well Western culture knew little of the Japanese yaoi world at that time anyway. Now, things have changed. The are well over 400,000 websites dedicated to or have pictures/write-ups, or mention Ai no Kusabi. Yes, I said 400,000. Unbelievable isn’t it? The author Ms. Rieko Yoshihara, passed away, and wherever she is, I'm sure she's thrilled with the success of her creation. Ai no Kusabi has graphic sex, gorgeous characters, realistic plot and a tragic ending--perfect for any true yaoi lover. 

Happy Yaoi Hunting!
Blak Rayne

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