Bara: Scratching the Rough Surface

Queer media in Japanese media has its own niche. Whether it would be guys loving guys or girls loving girls. In anime form, this is known through its Yaoi or Yuri anime, manga, or light novels. Another form of male-to-male relationships is also being created as time goes by. Think of it as a Seinen demographic of gay media created by gay men and it hasn’t been adapted to anime to due its obscurity and topics depicted. In other words, Bara.

Bara, also known as gay manga, tends to be overlapped with Yaoi since both are similar in idea with two guys in mind. The most notable difference is the body shapes and features of each character. These include: gacchiri (muscular), gachimuchi (muscle-curvy), gachidebu (muscle-fat) and debu (fat). In my experience, the muscular aspect of each guy tends to over–exaggerate in an artist’s depiction and it may include a young man with shota body and has muscles of his own. Don’t ask me why it exists. Because it is a thing.

Some, or both characters also have facial hair that can be found in all parts of their bodies which is rarely present in Yaoi. Sure some of them have recently-shaved beards or facial hair but where is the extra layer of hair then? Not all guys have a clear skin.

Most of them is about the sex. I mean, who doesn’t love to indulge themselves in reading it even for just a moment? I do it when I want to. Majority of Bara is more explicit with its sex scenes and kinks. And I mean it with those kinks. Some of them depicts a specific kind of fetish making BDSM a side-dish to a main course. Wanting more of it, you might need to have a self-reflection before you could go into the abyss.

And surprise: not all of them talks about sex. Unless if you wanted to find a doujin with full-on smut. As of this writing, there is no anime adapted from gay manga yet. The challenge and problem here is putting out a message behind all of the skin-on-skin interaction. Or even making a good story without the smut by having two leading muscular men. I am fine with two guys in anime being in a relationship but I’m getting tired for seeing the same body sizes and typical shipping dynamics which determines their relationships as a whole.

More of the subject will be discussed on the next post where we’ll get to know the genre’s roots. And knowing it is Pride Month too this is a great opportunity to shed light more on a subject which hasn’t been known to many. Learning new topics is the best way to understand the world around us. In some posts I may share external links to articles which also tackles the same subject because I admittedly can’t have all the information. Until then!

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