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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Favorite Yaoi Reads Of 2011

Listen y'all, I love me some boys' love media. Does that surprise you? It shouldn't! Any blog with a weekly feature for fujoshi lovin' is bound to do one of those 'best of' lists for 2011 - and so I shall. And with the exception of number five (dang it, why won't someone license this already?), they are all very much accessible in English through legit channels either online or via hard copies in graphic novel form.

Below is five of my most favorite BL-flavored reads that I had the pleasure of experiencing this year, both in terms of manga and webcomics. Enjoy!

5. NURSE GA OSHIGOTO by Lily Hoshino.

Earlier this year, I rediscovered the magic of Lily Hoshino's works - and one of them was Nurse Ga Oshigoto, a collection of super smutty one-shots that mostly revolved around the cute boys that work in hospitals and the older guys who like teasing them until they blush and then some. It's certainly a welcome break from the angst on this list, as it is adorable and sexy and a great read.

Scanlations of this are available . . . well, I'm sure y'all know how to find things like that. Just be sure to support the license if a North American distributor ever picks it up.

Read the rest of my list after the jump! 




4. ALONE IN MY KING'S HAREM by Lily Hoshino.


Shush, okay? Yes, Lily Hoshino appears twice in a row. Anything wrong with that? Anyways, Alone In My King's Harem is amazing. All the stories within feature many of Hoshino's hallmarks: gorgeous boys who look like girls, tragic relationships, surprising happily ever after-type endings. And, of course, Hoshino's typically pretty art. My favorite story within this collection would have to be the title story of a love between a king and his consort; their relationship is both tragic and uplifting despite the circumstances that lead to a king's downfall.

This manga has been licensed by Digital Manga Publishing and is available for purchase at Amazon.



3. ARTIFICE by Alex Woolfson.

The first (but certainly) not the last web comic on this list. Hosted by the good people at Yaoi 911, Artifice is a smart sexy science-fiction story about a man named Deacon who is really a machine, considering a thing by those he works for, who is sent to wipe out a group of rebels on Da Vinci Four - and ends up falling in love with the remaining human still there, a young man named Jeff, as Deacon waits for his people to come and finish the job he could not. It is part drama, part doomed romance. I've fallen a bit behind in reading it, but I can't wait to catch up to Woolfson's most recent updates.

You can read the Artifice webcomic starting here.


2. ALICE THE 101ST by Chigusa Kawai.


Sparkly pretty boy musician drama time! I had the pleasure of reviewing this series for another site, and let me tell you, it is truly a wonderful and adorable read. In a prestigious music school that only enrolls 100 students per year, Aristide Lang is the musical genius who has become the 101st student, giving the student body cause to keep him in their sights. Problem is that Aristide is a terrible musician! Or is he? As his newest friends, the shy roommate Theo and the arrogant Victor, soon find out, Aristide has musical talents that are hard to define; could he be the kind of musical savant the school had been waiting for? Besides being absolutely cute and bubbly, this manga is definitely BL-flavored; just look at all the scenes between Aristide and Victor, or Aristide and Theo, and the slash content is hard to deny. I wish they'd make an anime out of this!

This manga has been licensed by Digital Manga Publishing. You can purchase the first volume at Akadot.


1. TEAHOUSE by Emirain.

Teahouse is the best. It is simply the best yaoi I read this year. This web comic stole my heart and ate my brains and left me wanting more after every update like no web comic has ever had me wanting before. It has some of the most gorgeous art and coloring I've ever seen in a yaoi media, hands down. Teahouse is a tale of, put simply, a classy house of sex workers and the clientele they interact with on a regular basis. The cast of characters within the Teahouse are some of the most interesting folks I've seen in fiction this past year: the owner, Atros; the beautiful Linneus who has a complicated relationship with Atros (Linn's my favorite!); the tattooed-and-pierced-to-hell bad boy Axis; the adorable green-haired lady, Claret; the wickedly perverted Mercutio whose 'toy' collection is truly one to marvel at; the blushing innocent boy and newest of the Teahouse folks, Rory. And that is among others, including some very high class members of the royalty and some not-so-nice clients.

Let me tell you, there are few feelings as great as when I see that there's a new page of Teahouse to read in my Google Reader. It is simply an amazing story. There's drama and romance and humor and, of course, sex, lots of sex. So, you know, I'd advise the younger folks not yet comfortable with explicit sexual situations to keep away from this one. But for those who can, you will find a treasure of reading material like little other around. You can even buy hard copies of the first two 'chapters', including scenes and art not shared on the website. They are certainly worth the cost, as I can personally attest to after buying Chapter One at this year's Bishiecon - where Emirain was the guest artist of honor! I pretty much flipped my shit when I found out, doubly so when I met them at con. They are so nice and funny! Totally worth supporting with your hard earned fujoshi dollar bills.

So, yes. Read Teahouse. Love Teahouse. Buy Teahouse. And petition for Teahouse to be a guest at Yaoi-Con, where their precious faces can be appreciated by lots more people. You won't regret it.

Feel free to share in the comments your own favorite yaoi reads of 2011! Double points if you, too, are as big a Teahouse fanatic as I am.