THIS POST WAS WRITTEN AT GGY META BACK IN 2008. Please be advised that none of these titles are current.
Recently, over at Boys On Boys on Film, the monthly round of reviews were posted of new manga releases, and one of the reviews notes, correctly, that Amazon touts Be Beautiful’s release of Midaresomenishi: A Legend of Samurai Love as something like a ‘great starter for yaoi manga readers.’ 0_0.
I couldn’t disagree more, and neither could the reviewer!
While Midare is one of my FAVORITE works by Kodaka, it’s certainly not something you want to give a reader that’s never read BL. ((0_o)).
There are themes in Japanese BL and American m/m erotica to wit calling them rape or ‘BDSM-kink’ is an understatement. Sure, BDSM and rape have their respective audiences, but if the actual pull of the work is the ‘abusive relationship,’ and/or the ’emotional trauma’ that comes with it, that’s what yaoi veterans call ‘male abuse stuff.’
MAS, or Male Abuse Stuff, includes not just the physical violence but the exploration of the characters involved before, during, and after. Once active online, MAS-zine defined itself as ‘Men Loving Men with dark elements in various genres: fantasy, science fiction, historical, contemporary, yaoi, and original slash.’
MAS isn’t outright Non-Con or BDSM; a plot must be in play that ties the scenes of abuse together. It’s easy to toss most MAS themes in with bondage manga and NCS [rape] fics and manga, but MAS is more than just scene-of-the-abuse. It’s the actual cycle of abuse, its impact on victims, and the thrill it gives the perps. It examines why the aggressors do what they do and how their victims suffer during and after. It’s all delicious angst.
Some great examples of MAS themes in films are Brett C. Leonard’s Jailbait, or Justin Davies, and Dean Francis’s short film Boys Grammar [Amazon]. For fans of Oz, the entire Beecher/Keller plot line [mainly Seasons 3 & 4] is heavenly MAS. One of the hottest MAS television exploits came from writer Linda LaPlaca. Depicted in Prime Suspect 3, it included male abuse victims, dead male hustlers, and troubled
trannies…its MAS overload, simmered to perfection.
In BL from Japan, titles touting MAS include Motoni Moduru’s Rika the Breeder and the legendary Tori Maia’s Sadistic Boy [her No Tachi series is BDSM, and I tend to discount it as MAS for that reason, despite one of its relationships being very MASish]. Recently licensed titles like Kodaka’s Midare Someneshi and Minami Megumi’s Pleasure Dome collection are tasty examples of MAS, as is, to a less sexual degree, The Judged by Akira Honma.
Some never cross the line into flat-out abuse, displaying what I call MAS, yet never quite going full-on rape. These fall into Aestheticism’s June Cat Project under Sick and Twisted Relationships. My works notwithstanding, my favorite author will always be Juxian Tang, the undisputed master of all-out MAS!
Remember, MAS themes aren’t for everyone; sometimes it’s easier just to read the hack/slash rape some publishers like to praise as ‘hot yaoi,’ but rapey tropes aren’t MAS… nothing goes on there beyond the physical rape or forced passion. There’s no exploration of the victim’s mental suffering or the aggressor’s reasons; these aspects make the sexual or abusive scenarios one cut above and slightly to the left.
UPDATE: The best of the current MAS selections I’ve read recently is Killing Stalking by Korean creator Koogi.
I’ll leave comments on this post for like-minded readers if you’d like to share more recent MAS titles with the class.
————apologies for using the term ‘trannies’ in this article. My own physicality aside, it was an ugly term in 2008 and its an ugly term now. I have no excuse – Tina 2022