No, Thank You!!!: A BL game with bears?!

While I was doing some research for my thesis (yes, really), I stumbled onto a rather interesting upcoming boys love game called No, Thank you!!!. Why is it so interesting, you ask? Behold:

Whoa, there! Who got chest hair and massive pecks in my BL game?! 

Now, please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but the above photo is probably the closest I’ve ever seen any from of BL media come to depicting a bear. And the man in the above image isn’t the only bear-like character in No, Thank You!!!:

These burly manly men are far from what you normally see in BL media, which generally feature lanky, often effeminate “pretty boys,” so who exactly is this game being marketed towards? Well, the official website explicitly states that it is a “boys love adventure game,” and it has been featured in a number of magazines aimed at BL game fans, so we can rule out the possibility of it being an advent-guarde bara game (bara being a term used for media with homosexual characters that is aimed at a male homosexual audience). The men above certainly look like they could’ve been pulled straight out of a bara magazine, though!

Of course, not all of the characters are bears –– the two pictured above are pretty standard BL fare, in my opinion (main protagonist is the one with the black hair), but the game’s’ premise is that all of the characters are actually semes (tops), which are generally considered to be the masculine/dominant men in a BL romantic pairing. This leaves me to wonder if the creators decided to inject a little bara into their BL game, as there are a small number of BL/yaoi fans that like bara, as well. Or, you could argue that perhaps they’re trying to hook in the regular bara-loving crowd. Either way, I love to see different types of characters portrayed in these kind of games!

A funny result of the addition of muscly men into a BL setting is that some more “traditional” fans will likely balk at the sight of body hair. No, Thank You!!! has covered its bases, offering a special “body hair on/off” button that allows players to change the on-screen hair levels instantaneously! How cool (and totally weird) is that? I guess everyone wins… except for some of the men:


You can probably tell what’s going on in the above mini-manga (aka 4-koma) without a translation, but in case you’re interested:
Panel one: CUT! “Okay, good job guys!”
Panel two: “Next we’ll do the without-body hair version!” “Okay!”
Panel four: “It––” “It––” “It––” “…was just a dream!”
Bottom: The body hair is up to you.

I’d be really interested hear from both bear/bara fans and BL fans about what they think abou this game! It’s scheduled for a Japanese PC release sometime this spring. If you’re interested in seeing more images/learning more about the game, head to the official site here (be warned, some content on the site is NSFW!).

Note: It’s come to my attention that my first example might be more appropriately be described as a “muscle bear.” I hope no one is offended by how I’ve used the term – I just wanted to point out that these are the most bear-like characters I’ve ever seen in a BL game, whereas bara media depicts characters that could easily be labeled as “bears” all the time.

About Anne Lee

Also known as apricotsushi. Anne can be written with the kanji for apricot (杏), and sushi was the most quintessentially Japanese thing I could think of when I was 13, resulting in my goofy, albeit memorable, nickname.

  • Interesting! I don’t know if I’d necessarily call the guy in the first photo/screen a bear, though. If anything, he’s a muscle bear. If he were a full-on bear, I’d expect him to be bigger (either more muscular or, more likely, a bit fatter) and hairier. That said, I’m hardly an expert when it comes to bears, etc., so hopefully someone will chime in to correct me if I’m wrong (which I likely am).

    Regardless, it’s interesting that someone’s putting more stereotypically masculine men into a game like this. As such, I’m kind of sad that it’s a PC game. If it were a PSP or 3DS game, for instance, I’d probably have a copy pre-ordered already 🙂

  • What’s so bad about PC games? ;_;

  • apricotsushi

    Thanks for chiming in, Bryan! I’ve heard the term “bear” flung around a fair bit, but have always been a little anxious to use it myself… mainly because of what you mentioned, that I’m not entirely sure I’d be using it correctly. I’ll put a note in the above post about it, thanks! (also I tried to avoid saying “this dude’s a bear” outright and instead went with “this is the closest I’ve ever seen any form of BL media come to depicting a bear,” so I hope that helps)

    In the end, I really just wanted to use the term “bear” because I felt like being silly and attracting a few extra people who might not be familiar with the term bara, but I certainly don’t want to offend or anything!! Do you think the second guy is more of a bear type?

    And yeah, it’s too bad it’s on PC, but it’s an 18+ game, so I can understand why!

  • I hate playing games on a PC, miruki. I’m glad some are OK with playing games that way, but I just don’t like it 😐

  • Oh, don’t feel bad, Anne! I can’t imagine you offended or insulted anyone by calling these guys bears even if they aren’t. And, in fact, they may be bears–like I said, I’m hardly an expert despite being gay 🙂

    For me, I think they kind of straddle the line between “fit/muscular gay men with a bit of facial/chest hair” and straight-up bears. Of course, in my mind, bears tend to be, uh, chunkier, and also hairier. But that’s just MY opinion of/experience with them.

    Regardless, I don’t think you need to add a note to your post or change your headline (which I love, BTW) or anything like that, especially since this is clearly a fun post and meant to be taken that way 🙂

  • Oh, and as for your question about the second guy: well, he certainly seems hairier than the first one (look at those hands!), but it’s hard to say if he’s a bear or not without seeing his body.

    Finally, you’re 100 percent right in saying that most bara anime/manga/games include characters who are very obviously bears. So, like you said, this game seems to kind of straddle that line between the, er, twinks that usually are depicted within BL games and those that tend to appear in bara games 🙂

  • It’s great to see some variety on display. I’d like to see more games/VNs play with gender, sexuality, and body types instead of the same old, same old.

    When your player base is already niche, I can understand why nobody wants to take the risk, though.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not a gamer but a female english-language BL reader and it does seem like we’re seeing more of these hyper-masculine guys. Like the characters of Ike Reibun’s Hide and Seek and Man of Tango by Okadaya Tetuzoh (coming soon, yay!). Maybe it’s because I’m an older reader but I’m happy to see an expanding variety of age and body-type in BL. I love Lily Hoshino’s pretty little boys and Youka Nitta’s gorgeous men, but it’s nice to see oyajis and these bearish types too.

  • apricotsushi

    Yeah, I have to admit that I’m wondering who exactly they’re going to try to sell this game to. I’m worried that the muscly men will turn off regular BL fans and bara fans might not be into the game because it has too many traditional BL characters in it… But I’m glad to see them take the risk! I hope it sells well and proves there is a market (even a niche within a niche)!

  • apricotsushi

    Sorry anon, you posted a comment but for some reason it’s not showing up. Perhaps you commented from a mobile device? If so, that might be why, as I’ve had troubles with it in the past. I’ll paste what you wrote here for everyone to read:

    I’m not a gamer but a female english-language BL reader and it does seem like we’re seeing more of these hyper-masculine guys. Like the characters of Ike Reibun’s Hide and Seek and Man of Tango by Okadaya Tetuzoh (coming soon, yay!). Maybe it’s because I’m an older reader but I’m happy to see an expanding variety of age and body-type in BL. I love Lily Hoshino’s pretty little boys and Youka Nitta’s gorgeous men, but it’s nice to see oyajis and these bearish types too.

  • apricotsushi

    Heh I went ahead and added a little note anyway, hope you don’t mind 🙂 I’m glad you like the headline! I hardly ever come up with catchy ones, so I was pretty proud that I managed this one.

    And thanks for your help with/opinion on “bear classification”! I guess they wouldn’t be called cubs, as cubs are usually younger, right?

  • You come up with catchy headlines all the time, Anne! Or at least I think you do.

    And, no, this guy definitely isn’t a cub. They’re younger. And, yes, usually hairier and chubbier.

    Seriously, I should send this screenshot to a few friends of mine who are into bears, etc., and see what they think. I’m so far from a bear or a bear lover, etc., that I’m not sure I should be speaking for that crowd.

  • How is a PC different from a console (besides being upgradeable ;>)? I mean, I understand why someone wouldn’t like keyboard/mouse controls, I tend to not play games on the PC where I have to use the keyboard for controls, with very few exceptions (Torchlight II currently)… but visual novel games most of the time just require you to click or hit space/enter to continue the dialogue – you can easily plug in a controller and manually set the buttons to those keys needed for the game and it wouldn’t feel any different from playing on a console. 😛

    Also… VN games do not require you to have a heavy system… so yeah.

    I very much prefer playing VN games on the PC, main reason being the faaaaaast loading / save times compared to handheld or console versions. Seriously, I don’t get why saving takes so long, even on the PS3… but well, they’ve drastically reduced those times compared to PS2 / PSOne era times… but it’s still not fast enough. XD

    You should give PC gaming a chance.. there are so many great adventure games you’re missing out on. ;__;

  • And here I thought you were talking about literal bears. That would have been funnier and more interesting.

  • apricotsushi

    Really? That’s a shame, I think these bears are equally, if not more, interesting! I guess if you need BL games with animals, there’s always Hatoful Boyfriend 😉

  • SnS

    Though I definitely enjoy the presence of “bears” in this game, I can’t say I’m not disappointed to see that they get topped by the cute guy. xD I’m going to give the game a try as soon as it gets translated, though, but I think I’ma focus on Hiroyuki’s route. xD

  • apricotsushi

    I think Hiroyuki’s probably my top pick to start, too! The game’s available on MangaGamer’s website now, if you want to grab it 🙂 (would link but their site is blocked by the library’s wifi, haha)

  • SnS

    Would love to, but am broke at the moment. xD By the way, sorry for bothering you, but I’m new to this whole BL VN thingy, so I was wondering if this was some kind of genre where small guys top muscular men and stuff?

  • apricotsushi

    Oh, it’s not a bother at all! I bet there’s probably a term for small guys topping more muscular men out there, but I’m not aware of it. XD;; I think you’re seeing that here because BL usually is aimed at a female audience, who *generally* prefer skinnier guys in BL, while at the same time the game also has more gay manga-like character types such as the buff and older guys. So it’s kind of a mix of genres!