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.