Spotted Flower 26, OR IS IT?

Well, cat’s… not out of the bag? Yikes. I guess we should’ve seen this coming, knowing Madarame. Somehow I’m starting to not love Mada so much, what with the whole lying to his wife at the first opportunity thing. I should’ve seen it coming! It’s in Mada’s nature.

Bzzzt!! Bzzzt!! Communication intercepted:

Madarame really is a sou-uke. Even the basics of his character design compared to Sasahara, Kousaka, Tanaka, et cetera is slimmer than most, and though his noticeable cheekbones may seem too masculine at first, they’re really just a reinforcement of slim, lithe body: perfect for taking a femdick in the ass. He has been married for years now, and having a child, settling down, is the ultimate marker of the end of his youth if marriage wasn’t enough evidence of this. In his last gasp of youthful air before he is swallowed by true, unchangeable adulthood, he grasps at something, anything, from his college days that he can cling to for dear life. The gasp he made with Hato’s dick in his ass is neither triumphant nor guilty— it’s a mono no aware acceptance of his fate as he transitions into an adulthood that will pull him further away from his love of all things within the realm of anime and manga, for, not only does he have a day job, but a child to take care of, and with that there will be no way for him to live his life as an otaku to his fullest any longer. This grim fate of his, even if he has come to accept it, can only be altered remotely by something huge (in his ass) to change his (sex) life from what his is used to or comfortable with. When he’s just fucking Hato in the ass, this is meaningless. It was the expected outcome had he chosen Hato in the first place. It was only that what-if that nagged at him all those years— “What if it really was HatoMada and not MadaHato?” that could have taken him away from the comfortable, normie life he has known. This was the truth of a relationship with Hato and Mada, for, even if they had started out as MadaHato, the curiosity would have built: Hato knows how this looks in BL, and Mada can probably figure that out too, but do either know how it looks IRL? At the end of his life as someone who can even pretend to be an independent Otaku, Madarame must sate his curiosity just this once and know what that undeniably Otaku and undeniably queer vision looks like: HatoMada.

Wait, isn’t this just talking about Chapter 22 again? Didn’t I say enough about this already? What more is there to talk about but…

ENGLISH TRANSLATION IS OUT?

何ザファク?

OH YES. This means so much. The part I missed from before was the declaration of love, and this changes everything. It’s not Hato making love to Madarame, it’s just that Hato does love Madarame. This transcends what I expected of Shimoku’s understanding of BL— this is how BL truly is at its core. A confession followed by an ass-fucking. Perfect. PERFECT. Also holy hell this sex scene is hot? I forgot it was this hot before. I could really go for some boy ass after reading this. Hee. But this confession of love means so much… How does this change our understanding of Hato all this time? The way I understood the ending of harem arc was that Hato had given up their love entirely and won’t pursue Madarame any longer, but now we see their love has continued all this time. This changes everything though to see this affair is romantic as well and not purely sexual as we had both supposed. The romantic attachment A. Means there is a greater potential for future involvement with yummy, yummy HatoMada B. Means this affair is more than just a dying gasp for Madarame but a pent up frustration of not having satisfying sex with Saki (sorry I can’t be bothered with all the alts / !’s) that could develop (if it hasn’t already) into something romantic on his part too, and C. Means that Hato is lying to Yajima in Chapter 23 when Yajima asks, “You did it for the art, right?” and Hato is like, “Yeah sure.” In reality this goes beyond just art, but the fulfilling of a personal dream on a deeper level than that. Does this make it an affair on Hato’s part as well? Does this spell tribulations not only for Madarame and Saki but for Hato and Yajima? And, most importantly, WILL THERE BE MORE HATOMADA?

Hang on a second. There’s something deeply troubling about this. This reminds me of a certain other love confession, which ended with a moving into…

Oh no…

Not the fujoshi zone!

We are in grave peril, folks, of a character entering a fujoshi zone here. Red alert to all systems. If we are to navigate this minefield of explosive, knock-your-socks-off HatoMada bonking, we need to acknowledge these two possible outcomes:

1. The Yajima Fujoshi Zone.

With this new understanding, we know that Hato does have romantic attachment to Mada still, and thus when they say to Yajima that they just did it for the sake of art, this was a lie. Should we see more HatoMada happening, Yajima’s gonna be stuck. She’s operating under the assumption this is just for the BL, when this reaches a romantic affair that pulls Hato away from her (unless we’re taking a poly-amorous interpretation of this? Hmm… Something tells me Shimoku isn’t gonna take this route, though he does love to surprise his readers so anything is possible). Yajima is thus stuck having to ship her partner with Madarame for the sweet, sweet BLs, but loses out on being able to have Hato for herself in the process.

2. The Hato Fujoshi Zone.

Having now bonked Madarame successfully, Hato has drawing materials for ages. In spite of feeling guilty about betraying Saki, Madarame probably isn’t 100% against things continuing, but Hato, too caught up with the BL goggles on, neglects their fruitful potential with Madarame in favor of pursuing their BL passions. That’s what we saw in Watashi Ga Motete Dousunda after all— confession leading into the fujoshi zone, with a retconning of the confession just being words said in the moment, enacting the role of the seme rather than truly confessing their love to Madarame. We saw this happen once before, and the very fact that it has happened gives greater potential for us to see it once more. Either way, there is only one way to escape this minefield:

HatoMada and SakiYajima cross-pairing / orgy (lite; I assume SakiHato and Yajimada have little possibility). After all, with this, Hato stays safely away from the Hato Fujoshi Zone by bonking Mada on a regular basis, and Yajima isn’t a passive agent in allowing this to happen, but gets the hawt yuri happening in the mean time.

Ohohohohoh yes. Ohohohoho yes!

Wait, you want me to talk about chapter 26?

Pfft. What do you want me to say? Go Mada, you deceived your wife about getting bonked by a trap the night after she gave birth. I think the revelation of what’s been translated properly has little effect on what’s happened over the past couple chapters leading up to this— it’s what comes next where this will matter.

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Spotted Flower 24-25: MORE! THERE MUST BE MORE!

Well, it didn’t take long for !Saki to find out what’s going on. Dammit, !Hato, you forgot to wash his house sweater too? No way you’ll be the perfect hus- er, wi- er, spouse at that rate! Well, !Saki knows what !Mada’s been up to then, just not who. If he gets lucky, she’ll think it was with some woman she doesn’t know, there’ll be a talk about it, and a nice and easy reconciliation, right? Wraps it all up in a neat little bow.

Whatever you do !Madarame, don’t let her know that she got beat by a trap!

Er, wait a minute, why am I rooting for them to stay together? Isn’t the better turn of events here that she finds out it was !Hato, gets pissed the fuck off that !Mada’s been having gay sex (See: Traps are gay), divorces him, takes the baby, and then !Mada’s left with an open, vulnerable heart for !Hato to fill! And it’s not just his heart that they’re filling, naw’m sayin?

Shit! This is great! Is it possible that I’ll be fulfilled not just by a legendary one night stand but a literally universe-altering romance? I had immediately dismissed it out of hand, but here… I could see there being a real chance with this! Maybe just like, 1% chance, but I will fucking take it.

So, to answer your question from last time, yes, !Madarame,  you were cheating on her. You slept with somebody else. That’s what cheating is. If it makes you feel better, !Hato got more time on page with their dick in you than your dick in them, so if !Saki asks, you weren’t *really* fucking someone else. They were fucking you!!! Heh. Heheheheh.

Well, unbelievers, I think this is fact! Some of you all were hoping it was a dream or just in somebody’s imagination. The proof is here. Get fucked. Please, scram from this masterpiece in art that is HatoMada. You cannot turn back.

If you can’t tell, I have very little of substance to say, but I can still gloat plenty.

Update: Wait, she knows!~ I hadn’t considered that !Saki would recognize !Hato’s scent. Mwahhahaha. She knows! SHE KNOWS!~

I Am Hato

Why do I like HatoMada so much? Why do I relate so much to Hato? Maybe it’s just that Genshiken hit me at the right point in my life. I had started questioning my gender identity thanks to Hourou Musuko, and Hato became a source of comfort and possibility for me. Regardless of their gender identity, they’re able to become the perfect girl, and, unlike how (heaven forbid I use the word) traps are portrayed in most manga, Hato puts in the effort. They do voice training for like, three months, wear makeup even when going for a “plain” look, and ruthlessly epilate their body to the point where they’re freaked out and embarrassed by the idea of the girls seeing a single facial hair pop out.

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Still Not Done With HatoMada

I think in order to truly be HatoMada fan, you really have to embrace brevity and transience. The gratifying moments of a fan of this pairing are short, far between, and riddled with “ifs” and reasons why they shouldn’t happen. I think that’s partially what makes them so wonderful together— they’re such an unlikely pairing. Two individuals who, by default, had assumed they could never be attracted to someone who is biologically male (Madarame may be fine with “traps” (quotes because it’s kind of an offensive term but also that’s what they’re called; it’s distinct from being trans or being a crossdresser so you gotta call them that) but he obviously has to come to terms with the gap between what he sees in fiction and in his imagination, and the reality of the nearest approximation of this), both find themselves forced to acknowledge the fluidity of their sexuality. They’re the underdog pairing without a doubt, which just makes the few moments of sweet, sweet relief all the better.

To the two years I’ve spent already shipping HatoMada, it was my assumption that the goal was them to, naturally, be in a relationship. Obviously in an ideal world all time would cease and they would be together in this way— the part about their relationship that is so, so viscerally affecting is how perfectly I can project myself onto Hato and feel the desire to care for somebody and find appreciation in traditionally negative qualities (lack of self confidence, poor life decision making skills, etc), feel the desire to care for somebody outside the gender of people I had thought myself to be attracted to, all of this I can do because yea, Madarame is so perfectly and lovably that, and Hato is the true appreciator of this, and, conversely, I can completely relate to Madarame— why is this person interested in such a loser as him? Hato picks up on all of Madarame’s wonderful qualities instantly— his acceptance of others no matter what, his legitimate caring and traditional, borderline chivalrous romantics, his entirely self-serious humility. He’s really a great guy underneath this guise of “loser,” and Hato invites the reader to appreciate all of this about him. Through it too, though, we see all there is to appreciate about Hato. Their ability to notice these things and take the steps, the painfully slow and realistic steps natural for such a person, their commitment to changing and overcoming how they previously viewed themselves. Not many people even with all the time in the world could come to accept not just being attracted to a man as an otherwise straight-assumed person, but being attracted to this man for some of his masculine qualities and being willing to take on a (admittedly binary) traditionally feminine role to seduce this man. Hato is the ultimate temptress, but they are a temptress that I can’t not see myself in. If the world were perfect Hato and Mada would be happily married and settled down together, but in the reality they live, this idealized and romantic lifestyle must be replaced with the sensual, pheromone (and alcohol) induced peaks of pleasure, so their connection resonates not as a flowing stroke of a bow, but the quick, staccato motion of a plucked string. If it were not for all this, the poignancy of their relationship would be lost, and seeing !Hato and !Madarame having sex in Spotted Flower would be turned to mere fan-pandering from this intimate, meaningful intent. And, that’s why I’m entirely satisfied with them having sex and there being few hopes for a relationship that lasts beyond this. Hato, the ultimate temptress, has led Madarame down the path of adultery. Their purpose has been fulfilled.

The All-Gender Gaze (also Chapter 22 of Spotted Flower)

I’m sure somebody has made this point before, but I thought of it on my own so whatever. Genshiken the original focuses more heavily on the male gaze and how the largely male cast observes female anime characters as objects of lust. It doesn’t take long for Ohno to be introduced, but she’s kind of the outlier as a general nod to “Not all Otaku are male guys!!” Then we get Ogiue, who really expands the perspective of Fujoshi and clarifies that it’s not just how this one creepy girl really likes butch men but still lets herself be objectified to fit in with the dudes. By the end of Genshiken the original there’s a pretty even split between showcasing the straight(?) male and female gaze while still existing under the construct of a male-dominated Genshiken where by default, the girls are being objectified most (see: cosplaying).

Genshiken Nidaime initially sets itself out as “just a reversal” of this by having the female-dominated Genshiken where by default, the male are being objectified most (see: literally the entire fucking manga they’re shipping the past male members of Genshiken). We’re given our token male character, Kuchiki, who, while happy to view himself as the member of a harem (ironic, isn’t it, that he’s the only “male“ character of the Genshiken who doesn’t in Nidaime?), is only viewed a component of the fujoshi’s shipping. (As you totally-not-alt-right youngins would say, get cucked!) But besides this and a fu”danshi”, it’s just doing the opposite of before, right?

Heh. Heh. Time to pull out my large, round spectacles and kale smoothies, my friends. It’s queer time. I’ve probably said it before, think about it for two seconds and you can understand, but Hato exists largely as a fujoshi, not as a fudanshi. It’s fucking spelled out for you by like, the fourth chapter or something, I’m sure you know the explanation by now. If not just ask me and I‘ll make a separate post on it. Anyway, Hato kind of is this catch-all of gender and sexual exploration. Don’t say they aren’t… come on. They literally prefer to live as male and female part time in Nidaime and !Hato presents as female in Spotted Flower and has gotten a boob-job to boot. There’s your gender exploration. Now how’s about the big question that becomes the central plot of like, a few volumes of Nidaime about how the fuck is it possible for somebody who reads that much yaoi to not find themselves a little bit attracted to men. Tada!! Queer representation, guys! Y’all straight people can do it too, you know? Just don’t make it a super negative representation and have a good grasp on how pronouns work… maybe have done some research about discrimination queer people face… yea, okay, fair enough, I see why you don’t, but Kio did and it makes me happy (disregard the pronouns bit; I’m not sure how common gender-neutral pronouns are in Japanese so he gets a pass). Anyway though, Hato’s purpose is largely to demonstrate how fucking interesting a queer perspective of traditionally binary objectification in manga can be. I know it takes some research, but it makes your story so much more interesting.

Spotted Flower, I don’t even know what the fuck it does. It’s 4D chess or something. (It doesn’t help that my translation of what Chapter 22 says is provided by Google Translate.) Muda-kun has probably covered this better than I can already, but lemme do my best. I’m only like, four months late to the hype train. We were talking about the objectifying gaze, but let’s just address the elephant in the room.So basically !Madarame is making !Hato an option, he’s letting himself be seduced by them, because he’s been weighed down by all the responsibilities of marriage and having a life and garbage like that. He says (according to Google Translate anyway), that he doesn’t want to make his wife embarrassed by his childish interests and behaviors, but also how this in itself is childish behavior, letting himself be changed by his desire to please the woman who pleasures him. And Hato, ever the beautiful succubus, asks if he wants to become a dirty adult. Not only this, but they’ve prepared. They’ve always been waiting for this moment to happen (and they fucking say it too). They’ve researched all about how two penis-havers actually do it (not like all that yaoi shit). Madarame (shit, sorry, I meant !Madarame) realizes partway through that he really is a sou uke at heart (It was always meant to be HatoMada. You know it. MadaHato was just the excuse so he could maintain face of still being straight. Now that Hato’s got boobs though, he can handle getting fucked in the butt.) and Hato’s TRUE POWER LEVEL IS FINALLY SHOWN. YEAAA!!! They become God, literally, and satisfy the dream they’ve had for like, the past 10 years or however long it’s been since Genshiken (shit, they’re separate timelines guys, okay?!) about being THE REALEST BOI!! Google Translate may not be much, but I understood the part where they say “I will love you with all my body and mind… relax and let me do it… (p 25).” I don’t think there’s much lost in translation there. (Also in the next chapter they literally say they did more giving than taking. I’m pretty sure it was Hato’s dick in Madarame, okay?)

Um, was I going to analyze something here? Oh, right. So Spotted Flower said fuck you to the traditional notion of male / male yaoi (Imean, they are both biologically male, but that’s about it). Instead it embraces the more gender-neutral satisfaction of shipping two characters, not to appeal to fujoshi, but to appeal to fans of HatoMada. Actually, let’s be real, it’s probably just to piss everybody else off. I’m sure some HatoMada fans are pissed too since their love is only satisfied in a kind of disgusting affair (dude, your wife just gave birth and you’re cheating on her. That’s pretty fucked), but you know what? I was depressed on a likely clinical level after it dropped that Madarame wasn’t going to pick Hato and once again when Madarame picked that fucking bitchass twat Sue. So to see HatoMada come to fruition in any extent pleases me greatly. Not to mention, this is undeniably Madarame’s fault here. Like, say what you will about Hato being guilty for preying on him, but Madarame called them over, Madarame asked them for sex. It is his fault 100%. And you know what, I’m not a fan of HatoMada because I sympathize so deeply and truely with Madarame. It’s because of Hato. Even beyond this too, Hato makes the extra good boi move of telling Madarame he shouldn’t and that it’s betrayal et cetera. So, you know what? I’m pretty happy with this.

Also, you know what, fuck you Angela! FUCK YOU! You said that Madarame sou uke was fiction and this was reality, but you know what the real reality is? IT‘S MADARAME GETTING THE D BOIIIII!!!! AHA!!! I WIN! HATO WINS! IT’S THE BEST!!!!!!! Madarme fucking asked for it. HE ASKED FOR IT. All you faithless, weak-hearted sorts didn’t believe, but I did. I never stopped believe in HatoMada. Ask my friends, even, I’ve had debates over death of the author being used to the extent of not accepting the last volume of Genshiken as canon. I ALWAYS KNEW AT HEART THAT HATOMADA HAD TO BE TRUTH.And if this is all that happens— if the two never fuck again, I’m still satisfied. I don’t need a relationship even. I just needed to see HatoMada be true once. And oh boy it was, in gratuitous detail. The irreverent, non-hyper-sexualized, non-pornographic even, tone that it takes only makes it better. After all, I’m too much of a queer boi to be turned on by such normal interests as penis-in-butthole sex pumping back and forth.So basically woohoo! We’ve got our queer representation of sex in !Genshiken. Something about the queer gaze … I guess it goes that Hato is queer and they lust after Madarame, male (though as the traditionally feminine role in yaoi, which in itself is interesting, since the original intent of yaoi was for the uke to be relatable to the female reader and further satisfy the male-dominant, female-submissive cultural notion where the man takes what he wants and the female is helpless, but here Hato is, undeniably serving the  role still as a fujoshi and yet lusting and relating to the dominant position… is it somehow because they were assigned male at birth?), but also after women (as evidenced by the fact that their partner is Yajima), but they kind of exclusively read fujoshi-oriented manga i.e. male-male yaoi. It’s almost as if Kio knew about how the uke is supposed to be what “straight” women “project” themselves onto and also about how fujoshi really don’t project themselves onto either character per se but rather just take the truly position of power by being just an observer, a powerful observer, who derives sexual and non-sexual pleasure just by seeing how it all goes down. And also about how by fujoshi sharing their fantasies they occupy this virtual lesbian state (see: Akiko Mizoguchi’s “Reading and Living Yaoi”). And also about… you know. Point is he gives a good representation of fujoshi and shit. It’s pretty cool.

Watashi Ga Motete: Madarame’s Harem

Click. I got it. I figured it out.

By the way, I wrote a general review (largely repeating what I’ve said here) on WataMote 2.0: https://myanimelist.net/reviews.php?id=233309

I understand why I’m so invested in Nishina winning the harem lottery. I got it half way, but not the other half. I got that she was basically Hato, but I didn’t get the harem. Serinuma and Madarame are the same too. Not just Hato and Nishina. Swap the genders and look at things:

Madarame, male, has four in love with him, three girls and one crossdressing guy. In the end, it’s between one girl and the crossdresser. The girl won, which made me sad because it wasn’t an LGBT ending and also wasn’t a BL ending, -2 points.

Serinuma, female, has five in love with her, four guys and one girl who has crossdressed on multiple occasions. In the end, it’s probably going to be between Nishina and Igarashi, and Igarashi’s gonna win. That’ll make me sad because it won’t be LGBT and it will remove the possibility for Igarashi as a BL character, -2 points.

But there is a hope, a tiny speck of hope… And that hope is that Junko’s yaoi mangaka background has convinced her to end it with Nishina! I’m putting all my hopes on her! If she can make up for the loss of Hato by taking Serinuma for herself, then all will be right in the world once more.

And if not… we’ll see what happens when I lose as much weight as Serinuma, but without gaining any weight first.

Cross-Appeal: Genshiken

So those of you who chat with me / have chatted with me in the past know that my mother watches anime with me sometimes, particularly when I’m re-watching a show I really like. At the moment, we’re watching Genshiken, and she enjoys it a surprising amount. This made me realize that Genshiken actually has a very broad appeal.

It’s enjoyable for someone who knows nothing about anime or manga culture because they can relate to Kasukabe so much and laugh at the nerds being nerdy, appreciating the show as a Big Bang Theory type of show. That’s the category my mom falls into for sure. She has no interest in being an otaku, but indirectly is learning a lot about otaku culture (just as Kasukabe does) through saturation.

It’s enjoyable for a new anime fan who wants to get more into anime. I can confidently say that what inspired me to get into yaoi so much was Genshiken Nidaime. Heck, Digibro himself said that Genshiken inspired him to learn more about anime when he was younger. That’s what Genshiken does to you! There are so many anime references and otaku culture things that you become saturated in it while watching and want to be that saturated in it all the time. You enjoy it because you want to become Madarame or another member (Hato, for me).

It’s enjoyable for an experienced anime fan because then you get those references. You understand all of Sue’s quotes. You understand all the subtleties. And watching others do the things that you already do is even more gratifying.

I’m not saying Genshiken is for everyone. The show is ugly and parts can be unbearably slow. Often for anyone in the first category, the parts more just showing some otaku culture things (say, the episode where Tanaka instructs Ohno and Sasahara on making a plamos) can be pretty dull. Often for anyone in the third category, the kind of cliché or Big Bang Theory -style jokes may be kind of repetitive and annoying. Often for anyone at all, some characters can be a bit too expository for what feels natural and realistic, which is exacerbated by the fact that the show is typically so good about having realistic and natural scenes.

But you know what, it’s good enough for me to love it. If you can’t tell from previous posts, Genshiken is one of my favorite manga and anime.