I Read A Yaoi Audiobook

If you haven’t noticed now, I’m a massive anime/manga/game nerd. I’ve posted about josei mangalight novels, and I’ve even reviewed a few volumes. Over the last few months, I’ve gotten back into manga and games in a way that I haven’t been for years. I’ve never stopped enjoying it, but I did sort of fall out of it for a while. Even if my last few obsessions have been anime and games, my focus was only on the individual series. Not manga and games as a whole.

Once again, I’m desperate to visit Japan. It’s not something that I will be able to afford any time soon, so I’ve been watching videos of people living in Japan on YouTube instead. It has been a lot of fun, and one that I stumbled upon last night was a British voice actor living in Japan…producing an audiobook of a yaoi manga in a month. The manga was called You Are My Princess, and the project was pulled together by CDawgVA, which you can check out here.

Now, I know yaoi isn’t considered anything good. We tend to use the term BL now instead, and there are some issues with stereotypes and other things. With most of it being produced for straight women, it is obviously a problem. Yet, teenage me discovering shonen-ai and yaoi is one of the things that helped me figure out my gender. I saw these guys in love with guys, and I not only related with them but wanted to be them. There is also the point that I was never against shoujo-ai, and I’ve always been happy to read relationships of any gender, provided they’re cute enough. But I know in some ways that I did still come across very much like one of those fangirls. I have grown out of that, but I do still appreciate some good BL.

When watching this video as, damn, that sounded fun, I decided to buy the audiobook. The story sounded kind of cute, but I knew what I was getting myself in for. It was going to be ridiculous with some very awkward smut.

And, yeah, definitely awkward smut.

This book was full-cast which is a lot of fun, but it also made it feel more like an audio drama rather than an audiobook. That’s not a bad thing. I wish I could listen to more drama CDs, but my Japanese is just not there. I adore full-cast audiobooks like Doctor Aphra and Assassins Creed Gold, both of which were more audio dramas more than traditional books. So that wasn’t a problem and is actually something I wish there was more of.

What it did mean was the sex scene was very weird as it was just talking and moaning. With these characters being teenagers as well, it was just very uncomfortable. I did know it was going to be in there, and I knew it wouldn’t be for me. So it wasn’t like I was shocked or anything. What I will say was that everything in this book was consensual. Consent was asked for before anything happened, and they also talked through feelings and things. Aside from some light bothering at the beginning, this did seem like a pretty healthy relationship. The boys were pretty cute, so that’s great.

The romance in this was cute, and I appreciated the way their relationship went. I do wish we’d gotten a little more of other characters though. The character I was most excited to meet from the video was a rival character, but pretty much all there was to him were the lines you hear during the audition. I like how he looks in the manga, and I was interested in seeing what he actually did. I did wind up a little disappointed because of that, and I’d have liked more of the MC’s friends too.

I guess this was just a one volume yaoi manga though, so obviously, the focus will be on the boys. There was only so much material, so maybe a straight manga translation just doesn’t work as well. I know more audiobooks are coming out of light novels. The Sword Art Online novels for instance, but are traditional audiobooks with limited casts. I’ve not listened to any, as no novels I want to read have audio yet. But it does suggest that we’re going to get more material like this that we can actually listen to.

Just maybe avoid some of the more mature manga.

It was definitely an experience and one I mostly enjoyed. I loved listening to the cute aspects, and it was fun to hear a manga style story for once. It was super short at only 40 something minutes long. So if you’re looking for something fun to listen to, why not give this a go? Just be prepared for some levels of cringe interspersed with many cute kitties.

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