…it’s still the 29th of October where I am as I write this. It’s the end of Ace Week, but depending on your definition of “where your week ends”, you may still have more than enough time to read this.
You were probably thinking, “Hey, no Halloween post this year?” There is one, if you wait a few days. (Note from the future and/or for the decontextualised: It’s this post.)
However, being a student of the social sciences and such who likes to discuss gender (remember, that essentially started this blog) and how things…got complicated earlier this year in that regard, it got me looking into these genders and sexualities I thought weren’t my business as a kid – first I read Loveless by Alice Oseman, which got me looking at the Oseman-verse (which has a bunch of LGBTIAQ+ characters, missing maybe only a genderfluid and/or intersex individual) and other potential sources of representation. Remember, around when I began my descent into manga, I was shunning all the het stuff but the trans stuff (The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson comes to mind) and genderfluid stuff (look at Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin for that) was okay, so clearly there’s a thread here.
That feeds right back into anime and manga – there’ve been strides made in recent years in LGBTIAQ+ representation due to a concerted effort by publishers (particularly Seven Seas), but YA fiction and the corresponding content in other media seems to be the prime haven for this stuff. The big title when it comes to ace/aro content is Bloom Into You, although there are a few ace manga such as Is Love the Answer? I have yet to dig into and probably more if I jump the language barrier. People also tend to point to One Piece‘s Luffy as ace and/or aro, due to Oda’s comment about him being in love with adventure (also see the vol. 54 SBS here). I’d love to move towards that point where aces and aros don’t have to be defined by the type of work they’re in – something like Oseman’s Radio Silence, characterised by its intense friendship, or alternatively Vengeful by VE Schwab, where the asexuality was hinted at in the predecessor Vicious but not revealed properly until this book, would do wonders for this sort of thing.
Finding people who are explicitly aromantic or on the aromantic spectrum is more difficult, given I don’t like to dabble in relevant genres where it would be more detectable. Apparently Call of the Night can be read as an exploration of asexuality…(?) I’m a little hesitant on that, given how I’ve started reading even harem protagonists rebuffing their supposed love interests’ advances and Jakurai failing to flirt with women (in a drama track that came with the FP & M+ manga) as asexual and/or aromantic (…well, the latter is just potentially aromantic), but I’m not too picky.
Ever since the turning point in January, I find I’ve become more able to “read” people as LGBTIAQ+ (Hina Logi, which I’ve slowly been chipping at for several years, started out extremely platonic for me and ended up being a yuri-fest – or at the very least something akin to a queer-platonic relationship – even though I was only there for how faithful it was to magical girl tropes). I’ve also had a post about Boys Run the Riot that’s been in progress since June but doesn’t seem to be working out (yet?)…it’s just a rehashing of my same old story (oops), so as an apology for missing my first Pride Month with you guys, you can take this post instead of that.
I think ever since I started working and commuting for a good almost-hour each way, it’s become easier to read novel-type prose and university readings, which is why this post ended up being about them so much.
…There is no way this is all on this topic, but a lot can be left open to interpretation here.