Hello and welcome back to Otaku Thursday! And this of course is not just any Otaku Thursday, no this is our very own special Niji Nights edition of Otaku Thursday. We’re back again with the sixth day of nerdy Otaku related content, and today we’re going to be talking about something that I am personally SUPER excited to be talking about. Boys love. Anyone who has been around this blog or a bit knows we’re avid fans of BL and GL, and we love highlighting anime from these genre. Yesterday I brought you 5 BL to ease you into BL, tomorrow I will recommend 5 GL that you HAVE to watch, but today–today we’re going to delve further into Boys Love and look at something that Star and I like to point out when watching BL: the symbolism of birds and or wings.
So. What exactly do we mean by this? Quite simple really. Quite a lot of BL anime that we’ve been watching together recently have these bird and/or wing symbolism, and a lot of shows that toe the line of possible BL but no confirmation nor denial of such themes, also tend to have some sort of flying type symbolism in them. Banana Fish, for example, a classic BL title, features a sequence in which Ash sees Eiji pole vault over a wall and he describes it as flying–or as if Eiji had grown wings. Umibe no Etranger, another one on my list of BL anime to watch, features an almost kiss between Shun and Mio where we see the flash of a butterfly. Of course, Shun chickens out last minute due to his internalized homophobia and his desire that Mio doesn’t become like him (liking boys). But still, that symbolism is still there–something flying. But it flies across the screen quickly instead of being focused on like in Banana Fish. Then we have the straight up Yaoi film Twittering Birds Never Fly, which literally has that bird symbolism in the title and is pretty heavy handed in the allegory if you take the time to apply what the name of the film means in relation to the characters. Honestly…I still really want to make an entire post about Twittering Birds Never Fly and the brilliant writing, but I’m waiting for all the corresponding movies to come out. Then last thing I need to touch on (per Star)–Dakaichi, Junta, who is very openly into men, has wings symbolism everywhere and is often depicted in angel wings (and referred to as angel).
Soooo why is the imagery of wings/flying so prominent? Well, I didn’t have to go far to answer this question. Because it’s something that’s used across all of media ever as a main symbol of freedom. Freedom of many things–freedom in life and sometimes, freedom in love. It’s this latter symbolism that I guarantee BL are going for when they incorporate wings/flying. Because at the end of the day, a LOT of romances use wings/flying symbolism, so it only makes sense that BL do as well. Plus it feels even more appropriate to use such symbolism when male x male relationships still aren’t widely accepted, so their love and being able to express it can feel very freeing. Moreso than any other loves.
But of course, because the symbolism tends to refer to freedom, I often think that there’s a of…bait-like shows that use this imagery to confuse the viewer. Well, perhaps I shouldn’t say bait, but rather just shows that feature extremely close male characters who have an ambiguous relationship. Take for example, Bakuten that is chalkfull of bird symbolism (which I’m fairly certain is due to their sport makes them feel like they can fly). Star keeps steeling herself, thinking that it’s just bait between the main characters. And me mentioning the thing about birds and BL certainly didn’t help that. But hey, I just say random facts at random times. I do think that sports anime tend to also use wings for entirely different reasons, but that doesn’t mean they don’t toe the line of using it to be ambiguous about some really good male x male pairings.
Well. This blog was something alright. Perhaps not quite what I wanted it to be, but also something I think I’ll probably revisit to get even further into some day. There’s a lot more anime to unpack and such little time. Anyway, this has been day number six of Niji Nights! Thanks for joining us for not one but two days of BL content in a row, and get ready because tomorrow we’re going to be visiting some Girls Love! Until next time~