I can’t remember where I first heard about this book, but when I did I remember flagging it to look into. I’m not a big Manga reader or erotica reader for that matter, but when I found out there was an entire genre of manga dedicated to larger gay men I thought it sounded interesting. It is read like a normal manga from right to left and thankfully my earlier dabbling with Jane Austen manga adaptations helped prepare me for that. Two things to note, the word “erotic” was replaced with “Japanese” for some reason in the US Library of Congress’ database and m cover has a different beefy man on it, also drawn by Jiraiya.
Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It is a look at the artists behind what is rapidly becoming a global phenomenon. Some of them are out, some of them are sort-of out, and others are in no way out, but they all identify as gay, at least in this anthology. The book is divided into nine sections with an interview to start it off and samples of each artists drawing and then an encapsulated story for this anthology.
Almost all of the stories in this anthology had explicit sex scenes in them, but it was interesting that each of the artists talked about not necessarily wanting to draw sex scenes all the time. Many of them wanted to share love stories and the mundane day-to-day of gay relationships. It was very interesting to note the wide range of stories from unrequited lust to rape/hazing that was represented in this anthology.
It was cool to read about each of the artists and to learn more about this expanding genre often called bara which includes big beefy men with a lot of sex and is mostly drawn by men and yaoi which is slight men often drawn by women with sex, but mostly focused on romantic love. This is fascinating to me, same thing with all of the male-male erotica novels written by women for women.
Recommendation: Obviously you shouldn’t read this if male-male sex makes you uncomfortable. The images are graphic, but the essays are incredibly informative about the artists, their work styles, and their inspirations. I found some of the artists styles much more approachable and appealing than others, but overall it was a fascinating read and new experience. If you’re open to it I would recommend it, but again keep in mind the warning on the back cover: ADULT CONTENT.