Wednesday, November 29, 2017

My Brother's Husband Volume One Review

My Brother's Husband Vol.1 Cover
(11/28/2017) --- This piece of manga is quite heartbreaking, and only in America was released in 2017 (Anime News Network), one aspect that is fascinated about this manga is that it was created by the most prolific bondage and sado-masochism mangaka Gengoroh Tagame (Wikipedia).

What it can be a catalyst of the story is the rejection of one character identity and orientation and how it turned to transform a family dynamic. The story centers around Yaichi, a divorced, stay-at-home father who runs a business of leasing apartments that he inherited from his parents while taking care of his daughter Kana.

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Spoilers
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What we learn through the reading is that Yaichi is far away from being the perfect father or even the best brother; as he shunned his late estranged brother Ryoji, but his life turned upside down when Ryoji's widower a tall Canadian "bear" named Mike Flannigan; Yaichi's interaction with Mike are quite strained due Yaichi's internalized homophobia which he tries to channel to his daughter, but his daughter seem to be more open to idea of having an uncle in her life than having none.

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The story itself is quite heartwarming and even on volume one shows some of the dynamics that LGBT+ families face on a daily, the story's setting can be set in Japan but they can be seen almost anywhere in the world. Much of the art within the character designs aims towards Gengoroh preference of drawing beefcakes (Wikipedia) and bears (Wikipedia) which can be seen towards the archetypes of Mike and Yaichi; there is some connotations about homo-eroticism and repression that are aimed to Yaichi.

There are more elements towards the Bara genre but they are quite subtle, almost imperceptible as they are shown as implications but not rather as profuse as how Gengoroh showed them on his seminal work The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame, in which there was bloody violence mixed with some hardcore gay sexy; mostly the style of the design is influenced by Gengoroh's unique approach towards the creation of his cartoon that has an influence taken from Bill Ward.

The family dynamics in certain way are complicated but are extremely lighthearted, as not all the time there is acceptance between the partners and families; especially when there is a deceased family member who never met acceptance from his family (Renna, Cathy), even the outcomes for young LGBT to find some stability become grim without any proper support network, whenever there is incidence for depression, risk of HIV and the use of illegal drugs as well suicide.

There is some symbolism as well some really open scenes in which Yaichi can't hold his curiosity for Mike, as well hesitating about his own sexuality; such as moments where Mike and him go to the gym and found each other attracted to each other but Yaichi doesn't know how to cope with the feelings about that he can be possible a closeted gay man,

Some moments in the story of the first volume, there are hints that Yaichi could be closeted as he had a tumultuous marriage, but also within the epigenetics there could be an incidence and Yaichi was repressing himself up to the point that he expressed homophobia towards his own brother due social factors (Balter, Michael).

Ryoji is probably the central figure on the manga, could it be set as the unseen narrator in which he sets the events that happened after his death but also how homophobia influenced the last 10 years of his life, such as family in Japan and Canada and how died. His story itself is quite tragic as it seemed to be aimed to reconcile with his brother and go back to Japan to meet his young niece but the idea of traveling never happened.

How the tragic story between her uncles probably influenced Kana to look personal relationships in another way, as she seemed to be excited but homophobia also took a toll on her when her friends didn't wanted to meet her uncle due their parents interaction after she mentioned him being a gay man (Chamberlin, Shelby).

Another emotional aspect seen within the content is how Mike copes with the lost of his husband, trying to know the places he and Yaichi used to hang out when they were younger. The context of homophobia could be placed almost anywhere outside Japan, mostly being set in a conservator society in which it can lead any person to leave their country and their family in the sake of finding something better for themselves.

References:


  1. Web retrieved: Anime News Network ; Pantheon to Publish Gengoroh Tagame My Brother's Husband Manga: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2016-09-19/pantheon-to-publish-gengoroh-tagame-my-brother-husband-manga/.106639
  2. Web retrieved: Wikipedia - Gengoroh Tagame Biography: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gengoroh_Tagame
  3. Web retrieved: Wikipedia - Beefcake: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beefcake
  4. Web retrieved: Wikipedia - Bears: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bear_(gay_culture)
  5. Web retrieved: Renna, Cathy - Family Rejection... Family Acceptance Project: https://familyproject.sfsu.edu/news-announce/family-rejection-lesbian-gay-and-bisexual-adolescents-negative-health-outcomes
  6. Web retrieved: Balter, Michael; Homosexuality May Be Caused by Chemical Modifications to the DNA - Science Magazine: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/10/homosexuality-may-be-caused-chemical-modifications-dna
  7. Web retrieved: Chamberlin, Shelby - The Effects of Lesbian and Gay Parenting on Children's Development:  https://cola.unh.edu/sites/cola.unh.edu/files/student-journals/ShelbyChamberlin.pdf


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