Fandoms, fan art, fan fiction; all of these things are prevalent in the anime/manga community. Being a part of a fandom can be an escape from real life to travel to another world filled with people with like-minds. BL Fans Love My Brother?! gets meta and dives head first into the lives of BL obsessed fans. The story is both touching and hilarious, making it impossible to put down.
BL Fans Love My Brother?! follows the recluse 20 year-old Teruo, a manga artist who mainly creates fan fiction of his favorite BL manga, and his younger sister Kirika, a meat-loving (actual meat, not BL meat) college student. Teruo has barely left his room in four years; too afraid of the outside world to even consider taking a step past his front door. Unfortunately for Teruo, he has become extremely successful with creating his fan art manga that people are starting to demand he attend the conventions that his friend sells his manga at. With no other option, Teruo convinces his sister to attend the conventions pretending to be him in exchange for different meat products she can’t help but salivate over (in a completely “I love food” kind of way). From there, the story follows the sibling relationship between a brother who is slowly trying to assimilate back into society and his loving sister who only wants to help. The more Kirika helps her brother, the more her own appreciation of the BL genre grows.
The story takes a humorous take on the BL genre without actually being a BL story. Think about the biggest anime/manga fan you know and then triple that commitment and you get Teruo. He worships (literally worships) the characters in his favorite BL manga, to the point of creating a shrine for them. He also uses his OTP as a coping mechanism when he is entering back into society. His intense love for the muscled men in his favorite story created hilarious hijinks that had me chuckling. There is a scene where Teruo is suffering from writer's block, so Kirika suggests he dresses like his characters and then do a little photo shoot to really get into character. They never planned to do anything with the photos until their father got a hold of them and posted the pictures on social media to show how proud he was of his son. It was a hilarious scene that basically sums up the feel of the book.
While the story is primarily about Teruo’s BL addiction and Kirika’s growing love of the genre as well, it also covers dealing with mental illness without explicitly saying it’s dealing with mental illness. Teruo clearly suffers from extreme social anxiety and uses his OTP as a coping mechanism when he is entering back into society. As someone who is very much immersed into her own favorite fandom (just not as intensely), I could relate to Teruo reverting back to the comfort of his safe space when trying to get through anxious situations.
I felt really bad for him when his anxiety would get to be too much and he would start to call himself a “maggot” and other derogatory terms in a moment of self-loathing. Thankfully, Kirika was always waiting patiently for him to realize that he’s fine and help him move past whatever was bothering him. Something I really appreciated about this book was that no one would push or force Teruo out of his comfort zone. It was all up to him as to whether he was comfortable enough to take the next steps of moving past his anxiety. As someone who also suffered from anxiety, I didn’t really receive that kind of support, so I’m always happy to see this sort of storyline played out and let readers see that it’s okay to feel anxious and have limits.
While I really did love this book, if you don’t have prior knowledge of the BL genre, you may be a little lost when they use different terms to describe the characters and their roles. However, anyone who has read any sort of over-the-top romance manga will be very entertained while reading this book. Seeing Kirika’s progression from thinking the genre is stupid, to becoming a fan herself is a journey many of us can relate to. I thought the story was very entertaining and highly imaginative. I loved the relationship between Kirika and Teruo and I’m sure you will too.
Four years ago, Kirika Amano's older brother became a shut-in. Since then, he's barely even left his own room, constantly working on something at his desk. When Kirika finally finds out what he's been doing all that time, she's shocked -- her brother creates boys love comics! Not only that, but it turns out that he's actually quite good at it, and he's got a dedicated fanbase. Even though Kirika doesn't understand her brother's hobbies or the fandom that surrounds him, he's still family. Maybe if she helps him sell his comics, she can convince him to step outside into the world again and greet his fans in person.Add to CartLearn More