This was some news that completely boggled my brain when I read it earlier this week – PictureBox Inc. will be releasing a collection of bara stories by Gengoroh Tagame in English next Spring (2013). The book is titled The Passions of Gengoroh Tagame: The Master of Bara Manga, and is being designed by Chipp Kidd, better known to manga readers as the designer behind several Vertical titles. May I just say, wow.
For those who aren’t familiar with the term, bara is a word used to encompass works about homosexual men. What differentiates bara from yaoi/BL is that bara is intended for actual gay men, and typically drawn by them, where as BL is targeted at women, and typically created by them also. Because of the different demographic, bara manga looks a lot different in that their characters are often more large – be it in muscle and/or weight – and have more defined features, body hair and are usually actually fully anatomically present (you have few places to flourish here, invisi-talia and sparkles). That said, yes, The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame will a mature audiences’ book.
To my knowledge this collection will be the first time bara has been licensed and made available in English as its own book collection, so I’m really curious, and hopeful, it finds its market here. My friend and I have purchased a number of bara volumes and anthologies in Japanese over the years (thank you, Beguiling!) and both of us were pretty much resigned to the notion that no publisher would actually license it. It’s sometimes nice to be proven wrong! I love to dabble in just about every genre and art style and bara manga is another one of those areas that really offers something different and unique, both in the styles of art and the tone of the stories themselves.
The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame will be printed with a large-trim size and contain ten short stories spanning the artists’ career over fifteen years. There will also be an original story created just for this book. Gengoroh Tagame’s work, as I’ve seen, can often be rather violent and include some pretty out-there bondage so it’ll be especially interesting to see which of his stories get chosen for English. We shall see in the Spring (if you’re over 18 of course).