Storytelling: Fujiyama Hyouta

{Fujiyama Hyouta} Junjou-c

While the plot devices that are used in her stories are nothing new in BL and you can generally guess what the outcome will be, Fujiyama Hyouta’s stories are still a departure from the usual fare. Unlike a lot of BL, her stories often pull you along at a pace that may appear unnecessarily slow at first, but soon prove to be very natural in their progression. They are less about the peripheral forces constantly threatening to close in on the characters and more about the individual personalities and the ways in which they relate to each other. And it is from here that everything else springs forth.

For the most part, things do not just happen in her stories and as seen in Honki Ja Nee Kara, when it appears that they do, there’s always at least one voice to call the absurd, absurd. In Fujiyama’s work, you won’t find love blooming in the blink of an eye, you won’t find the clueless seme or the born-to-surrender uke and you won’t find the annoying third wheel who’s after the uke, but whose presence really doesn’t add anything to the story (well, Nayamuhodo Nara Koi to Yobe! might be an exception depending on how you look at it). However, you will find organic character development, plausible advancements in the plot and character actions/reactions/interactions that do not forsake what we know of the characters at any given point in the story. Even when I’m surprised by a character’s course of action or a particular turn of events, I never feel the need to turn back a few pages to see what I missed and I never feel as if she took the easy way out.

{Fujiyama Hyouta} Junjou-09

Fujiyama’s storytelling style is very easy, almost effortless. In the first chapter of most of her series, readers are introduced to the main players, get peeks at their backstory and are presented with the current situation. Another thing you’ll also get is nothing. I use the word nothing with hesitation, but in the world of bl, if the first chapter or even the first few pages doesn’t present panting, moaning and spurting, some readers will wonder why they are still reading it. Normal, nigh insignificant conversations, routine tasks, and the passing of time: nothing. However, patient or faithful readers are rewarded with touching prose, deep introspection and an overall completely satisfying experience.

I don’t want to be misunderstood, there are definitely crises to be averted and angst to be riddled with, but rather than being the focus of the story, they are just a matter of course. By the end, you not only know that they got together, but you also understand why. She doesn’t force the issue and she doesn’t make you just accept it as an eventuality; more often than not, she reveals the strength, vulnerability and rationale of the characters by way of casual reflections and subtle demonstration and not by blatant description.

{Fujiyama Hyouta} Sweet Whisper-01b

If not for the indecencies, then what? Although I am a lover of words and the worlds they alone can create, I am always up for a few pages of tickle, tease, and thrust; if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t need to dedicate so much space in my library to bl. When reading BL, one of the first things I wonder is if they are going to get it on or not. And if so, when? It’s not necessary, but it’s nice to know. Fujiyama Hyouta is one of the mangaka who continue to temper my urgency with a bit of patience. And because of that, a while after I completed Dear Green: Hitomi no Ounowa–a very good story by the way–I thought to myself, “there was sex, right?” This is not to say that the moments of physical intimacy were forgettable or even negligible, but to illustrate the point that, in her works, such things synthesize with the point and pace of the stories instead of coming off as an interjection in what can often already be a completely implausible or unnecessarily hurried series of events.

In this way, Fujiyama quietly proves that there need not be a crisis at every turn or heavy breathing in every chapter to have a well written, superbly engaging and altogether tantalizing story.

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