Tag Archives: yaoi

[NSFW] Artist Spotlight: Mazjojo/Zamius

***As the title of this post says, some content in this post will be NSFW. It’s not full nudity, but it’s pretty clear what’s going on. So, you’ve been warned, okay?***

I’m a lover of many things, music, film, television, sports, anime, gaming, a lot of various forms of entertainment. But the one thing that’s unusual about my love for these many things, is rarely in more art-centered forms of entertainment do I actually gush about single persons within the industry. I’m a big music fan, but I gush about bands like Iron Maiden, Dream Theater and Rush, but I don’t specifically go into detail about just Bruce Dickinson, Mike Portnoy, or Geddy Lee. I love watching films, but you’ll rarely hear me gush about single actors/actresses, same goes for gaming, you won’t hear me often talk about members of the teams that make these games.

When it comes to anime, the same still applies. I recognize voices from voice actors through Japanese shows, but I’m not on much of a name-recalling basis with them. Even more, this applies to those who draw anime art. I’ve taken in so much anime art over the course of my life since I really discovered anime for the first time at the age of 14, yet I couldn’t tell you many names of those who draw it. However, there are a few names that do strike enough of a chord with me that I make sure to remember their names, or their artist names if that’s how they go by.

I figured if I was going to start anywhere with this kind of post, I’d start with the most integral artists that brought a significant change in my life. After all, it’s really only been less than a year since I fully accepted my newfound bisexuality, though the curiosity has been around for perhaps a year or two more on top of that. It’s a change I never would’ve anticipated when I was younger and a change that still to this day surprises me and almost feels weird that it’s happened, especially given the circumstances of my bisexuality.

But enough about me, you can read more about it here. But now, it’s time to give the spotlight to the two artists in particular that really started me opening my eyes to the opposite sex. The two were members of a now defunct circle of BL artists known as BlackMonkey-Pro and they go by the names of Mazjojo and Zamius.

The majority of what these two artists draw is BL (boy love), but there’s a concentration towards “bara” art, which specifically isn’t the same as “yaoi” art. For those unfamiliar with the terms, or the fact they’re different, yaoi art is gay art intended for a female audience, it tends to feature overly pretty boys, usually very slender, elegant and is a very romantic-centered level of artwork. Bara on the other hand is gay art that is designed for a male audience, it features more “manly” characters, including things like muscular physiques, body fat and body hair, but the art is generally circled around guys with big muscles. The range of characters drawn in this art style is all over the place, some will center around older men akin to the “bear culture” and there’s quite a demand for it. But for me personally, that side of the bara culture doesn’t fit me at all, as I’m generally interested in younger males, but even more because I think the way a lot of these older, manly guys are drawn, it’s just a little too much.

The other side of the bara style is what grabbed my attention. These males still retain the traditional style of muscular physiques, but they’re younger and still have a bit of that pretty boy side that also grabs my attention, thus getting me further interested in the style itself. Some of these male characters aren’t even necessarily large, hulking body types either, a lot of these characters are that of high school/college ages, but just have that ripped, overly muscular physique that the style adheres to and that specifically is what got me in. The kings of this art and in my opinion still are the best at it, are the two I mentioned, Mazjojo and Zamius, though I will admit that Mazjojo is the one who’s truly stood out for me and is the one I follow the most out of any yaoi artist out there right now.

The first time I ever came across these two, it was because of art that was endlessly tossed around of the popular anime Free!, which was really the first anime I became aware of in terms of having attractive anime boys. Before Free!, I could watch pretty much any show and I wasn’t hearing an immense amount of chatter about how hot the guys in the show were. Sure, there were always shows that got that kind of attention from female and gay anime fans alike, but Free! was the first one where I couldn’t avoid the chatter at all, it was always there, whether it was message boards, news sites, podcasts, image galleries, all that jazz. So when I started seeing artwork from Mazjojo specifically, something strange happened: I didn’t ignore it like I had with all the other yaoi fan art I had seen before it. Instead, I took a much longer look at the art, specifically these character posters that Mazjojo had done of various characters in the series.

I was so mesmerized by them, the art was so well-drawn, which is my big thing with anime art, I’m a giant quality critic when it comes to anime art. I watch people faun over art of their favourite characters, but it’s so terribly drawn that I can’t elicit a single reaction beyond disgust with it, ESPECIALLY if the art is 18+. But Mazjojo’s work did a first, it had me interested in anime art that featured zero female characters in it. It was just good looking dudes drawn superbly well. And that’s when the rabbit hole appeared and while I hesitated at first, eventually I dove into it and my journey truly began.

As is much bara art, shirts are not exactly the most common thing you’ll see in that kind of art. A lot of both artist’s work tend to also revolve around the beach or pool, or a hot springs, shower, whatever water is a major theme in and an easy excuse to have characters with no shirts on and in many cases, a lot less. The art also tends to stay away from more conservative clothing, it’s very rare for these characters to be wearing swimwear and underwear that covers up a lot, like the picture above from Zamius here, that type of swimwear is extremely rare for these characters to be wearing. The majority of the time, it’s briefs, whether swim briefs or underwear briefs. After all, the less skin that’s covered, the sexier the art is, right?

Both have a lot of original characters as well and have quite a number of doujins and even a few visual novels to their credit. And that’s what I also like about their art, it’s not just fan art of already established characters. They have quite a few of them, such as the Free! cast like I mentioned earlier, but other well-known characters like Gray Fullbuster (Fairy Tail), Daichi Sawamura (Haikyuu!!) hell even Sora (Kingdom Hearts) gets some love from the artists. There’s a great variety to go through with them, whether you want something familiar, or something completely different.

Without showing anything explicit, of course, what really did the job for me was the 18+ art. Sure, I could’ve kept giving the thumbs up to really well drawn anime art of guys in speedos and their underwear and maybe even them completely naked, but it was going to take being okay with seeing art of two (or in some cases more than two) guys going at it. And even beyond that, the art had to also be uncensored, which for those who enjoy gay anime art, that’s the real difficult find. To have gay anime art both high in quality and uncensored, that’s a massive rarity. In this age where Japan still censors all its sexual material, finding really good uncensored art is difficult enough for heterosexual sex, but gay sex? Now that is where things get tricky. But with the BlackMonkey-Pro guys, that wasn’t an issue. The majority of their stuff was uncensored and relatively easy to find. So once I went further down the rabbit hole again and found these kinds of images, the quality was just so good and because I now had that curiosity instilled in my brain, I wasn’t going to look away in disgust.

Granted, it really helped because not only was the drawing styles of both Mazjojo and Zamius already really good and really high quality, but the characters they generally chose to draw weren’t too over the top for me, in the sense of what I mentioned earlier with the more older, “manly” kind of men that bara art is traditionally known as. These two, their choices were like a hybrid of all the things I was beginning to like with yaoi/BL art. I wanted 18-30 aged characters, I didn’t want them to be overly barrel-chested, looking like they were 250+ pounds, I wanted them to be a mixture of muscular and pretty. With these two, that’s exactly what I got, a bunch of guys who look like they’re in their 20s, don’t look too over-the-top, have pretty boy hair and eyes and generally speaking just carrying the posture and personality of someone who’s looking to be submissive in a sexual relationship.

And well, I suppose having really nice butts helped too…

So in the end, Mazjojo and Zamius together with their fantastic drawing ability, their diverse cast of both established and original character and the fact that they were a rarity in uncensored gay anime art, they ended up being the two artists that really kickstarted my transition from a heterosexual male, to a bisexual male. It was their art that made me look at men in a different light and though it’s still within the confines of anime and fiction that I still keep my attractions to men going (as I haven’t found a real-life male I’m physically attracted to), without their art, I never would have even considered gay sex as a thing I’d even remotely thought about beyond my lack of interest in it.

That’s how good their art is, at least to my own eyes. In fact, in my opinion I truly believe Mazjojo is the best yaoi artist out there right now. There are other artists out there along with Zamius like Mikkoukunlvlv and Torakichi that are also fantastic artists and deserve some of the spotlight themselves. But Mazjojo and Zamius are the cream of the crop when it comes to gay anime art. They’re the ones who made me curious and eventually go down the rabbit hole, hence the article I’ve dedicated to their artwork here.

So with that being said, thanks for checking out this article! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to bed with some thoughts, as ironically enough at the time I’ve finished writing this article, it’s 11:30pm and after going through galleries of their stuff, I’m in a bit of a…shall we say tense sort of situation?

Hey Anime! Guys Undress and Shower Too!

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I don’t make any bones about the fact that I love watching ecchi anime. Shows like Keijo!!!!!!!!Infinite Stratos and OniAi, I adore those shows and I enjoy the flood of sexy anime girls parading around in the underwear or less. I don’t think there’s any problems with that, I don’t think there’s any reason why this kind of content shouldn’t be allowed to exist and I don’t think a show is any lesser for containing that kind of content, so long as that’s not the only thing it has going for it. That’s what hentai is for.

But at the same time, there’s something about shows that contain ecchi content in them that continue to drive me crazy and that’s the absolute lack of reality checking here, in that while there always seems to be a camera perfectly placed in a girl’s bedroom as she’s changing, thus exposing her pink lacy lingerie, there’s never any point in an anime where the same happens for any of the male characters. There’s no scenes where a guy is undressing (you’re lucky to see a shirt get pulled off), no scenes where a guy is showering or bathing aside from the hot springs episode and there’s no scenes where a guy ever has his underwear exposed.

Granted, there are some anime that do it, but generally speaking (at least from memory) when this happens, it’s designed as more of a comedy bit, where the guy drops into a room with a bunch of girls and he’s naked. It’s usually not animated properly, designed in a more cheesy style and it’s not designed to be something that is okay or normal. Instead, we’re to believe that in the context of a lot of these shows, it’s okay for girls to be seen undressing, showering and more, but it’s not okay for the male character(s) to be seen in the same way.

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It really does beg the question of whether at least in Japan, there’s a bit of homophobia going on, whether it’s from the studio’s point of view or whether it’s the perception that the fans/viewers don’t want to see that kind of content. If it’s the studio just deciding they don’t want there to be a focus on the male body, then you know what? I can’t really argue with that, it is their piece of work, they’re allowed to write it however they’d like and I can’t judge them for that.

But if in any case it’s the latter, the idea that the presumed male-dominant viewership doesn’t want to have a scene where the male protagonist of a harem is walking around his bedroom in his boxer-briefs, then I will certainly take issue with that. I’ve stated before that while I have found male characters in anime I find myself being attracted to, there’s just nothing in real life that convinces me that I’m anything beyond a straight male when it comes to engaging in sexual behavior. There’s a clear majority preference in my head towards women, there are very few male characters that ever elicit any sort of reaction from me, so it’s safe to say that my preference towards ecchi content in anime would lean to that of female characters.

But going back to the notion of male viewers not wanting to see ecchi content with a male character in their shows, I don’t understand what the big deal is. When it comes to ecchi content with girls, depending on the rating you might actually see 100% bare breasts. For guys however, there’s just no way without the content being classified as hentai that you would see full-on dick. At best, you’d have to deal with bare boy butt. Oh no, not boy butt! Take it away! It burns my eyes!

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Honestly, the majority of ecchi content with male characters that I have seen, it’s been with characters that I have no attraction to. Take the one above here, the shot of Itsuki from Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation. It’s a screencap I’ve used on several occasions now when it comes to this issue, a fantastic example of a scene in an anime where they don’t shy away from putting a male character under the same rules any female character would apply to when it comes to ecchi content. And in this show, I had Itsuki’s ass in the middle of my screen and I had zero attraction to the character and I didn’t get all offended or up in arms about seeing his butt on screen. Even if Aika didn’t show up not long after with her full naked body on display, this scene would’ve been fine regardless.

When it really comes to male nudity especially in anime, the only way it really throws me off, is due to the lack of that kind of content. It’s something you rarely see unless you’re actively searching for shows that are more geared to fans of yaoi anime, or anime that has a male-dominant cast, thus upping the chances of it being an anime featuring half-naked anime boys. When I’m thrown off seeing a scene like Itsuki in the hot spring, it’s not because I’m squeamish about seeing male nudity, it’s because with all the shows that I watch, guys are just never shown in that sort of context.

And it’s strange because well let’s be honest here, guys do the same things girls do in their daily lives. We also change our clothes, we also wear underwear and sometimes walk around the house in just that. We shower or bathe daily, we go to gym class in high school and change out of our normal clothes and into our gym clothes. Everything that we see girls doing in your average anime, guys do as well. The difference is that the writers, producers, whoever the fuck makes the call, they don’t ever insert a scene where a guy is shown in the same way. It’s like we’re left to assume that guys just magically change clothes, they stay clean all the time and don’t need to ever take care of their personal hygiene.

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For a medium that is extremely unrealistic, there seems to be quite a lot of realism when it comes to the perception of men. What’s that, you ask? Well generally speaking, the average person in society just doesn’t talk about the male body. They don’t want to talk about it, they don’t want to see it, they don’t want to know it even exists. The only places we seem to be truly okay with guys taking their shirts off and wearing a little less than pants on, is at the pool or the beach. Now you’re probably thinking about other places as well, like the gym or at crazy college parties. The thing is that with those specific places, there’s circumstances behind the acceptance. At college parties, when the majority of people are drunk off their ass, you accept a lot more because your brain isn’t running at full capacity, so you tend to forget a few of the things you normally pay attention to. It’s like the classic moment you see in films and such, when two girls who claim to be straight get super drunk and kiss each other.

But the biggest circumstance when it comes to guys being “allowed” or “accepted” to wear less clothing in public aside from places like pools and beaches where it’s socially acceptable to do so, is that if you’re a hot guy. In anime, every girl under the sun gets shown in her underwear, no matter how big or small they are, though obviously it’s a rarity for an extremely obese woman to be in an anime unless she’s a comedy character, but that’s a conversation for another day. When it comes to male characters, is the normal looking nerdy guy ever shirtless? Nine times out of ten, it’s strictly the handsome boys who’ve got chiseled abs and are super athletic who get that luxury of being allowed to take their shirts off. In our society, we’re finally starting to push for plus-sized models with women, trying to convince everyone that all women are beautiful. But when it comes to guys, are we relaying that message? Because as far as I see it, we’re still in an age where if you want to be a male model, you gotta have a rockin’ body! There’s no plus-sized male models, at least not that we’re openly told about and having it shoved down our throats that they exist and it’s okay.

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In anime, only three types of guys really get the proper ecchi treatment:

  1. The more normal-looking guys at first, but upon shirts coming off they have an athletic build. Because of course every protagonist has to look like he works out, no matter how lazy he is.
  2. The extremely muscular guys who have muscles on muscles. For some reason a lot of them seem to have “bubble butts” as well. It’s kinda weird…
  3. The very feminine-looking guys, the ones who could pass as a girl in the right light, unless they’re already dressing as girls to fool you, aka a “trap”. These are the rare cases where they’re usually designed as comedy characters, yet when ecchi moments come up, they’re still animated like hot girls, rather than the usual male ecchi moment, where it’s more comically designed.

As a guy who is relatively thin, I’m a slender build, 5’11”, just over 150 pounds, it’s kind of annoying to think that even characters who have what looks to be my build or very similar, they end up having abs and look like a million bucks regardless. Granted, I accept it because generally speaking the majority of anime characters are designed to be perfect, but it’s a little ridiculous when both male and female characters are portrayed as the laziest people on the planet, eat terribly and yet they still retain a model-like frame. I want some of this anime magic for my body, man!

Which makes it even more frustrating to think that the majority of anime guys are designed to be male models and they still don’t get shown off anywhere close to the same way all female characters in anime are.

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So in the end, if this kind of stuff bothers you, I mean…wow! To think that a fictional male character in their underwear grosses you out that much, there’s definitely some deep-rooted stuff going on there. Because none of the pictures I’ve thrown into this article bother me in the slightest, I don’t feel like anything wrong has taken place by talking about this topic, nor from searching through image galleries to find all these pictures. Oh! By the way, also along with all these pictures I’ve posted, none of them are characters that I’m attracted to in any way whatsoever, these are literally just random pieces of artwork I’ve pulled specifically for this topic. I can admit that all the boys pictured in this article are good-looking, but that’s not necessarily indicative of me being attracted to them. The same goes for women, there are plenty of cases where I can see a girl, think she’s pretty, but not necessarily think I want to bed her. You can look at a person and think they’re good-looking without wanting to fuck them, folks! It’s a thing, it happens.

We need to move away from this notion as guys that if you’re straight, it’s weird or wrong to think another guy is good-looking. Girls all the time who are straight will talk about other girls, especially amongst their friends when they look pretty in an outfit they’re wearing and all that jazz. Guys just don’t do that and while I’m not saying we need a cultural and/or social shift where guys just start complimenting each other, I think at the very least we need to stop feeling like it’s a bad thing if we do and judge another guy if he does that.

And honestly, I think fictional material is a great way to start that, especially anime. Because like I’ve said before, anime is a medium of perfection, it’s where characters go to be sculpted like gods. And to use a cast of perfect male anime characters to slowly help other guys accept that yes, we can and do look good with a few articles of clothing off, not to mention by seeing other guys in that light, we can show that we’re not going to just suddenly to turn gay and have a sudden desire to suck a dick just because we see another guy in his underwear.

Because I’ve heard guys in real life talk like that’s a thing…and that’s absolutely fucking ridiculous.

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It’s just a butt guys, you’ll be fine.