Hi anon friends!
Thank you for your honesty about what you dislike about MASSIVE. I agree the typesetting could be better, and I take full responsibilty as the person who lays out the English translations. I'm just a beginner but I hope you'll still be able to enjoy the work in spite of my shortcomings. I'll get better on the next one, I swear!
Regarding the use of "niche": Gay manga is a tiny fraction of the manga industry as a whole, and in that sense it is a "niche within a niche" in Japan's manga industry (especially compared to yaoi). Maybe Gengoroh Tagame is well known on a larger scale, most non-gay manga fans have never heard of G-men, Badi or the many artists who make their living publishing manga those incredibly rare platforms. The standard manga fan is far more familiar with the "bishies" this forum refers to, the shonen-ai manga genre which has been hugely popular since the late 70s. "Bara" (an antiquated word with semi-offensive connotations) was beyond niche in the 80s, it was almost non-existent. Gengoroh Tagame broke out as a commercial success in '94 and since then the genre has risen to the small but not quite sustainable cottage industry in Japan that exists today. Why is gay manga so niche? Basically homophobia. It may seem ironic, since shonen-ai is so well-loved, but manga by and about actual gay people is mostly sold in the shadows in a handful of gay bookstores. Walk into Mandarake, Japan's manga mega-store, and you'll be stunned at how little "bara" there is on their endless shelves. You have to seek out these books and doujinshi in rarefied queer spaces.
At the same time, gay manga is not niche at all. You guys on here prove it! The amazingly expansive Tumblr community devoted to this work proves it. There's this beautiful virtual community of people all over the world who LOVE this work, and I'm proud to be a part of that. MASSIVE exists to help connect the artists connect with their English-speaking fans, and like I said in that post about Ebisubashi, it's not a quick, easy or inexpensive endeavor. But I hope that five years from now, it will be
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