It was during one of those late-night manga hauls at Book-off that I came across a genre which I first thought was BL, but which turned out to be “yankee” (ヤンキー), or “bad boy” (不良/furyō) manga.
The series that caught my eyes was Akira No.2 (アキラNo.2) by Okujima Hiromasa (奥嶋ひろまさ) – and you’ll have to excuse me for thinking BL:
Yankee manga is about “delinquent boys”, or 不良行為少年/furyō kōi shōnen, which according to Wikipedia is the level below actual “juvenile criminals” (虞犯少年/guhan shōnen). Rather than criminals, delinquent boys are those who roam the streets at night, who drink and smoke, and who threaten the morality of society (and themselves) in general. And yes, there are furyōshōjo too (delinquent girls).
I can understand how this genre can be enticing in Japan, where that kind of personality is not very common, at least not compared to the West, where it is rather the norm for teenagers to be a bit delinquent. That’s why it’s called “yankee”, I was told, as in boys behaving in an “American” way. (I also thought that the magazine Young King, which publishes this kind of comics, had something to do with the term, but both “young” is a common word in magazine titles.)
I found this ranking of the 14 best yankee manga, and realised that I also bought two volumes of Nanba MG5 (ナンバMG5) by Ozawa Toshio (小沢としお) that night at Book-off:
I think this genre is not even boys’ manga, but rather seinen because of the violent content. But the blunt display of skin and muscles make it transcend into BL territory, and almost the shota variety called kinshota, or muscle shota. The hard masculinity of the characters also plays into a certain kind of shota taste, one distinct from the mainstream focus on cuteness. This is more Yabuki Joe than Ikusabe Wataru, if you know what I mean.
While browsing Amazon, I came across Dōsei yankī Akamatsu Sebun (同棲ヤンキー赤松セブン ≈ “cohabitation yankee Akamatsu seven”), which is written by SHOOWA and illustrated by Akira No.2 mangaka Okujima Hiromasa (奥嶋ひろまさ):
This seems like a yankee/BL cross-over, with the kanji reading for “co-habitation” (dōsei/どうせい = 同棲) being the same as that for “same sex” or “gay” (dōsei/どうせい = 同性). The fact that it is drawn by the Akira No.2 author sort of acknowledges the sexual aspect of yankee manga.
Then I came across a series called Yankī-shota to otaku-onēsan (ヤンキーショタとオタクおねえさん) by Hoshimi Yumi (星海ユミ), or “Yankee boy and otaku big sister”:
This boy is obviously younger, hence “shota”, but the manga doesn’t seem to be yankee per se, and not shota either for that matter, but rather trying to tap into the popularity of those genres, and of otaku culture in general, as a kind of smart and funny meta commentary. I just know that I love the cover!
I’ve also watched the first OVA of yankee anime Chameleon (カメレオン), which was quite fun.
What do you think about yankee manga?