Comics · Queer · Romance

A to Z: Fake

The later DVD cover, which I find more representative than the book cover.
The later DVD cover is better than the book cover.

I’m no yaoi expert or anything, but I dabble, and I figured with this theme I’d better include at least one! Yaoi = male/male manga (Japanese comics). It’s a genre of its own, with a lot of qualities I find problematic or just not to my taste, but I do have a major favorite: Fake by Sanami Matoh. It’s a seven-volume series originally published in 1993, featuring a romance between Ryo and Dee, two New York City cops.

Here are the reasons I love Fake…

It’s serious. There’s still that stylized manga spazziness in the characters, but there are also real crime plots and intense scenes. It works as a fusion of crime and romance manga, not just a police-themed story. The romance gets dragged out a little in the middle volumes, but for the most part it’s remarkably believable. Dee is totally open about being into Ryo and is constantly pouncing on him in true manga style, while Ryo is more reserved and not sure what to make of this new relationship. It makes sense for him to watch and wait, to question both of their sexualities and not be sure. Dee is openly and consistently bi, which I love since lot of characters are bi in manga but just come across as confused or flighty, or never use the word appropriately at all.

As usual, there are some random children thrown in to be cute, but it actually works! The cops interact with the kids as part of cases, and Ryo ends up taking in Bikky, who’s about 11, and most of the volumes include at least one solo Bikky chapter. He’s wary like a street kid, but naive like an 11-year-old. He’s so adorably punky and a perfect thematic addition to the plot — he ties into the crime elements, and he also very much disapproves of Dee’s advances and functions as Ryo’s human shield.

As an FYI while we’re on that subject, a lot of yaoi stories have major consent problems. Fake toes the line with Dee’s constant pounces and Ryo’s protests, but it stays on this side — Dee is always shown stopping if Ryo’s actually uncomfortable. In fact, aside from its general good writing, that’s probably the main reason I love this. Ryo and Dee are equals, one doesn’t run all over the other or compel the other one through sheer force of personality. I think the typical yaoi plot is something like “Ridiculous overwrought reason to be apart, overcome because one character is fundamentally unable to resist the other, despite his own protests,” but there’s no need for any of that. These are equal people who are falling in love.

Fake Vol 2
You know I love meta!

Complete in English in seven volumes. ISBNs are below for easy location. If you’re new to yaoi or manga in general, I definitely recommend Fake, since it’s shorter than most manga and has that slightly-more-realistic quality. Oh, and despite Dee’s best efforts, only the last volume is rated Mature. 😉

  • Volume 1: 9781591823261
  • Volume 2: 9781591823278
  • Volume 3: 9781591823285
  • Volume 4: 9781591823292
  • Volume 5: 9781591823308
  • Volume 6: 9781591823315
  • Volume 7: 9781591823322

31 thoughts on “A to Z: Fake

  1. I am so SO glad you brought this one to people’s attention! This has always been one of my favourite yaoi manga of all time. FAKE sort of broke the mold for me when it first came out, especially since I was so used to the typical yaoi pairings of the day (and today). Manly characters who had to work for it? Yes please! Not to mention, they actually DID SOMETHING other than f*** each other? YES. *PLEASE.*

    There are few other yaoi manga of this caliber that I place beside this series, so GREAT CHOICE! Bravo! *applauds*


      1. (Pfftt~ Truly!) XD

        Oho~ Recommendations, huh? Well… to be honest, I have such a huge list it would be obscene to list it here XD But these are some of my all-time favourites, including some manhwa (korean manga) AND shounen ai stuff:

        – One Thousand and One Nights series (11 Books)
        – Let Dai series (it’s a violent series though! so be forewarned!) (15 Books)
        – Boy Princess series (9 Books)
        – Jazz
        – La Esperança series (4 books, I believe?)
        – Wild Rock
        – Yellow series (4 Books + sequel series Yellow 2)
        – Haito Daimond series (a bit violent though, so be forewarned) (4 Books)
        – Haru wo Daite Ita series (even though they’re AV, adult video, actors… there is still an ACTUAL PLOT to this so yeah) (… I don’t even know how many books there are in this one… 8? 12? IDK)
        – Only The Ring Finger Knows (5 Books)
        – Silver Diamond (27 Books, I think?)
        – Koori no Mono no Monogatari (24 Book, I think?)
        – Demon Diary (7 Books)
        – Gorgeous Carat (4 Books)
        – Gravitation series (I… have… no idea. Over 10, I know.)
        – Banana Fish (19+ Books)
        – Pathos (2 Books)
        – Our Kingdom (Bokura no Oukoku) (7+ Books)
        – Same Cell Organism
        – Seven
        – The Day I Became A Butterfly

        And I’m gonna stop here before I literally spew out anymore titles and make you run away. XD XD XD

        However, I would say before you read anything else – and if your heart can take some tragedy – read The Specific Heat Capacity of Love first!! It’s… asdfghjkl;lkjhgfd it’s perfect ok? But your heart will hurt. IT WILL. andnotinagoodway asdfghjkl;’lkjhgf


        1. Ooh I’ve read some of these!

          * Couldn’t get into Let Dai for some reason. Just didn’t grab me.
          * Adored Jazz the first time through but not so much the second time.
          * I think I read Only the Ring Finger Knows?
          * I LOVE DEMON DIARY IT IS MY OTHER FAVORITE just not so overtly yaoi 😀
          * I liked Gravitation at first but not so much once it started getting crazy. (Enormous panda robots and stuff).
          * Liked Same Cell Organism.

          I will definitely check out those others! (And if you haven’t read Skyscrapers of Oz, that’s my third favorite. But I think it’s only one volume.)

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I’m so upset that you didn’t like Let Dai. XD *it’s literally one of my favourite series of all time* But I can understand. It’s not for everyone, so I get it. 😉 BUT SUPER YAY FOR LOVING DEMON DIARY (That’s most definitely one of my favs too~~ ❤ )

            I actually have read (and own) Skyscapers, and, you're right, it IS really good. I have so many others I could name but then we'd never stop talking. 😀

            And asdfghjkl';lkjhgfd SORRY I FORGOT ONE MORE: ***NO.6*** You need to read the No. 6 manga, ESPECIALLY the novels, and watch the anime. WATCH… THE ANIME! This is yet another one that'll make you hurt. (BUT IN A BETTER WAY.) It's also less yaoi, more slashy/shounen ai, but you will love it. *doesn't know what I'd do with myself if you didn't* Sooo good. *____*


          2. Ha! Maybe I’ll try Let Dai again. Joseph Birdsong recommended it on Youtube and I was like HECK YES but then when I started it, I just didn’t find anything to latch onto.

            Duly noted, will try No. 6. 😀 My local libraries didn’t have anything on the list (no surprise there) so it may take a bit to turn the stuff up, but I made a list!

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Oooh well, let’s just it gets better as it goes on. And the real meat of the “relationship” is also developed, as well as some questionable things (not in terms of their relationship, just the character’s life choices in general – dumb, stupid kids… *eyeroll*)

            I’m not surprised you didn’t find them either. *shake of the fist at the sky* Although, you should find No. 6 manga. I don’t think the novels were ever translated into English but you can read and download the translations here as pdfs and mobis and such.

            I hope you find something on the list that you enjoy. 🙂 It’s always a joy to find GOOD reading material in a genre that’s often cluttered with junk.


  2. Oh, yaoi. One of those things of which I wish I was still blissfully ignorant. My daughter ships a couple of people, but two of her friends are hardcore into yaoi. I find it alternately fascinating and disturbing. I also admit to struggling with the whole consent thing. One of my favorite animes ever is Black Butler. Whole lotta yaoi/consent/pedo issues going on there, and yet I really love that anime. So conflicted.

    And I can’t bitch too much. Yaoi is the number one search term that brings new readers to my blog. Seriously. Again, fascinated yet disturbed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In that case I’ll have to go pick through some of your old posts! 😀

      I enjoyed some of the Black Butler manga but never got very far. When whatshername the girl starts appearing (in like volume 2 or 3) she was just too annoying and I couldn’t stand it. (I may’ve mentioned I don’t usually like manga kids…)

      I think my second-favorite is Demon Diary, which isn’t quite yaoi but veeeeery shippy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve only read a little of the manga, but I’ve seen all three seasons of the anime and LOVE it! I’m assuming you’re talking about Elizabeth, and yes, she’s annoying. And truthfully season two was okay, but it’s kind of weird, doesn’t follow any of the manga storylines, and feels like a one-off. The most recent season of Black Butler was a-MAZE-balls!
        True confession: I gave my daughter a Sebastian body pillow. When she has sleepovers, her friends fight over who gets it. For reals.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ha! I’ll have to try the anime! (From my limited anime experience, I do prefer the animes to mangas. I don’t have to figure out the comedic timing myself and it’s easier to infer cultural context.)


  3. Haha, I love the meta quote 😀 I don’t particularly like yaoi, but I know it is very popular with fangirls which has always baffled me. And I see what you mean by consent problems (a lot of anime has that). This one sounds entertaining, though 🙂

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Epics from A to Z
    MopDog – 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary


    1. Yeah, I’m not sure exactly what it is that makes the fangirls go nuts, but I do know that it’s all totally directed TOWARD fangirls. So, some clever person does know what they want… 🙂 It makes for problematic objectification in most cases, though.


  4. I totally remember reading this series. it was one of the only manga I could find at the time. ( I was eleven years old, and had to buy it sneakily -_-) ahhh memories. Thanks for sharing!


  5. Yaoi brought my gf and I together, so it always will have a special place in my heart, but you are right about consent issues, and the fact that it is also written by women (usually) for women (most definitely). There are issues with rape, pedophilia, and abuse, which oddly is even more pronounced for the “sub” of these relationships than it would have been if it was a female character. That’s the other thing, the roles are fixed, upper/lower, with very little deviation.

    I can’t read it anymore, but I had my favorites in my teens.


    1. Awww! That sounds like a good how-we-met story. 🙂

      I used to be a lot more into it too, but now I mostly rely on recommendations that say “It’s not like other manga!” I can only take so much, plus I just don’t enjoy a lot of the typical manga style/plot elements, beyond the problematic ones. At some point I should write a comparison of yaoi and pulp romance, though, because there are a lot of similarities with the fixed roles, rape-iness (either between the leads or from strangers directed at the “sub”), etc…

      But anyway back on topic, Dee and Ryo have those same personalities that would usually slot into that, but no actual upper/lower structure. Odd but nice.

      Liked by 1 person


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