The Bewildering & Beautiful Oneshots of Hana

Promotional art for 'The Beast and I', oneshot by Hana on futekiya.
Accessed via futekiya Library (not sponsored). I'm using images sparingly to avoid any wily legal department smacking me, a blogger with two followers, with a cease and desist. Sorry!

Shortly after I heard about FujoCon [2020] (again, be there or be square), they announced their first sponsor, futekiya Library. Since then even megacorp giants like Funimation have stepped on board, so congrats to the fujos of BL Garden for doing big things! And thanks, of course, for indirectly pointing me to the topic of today's post.

Getting a subscription to futekiya seemed like a good way for me to dip my toes into reading more current BL releases that aren't just on-going series by mangaka for whom I am ride or die. Unfortunately, I tend to remember that I'm subscribed to futekiya when it's like 3:00 in the morning during the work week, and the only BLs that I have the energy for are oneshots. There's only a small time commitment to finish a story if I start one, and it isn't super arduous to take it from the top later if I pass out midway.

On one such night slash early morning, I stumbled upon The Beast and I by Hana, which got my clicks because the art looked familiar. I felt like I'd seen Hana's work (or a similar art style at any rate) as the background for scanlation group credit pages, BL magazine covers, or something like that. For a kitty-boy story, it looked pretty low stakes—which is to say not full furry—so I decided to try it on for size. And holy shit did it not disappoint! It's been two weeks since I first read The Beast and I, along with the rest of Hana-sensei's Futekiya catalog, and even though I'm still reeling from the experience, I'm going to do my best to capture the beautiful and bewildering oneshots of Hana-sensei right here and now.

The best way to go about this is to invert how I usually do reviews because the plots in isolation can come off as standard tropey nonsense and not the galaxy brain shit that they are in actuality. You need to know what I think they're doing first and only then can I walk you through one in real time. Okay? Okay.

Remember the First Time You Read My Immortal?

Well, reading these oneshots is weirdly kind of like that. But in case you haven't read it or you don't have the same interpretation, I'll try to explain what I mean and then move on to a walkthrough of Lust and Love in the New Academy, which is basically everything I talk about here but on steroids.

I bring up My Immortal because I want to invoke the idea of a narrative that is at once lazy and elaborate, while also being derivative to such an obscene degree that it does something unique. I've talked about narrative whiplash in a few of my previous posts, mostly in reference to jarring changes to characterization that exist only to move the plot forward before returning quickly to the status quo. My Immortal is a steady stream of narrative whiplash, in that you never manage to catch your breath trying to grasp the canon, which is always adding new lore and characters while abandoning old ones.

The My Immortal experience is at once frustrating, comical, and a genuinely fun ride because you have no idea where the story is going or what might get referenced next. Hana-sensei's oneshots approximate the disorienting nature of My Immortal with a few key improvements. Instead of battling the visual medium's equivalent of atrocious grammar (i.e. bad art), Hana-sensei's work is easy on the eyes. Also, to Hana-sensei's credit, she doesn't have a habit of randomly abandoning lore so much as hastily incorporating new plot points, so you're on more solid ground in these stories.

Before we move on, I cannot stress enough that these are not your standard fare tropey stories! I have read plenty of BLs that are trope after trope in a run of the mill, boring ass fashion. I haven't read anything quite like Hana-sensei's beautiful BL trope drive-bys, and my life is better for the experience.

Lust & Love in the New Academy

Promotional art for 'Lust and Love in the New Academy', oneshot by Hana on futekiya.

This oneshot is actual life, Hana's magnum opus. The premise is like a weird mashup of plot threads from Ouran High School Host Club,[1] Ancient Magus Bride, Aitsu no Daihonmei [His Favorite], and this really terrible oneshot I read back in the day called Urimasu! Now, I'm not saying that Hana-sensei is directly referencing these texts in her story, I'm just underscoring that these stories tend to read as patchwork bodies of many other things.

So, we start out already doing the Most in medias res at a school that's putting on an auction of its students, including our protagonist, Moga. We're set up for an ugly duckling slash protagonist that only has a beauty our LI can appreciate story because Moga is awkward up on stage where the kiddos have to perform while people bid on them… I know, just stay with me.

Some hot guy in the audience bids $100,000 for Moga and everyone is shook, after which we finally get our major exposition dump. Full Bloom Academy is a school that teaches its students to be top tier sex workers to the ruling class, who provide funding for exclusive rights to choose partners? mistresses? sex slaves? from the student body. Truly a premise to make the skin crawl, but plus 10 points for class consciousness; rich people would do this shit.

We get some backstory on our LI, a famous sexy model from a rich ass family (two great tropes combining), whose name is Gabriel so probably also a foreigner?? Then we get exactly one (1) page relaying Moga's past trauma as an overweight gay kid run out of the house by his homophobic parents and humiliated/degraded during his first sexual encounter. This page is directly followed by a teacher giving Moga a thong and cat ears streetwear outfit for his date with Gabe while he eats zero calorie cake (i.e. how he got the weight off… Lord, have mercy).

Bruh, that juxtaposition; talk about narrative whiplash! Hear me out on why I think this is great, even as someone who hates gay punishment narratives. Instead of throwing in a poorly constructed tragic backstory for cheap drama, this single page reduces the trope to its most distilled, basic form—literally a trope drive-by—as if to say this is how dumb y'all look using gay suffering as a means to an end. Sure, Hana doesn't develop this plot thread, but nor does she really linger on it, even in flashbacks; she moves quickly to overwrite more negative tropes with fluffy romantic tropes or funny sex jokes. Realistically, the story would read the same without the hastily-inserted tragic backstory, which shows how useless such tropes are unless you have the time, patience, and page count to develop and explore that sort of thing properly. It looks hella foolish, but not in a way that detracts from enjoyment; it goes in and out so quickly that you might be compelled to laugh if just from confusion.

Anyway, Gabe picks up Moga in a limo, asks him where he wants to go on their date, cries about how he hasn't been properly romanced before (Gabe's gotta be an overly romantic foreigner trope, right?), tells the limo to pull over, gets out of the limo, confesses that he's in love with Moga, wants Moga to be his boyfriend, and wants the two of them to get married one day. I do gotta drop the panel of the limo pulling over real quick because it fucking sends me:

Black and white manga panel that shows a limo pulled over to the side of the road.
What is going on here? Why is it parked on the sidewalk slash just not in-perspective at all? LMAO.

I put all that info in one sentence because all of the above happens in the span of maybe two or three pages. Oh, by the way, we're also only on page 15 of 56 by this point in the story. Do I even need to go on? Really, do I need to say more? There's still tons left after this, each moment as tropey as the last. Oh, and tons of sex, too. You really just gotta read this shit yourself because Hana's oneshots are just fucking WILD. We don't deserve them.

1. I have noticed some new BL titles have, like, BL research club premises and whatever, but since I haven't read those yet I can't say if the ambiance of those stories are more appropriate comparisons.

Inject More Hana Straight Into My Veins

But, the two of them continue to live a happy life together. Or something like that…

The Beast and I concluding remarks, aka Hana not giving a fuck. Imagine ending your story by essentially saying whatever. Hana is my God.

So, I unironically love these oneshots. If anyone talked shit about Hana, I might get seriously pissed off because she's making MoMA-level art out here. I'm just so inspired by things that come off as lazy, tropey bullshit content but are actually insightful genre meta-commentary. The first otome game that I ever played, Kitty Love -Way to Look For Love- (it was on sale, don't @ me), left me with this same impression of being so by-the-numbers and predictable that it had something important to say about its genre. I really gotta write about that soon. If Hana is galaxy braining then the creators of that game have powerful minds beyond human comprehension.

Whereas something like Eros in the Stoic reads to me like commiseration or inside jokes between a BL author and fans about judgmental fandom outsiders, Hana-sensei's oneshots practically imitate a judgmental outsider's stereotypical view of BL. To what end, though?

My busted opinion is that Hana is having a laugh at the genre's bad reputation. Her work embodies extreme versions of BL tropes with half-baked conceits to get two men in bed with one another as fast as possible, which along with her rapid-fire delivery, is just good genre critique and a laugh fujos can share good-naturedly amongst ourselves. Idk, I'm convinced Hana's PWP is self-aware and ironic by design, but even if my reading here is overly generous, Hana's work is a fun ride all the same.

To my great sadness, there's been no new Hana oneshots since October 2019, so I'm not sure if we'll get our fix anytime soon… and that's a damn shame. Five isn't anything to shake a stick at, though, so I can make do. Here's my ranked list of best to worst Hana oneshots on futekiya Library:

  1. Lust and Love in the New Academy
  2. The Beast and I
  3. Lover
  4. Love Love Chu Chu (Sequel to My Servants and I)
  5. My Servants and I

Read these oneshots and like them or I'll pocket sand you! I'm admittedly not a fan of My Servants and I or Love Love Chu Chu for the tropes they explore, so I can let you off the hook if you don't like those. As for the others… sand is in my pocket.

xoxo Shio

Post History and Author's Notes

This review was originally posted to WordPress under the One Shot, Two Shot category on June 18, 2020. Post content was converted from its original format and made viewable for Neocities on October 31, 2022. Minor grammatical changes have been made to the post text.

Last updated: 2022-10-31