Finished at: 2:27 a.m.
Summary: The OVA serves as a bonus stand-alone story for the manga, which follows American cops Dee Laytner and Randy MacLean as they fight crime and flirt on each other. The anime features the two going on vacation to England together. Dee intends to use the trip to get into Randy’s pants, but Randy just wants to enjoy some peace and quiet. Turns out they’re both beat – they end up finding a dead body in the lake by their hotel and have to get back to detective work. …that doesn’t stop Dee from constantly trying to fuck Randy, though.
MAL Rating: 6.64
Is this just, like, the gay You’re Under Arrest? I would say yes, except that You’re Under Arrest is already the gay You’re Under Arrest.
Soooo, I decided to take my chances on a yaoi OVA on a sleepless night not too long ago.
Or would you call it a BL OVA? I don’t understand the differences between shounen-ai, yaoi, and BL. Are they all the same? I thought porn was yaoi, and shounen-ai was not porn? But then again, the term shounen-ai is apparently used for weird shotacon stuff. And I’ve seen anime & manga that didn’t have explicit sex in it be filed under the yaoi genre, too… I’ll just go with calling it BL. I think that’s a catch-all term, yeah? Or maybe it’s something else entirely? Shit.
I ended up watching the 55 minute long Fake, a 1996 anime about gay cops. It was…pretty okay. I saw a really good review of it from a site I trusted. It gave it five stars, but I’m not sure if I would go that far. Still, I have to commend it for being waaaay better than most other entries into the BL genre, and especially way better than entries I’ve seen from the 90s. It was pretty entertaining, I’m just not sure if I would call it five stars entertaining.
One of the best things about this OVA is that it actually has a plot outside of the romance between its main characters. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a BL title with a story that didn’t revolve around either a convoluted magic/fantasy subplot or a weird rape fantasy. I’m not sure if that says more about the state of the genre, or the fact that I watch garbage shows…
Usually, I find any story that is solely about romance to be a little boring, so the murder subplot kept things interesting. I don’t think I could have just watched slapstick comedy about a guy trying to take his friend’s virginity for 55 minutes. Though I thought that the motive for the murders and the murderer himself were kind of lame, the surprisingly bloody climax was actually really entertaining.
Another good thing about Fake is that its love interests aren’t the stereotypical BL protagonists. Dee and Randy are both grown men, and they look grown, and their character designs are far from the stereotypical “manly man and girly boy” pairings that the genre is filled with. Plus, a bunch of those series are romances between a grown-man and a high schooler which…ew.
It’s really hard to find decent anime & manga that feature male-on-male romance, since soooooo many BL titles are irredeemably bad. A lot of these series revolve around one guy sexually harassing the other guy for countless chapters until the other guy, for some reason, relents and falls in love with him. Not only do you get those grown man/minor pairings like I mentioned before, but you get characters who are teachers or bosses manipulating their underlings into sleeping with them. It’s all very rape-y. Fake has characters who were around the same age and the same rank at the police station, and I was relieved that it wasn’t the story of the older police chief seducing the new teenage kid on the force, or anything like that, but there was still one scene that bothered me.
At one point, Randy says that he isn’t ready to go all the way with Dee because he’s still uncertain about his feelings towards him. Dee says that he can’t wait any longer because “LOL HE’S A MAN AFTER ALL” and starts trying to pull off Randy’s clothes. The only reason Dee ends up stopping is because Bikky is creeping on them. This whole scene is played for laughs, but yikes, it’s still a date rape joke. Fake was almost in the clear there, but of course they had to slip some icky nonsense in there.
Other characters from the manga make appearances, like the bi-racial Bikky and his childhood friend Carol, who both place bets on whether or not the two will end up getting it on while they’re on vacation. Like, they’re so into this bet, they fly all the way out to England to keep an eye on Dee and Randy. Keep in mind, this bet is only for $1. That is what I call dedication. Carol wasn’t particularly interesting, but I liked Bikky, who was constantly trying to keep Dee from getting laid so he could when his bet.
There was also J.J., a creepy borderline yandere-type who’s in love with Dee. He also flies out to England to make sure Dee does not get laid. I guess the police station isn’t very busy if everyone can just fly out to England like that. He was kind of funny, but also seemed like a pretty unnecessary addition to the OVA’s story. I guess fans of the manga might have been excited to see him there, though.
The actual art and animation is barely passable, and the soundtrack is pretty cheesy and awful. There are songs used during the more intense scenes that I feel could best be described as “the X-Files theme meets Van Halen.” Still, it wasn’t by any means a bad OVA. It was surprisingly decent, and definitely exceeded the very low bar I had set for it. I haven’t read much of the manga (I read like, one chapter online after I watched the OVA), so I’ll have to keep y’all update on what that’s like.
The English dub of the OVA isn’t too bad, so if you’re not a fan of reading subtitles, you can check that out. Interestingly enough, it turns out that this aired on Logo briefly back in 2007 as a part of a block called “Alien Boot Camp.” I really want to know what else was a part of that segment because it sounds amazing.
The Verdict: Fake isn’t great…it’s not like it’s the Brokeback Mountain of anime or anything, but it’s short and fun, and worth checking out for a campy gay anime fix. If BL is your thing, give it a try for its refreshing story. If BL isn’t your thing, give it a try anyways because it shows that BL can be more nuanced than a lot of the more mainstream series make it seem.