But in the middle of the decade, one manga and its anime not only saved dōjinshi fandom from near extinction but was responsible for its biggest boom yet. Takahashi Yōichi’s Captain Tsubasa (1981–88, Kyaputen tsubasa), about boys competing in the then-exotic sport of soccer, felt like a mixture of shōnen and shōjo manga in its depiction of both competition and friendship between boys (in contrast to thegekiga-esque martial arts manga that had formerly dominated the sports genre). From 1986, bishōnen soccer stars’ homo erotic and homosexual dōjinshi exploits stoked female fans and creators’ fantasies and shifted yaoi to the center of female otaku-ism, which today is known as fujoshi culture. Within a year, attendance at Comike nearly doubled (to approximately sixty thousand in winter 1987), and a majority of attendees were again women. Popular titles like Seint Seiya (1986–90) and the anime Ronin Warriors (1988–89, Yoroiden samurai trooper) held women’s interest after Captain Tsubasa ended serialization.

In contrast to the earlier aniparo phenomenon, the yaoi boom was dominated by young women just out of high school who—unlike their counterparts in earlier decades—now had everything they needed to create dōjinshi: manga drawing techniques and tools. Photocopiers had become common, and an entire rapid-printing industry had arisen, offering all-inclusive services from manuscript touchup to professional offset printing, to delivery direct to Comike for reasonable prices. New dōjinshi conventions appeared, and manga shops began selling dōjinshi on commission. Comparatively lush, custom-made, oversized dōjinshi with more than one hundred pages became common, and popular circles could now live on their fanworks’ profits.

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