Melon Seeds

Author of “You’ve Got Mail” Danmei Series Posts about English License on Plurk, Internet Reacts with Problematic Post Callouts

Danmei fandom recently erupted in a combination of disgust, confusion, and conflicted delight when author 黑蛋白 / Hei Dan Bai (Blackegg) took to the social media platform Plurk to announce that Seven Seas Entertainment would be releasing an English edition of their series 飞鸽交友须谨慎 (“Be Cautious When Making Friends Using Flying Pigeons“). It’s better known in English fan translation circles as You’ve Got Mail: A Cautionary Tale.

Hei Dan Bai’s announcement was quickly followed by discussions about their other recent and unrelated posts, which were widely circulated and cited, criticizing their allegedly homophobic, transphobic, and racist content.

CONTENT WARNING: The post below shares some links and quotes that some readers may find upsetting. Please use discretion when continuing.

What did Hei Dan Bai actually say?

Twitter user @mildunspeakable has collated screenshots of several comments being discussed, with translations to English. The thread contains examples of homophobic and transphobic rhetoric posted by Hei Dan Bai in relation to a larger discussion of the recent legalization of same-sex couple adoption in Taiwan.

Other comments have also been highlighted by fans, such as Hei Dan Bai “replurking” (equivalent to retweeting) a Japanese article criticizing the “trans movement” and adding supportive comments inviting “rebuttals of trans movement discourse.” Another post shares a link to a video criticizing the casting of a Black woman as Ariel for the live-action remake of Disney’s The Little Mermaid (2023), with commentary below that references “a trans movement lurking in wait.”

“There’s also a serious problem of discrimination against red-haired people, but I never thought it was this serious.
But I know that people with red-haired genes will have extremely pale skin! And rather prominent freckles on the face.
If we’re talking about red-haired people, then I’ll also mention that most of the characters who sparked controversy for being changed to Black are women, no one’s really touched the white men’s cake. Rather, on top of the competition mysteriously becoming fiercer for women, it’s even attracted fire from anti-pc people.
In the end, has nothing been achieved aside from creating a world where no one other than women are hurt? And there’s also a trans movement lurking in wait.”

“An article a leftist academic wrote about the trans movement, describing how he discovered the abnormal nature of the trans movement and came to suspect it, it also lists the reasons he opposes it, flaws in the trans movement’s discourse, and selects some parts of the trans movement’s discourse to rebut At the end, he calls on leftists to not go against their conscience to support the trans movement, or else when the trans movement collapses, it will be the death of the left He criticizes how the trans movement’s violence against women is absolutely not the human rights the left seeks, but leftist public figures either ignore this problem or actively participate in violence against women”

*These quotes have been independently translated into English by DanmeiNews.com

Danmei fans have expressed their disappointment

Many fans have shared their dismay online that Hei Dan Bai could post discriminatory comments, especially while profiting from writing male/male romance. Others have highlighted that it’s important for the comments to be shared so fans can make informed decisions about whether or not they want to support an author or engage with their work.

Twitter user @uglychui posted “I just think that as part of the danmei community that thrives on gay content and as LGBT folks/allies, we need to be informed about things like this.” Meanwhile, on r/DanmeiNovels on Reddit, user starlessseasailor commented “Well, I know what I’m not gonna be buying.”

What about the novel series Flying Pigeons?

The novel series Flying Pigeons centres on Wu Xingzi—a thirty-nine-year-old magistrate’s advisor in the impoverished county of Qingcheng—who feels his life is without hope. Intending to commit suicide when he turns forty, he’s determined to at least lose his virginity before then. He signs up for one month’s membership of a ‘friend-making’ service with the Peng Society for Gentleman, which includes a catalog of potential suitors. Through the experience he unlocks a lot of interests he never knew he had, but is determined to explore, and all with an unexpected partner prepared to provide.

There appears to be no issue taken with the novel itself, which garnered a small but passionate fanbase during the fan translation for its quirky, older protagonist and explicit sex scenes.

The image used above is one of the cover images from the series’ Chinese print edition, published by 愛呦文創有限公司 (“Ai You Wen Chuang You Xian Gong Si”). Art for Flying Pigeons is drawn by Leila.

Hei Dan Bai and Seven Seas Entertainment

The post about an English license for Flying Pigeons has since been deleted from Hei Dan Bai’s Plurk. It is not known whether this was in response to the controversy or because of legal restrictions around licensing announcements. It’s very uncommon for authors to post about their series being licensed in another language before the company involved does, especially as these kinds of negotiations can take months or years and secrecy is often very important.

Seven Seas Entertainment have not announced an official license for the series, nor made any statement or mention of their supposed publication, or the surrounding controversy.

UPDATE: On July 12, 2023, Seven Seas Entertainment announced they have licensed You’ve Got Mail: The Perils of Pigeon Post for English publication.