Boys Love Genre

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Why? Because Guy-On-Guy Is Hot and that's all there is to it.

Also called Yaoi, Boy's Love is a subgenre of romance focusing on male homosexuality, for a presumptively female audience. In a typical plot, two boys fall in love and the story shows their progress as a couple. Sometimes it's just part of the scenery, although most series directly foster what the audience expects and likes.

Boys' Love series are made by women for women, though it's not uncommon for them to draw a male gay/bisexual audience. Because of this, most Boys' Love works have idealized male characters who are sensitive and nurturing. They are usually drawn in a romantic style and exist in a world where homosexuality is considered no more unusual or transgressive than heterosexuality. The genre includes all ranges of explicitness, one of the reasons stories aimed at a more mature audience don't make it to television often.

It's sometimes conjectured that gay romance appeals to women because non-female characters aren't as 'threatening' to the audience, nor are the social boundaries the same. Of course, it could also simply mean that if one hot guy is good, two or more are even better. It's interesting how some viewers, especially male ones, don't get that, even though the opposite is a well-known phenomenon.

The stories are stereotyped as having a high degree of Melodrama, especially within the younger teenager reading audience; something exploited by the manga translation market. The dynamic of an aggressive partner and a submissive one is so common in the genre that they have become the archetypes for the genre (but remember, Tropes Are Flexible!). Some Slash Fic writers go so far as to feminize the shorter guy to fit this dynamic. Many series that deal with close friendship usually develop a non-canonical Boys Love fandom.

See Boys Love Notes for a list of standard character types and Boys Love Tropes for tropes associated with the genre.

For the corresponding genre aimed at a gay male readership, see Bara Genre. For the Distaff Counterpart to this genre, see Yuri Genre.

Examples of Boys Love Genre include:

Boys Love Works[edit | hide | hide all]

Anime & Manga[edit | hide]


Literature[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]


Webcomics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

Works commonly mistaken for Boys Love Genre[edit | hide]

Anime & Manga[edit | hide]

  • Zero Seven Ghost frequently dances right on the edge of this trope without coming right out and saying it. Teito and Mikage's relationship teases at it, and Kuroyuri and Haruse darn near imply it. Not to mention Hakuren's outright statement that he does "not like women", with a couple of exceptions. C'mon, if you don't take it THAT way, you're dense.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia. Despite being a major Cast Full of Pretty Boys and having two not entirely confirmed canon male-on-male pairings (Germany×Italy and Sweden×Finland if you ask, not to mention the Ship Tease with Spain×Romano, America×England, GreecexJapan, etc., the story doesn't revolve around those relationships and Yaoi Fangirls are not the original, fully intended demographic. The webcomic is a little ambiguous, but it's quite safe to say that the manga (as well as the anime) isn't BL, since it was published in the same magazine as Rozen Maiden.
  • CLAMP loves Yaoi Guys and Ho Yay (they have their own Ho Yay page), but so far they have not published any official Boys' Love. CLAMP works that are particularly yaoi-esque include:
    • The currently suspended series Legal Drug which is essentially a very slow-moving Boys' Love story.
    • Subaru and Seishirou of Tokyo Babylon are more or less in a romantic relationship, although it might not be the kind you imagined at first.
    • Unsurprisingly, CLAMP has their beginnings in shounen-ai doujinshi, one of the most well-known of which is of Jotaro and Kakyoin from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, of all things.
  • D.N.Angel ship teases Satoshi and Daisuke like crazy. It's officially a shoujo manga.
  • Game X Rush: At times it seems to run on Ho Yay, without ever crossing the line to actual Boys' Love.
  • Gankutsuou: Albert's relationships with the Count and Franz are dripping with subtext, though it's more text on Franz's part.
  • GetBackers: Let’s just say there is a reason why this series provides the default image on the Ho Yay page’s Anime section. Not only does it have copious amounts of Ho Yay between its many beautiful male characters, but the artist of the manga is also a self-admitted Yaoi Fanboy, and the anime contains [dead link] several [dead link] suggestive artworks [dead link]. In fact, one of the most commonly asked questions about GetBackers is whether or not it’s a Yaoi series. The truth? It’s actually a gritty Shounen manga with tons of Fan Service (for the guys).
  • Golden Days has shounen ai elements but it was published in Hana to Yume.
  • The lead of Hana Kimi is only dressed like a boy, but Boys' Love romances abound among the supporting cast.
  • Hands Off! due to the absurd amounts of subtext between two of the male characters, which gets mentioned a lot - but is completely about ESPers.
  • Karakuridouji Ultimo, while heavily in the Shonen robot genre, and not to mention being authored by the creators of Shaman King and Spider-Man, is becoming more and more known for its Boys' Love subtext. The main character Yamato's best friend Rune becomes Evil due to his jealousy of Yamato liking somebody else. This... leads to some surprising and horrifying situations. Whether this was intentional or not is unknown; don't think anybody would have the guts to ask Hiroyuki Takei or Stan FREAKING Lee about this.
    • The subtext becomes so strong that when Part Three comes around, Viz Media pulls Ultimo from Shonen Jump.
  • Black Butler is officially Shonen despite the rampant Ship Tease and Does This Remind You of Anything? and the little fact that both times Sebestian had sex, it was with women...
  • Kyo Kara Maoh is a series about a boy who becomes king of the demon realm; in the process of doing so, he accidentally proposes marriage to another man. It's officially Shoujo.
  • Loveless was originally published in Monthly Comic Zero Sum, a magazine that was looking for crossover shonen/shoujo readership (although it has since turned into a shoujo mag), so it's not officially considered BL. It has the added bonuses of Nekomimi, Shotacon, and a pair of Schoolgirl Lesbians. Not to mention all the Nightmare Fuel and Mind Screw.
  • Monochrome Factor is ridden with pretty boys and Ho Yay in the anime and is sometimes labelled as a shounen-ai even though it's officially a seinen.
  • Manga sites often mistakenly tag Nabari no Ou as BL. You can't really blame them though. Not surprisingly, it's serialized in the same magazine as Black Butler.
  • Rare Shonen example of a male-male romance: No Bra, a Manga where a guy falls in love with a Wholesome Crossdresser.
  • No. 6 does this with Nezumi and Shion. Things essentially get more Ho Yay fueled with every episode/chapter including a "good-night kiss" and a "good-bye kiss". It has fans that always ask whether it's a shounen-ai or not. It's really a shoujo/shounen series. The novel was written by Asano Atsuko an infamous writer of BL-ish novels she claims are 'children's books'.
  • Pandora Hearts has multiple instances with Ho Yay and the main character's friend having a huge infatuation with him and often fights with the main love interest for his affection as a result. Regardless, you can interpret it as Ho Yay, overprotectiveness or something else entirely.
  • Peacemaker Kurogane has an incredible amount of Ho Yay subtext/text (?), a Bishonen main cast and the one female love interest is very boring so it's not surprising some would consider it Boys' Love.
  • Princess Princess does this with having the very feminine guys dress up as girls to be adored by the male population of their school. Not to mention all the Ho Yay between Tooru and Yuujirou. It's officially shoujo even though it's sometimes tagged as shounen-ai.
  • Saiyuki is a shounen manga about four pretty guys traveling together on an epic journey, spending most of their time in close proximity. There would be too much Ho Yay to list even if the mangaka wasn't a former yaoi doujinshi artist who deliberately adds to it.
  • Tactics. The characters are so gay that the authors themselves have made yaoi doujinshi of them. (Specifically, "Lovesick".) Kantarou and Haruka in particular are the most notable example, and its more apparent in the manga than in the anime but still there. It's not shounen-ai though.
  • Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru mostly have males in the cast, very occupied in confess their mutual admiration for each other and even have a pet dragon called "Sodom". Several sites tag this series as shounen ai but officially is shoujo.
  • Vassalord features hot gay vampires licking each other, and on-screen kinky gay sex. It's officially Shoujo.
  • The four Bishonen protagonists of Weiss Kreuz and their opposite numbers are all canonically heterosexual, but their status as terminal Doom Magnets combined with copious amounts of subtext has gained it a reputation as a Boys Love series.
  • Yami no Matsuei (aka Descendants of Darkness) has a rather complicated Love Dodecahedron involving most (male) main characters, but focuses mainly on the love/hate triangle between the psychopath Doctor Muraki, Tsuzuki Asato, and Kurosaki Hisoka. It's officially Shoujo.
  • Adekan by Tsukiji Nao, is a historical shoujo manga set in the Meiji era, featuring Yoshiwara Shiro, a sexy umbrella maker with a distinct hatred of underwear, and Yamada Kojiro, an uptight but kind-hearted police officer. It is especially notable for its impossibly detailed art, as well as the sheer quantity of steaming Fanservice and innuendo. It's so blatant that the series could almost be considered as a BL on its own, though it never crosses that line.


Use of BL manga/anime itself as a trope (for uses of BL tropes outside BL, see Yaoi Guys)[edit | hide]

Anime & Manga[edit | hide]

Comic Books[edit | hide]

Webcomics[edit | hide]