Boys' Love: Portrayals in JPN manga

edited April 28 in Freestyle

Thai BL is having a moment now, but we want to bring it back to where it all started. What are your views on Boys' Love portrayals in JP manga and anime?

Read our writer Elle de Pedro's thoughts here:


  • Hi! I’ve been a fujoshi since 2011 (I think ๐Ÿ˜‚) and it was KHR (Reborn!) that got me into it.

    If there is a sort of sub-genre or AU that I really avoid that would be omegaverse. I'm not saying that all titles under this genre is bad but I just don't like how most of them have this very abusive set-up for the omegas (uke) plus alphas (semes) are usually ba*tards that abuse the omegas.

    But yes! I've read some interesting BLs under this universe like there is one that revolves around a beta-omega couple and how they strived (sorry forgot the title).

  • A FELLOW FUJOSHI hello!!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฝ๐Ÿ’•

    I THINK I KNOW WHAT TITLE YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT wait let me search it up--might it be "Joukakei Kareshi" by Satomaru Mami? it's about an omega who tries to take revenge on his former alpha for dumping him, when he bumps into this geeky-looking beta, and they end up falling in love

    THAT orrrr "Kurui Naku no wa Boku no Ban Vol. 2" by Kusabi Keri where an omega falls in love with his beta superior in the workplace, and it's a convoluted romance because of how their society perceives alphas/betas/omegas (yes there is a love-triangle beware)

    nevertheless, i understand exactly where you're coming from! and while i'm disgusted with the way omegas are treated in some omegaverse stories, i'm still especially attracted to the idea of omegas persevering and proving themselves amidst the inhumane treatment they receive from other subgenders--which is why omegaverse is a big thing for me.

    also, i guess i'm just a huge sucker for predestination-themed stories: when an alpha/omega find their fated pair, it's like destiny decided "you've got someone in this world that was created just for you", and that kind of soulbond which no one else will understand except your match-made-in-heaven is, embarrassing as it is for me to say, pretty romantic. i'm not sure if the idea of soulmates is a reality in this world, but i'd like to think that in omegaverse it's possible. >w<)

    but let it also be known that one of the titles i recommended in the article above deals with an alpha/beta pair forging their own romance and destiny--when you love someone, why should fate tell you who to love? so in all honesty, it really depends on how attuned you are to the pairings portrayed in a title and how well the author narrates the characters' circumstances

    THAT SAID (and i've gone off rambling for TOO LONG), THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR THOUGHTS โค๏ธi'm always happy to see fellow fujoshi fans talking about their preferences for the genre uwu

    do you have fave BL titles? i'd love to talk about them with you!

  • Hi there @elledepedro ๐Ÿ˜

    The one I read is "Kurui Naku no wa Boku no Ban Vol. 2" !!!! and thank you so much for sharing it with me (us)!! Right?! Titles like these kind of expands what omegaverse can offer and super romantic as well in a sense na my love will prevail.

    Re fated-pair in omegaverse is its charm! Its very romantic and sweet! And I do enjoy reading those fluffy omegaverse since its a good change or phase or palette cleaner (lol) . And I definitely agree with you that there are really strong characters in some omegaverse titles (ala fight my way)

    As for my favourite titles, I enjoy anything Ogawa Chise then Wolf in the House, Momentum, titles made by Harada are also great, Jackass! and I just realized the variety of BLs that I read. I jump from heart breaking to fluff (lol).

    How about you?

    And so happy to discuss all of these with fellow fujoshi fans!

  • @lemonmelon OMG hello hello!!!!! โค๏ธ

    no problem!! i know omegaverse isn't for everyone and even some seasoned BL veterans will find it difficult to stomach the atrocities some omegaverse narratives depict, but as i mentioned in my article: that's a-okay! you don't have to love every BL title you encounter (we're human, we're allowed to play favorites) and there's nothing wrong with that~

    OGAWA CHISEEEEE YESSSSS i loved "Gosan no Heart" and "Owaranai Fukou ni Tsuite no Hanashi", and i've read a bit of "Caste Heaven" as well but i ultimately kind of stopped (i'm all for psychological BL but somehow i became numb to what was happening in the middle of the story, unfortunately ๐Ÿ˜”) i've read some of Ogawa-sensei's oneshots and ongoing series, but the first two are my faves!! (TAKAYUKI IS SO PRECIOUS)

    YAS GIRL "WOLF IN THE HOUSE" OMG BEXANNNN ๐Ÿ˜˜i haven't been able to read the after stories of WITH tho i will try sometime soon to finish! i kind of also read a bit of "Momentum" but not enough for me to sustain an interest, it was just a fleeting fancy huhu (โ•ฏ•๏น•โ•ฐ)

    HARADA-SENSEI OMIGOD BESHIECAKESSSS all the GinHiji doujins are *chef's kiss* and i totally love "Asa to Yoru no Uta"!!!! "Color" was great too, and a smattering of others from this psycho author--i love them mwah mwah mwah

    "Jackass" WAS ALSO REALLY GOOD!!!!!!! have you also read Scarlet Beriko-sensei's other work "Yondaime Ooyamato Tatsuyuki"? i did a casual cosplay of the seme there with my other BL-loving friend ughhhh this author's designs are purely gorgeous hngggh

    SO! my favorites, huh? that's a LOOOOOT to unpack but lemme lay down some of them:

    JAPANESE BL (also if you haven't checked out my suggested reads in the article i wrote, i highly encourage you!)

    • "Choco Strawberry Vanilla" by PSYCHEDELICO
    • "Therapy Game" by Hinohara Meguru
    • "Dragless Sex - Tatsumi to Inui" by Enzou
    • "Yoidore Koi wo Sezu" by Hashimoto Aoi
    • "Koitomo?!" by Moegi Yuu
    • "Kimi no Yume wo Mite Iru" by Harubaru Aruku (Author), Kouki (Illustrator)
    • "Doronuma" by Tomochi
    • "Koi ga Ochitara" by Ueda Aki
    • "Omae no Koi wa Ore no Mono" by Tokita Honoji
    • "Junai Dropout!" by Misaka Niumu


    • "Blood Bank" by SilB
    • "If You Hate Me So" + "Love Is An Illusion" by Fargo
    • "Lover Boy" by Zec
    • "BJ Alex" by Mingwa
    • "Warehouse" by Team Killerwhale
    • "Sign" by Ker
    • "King's Maker" by Kang Ji Young
    • "Blood Link" by Brothers Without a Tomorrow
    • "Love Shuttle" by Im Aeju
    • "Paid" by Fujoking

    there is DEFINITELY a lot more than just this list, but these are the ones off the top of my head/i was able to check from my manga website subscriptions uwu if you've read any of these and would like to scream with me about them PLEASE DOOOOOO โ•ฐ(โœง∇โœงโ•ฐ)

  • @elledepedro !!!

    homaaay I feel like we are sharing the same reading list! ๐Ÿ˜‚

    Ogawa - i love everything but I actually also somewhat semi-dropped Caste Heaven, planning to read it again once its done.

    I had a pace where I dont want to commit to any long or ongoing BL series and thats when I found Momentum which kind of works for me! But Wolf in the House has a more polished feeling for me โค๏ธ

    And yes!!! i read the Yondamine one as well! The art and fluff is just โ€ผ๏ธโ€ผ๏ธโ€ผ๏ธ

    GIRL Choco, Strawberry, Vanilla and that artist is just amazing! That series was my first ever three-some BL that I still go back to โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ And i do read Yoidore Koi wo Sezu, Junai dropout, Blood link, Blood Bank, BJ Alex (was a bit tough for me at first but then the development made me stay!) . And my current obession is KING’s MAKER! The art, story and everything!!!! I finished all the current chapters in one seating and now I’m in pain, waiting ๐Ÿ˜‚

    I will definitely check Love shuttle, Sign and Warehouse! Been always wanting to read it but I always put in onhold hahaha! Oh and Love or Hate (same author of Gools) is anpretty good one too but more on the drama/heavy side โœจ

    Thank you so much for the reco!! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜


    same thoughts on "Caste Heaven"! i might also try to pick it back up once it's finished; the wait between chapter updates is quite lengthy so i also thought it would be best to wait until Ogawa-sensei finally finishes the series before i try reading where i left off uwu

    yas bish, i understand!! longstanding BL titles/webtoons tend to have stuttered releases (especially if chapters aren't released weekly) so it's quite tedious to wait for some series so i totally get you!

    HNNNGGGGH PSYCHEDELICO USED TO BE MY FAVE BL AUTHOR HUHUHU (i mean they still are among my faves but i've come to love more authors now ๐Ÿ˜น) i still love "Choco Strawberry Vanilla" to this day and same same same! i'm never exactly been used to threesome BLs, but Psychedelico just made it work, you know? i THRIVED on Take/Mine/Hiroi's complicated relationship and i've never loved any other threesome more than theirs ๐Ÿ˜ป

    BJ ALEX HUHUHUHUHU are you updated on the latest chapters? it's Chanwoo's/Myungdae's chance to shine now!!!!! i still hope Donggyun/Jiwon have some extra chapters but i'm pretty freaking excited for the BJ MD sides owo)

    i actually stopped reading "King's Maker" for now just to have a bit of leeway for binge-reading! it was a while before Part 2 finally got some headway hoo boy i had to wait for about a year or so before any updates got released it was such a frantic period anticipating the second season ;w;

    OH fair warning btw!! since you mentioned that you're not exactly into omegaverse, "Omae no Koi wa Ore no Mono" (Tokita Honoji), "Love is an Illusion" (Fargo) and "Love Shuttle" (Im Aeju) are omegaverse stories! just wanted you to know what you were getting into~

    and i'm really happy you were able to get new reads from me! if you have any new recommendations to share or would like some more suggested titles from me, don't hesitate to hit me up!! ๐Ÿ’–

  • edited May 2

    i think that the BL industry as a whole reached its peak when they made my two seiyuu (voice actor biases) kousaka atsushi and nogami sho play a couple of dumb high school boys in a healthy, mutual, reversible relationship and released this news on my birthday. i think that everyone's opinion is valid but that's the peak and i believe the industry did that to prove i have rights (i'm joking. by the way. i'm biased and i'm obviously joking. but also the BLCD is called ใ‚ฑใƒณใ‚ซใƒƒใƒ—ใƒซ ~reversible relation~ and i recommend it to anyone interested in BLCDs)

    jokes aside, though, i would definitely have to say that portrayals of relationships have been getting better over the years? japanese content creators in general have a big insistence for the fiction=/=reality divide, which probably plays into how nonplussed they seem when it comes to churning out relationships we might call toxic, manipulative, or straight-up abusive.

    i'm not saying this is bad or good, but in recent years i've been seeing hella progress - i freelance for a BL distribution company, and i see that there are more and more stories about healthy relationships well-versed in communication! actually i think stories like that have always been there, but they never had the opportunity to break into the foreign market until pretty recently.

    i don't consume much BL manga on my own recently - im a seiyuu fan so im more of a BLCD girl, i can give recs of those if anyone needs em - but recently i've been reading a loooooot of BL for work. im linking this thread in cuz i was making some recs of the stuff i enjoyed reading for work the most (it's colorcoded so the ones with pink hearts are BL), but keep in mind this isnt in any way part of my job (actually, im friends with my editor and when she saw me tweet this she was all, like "oh my god what are you doing. also if you're gonna do that at least use the hashtag??" im doing my best, mom)

  • @elledepedro omg I just realized my typo! I mean "phase" and not pace lol. And yes! I also thrive for them Take/Mine/Hiroi's complicated relationship but I love the chemistry between Take and Hiroi (that chapter is my fave!!)

    I have yet to catch-up with BJ Alex like a couple of chapters like same with you I prefer at least 2-3 chapters when I read an update. BUUUT King's Maker is just so amazing that I live for every update lol. And girl, I actually waited for Part 2 to be translated before I started reading it. When I read the first chapter, I was like -- I WILL NEED MORE hence like you I waited but now as soon as I see an update, I read it lol. ๐Ÿ˜

    I'm actually liking Love Shuttle! I'm liking the chemistry and how the author is narrating their character and relationship development. And the art is really good! If you are up for some major drama, try Love or Hate, then:

    • Saezuru tori wa habatakana
    • Red Theatre
    • 19 Days

    Nowadays, I'm leaning towards like light, slice of life and really fluffy BL Stories! And yes! Please do feel to send me a message as well for any recos or just gush over BL ๐Ÿคฃ

Sign In or Register to comment.