A Guide to Yaoi Manga: The Basics [2]

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We covered a lot of unusual words in the first round of the guide to yaoi manga. This time we’re going to focus on words related to the many sub-genres that exist in BL comics. Many mangas end up in more than one sub-genre; however, you’ll notice that there’re many famous sub-genres that you might have already read.

Arab: 「アラブ」stories feature romances set in the dunes of the desert, with royalty, princes, kings, elite warriors, and oil multimillionaires. These stories don’t depict reality at all. Instead, they show up an idealization of the Arabic world, and invented countries. People also call this sub-genre “stories of the dunes” 「砂漠もの」, although it’s not a perfect synonym.

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Black Sun by Uki Ogasawara

Exe-Kei/ Highso-Kei: 「エグゼ系/ハイソ系」are stories about executives and the high society. The characters can be millionaires, bosses from a first class company, elite businessmen, gorgeous members of the high society, etc. Semes are the most common. However, you can also find ukes.

Gachimuchi: 「ガチムチ」 is a sub-genre where muscular men are king. Muscular, almost perfect men appear in the story. They tend to have the perfect body or show muscles that are about to burst. They can be young, or old, but they’re usually very masculine.

Gakuenmono: 「学園もの」is the King sub-genre in yaoi manga. It depicts bittersweet stories of young students and adolescents. Some live alone in boarding schools, and they struggle to fit in. Other stories are centered in characters that are members of the student council. Others depict students in clubs.

Gijinka: 「擬人化」are stories about anthropomorphism. It means that animals, plants or things take the shape of a human. Imagine stories with dolls that come to life or animals. Although the ship looks human, the important part here is that it’s more like someone is the plug, and someone else is the charger.

Jingai: 「人外」 means “not human.” So, these stories are about humanoids, like robots. But, many times you can find characters with animal tails and ears. Many other times you can see the beasts as they’re. So, they could be foxes, aliens, robots, etc.

Josou: 「女装」 means cross-dressing. This sub-genre features stories where a guy dresses like a woman because it might be his hobby, or it can be that the circumstances force him to crossdress. The cross-dresser is called “josou danshi” 「女装男子」when it’s just normal. But when he looks like a girl, then you use baby boy, “Otoko no ko” 「男の娘」. Both semes and ukes can be crossdressers.

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Crimson Spell by Ayano Yamane

Omegaverse: 「オメガバース」 is an entire Universe where there’re more genres than just male and female. Humans can also be alfa, beta or omega. Alfas are at the top of the social pyramid. They have all the best jobs, and they rule the world. Betas are just like you and me, and consider just “boring.” And the omegas are in the lowest part of society. They can get pregnant, get uncontrollably hot once a month, and release strong feromones that seduce others. Because of that, they’re regarded as inferior beings. There’s been a boom in stories that are set in the Omegaverse. You can see a good correlation between the status of the omegas with women in society. Their problems at work, how people bully them, etc., are just problems that we can face too.

Otokomae: 「男前」 means handsome. These are stories where the characters are either handsome, or their actions are also handsome. There’re both semes and ukes. However, in the case of the uke, it usually happens that they can lead a seme. So, think about stories where the characters are beautiful and are good-hearted.

Ry-man: 「リーマン」are stories about businessmen. There’s a fascination with the suit they wear. So, you can expect all types of panels with amazing men in incredible suits. The stories are also about bosses and their subordinates, the competition between colleagues, the relationship between trading partners, clients, etc. In many cases, these stories show us the sexual relationship in the working place.

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Ten Count by Rihito Takarai

Shota: 「ショタ」is a sub-genre centered in young characters. They’re around 15 years old. Frequently, there’s only one young main character in the story, and the others are adults. Shotas can be pretty boys in boarding schools, energetic kids, or even evil ones. The stories usually feature the relationship between an adult and a minor. Some people also call this sub-genre “shotakon.”

StoM: 「SとM」is just S&M. These stories are about the relationship between a dominant masochist seme, and a submissive uke that loves the deed. They explore the body in many ways, but also the mind.

Wanko: 「ワンコ」 are stories related to dogs, or dog-like characters. It might be their personality. So, imagine a story with someone who loves his partner so much, that he shakes his tail like a dog. Meaning, that he’ll be with his partner faithfully whatever happens. Both seme and uke can have this character. It can also happen that one of them has a dog. You can also find stories with other types of pets, like cats or rabbits.

Yakuza: 「ヤクザ」 are stories about the Japanese mafia. Some main characters do look aggressive and fierce, others, however, are yakuza in disguise. These stories tend to be thrilling and very erotic. A good example is Finder, by Ayano Yamane. Asami is a fierce-looking yakuza. He’s imposing, but he has a sweet spot for Akihito.

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Finder by Ayano Yamane

Yu-kakumono: 「遊郭もの」are stories about prostitution and the red light district. They usually focus on a slim and petite uke who works in the red light district. The uke is constrained to sleep with many men, but he ends up falling in love with the seme. These stories can be very dramatic.

So, what to read next? Consider the following titles:

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Kuroneko Kareshi no Aishikata by Aya Sakyo

Honorable mentions:

Ecchi/ Hentai: 「エッチ/ヘンタイ」is a perverted sexual desire. Sometimes, in BL, characters might accuse someone of being H (read “ecchi”) just because they’re gay. This word is usually used in heterosexual porn, or when some character has some sort of fetish.

Hard Yaoi/ Hentai Yaoi: are stories with very graphic sex, or with intense BDSM, violence, or weird fetishes.

Okama: 「オカマ」 just means “gay.” But it could be an insult, like “tranny,” so beware of this word. It’s usually used for men who dress like a woman. They might be or not transgender. You can find them in Secret XXX Peke Peke Peke, since one of the characters worked in a club cross-dressing.


Copyright: Top banner made by dePepi with a (C) Rihito Takarai image / Other images (C) by their owners.

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A Geek Girl interested in Geek Anthropology, comic books, books, Superheroes and discovering all about pop culture.

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