Boys Love Notes
A collection of Characterization Tropes found in many Yaoi works. Some are complete character types, some are mix-and-match ingredients. Has absolutely nothing to do with potato chip eating maniacs... maybe.
- Seme (attacker): The "active" partner, or top. Sometimes tachi, "sword" (or from tachiyaku, male roles in kabuki), by analogy to gay slang. (Seme and Uke come from martial arts terms.)
- Uke (defender or receiver): The "passive" partner, or bottom. Sometimes neko, "cat", by analogy to gay slang.
- Riba (from "reversible") or Seke (portmanteau of the above): The "Both" partner who can go both ways; relatively rare but exists.
- Sou-seme ("total seme"): A guy who can't be anything other than a seme.
- Sou-uke ("total uke"): A guy who can't be anything other than a uke.
- Seme x Uke: Standard.
- Uke x Uke: Both guys are uke types. Sometimes called homoyuri (homo + yuri); i.e., they look like a pair of sugar encrusted schoolgirls in love.
- Example: Yuuri and Wolfram from Kyo Kara Maoh!.
- Seme x Seme: Both guys are seme types.
- Example: Iwaki and Katou from Embracing Love (which started off as a one-shot in a Seme x Seme- themed anthology).
- Riba or Reba: Reversible couple; the guys could switch roles and have it still work.
- Example: June/DMP just released an entire anthology on this theme, called Reversible.
- Wanko-nyanko ("doggy-kitty"): The seme is faithful and devoted like a dog (a wanko or hetare wanko) and the uke is temperamental and demanding like a cat (tsundere or an ojou).
- Gekokujou ("lower dominates upper"): The seme is socially subordinate to, or lower-ranking than, his uke. Kohai-seme/sempai-uke, student-seme/teacher-uke or salaryman-seme/boss-uke are common setups.
- Example: Passion, Jazz, Hey Sensei, and a few hundred others.
Applicable to both seme and uke
- Nonke (non + ke, "persuasion"; i.e., "not of that persuasion"): Starts off straight. (Nonke is bona-fide Japanese gay slang for straight people.)
- Ore-sama (see Japanese Pronouns): Arrogant or narcissistic. If an uke, expect to be an ojou.
- "Cool beauty" (usually in Gratuitous English): Extraordinarily good-looking but reserved or unemotional. Usually uke but sometimes you will find a cool beauty seme. Het equivalent: Ice Queen. Also see Sugar and Ice Personality.
- Example: Sou-seme Iason Mink from Ai no Kusabi.
- Kinniku (buff or muscular): More heavily-muscled types than the usual slender bishonen. Quite common in the Bara Genre.
- Kakkoi buaiso (kakkoi = cool, as in Rule of Cool, buaisou = reserved, quiet) seme: Good-looking, stylish, aloof, doesn't talk much. One of the most common seme types.
- Hetare (incompetent or loser) seme: Wimpy, meek or undemanding, he may not have the nerve to make the first move, and once things get underway he's probably under the uke's control. Often also wanko. Usually paired with one of the more aggressive uke types.
- Wanko (puppy) seme: Devoted and determined, he will fawn on his uke like a puppy and doggedly pursue the uke until he gets him, despite constant rejection. Het equivalent: Dogged Nice Guy, only the BL version is usually nicer (not to mention better looking). Usually paired with a tsundere or cool beauty uke.
- Kichiku (brutal or demonic) seme: Cold, cruel, or sadistic. Loves to torment his uke. The het equivalent uses the same term.
- Kichiku Megane seme: The same plus glasses, which is a fetish all by itself but in this case also symbolizes power and status.
- Toshishita (younger) seme: Younger than his uke. Often in a gekokujou relationship, or a mujaki type.
- Mujaki (pure) seme: Innocent, usually inexperienced, maybe shy. Often looks like he ought to be uke.
- Example: Serge from Kaze to Ki no Uta.
- Tennen genki (tennen = natural, genki = energetic) uke: Cheerful, straightforward and upbeat. Usually The Ingenue. Often Keet. Equivalent to the Generic Shoujo Heroine. The most common uke type.
- Example (possibly the most famous one): Shuichi from Gravitation.
- Sasoi (seductive) uke: Puts the moves on his seme. A good match for a hetare seme, since the relationship might otherwise never get off the ground. Like other forward types of ukes, might be an Aggressive Submarine.
- Osoi (rapist) uke: Just what it sounds like. Rare.
- Example: Hashizume from Scandalous Seiryo University is this for a bit, then he goes back to being seme.
- Ojou (queen) uke: Beautiful, elegant, and strong-willed. May be arrogant, demanding, or expect to be treated like royalty. Likely to be from a wealthy and/or traditional family. Frequently tsundere. Het equivalent: Ojou.
- Example: Wolfram from Kyo Kara Maoh!.
- Oyaji (old man) uke: An uke in his late 20s or older, especially if he is older than his seme. Het equivalent: Christmas Cake.
- Hime (princess) uke: Surrounded by an entire train of smitten semes, like a princess with her retainers.
- Heibon (ordinary) uke: The Everyman. Has no distinguishing features. Frequently used as Audience Surrogate muggles in Fish out of Water situations where everyone else is rich and/or important. Some hot seme will fall in love with him anyway. A good vehicle for Wish Fulfillment.
- Example: Keita from Gakuen Heaven.
- Toshiue (older) uke: Older than his seme. Often an oyaji.
- Example: Hanasaki Sono from Sensitive Pornograph. Although this one is Older Than He Looks.