Yaoi Genre

aka: Shonen Ai
Why? Because Guy-on-Guy Is Hot and that's all there is to it.

The Yowie is an Australian cryptid bearing many similarities to the Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti.

Yaoi, on the other hand, also known as "Homoerotic Boy's Love", (not to be confused with Shounen-ai or Shonen-ai) is a subgenre of pornographic romance focusing on male homosexuality, for a predominantly female audience. In a typical plot, two boys fall in love and the story shows their progress as a couple (among other things).

Sometimes it's just part of the scenery, although most series directly foster what the audience expects and likes, with the plot usually being quite unrealistic in respects to actual LGBTA culture and people.

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 specifically at a gay male readership (not female readership), see Bara Genre. For the Distaff Counterpart to this genre, see Yuri Genre, or Hentai.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 

    Film 

    Literature 

    Manhwa 

    Music 
  • The song Stab Me In The Back by X Japan is a fairly graphic description of Intercourse with You between two men in its original version (the 1987 and live version, not the Jealousy version), and qualifies as both this and Bara Genre due to the appearance of the band when they performed it, though, with some of the band members likely having been/being bisexual, it's probably closer to bara.
  • The Visual Kei duet Adams centers around the idea of the duet being male lovers, and they are consciously a mix of yaoi and bara aesthetic.
  • Some Visual Kei Performance Video and promotional video tends in this direction due to fanservice or symbolism - see the Visual Kei entry below.
  • There are various song parodies of the "Yaranaika" meme (you may not name or link to the work it originated from, as that work is definitely a violation of site rules). The most well known are "Yaranaika (Balalaika)," "World Is Abe," "Crash Man," and "GONG." These vary in whether they are classified as bara (as the story the meme originated from was) or yaoi. They also vary in explicitness - the Balalaika remix is usually "safe" if no one around understands Japanese (which is how someone in one of the more famous videos got away with performing it in a mall in Muslim-majority Indonesia), and "GONG" the most visually so and only allowable on Youtube because of its heavy use of parody censor items (roses, lightsabers, golden wings)

    Video Games 
  • Alice Blue, produced two Boys Love RPGs (Oujisama Lv1, Oujisama Lv2) and a BL simulation game (Ore no Shita de Agake) before going under.

    Visual Novels 

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 

Works commonly mistaken for BL:

    Anime & Manga 
  • 07-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.
  • 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 one-sided Sweden×Finland if you ask, not to mention all the other male-on-male Ship Tease), this fanservice is almost entirely Played for Laughs, the story doesn't revolve around those relationships, and it's marketed as seinen.
  • Betrayal Knows My Name mostly has males in the cast, very occupied in confessing their mutual admiration for each other and they even have a pet dragon called "Sodom". Several sites tag this series as shounen ai but officially it's shoujo.
  • 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 formerly suspended Legal Drug series, which has since returned and been renamed "Drug & Drop", is for all intents and purposes 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.
  • The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese and The Carp on the Chopping Block Jumps Twice was serialized in Judy, a Josei magazine.
  • D.N.Angel ship teases Satoshi and Daisuke like crazy to the point of people in story and out story assuming they're a couple. It's really shoujo.
  • 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.
  • Get Backers: 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 several suggestive artworks. In fact, one of the most commonly asked questions about Get Backers is whether or not it’s a Yaoi series. The truth? It’s actually a gritty Shounen manga with tons of Fanservice (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 Shōnen 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 Shōnen 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 horror 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.
  • Naruto features the relationship between Haku and Zabuza, along with other male/male subtext examples as well as the hugely popular Sasuke/Naruto. Some fans are of the assumption that the manga was originally meant to be shounen-ai due to the fact that Naruto and Sasuke get about as much Ship Tease as the heterosexual relationships, especially on cover pages and in the anime too. Even after Naruto marries Hinata and Sasuke marries Sakura in the epilogue some fans still prefer Naruto and Sasuke together.
  • Rare shonen example of a male-male romance: No Bra, a manga where a guy falls in love with a Wholesome Crossdresser.
  • No6 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 Bishōnen 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.
  • Sakura Gari is serialized in Rinka, a Josei magazine, despite male/male relationships being rampant.
  • 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.
  • Vassalord features the relationship between Charles and Rayflo with various blood sucking scenes that remind one of boys love. It's officially shoujo.
  • The four Bishōnen 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.
  • Descendants of Darkness (aka Yami no Matsuei) 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.
  • Tokyo Ghoul has rampant Ho Yay generated by Tsukiyama towards Kaneki in the anime and manga as well as other examples. This, as well as the fact that the series has canon LGBT characters with Tsukiyama (pansexual/bisexual), homosexual Drag Queen Nico, and leaves a rather ambiguous situation concerning Juuzou's gender identity. The sequel has earned considerable praise for revealing Tooru Mutsuki to be a transgender man, portraying him in a respectful and accurate fashion. Despite all this it's actually a dark seinen manga/anime.
  • Adekan by Tsukiji Nao, is a historical shoujo manga featuring Yoshiwara Shiro, a sexy umbrella maker 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.
  • Silver Diamond has got this reputation (its a shoujo manga). Probably due to in story art and cover art featuring Chigusa carrying Rakan, hitting on Rakan, holding Rakan, getting Rakan to sleep on his chest, looking at Rakan, smiling at Rakan...

     Music 
  • Visual Kei provides a complicated, multilayered case. Early on, the scene was a safe haven to some degree for actual bisexuals and gay men, owing to its descent in part from Kabuki and other theatre, its androgynous aesthetic, that (while no one from them actually came out in a traditional manner until much later) some of the members of the founding bands of the scene were either gay or bisexual or allies of gay or bisexual friends, and that at the beginning displays of man on man sexuality were seen as a way to shock Japanese society at large and flip off the "to grow up you must marry a woman and have kids" and "we will pretend real gay and bisexual people don't exist in Japan" societal standards of The '80s and early 1990s Japan. As the scene developed in The '90s and the fujoshi / Yaoi Fangirl was recognized as a demographic to whom the Ho Yay and fanservice appealed, straight artists began to engage in it solely for the sake of making money and attracting fangirls, which led to a backlash of people considering it insulting or denying the presence of the actual gay or bi men in the scene, in a sort of gender inversion of how Les Yay is often considered. It's kind of reached an odd equilibrium at this point, with plenty of straight men pretending to be Yaoi Guys for the fangirls, but a fair amount of actual bisexuals and gay men as well (especially with the older bands, which are more likely to have these as opposed to 100 percent straights faking it)

Use of BL manga/anime itself as a trope (for uses of BL tropes outside BL, see Yaoi Guys):

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Webcomics 


Alternative Title(s):

Yaoi, Shonen Ai, Boys Love, Shounen Ai, Boys Love Genre