Manga Demographics, Bara is defined in terms of the target audience, not the authors or the subject matter; there are women who write Bara and are published in Bara magazines, while the rare few stories by gay male authors about gay men which are intended for a general (presumptively heterosexual) audience are not usually classified as Bara.
Bara can cover any topic but most focuses on romance or sex. Bara generally features mature and realistic(ish) relationships, rather than overly melodramatic soap opera plots. Bara is more likely to feature manly and muscular (sometimes hairy) characters with varying degrees of body fat, as opposed to the androgynous and effeminate boys commonly found in Yaoi. It also, usually, tends to avert, subvert or invert the Uke and Seme dynamics; e.g., frequently the Seme is someone younger and much "cuter" looking. Bara also tends to be much more explicit than yaoi.
Bara evolved from illustrations and manga in gay men's general-interest (and/or pornographic) magazines, which partially accounts for the differences in style and tone, as well as the generally short story length. It is generally considered a separate genre from yaoi; many Japanese bara artists would be offended if their works were called yaoi. The term was popularized by a Japanese gay magazine called Barazoku (lit. rose tribe), the same magazine that coined the term Yurizoku (lit. lily tribe) that later became Yuri. See the Wikipedia on Bara.
Although gay men's general-interest magazines have published occasional manga stories since the 1970s, the first all-manga gay magazines to become commercially successful date only from the early 2000s. The two major commercial publishers at the moment are Furukawa Shobu (a publisher of gay men's magazines) and Oakla Shuppan (a yaoi publisher that also has some bara manga magazines). Kinniku Otoko (literally "Muscle Man") is one of the manga magazines that focuses on this genre.
Gengoroh Tagame is an example of a well-known artist. Other popular and well-known artists include Gamma, Jin, Kazuma, Manya, Takeshi Matsu, Inaki Matsumoto, Ron-9, Takakunozomu, and Matsuzaki Tsukasa. Takaki Kyou has also got a lot of popularity with the kemono bara crowd. Female fans do exist, to the point where a couple short-lived manga anthologies catered to both male and female Bara fans.
Unlike Yaoi Fangirls, Bara fans don't worry about shipping and are not so vocal about it either. However, LGBT Fanbase plays an important role on the bara fandom, since official works were quite rare until recently, so fans have to rely on Doujinshi, Fan Art and Fan Fiction.
See also the Distaff Counterpart, Yuri. Contrast and compare with Yaoi. Example works that aren't Bara but attract a strong Bara fandom are listed under LGBT Fanbase.
Examples<!—index—> Anime and Manga
- Legend of the Blue Wolves is a rare, perhaps the only, yaoi OVA that has Bara elements. It mixes bara and Mecha together. It tells the story of Leonard and Jonathan, mecha pilots that are fighting in a war against the Apocalypse, while they go through all sorts of tribulations such as rape and betrayal.
- Morefuyu, a spin-off of Morenatsu (see below)
- My Brother's Husband is a rare family-friendly bara manga, by Gengoroh Tagame. Won various awards, including an Eisner Awards, and received a 3-episode live-action adaptation in 2018.
- CaptainGerBear is an erotic artist with a penchant for Big Beautiful Men. Created video games such as ChubPan, Fantasy Football Locker Stalker, See No Evil and Bastard Bonds, and the webcomic Grant.
- Kijima Hyougo is a female mangaka who writes a mixture of both yaoi and bara... a major slab of which tends towards the bara end of the scale. Definite notable Bara-focus stories include the anthologies Glocatore, Hokaku Keikaku and Bachi Bachi. Also includes a fair smattering of not-so-softcore S&M, so please heed the warning!
- Gengoroh Tagame
- Bastard Bonds — Tactical RPG featuring a large cast of Big Beautiful Men.
- Fenris High — An (currently in-development) indie game that pays homage to the Elvira series and Waxworks (1992).
- Gyee — Gacha Game
- Live A Hero — A gacha game produced by Lifewonders.
- Strange Flesh — A Beat 'em Up by Greatest Bear Studios.
- Sugar Shooter — An erotic Bullet Hell Shoot 'Em Up.
- Tokyo Afterschool Summoners — A Gacha Game developed by Lifewonders, noted for being one of the first commercially produced LGBT games to extensively utilize Bara artwork. All of the characters and art are designed by a variety of bara artists.
- Zap and Andy: Get Outta Hell! — An (currently in-development) indie game that is a love letter to classic LucasArts titles.
- Extracurricular Activities — Furry Dating Sim about a tennis team.
- Knights College — Furry Visual Novel about a fisherman attending into a prestigious school about knights.
- Minotaur Hotel — Furry Visual Novel about the blossoming romance between a human and a minotaur.
- Morenatsu — Furry Dating Sim about a human man romancing one of his friends—all of them anthropomorphic animals of different species—while on vacation to his childhood village.
- Homecoming: Morenatsu Revisited: Fan Remake of the above visual novel.
- Nekojishi — Furry Visual Novel about a gay man suddenly discovering three muscular feline spirits in his dorm room.
- Super Health Club
- Tavern of Spear
- Dusk Acres — A mystery-themed webcomic starring a gay polar bear.
- Grant — Erotic webcomic about a gay werewolf.
- Hero's Heart — A gay RPG-themed webcomic.
- Monster Smash — A gay erotic Monster Mash webcomic.
- Twinkie & Mars Bar
- G-men is a Japanese magazine aimed towards men who prefer 'macho' or muscular men, also including manga. G-men's publisher also puts out most of the current bara manga magazines.