What is Boys’ Love (BL)?

What is Boys' Love (BL)? Anime

Meaning of Boys’ Love (BL) manga

Boys’ Love or BL manga is a genre of work that depicts romantic and sexually explicit relationships between male characters. It is mainly read and drawn by women, but its readership is expanding. Women who enjoy and love the BL genre are called “Fujoshi,” and they use BL terminology to talk about their works.

History of BL

It is said that the term “BL” became commonly used in the late 1990s. However, even before that, BL had been popular among many people, although it had not yet been established as a genre.

First, a romance between male characters began to appear in the shōjo manga genre around the 1970s, with the first issue of “Comic Jun” in 1978, and many stories featuring beautiful boys with sexual expressions began to be published.

In the 1980s, parody works called “Yaoi,” in which fans depicted love stories between male characters based on general shonen manga and anime that were not BL manga, became popular, and from the end of the 1980s through the 1990s, a number of yaoi authors made their debut.

Yaoi is an abbreviation for “mountainous, Ochi-nashi, and meaningless.” Originally, it was enjoyed in the free-minded setting of dojinshi (a coterie magazine).

Later, original works depicting parody-like bright and fun romances like Yaoi began to be drawn in commercial magazines, and the genre grew to form the “BL” genre.

Eventually, from the mid to late 1990s, the term “Boys’ Love (BL)” began to spread.

Reasons for being addicted to BL manga

The emotional conflict of falling in love with a man.

BL manga is different from other manga because it features opposite-sex romance and the emotional conflict of falling in love with the same sex. This is something that cannot be seen in relationships between men and women. In addition, the process of overcoming various problems and conflicts to be with that person can be considered one of its charms.

Genuine feelings of love

In a male-female romance, it is easy for the story to be influenced by the image and values of the roles of men and women in reality, such as eventual marriage, pregnancy, and work for the man. However, since BL is not bound by these factors, the “feelings of love” are depicted in a simple way. And this is perceived by women as “pure love” or “real love”.

Sequels and spin-off works can be enjoyed again

Although some BL stories are full-length, they are rather short compared to other boys’ and girls’ manga. On the other hand, there are many sequels that depict what happens after the two fall in love with each other, or spin-off works in which a supporting character becomes the main character in another manga. Nowadays, it is easy to see and experience BL on social networking sites, so the hurdle may be lowered and resistance may be lessened.