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What Is Yaoi: Meaning And Types In Anime And Manga

Yaoi-Meaning-And-Types-In-Anime-And-Manga
Image: Pride Anime

If you are familiar with anime culture, you have probably heard of many unknown terms. One such word is “yaoi.” It is a genre of manga anime that involves erotic or love stories between two men. It focuses on homoerotic relationships between men and encourages homosexuality. It is a favorite genre, especially for women. Even though men from around the world love the genre, it still stands more prevalent among women.

Definition And Types Of Yaoi

As I have mentioned before, yaoi refers to romantic or sexual relationships between two men. The genre was mainly made for and by women. There are three types of yaoi. However, they are of minimal differences. Let us look into the types:

Shounen-Ai

Although the central theme of two male character relationships stays the same, shounen-ai focuses on the emotional and romantic aspects of the term. Many people think that yaoi refers to hentai or harem between two gay men. However, that is not true. There are several shoujo-anime series that focus on the love and romantic side of the term. Here are a few famous shounen-ai animes:

  • Given
  • Super Lover
  • Tanaka kun Is Always Listless
  • Shounen Maid
  • Merman In My Tub
  • Yurii! On ice
  • The Case Files Of Jeweler Richard
  • Free
  • Gravitation
  • Mirage Of Blaze
  • Spirit Pact

Yaoi

Yaoi focuses on the sexual relationship between two men. Unlike Shounen-ai, which centers on the romantic and emotional aspect, it focuses on the sexual element of male relationships or homoeroticism. It is mainly made for pleasing the desires or fantasies of women. You might have noticed many fangirls love shipping or romanticizing two male characters. This mostly happens in K-pop or boy bands. Some examples are:

  • Level-C
  • Maiden Rose
  • No money
  • The Tyrant Falls In Love
  • Hitorijime My Hero
  • Sex Pistols
  • Yaritchin Bitch Club
  • Hyperventilation
  • Tight Rope

Also check, Top 10 Best Yaoi Anime

Yaoi-Meaning-And-Types-In-Anime-And-Manga

Image: Pride Anime

Bara

This type was initially created by men and is made exclusively to please the desire of gay or queer men. I have mentioned before that the other two categories are made by women and are supposed to give them what they want to see. The characters in this subgenre tend to be manly. However, this subgenre is primarily for men. Here are a few examples:

  • Darkness Hounds
  • Akkan Complete
  • Priapus
  • One Fourth
  • Popular Basketball Club
  • Hide And Seek
  • Bespoke
  • Hey, Doctor!
  • The Confession

Also check, Top 10 Best Bara Manga

Origin Of The Term

A lot of names were used to represent this category of shoujo manga. Some of those terms being shonen-ai, Tanbi, June, and boys love or BL. However, yaoi and BL remain the most famous names of the meaning.

Homoeroticism or male sexual attractions have always been common in Japan. However, during 1862-1912, homosexuality was outlawed, which distressed experts who depicted such male romantic artistry. Nevertheless, the artisans kept illustrating such relationships through the use of subtexts. These works became highly impactful towards breaking anti-sodomy or homophobic laws and inspired manga artists or anime creators to make more such content. Another such work that inspired the manga industry was the 1961 novel “A Lovers’ Forest,” authored by Mari Mori. Gegika was another such influence. It depicted homosexual relationships in a more mature way which in turn attracted more audiences. Yaoi manga became even more famous in the 1970s.

By the 1990s, yaoi was a famous shounen sub-genre. It received a lot of popularity primarily due to the emergence of the manga artist group “clamp.” RG Veda, Tokyo Babylon, and Cardcaptor Sakura are some of the famous works of the group. Their works attracted a lot of western audiences. Many magazines emerged featuring BL exclusively, such as the Magazine Be × Boy, established in 1993. The stories in these magazines were inspired by famous works such as banana fish which is still popular today.

Famous Yaoi Manga

Yaoi-Meaning-And-Types-In-Anime-And-Manga

Image: Youtube

  • The Titans Bride
  • First Love Encounter
  • Ameiro Paradox
  • Elektel Delusion
  • Rutta To Kodama
  • No Touching at All
  • Acid thoughts
  • Crimson Spell
  • Junjou Romantica
  • Therapy Game
  • Sick
  • Ten Count
  • Love nest
  • Banana Fish
  • 19 Days
  • A Guy Like You
  • Love Stage
  • Finder
  • Window to Window
  • Mousou Electricity
  • Sayonara Alpha
  • Blue Sky Complex
Swastika Mitra
Written By

Hello, I'm Swastika Mitra. I love writing, and I plan on pursuing journalism. I started watching anime at the beginning of lockdown and haven't stopped ever since. At first, I thought of it as a short-lived hobby, but I was wrong.