Monday, September 18, 2017

BL - Meaning

If you watch a lot of anime or visit certain forums, you might have already come across the word BL somewhere. But what does BL mean? Is it even English, or is BL actually a Japanese term?

Definition

The term BL is a genre of fiction that deals exclusively with gay fantasy. Male gay fantasy. Often, BL is pornographic, but that's not a requirement; there are BL works which are merely romantic or dramatic, with just gay tension, gay kissing, gay dating, etc. but not containing any sexual scenes.

The BL genre rarely portrays gay relationships realistically, tending to depict characters in more imaginative ways for the consumer's entertainment. Consumers of BL are generally straight women, not gay men, and they care more about seeing hot guys kissing in their BL than anything else.

Most of the time, the BL genre is applied to doujinshi 同人誌, however it can be associated with literally any sort of media. Types of BL works include:
  • BL manga BL漫画
  • BL doujinshi BL同人誌
  • BL anime BLアニメ
  • BL geemu BLゲーム
    BL games.
  • BL shousetsu BL小説
    BL stories.

A great number of BL are parodies of other works, although BL with original characters also exists. In most cases, a BL doujinshi will feature a "ship," a gay couple of two male characters of a given series. Generally, this couple of male characters are not gay in the original story, and the BL fiction just sort of makes them gay because someone wanted to see the two of them kissing, dating, and doing gay stuff.

Originally, the term BL was used exclusively as a genre. Authors of manga and doujinshi that featured gay ships as the main theme would use the term BL to advertise their works and attract the attention of their consumers, who then started using the term BL to discuss these works with other fans and to search for new works of the genre.

With the spread of the term, however, it's become a little more complex than that. Today BL refers to any sort of gay fantasy or anything that contains gay relationships of the imaginary kind. In other words, BL in Japanese is synonymous with "gay shipping."

BL Acronym

The term BL stands for "Boys' Love." It is, clearly, loaned from English, however, people never say "Boys' Love" in Japanese. They prefer to say BL, because it's short. When a longer version is wanted, booizu rabu ボーイズラブ is used instead. This is just the phrase "Boys' Love" loaned and katakanized, written with katakana,

Also, I don't think people say "Boys' Love' in English either, at least not in the way and frequency as BL is said in Japanese. This would make BL a wasei-eigo 和製英語 word, an English word invented in Japan.

What BL Looks Like?

Although there's no formal definition or rule, BL manga and doujinshi are often seen featuring the following:
  1. Young characters. Always under 30. Often around 20. Sometimes even in high-school.
  2. Bishounen 美少年 characters.
    Androgynous looking or effeminate guys, long head hair, no facial hair, no body hair, little muscle, no fat, etc.
  3. Ikemen イケメん characters.
    Literally "hot guys."
  4. Tons of blushing, shying, etc.
  5. Forbidden love nature.
    Guys who can't be in love with other guys, assumptions of unrequited love, specially because the other guy is straight, etc.

Basically, take a shoujo 少女 manga, replace the girl by a guy, then you have an average BL manga.

(no, I'm not kidding)

A great number of shoujo manga authors are also BL authors. A great number of shoujo consumers are also BL consumers. So the aesthetics of BL match the aesthetics of shoujo, and what's demanded in shoujo is also demanded in BL.

Who Makes BL?

In general, it's women that make BL.

Most BL is doujinshi, and a lot of BL doujinshi is made by authors who are also professional mangaka 漫画家 specializing in the shoujo genre. The shoujo authors are mostly women, so you can guess that the BL authors are mostly women, too.

In an exquisite example of this, the premise of the yonkoma manga Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun 月刊少女野崎くん is that the protagonist, Nozaki-kun, is a guy, but he's also a shoujo mangaka 漫画家. Certain day, Nozaki-kun plays a dating sim game and ends up shipping the protagonist of said game, who could only date the girls, obviously, with his best friend, a guy, called Tomoda 友田. He then draws the BL doujinshi below, thus becoming both shoujo and BL author.


Tomoda BL doujinshi from manga Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun! 月刊少女野崎くん. Transcript: 12 nin no bishoujo yori mo omae ga suki nanda!! I like you more than any of the 12 pretty girls! Tomoda!!! Sonna...!!! ore wa... mimamotteru dake de... yokatta noni... That...!!! But I'd have been happy with just watching over you...

Note, however, that there's no rule that says you have to be a professional mangaka to make BL. In particular, BL consumers, women, and sometimes high-school girls, inspired by the perverted world of BL start drawing BL themselves or writing BL stories (lemon slash, sometimes fanfics).

For of these BL authors this can be a very troubling since for either stigma or shame, they would rather not risk their BL fantasies being found out, specially not the fact they're actively involved in creating them, either by drawing doujinshi or by writing BL. A notorious example: in Nichijou 日常, character Mio draws BL. She literally loses it when her hobby is found out.


Who Likes BL?

The BL genre is made "for women," josei-muke 女性向け, and this is very important.

Apparently, gay men tend to not to like BL because of the unrealistic way it depicts gay relationships. So most consumers of BL are actually straight women. And most authors of BL are also straight women.

Websites which sell products online, manga, doujinshi, games, visual novels, etc. often feature a josei-muke 女性向け section where BL products can be found, together with other products also made for women.

Josei-muke 女性向け categories for women in websites Melonbooks, Getchu.com and Toranoana

The women (and men) who are fans of the BL genre are often called fujoshi 腐女子 and fudanshi 腐男子 respectively, meaning "rotten girl" and "rotten guy." This is because some part of you (probably your brain) must be rotten for you to see two normal guys who are just friends with each-other ang fantasize they are a gay BL couple.

Plenty of female otaku オタク are fujoshi, that is, plenty of female otaku like BL. This contrasts with male otaku, who don't necessarily like lesbian fiction (at least not at the same rate fujoshi do).  A number of anime, manga and games are particularly popular with these otaku fujoshi because they contain BL-able pairings.

Lately, social games, casual games, browser games, smartphone games, etc. have come to target fujoshi by having a cast filled almost exclusively with "hot guy" archetypes. For example: Touken Ranbu 刀剣乱舞, whose characters are pretty much all men.

Something that isn't BL but is made "for fujoshi," (and maybe the elusive fudanshi, too), is sometimes called fu-muke 腐向け. Note that fu-muke isn't the same as josei-muke. All fujoshi are, by definition, women, but not all women are fujoshi, and not all products made for women are BL.

In the west, when a non-BL manga, anime or game does an exquisite roundabout type of fanservice in order to appeal to fujoshi, that's called a "fujobait." Often, fujobait appears in the form of an unnecessary number of bishounen characters, or guy characters having too much drama with other guy characters, or basically anything that looks like it's trying to give fujoshi ideas for future BL doujinshi.

BL Doujinshi

A lot of BL are doujinshi 同人誌 created by fujoshi for fujoshi.

These doujinshi don't need to be parodies, there is BL with original characters, but most of the time the BL doujinshi are parodies featuring a ship of characters from a given manga, anime or game.

In some extreme, sad cases, an anime that's not even popular with its intended audience, children, ends up becoming extremely popular with fujoshi in a sick twist of fate, then spawning a disgusting amount of gay fiction from the depths of hell itself.

(basically imagine Harry Potter was a flop and its entire fandom disappeared except for the gay fanfics)

This all happens because fujoshi takes shipping BL way too seriously.

BL Shipping

An important part of BL is the practice of shipping. (no, I don't mean shipping doujinshi to their homes, I mean the other kind of shipping)

The fujoshi will ship, that is, root for the gay love of two male characters in a series that most likely do not and sometimes would not ever love each other.

The very definition of fujoshi is a girl who ships BL. Not just a girl who likes BL. A girl who ships BL. They will see a normal couple of guys, friends, nakama 仲間, in an anime and just start fantasizing they are somehow deeply in gay love with each-other despite it being obvious to any sane person they're just normal straight characters, and not the ultra-rare gay character.

(Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever seen an officially gay character in anime. Like, with a boyfriend. Well, to begin with girlfriends and boyfriends in anime are already a rarity.)

I'm not even joking when I say fujoshi will ship for two arch-enemies, the protagonist and the antagonist, to fall in gay love with each otherHell, they'll even ship side-characters, even background characters. Basically, they just want to see every possible couple of pretty guys kissing, disregarding all the rest. If things went the way fujoshi want, humanity would disappear in a generation because all the guys would be gay.

For those in doubt of what shipping means, please watch this educational documentary:


Seme x Uke Couples

Having gay ships of parodied characters as its core content, Japanese BL authors and consumers have come to writing the main pairing of characters in the story with an x in the form of seme x uke 責めx受け (top first, bottom second). For example:
  • Naruto x Sasuke ナルトxサスケ
    Naruto is top, Sasuke is bottom.
  • Sasuke x Naruto サスケxナルト
    Sasuke is top, Naruto is bottom.

This sort of thing also exists in the west (apparently shipping in an universal concept). The Fanlore Wiki has a page regarding these pairing names.

In Japanese, these pairings, BL or otherwise, are called CP (another two letter abbreviation!). The word CP stands for "Coupling." (Yes, seriously. It could totally be Character Pairing, but it was Coupling instead. Just why?) The Japanese katakana version of that word would be kappuringu カップリング

Frequently found with the word CP is the word moto neta 元ネタ, "original story," which indicates the manga or anime where the characters in the BL parody come from. (Evangelion, Death Note, etc.)

Non-BL BL

Although the term BL is normally used as a genre for works that exclusively deal with gay shipping, sometimes BL is used by fujoshi to talk about non-BL works as if they were BL. That is, to say something contains some BL, or looks like BL.

This can be thought of as imaginary doujinshis. Without even writing a story on it or drawing a manga about it, some fujoshi out there have already used their rotten brain to decide their BL ships on some pure, innocent anime for children.

For example, in Shingeki no Kyojin 進撃の巨人, "Attack on Titan," a number of guys have relationships of trust (Eren x Armin) or rivalry (Jean x Eren) or are such good friends they're always together (Reiner x Bertold) or even have some sort of authority-subordinate relationship (Ervin x Levi) or... huh... Connie x... Connie x... idk, they're both bald or something? (Dot Pixis x Connie)

So when such anime have so many doujinshi-able, BL-able guy x guy relationships, fujoshi end up calling such fiction BL, even though it's not really BL genre.

I mean, Shingeki no Kyojin is full of girls doing stuff, Mikasa, Krista, Annie, the potato girl, Hanji... is a girl, right? The author certainly didn't draw a BL manga, but that won't stop fujoshi fans of calling it one.

BL vs. Yaoi

The difference between BL and yaoi やおい is that, even though both are made for women, one, yaoi, is strictly pornographic, while the other, BL, is only often pornographic. That is, BL can be just gay romance without any porn in it, just gay kissing, gay dating, etc. but yaoi can't, yaoi must be porn. So:
  • BL
    Gay story. Sex optional.
  • Yaoi
    Gay sex. Story optional.

All yaoi is hentai 変態, but not all BL is hentai. That said, a lot of BL is pornographic.

Note that in the west yaoi is used to refer to any and every sort of gay drawn porn, disregarding whether it's made for women or not, or has a story or not.

Also, in Japan the term BL is actually a lot more common than the term yaoi, despite yaoi being an older term than BL. Japanese people rarely say yaoi in Japanese. It's actually westerners who know some Japanese that make the mistake of saying it, because in the west "yaoi" is a common word, so they wrongly guess the Japanese still say yaoi too. So if you want to say "yaoi" in Japanese, you should say BL, not やおい.

BL vs. Shounen-Ai

The difference between BL and Shounen-ai 少年愛 is a a pretty big one.

First off, BL stands for "Boys' Love," but that's in English, not Japanese. In Japanese, with the Japanese alphabet, "Boys' Love" would be written as booizu rabu ボーイズラブ, but that's not actual Japanese words, it's just how you write a foreign word using Japanese letters. To say the English phrase "Boys' Love" in Japanese, using Japanese words, that'd be shounen ai 少年愛.

So one could imagine that BL = "Boys' Love" = shounen-ai. They should be the same thing. Synonymous. However they are not the same thing at all!

The problem likes with this: shounen and "boy" are not the same thing.

In Japanese, a shounen is, technically, someone underage. Not specifically male. The kanji of the word shounen 少年 is literally "little" or "few," as in sukoshi 少し, and "years," as in nen 年. Most of the time, shounen refers to underage boys. Read it again: "underage boys." Not just "boys." Because in English, you can call someone over 18 a "boy."

Pederasty

As one could guess, shounen-ai means "pederasty." That is, "love for (underage) boys," or, also, "love between (underage) boys." Because shounen always refers to someone who's underage.

So shounen-ai isn't the same thing as BL. For two huge reasons. First, it can refer to real pederasty. Not fictional pederasty. Real pederasty. IRL. Second, it refers exclusively to pederasty. The word BL also refers to gay shipping with adult characters only. So shounen-ai is closer to shotacon ショタコン than it is to BL.

History

In the past, circa 1980, before BL was a word, the word shounen-ai 少年愛 was a actually genre.

As one would expect, it actually dealt with drawn underage characters. In other words, shounen-ai pretty much meant "underage BL." Apparently, at the time shounen-ai wasn't used towards romantic relationships but mostly towards strong emotional connections, platonic love, etc. between boys.

But then the BL term was made, circa 1990, and people started saying BL and stopped using saying shounen-ai. Once again, note how BL should be synonymous with shounen-ai, but isn't. My guess is, when a Japanese person heard the word shounen-ai, they knew it referred to pederasty, because, duh, it's fucking obvious, it's in the word, shounen, "underage." But then they heard BL and were like "wtf is BL?"

So I think maybe because BL was such an alien English word, people weren't quite able to grasp its nuance. So they forgot about it. Suddenly BL referred not only to gay fiction containing underage characters, but also to fiction containing adult characters.

As to why someone would choose to use such a misleading word in first place instead of sticking to shounen-ai, it's probably because it's English and it sounds cool to Japanese people. Also words in katakana just look cooler in general. (Yeah, I'm serious, this is usually the reason)

Also worth noting that "June" (loaned from a french gay magazine) and tanbi were other terms used to refer to certain gay works of gay fiction at the time at the time. These aren't used anymore since BL basically replaced all of them altogether and became an umbrella term. Remember: it's pretty much even replaced yaoi by now. 

Western Genre

In the west, shounen-ai is a genre that refers exclusively to non-pornographic stories including gay romance. So yaoi is exclusively pornographic, shounen-ai exclusively non-pornographic.

Unlike its original Japanese meaning, western shounen-ai includes romance between two adults.

Probably, the word ended up in the west when it was still in use in Japan. But then shounen-ai stopped being used in Japan as BL got popular. The west didn't catch up. This is literally the same thing that happened with the term yaoi.

Nowadays, shounen-ai isn't really a genre in Japan. The word BL gets used, shounen-ai does not. And something is only classified as BL when the entire thing is BL, so it's not the same as western shounen-ai, which can be applied when there's some gay romance but that's not the entire point of the series.

For example, Loveless is classified as shounen-ai in the west, but in Japan it's not BL. This because it's not exclusively BL, it doesn't have focus on BL, but in some weird type of pokémon battles fantasy fighting. So it gets classified as fantasy, sci-fi, romance, etc. but not as BL.

Do note that there are anime which are classified as shounen-ai in the west, like Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi 世界一初恋, that also get classified as BL in Japanese. It's just that this isn't necessarily always the case.

Either way, shounen-ai is not a Japanese genre. It's a western genre exclusively. And western shounen-ai isn't the same as Japanese BL, nor is it the same as Japanese shounen-ai. It's a goddamn mess.

If shounen-ai does appear as a tag or genre, it appears together with BL. For example:
  • 少年愛 / BL
  • BL (少年愛)

Which, most likely, refers to BL including underage characters.

Also, although for most fujoshi shounen-ai is just a slightly restrictive term for BL, for some BL and shounen-ai are different things. Maybe because shounen-ai is an older term and the first shounen-ai manga were more classical romances rather than the modern gay-relationships-for-entertainment BL. Who knows?

BL vs. Gay

As I've said quite some times already, BL is written by women for women. It's definitely not the term used for general gay manga, gay stories, or gay anime.

Manga that's actually gay, written by gay men, for gay men, serialized in gay magazines tend to be very different from BL.

The Pixiv Dictionary entry on BL goes as far as saying the two genres, BL and gay, are different things entirely. Pointing out that BL consumers (women) don't like gay comics, and gay comics consumers don't like BL.

So not all gay fiction is BL, women don't care about non-BL gay fiction, and gay men don't care about BL gay fiction.

As a result, some websites specialized in selling doujinshi will deliberately put BL in an area for women and non-BL gay fiction in an area for gay men. And then there's probably some gay fiction targeted at straight men, too. So somehow there's three distinct types of gay which makes this basically the most confusing mess I've ever tried to wrap my head around.

Japanese DLSite.com categories translated to English, showing the areas for women and for gays.


Anyway, it turns out there are more women interested in gay manga than there are gay men interested in gay manga, (because, you know, there are more women than gay men) so BL manga is more popular and common than actual gay manga, as weird as that may be.

To make it weirder, the above also means that some fujoshi have only ever encountered BL in their lives, never being exposed to other kinds of gay manga. So for them the term BL equals "gay manga." One such person realizing this discussed that in their blog: "if you draw gay sex, is it BL?" 男同士の性愛を描いたらBL?

Manga that are made for gays are often labelled with the genre bara 薔薇 instead of BL.

Homophobic BL

Some gays and other Japanese LGBT people go as far as considering BL homophobic. (yes, really).

This happens because the BL genre and the BL fans, fujoshi, care a lot about the stereotypical roles of the characters, who's top and who's bottom, which is often understood as gender roles: who is the man and who is the woman in the gay relationship.

This sounds like they're trying to view homosexual relationships through the lens of heterosexual relationships. It goes without saying that, if it's a couple of two men, there's no "woman" in it.

Personally I think that's kind of silly argument and they should just let the fujoshi ship whatever they want. Sure they may be getting it all wrong, but fujoshi effectively support homosexuality, at least more than your average person.

BL vs. Bara 薔薇

The difference between BL and bara 薔薇, "rose," is ridiculously large. One would think that, since both deal with gay relationships, they'd overlap a lot and have a lot of common, but that couldn't be anymore wrong.

And this is all because BL is made for women while bara is made for gay men.

Character Appearance

For one, BL, made for women features "pretty boys," bishounen, with their hairless stickman bodies of long dazzling head-hair and androgynous (feminine-looking) features. Meanwhile, bara features thick, muscular men. Covered in chest and facial hair, and normally with short hair on their heads.

In other words, characters of bara manga look like men.

As it turns out gay men want to see men, not the male version of a barbie doll. So that's where the difference in appearance comes from.

So while it's possible to mistake a BL character for a woman due to their androgynous features, it's impossible for that to happen with a bara character unless you have really bad eyes or know some really manly women. On top of that, BL being "Boys' Love," in Japanese shounen-ai, it's a term hard to apply to bara characters since they can't really be called "boys" or shounen.

Lack of Realism

Also, note that BL is made by women for women about the gay relationships of men, even saying these people have literally no idea what they're talking about may be an understatement. It's like if a guy tried writing about what is it to be pregnant, why would he know anything about that? Guys don't get pregnant. They can't experience that to write realistically about it, the same way fujoshi don't experience male gay love themselves. They just spectate it or imagine it.

(note: "mpreg" is a BL theme made up by fujoshi in which guys do get pregnant. Yes, really. It stands for Male Pregnancy. I'd like to hope it was invented by a fujoshi who was aware guys don't get pregnant, but I can't dismiss the possibility she actually thought when two guys really love each other babies just sort of happen)

Sometimes BL is even made by high-school girls for high-school girls about the gay relationships of high-school boys. It's all in their imagination, pure fantasy, no realism. BL is the Japanese equivalent of western slash fanfics.

Maybe because of that the "forbidden love" trope is so popular in BL fiction. In this day and age saying something like "forbidden love" has to be an exaggeration. Gay acceptance keeps rising worldwide, there isn't anything forbidden about it anymore. But the theme is still used and fuels the fantasies of countless fujoshi to this day.

Gender Roles

Further, both BL and its consumers, fujoshi, pay exaggerated attention to male-female roles associated to both male characters. Top and bottom, seme 攻め and uke 受け, etc. The bara genre cares less about that.

Allow me to repeat myself: fujoshi pay exaggerated attention to it. As in "it's ultra important." I'm pretty sure I could find a dozen threads of fujoshi arguing who's top and who's bottom in given ship if I searched for it. I just wanted to make it clear.

Finally, and perhaps the most important thing: the bara genre is made by actual gay men for actual gay men. This means that a lot of gay fantasy bullshit that would pass through the pervert-minded imagination-fueled fujoshi reading as an spectator wouldn't fly when the reader is actually a gay man trying to put himself in the shoes of the character.

Bara = BaLa = BL mistake

Some people, Japanese people, fujoshi, actually think BL is the same thing as bara 薔薇. A weird, but common mistake. That's because:
  • BL = Boys' Love
  • Boys' Love = booizu rabu ボーイズラブ
    (note how "Lo" becomes ra)
  • so bara 薔薇 = BaLa (wrong)
  • and BaLa = BL (also wrong)

This just goes to note that not everybody knows or care about these words, and some people will mistake bara for BL given the chance.

ML

Since BL stands for "Boys' Love" it has some youth implied in it. BL normally features characters under 30, but a lot of BL ends up featuring underage characters because they are parodies of anime made for children, which are full of underage characters.

Because of this, the word ML, "Men's Love," or menzu rabu メンズラブ, is sometimes used to indicate BL with older characters. This term is also targeted at women who enjoy gay fiction.

GL

Since there's a BL for gay "Boys' Love" there must be a female counterpart somewhere. As one would expect, the abbreviation GL stands for "Girls' Love," or gaaruzu rabu ガールズラブ, and regards lesbian relationships, shippings, pairings, doujinshi, etc. the same way BL would.

So just like yaoi has yuri 百合 as a counterpart in the west, in Japanese BL has a GL counterpart. Note, however, that there seems to be no difference between GL and yuri in Japanese. They are synonyms.

Also, just like BL = "Boys' Love" = Shounen-Ai and shounen-ai can mean pederasty, the same happens with GL = "Girls' Love" = Shoujo-Ai. Because of this, some fans of the yuri /GL genre prefer to use the term yuri instead, as it doesn't imply the characters' age.

(in the west, the term shoujo-ai 少女愛 is a genre of anime different from yuri)

Like BL, GL is a genre "for women." Straight women, at that. But that doesn't mean men can't read it. A lot of fans of yuri and GL are actually men.

NL

One would imagine that having BL for gay love and GL for lesbian love would suffice, but the Japanese otaku community, always wanting to make up words for literally anything and everything wasn't satisfied by such common-sense.

Thus, the NL abbreviation was made. NL stands for "Normal Love." Yes, really. It regards "normal" boy x girl, man x woman, male x female love. Or any ship with pairings of one guy and one girl.

Obviously such stupid word doesn't come about normally, after all, NL is implied, you don't need to say it for people to assume you're talking about it. So NL only really appears when discussing BL / GL. Example "in BL it usually goes like this, but in NL is different," etc.

TL

lol I bet you thought it stopped there! IT DOES NOT!!!

Seriously.

The word TL stands for... Ok, I'll give you a minute to think about it.

Thought? Guessed it?

Are you sure it's that?

Really, really sure?

Because you should prepare yourself to feel bad for guessing wrong.

...

Well, whatever.

TL stands for "Teens' Love," or tiinzu rabu ティーンズラブ. It's a genre like NL, having an heterosexual relationship as its main theme. Unlike NL, however, and as one would expect, TL deals with teenagers.

Also, note that TL is a genre "for women," josei-muke 女性向け, much like BL is. Some artists, women, draw TL professionally, using their well-known pseudonyms, and then go draw BL doujinshis under another pseudonym. So you can see all these L's are related somehow.

(that totally doesn't justify how many of them there are, though)

And yes. It does exist. Look, I got a screenshot here. It's proof that this somehow actually exists. Let history know.

DMM.com menu screenshot showing the teens' love category


Okay, with this I end the article with BL. Hopefully I didn't miss anything.

2 comments:

  1. I love this article, But it seems that you bash fujoshi too much. I don't know if that's sarcasm or meant to be irony.

    " In some extreme, sad cases, an anime that's not even popular with its intended audience, children, ends up becoming extremely popular with fujoshi in a sick twist of fate, then spawning a disgusting amount of gay fiction from the depths of hell itself." Sorry, but have your ever seen het lolicon doujinshi created by men?? Pokemon, anime aimed at children, spawned thousand of lolicon hentai doujinshi. Most of them feature strong independent girls being gang raped by creepy men. Are you the one that fine with het lolicon/yuri doujinshi, but trashed BL?

    "This means that a lot of gay fantasy bullshit that would pass through the pervert-minded imagination-fueled fujoshi reading as an spectator wouldn't fly when the reader is actually a gay man trying to put himself in the shoes of the character."
    Sorry, I've read shit tons bara. The majority of bara are oneshot porn, so it lack of character development. Not to mention, bara can involve rape, cheating, and "unhealthy relationship". There's a bara manga where a married middle aged man with kids have an affair with his male co-worker. Seriously, the plot is not that difference from BL. The only difference is that men in bara fat/muscular, but men in BL not. That's why I find it's funny when someone criticized BL for being too unrealistic or rapey and later read Gengoroh Tagame manga where "top" rape "bottom" until he's bleeding. Yeah right *eye-roll*

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. I'm glad you liked the article :D

      Regarding your first concern, it's sarcasm, but it's true. The quote in particular I wrote because of what I'd hear in the anime Outbreak Company. There's a soccer match in an episode where the characters comment about how Inazuma Eleven is popular with fujoshi despite being aimed at children. Unfortunately I don't recall similar commentary toward yuri in anime so I couldn't write it in its article. I haven't written an article on the term lolicon yet, but I've already got some commentary against it prepared.

      Regarding your second concern, I, personally, do not read bara, so I can't tell you what exactly is it that constitutes as realistic or unrealistic, since it's not my opinion. I'd guess mpreg is unlikely to come up in a bara manga but more likely in a BL manga, but, again, I'm not a bara-reader. I'd also guess a a married man with kids having a gay affair is terribly well within the realms of realism. What I wrote was based on the comments of actual Japanese readers of gay/bara manga who claim BL lacks realism. They note BL treats gay characters as "toys." The manga Tonari no Yaoi-Chan also comments on how fujoshi avoid barazoku and other gay magazines. From that you can draw the conclusion fujoshi don't like the lack of fantasy found in bara manga and gays don't like the lack of realism found in BL manga. Of course your mileage may vary, but I was writing on the general sentiment.

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