Boys' love (BL) is the common term used by the publishing industry to categorize works focusing on male/male relationships marketed at women. Historically these works were referred to as June
, but most commercial works are now called BL. It is used as an umbrella term for:
-both commercial and amateur works
-works with no sex
-works with sex
-doujinshi about adolescents with little or no sex
-works in all types of media - manga, anime, novels, games, and drama CDs
-characters of all ages (not limited to 'boys')
-related terms such as yaoi
, shounen ai
, and original June
While early fans of BL were probably fans of doujinshi
, most Japanese fans on the net these days appear to be fans of commercial BL work - there are over a hundred such works published every month, more than two-thirds of them novels and the rest manga
. BL novels are immensely popular - the number of novels published each month outnumbers pmanga] tankoubon
by about 2 to 1.
Gravitation is a great example of BL.
Commonly just BL is the replacement for Shounenai. Americans seem to have difficulty telling the difference, so here it is.
SA: The men are always effeminate both in appearence & personality, gay men didn't like it much, & unhappy endings were common. Contrary to perhaps even my own previous postings, this art is not COMPLETELY dead, some shounenai slips through the press. If it's new & fots this description, it's still shounenai.
BL: These days the men are more masculine both in looks & tude, gay men like it too, it's usually less dramatic, more sexual, & tends to end happily.
Shounenai: Ibu no Musukotachi, Kaze to Ki no Uta, & anything else from the 70s & early 80s.
Boyslove: Ai no Kusabi, BNSH, Gravitation, Fake, Ja-Dou, Psycho Blast.
Border line: Anything that lived through both periods. For example, Patalirro, Zetsuai, & Eroica are STILL being written & have made distinct changes to fit the times.
Mixed with man love, creates NAMBLA