Don’t Get It Twisted: Yaoi Anime and Shonen-Ai Anime

boysandanimeloveI've noticed lately that we have a few people looking for Yaoi anime (sorry for the lack of products we don't have available) but I've also noticed around the net that there seems to be this thing going around where people are stating that Shonen-Ai anime is Yaoi anime. So I thought I'd take this opportunity to clear up a few misconceptions. Each genre is separate, albeit a very thin line (and I mean super thin) separates one from the other but they are different.

So, what's the deal? When people start to use the incorrect labels it starts to discount some very great titles. When one labels an anime series as Yaoi when it isn't you usually get 1 of 2 things; number 1 people who love Yaoi are disappointed because they just sat through a hour or so episode that wasn't Yaoi (they may like the series but it wasn't Yaoi not enough sexual scenes) number 2 people who like the boy love storylines are usually shocked and surprised by what they see (they may not be ready to see the characters go "all the way") they prefer the pleasures of Shonen-Ai where your mind has to do most of the work and creation.

Here is how you can tell the difference between Yaoi and Shonen-Ai anime to help reduce farther disappointment with these two anime genres:

Shonen-Ai anime mainly deals with beautiful boys in love (awe, they are soo cute) you'll usually not see them committing sexual acts or in sexual positions. For example: the characters get into bed and it is alluded that they will be or are having sex (you don't see them fully naked) and in the next scene it's the next day and the characters have huge smiles on their faces or it could be as simple as the characters looking at each other lovingly and behaving like two people would be in a romantic, loving relationship (examples: Gravitational, Loveless, Gakuen Heaven and Sukisho)

Yaoi on the other hand also deals with male characters who are in love but (and here is that very thin line) they have a more sexual explicit relationship/content. In other words we either see the characters in their sexual acts or positions while in bed, standing, where ever.

The characters are usually undressing themselves, bare chest, or fully nude with the sheets wrapped around those private areas or something more explicit. In Yaoi anime, sex is not alluded to it's pretty much out there with certain things being covered up or they are surrounded by mysterious fog (as I like to call it) or depending on which Yaoi you watch you may see a bit more.

Yaoi manga vs Shonen-Ai Manga

It's a bit easier to determine Yaoi manga vs Shonen-Ai manga. Yaoi manga is most always shrink wrapped (due to the nature of the content), it's intended for mature audiences (it will say so right on the packaging), and the characters are seen in sexual positions and acts (examples: Cain, I Shall Never Return, and JunJo Romantica).

Shonen-Ai manga usually does not come shrink wrapped, is usually intended for older teens (the rating is less severe), the characters are not depicted in sexual acts (they lie in bed, kissing, and hugging. A bit of it is left up to the reader's imagination).

Hopefully this has helped you in determining what is Yaoi anime and what is a Shonen-Ai anime. The differences are really thin but they do exist.

By knowing these little differences you have set yourself apart from the crowd who believes all anime with Boy Love (BL) is Yaoi (which isn't true).

You have just raised your status as an Anime fan, Kudos to you!

Posted on: March 26, 2009

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