For people who are new to manga, or who are more used to the action-oriented, plot-driven storylines found in American comic books, the
discovery of the genre shonen-ai can be a little bit bewildering. Shonen-ai translates literally to boy love and it is a term that is applied to manga or anime that deals
with the romantic relationships between two young men. This is a genre that is often geared towards young girls and women, and it has gained a great deal of
popularity both in Japan and abroad.
Shonen-ai is a genre that is specifically known for its beautiful young male characters, an art style that is quite flowing
and idealized, and plotlines that are driven on the tensions that occur between two people who are in love. Despite the fact that this genre deals with the
relationships between two male characters, the best comparison to it in Western media is probably the milder Harlequin romance novels; though there is usually a
concrete setting and the presence of outside tension, you'll find that the story revolves around the feelings of the two main characters.
Shonen-ai manga is
very much about romance, and no matter where or when the story is set, you'll find that the two characters are deeply in love with each other, even if it takes a long
time for them to admit it. The more feminine half of the couple is often referred to as the uke, referring to the Japanese word meaning to receive, and he is often
drawn as a very pretty young man with large eyes and a shy or awkward demeanor. The taller and more masculine half of the couple is called the seme, referring to
the Japanese word for to attack, and he is usually considerably taller, much more aggressive and occasionally even something of a bully.
It is worth noting
that shonen-ai is not a realistic depiction of romantic relationships between men, and it makes no pretensions towards being so. While some shonen-ai titles are more
realistic than others, in many cases, the younger or more feminine member of the pairing is completely indistinguishable from the girls in the manga.
many shonen-ai titles that are currently available to American audiences, but one of the most popular is Eerie Queerie!, which features a young boy who can see
ghosts. Mitsuo Shiozu is struggling through high school and trying to ignore the spirits that surround him. Unfortunately, spirits that are powerful enough can possess
Mitsuo's body and attempt to live out the final desires that are keeping them on earth and preventing them from moving on. In the first volume, Mitsuo is possessed by
a young girl who forces him to confess his love to Hasunuma, Mitsuo's calm and introspective classmate.
It turns out that Hasunuma is skilled at handling
spirits, and although the rest of the school decides that Mitsuo is simply gay, Hasunuma helps him take care of the spirit. Hasunuma goes on to develop romantic
feelings towards the hapless Mitsuo, which are complicated by the arrival of Ichi Shirai, a young student troubled by a tragedy he believed he caused, who also has
feelings for Mitsuo.
Although shonen ai manga do deal with romantic situations, they are on the whole quite chaste, with nothing more graphic than hugging
and kissing. If this is a genre that interests you, take a look around for some other interesting titles!
Discover more great animejackpot Manga-
Graphic-Novels-p-1-c-279 shonen-ai manga titles and read about the latest novellalive boy-meets
-boy-a-shonen-ai-primer>graphic novel genre