Yaoi and shounen-ai are very similar, both include two male characters that are either in love or end up falling in love. So what is the difference?

This article will contain shounen-ai images, so if you’re not comfortable with that then click away.

 

Shounen-ai translates to boy love, and from my personal experience it tends to be a lot less explicit compared to yaoi. Anything related to sex is implied rather than shown explicitly, and the series will mainly focus on the characters’ relationships rather than sex itself. Shounen-ai is very cute. Yaoi on the other hand is very explicit, and isn’t something you’ll watch with others.

 

In addition, some anime series will be shounen-ai and their source material will be yaoi (a very good example is Sekaiichi Hatsukoi). Yaoi anime series are also a lot harder to find due to their content, but It’s very easy to buy yaoi manga series.

I have only seen a few yaoi anime because of how difficult it is to find, but I have seen a lot of shounen ai.

 

These two genres don’t strictly apply to just anime and manga, they’re also used within fanfiction (mainly anime/manga fanfiction) and doujinshi.

Now you know the basics of both yaoi and shounen-ai, so what is better?

Storyline-wise, shounen-ai wins. Typically, this genre concentrates more on this aspect as well as character development. Some yaoi have a little bit of storyline, but mainly concentrate on the more explicit side of two characters’ relationship.

However, I have found that shounen-ai anime series that have a yaoi manga tend to have a good storyline. But anime/manga series that are  both yaoi lack this (Sensitive Pornograph for example).

 

On the other hand, if you’re just interested in seeing the more explicit side, then yaoi wins. Since not all shounen-ai cover this topic, as well as some characters may not even kiss. Some shounen-ai series may just concentrate on storyline, while at the same time hinting at two characters being in love.

Futhermore, some series may take a while for anything to happen, such as Love Stage!! Which really concentrates on character development during the first few episodes/chapters, but towards the end it concentrates on the explicit side.

 

I personally prefer shounen-ai/yaoi hybrids such as Sekaiichi Hatsukoi and Love Stage!!. I get bored of shounen-ai series that don’t really include yaoi-goodness and I don’t like yaoi series that just include explicit-content. I like there to be a good balance between the two.

What is your opinion on yaoi and shounen-ai? What do you prefer?

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