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Softcore Yaoi Manga: A Beginner’s Guide to the Genre

Softcore yaoi is a niche subgenre of BL manga that focuses on the sweet, platonic love between two men. It’s often referred to as “Kisshui” in Chinese or “yaoi smut” in English—often with a negative connotation. However, softcore yaoi is more than just an overused pejorative; it has a rich history and many devoted fans. There are several reasons why people are interested in softcore yaoi. One good example is the chapters where the characters kiss their same-sex romantic partners which are not explored nearly enough. If you’ve never read softcore yaoi, here’s a beginner’s guide for you!

What is Yaoi?

The word yaoi originated from the Japanese words for “male” and “sexual intercourse” and it refers to male-male sexual relationships between fictional characters. The essence of yaoi is that it creates a safe space for men to explore their sexualities and fantasies with other men. It can be said that yaoi is one of the most authentic representations of male sexuality on screen because nearly all mainstream media shows only heterosexual relationships.

Why Read Softcore Yaoi?

There are several reasons why people might be interested in softcore yaoi. For one thing, kissing between same-sex characters is not explored nearly enough in mainstream BL. Sure, there is some mainstream BL mangago that focuses on kissing—but most tend to focus more on sex. Another reason to read softcore yaoi is that there are fewer heteronormative BL manga tropes in softcore yaoi.

In most BL manga, the female lead ends up with the main character, who is almost always a heterosexual man. In softcore yaoi, there are no such heteronormative BL manga tropes. The male leads are almost always gay men, and almost always end up with another gay man instead of a female.

Popular Authors of Softcore Yaoi Manga

Toonily Manga like Ai no Kusabi by Rieko Yoshihara and Fujimi Orchestra by Kō Akizukiare noteworthy for their softcore yaoi themes. These two manga series were originally published in the 80s and 90s, long before the popularity of BL manga. Ai no Kusabi is a romantic story about a young man who falls in love with his master. Is this a strange love story, or is it the story of the universe itself? Fujimi Orchestra follows the love story of a young homosexual couple and their musical career. If you’re looking for some older, more mature BL manga, this is a great place to start.

Gengoroh Tagame is known for the details and emotional storytelling, which makes him one of the most well-known BL manga authors of all time. He has written 20 different manga series, such as Gunji and Pride are well-known for their softcore yaoi themes.

What You’ll Find in a Softcore Yaoi Manga

Like most BL manga, softcore yaoi manga tends to follow a pretty formula. The two male leads meet, develop feelings for each other, and go on a few dates. They almost always end up kissing each other—and sometimes, they even get naked together. After a while, they may become attracted enough to have sex with one another.

In addition to the romance between the two male leads, there are usually other characters in the softcore yaoi manga who are of interest to the readers, too. Other BL manga characters include a rival male rival (who is usually gay), a group of female friends, and even a father/son relationship.

Where to Find Softcore Yaoi Manga Online?

If you’re curious about the most popular yaoi manga and want to try a few before you commit to reading the entire collection, there are a few good options available. You can try searching for “softcore yaoi manga” in your local bookstores but oftentimes you may not find one. Or you can try searching for yaoi manga on  Mangaowl. In Mangaowl, you can read various yaoi manga series for free. You only need to have access to the internet and a portable device. You can read, anywhere at any time. Moreover, Mangaow contains a large amount of yaoi manga, some dating back to the genre’s early days. If you’re interested in reading softcore yaoi manga from the early 1900s, this website can be a great resource.

Popular Softcore Yaoi Manga

There are many popular works of softcore yaoi manga, and you can read them online on Mangaowl’s site. Some of the best, most popular softcore yaoi manga series include:

1)  Legs that Won’t Work: In this story, the manga artist emphasizes the career of a retired professional athlete. He has been having a sexual affair with his debt collector while dealing with several money issues. Will he be able to escape the scrutiny that has followed his personal matters? Will he be able to make his father’s loan payments on time?

2) Hold Me Tight: Before meeting Felix, Giovanni was leading a life that was dull and lifeless. Giovanni is enthralled by him because he is the first scorchingly handsome man he has ever touched. Is there a hot romance here? Or is everything being done for other reasons?

3) Dangerous Convenience Store: Eui Joon is a regular guy working at the small corner store where the majority of the gangsters in his community go. He needed the cash from this job to sustain himself and his family, but somehow it wears him out a lot. Then, one day, as he was serving clients in the store, a strange-looking guy with tattoos all over his body approached him. Eventually, he develops feelings for this man… If they were dating despite coming from two distinct worlds, how would their romance bloom?

4) Under the Green Light: Visualize being unexpectedly linked to a person you just encountered by coincidence. Will the relationship last, even though it seems special? The city lights and urban areas with high-rise building construction make up the setting for the story.

5) The Unquenchable Mr. Kim: For the past five years, Mr. Kim has been employed by this business. However, Mr. Kim is a vampire/human hybrid, and not just any hybrid—he was created by the mating of distinct species! This is his well-kept secret! And when he unintentionally says something that makes everyone believe this improbable fact about him, his life alters significantly.

Final Thoughts

Softcore yaoi is a wonderful genre for those who like sweet, platonic love between two men. Most of the time, you won’t encounter any explicit sexual content, and the focus is more on the relationship between the two characters than on sex. Moreover, there are thousands of free softcore yaoi manga online, and they’re a great way to try this genre before committing to reading one of the more popular works.

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