BL – Boy’s Love

A genre of homoromantic fiction. Originally used as a marketing term for manga and light novels, BL is now used worldwide for comics, literature, anime and video games that belong to the genre. Mainly targets women, though more and more men (and nonbinary individuals) have been shown making and consuming Boy’s Love. Strongly associated with the shoujo genre. See The History of BL.

BL Game

Originating from Japan, BL games are video games in which you play as a male character and pursue male love interests, similar to BL manga.


Yamanashi; Ochinashi; Iminashi (no plot, no climax, no meaning). It was employed by doujinshi circles -and the ones who criticized them- to categorize fanworks with little-to-no plot. Think “PWP” (as-in something plotless, but not necessarily pornographic).

Yaoi is what many people think BL is. Nowadays, mass media uses the term “yaoi” to refer to anything with homoerotic content, and a number of non-Japanese BL publishers such as Yaoi Revolution or Y Press Games use it to better reach their audience.


A term used by Western fans to refer to content “made by gay men for gay men”. Japanese people prefer the term “geicomi” (gay comic).

“Bara” games usually feature muscular and traditionally “masculine” men. Examples: See no Evil, Super Health Club

Visual Novel / VN

A genre of choose-your-own-adventures video games that mostly consist of images, music, and text. Most of the BL games featured here are visual novels.

English Visual Novel / EVN

A visual novel whose original language is English. EVNs belong to a different niche than Japanese games and while there is a lot of overlap, many JP VN players don’t play EVNs.

Dating Sim / Dating Simulator

A game where romance and relationship-building are the core of the game mechanics. Usually involves some stat-raising, dating a character AND maintaining your relationship with them.

If the characters only get to date at the end of a route, then it’s not a dating sim. The only proper Dating Sim I know of is Seiyuu Danshi!.

ADV – Adventure Game

Same meaning as “Visual Novel”, mostly used by Japanese creators.


A game with more sex than story. In simpler term: a porn game.

Otome Game

Literally means “maiden game”, a video game in which you usually play as a female character pursuing male or female partners. While Otome and BL games belong to a different subgenre, they are closely related, and a number of “Otome players” also play BL games and vice versa.

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