I thought maybe I was a little too candid, but I stand by my statement that we’re all going to hell. (Just kidding – I didn’t say that *explicitly*) Here are some excerpts:
The bulk of the content on Renta! is BL and Yaoi. Can you share the reasons why you’re publishing more of these types of works compared to anything else?
Renta! specializes in manga for a female audience, so on our main page you’ll find information for everything from Shoujo to erotica (Shoujo 2.0!).
The two most popular genres, Love and BL, are about even right now, actually, although BL is growing steadily as we continue to increase the number of titles we publish.
Interestingly, BL is much more popular in Japan than its straight love manga counterpart, but general erotica tends to do better in English just because it’s less of a niche market and easy to digest for people who just want a little fun romance but are not ready to become Fujoshi yet. (All they need is a little push.)
Since BL is also a bigger industry in Japan than love manga, there are a lot more famous artists with large fanbases. That being the case, I notice a difference in the level of “loyalty” of the fans – love manga enthusiasts being more like casual readers, and BL/Yaoi fans being a bit more dedicated, able to provide you with a complete list of their favorite artists and three good reasons why their favorite uke should have gotten first place in this year’s rankings.
More on BL, as I can never stop:
I think one of the most interesting aspects of working with BL/Yaoi as a genre is the perspective it gives me on women’s sexuality, and how it differs from Western views and attitudes.
BL may feature relationships between male characters, but it is written mainly for a female audience. Actual gay men in Japan are NOT the target audience (although they are welcome, alongside their fudanshi counterparts), and there are a lot of very genre specific tropes that you won’t find in “real life” as it were.
When people find out what I do for a living, many guys will ask me why women like to read BL? “Is it the same thing as men watching lesbian adult videos?” I can’t speak for everyone, but I don’t think it’s quite the same. It’s hard to explain, but I think as readers, we identify as one (or more) of the characters, and not necessarily the one on the “receiving” team. Women have been reading books dominated by male characters and voices for hundreds of years, so it’s no surprise that this is not a barrier to enjoying the genre. I think BL provides a space to explore your own thoughts on sexuality outside of the box that you came in.