10 Essential Japanese BL (Yaoi) Movies – [Part 1 of 3 Parts]

Updated for 2016: This article first appeared on May 2012 and remains one of the site’s flagship articles. A lot of people have requested me to update the list to include new titles, and I also want to rewatch the movies with a different (albeit with a more critical pair of eyes). Among the new titles worthy of recommendation are Seven Days (starring James Takeshi Yamada and Tomoki Hirose) and Doushitemo Furetakunai (starring Yonehara Kousuke and Masashi Taniguchi). I will talk about them in details in the next part. Also, we’re going to celebrate the Takumi kun series, featuring the one and only Kyuosuke Hamao in Part 3, stay tuned!

So you think you’ve seen the best BL (Boys Love) movie already, right? Guess again! If it’s not Japanese then you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. If it’s not made in Japan, then it’s not really Yaoi. While I’ve seen a good number of BL themed movies such as Thailand’s The Love of Siam and Bangkok Love Story, HongKong’s Amphetamine and Bishonen, there are certain distinctions that make Japanese BL-themed movies different.

 

Probably the most important distinction is the creator of BL-themed movies. There are some extremely talented female manga authors who create the best Yaoi stories in Japan. Their take on love and relationship between young men is different from everyone else – especially from the filmmakers who produced BL-themed movies outside – the kind of characters, how they behave, how they react and relate to other characters are the distinctions of Yaoi as compared to, say the German movie Summerstorm, the Canadian hit C.R.A.Z.Y, the TV series Queer as Folk and the movies I’ve mentioned above. There is a particular emphasis on tenderness, jealousy, insecurity and reconciliation in most of the Yaoi movies I’ve watched. There is also the distinction between the roles – following the Seme-Uke formula, where one is usually the dominant partner, while the other is the submissive one. In other movies, there is still that constant struggle for dominance in the relationship.

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