The futekiya team sought out to answer the question of how Boys’ Love (BL) content is most widely consumed by fans. We published a survey in early April asking you which mediums you used, liked, and wanted to see more!
The mediums we inquired about were BL games, visual novels, drama CDs, TV anime series, animated movies, live-action TV dramas, live-action movies, and novels. Some readers may be wondering what some of these mediums are.
Visual novels are a type of game that guides the player through a text-based story accompanied by illustrative or live-action stills. Drama CDs are stories that are narrated to the listener and are therefore like audiobooks. Depending on the CD, they can be in first or third-person. Drama CDs in the Boys’ Love genre is commonly abbreviated to BLCDs but do not strictly have to be in CD format. TV anime series is different from animated movies as they come in episodes, whereas movie releases tend to be longer and the story may come to a conclusion in one sitting. Live-action means that the characters are played by real-life human actors, rather than illustrated by the artist. Both TV dramas and movies can be live-action, just as they can be animated. Lastly, novels, like super light and light novels, are similar to the comic format but contain more strings of text in conjunction with illustrations. Super light novels are available on futekiya, too. For those who want to know more, check out the article What are Super Light Novels? on the futekiya blog!
Over around two weeks, we received hundreds of responses from around the globe. We welcomed respondents to voice their opinions and have summarized the responses in this report.
Where do you currently reside?
We received 423 responses from 57 different countries. We mapped out the number of respondents by country in the simplified map below. 22% of respondents reside in the United States and another 22% reside in the Philippines. Consequently, the regions, according to the United Nations geographic divisions, where many respondents reside are Southeastern Asia at 33% and Northern America with 26% followed by Western Europe at 9%.
How do you read Boys’ Love manga?
We asked how respondents read Boys’ Love manga specifically. The diagram below shows that the majority of respondents at 62% read manga both on print as well as digitally. Otherwise, 35% of respondents read only digitally and 2% of respondents read only print. The population reading digital is significantly higher in our findings. However, considering the survey was conducted online, perhaps results were bound to lean towards digital.
Do you consume BL content outside of manga?
Next we wanted to understand the situation with non-manga BL content. 96.4% of people responded yes while 3.6% said no. From now on, the percentages will consider the “Yes” respondents as 100%. In other words, the following statistics will be about the 96.4% of people that said “Yes” they do consume BL content outside of manga.
We asked whether you play games and visual novels which can be played on various mediums like consoles and mobile phones and tablets. Of the 96.4% that responded “Yes” to the previous question, 60.9% of respondents answered “Yes” and 37.8% responded “No.” The remaining 1.2% include those that used to play but not anymore, and those that watch playthroughs. Many respondents said that they do not play but would want to if it was more widely available, mainly in terms of language barriers. Many games available in Japanese do not have translations yet.
Do you listen to Boys’ Love drama CDs?
Boys’ Love Drama CDs, often shortened to BLCDs, are like audiobooks. A listener can play the BLCDs and listen to the story as it plays out. When we asked whether respondents listen to such BLCDs, 63.4% of the population that consume non-Manga BL content responded “Yes” while 36.6% said “No.” Many non-listeners noted that it was a hard medium to find translated versions of. Therefore, those who prefer non-Japanese BLCDs have limited options, even though the demand exists.
Do you watch Boys’ Love TV anime series?
Next we asked about respondents’ viewership of BL TV anime series. 95.3% answered “Yes” and 4.7% answered “No.” Some respondents expressed that they do watch BL TV anime series if it is popular and had good reviews.
Do you watch Boys’ Love animated movies?
Readers were then asked whether they consume BL animated movies. The majority 88.5% of respondents said they do, 6.6% said they do not, and many were somewhere in between at 4.9%.
Do you watch Boys’ Love live-action TV drama?
Similarly, we asked about BL live-action TV dramas. The responses were almost half-half but people who said “Yes” were slightly in the majority at 51.1%. 48.9% said they do not watch live-action TV dramas but many were willing to watch if titles were more easily accessible. Several respondents did not know about this medium and were excited to discover it.
Do you watch Boys’ Love live-action movies?
We proceeded to ask whether respondents watched BL live-action movies. Again, the majority of respondents said “Yes,” slightly less number of people said “No,” and 9.1% of respondents were somewhere in the middle.
Do you read Boys’ Love novels?
We moved onto questioning about novels, which includes super light and light novels. For those that are curious about novels and what’s available on futekiya, you can refer to our fu-pedia article: What are Super Light Novels?
56% of respondents said they do read novels while 29.2% said that they do not. 14.7% of respondents said they were somewhere in between.
Is there any other Boys’ Love medium you consume that isn’t listed above?
Next, we wanted to hear from respondents on any other BL medium that we did not mention. We organized the free word answers and created the following list. The size of the box corresponds to the number of times the medium was mentioned. Many respondents said they also consume fan works like fan fiction and fan art. There were a large variety of mediums from merchandise to essays on BL.
What is your favorite way to consume Boys’ Love content?
We wanted to know what mediums you prefer. The following chart shows how many times the medium was mentioned, and will exceed the actual number of respondents. The most favorable medium was TV anime series with novels and games/visual novels in a race for 2nd most favorable. Comic formats, like manga and manhwa, were next. Fan works/doujinshi and live-action movies with the least number of respondents saying it was their favorite.
Which medium of BL content do you wish had more English localization available?
Respondents were asked to choose the mediums that they wanted more of. Similar to the previous question, the numbers indicated are the number of times that the medium was mentioned and will mismatch with the number of respondents.
In this question, the 2nd and 3rd place favorite mediums novels and games/visual novels, respectively, were in the most demand for more English localizations followed by drama CDs. The “Other” category includes mediums like manga, webtoons, and webcomics.
What do you think?
What do you think of the responses? Which mediums do you want to see more of? Do you have certain conditions when consuming a specific medium? We saw many interesting responses further than yeses and nos. Does the voice-actor for the BLCD and anime have to be the same? Those who want to elaborate on their response or those who did not get the chance to fill out the survey, let us know what you think on Twitter!
We will be back soon with another Community Survey. In the meantime, be sure to swing by the futekiya Library if you want to read BL manga and support artists!
About futekiya: BL manga subscription
In 2018, futekiya began as a Boys’ Love manga news and culture website operated by FANTASISTA, INC., a CG/VR production studio based in Tokyo, Japan. futekiya transformed into a budding global distributor of officially licensed BL manga in 2019.
futekiya launched as an online subscription service for officially licensed BL manga on July 8, 2019. Determined to connect fans around the world with English-translated BL legally and conveniently, futekiya empowers readers to support creators and the manga industry.
Readers who subscribe to futekiya and pay a flat monthly fee of $6.99 will have access to our expanding library of English-language manga. To subscribe, please go to read.futekiya.com and create an account. More information is in our guide.