“Jingai” is an umbrella term referring to fictional characters or fiction genres that depict non-human beings. From elves to incubus, vampires to werewolves, hybrid-humans to monster-humans, or even demons and gods and aliens, all can be categorized as “jingai”. Within the Boys’ Love genre, “jingai” has been a common subgenre drawn and enjoyed for a long time by many with many hit titles such as Ze by Shimizu Yuki or Sugimoto Ami’s Animal X.
“Jingai” is written as 人外, which is, quite straightforwardly, made of the character 人 (“jin” which means “human”) and 外 (“gai” which means “out” or “outside of”). The characters can also be read as “ningai,” but the meaning itself does not change. The word broadly encompasses the concept of a non-human being regardless of legend, shape, or other possible categorization.
As a subgenre, jingai does not solely exist in Boys’ Love and can be easily found in other genres, especially in fantasy settings. You have probably seen many works with monster girls for male-oriented audiences, especially with the rising popularity of parallel world themes.
For the BL genre, if we go back to when shounen-ai was a staple, characters from the classic Poe no Ichizoku, one of the earliest inspirations for BL, are vampirnellas. They technically can be included under the “jingai” subgenre. As a concept, jingai has been part of the BL genre for a long time, with many titles bringing love stories of a human and non-human: humanoid beings, incubus, angels, and demons are some of the most common depictions in the subgenre.
In recent years, however, it has been effortless to find more variations of jingai that depict the contrast between humans and non-humans visually. Hybrid of humans and animals, for example, had always been a fairly popular concept in BL. However, most jingai characters are depicted as more humanoid, until recent years in which publishers tried to push new works under jingai subgenre. They have more obvious non-human-designed and more beast-looking characters for the market with some jingai anthologies, such as Kemono Jingai BL anthology in 2015 or JUNE Adult Jingai Tokushuu in 2018. The rise of Omegaverse BL manga’s popularity probably also adds to these anthologies’ fairly successful efforts.
Jingai: Modern Usage
In usage, “Jingai” is an umbrella term for any non-human beings in fiction. But, within the current BL fan communities, it is possible that if you hear the word “jingai,” the first thing that comes to mind is the beast-looking characters or animalistic transformations. It isn’t odd, considering a lot of BL manga that became a hit in the recent years does include that type of jingai subgenre. Some hit titles that quickly come to mind include Remnant: Kemonohito Omegaverse by Hasumi Hana, or Coyote by Zariya Ranmaru. Of course, some of the highly recommended jingai BL with beast characters can also be read on futekiya, like I Love You So Do As I Say by Noko Kinoko. If you are more interested in more human-looking characters, you can also check out The Incubus’ Pet Slave by Senjyo Tohko and nira!
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.