Omegaverse is a subgenre of erotic fiction in which social relationship in the universe is based on “wolf’s hierarchy.” It involves relationship dynamics between the dominant alpha, betas, and submissive omega. In this article, we will explore the origin of Omegaverse as a subgenre and its tight bond with BL.
Omegaverse combines the words “Omega” and “Universe.” In Omegaverse, there are three types of humans: Alpha, Beta, and Omega. Alphas are the dominant ones who lead in society (and in bed), and also have the desire to impregnate those below them, especially Omegas. Betas are the ordinary ones who live without any extreme dominant or submissive traits. Omegas are the one who submits, especially to Alphas. Whether they are male or female, all Omegas can get pregnant. This is why Omegaverse is also known as “A/B/O” or introduced as “the world where males can be pregnant.”
The Origin of Omegaverse
It was rumored that Omegaverse started among slash fanfiction writers after the popular American TV Series “Supernatural” broadcasted their werewolf episode in the 2010s.
This rumor is indeed true. Those in the Supernatural fandom first developed what would become Omegaverse and laid the foundations for what it would become-one man is the Alpha, the other is the Omega, and then impregnation happened.
Later, its primary setting mixed with the Alpha’s need-to-breed (“rutting”) and Omega’s heat cycle and knotting. The addition of many traits and elements led to the birth of “Omegaverse” as a more solid subgenre/theme. Before that, more varied and unspecific terms were used to refer to the fiction of the subgenre such as “Knotting fics” or “Alpha/Beta/Omega Dynamic fics.” The reconstruction and deconstruction of the setting are still going on even after it has crossed to other Western series fandoms such as Hannibal and Teen Wolf or other parts of the world like Japan and South Korea.
Getting Popular in the West
Omegaverse slowly became a prominent subgenre within the slash community, especially male/male one, to the degree they had more than 70,000 fictions available in Archive of Our Own, a popular nonprofit fanfiction website. Many writers also started to bring the concept to original commercial writing, combining Fantasy and LGBT elements.
Omegaverse can also be used in fictional heterosexual and female/female couples. However, it was developed within a male/male slash community with one of its primary intentions to make “male pregnancy” possible. It was not as if Mpreg (Male pregnancy) subgenre did not exist before in the fanfiction community. But it provided a more stable and collective setting to be used and enjoyed by both writers and readers.
Omegaverse Enchanted Asia’s BL Industry
Even before Omegaverse was introduced to Asia, the subgenres of Mpreg and Furry (or in Japanese, kemono) had a significant following. Therefore, it was not hard for BL fans in Asia’s BL community, especially Japan’s, to accept Omegaverse.
However, the main difference with the West was that Omegaverse fiction did not achieve its present popularity in Japan due to strong fan cultivation and fanwork activity. Rather, Japanese publishers decided to adopt the foreign theme and use them in commercially published BL. This publisher-lead decision paved the way to the subgenre’s popularity in Japan. One of the first publishers who routinely released works was Fusion Product. Fusion Product annually released an anthology: OMEGAVERSE PROJECT, which reached its 6th season in 2020. Later, other publishers like Libre also released an comic magazine dedicated to the subgenre. Each magazine follows the setting that was popularized in the West; however, adjustment and addition are sometimes made. What was never absent from Japanese Omegaverse work is the concept of a mate (in Japanese, tsugai) between Alpha-Omega and how every Omega has only one Alpha destined for them. Although Omegaverse and Furry works are still doing well in Japan, the non-Furry cases are more dominant in the market now.
Of course, Omegaverse works are increasing not only in Japan but also in South Korea and other Asian countries. It is not impossible for the construction of Omegaverse in Asia to also influence the West, similar to how the latter successfully influenced the former. Omegaverse is a cross-cultural collective and flexible set of world-building ideas that will never stop developing and evolving like its parent genre: Boys Love.
Netweight (2013). NSFW The nonnies made them do it! [Fannish history. SPN. A/B/O] M. https://netweight.dreamwidth.org/204215.html
Omegaverse 【オメガバース】. Pixiv Dictionary 【ピクシブ百科事典】. https://dic.pixiv.net/a/%E3%82%AA%E3%83%A1%E3%82%AC%E3%83%90%E3%83%BC%E 3%82%B9
Alexandra Alter (2020). A Feud in Wolf-Kink Erotica Raises a Deep Legal Question. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/23/business/omegaverse-erotica-copyright.html
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