The Bitches of Boys Love Comics: The Pornographic Response of Japan’s Rotten Women

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Boys Love (BL) manga in Japan have a 50-year history that highlights women’s fantasies of male–male romances that at times feature sexual scenes. In recent years, however, sexual depictions in BL manga have become increasingly vulgar and graphic as fans use the term ero (alluding to its ‘eroticism’) to describe BL works that feature stories with visual and narrative similarities to mainstream pornographic comics called eromanga. The popularization of these ‘ero BL’ titles indicates fans’ growing appreciation and knowledge of mainstream pornography literacies as these are worked on and transformed in this non-heteronormative media. Using approaches in New Literacy Studies, this article examines the works of ero BL artists and the discussions surrounding these titles to understand the development of fans’ affective learning and transformative engagement with pornographic literacies in BL manga that challenge normative notions of pornography in Japan.