When it comes to BL, the choices are usually all sex and somewhat rapey or the drama-intense fluff where you MIGHT get a kiss. Sometimes we want the darker, sexier stuff just because it’s hot. For some people, it can even be therapeutic to see upsetting things happen and people overcoming them. Sexual assault that does not end in devastation and dire consequences can help others reclaim their sexuality. For others, they can’t enjoy that type of media at all. They want to imagine cute romance without the pressure of physical intimacy. Just because sex isn’t the focal point, doesn’t mean it it’s a healthy relationship and the dynamic of the relationships can still be questionable. Whatever your preference, we hope you like these tales of love amidst battle in Honoo no Mirage and Ling Qi!
Honoo no Mirage (Mirage of Blaze)
Controversial Elements: Rape, Unhealthy relationship dynamic.
The reincarnated Uesugi Clan drags highschool student Takaya into a centuries-old battle between warlords of the Sengoku Era. These possessors tell Takaya he’s the reincarnation of Kagetora and the clan’s current leader but he wants nothing to do with this role. He relents when he realizes his friends in this lifetime are in danger but he especially dislikes Naoe, Lord Kagetora’s ‘loyal’ servant.
In truth, Naoe’s complex feelings for Kagetora have taken him from enemy to revered vassal to traitor. We’re talking 400 years of a pretty bad relationship dynamic! Even still, there are several moments where Naoe sacrifices himself to protect his lord. Takaya can’t remember his past incarnations at first due to his last life being filled with such pain due to Naoe’s inability to let Kagetora go. Naoe went so far as to bind Kagetora’s soul in the body of his lover and then had his way with Kagetora even as Kagetora cursed him.
We’re at least not left wondering if Naoe’s feelings are romantic or friendly… Naoe was ready to follow Kagetora’s soul into an eternal cage so that they could always be together but he gave up knowing it would, in a sense, kill Takaya. By the end, Naoe has found his affection is for Takaya in this life rather than what he was in the past and while Takaya is conflicted, he seems happy to be seen for himself.
Ling Qi (Spiritpact)
Similarities: influential/spiritually powerful families, battles continuing through time, ghost and human enemies, master/servant relationship, an inexperienced younger guy needing an older expert to help control his powers, intimacy is mostly verbal with a few kissing scenes.
You Keika seems to have pretty bad luck to die so suddenly, but at least he makes a pretty-boy ghost. He can’t stand the haughty Tanmoku Ki, the most powerful exorcist in the world. You Keika is given the choice of becoming Tanmoku Ki’s shadow spirit or disappearing after 7 days but You Keika was never one to listen to others easily. After being quite the thorn in Tanmoku Ki’s side, You Keika eventually gives in enough to enter the contract.
Keika and Ki have a rocky relationship at first but gradually warm up to each other as devoted partners. Ki frightens the people around him but Keika bravely, or stupidly, does what he wants to do anyway. Keika may have been somewhat content in his old and lonely life but once teaming up with Ki, he gains a new sense of attachment and duty he never had. Ki, in turn, learns to open up more and enjoy life more. While incredibly different, Ki and Keika bring out the best in each other!
Many stories with romantic plots will inevitably have controversial content painted to look desirable or normal but it’s important to note the reality of these situations. That being said, for those able to easily separate fiction from reality the added drama and danger can really spice up a story. Especially when you mix in elements of war and spiritual battles, it’s hard to keep the stories engaging without a little controversy and horror.
With BL expanding in the types of stories told and the way the relationships play out, we’re getting new and exciting material that was missing from older works. This list should help you choose the BL that will most interest you but we hope you’ll enjoy all 6!