Full disclosure: YaoiCrate has sponsored me on one of my podcasts: The Yaoi Shelf but both me and my co-host on that show pay for our boxes every single month and are proud to do so. This review was not solicited by the company; I just wanna say nice things about them.
For those who aren’t as cool as me and millions of fangirls around the world, yaoi is Japanese manga/anime that features queer relationships (often erotic) between men. These comics are almost always marketed as for adults due to their motifs and depictions of sex. And when I was younger (for the record, legally, too young for this stuff), it was my entire world. I so strongly identified with being a fujoshi (a Japanese word for female yaoi fan) and still do that I credit yaoi fandom for being a major part of what kept me in the anime and manga space for as many years as I’ve been here.
But yaoi and its fandom is not as mainstream as other parts of the anime and manga fandom; while vocal and strong, because of the adult themes, it’s never achieved much mainstream success while boy’s love/ shonen ai (typically aimed at teens for a lack of explicit material) has made strides; specifically yaoi has had a hard time breaking the glass ceiling, making goods and merchandise from your favorite series hard to come by legally unless you have a friend in Japan or are willing to pay an ungodly amount of money from sites in Japan and wait months for it to arrive.
Luckily, there is now a subscription service for fujin (fans of yaoi) like me. YaoiCrate is a monthly subscription box started by fujin determined to bring some of the best in boy’s love to American fans legally and at affordable rates. YaoiCrate has pulled some very impressive partnerships recently including TokyoPop, Rotten Blossoms and Yaoi Revolution. Each box comes jam packed with a new yaoi manga and exclusives relating to the box’s main title from prints to shirts, tote bags and keychains. I have never been unsatisfied by my monthly box. I pay $49.95 a month for my subscription but there is a subscription plan that works for everyone’s budget. Shipping has been a little erratic recently but that’s not on YaoiCrate; that’s on the pandemic and the fact that some parts of our government have decided that maybe we don’t need a post office. The packaging is discreet because while I am a proud fujo, I am also one with a day job and my neighbors already think I’m a witch: they don’t need to know I’m also a sexual deviant. I love their branding; it’s cheeky and lewd but still subtle enough to just be a nice logo. Their mascot: Haruki is adorable and I love seeing items with him on it.
It’s awesome being able to have a legal and much easier way to get yaoi merchandise and new manga to add to my collection. They’re a fantastic company with big dreams and a very admirable goal: to make this stuff readily available. And that mission makes my old fujo heart so warm. I highly recommend YaoiCrate for any fujin that is over 18 years old because, as I mentioned, this stuff is for adult consumption only.
To learn more, check out their website and if you do subscribe; let me know in the comments below.