The Best LGBTQ Anime

Figure skaters, tennis stars, sword-wielding students, and stepsisters populate the list of the best anime with LGBTQ storylines.

There is no denying what fuels interest in anime. It’s powered by the Kamehameha blasts, shinobi battles and grand adventures of pirates that make up much of the anime introduced to western countries long before streaming platforms made so many other shows accessible. That is not to say there are spaces for other titles, ones that tell stories of the underrepresented. Stories of gay characters aren’t new to the genre, there are quite a few that deal with the LGBTQ experience, but with so many titles being added to streaming services every month it may be hard to know where they are.

The unfortunate part about the deluge of anime now readily available is that it leads to a different problem — curation. Finding the right title to watch can be difficult, particularly if the aim is to find something that tells specific kind of story. To tackle the problem, here is a list of all the best gay stories in anime today.

Before getting to the picks though its important to give a brief explanation of how these stories are talked about. Anime can be a  subculture within a subculture and sometimes conversation can be hard to followYaoi and yuri describe the type of relationship or “ship” that will define the show. Yaoi anime are ones that are primarily about relationships between men and yuri anime are ones about relationships between women.

Gender in anime is often expressed within the genres they inhabit and knowing what they are helps with the type of experience each show offers. There are four to be aware of in total, but the two most popular genres are shounen (which roughly translates to for young boys) and shoujo (translates to for young girls.) These two genres are typically for adolescents. For young adults and older, the terms are different: seinen for teenage to adult men and josei for teenage and adult women.

[Fujoshi Friday] Top 10 Boys Love Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

Boys love, also known as “shounen-ai” or “yaoi” or “sexy gay anime boys being sexy and gay” (okay, maybe not that last one), is a niche genre that’s seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years. The plots tend to focus on the growing love between two beautiful young men and cater towards a largely female audience. Boys love manga were too obscure and taboo to get more than a handful of anime adaptations in the old days, but now we’ve got plenty to choose from!

So today, we’re going to count down the top 10 boys love anime, both old and new. From wacky comedies to serious mafia dramas, and from fantastical adventures to quiet slice of life tales, there’s bound to be an anime in here for you. So put on your fujoshi goggles and let’s dive right in!

[Fujoshi Friday] Top 10 Boys Love Anime [Updated Best Recommendations]

8. No. 6

Ooo cool, a sci-fi boys love anime! If you love dystopian young adult fiction but wish there was a little more gay in it, this could be the series for you. No. 6 is a light novel adaptation set in the titular perfect city that’s blocked off from the post-apocalyptic wasteland surrounding it. It follows Nezumi, a fugitive from outside the walls, and Shion, a boy who protected him long ago and was booted out of the upper class because of his actions. Together, they explore the city’s hidden underbelly and uncover what’s really going on in No. 6.

This anime is well worth watching just for its 1984-esque social commentary, but the romance between Shion and Nezumi is the icing on the cake. Their upbringings and personalities couldn’t be more different, and yet they bring out the best in each other over the course of their adventure. For a dramatic sci-fi yarn with just the right amount of boys love and fujoshi fanservice, give No. 6 a shot.

 8. No. 6

3. Yuri!!! on Ice

Perhaps the most mainstream and popular of all boys love anime these days is Yuri on Ice – the 2016 ice skating show that actually had the balls to confirm a gay male relationship between the two main characters. It’s a fairly standard sports anime otherwise, but the adorable and realistically structured romance between Yuuri and Victor is definitely the highlight of the show.

Yuri on Ice avoids the common boys love trope of obvious seme and uke roles by having Yuuri and Victor be close in age, blurring their teacher/student relationship with moments of genuine friendship, and making Victor more flamboyant and girlish than Yuuri while still retaining his manliness. Plus, each of them has heartfelt reactions to scenes like the kiss on the ice and Yuuri telling Victor to quit being his coach, further cementing them as real human beings with their own lives and feelings who desperately want to spend their lives with each other. For those of us who’ve been waiting decades for a realistic gay relationship in anime, Yuri on Ice is here to please.

 3. Yuri!!! on Ice

22 Best Gay Anime of All Time

Homosexuality is something which has been a part of anime for a long time. In most shows, we can find one or two characters who are homosexual. Sometimes their portrayal is quite realistic or interesting while other times they are usually used for comic purposes. Since I have already done a list on anime with lesbian characters, it’s about time I compile those who have gay characters. Here’s the list of top anime with gay characters. You can also watch many of these best gay anime on Crunchyroll, Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.

22 Best Gay Anime of All Time

Top 20 Gay Anime That Don’t Suck

In a world where heterosexuality has always been the sexual norm, the rise of the non-heterosexual prompts a demand in fictional narrative and media which can embody the trope of homosexuality. Anime too has taken an active part, in creating a platform which can represent the homosexual and their agenda. Commercially because of the Odagiri Effect, gay anime also makes perfect sense for the industry, adding economic viability.

Yaoi/Yuri genre has risen dramatically in popularity over the years. There are lots of shipped yaoi couples even in the most popular anime shows such as Naruto (Naruto and Sasuke) and Attack on Titan (Eren and Levi). These are however only fan shipping and are definitely non-canonical.

We at Squinoo has taken the liberty to contribute towards the matter by creating the top twenty list for the best Yaoi /Yuri anime produced by the anime industry. Viewers are requested to have broad open minds and if you are not supportive of the LGBT movement, the lists below might not necessarily be accentuated towards your taste. Viewers should also keep in mind that the numbers in the list below are not necessarily representative ranked according to their quality content.

Looking for a new anime to watch?

We’ve got you covered! One-stop anime shop Crunchyroll shared their list of most popular anime series with LGBTQ+ characters.

„Pride may have ended, but we have curated a list of our most moving, energetic, and uplifting content to help celebrate beyond June,“ they told PRIDE.

Citrus

„Yuzu, a high school gyaru who hasn’t experienced her first love yet, transfers to an all-girls school after her mother remarries. She’s beyond upset that she can’t land a boyfriend at her new school. Then, on her first day, she meets the beautiful black-haired student council president Mei in the worst way possible. What’s more, she later finds out that Mei is her new step-sister, and they’ll be living under the same roof! And so the love affair between two polar opposite high school girls who find themselves drawn to one another begins!“

Yuri!!! on Ice

Yuri!!! On Ice doesn’t just belong on a LGBTQ anime list, but has a place in many all-time lists. It’s about figure skater Yuri Katsuki who once represented the nation of Japan in the Figure Skating Grand Prix, but suffered such a crushing defeat in the finals he retired to his home town of Kyushu. Yuri was sure he would never lace up the skates again until five-time world champion Victor Nikiforov and his former teammate Yuri Plisetski show up to help him surpass his trauma. On a technical level this anime nails it as far as animation, soundtrack and choreography, but its story and relationships depicted do well to avoid the tropes that plague other anime.

Final Thoughts

Even though boys love is a genre that has its own tropes and expectations, the range of stories it can tell is amazingly wide. By incorporating a gay male romance into other genres like sci-fi, spy intrigue, or sports, we can come up with all kinds of new tales to tell. Here’s hoping that the coming years bring us even more outstanding boys love for us to fawn over!

Did you agree with our list? What are your favorite boys love anime? Be sure to let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!

After the hard-hitting East Coast lifestyle hit me a bit too hard, I started pursuing my passion as a writer in my cozy home state of Ohio. Aside from that, I spend my time cooking, cosplaying, collecting anime merch, and being an improv comedy actor. I also love sneaking alliterations and stupid puns into my writing, so be on the lookout for them! ?

In anime, there are different genres of stories following relationships between men. There are shows where you totally lose control and fantasize about the characters being in yaoi relationships, and then there are the official Boy’s Love anime, where you don’t have to feel guilty and where the guys are clearly fond of each other.

Of course, each BL anime is different and there are a lot of genres covered, so that everyone (especially the fujoshi that we are) can enjoy a great relationship between men with a lot of cuteness and/or drama aspects.

So, take a deep breath, prepare your ovaries and let’s see which are the best BL anime that you could watch!

19. Boku no Pica

Although Boku no Pica is not technically an animated series, it falls into our list because of its enduring homosexual content. The producer has classified Boku no Pica as the World first Shotacon anime. Boku no Pico steps into territory where anime has never ventured before. Pica is an eleven-year-old boy with a feminine appearance. The show captures Pica’s homosexual adventures with various characters such as Mokkun, Chico and CoCo. The show often dwells in borderline pedophilia and explicit sexual scenes which often proves to be too much to handle for most viewers. Nonetheless, Boku no Pico offers a bold insight into pre-adolescent sexual curiosity and juxtaposes it perfectly with themes of homosexuality.

18. Tachibanakan to Lie Angle

Tachibanakan features a reverse harem main character although in this case, it is a Yuri or lesbian story. Natsuno Hanabi is a teenage girl who just moves back to Tokyo where she is greeted by hoards of frivolous girls interested in her. Hanabi has to cope with the constant perverse attempts by the girls and often ends up in awkward situations. Although Tachibanakan is an Ecchi with lots of nudity, there are no explicit lesbian sex scenes in the show.

17. Dakaretai Otoko 1-i ni Odosarete Imasu

Dakaretai, roughly translated to ‘The most Huggable Man has threatened me’ premieres in anime television on October 5 th, 2018. To be honest, the title pretty much gives away the nature of the story. Takato Saijo is the recipient of the title of ‘The Most Huggable Man’ for the past five years until his position is threatened by Junta Azumaya. Depressed by his lost status, Takato indulges into excessive drinking. Junta learns of Takato’s behavior and proceeds to seduce him to save Takato from himself. Dakaretai explores sexual tendencies in show business which often incline towards homosexuality. Takato’s brusque physique is complimented by Junta’s more feminine physique. Their love story perfectly culminates into the perfect gay couple.

16. Scum’s Wish

Scum’s Wish or Kozu no Honkai tells a story of relationship and redemption like no other. Technically it is not a gay/lesbian show per se. But since it is one of the more popular shows out there and it covers Yuri story between Hanabi and Sanae, we feel it deserve to be on this list. Ever since Hanabi saves Sanae from train molesters, Sanae has been in love with Hanabi. When an innocent sleepover turns into love confession and physical relationship, the two of them begins their steamy lesbian love. Scum’s Wish offers raw storytelling of teenage love and disappointment. It is a show that is worth watching not only because of the Yuri scenes but because of its brilliant take on teenage love.

15. Love Stage

Like Dakaretai, Love Stage also explores the glamorous world of show business highlighted with gay sexual themes. Love Stage is a story of Izuma Senna born into a household of famous celebrities. Although Izuna aspires to be a manga author, his familial affiliation forces him to engage in show business, where he is made to behave like a girl. Unaware that Izuna is a girl, popular actor Ryoma begins to develop affection for him. Even after Ryoma finds out Izuna’s identity, Ryoma is not bothered by the gender misconception. Together, they brace the wild world of show business until Izuna is ready to fully reciprocate Ryoma’s love. The pair then proceed to consummate their love for each other.

14. Gravitation

Gravitation follows the story of Shuichi, an aspiring singer who wishes a breakthrough in the world of music. When his band Bad Luck is offered a labeling contract, Shuichi seems to lose his motivation as well as creativity in weaving lyrics. Just when all seems to be lost, his lyrics are harshly criticized by Eiri Yuki, a famous novelist. What started as a conflict slowly turns to differences of opinion until it blossoms into love between the two. Gravitation is a love story that perfectly manages to incorporate gay love into a musical plot.

13. Gravitation: Lyrics of Love

Adapted from the same manga of Gravitation, Lyrics of Love serves as a side story to the original Gravitation story. Bad Luck’s debut album is an instant hit and Shuichi is immediately propelled to stardom. However, with the release deadline of their second album looming closer, Shuichi finds himself in a wreck as he was before. His relationship with Yuki seems to escalate towards an end and Shuichi is desperate to pierce through Yuki’s cold demeanor and his refusal to talk. Gravitation: Lyrics of Love features an engaging story of gay relationship inside the showbiz industry.

11. Sekaiichi Hatsukoi

Sekaiichi Hatsukoi or The World’s Greatest First Love is arguably one of the most popular yaoi anime. Like Junjou Romantica, although the main story focuses on Ritsu Onodera and Masamune Takano, it also features other gay couples as side stories. Onedara and Takano are high school lovers, although they split up. Years later, Onedara frustrated by his colleagues looks for a new job. When he joins Emerald Division at Marukawa Shoten, the editor in chief and his boss to be is none other than Takano. Fuelled with memories of past mistakes and pain, the two struggles to create a healthy working atmosphere. When the tension erupts, they decide to rekindle their past relationship amidst difficulties. Sekaiichi Hatsukoi is passionate in its story-telling, filled with emotional drama and funny moments which will rock the viewers with a series of rollercoaster throughout the show.

8. Asagao to Kase-san

Asagao to Kase-san is a simple romantic story between Yui Yamada and Tomoka Kase. Yui Yamada is a shy timid girl who loves gardening while Tomoka Kase is a tomboy athlete. Although their story has not much action, it perfectly captures the essence of Yuri love with no deflation of nudity and drama. Asagao to Kase-san is beautifully told and their love interactions perfectly epitomize real lesbian relationship.

6. Fuyu no Semi

Fuyu no Semi, also known as Embracing Love: A Cicada in Winter tells a riveting story of two men who are once political rivals. Keiichirou Akizuki and Touma Kusaka once find themselves on the opposite edge of the political warfare of Japan, although circumstances intervene to put them together through political turmoil. In an era where homosexuality is a mortal sin, Akizuki and Kusaka endure everything thrown in their path to sustain their sexual relationship. Winter Cicada is a story of tragedy and romance intertwined whose ending will leave your emotions unraveled like none other.

4. Strawberry Panic

Strawberry Panic features a widely complex Yuri story set inside three girl’s school – Miator, Spica and Lulim, all associated and located close to each other. The story features the lesbian relations that emerge between the girls of these schools. The main character is Nagisa Aoi, a newly transferred student of St. Miator and the story mostly cover the relationship she formulates through different means. However, the show is not confined to Nagisa’s story alone and it explores various characters and their relationship with others, and the mechanism of the school system.

3. Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru

Uragiri also sometimes referred to as The Betrayal knows my name is a bishounen anime which is dedicated to having more appeal to the gay or female eye. The Zweilt Guardians are composed of gorgeous fighter males except for one girl member. Yuki is previously a kind teenager with hidden supernatural powers, which makes him the target of an evil demonic organization The Duras. After Yuki is saved from The Duras by The Zweilt Guardians, what ensues is a mass magical battle between the two groups. Uragiri is a pseudo gay anime, and the nature of homosexuality in the show is ostensible. It leaves for the audience to decide if the male warriors share homosexual bonds, although there are cases which seems to point towards it.

Sword Art Online (2012)

The year is 2022 and a new virtual reality game called Sword Art Online (SAO) is released, one in which players can immerse themselves using a piece of technology called Nerve Gear, a helmet that stimulates the player’s brain. One day, however, players realize they cannot log out until they reach the 100th level of the game’s tower and defeat the final boss. If they cannot complete the game, or someone tries to remove their helmet in the real world, they die. Sword Art Online follows lone wolf Kazuto “Kirito” Kirigaya (Bryce Papenbrook) and his reluctant friend Asuna Yuuki (Cherami Leigh) as they explore the aforementioned fantasy world. The show has been praised for its animation and music, as well as its exploration of the psychological aspects of VR. It’s also availabe as one of the best anime series on Netflix.

Bloom Into You (October 5th)

Yuu loved romance comics in middle school, and dreamt that one day she would have a boy confess his love for her, like they do in the comics. But when a boy finally does, she doesn’t feel anything, and she isn’t sure how to respond. Entering high school, she’s unsure whether she can actually fall in love. Yuu explains this to second-year student Nanami, who confesses to falling in love with Yuu, because Yuu can’t love her back.

Bloom Into You was one of 2018’s most beautifully animated shows, and has one of the most interesting romance stories I’ve seen in an anime. This is in part because the show seems less interested in making drama out of the characters’ sexualities, and more involved in validating their feelings. Yuu can be read as asexual, and she meets another, more clearly asexual student she can discuss her feelings with. There’s also a gay female student who finds a sort of mentor in an adult woman in a long-term lesbian relationship.

The show has its dramas, but they’re never exaggerated. Characters don’t have sudden revelations or blowups that change everything, and no one is scheming with malicious intent. So no one character is the antagonist. Instead, everyone is their own antagonist, as drama arises from these kids trying to figure out who they are, and who they want to become.

11. Cardcaptor Sakura (1998)

This anime belongs to the fantasy/magic genre. The plot follows the life of a young girl named Sakura. One day she finds a book filled with cards and before she could understand anything the cards are accidentally blown away and scattered all over the world. Later, a beast from the books tells her that the cards are magical and can pose a great threat to the world. She needs to get them back and seal them in the book. The gay characters here are Toya, Sakura’s older brother and Yukito, his best friend.

7.  Hana-Kimi: For You in Full Blossom (1996)

Mizuki is a Japanese track and field star. She wants to become better at it. She decides to join the high school in which her idol Izumi, a high jumper, goes to. But wait! That’s an all-boys school. Mizuki decides to cross-dress and hide her true identity from everyone but the coming of a new student who makes people question their orientation can be a bit troublesome for her. There are many instances of homosexuality in this anime. Hokuto Umeda, Akiha Hara are some of the queer characters.

1. Doukyuusei (2016)

Unlike many of the other anime on this list which has a few gay characters who don’t affect the storyline much, Doukyuusei is a romantic genre anime movie that is based on the homosexuality between the two male protagonists. Rhito is an A-level student while Hikaru is a guitarist in a band. Though they walk on completely different paths fate pulls them together and Hikaru helps Rhito prepare for a chorus. From here onwards the two start meeting regularly, eventually developing a romantic relationship.

Tags

BLRomanceYaoiAdult CouplesLGBT ThemesMature RomanceMental IllnessPsychologicalSalarymanWork LifeBased on a MangaTen Count

Not yet airing. Delayed due to covid. Will have more info at a later date.

Umibe no Étranger

On an island off the coast of Okinawa, two young men meet on a beach. Shun Hashimoto is gay and aspires to be a novelist. He is interested in Mio Chibana, a somber high school student, and starts to flirt with him. Day by day, the two of them grow closer, but then, suddenly, Mio decides to leave the island. Three years later, Mio returns and approaches Shun with the words, „I’ve thought about it for the past three years. I like you, Shun, even if you’re a guy.“ However, when faced with the prospect of finally becoming lovers with Mio, Shun cannot take the first step towards commitment…?

Tags

BLRomanceYaoiAdult CouplesCohabitationDeath of a Loved OneIslandLGBT ThemesMature RomanceOrphansWritersExplicit SexBased on a MangaUmibe no Étranger

Tags

DramaFantasyComing of AgeContemporary FantasyJapanese MythologyLGBT ThemesMonster-of-the-weeknoitaminAPolicePsychologicalSupernaturalUrban FantasyYoukaiOriginal WorkSarazanmai

Not a BL show, but has BL in it (including a canon gay couple)

Tags

BLComedyYaoiAll-Boys SchoolSchool ClubSchool LifeTransfer StudentsExplicit SexMature ThemesProstitutionSexual AbuseBased on a MangaYarichin Bitch-bu

Tags

BLComedyDramaRomanceShounen-aiSlice of LifeAge GapBrother ComplexLGBT ThemesOpposites AttractSchool LifeSiblingsMature ThemesBased on a MangaSuper Lovers 2

Tags

BLComedyDramaShounen-aiLGBT ThemesSchool LifeStudent-Teacher RelationshipBased on a MangaHitorijime My Hero

This wasn’t one of my favorites. The relationships in the show felt manipulative and borderline predatory. Winner of Chil Chil’s 9th annual BL Awards (2018).

Tags

BLDramaRomanceShounen-aiAll-Boys SchoolLGBT ThemesOpposites AttractSchool LifeBased on a MangaDoukyuusei

Tags

BLComedyDramaRomanceShounen-aiSlice of LifeAge GapBrother ComplexLGBT ThemesLifestyle ChangeOpposites AttractSiblingsBased on a MangaSuper Lovers