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19 Best Gay/Yaoi Anime You Shouldn’t Miss Out On!

Best Gay/Yaoi Anime

The “Yaoi” genre originated in the 1970s and gained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s as a subgenre of Japanese Manga (mainly shōjo manga, i.e. comics for girls) and doujinshi (fan-made comics).

The word “yaoi” stands for “yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi,” which roughly translates to “no climax, no resolution, no meaning.” . Several terms were used for the new genre, including shōnen-ai (“boy love”), tanbi (“aesthetic”), and June.

Created by and targeted specifically for a female audience, BL/Yaoi features homoerotic relationships between male characters. Yaoi anime explores the love lives of male characters, and while it’s been a hit in Japan forever, it’s now globally adored.

Starting from engaging tales, unforgettable characters, and relationships so sweet that they could even make a rock blush, the genre has had a significant influence on fan culture, inspiring fanfiction, fan art, and doujinshi created by enthusiasts.

While the “Yaoi” genre has faced criticism and controversy regarding its portrayal of same-sex relationships and the fetishization of gay relationships, some critics argue that it explores and portrays a different and diverse romantic dynamic.

19 Gay/Yaoi Anime You Should Watch:

Whilst numerous yaoi works exist in the deep ocean of anime, not all are as popular or acclaimed as others. So if you are looking for the “Best” ones out there, dive no deeper because here’s 19 Best Yaoi anime you should most definitely watch!

19. Gravitation

Gravitation

Starting with an all time classic! Gravitation is a yaoi anime that follows the story of Shuichi Shindo, an aspiring singer in a band called Bad Luck, and his encounter with Eiri Yuki, a famous romance novelist.

The story starts when a piece of Shuichi’s song lyrics blows away and lands at Eiri’s feet. Instead of motivating Shuichi, Eiri harshly criticizes Shuichi’s writing, showing an immediate dislike for him.

Shuichi, now annoyed, manages to finish his song just so he can find and confront Yuki once again. However, this initial encounter leads to an unexpected turn of events as Shuichi finds himself falling for Eiri.

Gravitation is a romantic comedy with most of its humor coming from the interactions between Eiri and Shuichi as their personalities are completely different, with Eiri being a bit on the reserved side and Shuichi being energetic.

Also having a well-written cast of supporting characters who add to the overall fun and entertainment, Gravitation is the anime to watch if you’re looking for a yaoi anime with both romance and comedy.

18. Super Lovers

Super Lovers

Super Lovers is an anime that follows the story of two adopted brothers Haru Kaidou and Ren Kaidou. After hearing of his mother’s illness, Haru flies all the way to Canada just to realize that it was all a lie.

Haru’s mother had tricked him into coming to care for his new adopted brother, Ren, who was quite interesting to say the least. He was an aloof and feral 8-year-old (might as well call him Mowgli from “The Jungle Book” at this point).

Due to his new brother’s distrustful nature, Haru initially has a hard time reaching out to Ren but their relationship eventually grows. Haru spends the summer getting to know Ren, forming a bond.

As time passes, Ren grows and starts developing romantic feelings for Haru, while Haru remains oblivious.

Super Lovers explores the relation that Haru and Ren develop, along with the challenges they face due to their past and societal disapproval of their relationship due to various factors like their age gap.

Disclaimer: The anime has faced criticism for for its romantic elements due to the age gap between the characters and their initial adoptive brother relationship. So it is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is thus important to consider these factors before you decide to get into this show.

17. Ai no Kusabi

Ai no Kusabi

Well, it’s now time to go to a Different Planet!!

The story of Ai no Kusabi, also known as “The Space Between” is set in a futuristic world on the planet Amoi, ruled by an AI supercomputer named Jupiter and its governing board of “Perfect Blondes”, also known as “Blondies” (I’m NOT making it up… that’s the actual plot).

The society in Amoi is divided by a caste system based on hair color, with blondes at the top and dark-haired people at the bottom, so much so that the blondes can keep the dark-haired people as “pets” for a short period of time.

The story now focuses on Iason Mink, a blonde who defies the social norm by keeping his “pet”, Riki, for much longer than allowed. Riki struggles with his emotions and societal expectations as he starts developing feelings for Iason.

Don’t mistake it for a shallow or superficial anime, at its core this is one of the best love stories you’ll ever see.

Regardless of gender, genre, live action/animation, the story has enough integrity to hold its own as a love story which alone makes it enough to be one of the best yaoi anime there is.

16. Twittering Birds Never Fly

Twittering Birds Never Fly

The story of Twittering Birds Never Fly follows Yashiro, a powerful but emotionally complex yakuza boss, and Doumeki, his newly assigned bodyguard.

Imagine a yakuza boss with a heart of ice, like literally, affection makes him uncomfortable. That’s Yashiro. His new bodyguard Doumeki, a stoic ex-cop, on the other hand, is the complete opposite.

Their dynamic is a tangled mix of attraction and emotional unavailability. Yashiro, captivated by Doumeki’s strength, makes unwanted advances, while Doumeki, bound by duty, keeps resisting.

Yashiro, for one, craves a connection he can’t quite seem to form without turning it into a power struggle. Doumeki, well, he’s hiding a secret that keeps him chained to Yashiro.

As the story unfolds, Yashiro develops an attraction to Doumeki, whose unwavering loyalty and kindness begin to chip away at Yashiro’s hardened exterior.

Twittering Birds Never Fly isn’t your typical love story, but it’s a captivating exploration of two damaged souls trying to find comfort in the most unexpected way, all with three kilograms of laughter, thanks to Yashiro.

Note: Due to the BL genre, their relationship is romantic and physical, but it’s not built on a foundation of equality.

15. My New Boss is Goofy

My New Boss is Goofy

My New Boss is Goofy is actually a slice-of-life comedy anime and not necessarily yaoi. Although there are moments when their interactions seem very much BL coded but at the same time, very wholesome. It’s a very light hearted and adorable show.

After being harassed and abused by his boss, Kentarou Momose develops health issues and finally decides to leave the company he used to work in. It was in fact so bad that Kentarou developed stomach ulcer due to his constant anxiety.

After finally leaving his job, he joins a new company and that’s where his life takes a turn. His new is, well, very “Goofy” (and thus the name of the anime).

Always doing stupid stuff like scrolling through his phone without even unlocking it, Kentarou finds his new environment similar to heaven.

My New Boss is Goofy is a really funny and wholesome anime which definitely deserves a watch! While it’s not necessarily a yaoi, it definitely has a few elements of same.

14. Love Stage!!

Love Stage

Imagine having bigshot actor parents, a rockstar brother and a hardcore otaku you (relatable).

Izumi Sena is a hardcore otaku who aspires to be a manga artist one day. Everyone expects Izumi to eventually enter showbiz himself, but in reality, he loathes his celebrity family’s spotlight.

A twist of fate lands him dressed as a girl for a commercial in a wedding magazine, where he meets Ryoma Ichijo, a young rising actor.

Mistaking Izumi for a girl, Ryoma falls for him. When they meet again, acting for the very same commercial for the very same wedding magazine, Ryoma is flustered to discover Izumi is a guy.

Even though shocked at first, his feeling remain strong. Does Izumi return his feelings? I don’t know! You tell me! In the comments obviously.

13. Dakaichi

Dakaichi

Dakaichi, also known as “Dakaretai Otoko Ichi-i ni Odosarete Imasu” is an anime series revolving around Takato Saijō, an actor who has been recognized as the “sexiest man of the year” in the entertainment industry for five consecutive years. Yes, you heard that right. The list updates every weak in that universe.

However, his first-place position has been usurped by Junta Azumaya, a young newcomer actor. While Takato firstly sees Junta as a rival, Junta admires Takato greatly.

Their life takes a big turn when Junta catches Takato in a rather vulnerable drunken state.

Having said things which he shouldn’t have in front of Junta, who conveniently decided to take a video of all of it, Junta now possessed the means of blackmailing him.

Asking the price of his enemy’s silence, Takato is shocked to find that his motivation lies far from advancing his career.

It was something which can only be realized in the bedroom. You see where this is going? No? Well, I refuse to elaborate! Watch it yourself!

12. Embracing Love (Haru Wa Daite Itta)

Embracing Love

This anime probably has the most straight-forward plot in this whole list. So let’s be quick with this one.

Our protagonists Kyousuke Iwaki and Youji Katou both work for the adult film industry who want to climb the ladder to success. During an audition for a popular movie, Iwaki beats Katou and gets selected.

During their time together, Katou believes he is in love with Iwaki-San, who on the contrary refuses to believe that he is in love.

This become complicated when another gay artist comes back to Japan and acts with Katou as problems start arising. That’s when they realize where their hearts were set this whole time.

That’s it. Two guys working in the adult industry fall for each other. So if that’s what you’re looking for, try out this anime!

Viewer Discretion: Due to it’s mature content and sexual themes, it might not be for everyone.

11. Fuyu no Semi (A Cicada in Winter)

Fuyu no Semi

This anime is a bit complicated. While labelled as “yaoi”, it isn’t as simple as it seems. Fuyu no Semi talks about male feelings, honor, convictions, modernity and of course, love.

Akizuki Keiichirou and Kusaka Touma stand of opposite sides of the political scale of the time but still, something as brittle as the shell of a cicada binds these two men together in a tragic and cruel fate. Fuyu no semi is a story of friendship, love, honor and sacrifice.

Fuyu no Semi is a wonderful, bittersweet love story with a ton of historical aspects. The emotional aspects both the main characters, Akizuki and Kusaka, can really be felt throughout the anime. This yaoi anime is definitely one of the best yaoi series you can find and is definitely worth a watch.

10. Junjou Romantica

Junjou Romantica

Junjou Romantica is a compilation of stories of three different couples. To keep things short and simple, I’ll elaborate on the “main” couple.

 Misaki is a high school student struggling with his college entrance exams. His older brother decides to help him by assigning him a private tutor named Usami, a famous novelist and also his friend. Usami however, harbors feelings towards Misaki’s brother.

How does Misaki get to know that? After stumbling upon the author’s latest boys-love novel, Misaki becomes uncertain whether or not to trust Akihiko regarding his friendship with his brother.

Well, that’s just the overview. A lot of “other” things start to happen as the story progresses, which brings me to the next part – Controversy.

Junjou Romantica has faced a lot of backlash due to a couple of reasons –
1. Non consensual elements.
2. An age gap when we consider the story of Miyagi and Shinobu.
3. Lack of emotional growth – the anime mostly shows growth on the physical side of the relationships over the emotional side.

It’s also important to consider that these are “others’ opinions and views”. Ultimately, whether you enjoy Junjou Romantica depends on your personal choices and comfort regarding these themes.

9. No. 6

No. 6

Welcome to No.9, that is No.6!! (Now imagine people laughing in the background… please)

No.6 takes place in a dystopian future where humanity lives within massive city-states. The story revolves around Shion, a privileged man living No.6, one of these utopian cities and Nezumi, a boy who lived in the desolate wasteland beyond the walls of the supposed “utopia”.

After meeting Nezumi, Shion gets a new perspective on the world he lives in. Despite knowing that the boy was a fugitive, Shion decided to take him in for the night and protect him, resulting in him and his mother losing their status as elites. They were relocated elsewhere and the darker side of the city began to make itself known.

Years later, their paths cross again – the former elite and the boy on the run, and they find themselves working together to uncover the dark secrets hidden beneath the seemingly perfect facade of No.6.

Though a bit low on the yaoi romance aspect, it boasts pulse-pounding action scenes, absolutely stunning animation and the soundtrack, which added depth to the atmosphere, especially that hauntingly beautiful ending theme. No.6 is without a doubt an absolutely worth watching BL anime!

8. Hitorijime My Hero

Hitorijime My Hero

This will be decently long, so buckle up!

The two main protagonists in this anime are Masahiro Setagawa and Kosuke Ooshiba. Setagawa, whose mother was a prostitute, often went out of his house during nights as “customers” often came during that time.

He eventually became an errand boy for a local gang. One day, Kosuke Ooshiba, also known as the “Bear Killer” came and single handedly defeated the whole gang, resulting in Setagawa immediately being fond of him.

A year later, Masahiro attends high school, only to find that Kousuke is their new math teacher. While the three grew closer, Masahiro starts to view Kousuke as his “hero,” and Kousuke develops a desire to protect Masahiro.

Things start taking take a turn for the worse when Kensuke’s childhood friend, Asaya Hasekura returns. How? You know the drill! Watch the anime and comment it in the comment section!

Having themes of self-discovery, friendship, protecting the ones close to you and most importantly, “forbidden love”, that is love between teacher and student.

This anime is worth watching if the previously said themes are your cup of tea. So if you are a coffee person, keep scrolling through the list as there are alternatives for you as well!

7. The Stranger By The Shore

The Stranger By The Shore

The Stranger by the Shore is one of the best examples of a simple story portrayed in a beautiful way.

The Stranger By The Shore (aka: Umibe no Étranger) is a BL anime movie adapted from a manga written by
Kanna Kii which portrays the budding of a sweet blossoming relationship between a openly gay novelist, Shun and then stranger who caught his eyes, Mio, a reserved high schooler who finds solace by the shore.

Like the gentle breeze from a sea their relationship will hit you with a wave of comfort and sweetness. Shun’s outgoing and friendly personality complements well with Mio’s shyness.

The story revolves around them finding their paths through the obstacles that are thrown on their ways and how they light up each others paths as they move forward.

Its a light and heart warming story that celebrates love conquering all, reminding you that sometimes, the most beautiful connections can form in the most unexpected places.

6. Banana Fish

Banana Fish

Though not a yaoi anime, and categorised in shoujo, Banana fish follows the story of Ash Lynx, an intellectual gang leader who was forced into child prostitution.

Ash begins investigating the mysterious “Banana Fish”—the same two words his older brother, Griffin, has muttered since his return from the Iraq War. To keep himself safe, he used an undergroud bar as his hideout.

At the bar, Ash meets Eiji Okamura, a 19 year old man from Japan who came to New York to report on American street gangs. Ash longed to live a life as normal as Eiji’s, who wanted to free him from all his sufferings.

While being really good, this anime contains mature themes regarding gangs and violence. “Drugs, Rape, Gangs, PTSD and Corruption” are terms at the core of Banana Fish.

At the same time, the crime and gangster themes are not all that the story is about. While Banana Fish’s pragmatic and deplorable world is filled with death and sexual violence, the story of its main character, Ash Lynx, is a visceral story about life and love.

5. Sekaiichi Hatsukoi

Sekaiichi Hatsukoi

Even though its an iconic and classic yaoi anime, the plot here again is rather simple!

Sekaiichi Katsukoi (Sekai-Ichi Hatsukoi: Onodera Ritsu no Baai, also known as “The World’s Greatest First Love: The Case of Ritsu Onodera”) follows the story of, you guess it, Ritsu Onodera, a literature editor who quits his job at his parents’ company.

He later takes a job at Marukawa Books, where he is assigned to the shōjo manga department, in which he has no experience.

To his surprise, his new boss is Masamune Takano, his high school first love, whom he thought had cruelly rejected his confession. After clearing misunderstandings between them, they fall for each other.

Exploring themes of first love, missed opportunities, forgiveness, and the complexities of love and relationships, Sekaiichi Hatsukoi has been a critical and commercial success and have sold over 6 million copies in Japan.

4. Sasaki to Miyano

Sasaki to Miyano

The story starts with Sasaki barging in a fight to save someone getting bullied. Miyano, who is shy in contrast to Sasaki who was bold, becomes fond of Sasaki after seeing his actions. While not being able to help himself, Miyano calls for help, which instead catches Sasaki’s attention.

As they start interacting, Sasaki gets to know that Miyano is a closet “Fudanshi”, that is he likes yaoi manga’s and stuff but likes to keep it a secret.

Sasaki then requests to borrow a BL manga from Miyano as he had now become intrigued by Miyano and uses every opportunity he can to get closer to him.

As they spend more time together, Miyano starts to question his own feelings and realizes he might reciprocate Sasaki’s affection.

A simple plot with beautiful execution. This yaoi anime might be the one for you! So definitely check it out.

3. Yuri on Ice

Yuri on Ice

Haven’t heard of Yuri on Ice? If not, all of your “Yaoi” should be “On Fire”…. drum beats

Yuri katsuki, once ranked really low in the ISU, and had given up complete hope for skating. After a crushing defeat and a viral fan video mocks him, Yuri falls into a slump.

Things started to change after he met his idol and admiration Victor nikiforov, the skating champion. Inspired by the video, Victor takes Yuri on as a student, completely upending his life, leading him to the top.

Exploring themes of overcoming adversity, finding inspiration, and the pursuit of excellence, with heart-pounding soundtracks and breath-taking animation that beautifully captures the grace and athleticism of figure skating, Yuri on Ice is a MUST watch for any anime enjoyer out there.

2. Given

Given

Given revolves around the lives of Mafuyu Satou and Ritsuka Uenoyama. While taking a nap in a quiet spot on the gymnasium staircase, he encounters a fellow student named Ritsuka Uenoyama.

Ritsuka, who has lost his passion for guitar, berates Mafuyu for letting his guitar strings rust and break. Ritsuka fixes it, unknowingly igniting a spark in Mafuyu, who carries a painful past.

Ritsuka, drawn to Mafuyu’s soulful singing, agrees to teach him. As Mafuyu pours his emotions into his music, Ritsuka rediscovers his passion.

Through music and newfound connections, Mafuyu begins to heal, navigate his complicated feelings, and find solace in Ritsuka’s presence.

It is fairly unconventional for a single cour romance to have convincing characterization, yet Given makes this a strong point.

Each of the band members are given practical goals and motivations with detailed backstories that are paced into the narrative perfectly as the episodes progress.

1. Dokyuusei

Dokyuusei

Doukyuusei, also known as “Classmates” is a 2018 bittersweet romance BL movie which revolves around two highschool boys with opposite personalities.

Rihito is an honors student who has his face buried in textbooks and has never had trouble with his entrance exams, while Hikaru is a dazzling guitarist in a rock band with a rebel streak.

Although they were on completely different wavelengths, fate threw them together for the school chorus festival, and their voices – both singing and unspoken – began to blend.

As they start interacting, their hearts pluck a new tune, a sweet melody of love. Can their melody of love survive the pressures of senior year, or will their final set of notes be a heartbreaking one?

Well, Doukyuusei invites you to listen to a love story that’s both tender and vibrant. This movie is very romantic and REAL as you can easily feel understand the characters and their actions.

It’s a must-watch yaoi anime for fans of coming-of-age stories and slice-of-life anime. So, GO WATCH IT!

Bonus:

Did someone say BONUS CONTENT? NO WAY!

Here are three Donghua that are also worth checking out:

  1. Heaven’s Official Blessing: The story follows Xie Lian, a disgraced god who keeps getting banished to the mortal world and Hua Cheng, a powerful ghost king who seems oddly familiar. Together they solve problems, their bond growing as Xie Lian’s past unfolds.
  2. Mao Dao Zu Shi: This show follows Wei Wuxian, a powerful cultivator cast off for his demonic path who later sacrifices himself. Sixteen years later, he is resurrected and reunited with his sworn brother Lan Wangji, with whom he now searches for the truth about the past threatens to shatter their world.
  3. Ling Qi: The story follows Yang Jinghua, a teenager burdened by the ability to see spirits who accidentally binded the powerful spirit king Zhuge Kongming to himself. Together, they embark on a journey to collect fragments of a shattered artifact.

Conclusion

Make sure to comment down your thoughts on this list AS WELL AS your suggestions!
Also, do check out the other articles in animehunch and share them with your known ones!

Until we meet again fated traveler,
Sayonara!

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