BL (Boys’ Love), a genre filled with the moe and dream, is now a major genre. With more and more BL works being made into anime, you may be wondering, “Which one should I watch?”.
For those BL-loving fans, here are some recommended BL anime that you should definitely keep on your radar!
This time, we analyzed and ranked the BL anime carefully selected by the girls of our editorial team.
We have also picked up unofficial BL works, such as fantasy-spreading BL-flavored works and bromance works, that are sure to appeal to BL lovers, and will meet the needs of those who want to consume BL ingredients from non-BL works as well!
- QWhat is BL?
BL is a short abbreviation for Boys-Love. People who like BL animes are called Fu-joshi(腐女子) in Japanese, meaning “rotten(腐) girl(女子)”.
- QWhich BL Anime You Should Watch First?
If you have never watched any BL anime before, start with Given. If you want a hotter one, go for Yarichin☆Bitch-bu.
- 1. Doukyusei
- 2. Given
- 3. Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi – World’s Greatest First Love
- 4. Yuri!!! on Ice
- 5. Saezuru Tori wa Habatakanai: The Clouds Gather
- 6. BANANA FISH
- 7. SUPER LOVERS
- 8. Yarichin☆Bitch-bu
- 9. Free!
- 10. DAKAICHI -I’m being harassed by the sexiest man of the year-
- 11. Seaside Stranger: Umibe no Etranger
- 12. The Betrayal Knows My Name
- 13. Yes, No, or Maybe?
- 14. Junjo Romantica
- 15. Hakkenden -Eight Dogs of the East-
Doukyusei is a manga by Asumiko Nakamura and an animated film released in February 2016.
It is a pure love story about two high school boys, Hikaru Kusakabe, a band member with extensive experience with women, and Rihito Sajo, the most brilliant student in his grade. Their personalities are complete opposites, but they begin to talk to each other after practicing for the chorus festival and are drawn to each other.
The fact that Sajo, who is a brilliant student and seems to be able to handle everything with ease, is tone-deaf and practices singing alone in secret is also a point that will make your heart swell.
The delicate and beautiful visuals enhance the emotions of the two, allowing the viewer to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the work.
Given is an adolescent BL anime based on the manga by Natsuki Kizu. It was also the first BL work in the noitaminA series, and its powerful performance scenes and delicate drawings that delicately depict the subtleties of facial expressions were well-received by fans of BL as well as BL fans.
Mafuyu Sato and Ritsuka Kaminoyama met because of a guitar that was a memento of her dead lover. Ritsuka, who had exceptional guitar skills, was attracted to Mafuyu’s natural musical talent and decided to bring him into her band.
The story carefully depicts the interplay of feelings between the high school students, Mafuyu and Ritsuka, and the adults, Haruki and Akihiko. Recommended for those who want to watch a sad and beautiful romance!
3. Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi – World’s Greatest First Love
Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi is based on the manga by Shungiku Nakamura, which has been adapted into a second anime season and a movie version.
Set in a girls’ manga editorial department, it is a love story about Masamune Takano, a good at his job but arrogant editor-in-chief, and Ritsu Onodera, a novice editor who hates to lose. Ritsu had a one-sided love for Masamune for three years when he was in high school, and they were finally together, but Ritsu’s misunderstanding led to their breakup.
At his new job at Emerald Publishing House, Ritsu is reunited with the transformed Masamune, and the two are drawn to each other.
This work is related to the Junjo Romantica series, also written by Shungiku Nakamura, and has many comedic elements throughout, making it easy to watch even for those new to BL.
4. Yuri!!! on Ice
Yuri!!! on Ice aired from October to December 2016. It caused a BL boom around the world.
Figure skater Yuri Katsuki is seriously contemplating retirement after a series of bad performances. However, he happens to be coached by Victor Nikiforov, the world’s top figure skater and Yuri’s idol.
The news that Viktor, a current world-class skater, is going to coach him is known around the world, and Yuuri’s name recognition skyrockets.
Under Viktor’s tutelage, Yuuri aims for the gold medal at the Grand Prix Final and is confronted by a group of unique figure skaters.
Although it is not an official BL, it is a heart-warming work with light BL elements.
5. Saezuru Tori wa Habatakanai: The Clouds Gather
The movie version Saezuru Tori wa Habatakanai was released in 2020 and is a BL work written by Ko Yoneda.
Yashiro, the young head of the Yakuza, is an extreme masochist and a whore. When he is engaging in his usual sexual activities in his office, Domeki, a rookie bouncer, stops him and says, “Are you all right?” to Yashiro. This was their destined encounter.
Although they care about each other, their relationship is nothing like that of lovers. The relationship between the two, with its distorted self-contradictions and never-ending wounds, is a human drama that can be enjoyed.
Yashiro’s lewd scenes, unique to R-18 productions, are also a highlight!
6. BANANA FISH
BANANA FISH is an anime based on the 1980s manga series by Akio Yoshida, which was adapted into an anime in 2018 with an all-new art style and period setting.
Ash, a beautiful boy who organizes street kids in downtown America, meets Eiji, a Japanese college student who was accompanying him on an interview.
Together, the two decide to pursue the mystery of the word “banana fish,” the only clue to Ash’s brother’s crippling death.
Eiji becomes the one and only healer for Ash, who has been hurt and struggling to survive in a harsh environment. This is a masterpiece that teaches us the depth of love as these two people from different backgrounds come to understand each other and strengthen their bond!
7. SUPER LOVERS
SUPER LOVERS is based on the manga of the same name by Miyuki Abe, and the anime has aired for two seasons.
Haru, the eldest son of the Kaido family, was forced to take care of a boy named Ren in Canada when he was a child. Haru spent one summer with Ren, who was wild and out of control, and returned to Japan promising to see him again. However, on the way back to Japan, he is involved in an accident and loses his memory of Ren.
Five years later, Haru, who earns his living as a host, meets Ren. With no memory, Haru decides to live with Ren. The story depicts the thrilling shared life of the four brothers, including Aki and Shima.
The heart-pounding love of Ren for Haru and the family love of the four siblings make this anime a heartwarming experience.
It’s memed all over the internet so may have heard the OP already. Yarichin☆Bitch-bu is a BL manga by Tanaka Ogeretsu that has been irregularly serialized on the illustration submission site Pixiv since 2012; an anime version was released in April 2019 with an R-15+ rating.
First-year student Takashi Tono transfers to a boys’ high school deep in the mountains, the private Morimori Academy. He joins the photography club because “it looks easy.”
However, the club is actually a “yarichin-bitch club” whose purpose is to have sexual intercourse with other men.
Yuu Kashima, another transfer student like Tono, also joins the club because he genuinely likes photography. Tono and Kashima almost get gang-raped by other club members, but they avoid it by becoming fake lovers.
As the title suggests, there is a lot of vulgarity in this work, but the romance between club members is very pure in this coming-of-age romantic comedy.
Free! is a swimming anime based on the novel by Koji Oji and produced by Kyoto Animation.
Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa, and Rin, who together won the championship in their elementary school swimming club, have since fallen apart.
The story focuses on the friendship and bonds that are formed when these four swimmers and Rei, a novice swimmer, become high school students and are reunited through swimming.
It is a coming-of-age anime that has had three anime seasons, as well as a fifth movie version.
The fine macho depiction of KyoAni is also very appealing, refreshing yet full of elements that will tickle your fujoshi fancy!
10. DAKAICHI -I’m being harassed by the sexiest man of the year-
DAKAICHI is a popular BL anime that has also been made into a movie.
The main character, Takato Saijo, is a popular actor who has been ranked No.1 in “The Sexiest Men Actor” ranking for five consecutive years.
However, in his sixth year, he loses the top spot to a new actor, Junta Azumaya. While Takato is hostile, Azumaya seems to have a BIG crush on Takato and…
Azumaya is usually as lovable as an angel, but when they are alone, he turns into a wolf. The gap between the two is just wholesome.
11. Seaside Stranger: Umibe no Etranger
Seaside Stranger: Umibe no Etranger is the first in the “Etranger” series by Kanna Kii, which was released as an animated feature film in 2020.
Shun Hashimoto, an aspiring novelist who has been traumatized by love, meets a high school student, Namio Chiba, who spends his days on an island bench looking melancholy. The two are attracted to each other, but due to family reasons, Namio has to leave the island for three years.
Three years later, Namio returns and tells Shun of her feelings that have not changed over time.
The contrast between the timid and closed-minded Shun and Namio, who expresses her feelings as straight as the blue sea, is striking.
The content is realistic and touches on the difficulties of living as a gay man, and while refreshing, you can also taste the bitterness of falling in love. The unusual coupling of childish face x childish face is also appealing.
12. The Betrayal Knows My Name
The Betrayal Knows My Name is based on a manga by Hotaru Odagiri and aired from April to September 2010.
Yuki Sakurai, a high school student living in an orphanage, has the ability to understand people’s mind. One night, a mysterious beautiful young man named Zeth appears in front of Yuki and leaves him with a mysterious piece of advice.
After meeting Zeth, strange incidents continue to occur around Yuki, and she finds herself caught up in a battle with a demon called Duras that has been going on for over a thousand years.
You don’t have to be a BL fan to enjoy the worldview of fighting demons while repeating reincarnation. Furthermore, the relationship between Yuki and Zeth, who were lovers in a previous life, will make you emotional for sure.
13. Yes, No, or Maybe?
Yes, No, or Maybe? is based on a novel, and a film version was released in 2020 with an +R15 rating.
Kunieda Kei is a popular newscaster with a perfect appearance on the outside, but outside of work, he is always in dowdy clothes. On his day off, he meets Ushio Tsuzuki, an animation artist with whom he has worked before. Then Kei quickly identifies himself as Owari.
As Owari, Kei is attracted to Ushio, and Ushio is attracted to Kei as an announcer, and a strange love triangle begins.
It has BL elements as well as human drama, and it is a work that sinks in for working people who are tired of working. I recommend it to those who want a quick dose of quality BL with a little eroticism!
14. Junjo Romantica
Based on a manga by Shungiku Nakamura, the series ran for three seasons from 2008 to 2015.
The main character, Misaki Takahashi, lost her parents early in an accident, and him and his brother Takahiro, who is 10 years older than him, have lived supporting each other. Misaki is tutored by his brother’s friend and famous novelist, Akihiko Usami, known as “Usagi,” for her college entrance exams.
However, Misaki discovers that Usami is writing a BL novel based on him and Takahiro, and so Misaki is disgusted by Usami. However, when her brother is transferred to another city, he ends up living with Usami.
Misaki’s character is cute as he is pushed around by the pushy Usami, and his tsundere attitude towards Usami is also a big moe for many fans.
15. Hakkenden -Eight Dogs of the East-
Hakkenden -Eight Dogs of the East- is based on Miyuki Abe‘s manga inspired by Nanso Satomi Hakkenden by Bakin Kyokutei.
Shino Inuzuka, Sosuke Inukawa, and Hamaji, all survivors of the village of Otsuka, which was destroyed by a mysterious epidemic, were living quietly in a church on the outskirts of the village. One day, however, an incident involving a fire leads to the discovery that Shino and Sosuke have special powers.
They receive a summons from the headquarters of the Imperial Church and are asked to search for the 8 balls, all of which are held by handsome men with peony birthmarks and special powers.
This work is an unofficial BL anime, but the childhood friend and mutual admiration between Shino and Sosuke create a world that can only be seen as BL and is a must-see for BL lovers.
In this article, we have introduced 15 BL anime that all BL lovers should definitely keep in mind.
There are various genres of BL anime, so please try to choose a work according to the moe you want to absorb at that moment!