The anime universe is diverse, as the medium offers just as many profound, socially relevant, and meaningful stories as it does lighthearted or action-packed entertainment. Many people who are unfamiliar with anime may be surprised by the abundance of LGBTQ+-themed series available. Sure, many shows contain excessive fanservice, and crossdressing is a common cliché, but there are genuine tales out there with a significant, if not sole, focus on LGBTQ+ characters.
To get started, you need to get familiar with your terms. Shounen-ai is for guys, whereas shoujo-ai is for girls. Yaoi is a gay boy’s favorite, so expect some sexual moments on screen. Similarly, yuri is an explicit girl’s favorite.
Now that you’ve mastered that, check out our selection of the top 30 LGBTQ+ anime to watch!
1. Junjou Romantica
Three couples are featured in the popular Junjou Romantica series. Misaki and Akihiko are the central characters.
Akihiko is a novelist who tutors Misaki after Misaki’s elder brother requested him to get Misaki into university.
The anime series is shounen-ai, but the manga is Yaoi but BL. The music is fantastic, and the premise is pretty unique. There have been three seasons so far, and the manga is currently running.
The show first aired in 2008, and the most recent season was in 2015.
2. Gakuen Heaven
The anime is based on a computer game and is called shounen-ai.
It’s about a youngster called Keita who receives a letter inviting him to attend a secret academy for pupils with extraordinary abilities. However, Keita lacks any talents and wonders how he could acquire a letter in such a prestigious institution.
As the anime develops, Keita begins to have doubts about his friend, Kazuki.
It’s a short anime with 13 episodes, and while only 5 manga have been released, three have only been translated into English.
It is a continuation of each episode, and it is recommended that you watch each one to comprehend the complete series.
3. Ai no Kusabi
Jupiter, a computer, governs the world of Amoi, where civilization is divided into groups. It is here that a high-class blonde named Iason meets a mongrel known as Riki the Dark.
They begin an illicit affair after meeting, despite Riki’s denials.
If you want to see Ai no Kusabi, I recommend watching the earlier version because it is darker and more dramatic than the 2012 remake.
4. Sweet Blue Flowers
Fumi and Akira re-encounter each other at high school after being separated for a decade.
Fumi confesses to Akira during high school.
Sweet Blue Flowers is yuri that has been out for a decade, yet the plot is sophisticated, and there is romance amongst the pupils other than Fumi and Akira.
5. Revolutionary Girl Utena
Utena is an old anime from the late 1990s, but it was trendy, and the plot is quite fantastic.
Utena is a tomboy who aspires to be a prince. At the academy where she studies, she sword battles and wins the “Rose Bride” name Anthy.
The series Revolutionary Girl Utena is Yuri, and there are 39 episodes in all.
If you want to watch something new, I think this series is for you because it contains sword fighting, romance, school, and so on.
Utena’s finale may be a little sad, so pack some tissues just in case.
Shuichi is a member of the band “Bad Luck.” He meets a man named Eiri Yuki in a park one day after the song lyrics in Shuichi’s hands had flown out and gone to Yuki.
Shuichi has been pursuing Yuki ever then, learning about his dark history.
Gravitation was a popular shounen-ai series when it originally came out. There are 13 episodes, an OVA, manga, books, and even a short manga sequel.
My first shounen-ai series was Gravitation.
7. Sasameki Koto
Sumika is a high school student who is madly in love with her closest friend. Sumika’s best friend, Ushio, on the other hand, has a different perspective on who she loves in girls.
Sumika tries and tries to get Ushio to notice her, but she always fails. There are 13 episodes in all, including the manga.
If you enjoy high school romantic dramas, I believe this is the series for you. There is a lot of drama between Sumika and Ushio, as well as their classmates.
8. No. 6
Shion meets a boy called Nezumi, and the two become fast friends before their friendship blossoms into a romance.
It has an excellent plot and 11 episodes in addition to the manga. There is a kiss between Shion and Nezumi, so it may be shounen-ai, but nothing more.
The conclusion is a little melancholy, but I think No. 6 is worth a go if you appreciate emotional anime.
9. Hourou Musuko
Shuichi is a young student who aspires to be a female and starts cross-dressing. His buddies push him to adopt a feminine demeanor.
It features good art and animation, and if you’re looking for something unusual to watch, I think this series could be for you.
It only has 12 episodes.
10. YuriKuma Arashi
The bears began assaulting people due to an asteroid, and later a wall separated the bears and humans.
When they started school, two buddies began to fall in love with each other. This anime appears to be adorable, yet it contains violence and Yuri.
YuriKuma Arashi is sci-fi and has around 12 episodes and a manga and light book. Not to mention the romance that develops between the two female protagonists.
11. Yuri on Ice
It’s about Yuri, a figure skater who puts his career on hold after meeting Victor.
Victor becomes Yuri’s coach after winning a competition. During the Grand Prix, Victor and Yuri grew close and even kissed.
When the anime Yuri on Ice debuted, it quickly became popular. It was distinct from other shounen-ai series since it was about sports.
Because it’s shounen-ai, many reviewers disagree with each other over the series.
The series consists of 12 episodes and an OVA and manga; an anime feature is in the works.
After her mother remarries, Yuzu attends an all-girls school. Yuzu eventually develops love emotions for her stepsister, Mei.
Many individuals are put off by the stepsister scenario, even after witnessing it for the first time.
I think you’ll love this anime if you can get beyond the entire stepsister issue, plus the plot is decent.
Citrus has 12 episodes and was only published three years ago. Thus it is still very fresh. Aside from the series, there are mangas to read.
It’s a shame that FAKE only has one OVA, which is based on the second-volume manga. The OVA is pretty nice, even though it is pretty old, and you may not like the animation or voice acting.
FAKE follows two NYPD officers as Dee Laytner falls in love with his Japanese American partner, Ryo.
If you enjoy the OVA, the manga is better since it tells the tale of their love and isn’t obscene until the last volume.
14. Sekaiichi Hatsukoi
If you’re familiar with the BL anime Junjou Romantica, Sekaiichi Hatsukoi is a spinoff series set in the same universe as Junjou.
Sekaiichi, like Junjou, centers on three couples, the primary pair being Ritsu and Takano. Ritsu obtains a position in the manga department at Marukawa Publishing, where he meets his high school sweetheart, who also happens to be his new employer.
Ritsu must decide between his job and his love. Sekaiichi is a lovely, romantic love story with fantastic music.
15. Finder Series
It’s a shame that the Finder Series anime-only includes two OVAs, each just around an hour long.
Apart from having just two OVAs, the anime is Yaoi, yet it has a decent plot for viewers.
Akihito, a 23-year-old photojournalist, photographed the crime lord Asami while he was conducting business one day.
Their romance began at that time, even though Asami had r*ped Akihito.
The two OVAs are adult, but if you care about the plot and get beyond that, the Finder Series is fantastic, and the manga is much better.
Kana, a young woman who lives and works in a newspaper delivery office, loses everything.
The story is mainly around Kana and her daily activities. It debuted in 2009 and consisted of 13 episodes.
There is a strong presence of Yuri in the series.
17. The Betrayal Knows My Name
Giou Yuki is an orphan who discovers he has empathy powers after touching someone and feeling their feelings.
Even going so far as to cleanse them. As Yuki discovers the truth, he encounters a man named Luka.
The anime is a fantasy, and it is implied that Yuki and Luka have shounen-ai.
There are 25 episodes in the series.
18. Mirage of Blaze
It’s an old anime, and the plot might become confused if you don’t pay attention.
It’s about a high school student who is Lord Kagetora’s reincarnation.
Aside from learning that she has been reincarnated, Takaya, a high school student, discovers that Naoe and Kagetora had a brutal history together.
There isn’t much between Takaya and Naoe, but it is shounen-ai and features two males.
The characters in the series have spiritual-like abilities since they are reincarnations of their previous selves.
19. Embracing Love
Iwaki and Katou are adult film celebrities. They both wanted their film to be a hit since they were both thinking about retiring.
They must, however, make love to each other for the sake of the film.
They started having love feelings for each other soon after the film since Katou is extroverted and Iwaki isn’t.
The anime only includes two OVAs, each lasting half an hour, it’s also Yaoi, and it’s obviously unsuitable for children.
20. Love Pistols
Love Pistols are about people behaving like animals and falling in love with either a human or an animal.
A high school student, Norio, found his animal monster and attempted to hide it from other people who desired him.
The plot becomes a little confused at times, but there are only two OVAs, and the running duration isn’t too long to see.
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21. Sakura Trick
Since junior high, Haruka and Yu have been close friends, but they are very different now than they are starting a relationship.
Haruka is the most romantic, whereas Yu is occasionally humiliated.
With 12 episodes, the anime is charming, with some excellent art for 2021 standards.
The song is enjoyable to listen to, and in addition to Haruka and Yu’s amorous sentiments, their friends are also experiencing romantic difficulties.
22. Okane Ga Nai
Ayase is a college student whose relative sells him at auction one day because he owes money.
Kanou purchases Ayase, and unbeknownst to Ayase, the two have already met.
The narrative is fantastic. However, only four OVA episodes are compensated for by the golden book and manga.
23. Ouran HighSchool Host Club
It’s about a group of male high school students with a hidden club at school that welcomes and entertains female classmates.
That’s when they meet Harui, a student. The members initially assume Harui is a guy; however, she is actually a girl (TRAP).
They chose Harui to be one of their hostesses.
This anime series is well-known and was well-received when it originally aired.
It contains cross-dressing, humor, gender-bending, and everything else in between, with over 26 episodes.
24. Love Stage
Izumi is a manga artist who once portrayed a girl in a commercial with a boy.
He avoids becoming a star until years later when they want to perform the commercial again.
It’s a short, charming anime with 10 episodes and an OVA that everyone can watch all at once.
25. Angel’s Feather
It’s a shame that Angel Feather only has two OVA episodes because it’s based on a video game.
Chou is interested in Kendo and transfers to a private school where he discovers his younger brother, who does not believe him.
The school features a magical world where others have powers, and Chou quickly finds that he, too, has abilities.
This anime is really short and a little perplexing, but it’s an anime with an unexpected ending if you have the time to watch it.
26. Cheeky Angel
Cheeky Angel is a 50-episode anime series about a lovely girl named Megumi. She is so beautiful that some people refer to her as an “angel” (hence the title). However, beneath that lovely face is a terrible secret: Megumi was once a male!
Megumi discovered a magic book with a genie within when he was nine years old. The genie grants one wish when blood is put into the book. So Megumi wished to be the manliest guy globally, but the genie changed him into a woman.
Megumi is a gorgeous high school student who is still a male inside a few years later. Miki, Megumi’s girl best friend, wants to convert Megumi into a sophisticated young lady, but Megumi is desperate to retain her masculine side.
Cheeky Angel covers various gender identity issues, such as what it means to be a woman or a man and how a person determines who they are on the inside.
27. Nabari No Ou
Miharu is a naughty young guy who unintentionally has a great talent known as hijutsu – a skill that many ninja clans want to become the ninja world’s king. Miharu’s classmate Kouichi and English instructor Kumohira formed a new club named “Way of the Ninja” one day. They both attempt to encourage Miharu to join the club, but he always refuses. Kouichi and Kumihora are both Banten clan ninja, unbeknownst to him. Miharu has no option but to join their group to survive after being subjected to several ninja attacks.
Miharu gradually realizes that he possesses the tremendous skill and that to escape these attacks, he must become the ruler of Nabari.
Although the core of Nabari No Ou is Miharu’s secret method, it also focuses on the protagonists’ bisexual and gay relationships.
28. Wandering Son
Wandering Son is one of the most popular LGBTQ anime series. Shuichi, a quiet preteen boy who goes to a new school, is the story’s protagonist. He meets the tomboyish Yoshino, who sits next to him at the desk. They quickly become great friends and realize they have one thing in common: they are both transsexuals.
The two classmates become close friends as they face the challenges of adolescence, transsexuality, relationships, and acceptance. Shuichi and Yoshino’s journey educates viewers about gender identification by addressing gender identity topics via both of these characters.
29. Yuri!!! On ICE
Yuri!!! On ICE rose to prominence in the fall of 2016 and made our list of the greatest anime of the year. And, while there are many reasons for Yuri’s popularity – animation, score, choreography — the interaction between the two main characters is what made the series revolutionary and famous.
Yuri Katsuki and Victor Nikiforov’s relationship did not succumb to the clichés that plague the Yaoi (Boys’ Love) and Yuri genres (Girls Love). Instead, the homosexual anime series depicted the emotional ups and downs who aid and support one another through significant life challenges.
30. DRAMAtical Murder
This anime is based on a Yaoi game. However, there are no sex scenes and minor Shounen Ai elements. The plot revolves around Aoba Seragak, a regular guy who just wants to live everyday life. Until he is pulled into a game called Rythm one day. Rhythm is a virtual reality game in which you may compete against other players.
When Aoba is drawn into this game, he discovers that there had been a rash of inexplicable killings recently. He steadily drew himself deeper into the perils of his community after learning about it. Although some might not classify this program as gay anime, given that the game it was based on had several Yaoi moments, I believe it needs to be included on our list.