The Top 10 Best Gay Manga
What are yaoi or gay manga series about? These stories can also be referred to as boy’s love. These stories are usually focused on the high school years, although not all are, usually have happy endings and provide you with feelings of romance and sexual tension between characters. They won’t really leave your heart aching, but will be emotionally satisfying. If you’re craving love and romance between two male lead characters, then yaoi manga is for you. Most of these stories, are young boys falling for each other in class. But, I’ve included a few on this list that break a few taboos and are definitely worth you checking out. However, these stories listed below have very developed plots and you’ll find most of these characters are pretty relatable with their emotional backstory.
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1. Ten Count
Ten Count is a yaoi gay manga series that was published between 2013 and 2017 and is one of the best gay manga. The author is Takarai Rihito, the author of other famous yaoi manga series like Seven Days and Only The Flower Knows. The plot focuses around Shirotani and Kurose. Shirotani is a secretary who works for the president of Tosawa Company. Unfortunately, he also suffers from mysophobia, meaning he is afraid of germs and contamination. These leads Shirotani’s disposition to be quite shy and reclusive. Kurose is a psychiatrist who stumbles upon Shirotani and offers to help him with his mental illness. Shirotani begins to fall in love with his counselor as Kurose takes him through a ten step process. Shirotani is caught between his illness and his feelings for Kurose. The first volume is a pretty steady read and builds up all the characters. I enjoyed having the plot and characters built up for the remaining volumes. It was a pace that I was comfortable reading at and really got me to be emotionally invested in the characters. Takarai is known for jumping right into explicit scenes, which isn’t always bad. But, this one was like a breath of fresh air to actually get to know the character’s inner workings and a little bit of their past. The artwork from Rihito is absolutely gorgeous and her style is very unique.
2. Rutta to Kodama
This yaoi gay manga is a little bit older, but nonetheless is extremely fun to read and one of the best gay manga. It is based in a high school setting and follows too black sheep. One of the students, Kodama, has just transferred there. The other student, Rutta, is a known delinquent and trouble maker. When Kodama is transferred, he is given a room and his roommate ends up being Rutta. The story follows the two as they meet new friends and prepare for tests, basically typical high school stuff. But, this gay manga is really a page turner. I really enjoyed this BL manga for it’s lightheartedness, genuineness, and hopefulness as these two students prepare for what life might hand them after they graduate. Their romance is very uplifting, humorous, and playful. Feelings are confessed pretty early on in this manga, so there isn’t a lot of buildup. In contrast to Ten Count, this manga builds characters as the relationship grows. There’s also no questioning themselves or holding back in the characters in regards to their romance. The hook here is that Rutta is supposed to be a cold-hearted delinquent, but Kodama is the only thing that makes him softer. Rutta sort of becomes a tutor to Kodama, even though Kodama has proven he may even be better at school than Rutta. Of course, as with any relationship, not everyone has their approval in this manga. However, it is heartwarming to see their relationship blossom and interactions with friends and family members. But, the inevitable question does arise: what will happen to their romance once they graduate?
Otokogokoro was created by Kanda Neko and is one of the best gay manga series. The artistic sketches in this manga done by Neko are incredible and lovely. This manga starts as sort of mysterious, but then gets hot and heavy fast. It centers around Hiroyasu Saki and Jun Shinomiya. Hiroyasu is a salary man and gets very drunk after work one night. He tries to stumble home, but never makes it because he runs into Jun. Jun is a college student who brings him back to his apartment to care for him until the morning. Kanda Neko portrays Hiroyasu Saki as a mature, established, and sexy gentleman and Jun is more or less trying to find his place in the world. It is a very fluffy and lighthearted BL manga that will keep you hooked. The focus of this manga is on these two characters, meaning there are not a lot of additional characters introduced. So, the character development in this manga is spot-on. With their age difference, comes a different way of life and a different way of viewing things. This aspect of the manga makes it incredibly relatable. While Saki is trying to manage his emotions and be a good adult, Jun is not quite sure what being an adult even entails, but does not want to be too young for Saki.
4. Honto Yajuu
This gay manga was created by Yamamoto Kotetsuko. It started in 2008 and was published in Gush magazine. The story focuses on the two characters: Ueda Tomoharu and Gotouda Aki. Ueda Tomoharu is a cop at a local station. For the most part, everything is pretty peaceful and quiet and Ueda really enjoys his job. On the hunt for an underwear thief, Ueda runs into mobster Gotouda Aki. Gotouda and Ueda hit it off almost immediately and their love begins shortly after. This is definitely the tale of the star-crossed lovers and it’s wonderfully and engagingly told. If you are someone new to BL or gay manga, this would be a great stepping stone into the genre as it is very lightly told with a lot of background. It also has a very developed storyline to help the characters and plot progress smoothly. They both have very different views on romance and how to approach the situations arose by one another. This keeps the manga very interesting and at parts, mysterious. Some manga are very easy to predict, but Honto Yajuu is a little different in that aspect. The main focus of this gay manga is to be fun and cute with a good plot and character development. You’ll find that Aki is a bit more free-spirited, daring, and outgoing. While Tomoharu is more strict in his demeanor. But, when they are together it is mostly a cute and lively romance. The sex scenes are not that graphic and neither are the action scenes, which makes it a perfect stepping stone for someone diving into the genre.
5. Doushitemo Furetakunai
Doushitemo Furetakunai was created by Kou Yoneda and is also called No Touching At All. It had to be on the list of the best gay manga. Not only is Yoneda’s art beautiful, but her story telling skills are superb. This gay manga focuses on the characters Shima and Togawa. Both of these men work in the same office together, but have very different demeanors. Shima is new to the office and kind of anti-social. Togawa is the manager and puts on more of a front. However, both characters share very painful pasts. Togawa lost his entire family in a tragedy and Shima was cheated on in the past. The two take interest in one another and end getting physical quite quickly. As their characters build and you learn more about their past, they share brief emotional connections with one another. This manga is definitely a page turner if you are a fan of casual sex that builds inevitably into something more. Both characters, however, are more in their heads than open with each other, which Yoneda portrays beautifully. This manga’s mood is very causal and has a down to earth vibe. It makes for an easy read that immediately draws you in and connects you to the characters. It is a very emotional manga, diving into the characters’ past and pulling it into the present to create some issues and tension between the two of them. No Touching At All is more than just a tale of romance.
6. Kuroneko Kareshi no Asobikata
Kuroneko Kareshi no Asobikata was created by Sakyo Aya and is also called: The Way The Black Cat Boyfriend Plays. If you are looking for a very interesting and unique gay manga, you have come to the right place. I found the fantasy aspect of The Way The Cat Boyfriend Plays to be very enticing and drew me in even more. The manga focuses around the two characters Shingo and Kakami Keichii. Shingo is a seemingly ordinary house cat, but can transform into a human. Kakami Keichii is Japan’s number one actor and is also a “werecat”. Although this manga is pretty graphic, it has great plot development as well. The elements of the house cat are pretty charming and their catlike personalities start to come out in their day to day meanderings. However, Shingo faces trauma that happened to him back when he was a kitten that plays into the plot. He is kind of a lost soul looking for something when he bumps into Keichii. Shingo is not aware that Keichii is a werecat, but somehow feels drawn to him. However, Keichii knows that he is and wants to trap him. So, there’s a bit of a difference in feelings starting out and Shingo is definitely more of the main character as we get to see more into his thoughts and emotions than Keichii’s.
Loveless was created by Yun Koga and is a fantasy gay manga. In this fantasy world, the people are born with cat ears and a tail. They end up losing these features after they become an adult, assuming they lose them after sex. It focuses around the two characters Ritsuka and Soubi. Ritsuka comes to a new school and meets Soubi through a new friend he made. Soubi comes out of left field and tells Ritsuka that he knew his brother who was murdered and that he was one of his brother’s fighters. He claims that he knows who killed Ritsuka’s brother, but is not allowed to tell him as he swore an oath. But, that is not exactly quite what Ritsuka’s brother instructed Soubi to do, which the reader of the manga would soon learn. Ritsuka’s deep and twisted childhood surfaces soon thereafter and plays a huge part in how Ritsuka’s personality is. The story itself is kind of dark, but the artwork is very bright and beautiful. This high school themed manga is very adult-ish and will totally immerse you in the Loveless fantasy world. You’ll definitely have your heart strings pulled on by Ritsuka and sense some tension between him and Soubi.
8. Haru o Daiteita
Haru o Daiteia was created by Nitta Youka. It is one of the oldest gay mangas you can find, but it is certainly one of the best gay mangas. Iwaki and Katou are both actors who want to make it to the big screen. Although both very masculine, they have different personalities. Iwaki is more introverted, yet humble. Katou is more arrogant and full of himself. They regard each other as rivals to each others potential at rising to fame. Inevitably, they both want to audition for the same part. Instead of supporting each other, Katou and Iwaki go head to head and turn the audition into a war. The director of the film decides to cast them, but has them working together instead of against each other. This manga is so interesting and is a breath of fresh air if you are not a fan of the fast paced storylines. Iwaki and Katou are faced with several professional obstacles, emotional setbacks, and personal problems that they must tackle together. This storyline takes a bit to develop, but that only gives you more time to get to know the characters. Not only that, but this story takes place over the course of several years and shows realistically how hard it is to maintain a relationship for that long, especially with differing views on important subjects.
9. Crimson Spell
Crimson Spell was made by Ayano Yamane and was released in 2007. It is a simple storyline, but based in a fantasy world, which gives it that extra kick. It follows Prince Vald, who must defend his land from demons by fending them off. The sword turns out to be cursed and changes him into a beast at night. Eventually though, he starts losing his grip on his human form. He travels to an enchanted sorcerer, Halvir, to hopefully rid his body of the demon. The story gets a little more interesting when Halvir sneakily tricks Vald because he only wants the power to himself. There is a special way to get this power that Halvir does, unbeknownst to human Vald. This story, although seemingly not that deep in context, is actually quite humorous thanks to Yamane’s perfect word choice in certain situations.
10. Yume no Kodomo
This gay manga is from the 1990s. Can you believe it? But, it is oh so good! The manga focuses around Youji, a high school student, and Ren who is an author. Youji ends up living with Ren while his sister flies away to New York. However, unpopular to current gay manga, Youji has a girlfriend. When feelings start to develop between Youji and Ren, Youji takes into account his girlfriend’s feelings and lets them affect his decision making. Ren is, however, Youji’s sister’s best friend. This creates tension between Ren and her and makes Ren question his decisions as to not damage his friendship, although he very much wants to pursue a relationship. This gay manga is a bit longer than most, but it is beautifully crafted and an interesting read. The scenes are not drawn out too long and there is not much left to the imagination. The timing is done very well throughout the manga and it is a very refreshing read.
Gay manga is not necessarily an acquired taste. Really anyone can enjoy reading it, due to it’s expansive definition. You can go from something very mild to a manga that is more expletive and fantasy-like. This list is the very best gay mangas, dating back from the 1990s. You can clearly see how much has changed in the style and the individual style of each artist. These artists are usually female and create a love between two men that is easily to get swept away in, regardless of the setting. Even the fantasy based yaoi mangas are some of the most unique plotlines I have ever come across, making their characters even that much more interesting. The mangas listed above have in depth plots and amazing character development. If you need something romantic to get your fix, then one of these would be perfect for you.