Top 10 Best BL Manga Recommendations
In Japan it’s called shōnen-ai or yaoi. In America we call it boys love! Most of you don’t need an introduction; you just want to get to our list of the best BL manga. But for some, this subculture of Japanese anime is a whole new thing.
Literally it is anime about gay boy love, ironically targeted at fujoshi or girls who like watching boy-on-boy action in Japanese anime. Of course, gay boys love BL manga too. It’s one of the few places where a horny young Japanese boy can get his jollies off without being embarrassed – everyone is into it, gay or not!
Over the last decade or more, this cultural phenomenon that originated in Japan has spread through the anime underground and in gay chat rooms until now it is its own very popular niche of Japanese anime. We’ve put together a list of the absolute best BL manga stories according to a consensus among fujoshi and weeaboos all over the world.
Some of the heroes in these stories are bad asses with a lot of sex appeal and stealth – real James Bond types who happen to love other boys. Others have more cutesy relationships that fascinate and titillate young girls too. We have 10 of the best for fans of the genre and newcomers to manga to check out!
Need more saucy action? Try these gay manga!
Find the yaoi boys are just too scrawny for you? Take a bite out of these bara manga!
10 Best Boys Love Manga
1. Most Popular BL Manga - Loveless
In the Loveless saga, it’s easy to see who has had sex and who has not. Virgins still have the tails and ears they were born with. Once they lose it, they lose their ears too, but that’s not really what the story is about. It’s a dramatic story where a young boy dies. His brother wants to know why after a mysterious stranger appears in his life – one who knew his brother.
Together they go on a mission to find out why the brother died and what the “Seven Moons” has to do with it. Along the way, he and this stranger get a little closer – so close in fact that it’s only a matter of time before Ritsuka loses his tail and ears! It’s been a few years since the last volume of Loveless was released. Fans have been highly anticipating volume 13.
Well the wait is over! Loveless volume 13 is here! What’s happened to Soubi? Will Ritsuka get him back and what surprises about the Seven Voices Academy will Nagisa reveal?
2. Intriguing Secret Identity Story – Love Stage!!
Everyone knows the Senas in the Love Stage!! Manga saga. Izumi, the star of the series has a family that is really famous and they expect him to be a star of the stage just like them. But Izumi has different goals for his life – he wants to be in anime, specifically a manga artist.
The story takes a series upending twist when the main character is not only forced to join the family on stage but also has to pretend to be a girl, which brings on a really big complication – and a sizzling romance. “Her” co-star is a handsome young man who is really turned on and becomes very attracted to Izumi not realizing that he is in love with a boy, not a girl!
How does it all end? You have to read Love Stage!! Volume 7 to see whether or not Izumi eventually tells his co-star the truth about his identity and how is Ryouma, his unwitting paramour, going to react?
3. Manga Fans Love Junjou Romantica
Love, betrayal, jealousy, all set against the backdrop of a senior in high school transitioning to college with the help of a famous author. That author has his own kink that he hips young Misaki to, awakening sexual feelings in him he’d never felt before.
As the series has gone on, the pair has become a couple with their own dramatic relationship struggles. Misaki is in a relationship with a famous BL manga author whose ego and sadism pushes their relationship to the brink. Underneath it all, despite all of the fighting and the drama, we see that the two do really love each other.
Manga fans love Junjo Ramantica and have for years. The latest volume 12 of the series is all drama! On top of their typical brawls and conflicts, outside forces enter the scene to create total chaos for poor Misaki! Will their relationship make it through this level of craziness?
4. Best Ice Skating BL Manga – Yuri!!! On Ice
On Blu-Ray and DVD, the Yuri!!! On Ice series has been a winner for those who love the high stakes world of competitive ice skating set against the budding love story of a talented figure skater and his mentor – a former champion Russian figure skater. In a serendipitous encounter that leads to an online upload of Yuri Katsuki performing the Russian champion’s famous ice skating routine, his idol reaches out to him and offers to coach him.
Naturally, traveling and training together, Yuri and Victor start to fall in love. Yuri approaches Victor with gold engagement rings – but on the eve of the big Grand Prix he decides to quit the sport so that Victor can revive his own career. Of course, Victor does not let him sacrifice his dream for him.
With the big tournament over, the pair plus Yuri P (a tantalizing twist for manga fans) move to St. Petersburg to continue training together. The entire series is available as a Blu-Ray/DVD combo. How will the saga end?
5. Action-Packed Orphan Story – Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru
Like most orphans, Yuki Sakurai knows nothing about his past or where he came from. What he does know is that he has an amazing gift that enables him to touch a person and see their most painful memories. Soon, he is forced to find out who he is and where he came from when a mysterious note threatens his life.
But there is also another force working behind the scenes, a positive force there to help him. That force is revealed in the form of a good looking man with silver eyes who has been watching Yuki and protecting him and has a lot of information about who he is and his purpose in life.
As both forces swirl around Yuki – the forces of good and bad – mystery after mystery is revealed about his past and about his future. The many underlying themes touch on relationships of all kinds. A voyage of discovery filled with love, thrills, and pain makes Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru one of the most popular BL manga stories.
6. Dark but Exciting BL Manga – Togainu no Chi
In this dark world, WWIII has ended with a divided Japan. An evil crime gang controls one half of the country. In a sort of Hunger Games type of environment, people are pit against each other in a fighting game called Igra. The star of the saga, Akira, is accused of murder though he’s innocent.
Out of nowhere, a group of unknown persons suggest that Akira should be thrown into the Igra to fight for his freedom. Akira accepts the challenge but only as a means to try to overthrow and tear down the evil Vishio regime that has taken over half of Japan.
This is not your typical BL manga. In fact, there’s very little BLgoing on in this book, so if the kink is what you are after, this might not be the best choice for you. On the other hand if you love darkly themed action and adventure with creepy characters and seedy environs, we think you’ll get hooked on Togainu no Chi.
7. Manga Saga about First Love – The World’s Greatest First Love
Son of a successful owner of a Japanese publishing company, Ritsu decides in the beginning of the series to break out of his father’s footsteps. Instead of working for his father, he chooses another publishing company to work for where he discovers something shocking – his new boss is his first love from back in high school!
He doesn’t realize this right away. Ritsu doesn’t even recognize his love at first and in fact, kind of hates him when he first starts working for Masamune. He would have quit the job if Masamune hadn’t called him useless! Instead he stays to try to prove himself when he discovers that this is the man he was crushing on back in high school.
More than that, Masamune wants him back and is going to everything he can to get him back after he falls in love with Ritsu. The story follows the evolving relationship between the two as Masamune tries to make Ritsu fall in love with him again. There are other storylines that run parallel to this love story. Is it the world’s greatest first love? You be the judge when you read the latest volume 9 from the series!
8. Battle of the Bands Style BL Manga - Gravitation
Shuichi has big dreams to be lead of a famous band just like his musical idol, lead singer of Nittle Grasper. When a major record label gives him his shot, he realizes that he can’t write songs! Pressed up against looming deadlines and desperate to write just one song, Shuichi goes off alone and runs into a stranger – a gorgeous stranger who tells him he sucks!
Really, this famous author who just happens upon Shuichi in the park after hearing his attempts at lyrics tells him to hang it up, he has “zero” talent. Shuichi is devastated which quickly turns to anger. The series begins with the star of the saga trying to find that fine ass stranger and give him a piece of his mind – or does he really just want to give him a piece?
You should really start at volume 1 before you check out the latest release, Gravitation Volume 12, otherwise you’ll be lost. In the most recent volume, Shuichi’s band is battling with his idol’s band. How is that going to end?
9. Post-WWIII BL Manga Saga – DRAMAtical Murder
Unlike many of the BL manga heroes, Aoba, the star of DRAMAtical Murder, has no desire to be a fighter, a hero, or a famous musician. He just wants to live a quiet life with his grandma. Unfortunately, Aoba was born into a post-modern Japan where one corporation now owns a Japanese island where only the wealthiest can afford to live in the luxury “Platinum Jail” utopia on Midorijima Island.
The rest – those not rich enough or powerful enough to be allowed on Platinum Jail are kicked off of the island and sent to the “Old Residential District” where they are abandoned by the corporate government to fend for themselves. Gruesome gang wars and battles to the death games make up every day life in the District that Aoba has tried to avoid in reclusion with his grandma.
That soon is disrupted when he is forced to participate in a dangerous game of “Rhyme.” Meanwhile, he’s learned about mysterious disappearances happening to people playing the terrible game of Rib. DRAMAtical Murder 4 continues the story. What is happening to Rib players and will Aoba ever get the chance to live in peace?
10. Rare Lesbian BL Manga – Whispered Words
It’s called boys love manga but it’s actually a genre that girls like probably more than boys. That’s what makes Whispered Words such a unique take on BL manga. It is a love story that develops between two lesbian teens who are best friends living openly in a homophobic Japanese high school. The problem – one of the teens is secretly in love with the other.
Their friendship continues despite Sumika being in love with her best friend Ushio who has no idea and who apparently prefers girly girls to the tomboyish types like Sumika. The story itself tackles themes of homophobia that lesbians have to deal with growing up in Japan and is something that girls living in the closet can relate to.
In the latest issue of Whispered Words, Sumika still has not confessed her true feelings to her best friend. Meanwhile she bears witness to Ushio’s different loves, perhaps waiting for her chance to utter those whispered words she’s petrified to say. Will she at last confess in Whispered Words volume 3?