It's a good thing that anime is steadily branching out to even more diverse storylines and characters, giving us more content to add to our neverending lists. While anime does continue to be more representative of the LGBTQ+ community, we've still got a long way to go. Nevertheless, here are 3 of some of the best BL anime series to watch.
1.Yuri!!! on Ice
This popular sports anime has been a well-known favorite for BL fans. It caused quite a stir when it came out, even though it was released in 2016 (probably because it wasn't quite as progressive as it was back then). It's about professional ice skater Yuri Katsuki who gets into a slump after losing at the Grand Prix Finals. His skating career turns upside down when his idol, fellow ice skater Victor Nikiforov, decides to randomly fly to him and offer to be his coach for the season after seeing Yuri's viral practice video dancing to one of Victor's routines.
The budding romance between Yuri and Victor is a delight to watch, and it'll definitely tug on your heartstrings. Some of it can get even pretty spicy (but still family-friendly, kinda) which will have you gripping onto your chair, screaming "just kiss already!". Aside from that, there's a wonderful ensemble of characters such as Yuri Plisetsky, the young, up-and-coming Russian skater who is juxtaposed with Yuri Katsuki. Definitely a comforting anime you can watch over and over.
Adapted from the manga of the same name by Natsuki Kizu, Given tells the story of high school students Mafuyu Sato and Ritsuka Uenoyama, and his bandmates Haruki Nakayama and Akihiko Kaji. Upon hearing Mafuyu's voice, Uenoyama wants to make him the lead singer of his band. The pacing may be a bit draggy for some, but I know there are people out there who are suckers for a "slow burn" type of story.
It's not just the romance that makes this series great to watch—of course there's also the characters' progression as a band. Since music is heavily incorporated in the whole story, this show is definitely going to give you extra feels (ranging from pain to happiness) because of it.
Be mindful of the heavy topics discussed here. Best to check the trigger warnings.
"I heard it's sad," is often the response when it comes to recommending Banana Fish. Well, to break it to you, it is. But maybe in a good way (for others). It's the same concept as Given—it's painful but it's good. This anime by MAPPA is adapted from the manga of the same name by Akimi Yoshida, but modernized.
Set in New York City, it follows the story of gang leader Ash Lynx and assistant photographer Eiji Okumura, who came from Japan to report on American street gangs. Their paths are intertwined even more as the complications of the New York gang scene are explored throughout the story.
Taking that into consideration, Banana Fish touches on a lot of heavy topics ranging from violence to sexual harassment, so this series may not be for everyone. Check the trigger warnings for this one too.
There are always those debates on what exactly constitutes BL anime, or whether this or that anime is actually BL. Some people tend to overlook the meaning of subtext. Not everything has to be explicitly said that two characters gay through a giant light-up arrow surrounded by giant rainbows. No one does that to straight people, you know?
Related: 10 Best Seinen Anime for Beginners