There are so many great LGBTQ+ romance comics out there these days, but sadly this isn’t always the case. Overall, the history of representing LGBTQ+ in the media is a long, complicated, and often dirty one. In the early days of manga, depictions of same-sex relationships were rare and often stereotypical or discriminatory. However, as society increasingly accepts sexual orientation and diverse gender identities, many manga writers have begun to incorporate these themes into their work. The explosion in popularity of LGBTQ+ stories like Bloom Into You and Yuri on Ice! demonstrate that these subjects are not only accepted but loved.
Now, major platforms like Netflix are putting more effort into ensuring LGBTQ+ representation, and there’s no better time to be a manga fan than now for those looking for stories. easier to understand. Manga has always pushed the limits of representation, and although historically it has suffered from certain limitations, it has always allowed for creative and out-of-the-box stories. These LGBTQ+ romances are testament to how far manga has come.
Animal Family (2008)
Maya is an interpreter who lives in the same house as her ex-girlfriend, Michiru, along with her son, Yuuta. They also have a friendly neighbor named Nico, an actor, who stops by and learns about Michiru’s past with Maya. The three of them form a unique, almost family-like bond, and enjoy each other’s company on cozy and comfortable days.
Ohana Holoholo is an authentic and understandable representation of bisexuality and the life some bisexuals are leading. Following the expectations of others to “pick a lane,” Michiru is grateful to have Maya and Nico as solid support structures. The manga is also a great illustration of how happy and stable a non-traditional family system can be. The manga shows that non-nuclear families can be just as happy and valuable as any other family, if not more.
What did you eat yesterday? (2007)
Shirou Kakei is a tough-looking lawyer who enjoys relaxing after a long day by preparing delicious gourmet meals. Shirou makes these meals for himself and his longtime love, Kenji Yabuki, a free-spirited hairdresser who seems to be his complete opposite. Through the preparation of this dinner, the couple’s love is portrayed in all its mundane glory.
What did you eat yesterday? is a comic series featuring an amazing LGBTQ+ couple, a rarity in this world. Since most manga are aimed at teenagers, their stories tend to focus on characters who are quite young, few of whom have reached adulthood. This manga’s focus on the more mundane but healthier aspects of adult love makes it stand out, and the addition of delicious food makes the story even better.
Summer With You (2020)
Shizuku Hoshikawa is an aspiring author who sadly feels self-conscious after being disappointed with her debut novel. However, just as she was about to throw it away, the charismatic Kaori Asaka appeared and took the story out of her hands. However, upon reading the novel, Kaori was deeply moved, and this led her to make a bold proposal: to write a love story about her and Shizuku.
Similar to sad romantic cartoons, The Summer You Were There isn’t what it first appears, as not every romance is a fairy tale. Sometimes it’s ugly, complicated, and painful. That said, authentic portrayal of these emotions is essential. The manga shows that like any other couple, same-sex couples can go through the same pain, but these pains make the beautiful moments so much sweeter.
Love Me For Who I Am (2018)
In Love Me For Who I Am, Mogumo is a small and fragile teenager ostracized for their non-binary identity. In the grip of these negative feelings, they are whisked away by a boy named Tetsu Iwaoka, who takes Mogumo to a maid cafe where people of all orientations or genders are greeted pick up. In this cozy cafe, Mogumo embarks on a journey of self-discovery and their unexpected romance.
Mogumo is a great non-binary cartoon character that perfectly embodies the anxiety associated with the expectations that a disinterested society places on them. The romance in the manga is also very unique in terms of presentation as it introduces a transgender man falling in love with someone who is not bisexual. The story of Mogumo and Tetsu shows that love can win regardless of the prejudices people have towards them.
The Boy She Likes Isn’t A Man (2022)
Aya Oosawa is a fun and fashionable girl who loves to visit a cozy little record store. While there, she couldn’t help but fall in love with the handsome secretary with the dark hair and cool hoodie and mask combo. Little does she know that the charming guy is actually her nerd classmate, Mitsuki Koga. Now, Mitsuki is worried about how Aya will react when she learns the truth.
Similar to many musical cartoons, Aya and Mitsuki share a passion for The Boy She Cares About Not Being A Guy That’s Completely Set On The Background Of The Manga’s Unique Color Table, Making It outstanding. The presentation here is well done, with the romance presented in a cute and relatable way that evokes the clumsy teenage years. The contrasting personalities of Aya and Mitsuki also create a great dynamic and make their love for music even more striking.
The Bride Is A Boy (2016)
In this autobiographical manga, Chii shares her journey of growing up with gender dysphoria and eventually deciding to be transgender. Along the way, she meets a man who loves her, this continues after learning about her past. He stood by her side every step of the way as she transitioned, and in the end, they married and lived happily ever after.
There is no better way to represent the transgender experience in a comic book than through a transgender author recounting their own life. Despite the cute art style, The Bride Was A Boy doesn’t shy away from the heavier aspects of being a transgender woman in Japan. Although Chii gets a happy ending, it’s not always easy to achieve, and her husband has played an important role in helping her achieve her dream.
To The Morning Glow That Dyes You (2022)
Suguru is a passionate photographer who visits Enoshima, an ancient Japanese island near Tokyo, to take some beautiful photos. There, he spotted a young man with unique sunset-colored hair falling into the water. Suguru is worried, but the carefree boy, who introduces himself as Kengo, just says, “Looks like it’s going to be great,” with a bright smile. Fortunately for Suguru, who is still looking for a place to stay on the island, Kengo invites him to stay at his home.
The best yaoi series should have a good dynamic, and in this respect, To The Morning Glow That Dyes You is an icon. The dynamism of an intelligent and passionate artist combined with a carefree man is a great foundation for a lovely romance. The premise also makes for some truly stunning landscapes, showcasing Japan’s natural beauty in all its magnificence. Love blooms in the strangest of places, and here it begins with a boy falling into the shallows.
These Two Are Pretty Like This (2020)
In The Two Of Them Are Pretty Much Like This, Ellie Sakuma, a hard-working scriptwriter, and Wako Inuzuka, a rising voice actress, are roommates who have known each other for two years. Eventually, they start to fall in love and that leads to a lovely romance. Despite their busy and contradictory lifestyles, they still find time together and cherish the brief romantic moments in the chaos of life.
One of the most exciting representations of the LGBTQ+ couple, the decision to focus on busy adults is a clear demonstration against the old stereotype that the LGBTQ+ experience is just a phase. As adults, these two women find love and celebrate it in ordinary but memorable ways. The age gap is also handled with maturity and respect, a rarity for many romance manga that tend to cover up this theme.
Sasaki And Miyano (2016)
In Sasaki And Miyano, Yoshikazu Miyano’s life is turned upside down when he meets Shuumei Sasaki on a hot summer day. Sasaki came to the rescue when Miyano’s classmate was bullied, and ever since then, Miyano can’t seem to shake him off. But Miyano is afraid that Sasaki will judge him when he finds out that he is a fudanshi, or male fan of yaoi (romantic) manga. To his surprise, Sasaki is mesmerized, and this becomes the spark for an unexpected love story.
A classic premise used by the most critically acclaimed shoujo manga series, a boy who saves the gentle and shy protagonist from a bully is given a twist. After all, a non-heterosexual romance doesn’t exclude it from traditional formulas or tropes. Miyano’s obsession with love manga for boys is also a fascinating representation of strange teenagers who are discovering their sexuality for the first time through their favorite media.
Blooming In You (2015)
Yuu Koito has always dreamed of experiencing love, like the romantic shoujo manga she loves so much. Unfortunately, when a guy finally confessed to her, she was shocked because she felt empty inside. At the beginning of high school, she finds the student council president Touko Nanami deftly rejecting a love affair. However, Yuu is surprised when she comes to ask for love advice from Touko, the president confesses her love to Yu instead.
The puzzling romance between Yuu and Touko in Bloom Into You may seem like a soap opera, but it’s tackled in a delightfully simple way. Yuu’s brutal honesty upsets anyone but Toujko, who appreciates how open she is about her thoughts. They also talk about their potential relationship as well as the reality and complications it will entail, making for a surprisingly mature teen romance.