Throughout time, the anime industry continues to prove its ability to break boundaries and transcend conventions. One particular topic that anime has boldly explored is its representation of LGBTQ+ characters and relationships. For those who are curious into exploring new horizons, queer anime offers a lot of good shows, presenting diverse storytelling and quality animation.
From heartwarming romances to thrilling adventures, these anime series offer colorful emotions, making them essential viewing for fans of all backgrounds. Here are some of the best gay anime shows to watch to get your queer romance fix.
1. Revolutionary Girl Utena
When discussing LGBTQ+ animes, Revolutionary Girl Utena will always be part of the conversation, and for very good reasons. Set in a world where a flawed system reduces women to vulnerable Rose Brides, Utena Tenjou assumes the persona of a prince, determined to free other girls from such fate.
The series heavily focuses on meaningful storytelling over gratuitous fanservice with Utena’s romance with Anthy Himemiya being explored beautifully in the film Adolescence of Utena. Many regard it as a groundbreaking LGBTQ+ anime, challenging societal norms and providing a powerful representation of LGBTQ+ relationships with its compelling characters and thought-provoking narratives.
2. Yuri On Ice!
Yuri on Ice follows the journey of Yuri Katsuki whose figure skating dreams shatter after countless crushing defeats in various competitions. He quietly retires from the sport, prepared to leave his life on the ice behind. That is until a video of him goes viral, where he replicates a routine performed by his figure skating idol, Victor Nikiforov.
Under Victor’s coaching, Yuri’s passion for figure skating is soon reignited even stronger than before. A heartfelt romance also develops between the two as they continue inspiring one another. This show’s heartwarming tale is for sure bound to thaw even the coldest hearts.
3. Bloom Into You
With a refreshing twist on the typical romantic narrative, Bloom Into You challenges the conventional tale of a girl yearning for love. When a boy confesses his feelings to the protagonist, Yuu Koito, she feels indifferent. Things get even more complicated when her classmate Touko confesses her feelings, a revelation that surprises Yuu but also stirs something new within her.
The series beautifully delves into Yuu’s journey of self-discovery, exploring the complexities of identity, love, and acceptance as she grapples with her evolving romantic relationship with Touko. What sets Bloom Into You apart is its poignant portrayal of a coming-of-age lesbian romance and its inclusion of asexual representation, making it a truly unique and compelling story.
4. Banana Fish
Raised by mafia godfather Dino Golzine, Ash Lynx is now a 17-year-old gang leader in New York City. He begins investigating Banana Fish, a mystery tied to his brother Griffin’s traumatic experiences in the Iraq War. Dino’s interference sends Ash to an underground bar, where he meets Japanese photographers Shunichi Ibe and Eiji Okumura. Chaos ensues as Dino’s men kidnap Eiji and Ash’s friend Skip. Ash must rescue them while uncovering the truth behind Banana Fish, but his mafia ties could prove challenging.
Banana Fish immerses viewers in the gritty underworld of New York City’s gangs and mafia. Amidst gang conflicts and conspiracies, the genuine bond between Ash and Eiji stands as a testament to the enduring power of love and companionship, even in the most challenging circumstances.
5. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury
The Witch From Mercury establishes a couple of firsts for the popular Gundam franchise. It is the first installment to feature a lead female protagonist, and more importantly, it is the first to fully center around a queer relationship.
Suletta Mercury, a new transfer student, joins the Asticassia School of Technology and becomes legally betrothed to Miorine Rembran after winning a duel against the school’s current Holder. Despite their differences, they find companionship with one another as they strive to reach their goals. This dynamic had Gundam fans, both old and new, become invested in the relationship between its leading ladies.
While it still contains the mecha melodrama that the Gundam series is known for, the show does a great job of highlighting Suletta and Miorine’s romance. Amidst futuristic battles, passion, and heartache, their relationship remains at the heart of the show.
6. Antique Bakery
After 14 years, Ono, a renowned pastry chef and charismatic playboy, encounters Tachibana once again, the man who rejected him in high school. Now working under Tachibana, Ono wonders if he’s the only one to resist his charms. This quirky tale also explores how a former boxing champion becomes Ono’s cake assistant.
Antique Bakery is a show that offers a delightful glimpse into the lives of the four individuals working at a charming patisserie called Antique. This anime stands out for its ability to craft a fun and easy-going slice-of-life narrative involving adult men in their thirties, masterfully depicting genuine and meaningful LGBTQ+ relationships.
7. Birdie Wing: Golf Girl’s Story
There have been plenty of sports anime with queer undertones, but “Birdie Wing: Golf Girl’s Story” is the first anime to combine being gay and playing golf. Nestled in the scenic landscapes of Europe, the storyline revolves around two main protagonists: Eve, a golf prodigy who earns her livelihood by betting on golf matches, and Aoi Amawashi, an accomplished golf player and the daughter of a prominent corporate tycoon.
Despite their contrasting backgrounds, these two share a passion for golf. It sparks a unique connection between them that eventually unfolds on the lush greens of the golf course. The series meticulously explores their transformative journey, where their talents collide, intertwine, and ultimately lead to mutual attraction, influence, and profound personal growth.
8. Wandering Son
Wandering Son portrays Shuuichi Nitori and Yoshino Takatsuki as they both struggle with their gender identity. Shuuichi, who is biologically male, is often mistaken as a girl, while Yoshino, biologically female, identifies differently. Not only do they share similar secrets but also face numerous challenges that come with the complexities of growing up as transgender individuals.
Takako Shimura’s work offers a serious exploration of gender identity, LGBT struggles, puberty, love, and tough choices in the lives of Shuuichi and Yoshino. Wandering Son highlights the importance of authentic representation in anime. It invites viewers into a realm of self-discovery and acceptance, becoming a significant series for those seeking genuine portrayals of transgender narratives.
9. Ouran High School Host Club
Ouran High School Host Club is a romantic comedy that revolves around Haruhi Fujioka, a student at Ouran Academy, and the vibrant members of the host club, set to mimic the nightlife scene of Tokyo’s Shinjuku district. What sets Ouran High School Host Club apart is its nuanced exploration of LGBTQ+ issues and identity. The show’s protagonist, Haruhi, exhibits a remarkably carefree attitude about their gender and there are even drag queens.
One of the series’ strengths lies in its subtle and effortless portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters and their experiences. Ouran High School Host Club doesn’t sensationalize or draw unnecessary attention to its queer themes; instead, the story allows things to play out naturally.
For anime enthusiasts that love a good catchy soundtrack to go with their queer romance, we highly recommend watching the slice-of-life musical series, Given. The show follows guitarist Ritsuka as he becomes a teacher and bandmate to Mafuyu, a shy classmate, after repairing the broken strings on Mafuyu’s guitar.
All of Given’s characters are thoroughly fleshed out, giving them convincing motivations that enable audiences to deeply connect with them. It also touches upon themes of loss, love, and identity. This anime is a must-watch for those who want to believe in love again.