Yuri and Victor in 'Yuri on Ice' (MAPPA)
(image: Mappa)

The 10 Best Yaoi Anime for All Your Romantic Longing

Somebody break out the yaoi paddles because we’ve got gay anime incoming. What’s yaoi? Don’t be coy. We’ve seen your Ao3 bookmarks, we know what kind of slash fics you’ve been burying your nose in. Yaoi is about boys loving boys. And these are the most lovable boys loving boys anime, ranked by lovability.

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10. Gakuen Handsome

The pointy chinned boys of "Gakuen Handsome" pose
(image: Team YokkyuFuman)

Yaoi anime sometimes gets a bad rap. The genre is criticized for shallow relationships, confusing plot lines, and unlikeable protagonists. Gakuen Handsome has all three. That’s the point. The show is a parody of the yaoi genre, featuring some of the most deliberately deplorable characters and art direction in boys’ love history. For fans of the genre, it’s an unmissable gem. Just look at their CHINS. Comedy platinum. My heart burns for it with the heat of a leaky propane tank.

9. Heaven Official’s Blessing

Two handsome boys laying in the grass head to head in "Heaven's Official Blessing"
(image: Netflix)

Heaven’s Official Blessing is a Chinese Donghua anime about love written by divine decree! For those who like a slathering of gay mayonnaise on their epic fantasy sandwich, this series is a must. I apologize for that metaphor, but I saw no alternative. Xie Lian is a once mighty god now reduced to a shell of his former glory. Celestial sparks fly when he meets Hua Cheng in heaven, a sacred being even more majestic than him. If you want a slow-burn, elegant romance, think of this one as a handmade candle that reaches up into the clouds.

8. No.6

Two boys in a library feel each other's hearts in "No 6."
(image: Bones)

Even at the end of the world, the gays will flourish. No. 6 is a story about two young men who fall in love in a dystopian, crap-sack world. Despite the ugly environment, the series is lighthearted, fun, and wildly romantic. After all, even the slow death of civilization is made all the more bearable by the person you love! If you want more than your standard high school gay romance fare, No 6. delivers. It’s lovelier than a spring day … even if all the flowers have withered in the apocalypse.

7. Cherry Magic! Thirty Years Of Virginity Can Make You A Wizard?!

One boy in a suit pins another to a wall in "Cherry Magic"
(image: Satelight)

Cherry Magic! Thirty Years Of Virginity Can Make You A Wizard?! is a magical mouthful. Again, I apologize for the phrasing. 30-year-old Adachi is given a very peculiar three-decade birthday present. He becomes telepathic. But there’s a caveat: He can only read the minds of people with whom he is in direct, intimate contact. He views his ability as a nuisance for the most part until he discovers that the office hot guy Kurosawa is into him. Despite Kurosawa’s confident exterior, the golden boy hides deep insecurities that Adachi (courtesy of his power) becomes keen on. In romance fashion, it makes Kurosawa all the more lovable in Adachi’s eyes.

6. Doukyusei: Classmates

Two high school boys sit in the sunlight in "Doukyusei"
(image: A-1 Pictures)

Doukyusei: Classmates is like a really good can of beans (stay with me). It’s exactly what’s written on the tin, but my god is it made with love. Rihito and Hikaru both sing in the school choir. Rihito is the introverted smart one. Hikaru is the social butterfly who struggles in school. They’re a match made in Yaoi heaven. The pair slowly get to know one another after Hikaru offers to help Rihito with his singing, and the two start making beautiful harmony, if you know what I mean.

5. The Stranger by the Shore

Two boys talk in a flower patch in "Stranger By The Shore"
(image: Studio Hibari)

I’m breaking the rules by putting a movie on here, but sometimes an exception needs to be made. The Stranger by the Shore is that exception. This exceptional film tells the story of aspiring novelist Shun Hashimoto and Mio Chibana, an orphan who finds solace by the seashore. After Shun’s parents find out about his burgeoning queerness, he becomes estranged from them. Shun and Mia become each other’s respite from grief. It’s adorable, tender, and will crack even the hardest heart.

4. Yuri!!! On Ice

Yuri and Victor in 'Yuri on Ice' (MAPPA)
(image: MAPPA)

Yuri!!! On Ice is a groundbreaking yaoi series that managed to punch through into the anime mainstream. It’s a sports anime about a Japanese figure skater named Yuri who suffers a devastating defeat at an international ice skating competition. Luckily, he’s noticed by Russian figure skating genius Victor, who offers to become his tutor. His career invigorated, Yuri takes another shot at the Figure Skating Hall of Fame, all the while slowly falling in love with the man helping him. Lovelier than landing a triple axel.

3. Sasaki and Miyano

Miyano talking to Sasaki in 'Sasaki and Miyano'.
(image: Studio Deen)

Sasaki and Miyano has become somewhat of a gold standard in yaoi anime and for damn good reason. The series is one of the most romantic boys’ love anime ever made. Like Doukyusei: Classmates, it’s a simple story setting: high school romance. Miyano is a shy first-year and a fan of yaoi anime. He strikes up an unlikely friendship with Sasaki, a kindhearted second-year with a reputation for being a delinquent. The pair’s relationship slowly blossoms into a romance as Miyano discovers that he doesn’t like girls quite as much as he thought he did. What baby gay can’t relate?

2. Banana Fish

A blonde boy in a hood glares while standing in the street in "Banana Fish"
(image: MAPPA)

New York City! The 1980s! Cocaine! Stock market! Real estate! Banana Fish ain’t about none of that. This ’80s NYC period piece is about a different kind of drug: Banana Fish. Banana Fish is the name of a street drug investigated by Ash Lynx, a 17-year-old gang leader. Why? Because the stuff gave his brother a mysterious medical condition that no one can figure out. Enter Eiji Okumura, a Japanese photographer who is down to help Ash find some answers. Spoiler alert: They find more than just the criminal underbelly, but the romantic underbelly of the series … their relationship.

1. Given

The band members of "Given" lay on the floor with instruments.
(image: Lerche)

Given follows an award-winning, tried and tested formula: four hot dudes with instruments. Ritsuka Uenoyama is a high school guitarist who quits playing … until he hears the angelic singing voice of his classmate Mafuyu Sato. The pair strikes up a friendship and finds two other cuties to form a band. The situation quickly turns Rumors-era Fleetwood Mac, with Mafuyu and Ritsuka beginning to play the most beautiful instruments of all: each other’s heartstrings. Lovelier than a handmade eight-track tape playlist, just as musical.

(featured image: MAPPA)


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Author
Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.