Best BL Dramas, Movies and Anime Series

Some of the best BL include He's Coming to Me, Your Name Engraved Herein, and Given.

With hundreds of BL series across various genres, it can be difficult to narrow down a list of the best BL dramas to watch. Most of us don’t have enough time to watch every show out there. Not to mention, we might not have the patience to sit through something boring for hours. As much as you may love BL, you have to wade through a lot of mediocrity in order to find the top BL dramas that define the genre.

Fortunately, BL Watcher has the time, patience, and obsessive devotion to watch every series ever made. I have personally watched all the BL dramas reviewed on this website, so I know what the quality is like. I can tell you exactly which series are great and which ones are flops. In my comprehensive reviews, I write in-depth about the storylines, the romances, the acting, and the endings for each drama I watch. You’ll know exactly why I think these BL dramas are the best (or the worst!)

Every BL show, movie, and anime listed below are among my top favourites. Keep in mind these dramas aren’t necessarily perfect, and you may not like them as much as I do. However, these series have made a memorable impression on me with great acting, interesting storylines, passionate romances, or any combination of the above. There’s a very high possibility that you’ll enjoy these dramas and series as well.

Check out my recommendations on the best BL dramas of the genre!

List of Best BL Series and Dramas

2021 BL

2020 BL

Pre-2020 BL

Top BL Dramas, Movies and Anime

A Tale of Thousand Stars (2021)

A
Series
Drama
Deep & thoughtful
Good story
A Tale of Thousand Stars is one of the best BL dramas.

To cut to the chase, A Tale of Thousand Stars is a phenomenal BL drama and it’s up there with one of the best series in this genre. Each episode delivers heartfelt emotions, introspective character development, and a delightful romance that will have you smiling from ear to ear.

A Tale of Thousand Stars makes a memorable first impression with an action-packed opening episode, filled with high emotions and high adrenaline. The next few episodes are equally strong, featuring some powerful moments of character development and self-introspection.

The characters feel authentic, and they are not solely defined by their relationship drama. Both Tian and Phupha have fully fleshed out characterization, and the romance is just one part of their well-rounded lives. They have hopes, fears, aspirations, and backstories, all of which are explored in depth.

Cherry Magic (2020)

A
Series
Romantic comedy
Cute & sweet
Good story
Cherry Magic is one of the best Japanese BL series.

Cherry Magic comes pretty close to being the perfect BL series. This charming romantic comedy hits all the right spots with a creative story, a cute couple, and a cheerful relationship dynamic. The tone is relentlessly positive, featuring two main characters who are kind, empathetic, and supportive towards each other. It’s comforting to watch a sweet, lighthearted romance where two nice guys fall in love.

What I appreciate about Cherry Magic is its boundless imagination. The unique premise allows for many fun comedic scenarios to take place. The romance between Adachi and Kurosawa is also incredibly sweet and wholesome. Their bond is well-documented throughout the twelve episodes, so you’ll feel immersed as their relationship develops from coworkers to sweethearts. Both actors are perfectly cast in their roles, bringing such a natural warmth and effortless ease to their performances.

Given (2019)

A-
Anime
Music
Deep & thoughtful
Good music
Given is one of the best BL anime series.

Given is a great BL anime, and I know this because it’s one of those shows that stayed with me long after finishing it. I still remember some of the scenes vividly from Episode 9, and recall all the emotions that Mafuyu’s song evoked out of me. In that one single episode, Given reached such incredible emotional heights that it made up for the slow start or whatever minor misgivings I had about certain plot developments. An anime that made me feel so strongly is rare, and I know to cherish it in my heart.

Given did a fantastic job tugging at my heartstrings. However, I don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression that Given is a depressing show. On the contrary, the anime is pretty uplifting considering its subject matter. There’s a good mix of comedy and lighthearted romance along with the more serious elements.

Grey Rainbow (2016)

A-
Series
Drama
Sad & bittersweet
Good romance
Grey Rainbow is one of the best BL series.

When I was watching Grey Rainbow, there was a certain point where the drama came pretty close to perfection. It was after Nuer came out to his parents, who had some time to process their initial shock. While their reactions were flawed and misinformed, they loved their son so much and prioritized his happiness above all else. Nuer’s mom even became their biggest supporter, moving all of Porsche’s belongings into Nuer’s room “to save expenses”.

This was meant to be a light comical moment, but I was so touched by the open-mindedness of these traditional Asian parents. It made me reflect on what a special series Grey Rainbow was, with such a mature and sentimental approach towards gay relationships. Keep in mind that the series came out in 2016, back when there wasn’t a lot of representation in the BL genre yet. Grey Rainbow feels like a pioneer, delving into LGBT topics that aren’t widely portrayed in East Asia at the time.

While Grey Rainbow can be a little heavy-handed with some of the LGBT themes, it has well-meaning intentions. The series has a lot of empathy towards the gay community, which is evident in the thoughtful and sentimental love story it tells. I’ll always appreciate the series and it has a special place in my heart.

He’s Coming to Me (2019)

A-
Series
Supernatural
Deep & thoughtful
Good acting
He's Coming to Me is one of the best BL series.

He’s Coming to Me relies heavily on its two charismatic leads, along with an energetic supporting cast, to carry this supernatural mystery. The story requires a lot of immersion, but the main actors are convincing in their roles and elevate the material with their natural performances. If you like the two leads, you’ll probably have no trouble enjoying He’s Coming to You. This BL drama is a fantastic showcase of their acting talent.

Even though He’s Coming to Me deals with death, there’s an easygoing atmosphere prevalent throughout the series. With a great balance of comedy, lightheartedness, and cute relationship scenes, you don’t have to worry about this drama feeling too heavy. During the more serious moments, He’s Coming to Me eases in the melancholy with a calm, subdued approach. While some of the scenes might be sad, the mood never reaches to the point of being overly miserable. I love the restraint shown by the series, and this is just the right level of angst for me.

I Told Sunset About You (2020)

A
Series
Drama
Sad & bittersweet
Good story
I Told Sunset About You is one of the best BL series.

I Told Sunset About You is an outstanding BL drama with an emotional story, backed by excellent acting and beautiful cinematography. The production values are impressive, with a great amount of thought and care put into crafting every scene. You don’t often come across a BL series with so much polish, in a genre often restricted by very small budgets, but everything looks so bright, warm, and refined in I Told Sunset About You.

I love the main characters in I Told Sunset About You, both of whom are very nuanced and flawed. The actors do a fantastic job with their multifaceted portrayals. On the best of days, these two teenagers can be charming, vivacious, and so immensely likable. Yet, there’s also a side of them where they can be moody, stubborn, and irrational. You may lose your patience with them sometimes, but you’re also sympathetic to their struggles and want to root for them to overcome their hardships.

Life~Love on the Line (2020)

A-
Series
Drama
Deep & thoughtful
Good romance
Life~Love on the Line is one of the best BL series.

Life~Love on the Line was such a pleasant surprise, catching me off-guard with its emotional nuances and depth. The series began innocently enough as a cute school romance, slowly evolving into a sophisticated and complex relationship drama. Even though the first encounter between Akira and Yuki seems so silly, this story is actually quite serious and explores a lot of mature themes.

The storytelling in Life~Love on the Line is well-crafted. I love how the story is told, giving the viewers a glimpse into the couple’s relationship and their personal lives every few years. It’s enjoyable watching Akira and Yuki make progress, go through memorable experiences, and discover more about themselves. As the characters grow older, the tone of Life~Love on the Line also shifts accordingly. The plots in the first half were bright and optimistic, whereas the second half felt heavier and more sombre.

Light On Me (2021)

A
Series
Romantic comedy
Cute & sweet
Good characters
Light On Me is one of the best Korean BL dramas.

Light On Me is a charming BL drama that depicts a high school romance in a fun, bubbly, and enthusiastic way. It has a promising start with a memorable scene in the first episode, which will have you giggling and guffawing. The subsequent episodes are just as cheerful, brimming with a bright and exuberant energy. A silly interaction, a lighthearted joke, or an incredibly sweet moment will bring a warm smile to your face.

The strength in Light On Me comes from the four immensely likable main characters. With their distinctive and colourful personalities, you will find each character endearing despite their various quirks. As a collective group, they share excellent chemistry with one another and their delightful rapport emanates in every scene. Plus, these actors portray their roles with a wonderful flair, breathing life into the vibrant characterizations.

Mood Indigo (2019)

A
Series
Romance
Sexy & steamy
Good atmosphere
Mood Indigo is one of the best BL series.

I mean this in the most positive way possible, but Mood Indigo is sophisticated smut. Let’s not beat around the bush here, this BL drama is basically gay porn with a plot. This is not meant to be a crass insult. I enjoyed Mood Indigo for what it is, a sensual romance that is filled with homoerotic passion, steamy sex scenes, and surprisingly poignant emotions.

The Novelist, its predecessor in this trilogy series, didn’t make much of an impression on me, whereas Mood Indigo was so much more memorable. There’s a noticeable improvement in all aspects of its production, from the writing quality to the acting ability. Where Mood Indigo succeeds the most is establishing a beautifully melancholy mood. The gorgeous cinematography, the poignant music choices, and the well-crafted narrative all contributed to a very elegant ambience. I just love the stylish atmosphere in this drama.

Ossan’s Love Hong Kong (2021)

A
Series
Comedy
Happy & upbeat
Good comedy
Ossan's Love is one of the best Hong Kong BL dramas that released in 2021.

The original Ossan’s Love is a beloved Japanese BL drama, resonating with audiences across the country and the rest of the world. The 2021 Hong Kong remake is as equally charming, matching the energetic humour and upbeat tone as its predecessor. This workplace comedy is supported by a dynamic cast, polished production values, and boundless amounts of charisma. I enjoyed Ossan’s Love Hong Kong massively, and I had so much fun watching this BL series from start to finish.

The Hong Kong version of Ossan’s Love is incredibly funny, packed with hilarious moments that will have you giggling. For those of you familiar with the original series, you’ll be glad to know that Ossan’s Love Hong Kong is quite faithful to its Japanese counterpart. The main plot is very similar, except the Hong Kong remake expands upon some storylines and elaborates on the characterization. Even if you already know what happens in the original, there’s still a unique flavour to the Hong Kong series, which interprets the same events in a culturally different way.

Papa & Daddy (2021)

A-
Series
Slice of life
Cute & sweet
Good message
Papa and Daddy is one of the best BL series from Taiwan.

LGBT parenting isn’t a common topic found in many BL dramas, and it’s even less common to find one that handles the subject as excellently as Papa & Daddy. Set in the culturally progressive country of Taiwan, I love the positive messaging behind this cute, lighthearted series. The domestic gay couple is portrayed in such a happy and healthy way. All the scenes with Jerry, Damian, and Kai are delightful, sure to bring a warm smile to your face.

Papa & Daddy is more than just a heartwarming parenting drama, but also a beautiful showcase of a happily married gay couple. After six years of being together, Jerry and Damian are still very much in love. They encourage each other, express appreciation, and engage in physical intimacy frequently. There’s a noticeable chemistry between them and the actors get quite involved during their steamy kisses together.

Restart After Come Back Home (2020)

A-
Movie
Drama
Calm & gentle
Good story
Restart After Come Back Home is one of the best BL movies.

I enjoyed Restart After Come Back Home, an incredibly charming movie with a simple, straightforward story. Despite its simplicity, this film maintains a steady momentum without any sudden twists or dramatic revelations. It only relies on a relatable plot, carried by two likable characters, and their sweet romance that develops on the foundation of friendship.

Restart After Come Back Home is very sweet and wholesome, perfect for those who don’t want to watch something too intense or too overwrought. There is some family angst here and there, but it’s mostly a low-key movie with a gentle, relaxing vibe. The emotions are pretty subdued, which doesn’t diminish the acting performances during the important moments. Both actors do a great job with their roles, putting in authentic and charismatic performances.

The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese (2020)

A+
Movie
Romance
Sad & bittersweet
Good story
The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese is one of the best BL movies.

I need to emphasize how excited I was to watch The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese. This might be one of my most anticipated BL movies in the past few years. Despite my incredibly high expectations, the adaptation was even better than I had imagined. This mesmerizing movie brought one of my favourite stories to life with such a delicate sensitivity.

The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese explores the dysfunctional romance between Kyouichi and Imagase, who are both deeply flawed characters. The two of them go through an emotional journey with many ups and downs. Their relationship is like a flickering flame, but Kyouichi isn’t doing enough to keep it alive, while Imagase wants to cling onto it so badly that he hurts himself in the process. What makes The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese so compelling is that the love feels so brittle, threatening to break at any moment, yet surprising you with its resilience at times.

Although I know how the events will unfold, I was still transfixed by every scene, every argument, and every heartbreaking moment. From start to finish, the relationship drama felt so emotionally gripping that it took my breath away.

Tonhon Chonlatee (2020)

A-
Series
Romantic comedy
Cute & sweet
Good comedy
Tonhon Chonlatee is one of the best BL series.

I really liked Tonhon Chonlatee upon finishing the series. As the slew of negative reviews on MyDramaList would indicate, not everyone agrees. I get where these reviewers are coming from, and they made some valid points that I agree with. The storylines are sloppy, the character development is painfully shallow, and the sensitive topics are handled problematically. This drama has some definite flaws that I forced myself to overlook, or else I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it as much.

Of course, the reasons I love Tonhon Chonlatee are pretty obvious. There’s nothing I love more than a tortured love story about falling in love with your straight best friend. I eat this trope up like butter and it’s the highlight of the BL genre for me. In the same way people enjoy guessing who the killer is in murder mysteries, I enjoy speculating whether the straight guy is actually straight and if he will end up with his friend at some point in the series. Throw in some zany humour with a couple of fun energetic characters, and Tonhon Chonlatee is basically like the recipe of a BL drama that I’m bound to enjoy.

What Did You Eat Yesterday? (2019)

A
Series
Comedy
Cute & sweet
Good comedy
What Did You Eat Yesterday is one of the best BL series.

As a seasoned connoisseur of BL dramas, What Did You Eat Yesterday feels like a refreshing take on the genre. For starters, it focuses on an older gay couple, two actual adults who have gone through life and racked up some experience points. The BL landscape is very lopsided towards younger characters, full of highschoolers and college students falling in love for the first time. It’s great to see a series go in a unique direction and embrace an older age group.

With adult main characters, you also get different stories, different perspectives, and just a different flavour from your typical BL show. I’m sure this show doesn’t appeal to some BL fans because the leads aren’t two plucky young twinks, but I for one appreciate the diversity.

Where Your Eyes Linger (2020)

A-
Series
Romance
Dramatic & intense
Good acting
Where Your Eyes Linger is one of the best BL series.

Sometimes, we speak of BL dramas that are too ambitious with their storytelling and end up being a convoluted mess. Where Your Eyes Linger avoids this pitfall by keeping the plot as simple as possible. This is a really straightforward high school love story with no major twists and turns. Where Your Eyes Linger is enjoyable simply because it’s a well-executed story with good pacing, good characters, and a good satisfying ending.

This drama is handled by a capable storyteller, with a clear vision of the narrative that will play out in less than 90 minutes. Every scene feels like it serves a purpose, every plot point flows coherently, and every reaction feels appropriate based on what happened so far. Everything in this series moves along so smoothly, never feeling too rushed nor dragging on for too long. There’s a clear, steady momentum going from start to finish. When you complete Where Your Eyes Linger, you’ll experience that feeling of satisfaction from a story well told.

Your Name Engraved Herein (2020)

A-
Movie
Romance
Sad & bittersweet
Good romance
Your Name Engraved Herein is one of the best BL movies.

I didn’t love Your Name Engraved Herein right away. After I watched the movie again, I had a much better viewing experience with some context in mind. On my second viewing, Your Name Engraved Herein really resonated with me. I picked up on tiny details that I missed initially, like a subtle shift in a character’s facial reaction or a piece of dialogue with a deeper meaning. It was only when I started paying closer attention that I realized how beautifully crafted this movie was. The more I watched, the more my appreciation grew.

I came out of my rewatch seeing Your Name Engraved Herein in a new light, with a hugely improved opinion, as well as an emotional attachment to the two main characters. It’s a movie that made me think deeply and feel strongly. Even if I didn’t fully understand the story at first, I’m so glad that I watched it again.

Yuri on Ice (2016)

A+
Anime
Sports
Cute & sweet
Good story
Yuri on Ice is one of the best BL anime.

Yes, I’m busting out the perfect review score! I think Yuri on Ice is one of the best BL anime series, and it doesn’t get any better than this.

Now that I hyped up the series through the stratosphere, let’s bring our expectations back to a more realistic level. Is it the perfect anime? Probably not. There are some details that we can nitpick on. However, when you look at the current selection of BL series out there, it’s so obvious that Yuri on Ice stands on a different class of its own. If this isn’t considered the top BL anime, then what is?

If you haven’t watched Yuri on Ice already, I’d highly recommend it. Yuri on Ice checks so many boxes in terms of fluid animation, sweet romance, lighthearted comedy, and riveting drama. In a genre with desperately limited options, Yuri on Ice is like a breath of fresh air. This is classic BL anime at its best.