BL Anime Series and Movies List

Some of the best BL anime series include Yuri on Ice, Given, Twittering Birds Never Fly, among others.

From my memory, it always felt like BL anime existed as a genre for as long as I can remember. Before BL dramas or movies became mainstream, BL animes and mangas were like the first frontier, depicting male romances in fiction even when it was taboo in society.

In anime, the BL genre is closely related to yaoi or shounen ai, which are labels that describe a very similar type of story. Yaoi is more explicit, shounen ai is more innocent, and BL tends to be the best of both worlds. This genre is a popular niche among certain demographics. I don’t love using the term fujoshi, which has somewhat negative connections. Let’s just say that people with good taste usually watch BL animes!

Despite its long history, there is surprisingly not a lot of anime to watch in this genre. Trust me, I’ve done my research on this topic, searching high and low for some BL anime recommendations. You’d be amazed and disappointed at how little the selection there is compared to all the other genres.

And since the selection is so small, this makes it even harder for a good anime series to come along. As rare as they may be, there’re still some excellent options. BL Watcher has consumed them all and here are some of my best BL anime recommendations!

List of BL Anime and Yaoi

2021 BL

2020 BL

Pre-2020 BL

BL Anime in 2021

Reincarnated Into Demon King Evelogia’s World (2021)

C
Anime series
Erotica
Sexy & steamy
9 episodes
Reincarnated Into Demon King Evelogia's World is a BL anime series that aired in 2021.

Reincarnated Into Demon King Evelogia’s World is an 18+ BL anime adaptation, also known as Everything for Demon King Evelogia. In this nine-episode series, a young man is transported into a fictional video game world. He meets the game’s final villain, an innocent-looking demon king, and they embark on an adventurous journey together. The anime has an uncensored version, packed with erotic scenes between the main characters.

As long as you don’t take the story seriously, Reincarnated Into Demon King Evelogia’s World is pretty imaginative for smut. Even though it doesn’t have a sophisticated plot or a sensible romance, this raunchy yaoi series is mindlessly entertaining. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but the anime is more enjoyable than I expected.

Semantic Error (2021)

C
Anime series
Slice of life
Cute & sweet
4 episodes
Semantic Error is a BL anime series that aired in 2021.

Adapted from a Korean novel, Semantic Error is a slice-of-life BL anime series with four short episodes. The main characters are two university students working on a video game project together. Despite their drastically different personalities, the attraction between them is palpable.

I liked what I saw in the Semantic Error anime, which showed tons of promise with an engaging romance. However, the series is frustratingly short at just fifteen minutes long. Any storytelling feels abbreviated, like I’m watching an incomplete remake that only covers a small part of the source material.

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window (2021)

C
Anime series
Horror
Dark & disturbing
12 episodes
The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window is a BL anime series that aired in 2021.

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window is a paranormal horror anime series with subtle BL undertones. The main characters use their supernatural abilities to exorcise ghosts and cursed spirits in the living world. Over time, they go from a working partnership to developing a close bond.

With a high-concept story, The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window is often confusing and does not explain its narrative clearly. There’s also a lack of romantic content for BL fans. Nonetheless, this anime adaptation takes you on a dark, intriguing, and psychologically thrilling adventure. Despite not being satisfied with every aspect, the series grew on me and I liked it more than I expected.

BL Anime in 2020

Given Movie (2020)

C-
Anime movie
Romance
Dramatic & intense
60 minutes
The Given movie is a BL anime movie that aired in 2020.

The Given Movie takes place where the anime series previously left off. This film sequel follows the band’s progress as they work towards a music festival audition. Unlike the anime series, the movie shifted its focus towards a messy love triangle, fuelled by lots of arguments, tears, and sexual tension.

For those of you excited about this movie, you may want to keep your expectations down. Sadly, the Given movie doesn’t capture the same magic as the anime series.

The Stranger by the Beach (2020)

D
Anime movie
Romance
Deep & thoughtful
60 minutes
The Stranger by the Beach is a BL anime movie that aired in 2020.

Adapted from a manga, The Stranger by the Beach is a slice-of-life BL anime movie about two guys who live on an island. They first met on the beach as strangers, back when they were still kids. Now that they are older, their relationship takes a more intimate turn.

The Stranger by the Beach is an aesthetically beautiful anime with bright and colourful visuals. However, the storytelling is pitiful, the pacing is totally off, and the movie doesn’t feel friendly to those who haven’t read the source material.

The Titan’s Bride (2020)

F
Anime series
Erotica
Sexy & steamy
9 episodes
The Titan's Bride is a BL anime series that aired in 2020.

The Titan’s Bride is an 18+ BL anime about an ordinary student magically summoned into the land of the titans. Against his will, the human protagonist becomes the bride of a powerful titan king. He must adjust to his foreign surroundings, the arranged marriage, and a horny husband who wants to share his affections.

Ugh, can you feel me shudder? The Titan’s Bride is the type of terrible BL that tests my resolve to watch every show in this genre. I think this yaoi series is garbage in almost every aspect, from the problematic tropes to the ridiculous romance. The story is rushed beyond comprehension with shallow characters, stupid scenarios, and senseless sex scenes.

Twittering Birds Never Fly: The Clouds Gather (2020)

B+
Anime movie
Crime drama
Dark & disturbing
90 minutes
Twittering Birds Never Fly: The Clouds Gather is a BL anime movie that aired in 2020.

Twittering Birds Never Fly: The Clouds Gather is an anime movie based on a yaoi manga. I have not read the manga beforehand, but I think I was able to follow the gist of the story based on watching the movie adaptation.

With that said, this anime was a lot more intense than I expected, thrusting me into the criminal underworld of a promiscuous yakuza and his spiraling life. It’s a provocative tale about sex, power, crime, and most importantly – the lasting repercussions of trauma.

Yes, No, or Maybe Half (2020)

B-
Anime movie
Romance
Calm & gentle
50 minutes
Yes, No, or Maybe Half is a BL anime movie that aired in 2020.

Yes, No, or Maybe Half? is a BL anime movie based on a Japanese light novel. The main character is a TV presenter who maintains a poised persona in public, even though his real personality is petty and belligerent. Only his new acquaintance has seen both sides of him, but is unaware these two drastically different personalities belong to the same person.

For a short one-hour film, Yes, No, or Maybe Half tells a cute, compelling love story at a comfortable pace. This anime deals with the theme of duality, exploring the discrepancies between perception and behaviour.

BL Anime Pre-2020

Antique Bakery (2008)

B
Anime series
Slice of life
Deep & thoughtful
12 episodes
Antique Bakery is a BL anime series that aired in 2008.

Antique Bakery is an anime series about a newly opened bakery shop. The protagonist hires a talented and openly gay pastry chef, despite sharing a troubled history together. They are joined by other employees with colourful personalities, as the characters work together to help this business flourish.

Adapted from a manga, Antique Bakery will keep you entertained with its endearing characters and charming storylines. Admittedly, the BL content is minimal and won’t satisfy those expecting a full-fledged gay romance. Nonetheless, this anime mixes lighthearted comedy with bittersweet melancholy to create a consistently enjoyable series.

Dakaichi (2018)

D+
Anime series
Romance
Dramatic & intense
13 episodes
Dakaichi is a BL anime series that aired in 2018.

Dakaichi: I’m Being Harassed by the Sexiest Man of the Year is a BL anime about two high-profile celebrities and their secret romance. The main character is a talented actor with a famous reputation as the most desirable man in show business. However, he is unnerved by an up-and-coming star who steals the spotlight from him. As they work together on a movie, their relationship is mixed with tension and temptation.

The glaring issue in Dakaichi is its offensively irresponsible approach to consent. This problematic anime fetishizes many nonconsensual sexual encounters, creating an uncomfortable and dangerous relationship dynamic. Even if the story is compelling in some places, I remain deeply disturbed by the excessive amount of toxic tropes.

Given (2019)

A-
Anime series
Drama
Calm & gentle
11 episodes
Given is a BL anime series that aired in 2019.

On the surface, Given has a simple premise. This is an anime series about a group of guys who get together to form a band. As you dive deeper into the series, you’ll discover there’s a bigger, more intimate story beneath the bright visuals and cool guitar riffs.

This BL anime takes its time to build up to the main plot, but it’s an emotional journey that will tug at your heartstrings. When Given reaches its climax near the end, this anime comes pretty close to perfection.

Hyperventilation (2017)

B+
Anime series
Romance
Dramatic & intense
6 episodes
Hyperventilation is a BL anime series that aired in 2017.

Hyperventilation is an 18+ Korean BL anime series with six short episodes. The protagonist used to be a social outcast in high school due to his lung condition, causing him to hyperventilate all the time. He formed a connection with the popular class president, who showed compassion towards him. Years later, they meet again during a school reunion, rekindling old feelings between the former classmates.

I’m impressed with Hyperventilation, a breathtaking love story that really hits the mark. The narrative is riveting and wraps up elegantly in just fifteen minutes. Although the art quality is inconsistent, this anime maintains a beautiful atmosphere that highlights the delicate emotions.

Love Stage (2014)

D
Anime series
Romance
Happy & upbeat
10 episodes
Love Stage is a BL anime series that aired in 2014.

Love Stage!! is a BL anime series that focuses on the celebrity world. The main character comes from a family of actors and musicians, but he personally has no interest in chasing fame. His world changes forever when one of the most popular celebrities develops a romantic interest in him.

I have extremely mixed emotions about Love Stage, a bright and vibrant anime series overshadowed by its problematic elements. What should have been a lighthearted romantic comedy is marred by the uncomfortable main romance. Sadly, I can’t overlook the nonconsensual relationship dynamic, which dampens any positives about this BL anime.

Yuri on Ice (2016)

A+
Anime series
Sports
Deep & thoughtful
12 episodes
Yuri on Ice is a BL anime series that aired in 2016.

Yuri!!! on Ice is a BL anime about a figure skater’s journey after he hit rock bottom in his professional career. Just as the main character was about to give up on his lifelong dream, one of the elite pros sees tremendous potential in him and agrees to be his mentor. Their teacher-student relationship causes quite a stir in the skating world, as Yuri is taken on a whirlwind adventure in his professional life.

Anyone who watches BL and anime knows that Yuri!!! on Ice is like the pinnacle series. You’ll find it on all the recommendation lists of the best BL anime. With crisp animation, colourful characters, and dazzling storylines, I can attest that Yuri on Ice does live up to the massive hype. This series is considered the gold standard for all BL anime.