As a weeb, we’ve come a long way from having to pirate our gay anime. Now, anime involving queer folks are readily available on streaming sites such as Crunchyroll. And I know that, for a ton of people, this doesn’t matter. BL (Boy Love) or GL (Girl Love) series have often been seen as problematic and not digestible for a wide variety of audiences. But there has been a lot of growth in both genres and there are some true hidden gems out there.
Personally, my favorite series of all time is a gay anime called Given. And yes, you can stream it on Crunchyroll. Given is so far removed from the terrible tropes we had come to see from the genre. But we all know the OG that started it all aka Yuri!!! On Ice. Which again, if you were watching it when it was airing, you knew it was so popular that it caused the Crunchyroll site to crash from the traffic it was pulling. And Crunchyroll has more gay anime like these.
So, clearly, there is an audience for gay anime that isn’t simply here for ‘spicy’ content. Since Yuri!!! On Ice’s success, we have seen a steady stream of healthy gay anime on Crunchyroll that don’t simply fetishize its characters and content. Instead, they tell a story that a lot of queer folk can empathize with. Besides, gay and queer themes have always been there in anime, whether it’s subtext or otherwise. The difference is now, they are much more acceptable to consume.
So, while this won’t be a comprehensive list of the best gay anime on Crunchyroll, considering it is a limited library, I do want to take some time and talk about some series that deserve to be watched. And you don’t have to be gay or queer yourself to enjoy them. Like I said, a good story should transcend its target audience, make itself so good that you can’t help but praise it. And I think a couple of these do exactly that. So, let’s dive into some of the best BL and GL series on Crunchyroll.
Okay, while this list isn’t ranked by any means, I can’t emphasize enough how much I adore Given. It is, quite frankly, the romance anime I recommend to anyone looking to cry their heart out. Doesn’t matter if you’re gay or not, you will shed tears over Mafuyu Sato and how he heals from a pain so visceral, finding the words for it by joining a band. It sounds like a simple setting, but every little thing here holds meaning. I mean, the episode titles itself are a secret playlist. Like, that’s dedication.
Not only does this anime encompass the themes of love and loss as a teenager, but it does all that with so much nuance that you can’t help but feel for each character. Given is simultaneously heartwarming and heart wrenchingly realistic, with some of the best music to come out of an anime in a long, long time.
Kase-San And Morning Glories
Opposites attract? And it’s not toxic or weird? Sign me up because Kase-San And Morning Glories is perfect for those missing the magic of first loves. This is a gay anime that is soft and sweet, with such an earnest relationship between the main characters that you can’t help but be invested. The best part? It all feels organic. Even though Yui Yamada is a shy girl who loves growing and caring for her plants, it doesn’t hinder her budding relationship with the loud and proud Tomoga Kase.
Together, they take on their last year of highschool, with conflicts and confusion galore. However, even those ended up feeling pretty realistic and not sensationalized, leading to a highschool romance that I think anyone would enjoy.
Sasaki To Miyano
You want healthy relationships in BL? How about an anime about discovering your sexual orientation because of a cute boy that not only loves you without expecting anything back, but also discusses consent and boundaries in the most wholesome manner possible? Sasaki To Miyano is exactly that, revolving around Miyano Yoshikazu, a ‘Fudanshi’ in all-boys school and Sasaki Shūmei, his senior who has slowly started to fall in love with him. But it’s the fact that every male character in this show is a literal green flag that keeps you hooked.
No, seriously, each male in this series is so darn adorable and respectful, it blows my mind. You know what? Watch this anime solely to learn what a good relationship should be like. Literally, if you’re a girl in a heterosexual relationship, show this to your partner and watch him melt in shame because he will never compare to Sasaki.
Sweet Blue Flowers
GL anime generally tends to be underrated, with BL often getting the spotlight. However, Sweet Blue Flowers is criminally so. I love queer stories that don’t make it a big deal out of the character’s sexual orientations by exaggerating them, instead delivering a tale of love that is universal. And the experience of young love is extremely relatable in this gay anime about two childhood friends, Akira Okudaira and Fumi Manjōme, reuniting and going through the ups and downs of a friendship that is clearly blooming into something more.
What I adore about this series is the same thing I like about almost all the other series on this list: It doesn’t make tropes out of its characters. There is an element of GL or Yuri that tends to veer towards gratuitous fanservice. But here, it’s simply sweet and innocent, laced with the melancholy of youth.
Yuri!!! On Ice
The only reason this is at deadlast is because MAPPA Animations has angered me by not releasing Ice Adolescence. No, I’m joking. But really, wasn’t Yuri!!! On Ice the start of it all? I feel like Free! and Haikyuu! played around with the trend of sports anime having homoerotic themes, but Yuri!!! On Ice was the first one to truly commit to the bit. And boy, did it deliver by having each episode release just wrecking social media.
This anime has it all: comedy, flamboyance and an awful amount of heart. However, the reason I ended up liking it was because of its very real portrayal of panic and anxiety as a performer, with Yuuri Katsuki. And Victor Nikiforov learning how to be a good coach to someone so fundamentally different from him? Like, the chemistry was never lacking. This gay anime might never say it was queer, but we all knew.
There is something about gay anime that resonates with a lot of people that are still questioning where their sexualities lie. While anime isn’t a perfect medium, I do think we’ve come a far way from just having queer characters be comedic relief. Everyone deserves to have their story told, and these gay anime on Crunchyroll are just some of many that do so. Happy viewing!