The 10 Best Yaoi Manga of All Time

Yaoi as a genre has never been more popular than it is right now. However, this might make it difficult to find the perfect series for you. Not to worry, though! I have compiled a list of the best yaoi manga you will love.  

10. Sasaki and Miyano (Shō Harusono, 2016 – Present)

Sasaki and Miyano manga volume 1

Everything starts when Miyano Yoshikazu, your resident BL fanboy, witnesses a classmate of his getting beat up, and in his panic to do something, Sasaki Shuumei, an upperclassman with the look of a troublemaker, steps in to help. After this incident, Sasaki seems to develop a crush on Miyano and starts to follow the BL-crazed boy everywhere. But there is just one slight problem with this: Miyano does not seem keen on being pestered by this good-natured boy. 

But worry not because Sasaki is not an easily discouraged guy. He soon picks up on a comment that Miyano makes about manga and starts approaching him by getting to know him through his interests. Miyano is both stressed and excited about having Sasaki take an interest in BL because, well, it’s fun to have someone to talk about BL with! However, the fact that Sasaki is so bold is very stressful. Plus, Sasaki is just too cheeky in general. Nevertheless, the weekly BL manga exchange between the boys commences, and simultaneously, the growth of their relationship.

Sasaki and Miyano is a tremendously clever manga and quite frankly, a perfect introduction to the boy’s love genre. Because while you could initially write this story off as being pretty simple, the author makes sure to make it work with its well-developed characters and charming narrative. However, what sets this manga apart from others is its self-explanatory nature.  Sasaki and Miyano take the BL genre and actively discuss it within this story. The meta nature that the manga possess serves to enhance both its narrative and its overall charm. 

Check out volume 1 here on Amazon: Sasaki and Miyano, Vol. 1

Other volumes of this manga can be found here: Sasaki and Miyano Manga Series

9. The Two Lions (Nagisa Furuya, 2019)

The Two Lions manga

Fresh out of high school, Junpei Shishido is ready to start university on a positive note. That is until he bumps into a serious guy who looks slightly familiar and gives Junpei the cold shoulder. After bumping into the dark-haired boy a couple more times, Junpei cannot help but notice the hostility toward him. So, he decides to leave both the guy and his curiosity about him alone. Of course, that plan goes out the window when he comes across him again, and Junpei looks at the boy’s student ID. He realizes it’s Leo Onizuka, a rumored gang leader from his high school back home.

After realizing that Junpei has figured out who he is, Leo confesses that he doesn’t want to be recognized because he wants a fresh start. All the rumors about Leo were tremendously twisted and gravely affected his high school experience. So Leo just wanted to go to university where no one knew him, have a good time, and finally make some friends. Being quite understanding, Junpei decides to become Leo’s first friend and help him have a good time at university. However, soon enough, Junpei realizes that his feelings for Leo might go deeper than a friendship.

The Two Lions does a great job of portraying the desire to leave bad experiences behind and start again with a clean slate and giving yourself and others a new chance. This story does a stunning job of developing the story through its setting and characters. It develops the relationship between Junpei and Leo naturally and slowly, letting it grow bigger as the story continues. Moreover, The Two Lions effectively depicts how stepping outside of your comfort zone and letting others in allows new and positive things to happen.

You can find this manga on Amazon here: The Two Lions

8. Given (Natsuki Kizu, 2014 – Present)

Given manga volume 1

After growing bored of the things that used to excite him, something starts to take a turn when Ritsuka Uenoyama meets a boy, Mafuyu Sato, holding onto a guitar with broken strings in his favorite napping spot. While Uenoyama is a pretty good guitarist, Mafuyu has no idea what to do with a guitar. And so, after helping change the strings of his Gibson, Mafuyu decides to learn how to play from Uenoyama. Something that, in turn, gives way to fresh inspiration flourishing within the guitarist.

In Given, we follow Uenoyama and Mafuyu, Akihiko Kaji, the drummer, and Haruki Nakayama, the coolest bassist you will ever meet. This manga follows the story of the band and its four members as they all navigate their individual lives and try to make their band something great together.

Given is undoubtedly one of its kind in the yaoi genre largely because this manga manages to delve into several themes and execute them incredibly well. With the portrayal of friendship and camaraderie, self-expression, complex and dynamic characters, and the budding romances in the band, Given serves you a beautiful and exciting story that is impossible to replicate.

Get the first volume of Given on Amazon: Given, Vol. 1

Find other volumes of this manga here: Given manga series

7. Go For It, Nakamura!! (Syundei, 2017)

Go For It, Nakamura!!  manga

Okuto Nakamura is a timid sixteen-year-old gay high school boy who loves his pet octopus and has a crush. After falling in love at first sight with one of his classmates, Aiki Hirose, on the first day of school, Nakamura has been on the sidelines pining for Hirose. Why? Because Nakamura is a very shy and awkward boy who has yet to actually meet Hirose. However, that does not stop Nakamura and his attempts to be friends with his crush. Because while admittedly, Nakamura’s attempts are quite lackluster and fail most of the time, they are undeniably committed and energetic.

Go For It, Nakamura!!  takes our titular character on an erratic adventure as he tries to navigate his emotions and attempts to form a friendship with Hirose (an all-around friendly and nice guy who is oblivious of Nakamura’s feelings for him). However, despite Nakamura’s timid nature, slowly but surely, the two boys begin to form a slow friendship as Hirose begins to notice Nakamura more. Something that undeniably ends up sending Nakamura over the moon.

This manga is a self-contained story that offers a sweet and contagiously charming narrative.  Go For It, Nakamura!!  mainly takes a comedic tone as it explores the anxieties of having a crush in a relatable, awkward, and sweet way. In addition, the art style is heavily reminiscent of some 80s and early 90s works, such as Rumiko Takahashi’s work, and brings a bubbly aspect that perfectly fits the story’s tone. Overall, this sweet and easy read will leave you rooting for Nakamura!

Check out this manga here on Amazon: Go For It, Nakamura!!

6. Don’t Call Me Dirty (Gorou Kanbe, 2016 – 2017) 

Don't Call Me Dirty manga

Shouji Mita, the son of a liquor store owner, has taken up the task of helping the owner of the candy shop next door while struggling to maintain a long-distance relationship. Through Shouji’s attempts to keep occupied while waiting for a text back (amidst preschoolers critiquing his poor judgment of character when it comes to his love life), he meets Hama. A homeless man whom Shouiji starts to form a bond with after he sees him being wrongfully accused of shoplifting and promptly decides to interfere to clear Hama’s name.

Consequently, Shouji starts to take an interest in getting to know Hama. He begins to do little things to help him here and there. However, after Shouji’s boyfriend ends up breaking up with him, a heartbroken Shouji finds himself realizing that the feelings he had developed for Hama run a lot deeper. The problem is that Hama doesn’t think highly of people, and thus opening up to Shouji proves somewhat difficult.  

Don’t Call Me Dirty is a charming and lovely story of two men building a bond that begins to grow out of a place of kindness and empathy. We follow Shouji and Hama as they navigate a society where both have been labeled negatively. Despite this, they decide to accept one another and be there for each other in whatever way they can. This manga is tremendously well done and does not shy away from depicting the prejudice and alienation that its protagonists go through, all the while maintaining a light and upbeat tone.  Don’t Call Me Dirty portrays a blossoming love story that tentatively and carefully takes form when a person selflessly decides to extend a helping hand.

You can find this manga on Amazon here: Don’t Call Me Dirty

5. Seaside Stranger Series (Kii Kanna, 2014 – Present)

Seaside Stranger manga volume 1

Seaside Stranger is the story of Shun, a novelist living on a small island near Okinawa since he revealed to his family that he was gay. A fact that his parents did not take well at all. Nevertheless, while on the island, Shun found acceptance living with his aunt and the other tenants in his aunt’s lodge. One day, however, when he sees a young man, Mio, sitting by the shore staring out into the ocean until late in the night, Shun becomes intrigued by the stranger.

After a failed attempt to introduce himself and a disastrous first conversation, the two began forming a connection. Unfortunately, Mio informs Shun that he has to leave the island the next day, but after three years away, Mio comes back, heart on his sleeve and a love confession for Shun. And so, what was initially meant to be a sweet and short one-shot manga became a series that follows Mio and Shun as the novelist returns home and the two begin navigating their relationship.

This manga presents a lovely story of two people who decide to come together despite anxieties and self-consciousness and give happiness a shot. In Seaside Stranger, you can find a story that explores the worries of being gay in a society that is not necessarily accepting. In addition to portraying the uncertainty and reassurance of the protagonists’ relationship, they learn to trust each other and accept their love for one another. Thus, giving way to a complicated and sweet love story.

Get volume 1 of Seaside Stranger here on Amazon: Seaside Stranger Vol. 1: Umibe no Étranger

Find other volumes of this manga here: Seaside Stranger manga series

4. Our Not-So-Lonely Planet Travel Guide (Mone Sorai, 2020 – Present)

Our Not-So-Lonely Planet Travel Guide manga Volume 1

After going through health problems and surgery, Asahi Suzumura, a serious and skittish 29-year-old, quits his job and asks his carefree boyfriend, Mitsuki Sayama, to go on a trip around the world with him. After which, they promise to get married once they complete it. They have been in a long-term relationship, and while Mitsuki will shout to the world that they are together and in love, Asahi has more reservations. That is why they decide to give themselves this opportunity to grow closer and more secure in their relationship.

During their travels, the two men are put in situations where their vastly different personalities inevitably clash, providing them with opportunities to work through their differences and learn to trust and lean on one another. As they travel, they come across people who help Asahi feel more comfortable and confident in his relationship with Mitsuki. Because even though, evidently, there is love in their relationship, there is some anxiety and insecurities within it. 

Our Not-So-Lonely Planet Travel Guide is a vibrant story that takes the characters on a journey not only around the world but of self-acceptance and discovery. As the two young men jump from country to country, this allows them to grow closer and explore their troubles together. While Mitsuki and Asahi might be complete opposites, the story does a beautiful job of digging into why they complement each other perfectly.  Our Not-So-Lonely Planet Travel Guide fleshes out its characters widely and keeps a fun and exciting tone throughout the story. It is a fun and lovely story that is sure to warm your heart.  

Check out volume 1 of this series on Amazon here: Our Not-So-Lonely Planet Travel Guide, Volume 1 

Other voulmes of this manga can be found here: Our Not-So-Lonely Planet Travel Guide manga series

3. Restart After Coming Back Home (Cocomi, 2019)

Restart After Coming Back Home manga

At age 25, Mitsuomi Kozuka came back to his home in the country after being fired in the big city of Tokyo. However, coming back home is not so easy when you have a complicated relationship with your father and keep being branded as a flake. So, as Mitsuomi tries to figure out what to do with himself and his life, he meets Yamato Kumai, his neighbor’s adopted son and his seemingly lost other half. Mitsuomi is a temperamental and consistently moody mess, and Yamato is impossibly optimistic and sweet. The two develop a relationship that is incredibly complimentary and endearing. Because, well, opposites do seem to attract!

Restart After Coming Back Home takes us along the story of two friends who slowly but steadily embark on a journey of self-discovery. Along the way, the two discover that they mean and care for one another in a way that surpasses friendship. This heartfelt story explores the protagonists’ struggles and how Mitsuomi and Yamato gain the courage to accept themselves and grow together by leaning on and trusting each other.

This manga truly positions itself as one of the best because of its magnetism and great characters. This charming story of two friends learning to let down emotional walls and growing together as they fall in love is simply one that you cannot help but fall in love with.

You can find this manga here on Amazon: Restart After Coming Back Home

2. Classmates (Asumiko Nakamura, 2008 – 2020)

Classmates manga

After a choir recital is announced at the all-boys school attended by Hikaru Kusakabe, this laid-back boy realizes that the studious and serious Rihito Sajō seems not to be singing during rehearsals. Writing him off as snobbish, Hikaru ignores him until he finds Rihito practicing alone in an empty classroom. On nothing more than impulse, he decides to go out of his way and offer his help. A proposition that Rihito timidly but readily accepts. And so, after their last practice session, when the boys decide to hang out for a bit, Hikaru cannot help but ask about Rihito’s reason for practicing so diligently. Something that, funnily enough, leads Hikaru to kiss him before taking off as fast as his long legs will allow him. Leaving behind a stunned Rihito.

Nevertheless, hope is not lost because on the day of the recital, as they are in the middle of the song, Hikaru involuntarily bursts into tears, leading him again to run away. However, this time with Rihito sprinting behind him. And after an awkward and flimsy love confession, Hikaru and Rihito commence their love story.

With an art style that is as flowy and soft as the story itself, Asumiko Nakamura gives us a coming-of-age story of two boys experiencing “first love.” With an accurate portrayal of all the awkwardness of young love and the struggles that come with it, this story represents honest and pure emotions. This story perfectly depicts what it’s like to be young, dumb, and in love.

Check out this manga on Amazon here: Classmates Vol. 1: Doukyusei

1. Our Dining Table (Mita Ori, 2017)

Our Dining Table manga

Eating with others is something that is not so easy for Yutaka Hozumi. So, for as long as he’s been able, he has been eating all his meals alone. However, this suddenly changes when he goes to a park during his lunch break to eat, and a little boy, Tane Ueda, approaches him. He ends up (because of his cuteness, let’s be honest) convincing Yutaka to share the onigiri he was about to have for lunch. That is, until his outraged older brother, Minoru Ueda, comes and scolds him for wandering off. After offering a quick apology for Tane, the two leave, only to return the next day to ask for Yutaka’s help. It turns out Yutaka is a great cook, and Tane cannot get over how amazing the onigiri was.

Therefore, after accepting an invitation to go to the brothers’ home to teach them how to make onigiri, Yutaka begins to see how comfortable and nice it is to share a meal with others. Through Yutaka’s friendly interaction with the brothers, he can start enjoying himself. And not only that…it also opens up the chance for love.

Our Dining Table is the best example of how simplicity is sometimes all you really need. This story is about forming connections, letting yourself put aside reservations, and allowing others in. It showcases the beauty in simplicity, in how something as simple as sharing a meal can make people come together. This manga demonstrates how loneliness does not have to be forever and how sometimes, happiness can be found in small and random places, like a dining table.

You can find this wonderful manga on Amazon here: Our Dining Table

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