In spurring people to believe that love truly knows no gender, Japan's mangas sure know how to do it best.
Compared to books, mangas feature gorgeous art combined with compelling stories, making it a great medium to show the beauty of two people of the same sex falling madly in love with each other in a world full of prejudice and discrimination.
To give more appreciation to queer relationships, here are some boys' love mangas you should add to your library that encompass all sorts of heartwarming stories, from enemies to lovers, school romance, and blossoming feelings between childhood friends.
Dekoboko Sugar Days and Dekoboko Bittersweet Days
Dekoboko Sugar Days and its sequel Dekoboko Bittersweet Days highlight how there's nothing sweeter than a relationship that's grounded on years of strong friendship. Despite being clear that childhood friends Yuujirou Matsukaze and Rui Hanamine both harbor the same romantic feelings for each other, the pair are too hesitant to take the first move.
This may have something to do with the height difference between them. At over six feet, the cheerful and happy-go-lucky Rui towers over the strong and protective Yuujirou. This leaves the latter feeling insecure about confessing his feelings, afflicting their relationship with a lot of misunderstandings and struggles.
Tomorrow, Make Me Yours
School is often where you get your first experience in romance. Sadly, having a school relationship is no walk in the park as most couples go their separate ways because of gossip, drama, and rumors.
That same hardship is explored in Tomorrow, Make Me Yours as it tells the story of Yuki Matsumiya, a timid and shy student who isn't exactly excited at starting a new semester surrounded by unfamiliar faces. Even though he is almost invisible to the rest of the class, his classmate Hayato Izumida approaches him in hopes of becoming friends. This surprises Yuki, as Hayato is the most popular boy in class and his total opposite.
As they grow closer, Yuki begins to want something more from Hayato other than friendship, but can he find the courage to pursue his feelings for someone he considers out of his league?
Chéri, My Destiny
Sometimes, destiny lets us cross paths with the love of our lives in unexpected ways.
For Kaoru Sakura, meeting his fated one wasn't romantic at all, as he initially saw Sojiro Tatsugawa as his competition. Being a pastry chef from France, Kaoru thinks his Western-style confections as unrivaled, so when he learns that customers are being enamored by a Japanese patisserie nearby, he immediately gets fired up and starts a food war with the attractive and reserved craftsman Sojiro.
Determined to prove that his sweets are the best, Kaoru begins visiting Sojiro's shop to have him taste his creations. However, when Sojiro accepts his gifts gracefully and gives him compliments that tug at his heart, Kaoru’s adversarial feelings begin to transform into something as sweet as his chocolates.
There are endless ways to spark a romantic connection with someone. It could be on a dating app, while you're drinking at a coffee shop, or during your travels. For Inukai, it was through his love for adorable puppies.
Overworked and unappreciated at his company, Inukai has long wanted to tender his resignation but hasn't quite worked up the courage to do so. To relieve his stress, he begins visiting a pet shop where he gets inspiration from the precious puppies as well as a welcoming staff member named Hoshi.
But one day, Hoshi suddenly makes a strange declaration that he'll help Inukai with his dreams because "I'm the dog you saved all those years ago!"
The Flower That Seems To Truly Dance
What's more heartening that a childhood-friends-turned-lovers story? Add some historical drama to it!
The Flower That Seems To Truly Dance revolves around the love story of Soutarou Kuramoto and Haruomi Asuma, two childhood friends whose relationship had been tainted after a bitter fight exploded between them. Haruomi was famous for his traditional dances in women's clothing, and Soutarou had always been enamored with his graceful moves.
This is why when Soutarou returns to Japan in 1941, he is determined to finally apologize to Haruomi for shouting to him the words: "I hate the way you dance." However, with their reunion threatened by the war looming over the country, Soutarou must now strive to confront his true feelings for his old friend before it's too late.