10 LGBTQ Anime You’ll Be Proud To Love
If you think all the love for anime in the LGBTQ community is just a passing fad, let’s kick things off with a little history lesson. Manga and anime have featured male and female same-sex relationships since the 1960s—even Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune, the super-close “cousins” Western audiences grew to love, appeared as gay lovers in the original Japanese (read: uncensored) version of Sailor Moon. And if bisexual, gender-fluid, trans, and nonbinary identities are more your style, you’ll find plenty of anime to scratch that itch.
Animation’s unique ability to bend expectations makes the genre a perfect playground for queer characters living in a magical world. So stock up on snacks and get cozy—here's our must-watch LGBTQ anime to keep you busy.
10 of our favorite LGBTQ anime
We’re all about anime pride, but a full list of the best series would take you all night to read. We've narrowed it down to 10 of our faves to get you started:
Princess Knight first aired in 1967, making it one of the OG anime series. The show’s gender-fluid main character was one of the first in manga to fluctuate between masculine and feminine identities.
Born with a girl’s body and an intersex heart in a world where women aren’t allowed to lead, Princess Sapphire must lean into the masculine side of her identity while fighting forces that threaten to reveal the gender she was assigned at birth. With the help of her friends and allies, the cross-dressing princess navigates the challenges of royal life, fighting to protect her people while finding her own true identity and place in a patriarchal society.
No LGBTQ anime list would be complete without the iconic Sailor Moon. Most Western fans picked up on the lesbian romance between Uranus and Neptune, even if the English dub tried to pass them off as cousins. But that’s just the tip of the queer iceberg for this ’90s classic.
When young Usagi Tsukino discovers she’s the reincarnation of the Moon Princess, she teams up with her Sailor Scouts to battle a range of villains as the magical warrior Sailor Moon. She’s a total badass, but that doesn’t mean she can escape the challenges of growing up and balancing a normal-girl life with superhero duties.
Yuri on Ice
When two rising figure skaters, Yuri P. and Yuri K., begin competing for the attention of Victor Nikiforov, a Russian skating star, Victor announces the boys must battle it out on the ice to see who’s worthy of his mentorship. But as the chemistry between Victor and the winning student heats up, so does the rivalry between the two Yuris, forcing the trio to navigate their way through the competitive world of figure skating while exploring their own personal and romantic relationships.
As an anime genre, yuri usually describes female-to-female romance. But this story is all about the men, and it’s a gay anime you won’t want to miss. Watch the hit series now on Crunchyroll.
Remember when we said animation makes it easy to subvert expectations? We’re about to do it again. Yurikuma Arashi is a queer anime about bears, but not the kind you’ll find on Grindr — Ginko Yurishiro and Lulu Yurigasaki are shapeshifting bears.
One day, the two bears disguise themselves as humans and enroll in Arashigaoka Academy, where they become fascinated with Kureha Tsubaki, a human girl who holds a deep grudge against bears after one killed and ate her mother. As Ginko and Lulu try to get closer to Kureha, they find themselves caught between the worlds of humans and bears, surrounded by prejudice, secrecy, and romance.
Set on the seedy streets of 1980s New York, Banana Fish follows Ash Lynx, a young gang leader haunted by his traumatic past. On a journey to uncover the truth about "Banana Fish," the dangerous drug he believes killed his brother, Ash meets Eiji Okumura, a young Japanese photographer who becomes his closest ally and friend. Together, they must navigate the dangerous underworld of NYC while facing the corrupt and violent forces that seek to control the drug trade.
The relationship between Ash and Eiji is a central focus of Banana Fish, portraying a deep bond that transcends cultural and linguistic barriers. Considered a boys’ love (BL) classic by many fans, this critically acclaimed series is a blend of action, drama, and thriller that we can almost guarantee will make you cry.
You can stream the series for free on Amazon with a Prime membership.
Ouran High School Host Club
If you need a palate cleanser after Banana Fish wrecks your feelings, try Ouran High School Host Club, a romantic comedy about a genderqueer student named Haruhi Fujioka who’s on scholarship at an elite Tokyo high school. Haruhi breaks a prized vase belonging to the Host Club, a group of wealthy all-male students who “entertain” female clients. Mistaking her for a boy, the young men force Haruhi to be their “errand boy” to work off her debt from the broken vase. But when they realize her actual gender—and her knack for pleasing women—she becomes part of the Host Club, stirring up feelings in both her clients and the men she’s hosting with.
Part sports anime, part slice-of-life love story, Antique Bakery follows four men who work together in a French pastry shop in Tokyo. In a line of work traditionally reserved for women, the men make for a surprising, entertaining cast, including a sweets-hating owner, a retired boxer, a clumsy waiter, and a gay pastry chef with devilish charm.
Anime fans praise Antique Bakery for the complexity of its interpersonal relationships — it’s more emotion than sex. But if you’re looking for a little added spice, try the spin-off manga series, which features sexually explicit scenes that fit more neatly into the yaoi (male-male) genre.
Antique Bakery isn’t available to stream in the U.S., but you can buy the full box set on Amazon.
Bloom into You
This sweet yuri anime follows Yuu Koito and Touko Nanami, two female high school students who bond over their lack of interest in the male students who confess their love for the girls. Yuu considers herself aromantic, incapable of anything beyond friendship. But when Touko confesses her feelings for her, Yuu must face her confusion head-on, opening herself up to shared experiences that slowly but surely change the way Yuu looks at Touko.
Bloom into You explores themes involving not just aromanticism, but asexuality and demisexuality, which many feel don’t get enough representation in LGBTQ conversations. It’s available to stream on HIDIVE and Spectrum On Demand.
Revolutionary Girl Utena
As a young girl, Utena Tenjou encountered a kind prince who inspired her to become a prince herself. Now a tomboyish teen, Utena befriends Anthy Himemiya, who another student is abusing. Utena vows to protect her friend, fighting a series of sword duels with members of the Student Council.
Each time someone conquers their opponent in a duel, they win the "Rose Bride"—aka Anthy, who’s believed to hold the power to revolutionize the world. A mix of combat and romance, the story seeks to shine a light on the limitations put on both men and women by the restrictions of traditional gender roles.
My Hero Academia
In Izuku Midoriya’s world, superpowers aren’t the stuff of legends—they’re just “Quirks,” and although 80% of the population has one, Izuku is just a regular kid. When All Might, Japan’s greatest hero, recognizes Izuku’s potential, he bestows his Quirk on the boy, helping him enroll in an elite school for superheroes.
Some view the perceived bisexuality of Mineta, one of the show’s most-hated characters, as a negative portrayal of an already often-marginalized segment of the LGBTQ community. But the story has plenty of queer characters to admire, like Tiger, a trans man who’s part of the Wild Wild Pussycats hero team.
You can stream select seasons of My Hero Academia on platforms like Hulu and Funimation. Apple TV has all six seasons, which gives you enough time to catch up before the seventh and final season airs!
Crunchyroll and chill
We have it on good authority that a big chunk of Grindr’s more than 10 million monthly active users are massive anime fans. So before you dive into a new series, get the Grindr app for iOS or Android and start looking for your binge-watch buddy. You can even browse hands-free with Grindr Web—the same Grindr you know and love, now available on your laptop or PC with no download required.