Top 5 best LGBTQ+ anime

Savannah Howard
LGBTQ+ anime series including Given, Bloom Into You and Yuri on Ice.

Anime has fantastic movies and TV series with queer representation – so, here are our top five picks for the best LGBTQ+ shows and movies… although the options were endless.

Anime is loved around the world. Not just because of its entertaining storylines, but its effortless commitment to diversity, especially for the LGBTQ+ community.

Given the variety of stories out there, there were a lot to choose from. So, we’ve tried to make your choice a little easier by sifting through outdated concepts and problematic portrayals to find the hidden LGBTQ+ gems.

So, no matter what viewing experience you’re after, from rom-coms to heartfelt love stories, here are our top five anime about LGBTQ+ relationships.

5 best LGBTQ+ anime

With so many options out there, it can be hard to know which series is perfect for your next binge watch. So, we’ve decided to make things a little easier for you with out top 5 picks for the best anime with queer representation. So, let’s begin.

5. Yuri On Ice

Yuri On Ice is the 2016 anime which launched MAPPA onto the world stage. The plot revolves around a young Japanese figure skater called Yuri Katsuki (and let me tell you, he’s no Yuzuru Hanyu) and a bored Russian champion, Victor Nikiforov.

Enter the dramatic, colorful and stunningly beautiful world of figure skating. And watch as, over the course of 12 episodes, Yuri and Victor’s rocky relationship transforms into a tender romance.

So, if you’re after an LGBTQ+ story from the world of figure skating without the explicit scenes that often come in the Yaoi genre, then this is a must-watch for you.

Available to watch on: Amazon Prime Video, Funimation and Crunchyroll

4. Bloom Into You

Bloom Into You follows an unexpected high school romance between two girls, Touko and Yuu. Initially starting out as a friendship, watch as their relationship gradually evolves into something more.

From Yuu’s initial confusion to the importance of their friendships, the anime provides a realistic portrayal of two teenagers exploring their sexuality and discovering what it means to fall in love.

Available to watch on: Amazon Prime Video

3. Given

Many Yaoi anime fall short when it comes to realistic representation. However, Given is one series which transcends the genre’s typical pitfalls.

Based on Natsuki Kizu’s manga of the same name, Given brings you the story of two high-school students, Ritsuka Uenoyama and Mafuyu Sato, who form a band. Their relationship begins when Ritsuka reluctantly gives Mafuyu guitar lessons and discovers that he has an amazing singing voice.

Given took the anime world by storm when it debuted in 2019. With its beautiful music score, subtle but realistic portrayal of a gay romance, and heartfelt emotional scenes, this anime will bring a tear to the eye of any romance fan.

Available to watch on: Crunchyroll

2. Princess Knight

Based on the classic 1950s manga by the legendary Osamu Tezuka, this groundbreaking series is one to watch for classic anime fans.

It follows the life of Sapphire, a princess who was born with the pink heart of a girl and the blue heart of a boy because of a mischievous angel. However, because of her gender, she’s not able to take the throne. Which is why her parents raised her as a boy to keep it secret from everyone and prevent an evil male prince from inheriting the throne.

The anime originally ran from 1967-1968. And therefore, some of the concepts are a little outdated. However, with its classical Disney feel, Princess Knight is one to watch to show how the LGBTQ+ genre evolved.

Available to watch on: Crunchyroll

1. Stars Align

Finally on our list is one of the sweetest coming of age stories of all time – at least in our opinion.

Written and directed by Kazuki Akane, known for Code Geass: Akito the Exiled, Stars Align offers a fresh perspective on sports anime. It follows a mediocre middle school boys’ tennis team that are trying to win at least one match in a summer tournament.

Part of the reason why its so good is because it’s technically not a Yaoi series, even though it features LGBTQ+ characters. The story goes beyond usual middle school anime series to examine each of the characters personal lives and relationships, and provides an example of how anime can meaningfully incorporate LGBTQ+ characters into their storylines.

Available to watch on: Funimation

There you have it, our top five picks for anime with realistic LGBTQ+ representation. Despite Japan’s tense relationship with the queer community, there’s more LGBTQ+ representation in anime than ever before, which could signify positive change to come.

So, from classics like Princess Knight to musical dramas like Given, these heart-achingly beautiful anime series should be a must-watch on every anime fan’s list.

How to watch Crunchyroll from outside your location in 2023

Crunchyroll is the world’s best hub for streaming anime, whether it’s One PieceAttack on Titan, or Jujutsu Kaisen – and thanks to ExpressVPN, you can access the platform’s full library even if you’re outside the US.

If you’re abroad, here’s what you need to do to access Crunchyroll’s full selection – and it really is this simple:

  1. Sign up for ExpressVPN, which has ultra-fast servers and offers a secure, private connection wherever you are in the world
  2.  Connect to a location anywhere in the US; Express VPN allows you to choose from 24 different spots, from New Jersey to Santa Monica
  3.  Visit Crunchyroll online and start streaming all of your favorite animes – and perhaps some you’ve never watched

Accessing Crunchyroll’s US roster makes a difference; for example, Hong Kong users only have access to less than 100 titles, while the US has nearly 1,000 movies and TV shows.

You can also stream anime on Crunchyroll for free with an ad-supported plan, or you can pay for a subscription – there’s even a 14-day free trial if you can’t quite make up your mind.

While you’re here, why not check out some of our other anime coverage below?

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