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Let’s get geeky and talk about how much we love gay anime

Robyn Exton

Jun 06, 2023

Let’s get geeky and talk about how much we love gay anime

Ready to dive into the dazzling world of gay anime? 

From magical shoujo tales to epic shonen adventures, today’s LGBTQIA+ representation in anime has us falling head over heels in love. It brings sheer joy to our screens, transcending genres and leaving us craving for more!

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. We’re going to focus on the wholesome side of gay anime, steering clear of the explicit territory that is often associated with hentai.

While we acknowledge that hentai exists as a niche within the broader anime genre and it might have a lot of gay characters, our aim is to celebrate the positive and meaningful representation of LGBTQIA+ people in mainstream anime, and that excludes merely fetishizing content.

Source: The Mary Sue

So, without further ado, get set to explore the delightful stories, complex relationships, and tender queer moments that make our hearts flutter!

How gay anime came to be

Back in the day, LGBTQIA+ characters didn’t have it easy. In the ’70s, ’80s, and prior, characters that were queer-coded, a.k.a. that were designed as gay caricatures, were often treated as a joke or played the role of villains. It wasn’t cool, you know? 

But things started changing! As we rolled into the late ’90s and early 2000s, LGBTQIA+ characters started popping up more often. We had shows like “Revolutionary Girl Utena” (1997) with Anthy and Utena, who explored same-sex attraction and power dynamics. There was also this thing you might have heard of called yaoi, which focused on romantic relationships between guys. It got pretty popular, but sometimes it catered more to female fantasies than real representation thanks to ‘fujoshis,’ girls obsessed with the idea of gay male romance.

Source: Dazed

On the other hand we have yuri, which focuses on the sapphic storylines and relationships, and depending on the author or creator it can go from fetish content to actually beatiful and romantic pieces.

It’s been a journey, but in recent years, anime has become more diverse and inclusive! Shows like “Yuri!!! on Ice” (2016) and “Given” (2019) have rocked the house with positive gay representation. We’re seeing more authentic stories and characters, and it’s just awesome!

Our favorite gay anime characters and couples

Allow us to shine a spotlight on the most iconic gay characters in anime, from the ones that we knew in our childhood while watching Animax, to the most recent ones that easily earned a spot in our hearts.

Sailor Uranus & Sailor Neptune from ‘Sailor Moon’

So here’s the scoop. Sailor Uranus, aka Haruka Tenou, is this badass butch who kicks major butt, and Sailor Neptune, aka Michiru Kaiou, is known to be femme and graceful. They’re both Sailor Guardians fighting evil and protecting the world. But here’s the tea: they’re not just partners in crime-fighting, they’re in love too!

Source: The Mary Sue

A tiny detail, though: When Sailor Moon came out in the ’90s, there were some major censorship issues and mistranslations. The original Japanese version hinted at their romantic relationship, and the manga confirmed it too. But when it got dubbed and aired in the US, they changed their story to make them “cousins.” Yeah, it was kinda weird and definitely not accurate to the original.

But hey, even with the confusion, Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune’s love story still shines through. They’re a strong and iconic couple, who broke boundaries with gay love in a heavily-popular anime series. 

Touya & Yukito from ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’

Touya, Sakura’s older brother, had this deep connection with Yukito, who was Sakura’s friend and eventually her crush (who was too old for her anyways) too. Their bond was strong and filled with warmth, but it was also a bit mysterious. Touya had this special ability to sense when magical things were happening, and Yukito had his own hidden secret.

Source: Ranker

In the reboot, Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, their relationship is explored in more depth. Their connection becomes even more apparent, and it’s revealed that Yukito is actually a magical entity called Yue, who shares a profound link with Tuoya. As the story progresses, their feelings for each other become more explicit and heartfelt, and it’s just so touching to witness.

The reboot did an amazing job of highlighting their beautiful love story. It celebrated their connection and presented it with more clarity and emotional depth. Of course, fans absolutely adored seeing their relationship evolve and blossom into something truly special!

Shion & Nezumi from ‘No. 6’

Shion, a bright and compassionate boy, crosses paths with Nezumi, a mysterious and skilled fugitive. Their initial meeting sparks a connection that evolves into a rather complex but strong bond throughout the story.

Source: Objection Network

The series portrays their relationship in a way that leaves room for interpretation, like their several significant moments of physical intimacy, including kisses. These moments further emphasize the depth of their connection and the romantic undertones within their relationship, allowing viewers to perceive it as a romantic connection. Their journey together explores themes of trust, sacrifice, and the power of human connection in a dystopian world.

Ash & Eiji from ‘Banana Fish’

Ash is this tough gang leader, and Eiji is this pure-hearted photographer. They become friends, but it slowly becomes more than that! Their connection goes deep. They’re always there for each other, supporting and protecting one another no matter what. It’s like a love story that’s not officially labeled as romantic, but you can’t deny the intense love and devotion they have for each other.

Source: Ranker

Their relationship is just so heartfelt, with moments that make you scream “OTP!” They do these selfless acts for each other, and their loyalty is off the charts. It’s all about love, trust, and finding comfort in each other when things get tough. Their story is like a rollercoaster of emotions, honey, and it’ll leave you crying and swooning at the same time (with emphasis on the crying, fyi).

Fumi & Akira from ‘Sweet Blue Flowers’

Let’s talk about the absolute cuteness of Fumi Manjoume and Akira Okudaira from Sweet Blue Flowers! Their relationship is like a breath of fresh air, breaking stereotypes and giving us a beautiful portrayal of a healthy lesbian love story.

Source: Pinterest 

The girl’s connection is so genuine and relatable. They’ve been friends since childhood, and their bond just grows stronger as they navigate high school together, showing what it’s like to live through your first love. What’s amazing is that their relationship goes beyond just being a yuri trope or a plot device. It’s about their personal growth, supporting each other, and discovering their own identities.

Fumi and Akira are an absolute delight, proving that authentic and positive portrayals of lesbian relationships are not only important but also incredibly heartwarming. 

Sasaki & Miyano from ‘Sasaki and Miyano’

This charming anime takes a classic  plotline and adds a delightful twist. Miyano, an expert in all things boys’ love, finds himself caught up in his own love story when he meets Sasaki, the rebel senior. While Miyano is a self-proclaimed boys’ love aficionado, he’s oblivious to the fact that he’s experiencing a boys’ love romance firsthand.

Source: Attack on the Fanboy

The anime doesn’t shy away from addressing the stereotypes and stigmas surrounding Miyano’s fandom. However, as their relationship deepens, he begins to realize that his feelings for Sasaki go beyond being a fan of boys’ love or “fudanshi.” Meanwhile, Sasaki confronts his own emotions and explores the possibility of being gay.

The anime beautifully captures a blossoming romance, showing that real-life relationships are more intricate than fictional tales, and we love to see a happy and thriving gay couple! 

Honorable mention — Everyone in ‘Ouran High School Host Club’

Kiss, kiss, fall in love! We cannot hear those words without remembering the hilarious and romantic anime series that was Ouran High School Host Club.  While nobody in the anime is explicitly gay, there’s this super interesting dynamic that gives off a gigantic gay vibe.

Source: Looper

The series centers around Haruhi Fujioka, a girl who accidentally stumbles into the world of the host club, where she pretends to be a boy. And girl, let me tell you, the whole situation is like a hilarious mix of misunderstandings and gender-bending shenanigans.

Haruhi’s androgynous appearance and her portrayal as a male host lead to some pretty funny and, let’s admit it, slightly gay situations. The girls at school swoon over her, and the boys in the host club develop these strangely intense and affectionate feelings for her. It’s gay from every angle and you cannot change our minds!

The most romantic gay kiss in anime: Yuri!!! On Ice

We know you’ve been waiting for this, like, how did we not mention it before?! This series has been a game-changer regarding gay representation in the world of sports anime!

Yuri!!! on Ice follows the journey of Japanese figure skater Yuuri Katsuki, who connects a little too well with his coach and ex-ice-skating superstar, Victor Nikiforov. Their relationship is so much more than just a coach-student dynamic, of course. It’s a slow-burn romance that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Source: Tumblr

In the final episode, Yuuri delivers a breathtaking performance that amazes everyone. And whew, here comes the moment we’ve all been waiting for! After Yuuri’s skate, he and Victor share this absolutely mind-blowing, heart-stopping kiss right there on the ice. It’s a moment of pure, undeniable love and passion, confirming their romantic feelings for each other. It was like fireworks exploding for all the fans!

Source: Tumblr

The anime beautifully portrays the depth of Yuuri and Victor’s relationship, their unwavering support for each other, and how they inspire and uplift each other as athletes and individuals. Their love story resonates with audiences around the world, offering a moving and authentic representation of a same-sex relationship.

What fans have to say about this gay masterpiece

When we say this anime took the world by storm, we’re not joking. That kiss was a reset in the timeline, and fans worldwide keep talking about it as a ‘before & after’ in LGBTQIA+ media history. 

“Yuri!!! on Ice truly changed the world as we know it, and I’m being so f****** serious about this.”

—@gabvriyel on Twitter.

Source: Sumikai

“Yuri!!! on Ice, an artistic masterstroke, one of a kind, game-changing, utterly unique, fresh, imbued with truth, inimitable, eternal.”

—@inknose on Twitter.

Source: Decider

“An as always #ThankYouYOITeam for the gift you have given us even with one season. And thank you for any and all the hard work that you are doing behind the scenes currently and in the past. We hope to see Yuri on Ice again someday. You have our full support!!”

—@CloudedPoetry on Twitter.

Source: The Anime Daily

And by the way— we’re still waiting for the movie 7 years later!

Why do we want to see more gay representation in anime?

Anime has this incredible ability to transport us to fantastical worlds while also shining a light on real-world issues. By including authentic gay representation, we validate the existence and worth of LGBTQIA+ individuals. Seeing characters who reflect our diverse identities onscreen is a powerful affirmation that we are seen, heard, and loved.

As anime and manga grow in mainstream popularity, and we see it beyond Crunchyroll with Netflix Originals and HBO productions, we can have more stories focusing on characters from different backgrounds, races, cultures, genders, and sexuality. 

Animation as a medium is a powerful tool and it’s easier nowadays to find a catalog with stories that feel relatable, in all forms and genres.

Source: BuzzFeed

And that’s a wrap, my friends! Hope you enjoyed this ride as much as we did. We’ve witnessed the power of representation, the magic of diverse love stories, and the unbreakable spirit of gay characters who have defied expectations.

So, let us carry this flame of passion and acceptance beyond this article, and continue championing more diverse LGBTQIA+ representation, not just in anime, but in all forms of media, amplifying the voices of our community, ensuring that our stories are heard and celebrated.

Robyn Exton

Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER. Find her on Twitter.

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