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5 Queer Anime to fall in love with for pride

5 Queer Anime to fall in love with for pride

There are slim choices when it comes to overtly queer anime options. Any anime fan who has gone out of his way to search for specific queer content has undoubtedly been met with the thought “is that it?” Because anime that directly addresses queerness as something more than a transient remark is still hard to find. And even among the limited options we have, it is a challenge to find something of quality. Like American comedies, anime is inflated with a lot of mediocre schlock that one has to sift through to find something that is worthwhile, and that applies twice as much to queer anime. Finding something that takes into account their queer characters, but also gives a plot that is engaging enough to keep viewers interested, does not seem like a difficult task, but it seems to be a challenge for this niche genre to produce something. up to that standard.


But just because the options are limited does not mean that there are no real gems out there. There are some really masterful queer stories to be found in anime across a variety of genres. So here are five that will definitely be worth your time:

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Revolutionary Girl Utena (1999)

Revolutionary girl Utena is an anime from the late 1990s that aims to deconstruct magical girl anime in much the same way Neon Genesis Evangelion trying to deconstruct mecca stories. It follows Utena Tenjou (Tomoko Kawakami) as she is brought into the surreal world of the Ohtori Academy. One day she stumbles into a world of duels, fate and the supernatural that lies beneath the surface of her school. She has wanted to be a prince ever since she was little and after meeting Himemiya Anthy (Yuriko Fuchizaki), a girl who has been awarded the role of “Rose Bride” (an award for the winner of the duels), Utena hopes to save Himemiya from this bizarre world.

The slow, constructive relationship between Utena and Himemiya is at the heart of the show. It has all the good features of shoujo, but also much more as the story unfolds and we understand how disturbing things on Ohtori can become. The show is permeated by complex themes about gender and sexuality, what it means to be a woman in this world, and what it means to love. Utena and Himemiya must essentially save each other from the heteronormative roles they have been thrown into and bring revolution to the world. Apart from the complex main relationship, there is also a significant secondary plot about one of the other duelists who is a lesbian who explicitly deals with her feelings of love and betrayal. It’s a masterpiece of a show with a lot to say, and queerness is inseparable from these messages.

Given (2020)

Given is an anime adaptation of a manga series of the same name. The story follows Mafuyu Sato (Shogo Yano), a middle school student, who handles the wake of her boyfriend’s suicide. What is left of him is a guitar he does not know how to play and emotions Mafuyu is not ready to unpack. One day, Mafuyu meets Ritsuka Uenoyama (Yuma Uchida) and after Mafuyu shows off singing chops, Uenoyama invites him to join his band. From there, a slow-burning romance between the two boys begins. Mafuyu tries to take on his new life while Uenoyama comes across this newfound attraction.

The show deals with heavy topics, but handles them with care, and it is certainly far from a depressing clock. The characters all help each other get on, with the whole band helping Mafuyu get out of his shell. And while the growing romance between Mafuyu and Uenoyama is at the heart of the show, there is also an even slower romance simmering between the other two members of the group, Haruki and Akihiko. There are queer characters in abundance here, but it’s still a wonderful plot to unravel here outside of the thoughtfully written characters.

No. 6 (2011)

No. 6 is a sci-fi story about two boys who try to destroy a dystopia. Shion (Yuki Kaji) is a prodigy who lives in a very sophisticated fenced city, but his life is thrown out when he meets Nezumi (Yoshimasa Hosoya), a boy from outside the wall, by chance. Their random encounter is cut short, but years later Nezumi Shion comes to the rescue when his life is in danger. Together, the two struggle with their conflicting worldviews while inexplicably being attracted to each other. Shion and Nezumi join forces to try to find out the secret behind the city and the father who can wipe out all life in it. The plot is strongly a sci-fi story, but the underplot about Shion and Nezumi is nothing short of romantic.

Romance is certainly a backdrop compared to the fascist government the boys are trying to overthrow. Yet it remains an integral part of the story, every tender moment they share helps them simply harden their will to carry out their mission together. It has several kisses on the screen (something that many queer anime lacks) and a cute slow dance scene that can almost make you forget that these two are trying to destroy a government in the first place by themselves.

Sasaki and Miyano (2022)

The only romance on this list, Sasaki and Miyano is a recent anime adaptation of a massive BL (Boys’ Love) fan who is in the middle of his own BL love story. Miyano (S Sama Saitō) is a big fan of BL stories, but is sure he himself is straight. It’s up to his upper class man, Sasaki (Yūsuke Shirai), becomes a friend and later confesses to him. Miyano must reconcile with Sasaki’s feelings for him and vice versa. It’s a straight up (pun) romance that plays like your average teen room com, it happens to be about two boys falling in love.

Unlike the other programs on this list, there is not much to discuss about this show apart from the romance, as it is the main plot of the story. But like the others listed here, Sasaki and Miyano treats his queer characters with nuances and kindness, and shies away from tired tropics in favor of a clumsy first love story. The characters do not deal with any external homophobia, the show goes out of its way to stay light-hearted, instead we are only treated with a little light (for Sasaki, less for Miyano) inner anxiety about being attracted to being attracted to boys. It is a sweet and fun watch for anyone who loves a good romance.

Yuri !!! On Ice (2016)

An absolute classic, Yuri !!! On ice may be one of the most famous queer anime out there. The show is a romance disguised as a sports anime that makes both genres fantastic. Yuri Katsuki (Toshiyuki Toyonaga) is a skater who has always looked up to the idol skater Viktor Nikiforov (Junichi Suwabe). After a terrible performance at his last Grand Prix, Yuri thinks his career may be over. He has moved back to his hometown in Japan in the hope of finding out what to do when his childhood friend uploads a video of Yuri skating to one of Viktor’s old routines. The video goes viral and Viktor himself sees it, and makes the impulsive decision to take a year off from skating to go and train Yuri himself. What follows is a sickly sweet love story about two skaters who rediscover their passion for the sport through each other.

Yuri !!! On ice was a cultural moment when it came out. The infamous kiss in episode 7 and everything that followed gave the show a rightful place among the best queer anime of all time. Like the hit comedy Schitt’s Creek, Yuri !!! On ice does not want to engage in homophobia, but instead chooses to let their characters explore their romance in peace and see that romance celebrated by those around Yuri and Viktor. It’s a show that does not shy away from the characters’ quirky character, but also does not want to burden them (or the story) with the harshness of the real world. Thus we get a magnificent story about an athlete who overcomes adversity and finds love along the way.

These are just a handful of the quirky anime out there, and while not all are as amazing as the ones listed above, it’s well worth checking out. Like the list itself, there is a difference between the amount of shows that contain male / male couples versus female / female couples that creates a challenge for those looking for more female-centric content. And when it comes to stories that deal with transgender or non-binary individuals, the options are even slimmer. It is disappointing not to see more variation in the types of stories that are told, but to have them told at all is still a victory. And hopefully, as views continue to change and minds continue to expand, we can see more and more anime tackling queerness in all its many facets of the care and craftsmanship that these shows did.

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