8 Yaoi / Boy Love Anime Series That Aren’t Uncomfortably Predatory

While both Yaoi and Yuri anime series share a few problems in the depiction of same sex couples, yaoi has a problem that is unique to its own genre – predation. The yaoi genre likes a few very specific tropes like lack of consent (a “I’ll make you love me” approach, if you will) and either a very uncomfortable age gap or power dynamic (i.e. student/teacher or any other set up where the dom truly has domination.). It certainly paints the male side of same sex couples in a really terrible way, and yes, there is a certain allure to these taboos for some fans. However, maybe you are the boy love fan that wants a normal and more realistic yaoi anime series. It’s not easy to find a yaoi/BL recommendation list without those tropes because they are widespread, but this one is for you.


Why is it that music anime series usually have top-tier romances too? Well regardless, Given is about two people that are drawn together by music. The feelings for each other that develop are subtle and the story has more depth to it than just “squee”-level romance.

Yuri on Ice

I personally enjoyed when Yuri on Ice first aired as it made audiences wondered if it was a boy love series or not. Really that is probably how you should handle same sex series, in all truth. Regardless, even before this series played its hand, a touching relationship was being developed and it was absolutely enticing on its own level.


I normally don’t recommend movies because, while good, they are rather flash in the pan compared to full anime series. However, the predatory nature that consumes yaoi anime is so rampant, there aren’t many options. So here we are. Doukyuusei follows two boys who share a love of music in school and eventually find a love of each other. Not only does it skip the predatory boy love tropes, but the movie, perhaps because it is a movie, skips a lot of typical and annoying romance tropes as well.

Banana Fish

If you like boy love series where there is actual plot other than romance, then this series is really one of the best. The plot is complex and intriguing, but the romance is subtle and not so much always the main focus. It keeps a grounded series for those that want to branch out from the usual BL formula.

Embracing Love

This tells the tale of two adult entertainment actors that want to jump into more traditional acting roles. They also realize they are in love in the process. What is unique about this OVA series in particular is there really isn’t a dominant one in that relationship. They switch it up.


In a similar vein as Banana Fish, you can forget Fake is a boy love anime sometimes as it tries to do more with the plot. It ends up like a buddy cop movie, but with one cop having romantic feelings for his partner. As it is older, it can be cheesy as hell, but that’s part of the charm.

Gakuen Heaven

This series doesn’t have a lot of romantic action. It is just basically a series full of bishounen boys playfully flirting with each other. However, if you are looking for something cuter and not uncomfortable at times, this is actually a really good pick. Interestingly enough, it has more common dom/sub tropes, but it lacks the hardcore romance elements.

Tight Rope

This is a romance between childhood friends. The caveat is that one is the heir to a yakuza family. While there are some missed opportunities with that plot in this respect, it does paint a sweet romance in a set up that could have been not so sweet.

Do you have any more yaoi or shounen ai anime series that aren’t super creepy? Let fans know in the comments section below.

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