We’ve all experienced a bit of romance in our lives — the spark, realisation, butterflies, turmoil, anguish, yearning, and pure bliss. Regardless of gender, love is a universal feeling that makes humans … human.
In this feature, we want to share some of our favourite shonen ai and shoujo ai romance stories. With so many titles out there, we’ve decided to choose our Top Five that has made us laugh, squeal, cry, and brimming with happiness. Here we go!
* * * * * * *
LOVE STAGE!! revolves around geeky college student Izumi who aspires to be a manga author. Growing up with a family who is successful in Hollywood, Izumi is pressured to succeed in life, and with his not-so-patient family members, they are forcing him to join Hollywood as well.
Funnily enough, Izumi got his first Hollywood stint ten years ago by starring in a popular wedding commercial. After being forced to substitute a young actress, everything went well for Izumi until an embarrassing ‘accident’ occurred. Since then, Izumi has refused to enter the entertainment industry. Little did he know that the other young male actor, Ryoma (aka Hollywood’s #1 heart-throb), has fallen head-over-heels for Izumi ever since their first encounter. And yes, Ryoma has no idea that Izumi is a boy.
Love Stage!! essentially focuses on Izumi’s life as he comes out of his shell and navigates through fame and love. A hilarious comedy with a touch of otaku mania — we highly recommend this anime. You can check out our review [here].
Exploring the initial stages of falling in love to the downfalls of teen romance, Citrus revolves around a romance between two girls. Yuzu Aihara is a spontaneous and fun-loving girl who loves makeup, shopping, and karaoke. Mei Aihara is the Student Council President who is diligent and devoted to her studies.
So when their parents get married and both Yuzu and Mei discover they’re step-sisters, this becomes a life-changing obstacle that they must overcome. Well, that was the scenario until … Mei decides to kiss Yuzu without any warning.
Filled with tears, drama, rivalry, and raging hormones — these two girls are forced to live under the same roof whilst harbouring taboo feelings. Will they end up together? Would society accept them? You can check out our review [here].
YURI!!! ON ICE
One of the most talked about anime in 2016, Yuri!!! On Ice follows 23-year-old Yuri Katsuki and his figure skating adventures. Taking a break from ice skating, Yuri mimics an ice skating routine by the legendary Victor Nikiforov. Impressed, Victor flies to Japan to see Yuri in person and decides to be his coach.
Together, they begin to conquer the world as they make their way to the Grand Prix. Over the course of the story, we see a unique bond forming between coach and apprentice. This adorable relationship soon eventuates into a same sex relationship that is openly accepted by everyone — even anime viewers.
THE WORLD’S GREATEST FIRST LOVE
When Ritsu Onodera gets employed at Marukawa Publishing, he didn’t expect to run into his high school lover, Masamune Takano. Due to miscommunication and lack of judgement in the past, this affects both Takano and Onodera’s work relationship in the present. But Takano isn’t just in charge of Ritsu at work — it turns out they also live next door to each other!
With so much sexual tension and angst between them, things get more chaotic when Takano’s colleague intervenes, and Ritsu’s arranged fiancé rocks up! Committed to his work, Ritsu was determined not to get distracted — will he overcome his emotions and feelings for Takano? You can check out our review [here].
Given revolves around a group of four students in an amateur rock band. An anime about guitars and rock bands? Why not? But there is actually more to the story than guitars and rock bands. Surprisingly, Given is foremost a boys-love story.
When we look at modern BL stories, they usually involve dominating-submissive relationships. Given, on the other hand, is rather indifferent and it all came down to its ordinary and relatable characters — Ritsuka and Mafuyu.
As we embark on this rollercoaster ride with them, we explore issues about self-confidence, depression, suicide, and overcoming adversity. Being an adolescent is no easy feat, and in this chaos of adolescence, the mixture of raw and hard-hitting moments between Ritsuka and Mafuyu will awe viewers. You can check out our review [here].
— ENDS —