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6 of the best LGBTQ+ animes

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Take a step into the colorful and vibrant world of anime, where love has no boundaries and diversity and inclusivity take the spotlight. In the genre of anime—which originated in Japan—LGBTQ+ characters and themes are a mainstay that are the proverbial cherries on top of the already fantastical landscape. 

Funny and romantic, these queer anime gems break free from conventional heterosexual norms and invite you to a world where characters explore their identities and sexualities with curiosity, inclusivity, and relatability. Whether you’re a seasoned anime enthusiast or a newcomer, join us as we dive into the extraordinary universe of LGBTQ+ animes, where every shade of the rainbow isn’t just represented, but celebrated. Here are 7 LGBTQ+ animes you need to watch

Bloom Into You

Bloom Into You belongs to a genre of manga and anime called “yuri” which focuses on intimate relationships between female characters. Bloom Into You follows Yuu, a girl who loves romance stories and love songs, but when a boy confesses his love to her, she doesn’t feel anything. Then, her classmate Touko Nanami catches her eye and the two girls form a bond. Then, Touko confesses that she has feelings for Yuu and if you want to know what happens next, you’ll have to watch this lesbian coming-of-age anime for yourself.

Banana Fish

Banana Fish follows 17-year-old Ash Lynx, a gang leader in New York City who’s haunted by his traumatic past. Set in the mid-1980s, Ash is set on uncovering the truth about “banana fish,” a drug he believes killed his brother. On his journey, Ash meets Eiji Okumura, a Japanese photographer. The two become friends and allies in their pursuit of exposing the dangerous underground NYC drug trade. While Ash and Eiji’s relationship isn’t explicitly sexual, it is certainly ambiguously homoerotic, which is sometimes hotter. 

Stars Align

This coming-of-age anime revolves around a middle school boys’ soft tennis team who needs to retain their status as a club by winning at least one match in the summer tournament. The show goes beyond the sport and is more about each of the characters’ personal lives, identities, struggles, and relationships. Stars Align was lauded for how it handled the character of Asuka Yuu, the team’s manager who discovers that they are non-binary

My Hero Academia

Set in a world where 80% of the human population has superpowers, My Hero Academia is a super popular anime in Japan and the United States. It also has a bunch of LGBTQ+ characters, including Tiger (Yawara Chotaro), a strict and macho trainer who is also a transgender man. Other LGBTQ+ characters include Mineta who is bisexual (whose depiction some people aren’t thrilled by), and Magne, a transgender woman.

Yuri On Ice

This anime is about male figure skaters. It presents a triangular dynamic between figure skater Yuri Katsuki; his idol, Russian figure-skating champion and coach Victor Nikiforov; and an up-and-coming Russian skater Yuri Plisetsky. As Yuri K. and Yuri P. battle it out in the Figure Skating Grand Prix they also explore their own personal and romantic relationships, and the show presents themes of androgyny and gender performance via competitive figure skating. 

Sailor Moon

Yes, Sailor Moon belongs on this list! While the English dub of the show tried to pass off Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune as cousins, fans could tell there was something more between them. And they would be right! In the original (Japanese) version, they were in an open same-sex relationship from their very first appearance. 

Kunzite and Zoisite are villains in the anime and in the original, were portrayed as gay men who were also a couple. But in the English dub, Zoisite was rewritten as a woman, so they were instead presented as a heterosexual couple. 

Paradise Kiss

This anime has generated a cult following and features several openly queer characters, from George who is openly bisexual, to Isabella Yamamoto who is a transgender female. The show follows Yukari, a high school student who befriends a group of fashion design students and models for their clothing label “Paradise Kiss.” Like many coming-of-age shows, Paradise Kiss explores themes of young love, sexuality, and self discovery. The series has been called mature and thoughtful, and a delicate balance between realism and drama.

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