Hello again everybody! It’s Joe Pascullo here, guest writing once more for my friend Tabrizia’s blog. We’ve just wrapped up Pride Month here in June. But to keep the celebration going, Tabrizia asked me to pen a blog with some LGBTQ titles for all you readers to check out. I was happy to oblige! Fandoms and conventions (remember when we used to attend those!?) for the yaoi (boys’ love) and yuri (girls’ love) genres have exploded in popularity, with many manga fans simply choosing to read only titles within those classifications. Need some recommendations? Try one (or more) of these on for size!
1. Go For It, Nakamura! – Here’s a cool title that was just released in the latter part of the 2010s. Though with its throwback 1980s-esque art style, you’d never believe it! It focuses on Nakamura, a male high schooler who has a big time crush on his classmate, Hirose. Only issue is, Nakamura’s got a super-shy personality, and just can’t figure out the best way to express his feelings to Hirose. I believe the best way to go about it is to listen to the book’s title. Go for it Nakamura!
2. Bloom Into You – While Yuu has always wanted to fall in love via a guy confessing to her, when it actually happens, the experience leaves her underwhelmed, causing her to reject him. Similarly, one of her upperclasswomen, Touko, does the same thing to a male confessor of her own. Upon witnessing this, Yuu goes to Touko to ask for advice, only to get roped into becoming her campaign manager for the upcoming student council president election. Sparks are definitely going to fly between the two. Will Touko be the one who can finally allow Yuu to experience love and romance?
3. Seven Days – Just rereleased last year in a brand new all-in-one omnibus edition, Seven Days is a boys love tale that transpires over a period of…..well….seven days of course! We’ve got the popular Toji, who has a bit of a notorious reputation about him. Many female classmates ask him out Monday, they date for a week, but it never lasts more than that. Toji is always single come Monday, where the cycle begins all over again with someone new. This time though, Toji is asked out by another boy, Yuzuru, who is perpetually bored with life and just does it for the goof. To his surprise though, Toji takes him up on it, and love could be in the air. Will it last more than the usual seven days?
4. A Tropical Fish Yearns For Snow – Konantsu has known nothing besides being a Tokyoite since the day she was born. But now with her father taking a job out of the country, Konantsu’s world is about the flipped upside down, as she has to stay with her aunt now, who lives in a rural town that is nothing like Tokyo. And with her shy personality, she has difficulty making new friends. However, when she lays eyes upon Koyuki, a huge marine life fanatic, she is attracted immediately. Could Koyuki be the one who can get Konantsu and her shy personality to spread her wings a little more?
5. Ten Count – One of the most mature titles on our list for sure, but also one of the most heralded yaoi titles in recent years! Shirotani is a corporate secretary who suffers from major OCD. Looking to get this under control, he turns to a psychotherapist named Kurose, who prescribes him a 10-step treatment program that’ll lead to his curing. However, it’s clear there’s sexual tension between the two, and when Kurose quits as a result of the potential breach-of-ethics, the pair has to decide what’s most important here, a cure for Shirotani’s OCD, or a relationship with one another.
6. Citrus – Citrus sort of got back on the radar of yuri fans this year with its spinoff being released back in February, Citrus Plus. The original Citrus was released here in the States over 10 volumes from 2014 to July of last year. The parents of female high schoolers Yuzu and Mei marry one another, christening the two girls as stepsiblings. There’s just a couple of problems with that. One, Yuzu is super carefree and breezy, while her now stepsister Mei is the school’s student council president who runs a super tight ship. And two, during an argument the two are having thanks to their clashing personalities, Mei out of nowhere up and kisses Yuzu, totally rocking her world. It’s obvious the attraction is there, but with their contrasting makeups, not to mention their new familial situation, will a relationship ever work out?
7. Given – Fresh off a successful run during the summer of 2019 as an anime series, Given’s first manga volume finally came out here in North America this year. Uenoyama is a bit of an odd duck at his high school. First and foremost he was huge into music and basketball back in the day, but has kind of soured on both honestly. He’s finding life pretty boring on the whole, and really the only thing he does look forward to is going up to a secluded stairwell in his school and sleeping his lunch hour away. One day though, Uenoyama discovers on his stairwell is one of his male classmates, Mafuyu, with a guitar that has rusty, breaking strings. Through much teeth pulling, the musically-clueless Mafuyu finally gets Uenoyama to help him with his guitar, and possibly awakens more than just a passion for music within him in the process.
8. How Do We Relationship? – This one’s story & art comes from a mangaka named Tamifull. And while I can’t confirm as to whether or not that’s a play on the medication Tamiflu, it sounds cool all the same! How Do We Relationship features two female leads. One is Miwa, a newly-minted freshman in college, who is very shy and reserved. The other is Saeko, Miwa’s polar opposite who’s loud, brash, and outgoing as can be. But when both gals join a rock band as an afterschool activity, the two get to know one another better, and discover that they’re both interested in dating women, not men as everyone assumes. So the two decide to date one another! But it’s clear right off the bat that the difference in their personalities are going to create a lot of misunderstandings and problems between the two. Will they be able to weather these impending storms?
9. Candy Color Paradox – Great title, without a doubt! Candy Color Paradox introduces us to a journalist named Onoe, who has a good demeanor, and an even better reputation when it comes to his standing at his workplace. However, when he’s been told he’s partnering up with a newbie photographer named Kaburagi, who’s cranky and boorish, it’s clear the two are going to feud, and feud they do. Yet as the book goes on, not only does the story develop, but so does the pair’s relationship with one another. Perhaps there’s more in common between them than originally thought, as opposed to just working for the same publication company.
10. Girl Friends – And our final entry of the day brings us to one of the first yuri titles I ever checked out myself, it’s Girl Friends! In it, we meet a high schooler named Mari, who despite being at the top of her class academically, really doesn’t have any friends. She whittles away the school day’s lunch hours by reading books all by herself. When she’s approached by Akko, a more confident and popular girl within the walls of their school, she at first reacts with caution and skepticism. But as the two get to know each other better, the more they like one another. But when push comes to shove, and the two have to decide whether they want just friendship or a relationship with one another, the wrong choice could end up undoing everything they’ve built together in one fell swoop. What’s a poor girl to do?!