Forgive me in advance because I honestly don’t know how I’m supposed to write this post.
There are probably people who are going to criticize my range, but I’ll say it now. I’m writing these posts in order to appeal to what the newer fans would like and also to recommend a bunch of titles (that aren’t necessarily licensed) simply because they deserve to be read. There’s a lot of manga out there. I can’t cover them all, so I’m going to try and cover more ground by talking about the mangaka I really appreciate.
The first BL manga I ever read was “Milk Taste Honey” by Minami Haruka. I should point out that, back then, I had absolutely no idea you could buy BL manga in stores. I had this impression that you couldn’t sell stuff like that at public bookstores. God bless childhood innocence.
That’s why I read everything online and got recs off forums. I had been recommended Yamane Ayano, and Yamato Nase along with Minami Haruka, so that should explain the reason I haven’t read the “wonderful” licensed stuff by Yoshinaga Fumi or Toko Kawai.
(Also, there might be some authors and titles I’ll skip because I’ll be talking about them in my Drama CD post. Sorry.)
If I like a mangaka, I’ll read all the work they have done that I can get my hands on. Minami Haruka was like the Arina Tanemura BL-equivalent to me.
Minami Haruka’s got quite a few english licenses. Namely, My Paranoid Next Door Neighbor, Love a la carte! and Virgin Soil.
She’s fairly well-known for her incredibly attractive bishies (both on the uke and seme side) and sexy/hot sex scenes.
Her stuff tend to be on the light-hearted, typical story side ranging from average high schoolers, business men and yes, she’s done shota.
I can’t list done all of what Minami’s done (since it’s an extremely long list) but I’d seriously recommend checking out Kohitsuji Hokaku Keikaku and Saihate no Kimi e (the only angst-like title of hers).
Takanaga is one of my favorites. Her characters always have diverse personalities and her stories have very interesting premises. Her stuff are also pretty light-hearted and adorable.
A capable man and You will fall in love are two of her manga that have been licensed in English. Though, if you ask me, Takanaga’s un-licensed stuff are much better.
My favorite title from Takanaga would have to be “Bukiyou na Silent” or “Awkward Silence”. I don’t think it’s licensed, but the scans are relatively easy to find. It’s basically your typical high school love story, with a slight twist concerning the uke. As usual, the uke is the cute type, but his little quirk is that his emotions don’t show on his face. Except for his blushing, he always has a blank look on his face. I can only describe it like this “SUPER CUTE!”
I didn’t talk about it, but I’d also recommend checking out Liberty Liberty and Little Butterfly (I think this one is licensed and it’s pretty adorable).
Along with Minami Haruka, she’s the first BL mangaka I came into contact with. Aside Pet on Duty, I don’t know what else is licensed in english. If I had describe her manga in a few words, I’d say “simple situation gone out of whack” … Exaggeration and things thrown out of proportion is Yamato Nase.
But if there’s one reason I had to have Yamato in my list, it’d be for Chintsubu which is one of the funniest, craziest and stupidest thing in BL I’ve ever read. Long story short, it’s about four guys and their dicks. I lost you? Let me explain. In a tragic bus incident, Toride ends up in a coma BUT his spirit starts inhabiting, his crush, Ayase’s penis! Moreover, Kamiya’s penis ends up in, his mortal enemy, Iwabuchi’s body (vice-versa)! Crazy insanities ensue. I’m not kidding. That’s the story. (Chintsubu is short for Chinko no Tsubaki which translates to “The Curse of the Penis” … indeed)
Saa Koi ni Ochitamae and Dear Gentle Papa are two other hilarious titles from her.
The simplicity in Yamimaru’s art is something found in a lot of BL manga, but hers is one of my favorites. Her lines are all smooth and flowy, it adds to that floating feeling you get sometimes when you read a manga with a great plotline. Voice or Noise is the only licensed title of hers that I could find and I’d recommend picking this up because it’s adorable and you get to watch the uke in this grow from a junior high student to an adult.
I also recommend reading Kimi ga Inakerya Iki mo Dekinai or “I can’t even breathe without you” which is about a male shojo mangaka who can’t do anything with the help of his childhood friend. I can’t explain the sheer beauty of this manga without screwing up, so I won’t. It’s one of my personal favs concerning plot.
More bishies. She’s on this list because of Warui Koto Shitai! or, in english, I want to be Naughty. It’s licensed. If you read this one, you’ve also got to read Kirai Janai Kedo … which I don’t think is licensed. Both of these manga feature the same characters and the same theme. The only difference is the pairing. The first title is about a deliquent and the student council president. The second title is about the vice president and another deliquent who happens to be an old friend.
Both manga are light-hearted and adorable as all love comedies should be.
Also known as the person who did Princess Princess which I talked about in my last post. Her art is pretty much on the seme-bishies side. Honestly, I don’t know if she’s got another license besides Princess Princess. Though, I’d recommend reading anything she’s done. I don’t really have anything in particular to suggest. Except maybe Aruji no Oose no Mama ni. She’s done a LOT of doujinshi though. The Gundam SEED ones are one my favorites.
One of the more known BL manga artists out there. She’s one of the more hardcore mangaka and her characters are on the seme side. Pretty much all the work I’ve read from her are the licensed ones so I’ll right out and recommend them all. Namely, Crimson Spell, Ikoku Irokoi Romantan and the Finder series.
Crimson Spell’s got a special place in my heart because it made me like tentacle rape. Though, I’ve got no idea whether that’s a good or bad thing.
(Sad reality? The post I just linked to is the most viewed post in my blog)
Her art is really really girly. It’s really “either you like it, or you hate it”. I think some people would have some problems tolerate her style, but her manga have this vibe to it that not many other manga have. It’s a borderline cross between shoujo and BL. It goes against the principle I have that BL and Shoujo are two completely different worlds but, that’s the thing with Hoshino Lily.
To be honest, I haven’t read much of her, but I’d recommend checking out Hanamuko-san and Hanayome-san. (Hanamuko-san is a sequel of chapter 05 of Hanayome-san). Blue Eyes is another title from hers that’s quite know as well.
It takes two words to describe this mangaka. StudentxTeacher. Her art is pretty distinctive and hard to forget. Or at least, it’s hard to forget the sort of deadly expressions she can make her uke-looking (yet seme) characters wear. Yes, in all her manga, it’s the uke-looking kid who tops.
Her most known title is probably Love Neco which is about a teacher who buys a Love Machine of the internet thinking it’s a girl android … when it turns out to be a male one … who TOPS him. It’s hilarious and straight to the point. Classic yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi.
Revese!? is one of her licensed titles. It’s got the same mood as Love Neco ‘cept that it’s classic StudentxTeacher. I won’t bother naming her other titles, since they are all pretty similiar (studentxteacher+comedy) but if you find them, it’s worth reading.
I don’t much about this one, but her art is pretty awesome. Like Minami Haruka, her characters are all gorgeous bishies (whether they be seme or uke). I think her only licensed title is Clan of the Nakagamis (two volumes) or “Nakagami-ke no Ichizoku” if you will. I seriously recommend this one simply because it’s absolutely crazy and insane in the overly-dramatic sense. It’s a different sort of crack that Chintsubu is. Unfortunately, it’s only two volumes long and doesn’t delve much into the characters, but what you get is worth it anyway.
I’ll also recommend Boku wa Kimi no Tori ni Naritai which is the complete opposite of Nakagami-ke. It’s a beautiful manga about a boy who falls for his sister’s boyfriend. While that sort of plotline can lead to all sorts of nonsense, this manga has a wonderful emotional atmosphere to it.
One of the most realistic mangaka I know. She’s done a lot of manga and a good load of them has been scanlated. I’ve got no idea if she’s got any licensed titles, but I feel like she’s virtually unknown by a lot of BL fans. Her art is similiar to Yamimaru’s in that they both use simple lines and scarce details that make the art seem a little more real.
Her stories are all realistic and touching once you get to the end of it. It’s not exactly angsty/dramatic, but it nears it while still staying on a sort of slice-of-life mood.
She’s got a lot of titles and they’re all relatively easy to find on the internet. I honestly recommend everything she’s done, but my personal recs are Rules, Name of Love and Aisanai Otoko.
Rules is about a high school boy who is confused about his sexuality who ends up meeting another guy in the gay district and sleeps with him. Name of Love has two old high school friends meeting each other again after a long time. And finally, Aisanai Otoko is about a gay man who vows to never fall for a straight guy ever again.
They’re all relatively simple premises, but each one of the Miyamoto’s manga is definitely worth checking out. (If only to see that BL isn’t only no peak, no climax, no point)
Although she is widely known for creating Junjo Romantica, most of Nakamura’s works involve fantasy-like settings, historical-like setting and a lot of kimono. As far as I know, Junjo was the first to have a cute and simple premise.
As much as I like Junjo, Hybrid Child is still my favorite manga from her. It’s one of the saddest titles I’ve ever seen and its drama CD brought me to tears. The manga is licensed and is comprised of many short one-shots that easily interconnect. Each of the stories surround a particular character and their Hybrid Child which is a doll that grows the more its master gives it affection. Despite the sci-fi like setting, Hybrid Child happens in a very historical Japan. Ask me to describe this one and I’ll tell you one word: Beautiful.
There’s another title I want to recommend from Nakamura. Namely, Sekaiichi Hatsukoi. However, the scanlations have barely begun on this one so I’ll be talking about its Drama CD in my next post instead.
Finally, Ouji Yuzuha who is most known for creating Brother. Sersiously? Everyone BL fan has to read this. It’s basically about two brothers who after two separate (but not exactly unrelated) incidents become impotent and blame each other (without saying) for it. They eventually find out that they’re potent for each other though. The younger brother in this one is the seme.
I’ll also recommend Abiru Junjo, Tokyo Shinjuu and Darling. All her manga seem to be a different kind of crazy, but they’re all entertaining. Her art is sort of not-exactly-bishies, but not-exatly-really-manly either.
Okay. I’m done. There were actually a few more mangaka I wanted to cover, but this post is long enough as it is. I’m well aware that my recs were sort of all over the place, but what matters is that all the titles I named are worth checking out.
Since I went by author, I wasn’t able to name some manga I really wanted to recommend.
So, I’ll just name them here. I don’t think anyone wants to read anymore so I’ll just list the titles.
Anata no Tonari ni Suwarasete
Komatta Toki ni wa Hoshi ni Kike! (Shounen-ai)
Only the Ring Finger Knows (Shounen-ai)
Okane Ga Nai
Part One: Anime
Part Two: Manga
Part Three: Drama CDs
Part Four: Novels and Games