Queer anime gems to celebrate Pride all year long with

June may be over, but we’re still here and still queer.

Queerness has always been present in Japanese media as we know it today – perhaps contrary to popular belief, yaoi and yuri have been incredibly popular genres since the 1950s. These genres, and many others, were spearheaded by fan activity, particularly by communities of enthusiastic young people, particularly women, who created and shared their own queer works with each other.

Some of these pioneering fans were labelled as fujoshi (literally “rotten girl”) and to this day are still often being dismissed for being too vulgar or crude. This is a phenomenon we can find fairly direct parallels for in the UK and US, like in the negative associations that come with girls and women that read and write fanfiction. This articles pays these good folks tribute – without this passionate and enduring group of people (queer and allies alike), I dare say we would not have the mainstream representation we now enjoy today.

So to honour our brave fujoshi and fudanshi comrades, and to bid farewell to this year’s Pride Month, let’s keep the good vibes going with a bespoke selection of queer anime gems.

Stars Align

Stars Align - another queer anime.
Nothing queerer than soft tennis.

If you’re looking for a bit of homoerotic action, you’re almost always going to find it in a sports anime, but Stars Align does you one better by thoughtfully and insightfully subverting the tropes that are often tied to gay and trans characters. It’s also one of the few anime I’ve seen that talks frankly about being nonbinary.

Yuu and Shou are not defined by their gender or sexual preferences, instead being allowed to define themselves and to enjoy the exploration of their identities. I was especially touched by following Yuu’s earnest journey to completely understand themself – it’s always nice to see yourself represented in the media you love. Oh, right, and they play tennis!

Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler

Kakegurui - another queer anime!
It’s important to support women’s rights AND women’s wrongs.

Though I believe it’s important for shows to be explicit about these themes, I also personally cherish shows that feature characters who exist beyond their queerness, whose gender and sexual preferences are important without comprising the entire plot of the show.

Enter Kakegurui. At Hyakkaou Private Academy, children of the Japanese elite blow off their educations to engage in high-octane gambling matches, wagering anything from money to body parts. Most of the gamblers, interestingly, are girls, and can often be seen canoodling in between matches. Protagonist Yumeko Jabami, is openly bisexual, and her friend Mary is canonically a lesbian. We’re even treated to Rei Batsubami, a genderfluid character who is seen rocking feminine, masculine and gender-non-conforming looks.

Are they good and aspirational people? Probably not, no. But they are serving, and that’s the important thing.


It’s subtle, but I still appreciate the diversity of body types shown here.

On the planet of Daikūriku, everyone is born female, but the people of the theocratic nation of Simulacrum are expected to select a permanent sex at the age of 17. The advanced airships that defend Simularum can only be piloted by a pair of young people those that forgo this choice. I think it’s pretty easy to tell where the gayness comes from in this one – both yaoi and yuri abounds, to the delight of bisexuals everywhere.

Though these airship pilots (named sibyllae, after the Greek oracles) are definitively female, there’s a strong case to be made that their refusal to choose a “permanent” gender renders them nonbinary. Enby characters are surprisingly common in anime overall, but hardly often feature in political thrillers, at least as far as I know. There’s nothing quite like this show when it comes to exploring gender in a science-fantasy setting.

Yuri Is My Job!

Yuri is my Job! yet another queer anime!
What a lovely art style!

I’ve always thought of this one as sort of an anti-Ouran High School Host Club. Hime Shiraki is a self-centered young woman who hamstrings herself into covering shifts at a yuri-themed concept café. She is forced to act as a student from the fictional Liebe Girl’s Academy in order to maintain her sweet reputation, but is paired with a girl who is not buying the act.

The character dynamics in this show are nothing short of fascinating, exploring the confusing boundaries between social performance and the genuine self, and also manages to competently satirise the many tropes of yuri fiction.


Given - our last queer anime for today.
Gay people make great music – you can’t dispute that, it’s just a fact.

You may have noticed from the other entries on this list that yuri content seems a lot more common than yaoi – perhaps the former is seen as more socially acceptable than the latter. You’re often hard-pressed to find yaoi that shows explicit homosexual behaviour – even Yuri! On Ice had to censor a kiss between Yuri and Viktor, who could not have more obviously fallen in love with each other.

That’s why anime like Given is important. While the show highlights several very real obstacles that gay men face in Japan, we’re not subjected to a a depressing story, instead following the heartfelt romances of two pairs of young men as they bond over music. It’s a real breath of fresh air in a media landscape that can often downplay or overdramatise the lived experiences of real queer people.

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