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12 Best Lesbian Anime That the Industry Has to Offer

by Gloria Louden
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Ah, lesbian anime! It’s one of the most popular anime genres out there. And for a good reason! Having an anime that features one or two LGBTQ+ characters hasn’t been that uncommon in the past couple of decades.

Still, it wasn’t until very recently that anime studios started featuring LGBTQ+ characters that were more than just a sexy fantasy fulfillment and were, in fact, instrumental to the plot.

Most animes that feature lesbian characters belong to the yuri genre. Yuri is a genre of animes and mangas that focuses on the development of romantic and sexual feelings between two (or more) girls. The first yuri manga came out back in 1971, which is when this genre blew up. Today, there’s quite a bit of lesbian animes and mangas to choose from. Here is my list of the twelve best ones.

#1. Sakura Trick

This 2014 gem is a slice of life lesbian anime that follows two best friends — Haruka Takayama and Yuu Sonoda. The two have been inseparable all their lives and are glad to attend the same high school class. Yet, in a cruel twist of fate, the girls, although put in the same class, are assigned seats in two different parts of the classroom. Yuu, being the more outgoing of the two, quickly makes new friends, which leaves Haruka jealous and resentful.

The girls want to prove that their friendship is more substantial and deeper than the fleeting new connections they made. So, they share a passionate kiss. From then on, their relationship progresses into a romance, and the anime follows the two girls while they try to keep their secret.

It’s the Perfect Pick For

Anyone who loves coming of age stories will enjoy Sakura Trick. It’s a lesbian anime that features more than one lesbian couple and depicts their journey through the heteronormative world.

#2. Yuru Yuri (Happy Go Lily)

Another slice of life anime, Yuru Yuri is an adaptation of a popular manga series. It’s also quite comedic in its delivery, as it doesn’t feature any heavy themes or plot. The show follows the lives of four girls in an all-girl school. The all-girl setting is quite heavily featured in the yuri genre, and it’s a trope most lesbian anime enthusiasts love.

The four main characters — Chinatsu Yoshikawa, Kyouko Toshinou, Akari Akaza, and Yui Funami — form the “Amusement Club” after their school disbands the “Tea club” they adored. The show approaches the lesbian theme through a lot of homoerotic humor and features a strong message of girl love.

It’s the Perfect Pick For

Anyone who loves a bit of comic relief with their lesbian anime, and doesn’t mind the lack of realism.

#3. Aoi Hana (Sweet Blue Flowers)

This anime tells a story of two best friends who have been separated in childhood. They reunite in high school and reconnect as the show progresses. Akira Okudaira and Fumi Manjoume, the main protagonists, deal both with their adolescence and moments of self-realization, as well as other hardships of high school together.

It’s the Perfect Pick For

Anyone who’s looking for a more realistic coming of age story. This anime doesn’t deal with frivolous lesbian tropes. Instead, it offers a bold depiction of young, forbidden love.

#4. Yagate Kimi Ni Naru (Bloom Into You)

Another realistic depiction of what it means to be different in a heterosexually driven world, Bloom Into You explores the self-realization journey of Yuu Koito and her subsequent relationship with Touko Nanami. A hopeless romantic, Yuu dreams of falling in love and having the romance of a lifetime. But when a boy approaches her to profess his undying love, she’s shocked and disappointed to find that she feels nothing.

It’s the Perfect Pick For

Those who adore realistic shows about girls falling in love that also have fantastic animation.

#5. Sasameki Koto (Whispered Words)

Whispered Words is a show that features lesbian characters that are already out and in open lesbian relationships. It shies away from the whole “tender self-realization” trope. Instead of following the “oh, Lord, I’m gay” storyline, this anime actually deals with other related problems.

The main character, Sumika Murasame, is hopelessly in love with her best friend, Ushio Kazama. Both are openly lesbian. However, Sumika has trouble confessing her feelings, given that her best friend decidedly has a type of girl she likes.

Unfortunately, Sumika in no way fits that description. She’s not shy, cute, or girly, so she’s trying to make peace with the fact that her relationship with her best friend will never be anything more than platonic.

It’s the Perfect Pick For

Those looking for a lesbian anime that follows already realized lesbian characters. Unrequited love is one of the main themes of Whispered Words. What’s more, the show has quite a few well-developed characters that showcase the whole rainbow of the LGBTQ+ spectrum. So, it’s the perfect pick for anyone looking for a queer show.

#6. Noir

A show that features lesbian characters but isn’t necessarily yuri, Noir focuses more on a strong bond between the two main characters, as well as the plot. Mireille Bouquet and Yuumura Kirika, the two main characters, are both assassins. In the beginning they don’t know each other, and it seems as though they aren’t related in any way. Still, as the show progresses, they discover their connection.

It’s the Perfect Pick For

Those looking for an action-packed show that features lesbian characters, but doesn’t necessarily focus on their sexual orientation.

#7. Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena)

A shoujo genre anime, Revolutionary Girl Utena is a show that is a cross-section between multiple genres. It’s both a yuri and a “magical girl” show, and it follows Utena, a new transfer student at the Ohtori Academy.

Although the viewers have no idea how she got there, or why, they are aware of her main motivation. She dreams of becoming a prince and being a hero, just like the prince who saved her when she was a child. Her gender identity is never in question, though, as she is decidedly a girl, but that doesn’t squash her hopes and dreams.

It’s the Perfect Pick For

Those who love a convoluted plot. It’s quite hard to explain the plot of Revolutionary Girl Utena without giving anything away. You’ll just have to watch it.

#8. Maria-Sama Ga Miteru (The Virgin Mary is Watching You)

A story about yearning and strong, platonic connections that are jeopardized by both life and the ending of high school, The Virgin Mary is Watching You has an intense “will they/won’t they” vibe. It’s set in an all-girl catholic school in Tokyo that has a Big Sister program and follows the “sister” pairings. Although a Class S anime, this show doesn’t just revolve around sexual experimentation. It heavily implies that lesbian relationships forged in high school are long-lasting, rather than being fleeting “phases” in girls’ lives.

It’s the Perfect Pick For

Those looking for “forbidden love” stories.

#9. Golden Mosaic (Kiniro Mosaic)

Kiniro Mosaic focuses on five high schoolers that are all closeted lesbians. The main pairing, Alice and Shinobu Oomiya, met when Shinobu was in Alice’s home country of England. They grew close then and are reunited when Alice comes to Japan thanks to a student exchange program. After the reunion, Alice and Shinobu battle both the differences in their culture and their newly discovered lesbian tendencies.

It’s the Perfect Pick For

Anyone who loves a good reunion story. The show is both cute and angsty, and it allows the viewers to enjoy a coming of age story.

#10. Asagao To Kase-San

A highly romantic anime about two girls who seem like complete opposites, Asagao To Kase-San is an OVA. It’s a single-episode feature that has fabulous animation and exceptional character development. It follows the romantic relationship between Yui Yamada and Tomoka Kase, as well as the challenges the new couple faces after getting together.

It’s the Perfect Pick For

Anyone who’s looking for a short lesbian anime. With only 58 minutes of runtime, Asagao To Kase-San is the perfect feel-good OVA.

#11. Oniisama E (Brother Dear Brother)

A well-rounded show from the 90s, Brother Dear Brother revolves around so much more than just being a lesbian in high school. The show also deals with issues like suicide, class differences, mental health issues, domestic abuse, and other relevant, challenging topics. Some fans find the lack of romance to be quite disappointing, but it offers terrific character development. What’s more, we’re sure you’ll love the in-depth approach that this show provides when it comes to the topic of sexuality.

It’s the Perfect Pick For

Those who enjoy narration stories full of flashbacks that deal with highly relevant topics in a realistic way.

#12. Citrus

A steamy lesbian anime, Citrus follows Yuzu Aihara. She’s a pretty socialite girl who has to overcome and face new realities. After her mother remarries, Yuzu has to face a new school that values academic achievements over good looks. But she also has to deal with a new reality at home — her new step-sister Mei Aihara isn’t the easiest one to communicate with.

The two girls struggle to connect before they share a passionate kiss. From then, their relationship progresses. We see both the romantic and the sexual aspects of the relationship. The steamy scenes are quite vivid and bold, which is why Citrus in among fan-favorites in the genre.

It’s the Perfect Pick For

Those looking for a story that’s romantic, angsty, and sexual. Citrus talks about teenage rebellion, the feeling of not quite fitting in, and developing sexuality. Some might have a difficult time getting over the “step-sister” aspect of the show. But everyone who enjoys lesbian anime will surely love Citrus.

A Few Parting Words

Although there are quite a few lesbian anime out there, these twelve are my top picks. I’m sure that at least some (if not all) of them will strike your fancy. I put more emphasis on the romance and self-realization than overtly sexual scenes that some fans prefer. It was my way of celebrating the refinement of the yuri and Class S genre that’s gained popularity in recent decades.

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/

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