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Readers' Choice: Yaoi Manga

Best Boys Love and Essential Yaoi Manga as Picked Via Twitter


11. Embracing Love

Embracing Love Vol. 1
© Youka Nitta / Libre Publishing

Author / Artist: Youka Nitta
Japanese Title: Haru wo Daiteita
Publisher: Be Beautiful / Central Park Media
Volumes: 13
US Publication Dates: 2005 - 2007
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Two male actors feel an immediate attraction to each other, but struggle to express how they really feel to each other in Embracing Love.

Originally published by the now-defunct Central Park Media, Embracing Love is unfinished, because of the plagarism scandal that drove Nitta-sensei to cancel her Yaoi-Con 2008 appearance and retire from the manga business.

"Embracing Love (controversy be damned) has the first plot I've read to involve adult film actors, art reflecting life. Men who love men who look and act like men."
- JRW, @togainunochi

12. Red Blinds the Foolish

Red Blinds the Foolish by Est em, a yaoi manga from Deux Press / Aurora Publishing
© est em

Author / Artist: est em
Japanese Title: Oroka-mono wa Aka o Kirau
Publisher: Deux Press / Aurora Publishing
Volumes: 1
US Publication Dates: 2009
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Rafita is a suave and courageous young matador, who sets hearts a-flutter as he risks his life to battle bulls in the ring. But when Rafita meets and falls for Mauro the butcher, Rafita finds himself feeling dangerous doubts for the first time.

"Est Em makes yaoi harsh, awkward, and far from pretty, but her palpable emotions, flawed characters & striking art elevate the genre."
- Robin Brenner, @nfntrobin

13. Gerard & Jacques

Gerard and Jacques Vol. 1
© Fumi Yoshinaga

Author / Artist: Fumi Yoshinaga
Japanese Title: Jeraado to Jyakku
Publisher: BLU Manga / TokyoPop
Volumes: 2
US Publication Dates: 2007
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Set in the days prior to the French Revolution, Gerard and Jacques is the unlikely love story between a commoner named Gerard and a young nobleman named Jacques who has been sold into a life of prostitution.

"Gerard & Jacques isn't Fumi's best, but it's the only French Revolution yaoi available in English. It's worth checking out."
- Erin Finnegan, @erinf

"Despite the awkward premise, Gerard and Jacques is a sweet and sexy story in only two volumes. Also features period clothing!"
- Adele, @lotuscarpet

14. Crimson Spell

Crimson Spell Vol. 1
© Ayano Yamane

Author / Artist: Ayano Yamane
Japanese Title: Kurimuson Superu
Publisher: Kitty Media / Media Blasters
Volumes: 2
US Publication Dates: 2007
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A prince is cursed by a magical sword that turns him into a beast by night, so he sets off on a quest, with a handsome magician in tow, to break the curse. What the prince doesn't know is how the magician tames his savage monster companion at night.

"SWGM wizard seeking demon in bed, prince by day; magical bunnies need not apply. (curses lifted, add'l charge. The Crimson Spell offers fantasy BL with both funny and dark moments, adventurous, sexy, full of the gorgeous men of Yamane Ayano."
- Shelley L.R., @Shelly_LR

15. Age Called Blue

Age Called Blue
© 2008 est em

Author / Artist: est em
Japanese Title: Eiji Koorudo Buruu
Publisher: NETComics
Volumes: 1
US Publication Dates: 2009
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Billy and Nick have been friends for years. Their shared love for music brings them closer together as they play in a band, even as Billy's unspoken passion for Nick smolders. But trouble brews when Billy's bandmates beg him to kick out the gifted, troubled, and rarely-reliable Nick.

"Age Called Blue is est em at her most romantic, without losing any of the gritty realism that makes her so unique."
- Melinda Beasi, @mbeasi

16. Brother

Brother Vol. 1
© Yuzuha Ougi

Author / Artist: Yuzuha Ougi
Japanese Title: BROTHER
Publisher: Drama Queen
Volumes: 2
US Publication Dates: 2005
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Two step-brothers are practically best friends, until a tragic accident forces them apart. Now it's years later, and the two are reunited. Will their relationship continue to be purely brotherly?

"Brother is hilarious, explicit and sexy! How often can you get all three in one book, uncensored?"
- Erin Finnegan, @erinf

"Icky concept saved by hilarious uncensored appendages, icky and hilarious sound effects. *sproing*"
- SafetyGirl, @safetygirl0

17. Alley of First Love

Alley of First Love
© Ellie Mamahara

Author / Artist: Ellie Mamahara
Japanese Title: Hatsukoi Yokochou
Publisher: BLU Manga / TokyoPop
Volumes: 1
US Publication Dates: 2008
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Shusuke and Atsushi have been friends since childhood. All the while, Shusuke has had an unspoken crush on his pal -- that is, until Atsushi went away to the U.S. for college. Now it's a few years later, and Shusuke finds out that Atsushi is back in town. Will Shusuke find the nerve to tell his old friend how he feels?

"With so many younger readers of BL, it's great to be able to recommend a satisfying story that ends with a kiss and a fade-to-black. Sweet, funny, and the romance will make your heart flip."
- Eva Volin, @funnypages

18. Antique Bakery

Antique Bakery Volume 1 by Fumi Yoshinaga, Digital Manga Publishing
&;copy; Fumi Yoshinaga

Author / Artist: Fumi Yoshinaga
Japanese Title: Seiyou Kottou Yougashiten
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing
Volumes: 4
US Publication Dates: 2005 - 2006
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Tachibana is a scruffy-around-the-edges guy who decides to open a fancy pastry shop. To his surprise, the pastry chef he ends up hiring is Ono, an old high school acquaintance. Tachibana once turned down Ono's advances while they were teens, but now Ono is a "gay of demonic charm" who drives gay and straight men to distraction.

While Yoshinaga-sensei doesn't consider it to be a yaoi title, Antique Bakery has enough guy-on-guy sexual tension to make it a delicious intro to the genre.

"The pastries are beautiful -- the men more so?"
- Jake Forbes, @Retrn2Labyrinth

19. Brilliant Blue

Brilliant Blue Vol. 1
© Saemi Yorita

Author / Artist: Saemi Yorita
Japanese Title: Buririanto BLUE
Publisher: Doki Doki / Digital Manga Publishing
Volumes: 2
US Publication Dates: 2009
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Shozo returns to his hometown to help out at the family engineering firm while his father is on the mend. To his surprise, his once spacey and chubby classmate Nanami is now a pretty (but still spacey) boy who does electrical work for Shozo's company. But sadly, Nanami's sweet and innocent nature make him easy prey for a variety of sexual predators, a situation that tugs at Shozo's heartstrings, and much more.

"Charming, adorable, and amusing -- well-suited to younger readers."
- Michelle Smith, @swanjun

20. Cain

Cain Vol. 1
© Le Peruggine

Author / Artist: Le Peruggine
Publisher: Yaoi Press
Volumes: 3
US Publication Dates: 2007
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Set in medieval Italy, Cain is the tale of "Cain the Dark, a warrior feared and revered for his uncommon courage and ferocity on the battlefield. But could it be that a street urchin could steal his armored heart?

"Cain is an awesome read, and a non-rape yaoi series. Also, it's fairly short so easy to read."
- Tiamat's Disciple, @Tiamats_Reviews

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