I’ve been wanting to make a GL manga rec list for ages, and I’m glad that I’m finally getting to it.
My favorite genre is unabashed fluff, doubly so when it comes to women-loving women (since I am one myself), so expect to see lots of that on this list!
Organized alphabetically. Manga title links to mangaupdates, OR links to the original webtoon/webcomic, RO links to either
bato.to Dynasty Reader or the scanlator’s website. More manga will be added whenever I think of more.
As always, warnings will be given if there is anything problematic.
Asagao to Kase-san.: The fluffliest GL manga you will ever have the pleasure of reading! Seriously, this manga is so sweet that it gives me a toothache every time I read it! It also gets brownie points for not dragging out the “will-they-won’t-they” bit and getting to the good relationship building bits relatively quickly. The series has been licensed by Seven Seas, and I highly encourage everyone to go out and buy it.
Betsukiss (RO): Betsukiss is one of those manga that in any other demographic would be fairly forgettable fluff, but it manages to hit all my buttons for GL manga. It’s a slice-of-life light romance series masquerading as a vampire one. The art is adorable and the characters are so cute. Not a must read, but certainly a good one if you like fluff.
Collectors (RO): Quite possibly my favorite GL manga. About the domestic, everyday life of two women who have been together since college. Nishi Uko‘s stuff in general is great, and Collectors is wonderful simply because it focuses on actual adults, unlike many GL manga. I’m also a sucker for established relationships overall.
Flag Time (RO): A unique coming-of-age series about two girls, one who can stop time for a few seconds and the girl she has a crush on. Light-hearted, but with some punch behind it. It’s especially noteworthy because, while there’s no smut or ecchi whatsoever, the overarching plot is definitely about the awakening of not only romantic feelings but also sexual ones. It’s rare to see a GL series that doesn’t just stop at fluffy hand-holding, but it also doesn’t go too far and end up super male gaze-y.
It’d be great if you didn’t exist! (OR|DL): A woman finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her, promptly dumps him, then falls in love with the other woman. In other words: my type of webtoon! What I love most is that, contrary to the title, the two women get over the cheating asshole really fast and decide to go out with each other very early on. It’s super refreshing to see a series that knows the blame lies squarely on the dude for cheating and lying and that allows his ex-girlfriend to be legitimately angry without criticism.
Kiss and White Lily for My Dearest Girl: Oh jeez, is Canno‘s art beautiful or what? Honestly, the premise as a whole is fairly paint-by-numbers high school romance drama (slightly bittersweet, but more sweet than bitter), but the art completely elevates this series. The characters are fairly enjoyable too, but there’s so many of them that I have trouble remembering who exactly is who. Still, worth it if you want to see some girls in love. The series has been licensed by Yen Press.
Kono Kutsu Shirimasen ka? (RO): Back before Mizutani Fuka got famous for Love At Fourteen, she wrote this really neat GL collection, of which only two stories have been translated into English. They’re still some of the best GL I’ve ever read, though.
Rakuen no Jouken (RO): I wasn’t really sure which Morishima Akiko manga to recommend, since all of them are sweet in their own right, but this is the first one I’ve ever read from her, so this it shall be! A fluffy short story collection about adult women in love.
Secret of the Princess: Morinaga Milk is probably most well-known for Girl Friends, which I found OK but bland, though it’s a good gateway manga for new GL readers, or so I hear. Secret of the Princess, I found to be much more readable, and it’s still sugary sweet but with one-volume less of unnecessary drama, in my opinion. This one-volume manga has been licensed by Seven Seas. Her Hana & Hina After School (also licensed by Seven Seas!) and Himitsu no Recipe are also worth reading, if you’re into sweet school-life romances.
Sougou Tovarisch (RO): It’s interesting to realize that I haven’t actually read a lot of Arata Iri‘s work, but just her name can make me think “sweet and adorable shoujo-ai”. Tovarisch‘s basic premise starts out a bit like Kiss&Lily (though it’s probably more accurate to say Kiss&Lily starts out like this one, since Tovarisch came first) in that a high-achiever gets knocked off her high horse by a seeming genius. Iri’s work is much more lackadaisical than AnoKiss, though, and her “genius” actually does work hard — they’re just so socially awkward that this fact isn’t often readily apparent. There’s a very distinct lack of drama in tone here, and as such, I find the characters a lot more endearing. My main interest is fluff, after all, and Iri delivers in spades.
Their Story (RO): A slice-of-life romance about two girls falling in love. Sweet and adorable. Note that “她们的故事” was the title back when this one was only a webcomic. In its published form, it’s called SQ从你的名字开始. (It’s a pretty neat book too, artbook-sized.)