Girls Love (GL) anime, also called Shoujo Ai as well the popular urban word, ‘Yuri’ has been trending under the table far too well. For those who still haven’t got the hint, I’m talking about anime series featuring lesbian relationships. When I say Shoujo Ai, I don’t just mean busted female characters getting on each other fan service. While that might sound like fun for some people, the Shoujo Ai anime that we have compiled here are anime that depict beautiful stories as these characters come steps closer to understanding their sexuality. This list of 20 lesbian anime series is filled with yuri content in different genres.
Shoujo Ai/Yuri anime has a big fan following. These anime are not only wholesome, but they normalize female romantic relationships. A lot of these anime are modified and changed for release in international countries. However, a lot of yuri-traces are left to read between the lines.
The anime genre has a plethora of genres. They exist because each of these genres has its fans. More and more Shoujo Ai anime are created every year. In all these years, here are some of my favorite yuri anime that I would recommend to anime fans. Shoujo Ai does not necessarily focus on CGDCT. To get a wider angle on this beautiful genre, here is a list of 20 Lesbian anime series that everyone will love. There is no order in this list as I think they are all more or less equally good.
1. Bloom Into You
Bloom Into You or Yagate Kimi ni Naru is one of the most underrated anime from 2018. Unlike many Yuri anime created for fan service with delusional adult scenes, Bloom Into You has a relatable plot to people, irrespective of their sexual preference. It gives an in-depth look into finding the meaning of love. If not the best, Bloom Into You is one of the best romantic anime out there that strongly impacts its viewers. It journeys through the self-development of the characters rather than limiting the story to simply the typical teenage puppy love.
The anime was produced under TROYCA studios. It was released in the fall of 2018 and had a total of 13 episodes.
Bloom Into You is about Yuu Koito and her inability to feel love despite being deeply moved by shoujo manga. She is an old-school romantic in her mind and always in search of the fluttering feeling often described in books. Yet, when a boy in her middle school confesses to her, she feels nothing.
After joining a high school, she is instantly impressed by the student council’s president’s skills in rejecting confession. To consult about such matters, Yuu goes to her for advice. Touko Nanami, the council president and the very embodiment of perfection, confesses to Yuu. The story follows Yuu’s search for love in her ways while Touko holds her hand.
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If you find an anime bold because it has yuri content, Citrus exceeds its limits of ‘bold’ by including incest. Citrus has a terribly handled beginning, filled with disturbing content. The anime begins with one of the main characters forcing on the others. Moreover, the incest factor in the anime immediately brings in criticism like the cherry on top. However, the anime is hard to dislike because the anime develops into a beautiful story eventually. The character development is beautifully done, which would immediately make the viewers see why Mei reacts outrageously in the beginning.
Citrus is basically the Domestic Girlfriend of the Shoujo Ai genre. The stories might be different, but they have similar vibes.
The first two episodes might get people triggered, but Citrus proves to be quite a moving anime if given a chance. Despite its flaws, Citrus commits to presenting a heartwarming story of two lovers, irrespective of gender. The anime aired in winter 2018 with 12 episodes and was produced by studio Passione.
Yuzu Aihara has transferred to a new school after her mother remarries. Her aim in this new place is to finally achieve her first kiss. But, her dreams feel far off when she realizes she has been admitted to a strict girls’ school. On the very first day, it grabs the attention of the school council president, Mei. Mei is a rather cold person, but it sends a tingle down Yuzu’s heart as she touches Yuzu’s hand.
More shock awaits back at home when Yuzu comes to know that Mei is her new step-sister. When Yuzu decides to tease her, she is pinned down and kissed by Mei. She notices Mei’s sad eyes as she thinks about her far-longed first kiss. Citrus follows Mei and Yuzu’s story as they overcome their troubles together and come closer.
3. Adachi to Shimamura
There are anime like Citrus that jump into the plot within the first episode. Then, anime like Adachi to Shimamura takes their time to develop and create their ambiance for the plot they are about to lay down. If you enjoy the small moments rather than the big gestures, Adachi to Shimamura is sure to reach your soul. The story develops step by step as we are given insights into the different thoughts of the two protagonists. It is a typical love story between two polar opposite characters made unique by its presentation.
The anime might seem bland on the first look, but so many scenes are filled with minute metaphorical significance. From Tezuka Production, Adachi to Shimamura was released in the Fall of 2020. The anime does justice to drama, romance, and the very concept of a serene GL anime.
Adachi Sakura is shy, socially awkward, and introverted. She is mostly by herself. Shimamura Hougetsu is a social girl with many friends. One fateful day, they meet in the gymnasium. All their differences matter no longer as they grow under each other’s influence.
As they grow closer, they are conflicted about where they must lead this relationship too.
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4. Whispered Words
Whispered Words (Sasameki Koto) is, if anything, not a clichè. On the outline, it may seem like a similar story, but it’s not. Whispered Words walks in wearing a yuri tag, not wanting to meddle in another genre. It takes control of the story and steers it down the lane without wanting to waste more time in other genres. While one character has openly come out to her preference, the other Is a rather shut-in. I loved the brilliantly done portrayal of the relationship between the two characters.
The anime does not stop being surprising till the end. It doesn’t have a sad ending, but the anime just ends somewhat midway. Although, for a majority, it seems like a bad and unsatisfactory cliffhanger, I feel it gives a lot to think about. The ending is not your usual happily ever after. It gives the viewers a chance to fill imagine all the possibilities thereafter. If you think I’ve spoilt the ending of this anime, don’t worry, for this anime is filled with such moments of surprise in every episode.
Ushio Kazuma is a ditzy teenager who is into cute and short girls. She is often rejected too. However, her best friend, Sumika Murasame, is in love with her. But she refuses to tell her since she is tall and athletic, unlike Ushio’s preference. The anime deals with Sumika’s unrequited love. She sometimes gets scared to confess and at the same time has an urge to let her feelings out. When Ushio starts falling for Sumika too, how will this story turn out?
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5. Strawberry Panic!
Strawberry Panic! is a 26 episode long Shoujo Ai anime from Madhouse studio. The anime has some heavy drama. Yet, it keeps the viewers constantly on par with the anime, never leaving them bored. Strawberry Panic! gets interesting from the very first episode. Although the anime does not have a plot coated with terrifying mystery, it has such lovable moments that it gets people hooked.
To make this anime more appealing, the anime has some generous CGDCT moments that are simply adorable. The anime has a wide range of characters and some really good plots attached to them. Moreover, the way the anime tells many stories without entangling in any is one way to deduce that Strawberry Panic! was a great production from Madhouse.
The anime centers around three schools: Miator, Spica, and Lulim, and students who belong to these schools. On the first day of her school, Nagisa Aoi gets lost in the hills. Shizuma Hanazono saved her. Captivated by her beauty, Nagisa faints. When she wakes up, she finds herself in the infirmary with Tamao Suzumi, her new roommate sitting next to her.
Tamao later tells Nagisa about the Etoile, a particularly important person in the school. Although Nagisa is excited at first to know who this person is, she is shocked to see that Shizuma Hanazono is the very Etoile everyone is talking about. Shizuma takes a liking towards Nagisa and makes no effort in hiding it.
6. Princess Principal
Princess Principal is the anime that does not wear the tag of Shoujo Ai but carries the genre with great care. The anime is well packed with action and centers only around female characters. But, even if you don’t look too close, it is not difficult to notice the obvious closeness between the characters on an emotional level. People often think that the anime is only yuri-baiting but, the character chemistry goes beyond just simple fan service.
The anime is one of my favorite action anime. But, if it adds more girls’ love to it, I still feel the same adrenaline rush but with more warmth.
Princess Principal is set in 20th century London. The anime begins with a revolutionary war that ended up in the division of the country into The Kingdom and The Commonwealth. To exact revenge, The Commonwealth fabricates a plan. They decide to replace the Princess with one of their spy, Ange.
The tables turn when the Princess offers to help in return for helping her achieve the throne. The anime follows the story of the spies along with the Princess as they thrive to complete their mission.
7. Riddle Story Of Devil
Also known as Akuma no Riddle, Riddle Story Of Devil is a 2014 anime by studio Diomedea. If the Shoujo Ai content in Princess Principal was not convincing enough, Riddle Story Of Devil is an action-packed GL anime I would highly recommend. The anime offers moments of utmost care, filled with warm fuzzy feelings between the characters. I really enjoyed Riddle Story Of Devil for all the genres it sets out to offer. It is probably not the perfect anime, but it still remains quite intriguing till the end. It gets a bit predictable at times, but the overall quality of the plot is very interesting. The anime had great animation and art style too.
The anime misses out on some points that the manga makes, making the anime way less impactful at times. This is why I would recommend people to catch up with the manga to appreciate the brilliance in the plot.
Out of 13 girls, Haru Ichinose is not an assassin. The other twelve girls enrolled in the school are assassins who have been handed the mission to assassinate Haru in return for a precious prize. The one who succeeds in the assassination will be granted one wish, but they will face expulsion on failure. For reasons unknown, one of the twelve assassins takes a liking towards Haru. Tokaku, the assassin, swears to protect Haru at all costs.
Canaan is indefinitely a great anime. The anime from P.A Works was released in 2009 and ran for 13 episodes. This anime has everything to expect from a good series: a strong female protagonist, an indulging plot, and above all, a good chemistry between the characters. Canaan has a great set of characters that will get you diving deeper into the plot. Be it the villains or the protagonist, Canaan, herself, the creator did a fantastic job.
Unlike mainstream anime with male protagonists, Canaan holds its stand as a brilliant action anime with a female protagonist. Additionally, what makes it an even greater watching experience is the very high-quality animation.
Maria Osawa and Minoru Minorikawa are two reporters investigating in Shanghai, China. They survived the bioterrorism in Shibuya. Maria has been infected with a deadly virus but is saved by her father. When Maria is under attacked by masked assassins, an old friend, Canaan, comes to her rescue.
Yet another anime without any Shoujo Ai tag is Kakegurui. Be it the yandere Midari or the high maintenance secretary, Sayaka, there are traces of GL everywhere. Of course, there is nothing to complain about because it makes the series all the more exciting. Anyone who refuses to categorize Kakegurui as Shoujo-ai probably missed Sayaka’s confession in season two or Midari unmatched obsession with Yumeko. Additionally, all the Mary Saotome and Ririka Momobami moments were too wholesome.
The anime is a production from MAPPA. It has two seasons. The manga, which serves as the source material, is still ongoing.
Jabami Yumeko is a transfer student in a school of elites. Although the school looks normal during the day, it becomes a hub for gambling after school hours. Since many students belong to influential families, learning the art of gambling is a necessity. The student council is run by Kirari Momobami, who has made a distinct rule of settling any dispute through gambling. If a player loses all their fortune in a game, they get ranked as a mike. When Yumeko is transferred, people mistake her for the sweet innocent girl. However, on the gambling grounds, they find her craze for gambling and the obsession of betting it all.
10. Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne no Musume-Tachi
Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi or Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne is supernatural Shoujo Ai anime. The anime has some very bold to fluff scenes that make it one of the highest-rated anime on this list. Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne no Masume-tachi holds a lot of content that is difficult to grasp at first. However, once you get a hold of it, the anime is rather enjoyable. The GL content does not hold back from showing off, but at the same time, it is not ridiculed for the sake of jesting. I love the genuine relationship between the characters rather than just a few shots of fan service.
Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne no Masume-tachi is not meant for everyone. It has graphic scenes that many might find offensive. The anime has so much adult content that it is often identified as smut.
Immortal women exist, and Rin is one of them. These immortal women come to existence after a Time Fruit from a Yggdrasil enters them. Rin is an investigator.
She comes across Maeno Kouki while looking for a cat. Eventually, she realizes that her life might be in danger as she feels the enemy closing in.
11. Happy Sugar Life
An anime of utmost disturbing content, Happy Sugar Life makes it to this list for the very foundation of this anime. While most people might view Happy Sugar Life is a psychological anime, they often forget how the events in the plot go from bad to worse. Unlike most fluff and wholesome content in this list, Happy Sugar Life develops an obsessive and dangerous attachment that Satou forms with a stray girl. The very basis of Happy Sugar Life lies in Shoujo Ai. Satou’s love for Shio is described as love at first sight. Of course, this love leads to events of chaos beyond control.
Shio’s importance in Satou’s life and vice versa have been indicated multiple times. For anyone who loves psychological thrillers but is also in the mood for some Shoujo Ai, Happy Sugar Life is the perfect blend.
Satou is a high school girl who has slept with many boys in her class. However, she has never felt the slightest bit of attachment towards any of them. But, when she comes across Shio, she feels how she’s never felt before. Satou is completely mesmerized by Shio and claims that she has never loved anyone as much as Shio.
However, when people start looking for Shio, Satou is ready for a blood bath to avoid being separated from her.
12. Sakura Trick
Sakura Trick is one of the most highly recommended Shoujo Ai anime. The vast popularity comes from the satisfying fluff and the beautifully executed moments that will send a chill through the spine. The anime has a simple and straightforward plot. It is a light-hearted anime with some amount of comedy. If you are looking for a light anime with a lot of affectionate physical intimacy, Sakura Trick is the anime you need to watch. Although the anime as a whole felt quite adorable, the lack of a plot makes people drop the anime pretty soon.
Sakura Trick starts with quite an enthusiasm, but the similar scenes make it hard to continue.
Haruka and Yuu have been best friends for a long time. When they enter high school, Haruka decides to spend more time with Yuu. But, they are seated far away in the classroom, to her dismay. She gets increasingly jealous as Yuu immediately attracts more and more people towards her.
However, when Yuu kisses Haruka passionately after school, they decide to take their bond a step ahead.
13. Aoi Hana
Shoujo Ai is a highly controversial anime genre. Aoi Hana portrays the very reason why this is so. Unlike the generic Shoujo Ai anime, Aoi Hana is all about reality and the price to pay for trying to be true to oneself. Without a doubt, Aoi Hana is one of the genius plots that need more recognition for its precision with reality. The maturity and the serenity surrounding this anime are utter bliss. Watching this anime becomes more pleasing with the low-lighted animation and the mellowed-down art. It fits with the ambiance that the anime wishes to create.
The anime centers around the struggles of the two protagonists: Fumi Manjoume and Akira Okudaira. They used to be childhood friends but were separated. Fumi and Akira meet years later, but their relationship has changed now. While Fumi wants to grow stronger and not depend on Akira, the latter sought to rebuild its relationship years ago.
YuruYuri is a comedy anime. Although largely shoujo-ai, the anime makes use of it to present hilarious jokes. Yet, the very reason why the anime makes its way to this list that YuruYuri deals with some major issues in society and presents them with humor. It is hard to notice this amidst all the fun, but once you ponder over these matters, there is no way to look away.
YuruYuri centers around girls: Akari Akaza, Yui Funami, Kyouko Toshinou, and Chinatsu Yoshikawa. They join the Amusement club. The series follows the various events that occur between the club members.
15. Maria Sama ga Miteru
Maria Sama ga Miteru is one of the softest Shoujo Ai anime out there. The anime has little to no comedy. This anime emits enigmatic drama. It does a very good job at depicting the soft and beautiful characters. These characters are given a wide range of personality that builds the story from within. The anime has its flaws, but it is overall exceptionally well done.
The anime wastes no time in spending it on baseless fan service. When most Shoujo Ai anime is made for the obscene yuri content, Maria Sama ga Miteru is an anime that guarantees quality investment in the genre.
Yumi Fukuzawa becomes a major topic of hustle at her new school when the beautiful Sachiko Ogasawara asks to be her souer. She is flattered and happy. However, she feels highly concerned about the attention she might end up getting if she accepts Sachiko’s offer. The anime follows Yumi and Sachiko’s blossoming relationship as they get to know each other better.
16. Konohana Kitan
This adorable anime is an adorable anime that will also make you cry. It reaches out to the viewers on an emotional level. Moreover, the anime continuously brings light to positivity. Konohana Kitan is a hidden gem. The show has been extremely underrated since its release back in the fall of 2017.
The anime was produced by Lerche studio. It was a rather short anime with only 12 episodes. The anime is rather simple. Along with a romantic GL story, Konohana Kitan successfully delivers the story of self-development.
The anime is set in the world of spirits. The leading character Yuzu, is a fox girl. She starts working for an inn called Konohanatei. The anime features the various episodes of Yuzu as she wins over her co-worker and customers through her charming nature.
Set in fantasy land, Simoun offers beautiful landscapes and heart-touching romance. The anime captures the heart and fills it with emotions. Simoun makes use of multiple themes and adds them all together. What is commendable about this anime is despite all the chaos that the anime could go through, Simoun stays on its course and delivers with proficiency. Simoun is not your typical CGDCT anime with a lot of sparkle and magic. It rather deals with real-life issues while holding on to the entertainment.
The anime aired back in 2006. Yet, the anime does not fail to influence its viewers considerably.
Simulicram is a place where only females take birth. However, the people can undergo a special ceremony and change the gender if they wish. However, this luxury is off-limits for those who pilot the Simoun. Simoun is flying ships the protect the citizens.
Aer is selected to pilot a Simoun previously belonging to the Chor Tempest. The only problem is that pairs can only pilot the Simoun. Aer needs to win over Neviril. But, Aer faces yet another difficulty as Neviril is still in love with her previous pair, who was lost in battle.
18. Flip Flappers
Flip flappers do not confirm any lesbian content, but it is yet another one of those anime that remain silently GL. The anime is a very interesting sci-fi with some mind-boggling plot twists. Flip Flapper is artistic and enjoyable despite its sophisticated telltale. There is constant energy between Papika and Cocona. Even if the anime is not shoujo-ai at its purest, the honest and very pure bond between these two characters makes it a wholesome watch.
Papika and Cocona meet out of sheer coincidence. But when Papika pulls Cocona into an alternate dimension of illusions, Cocona has no option but to follow Papika. As the first mission, they set out to collect gems. In the next stage, they are sent to a region of Pure Illusion. They are immediately met with a monster. Using the gems, they transform into magic girls. The story follows their journey of getting stronger as they strive to survive.
19. Tonari no Kyuuketsuki san
This anime surprisingly succeeds at combining vampire themes with lesbians. Tonari no Kyuuketsuki san has a cute outlook to it. It has a new viewpoint of vampires, and fans absolutely loved the idea. The anime is filled with moe moments that will make you see how adorable GL can be.
This slice of life comedy anime is sure to be your favorite if you like light anime that can ease your mind.
The anime focuses around Akari Amano, who goes searching for a girl who does not age. Curious after hearing all sorts of rumors, Akari decides to find out the truth but ends up getting lost. A mysterious girl, Sophia Twilight, saves her. However, Akari later finds out that vampires are nothing as dangerous as stories say. Sophia orders for blood online.
Fascinated by Sophia, Akari starts living with her. The anime follows the various events of their laugh after they begin living together.
20. Asagao to Kase san
The spring of 2018 blessed us with one completely mesmerizing anime OVA ever that goes by the name Asegao to Kase san. The OVA is 54 minutes long, and in these 54 minutes, you will go into a trance following its utmost serenity. If there was any complaint, it was only that that anime lasted for a very short time. It plays with the aspects of realism and growth and displays a very genuine lesbian relationship. It is devoid of cliches and easily makes it one of the best Shoujo Ai anime ever created.
Yui Yamada meets tomboyish Tomoka Kase. While Yui is shy and timid with interest in plants, Tomoka is an ace with many friends. They have their differences, but these differences shed their meaning when they are together.
The youthful energy of first love is depicted through two female protagonists whose feelings grow deeper each day for each other.