It’s been over half a year since my last one of these. Since then, I’ve seen Gavin from How to Train Your Gavin on Youtube discover that BL is a thing and start diving into it. Seeing that reminded me of my rec post and made me want to start reading more of it again. It’s been a while since I really bought a lot of manga, so this has been fun, and now I have new recommendations for you!
Once again, these all veer more towards shonen-ai than yaoi. None of these series is mature – though I’m reading some of those too, ahem – and the highest rating is OT which is 16+. These are all manga I’ve read myself and enjoyed, so I’d be happy to talk about them if any of you have read them!
My Love Mix-Up – Aruko & Wataru Hinekure
This first manga technically isn’t a BL manga. It’s actually a shoujo. But it makes this list as it does include an M/M relationship at the forefront. This series is entirely adorable so far, and I just had to take this chance to recommend it.
In My Love Mix-Up, we’re following Aoki, who has a crush on the girl who sits next to him, Hashimoto. One day he asks to borrow an eraser from her, and he sees that she’s written the name of another boy, Ida. Obviously, he’s not too happy about that, and when Ida sees it, he thinks Aoki has a crush on him.
Aoki winds up developing feelings for Ida, and it’s just pure mush and humour. I’ve read two volumes of this so far, and have volume 3 on my TBR. I’m curious about the possible het ship in this too, but right now, it’s the boys that are making this series so wonderful. If you’re looking for a cute high-school romance, you really can’t go wrong with this one.
Our Dining Table – Mita Ori
This time we have a standalone manga volume that’s too adorable for words. I’ve been eyeing this one up for a while, and I’m so glad that I finally picked it up. It’s one I think all BL lovers should read as it’s just so sweet. Emotional too, as there were definitely moments that made me tear up.
Salaryman Yutaka is a great cook but can’t eat around other people. All that changes when he meets Minoru and his much-younger brother, Tane. He winds up helping them learn to cook so that Tane can have healthier dishes, and food is better when you share it, right? Soon Yutaka is spending every weekend with the brothers and finds himself falling in love.
My god, this manga was so cute. I loved it so much. I’m a sucker for things when a little kid is involved with an adult’s growing romance. Tane wasn’t actively encouraging, which I usually prefer, but his accidental blocking of it was precious. These men have been through so much, and you see them helping each other move on. For something so short, the story hit all the right notes. This was the perfect sappy manga to read one evening, and I implore you all to read it.
Only The Flower Knows – Rihito Takarai
The way I stumbled upon this one was pretty fun. When I found out that June was still publishing manga, I wanted to see if they have Only the Ring Finger Knows on their site still. They didn’t, but this very similar title kept popping up. The cover was pretty, and the premise intrigued me, so I gave it a go. I’ll be honest, this was probably the manga I enjoyed the least on this list. There does seem to be hints of a past abusive relationship – or maybe not, but it’s the vibes I was getting – and the romance felt a little odd at first. But overall, it was very cute, and I’m planning on continuing it.
Arikawa and Misaki met twice in one day, but they didn’t even learn each other’s names. When their paths cross again due to unusual dreams and a college classmate, they wind up growing closer.
The summary doesn’t give you much on this one, and I don’t want to go into too much detail. But this one was pretty cute. Misaki doesn’t spend a lot of time with others, and it’s nice seeing him come out of his shell slowly. There’s some stuff on flower language, which is always sweet, and I look forward to seeing if that goes any further. I’ve not seen many people talk about this one, but I’m definitely intrigued by it.
My Summer Of You – Nagisa Furuya
A two-volume manga series, this one is so worth your time if you’re looking for a cute romance. It spans two summers, with a few short bonus chapters showing what happened in between. This was cute, funny, emotional and honestly? I’m a little obsessed. I so wish there was more. In the first volume, they’re in high school, but in the second, they’re in university. I kinda wanna see how their summers change as they move further and further into adulthood. In some ways, this series reminded me a little bit of what I loved in Only the Ring Finger Knows, just with less angst.
Saeki and Toda are two high school students who love movies. They spend time watching them together, but otherwise have little else in common. When Saeki confesses his love for Toda, things aren’t supposed to change. All Saeki asks is that they go on a summer pilgrimage together, visiting the spots from one of his favourite movies, but soon Toda realises that maybe he does want things to change.
Thinking about this manga just makes me want to scream with joy. I had such a smile on my face as I read it, and it’s one I’ll definitely be rereading. It was a romantic summer read, and it was everything I needed in a contemporary kinda BL series. If you’re looking for a short BL manga series, I suggest you give this one a go. It also has quite a few colour pages in with pretty art, so it’s worth getting your hands on a physical copy if you can.
BONUS – Hirano and Kagiura – Shou Harusono
I’m counting this one as a bonus as it isn’t technically out yet. The English translation is being released on October 18th 2022, so go preorder a copy. The title format, art style and characters might be familiar if you’re into Sasaki and Miyano. Yes, this is the long-awaited spin-off following Hirano and his underclassman roommate, Kagiura. The hints of their relationship in the original manga were enough for me to want this series, and ahhhh I’m so excited it’s finally going to be out in English. I have volume 1 in Japanese, and it’s one of my prized possessions.
A quick summary is that when Kagiura moved into the school dorms, he thought he was moving in with a bad boy. But when Hirano starts to take care of him, Kagiura can’t help but fall in love.
It’s not much of a summary, but if you’re already reading Sasaki and Miyano then we already know the theories of what’s going on there. This is a must-read series for fans of cutesy BL and it’s going to be amazing. If you’ve not read Sasaki and Miyano, then I think you can still enjoy this. It’s just going to be a lot more fun if you have read the original series.
That’s it for my recs this time. I might try and get another post like this up in the future, but we’ll see how long it takes me!