Lauded by a lot of people as the one BL movie that “saves the Boys’ Love genre”, Doukyuusei, the newest BL anime movie that was released last February, is based on a popular slice-of- life BL manga with the same title by Nakamura Asumiko. While the manga itself is originally a spin-off of Nakamura’s other series titled Sora to Hara, the promotion and release for Doukyuusei was much awaited and enjoyed by a lot of fans, and boy, did it not disappoint!
Kusakabe Hikaru is a high school student who plays guitar for a band, and is helping his classmate Sajou Rihito, the quiet and shy honor student, to prepare for their class’ chorus performance. Somewhere along the way, the two fall into a quiet high school romance, and faces the typical love and life problems that teenagers have together, including unfounded jealousy, possessiveness, uncertainty of the future after graduation, and the notion of separation as their futures seem to be heading to different ways. Doukyuusei offered its audience both the quietness and thrill of falling in love in high school, telling the story of Kusakabe and Sajou in glimpses and slices of their daily lives in almost a dream-like atmosphere and yet close to reality, with gorgeous animation and exceptional directing.
It’s really almost impossible to find a BL anime as great as Doukyuusei even if we go way back, but we’ve come up with six titles that would at least give you similar feelings to what you’d feel when you watch Doukyuusei. Why not give it a try?
Similar Anime to Doukyuusei
1. Sekaiichi Hatsukoi OVA Episode 0
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: March 2011
One of the many anime adaptations of Nakamura Shungiku’s works, Sekaiichi Hatsukoi Episode 0 was the anime’s introduction to Takano and Ritsu’s past—their story in high school, how they fell in love with one another and get together. Sekaiichi Hatsukoi also tells of how the misunderstanding between Takano and Ritsu leads to the break-up that none of them could get over even years after, leading to the awkwardness the audience finds them in Sekaiichi Hatsukoi series. Providing a glimpse to how Takano and Ritsu were in the past and contrasting them to how they are now that they have become adults, this OVA managed to bring a bittersweet feeling that makes you want to root even more for Takano and Ritsu!
As Episode 0 focused more in Takano and Ritsu’s high school days, it also deals with the feeling of uncertainty and being teenagers that you would feel from Doukyuusei. Ritsu’s timid attitude when he was in high school might remind you a little bit of Sajou’s tentativeness. But what makes Episode 0 feels very similar to Doukyuusei is the use of soft colors and the dream-like emotions that it evokes through the storytelling and atmosphere of the work. There’s the same kind of dream-like quality in the scene where Kusakabe finds himself unable to look away from Sajou when he opened the classroom door, with the dreamy, fairy-tale like scene where Takano and Ritsu meets the first time.
2. Love Stage!!
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: July 2014 – September 2014
Adapted from a manga by the popular duo Eiki Eiki and Zaou Taishi, Love Stage!! is a BL romantic comedy that revolves around the son of a very successful, famous actor/actress family, Sena Izumi, who dreams to be a mangaka, and the current heartthrob of an actor, Ichijou Ryouma. The two had worked together on an advertisement when they were kids, in which Izumi had crossdressed as a girl, and at the same time, stolen Ryouma’s heart. Now ten years later and reunited, Ryouma finds out that the ‘girl’ he had fallen for is a boy after all. Hilarity and adorableness ensue as these two dorks realize their feelings for each other.
Compared to Doukyuusei, Love Stage!! showcases Izumi and Ryouma’s story in a much more light-hearted, comical way, and perhaps to some people, more trope-y. One of the elements it shares with Doukyuusei is its simplistic world-view of teenagers who are the characters, and the sweet-cuteness of the couple—almost teeth-rottingly so. Both series are pretty much made of heartwarming fluff and cuteness with the slightest underlying of teenage angst revolving around accepting oneself and people around them. Boasting names such as Eguchi Takuya, Yonaga Tsubasa, Hirakawa Daisuke and none other than one of Japan’s infamous musician DAIGO (who is also Eiki Eiki’s younger brother and the model for Sena Shougo whom he voices here, Love Stage!! is a great watch for a light-hearted marathon.
Love Stage!! PV
3. Tight-rope OVA
- Episodes: 2
- Aired: May 2012 – June 2012
Fans of Natsume Isaku might have been the ones looking forward the most to the anime adaptation of Tight-rope, which was released in two-episode format OVA in 2012. Based on a manga of the same title, Tight-rope tells the story of the heir of a yakuza family, Oohara Ryuunosuke, and his childhood friend and crush, Satoya Naoki. Though incredibly violent and, at a glance, doesn’t seem like someone who thinks about anything at all, Ryuunosuke deals with the expectation of his family and yakuza group who wished for him to take over the oyabun title after his father. What he wants, though, is simply to be happily in a relationship with Naoki—who’s really thinking too much in his own way about how best to handle his and Ryuu’s changing relationship and everyone else’s expectations.
Like Doukyuusei, Tight-rope is perhaps one of the few BL anime adaptations that successfully emulated the mangaka’s artwork atmosphere into its animations. Tight-rope doesn’t give its audience the dreamy, fairy-tale-ish feelings like Doukyuusei, especially because it does incorporate a bit of violence in its storytelling, but like Doukyuusei, it deals with silly misunderstandings between the main characters that stems from how they are thinking about each other and how they want the best for each other. Which is really sweet! Both series also feature relationships between high school boys and showcased the awkwardness and silliness really well. Plus, you’d get to hear both Tachibana Shinnosuke and Suzuki Tatsuhisa being badasses in Tight-rope!
Any Anime Like Doukyuusei?
4. Suki na Mono wa Suki Dakara Shouganai
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2014 – September 2014
Most commonly known by its fans as Sukisho!, this series was adapted into an anime from a BL visual novel developed by Platinum Label. Sukisho! follows the story of a high school boy named Hashiba Sora, whose memories of his past are faulty ever since he fell from the fourth floor of the school building. Soon after he was released from the hospital and gotten back to his dormitory, Sora meets a boy identifying himself as “Ran”, his new roommate, who calls Sora “Yoru”. Except the next day, it turns out that his roommate’s name is actually Fujimori Sunao, who was apparently Sora’s childhood friend that Sora never remembered. With this, Sora begins to unravel the mysteries surrounding his own past, Nao’s relationship with him, and the people behind their tragic past.
Both Doukyuusei and Sukisho! are set in male-only high school, so you get to see silly high school students shenanigans, though Sukisho! does offer more comical and parody-sort of humor. Despite being an older series, the colors and atmosphere of Sukisho!, especially when it comes to the more fluffy, romantic scenes, is actually similar to Doukyuusei, especially as both uses soft colors that gives a fairy tale-like feelings to it. And don’t forget that Sukisho! also listed a lot of big seiyuu in its cast; from Midorikawa Hikaru, Miki Shinichirou, and Hoshi Souichirou, to Ishida Akira and Koyasu Takehito.
5. Kono Danshi, Ningyo Hiroimashita. OVA
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: November 2012
The second installment of Yamamoto Soubi’s Kono Dan Project, Kono Danshi, Ningyou Hiroimashita is basically what the title said: a boy who got his life saved by a merman, picked up said merman home, began living together, and the two fell in love. A simple premise but rather emotional, though: Kawauchi Shima’s beloved grandfather died, leaving him to live alone because his parents had divorced. When Shima accidentally dropped his grandfather’s picture to the ocean and jumped off to save it, he got saved instead by a nameless merman, who promised to stay by his side so he wouldn’t be lonely. Thinking it was all a dream, Shima took the merman home, named him Isaka, and the two began a new life together, and perhaps discovered love somewhere along the way.
If you loved Doukyuusei’s directing style that uses manga-esque panels and styles sometimes, you would definitely love to watch Kono Danshi, Ningyou Hiroimashita’s similar (though with different approach) style. It gives a similar dream-like, fairy tale-ish feeling to the whole story, especially with its beautiful artwork. Isaka’s cheerful flailings and unexpected sensitiveness would also sort of reminds you of Kusakabe, and both Shima and Sajou are the rather awkward high school boys type who are surprisingly honest when it comes down to it. Kono Danshi, Ningyou Hiroimashita was rather fast-paced compared to Doukyuusei, but it doesn’t really take the enjoyment out of the watching experience. Fans of Midorikawa Hikaru and Kaji Yuki should definitely give this title a watch!
6. Hourou Musuko
- Episodes: 11 (12 in BD/DVD)
- Aired: January 2011 – April 2011
This is the only title in this list that is not in the BL category—Hourou Musuko, instead, is lauded as the one series who seriously brings up the issue of gender identity and LGBT struggles. Adapted into anime from Shimura Takako’s manga with the same title, Hourou Musuko tells the story of two first-year students of junior high school: Nitori Shuuichi, who is biologically male but identifies as a girl, and her friend-slash-crush Takatsuki Yoshino, who identifies as a boy but is biologically female. The two struggles as they enter a new school, making new friends and trying to fix old friendships, as well as facing the challenges of puberty and changes of their bodies that they don’t want, relationships, and social acceptance.
Though the series takes upon heavy themes, they are delivered in such a way through slices of the characters’ daily lives and relationships, which is really similar to the way Doukyuusei depicted its story. The pace and overall atmosphere of the two anime are very similar—both are the kind of anime that you’d tear up over without you even realizing it. The use of soft colors and less-dramatic voice acting in both anime are especially prominent. If you’re looking for a story that might move you in a way that Doukyuusei did—or really, if you’re just looking to marathon a good anime—Hourou Musuko is certainly one of the better choices!
Regardless of whether or not you think Doukyuusei “saves the Boys’ Love genre” anime, the movie itself is undeniably good. Doukyuusei doesn’t just offer a story—it offers the audience a sort of journey, and it’s really hard to find BL anime that evokes the same strong emotions like Doukyuusei does. Each title that you saw up there does have their own appeal and are great in their own way, though, so with winter holidays coming just around the corner, when you’re feeling melancholic and romantic and are in the mood for silly, adorable romance between boys, these six titles would be a good idea!
What other anime do you think is similar to Doukyuusei? Or have you watched the six titles we suggested? Let us know in the comments!