Welcome to a guide for shoujo ai & yuri manga. This guide is for newcomers to the genre and regular readers looking for what to read next. If you’ve heard of the genre, but weren’t certain if it was for you, then this guide should help you make a decision.
This guide includes all manga with a significant shoujo ai element – it doesn’t have to be pure yuri.
About yuri manga
What you can expect:
- Something different. Even compared to romance manga, yuri focuses on different issues for relationships.
- Doesn’t pretend that girls have no interest in sex.
- Many artists opt for a cute art style to match the young characters, which many may find appealing.
- The worst of the genre is so bad that it’s actually entertaining.
Problems with the genre:
- Half the manga seems to use the same clichéd premise (new girl, new prestigious school, falls for senior, usually an elite.)
- Very little with adult characters, even less when you discount the bad manga.
Recommendations (Japanese titles are in brackets if different from English):
As always, if something sounds good to you, then give it a try, regardless of whether I dislike it.
(Click titles for my review or ‘MAL’ for MyAnimeList database entry.)
For first time readers. These are the best three to start with to see what the genre has to offer. If after these you have no interest, then it is unlikely the genre is for you.
Girl Friends [MAL] – the quintessential yuri manga. About a group of high school girls and love. Great characters and adorable art.
Cirque Arachne [MAL] – the shortest of the best. About an acrobat who falls for her new trapeze partner.
Fragments of Love (Omoi no Kakera) [MAL] – A girl who is into older women explores her sexuality. Confident protagonist about her sexuality.
Asagao to Kase-san [MAL] – a timid with confident paring in high school. Most adorable protagonist. (ongoing)
Blue Friend [MAL] – The story of a kind and honest girl breaking through the armour of a shut in classmate.
Candy [MAL] – A lovestory focusing on Kanon, a tomboyish student at an all-girls school who attracts many love interests although she’s too dense to notice.
Lonely Wolf, Lonely Sheep [MAL] – explores the dark sides of relationships and loneliness.
Murciélago [MAL] – a serial killer is hired to kill criminals the police can’t handle. Dark humour. (ongoing)
Notes from the Garden of Lilies (Zenryaku, Yuri no Sono yori) [MAL] – A humorous story between a loudmouth and a nice girl…suspiciously nice…
Prism [MAL] – Megumi starts high school with the hopes of finding excitement in love. However, the boy, Hikaru, she had a crush on is now a girl. How?
Qualia the Purple (Murasakiiro no Qualia) [MAL] – A girl who sees everyone as robots and can ‘repair’ people is sought by police and criminals alike. Involves quantum science and dimensions.
Strawberry Shake Sweet [MAL] – Sixteen-year-old pop culture idol Julia takes in the new talent Ran as part of her job, but ends up falling for the other girl almost immediately. Slapstick fun and hijinks follow as Julia tries her best to woo Ran but remain a professional idol!
Sweet Guilty Love Bites [MAL] – The stories of four cabaret women and their relationships.
Chatting at the Amber Teahouse (Ameiro Kouchakan Kandan) [MAL] – a group of women work to save a teashop and some even find love.
Citrus [MAL] – A girl has a love-hate relationship with her new strict stepsister.
Flag Time (Fragtime) [MAL] – A girl who can stop time for three minutes a day and her friend who is immune to the power spy on people’s mundane lives.
Flower and Stars (Hana to Hoshi) [MAL] – sports rivals with something more underneath.
Hanjuku Joshi [MAL] – about sexual confidence between two girls. Also has a student teacher relationship on sexual exploration (the better plot line).
Heart-Pounding Excitement at Mononoke Girls’ Academy (Tokimeki Mononoke Jogakkou) [MAL] – a girl accidentally enters a demon school where everyone want to eat her (…in more ways than one).
Husky and Medley (Hasukii x Medoree) [MU] – a girl uses internet forum 2channel to help seduce her classmate.
Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl [MAL] – a boy is turned into a girl after an accident with alien.
Kimi Koi Limit [MAL] – A girl becomes homeless after she cries out the wrong name during sex.
Kisses, Sighs, and Cherry-Blossom Pink (Kuchibiru Tameiki Sakurairo) [MAL] – Two girls who go to different schools try to balance love and studies.
Love Flag Girls [MAL] – a princess joins a female pirate crew to recover her mother’s treasure. Just comedy.
Love DNA XX (Renai Idenshi XX) [MAL] – a virus destroyed the Y chromosome, leaving only women who develop a new system for survival.
Octave [MAL] – A failed idol returns to Tokyo where she meets a ghost composer who seduces her with confidence. Very slow paced.
Pure Water Adolescence (Junsui Adolescence) [MAL] – A student is in love with the school doctor and will do anything to stay with her, not understanding the realities of adulthood.
Shinigami Alice [MAL] – Masaki sees a doll-like girl kill a man with scissors. Now Masaki can’t stop thinking about her, and about finding a way to see her again.
Strawberry Panic [MAL] – Nagisa meets Shizuma on the first day at her prestigious new school and her breath is taken away by her beauty. Light humour, no drama.
The Secret Recipe (Himitsu no Recipe) [MAL] – A girl asks her cooking club president to kiss her to confirm her sexuality. Comedy.
Whispered Words (Sasameki Koto) [MAL] – Kazama has a seemingly endless series of crushes on other girls — specifically, on cute girls. She’s oblivious to the fact that her athletic, sarcastic and distinctly *un*cute friend Sumika is in love with her.
Wife and Wife (Fu-Fu) [MAL] – a slice of life about two women who move in together. Charming.
Brother, Dear Brother (Oniisama e…) [MAL] – one of the oldest in the genre. Too much pandering.
Candy Boy [MAL] – sister complex. Unfortunately lacks substance.
Chirality [MAL] – terminator-style story with gender-bender supernatural character. Useless protagonist.
Epitaph [MAL] – two undertaker girls complete last wishes to pay for rent.
Himegami (Hakodate Youjin Buraichou Himegami) [MAL] – Hyou, a samurai girl fights foreign demons in Japan’s Meiji Era. Action.
Iono-sama Fanatics [MAL] – a queen comes too Japan looking for black-haired women to join her thousand-woman harem.
Gokujyo Drops [MAL] – girl joins sex-crazed dorm as princess’s slave.
Hoshikawa Ginza Yonchoume [MAL] – The story of a home schooled girl and her guardian, which eventually turns intimate.
Miyuki-chan in Wonderland [MAL] – girl dreams about various pop culture settings.
Mousou Honey [MAL] – same as Gokujou Drops without the sex.
Pietà [MAL] – flat characters. Bland.
Shitsuji Shoujo to Ojousama [MAL] – A girl can no longer pay for her expensive tuition, so she agrees to become butler to the most popular and rich girl in school.
Shoujo Holic [MAL] – A girl starts in a Catholic school. A girl there takes a liking to her.
Sky-Coloured Girlfriend (Sorario Girlfriend) [MAL] – a tomboy is forced to play Romeo when she meets the beautiful Juliet.
Tandem Lover [MAL] – About girls falling in love in a mech pilot training school.
Twin Cake [MAL] – woman becomes the manager of her favourite idol. Not much to it.
Flower Flower [MAL] – arranged marriage between princess and cross-dressing princess. (incomplete – cancelled)
Free Soul [MAL] – hideous art. Forced sympathy. Strawmen.
First Love Sisters (Hatsukoi Shimai) [MAL] – bland new girl with senior romance of nonsense drama.
Lemonade [MAL] – most useless story ever.
Love My Life [MAL] – same as Free Soul, just not as bad.
Mare [MAL] – torture sex in high school.
Men & Women wish for a Spring Romance (Haru yo, Koi) [MAL] – a soap opera that never seems to end. The yuri is also over within a volume.
Nijipuri [MAL] – An ordinary girl falls for a high-class girl at her new elite school. As generic as possible.
Shapes of Feelings (Kimochi no Katachi) [MAL] – A girl with a fear of touching girls because she was rejected in the past falls for her senior.
Shitsurakuen [MAL] – boys fight for ownership of girls in school. A girl manages to enter the fights. Worst world-building in manga.
Two and Two (Futari to Futari) [MAL] – swinger smut. Nothing more.
So bad, you must read it to believe it:
Hen Strange Love (Hen) [MAL] – I can’t even begin to describe this. Check the review; too much to list.
My Two Wings (Boku no Futatsu no Tsubasa) [MAL] – A girl with male extras must hide her secret at school while still trying to date. Entertainingly bad.
YuriCam: Yurika’s Campus Life (Yurika no Campus Life) [MAL] – girl survives in school as a gigolo of irresistible pleasure. So silly.
Further manga will be added in future on occasion, should any notable titles arise. If you have any questions or other manga you want me to review for this list, please contact me here or in the comments below.
A special thank you to those of MAL who helped gather the list in my request thread, and to the scanlators who brought many of these titles to English.
Thank you for reading.