Happy Pride Month, everybody!
June is Pride Month, and Pride Month is all about celebrating the way LGBTQ+ people have impacted the world. It’s a time for being true to yourself and shouting (or whispering) your identity to the masses, to give hope to people who don’t feel ready or safe enough to come out just yet. Your voice is important, and we hope that this Pride Month offers you community, affirmation, and a whole lot of rainbows. ;)
Wondering how you can celebrate Pride Month as an anime fan? We’ve compiled a list of six dubbed LGBTQ+ anime for you to watch in the coming weeks. Whether you’re LGBTQ+ or a straight ally, we think you’ll find something to love on this inclusive list.
(Relevant History Fact: June was chosen as Pride Month in honor of the Stonewall riots, which kickstarted the modern gay rights movement.)
Note: Spoilers Ahead…
It’s a tale as old as time: Girl meets boy; boy confesses to girl; girl feels… absolutely nothing whatsoever.
But then girl meets girl, and nothing is ever the same again.
Yuu Koito is a first-year high school student with a problem. Although she’s read a ton of shoujo manga, her heart didn’t skip a single beat when a boy confessed his feelings to her—and that’s what her heart is supposed to do upon receiving a confession, right? It’s in all the manga she’s read!
No manga she’s read could prepare her to meet Touko Nanami, however. Touko is a beautiful member of the student council who has never accepted a love confession. She’s certainly never confessed to anyone, either… until she meets and falls for Yuu.
Touko and Yuu are drawn together immediately, and over the course of Bloom Into You, their relationship develops into a deep bond that encompasses friendship and romance alike. Theirs is the quintessential story of not quite understanding what you’re feeling, but knowing in your bones that you’ve stumbled upon a greater truth about yourself thanks to the person at your side.
Don’t feel like you can’t watch this if you’re not in a relationship like Touko and Yuu’s, though. Theirs is a universally human story of self-discovery and acceptance, and no matter our backgrounds and identities, their journey resonates with all of us.
He might try to run with a gang, but Masahiro Setagawa isn’t too great at being a delinquent. He mostly runs errands for the bullies in his neighborhood, and he goes through life convinced that no one will ever come to his rescue… until Kousuke “Bear Killer” Ohshiba, a man known for taking down local gangs, reappears in his life. Kousuke saves Masahiro from the thugs plaguing his life and declares that he wants to protect him, but as they get to know one another better, their feelings begin to deepen into something neither of them sees coming.
Meanwhile, Kensuke (who happens to be Masahiro’s best friend and Kousuke’s younger brother) unexpectedly reunites with his childhood friend, Asaya Hasekura. Their friendship takes an unexpected turn when Hasekura kisses Kensuke and confesses his feelings to him, changing the nature of their relationship forever.
Hitorijime My Hero follows these four men as they explore their evolving feelings and changing perspectives on life, love and even themselves. None of them expect to fall in love, and each of them discovers that love can manifest in surprising forms and in unforeseen ways. Their issues and emotions occupy the center of the story; these characters are not tools used to push along the narrative, but rather the heart of the narrative itself.
Director David Wald was careful to preserve the emotional resonance of the show when directing the English dub. This series is, at its core, an effort of pure representation, and we are thrilled to present it to you as we celebrate Pride Month.
Cocona is your average schoolgirl. She’s normal. She has friends, and a family, and she’s n o r m a l.
And then a girl with bright orange hair careens into her life on a flying surfboard and whisks her away to the technicolor world of Pure Illusion where they can transform into magical girls and fight beings formed from distilled imagination, and “normal” flies right out the window.
To only describe the surface-level plot is to do the series a disservice, as its central storyline is one told largely in the abstract. The physical worlds to which Cocona and Papika travel are laden with meaning, visual metaphors and surreal references to the psyches of the characters—and at the heart of the allegory lies the relationship between Cocona and Papika.
Papika crashes into Cocona’s life like a lightning bolt, forcing her to consider feelings within herself for the first time. Between vivid action scenes and trippy animation sequences, Cocona must tease apart the nature of her feelings for Papika, all while wrestling with the hurdles thrown at them by Pure Illusion.
As much as FLIP FLAPPERS is a narrative about realizing you’re different, coming out to yourself and accepting a part of yourself you’ve previously denied, this tale is told largely through allegory, trading in subtext and surrealism as much as it does overt yuri imagery. Cocona doesn’t come out and experience a negative reaction from friends and family; she makes her discoveries privately, disconnecting her journey of acceptance from reality in such a way that the series doesn’t feel dark or “heavy” in its representation.
And since Cocona’s journey is told largely through symbolism, you can view her experiences as a metaphor for many other kinds of personal discovery, too. This means FLIP FLAPPERS possesses broad appeal and can suit just about anyone on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Score!
This one’s for our non-binary friends!
In the distant future, sentient gemstones occupy an island in the middle of the vast sea. Their lives are mostly peaceful, but Lunarians (mysterious and silent beings from the moon) often descend to engage the gems in battle, hoping to collect the gems’ shattered bodies to use as decoration. Phos, the youngest of the gems, is extremely brittle, which makes them suited for very few jobs on the gems’ isolated island. But one day Phos encounters Cinnabar, a poisonous gem with a pointless job, and becomes determined to find Cinnabar a new role that will make them happier. Phos sets out on a journey of discovery that fundamentally changes their very self — and their perception of reality as they know it.
You might have noticed that we referred to Cinnabar and Phos using the gender neutral pronouns “they” and “their.” That was very much on purpose. The gems are purposefully genderless, and while most are femme-presenting, it’s refreshing to visit a world in which agender characters are unabashedly given a time to shine in the spotlight.
We can also recommend this to our buddies on the ace spectrum. Sexual relationships play no part in this series, and while intense relationships that could be interpreted as romantic do occur, sex is not a part of the gems’ interpersonal relationships.
It also doesn’t hurt that the series is absolutely gorgeous to look at. Land of the Lustrous completely upped the CG animation game, so even if you’re not LGBTQ+, this title is an absolute must-watch.
Although he comes from a family of superstars, Izumi Sena wants nothing to do with show business after a bad experience on a commercial set as a child actor. He instead wants to be a manga artist, and when the cast of that ill-fated commercial is called back together ten years later, his brother has to lure him there with merch from Izumi’s favorite anime.
Ryouma Ichijo, meanwhile, is eager to come back to the set of that commercial, because he was a child actor on that set, too—and while filming, he fell deeply in love with Izumi’s character.
The problem? Izumi was dressed like a girl at the time, and Ryouma doesn’t know that Izumi is actually a guy.
But don’t let this case of mistaken identity fool you: Love Stage!! is not a show about continued deception since Ryouma quickly learns of Izumi’s true identity. In some stories this would mean the end of a budding romance, but Love Stage!! bucks that expectation. After taking some time to adjust, Ryouma decides that Izumi’s gender just doesn’t matter to him. Love is love, and no matter what Izumi’s gender might be, Ryouma’s feelings remain unchanged.
“Boy or girl,” he says to Izumi, “you are the love of my life.”
[*insert the sound of us sobbing with joy here*]
This series is an example of how love can transcend gender. It doesn’t matter who you are; you are loveable, and you deserve to be loved exactly as you are.
First of all, this show revolves around musical theater. Soooooo…
We’re kidding; not everyone in the community is a fan of musical theater. But even if you’re not a fan of costume changes and characters randomly bursting into song, we think you’ll love the highflying action and surreal theatrical landscape of Revue Starlight — not to mention the characters and their complex relationships.
Revue Starlight is about a troupe of young women who attend a prestigious performing arts school. They occupy a cutthroat world where singing, dancing and acting are the weapons of choice. Perform well enough, and you can cut down the competition and vault to the top of the class, leaving a trail of shattered dreams in your wake.
Or you could just wait ‘til after school, where you can literally cut down your opponents with a sword in a ferocious battle to become the Top Star of the Starlight Revue.
You see, long after the adults have gone to bed, the girls of Revue Starlight can enter the school’s basement and engage in ferocious, dreamlike battles with each other. Sets change around them as they fight, scenery and props and music bringing their innermost thoughts and desires to the forefront, allowing them to express themselves in ways they simply couldn’t during school hours.
And it’s that raw expression that draws us to examine the relationships of the characters in Revue Starlight. How do you reconcile your love for someone when they’re also your biggest competition? What do you do when someone you love forms a bond with someone else? Revue Starlight explores these questions and more as its heroines battle it out to become the Top Star — and, along the way, examine the contents of their hearts and what they feel for one another.
Also, there’s a talking giraffe.
Whether you’re in the mood to attend a local pride parade, join a local outreach group or simply watch some dubbed LGBTQ+ anime with your trusted friends and allies, we hope you have an amazing time as you publicly or privately celebrate Pride Month.
We also hope that one of the above titles is a perfect match for you. Representation has the potential to empower someone who’s struggling, which is why we at Sentai Filmworks make a point of dubbing titles that showcase people of all genders and identities. Representation matters, and we hope that you have the opportunity to see yourself reflected and loved in one of these amazing shows.
That is, after all, what we all deserve: A chance to feel seen, and to be loved and accepted for precisely who we are.
Love these shows? Think we missed an awesome title? Tell us how you’re celebrating Pride Month by following the social media buttons below, and tag @SentaiFilmworks! Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, too!
Mysteria Friends is about two princesses, one human and one dragonborn, who attend a school of the arcane arts. The show chronicles their life at school and their blossoming friendship, setting the progression of their relationship against a backdrop of magic classes, school plays, beach trips and the occasional misunderstanding that all friendships go through at some point.
Anne and Grea are gals who are pals. Gal pals. They’re gals being pals. Just palin’ around. Being gals. Who are pals. And stuff.
Except we’re pretty sure the amount of blushing in this show could power a city block.
If you’re interested in watching an innocent depiction of first and uncertain love, Mysteria Friends perfectly captures that feeling of sweet, tentative romance just on the cusp of blooming. Even though confirmation of their relationship isn’t exactly shown on-screen, we can’t help but think of this title as a lovely little shoujo-ai piece, an emotional depiction of a first crush that, with time, will perhaps evolve into something more. So invest in a dentist-recommended toothbrush, friends, because this show is sweet enough to give you at least six cavities over the course of its 10 English dubbed (or subbed) episodes.
Happy watching, and have a happy Pride Month!