BL Manhwa, also known as Boys’ Love or yaoi manga, is a popular genre of manga created for women. It typically features romantic relationships between male characters and is often considered to be a “fanservice” genre due to its focus on the male body. Despite its popularity, BL Manhwa is often dismissed by critics as being shallow and pandering to the male gaze. However, there are many examples of BL Manhwa that are well-written and explore complex themes such as love, and identity. If you’re looking for some good BL Manhwa to read, I’ve compiled a list of the 13 best examples of the genre.
Best BL Manhwa
13. Painter of the Night
This BL manhwa follows the life of Na-kyum, a talented young painter who becomes the object of obsession for Kim Chunho, a powerful nobleman in Joseon-era Korea. Na-kyum paints exquisite portraits of the human form, often including imagery that conservatives find scandalous. After discovering Na-kyum’s work, Kim Chunho uses his influence to keep Na-kyum close to him, becoming captivated by the artist.
Na-kyum finds himself increasingly drawn to Kim Chunho as he navigates the treacherous world of court politics and endures Kim Chunho’s unwanted advances. Despite his fear and revulsion, Na-kyum cannot help but feel a growing attraction to Kim Chunho, leading to a dangerous and forbidden relationship between the two men.
Na-kyum and Kim Chunho’s relationship is threatened by external forces throughout the series, including political rivals, jealous lovers, and family members who disapprove of their taboo relationship. The complex and often painful nature of Na-kyum’s relationship is also compounded by her own personal demons, which include a traumatic past and mental health struggles.
There is a strong theme of power, and desire explored in “Painter of the Night,” It also sheds light on the rigid gender and societal norms of historical Korea and the impact these norms had on the lives of individuals who defied these norms.
12. At the End of the Road
“I want to die!” – With these words in his mind, 18 years old Taemin Yoon wakes up from a vivid dream in which a boy is committing suicide and is hit by a truck. Yoon lives an almost normal life: his parents abandoned him, and he barely keeps his head above water with small jobs. But he just can‘t forget the dream, and in a heedless moment, he, of all people, is struck by the same fate as the boy in his dream. He then wakes up in the hospital, though in a completely different body! He then wakes up in the hospital, though in a completely different body!
Adapting to his new situation and accepting that nothing will ever be the same, Taemin continues to live as Siwoon, hiding behind the excuse that he has lost all of his memories. However, his past life quickly catches up with him when he encounters Han Siwon—his childhood friend—who is nothing like the weak boy he used to be. When Siwoon recognizes that Taemin is inside his body, the events leading up to their ultimate breakup begin to unfold.
Will he be able to return to his former life? And why does his class crush Woojin Min seem to spell trouble?
People who can handle a few emotional jabs should read this BL manhwa. It is filled with a hectic relationship that turns into an inseparable couple. I found myself drawn into the story more and more after each twist and turn, and having it end the way it did felt like having it all.
11. Love Shuttle
Doyun may be a hybrid Omega, but he certainly doesn’t give off that vibe: he’s tall and chiseled, plus everyone believes he’s an Alpha. The worst part? He’s a full-grown adult male who has yet to go into heat until his body decides it’s the time at the most inconvenient moment. Luckily, his work rival Taehan is more than capable of helping him in this challenging circumstance.
As widely accepted rivals, the main characters share a very strong bond from the very beginning, and afterward, as lovers who are hardly able to keep their hands off each other. This book is awesome, especially for the character evolution and plot device, the omegaverse, which makes omegas unable to resist their true love.
10. Here U Are
Despite still feeling the sting of being let down by Lin Xiang after his confession, Yu Yang was soon introduced to Li Huan; an intriguingly closed-off freshman. Although initially grating on each other’s nerves, as they started to share a mutual understanding of one another, they found themselves becoming increasingly closer. Li Huan is always a support system for Yu Yang regardless of the situation and despite this, it may take some time before he comprehends his perfect partner is right in front of him.
9. Heesu in Class 2
Heesu is wholly devoted to Chanyoung, his closest companion and secret romantic inclination. He’s content to offer support to Chanyoung from the background or listen sympathetically as she airs her troubles with boys. He doesn’t worry if the other kids only know him as Chanyoung’s friend. Then one day, Heesu begins hearing his name everywhere he goes – on public transport, in
school corridors, and even over lunch. As it turns out, a rumor is going around that anyone with romantic trouble can look for Heesu in Class 2 and he’ll tell them what to do! In no time at all, the spotlight has shifted to him. But how can he possibly advise others when he himself still struggles with his own emotions?
This BL Manhwa was full of joy and devoid of any unnecessary drama or ridiculous misunderstanding. I had a fantastic time reading, and following Heesu step by step through his day. Lily-nim’s narration did a great job of showing Heesu’s journey from being Chanyeong’s backseat to having meaningful relationships that can make positive impacts in someone else’s life. We can witness how the narrative progresses, as Heesu makes new friends and has heartwarming conversations with them.
8. Killing Stalking
In this novel, Yoon Bum, whose name fits perfectly with awkward, is obsessed with Oh Sangwoo, an attractive and charismatic college student. The obsession is so strong that Bum decides to stalk Sangwoo to figure out where he lives. His curiosity pushes him to invade Sangwoo’s house and discover what… oh you don’t want to know.
This is an intense BL manhwa about two mentally unstable people. There are a lot of intense scenes. However, the characters and story are incredibly well-developed and fascinating. The author paces the plot so suspensefully and frighteningly. You never know who’s going to survive the next panel. It’s a psychological horror with boy’s love elements mixed into it.
7. A Shoulder to Cry On
Adopted when he was young, Taehyun was afraid that his parents would replace him when their only biological child arrived; a series of terrible events caused by Taehyun led to intense criticism from his mother’s family. Struggling to understand and accept himself, Taehyun is now doing his best to find his purpose in life.
Dayeol accidentally knocks over the curtain rod while two guys are fooling around in the nurse’s office. When the nurse enters, Taehyun, who appears devilishly handsome, tells her that Dayeol attempted to make out with him. The rumor spreads and his archery scholarship is in jeopardy. It doesn’t take long for the two of them to begin walking the thin line of BL manhwa of hate and love.
I used to dislike this BL manhwa, at first I thought it was another toxic story trope about two guys who hate each other but slowly start to like each other despite their own issues. To my surprise though, I found the characters had grown significantly throughout the story – until it reached its rushed ending. I felt that it had so much potential, making the result a major letdown for me. That said, this is just my opinion – overall I’d recommend checking it out as long as you finish it. It may surprise you!
6. Jazz For Two
Taeyi is filled with grief from his brother’s passing and finds fleeting moments of comfort when he hears jazz music, the genre his brother used to adore. In a desperate attempt to feel close to him, Taeyi makes his way to their old music room but instead discovers Seheon, the newcomer, at the piano. His disappointment quickly changes to rage as he processes Seheon’s infatuation with his dead brother’s favorite genre. “If I ever catch you playing again,” Taeyi yells, “I’ll make sure it’s your last time.” And with that begins Taeyi and Seheon’s story, as unpredictable and visceral as jazz.
Jazz For Two doesn’t have great art, but it includes jazz tracks from iconic musicians such as Ella Fitzgerald and a host of others. BL manhwa readers should check it out. I was reading while listening to the Jazz songs playing in the background, it really sets the mood and makes it very enjoyable!
5. Under The Green Light
Mathew Rayner is a sculpture student, who lives isolated from the rest of the world, and unexpectedly meets a captivating man named Cheongwoo Jin. He has led a lonely existence of promiscuity, violence, and drugs. Mathew feels a fated connection and offers him to be his model. Contrary to his intentions, their relationship becomes more and more warped. A man who built a wall between himself and the world, and another who looks down on the world, both concealing their true desire.
An interesting action Manhwa with BL characters that takes your breath away. The art style is great and the characters are mysterious but likable.
4. BJ Alex
“BJ Alex” is a BL manhwa about a popular online BJ (broadcast jockey) named Alex who streams his live videos and interacts with his fans. When a new fan named Dong-Gyun begins watching Alex’s videos, he becomes infatuated with the charismatic BJ and starts to develop feelings for him. As Dong-Gyun’s obsession with Alex deepens, the two of them begin to develop a complicated relationship that is both passionate and fraught with tension. Despite their differences and the challenges they face, Alex and Dong-Gyun find themselves drawn to each other in unexpected ways, and must navigate the ups and downs of their relationship while also dealing with the scrutiny and judgment of others.
Generally, the characters are real, a bit extreme, but that’s all in the spirit of fiction. In contrast to what you would expect from a typical BL story, BJ Alex doesn’t have any unnecessary drama, jealous friends, or cliches. Instead, the guys are portrayed as they should be: normal humans who just happen to love each other.
3. Star x Fanboy
Star x Fanboy is a bl manhwa about a famous actor named Joon Park who is adored by his fans for his good looks and talent. Star creates a character bot—a Twitter account that roleplays a person or character. Kim Fanboy is Joon Park’s fan, he starts talking to the chatbot of his favorite character from a tv show called “sweet”. Little does fanboy know that the chatbot is a star himself! They start chatting on Twitter and eventually fanboy goes to a meetup with Star and they fall in love.
Honestly, the plot is so fluffy that it made me feel like it’s been dipped in syrup and coated in sugar! It is such a beautiful story with two lovely characters. This is my comfort Bl manhwa.
2. Cherry Blossoms After Winter
They grew apart after a tragic event brought them together as a family almost a decade ago. Now in their last year of high school, Haebom and Taesung are classmates. Seo Hae Bom was in complete awe of Jo Tae Seong; the seven-year-old boy considered him to possess qualities he lacked—tallness, good looks, worldliness, compassion, and desirability. After losing his parents, the adolescent felt small and undeserving of the kindness shown to him by his adopted family. Things shift when Seo Hae Bom and Jo Tae Seong are placed into the same Korean high school class: no longer a disparity between them, they discover they have much more in common than they ever imagined while spending time together.
I was expecting a lot more, but I am glad it was able to prove itself worthwhile to me and hopefully to other viewers. It is a famous BL Manhwa with a cute love story in high school. I can definitely see the improvement in the idea of the adaptions and stories, as well as the growing attention for Korean BLs.
Soohwa is a college student who starts working part-time at Cafe Goy. Yohan, the cafe’s owner is deaf with a really sexy voice. Yohan offers Soohwa private lessons to learn sign language, but Soohwa is reluctant, not because he doesn’t want to study, but because he has a “hard” time around Yohan.
This BL manhwa is hilarious and endearing. It’s full of unexpected twists, making the story truly one-of-a-kind. Yohan is the epitome of a devoted service top – initially shy, he blossoms as he takes on a more dominant role, providing some rather steamy moments. Soohwa may be a typical blushing brat, but he won’t hesitate to stand up for what’s right and always speaks his mind. His defense of Yohan against bullies and naysayers only adds to his charm.