It’s not every day that the BL community is blessed with a beautifully animated series. After all, classics like Gravitation are still the face of BL anime, much to my own chagrin. Fortunately, in 2022, Sasaki and Miyano came to save the year with their heartwarming, tooth-achingly sweet story.

Just last month, we were once again treated to a generous dose of comfort with the release of the feature-length Sasaki and Miyano: Graduation. It’s safe to say that this anime might just be carrying the BL anime on its back – assuming, of course, that you’re as enamored with this heartwarming romance as I am. If you’ve already devoured the Sasaki and Miyano manga, and are in search of more content that exudes ‘gag-me-with-a-spoon’ cuteness, as always, we’ve got this covered.

Toradora

Screengrab of Taiga and Ryuji in the "Toradora,"anime
via Crunchyroll

Although not a BL (as many of the entries on this list aren’t), Toradora has long been an absolute undeniable stable for slice-of-life fans. In fact, it was the very first romance anime I’ve ever watched, and to this day, I hold it dear to my heart. It has all the good heartwarming tropes that we see in Sasaki and Miyano, like a budding high school romance and a completely adorable group dynamic among friends. To top it all off, Taiga is one of the best tsundere characters in Shojo.

Given

Given Ue and Mafuyu
via Crunchyroll

Perhaps the perfect side-by-side alternative to Sasaki and Miyano is the BL anime and manga Given. This cute yet heart-wrenching story is absolutely perfect from start to finish. Even though the manga is still ongoing, it is one of the most beloved BL works in the entire genre and it revolves around the story of four high school and university students who come together for their love of music.

Komi Can’t Communicate

Screengrab from the anime "Komi Can't Communicate"
via Netflix

There are plenty of high school anime, so deciding which one to watch shouldn’t be too difficult. However, this also means plenty of bad anime is out there. Thankfully, Komi Can’t Communicate isn’t one of them. Depicting the story of a girl with social anxiety who has difficulty talking, and a boy who is eager to help her achieve her dream of making 100 friends, this anime is like cotton candy on a stick, making it the perfect watch to get a cavity after Sasaki and Miyano.

Gakuen Heaven

Screengrab from the anime "Gakuen Heaven"
via Peacock

If you’re a fan of old-school anime, here’s a great alternative: Gakuen Heaven. While the story doesn’t initially focus on a specific couple, it revolves around Keita Itõ, a student accepted into an elite male-only boarding school. Keita is immediately welcomed by a group of students who take a keen interest in the new addition. In the end, Keita and another character (no spoilers here) find their happily ever after, even amidst all the school drama.

Teasing Master Takagi-San

Edited screengrab from the anime "Teasing Takagi-San"
via Netflix

While Sasaki and Miyano have quite a comedic streak, the story isn’t exactly a riot of laughter. For this reason, Teasing Takagi-San is a brilliant alternative if you’re looking for some good-humored wholesome romance, filled with giggles and pranks. The story revolves around Nishikata’s continuous adventures as he tries to prank Takagi every single day. But here’s the thing, Takagi gets just as much of a kick from teasing Nishikata back in this cat-and-mouse pranking war.

Hitorijime My Hero

Screengrab from the anime "Hitorijime My Hero"
Via Prime Video

So, Hitorijime My Hero stands out from the others on this list. Why? Well, the main couple, Setagawa and Kousuke, are a student and a teacher. Setting aside the moral implications, this anime is well-crafted, and the adorable side couple also faces their relationship hurdles. Despite the differing tropes in the story, it stands as a great BL anime to watch, sharing many similarities with Sasaki and Miyano.

Horimiya

Screengrab from "Horimiya" anime
via Crunchyroll

Horimiya is practically a textbook example of ‘opposites attract’. Similar to Sasaki and Miyano, it follows two high school students who are as different as can be. Hori is the popular girl at school, admired for her looks and intelligence, while Miyamura is somewhat distant from others. With stunning animation, this anime shows the journey of these two students getting to know each other and realizing they have more in common than anyone ever imagined.

The Stranger by the Shore

Movie anime "The Stranger by the shore" also known as "Umibe no Etranger"
via Crunchyroll

I know it’s not an animated series, but it’s still an animated movie, so it definitely counts. The Stranger by the Shore is a film that follows the journey of an openly gay aspiring novelist and an orphaned high school student who meet by the sea and immediately sparks fly. Hindered by their age difference, Mio must return to the mainland to complete his studies, and three years pass. The rest you just have to see for yourself.

Kaguya-Sama: Love is War

Screengrab from Kaguya-Sama Love is War
via Crunchyroll

While it isn’t BL, Kaguya-Sama offers one of the funniest high school romances between two of the most stubborn and competitive characters imaginable: Shirogane, the president of the student council, and Kaguya, the vice president. They’re both absolute geniuses who adamantly refuse to admit their feelings, constantly striving to make the other confess first. It’s a hilarious anime that will be perfect to fill that Sasaki and Miyano void.

Demon King from Today!

Screengrab from "Kyo Kara Maoh," also known as "Demon King From Today"
Via Crunchyroll

If you’re already familiar with Demon King From Today, I know what you’re thinking. This story isn’t in a high school setting, nor is it technically a BL but hear me out: it is very comforting. It tells a story about Yuuri, who is transported to the Demon World and becomes their King. He accidentally proposes to Wolfram by slapping him and insulting his mother, and their story begins full of adventure, comedy, and quite cute moments between the two of them.

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