Looking at 9 upcoming BL releases from June 2022 and beyond that I find interesting, and maybe you will too!
Without much further ado, let's jump right into it:
First off, none of my picks are in any particular order. At a glance, there's a lot of smut on here. There's a few non-manga titles on here, and there's also some isekai. Like my shoujo/josei roundup, Seven Seas dominates this list. Seven Seas has been on fire with their licenses for the past few years, and they have won this year for me...at least in the licensing department. Company wise? Not so much. (More on that shortly.) Continuing on, most of these titles are completed in their country of origin. There's a few manly man titles on the list. Finally, there's one historical BL that I didn't even know exist before this year and that I am quite looking forward to reading, but before we unpack my picks, let's look at what just missed the cut.
Until I Meet My Husband is an autobiographical novel turned manga about the gay activist Ryousuke Nanasaki's “firsts” as a young man searching for love. Ryousuke's marriage broke ground as it was the first religiously recognized same-sex marriage in Japan. The manga is by Ryousuke Nanasaki with art by Yoshi Tsukizuki. The manga and novel are being released by Seven Seas in June.
Just announced at Anime Central 2022, the oneshot Loved Circus by Nemui Asada will be released in December by Tokyopop. Another straight man in a gay brothel a la Birds of Shangri-la but shorter? Sign me up.
Seven Seas just announced that they are releasing MTXT's The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation manhua in December. Now, I haven't read the first volume of the novel (out now) nor have I seen the live-action adaptation or donghua so I'm not hyped...yet. You can learn more about the release here.
Megumi & Tsugumi by Mitsuru Si will be the second omegaverse title released by SuBLime, and I feel compelled to have all the print omegaverse releases in my collection now. 🙈 The first volume of the series will be released Valentine's Day 2023.
And that's it. The BL pond, especially the print BL pond, is very small, just a corner it feels like. The broader shoujo/josei print market, which includes many BL manga, is at least a street and a corner. Admittedly, I have left out many BL digital releases, which are growing monthly thanks to ShuCream, Animate International, and Kodansha. Doujin publishers like Star Fruit Books and Rotten Blossoms are bringing more our way too. Not to mention the numerous subscription services that are exclusively BL, chief among them Futekiya. Futekiya is releasing 10 titles in May and 7 in June. Perhaps, I'll make another list rounding up notable BL releases at the end of the year. For now, I'll just stick to the series released in both print and digital.
Alright, so let's talk about why I'm looking forward to these upcoming 9 releases.
The (Pet) Detective Agency by Noji
Mystery Romcom (1 volume/complete)
Let's just call 2022, the year of KUMA. They released so many interesting and new titles thus far that I could just make a BL listacle devoted to their works. Also, of all the BL publishers out there, I am most looking forward to getting their releases in print as they have great print quality. All of their releases come with dust jackets too! Besides The (Pet) Detective Agency being a KUMA pub release, I am looking forward to this release because it's a mystery romcom. The story, taken from the pre-order product page on Amazon as KUMA still doesn't have a handy website up, goes like this:
At the Sako Detective Agency works the reliable Rou Nakamura. Despite his rugged looks, intimidating glares and pink hair, animals seem to adore him, making him the perfect candidate for finding lost pets. Rou is also in love with his boss, Detective Fumika Sako. When he isn't helping Fumika out on a case, Rou is always on the lookout for a chance to sneak in a kiss!
The book is scheduled to be released in September.
Love is an Illusion! by Fargo
Romcom (43 chapters + 54 side stories/complete; ?? volumes; manwha/webtoon)
Back in January, Seven Seas announced a new imprint and partnership with the manwha publisher Lehzin. The new imprint is called Webtoons, and Love is an Illusion! is one of three launch titles. Of the new entries, Love is an Illusion! is more of my speed. It's an omegaverse romcom featuring a grumpy, tsundere uke and a mature seme. There is an age-gap with a younger uke and older seme, but they are adults. Be warned, the story features heavy amounts of m-preg (male pregnancy), including birth. Seven Seas describes the story:
Hye-sung spent his entire life believing he was an Alpha, the jackpot of the genetic lottery. But his world is flipped upside down when he finds out he isn’t a dominating Alpha, but a submissive Omega. His frustration is pushed to its limits when he constantly crosses paths with the handsome Dojin, a true Alpha. Dojin supposedly can’t stand Omegas, but his head-butting with Hye-sung results in explosive arguments and unexpected sex. Is this sizzling chemistry truly just their bodies reacting?
Love is an Illusion! is my favorite omegaverse story thus far so I am glad that it is getting special treatment. (I wish Seven Seas treated their workers better than their books.) This webtoon will be printed as an omnibus with b&w pages and color inserts! The story is 100% completed, but I don't know how many volumes will be published. Keeping my fingers crossed that Seven Seas will bring over the spin off—Love is an Illusion! - The Queen!
On or Off by A1
Slice-Of-Life Romcom (4 volumes/complete; 91 chapters; manwha/webtoon)
Jumping from one webtoon published by a problematic company to another, Tokyopop has licensed On or Off for print, and they describe the story:
After joining his friend's startup, university student Ahn Yiyoung never imagined he'd end up presenting their work directly to SJ Corporation, a major company headed by one of the most sought-after talents in the country: Kang Daehyung. It certainly doesn't help that, on top of being a bigshot executive, strikingly handsome Director Kang is his ideal type!
When his presentation fails to go as planned, Yiyoung's desire to impress Director Kang leads him to take desperate measures... and lands him in a whole new mess, tangled up between his personal and professional relationships. How far is Yiyoung willing to go to achieve success in both his love life and his career?
The series was first released by TappyToons, and you can read the first chapter for free! The series is complete at 4 volumes and 91 chapters. According to MangaMoguraRe on Twitter, the artist axed the story back in January 2022 with no further explanation, but the story does have an ending so I still feel it's worth your time and mine. No word from Tokyopop on whether this series will be released in color like its digital counter part, but we'll see.
Barbarities by Tsuta Suzuki
Historical Romance Drama (4 volumes/complete)
Back in February, Seven Seas announced that they will bring all four volumes of this historical romance drama set in Renaissance Europe. They describe the story:
Lord Montague is a powerful figure in the nation, in need of a bodyguard following a threat to his life. Enter Viscount Adam Canning: a dashing blond-haired nobleman who swears to use his combat skills to protect Lord Montague…and woo anyone who catches his fancy while staying at Lord Montague’s estate. When Adam sees Lord Montague’s nephew, Joel, Adam is immediately smitten. But Joel is a serious young man, too busy rooting out crime and corruption to fall for Adam’s charms. Of course, that just makes Adam want him more! Can Joel stay focused on his lofty ideals, or will he fall for the devilishly handsome viscount?
I use to read a boatload of historical drama, and I miss reading historical BL. (Any Gorgeous Carat fans out there?) I'm also looking for a change of pace so I welcome this interesting series with open arms. The first volume will be released next year in January 2023.
The Other World's Books Depend on the Bean Counter by Wakatsu Yatsuki (story) and Kazuki Irodori (art)
Supernatural Fantasy Isekai (3 volumes/ongoing)
The isekai train is still going. We're getting BL isekai now. BL ISEKAI. The first of two on my list comes courtesy of Yen Press. Yen Press describes the story:
Seiichiro’s always pulled his own weight, all day every day, for almost thirty years. Even when he gets stuck in a fantasy world because of some strange Saint-Summoning Ritual, he keeps on keeping on. It isn’t until he meets the Aresh, the Captain of the Knights, that realizes he might possibly want more out of life than his job. Can Seiichiro melt the heart of the infamous Ice Nobleman-or is he destined to be married to his work…forever?!
So a few things got me intrigued. First, it's an adult protagonist and story. Second, I like Ice Princes. Sign me up! Yen Press has been solid so far in their BL releases so I'm willing to give The Other World's Books Depend on the Bean Counter a shot. The first volume will be out in July.
Moon & Sun by Akane Abe
Slice-of-Life Comedy (2 volumes/complete)
"Never judge a book by it's cover," the adage goes, but with covers this gorgeous, can you blame me? Besides the cover, the story about yakuza and cross-dressing caught my attention. SuBLime is publishing the series and describes the story:
A yakuza heir indifferent to the family business butts heads with the stunning proprietress of a nearby drag club. When his yakuza grandfather starts putting on the heat regarding the family business, he runs straight into the arms of the masculine beauty!
The first volume hits store shelves in July.
The Titan's Bride by ITKZ
Fantasy Isekai Romcom (71 Chapters, 4 volumes/ongoing; adult/mature rated)
Here's the second and final isekai title on my list. Hopefully, you have heard of The Titan's Bride by now, but if you haven't, then let me correct that mistake now. The Titan's Bride follows graduating highschool senior Mizuki Kouichi, who is transported via summoning to the kingdom of Titans to become the wife of Prince Caius. Fantasy, romance, and comedy ensue. Lots of sex too! This is a very, very explicit adult title, and Seven Seas will release this physically for the first time in English. The series has been available legally on various digital platforms by the chapter like Coolmic, Juné, and E-Renta. Coolmic holds the digital license so head over there to read the latest chapter. The first volume goes on sale in October, and it will be one of the first BL titles under the new imprint Seven Seas BL.
Additionally, The manga has been turned into an anime, and it has been licensed! Ascendant Animation released two versions of all 9 episodes dubbed and subbed. There's a censored DVD and an uncensored Bluray. (I got the Bluray! 🙈) You can find the anime on RightStuf Anime or Amazon. More info about that here.
Midnight Rain by CTK
Romance Drama (1 volume/complete)
The art and manly gay couple is what attracted me to the oneshot Midnight Rain. SuBLime is publishing this manga, and they describe the story:
Ethan lives a monotonous life trying to pay off his crippling debt—until the day Mike appears at the neighborhood laundromat looking worse for wear. Both men find themselves struggling to go on in different ways, and it’s these struggles that bring them together while simultaneously threatening to tear them apart.
Scrounge up some quarters, and look for this manga on store shelves in December.
Canis: Dear Mr. Hatter by ZAKK
Slice-of-Life Drama (2 volumes/complete)
Last, but not least, I am looking forward to the next installment of the Canis series—Canis: Dear Mr. Hatter. Canis Dear Mr. Hatter is the sequel after Canis: Dear Mr. Rain, in which we are introduced to the hatter Kutsuna Satoru who encounters a half-American kid named Kashiba Ryou and starts a relationship with him. Canis: Dear Mr. Rain is only one volume, and Canis: Dear Mr. Hatter is two volumes. KUMA is publishing this series and describes the second installment:
Business is tough at men's haberdashery Dante. A big sale is coming, and they are extremely understaffed. So after getting chewed out by his staff a broken Satoru heads home to find a stray napping in the rain. Ryou isn't your standard American longhair, though. He is a mysterious nineteen-year-old with charisma, good looks and an air of someone with a past, despite their age. After a meal, a nap and a shower Ryou was ready to model for Satoru. But their contract was for just one day. And the reason why Ryou had to go was he had a meeting with the mafia.
Yep. It's another mafia drama story. Canis: Dear Mr Rain tells the story from Satoru's POV. It looks like we're getting Ryou's POV in this next installment. We'll find out soon in June.
And That's All!
What BL series are you looking forward to? Comment below or yell at me for leaving Killing Stalking off the list on Twitter @ThatMangaHunter.
(Looking for more recs? Check out my shoujo/josei roundup article.)