BL Library | 2023 Favorites

Hi! Welcome back to my site. More importantly, welcome to my BL library. I am your BL librarian.

Today, to ring in the new year, we will be going through my library's archives and finding all of my favorite BL reads over the past year, 2023. These are what I have read and reviewed over the year, not what came out that year. I've split it between the various forms of BL, such as manhwa, manga, novels, and others when applicable, and I've linked them below so you can navigate to your preferred format:


One last thing: throughout this post, I have linked each entry with the full review, so if you want more information, you can check those out. With all that being said, let's get started.


Aporia by Seontae

This is a consensual BDSM feast. It has a unique art style that not everyone is going to like. More than anything, the style befits the gritty storyline that focuses on consent, freedom of self and expression, and maybe, most importantly, the dark feelings of love, romance, and possession. This is a psychological smutfest that I think everyone who can handle the dark subject matter should give a shot.

The Warehouse by Killa+Whale

If Aporia was a consensual BDSM feast, this is the exact opposite. Still a BDSM feast, but with confinement and rape at its core. If that didn't make it clear enough, this is very, very dark, and I am a night owl. This is predominately black-and-white, which is rather unique to the full-color medium that is manhwa. But this isn't just an aesthetic choice, but one packed with meaning. Every choice in this series feels carefully hand-picked to create a cohesive and impactful story. This is not meant to be sexy, at least not to me. The sexual content is as grim and painful as the overall story, but that content, just as with every other narrative and aesthetic choice, has meaning, and I appreciate it.

My X Report by Golden Egg

This is a good old comedy with lots of meta-humor to go along with the smut. The art is very, very clean and equally as consistent, which is always a huge win for me – a self-admitted art snob for the most part. Is it the funniest thing I've read? No, but it's got just enough of that humor to make it an actual comedy, which is rarer than you might think. This is lighthearted and smutty, both things my dark heart appreciates.

December Rain by Kimon

This is another one where story trumps art for me, and if you like A Home Far Away story-wise from the manga section, you'll love this. This is also one where the side story following the main story makes this. If that hadn't been added, I don't think this would have been nearly as successful, but thankfully, it was, and we get a happy ending for what is a heartrending, painful story for the majority of the time. I would most certainly characterize the main story as a romantic tragedy, though, so if you aren't looking for something that will hurt your feelings, stay far, far away. I promise it is worth the tears in the end.

Love for Sale by Dal HyeonJi

To me, putting this on my isn't enough to express how much I adore this manhwa. This is a perfect expression of selfless love for what began as a very selfish transactional relationship. There is a very clear power balance between our two characters, with the power being largely in favor of our older and richer top, but over the course of the series, it strays away from transactional into an emotional one that is reliant on the emotional growth of not only our main character and bottom but the top as well. Not to mention, the power ends up in our young and poor main character's hands, not in anything tangible, but emotional, which I love. Power shifts are the best. There is a really great push-and-pull feel to this story that gives it so much meaning that I could go on and on about it. One post wasn't enough. This post isn't enough… I don't know that I'll ever be able to express how much I adore this manhwa. I highly recommend it.

Surge Towards You by Cheongyeon

This certainly wouldn't be my list if there wasn't some omegaverse on here, and this is a stellar one. It has all of my favorite elements of the genre, like male pregnancy and child-rearing. Not to mention, the art is absolutely stunning. My only disappointment is that it didn't go on forever. I would happily read more from this world, and it was worth every penny I spent. If you haven't given omegaverse a try, this is a great one to wet your feet with.

DEAR. DOOR by Pluto

If you haven't seen or heard of this title, then now is the time to get acquainted. This title comes in all ages, mature, and mature uncensored variants and appears in one form or more on most major manhwa platforms. If that doesn't tell you how popular this is, I don't know what will. Of course, popularity does not equate to quality, but I will readily admit that I think this is deserving of its popularity. This is a long-running title with enough smut to satisfy even the most degenerate person. We've got man tiddies, gay marriage, babies, angels, demons, war, death, rebirth, historical, BDSM, and so much more. There's something in here for everyone, and it's one of the best fantasy/supernatural BL manhwa out there.

Pian Pian by HAESIN

This was my first introduction to nameverse, and boy, is it a great one to be introduced to it. I'm a lover of some good ahegao faces, and our bottom, Suha, has some of the absolute best in BL manhwa. It also has a very lovely belief in the meaning of names and when a name gains meaning, which is one of the most beautiful revelations I've seen in fiction to date. I think this is worth reading just for that. As if the nameverse wasn't enough of a treat, there is an alternate universe side story that takes place in the omegaverse, which is just everything I could've wanted and more.

PAID by Fujoking

As their name suggests, Fujoking is the king of fujo content. The art in this is pretty close to pristine. Everyone, for the most part, is exceedingly handsome and beautiful. Truly a feast for the eyes. This isn't just about a bunch of pretty faces, though. The story for this particular title is very well done. It has humor and sorrow in equal measure (dumpling still makes me cackle), and there are reveals that highlight the complexity of the character's motivations and how their choices are equally justified as they are misguided. It's a story I could talk about in-depth over and over again, and I would never tire of it. This is peak Fujoking, and if you need a title to give a try from them, this would be the one.

Unintentional Love Story by PIBI

I would be remiss if I didn't bring up anything from PIBI, especially this title. This is smut-free until the side stories, and as a degenerate, admittedly, that puts it at a disadvantage, and yet it is still on my favorites. Let me tell you why. This is peak art for this creator, and there are many panels I still think about even after having initially read this almost a year ago. If you haven't tried anything from PIBI yet, I implore you to give this one a shot. But beyond the art, the story in this is what really makes it shine. A lot of BL is fantastical or overly dramatic in order to create tension and story. This is very much down-to-earth and simplistic but very real, and that's what I appreciate most about it. It feels so much more relatable than most romance manhwa out there, and, as a result, the emotions feel so much more raw and real. I love it.

I Have a Boyfriend by PIBI

I debated putting this one on here, seeing as I literally just mentioned another of PIBI's work, but I'd be lying if I said this wasn't right up there with the previous title. Now, art-wise, I don't think this is as good, but it's still great. There's nothing about this that would turn me away. Story-wise, this is just as good. It, too, has that down-to-earth, realistic quality I loved about the previous title, except set in college, which is actually one of my preferences. I am a huge fan of college-based stories. It's that awkward time of transition between teenhood and adulthood, and naturally, that brings with it all kinds of relatable tension understood and relatable to most of us. Granted, this does have some dramatized elements, but it's still very raw and real, which I particularly love about PIBI's work.

Gold Gray by Lee Green

This is a predominantly black and white omegaverse, and it is stunning. It does use color, oftentimes in the eyes, or to symbolize pheromones, and I just adore that decision. It really emphasizes the emotions of a scene. Admittedly, I am biased toward stories in the omegaverse (I mean, I've written my own series in it), but what makes this one so special is the unique way it sets up the universe. Our main character, Rain, is the last omega, they all having died out due to a pandemic. In order to keep omegas going so the remaining alphas can continue to give birth to high-grade alphas, omegas are genetically engineered and grown until the sole lab this occurs in is destroyed. That is such a fun sci-fi-style setup and is a very refreshing take. What isn't so refreshing, but I'm a sucker for all the same, is our red flag alpha top who wants Rain simply because he's an omega, only to fall in love with him for more than that. This is super unique but still has some of my favorite omegaverse elements, such as male pregnancy and child-rearing, and it's one that I have to recommend to anyone who likes omegaverse.

Intense by Kyungha Yi

This might be one of my favorite manhwa of all time, and it might have even been the first manhwa I ever read before I even knew what manhwa was, so I might be a little biased here. Still, it has a very gritty and sketchy art style, very befitting of the story, which is equally as gritty as well as dark. Both of our main characters are men of few words, so a majority of their interactions happen in complete silence. So, every facial expression and motion is integral in understanding their feelings and budding relationship. What makes this particularly special, though, is how this shows the struggle and pain, even after these two have gotten together, something that really brought this story back to reality. I adore it.

Welcome to the Café of Love by Churrr

Now, this isn't going to be the prettiest thing on my list. It's very sketchy and cartoony, things that don't always line up with my preferences, but this one really scratches an itch for me. The story is equally comedic as it is dark and gritty, and the cartoony style does a really good job of expressing both. The style is very down-to-earth, and I think that is what really helps express those tones. Beyond the art, the story is also pretty fun. Our main character is an incubus, and in order to feed, he uses a power that makes his prey see the person they are attracted to. This sets up an adorable want for him, that being that he wants to find someone who sees him for who he is. On the other end, we have our male lead, who is very much the cold storm cloud but who secretly longs to connect with someone. This is a good old “opposites attract” with two individuals that fit together like two pieces of a puzzle. I love it.

The Unquenchable Mr. Kim by MORAK

This could probably be considered a BL manhwa classic, and there's a reason for that. MORAK's art is godly, particularly in the eyes, which are striking beyond belief. And the smut is some of the prettiest you will ever see. Even after all of the BL smut I've read since reading this, I still find myself coming back to read this one. I wouldn't say the story in this is anything revolutionary, but as I said, this is a classic, and the story is strong enough paired with the stunning art that it can easily be called a favorite.


The Man in the Mirror by Eight Hisamatsu

This was one of my favorite palate cleansers of the year. I am a degenerate by nature, and I typically love a smutfest above all else. While this does have a sex scene, that's really it. It's still sensual and erotic throughout, but the focus is much more on the relationship between our main characters and their growth as individuals. If a powerful emotional tie is what you're looking for, there isn't much stronger than the one the couple in this title has. Much like the flowers our main character handles, their relationship takes its time, growing and growing until it beautifully blooms. For those who prefer something softer, this is a win.

Married to the Dragon God by Shogo Ikegami

We live for cyclical narratives here, and this is a really, really good one. While the relationship is transactional in nature, it develops over the course of years, which is piecemealed to us as we traverse the present, adding meaning to each and every moment the couple shares. Regret colors the narrative, tainting every interaction with melancholy, and there is plenty of suffering to be seen as we learn how it felt to grow up as a servant, orphan, and illegitimate child in your father's compound. But all that pain and suffering culminates in a romantic sacrifice that ultimately allows our two main characters to live more freely than they ever did as a god and his bride.

My Dearest Cop by Niyama

This is by far one of my favorite BL manga in existence. It's actually a spin-off that, in my opinion, far exceeds the first in romance and story. Granted, this has much more time to establish characters and develop a storyline, but it's still better. This series would be nothing without the main character, my dearest former cop, Seiji. He's the chill, middle-aged uke, and I adore him. The next best character would be his pet cat… and then Shin, but really, all of them are great in their own way. If you haven't read this wholesome series, you are missing out on some of the best BL manga has to offer.

A Home Far Away by Teki Yatsuda

If you liked December Rain from the manhwa section, you will love this. But before I mention the reasons for that, the art in this is absolutely stunning. It's insanely detailed to the point you can count characters' eyelashes. I would happily hang many of the panels on my wall. On the story front, this is traumatic in the best way. It's painful and raw in its unyielding depictions of cruelty. Having something so beautiful illustrating such ugliness makes my stomach turn, and it's because of that power that I love this so much. Of course, this isn't for the faint of heart, but if you really want to feel something, this is the one to read. It will make you feel some of the highest of highs as well as the lowest of the lows, leaving you breathless by the end.

Saving My Favorite For Last by Tsutako Tsurusawa

This is like omegaverse without the omegaverse, and since I love omegaverse so much, I was destined to like this. It has male pregnancy, pheromones, lots of smut, child-rearing, and multi-generational storylines that span beyond this first entry. It's the catboy-verse version of omegaverse, and I'm here for it. Now, I do need to mention that not every entry is a favorite. As with every long-running series of spin-offs, it ebbs and flows with highs and lows, but this first entry is stellar, and there are some following it that I love equally. But if you don't read any other entry, give this one a try, at least. Unfortunately, a very common issue with some of my faves lies in the extra stories tacked on at the end. The very last story in this is not at all a fave, so keep that in mind if you do check this one out.

My Beloved North Star by Ayu Sakumoto

I've read a few things by Ayu Sakumoto, but this one is one of my favorites, one reason being the growth in their art. This is stunning. But more than the art, I adore the story. It's another one that isn't heavy in smut and focuses instead on the platonic and emotional relationship. More importantly, it puts a lot of focus on our retriever-like top, who has a much more painful and tough background than one might expect from his disposition. This isn't anything revolutionary, nor is it particularly refreshing, but its perfection in its simplicity is why it's a favorite.

Mr. Mini Mart by Junko

I absolutely adore this title. Junko's art wasn't my favorite in the world, having read Kiss Him, Not Me first, but I actually found that I preferred the older style in this. It isn't perfect by any stretch, but it fell much more in line with my tastes than Kiss Him, Not Me, which is already a win. However, where Junko kills it in both titles is their ability in storytelling, and this is no exception. It's full of hope, pain, love, and growth. It's got everything one could want in a high school-age romance. Now, while this is a favorite, I have to say that there is an extra story at the end that I don't like. It's not connected to the main story, but I did want to mention it for the sake of clarity.

Snow Fairy by Tomo Serizawa

Even as a degenerate, I love me some shounen ai, and this is one of the best out there. The work is stunning, which is always a win for me, but where this really shines is in the story. Particularly, in the emotional growth of our main character from someone traumatized by the loss of his parents, learning and growing to trust someone and open his heart to loving unconditionally once more. It's simple and sweet, and even with the melancholy elements, it has some very fluffy and funny moments that help sweeten up some of the bitterness. I love this, and I truly feel you'll be missing out if you don't check it out for yourself.

Golden Sparkle by Suzumaru Minta

Suzumaru Minta is a beast when it comes to their short form BL, and Golden Sparkle has to be my favorite title they've had licensed in English thus far. The artwork is stunning. What more is there to say? This starts off with a major power imbalance when it comes to the sexual experience in the couple, but once our bottom learns about sex, he becomes a bit of power bottom, balancing the power, which I'm a huge fan of. Even if high school BL isn't your thing, everything this artist does is great, so if you can get your hands on one of their other titles, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Beast's Storm by Morry Kuroi

This is another one of those non-omegaverse omegaverse-like titles, and actually, my first foray into what I am calling the catboy-verse (where cat men can get pregnant). Just like with Saving My Favorite for Last, this has many of my favorite elements of omegaverse, particularly male pregnancy and child-rearing. This also sort of has a multi-generation storyline, though not to the extent of Saving My Favorite for Last. It's still appreciated all the same. Unlike Saving My Favorite for Last, the series this is a part of is much more consistent. I love the first entry the best, which is why it's on my favorite list, but the others are pretty good, too, and that, for me, makes this the superior title series-wise. It's stunning and smutty but has lots of sweetness sprinkled throughout. If you love mpreg or even omegaverse, I'd give this one (and the continuations) a shot.

Sating the Wolf by Troy Arukuno

Do I need to mention again how much I adore omegaverse? What about omegaverse with a big bottom and small top? LOVE. I've talked about this title about 1,000,000 times, especially since Tokyopop licensed it for a print release, which was an instant buy. The art style is absolutely everything. Add onto that some smut and child-rearing, and you've got a perfect morsel of omegaverse BL. My only regret for this title is that it is only one volume. I still hope the day will come when we'll get a spin-off or continuation of this title. Just know if that day does come, I will throw every dollar I have at it.


Until I Meet My Husband by Ryousuke Nanasaki

This is the only novel on the list, but it is such a strong entry in the list of my favorites. This is an autobiography, so one would and should assume there is some bias there, as authors telling their own stories are probably going to try and put themselves in the best light possible. Ryousuke Nanasaki pulls no punches, though, often presenting himself as a villain in different sections of his story, which was a welcome surprise. This is a raw look at living as a gay man in Japan, and it is eye-opening. I encourage everyone to give this a read, as it's just as much a story of advocacy and resilience as it is a love story.


And those are all of my favorites from the 2023 year. Have you read any of these? Are any of them on your favorite list? Let me know, and comment below. Before I close up the BL library archives, there are more reviews I've done from the year 2022, but I, of course, didn't include them here since this was for 2023. If you'd like that list, I'd be happy to put it together. Just comment below and let me know.

Otherwise, I'll catch you next time. Bye!

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