Another set of Favorite Romance Comics based on Favorite Tropes

Part two boogaloo.

You know how I said last year I might, probably, most likely make this a yearly thing on Valentine’s Day?

Well here’s the sequel. Not fully a series yet, but we’re getting there.

In true Kate fashion though, despite having decided to do this post as early as last December, I did not really start writing the draft until a few days ago so… while it is a tad less impromptu than the first one, it’s just as fueled largely by self-indulgence, if not more.

Today, you shall find classic and well-beloved romance tropes – some with fun little twists – as well as a few tropes that aren’t as well-loved(?) and those that have only just recently become more popular in recent years. Get yourself comfy, and let’s go.

BookWalker links below are affiliate links which means I receive a percentage of “coins” if you purchase through these links with no additional cost to you. I will use any coin I receive to buy more manga! 😉

Established relationship

The “will they, won’t they” will always create natural tension that makes a romance story engaging but an established relationship also has its own beauty. I MEAN… seeing the couple’s relationship progress over the chapters? *slams credit card*

  • What Did You Eat Yesterday? by Fumi Yoshinaga – Say what you will but this couple, this series is THE BLUEPRINT. Seeing Shiro and Kenji live their everyday lives as a middle-aged gay couple in Tokyo and always having time to sit together at the dinner table and enjoy home cooked meals just brings so much joy in me. It’s the type of long-term relationship that you just love to see.
    Rated: Sweet
    Status: Ongoing (19 volumes)
    Where to buy: BookWalker.
    Check their Kodansha page here for where else to buy.
    You can also watch the live adaptation on Netflix.
  • Our Not-So-Lonely Planet Travel Guide by Mone Sorai – Eating food and traveling the world together? *clutches lovingly* PLEASE. Add their agreement that when they get back to Japan, they will get married??? *cries* Every place Asahi and Mitsuki go to immediately gets added to my own travel bucket list, and also seeing them interact with different people in every place they go to will never cease to make my heart full. Leon and Yuriko? Their entire stay in Germany??? It was so cozy. I love this series so much.
    Rated: Sweet
    Status: Ongoing (3 volumes)
    Where to buy: BookWalker.
    Check their Tokyopop page here for where else to buy.
  • My Androgynous Boyfriend by Tamekou – Another super sweet slice of life series! I love stories like these portraying androgyny and characters, regardless of their sexuality, that still subvert heteronormative expectations. I believe that, alongside uplifting queer stories, we also need space for such stories – especially ones showing straight male characters who are comfortable in their femininity as well as their masculinity. Also once you’ve read the manga, how can you not be charmed by Meguru and both his and Wako’s relationship???
    Rated: Sweet
    Status: Ongoing (3 volumes)
    Where to buy: BookWalker.
    Check their Seven Seas page here.

One-sided rivals to lovers

Hear me out. Everyone enjoys a classic enemies-to-lovers story. But a rivals-to-lovers (indicating a level playing field) that’s one-sided??? The hilarity? The tension? The “I’m not sympathizing with them, they’re my rivals” sympathy line??? I just think it exponentiates the possibilities of a classic ETL.

  • Last Game by Amano Shinobu – THIS IS IT. This is the manga. When I thought of this trope, I immediately thought of Last Game. Yanagi’s years-long one-sided rivalry turned to love for Kujo who is oblivious to nothing but her goal of taking care of her single mom? They were the moment for me in high school and they still are to me now, especially that we’re finally getting a print license in English soon!!! TT <3
    Rated: Sweet
    Status: Complete (11 volumes)
    Where to read: Pocket Comics
    (colored, vertical comics format). You can also check the Seven Seas page here for details on when the English print would be open for preorder.
  • Cheri, My Destiny by Okoge Mochino – You’ve heard about academic rivals, now I raise you: culinary rivals. Again though, it’s only one-sided. In this case, Kaoru who owns a French patisserie suddenly found his contemporary with the young pastry chef of the Japanese confectionery shop nearby. Also when you see Kaoru going through a roller coaster of emotions throughout the volume because of the oblivious Sojiro, you can’t help but root for him. He really went through it, the poor guy. (Hint: look at my featured image.)
    Rated: Sweet but a censored sexually explicit scene at the final chapter
    Status: Complete (1 volume)
    Where to buy: BookWalker.
    Check their Tokyopop page here too!
  • Everyone Stand Up! Boys Love Private High School Tachibana x Mizuki by Shinta Harekawa – When I say the one-sided rivals-to-lovers exponentiates the possibilities of a classic ETL this perfectly shows it. Neither Tachibana nor Mizuki see the other as a rival. But they both have a one-sided rivalry with Eguchi and Sousuke – the main couple of this series’ prequel story – respectively. Them being in a similar situation made their partnership even more fun to read!
    Rated: Mature, censored sexually explicit
    Status: Complete (1 volume)
    Where to read: Futekiya

Marriage of convenience

One level higher from fake dating and it’s SO GOOD. 

  • For Better or For Worse by EUNREN and No Heeda – One of my all time favorite ongoing romance series ever! It wonderfully makes use of classic romance tropes beyond the marriage of convenience trope at the center of the story; it has misunderstanding, slow burn, and a dense female lead and everything works! Not to mention, the art just gets progressively gorgeous with every chapter. The recent chapters have really started to pick the slow burn element up and we’re finally getting somewhere! I’ll also never tire of mentioning the localization team; they make the English translation seamless with the story and the Western-inspired setting!
    Rated: Sweet
    Status: Ongoing (100+ episodes)
    Where to read: Tapas
  • The Full-Time Wife Escapist by Tsunami Umino – If there’s anything that takes any tropes here on a pragmatic, realistic yet very compelling turn, it’s this series. If you’re a young adult about to enter the workforce or a woman in your mid-twenties starting to feel the pressure of marriage, please please please read this manga. It’s such a thought-provoking manga highlighting the type of societal burdens put upon women, specifically, but for all kinds of people too. And the romance aspect is so so sooo *clutches heart*
    Rated: Sweet
    Status: Ongoing (11 volumes)
    Where to buy: BookWalker.
    Check their Kodansha page here for other options.
    The drama adaptation is also really great! Watch it here.
  • The Best is Saved for Last by Sora Hinata, Machiko Ocha and Sheena Satsuki – Imagine being summoned in another world expected to make that kingdom a better place only for you and them to find out you don’t actually have the sacred powers they hope you’d possess to make the kingdom better. And so you were sent off to marry the kingdom’s beloved hero, a 60-year-old silver fox. I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU BUT THAT WAS SUCH A GOOD PREMISE FOR A STORY TO ME. So good in fact that I immediately read all available chapters they had. The age gap is age gapping, though, so even though there is a kind of age regression deus ex machina that’s going to happen in the series, if that’s not something you’re comfortable with, I’d suggest skipping this one.
    Rated: Sweet, non-explicit for some chapters (so far? The series is rated 18+ and categorized as Smut so this may change as the story progresses.)
    Status: Ongoing (13 chapters)
    Where to read: Renta

Love Triangle (but make it gay)

As someone who has gone through all the Team wars of the early 2010s YA romance (not to be confused by the shipping wars that spread like wildfire across many fandom spaces a few years after), I honestly think love triangles have done their full service. At this point, stories utilizing this trope have made it tired and uninteresting… Except when it’s fruity. This tiktok video perfectly explains it.

  • My Love Mix-Up by Wataru Hinekure – THEY DID IT BEST. No love triangle is as hilarious and as gay as this one. Aoki is the perfect protagonist!! Being there as he fumbles and makes sense of all the new feelings he’s starting to catch is like watching over a newborn chick trying to navigate the world. Ida, on the other hand… bless that boy’s heart.
    Rated: Sweet
    Status: Ongoing (8 volumes)
    Where to buy: Amazon.
    Check their page in Viz here for other places to buy. (I’m still salty Viz doesn’t have their titles on BW.)
    The drama adaptation is also available to watch on Netflix!
  • Blue Flag by Kaito – In the same way that My Love Mix-Up’s ‘home’ is its lightheartedness and honesty, Blue Flag’s to me is its themes of self-discovery and its insistence all throughout the series to allow young people to navigate the world in their own terms. Thinking about Blue Flag will always make me feel emotional. I literally read the entire series over the course of a week or so and it left a huge impact on me. Such a great heartfelt series!
    Rated: Sweet
    Status: Complete (8 volumes)
    Where to read: Shonen Jump.
    You can also check their page in Viz for where else to buy it. I still recommend the Jump app.
  • Even Though We’re Adults by Takako Shimura – This series has a completely different tone than the other two above and it being about adult characters definitely accounts for that. The overall atmosphere of the story is that of quietness and, by extension, introspection. Honestly, my first read through of the first volume was quite jarring to me because of the lack of explosive drama. Perhaps because in my own culture, high drama is just insistently present in everyone’s lives, in one way or another, and especially in the media we consume. But I also believe that’s what makes this story such a great series to reread. I’ve already read the volume more than three times and every reread I pick up something new that I haven’t before.
    Rated: Mature, non-explicit
    Status: Ongoing (5 volumes)
    Where to buy: BookWalker.
    Here’s the link to its page in Seven Seas.

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

I initially wanted to do a Misunderstanding trope (and I might still do one if I ever decide to do this again next year) but I specifically want to highlight the types of stories with misunderstood characters.

  • Fantasy Virgin by Yukino Seo – Jun is the visual epitome of a baddie: bleached hair, bold makeup and nails, and the hottest wardrobe. You would think she gets around but bzzt-bzzt! This girl has one serious case of maladaptive daydreaming (lol). I need people to understand how much this series has me on a chokehold, especially with its humor. It’s definitely one of those romcoms that leans into its comedy more often but also does not shy away when showing heartfelt moments.
    Rated: Mature, censored… non-explicit? (whatever’s shown are sex fantasies mostly, our girl is doing her best to make them a reality though lol)
    Status: Ongoing (24 chapters)
    Where to read: Renta
  • Monster and the Beast by Renji – For a title like that, you’d honestly think this will be full of graphic violence and gore but it’s so far from that! Cavo, the monster, is a humongous creature of the forest and while he knows his forest like the back of his hand, he lacks experience for everything outside it – and I mean everything. Enter Liam, the titular beast, a middle aged man you’d think would be afraid when a monster threatens to eat him, instead he wants clarification if Cavo meant it literally or as a euphemism for sex. *dies* I love these two.
    Rated: Mature, censored sexually explicit starting volume 3
    Status: Ongoing (4 volumes)
    Where to buy: BookWalker.
    Check the page on Yen Press for other options.
  • A Delinquent’s Life Hacks by Otsuji – I don’t know about you but personally, if I ever accidentally bump into someone who looks like a delinquent, I’d prefer to be thrown a random life hack my way than their fist. While most of the story is very heavily slice-of-life and each chapter is quite short, romance is definitely a heavy secondary element in the series. (Especially for the main cast of characters.) I also really appreciate how there are LGBT+ couples in it who are simply living their lives happily and are part of Sakurai’s extended family and friends.
    Rated: Sweet
    Status: Complete (88 chapters)
    Where to read: MangaUp


If you’re new to this term, this Wikipedia page should supplement some introductory knowledge. Either way, a lot of omegaverse stories actually have their own little introductory pages defining the terms either for that specific story’s context or for the general trope itself, so you’ll be fine.

  • Megumi and Tsugumi by Si Mitsuru – One of my favorite BL series ever! If you want an introduction to omegaverse, I highly recommend this one! Both Megumi and Tsugumi are very strong-willed individuals which makes their dynamic super interesting. Megumi is a pragmatic character despite being a hormonal high schooler with a partner that is so unawarely reckless, so I sympathize with him a lot. (lol) Tsugumi though… is a whole different level of stubborn. The way he charges on alphas in the middle of his heat, not even using any suppressants because he can “manage with his fighting spirit”… o(-( [<- that’s me dead]
    Rated: Mature, censored sexually explicit
    Status: Ongoing (3 volumes)
    Where to read: Renta
  • How to Raise an Alpha You Love by Yucca Fukushima – If you know your manga and you’ve heard of Usagi Drop and that is something you do not want to read, just know this series is lowkey like Usagi Drop. I personally haven’t read UD but I’ve read stories with similar cohabitation premise. I think with Raise an Alpha, them being in an omegaverse does make things more interesting and it adds to the sexual tension (ho ho ho). Also the art is gorgeous and again, any portrayal of a couple’s domestic life will always have a soft spot in my heart.
    Rated: Mature, censored sexually explicit
    Status: Complete (1 volume)
    Where to read: Futekiya
  • I Love You Anyway, Mr. Kasahara by Omaru – I NEED PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS STORY. First off, Kasahara is one of my favorite character archetypes. The kind who subvert both the in-story society and the reader’s expectations of how he should be – in his case, an omega. His fun, carefree attitude is both his weapon and armor in navigating a world that’s not so kind to omegas like him. Which is why the moment he does break character and become serious is sooo heart-clenching. Also I find easygoing characters like Kasahara are PER-fect for serious and honest characters like Akiyama. The two of them together is chef’s kiss.
    Rated: Mature, censored sexually explicit
    Status: Complete (1 volume)
    Where to buy:
    Amazon JP, Honto (both Japanese copies). This had an official English translation where it was available in platforms like BookWalker, futekiya and even Lezhin US at one point. But, as far as I can find, it’s all gone from any legal platforms now. 🙁 Hopefully, another platform or publisher will pick it up again because this was truly a great story!

All images in this post are NOT owned by me. They are owned by the respective creators and publishers.

Featured image is from Cheri, My Destiny.

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