Boy meets girl, sparks fly, they fall in love… then there’s a misunderstanding, but somehow, love wins in the end. That formula for romantic stories is familiar to almost everyone – but sometimes, things aren’t quite so simple – especially in manga, when romance can bloom between anyone and anything, regardless of age, social class, gender, and even species!
Have a taste for strange love and romances between very odd couples? These series will fulfill your need to read about the bizarre, bittersweet, spicy, and sometimes funny things that people/monsters/animals/gods do for love.
Mugi and Hanabi are the golden couple of their high school: both are popular and attractive, and they seem blissfully in love. From all outward appearances, they have a relationship that would make anyone envious. But in their private moments, Mugi and Hanabi confess that they are in love… but each of them are in love with someone else.
So why are they with each other and not with their true objects of their affections? Well, because Mugi and Hanabi are both in love with their teachers. In Mugi’s case, it’s his tutor, who is now the music teacher at their school. As for Hanabi, she’s crushing hard on her childhood friend who is now her homeroom teacher.
It’s not like Mugi and Hanabi aren’t into each other -- the fact that they 'find relief for their sexual frustration in each other's arms' already implies that their relationship is something that's 'slightly-more-than-friends'. But will this off-beat arrangement lead them to love, or put them on a collision course with heartbreak?
In the world of Interviews with Monster Girls, demi-humans or human-like monsters are not only integrated into the world of humans, they attend school alongside human classmates and teachers. And if there are teachers and students as in the real world, there are sure to be teacher-student crushes!
Tetsuo Takahashi is a biology teacher who is fascinated by demi-humans. His fondest wish is to study and understand demi-humans. Fortunately, he has three demi-human students in his class: a dullahan, a vampire, and a snow witch, and his colleague the math teacher is a succubus. What more could he want? While Tetsuo is more interested in science than romance, that doesn’t stop his students from crushing hard on their scruffy but loveable teacher.
While it's not exactly a conventional romance comic, Interviews with Monster Girls does kind of feel like Monster Musume-lite – monster girl fun with PG-13 laughs and a touch of light-hearted romance.
Chihiro is a high schooler with unusual tastes in girls – he prefers the undead to the ordinary living girls who are all around him. Given that zombies are pretty scarce in modern day Tokyo, it’d seem that Chihiro is doomed to be single forever… until he whips up a potion that just might have the power to bring the dead back to life, and decides he’d like to test it on the school’s most popular girl…
Sankarea is a black comedy about a boy and his rapidly decomposing girlfriend. It gets a little strange and gory at times, but hey, if you wanted the usual hearts and flowers romance, you probably wouldn’t be reading this far, would you?
Based on the anime directed by Makoto Shinkai (Your Name), The Garden of Words is a bittersweet slice-of-life romance between a 15-year old boy and a 27-year old school teacher. Unlike the usual student-teacher romance set-up, the high schooler and the teacher don’t meet each other through school. In fact, Yukino is not a teacher in any of Takao’s classes. Their first and most of their encounters throughout the story is in the nearby Shinjuku Gyoen park, often on rainy days.
Takao has an unusual career goal: he wants to be a shoemaker. Meanwhile, Yukino is having troubles at the school, and is thinking of quitting to return to her hometown. Although nearly 12 years separate them in age, Takao and Yukino feel a strong connection, and over time, their shared loneliness draws them closer together, despite the unspoken taboo that should keep them apart.
This one-shot manga is pretty somber, but is still a rewarding read, especially for fans of the original anime.
A shy and nerdy twenty-something girl who is obsessed with jellyfish lives in a rooming house in stylish Tokyo with several other hardcore femme nerds. Seemingly doomed to a life of spinsterhood but not exactly unhappy about the state of her life, Tsukimi has a chance encounter with a beautiful, stylish girl that turns her life upside down – doubly so when she discovers that this “girl” is really a cross-dressing boy from an extremely well-to-do family.
Tsukimi and Kuranosuke’s romance isn’t exactly forbidden in the “thou shalt not date animals or your siblings or demon lords” kind of way, but it does have a lot of humorous tension, as this introvert-extrovert / poor-rich / girl – not-quite-a-boy-most-of-the-time pair often stumble over each other trying to make what readers hope is an inevitable love connection. Will they find their happily ever after? Check out this delightful manga and find out for yourself.
Miyuki and her brother Tatsuya are new students at First National Magic University Affiliated High School, a prestigious academy for students who can wield magic. Miyuki is a bit of a prodigy, while her older brother Tatsuya… well, not as much. Or his magical abilities aren’t as obvious as Miyuki’s at first.
So where’s the forbidden romance here? Well, mostly between the two siblings, who are, (ahem) related by blood; a fact that makes Miyuki’s major crush on her brother pretty… well, I’ll say it, it’s kind of creepy.
But hey! A little thing like that never stopped manga / light novels from incorporating brotherly-sisterly love in their storylines! I will say that the romantic tension between these siblings isn’t the sole focus of this magical adventure series, but it does play into how various layers of intrigue unfold in this story, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
In the midst of a bloody battle, a busty demon queen confronts a human hero with a strange declaration: “Be mine!” At first he refuses – after all, she is a demon, and she and her kind are his enemies. But as she explains to him, there’s at least two sides to every war, and maybe the battle they’re fighting isn’t as black and white / good and evil as he thinks. The pair then embark on a mission to bring peace to their troubled world, for both demons and humans alike.
And thus begins a strange, but oddly kind of endearing relationship between a young man and a demon. It’s not exactly hearts and flowers and kisses, but if swords, sorcery and detailed explanations of economics turn you on, then MAOYU might be the fantasy love story you’ve been waiting for.
Since she was a little girl, Quincy has had a recurring dream on Christmas Eve: she is given a present wrapped in tin foil by a boy. When she awakes, she finds a present addressed to her under the Christmas tree. But as Quincy goes from being a young girl to being a confident teen, her Christmas Eve dream takes on new meaning when a handsome boy with reindeer horns and his clan move into town.
This one-shot winter romance puts a new twist on forbidden love by pairing up a human girl with a boy who might be a reindeer in disguise. This unlikely fairy tale unfolds in a sweet, matter-of-fact way that makes it seem perfectly plausible that this strange love just might be perfectly inevitable and true.
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