It’s February. Black History Month. There’s some other holiday happening this month too. What was it?
Oh right, President’s Day. We’re kidding, we’re kidding. It’s Rihanna’s Birthday, of course! Okay fine, we’re done. We all know that February is Valentine’s month, which means that those of us with significant others will be out shopping for flowers and chocolates to prepare for the ultimate celebration of things that make us feel all gooey inside.
We’re talking about media that revolves around L-O-V-E, baby. That four letter word that brings us together and scares off anyone terrified of commitment.
If you’re looking for something romantic to read this Valentine’s season, check out our list of our favourite romantic graphic novels and manga.
Want to support GameSpew? If you’d like to purchase any of the titles on this list, consider following our Amazon affiliate links included with each entry. It won’t cost you anything extra, but it means we’ll get a small slice of the purchase.
This gorgeous title, written by Craig Thompson, is an autobiographical coming-of-age story about his life growing up in an Evangelical Christian family. The story also tells of his first love, and the beginning of his life as an adult. Not only does Blankets include details about his romantic first love, but it also covers his relationship with his brother, his spirituality and other events that happened to him while growing up.
Blankets is a widely acclaimed book that’s won a multitude of awards for good reason. Its unique art style alone is enough to warrant picking it up. [Buy on Amazon]
2Alex + Ada
Alex + Ada is a science fiction story following Alex, who has recently been dumped by his fiance. Tired of seeing him so depressed, Alex’s grandmother buys him a Tanaka X-5 android named Ada who looks like a real human in almost every way. These androids are forbidden from having any free thought or consciousness. Alex eventually decides that he wants Ada to have her freedom and finds a way to give it back to her despite it being incredibly illegal.
What’s truly intriguing about this series is that it isn’t only about Alex and Ada’s forbidden relationship; it also goes into the intricacies of AIs having a conscious and the possible consequences of this.
Alex + Ada is an unexpected love story that shows what happens when love finds a way to conquer any obstacle. [Buy on Amazon]
Bingo Love is an emotional story that really tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray meet at church bingo in 1963, they become fast friends. And soon they become more than just friends. This comic highlights the two friends’ relationship as they try to figure out who they are as well as how they fit together. Unfortunately, they are forced apart by their families and they part ways. Both of them go on to have husbands and families.
Decades later, when the two are both in their 60s, they reunite at the same church bingo hall and the two try to make their families understand why they wish to be together after all this time. A lovely story of family struggle, unrequited love and more, Bingo Love is a beautiful tale. [Buy on Amazon]
4Little Moments of Love
Even though Little Moments of Love is made up of a series of short webcomics, it still belongs on this list. From Catana Chetwynd, the series started life as simple doodles of things that she and her boyfriend got up to on a day-to-day basis. He loved these comics so much that, eventually, they began sharing them online where they grew in popularity.
Little Moments of Love is a collection of these web comics that share the little moments this couple has experienced during their relationship. It’s a feel-good, beautiful book about true love that will make anyone’s heart melt. [Buy on Amazon]
5The Prince and the Dressmaker
The Prince and the Dressmaker is a lovely story of a friendship turned into romance. The story follows Prince Sebastian whose parents are trying to find him a bride despite not being interested in one. He has more important things to worry about. At night Sebastian dresses up in women’s clothing and calls himself “Lady Crystallia.” Lady Crystallia is much more confident than Sebastian, and she even gets noticed more because of her adventurous style.
Crystallia receives this amazing style from the brilliant dressmaker Frances, whom the prince hires to make dresses for his night-life. The two become friends and eventually they begin to have real feelings for each other. The Prince and the Dressmaker is beautifully illustrated and players will fall in love with the characters’ romance. [Buy on Amazon]
You would think a manga about a sex robot that was ordered accidentally by a high schooler would have minimal romance value. We sure thought so, and we definitely didn’t spend the entirety of the last volume crying out eyes out. That would be silly.
Absolute Boyfriend tells the story of high school girl, Riiko, and her life after she orders a boyfriend online. He’s perfect in every way and tailored with qualities and personality options she hand picked. He turns out to be from the “Nightly Lover” series, but she isn’t interested in that. She’s interested in romance! Riiko only has eyes for her mail-order beau, and her childhood friend only has eyes for her. Could this be… a love triangle?! Absolutely.
Despite its silly-sounding premise, Absolute Boyfriend tugs on the heartstrings and serves more than the recommended daily dose of romance. A perfect fit for this lovey-dovey time of year. [Buy on Amazon]
If you ask any manga reader to recommend a series with good romance, Fruits Basket will almost always make the list. It sets the scene perfectly; a high school girl is caught living in a tent on the property of the school hottie… and he invites her to live with him! She finds out his family’s secret – and chaos swiftly ensues. What’s the family secret, you may be wondering? Well, they turn into the animals of the Chinese Zodiac when embraced by a member of the opposite sex. That sure makes relationships complicated.
Don’t be fooled by the light-hearted first volume though. Fruits Basket has a complex story that fleshes out every character wonderfully. The budding romance between the protagonist, Tohru, and her boy-of-interest satisfies the craving for love we get this time of year. A handful of the other characters get romances too. Fruits Basket shows that everyone is capable of being loved no matter what kind of past or traumas they may be carrying. [Buy on Amazon]
8Ouran High School Host Club
This is an incredibly relatable story of an androgynous high schooler, Haruhi, who breaks an $80,000 vase that belongs to her private school’s Host Club. Of course the Host Club is composed of six wealthy and charming bachelors, so what’s she supposed to say when they say she has to either pay them back for the vase, or indefinitely work as their errand boy? One shenanigan leads to another and Haruhi ends up being a Host at the Host Club, but she has to keep her gender a secret.
It sounds overwhelming, but it isn’t all thrown at you at once. Ouran High School Host Club progresses at a leisurely pace while still keeping you rooting for Hauhi and her love interest to just kiss already. There are love triangles, unrequited love, first kisses, despair-inducing rejection, friendship development, and of course the big endgame couple getting together.
Host Club is hilarious and chaotic while still managing to provide a tear-jerking romance. A great manga to toss on your Valentine’s Day “To Read” list! [Buy on Amazon]
Marmalade Boy slaps you in the face right off the bat. Our protagonist, Miki, has a new and interesting living situation thrown at her when her parents get back from a vacation in Hawaii. How weird could this situation be? Well, her parents come home from their trip and announce that not only are they getting a divorce, but they’re switching partners with a couple they met on vacation! Oh yeah, and they all plan on living together and the other couple has a son Miki’s age. Certainly Miki won’t fall for her mean new step-brother, Yuu… right?
Marmalade Boy takes you on a rollercoaster of ups and downs; you’re sobbing one minute and crying happy tears the next. It throws curveballs at you that have you go from rooting for Miki and Yuu to wanting them to rip them away from each other when they kiss.
It has the emotional energy of a telenovela and a South Korean drama. You’ll be left with a swelling heart and tears in your eyes by the end of the series. [Buy on Amazon]
If you love intense soap operas that make you feel every emotion under the sun, then Peach Girl is for you. Our lovely protagonist, Momo, is an athletic girl who loves to swim. Due to her sun-bleached hair and tan skin, she has rumours spread about her being “easy”. She has only one friend, Sae, she can confide in, and it turns out that friend is the source of all the nasty rumours! We haven’t even got to the romance part yet and I’m already emotional, sheesh.
Momo is interested in the local baseball hottie, Touji. The local playboy, Kairi, is interested in Momo. Peach Girl doesn’t shy away from its love-triangle and Momo is always bouncing between the two boys, her emotions towards them everchanging and being shaped by Sae’s schemes. It’s hard to talk too much about the series without disclosing some serious spoilers so you will have to check it out for yourself.
Who will Momo end up with? Will Sae get what’s coming to her? What’s Kairi’s tragic backstory? Can the life of these high schoolers actually be this intense? Is the story really this dramatic or am I exaggerating? Find out all of this and more by adding Peach Girl to your list to read this Valentine’s Day! [Buy on Amazon]