I never knew I would be a fan of age gap romance manga but after reading so many different titles, I began to find some of the stories interesting and the romantic relationships very unique between the main characters. Now I’m a female fan into the Shoujo/Josei manga genres so the following list of manga focus on an older male/younger female relationship because I’m personally not into the older female/younger male one. I’ve read many different age gap manga within this genre and have concluded on the following being the “best” I’ve ever read based on the following criteria: interesting plot, unique relationship between lead characters and emotional impact on the reader. I will be updating this list as I explore new manga that fit within this genre.
*The following descriptions may contain plot spoilers*
1. Meiji Hiiro Kitan
Synopsis: “It’s the middle of the Meiji Era and our heroine, the little Suzu, is sold to the red lights district. However, the rich heir of a dry-goods store Tsugaru buys her freedom for no apparent reason. She is deeply grateful for being saved, but she doesn’t understand why he paid so much money for her and the only explanation he offers is “we have a bond.” She tries to unravel the mystery of his feelings and gradually grows from a little girl to a young woman, always by his side. A gentle and slow-paced love story set in the Meiji Era.” -MyAnimeList
Age Gap: Over 15 years
Why I Like It: When I first discovered this manga I was afraid to read it because of the large age gap between the main characters and from the comments I’ve read, so are other readers. I want you to know that even though there is a large age gap, this manga never came off as pedophilia. I find it interesting because there is a large mystery surrounding the male lead and the reason why he let his family disown him in order to buy the freedom of a young girl who he didn’t even know. You can tell Suzu has a crush on Tsugaru and that Tsugaru cares a lot about her wellbeing. I bet this manga will be one where the male lead will eventually have to stop seeing her as a child and instead as a woman as she begins to mature. I’m excited to see their relationship develop from her childhood to adulthood.
2. Hagimari No Niina
Synopsis: “Eleven-year-old Niina is special. This is because she has the memories of her past life as a girl named Chitose still intact. Among these memories is a promise with Chitose’s boyfriend which Niina then decides to try and fulfill. But can she really do it?”-MyAnimeList
Age Gap: 14 years
Why I Like It: I’m a huge fan of reincarnation manga (I will be doing a blog post on my favorites soon) and wanted to give this one a try. Chitose, who has reincarnated into Niina an eleven year old, has a close relationship with her past love and neighbor, Atsurou. Due to their age difference their relationship is more of a friendship with Niina having one sided feelings for Atsurou. The whole manga, Niina works to prove that she is Chitose and tries to fulfill the promise she made with Atsurou before she died. I love this one because it’s about commitment and love outliving death. In most other age gap mangas the main characters meet one another by chance but in this one the main characters are separated by death only to once again be reunited in the future. There is a continuous theme of love having no bounds since there is a large age gap between Niina and Atsurou as she was born after Chitose died when Atsurou was 14. Such a cute manga, I really recommend!
3. Hirunaka No Ryuusei
Synopsis: “Fifteen-year-old country girl Suzume Yosano has to move to Tokyo to live with her uncle due to her father’s transfer. She bumps into a mysterious man who ends up taking her to her uncle’s place after she gets lost. Turns out, Suzume will be seeing him a lot more often once she starts school because… he’s her homeroom teacher?!” -MyAnimeList
Age Gap: 9 years
Why I Like It: Okay, I’m not a huge fan of the teacher-student relationships but I have to say out of all the one’s that I’ve read, Hirunaka No Ryuusei is by far the best. It felt so much more natural than other manga in its genre and I felt myself rooting for Suzume and Satsuki the whole time. Plus, he’s got to be the hottest teacher I’ve ever seen so I easily had some motivation to keep reading. What is so different about this manga is there is a secondary male character the same age as the female lead that begins to shake up the relationship between Suzume and Satsuki. I really valued this because in most age gap romances the couple overcomes obstacles but generally finds a happy ending easily. In this manga the secondary male character actually serves a purpose that moves past just making the male lead jealous to push the main characters together like in most Shoujo romance manga. If you’re looking for a manga where the age gap might really be a hinderance for the main characters, I recommend you check this one out.
4. Tsubaka Lonely Planet
Synopsis: “Oono Fumi is a poor second year high school student. Because of her father’s debts, she’s kicked out of her own home and has to rely on her own connections to survive. Thus begins her life as a live-in housekeeper for a reclusive writer…” -MyAnimeList
Age Gap: 8 years
Why I Like It: This manga is written by the same author as Hirunaka No Ryuusei. I have to say she sure can draw some hot sensei characters! She is very talented at making age gap romance that feels completely natural to the reader. This one is more accepting than the romance in Hirunaka No Ryuusei primarily because it’s not a teacher/student relationship but rather a teen/guardian relationship. I think what makes this one so unique is the fact that the male lead is somewhat anti-social and doesn’t have much experience with women or dating in the past. A naive and vulnerable adult male makes for the perfect pair with a young teenager. I also liked that this wasn’t an age gap romance where both characters immediately had feelings for one another, it took multiple chapters for their relationship to grow and for the male lead to get over the things that were holding him back from pursuing her. I’m sure that the main characters in this manga have a rocky road ahead of them due to the fact that they are living together but I’m excited to follow along and see what becomes of them.
5. Glass No Kamen
Synopsis: “Kitajima Maya, a 13-year old girl with a talent for acting, was discovered by the reclusive actress Tsukikage. The story follows Maya’s growing up, intense training, overcoming challenges, and evolving into the foremost actress of her generation (she is about 20 so far). Maya’s greatest rival is Himekawa Ayumi, the beautiful daughter of a famous movie couple. They ultimately vied for the most sought-after role – the “Crimson Goddess”. An equally important subplot Maya’s relationship with the handsome and ruthless entertainment mogul Hayami Masumi, who secretly became her number one fan, but misunderstandings and bad-timing obstructed their romance…” -MyAnimeList
Age Gap: 11 years
Why I Like It: So I have to confess that I’ve not read the manga but I have watched the anime so that’s why I included this one on my list. I know the manga goes deeper into Maya and Masumi’s relationship as they get older. Masumi first starts out as a tsundere but over time realizes Maya’s talent and begins to fall in love with her. Embarrassed he’s in love with someone 11 years his junior, he supports her from the shadows and becomes her secret admirer. He’s very protective of Maya and helps her with many issues she has to face in order for her to become successful as an actress. At the end of the anime when she begins to mature into an adult, she realizes she also has feelings for Masumi. I’m excited to see where this romance takes them. I love male characters who inspire the female lead and help them become more successful as an individual and that’s why Masumi got my vote. What I really liked about this one is the romance had been developing for years for each main character instead of them immediately meeting and being attracted to one another, which felt so real to me. Sometimes in real life it takes people a while to come together, especially when there is such a large age gap.
6. My Beautiful World
Synopsis: “Every person in this world changes, it could be anything like their desires or personalities. What if behind a person smiles hides a dark malice or depression? How will someone react to it if that person have the ability to see their hidden facade? This is the story of a girl who can see the ever changing form of humanity as she dives into the mysterious realms of the unknown and real life.” -MyAnimeList
Age Gap: At least 8 years
Why I Like It: The plot of this webtoon is absolutely beautiful. It takes two characters who were put into a tragic situation together and when they come across one another again, love blossoms. Throughout most of the webtoon there is a mystery surrounding the male lead character because you wonder why he keeps protecting the female lead and what secrets he’s hiding about the accident that almost killed him. My favorite thing about this webtoon is at the time the male lead met the female lead he was actually in love and engaged to another woman. However due to his accident, she decided to leave him which made him available for the female lead when they met again in the future, kind of like it was fate for them to be together and although tragic, the situation that brought them together was meant to be.
Synopsis: “Ding Jiayu dreams of being a photographer. Her idol is none other than Yung Jo. When Yung Jo’s photography company holds an audition to find a new photographer, Jiayu decides to take a chance. The thing is, Yung Jo’s company doesn’t hire women, so Jiayu has no choice but to dress up as man and enter. Yung Jo takes great interest in Jiayu’s talent and makes her his apprentice. It may seem like a dream to work with your idol, but for Jiayu, it’s nothing of the sort. She takes a beating from Yung Jo everyday, and since all the crew members think she is a guy…” -MyAnimeList
Age Gap: Over 10 years
Why I Like It: When I first started reading this manga, I thought that it was a gender bender about a girl who meets the male lead and falls for him because she goes undercover to work at his company. Boy was I wrong! You find out later on that he knew she was a woman all along and purposefully hired her because he met her in the past and she was a strong force in his decision to pursue photography. This is a really cute manga about two characters who were separated for a period of time and were brought together years later, with the common interest of photography. What I really liked about this one compared to others is that the male lead waited to pursue the female lead until she was of age and still held himself back at times, unsure if he should really pursue her or not. I thought it was interesting he acted like such a tsundere in the beginning especially since he knew who she was and how he felt about her. Their age gap provides many challenges in their professional and personal lives but they face it head on together and grow a strong bond that can’t be easily broken.
8. Once Again
Synopsis: “Yuan Ge, a successful manager of an advertising agency, not so great of a husband, recently lost his wife only to let himself smitten on the subway by a young girl half his age…” -MyAnimeList
Age Gap: Unknown
Why I Like It: I don’t want to spoil this one for you because it’s a really good read and only a couple of chapters. If you read nothing else on this list at least read this! I promise you will enjoy it as much as I did! Yuan feels like a horrible husband because instead of mourning the loss of his distant wife, he becomes infatuated with a young girl he meets on the subway. This manga incorporates guilt and regret intertwined into a plot with an older man falling for a younger girl. It has a psychological element and a plot twist I didn’t see coming at all! Please, please, please invest some of your time into reading this.
9. Futari No Table
Synopsis: “Although her mother was sometimes abusive, Wakaba’s best memories are when they are together at home eating a homemade dinner. However, when Wakaba is abandoned by her only parent, she is left in the care of a distant relative – the young Hinata Kazutomo. Initially unhappy with the arrangement, Wakaba gradually begins to enjoy her time with Kazutomo, who is determined to help heal her wounds and get her back on track” -MyAnimeList
Age Gap: Unknown
Why I Like It: This one is short with only a couple of chapters. What made this one different from other age gap manga was that the male lead actually had a reason to take Wakaba into his home because her mother abused her, which I thought was a little bit more meaningful than some of the other age gap plots. I love that he worked to heal her wounds by creating new positive memories through cooking and eating a homemade dinner together.
10. Dengeki Daisy
Synopsis: “Before he died, Kurebayashi Teru’s brother gave her only a cell phone, telling her to contact “Daisy” if she ever needs someone to talk to. Now, even though she lives alone and without relatives, Teru never feels lonely because Daisy is her constant confidant and supporter. In order to pay off a debt, Teru finds herself needing to work for the rude, inconsiderate, and abusive (not to mention quite handsome) school janitor, Kurosaki Tasuku. While her predicament seems on the opposite spectrum of her relationship with Daisy, maybe Teru’s two different worlds are more closely connected than she thought?” -MyAnimeList
Age Gap: 8 years
Why I Like It: This one is a popular Shoujo romance manga, so when you get a chance check it out. What was different about this manga is that the female lead begins to fall for the man who is supporting her without even realizing it. I like how the male lead lives a double life, similar to Masumi from Glass no Kamen, by secretly supporting the female lead without her knowing he is until later on. What also makes this different is the approach to the age gap relationship. Teru and Tasuku’s relationship starts off as friendship and emotional support which eventually grows deeper over time, causing them to fall for one another in future chapters. It was a different perspective on age gap romance compared to others within the genre that only focus on the lead characters coming together and having immediate romantic feelings for one another. It made it more understanding to the reader why they were together despite the age gap because they grew close together as friends.
11. Takane to Hana
Synopsis: “When Hana replaces her sister at an omiai (marriage interview) little does she expect to be insulted and called plain and flat-chested by the handsome and older Takane! Furious, she turns the tables on him by accepting the match instead of rejecting him. How will these two ever find love?” -MyAnimeList
Age Gap: About 13 years
Why I Like It: If you want a funny age gap romance, than look no further, Takane to Hana is the perfect choice. What I really enjoyed about this one was the unique plot. Hana meets Takane at a marriage interview and while at first he insults her on her appearance, when he sees her again he ends up falling for her. What made this manga so different from others in the age gap genre is the female lead is a tsundere and pushes Takane away continuously in the beginning. Most female leads in the older male/younger female relationship usually are the one’s to have feelings for and pursue the male first nine times out of ten. It’s funny and worth your time to check out Takane trying to woo Hana chapter after chapter.
12. Ne Ne Ne
Synopsis: “In order benefit their families, Koyuki (Age 16) was wed to Shin (Age 37). Despite the large age gap, both are exceedingly inexperienced in the matters of love, so they never quite know how to act around each other. To make matters worse, Shin is forbidden from being physically involved with Koyuki until she turns 20. In this environment, how will they form a proper husband-wife relationship?” -MyAnimeList
Age Gap: 21 years
Why I Like It: This has to be one of my favorites on the list. It’s currently only 3 chapters, so a quick and easy read if you want to check it out. I heard they are serializing the series so there will be more chapters to come in the future. The interactions between the main characters are both extremely cute and hilarious because you can tell both of them have feelings developing for each other but fail to act upon them because of their large age gap. Koyuki wants to become a real husband and wife so because he can’t physically be involved with her, Shin is always think of ways to not let it happen. I love that the author made Shin a virgin and just as inexperienced in romance as Koyuki, because it makes them the perfect pair and will allow them to grow closer together as they both try to figure it out. The male lead also wears a mask on his face so there is a little mystery behind his appearance which is might add an interesting piece to the plot in future chapters.