Monochrome Factor is a supernatural anime with lots of fighting and tough guys. It also features some of those same tough guys with attractions to other guys! While in the shounen ai (boys love) genre, very little of the story has anything to do with relationship development and more to do with keeping the world safe from evil! It features a host of diverse characters, some of whose personality traits seem to exist for the sake of comedy. This ends up providing a stark contrast to the characters with hidden agendas and secret pasts. Monochrome Factor is very funny, but the characters are forced to grow and make tough decisions and not everything ends up well for everyone.
Monochrome Factor is one of those shows that while it contains some BL elements, its value as an action anime can appeal to viewers even if they don't like BL. Most of the boy-on-boy action that occurs is implemented for humor, much like how straight guys often harass girls before they are savagely beaten to a comedic effect. There is also a somewhat tender way they explain some relationships that is in contrast with how the majority in the show are portrayed. Going with the theme of light and shadow, the characters prove to not be one-dimensional, as they initially appear. It is through the constant battles with the Kokuchi, or shadow monsters, that we see more character development. In this list, we’re going to look at similar anime that have some boy love presence, with a more central theme of abnormal human battles the public doesn’t know about.
Similar Anime to Monochrome Factor
1. Honoo no Mirage (Mirage of Blaze)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jan. 2002 – April 2002
Takaya is a standoffish high schooler whose aggressive and cold demeanor makes him hard to get along with. He seems to only show favor to Yuzuru, his much gentler friend. When Yuzuru starts acting strangely, beating up thugs with seemingly no memory of it, Takaya is first to notice. Yuzuru is not the only one experiencing such a change, and an older man named Naoe reveals that various warlords from the Sengoku era have lived throughout the ages possessing new bodies in order to fight restless spirits of the underworld. Naoe tells the skeptical delinquent that he is in fact, Lord Kagetora and Naoe is his loyal vassal. Takaya doesn’t want to lose his present self to Kagetora but he will find that if he wants to protect the people around him, he has no choice but to embrace it.
Honoo no Mirage is a very manly show with little humor. Takaya and Akira are very similar in that they are somewhat loners and violent delinquents, preferring to be obeyed rather than understood. They both also vehemently fight against the notion that they must take over some role that fate has assigned them, having no sense of duty save for themselves and their closest friends. Naoe fulfills the role Shirogane plays in Monochrome, being the older, wiser man who must help the young boy acclimate to his new life. He similarly also plays a complicated role where his motivations are not always understood and seem contradictory to previous stances. If you liked the complexity of the story in Monochrome and have an interest in the Sengoku Era with just a hint of manly love, this is a great pick!
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2005 – June 2005
Ritsuka feels like a completely different person after his older brother, Soubi, is murdered. He’s resigned himself not to get attached to others, but when a mysterious friend of Soubi’s comes to see him, Ritsuka starts to open up. When Soubi suddenly kisses him, Ritsuka hardly has time to feel shocked before a unit of two, called Breathless, appears and enters a spell battle with them. Ritsuka has no idea what to do or what is going on, but he decides to trust in the only link he still has to his brother. Soubi harbors many secrets, and the only thing he seems willing to reveal is his eternal love for Ritsuka. Whisked into a world of mystery and magic, Ritsuka will have a hard time uncovering the true circumstances surrounding his brother’s death, and what exactly was his connection with Soubi.
Loveless also features an older man with the knowledge and wisdom needed to unlock the younger main character’s hidden abilities. Much in the same way Shirogane’s appearance was the end to Akira’s boring days, Soubi’s sudden appearance also changes Ritsuka’s life as both are plunged into a battle they had no idea existed. Soubi is a bit more serious than Shirogane, but both enjoy kissing and doting on their partner, even as Ritsuka and Akira express their dislike for it. Ritsuka is a lot younger than Akira, but both have a disregard for most people. The world of Loveless differs slightly from the world of Monochrome Factor in that in their world, all virgins have cat ears and tails which fall off after having sex. There are some funny scenes with a hint of hidden darkness and danger and it makes for a very intriguing story.
3. Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct. 2008 – March 2008
Ciel Phantomhive is the sole survivor of a fire that killed his parents and takes it upon himself to uphold the honor and the prestige of the Phantomhive name himself. Many wonder about his flawless butler who perfectly manages the estate as well as aids Ciel in his investigations against those who cause the Queen suffering. In truth, Sebastian is a demon who made a contract with Ciel. In exchange for his soul, Ciel demands Sebastian help him in keeping up appearances for the sake of his family’s legacy, as well as help him uncover the truth about those who wished to plunge Ciel into darkness.
While not a BL series, there are a lot of scenes that can be enjoyed by boys love lovers, and it’s clear this was done on purpose. Both Kuroshitsuji and Monochrome are stories rife with humor and silly characters, yet they harbor darkness just below the surface. Grell from Kuroshitsuji and Ruru from Monochrome are similar in that their presence is usually for comic relief yet throughout the show you’re reminded of their cruel natures. The battles in these two stories must be kept secret from the unknowing public and the main characters have to keep up their appearances, trying to keep those close to them out of their battles. Though a demon, it’s apparent Sebastian does to some extent care for Ciel, as Shirogane cares for Akira despite them being light and shadow. Both Sebastian and Shirogane have a clear preference for their younger partner while being incredibly willing to kill other humans if it’s easier than saving them.
Black Butler Season 1 Official Trailer
Any Anime Like Monochrome Factor ?
4. Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru (Betrayal Knows My Name)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2010 – Sept. 2010
Despite Yuki trying to be a helpful and reliable person, he is always plagued with the thought that he is needed by no one and has no value. His life is turned upside down when a man claiming to be his older brother meets him at the orphanage and suggests living together. When it comes to light that Yuki belongs to a clan of fighters who have battled against the darkness for centuries and are endlessly reborn, he thinks he's finally found his place. Along with Luka, a man who is only kind to Yuki, they teach Yuki how to use his innate powers to heal. While terrified of failing, Luka's steady hand and words of eternal love help him face each uncertain day. Luka repeatedly tells Yuki he will never betray him, and with little to go on but a feeling deep within him, Yuki fights to keep him and everyone else by his side.
These two anime share a theme of battling darkness, and the negative feelings in one’s heart, making them susceptible to outside influences. Both Luka and Shirogane are very strong, wise figures that lead the younger main character along in releasing his hidden power. However, Luka is much more serious and is more focused on protecting Yuki than trying to get him involved, while Shirogane is often selfish and somewhat manipulative to get Akira to agree to his whims. However, they both care for their partners deeply and will suffer immense pain in order to protect them. Shirogane and Luka both carry the stigma of betrayers to their kind. Without revealing too much, their endings are rather similar in how they handle the finality of the battles.
Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru PV
5. Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist (Devils and Realist)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2013 – Sept. 2013
William Twining is a genius aristocrat who on the surface seems to have a perfect life. Blessed with unnatural intelligence and an incredibly wealthy family, anything seems within his grasp. He absolutely rejects anything outside of scientific proof, and when a demon shows up at his mansion demanding William make him the acting ruler of Hell, William easily dismisses him as a cosplaying freak and has him thrown out. Through an incredible force of will, and a battle between himself and another demon, Dantalion is finally able to convince William he is, in fact, one of the demons vying for power in Lucifer's stead, and only William has the power to make the decision. The harder William fights this reality, the more demons end up around him! Some of them are loyal to William from his previous life as King Solomon, but some hate him for being a mere human with power over demons. While Dantalion is annoyed with William’s refusal to take responsibility, he cannot forget their past life together and the feelings he harbored for his master.
This is another anime that is more fanservice than actual BL, but aside from a lack of physicality, there’s definitely room for pondering. Dantalion is at first incredibly angry for being forgotten by Solomon, now William, and for treating Dantalion like a pest. As the story progresses, though, it’s obvious he does indeed care for William and wishes to protect him. Like Shirogane, Dantalion is willing to put his existence at risk to protect an ungrateful younger boy whose true power is yet to be awakened. If you want a similar story with amazing fight scenes, be sure to check out Makai Ouji!
6. Dramatical Murder
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2014 – Sept. 2014
On the island of Midorijima, the people are separated into two districts, the illustrious Platinum Jail, and the destitute Old Residential District. Gangs and violent virtual reality games. Aoba desires nothing more than to continue his normal peaceful life with his grandmother and his Allmate, a dog-like robot named Ren, without ever playing Rhyme. Rhyme is an online virtual reality game that can only be played using an Allmate, who can be commanded to attack or defend. One day he is pulled into a Rhyme battle against his will, and another consciousness inside him takes over and defeats his rival. When people in the area start to go missing, Aoba wonders if things are connected. With the help of various friends and former enemies, Aoba and Ren begrudgingly enter these battles to gain answers and discover a hidden power of Aoba's called Scrap that enables him to go into another person's mind.
Now this anime is a pretty confusing one and we highly suggest you pay close attention while watching. Similarly to Monochrome, the younger main character isn't interested in the battles around him and wishes to simply keep to his normal life. Ren is different from Shirogane in that, while always being by his side, any possible romantic notions are not immediately apparent. Be warned there is not much indication of romance, with the kiss in the show being only a greeting. (Though playing the visual novel it’s based on will give you a LOT more action). These stories share similar plot focusing more on secret battles rather than romance, while the possibility for relationships to exist is teased.
It's nice to have anime with characters that are gay or bi that aren't pigeonholed into just being ‘BL' anime. All of these shows have the benefit of transcending genres that make for an interesting (and possibly arousing) story beyond the relationship of two characters. For fujoshi who are dying for more plot, or for those who can look past some gay insinuations for the sake of the story, these 6 anime like Monochrome Factor are a great start! We would like to leave you with these two last thoughts. First, if you are hoping to find more BL in the Monochrome Factor manga, you will be disappointed. This is one of those rare times where the anime has more boy-on-boy action. Lastly, No. 6 deserves a special mention! It may not hold the same magical battle and hidden power theme, but it has a similar feel and similar ending!