Romance Manga with a strong male lead – 9 recommendations

In this article, I will show you my list of Romance Manga with a strong male lead. In some of these, there are not so many lovey-dovey scenes but if they do come up it’s pretty romantic.

What were my requirements for this list:

  • No Isekai
  • The male lead should be physically strong – mental strength or abilities weren’t the main focus
  • I didn’t care whether the Manga was from a female or male’s perspective or what Genre it is as long as the male lead is strong
  • No Harem
  • Romance has to be the underlying drive of the Manga or Webtoon

Many Mangas that have a strong male lead either completely lack Romance or are very focused on accumulating a Harem for the male lead. So it wasn’t easy putting this list together (yes, yes I am in need of some praise) – I hope you like it!

Romance Manga with a strong male lead – recommendation 1

1.Akatsuki no Yona

Hak the "Darkness Dragon" - Romance Manga with strong male lead
(c) Hana to Yume/Kusanagi Mizuho
  • Tags: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo

Summary: Yona is a sheltered princess who knows very little about the harsh reality outside the castle walls. But one day her whole world gets thrown upside down: her beloved cousin Su-won stages a coup and kills her father in the process. Together with her bodyguard Son Hak Yona barely escapes the castle walls. As they travel Yona slowly comes out of her shell and awakens the power that is hidden within her – with the help of the four legendary dragons.

Why is this on the list?

I didn’t want to include Manga that came out after 2010 on my list but I made an exception for Akatsuki no Yona as this is still ongoing and one of my favorites. Hak, the male lead is the strongest warrior in Kouka, and although he is human he can keep up with the strength of the legendary four dragons. There are many occasions where you see him kick-ass and even fight alone against a whole army.

You should read if you:

  • don’t mind one of the slowest of burns in Shoujo history (although they have sweet moments very early on, but Hak is the initiator most of the time)
  • love it when many guys swoon over the female lead – although everyone knows who is the endgame (so it doesn’t count as Harem in my opinion)
  • like to read a Shoujo with great characters and a very complex antagonist

Romance Manga with a strong male lead – recommendation 2

2.Boarding School Juliet

Romance Manga with strong male lead and a tragic setting
(c) Shounen Magazine/Kaneda Yousuke
  • Tags: Action, Comedy, Romance, School, Shounen

Summary: As the title already suggests „Boarding School Juliet“ is the story of Romeo and Juliet – Japanese style. The two protagonists are Romio and Juliet. They go to the same school and are both the leaders of their respective houses: Romio Inuzuka is the leader of the „Black Doggies“ and Juliet Persia is the leader of the „White Cats“. They come from different nations that are not on good terms with each other and constantly fight. So although Romio and Juliet are in love with each other they have to hide their relationship.

Why is this on the list?

Romio Inuzuka is the leader oft the “Black Doggies” and often gets into fights. Nothing can take him down: falling from a huge building, getting hit by various objects and people – Romio always gets back up again. Despite his strong physical traits, he is pretty strong mentally too – although he is completely head over heels for Juliet and is pretty insecure when it comes to her.

You should check it out if you:

  • want to read a Manga with an early couple (they get together in the first chapter, although they can’t date freely)
  • like it, when the MCs have many fans and admirers – you could even call them servants
  • love it when the main couple has to hide their love at first

Strong and silly male lead – Romance Manga recommendation #3

3.Noragami

Silly and strong male lead - read Noragami
(c) Shounen Magazine/ Adachitoka
  • Tags: Action, Fantasy, Romance, Shounen, Supernatural

Summary: Yato is a pretty unknown minor god and tries to earn a living by taking on odd jobs for five yen. His big goal is to build a shrine for himself. At the beginning of the story, the world looks pretty grim for Yato, because he is homeless and even his Shinki doesn’t want to work with him anymore. On his endeavors, he meets Shiori, a human whose soul leaves her body sometimes, and a new Shinki Yukine. Noragami tells the story of a relationship between a human, who wants to turn her body back to normal and a deity whose biggest fear is being forgotten.

Why is this on the list?

At the first glance, Yato seems like a pretty chaotic and useless guy, but that is not the case at all. Despite being physically strong – so strong that he can even challenge the heavens and fight established gods head-on – he is also mentally strong.

You should read if you:

  • like to read a Romance between species (she is a human and he is a god)
  • love having a male lead who is pretty silly but can be very epic at times
  • don’t mind crying your heart out

It doesn’t get any stronger than Nijisuke – Romance Manga recommendation #4

4.Kuroha to Nijisuke: Kuroki Majo no Divertimento

Romance Manga with strong male lead - Kuroha to Nijisuke
(c) Magazine pocket Narita/ Ryohgo Shiraume, Nazuna
  • Tags: Action, Shounen, Romance

Summary: Kuroha to Nijisuke: Kuroki Majo no Divertimento is the Sequel of Kuroha to Nijisuke which has only four chapters. It tells the story of Murokawa Nijisuke, who is a strong guy who is very unlucky and prone to having accidents. After rescuing Kuroha Yoitsuji while she threw herself out of the window to escape the Yakuza (which happens in the original) the two of them get involved. Kuroha possesses extraordinarily good luck and gets used by a Yakuza group because of that. But with the help of Nijisuke Kuroha starts to take her fate into her own hands.

Why is this on the list?

Nijisuke is the epitome of a strong male lead. He is extremely strong. Even boulders or cars don’t leave a dent on him. The guy constantly gets into fights and comes out as the winner and he is shown in action many times throughout the story.

You should check it out if you:

  • don’t mind a pretty open ending and a story with very few romantic interactions ( he constantly saves her though)
  • like it, when most of the characters are pretty strong and have a tragic backstory
  • love it when a story is pretty unpredictable

Shoujo Manga with a strong male protagonist: #5

5.Ore Monogatari

(c) Bessatsu Margaret/Kawahara Kazune Aruko
  • Tags: Comedy, Romance, Shoujo

Summary: This story is about Takeo Gouda. He has a very intimidating appearance: He is huge and has a pretty serious face. Although strangers are often scared by him, everyone adores him when they get to know him better. His luck with girls is still nowhere to be seen: every girl he liked fell for his best friend Makoto Sunakawa at some point. This changes when he meets Rinko Yamato after saving her from a molester. She instantly falls in love but Takeo has a hard time believing that she likes him.

Strong male lead – Why is this on the list?

Takeo Gouda is adored by everyone. He has a huge boy-fanclub and they see him as their idol and often call him „the man“. I mean he jumps in a collapsing building to safe someone and lifts huge pillars. So he is pretty strong.

You should read if you:

  • don’t mind when the male lead isn’t the typical pretty boy
  • like reading a Manga where the MCs are completely opposite: he is huge and loud and she is mall and shy
  • love reading a story with fleshed-out side characters (especially the best friend Sunakawa Makoto)

A relationship between species: Romance Manga with a strong male lead #6

6.Niehime To Kemono No Ou

(c) Hana to Yume/Tomofuji Yuu
  • Tags: Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo

Summary: Saliphie is supposed to become a human sacrifice for the King of the Beasts and Demons. Even when facing death Saliphie stays positive and interacts with the King in a very unprejudiced way. He takes a liking to her and takes her as her consort which leads to her being the first female human Consort of the king. Not everyone in the King’s realm looks favorably on their relationship and they have to overcome many obstacles.

Romance Manga with a strong male lead – Why is this on the list?

Leo is the king of the Beasts, has a strong divine beast by his side and an intimidating presence. He often lifts the female lead and carries her around or rushes to help her. Also even when his subordinates question his ability to rule he still spouts orders pretty intensely. BUT!! If your main focus is reading about a strong male lead in action you will probably be disappointed because to be honest, he doesn’t do much. He heavily relies on the female lead for emotional support.

You should read if you:

  • like it when the female lead is the only one who can get close to the male lead
  • love it when they touch each other often (they already cuddle in chapter one)
  • don’t mind when the power of the male lead isn’t shown often

Persistent and strong male lead: the national karate champion Abe-kun

7.Abe kun’s got me now

(c) Palcy/Iwai Aki
  • Tags: Romance, School, Shoujo

Summary: This story is about Abe-kun and his desperate pursuit of being the best in karate and making Akari his girlfriend. After Akari helped care for him when he was injured after protecting her, Abe-kun confessed his love for her. Akari doesn’t want anything to do with him at first but Abe-kun doesn’t accept her rejection (yes he is pretty intense).

Why is this on the list?

Abe-kun ist he Karate ace of his school and focusses on his training very much. He often wins competitions and he shows his abs frequently – just look at the cover. I think that makes him a pretty strong male lead. He is also there for his mates and Akari, so his mentality is pretty solid too.

You should read if you:

  • like reading a story with a very persistent and forceful male lead (he crosses the line constantly, so if you don’t want that better keep your eyes and heart away from that one)
  • love it when the guy is the first to fall in love and the female lead is very reluctant at first
  • don’t mind a pretty standard shoujo plot

Romance Webtoons with strong male lead

I also wanted to include some Romance Webtoons with a strong male lead. Here are two recommendations for you:

1.Midnight Poppy Land

Romance Webtoons with strong male lead
(c) Webtoons/ Lilydusk
  • Tags: Romance

Official summary on Webtoon: „After making a grisly discovery in the countryside, a small town book editor’s life gets entangled with a young Mafia lord and his intimidating bodyguard…even as every step she takes draws her deeper into the dangerous underworld of the city.“

Why is this on the list?

Tora is the errand boy and bodyguard of the chief of the Balthumans – a Mafia syndicate. He was groomed to use violence and does what he is ordered to to. He constantly works out and everyone is afraid of him – even his coworkers (although he is soft on the inside of course). If you want to read more about this Webtoon, check out my Review: Midnight Poppy Land Review.

You should read if you:

  • like to see a female lead with realistic body proportions
  • love it when the main characters tease each other a lot
  • want to read a Love-Story where all the characters don’t mind swearing and the whole premise is kind of dark

Webtoons with a deity as the male lead #recommendation 2

2. I was tricked into this fake marriage

(c) TAPAS MEDIA 2020 / Pearjuice / Jade / Bak Hedam
  • Tags: Romance, Drama, Comedy, Fantasy

Official summary on tapas: „After the Delpice Empire unifies all kingdoms with brutal subjugation, all the noblemen who stood up to the empire had to relinquish their titles. As her father’s only child, Leyrin Efran becomes a countess overnight, but to secure her family’s title and estate, legally she must be wed! She enlists info from the infamous Nine Night Guild to find a man of lower rank to keep the empire at bay. They deliver as requested (eep! he’s SO hot!), but things don’t completely seem as advertised…“

Why is this on the list?

Delpice is the leader oft he Nine Night Guild and everybody is afraid of him. He can wipe out a whole army on his own and did so repeatedly in the past. He is a godly being who has increased hearing, smell, and strength. He also relieves his stress by fighting with bears. But at this point, I have to say: If you want to see the strong male lead in action often, you will probably be disappointed, because although he is a very strong male lead it doesn’t really get implemented in the plot that often.

You should check it out if you:

  • don’t mind if the Romance develops pretty slowly
  • like seeing a relationship develop from a contract marriage
  • love reading about a doting male lead, who does everything for the female lead

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