It’s really not that hard to figure out what the romance genre in anime is all about. Essentially, it’s about love, romance, and the characters going all lovey-dovey. Usually, romantic and sweet moments come together. Bottom line is, this genre is about love and sweet moments—and most of the time there are added twists of drama and comedy.
As I’ve already watched plenty of romance anime, I’ve built a collection of my personal favorites. Below you will find 10 anime series that represent the best in the genre. I’ve also added additional smaller lists that cover more particular subgenres in the romance category. Ready or not, here they are!
It’s romantic, it’s comedic! And even sometimes very dramatic! Toradora is one romance anime everyone can truly enjoy. From the beginning, the characters are fairly hostile to each other until their true feelings and emotions are revealed. Everything is executed perfectly here. Some elements may seem very cliché, but even those things are handled in a very brilliant way. You’ll get captivated by the story.
Takasu Ryuuji looks like a delinquent because of his intimidating eyes and stares. Aisaka Taiga, on the other hand, looks small and gentle, but she is actually as fierce as a tiger. Both Ryuuji and Taiga have their own crushes—coincidentally, on each other’s best friend. So when Taiga mistakes Ryuuji’s bag for his best friend’s, her secret crush is revealed. Now, Taiga is intent on pulverizing Ryuuji for knowing his secret, but he later discovers that Ryuuji also has a crush on her best friend. The two cooperate and form a pact to help each other win over their respective crushes.
Toradora! – Trailer
9. Lovely Complex
If I can describe Lovely Complex in two words, I’d say cute and sweet! It’s in the name after all. It’s an adorable and super sweet romantic comedy love story.
High school student Atsushi Otani is really short and Riza Koizumi is really tall for a teenage girl. Those traits wouldn’t really be an issue on their own, but as extremes of one other in the same class, these two tend to stand out as a perfect comedy duo. Being the opposites of each other, Otani and Risa are always arguing and bickering about their own complexes. But surprisingly, they have some particular similarities that only the two of them share. Hence, the start of their very sweet, very cute, very funny, and most of all . . . very lovely complex.
Lovely Complex – Trailer
8. Kaichō wa Meido-sama! (Maid Sama!)
While Kaichō wa Meido-sama! has a simple story, its set of characters (especially the leading characters) are so well-made that they carry the story far enough to shine bright. The characters are very relatable and likable. As many romantic moments there are, there’s an equal number of quirky, comedic moments that come along. Overall, Kaichō wa Meido-sama! is a very heart-warming romantic comedy anime that has little to no unnecessary complexities, which prompts it to deliver a pure love story with its own notable quirks and memorable moments.
When an all-boys school suddenly turns co-ed, the only foreseeable struggle that’s bound to happen is that the new girl students will be intimidated and feel awkward. Ayuzawa Misaki takes the responsibility of being the student council president in order to rule the school with an iron-fist and keep the balance in place (much to the boys’ disapproval because of her harshness towards them). To keep up her appearances as the student council president with the iron-fist, Misaki has to keep her after school job a secret. She works as a very gentle and sophisticated maid in a café. One day, the popular heartthrob Usui Takumi finds out her well-kept secret.
Recommended High School Romance Anime
You may notice that a few entries on this list take place in a high school setting. It is a common backdrop in romance anime since it covers a universal place and time where young love blooms. If you are particularly fond of young high school romance in your anime, you can check out these recommendations.
- True Tears
- Wolf Girl & Black Prince
- His and Her Circumstances
- Tsuki ga Kirei
7. Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride)
Despite being a fairly recent anime, Ao Haru Ride stands out as a great romance show that conforms with today’s standards. The art, visuals, and animation were superb. The story? It wasn’t shabby at all! Plus, the characters and their development (especially romantic development) shined very brightly. Everything fell into place and delivered a perfect combination of elements befitting of a heartwarming story.
Because of this, she wasn’t able to confess her feelings to the boy she loved, Tanaka-kun. Now in high school, Yoshioka has changed her personality into something very unlady-like (opposite to what she was before) so as to not repeat her experiences in middle school. Soon she meets her middle school crush again, but with a different name. Tanaka-kun is now Mabuchi Kou, and he reveals that he liked Yoshioka in the past. But now everything has changed. Have their feelings as well?
Ao Haru Ride – Trailer
6. Sakurasou no Pet no Kanojo (The Pet Girl of Sakurasou)
Sakurasou no Pet no Kanojo,also known as The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, is a show that tackles love and romance on a whole new level. It’ll give you the impression that it’s yet just another senseless harem anime with overblown clichés and fanservice, but that’s totally wrong! This show proves that it can be very complex, in a good way, while totally rubbing off the initial impressions. First, it doesn’t only talk about romance, it speaks on love in general. Second, the characters are surprisingly well-developed, as is the plot and story. Lastly, as I’ve said, everything’s surprisingly good, so giving it a chance is definitely a must! The combination of many great elements with romance and love produces a very good blend with this one.
Everything’s pretty normal though, except the fact that all the students that live there have their own weird habits and quirks. A few days later, a girl, who’s the oddest of them all (super brilliant but doesn’t how to take care of herself), is going to live in Sakurasou, where Sorata is going to be in charge of taking care of her.
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou – Trailer
5. Golden Time
If you haven’t seen Golden Time yet, then I suggest you do now. In my own opinion (and I think many will agree), Golden Time is one of the most realistic romance anime that exists today. It isn’t just all about being lovey-dovey, it also tackles the struggles and the complications of being in a relationship. As a matter of fact, the show did this by featuring very realistic characters that you could easily relate to. Even the story on its own is very decent. It has romance, comedy, drama, and they all fit together to tug your heartstrings and show the reality of relationships and love.
Starting his life as a law student in college in the city, Tada Banri gets lost on his first day trying to get to school. Fortunately, he meets another guy named Mitsuo Yanagisawa who’s in the same situation he is. Then from out of the blue, a beautiful girl named Kaga Kouko suddenly appears and smashes a bouquet of flowers into Mitsuo’s face. As weird as it is, Koukou is Mitsuo’s childhood friend who’s overly obsessed with him. Trying to escape from her, Mitsuo enrolls in the school but Kouko manages to follow him. Now, Banri is caught up in the situation and he’s going to be the one who changes the course of this crazy situation.
Golden Time – Trailer
I’ll be surprised if you’ve never heard of Clannad or Clannad: After Story. These are two of the best drama anime out there. And not only that, they’re also by far two of the best romance anime! Did you know that there isn’t even a single kissing scene between the lovers here? That’s correct, there isn’t! But the romance and drama is high enough to completely rub that off and focus on the relationships. Love has never been this lovely and beautiful in an anime. I can almost feel the characters’ sentiments in this one.
While walking to school one day, the unmotivated Okazaki Tomoya notices a girl who suddenly mutters the name of some kind of food. The girl’s name is Nagisa Furukawa, and unbeknownst to both, it’s just the start of the rollercoaster of love and life where they’ll first start as friends until they get attached to one another. But of course, no legit rollercoaster is without a bump. It’s just the start of their romantic, heartwarming, and even heart-wrenching story.
Clannad – Trailer
Recommended Romantic Comedy Anime
The genre most related to the romance category of anime is arguably the comedy genre. Like other mediums of entertainment, the two genres work cohesively to deliver moments that are as heartwarming as they are humorous. If you need some laughs with your romance, check out some of these anime series.
- School Rumble
3. Special A
Now this one’s so interesting that you’ll be very pleased watching it. Special A is another romantic comedy-drama show where the characters fall in love with each other. In this one, it’s not just one pair of friends that falls in love, but most of the characters. Each one has a story to tell, and most of the time the stories are very heartwarming and sweet. Add that to the fact that the main pair are always fighting each other for supremacy. You’ll be entertained at how funny they are until the moment that they actually develop feelings and fall in love. Until the very end, Special A keeps the romantic pace up.
Being both best friends and rivals since they were children, Hikari Hanazono and Kei Takashima have a bond where they are always clawing at each other. Now they’re both in high school in a special class of the most brilliant and elite—the Special Class A. As she always does, Hikari shall do her best to snatch the number 1 spot from Kei at all costs. But then, as the battle goes on, feelings from deep within their hearts suddenly manifest.
Special A – Opening Song Theme
2. Kimi ni Todoke (From Me to You)
This is a rare gem in the romance department of anime. I know most won’t watch it based on first impressions, but as they say, don’t judge a book by its cover. Or should I say, don’t judge a romance anime by its title, poster, or summary! Kimi ni Todoke is very unique in the sense that it showcases elements that are very original to the romance genre. And I must say, it’s super effective!
. On the other hand, Kazehaya Shouta is super popular in class and is well-known as a very kind and friendly guy with a really refreshing presence. Given Shouta’s personality, he’s the only one who’s willing to approach Sawako and talk with her, much to Sawako’s delight. It’s the first time she has befriended someone and she is so thankful. She feels blessed and hopeful that it’ll be the start of something new.
Kimi ni Todoke Trailer
1. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (My Little Monster)
We’ve come to the much-anticipated revelation. I don’t know if you will agree with me, but in my opinion, the best romance anime is Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun. I really encourage you to watch it. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun is fairly new, yet it has already soared to the top. I mean, it has all the elements necessary to be a truly awesome romance anime. It’s unique, sweet (very sweet actually), cute (the love story is so adorable it will easily tug your heartstrings), very wholesome (which is a rarity today), and very lovable. There are many more reasons why this anime is a masterpiece, but I’ll leave those for you to discover.
It all starts when Shizuku Mizutani, a cold high-achiever student, is tasked by a teacher to deliver some handouts to a student named Yoshida Haru, a student who was suspended from school. Haru is very touched by Shizuku’s delivery, claiming that only a friend would do that (even though it wasn’t really Shizuku’s intention). Shizuku is really cold, earning her the nickname “Dry Ice” while Haru is very innocent and clueless to the social workings in the world. Both are aloof and weird in a way. From their first meeting, Haru feels a spark in his heart towards Shizuku, so from then on he follows Shizuku. Soon enough, both begin to deal with blossoming feelings and emotions as well as various colorful complications that arise from within their hearts.