15 Romance Anime You Should Binge Watch

So you don’t have a date with an actual 3D person today (or ever)? So what! We all know that life in the 2D realm is the only one worth living anyway.

Image © Manglobe

Serious Romance Anime

There may be some comedic moments sprinkled throughout, but these shows rely less on humor and more on intense emotional exchanges.

1. Kimi ni Todoke

Image © Production I.G.

Does the girl on the right look eerily like Japanese horror film classic Ring‘s Sadako? No? I don’t think so either. Yet, that is who all of Sawako’s classmates think of when they see her at school. Her parents really didn’t help in the naming department, eh?

Kimi ni Todoke follows Sawako through everyday high school life after her longtime crush Kazehaya-kun reaches out to speak with her. After that moment, the friends and good times come pouring into her life, and it is simply a joy to watch Sawako’s feelings for Kazehaya grow ever more intense.

2. Nana

Image © Madhouse

This is a tale of two Nanas. As if by fate, these two Nanas would meet under similar circumstances — they are both headed to Tokyo in order to fulfill their personal lifelong dreams — and they would become roommates together in Tokyo.

Nana Komatsu has moved in order to follow her boyfriend Shouji, who has been accepted into an art school in Tokyo. Nana Osaki has moved in order to pursue her dream of becoming a professional punk rock artist. Together, they support each other in their endeavors, and what follows is one of the rawest, most realistically portrayed romance stories you will find in anime.

3. Nodame Cantabile

Image © J.C. Staff

This is a ‘boy meets girl’ love story to the very core, but this boy and girl duo are musical super prodigies!

Chiaki is a master pianist and violinist, and he wants nothing more than being able to pursue his musical career in Europe like his mentor had. There’s just one problem though: he’s deathly afraid of flying. When Noda Megumi, another pianist with magical fingers, walks into the picture, that which follows is a warm tale of two people striving to make each other happy.

4. Honey and Clover

Image © J.C. Staff

Yuuta, Takumi and Shinobu live together in a shoddy apartment as artists-in-arms in college.

When ultra-gifted Hagumi crosses their path, their poor college all-boys house party comes to an end as their own inner-demons come to light. Honey and Clover stands apart because of just how human the colorful cast of characters really can be. You’d be hard-pressed to find another such well-balanced romance anime.

5. ef: A Tale of Memories/Melodies

Image © Shaft

The story of ef is told in two parts, and is based off of an adult visual novel by the name of ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two.

The first thing to strike you as you start watching this anime will probably be how positively beautiful it is. Animated by those artsy Shaft folks, you’ll soon be enveloped in intertwining, mesmerizing love tales which intertwine to reveal the larger enchantment at hand.

6. Isshuukan Friends

Image © Brains Base

Isshukan Friends is an anime that you can tell will cause you weekly pain after viewing just the first episode. Kaori seems like the type of girl who would be very popular in school, but her classmates just can’t approach her — Kaori has put up a barrier and refuses to talk to anyone. As it would turn out, she avoids becoming personally involved with anyone due to a condition she developed after being in an accident many years ago: All of her happy memories with friends disappear every Monday.

Yuuki Hase wants nothing more than to her friend. So grab your tissues, because you’re walking into this one knowing full well that these fragile high schoolers are going to try to overcome a lot of seemingly impossible barriers to make this a reality.

7. Chihayafuru

Image © Madhouse

Chihayafuru is perhaps an entry on this list in which romance plays a less-important role, but still provides the basis for some entirely gripping drama.

Chihaya is a girl like many of us; searching for an obscure thing to turn competitive. The Japanese game of Karuta fits that bill quite nicely, and she learns more about the game from her classmate Arata in elementary school. Fast-forward to middle school, and Chijaya, Arata, and childhood friend Taichi have parted ways, only to be reunited in high school. The journey that the three of them embark on in the world of competitive Karuta is fascinating and positively drama-filled.

Humorous Romance Anime

Reversely, these anime may contain plenty of serious moments, some even downright heartbreaking! But at the end of the day, the antics on display in these shows are meant to leave you firmly smiling.

8. Toradora!

Image © J.C. Staff

If there is a Holy Trinity of Romantic Comedy Anime, Toradora! and the next two shows on this list comprise it.

The cast of Toradora! is what makes this anime click so well. Small yet violent Taiga Aisaka is the cream of the tsundere crop, and for that reason, she has become known as the ‘Palmtop Tiger’ in school. Coupled with crazy genki girl Minori and the arrogant, hime-type Ami, the Toradora harem game will leave you rooting for your favored ‘best girl’ until the very end. Watch out for those moments in which the characters break trope mold though; they’re powerful.

9. The Pet Girl of Sakura Hall

Image © J.C. Staff

Mashiro is an artistic prodigy, yet she can’t even seem to perform the most basic, everyday human functions, like changing clothes. Sounds like a perfectly valid reason for being assigned to a dorm full of equally eccentric individuals!

The denizens of Sakura Hall are all social-outcasts in some way, save for Sorata, who has only relocated to the dorm because he refused to give up on taking care of an abandoned cat. As luck would have it, Sorata is soon able to put his pet handling skills to the test, as he takes it upon himself to “protect” Mashiro from the rest of the weirdos at Sakura Hall.

10. Nisekoi

Image © Shaft

“D-d-dating? Don’t be ridiculous. It’s not like I like you or anything, b-baka!”

“That’s right! This relationship is only a farce set up by our weirdo yakuza dads. Don’t you dare read too much into it, ‘k?”

Oh yeah, before I forget: Onodera is best girl.

11. Clannad

Image © Kyoto Animation

Alright, I may get some heat for including Clannad on the humorous side of the list. After all, isn’t this the show that made everyone realize that anime can be even more emotional than any other form of artistic expression out there? Well, yes, Clannad ~After Story~ sure does have that emotional gut-punch, but for the greater part of the series, especially the first season, Clannad relies on a quirky cast of troubled girls who inspire adorable antics everywhere they roam.

12. My Bride is a Mermaid

Image © Gonzo

What is it with anime romcoms and the yakuza? And this time they’re underwater yakuza? Mermaids? Huh?

My Bride is a Mermaid isn’t just a solid love story, it is also one of the funniest damn things you will ever watch in your life; especially if you appreciate some gold old-fashioned slapstick humor. Guaranteed.

13. Nyan Koi!

Image © AIC

Nyan Koi! is probably the standout underrated gem on this list. Junpei hates cats; he’s deathly allergic to them, and despite this, for some god-knows-why reason, his family owns a cat. It turns out to be even worse for him when he discovers that his longtime crush Kaede absolutely loves them.

On the way home from school one day, Junpei accidentally kicks a can into a small cat idol, and is subsequently cursed with the ability to understand what cats are saying. Perhaps this curse can turn out to be a blessing though, as he can surely use it to get closer to that aforementioned crush.

14. Kaichou wa Maid-sama!

Image © J.C. Staff

Misaki is the proud bearer of the honor “First Female Student Council President at a Former All-Boy’s School Recently Turned Co-ed.” Just roll with it.

As it would turn out, she should probably keep the fact that she works at a maid cafe outside of school a secret in order to avoid scorn from the mostly-male student body. Stupid sexy Takumi — why must you find out and make some stupid deal out of keeping it a secret?

 

15. Golden Time

Image © J.C. Staff

Kaga Kouko is the perfect woman who is just so full of passion and love that she chases after her childhood friend and goes to the same university as him. Does he like it? No. But his friend, Tada Banri, kinda does and he can’t help but be enraptured by this whirlwind of a woman.

No list would be complete without this crazy story of love, hate, and the befudding relationships we all fall into. With just enough sass and fully fleshed out characters, this is a love story that will live on inside your mind forever.

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Former editor-in-chief and a writer of news and editorial content at GoBoiano. As an avid Japanese pop-culture enthusiast, Mike is always out to get the latest scoop on all happenings in the anime, game and music scenes in the Land of the Rising Sun. Follow him on Twitter @GB_JanaffStache for the occasional picture of a bowl of ramen.
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