Love romances, but wish there was less comedy or ecchi? Then check out these romance-dramas! They will torment your heart with love-triangles, melodrama, teases, and shocking story developments.
Studio: J.C. Staff
Episodes: 25 + 1 OVA
Quick Pitch: Ryuuji Takasu is cursed with an intimidating face, and Taiga Aisaka has fearsome reputation due to her feisty personality. These two classmates cross paths, which leads to Ryuuji discovering Taiga’s crush on his best friend. After revealing that he also has a crush on Taiga’s best friend, the two make a pact to play matchmaker.
Studio: Kyoto Animation
Episodes: 47 +2 OVAs
Quick Pitch: Tomoya Okazaki has already decided to waste away his high school life, but a chance encounter with Nagisa Furukawa alters his plans. She was held back a year due to a severe illness and dreams of reviving the school’s drama club. Claiming he has nothing better to do, Tomoya decides to befriend Nagisa and help make her dream come true.
3Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso)
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Episodes: 22 +1 OVA
Quick pitch: Kousei Arima is a young musical prodigy. His mom meticulously taught him to play the piano, which allowed him to dominate music competitions. After her sudden death, Kousei the will to play music and disappeared from the stage. His monotonous life changes upon meeting Kaori Miyazono, a violinist known for her free-willed performances.
Studio: P.A. Works
Quick Pitch: Human civilization began on the ocean floor, but generations of migration to the land caused a rift between the two groups. Four middle schoolers from sea village of Shishishio are forced to attend a school on the surface, and they struggle to fit in due to the hatred both groups have fostered. However, the biggest challenge among the four friends will be the newfound feelings between each other as their childhoods end.
Quick Pitch: Nana Komatsu is a hopeless romantic who clings to those around her. Though Komatsu has ambitious dreams, she boards a train to Tokyo so she can be close to her boyfriend.
Nana Osaki is enigmatic punk rock singer with dreams of becoming a star. Osaki puts her past behind her and boards a train to Tokyo with the goal of debuting with her band Black Stones.
Both Nana’s lives are about to become intertwined.
Studio: MAPPA / Tezuka Productions
Quick Pitch: Kaoru Nishimi has arrived in Kyushu to attend high school, but his constant moving to new towns has killed his hopes of fitting in. Kaoru prepares for another lonely year, but things change after an encounter Sentarou Kawabuchi and class president Ritsuko Mukae. The trio begins to bond over jazz music and they decide to form a band.
7The Pet Girl of Sakurasou (Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo)
Studio: J.C. Staff
Quick Pitch: Sorata Kanada is forced to move into Suimei High School’s infamous Sakura Hall for violating their rules about keeping stray cats. He is the only average person amidst a cast of eccentric roommates. However, his desire to leave Sakura Hall wavers after he meets the infantile, but artistically brilliant Mashiro Shiina.
8My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU (Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru)
Studio: Brain’s Base (season 1) / feel. (season 2)
Episodes: 26 + 2 OVA
Quick Pitch: Hachiman is a loner with a grim worldview. He feels society is filled with hypocrites and that happiness is a myth. After writing a scathing report on social relationships, Hachiman is forced to join the Service Club to help students with their problems. The “ice beauty” Yukino is the club’s only other member and the bubbly Yui serves as an assistant. Hachiman will find his cynical worldview challenged while helping students seeking the club’s assistance.
Studio: Studio Deen
Episodes: 96 + 3 OVAs + 1 Movie
Quick Pitch: Yusaku Godai is a college student living in Maison Ikkoku, a comfortable but threadbare dormitory complex. Tired of being teased for his introvert personality, Godai vows to find a new residence but changes his mind after meeting Kyoko Otonashi. She serves as Maison Ikkoku’s new manager, and Godai immediately falls for Kyoko’s charm. But she is a widow that is slowly being consumed by depression.
Studio: J.C. Staff
Quick Pitch: Yuuta, Takumi, and Shinobu are bachelors who share an apartment with no bath. However, the low rent is perfect as they try to eek out lives as art students. Their lives start to get a little more interesting when two girls move-in: Hagumi and her guardian Shuuji. Life of a young college student may seem fun, but it’s filled with pitfalls that are difficult to navigate.
Studio: Studio Deen
Quick Pitch: Mitsuki is a 12-year-old girl with a great singing voice. She dreams of becoming an idol and becoming reunited with her crush, but a throat tumor crushes her dreams. While Mitsuki can still manage to sing, she needs surgery to remove the tumor, but it will damage her vocal cords. Determined to push through, Mitsuki accidentally overhears two shinigami comment that she only has a year to live if she doesn’t get the surgery.
Studio: Doga Kobo
Quick Pitch: 18-year-old Tsukasa Mizugaki has failed his college entrance exams, but due to his father’s influence, lands a job at SAI Corp. This corporation is responsible for creating Giftias, which are near-human androids but have a lifespan of 81,920 hours.
Tsukasa is assigned to Terminal Service One, a station who is responsible for collecting expiring Giftias before they become hostile. On his first day, Tsukasa is partnered up with a Giftia named Isla, who is considered the best at Giftia retrieval
Studio: Silver Link
Episodes: 13 + 4 OVA
Quick Pitch: The five members of the Student Cultural Research Club begin to experience a phenomenon that causes them to randomly swap bodies with each other. Their friendship is put to the test as they begin to learn each other’s hidden secrets and emotional scars.
Studio: Studio Pierrot (Season 1) / Ajia-do Animation Works (Season 2)
Quick Pitch: Social classes are sharply drawn in 19th-century London, England. Social standing determines one’s place in the world. Emma is a hardworking maid, but she feels she is a burden. However, her view changes after meeting William, the eldest son of a wealthy family. William’s kindness captures Emma’s heart, but could they truly fall in love despite social tradition?
Studio: Telecom Animation Film
Episodes: 13 + 1 Movie
Quick Pitch: Naho’s first day of her sophomore year of high school begins on a strange note. She receives a letter from herself that was written 10 years in the future and is filled with her life regrets. At first, Naho thinks it’s a joke, but several events begin to accurately unfold. Naho is now determined to correct these mistakes, especially in regards to transfer student Kakeru.
Studio: Production I.G.
Quick Pitch: Futaba used to attract a lot of attention from boys in middle school, but became ostracized by the girls. Now in high school, she is determined to avoid all unwanted attention from in an attempt to fit in with her girlfriends. Her plan becomes complicated when she is reunited with Kou, a boy who she fell deeply in love with in middle school but couldn’t admit her feelings for due to a misunderstanding.
Quick pitch: Fumi Manjoume and Akira Okudaira were childhood friends, but they drifted away due to Fumi’s family moving. 10 years later, Fumi returns to attend Fujigaya Girls Academy and runs into Akira. Their friendship rekindles quickly, but a web of high school romance may put a strain on their friendship.