Fans are treated to great romance anime every year, but all of those choices lead to worthwhile series slipping through the cracks. A combination of strange stories, unique art styles, and bad timing have caused the modern romances to be undervalued by genre fans.
Studio: Silver Link
Genre: Drama / Romance / Supernatural
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.
Why it’s overlooked: Kokoro Connect aired during a crowded summer 2012 season, which featured Sword Art Online, Tari Tari, and Humanity Has Declined. It also received bad press attention when a fake casting audition was held for a public relations role.
Studio: Studio Deen
Genre: Comedy / Ecchi / Horror / Romance / Supernatural
Episodes: 12 + 3 OVAs
Quick Pitch: Chihiro has a zombie fetish. There is something about a stumbling, bloodthirsty corpse that turns him on. Rea is the daughter a school director and wants to escape her horrible life. The two meet in an abandoned building, and quickly Chihiro’s wildest dreams come true in possibly the worst way.
Why it’s overlooked: Zombies aren’t exactly sexy, plus Sankarea‘s attempts at tackling themes of bullying and abuse clashed with the ecchi and comedy scenes. Fans that don’t mind mood whiplash will find a surprisingly touching, undead series.
3Maoyu ~ Archenemy & Hero (Maoyuu Maou Yuusha)
Genre: Action / Fantasy / Romance
Quick Pitch: The world is embroiled in a seemingly endless war between humans and demons. Dissatisfied with their slow progress, Yusha forges ahead to slay Mao. Yusha finds himself caught off guard by Mao’s beauty and strang proposal – ending their war would bring chaos to the world of humans. Mao shares her plan to bring everlasting peace, but Yusha will have to cooperate with her.
Why it’s overlooked: Viewers were initially caught off guard by this adaptation’s art style and slow pace, which prompted fans to drop it. The story exams how war can be a misguided tool for unity while peppering ecchi scenes throughout – this mood whiplash didn’t do the series any favors in 2013. Armed with a new perspective, Maoyu may be worth re-examining.
4Engaged to the Unidentified (Mikakunin de Shinkoukei)
Studio: Doga Kobo
Genre: Comedy / Romance / Supernatural
Episodes: 12 + 2 OVAs
Quick Pitch: Upon turning 16, Kobeni Yonomori learns that she is betrothed to Hakuya Mitsumine due to an arrangement her grandfather made. Hakuya and his sister Mashiro move-in with Kobeni and her sister Benio, which leads to crazy and heartfelt moments.
Why it’s overlooked: There’s no second season to continue the story.
Genre: Romance / Science Fiction
Quick Pitch: Death is no longer a worry thanks to the ability to transfer memories into a new body. This technology has given rise to a gray market of memory theft and alteration, which has led to society’s fall. Kaiba is a boy with no memories but is in possession of a locket with the picture of a girl. After surviving an attack, Kaiba escapes into space with the goal of finding the girl.
Why it’s overlooked: Kaiba is a bit too odd for most fans. The story can be tricky to grasp and its Western cartoon art style may not be aesthetically pleasing to people used to a typical anime art style.
6The Great Passage (Fune wo Amu)
Genre: Drama / Slice of Life / Romance
Quick Pitch: Kouhei Araki is an editor of the dictionary division at Genbu Publishing. He plans on retiring to take care of his ill wife, but he must find a replacement to lead the creation of a new dictionary called “The Great Passage.”
Araki decides to recruit Mitsuya Majime, a socially inept member of the sales division, to take over as the dictionary’s editor. It will be a challenging job since the dictionary division is seen as a money pit due to the advent of the internet and dictionary apps.
Why it’s overlooked: It’s a workplace romance about adults working on a dictionary. The setup isn’t exciting, but fans willing to take a chance will find an excellently written series about love.
What do you think is the most overlooked romance anime?