“What’s life without a touch of romance?” said someone once upon a time. And it is true because otherwise we’d be left ruminating on only the monotony that life has to offer. After a while, it would leave us exhausted, bitter, and apathetic. Hedonistic indulgences are just as important in life as cold and hard reasons.
Anime and manga themselves, provide this respite that some of us seek. And romantic anime and manga have become extremely popular in recent times since they help us escape into a world of happy endings, fluff, and cutesy things. Through this article, I aim to bring to your attention some of the best romance anime of all time. Romance anime typically fall within the Shoujo category and are anime based on relationships, love, and romance.
So let us get acquainted with the top 7 relationship-based anime of all time!
List of 7 Best Romance Anime of All Time
5 Centimeters Per Second
Let’s start our recommendations list with a rather serious romance anime. 5 Centimeters Per Second is one of the very first Makoto Shinkai feature films (director of Weathering with You, Kimi no Na Wa, etc.) that got my attention. It is a coming-of-age story that tells a tale of love, loss, distance, heartbreak, emptiness, and nostalgia.
It tells the story of Takaki and Akari who meet in school and quickly befriend each other. Their friendship turns to love and soon the two become inseparable. However, their love is put to the test when Akari has to move away to another city, leaving her old life behind. The movie simultaneously tells the story of Takaki’s senior year in high school. Kanae Sumida is his classmate and is also head over heels in love with him. Will she be able to confess her love to Takaki?
5 Centimeters Per Second is an emotionally-charged one of the most realistic romance anime that I have had the privilege to come across. Not only does it portray a beautiful picture of innocent love but also the pain that comes along with separation due to uncontrollable circumstances. All those of you who had to move to different cities frequently during your childhood will be able to relate to this anime. I would definitely recommend this Shinkai movie to all romance anime fans.
Kaichou wa Maid-Sama!
This romcom anime is a light-hearted tale about high school students. If you want to watch something cute and fluffy with a relatively good storyline, you are definitely going to enjoy Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama, A LOT. This 26-episode anime is lively, humorous, and keeps its emotional tones in the right places.
The anime tells the story of Seika High, formerly an all-boys high school that has recently turned co-ed. However, since the female population of the high school is still a minority, they are not taken seriously by the teachers and the other male students. Misaki Ayuzawa is one of the female students who takes it upon herself to become the poster girl for all the other women in the school. She excels in academics and sports only to gain appraisal from her teachers. She ends up becoming the first female student council president. However, the boys in the school see her as a bossy and dominating man-hating woman and are rather skeptical about her. At the same time, Misaki has a secret which she keeps from her teachers and peers. When fellow student genius Takumi Usui, comes to know of Misaki’s big secret, he quickly takes an interest in her. What happens next?
Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama! is one of my favorite romance anime ever. In my opinion, it is also extremely feminist and quite successfully portrays how an outspoken and independent woman is treated by the opposite sex, who label her as a “demon dictator” and “boy-hating”. What they fail to notice is that she has a side to her that no one knows or is allowed to know. That’s until Takumi Usui comes along who wants to really get to know Misaki.
I will definitely recommend this anime to anyone looking to watch a light-hearted, fluffy rom-com with a strong female lead.
Ao Haru Ride
Ao Haru Ride is a high-school romance anime film that is watch-worthy. The story is gripping and portrays good character development. I think a lot of young anime lovers will be able to relate to the story as this romance anime portrays adolescent experiences that we’ve all been through at some point in our teenage-hood.
The film narrates the story of Futaba Yoshioka, who comes across her childhood love Kou, who had previously shifted to Nagasaki in middle school. However, Futaba notices a stark difference in Kou’s personality from back then, as he is now cold and apathetic. Eventually, the two come closer after Futaba helps Kou deal with his grief after losing his mother. But when Kou goes back to the toxic relationship with his ex-lover, Futaba realizes that all her efforts to help Kou are fruitless and starts a relationship with another boy. But soon Kou comes to terms with his toxic relationship and after breaking away from it, starts to pursue Futaba again.
Ao Haru Ride is a slice-of-life romance anime that I will recommend every romance fan to watch. It really warmed up my heart when I watched it and I related heavily with the main character and her journey towards accepting herself. Every teenager will love this romance anime movie!
My Little Monster
This is another romantic comedy that will surely touch your heart. At least it did touch mine. My Little Monster is one of the most popular romance anime that every anime fan should watch at least once. The anime consists of only 13 episodes and an OVA, so if you’re looking for a short and light watch, you definitely won’t be disappointed by My Little Monster.
The anime tells the story of Shizuku Mizutani who is extremely cold and emotionless, caring only about her academic prowess and future career and her blossoming relationship with Haru Yoshida a laid-back boy who sits next to her in class but barely attends school. Haru has a reputation of being a violent and angry delinquent but soon Shizuku realizes that he has an unexplored kind and gentler side to him that nobody knows about. Haru feels drawn to Shizuku but it takes her a very long time to come into terms with her feelings for him. What starts off as a relationship between two black sheep ends up becoming an unexpected love story between two equally misunderstood people.
My Little Monster is a deeply touching romance anime that is also humorous when it needs to be. I will 100% recommend every anime fan to watch this anime.
This is one of the saddest romance anime that I’ve ever come across. And Orange: Future is not just your usual romance anime. It is deeply moving and gives you a lesson or two about friendship, loss, heartbreak, and grief. Orange: Future is an anime film that every anime lover should watch. When I watched it for the first time, I spent the next two days crying, because I was definitely not expecting it to end the way it did.
This fantasy romance anime tells the story of Naho Takamiya, a high school senior, who receives letters from her future self, advising her to do certain things to prevent some unfortunate circumstances in the future. This revolves around the new transfer student named Kakeru Naruse, who is socially reclusive. Although she is skeptical of these letters at first, she eventually comes to believe in them as they accurately predict future events. Naho decides to follow the warnings put down by the letters in order to prevent a big-oncoming tragedy involving Kakeru. On the other hand, there is Suwa, a friend of Naho who is in love with her. The anime movie also portrays Suwa’s conflicting feelings about Naho and Kakeru’s relationship as he comes to terms with his love for Naho.
Orange: Future is a beautiful romance anime film that I will recommend all anime lovers to watch. Not only you’ll be bawling your eyes out by the end of it, but also, you’ll take away valuable lessons about what it means to be a human being with emotions and how some things are just beyond your control. Is it really possible to save a life? Orange: Future answers this question effectively.
Given is a music-based romance anime that falls within the Shounen-Ai or Boys’ Love (BL) genre that depicts romantic love between two men. Being a music lover myself, it was really a boon to come across this anime, although I was bawling my eyes out by the end of it.
Given tells the story of a high-school student, Ritsuka Uenoyama who is also a guitarist in his band called Seasons, consisting of bassist Haruki Nakayama and drummer Akihiko Kaji. Ritsuka spends his days lazing around in school and jamming with his band. However, everything changes when he meets Mafuyu Sato, a shy and reclusive boy who transfers to his school. Mafuyu keeps pestering Ritsuka to teach him the guitar and no matter how many times he declines the offer, Mafuyu keeps at it. He finally agrees to teach Mafuyu music and welcomes him as the fourth member of his band after he is taken aback by the latter’s gifted singing voice. But Mafuyu has his own demons to fight.
Given consists of one season and a movie. The movie deals with the love story between the band’s two adult members, Haruki and Akihiko, and the obstacles they had to face to come together with each other.
Given is an emotion-packed romance anime that will present you with unexpected twists and turns that you were definitely not ready for. I would 10/10 recommend this anime to all music lovers, romance fans, and anime enthusiasts.
Ouran High School Host Club
This completed romance anime is one of the funniest that I’ve ever watched. If you are looking to laugh your butt off, then this anime is just for you. This anime also falls under the category of Reverse Harem, which describes stories that have a number of male characters trying to gain the affection of one main female lead.
Ouran High School Host Club tells the story of Haruhi Fujioka, who transfers into the prestigious Ouran Academy with a scholarship. Ouran Academy is an elite private school for rich kids and naturally, Haruhi is the oddball there. One day, in a quest to find a quiet place to study she stumbles upon the club room of the Ouran Academy Host Club which is a club run by six good-looking male students whose job is to entertain female clients in the school. However, the only catch is that Haruhi gets mistaken for a boy due to her short hair, and boyish appearance. She ends up breaking an expensive vase and in order to pay off the damages, she agrees to work for the Host Club as a host, albeit unwillingly. She soon becomes popular with the female students (who mistake her for a boy) and eventually ends up catching the attention of the club leader, Tamaki Suoh. What happens next will change Haruhi’s life forever.
This hilarious romance anime is a must-watch for all romance and comedy fans. My stomach hurt from all the laughing at one point and by the end of the series, I couldn’t help but go “awwww!” I will definitely recommend this anime to everyone looking for a good laugh.
Romance anime are in abundance if you are actively looking. Apart from the once I mentioned above, there are innumerable romance anime that you can catch on any anime streaming website or app. You can watch all of these anime with English subtitles and dubs in high-quality videos. And these anime are also not hard to find on anime streaming sites as they are usually listed under the “romance” category. So visit your go-to anime streaming platform today and have fun watching all of these upbeat, slice-of-life, funny, and sometimes emotional romance anime!