30 Best Romance Anime of All Time (Ranked)

best romance anime

Here is a list of the best romance anime of all time. This is a genre that is well known in the West, but the Japanese always have a specific perception of life, which is also evident in their romance anime series.

You’re going to get some basic information on the shows themselves, their production, and a short synopsis for each of them. As the site is not adult-oriented, we are not going to include the explicit screenshots here, thus keeping the article clean, but you’ll be able to explore the shows themselves and see for yourselves why they’re on our list.

Best Romance Anime You Need to Watch

30. Your Name

Author(s): Makoto Shinkai
Genres: Romance, fantasy
Release Date: July 3, 2016
Running Time: 107 minutes

Additional Material: None

Summary

Two teenagers share a profound, magical connection upon discovering they are swapping bodies. Things manage to become even more complicated when the boy and girl decide to meet in person.

29. The Quintessential Quintuplets The Quintessential Quintuplets ∬

Author(s): Negi Haruba
Genres: Harem, romantic comedy
Release Date: January 9, 2019 – March 28, 2019 / January 8, 2021 – March 26, 2021
Episodes: 24

Additional Material: 1 anime film (2022)

Summary

High school student Futaro Uesugi is an academically gifted student that leads a difficult life—his mother has died, he has no friends, and on top of all that, his father has incurred a large amount of debt.

An opportunity presents itself when the rich Nakano family transfers to his school. Futaro is promptly hired as a highly paid tutor. However, much to Futaro’s dismay, he discovers that his five charges—identical quintuplet sisters of varied personalities—have no interest in studying at all and have abysmal grades.

28. Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru

Author(s): Caramel Box
Genres: Harem, romance
Release Date: October 8, 2006 – December 24, 2006
Episodes: 12

Additional Material: 4 OVA episodes

Summary

Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru tells the story of the main character Mizuho Miyanokouji, an androgynous high school student. After the death of his grandfather, the reading of his will indicates that he wants his grandson transferred to the Seio Girls’ Academy, the school founded by his ancestors and where his own mother studied. Abiding by the will, Mizuho cross-dresses to attend the school.

27. Sekirei

Author(s): Sakurako Gokurakuin
Genres: Harem, Romantic Comedy, Supernatural
Release Date: July 2, 2008 – September 17, 2008; July 4, 2010 – September 26, 2010
Episodes: 12; 13

Additional Material: 1+1 OVA episodes

Summary

In Tokyo in 2020, referred to as Shintō Teito (“New Eastern Imperial Capital”), the boy Minato Sahashi fails the university entrance exam for the second time, has not yet had any success with women, and moreover, he is still unemployed. However, he is very intelligent, but cannot cope with the pressure of an exam, which explains his constant failure.

As a result of these circumstances, however, he is labeled a loser by many, even his little sister. One day the attractive Musubi falls into his hands as if she had fallen from the sky. However, he soon realizes that Musubi is not an ordinary girl, but that she is a Sekirei (an alien creature) and has chosen him as her Ashikabi.

26. Tsuki ga Kirei

Author(s): Seiji Kishi
Genres: Romance, coming-of-age
Release Date: April 6, 2017 – June 29, 2017
Episodes: 12

Additional Material: None

Summary

The somewhat shy and reserved Kotarō Azumi comes in the third year of middle school for the first time with the sporty Akane Mizuno in a class. During the preparations for the sports festival, they get to know each other a little better and exchange their line contact details. Soon they are texting each other regularly on their cell phones and getting closer.

25. Your Lie in April

Author(s): Naoshi Arakawa
Genres: Musical, romantic drama
Release Date: October 9, 2014 – March 19, 2015
Episodes: 22

Additional Material: 1 OVA episode

Summary

Kōsei Arima, a piano child prodigy, dominated various music competitions in Japan and became famous among children’s musicians, but also controversial. After his mother Saki dies, he has a nervous breakdown at a piano competition, which leads to the fact that he can no longer hear the notes of his piano even though he can hear everything else normally. Two years have passed since then, in which Kōsei has not touched the piano and only perceives the world in black and white, without atmosphere or color. It all changes when he meets a violin player.

24. Snow White with the Red Hair

Author(s): Sorata Akizuki
Genres: Fantasy, romance
Release Date: July 6, 2015 – March 28, 2016
Episodes: 24

Additional Material: 1 OVA episode

Summary

Shirayuki is a herbalist from the Kingdom of Tanbarun characterized by a single peculiarity: her red hair. When the prince of Tanbarun, Raji, orders her to become her concubine because of her, she cuts her hair and flees to the nearby Kingdom of Clarines.

Along her journey, Shirayuki meets her second son Zen prince, and her two guards, Mitsuhide and Kiki, who help her escape from Raji. After also rescuing Zen due to poisoning, she Shirayuki embarks on the path to become a herbalist in the royal palace of Clarines.

23. CLANNAD

Author(s): Key
Genres: Romance, slice of life, tragedy
Release Date: October 4, 2007 – March 26, 2009
Episodes: 47

Additional Material: 2 OVA episodes, 1 anime film

CLANNAD tells the story of Okazaki Tomoya, a brooding third-year high school student. When his mother died when he was young, he remains in the custody of Naoyuki, his father, who, when affected by this tragic loss, ends up immersed in gambling and alcohol.

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His life takes a turn when one morning on his way to school he meets Furukawa Nagisa, an enigmatic girl with unusual qualities that will change the way he sees the world. From that moment begins a friendship between them.

22. My Love Story!!

Author(s): Kazune Kawahara
Genres: Romantic comedy
Release Date: April 8, 2015 – September 23, 2015
Episodes: 24

Additional Material: None

Summary

The tall and strong Takeo Gōda looks significantly older, but is only just entering the first year of high school. Because of his looks, he was popular and successful in sports, but not with the girls. His sandpit friend Makoto “Suna” Sunakawa, on the other hand, is raved about – also by the girls Takeo falls in love with. But Suna always rejects them.

21. Say I Love You

Author(s): Kanae Hazuki
Genres: Romance
Release Date: October 6, 2012 – December 30, 2012
Episodes: 13

Additional Material: 1 OVA episode

Summary

Mei Tachibana is 16 and has never had a boyfriend and feels lonely. Suddenly, of all people, the crush at her school is interested in her: Yamato Kurosawa. Mei falls in love with Yamato and the friendship develops into a real and serious relationship.

The two have to survive different crises and collect their first experiences together. Above all, Aiko Muto is against the relationship. Over time, Mei makes new friends and Aiko recognizes the relationship.

20. Kimi ni Todoke

Author(s): Karuho Shiina
Genres: Coming-of-age, romance, slice of life
Release Date: October 6, 2009 – March 30, 2011
Episodes: 38

Additional Material: None

Summary

The story takes place in Hokkaido. 15-year-old high school freshman Sawako Kuronuma—dubbed Sadako by her classmates for her resemblance to the character from The Ring—has always been feared and misunderstood because of her appearance; rumors around school report that she can see ghosts and curse people.

However, despite her ominous appearance, she is actually a sweet and unassuming girl who only longs to be helpful; she has been shunned for so long that the idea of making friends has become foreign to her. When a popular boy, Kazehaya, begins talking with her, everything changes.

19. Emma

Author(s): Kaoru Mori
Genres: Historical, romance
Release Date: April 2, 2005 – July 2, 2007
Episodes: 24

Additional Material: None

Summary

Set in Victorian London at the end of the 19th century, Emma is the story of a housemaid who falls in love with a member of the gentry. However, the young man’s family disapproves of him associating with people of the lower classes.

18. NANA

Author(s): Ai Yazawa
Genres: Musical, romance
Release Date: April 5, 2006 – March 27, 2007
Episodes: 47

Additional Material: 3 recap episodes

Summary

The series is centered on Nana Osaki and Nana Komatsu, two women who move to Tokyo at the age of 20, with the story focused on Nana O.’s pursuit for fame and Nana K.’s pursuit for romance, all while struggling to maintain their friendship.

17. Toradora!

Author(s): Yuyuko Takemiya
Genres: Romantic comedy, slice of life
Release Date: October 2, 2008 – March 26, 2009
Episodes: 25

Additional Material: 1 OVA episode

Summary

Toradora! revolves around Ryuuji Takasu, despite his gentle personality, his eyes make him look like an intimidating delinquent. Class rearrangements on his second high school year put him together with his best friend, Yusaku Kitamura, and his hidden crush, Minori Kushieda.

16. Maid Sama!

Author(s): Hiro Fujiwara
Genres: Romantic comedy
Release Date: April 1, 2010 – September 23, 2010
Episodes: 26

Additional Material: 1 OVA episode

Summary

Once an all-boys high school, Seika High, infamous for its rowdy students, has recently become a co-ed school. However, with the female population remaining a minority even after the change over the recent years, Misaki Ayuzawa works hard to make the school a better place for girls.

15. Kokoro Connect

Author(s): Sadanatsu Anda
Genres: Romantic comedy, supernatural
Release Date: July 8, 2012 – December 30, 2012
Episodes: 17

Additional Material: None

Summary

The story unfolds between five high school students, Taichi, Iori, Himeko, Yoshifumi and Yui, who are all members of the Student Cultural Club (CCE). One day, they begin to experience a phenomenon in which they randomly swap their bodies. These five friends are therefore confronted with many different phenomena according to the whims of this mysterious being who seeks thereby a means of distraction. Their friendship is tested throughout this story.

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14. Romeo × Juliet

Author(s): Fumitoshi Oizaki (per William Shakespeare)
Genres: Romance
Release Date: April 4, 2007 – September 26, 2007
Episodes: 24

Additional Material: None

Summary

On the floating island of Neo Verona, Leontes Montague and his men lead a bloody coup and murder all the members of the ruling House Capulet. Only Lord Capulet’s young daughter, Juliet, is able to escape. Fourteen years later, Leontes rules the land with an iron fist and crushes anyone who opposes him. Juliet, now sixteen, fights against House Montague’s oppression as the masked vigilante “The Red Whirlwind”. While attending the Rose Ball hosted by the Montagues with a friend, Juliet meets Romeo, Prince Montague’s son, and both of them fall deeply in love at first sight.

13. InuYasha

Author(s): Rumiko Takahashi
Genres: Adventure, fantasy, romance
Release Date: October 16, 2000 – September 13, 2004 (original run), October 3, 2009 – March 29, 2010 (The Final Act)
Episodes: 167 (original run), 26 (The Final Act)

Additional Material: 4 anime films, sequel series (Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon)

Summary

Japan, Sengoku era. Inuyasha, a half-demon (han’yō), steals the Sphere of the Four Spirits from a village, an object that can greatly increase the powers of an individual (demons or men with an evil spirit). Inuyasha does not go too far: Kikyo, the young priestess of the village, pierces him with a sacred arrow which, through Inuyasha’s body, sticks to Goshinboku, a sacred tree in the nearby forest. By the power of the sacred arrow, Inuyasha remains frozen in a magical sleep suspended in time.

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12. Junjo Romantica: Pure Romance

Author(s): Shungiku Nakamura
Genres: Yaoi
Release Date: April 10, 2008 – September 23, 2015
Episodes: 36

Additional Material: 1 OVA episode

Summary

After the death of his parents, the boy Misaki Takahashi lives with his brother Takahiro Takahashi. He takes care of him and gives up his studies, which is why Misaki wants to study at the highly respected university where his brother wanted to study. To achieve this, Takahiro’s eccentric friend Akihiko Usami (also “Usagi-san”) is supposed to give him tutoring. He later discovers that he is also the author of popular gay novels.

11. Honey and Clover

Author(s): Chica Umino
Genres: Coming-of-age, romance
Release Date: April 14, 2005 – September 14, 2006
Episodes: 36

Additional Material: None

Summary

Yūta Takemoto, Takumi Mayama and Shinobu Morita study at an art school in Tokyo (based on the Musashino Art School) and share the same dormitory. One day, the art teacher Shūji Hanamoto introduces them to 18-year-old Hagumi Hanamoto, a relative of his. She is quite small and very talented and Morita falls in love at first sight. But Takemoto also has feelings for her.

10. Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day

Author(s): Super Peace Busters (Tatsuyuki Nagai, Mari Okada, Masayoshi Tanaka)
Genres: Coming-of-age
Release Date: April 14, 2011 – June 23, 2011
Episodes: 11

Additional Material: 1 anime film

Summary

A group of six childhood friends split up after one of them, Meiko “Menma” Honma, died in an accident. Ten years after this tragedy, the leader of the group, Jinta Yadomi, isolates himself from society and lives in seclusion. One summer day, however, Menma appears to Jinta, looking older, asking him for help in fulfilling her wish. She believes she needs to accomplish it to fulfill her destiny.

9. 5 Centimeters per Second

Author(s): Makoto Shinkai
Genres: Romance, drama
Release Date: March 3, 2007
Running Time: 65 minutes

Additional Material: None

Summary

A tale of two people, Tono Takaki and Shinohara Akari, who were close friends but gradually grow farther and farther apart as time moves on. They become separated because of their families yet continue to exchange contact in the form of letters. Yet as time continues to trudge on, their contact with one another begins to cease. Years pass and the rift between them grows ever larger.

However, Takaki remembers the times they have shared together, but as life continues to unfold for him, he wonders if he would be given the chance to meet Akari again as the tale embarks on Takaki’s realization of the world and people around him.

8. We Were There

Author(s): Yuki Obata
Genres: Drama, romance, slice of life
Release Date: July 3, 2006 – December 25, 2006
Episodes: 26

Additional Material: None

Summary

Nanami Takahashi, a teenage girl in her first year of high school, hopes to make new friends quickly. The center of attention at her school is Motoharu Yano, a very popular boy, whom Nanami dislikes at the beginning, due to his apparent superficiality. However, she soon falls in love with him, but Yano is still affected by the loss of his girlfriend, Nana Yamamoto

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7. Koi Kaze

Author(s): Motoi Yoshida
Genres: Romance, drama
Release Date: April 1, 2004 – June 17, 2004
Episodes: 13

Additional Material: None

Summary

Twenty-seven-year-old Koshiro Saeki, who lives with his father Zenzo, is dumped by his girlfriend Shoko of two years, who claims he was too cold and she had found someone else. While on a train the morning after, he sees high school student Nanoka Kohinata looking at a button and crying. Later, as she is getting off the train, she unknowingly drops her train pass and Koshiro follows to return it to her. Koshiro finds himself watching her sudden smile as she notices the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

Later, Koshiro is leaving his job at a marriage-arranging company with a coworker when he encounters the same girl again. Having two free tickets to a nearby amusement park, he gives them to her. To his surprise, she asks him to go with her.

6. Boys Over Flowers

Author(s): Yoko Kamio
Genres: Reverse harem, romantic comedy
Release Date: September 8, 1996 – August 31, 1997
Episodes: 51

Additional Material: 1 anime film

Summary

Makino Tsukushi: a girl who comes from a poor family just wants to get through her 2 last years at Eitoku Gakuen, quietly. But once she makes herself known by standing up for her friend to the F4, the 4 most popular, powerful and rich boys at the school, things start to change for her.

5. Lovely★Complex

Author(s): Aya Nakahara
Genres: Romantic comedy
Release Date: April 7, 2007 – September 29, 2007
Episodes: 24

Additional Material: None

Summary

Lovely Complex is about two high school kids, Risa and Otani. They are a comedy duo because whenever they’re together they fight, argue, make fun of each other, and cause a scene, which makes bystanders laugh. Over time they start to like each other.

4. The World’s Greatest First Love

Author(s): Shungiku Nakamura
Genres: Romance, Comedy, Boys’ love, Slice of life
Release Date: April 9, 2011 – December 23, 2011
Episodes: 24

Additional Material: 2 OVA episodes, 2 anime films

Summary

Rookie literary editor Onodera Ritsu finds himself working for the Marukawa Publishing Company. To his surprise, the only job available is in the Shojo Manga division of the company. The editor and chief of the manga division, Masamune Takano, can’t help but feel that he knows his newest editor.

3. Spice and Wolf

Author(s): Isuna Hasekura
Genres: Adventure, fantasy, romance
Release Date: January 9, 2008 – September 24, 2009
Episodes: 24

Additional Material: 2 OVA episodes

Summary

Spice and Wolf is a Supernatural, Romance, Adventure anime set in a sort of fantasy, European, Medieval world. The story itself revolves around a young traveling merchant (Craft Lawrence), who encounters a legendary wolf god, in the appearance of a cute girl (Holo/Horo) and they end up traveling together.

2. Nodame Cantabile

Author(s): Tomoko Ninomiya
Genres: Musical, Romantic Comedy
Release Date: 11 January 2007 – 25 March 2010
Episodes: 45

Additional Material: 4 OVA episodes

Summary

Shinichi Chiaki, an arrogant, multilingual perfectionist, is the top student at Momogaoka College of Music and has secret ambitions to become a conductor. Born into a musical family, he is talented in piano and violin and once lived abroad in the music capitals of the world as a young boy (namely Prague), but is trapped in Japan because of his childhood phobia of airplanes and the ocean.

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In contrast, Megumi Noda, or “Nodame”, is a piano student at Momogaoka, notorious for messiness and eccentric behavior. Despite being very talented, Nodame prefers to play by ear rather than according to the musical score; thus, she is regarded as sloppy and playful.

1. Hotarubi no Mori e

Author(s): Yuki Midorikawa
Genres: Romance, supernatural
Release Date: September 17, 2011
Running Time: 44 minutes

Additional Material: None

Summary

The original Hotarubi no Mori e shōjo manga and subsequent film tell the story of a six-year-old girl named Hotaru Takegawa, who gets lost in a forest inhabited by a mountain spirit, as well as yōkai (strange apparitions from Japanese folklore). She is found by a mask-wearing, human-like entity named Gin, who informs Hotaru that he will disappear forever if he is touched by a human.

Gin then leads Hotaru out of the forest. Hotaru returns to visit Gin in the forest over the next few days and they become friends despite the limitations on their interactions. Although at summer’s end she must leave Gin to return to the city and her studies, Hotaru promises to return to visit him every summer holiday.