My Dress-Up Darling is a manga series written and drawn by Shinichi Fukuda. The story follows the romantic comedy between Wakana Gojo, a high school student who dreams of becoming a hina doll maker, and Marin Kitagawa, a cosplay-loving gyaru. An animated series adaptation produced by the CloverWorks studio has been broadcast since January 9, 2022.
In this article, we are going to bring you the 10 best anime like My Dress-Up Darling you’ll absolutely love.
1. Maid Sama!
Original Run: April 1, 2010 – September 23, 2010
Number of Episodes: 26 (+ OVA)
The Seika High School was once a school for boys only, but over time it opened up to girls too. The isolation created a harsh climate in the classes, so that the girls find it very difficult to gain a foothold and repeatedly suffer from the humiliation of the boys.
The girl Misaki Ayuzawa still manages to assert herself against her classmates and become the first student representative. Because of her behavior, she is soon seen as a man-hater, but is respected or feared. But behind this facade, she also fights against various other problems.
Among other things, her family, which consists of her mother and little sister, was abandoned by her father and is now sitting on a large pile of debts. To stop the collapse of her own apartment and to help her overworked mother, Misaki looks for a job in a maid café. Since she mainly has to serve male customers there, she tries to keep her job a secret from her classmates.
In the meantime, at school she is often confronted with the heartthrob Takumi Usui, who repeatedly refuses all declarations of love and makes the girls cry. As a result, a special form of hatred against him builds up in her. One day, however, Takumi meets Misaki in front of the Maid Café and discovers her secret.
Her fears that she would now lose her reputation are not fulfilled, however, as Takumi keeps her secret and protects her because, unlike the other girls, he develops feelings for her. Misaki also slowly develops feelings for Takumi and an ambivalent love relationship builds up, which has to suffer severe setbacks again and again.
In the end, however, Usui Takumi can confess his love to Misaki Ayuzawa at a school festival.
2. Real Girl
Original Run: April 4, 2018 – March 26, 2019
Number of Episodes: 24
Hikaru Tsutsui is a high school student, often shunned and mocked by his peers for his otaku nature. One day, after arriving late for school, he is forced to clean the pool together with Iroha Higurashi, a beautiful girl with a very bad reputation. Later Iroha asks him to go out together and Hikaru accepts, but the two can only be together for six months, at the end of which the girl will have to change schools due to the work of her father.
3. Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku
Original Run: April 13, 2018 – June 22, 2018
Number of Episodes: 11
The series follows the awkward romantic comedy between “otaku” office workers, one of whom, Narumi Momose, is a stern fujoshi who somehow tries to hide her passions from others while her partner, Hirotaka Nifuji, is a beautiful, competent man addicted to video games who only lets go of his console to work. If they seem perfect for each other, love is still complicated for the otaku.
4. Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun
Original Run: July 7, 2014 – September 22, 2014
Number of Episodes: 12
The high school student Chiyo Sakura has fallen in love with her classmate Umetaro Nozaki, but it is difficult for her to admit this to him. After one unsuccessful attempt, he takes it home with him. But contrary to Sakura’s hopes, he thinks she is a fan – Nozaki is a mangaka and draws a comic series for girls (“Shōjo”), which appears in the magazine Gekkan Shōjo Romance.
She has long since noticed her talent in the art club, so he recruits her as an Inker. Sakura likes to do this, after all, she is so close to him and maybe she can still confess her love to him. Through the frequent work together, they make new friends and Sakura learns about the work of a mangaka. So Nozaki first goes in search of interesting people who he can use as a template for his stories.
Sakura introduces him to her classmate Yuzuki Seo – a sporty, helpful, but also rough and insensitive girl. Through Nozaki, Sakura met Mikoto Mikoshiba, who drew Nozaki the decorations and patterns. Mikoto is a would-be womanizer who often knocks out slogans but is shortly afterwards ashamed of himself.
5. Smile Down the Runway
Original Run: January 11, 2020 – March 28, 2020
Number of Episodes: 12
Since her early childhood, Chiyuki Fujito, daughter of the director of a modeling agency, has had the ambition to appear as a top model during Paris Fashion Week; unfortunately for her, she has stopped growing and her short stature now fails her to pass the agency’s auditions. Although those around her repeatedly tell her to give up, she does not give up and does her best to achieve it from the height of her meter fifty-eight.
During her senior year of high school, she learns that her classmate, Ikuto Tsumura, wants to become a fashion designer. The latter, whose existence she had forgotten, plans to give up his dream to provide for his family entirely, indeed his mother must provide for the needs of Ikuto’s three little sisters, moreover, the latter falls ill following a burnout. As her resolve began to falter, Chiyuki reminisces about what she was told and assimilates into Ikuto.
For a moment, she thought her dream would have been impossible, but only to come back more confident in herself and makes an unlikely request to Ikuto which marks the beginning of their long journey to make each of their dreams come true. Ikuto admires Chiyuki’s confidence and willpower. The latter is dazzled by the talent and imagination of the future stylist.
Original Run: January 10, 2021 – April 4, 2021
Number of Episodes: 13 (+ 6 OVA)
Kyōko Hori is a bright and popular high school girl, contrasting with her classmate, Izumi Miyamura, a gloomy boy and supposed otaku wearing glasses. Outside of school, Hori is a homebody who dresses simply and takes care of the house and her younger brother Souta. One day, when Souta returned home injured, he was helped by a stranger with multiple piercings.
This person is revealed to be Miyamura. While surprised that he is a different person at school, Hori is upset when Miyamura saw his true appearance at home, but the two agree to keep their true selves a secret from their classmates.
7. Fly Me to the Moon
Original Run: October 3, 2020 – present
Number of Episodes: 12 (+ OVA)
On a snowy winter night, Nasa Yuzaki, a boy with a peculiar name, meets a beautiful girl he falls in love at first sight, Tsukasa Tsukuyomi, just before his high school entrance exam. As Nasa crosses the road to challenge him, he is run over by a truck. After the girl saves him, Nasa, who compares her to Princess Kaguya, decides to pursue her even though he is badly injured to meet her at a bus stop.
He ends up confessing his love to her and asks her out on a date. The young girl imposes a drastic condition on him, that of “first getting married before starting a relationship”, which Nasa accepts without hesitation before fainting. When Nasa, who had previously decided not to go to high school to look for Tsukasa, turns 18, he still thinks about the promise he made that night.
Then, Tsukasa suddenly shows up at the door of her house with a marriage form, starting their relationship and marriage. Despite the many mysteries that remain, Nasa and Tsukasa are now a married couple, spending their daily lives together to deepen their relationship.
8. Kimi ni Todoke
Original Run: October 6, 2009 – March 30, 2011
Number of Episodes: 38
The high school student Sawako Kuronuma is loathed by her classmates, as various rumors manifested in the school that she could see ghosts and curse people. The reason for this is the similarity of her name to Sadako, a character from the Ring.
Many students fear her presence and avoid her as much as possible. Only the new and very popular student Shōta Kazehaya treats her like any other girl. One day they get the opportunity to talk to each other, which turns their entire life upside down.
With his help, she tries to make new friends and to talk to strangers like any other schoolgirl. She is almost exaggeratedly grateful for his support and a close relationship slowly develops between the two, which has to overcome many hurdles.
9. Komi Can’t Communicate
Original Run: October 7, 2021 – present
Number of Episodes: 12
Komi Shouko is a girl who attends Itan High private school, where she is extremely popular with her peers due to her beauty and her seemingly haughty and superior attitude. On the first day of class, she meets Tadano Hitohito, her neighbor: he discovers, after trying to talk to her, that Komi actually suffers from a communication disorder that prevents her from speaking in front of other people and, consequently, from being able to make friends with anyone. Tadano thus promises to help her achieve her goal of finding a hundred friends.
10. Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru
Original Run: October 8, 2006 – December 24, 2006
Number of Episodes: 12 (+ 4 OVA)
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.
Respecting this will, Mizuho disguises himself in order to infiltrate it. Initially, only the headmistress, headteacher Hisako Kajiura and Mariya Mikado know his secret; Shion Jujo and Ichiko Takashima also eventually find out. Mizuho is very popular with other high school girls, who often discuss her beauty, cuteness, and athleticism. This unbridled popularity increases to the point that he is nominated, against his will, to become the student council president.
Because of this, the current student council president, Takako Itsukushima, opposes Mizuho. The election of the president is an old tradition in the school: in June, one of the high school girls is elected by her peers to be the eldest, seen as the school’s number one “big sister”. Until graduation, she was referred to by her peers as Onee-sama.
To become a senior, the candidate must obtain at least 75% of the votes. If none of the candidates obtains at least 75% in the first ballot, one of the candidates gives her votes to another candidate, then the one who finally obtains at least 75% of the votes becomes the oldest. If no one reaches this threshold, the president of the student council for the current year becomes the eldest.
In Otoboku, Mizuho gets 82% of the vote in the first round, becoming the 72nd oldest in school history. In the following months, Mizuho is confronted with the responsibility entailed by this status and tries to help the other characters as best as possible while keeping his true identity a secret.