I must admit, while I love darker anime and frequently lean toward action, mystery and horror, I certainly have gathered quite the collection of romances as well. But every year yet more great anime romances take off and I’m left having to update this list again. Here are my current top 5 Romantic Anime (as of the start of 2019).
Please Note – There are spoilers below. You have been warned.
Also, Kamisama Kiss (previously number 5) and Golden Time (previously number 4) have both come off the list and into honourable mentions. Still great anime but just not quite able to stay on the list.
Number 5: My Love Story (Previously number 3)
I absolutely fell in love with this story at first watch. It makes me laugh and smile and I just really want the two main characters to be together. And unlike so many others on this list, the characters actually are together in a relationship (albeit a slow moving one) from the second episode, so the frustration of whether or not they are going to date and admit their feelings is not present. Add in some really amusing and interesting supporting characters and you have a romantic anime well worth the watch. The focus on the male character is also a refreshing change in this genre.
Number 4: Recovery of an MMO Junkie
I honestly don’t know why this one spoke to me the way it did but I loved this story. Maybe it was the older characters. Maybe it was seeing them fumbling their way toward a relationship. All I know is that I found Morioka and Sakurai’s relationship utterly charming in this sweet comedy about two fairly awkward human beings. Both on and offline these two are exactly who the other one needs and I really do hope they live happily ever after.
Number 3: Bloom Into You
While not strong enough to knock my top two favourites down at all, Bloom Into You was a surprising anime for me. On the surface it doesn’t seem like my kind of story at all and yet compelling writing and directing got me stuck on the story and that gave the characters all the time they needed to charm me. By the end I very much wanted Yuu to end up with Nanami and I was incredibly caught up in their relationship. I think what works about Bloom Into You is that it isn’t just their relationship. It also looks at their friends and even the teacher’s relationship to a point and there’s a lot of other emotional baggage outside of falling in love that needs to get dealt with. Still, the romance aspect is strong with this one and visually it will sweep you away.
Number 2: Akagami no Shirayuki
This one was one I fell instantly in love with. At it’s core it really is a fairy tale romance (hence the Snow White with the Red Hair) title but it is so much more. It has characters that feel fleshed out and real (even if they are all overly sweet at heart) and Shirayuki is perhaps my favourite female lead in any romance. While I didn’t give this the number on sport, Shirayuki is by far the preferred leading lady as she is confident and self-reliant but still falls in love and has to find the balance in herself. Partnered with Zen (I still don’t get that name), this is a fantastic couple. Zen isn’t useless so that the girl can show her stuff. He is capable in his own right and has his own life aside from pursuing and saving the girl (though he certainly does do that as well). If you just want something sweet but do not want to see the simpering girl pining for the guy or being dependent on him, this is the romance for you.
Number 1: Kimi ni Todoke
This show defines love story. So Kazehaya and Sawako’s relationship moves incredibly slowly, but it remains the focus of the series even while we see Sawako develop her other relationships and the usual school events (sports carnivals and festivals) occur. While the slow pace might frustrate some, it feels necessary given initially the large gap between the protagonists experiences and expectations. Besides, even Sawako’s friends agree that if she dated Kazehaya while still feeling indebted to him it wouldn’t really work out. There is very little unexpected in this story, but the combination of characters and the way it is presented makes this a truly pleasurable watch. Well worth making it to the end of this romance story.
What are your favourite romantic anime or did I include yours on the list?