Top 5: Romantic Anime (updated July 2021)

Top 5 Romantic Anime

Once again I’m dusting off the list for top 5 Romantic Anime. Will the anime already on the list manages to hold onto their position of have newcomers knocked them down. I last updated the list in 2019 and we had My Love Story, Recovery of an MMO Junkie, Bloom Into You, Snow White With The Red Hair on the list with Kimi ni Todoke taking the top spot.

I’m going to be honest, in the last two years I’ve watched a lot of romantic anime, both old and new, and the list is going to be shaken up a bit as some of my preferences have changed.

As always, I’d love to know what my readers think are the top 5 romantic anime so be sure to leave a comment below.

Please Note – There are spoilers below. You have been warned.

Romantic Anime Number 5: 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.

I wouldn’t mind more romantic anime like this that just kind of meandered about sweetly before giving us some smiles at the end.

Romantic Anime Number 4: Given

Given ended up being my favourite romantic anime from 2019 and honestly, it is definitely in fighting position for best of all time, though I feel there’s still quite a bit of story to go beyond what the first season of the anime gave us and the follow-up movie didn’t focus on the main couple.

Still, given I have the main characters hanging on my wall watching over me as I type away on my laptop I’m guessing this anime left a lasting impression.

It is a boy’s love anime but manages to avoid a lot of the usual tropes associated with the genre and instead plays out as a straight forward romance between two pretty awkward teenagers (who are both boys adding another layer of complexity to dealing with their emotions).

This one is sweet and the characters will charm you and the final song will blow you away.


Romantic Anime Number 3: 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 Akagamie no Shirayuki has once again not made the top spot, Shirayuki is one of my favourite female leads in a romance ever, 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 romantic anime for you.

Romantic Anime Number 2: Kimi ni Todoke

This show almost 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 romantic anime.

Romantic Anime Number 1: Fruits Basket Final Season

I understand that Fruits Basket is so much more than just a romantic anime and there’s a lot of other drama and character developments. That said, while watching The Final Season, while the emotional culmination of all the character journeys was great and finding out about the curse was awesome, the part that blew me away was Kyo and Tohru.

I can’t help it. Any scene with those two together was brilliant and The Final Season gave us so many great moments to choose from. Whether it was Kyo shyly giving Tohru a paper flower in the classroom, the hug through the washing, Kyo’s panicked reaction when… (well watch it) or the final, beautiful moment where the two finally came together…

Or was it when we had the epilogue that went literally forever and showed us the two still together all those years later?

I don’t know but I do know that for the right now Fruits Basket: The Final Season has emotionally blown any other romantic anime out of the water.

What are your favourite romantic anime or did I include yours on the list?

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

53 thoughts on “Top 5: Romantic Anime (updated July 2021)

  1. Hello , Thanks for giving information about the anime romantic movie and I love that, I share suggestions with you. more romantic movie like Kaze Tachinu , Voices of a Distant Star ,If you don’t know about these movie so visit my site storishh.

  2. Ooh, glad to see Given make an entry: This show caught me totally off guard. I gave the first episode a duty click with low expectations (since I try pretty much every first episode that doesn’t explicitly turn me off), and… was surprised how quickly it drew me in. It never let me go, either. And Mafuyu’s song was such a musical highlight (easily top 10 musical anime moment of the decade, probably pretty high, too).

    And Fruits Basket really shot to the top there. Well, the finale was quite impressive romance wise.

    I do think Kimi ni Todoke is still my favourite romance; though maybe it’s more my favourite anime which happens to be a romance? I often don’t watch romance anime for the romance. Tonari no Kaibutsu kun is a pretty good example of that; the romance in there is subservient to the character development and not the prime reason I love this show. Similarly, I view Kimi ni Todoke primarily as a coming of age story (may be part of why the second season doesn’t hold the same place in my heart, even though I still enjoyed it a lot.)

    1. I really enjoyed Tonari no Kaibutsu, at least after the initial first episode which was a little awkward. That said, like you I don’t watch it necessarily for the romance and it is a different kind of viewing experience.

    1. My Love Story remains one anime I thoroughly enjoy and it is great for a binge watch. I don’t get quite as emotionally invested in it as some of these other titles.

  3. Whilst I loved most of the anime that made your top 5, especially My Love Story, I could not stand Kimi ni Todoke (sorry)! I found the snail’s pace at which Sawako and Kazehaya’s relationship developed way too frustrating! And they were just so awkward around each other, it could be a bit uncomfortable to watch, at times. That said, I’m glad that you enjoyed it! Different strokes for different folks, and all that!

    1. I understand how you feel though. The pace is maddeningly slow. Normally it would drive me crazy but something about it just clicked with me and I fell in love with that anime . I can see exactly why it would be frustrating and yet I just sit there happily soaking in the pair and their awkwardness.

      1. Hey, different strokes for different folks!

        It used to be that I preferred more racy romances, but, as I’ve grown older, I’ve begun to prefer cutesy fluff. So, who knows, maybe I’d enjoy Kimi ni Todoke far more now than when I first watched it all those years ago?

  4. I have watched every anime on this list and I will have to say that it’s a great list. Akagami no shirayuki-hime and Golden time from this list. I personally didn’t like Kimi ni todoke because I’m not a big fan of slow and all too sweet romance anime. As for my favourite romance anime, it’s Toradora! and then Waiting in the summer. Lovely complex is also another great romance anime.

    1. Lots of peope find that with Kimi ni Todoke. I’m surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did given how slow it is. I haven’t seen Lovely Complex yet but it is on my list of anime to catch up on eventually.
      Thanks for the comment.

  5. I absolutely loved Kimi Ni Todoke! It was such a sweet and loveable anime! I loved seeing the two characters interact; they were so awkward, but adorable, haha <3

    1. Totally adorable. Admittedly, Sawako drove me crazy sometimes with how hesitant she was, but her charm just kept winning me over and the two characters together were perfect.

      1. Definitely! She was a little irritating sometimes, but I particularly loved it because of how much I could relate to her. The first episode literally made me cry, haha.

  6. I like kamisaka Kiss, as well. I haven’t watched KNT anime, because I actually dropped the manga…. there are just so many characters with side stories that I’m not interested in.

    I love Koutura – san ,for some reason.

    I love Chivalry of a Failed Knight, too. It’s on top of my list.

    1. Koutura-san didn’t do much for me. Chivalry of a failed Knight was okay but I didn’t feel it had much impact.
      Get what you mean about side stories sometimes getting in the way when you just want to see the plot progress.

      1. Koutura-san is for the main girl .

        Chivalry is for the couple…. the main guy has integrity.

        Re Say I Love you… although it’s typical shoujo romance, the main guy is a potential cheater, and I pity the main girl for future heartbreak.

        1. I didn’t mind Say I Love You but I definitely see heartbreak in that couple’s future so there was no way it was going to end up on the list.

  7. One of my favourite romance animes is Akagami no Shirayuki too! Very happy to see it on the list. I seem to have an interest for animes with red haired protagonists because another one of my favourite animes is Akatsuki no Yona. 🙂

  8. So far my all time favorite romance anime is Bokura ga ita, which is also one of the few that shows a romantic relationship while its ongoing.

    My other favorite is 5 centimetres per second. I just love it.

    Also Kare Kano is a very good one, which is a bit on the lighter side, but a good romance still.

    I enjoyed Lovely complex and Itazura no Kiss too a lot. The aforementioned Kimi ni todoke is rightly mentioned too.

    Actually what is annoying that most romance stories don’t go beyond the confession line, even though the hard part comes there.

    1. That’s why I liked My Love Story because the confession and the getting together bit happens early and then they have to actually work out how to be a couple. Admittedly, they still move at a ridiculously slow pace.

  9. I love Tomoe so much but I do agree that it’s frustrating to watch since their relationship hardly gets anywhere with both the characters denying their feelings. I’ve seen all the series you’ve listed and I didn’t enjoy Golden Time (somehow managed to finish it tho) and My Love Story (dropped it). Most likely because the relationship progressed really slow and that’s not my cup of tea. You already know that I love Kaichou so that’s one of my top romance anime. I also recommend watching Sukitte Ii na yo (Say I Love You) if you haven’t seen it!

    1. I find Say I Love You fairly flat to watch. I love Mei as a character but the other cast members don’t really interest me.

  10. I’ve only see one of these. (Snow White with the Red Hair.) But I hope to see Kamisama Kiss and all soon! They seem really awesome. I’m a very action/darker anime person as well. But these are super cool!

  11. Oh the title of this blog post rang to be read and I loved every single one you mentioned ahhh I am happy 😀 Kimi no todoke is my no1 fav romance has been for so long has all the elements there. People I’ve spoke with always complain about the pacing being sooo slow but frankely disagree, I am glad it took it’s time to get there in the end, It’s like you said a pleasurable watch 😉

    1. The pacing is definitely slow and normally this wouldn’t be my thing but there’s so much charm in these characters it won me over completely even as I was driven crazy by their lack of forward movement.

  12. I’m glad to see that two of my most-liked, romance animes also made it into your list! xD (That is, Golden Time and Akagami no Shirayuki-hime)

  13. I don’t know how you managed to whittle it down to five. There’s just so many good’uns. Happy to see Kamisama Kiss in there, it’s a gorgeously animated, emotionally heavy show with plenty of goofy humour. Good list, as always.

    1. I had no idea when I started this top 5 Tuesday thing how hard narrowing some categories down to 5 selections was going to be.

  14. Kimi no Todoke and Akagami no Shirayuki are also my top two favorite romance anime. I fell in love with both of their stories and loves the characters both very much. I will have to add Lovely Complex to the list too just because I love that show.

  15. I have not seen #3 or 4, I will have to check those out. Totally agree with your #1 & 2. Great choices. I love Snow White with Red Hair because it is so mature, in the sense that there’s not a lot of stupid drama. Shirayuki and Zen know who they are as individuals and what they want from life. I wish there were more anime featuring characters like this. I’m getting too old for all the drama in some romances. 😛

    1. I kind of get sick of the ridiculous misunderstandings forced in narratives in order to extend the drama or create tension. That is probably why I liked 1 & 2 so much. The drama and tension come from forces outside of the main couple for the most part or from what feel like more genuine misunderstandings that occur between people.

  16. I just finished watching Snow White with the Red Hair and I love it so much, it’s a really great romance for all the reasons you stated, and I’m sad that we didn’t get to see the story continue in anime form. My favorites probably are Peach Girl, though it leans more on the soap opera-y dramatic side, and RomeoXJuliet I love to pieces (though also dramatic lol). I’d love to see you just straight up do a top 5 favorite couples in anime list!

    1. Will add that to my list of future lists. Though, how I would manage to make the choice for top 5 I do not know at this point. Just so many great couples.

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