There is a lot of anime out there and in this golden age of streaming, the choices have never been greater. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic? Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest and unforgettable anime through the years.
For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best anime, our attention this time turns to romance. From heartbreaking anime dramas to straightforward but compelling romantic comedies, there’s a good choice to whet your appetite.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!
Known as one of the best romance anime of all time, Clannad and its sequel After Story will leave many in tears. From its well-written characters to its beautiful soundtrack, it’ll leave many wondering if they’re viewing real lives on the screen.
Clannad follows Tomoya Okazaki, a boy who argues life is boring. That is until he encounters a girl named Nagisa Furukawa and learns about her dream to revitalize the school’s drama club. Tomoya is hesitant to help Nagisa but eventually concedes and finds himself enjoying life more than before.
While building up Tomoya’s relationships with Nagisa and other girls is explored, the series also implements real issues into its narrative. Some of these include depicting characters taking on new responsibilities, overcoming the loss of a loved one, and breaking free from their comfort zone.
Clannad’s an anime that will satisfy you in the romance department and give you scenarios that’ll make you reflect on your life.
Imagine taking Romeo and Juliet and blending it with crude comedy. You’ll end up witth something akin to Nisekoi. An anime with bizarre storytelling, but enjoyable twists, humor, and characters, Nisekoi aims to have your full attention.
The story follows Raku, a boy born into a mafia gang that maintains a relationship with a rival group’s daughter, Chitoge, to keep peace within the city. Further, Raku must face the girls of his past while also fulfilling a promise to a girl he loved all while being in a relationship with Chitoge.
Although Nisekoi’s plot does fumble a few times, the relationship wars between Raku, Chitoge, and other girls, are what keeps fans of the series going. If you’re a fan of romantic comedies, Nisekoi has you covered.
Even if you’re someone that doesn’t need to be in a romantic relationship, many people wish to find someone or something to accompany them. Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name builds upon that concept by adding romance, superb animation, and a powerful conclusion.
In the same vein as Freaky Friday, Your Name follows the story of two characters who end up in each other’s bodies and must fulfill each other’s responsibilities. Unlike Freaky Friday, it involves a countryside female and a city-oriented boy who develop feelings for each other.
While this romance slowly builds up in the film, the story will throw a few curve balls viewers may not expect. It’s a captivating film with beautiful scenery and charming characters and will leave you satisfied.
Love can lead people into the silliest circumstances possible sometimes. One anime that takes these moments and creates a captivating tale about two students is Toradora.
The story follows Ryuuji and Taiga, a gentle boy and rambunctious female who are after the affection of each other’s best friend. Although they share the same goal, they discover a newfound love interest in the process.
While Toradora features a lot of comedy that’ll have fans giggling, it does deliver a great overarching plot. Furthermore, the chemistry between these two unlikely friends develops at a good pace that’ll feel concise.
Romantic comedy fans will find themselves invested in Toradora’s world, characters, and plot.
The Garden of Words
The Garden of Words is a romance anime that uses its glorious environments to its advantage when showcasing the growing relationship between two people. While the anime tells a story of forbidden love, the development of their relationship is engaging and full of wonder.
The story revolves around a middle-aged boy and a mysterious woman who meet in a garden. During these meetings, they discuss their dreams and issues. What starts as a platonic relationship eventually spirals into love as their relationship grows with every encounter.
Although the romance is captivating, the casual conversations between the two serve as a solution to each other’s issues. The visual storytelling through relentless rain and sparkling flowers relate to the tension between the two.
The Garden of Words is a wonderfully animated film aiming to develop its characters’ companionship through stunning visuals and simple everyday activities.
While following a trend seems easy, it often leads to a creation feeling more of the same. Horimiya is a romance anime that takes risks by going against the mold and exciting fans for its uniqueness.
The story follows Hori and Izumi, who are different in personality and lifestyle. Hori’s a popular female with brainpower, while Izumi’s a meek boy that enjoys being alone. After they meet, the two learn aspects about each other that they didn’t see coming.
What makes Horimiya stand out are its realistic characters, no matter if they’re the protagonist or a background character. The romance develops substantially as the characters don’t rely on suggestive humor to win one’s heart.
If you’re looking to find a romance anime that’s genuine, realistic, and engaging, Horimiya’s worth putting on your watch list.
Like Sailor Moon Crystal, Cardcaptor Sakura, and others, Fruits Basket is a classic anime that revolves around romance, drama, and the supernatural. It’s a series near and dear to many retro fans and now has a remake that’s more faithful to its source material.
The anime is about a girl named Tooru whose a guest of the popular Yuki Souma’s house because she fears living with her grandparents. However, Tooru discovers a dark secret about Souma and his family that’ll put her kind-hearted persona to the test.
Fruits Basket delivers with well-developed relationships and features characters overcoming relatable internal issues. The anime’s also filled with many magical moments that add a layer of originality to its storyline.
Nana is an amalgamation of themes like music, companionship, and competition. However, romance is arguably its most dominant theme as this anime explores unthinkable boundaries.
Nana follows two women named Nana who have traveled to Tokyo to fulfill their differing dreams. Although both Nanas aspire for something different than the other, the two form a bond beyond their wildest dreams.
What sets this apart from most romance anime is its way of highlighting and developing relationships outside of its main cast. Regardless of their age, passions in life, or gender, Nana wishes to explore various forms of love.
Nana is a romance anime that provides different perspectives of the theme, making it a must-watch for those who adore the unknown.
Your Lie In April
Coping with the loss of a loved one who drove you to pursue a passion can be a challenge. However, life can be surprising at times and grant you a way to free yourself from that pain.
Enter Your Lie In April, a dramatic romance anime about profound pianist Kousei Arima, who gives up his passion because of the death of a family member. However, he encounters a mysterious female whose willing to reignite Kousei’s musical passion.
It’s a story about the wonders of a fateful encounter and doesn’t shy away from dark material involving suicidal tendencies and depression. It’ll have viewers crying into their pillows at its emotional scenes between the two, but is an experience everyone should witness.
My Love Story!!
Another romantic comedy that takes a new approach in the romance genre is 2015’s My Love Story. Not only does it exclude tropes like love triangles, but it features a bizarre yet genuine cast of characters that’ll fill you with comfort and happiness.
The story follows a hulking boy named Takeo who has trouble making friends due to his terrifying appearance. To make matters worse, Takeo’s friends with the coolest guy in school who manages to swipe his chance at romance.
However, after saving a girl named Rinko Yamato from perverted boys, he develops feelings for her but assumes she’s interested in his friend. Thus the story features Takeo’s unselfish attempts at hooking his friend up with Rinko while trying to find a new love interest.
The series does an excellent job at developing its characters through flashbacks, characterization, and maturation. Fans will enjoy seeing Takeo learn more about love alongside his companions. The side characters also feel necessary to Takeo’s development and won’t leave a bad impression.
If you’re looking for a romance anime that leans more toward charm than depression, My Love Story is worth a watch.
So, there we have it, our pick for the best anime through the years about romance!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!