Love and romance are captivating in both real life and fiction. For many anime fans, romance anime may be the outlet by which they feel loved, understood, or even like they can explore themselves. The best romance anime include some of the greatest animated works to ever come out of Japan.
Below, you'll find the top 25 best romance anime ever. Ranked from greatest to least, this list includes the top anime to watch if you feel lovey-dovey. In general, the best romance anime has the best writing, storylines, relationships, characters, and even animation by which to facilitate its work.
1. Fruits Basket
When it comes to the best anime in the romance genre, there is no better example than Fruits Basket. Up there for one of the best anime of all time, Fruits Basket tells the story of Tohru, a lonely teenager taken in by the Soma family. Her new family is filled with mystery, magic, trauma, and tragedy.
Exploring Tohru's relationships with the Soma family is gratifying and gripping in a way that no other romantic anime can do. It is one of the only shows on this list capable of nailing its central romantic relationship and every connection across its several wonderfully animated and written seasons.
Clannad is also among the best anime of all time and one of the top romantic anime. As an older experience, its animation is outdated, but the story remains top-tier. The relationship between Okazaki and Nagisa is one of the premier examples of the lovey-dovey and surprising romances that make this genre so popular.
3. Golden Time
Golden Time is by far one of the most unique romantic anime on this list, and worth checking out for that reason. It follows Banri, an amnesiac college student, as he navigates the girl he loved in his past life and the woman he loves now. It is captivating, deeply saddening, and one of the most impressive love triangles ever made.
4. Rent a Girlfriend
Rent a Girlfriend nails the mix of comedy and romance that makes these anime engaging and worthwhile. It can make you laugh one moment and tear up the next. Kazuya is one of the funniest anime protagonists, and his relationship with his fake rental girlfriend, Chizuru, is one of the most robust relationships you'll find.
5. Your Lie in April
Get your tissues ready, as Your Lie in April is perhaps the most heartbreaking romantic anime on this list. A piano prodigy falls quickly in love with a violinist he meets. The music and relationship magic they create together is gripping as it explores the trauma the main character is constantly reeling from.
6. Kaguya-sama: Love Is War
If you want a romance show about comedic gags, look no further than Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. Perhaps the funniest anime of all time, it explores the wacky antics of two high schoolers who clearly like each other but doesn't want to admit it. It is self-aware, goofy, and constantly topping itself with each new episode.
7. Just Because
Just Because is one of the most underrated romantic anime on this list. Its premise isn't anything special: following a boy who moves back to his hometown near the end of high school and his relationships with everyone he sees again. Where this series stands out is in the hauntingly beautiful relationships he has with everyone else.
Just Because shows the full spectrum of connections, from love interests to best friends to knowing the difference between love and wanting to be around someone. If you want one of the most grounded and, therefore, devastating looks at romance in anime, you are in for a treat with this show and its incredible soundtrack.
8. Yuri On Ice
Heterosexual relationships are generally the rule of thumb for anime, and the few outliers to this rule generally aren't that high-quality. Thankfully, Yuri On Ice is the exception to this, following Yuri Katsuki, an ice skater wishing to make a comeback with the help of his newfound, hot, and heavy relationship with retired ice skating star Victor.
9. Darling in the Franxx
Darling in the Franxx is one of the best romantic anime you could ever watch, even though it is primarily an action mech show. From the makers of Kiznaiver — further below on the list — it is essentially Gundam meets love hexagon as each member of the alien-fighting teenage team grows up and starts falling for each other.
Tonikawa has the unique status of starting at the end of the relationship, with the two main characters marrying one another. They marry despite not knowing each other well, so Tonikawa explores the idea of newlyweds living together and all of the cutesy antics that come with that.
11. Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
Ignore the bunny girl memes for a moment, as the actual Bunny Girl Senpai anime is quite impressive. Split into arcs, it follows a high school boy who helps love interests affected by strange and often depressing circumstances that occur as they age, such as becoming invisible to everyone around them.
12. My Love Story!
My Love Story! is one of the most cliche romantic anime you'll ever find, and there's nothing wrong with that. This series is about a beefy muscular high school boy falling for a petite, seemingly innocent girl. Their story is relatively slow, but the payoff and relationship moments sprinkled between are memorable enough. Plus, it's pretty funny, too.
13. The Ancient Magus' Bride
The Ancient Magus' Bride is as much “Harry Potter the anime” as it is a love story. It is about Chise, a downtrodden girl taken in by a rather old magical being who wishes her to be his bride. Chaos, tragedy, mystery, and madness ensue as she navigates using beautifully-realized magic and learning about her sudden husband.
What would you do if you received a letter in the mail from your future self? That is essentially the premise of Orange, a heartbreaking anime about a high school girl's future version trying to help her avoid the same mistakes she made in her timeline. The romance-filled mystery is gripping, especially once you realize how everything ties together.
Horimiya is a typical romance story about two high schoolers falling for each other, a good-natured girl and a rough, bad boy. The difference here is that this story moves much faster than the usual slow nature of most anime, along with surprisingly showing some of the physically-charged aspects of real-life romance that most anime shy away from.
16. The Quintessential Quintuplets
The Quintessential Quintuplets has it in the name itself: it is one of the quintessential romance anime that fans should check out. Following a pretty lucky guy who becomes the tutor and target of affection for five sisters, it navigates his relationship with each of them nearly equally across the board. This allows the viewer to cheer for their favorite until the bitter end.
17. Irozuku: The World in Colors
Many romance anime have unique gimmicks or premises to help them stand out. Irozuku has a couple of them involving time travel and a colorblind girl. What helps is that these premises are handled well and integrated directly into the main character's eventual romance in the beautiful storyline.
18. Ouran High School Host Club
Ouran High School Host Club is a beloved romantic classic for a reason. Following a young girl who poses as a boy, she is thrown into a reverse harem where several guys are pining for her love. It is ridiculous, the writing is funny, and it holds up surprisingly well many years after its release.
19. Guilty Crown
Guilty Crown is mainly known for its action regarding a group of kids surviving in a walled-off part of Tokyo where a nasty virus is thriving. That said, the secret crux of this show is the relationship between the male and female leads. It explores their love tragically and believably as the viewer sees their feelings adapt and change over time.
20. Sing Yesterday for Me
Sing Yesterday for Me is an underrated romance anime classic. It tells the story of a lonely young adult man with nothing going for him as he crosses paths with the girl he loved in high school. Meanwhile, someone else has fallen for him. It shows the impact of love triangles and how tragic they can be in one of the most realistic ways possible.
Kiznaiver is another saddening romantic anime that shows what happens when everyone is connected to one another. One part action and another part a group of teens who feel everything everyone else feels leads to a bonkers love pentagon of each person liking someone else.
22. Plastic Memories
Plastic Memories takes the idea of an unlikely romance between a human and his robotic companion. Set against the backdrop of tragedy, with the ending of their relationship made clear from the start, it allows you to explore what it means to make the most of your time with someone while you have them.
The classic tsundere archetype in anime peaked with Taiga, Toradora's lead character. The idea of a boy and girl in high school awkwardly navigating their blossoming feelings for one another while simultaneously pretending they don't exist has rarely been done better than in this series.
24. Sailor Moon Crystal
The remake of the original 1990s anime, Sailor Moon Crystal, is a nice blend of action and romance. The tale of the titular Sailor Moon and her off and on again relationship with Tuxedo Mask makes for a solid central focus in the midst of stopping bad guys from destroying the world.
25. Snow White With the Red Hair
The tale of Snow White is a classic one that Disney already did so well — multiple times — but the anime version, Snow White With the Red Hair, is worth a look. With its stark action, colorful characters, and intriguing twists, the deep anime style puts a new spin on the relationship between Snow White and the prince that every romance fan should watch.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.