11 Good Romance Anime

There’s many romance anime shows I enjoy that don’t fall within the Shoujo or Josei categories. I decided to make a list and share some of my favorite titles with you. It’s funny because as I was drafting this post I realized I like different shows with a lot of the same themes! 😂

1. Toradora!

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Photo: MyAnimeList

Synopsis:Ryuuji Takasu is a gentle high school student with a love for housework; but in contrast to his kind nature, he has an intimidating face that often gets him labeled as a delinquent. On the other hand is Taiga Aisaka, a small, doll-like student, who is anything but a cute and fragile girl. Equipped with a wooden katana and feisty personality, Taiga is known throughout the school as the “Palmtop Tiger.” One day, an embarrassing mistake causes the two students to cross paths. Ryuuji discovers that Taiga actually has a sweet side: she has a crush on the popular vice president, Yuusaku Kitamura, who happens to be his best friend. But things only get crazier when Ryuuji reveals that he has a crush on Minori Kushieda—Taiga’s best friend! Toradora! is a romantic comedy that follows this odd duo as they embark on a quest to help each other with their respective crushes, forming an unlikely alliance in the process.” -MyAnimeList

This is one of the best tsundere romance anime I have ever seen!

Check this out if you like:

  • Tsunderes
  • Romance that develops from friendship
  • Harem
  • Comedy
  • Jealousy
  • Strong female leads
  • Couple with opposite traits that balance one another out perfectly
  • Male lead that supports the female lead
  • Romance where one character takes longer than the other to realize their feelings

2. Nagi no Asukara

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Photo: MyAnimeList

Synopsis:Long ago, all humans lived beneath the sea. However, some people preferred the surface and abandoned living underwater permanently. As a consequence, they were stripped of their god-given protection called “Ena” which allowed them to breathe underwater. Over time, the rift between the denizens of the sea and of the surface widened, although contact between the two peoples still existed. Nagi no Asukara follows the story of Hikari Sakishima and Manaka Mukaido, along with their childhood friends Chisaki Hiradaira and Kaname Isaki, who are forced to leave the sea and attend a school on the surface. There, the group also meets Tsumugu Kihara, a fellow student and fisherman who loves the sea. Hikari and his friends’ lives are bound to change as they have to deal with the deep-seated hatred and discrimination between the people of sea and of the surface, the storms in their personal lives, as well as an impending tempest which may spell doom for all who dwell on the surface.” -MyAnimeList

This is one of my favorite romance animes of all time!

Check this out if you like:

  • Love web where all the characters like someone but aren’t necessarily liked back by that same person. (This is one of the only anime I’ve seen where I’m happy with the couple pairings in the end, even if I didn’t necessarily see them coming. I also really appreciated that there’s one character who opts for self love in the end.)
  • The development of more than one romantic relationship
  • Beautiful art
  • Childhood romance
  • Fantasy/underwater themes
  • Romance spanning years
  • Forbidden love
  • Prejudice themes

3. Hataraku Maou-sama!/The Devil is a Part-timer!

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Photo: MyAnimeList

Synopsis: “Striking fear into the hearts of mortals, the Demon Lord Satan begins to conquer the land of Ente Isla with his vast demon armies. However, while embarking on this brutal quest to take over the continent, his efforts are foiled by the hero Emilia, forcing Satan to make his swift retreat through a dimensional portal only to land in the human world. Along with his loyal general Alsiel, the demon finds himself stranded in modern-day Tokyo and vows to return and complete his subjugation of Ente Isla—that is, if they can find a way back! Powerless in a world without magic, Satan assumes the guise of a human named Sadao Maou and begins working at MgRonald’s—a local fast-food restaurant—to make ends meet. He soon realizes that his goal of conquering Ente Isla is just not enough as he grows determined to climb the corporate ladder and become the ruler of Earth, one satisfied customer at a time! Whether it’s part-time work, household chores, or simply trying to pay the rent on time, Hataraku Maou-sama! presents a hilarious view of the most mundane aspects of everyday life, all through the eyes of a hapless demon lord.” -MyAnimeList

This anime is hilarious and if you haven’t seen it yet you’re definitely missing out!

Check this out if you like: 

  • Comedy
  • Devils/Angels
  • Likable villians
  • Strong female leads
  • Forbidden romance
  • Tsunderes
  • Action
  • Romance development between opposites
  • Humor poking fun at the struggles of everyday life

4. Golden Time

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Photo: MyAnimeList

Synopsis: “Due to a tragic accident, Banri Tada is struck with amnesia, dissolving the memories of his hometown and past. However, after befriending Mitsuo Yanagisawa, he decides to move on and begin a new life at law school in Tokyo. But just as he is beginning to adjust to his college life, the beautiful Kouko Kaga dramatically barges into Banri’s life, and their chance meeting marks the beginning of an unforgettable year.  After having a glimpse of college life, Banri learns that he is in a new place and a new world – a place where he can be reborn, to have new friends, fall in love, makes mistakes and grow. And as he begins to discover who he was, the path he has chosen leads him towards a blindingly bright life that he will never want to forget.” -MyAnimeList

This is one of the most realistic romance anime plots I’ve ever seen!

Check this out if you like:

  • Characters with amnesia
  • Romance developing from friendship
  • Love triangle
  • Realistic plots
  • Jealousy
  • Female lead pursuing male lead
  • Portrayal of common relationship struggles
  • Romance anime with adult characters
  • Male lead being torn between his past love and his present love

5. Romeo x Juliet

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Photo: MyAnimeList

Synopsis:In the floating continent of Neo Verona, the Montague family seized control and murdered every member of the Capulet family with the exception of Capulet’s daughter, Juliet Fiammata Asto Capulet. 14 years later, Juliet and the remnants of Capulet’s retainers live hidden from the iron fist of the Montague family. Juliet has long forgotten the murder of her family or her identity, and cross dresses as Odin and the town’s hero of justice, “Red Whirlwind.” A sudden escape in her daily escapades leads her to meet Romeo Candorebanto Montague, the kind son of the tyrannical Montague. Destiny has been set as these two individuals soon to be “star-crossed lovers” are cruelly toyed with by fate in the midst of war. Loosely based on the play by William Shakespeare.” -MyAnimeList

I think everyone knows the story of Romeo and Juliet so for this title I’m going to give you the reasons behind why I enjoyed the show so much.

 

Why you should check it out: I have seen most of the live action Romeo and Juliet movies made in the US and I have to say this anime is far superior to them. Even if you know the plot, this show is worth watching because there have been slight changes that make this version more of a fantasy and in my opinion a little more realistic when it comes to making the decision to kill oneself because of the death of a lover. This anime is a masterpiece from the opening sad yet captivating song to the ending. Most of the time when I watch anime I skip the opening song to save me time, but I never once skipped it when I watched this anime because it emotionally impacted me in a way that prepared me for the sad episodes that were ahead. Sometimes in forbidden romances I don’t feel too bad for the couple but I got choked up at the ending of this anime, even though I already knew what was coming. To captivate me in a way like that made this anime all the more beautiful.

6. Elfen Lied

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Photo: MyAnimeList

Synopsis:Lucy is a special breed of human referred to as “Diclonius,” born with a short pair of horns and invisible telekinetic hands that lands her as a victim of inhumane scientific experimentation by the government. However, once circumstances present her an opportunity to escape, Lucy, corrupted by the confinement and torture, unleashes a torrent of bloodshed as she escapes her captors. During her breakout, she receives a crippling head injury that leaves her with a split personality: someone with the mentality of a harmless child possessing limited speech capacity. In this state of instability, she stumbles upon two college students, Kouta and his cousin Yuka, who unknowingly take an injured fugitive into their care, unaware of her murderous tendencies. This act of kindness will change their lives, as they soon find themselves dragged into the shadowy world of government secrecy and conspiracy.” -MyAnimeList

This is one of the best sci-fi romances I’ve ever seen!

Check this out if you like:

  • Romance between a human and nonhuman
  • Sci-fi themes
  • Forbidden romance
  • Tragedy
  • Psychotic characters
  • Prejudice themes
  • Characters who share a past and come back together in the present

7. Otome Youkai Zakuro

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Photo: MyAnimeList

Synopsis:Otome Youkai Zakuro takes place in an alternate version of Japan’s Meiji Era. In this version of history, humans and spirits coexist side by side in the same world. However Japan is becoming more and more influenced by the West, and more people are accepting Western religions as their chosen faith rather than the more traditional Eastern faiths which have dominated the country for many centuries, leading to conflicts between humans and youkai. To help ease tensions, an organization is established called the Ministry of Spirits made up of a group of male soldiers and a group of female youkai. Unfortunately things don’t go as swimmingly as one would hope, as one of the soldiers, Kei Agemaki, is terribly afraid of youkai and one of the spirits, Zakuro, has an extreme dislike for humans who accept practices and traditions from the west. Life for these two is about to become a lot more interesting as they have to learn how to cooperate with their worst enemies!”-MyAnimeList

Check this out if you like:

  • Tsunderes
  • Strong female characters
  • Romance between spirits and humans
  • Prejudice themes
  • Cute romance moments
  • Female lead with a unique back story
  • Hot anime guys
  • Plot where it takes characters a while to get together

8. Ginban Kaleidoscope

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Photo: MyAnimeList

Synopsis: “With $10 billion worth of beauty (or so she says), Sakurano Tazusa is a contestant for the selection of the Japanese representative at the winter Olympics’ figure skating competition. However, her ability is questionable in the eyes of the media and public, as she constantly falls during critical moments in her competitions. During a particular fall, at the same time, a Canadian teen by the name of Pete Pumps perishes as an accident occurs during an air stunt. Before being allowed to pass on into the after life, Pete possess’ Tazusa supposedly for a hundred days, living on in her body. Despite the discontent and anger Tazusa faced having her body and privacy invaded by this Canadian ghost, she moves her focus onto improving herself in hopes to be selected for the Olympics.” -MyAnimeList

Check this out if you like:

  • Romance with ghost characters
  • Ice Skating
  • Sports
  • Tsunderes
  • Comedy
  • Forbidden romance
  • Cute romance moments
  • Male lead supporting the female lead
  • Male lead inspiring the female lead to be successful
  • Romance developing from friendship
  • Both characters taking a while to realize their feelings for one another

9. Rec

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Photo: MyAnimeList

Synopsis: “Fumihiko Matsumaru is an average salaryman with no girlfriend. He invited his colleague Miss Tanaka to a movie but was stood up. Right at the time he was about to toss tickets into a trash can, a cute girl appeared and asked him not to waste those two tickets. After movie and dinner, he escorted her home and found they live in the same neighborhood, yet unfortunately her apartment caught on fire hours later. Having nowhere else to stay, rookie seiyuu Aka Onda moved to Matsumaru’s place, and the two had started a “more than friend but not yet lovers” relationship under the same roof while keeping this secret from their employers.”-MyAnimeList

Check this out if you like:

  • Miscommunication struggles
  • Main characters living together
  • Romance between coworkers
  • Romance developing from friendship
  • Romance anime with adult characters
  • One character taking longer than the other to realize their feelings
  • Romance developing after a one night stand
  • Characters who mutually like one another but have to overcome obstacles to become a couple

10. Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha

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Photo: MyAnimeList

Synopsis: “Clumsy, below average intellect, and shy – these are some of the traits that Inari Fushimi possesses. Despite her shortcomings, she is very considerate of others. She can’t ignore anyone’s plea for help! She also has a long time crush on Kouji Tanbabashi, who she admires for being cheerful and always hardworking. The problem is, Inari’s incurable shyness makes it difficult to express her feelings for Kouji. Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha starts with Inari taking a shortcut to her school. She happens to see a fox pup that’s about to fall in the river. Although she’s running late, she just can’t ignore the pup. Uka-no-Mitama-no-Kami, the god of the Inari Shrine, is thankful for Inari’s kindness toward the young fox, who turns out to be a familiar named Kon. To show her gratitude to Inari, she fulfills one of Inari’s wishes, but the fulfillment of the wish only invites trouble. To compensate, Uka-no-Mitama-no-Kami bestows Inari a small part of her divine power that gives Inari the ability to transform into anyone at will. Inari now possesses a power of a god, even if it’s just a small portion. Otherworldly beings suddenly take an interest in her, for better or worse. What kind of adventure awaits Inari, and will she be able to tell Kouji everything that she has kept in her heart for so long?” -MyAnimeList

Check this out if you like:

  • Tsunderes
  • Fantasy themes
  • Romance between a human and a god
  • Forbidden romance
  • Main character becoming friends with a god
  • The development of more than one romantic relationship
  • Adult and child romances

11. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai

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Photo: MyAnimeList

Synopsis: “Jinta Yadomi is peacefully living as a recluse, spending his days away from school and playing video games at home instead. One hot summer day, his childhood friend, Meiko “Menma” Honma, appears and pesters him to grant a forgotten wish. He pays her no mind, which annoys her, but he doesn’t really care. After all, Menma already died years ago. At first, Jinta thinks that he is merely hallucinating due to the summer heat, but he is later on convinced that what he sees truly is the ghost of Menma. Jinta and his group of childhood friends grew apart after her untimely death, but they are drawn together once more as they try to lay Menma’s spirit to rest. Re-living their pain and guilt, will they be able to find the strength to help not only Menma move on—but themselves as well?” -MyAnimeList

This anime was created by the same director as Nagi no Asukara.

Check this out if you like:

  • Romance with ghosts
  • Tragedy
  • Death and healing
  • Guilt
  • Regret
  • Forgiveness
  • Solving misunderstandings
  • Childhood romance
  • Supernatural themes
  • School life
  • A group of friends coming back together after a long time apart
  • The development of more than one romantic relationship
  • Love web with all characters liking someone who doesn’t necessarily like them back
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