If you’re a serious anime fan, there must’ve been at least one romantic anime which you’ve watched. Doesn’t everyone need a break from all the action? *sighs*
If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch a good romance, fear not for I have come to your rescue. *drum rolls*.
Regardless of the amount of drama contained in the romantic ones, there are some spectacular titles which are bound to leave a great impression on the viewer’s soul. Here, I present to you, a compilation of some of the most perennially favorite romance anime ever made. I’m also giving a light synopsis with each title rather than just a list, so I hope you all enjoy!
8. Kamisama Kiss (Kamisama Hajimemashita)
Adapted from a manga series by Julietta Suzuki, Kamisama Kiss deals with the normal day-to-day life of Momozono Nanami, who starts living in the local shrine along with shrine keepers Onikiri and Kotetsu and her familiar Tomoe.
Not so normal now, is it? The story begins with Nanami being evicted from her home by loan sharks since her debt-ridden father is absconding. Upon helping a strange man called Mikage, Nanami gets kissed by him on the forehead and also receives his house as a thank you gift. Upon arriving at his house Nanami is surprised to find that it’s a shrine and she has been blessed to be the next land deity of the shrine.
Although hesitant, Nanami begins living her life as a god while the shrine’s familiar Tomoe ridicules her at first but later respects her determination. As the story progresses, Nanami finds herself falling in love with Tomoe, but he rejects her because the love between a human and a Yokai is taboo. However, Tomoe finds himself falling in love with her too.
Clannad is a visual novel which was later adapted to its manga and anime versions. The story follows the life of high school delinquent Tomoya Okazaki who meets five girls, and helps resolve their personal problems. In the second volume, Clannad: After Story, Tomoya is portrayed as a young adult facing the many obstacles life has to offer.
Based on a light novel series by Yuyuko Takemiya, Toradora centers around the life of two high school students Ryuji Takasu and Aisaka Taiga. In spite of being a polite and well-mannered kid, his eyes deceive people into thinking that he’s a local delinquent. Hence the only friends in school he has are Yusaku Kitamura and Minori Kushieda (his crush).
A sudden twist of fate brings him to encounter “the school’s most dangerous animal” – Aisaka Taiga, a short but super cute girl who also happens to be Minori’s friend. Taiga and Ryuji strike a deal that she’ll help him win Midori’s affection while in return Ryuji would help her win over Yusaku.
They plot all sorts of antics to bring them close to their crushes, however they end up spending a lot of time with each other; which starts leading to rumors that they might be a couple themselves. Soon there’s a newer addition to their class, enter Ami Kawashima, a teen model and Yusaku’s friend, who almost immediately finds herself at odds with Taiga and falling for Ryuji. One of the most entertaining “Love Polygon” romance titles out there.
5. Inuyasha: A Feudal Fairy Tale
A long running and extremely popular manga series by Rumiko Takahashi, InuYasha follows the life of Kagome Higurashi; a 15-year-old girl who is transported to the Sengoku period after falling into a well in her family shrine.
Embodied in Kagome was the Shikon Jewel that has the power to grant any wish; which she accidentally shatters into pieces while trying to stop a monster from taking it away. Inuyasha, a half dog demon reluctantly agrees to help her piece together the Shikon Jewel before the malevolent demon Naraku gets the shards and complete the Shikon Jewel to make his wish and wreak havoc on the humans.
Thus the two embark on a journey which includes killing monsters to retrieve the jewel shards and helping innocent villagers along the way. They gain several allies during their journey, including Shippo, Miroku, Sango, Kirara, etc. who also bear an enmity towards Naraku.
The story also revolves around Kagome’s feelings towards Inuyasha while Inuyasha tries to overcome the love and betrayal of his former lover priestess Kikyo and open his heart for Kagome.
4. Shigatsu wa kimi no Uso
Based on a manga series written and illustrated by Naoshi Arakawa, the story revolves around Kosei Arima – a child prodigy at piano whose so-called “perfect life” collapses at the age of 11 when his mother dies, rendering him impassive (such that he “can’t hear the sound of the piano” although his hearing is perfectly fine).
Fast forward two years and enter the girlfriend of one of Kosei’s friends, Kaori Miyazono, a 14-year old free-spirited violinist. Well aware of Kosei’s situation she is determined to get him back to playing the piano.
Although Kosei was renowned for playing with his head and not his heart, he soon realizes that there’s more to a piano recital than jabbering the keys which he’s reading from the music sheet. Kaori’s passion for playing music from her heart encourages Kosei to change for the better. He soon becomes aware that Kaori is much more than a muse to him and begins to develop romantic feelings towards her.
3. Hotaburi no Mori e
A one-shot shōjo manga written by Yuki Midorikawa which was adapted to an anime film in September 2011 by director Takahiro Omori, Hotarubi no Mori e revolves around the friendship of six-year old Hotaru and her friend Gin, a strange man wearing a mask whom she met in the forest near her grandparent’s country home.
Every summer Hotaru visits their grandparent’s home and spends time with Gin, careful not to touch him since he isn’t human and touching him would cause his obliteration. Gradually, Hotaru is shown to grow up during the phase of the movie – all the while her feelings for Gin keep mounting. The story deals with the relationship of the two as time passes by and Hotaru matures from a six-year-old to a sixteen-year-old.
2. The Garden of Words
A 2013 multi-award winning Japanese anime drama film by Makoto Shinkai, centers around Takao Akizuki, an aspiring 15-year-old shoemaker, and Yukari Yukino, a mysterious 27-year-old woman he keeps meeting at Shinjuku Garden on rainy mornings.
Takao skips his classes to design shoes, while Yukino avoids work due to reasons which are better understood when you see them revealed in the film. Takao is intrigued by Yukino and offers to make a pair of shoes for her. Takao, although initially angry at Yukino for keeping her life a secret, realizes that he’s in love with her. Watch it yourself to find out what happens at the end.
1. 5 Centimeters per Second
Another well-known and really popular film by Makoto Shinkai, centered on a boy named Takaki Tōno. The film traces his life from his early elementary school days to his early adult life. The first arc named “Cherry Blossom” deals with Takaki and his friend Akari who share a strong bond of friendship due to similar interests.
The second arc “Cosmonaut” deals with Takaki’s high school life. Years have passed but he isn’t over Akari. One of his classmates, a girl named Kanae tries to confess her feelings to him but he is ignorant of her feelings, shutting her out in the process.
The third and final arc is “5 Centimeters per Second” where Takaki is shown to be a computer programmer in Tokyo, while his childhood love Akari is preparing to get married to another man. Takaki longs for Akari and detriments his lifestyle. The movie ends with Takaki finally moving on after a perchance final encounter with Akari.