HBO Max is one of the newest and most popular streaming services at the moment, although it is currently available only in the U.S. and 39 territories across Latin America and the Caribbean.
Anime fans can also rejoice because HBO Max offers many great animated series that should not be missed.
Today, we have compiled a list of the best romance anime you can find on HBO Max, but there are also many other series of different genres that we will cover in future articles, so stay tuned.
Table of Contents
In/Spectre is a mystery, thriller, and supernatural-based anime with romance subplots released in 2020, with an adaptation currently on hiatus that you can find on HBO Max.
As a child, Kotoko was kidnapped by evil spirits, who granted her the ability to act as a link between the real world and the spirit world, making her a sage.
Years later, she encounters Kurou, a peculiar boy who also received powers from the spirits.
Despite their initial hesitations, the two soon develop a solid and deep relationship, helping each other along the way.
In/Spectre is a peculiar anime with a more complex story than it might seem, blending the fantastical elements of the supernatural with the real world.
Moreover, the love story between Kotoko and Kurou unfolds gradually, growing increasingly tender and believable.
Kiznaiver is a good anime released in 2016 that blends Sci-Fi, adventure, psychology, action, and some well-placed romance subplots.
The story revolves around Katsuhira Agata, a high school student who receives an invitation from his enigmatic classmate, Noriko Sonosaki, to participate in the Kizuna System.
This system’s goal is to achieve world peace by connecting individuals known as Kiznaivers, enabling them to share their pain and experiences with each other.
As you might have already guessed from the plot, Kiznaiver is not an anime to be watched for its romance scenes. On the contrary, its story is intricate yet easy to understand, delving into fascinating psychological and philosophical themes.
So, if the premise of this series has intrigued you, it’s time to make the most of your HBO Max subscription tonight and dive into this unique series.
13. Weathering with You
Weathering With You is one of the latest movies directed by the renowned Makoto Shinkai, released in 2019.
The protagonist, Hodaka, moves to Tokyo from a small island during his junior year of high school, but he is met with financial struggles and non-stop rain, not exactly the best start.
But one day he meets Hina, a girl with the power to clear the sky and bring sunshine, and the two embark on a journey filled with love and adventure.
Weathering With You showcases once again Shinkai’s impressive technical skills with stunning animations and a memorable soundtrack, even if the plot is quite simple and clichè, like his other works.
However, if it is not already in your collection, or if you are a fan of the director and have access to the HBO Max catalog, you should definitely consider adding it to your watchlist.
Inuyasha is undoubtely a cult action romance anime, adapted from the legendary manga by Rumiko Takahashi, who is widely regarded as the queen of manga that spans over 100 episodes.
The story revolves around Kagome, an ordinary eighth-grade student who unexpectedly falls down a well in her home’s garden and finds herself transported 500 years into the past, to the Sengoku era.
In this era, Kagome discovers that she is the reincarnation of Kikyo, a powerful priestess who had the responsibility of protecting the four-spirit orb, a dangerous object coveted by villains.
Teaming up with Inuyasha, a half-demon with canine-like traits, Kagome embarks on a journey to safeguard the sacred relic from falling into the wrong hands.
Inuyasha stands as one of the best examples of blending a great ancient setting with elements of fantasy, action, and fantastic romance subplots.
If you’ve been searching for a combination of these elements combined with great character design then you’ve found exactly what you need.
11. Your Name.
Your Name. is one of the most popular and debated romance movies ever made, directed again by the renowned Makoto Shinkai, like in Weathering With You.
Mitsuha is a young girl living in a rural area of Japan, dreaming of life in the bustling city of Tokyo. On the other hand, Taki is a boy fully immersed in city life, working part-time in an Italian restaurant.
But what happens when the two inexplicably start switching bodies?
Let’s say it: Your Name. is not a bad movie. It has excellent animation, a captivating setting, and a somewhat cliché story, but still enjoyable.
So, if you are seeking a good love story with supernatural elements and a lot of comedy, it’s worth adding to your HBO Max list.
10. Laputa – Castle in the Sky
Laputa: Castle in the Sky holds significant historical importance, as it is the first movie produced by the iconic Studio Ghibli.
The movie follows the journey of Pazu and Sheeta as they embark on a quest to find the mythical flying fortress of Laputa.
Along the way, they encounter a crew of eccentric air pirates led by Mama Dola, who are also in pursuit of the legendary treasures hidden on the enchanted island.
With Colonel Muska and his army relentlessly chasing them, Pazu and Sheeta must collaborate to save their homeland and uncover the powerful secret weapon hidden in Laputa.
Whether you seek an excellent fantasy movie with elements of romance, a superb movie overall, or wish to witness the creation that marked the beginning of Studio Ghibli, you’ll undoubtedly love Laputa.
9. From Up on Poppy Hill
From Up on Poppy Hill is another production from Studio Ghibli released in 2011.
Its story is set during the economic boom of Japan in 1963 after World War II, and it stars Umi Komatsuzaki, a student in the port city of Yokohama who falls in love with Shun’ya Kazama.
But through getting to know each other, the two will discover a shared secret from their past as their love story progress.
From Up on Poppy Hill is a movie that is rich in meaning, with a complex and beautifully crafted love story between Umi and Shun’ya that is all but predictable.
It is another great classic of Japanese animation that we encourage you to catch up on HBO Max if you have the possibility.
8. The Night is Short, Walk on Girl
The Night is Short, Walk On Girl is a unique anime movie released in 2017 that you can find in HBO Max’s catalog.
A young student at Kyoto University has developed feelings for his younger classmate and has made it a point to encounter her as frequently as possible, always pretending it is a mere coincidence.
During a party attended by both of them, the boy decides to sit next to the girl, and as they switch clubs, it marks the beginning of a long and extraordinary night.
Even though you may have already deduced it, we’ll still mention it: The Night is Short, Walk On Girl is not a movie to be watched solely for its love story.
While the love story is present and well-incorporated, this movie should be appreciated primarily for its distinctive and experimental animations, which feature some wonderfully absurd directorial choices.
7. The Ocean Waves
The Ocean Waves is One of the earliest Ghibli movies that is little known for this, but it’s actually a little gem that we recommend you discover, with some fantastic vintage vibes.
Set in the picturesque city of Koichi, this charming movie follows the love triangle between 2 best friends and a new girl from Tokyo who transfers to their high school.
The story is beautifully crafted and engaging, with each character bringing their own unique perspective to the mix, but it’s the touching relationship between Taku and Rikako that really steals the show.
As Taku becomes increasingly involved in Rikako’s personal life, he must navigate his own growing feelings for her while also struggling to maintain his friendship with Matsuno.
The Ocean Waves is simply a must-watch if you are subscribed to HBO Max and are a fan of old-fashioned romance anime.
6. Howl’s Moving Castle
Howl’s Moving Castle is one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of Japanese animation, released in 2014, again by the renowned Studio Ghibli as a movie that you’d be a fool to miss if you’re subscribed to HBO Max.
The story revolves around Sophie, an ordinary young girl working at a hat store, whose life takes a drastic turn after a fateful encounter with a peculiar man being pursued by mysterious creatures.
Following her rescue, Sophie is cursed by the Witch of the Andes and embarks on a journey to find the wizard Howl, the very man she had encountered earlier, in order to reverse the curse.
As the narrative unfolds, Sophie and Howl develop a tender relationship, adding depth to the story.
Howl’s Moving Castle is simply a timeless fantasy masterpiece, blending wonderful settings, an excellent plot, thrilling adventure, and a virtually perfect romance subplot all in one captivating story.
5. Ride Your Wave
The story follows Hinako, who moves back to her hometown in Chiba to attend college and discovers solace in surfing, which helps her confront her fears.
However, one fateful summer night, a fire breaks out in her apartment complex caused by smuggled fireworks, and she is rescued by Minato, a firefighter.
As they spend more time together, their bond grows, leading to a blossoming romance.
Ride Your Wave is a straightforward romance movie, with a simple storyline and romantic plot that relies on its beautiful setting and artistic style.
So if you’re looking for something easygoing and undemanding to watch on HBO Max tonight, this movie might be the perfect choice for you.
4. Whisper of the Heart
Whisper of the Heart is a 1995 iconic Studio Ghibli movie and one of the best examples of slice-of-life romance. Set in the suburban town of Tama, near Tokyo, it beautifully captures the essence of its time.
The story follows Shizuku, a 14-year-old girl with a deep passion for reading and aspirations of becoming a writer.
During a summer visit to the library, Shizuku discovers that the books she borrows were previously checked out by a boy named Seiji Amasawa. Intrigued by this connection, she embarks on a quest to find Seiji, often getting lost in her daydreams about him.
Whisper of the Heart is a fantastic classic, not only within the 90’s romance anime but also in Japanese animation as a whole. It presents a touching and incredibly emotional story.
If you have an HBO Max subscription, we highly recommend not missing out on this gem if you haven’t already watched it.
3. Your Lie in April
Your Lie in April is a 2014 romance anime that you can find on HBO Max that received a lot of popularity since its release, mainly thanks to its emotionally captivating story.
Kousei Arima, a former child prodigy pianist, was once revered by all. However, after the death of his mother, he becomes unable to hear his own music, sinking into a deep depression.
His life takes an unexpected turn when he encounters Kaori Miyazono, a vibrant and lively blonde violinist. Through her influence, Kousei rediscovers his passion for music.
As their bond deepens, their love for each other flourishes. However, there is something about Kaori that Kousei has yet to discover, which adds complexity to their relationship.
Your Lie in April is a fantastic romance anime due to its compelling storyline, which masterfully blends romance and music.
The series also boasts excellent animation and voice acting, bringing to life well-written and captivating characters.
Also, if you feel like dropping a few tears, it’s probably the best choice on this list.
2. Princess Mononoke
Princess Mononoke is another one of Studio Ghibli’s masterpieces like many others on this list, released in the summer of 1997 and currently available on HBO Max.
In a remote land in the eastern part of Japan, the remnants of the once glorious Emishi people reside.
Here, Prince Ashitaka is compelled to confront the boar god Nago, who has transformed into a demon, in order to protect his village. Unfortunately, this act results in a terrible curse being placed upon Ashitaka.
As the curse spreads and threatens his life and the lives of his people, Ashitaka embarks on a journey to find a cure for this affliction.
Princess Mononoke is an excellent blend of supernatural elements, a traditional Japanese setting, thrilling adventure, and even philosophical themes.
But unfortunately, while the romance subplot is present and well-written, it’s not the primary focus of the movie.
However, if you haven’t had the opportunity to watch it yet, it definitely deserves a chance.
1. The Wind Rises
The Wind Rises, released in 2013, is a masterpiece from Studio Ghibli and probably one of the best romance movies ever made, if not the best.
The movie tells the story of Jiro Horikoshi, a young boy with a deep passion for flying warplanes. Despite his severe nearsightedness preventing him from becoming a pilot, he discovers that his true purpose in life lies in designing and building airplanes.
Inspired by his idol, Giovanni Battista Caproni, Jiro embarks on a journey of pursuing his dreams.
Throughout the movie, you’ll see Jiro’s ups and downs as he achieves his dreams and faces great joys, but also bitter disappointments, while he also discovers love with his beloved companion Naoko Satomi.
The Wind Rises is a timeless tale that explores themes of pursuing one’s dreams and finding love, that will leave you both inspired and heartbroken.
We recommend and will always recommend that everyone watch this masterpiece, so if you happen to be subscribed to HBO Max, you already know what to do.