Love is beautiful but if you have watched too many romance anime, it starts to get boring.
The solution is quite simple: watch anime with a romantic subplot instead.
This opens up endless possibilities since the love between 2 characters is contextualized in different scenarios. In fact, romance can play a secondary role in the plot while keeping its importance for the events.
Let’s see what are the best anime for romance subplots and why you should watch them.
As always this listicle is purely based on our opinions and knowledge.
Table of Contents
16. Akame Ga Kill!
Akame ga Kill! follows a young boy called Tatsumi, who comes from an impoverished village and decides to join the Night Raid led by Akame in his quest to help his hometown.
This is a group of assassins that is supporting the cause of the Revolutionary Army and is trying to overthrow Prime Minister Honest who is manipulating the child Emperor.
Akame Ga Kill! has it all from action, sad moments, gore to even romance. The big issue we have with this anime is that it takes a different path from the original source and not in the best way.
The romance subplot consists of Mine and Tatsumi, who will also be joined by Esdeath later, since she will develop an obsession with the boy.
15. Seven Deadly Sins
Seven Deadly Sins is one of the most popular fighting anime in recent years, which has been quite successful.
Elizabeth, daughter of the King, sets out on a journey to find the Seven Deadly Sins, intending to recruit them and take back her recently fallen kingdom due to a coup.
Set in Britain with fantasy elements, The Seven Deadly Sins shows us an ancient and magical side of old England.
And this time we have a lot of love subplots, so this is the ideal mix between fights and love.
Besides the 2 main characters, Meliodas and Elizabeth, other team members will also have their love interests, such as Diane and King or Ban towards Elaine.
14. Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World
One of the major exponents of isekai anime, the protagonist Subaru ends up following an accident in the mysterious magical world of Lugunica.
Here he will make the acquaintance of Emilia, his first love in the new world. But following an unfortunate accident in which they die, Subaru realizes that he can come back to life, much like a respawn in video games.
What mystery lies behind this strange event?
There will be tons of mystery and thriller, with even crude scenes and psychological dilemmas. These elements go hand-in-hand with the romance subplot of the story, allowing the 2 to coexist and intertwine perfectly.
Re:Zero features love triangles and other subplots too and we think that it’s one of the many things that make it fascinating.
Multiple award-winning anime with a much mature and serious atmosphere.
The story follows Arata Kaizaki, an unemployed 27-year-old whose life is drifting apart. His life changes after meeting Ryou Yoake, a member of the ReLife Research Institute, who offers him a special drug.
With it, he can return to his 17-year-old self, when he was a popular guy, to become the subject of a year-long experiment.
Chizuru Hishiro, one of the girls attending the high school, is the old love of the protagonist, who is determined to win her over in this second chance.
The romance subplot this time is only one piece of this complex and deep story.
This anime combines several elements and subplots, but all under one important message: it’s never too late to start over.
12. Slam Dunk
Slam Dunk is focused on the small but competitive world of high school basketball.
The main character Hanamichi Sakuragi is a young brawler who enrolls in the first year of Shohoku High School in Kanagawa Prefecture.
He is a walking cliché: every girl rejects him, his grades in school are not great, and for these reasons, his friends tease him.
However, things soon change for Hanamici when he meets Haruko Akagi, a high school girl who is passionate about basketball.
The girl convinces Hanamici to join the basketball team as she is impressed by his height and muscular physique. And Hanamichi, in love with Haruko, will agree to join the club just so he can impress and win her over.
Although Sakuragi for all intents and purposes joins the basketball club out of love for Haruko, he later ends up falling in love with the sports club. So Slam Dunk isn’t really focused on romance as you may think.
You should give it a chance for its breathtaking matches, the exponential growth of the characters, and the relationships between them.
A 24-episode anime created by Madhouse studio from Hitoshi Iwaaki’s manga of the same name, bringing it to the present day by debunking it from its vintage setting.
The work stars Shinichi Izumi, an ordinary student whose right hand is infested by a mysterious alien parasite interested in taking over his body. Migi, a nickname given to the parasite, is just one of a race of parasites intent on taking over human bodies to conquer Earth.
The forced coexistence between the 2, leads them to clash with other malicious parasites in an ongoing struggle for their survival and that of humankind.
Parasyte is an extremely well-rounded anime, boasting excellent action scenes, excellent animation and soundtrack, and a solid romance subplot in all respects.
We will watch an excellent love triangle between Izumi, her childhood friend Satomi and the beautiful Kana.
An action and fantasy anime with supernatural elements composed of 2 seasons of 12 episodes each.
The story follows the bizarre duo of Yato, a minor god, and Hiyori Iki, an average schoolgirl. One day, Hiyori saves Yato from a car accident, taking the hit instead of him.
The girl’s soul is not stable anymore and she can’t return to her body, so Yato will do anything in his power to give her body back and save her in return.
But as predictable as you may have already guessed, this is ideal for a love subplot between the 2 as time goes on.
The couple is quite cute and sweet but counterbalances with an acceptable dose of action scenes.
Inuyasha stars Kagome, a young girl who, as a result of an accident, will fall a well and is catapulted into Sengoku-era Japan.
Here she will be reborn as the reincarnation of the priestess Kikyo, to protect the four winds’ sphere with Inuyasha’s help, a canine-like god.
Inuyasha is undoubtedly one of the greatest cult greats ever, and there must be a reason for that.
It’s a simple but solid story, with its excellent settings that makes it one of the best historical romance anime, and its character design, but surely the main reasons is the romance subplot between Kagome and Inuyasha.
Theirs is an ever-escalating love story that starts with a rejection from the girl but deepens more and more, eventually leading to one of the most famous couples ever.
8. Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
Fate is one of the largest and most famous anime-themed franchises, which has countless TV series, movies, spin-offs, and videogames.
The plot features magical summoners, called Masters, who through the summoning of spirits inspired by famous characters from history fight to conquer the Holy Grail.
The protagonist is Emiya Shirou, a boy which will find himself dragged into this war.
A common factor among all Fate works and no exception in Unlimited Blade Works is the constant presence of romance subplots within the story.
Not only that, but we will also have a love triangle consisting of a course of the protagonist Shirou, Sakura, and Rin, 3 of the main characters in the events.
7. Mobile Suit Gundam 0079
Mobile Suit Gundam 0079 is the first Gundam series and one of the many examples of romantic subplots. We have chosen the first one because it’s more iconic and it’s an easier example to follow.
The story is set in the future where part of humanity was forced to move to giant space colonies.
But in the year 0079, Side 3, the group of colonies farthest from Earth, proclaimed itself independent, taking the name of Principality of Zeon and beginning the mission to subdue the others.
This sparks a war between the Earth Federation and Zeon, giving birth to one of the most memorable worldbuilding ever.
And amidst the flames of violence, we will see some romantic innuendos between Amuro Ray, the main character, and other characters like Sayla Mass and Lalah Sune.
Katanagatari is a masterful work by Nisio Isin about samurai and swords, telling the story of a swordsman and a strategian to retrieve the most powerful 12 swords in Japan during the Edo period.
The protagonist Shichika Yasuri is the 7th head of the Kyotoryu family, renowned for its combat style. They are swords themselves, so they fight bare-handed and they are pretty effective against sword users.
The strategian Togame orders Shichika around and one of the first orders is to fall in love with her and protect her during their journey. The 2 will soon develop a bond that goes beyond business.
The romance in Katanagatari is quite deep after some thought. In fact, the concept of love is analyzed from different perspectives and will break through the cold heart of Shichika.
This anime is a true gem, not only it features one of the cutest couples in anime, but it’s also a feast for the eyes and a perfect blend of violence with romance.
5. Yona of the Dawn
In a story about treason and revenge, the main character princess Yona is betrayed and forced to escape from her kingdom.
She will do everything in her power to reclaim her place, as shown by her resolute nature. The story is set in a fictional kingdom that takes inspiration from the Three Kingdoms period of Korea, around 57 BC to 668 AD.
On her journey, she will be accompanied by her faithful general Son Hak, but along the way, she will meet a great many other characters.
Despite Yona’s revenge and personal growth, the romance is present even if not predominant, with her being able to draw a real reverse harem to herself.
This also reinforces the idea of a romance anime with a dominant female lead stereotype that subverts the idea of the average male hero.
4. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Also known just by Gurren Lagann, it’s a 27-episode series produced by Gainax in 2007.
The story is set in the distant future where Earth is dominated by the Beast Men, humanoid mutants with animal-like features and powers, while humans have been forced to live in underground villages.
Simon and Kamina are tired of living without ever seeing the sky. One day, while digging underground, they find the head of a robot, which they call Lagann.
Once they activate the mecha they manage to reach the surface and also take possession of the robot’s body.
Gurren Lagann incorporates a lot of homages to various mecha series and has robot-beastman action on its side that is epic and over-the-top.
But even in the midst of all the epicness, there is room for a solid and well-crafted romance without harem .
Yoko and Kamina is the first example that comes to our mind, but Simon will have his love interests too.
3. Super Dimension Fortress Macross
A cult mecha anime from 1982 with a love triangle and strong romance elements.
The plot starts with the human race finishing a space airship based on an alien wreck called Macross.
When they try to launch the ship, they get attacked by the alien race Zentradi and the remnants of humanity embark on it to escape planet Earth.
This marks the beginning of a war against this unknown menace. Macross is truly a unique anime, as it combined mechas with a credible love triangle.
While this isn’t the first time in anime history, Macross managed to use it as a central element in the plot.
Linn Minmay, Hikaru’s first crush, is a popular idol that will make her debut during the series and will even help against the Zentradi. In fact, this show is a good example of romance anime where the popular girl falls for the protagonist, even though this will actually give life one of the most famous love triangles ever.
Even though the protagonist was disliked by his well-regarded superior Misa Hayase in the beginning, the situation will be different later.
The 2 will develop a strong relationship as the show goes on, as both the war and the love triangle evolve.
2. Monogatari Series
The story deals with the events of Koyomi Araragi, a generous boy attending high school who sees his life change after meeting Kiss-shot Acerola-orion Heart-under-blade, a vampire.
The main character will save her by giving away some of his blood, and this will make the boy a vampire too.
After becoming almost human again as a result of these events, he begins to find himself in the midst of various affairs involving spirits, gods, and monsters while living his private life.
The early relationship between Araragi and Hitagi doesn’t affect the main background of the series, namely fighting, and action.
There are around 3-4 episodes where the relationship is expanded and that make this subplot more relevant. Still, it’s a great choice if you want a romance anime with an early couple, and probably the best romance with demons and spirits you can find at the moment.
Steins; Gate is one of the best Sci-Fi anime ever made, an animated adaptation of the visual novel that premiered in the Spring of 2011.
The plot follows Rintaro Okabe, a boy who with his 2 childhood friends runs the so-called Futuristic Gadget Laboratory.
Okabe, who is also a big fan of time travel, happens to be at a conference on it one day. It’s here that he will find the dead body of Makise Kurisu, and from which everything will begin.
The protagonist will discover that their Phone Microwave is the foundation for a time machine. As for every story with time travel, danger looms around the corner.
And with that, Okabe will have to save his childhood friend Mayuri from a dark fate, as well as Makise Kurisu.
The romance subplot is less predominant compared to the original source, the visual novel, since you can’t choose more endings.
Even though Steins,Gate can’t be considered a harem anime by any means, it manages to draw a lot of attention to Okabe and elevate romance to one key aspect.