The romance genre has many tropes and subgenres, so there are endless opportunities.
One of the most common and likable tropes involves the popular boy falling in love with a shy girl. This creates the perfect scenario for a love story where the male lead takes on an assertive role and protects his beloved.
It’s one of the cutest premises ever that often hide other sensitive themes such as social inclusion and bullying.
This listicle will show you our best anime that deal with this love trope and why we recommend you watch them.
Table of Contents
12. Tricks of the Gods
Tricks of the Gods is a fantasy reverse harem romance anime with a bit of comedy and is what you’d call bizarre.
Yui Kusanagi is a girl who is commissioned by none other than Zeus himself to teach love to his attractive divine children.
The girl must complete the arduous task within the walls of a school specially created by Zeus himself, who serves as principal there.
And if no less than the Greek gods themselves are popular boys, then we don’t know who might be.
Too bad however that from this interesting and innovative premise, the anime ends up being kinda mediocre and dull.
Credit goes to the animation style and a good character design, so it’s not a 100% letdown and the fact that this is a good romance anime with spirits and gods.
A slice-of-life anime with a supernatural twist. The story follows Haruka Kotoura, a girl with the power of reading minds since childhood.
Haruka lost a lot of friends and destroyed her family due to her innate capability, which is not the most ideal power to have.
After being bullied school after school, she meets Manabe Yoshihisa, a popular boy who is not scared about mind-reading power.
Kotoura-San is a romance that starts from an interesting premise, combining the classic dynamics of the genre with supernatural themes.
There is also a pronounced psychological aspect, which goes through Kotoura’s powers to examine issues such as marginalization and bullying.
Kinda recommended if you’re looking for an anime that combines supernatural, psychological elements and a satisfying romance.
10. The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior
This is an anime definitely outside the box, marked by a lot of comedy, absurd situations, romance, and slice of life.
The anime revolves around Kawai dormitory and Kazunari Usa, a popular and good-looking high school student who has just moved in to live a quiet school life.
Unfortunately, the absurdity of its tenants is such that it will prevent tranquility.
They range from the unemployed masochist who loves to be tied up and tortured, to the college girl with a dual personality to Mayumi, a young woman frustrated by her constant love failures.
Fortunately for Usa, the dorm also houses the girl he is in love with, Ricchan, a shy girl a year older who is passionate about books.
The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior goes all out for no-sense and irreverent comedy, with occasional romance interludes that fit really well in the context.
9. Wolf Girl and Black Prince
Wolf Girl and Black Prince is a 12-episode sentimental comedy based on a successful shojo manga, which also received a live-action adaptation.
The main character, Erika lies to her 2 friends, saying she has a boyfriend when she doesn’t.
But when asked to send a picture of the guy, Erika panicked and took a picture of the first good-looking guy she passed on the street.
It’s Sata Kyouya, the most popular first-year student. The girl will beg him to pretend to be her boyfriend, but she doesn’t know that underneath that princely appearance lies a lot of badness.
Sata will prove to be really mean, taking advantage of the situation to torment Erika and have fun behind her back.
But as the story progresses, Sata will become and protective, gradually showing affection for Erika and making it clear that he is not as much of a bad boy as he seems.
For this reason, it’s the ideal choice if you love romance anime with an overprotective male lead, and in this case it’s even better since it’s gradual.
Wolf Girl and Black Prince is one of those slow romance, where the couple starts out hating each other but then gradually grow closer and more tender until your heart melts.
8. Recovery of an MMO Junkie
Recovery of an MMO Junkie is an anime that combines video games with a deep psychological and mental aspect.
Moriko Morioka is in her 30s and has just quit her job because she could no longer handle the burden and stress of work.
She has thus become a NEET and now tries to fill her life with an online game: Fruits de Mer, her only escape from reality.
Back in the days when she was still employed, she had befriended another gamer, who in turn was trying to fill the loneliness through videogames and was always ready for her in time of need.
Perhaps by playing Fruits de Mer she could meet that boy again? But in the meantime, while out shopping at the combini, she meets an attractive popular guy.
It talks about self-marginalization, social anxiety, and the desire to start over, combining it all loosely with the world of videogames.
This is without any doubt one of the best romance anime with an otaku MC that you sould watch if you like the trope.
UtaPri is an anime focusing on music, romantic comedy, and reverse harem, released in 2011 in 13 episodes.
The story follows the events of a girl who attends an art institute focused on composition and singing.
The problem? She is surrounded by charming classmates one more popular than the other, all budding idols and good-looking. Even bigger problem? No relationships are allowed within the school.
A colorful and enjoyable anime, especially for the excellent and peculiar character design.
UtaPri is one of those anime with a vast cast of characters, but all of them are well done and complementary to each other, with a great reverse-harem main component.
Clannad follows the events of Tomoya Okazaki, a high school senior who is considered by many to be a bad element but despite this, he is quite popular with girls, being good looking.
One day, on his way to school, he meets Nagisa Furukawa, a sweet girl who has difficulty relating to others a but is forced to repeat the year because of her health problems.
A deep relationship of friendship and more will soon develop between the two.
An anime that is a real shot to the heart and has the reputation of being extremely sentimental and deep.
Its sequel, Clannad After Story, is considered one of the best romance anime ever, and if you start it you will understand why.
Clannad is one of the best romance anime where the girl is older than the guy, if you are into this kind of trope.
5. Pet Girl of Sakurasou
Pet Girl of Sakurasou is a drama and romance anime telling the story of the protagonist Sorata Kanda, a popular boy who lives in the Sakurasou dorm.
It’s known to be housing the most famous Sumei High delinquents, the school that Sorata is attending.
The boy must learn how to deal with all the bizarre characters living there and his goal is to escape. Things change quickly though, as the joining of Mashiro Shiina, a new transfer girl, will make Sorata change his mind.
Sorata will decide that she must protect the as beautiful clumsy girl from the muggles in the dormitory. But who knows whether this sentiment will also turn into something else?
Pet Girl of Sakurasou is appreciated due to its realistic love story and because the cast is quite relatable. It’s one of the best romance anime with comedy, perfect if you’re looking for a light series.
4. Say I Love You
Say I Love You is a scholastic romantic comedy that would melt the hearts of the toughest fans with its twists and tender moments.
Mei Tachibana has spent her 16 years without ever having a boyfriend or even friends. One day she ends up getting into a fight with Yamato Kurosawa, a popular boy, who begins at that moment to take a liking to the girl.
Their romance soon begins in a kinda unexpected way, when one night Yamato, to save Mei from a stalker, kisses her to pretend to be his boyfriend.
Say I Love You presents a mature and serious love story, with little room for comedy and on the contrary, much focus on the psychology of the characters, who are well characterized. Yamato indeed is one of the coolest MC you can find in romance.
Another strong point is the smooth and beautiful animations, far ahead of the time when the anime was released, in 2012.
Multiple award-winning anime with a 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 drug that can return him 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 with this second chance.
ReLIFE is anime that hides a much more serious message such as the desire to start over, and that it is never too late to do so.
ReLIFE is one of the best underrated romance anime gem that you really shouldn’t sleep on.
2. From me to You
From Me to You is a manga written by author Karuho Shiina winner of the prestigious Kodansha Award in 2008, a title of no small importance in the Japanese anime and manga scene.
An anime was adapted from this manga, released in 2010 in 25 episodes.
The main character, named Sawako, is derisively called Sadako by her classmates because she resembles the character of the same name in Ring, the Japanese version of the famous Western horror film The Ring.
But one day the girl will make the acquaintance of Shota, a popular boy in their school, who will treat her with consideration, making her feel less and less marginalized, and with whom she will blossom a deep love.
From Me to You is one of the best psychological romance anime, that miraculously manages to be at the same one of the best romance with little to no drama too.
Its ability to perfectly combine introspective themes such as bullying and social exclusion with a solid romance that will make your heart melt is incredible.
1. Fruits Basket
A classic romance anime with supernatural elements and a cult in the romance genre that received a remake in 2019 by Studio TMS Entertainment.
The story follows Tohru Honda, a girl that starts living in a tent after a family tragedy. Her tent is located inside the Souma residence, a peculiar household.
Once they know about her situation, they offer to let her live inside their house. The strange thing about the Souma family is that when they are hugged by a member of the opposite sex, they transform into animals of the Chinese Zodiac.
Fruits Basket is a cult for sentimental fans, and one of those romance anime that just can’t be missed if you’re a fan of the genre.
And this is not only because of its touching and sweet love story but also because the fantasy component of this anime gives that extra touch to the events that make it the unique show it is.
It’s also one of the best romance anime available on Hulu, so it’s quite easy to watch it.