Let’s be honest with each other, the romance genre is truly amazing, offering incredibly tender and entertaining stories that leave viewers breathless while eagerly anticipating the first kiss.
And it goes without saying that if a romance anime also features an excellent and engaging plot filled with twists and turns, it’s a jackpot.
To save you the trouble of searching, we have compiled a list of the best romance anime with great plots that you absolutely shouldn’t miss.
Many other anime deserve a place on this list, please feel free to recommend them to us in the comments section.
Table of Contents
26. From Me to You
From Me to You, on the other hand, is one of the best examples of a vanilla and heartwarming plot in the romance genre. It was released in 2009 and consists of 25 episodes.
Sawako is a high school student who faces bullying from her classmates due to her resemblance to Sadako, the protagonist of the horror movie Ring.
But despite this, Sawako is a kind and shy girl, and that’s why she catches the attention of Shota, the most popular boy in school.
From Me to You is a beautiful trauma-solving romance with a light, charming, and vanilla plot that will keep you captivated from beginning to end, without relying on excessive drama or intense moments.
If you’re a fan of romance series that fall into this category, this is absolutely a must-watch for you.
25. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time stands as one of Mamoru Hosoda’s greatest works, alongside other masterpieces like Mirai.
The story follows Makoto Konno, a high school student who gains the ability to leap through time following a strange accident in the science lab.
Initially using her newfound power for small and self-centered reasons, Makoto soon realizes that her actions have far-reaching consequences, leading her to confront the weight of her decisions.
The movie strikingly balances elements of comedy, romance, and lighthearted moments with profound psychological themes, resulting in a great and thought-provoking experience.
And with the addition of supernatural and Sci-Fi elements, the plot becomes incredibly engaging and entertaining, making it a perfect pick for this list.
24. My Love Story!!
My Love Story!!! is an award-winning romance anime that premiered in 2015 with 24 episodes, and we highly recommend it to fans of lighthearted romantic stories.
The protagonist, Takeo Gouda, breaks away from the typical prototype of a romantic anime MC with his muscular physique and unique personality.
When he comes to the rescue of Rinko Yamato, he immediately falls deeply in love and pursues her, despite facing opposition from his best friend, Makoto Sunakawa.
Throughout their journey, their love experiences both highs and lows, but their bond only grows stronger with each passing episode.
My Love Story!!! may not have a particularly intricate plot full of twists and turns, but it excels in having an excellent story that is deliberately simple and light.
And for that reason, this anime is the perfect proof that you don’t need complex plots and intrigue to have a well-written and entertaining romance story.
23. Lovely Complex
Lovely Complex is a criminally underrated romance anime from 2007 that we consider to be one of the best comedy-based romance series.
The story revolves around Risa Koizumi and Atsushi Otani, two students who live in Osaka and attend the same high school.
Risa is 170 centimeters tall, which is considered quite tall for a Japanese girl, while Otani is a basketball player but stands at only 156 centimeters tall, below average for the sport.
At school, they are often referred to as All Hanshin Kyojin, after a popular Japanese comedy duo consisting of a short man and a tall man.
Throughout the series, we witness their growing confidence and see their love develop into something strong and genuine.
Lovely Complex is a fantastic example of excellent comedic storytelling, without if or buts.
The story will keep you entertained from start to finish, thanks to its 2 fantastic and over-the-top main characters, as well as its continuous comedic moments that will crack you in laughter.
22. Plastic Memories
Plastic Memories is an outstanding romance anime from 2015 that skillfully weaves together elements of love, drama, and Sci-Fi over the course of its 13 episodes.
Set in a future where lifelike androids are commonplace in society, the story revolves around the protagonist and his work partner, Isla, as they undertake the emotionally challenging task of decommissioning other androids.
As the protagonist delves deeper into their work, he confronts the ethical dilemmas arising from the androids’ genuine emotions and the unsettling practice of erasing their memories.
Plastic Memories is an anime that evokes a wide range of emotions, with its poignant moments and unexpected plot twists.
If you’re in the mood for a remarkable Sci-Fi romance that will tug at your heartstrings and leave you shedding a few tears, this is a series you shouldn’t miss.
21. After the Rain
After the Rain is an incredibly underrated romance anime that was released in 2018 with 12 episodes, featuring a mature storyline and excellent animation.
Akira Tachibana is the quintessential unattainable beauty, as captivating as she is aloof.
But even though everyone is in love with her, Akira is secretly in love with her middle-aged, divorced café manager who is also a father.
The plot of After the Rain delicately explores the theme of love between two individuals with a significant age gap, showcasing great sensitivity and realism on this sensitive topic.
And this mature approach keeps the story engaging without falling into trite or boring clichés, so we can’t help but absolutely recommend it.
20. Tsukigakirei – as the moon, so beautiful
Tsukigakirei is one of the most underrated romance anime that we can think of, as it boasts incredible animation, a great cast of characters, and an excellent and profound storyline.
The anime beautifully captures the difficulties of growing up, from the joys of falling in love to the challenges of making new friends and navigating the uncertainties of the future.
With its well-developed and relatable characters, Tsukigakirei draws you into its world, making you feel like an integral part of the story.
However, what truly sets Tsukigakirei apart is its beautifully crafted love story. The genuine and realistic feelings between the main characters, Akane and Kotaro, will undoubtedly tug at your heartstrings.
This series offers a captivating plot that keeps you engaged from start to finish, with its blend of tender, psychological, and poignant moments.
And with its stellar characters, compelling romantic plotlines, and stunning animation, Tsukigakirei is an absolute hidden gem that we recommend discovering.
19. His and Her Circumstances
His and Her Circumstances is a vintage romance anime that stands among the best in the genre. It originally aired in 1998 and consists of 26 episodes.
Yukino Miyazawa is a model student who excels in everything she does. She is extremely popular and highly skilled in sports.
However, when Souichiro Arima, an equally talented student, enrolls in her high school, Yukino’s position is challenged.
This sparks a fierce rivalry between the two, which gradually transforms into something more.
His and Her Circumstances features one of the best enemies-to-lovers plots, making it a must-watch for fans of this great trope.
The anime also presents an incredibly cute and well-written love story that draws you in and makes you feel like a part of the events, and this undoubtedly places this series as one of the top choices on this list.
18. Kokoro Connect
Kokoro Connect is a remarkable romance anime from 2012 that seamlessly blends romance, supernatural elements, and slice-of-life storytelling.
The series unfolds within Yamahoshi Academy’s cultural club, where a group of five students finds themselves caught up in an extraordinary phenomenon of body-swapping.
This phenomenon triggers unexpected reactions and emotions among the characters, especially within the intricate love triangle involving Himeko, Taichi, and Iori.
Although the plot of Kokoro Connect may appear simple at first glance, it should not be overlooked.
While it may not indeed break new ground in terms of originality, it excels in its execution, featuring well-developed characters whose diverse responses to the phenomenon keep the story engaging and dynamic.
Don’t underestimate this anime, and give it a chance instead.
17. Eden of The East
Eden of the East is a captivating short romance anime that premiered in 2009, comprising only 11 episodes that encompass the entire story.
In the year 2010, Japan faces a devastating terrorist attack as 10 missiles rain down on the country. The enigmatic figure behind this act, known as Zero, remains shrouded in mystery.
Three months later, Misaki Mori, a young Japanese student traveling to the United States capital, finds herself entangled in a strange incident. Fortunately, she is rescued by Akira Takizawa, a fellow Japanese man suffering from amnesia.
Upon returning to Japan, another missile strikes the country, and a perplexing message reaches Takizawa’s cellphone: he is tasked with delivering 8.2 billion yen. What does this mean?
Eden of the East is an anime that thrives on mystery, offering a plot filled with unexpected twists and turns, gripping action sequences, and a romance characterized by pathos and tragedy.
If you seek an anime that seamlessly combines these compelling themes and genres, you’ve struck gold with this series.
Orange is an excellent anime that combines romance with compelling Sci-Fi and psychological themes. It was released in 2016 and consists of 13 episodes.
Naho Takamiya receives a letter from her future self when she was 10 years old. Initially skeptical, Naho becomes convinced when events predicted in the letter start to unfold, including the arrival of a new student named Kakeru Naruse.
The letter instructs Naho to treat Kakeru with love and care because, in the future, he will tragically lose his life.
As the story progresses, Kakeru and Naho develop feelings for each other, while Naho remains unaware of her best friend Hiroto’s secret love for her.
Orange presents a rich tapestry of interconnected plots, both romantic and otherwise, with plenty of twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
It’s a unique and captivating romance anime that we highly recommend if you haven’t had the opportunity to watch it yet.
15. Your Lie in April
Your Lie in April is a 2014 romance anime that has gained significant popularity since its release, thanks to its perfect balance of comedy, music, and romance.
Kousei Arima was once a prodigious pianist who was revered by all, until the death of his mother, which left him unable to hear his own music and deeply depressed.
However, his life takes a turn when he meets Kawori Miyazono, a cheerful and lively blond violinist who helps him rediscover his passion for music.
As their relationship grows, their love for each other blossoms, but there is a sad secret about Kawori that Kousei has yet to discover.
Your Lie in April is a prime example of a plot that takes you on an extreme rollercoaster of emotions.
Within the same story, you will find comedy, serious moments, music, and one of the most impactful endings in anime history.
So we don’t even need to say that you can’t miss it if you love romance stories with excellent plots.
14. My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected (OreGairu)
OreGairu, in our opinion, is one of the best romance anime in recent years, and we have several reasons to support this claim.
The story follows Hachiman Hikigaya, an antisocial boy who believes that life is a boring farce. And that’s why his teacher forces him to join the school’s volunteer club, where he meets the most beautiful girl in the school, Yukino Yukinoshita.
But the arrival of Yui Yuigahama, another troubled girl, leads to the development of an interesting love triangle.
OreGairu excels in combining psychological elements, addressing deep themes like social anxiety and depression, with one of the best love stories you can find at the moment.
All with characters that are perfectly written, making this anime one of the best romance series with an excellent plot.
13. One Week Friends
One Week Friends is a romance anime that often flies under the radar, but it holds an excellent and incredibly emotional storyline that you’ll love.
The story revolves around Yuuki Hase, who takes it upon himself to befriend Kaori, a classmate who lives in isolation and lacks companionship, in a sincere effort to rescue her from her loneliness.
However, Kaori declines his offer due to her unique condition of losing her memories every week. Undeterred, Yuuki embarks on a weekly mission to earn her trust, hoping to prevent her from feeling alone.
One Week Friends presents a poignant storyline that consistently conveys Yuuki’s sense of helplessness as he witnesses their love and everything they build together to fade away with each passing week.
And with the addition of some interesting plot twists, this underrated anime offers a compelling and underrated storyline that we highly recommend you discover.
12. Kids on the Slope
Kids on the Slope is a great anime from 2012 that immerses you in the adventures and daily lives of its main characters.
The story revolves around Kaoru Nishimi, an honor student who is forced to move to his relatives’ home due to his father’s financial difficulties.
It is in this new town that he meets Sentaro Kawabuchi, a rebellious youth with a deep passion for jazz music, and Ritsuko, the owner of a family-run record shop who becomes Kaoru’s love interest.
Kids on the Slope offers a unique portrayal of a group of friends who share a common passion, grow together, and experience the ups and downs of life and love.
As you watch the series, you will feel like an integral part of this group of friends, which will undoubtedly warm your heart and leave you with a sense of beautiful nostalgia once you reach the end.
11. Nodame Cantabile
Nodame Cantabile is a great romance anime that intertwines a love story with a music-centered plot, much like other entries on this list.
The story follows Shinichi Chiaki, a gifted pianist who spent his childhood in Europe but had to return to Japan due to his parents’ divorce. Shinichi harbors a dream of returning to Europe to pursue his musical aspirations, but he has a paralyzing fear of flying.
But his life takes a turn when he encounters Megumi Noda, a fellow pianist with a carefree and easygoing personality.
Their meeting sets off a series of events that will forever change their lives.
Nodame Cantabile blends romance, comedy, and psychological elements, delving into themes of trauma and the power of love.
The series also creates an atmosphere that is reminiscent of the 2000s, complemented by charming animations that will appeal to fans of this particular era of anime.
10. Clannad Series
Clannad is undoubtedly one of the best romance anime from the 2000s, divided into 2 iconic interconnected series. If you are a fan of emotionally charged romance series filled with poignant moments, it’s an absolute must-watch.
The story revolves around Tomoya Okazaki, a rebellious boy who prefers solitude, and Nagisa Furukawa, a kind-hearted girl who faces academic setbacks due to health issues and struggles to form friendships.
Their encounter sets the stage for a beautiful love story, albeit not without its fair share of obstacles.
Clannad showcases exceptional plot writing, blending intense and poignant moments with a perfectly crafted love story.
This romance anime is an essential addition to the watch list of any romance fan, no excuses.
9. Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light
Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light is a perfect choice for those seeking a tender and emotionally rich romance movie, especially if you’re in the mood for shedding a few tears.
The story revolves around Hotaro, a young girl who becomes lost in the woods behind her grandfather’s house. There, she encounters Gin, a cursed humanoid spirit who will vanish if touched by a human.
Despite this seemingly insurmountable obstacle, the two manage to develop a beautiful relationship built on mutual love. However, the inevitable cannot be postponed forever.
Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light presents a cute and innocent plot, yet it constantly hints at the impending event that you will anticipate.
And with a runtime of around 45 minutes and one of the most heart-wrenching endings in the romance genre, this little animated gem is sure to leave a lasting impact on you.
Nana is a super popular anime adapted from an equally famous shojo manga, released in 47 episodes starting in 2006.
The story revolves around two girls named Nana, who have completely different personalities.
They end up sharing an apartment, with one of them being a rock/punk star dealing with a troubled life, while the other is a shy girl trapped in a toxic relationship that’s destroying her.
From that point on, their destinies become deeply intertwined.
Nana skillfully combines intense psychological elements with an outstanding plot, and it boasts one of the most compelling music-related narratives in the medium.
Not to mention the fantastic romantic subplots that add to its appeal, making it an excellent choice for anyone seeking a top-notch romance series with a solid storyline.
7. Kaguya-Sama: Love is War
Kaguya-Sama: Love is War is undoubtedly one of the best romance anime released in recent years, starting from 2019 and spanning multiple seasons.
The story revolves around Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya, two of Shuichin Academy’s most popular students who also hold the positions of president and vice president.
Despite being deeply in love with each other, their stubborn and proud natures prevent them from confessing their feelings, as they see it as a form of surrender.
Because, as we all know, love is war, and so begins their psychological game!
Kaguya-Sama: Love is War is a fantastic romance anime with very few flaws. It seamlessly blends together elements of humor, drama, and psychological moments, while boasting perfectly developed characters.
With its charming and flawlessly executed love story, this anime unquestionably earns its place as one of the best choices on this list.
It’s also one of the best romance anime on Crunchyroll, so if you are subscribed, you can’t miss it.
6. Fruits Basket
Fruits Basket is a timeless classic in the romance genre, renowned for its excellent manga that received an animated remake in 2019, surpassing the 2000s version in every aspect.
And clearly we highly recommend watching the new adaptation, which features modern animation.
Toru Honda is a kind-hearted girl who, after the tragic death of her parents, is compelled to live with her grandfather. However, due to certain circumstances, she is forced to leave that home as well and finds herself living alone in a tent in the woods.
It is there that she encounters Yuki Soma, who extends an invitation for her to stay at his family’s home, a place harboring a peculiar secret.
Fruits Basket is an incredibly complete romance anime that excels in every aspect of its plot. Its romantic component is basically flawless, accompanied by well-crafted drama and supernatural elements.
In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that we are discussing one of the best-written romance anime of all time.
5. Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
Rascal Does not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai is in our opinion and without a doubt, one of the best romance anime in recent years. Starting in 2018, it has since expanded to include an animated series and two movies, with the most recent one having just been released in Japan.
The protagonist, Sakuta Azusagawa, is a high schooler who prefers to keep to himself and avoid socializing. However, his life takes an unexpected turn when he encounters a senpai dressed as a bunny in the library, and he realizes that he is the only one who can see her.
These strange circumstances set the stage for one of the best couples ever made in the medium.
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai perfectly combines well-developed characters full of charisma with a supernatural-romance plot, with a love story that is among the best you will ever witness.
We highly recommend this anime to everyone, regardless of whether you are a fan of the romance genre or not.
4. Kimagure Orange Road
Kimagure Orange Road is a masterpiece of the romance genre that brought significant changes with its fantastic plot that merges romance and supernatural. It aired in the late 1980s, consisting of 48 episodes.
Kyosuke Kasuga is not an average 16-year-old boy, as he possesses unique ESP powers inherited from his family, which he has promised never to use in public.
However, upon moving to a new town, he meets the beautiful Madoka Ayukawa, with whom he develops a special relationship.
But this relationship soon becomes complicated when Hikaru, Madoka’s best friend, falls in love with Kyosuke too.
No ifs and buts, and we don’t want to hear the excuse of dated animation: if you are looking for a romance anime with a great story, Kimagure Orange Road is a must.
Its storyline combines in one product one of the best love triangles ever, an excellent slice-of-life plot, and supernatural elements that make it all the more unique and interesting. Need we add more?
3. Monogatari Series
Monogatari Series is one of the most unique and comprehensive anime you can find not only in the romance genre, but in general.
We wholeheartedly recommend searching for a guide on the viewing order to fully appreciate and immerse yourself in this series if you still have to watch it.
The story revolves around Koyomi Araragi, whose life takes a drastic turn after encountering Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade, a dying vampire.
With the assistance of Meme Oshino, a shaman, Koyomi regains his humanity but finds himself drawn into a world of supernatural phenomena and along the way, he also develops a romantic connection with Hitagi Senjogahara.
What sets Monogatari apart is its ability to encompass numerous genres within its series, all while maintaining excellent plotlines.
Within a single installment, you’ll find romance, drama, comedy, supernatural elements, and more, all while placing a significant emphasis on dialogue and character development.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch Monogatari yet, we strongly urge you not to delay any longer.
2. The Wind Rises
The Wind Rises, released in 2013, is a masterpiece from Studio Ghibli and maybe the best romance movie ever made. With a runtime of just over 2 hours, you’ll be so captivated by the story that time will fly by.
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 are confident in saying that this movie presents not only one of the best plots in the romance genre but in general.
1. Maison Ikkoku
Maison Ikkoku is a 96-episode series adapted from Rumiko Takahashi’s legendary seinen manga that is an icon of the romance genre, having played a significant role in shaping the genre as we know it today.
The story revolves around Yusaku Godai, a young man who is dedicatedly preparing for his college entrance exams. Yusaku resides in Maison Ikkoku, a bustling boarding house where distractions make it challenging for him to concentrate on his studies.
Initially planning to leave, Yusaku’s decision takes a turn when Kyoko Otonashi, the new building manager, arrives, and he instantly falls in love with her and decides to stay.
Maison Ikkoku presents a mature and psychologically engaging plot that remains unique and innovative even after nearly 30 years since its release.
It holds the top spot on our list of the best romance anime of all time. Should we add more?