Depression is a tough beast and anime are able to grasp this concept perfectly. Romance is the ideal genre to show the role this illness has on personal relationships.
But a few romance anime have a depressed main character and we are going to list to you what you can watch that respects this theme.
Some of the shows we will list feature social anxiety and personal issues too, even though they are not depression per se. These issues are strictly related to it and could even be the causes.
This ranking is highly subjective and based on what we know.
Table of Contents
10. Fruit of Grisaia
The Fruit of Grisaia is a unique anime that stands out for its strong psychological and dramatic elements.
Set at Mihana Academy, a special school that accepts students with troubled pasts, the protagonist, Yuuji Kazami, a former murderer, joins the school and becomes the only male in an all girls school.
As the story unfolds, the girls open up to Yuuji, revealing their personal traumas and allowing them to work through their pain with his support.
The animation style is also unique, echoing the visual novel it’s based on, and adding to the overall aesthetic of the show.
If you’re looking for a romance anime where the MC goes to an all-girl school with a strong psychological and dramatic angle, The Fruit of Grisaia is a must-watch.
9. 3D Kanojo Real Girl
3D Kanojo: Real Girl is a thought-provoking romance anime that tackles important and poignant issues, such as depression, in 24 enjoyable episodes.
The protagonist, Tsutsui Hikari, is an otaku who tries to avoid social interaction due to being laughed at by classmates for being creepy and weird.
However, after being assigned to clean the school pool with Igarashi Iroha, a popular girl, he begins to develop feelings for her after she treats him like a normal person.
This classic school romance follows Tsutsui’s growth and transformation, proving that change is possible if the effort is put in, even in a challenging social situation.
The plot and the characters are quite flat, but if you don’t mind it can be quite an enjoyable series.
8. Scum’s Wish
Scum’s Wish is a semi-explicit romance anime that doesn’t shy away from showing mature and explicit scenes.
The main characters, Mugi Awaya and Hanabi Yasuraoka, seem like the perfect couple on the outside, but in reality, they are just using each other as a way to escape their depression and unrequited love for others.
This anime is for those who are looking for a mature and serious take on romance, where heavy themes such as depression and loneliness play a central role.
But we have to warn you, its heavy-handed approach can be unsettling to some viewers.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a more mature and explicit romance anime, Scum’s Wish is an excellent choice, but only if you have the maturity to handle its heavy themes.
ReLIFE is an award-winning anime that offers a mature and serious atmosphere.
The protagonist, Arata Kaizaki, is a 27-year-old man facing unemployment and depression.
But his life takes a turn when he meets Ryou Yoake from the ReLife Research Institute, who offers him a special drug that will allow him to return to his 17-year-old self for a year-long experiment.
During this time, Arata sets out to win back his old love, Chizuru Hishiro, and live life to its fullest with no regrets.
This intense story is packed with psychology one of the best romance subplot.
This is a must-watch experience that delivers a message of hope: it’s never too late to start over.
6. Welcome to the NHK
Welcome to the NHK is probably the best anime about the social issue of hikikomori. Despite tackling a serious topic, the show strikes a perfect balance by incorporating humorous moments.
The protagonist, Tatsuhiro Sato, is a hikikomori due to past traumatic experiences and depression.
One day, he is unexpectedly visited by an elderly religious woman and a young girl. Little does he know that the same girl will later contact him and claim she can help him overcome his condition.
Welcome to the NHK is widely regarded as one of the best anime series that deal with depression and gives a hopeful message to those struggling with the illness.
Although the series wasn’t as well-known a decade ago, it has been gaining popularity in recent years thanks to the Internet, and we are all lucky for that.
This also is one of the best romance anime with an otaku/nerd MC you don’t want to miss.
Clannad follows the story of Tomoya Okazaki, a high school senior who is considered by many to be a bad element, despite being a popular boy due to his good looks.
One day, on his way to school, he meets Nagisa Furukawa, a sweet girl who has trouble connecting with others and must repeat her senior year due to health problems.
A deep friendship and romantic relationship will soon develop between the two.
Clannad is known for being an emotional and deeply sentimental anime, and its sequel, Clannad After Story, is even better and considered one of the best anime love stories ever.
And if you’re a fan of romance anime with a sad ending, this series is a must-watch and an experience not to be missed.
4. Ao Haru Ride
Ao Haru Ride is a captivating anime that delves into the mind of its main character, Yoshioka Futaba, as she tries to navigate her inner conflicts and past experiences with bullying and depression.
The story begins with Futaba deciding to downplay her appearance in order to avoid attracting negative attention from her classmates, but her plans are disrupted when she runs into the only boy she ever loved.
This chance encounter sets off a chain of events that forces Futaba to confront her own feelings and decide whether to pursue a romantic relationship or her own welfare.
Ao Haru Ride is an emotional and introspective anime that explores mature themes of love, self-discovery, and psychological trauma.
Despite its heavy subject matter, it manages to maintain a delicate balance and avoids resorting to visual violence. If you’re a fan of psychological romance anime, this is an anime that you don’t want to miss.
3. A Silent Voice
A Silent Voice is a touching and powerful romance movie that tells the story of Shouya Ishida and Shouko Nishimiya, 2 high school students who had a difficult relationship during their elementary school days.
Shouya had bullied Shouko because of her deafness, but in high school, he sets out to apologize for his past actions.
Despite their troubled past, the two soon form a friendship, but their relationship is put to the test as they both struggle with their own inner demons and past traumas.
While the movie may not be as comprehensive as the manga, it still packs an emotional punch and remains one of the most popular romance movies right now.
This movie is suitable for everyone, beginners, experts and even one of the best anime for couples.
Orange is a sci-fi and romance anime with a heavy emphasis on psychological elements like depression and social anxiety. We consider it as one of the best underrated romance anime you can find.
Naho Takamiya receives a letter from her future self, asking her to take care of the transfer student, Kakeru Naruse, who is hiding his depression and guilt over his mother’s death.
The letter also warns that Kakeru will die 10 years in the future, leading Naho on a journey of love and anxiety as she tries to change his fate.
This anime is a heart-wrenching experience that will leave you on the edge of your seat, anxiously awaiting the outcome.
If you want to find out what happens, you’ll just have to watch it for yourself, and we absolutely recommend it.
1. Your Lie in April
Kousei Arima, the protagonist of the story, was a talented and famous piano player as a child, recognized by many musicians even those who were older than him.
However, after the tragic loss of his mother, he lost his love for music and fell into depression.
That is until he meets Kaori, a beautiful blonde violinist who puts her soul into her music, which will help Kosei rediscover his passion for music in a more carefree and lighthearted way.
Your Lie in April primarily focuses on music but also has touching romantic moments that will warm your heart. It’s one of the best romance anime on Hulu, if you are interested in watching it now.
It’s known for being incredibly emotional with sad moments, so be sure to have tissues nearby if you take our advice and watch it.