Many fans love romance anime and we think that some of them get less attention. Authentic gems like Spice and Wolf are not praised enough compared to their mainstream counterparts.
For this reason, we have compiled a list to help those who want to watch something different like us. If you love niche picks, this is the right place for you.
Here are the most underrated romance anime that deserve more visibility.
Table of Contents
20. The Fruit of Grisaia
The Fruit of Grisaia is a psychological and dramatic anime not recommended for the faint of heart.
The Mihana Academy is a special school that accepts students with special backgrounds and educates them away from the outside world.
Joining this school will be Yuuji Kazami, a former murderer with a dark past who wants to leave his past behind. Here he will find five other female students, all girls, making Yuuji the only male in the academy.
The Fruit of Grisaia will be based on the past of these 5 girls, who will gradually open up to Yuuji, confiding in him, who will help them overcome their traumas.
Its style is interesting and beautiful to look at, echoing the style of the original visual novel, as well as the narrative structure.
It may not be the best romance you will ever watch in your life, but we are more than sure to call it underrated.
19. Masamune-Kun Revenge
When he was little Masamune was a chubby boy due to eating disorders, and he was bullied by a popular girl called Aki Adagaki, who kept calling him “Piggy”.
Masamune decided to get revenge on the girl by losing weight and seducing the girl to break her heart.
This is just another romance anime where enemies become lovers with an interesting twist and a nice revenge plot.
Masamune-Kun Revenge is an underrated romance anime compared to many other shows that get more recognition. This could change with the upcoming Season 2 of the show and we recommend you read the manga.
18. Scum’s Wish
Scum’s Wish is a mature and explicit romance that even shows semi-explicit scenes.
Mugi Awaya and Hanabi Yasuraoka seem like the perfect couple. But no one knows their secret, which is that they are only together to escape loneliness and sadness, and are both in love with someone else.
Scum’s Wish is if you will the grown-up version of the classic romance since depression and loneliness take the center of the stage.
This is reflected by character development, more deep and sentimental than many tropes we are used to watch.
The problem with Scum Wish is that it creates the opposite effect. Being unsettling is probably why it failed to gain popularity.
But in our opinion, this doesn’t pose a problem, especially for those like us that enjoy mature shows.
17. Sing Yesterday for Me
Sing Yesterday For Me is a slice-of-life 12-episode anime with romance.
Rikuo Uozumi is a boy with no ambition, which is why after finishing school he finds a simple part-time job with no plans for the future.
But it is here that he will meet several acquaintances of his who will open his eyes to the world around him, from his old crush to a bizarre girl named Haru.
Sing Yesterday For Me is heavily focused on Rikuo’s character, as hinted by its psychological undertone. But love will be one of the main factors for his development.
This anime may be interesting and quite innovative, turning the concept of the genre itself on its head with Rikuo being one of the best cool MC in romance anime.
While this isn’t totally niche, it’s not a mainstream show either.
16. 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 a romance anime with otaku MC that you’ll love if you like love stories with a lot of comedy.
It’s an underrated romance to have some fun and we think you should give it a try.
15. Eden of the East
Year 2010: 10 missiles plummet over Japan. It’s a terrorist attack by a mysterious character, Zero.
3 months later, Misaki Mori, a young Japanese student traveling to the U.S. capital, becomes involved in a strange and terrible case and is rescued by another Japanese man suffering from amnesia, Akira Takizawa.
After returning to Japan, a new missile hits Japan and a strange message reaches Tanizawa’s cell phone: 8.2 billion yen is to be delivered to him.
Eden of the East is an anime where mystery reigns supreme, with a plot full of twists and turns, action, and a romance full of pathos and tragedy.
If you love the thrills of action and some good old romance, this is the gem you were looking for.
14. Honey and Clover
Honey & Clover is a slice-of-life anime rich in love triangles. The story chronicles the lives of 5 characters, 3 boys, and 2 girls, who go about their daily lives while attending a fine arts academy college.
The highlights of this anime are the characterization of the characters, each different and unique from the other, but still managing to fit together perfectly, creating relatable relationships.
And what is most striking is the incredibly balanced story since there is no real protagonist standing out among them.
There will also be excellent romance dynamics, and the story will always be told from a mature and adult point of view. Indeed, the real leitmotif of this work is the theme of growing up, and the hard transition between adolescence and adult life.
Honey and Clover deserves more recognition for the psychological plot and how the cast is managed.
13. Snow White With Red Hair
An award-winning anime and one of the best historical romance anime that, as you may have already guessed from the title, openly takes inspiration from the Snow White fairy tale, along with its medieval-like historical setting.
Shirayuki is a young herbalist who leads a quiet existence in the kingdom of Tambarun.
One day Raji, the prince of her country, decides to take her with him as his concubine. Shirayuki does not want this and decides to run away to escape this arranged marriage.
During her escape, she will meet Prince Zen, who welcomes her to court as a herbalist to help her resolve the matter and save her, but the two will end up falling in love in a heart-warming love story.
This anime is criminally underrated, to say the least.
If your goal is to find a solid, twist-filled romance set in a medieval setting, then this is probably the best choice on this list, and perhaps even one of the best in general.
12. Plastic Memories
If you are looking for an anime that in plot and themes ends up being a real punch in the chest, then Plastic Memories is for you.
In an alternative future, it’s normal to use human-like androids for the most common jobs. Their life expectancy is limited to only 9 years, after which they are decommissioned and lose their memories.
But when the story’s protagonist has to deal with the scrapping of some units with Isla, one of the androids, he will make a discovery.
In Plastic Memories the theme of morality will predominate when we realize that these androids have actual feelings.
This anime is not as niche as many others but deserves more attention because it’s a good emotional rollercoaster, that also stars one of the best kuudere girls in romance.
11. Kokoro Connect
Kokoro Connect is an anime that starts from fairly clichéd premises, adding a touch of supernatural to its formula.
The plot is as simple as it is effective. Something absurd happens in the Yamahoshi Academy cultural club: the 5 male and female members of the club exchange bodies with each other under mysterious circumstances.
How will they react, and what will this strange experience trigger in them?
While the premise is nothing overly innovative, Kokoro Connect still manages to tell its story and make love blossom in a way that is different from the norm.
And clearly, that is why it deserves more attention, since this particular change in point of view could prove to be a winning choice.
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 with this second chance.
ReLIFE is an intense story with psychology one of the best romance subplot that is not too invasive and works perfectly.
It is one of those stories to be experienced all in one breath, under the constant message of it’s never too late to start over.
9. Natsuyuki Rendezvous
Natsuyuki Rendezvous is an anime released in 2012 in 11 episodes with serious and mature themes to accompany its romance.
Hazuki falls in love at first sight with an older and mature flower girl named Rokka, and to get closer to her, he decides to get hired as a part-time employee.
However, the woman is by no means ready to enter into a relationship, as she is still suffering from the recent loss of her husband.
Moreover, still conditioned by grief over the loss, the woman can see the ghost of the man speaking to her, preventing her from moving on.
Natsuyuki Rendezvous is a sentimental anime that hides a deep psychological side, such as overcoming the loss of a loved one and feeling ready to move on with life.
This alone makes Natsuyuki Rendezvous an unusual experience and one we recommend to our fellow psychology enjoyers.
8. His and Her Circumstances
His and Her Circumstances is one of the most popular romances of the last millennium, released in 26 episodes but not adapting the entire manga.
Yukino Miyazawa has always been a model student, active, beautiful and good at sports. That is until she meets Souichiro Arima, an equally handsome and good-looking boy, who overshadows Yukino.
But the girl cannot accept it, and so begins their rivalry destined to turn into something else.
His and Her Circumstances is a cult, showcasing one of the most famous and wholesome couples ever.
Like many old anime, new generations tend to forget about it, and we are here to remind you of its existence.
7. Welcome to the NHK
Welcome to the NHK still remains one of the best anime products centered on the social phenomenon of the hikikomori without being too hard to follow, finding the perfect balance with comical interludes.
The protagonist of the events Tatsuhiro Sato is one of them, due to past dramas. One day like any other to his surprise and unbeknownst to him there will be a knock on his door from a religious old woman in the company of a girl.
But what Sato will not know is that the same girl will later get in touch with him, claiming that she can and will help him out of his condition.
Welcome to the NHK is one of the best romance anime a depressed MC, and gives a message of hope to anyone suffering from this illness.
Although the series was not so well known a decade ago, also thanks to the Internet, it has been slowly rediscovered in the last few years, and we are all lucky for that.
Orange is a Sci-Fi themed anime combined with one of the best psychological romance regarding heavy themes like anxiety and even suicide.
Naho Takamiya receives a letter from her 10-year-old self in the future. At first, Naho thinks it’s a joke, but changes her mind when the events in the letter happen, including the transfer of a new student Kakeru Naruse.
That person is the main theme of the letter where he is asked to treat him with as much love as possible because 10 years from now the boy will lose his life. As you may have already well understood, this is a real punch in the gut, both physical and psychological.
Orange is a romance with a poignant and captivating plot that will leave you with bated breath until the very end as you wait to discover Kakeru’s fate.
It is really a pity that it is not as famous as it deserves to be, so trust us and watch it.
5. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya was a popular anime in the 2000s, based on a highly successful novel of the same name. Unfortunately, this excellent anime has lost its popularity, and we are more than certain that it is time for it to regain it.
Haruhi Suzumiya is an eccentric girl who is considered crazy. The girl shows no interest in normal people but seeks out-of-the-box events or someone who can add color to her life, in particular ESP, time travelers, and aliens.
In doing so, she attracts the attention of ordinary high school student Kyon who suggests that she should start her own club to satisfy her inclination.
That’s how the SOS Brigade is born, a paranormal club in which they will be joined by Yuuki Nagato, an alien, Mikuru Asahina, a time traveler, and Izumi Koizumi, an esper.
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a solid and complete anime that never bores. The cast is well characterized and varied, and funny and serious moments alternate well.
4. After the Rain
After the Rain was adapted from a seinen and you can notice it by the presence of more mature and deep themes.
The main character, high school girl Akira Tachibana, is the classic unattainable beauty, as enchanting as she is unapproachable.
Everyone has eyes for her but Akira is secretly in love with the manager of the café where she works part-time, a forty-five-year-old man who is divorced and already a father.
An anime that deals with love between 2 people of different ages and its complications, with glimpses into life and its struggles.
The impossible love depicted in this anime and the other themes could have been discussed more. That is why we are sure it deserves more visibility, along with its excellent and peculiar animation style.
3. Nodame Cantabile
Nodame Cantabile is a romantic comedy with drama elements, following the story of the first-class Japanese musician Shinichi Chiaki.
His dream is to attend music college in Europe and play among the elites where he used to live as a child, although he cannot go there due to his fear of flying.
Things will change when he meets Megumi Noda, a remarkable pianist, who will try to convince him to go back to Europe to follow his dream.
Nodame Cantabile gives us an excellent story of trauma-solving romance between two grown-up characters, with the leitmotif of pursuing dreams by overcoming one’s fears and insecurities.
This is one of the most underrated mature romances with the main theme of music, and it’s time to give it the merit it deserves.
2. Tsukigakirei – as the moon, so beautiful
Tsukigakirei is an anime that centers on a group of boys attending their senior year of middle school, telling their stories in its 12 episodes.
We will see Akane Mizuno and Kotaro Azumi, 2 boys who happen to be in the same class. Chinatsu Nishio and Takumi Hira, their friends, who happen to be in different classes, and finally Aoi Takizawa, Akane and Chinatsu’s athletic partner.
They will be the focus of the events as they discover love, make friends and lose others, and face the harsh reality of uncertainties for the future.
Also, Tsukigakirei is one of those romance anime with an early couple, in case you don’t want to wait for seasons and seasons before characters confess to each other.
Tsukigakirei is a choral work, which makes many characters cohere perfectly by interweaving them beautifully and making you feel part of the events.
The psychological insights are many, and pick up on some relatable themes that we have all faced or will face at one time or another. And that’s exactly why we think this anime needs to be more popular.
1. Spice and Wolf
Spice and Wolf is on a tier of its own because despite its vague fantasy world-building features doesn’t follow the canons of the genre.
This series prefers to focus on economy and trade rather than magic or the usual struggle between good and evil.
The story revolves around the events of merchant Lawrence Kraft who agrees under request to help return to his native place a wolf-god called Holo, receiving in return his divine help and several privileges.
But feelings always blossom, and we will see a good romance between the 2.
Spice and Wolf is something we recommend you watch not only because it’s a good anime, but because of its uniqueness, and it’s nearly a crime that this series doesn’t have more popularity than it already does.
The romance component is excellent and mature, with a married couple, and the same can be said for the worldbuilding and the character design.