Anime, or the world of Japanese animation, has captivated audiences worldwide with its diverse range of genres, from action-packed adventures to slice-of-life comedies. Among these heartwarming tales, romantic anime series hold a special place for many. These stories explore the complexities of love, friendship and self-discovery, often with a touch of fantasy or a dash of humour.
One of the defining characteristics of romantic anime is its ability to evoke a wide range of emotions, from the exhilarating joy of first love to the bittersweet pangs of heartbreak. These stories often feature relatable characters with distinct personalities and backstories, allowing viewers to connect with their struggles and triumphs on a deeply personal level.
Then there is the visual beauty of anime, enhancing the emotional impact of the stories. Stunning landscapes, expressive character designs and vibrant colours create a captivating backdrop for the unfolding romances, be it in anime movies or series. The use of music, particularly the opening and ending themes, also plays a crucial role in setting the mood and amplifying the emotional resonance.
Like other major genres, romantic anime series has a variety of subgenres, too, each with its unique charm. Shojo anime, for example, is aimed at a predominantly female audience. This kind of anime usually features sweet and innocent romances. Seinen anime, on the other hand, is targeted towards male viewers. It may explore more mature and complex relationships. While slice-of-life romances provide a glimpse into everyday life, psychological or fantasy elements may add a touch of magic to the mix.
Most of the beloved romantic anime series are of the shojo subgenre and nearly all of them have high schools serving as the backdrop. One of the major reasons behind this is perhaps because stories of young love connect better with audiences and have an innocent charm to them.
Nevertheless, the subgenre of romantic anime series serves as a valuable source of inspiration and self-reflection. It can encourage viewers to embrace their emotions, pursue their dreams, and, ultimately, believe in the power of love.
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The sweetest romantic anime series that tug on the heartstrings
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Directed by: Keisuke Shinohara and 10 others
Voice cast: Shōya Ishige, Hina Suguta, Atsumi Tanezaki, Hina Yōmiya
No. of episodes: 12
Synopsis: High school student Wakana Gojou (Ishige) loves making dresses for dolls, a skill he inherited from his grandfather. But Wakana hides his talent for fear of being ridiculed. One day, Wakana meets Marin Kitagawa (Suguta), who loves cosplaying. As they begin to teach each other their respective skills, Marin and Wakana fall in love.
Directed by: Kyohei Ishiguro and 17 others
Voice cast: Natsuki Hanae, Risa Taneda
No. of episodes: 25
Synopsis: Kōsei Arima (Hanae) is a child piano prodigy. His life is turned upside down when his mother passes away. The shock results in a mental breakdown, and he is unable to hear the sound of the piano, despite not losing his sense of hearing. Two years later, a depressed Kōsei meets the cheerful violinist Kaori Miyazono (Taneda) whose zeal for life brings him back into the world of piano, and the two begin playing together. Kōsei begins to fall in love with Kaori, not realising that she harbours a secret that might tear him apart.
Directed by: Yasunao Aoki, Masashi Ikeda and four others
Voice cast: Kappei Yamaguchi, Satsuki Yukino
No. of episodes: 167
Synopsis: Kagome Higurashi (Yukino) is a 15-year-old middle school girl from modern-day Tokyo who is transported to the Sengoku period after she falls into a well in her family shrine. She then meets Inuyasha (Kappei), a half-dog demon half-human being. Kagome realises she is the reincarnation of Inuyasha’s deceased love interest Kikyo. Now she must help Inuyasha defeat the evil half-demon Naraku by finding the scattered fragments of a jewel.
Directed by: Yoshihide Ibata and 15 others
Voice cast: Manaka Iwami, Yuma Uchida, Nobunaga Shimazaki, Yûichi Nakamura
No. of episodes: 63
Synopsis: Tohru Honda (Iwami) lives in a tent outside the Sohma estate following her mother’s death. When a typhoon leaves her homeless, she is taken in by the Sohma household whose 13 members include her classmate Yuki Sohma (Shimazaki) and his cousin Shigure (Nakamura). Tohru soon discovers that 12 of the members are cursed to turn into the animals of the Chinese zodiac whenever their emotions get the better of them. The 13th member, Kyo (Uchida), turns into a cat. Tohru decides to help the otherwise caring family break the curse, as she grows closer to Kyo.
Directed by: Tatsuyuki Nagai and 13 others
Voice cast: Junji Majima, Rie Kugimiya, Yui Horie, Hirofumi Nojima, Eri Kitamura
No. of episodes: 25
Synopsis: Ryuji Takasu (Majima) has a crush on Minori Kushieda (Horie), whose best friend, Taiga Aisaka (Kugimiya), is a girl with a terrifying temper. Taiga has a crush on Ryuji’s best friend, Yusaku Kitamura (Nojima). So, she enters into a pact with Ryuji in which they will help each other come closer to their respective crushes. But in the process, it is Ryuji and Taiga who fall in love with each other.
Directed by: Masashi Ishihama
Voice cast: Haruka Tomatsu, Kôki Uchiyama
No. of episodes: 13
Synopsis: Also known as Hori-san to Miyamura-kun, the romantic anime series is about the life of its high school protagonists who discover each other’s secrets and agree not to reveal them to anyone. Kyoko Hori (Tomatsu) is a stylish, bright and popular student, while her love, Izumi Miyamura (Uchiyama), is a bespectacled nerdy boy who almost always appears gloomy. But Kyoko turns into an ordinary girl at home where she has to take care of her younger brother. Meanwhile, Izumi is the exact opposite of how he appears at school, with ear piercings hidden under his long hair and tattoos hidden beneath his shirt. Kyoko likes the punk persona of Izumi, which gives the latter the confidence to shed his aloofness.
Directed by: Kazuki Kawagoe, Ayumu Watanabe and 17 others
Voice cast: Aoi Koga, Gakuto Kajiwara
No. of episodes: 24
Synopsis: High school girl Shoko Komi is stunningly beautiful in the eyes of her classmates, but her communication problem is the reason she has had no friends since childhood. This causes everyone to assume that Komi is haughty. Hitohito Tadano, who is an average boy in her class, becomes the first to understand why Komi is unable to communicate. As Komi embarks on making 100 friends with the help of her first friend Hitohito, she soon realises that her feelings for him are growing deeper.
Directed by: Hiroshi Kaburagi and 17 others
Voice cast: Mamiko Noto, Daisuke Namikawa
No. of episodes: 38
Synopsis: The sweet romantic anime series revolves around Sawako Kuronuma (Noto) who is socially awkward. To complicate things, she is made fun of for resembling Sadako from the horror movie The Ring. One day, Sawako is surprised when Kazehaya Shota (Namikawa) smiles, and thanks her for her kindness. Kazehaya’s warm nature gives Sawako the courage to make friends and fall in love with him.
Directed by: Hiroaki Sakurai and 12 others
Voice cast: Ayumi Fujimura, Nobuhiko Okamoto
No. of episodes: 28
Synopsis: Misaki Ayuzawa (Fujimura) is a popular girl at a formerly all-boys school which has been recently turned into a co-ed. She is trying hard to make her school a better place for female students and is popular with the teachers. But the boys see her as a boy-hater. One day, Takumi Usui (Okamoto), a popular boy from her school, discovers that Misaki works part-time at a maid café to support her family. He chooses not to disclose the secret and the two begin to form a relationship despite being mutually charming rivals.
Directed by: Takahiro Miki and Ai Yoshimura
Voice cast: Yûki Kaji, Maaya Uchida
No. of episodes: 14
Synopsis: Futaba Yoshioka (Uchida) wants to find her childhood crush, Kou Tanaka (Kaji), who disappeared from her life during middle school. In a surprise turn of events, Kou returns as a high school student in her school. Futaba, though very happy, senses that Kou is not the same cheerful person he was years ago.
(Hero image: Courtesy of Netflix; Featured image: Courtesy of © Natsuki Takaya, Hakusensha/Fruits Basket Project/IMDb)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
– Which anime has the most romance?
The most romantic anime shows are My Dress-Up Darling, Maid-Sama!, Your Lie in April, Inuyasha and Fruits Basket, among others.
– Is Another a romance anime?
No, Another is a horror anime. It has hardly anything that can put it in the romance genre.
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India