I’ve made no secret that romance isn’t my favourite genre. It’s not my favourite thing in real life either. My poor friends want to tell me all about their crushes and I’m just waiting until the part where we can debate the logistics of biomechanical mechas like in Evangelion. If you’re wondering, that part never actually comes… So even in anime form, my preferred form for most things in life, I rarely enjoy series where romance is an important element.
This is why when a romantic series actually manages to make me swoon, it’s doubly special for me. I won’t lie, even finding 5 titles with important central romantic themes was a challenge. I am a little proud of myself!
PS. I skipped harems since the ones I have seen tend to use very different tropes and structures so I wouldn’t put them in the same genre.
I only recently watched Skip Beat for the first time and I really had a great time. I don’t know if it’s simply because it’s more recent but I think it’s probably the classic romantic shojo I enjoyed the most. I’m sort of putting it in the same…basket….as the old Fruits Basket, Maid-Sama, The Wallflower…
Don’t get me wrong, all those anime are in fact good and if you like the genre I recommend them all. But for me, it all came down to MC. I simply related to her much better than her more docile and outlandishly “good” almost perfect counter parts. She’s petty, and has bad tastes in men and spends most of the series plotting revenge. I get this girl! Oh and the series sort of ended before the getting to the romantic part….
I guess this is an odd fit. In essence the story is about finding connections with each other and the strength you can draw from that, and there’s definitely a romantic potential. But Moriko is at a place in her life when she needs to focus on herself and ultimately the series tells us that’s a good thing.
Love or at least strong like doesn’t always have to lead to romance. Sometimes you can find a support system and a rewarding friendship and that’s just as good. For Moriko it may be better in fact. And who knows what the future holds!
It’s an unusual message for a romantic series to have and one I happen to think is important and underrated!
3) Ouran High School Host Club
Hmmm I said I was skipping harems didn’t I….well it’s a reverse harem, that doesn’t count. Besides there’s really only one couple to speak of in the anime. Also it’s the first generally romantic anime I remember really enjoying so I couldn’t leave it off this list.
I’m not sure why I’m justifying this so much. You guys forgive me for breaking my own random arbitrary rules don’t you? I’m sneaking in a romance adjacent one. Besides, Ouran is tons of fun!
Aaahhhh Given! On paper I should not have enjoyed this series. In fact, on paper I didn’t as the manga never managed to charm me in the same way despite repeated reads before and after watching the anime.
This has a lot of the tropes I tend to dislike. Unbearable tragedy, damaged leads, characters that are so oblivious to their own feelings it gets worrisome. But it also had so many unexpected elements for a romance series. Decisive and direct communication, respect for personal space and feelings, an understanding that a lot of the time relationship are build on small unimpressive moments.
Given is by far the most romantic series on this list. If you had told me it would end up one of my favorites of the year I would have laughed long and hard, yet here we are!
Boy do I love Nozaki-kun. It had everything I like. An imperfect heroine with some bite. An oblivious but really nice leading man. A fantastic extended cast that all have their own development and arc. And it’s really funny!
Sure you could not pick and point out that no actual couples really form throughout the series but why would you do that?
I don’t know how to explain it other than it was the perfect combination of cute and laugh out loud funny. I also ended up calling in love with pretty much all the characters. I watch the entire series over the course of a few days and it kept my smiling for those entire days!
You know, I realize that most of these series are extremely light on romance. I don’t know if anyone goes on an actual date in any of them. Only one (potentially 2) end up with a couple by the end. That’s such a weird coincidence….
I have to admit, putting this top 5 together has actually put me in the mood for a romantic anime! Do you have anything to suggest. Maybe not as tragic as Given though and preferably without any tsunderes. I’m being picky again…