In Love and Lies, the Summer 2017 romance anime, love is hard and lies come easy as young people all around Japan are no longer allowed to fall for whoever they like. At the age of 16, they are assigned a marriage partner by the government. The new system uses state-of-the-art algorithms to determine the most suitable partner. Funny enough, appearance is not one of them. After all, looks are not what we really fall for, right?
In the anime, the protagonist, Yukari Nejima, has always been in love with his classmate Misaki Takasaki. Just before he turns sixteen, he decides to confess his love, as the last act of rebellion against a system that will not let him be with her. Misaki feels the same way about him, but what you have it, the government doesn’t agree with the two and assigns to Yukari a girl called Ririna Sanada.
I’m sure that most of you who are looking for similar anime to Love and Lies already know the rest of the story. This is a peculiar love story that seems too real and too surreal at the same time. This is not your typical romantic comedy or love drama. Are there any similar anime out there? Not many, but I think I managed to get 10 that you will probably like. Even though we are not in favor of categorizing anime in tags, the following titles are a good place to start if you are looking for anime which have similar vibes.
Love and Lies was also part of our weekly review titles for Summer 2017. You can read our series review here:
I reviewed Kuzu no Honkai for MANGA.TOKYO back in Winter 2017 and I loved it. This was the first anime that came to my mind when thinking of love stories complicated enough to have you screaming your lungs out in agony. It is a lot darker than Love and Lies and deals with themes that are sometimes too realistic to be used in an anime. What the two anime do have in common, however, is that they deal with the feelings we call love and how erratic they can be. Love is not something easily defined and it doesn’t fall into molds. Sometimes we fall in love with more than one people and sometimes we fall in love with the wrong people. Love is irrational. Love is unpredictable. And Kuzu no Honkai takes that unpredictability and puts a little madness as well.
2. Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride)
Ao Haru Ride is about Futaba Yoshioka, a high school girl who is still in love with a classmate she had in middle school. Kou Tanaka. They only shared a moment on the roof and made plans to meet at the summer festival, a meeting that never happened. Now, years after that event. Futaba meets Kou again in high school but he now has a different surname and a completely different personality.
This is a love story about young adults, and what is sensible about young adults in the first place? Futaba is experiencing a very simple love; she only wants to be happy with Kou. But life rarely is that simple, and as most love stories, this one will go through a lot of turbulence as the two start to realize that loving someone is far more complicated than it seems.
3. Your Lie in April
Fall 2014 – Winter 2015
There is a lot of hate online about this anime, but I am still holding that tissue rack ready in case I want to rewatch the series. I am not a romance freak, but there is something about tragic stories that make me shed tears for hours. In the anime, Kousei Arima is a talented piano player who loses his ability to play after the passing of his mother. He avoids the piano like vampires avoid garlic, and wants to live an ordinary life with his friends. That is, of course, until he meets Kaori, a violinist who seems to be in love with life itself.
When I think of Your Lie in April, I remember stories that I desperately tried to forget, and Taiyou no Uta is one of them (when a great YUI). Love and Lies is not nearly as tragic, but there are similarities in how they treat the concept of love. It is a beautiful feeling that can also be painful. Logic, however, rarely plays any role in the matters of love.
Japan in Shimoneta is even stricter than the one in Love and Lies. Obscene and impure content and acts have been purged in favor of new morality laws that are enforced through neck devices. Society must remain chaste and the government is making sure that it does. In this sexually oppressed world, Tanukichi Okuma (the son of a terrorist who opposed the laws) is in love with his classmate and president of the student council, Anna Nishikinomiya, who is in secret a criminal who spreads lewd material.
This might be an ecchi comedy and Love and Lies a love drama, but what they do have in common is a protagonist who is unhappy with a law that doesn’t let him express his love in the way he wants.
ReLIFE is one of the most celebrated anime of our decade. Its story follows 27-year-old Arata Kaizaki who just isn’t able to hold a steady job. Before submitting to his fate of leading the life of a loser, he is contacted by the ReLIFE research institute to change his life by reverting back to a 17-year-old student.
The catch here is that Arata will be in this state for only a year. How do you cope with love, friendship, and everything that comes with them when this second chance has an expiry date?
6. White Album 2
In White Album 2, the protagonist Haruki Kitahara is part of a light music club that is on the verge of closing down. It is a story of love and romance that is woven around a music performance.
Similar to Love and Lies, it features a love triangle that is also similar to last season’s Fukumenkei Noise. The three characters are not only in love but they are also best friends. The show deals with the dead end that inevitably comes in this kind of situations and that, in the end, we can’t have it all.
7. Netsuzou TRap
It seems that I am attracted to stories with troubled relationships, as I was also in charge of the weekly reviews for last season’s NTR: Netsuzou Trap. This short yuri anime told the story of Yuma and Hotaru, two childhood friends who are having romantic feelings for each other. Both have boyfriends with Yuma in a relationship with the nicest guy you’ve ever met and Hotaru with an abusive jerk who cares only about himself.
The main difference between the two titles is that Netsuzou Trap is an NTR while Love and Lies is about a love triangle and a poor guy who is left on the sidelines. Yet, both series treat love as something difficult to understand and impossible to handle.
Winter – Spring 2014
Like our Yukari, Raku from Nisekoi, is forced into a relationship he doesn’t want. As the heir of a yakuza family, he is thrown into one with Chitoge Kirisaki, the daughter of the leader of an opposing family. Their marriage would ease the tensions between the two families. The problem is that Raku is in love with Kosaki, his middle school crush.
Even if take place in different settings, Love and Lies and Nisekoi are very similar. Yukari and Raku may have been ‘assigned’ to partners they didn’t want to, but they soon discover that the more they spend time with someone they share things in common (mostly in terms of character) the more they can’t fight that feeling called love.
orange was one of my favorite series from Summer 2016. I have a soft spot for stories that meddle the supernatural with a bit of everyday realism and this one did the trick with the letters written to the protagonists from their future selves. We have all wondered what could happen if we had the means of warning ourselves of something impending, at least I did many times before. Way darker than Love and Lies, orange talks about suicide and depression in relation to love and friendship. The protagonists are willing to sacrifice their own happiness if it means to help the people they love, similar to how Ririna continues to want to help Yukari even after she realizes that she is in love with him.
If nothing else, Love and Lies is about love and how we handle our romance, especially if it involves more than one people. The same happens in Golden Time, the story of Banri, a guy who after a tragic accident forgets everything that has to do with his past. A new man, he starts his life from scratch at a law school in Tokyo. There he meets new friends, pursues a new lover, and tries to rekindle his connection to the past with a childhood friend with whom he was in love before the accident.
Love Is Difficult
What would you have done if the government picked your future spouse? Would you have given the system a chance? These are the 10 titles I think are the closest to what Love and Lies had to say. Do you have more? Share them in the comments!
We want to know what you think about our recommendations: Do you want us to write more of these? Let us know in the comments which anime, games, manga, or light novels you want us to bring a 10 X Like Y article and we will get it done!