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*Disclaimer: Please be advised, viewers have described experiencing the following symptoms when watching romance anime: increased heartbeat, emotional mood swings, shortness of breath, warm fuzzies, increased tear production, second lead syndrome, and in extreme cases, unrealistic expectations of love.*
Hey Hey Hey! I’m back with another list of anime for all you newbies out there. This time around, I am bringing you 6 sappy romance anime that are sure to make your little hearts go doki doki! Brace for impact and prepare your hearts for some serious feels, as we delve into the complicated, and at times terrifying, world of first love… Yeah, I thought about it, and rather than hitting you newbies over the head with those mature romances, I figured we’d start things off light with some sweet (and at times bittersweet) high school romance anime.
This series of articles is meant to help you guys out rather than throw you out into the anime wilderness, I have compiled a list of top-notch, tried, and true romance anime title for beginners. Rejoice, I’ve done all the hard work for you!!
Get ready to fall head over heels in love with these 6 romance anime titles!!
Air Date: 2007
Synopsis: An abnormally tall girl, Koizumi Risa, and a short guy, Ootani Atsushi, attempt to find their ideal romantic partners, but their preexisting complexes over their respective heights throws a wrench in their quest for love. But, perhaps their ideal match is closer than they think…
So, kicking off this list is one of my all-time favorite romance anime series, Lovely Complex, or Love Com for short. This rom-com is the standard I use to vet all of my romance anime. Yes, you read that right, I rank romance anime on a scale of 1 to LoveCom, it’s that good. The characters are top notch and the story, while not the most original concept, is executed in such a way that you can’t help but get sucked in. Everything is just handled well. LoveCom effortlessly balances the lighthearted comedic moments with the complex emotional highs and lows of its leads (and of course their circle of friends and acquaintances). This is just a really fun series with a phenomenal cast and a quirky couple you just can’t help but root for!!
Air Date: 2009
Episode: S1:25 / S2:12
Where to Watch: Crunchyroll
Synopsis: Kuronuma Sawako desperately wants to make friends and have a normal life, but because of her resemblance to the ghost girl from The Ring films, her classmates shun her. When the most popular boy in her class, Kazehaya Shouta starts talking with her, she starts to think that maybe the friendship she desires is closer than she ever imagined.
Okay, so this is another one of those ‘shy girl meets popular boy’ high school romances, and while I will admit it’s about as cliche as they come, there’s something special about Kimi ni Todoke that sets it apart from the rest of the rabble. This is a series with a lot of heart, and a lot of that is thanks to the remarkable leads. Yes, they fall into a lot of the blatant romance anime tropes, but as a whole, there’s a believability to their portrayals that makes the played-out premise seem genuine, and dare I say, fresh! It’s an all-around cute series that will really tug at the heartstrings!
Synopsis: After the death of his mother, piano prodigy Kousei Arima falls into a deep depression that renders him unable to hear the music from his piano, forcing him to give it up. Years pass and Kousei has resigned himself to a life without music, that is until he meets a beautiful violinist, Kaori Miyazono, who reignites his love of music and adds a bit of color back into his life.
I thought long and hard about whether or not to include this anime or Clannad on this list. Both are tearjerkers, but ultimately I went with this one, for the simple fact that Your Lie in April made me fall in love with first love romances again. Usually, first loves are set up to be overly cute rose-colored affairs reserved for children. They are fleeting moments we look back on fondly in our old age, but ultimately, they don’t alter the course of our lives all that much. Your Lie in April offers a heartwarming tale of self-discovery and acceptance, wrapped in a remarkably well-written love story, but let me warn you now, get the two-ply extra soft tissues (the weak ones won’t hold up) because this anime will have you bawling like a baby!
Synopsis: If you had the chance to fix a past mistake, would you? Sophomore Naho Takamiya is given that choice when she receives a letter from herself 10 years in the future. What she finds in the letter is not what she was expecting, spurring Naho on a journey to alter the future of not just herself, but her friends’ as well, namely the new transfer student Kakeru Naruse.
There are few times in my life where I will say this because I absolutely abhor love triangles and everything they stand for, but with that said, Orange actually made me like both romantic options (though I do have my preference). So, any romance anime that can sell me on a love triangle is A-OK in my book, but, that’s not the only reason Orange is on this list. This is just an all-around lovely series that will make you feel nostalgic for those bygone yesteryears… and the regrets we left behind.
Air Date: 1994
Episode: 76 + 1 Animated Film
Synopsis: Life is turned upside down for high school student Miki Koishikawa when her parents tell her they are getting divorced. But, things get even more screwy when they tell her they are swapping partners with another couple?! Throw in a super hot stepbrother named Yuu, and any hopes Miki had of a peaceful life are completely out the window.
I can already hear the angry keyboard typing now, but, you know what, I. DON’T. CARE! I quite liked Marmalade Boy, and if I had to pick one classic romance anime to be on this list, I’d pick this one every single time. This series is full of all the super special awesome 90s cliches and tropes we love to hate. It’s dripping with all that delicious melodrama and angst that I LIVE FOR, and you know what, despite being dated as hell, Marmalade Boy manages to offer a rather entertaining ride! It’s like watching one of those cheesy soap operas. You know it’s going to be over the top and downright laughable, but like every trainwreck, you just can’t look away!
Synopsis: When scholarship student Haruhi Fujioka accidentally breaks an expensive vase in the tucked-away Music Room 3 of the prestigious Ouran High School, she finds herself indebted to the school’s Host Club. Unable to pay for the damage, the six handsome (and loaded) members of the Host Club force her to be their errand boy. However, thanks to her boyish looks, she is quickly promoted to full-time host, despite the fact that she’s in fact female. Now, Haruhi must navigate the gilded world of the Host Club, where women’s fantasies are their business…
KISS KISS FALL IN LOVE~ I absolutely love, love, LOVE Ouran High School Host Club! There are only two titles on this list that I absolutely demand everyone watches and this is one of them (the other is always going to be Lovely Complex)! This is just such a fun series with a likable cast of characters. Even if you aren’t a fan of reverse harem anime, you will fall head over heels for each of the hosts… it’s inevitable. But, the real hero of this anime is our pragmatic leading lady, Haruhi Fujioka, who manages to hold her own in this rather testosterone-heavy cast. Just, go watch it now… right now!
Alright, so that’s the end of today’s lesson. I sincerely hope that this list gave you guys a springboard off which to start your own romance anime journeys. I played it safe this time, sticking with high school romances, but there’s a whole romance anime world out there to explore, and if these titles didn’t appeal to you, I encourage you to seek out more anime that deal with love. This list isn’t meant to be the end all for romance anime. Hell, there are some titles that I cut from this list (and it broke my heart to do it too)… Go out explore, and of course, fall in love with some romance anime!!
But, enough of my yammering, I want to hear from you guys! What are some romance anime you would suggest to newbies? Anything on this list you’d cut? Drop a line in the comments section. Who knows, maybe your suggestion might help initiate someone’s love of romance anime!!