In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I'd recommend my top ten favorite romance anime.
A frank depiction of the love/sex life of a woman in her twenties, this anime follows badass, chain-smoking, aspiring punk rocker Nana, and her clumsy, feminine roommate of the same name as they struggle to find a meaningful connection with someone in the big city, and also find themselves. Features the struggle of love vs. career, the consequences of giving your heart (and body) to the wrong person, the difficulties of long-distance relationships, and the joy and pain of living on your own.
Warning: depicts sex, drinking, smoking, domestic violence, and a male prostitute character. Not a show for kids or anyone uncomfortable with these subjects.
2) Peach Girl
Teenage protagonist Momo takes absolutely zero shit from the characters around her, be it her love interests or her female rivals. That’s one of the reasons I love this series. It’s got an insanely complex and dramatic plot with a million twists and turns that would be impossible to explain concisely here, but the basics are this: Momo’s years on the swim team have bleached her hair and tanned her skin, making her think her crush, Toji, will never be attracted to her and the rest of the school think she’s a Barbie-copycat bimbo. Her “friend”, Sae, bullies her constantly, and her one actual friend, Kairi, is a perverted knucklehead who she can’t quite figure out her feelings for. How can she survive the minefield of rumors, miscommunications, and mean girls that is high school?
This anime is unusual in that it’s a love story (not a harem and/or ecchi series) told from the perspective of a teenage boy. Yamato falls in love at first sight with the beautiful Suzuka when he sees her practicing her high jump, and summarily joins the track team in an attempt to impress her. It….doesn’t work, at least not at first, but Yamato vows to keep trying, because she’s the only one for him. Yamato and Suzuka are also hilariously tsundere to each other and manage to say the exact worst thing at least a dozen times. XD But, there’s also a lot of real drama here that will hit you right in the feels.
4) Uta no Prince-sama
This admittedly cheesy reverse-harem anime follows young Nanami’s quest to write songs worthy of the seven handsome musicians she attends performing arts school with, in hopes that one day they can all debut as idols together. Many of her scenes with these boys are incredibly romantic, despite the fact that not one of them actually kisses her in the entirety of the two currently available seasons. -_- This series is full of awesome J-Pop, beautifully animated bishies, and far more heart than you’d expect.
5) Kamigami no Asobi
Revolving around a mortal woman named Yui who is spirited away to an extradimensional island and commanded by Zeus to teach the value of humanity and love to gods from Greek, Norse, Japanese, and Egyptian mythology, this reverse-harem series starts out cute and fluffy and then heads right into Feels-and-Yandere Land with no goddam warning. It also has copious amounts of manservice. ;) I highly recommend it!
6) B Gata H Kei
An extremely frank depiction of high-school sexuality that’s also over-the-top comedy, this anime tells the story of horny teenager Yamada, whose dreams of having casual, anonymous sex with as many boys as she can get her hands on (a total 180 from the usual blushing, innocent shoujo heroine). But, every sexually liberated woman has to start somewhere, and so Yamada chooses naive, awkward gentleman Kosuda (what a role reversal!) to be her first sexual experience. But, seducing him proves much harder than she initially imagined, because he’s the most oblivious boy on the planet! This series bravely features scenes other anime would consider taboo, like shopping for condoms and visiting a love hotel. It’s also one of the funniest comedies I’ve ever watched.
Warning: contains nudity and arguably “ecchi” scenes.
7) Fruits Basket
A shoujo classic suitable for any age group, this anime tells the heartwarming tale of how unfailingly optimistic orphan Tohru heals the emotional wounds of a beautiful but broken clan of cursed shapeshifters.
You’ll bawl your eyes out over the tragic love between emotionally stunted Jintan and the ghost of his childhood friend, Menma, who he was never able to confess his true feelings for (and the unrequited-ish love of his other friend, Anaru, who still lives, but wonders if she can ever compete with Menma’s memory).
9) Ouran High School Host Club
Another classic, this anime tells an unconventional but unforgettable love story about a blue-collar, arguably non-binary teen and the ultrarich, clueless coterie of boys who she forms a host club with. It’s half parodying comedy, half feelsy drama, and all awesome!
10) Princess Jellyfish
Tsukimi is an agoraphobic, extremely socially anxious, awkward, nerdy NEET girl with a bizzarre obsession with jellyfish. Kuranosuke is a rich, extroverted drag queen. You wouldn’t think they’d fall in love, but they do, and it’s one of those stories you just need to see.
I definitely reccomend all ten of these anime to anyone!! Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, followers!!