Romance is a huge part of anime. It many cases, it’s the romance, whether dramatic or comedic, that draw people to anime. It’s also happens to be the sole thing that most fan fiction thrives from. Sadly, it’s rare for an anime to have a normal one-on-one date scene. A good chunk of the time it’s a group date, or an intimacy given during the spur of a moment. Whether that’s because a regular date does not tend to have enough dynamic tension to fully engage readers or the creators have a fear of appearing to cheesy, is something for debate. However, these 10 shows push their characters and their creative minds to create memorable scenes that help not only define the characters but the show as a whole.
10. Shizuku Mizutani and Haru Yoshida from Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (My Little Monster)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct. 2012 – Dec. 2012
Brains Base’s 2012 hit anime, Tonari no Kaibustu-kun, caught the hearts of a lot of people. Following the ins-and-outs of Haru and Shizuku’s relationship, this romance did not pull away from comedic moments as it presented the icy Shizuku and violent Haru. However, the power behind Tonari no Kaibustu-kun is its ability to portray growth in the rather cliché premise of two unsocial beings working together to push past their awkwardness.
This date was special because it more or less struck everyone as slightly heartbreaking. Here, Haru was making a real push to show how much he cares for Shizuku, just as she decided that she can no longer handle the ‘distraction’ of a relationship. It was truly painful for the audience to watch and for Haru to go through, but also a great tipping point for Haru as we watch his eager enthusiasm get shot down by her cold responses. It’s this rejection that acts as one of the major catalysts for his growth.
9. Haruhi Fujioka and Hikaru Hitachiin from Ouran Koukou Host Club (Ouran High School Host Club)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr. 2006 – Sep. 2006
In this comedic reverse harem, the audience is introduced to Ouran High School, an elite high school where the children of the richest families go to spend their time. Enter Haruhi, a girl from a more modest background, who most other students mistake for a boy on first sight. Haruhi proceeds to meet Ouran’s infamous host club, a group of six boys who have nothing better to do than entertain countless girls. During this first meeting, the group not only finds out that Haruhi is a girl, but force her into acting as one of the hosts to repay the cost of a vase she broke.
Some might argue that this scene wasn’t even a date, because Haruhi is easily one of the densest characters when it comes to sensing the attractions of others; a staple in any harem. Nonetheless, this was definitely a one-on-one outing where Hikaru has the opportunity to take his relationship to the next level.
For the most part, the date was rather unromantic as Hikaru lets his jealousy ruin the day. Though Hikaru’s insecurities are hinted at earlier on, this date puts on full display a range of emotions that few would imagine in easily the most mischievous member of the host club. However, when fused with one of the most kind-hearted apologies after leaving Haruhi behind during a storm, the date becomes one of his most honest moments of growth.
8. Banri Tada and Koko Kaga from Golden Time
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct. 2013 – Mar. 2014
Golden Time follows the relationship struggles of Banri Tada, a newly admitted student at a private law school. His orientation proves to be one of the toughest ordeals of his life as he meets an assortment of crazy characters. Despite the overall insanity and workload, the source of his troubles stems from a personal identity crisis, because Tada had been in an accident that wiped his memories. His amnesia coupled with a love triangle that involves the girl he used to love will keep you questioning what fate has in store for Tada.
Let’s set the mood. Tada had gone on a little out-of-town trip to attend a reunion. Koko during this time has been missing him a lot and decides that when he gets back, they will have their “Night in Paris.” The build up to the night was actually quite believable, but Koko’s desire “to climb the stairs into adulthood” started to fall apart the moment she presented her “sculpture” of the “Eiffel Tower.” Overall, the scene was still sweet, but it felt like the creators were afraid of making it too sentimental or cheesy and thus made a running gag reflex (literally).
7. Hikari Konohana and Amane Ootori from Strawberry Panic
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr. 2006 – Sep. 2006
The story is centered on Aoi Nagisa as she enters an all-girl Catholic school that shares the same hill as two other all-girl schools. On the very first day, she catches the attention of Etoile Shizuma Hanazono and soon finds herself in the midst of several intimate and complex relationships between students from all three schools.
One of the gentlest and most serene moments in this shoujo ai is shared between the first year Hikari and her senpai, Amane. They had a rather simplistic and silent date on a secluded beach. What’s nice about this date though was how much of a role the silence played in it. Not only did it portray the slight inner conflict each of them was feeling about the taboo nature of their relationship, but it showed how well they fit into the silence of one another and simply appreciate each other’s company. It was truly touching and despite threats and warnings from other classmates, they both desired to see each other more.
6. Kazuto Kirigaya (Kirito) and Asuna Yuuki from Sword Art Online
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Jul. 2012 – Dec. 2012
Sword Art Online came out in 2012 and really took the anime community by storm. It took the concept of VR to the next level as it threw 10,000 people into a video game. If they wanted to escape, then they would have to beat the game. However, dying in the game meant dying in real life, so the question became who is willing to push forward? Well, one such warrior happened to be the rogue-esque Kirito.
The fact that Kirito and Asuna got married in-game while being so young is a little bit questionable, if not just weird. However, despite the brashness of that choice, no one can argue that they made a good match. Kirito and his rogue ways played well off of Asuna’s straight-laced attitude. Though watching the two relax in the countryside was a nice breather, the best date was by far when Asuna cooked the rare meet that Kirito caught. It’s a home-like setting and Asuna’s wit is in full swing as she won’t let Kirito get away with anything. It’s a humorous and sweet scene with a few well-timed threats.
5. Yuuji Sakamoto and Shouko Kirishima from Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu (Baka and Test – Summon the Beasts)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jan. 2010 – Apr. 2010
Baka and Test followed the antics of Yoshii and his fellow F class members on they took on the academic hierarchy of their school. What was so great about this school comedy was how it infused a class/battle system based off of test rankings and grades. Not only did having better grades give you a more powerful avatar to fight with, but it also gave you access to better school materials.
Possibly one of the most cruel, but playful pairings in recent anime history goes to the brawler Yuuji and the tsundere Shouko. The movie date where Shouko stuns poor Yuki with a taser every time he tries to escape was poetic beauty. However, not enough of the actual date was shown.
Thus, let’s focus on the date they had at the amusement park. The first half of this date was a completely one-sided ordeal as Yuki’s friends practically force fed romantic situations down their throat. It did allow for quite a bit of comedy and torture for Yuuji, but the heart of it all was the second half. After an older couple insulted Shouko’s feelings and her dream, Yuki’s resound character pulled through. Not only did he beat the crap out of the guy who was harping on Shouko, but met with Shouko afterwards to share an intimate moment.
4. Erika Shinohara and Kyouya Sata from Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji (Wolf Girl and Black Prince)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: 2014 – Dec. 2014
Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji follows relationship struggles of 16-year-old high school student Erika Shinohara. Despite never being in a relationship before the events of the show, she boasts to her classmates of a spectacular love life. In fact, she has a photo of a handsome stranger that she claims is her boyfriend. Well that handsome stranger ends up being a new classmate, and in order to avoid the mocking laughter of the entire school she begs him to be her fake boyfriend. He agrees, but only if she does whatever she says. The real question is can these two misguided students form a real bond.
Well, soon enough they at least move from a fake master-dog relationship to a real one. From that point on they actually had some rather cute if not slightly bumpy dates. However, things really started to heat up on an emotional level when Kyouya took Erika out to a multitude of places for her birthday. They ate at a nice restaurant, went to the movies, went shopping, and even went on a nighttime boat cruise. However, what makes this whole date special was that Kyouya, who can be rather cold if you’re unfamiliar with the show, is trying to tell her ‘I love you’ throughout the whole date. Thankfully, he did at the very end, making Erika one extremely happy girl.
3. Ritsu Onodera and Masamune Takano from Sekaiichi Hatsukoi
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Apr. 2011 – Dec. 2011
Sekaiichi Hatsukoi is Studio Deen’s spinoff of Junjou Romantica that follows Onodera Ritsu as he transfers from his father's publishing company to Marukawa Shoten. However, instead of being assigned to the literature department he is sent shoujo manga division, where he runs into his first love, Takano Masamune. Masamune is the editor-in-chief of the division and immediately begins to give chase much to Ritsu’s disdain. There’s quite a bit of back and forth between the two as Ritsu tries to sort through his feelings.
If Ritsu and Masamune did not have their Christmas date, then Sekaiichi Hatsukoi might not have been the hit show that it became. Okay, so that’s an overstatement, but the date acts as one of the most significant turning points in their relationship. What happened was that Masamune’s birthday, Dec. 24, was coming up and Ritsu agreed to go on a drive with him. During this drive, beautifully set in the snow, they shared recollections of how each of them dreamt of the way they would have spent Masamune’s birthday back when they were dating. It was a touching and sincere moment that forced Ritsu to admit that he could not resist his senpai.
2. Takeo Gouda and Rinko Yamato from Ore Monogatari!! (My Love Story!!)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Apr. 2015 – Sep. 2015
Ore Monogatari!! does a fantastic job pushing out the stereotypical pretty boy routine as well as the clueless, but kind-hearted harem protagonist with its main man, Takeo Gouda. Takeo is a massive character with a heart as big as himself, which might sound like a cliché, but his size has actually inhibited his love life quite terribly. To begin, most girls are terribly afraid of him. Making matters even more heartbreaking for Takeo is that his best friend is the guy that every girl fawns over, including the girls Takeo has liked.
Despite the sad premise of this anime, Takeo finally gets Cupid on his side as the cute Rinko Yamato begins to fall for him. One of the best episodes in their growing romance is when Takeo took her on a picnic in the mountains after her birthday celebration was interrupted. That date was extremely cute with a lot of smiles, laughter, and moments that will make you go ‘aww.’ One such particular moment, which made the date extremely special, was that after Takeo went to sleep, Rinko decided to give him a peck on the cheek.
1.Hitagi Senjougahara and Koyomi Araragi from Bakemonogatari
- Episodes: 15
- Aired: Jul. 2009 – Jun. 2010
Bakemonogatari pursues the misadventures of Koyomi after he runs into the weightless girl, Hitagi. Senjougahara. Not only does he begin to grow a special bond with Hitagi after that moment, but continues to find himself fighting the real inner demons of practically every girl he meets henceforth. In a world filled with gods and demons and an extremely sharp tongue, there will be a lot of dangerous situations in store for Koyomi.
What really brings out the power of this date was that you expected their relationship to grow, but you could not have imagined the creators to build such a unique and special scene. Already the show had given its viewers a great plot, strong characters, fun dialogue, and intriguing relationships; and yet this scene’s gorgeous visuals and heartwarming nature blew everyone away. If you haven’t watched the show, you might want to stop reading here.
What happened was that Hitagi took Koyomi out to a secluded area in the woods where there’s a clearing that they can view a starry sky. It’s a gorgeous visual, and as Hitagi’s straight-forward nature puts everything out there, you just can’t help but feel the incredible intimacy of the moment. The show accomplishes all this even though all that was shared are words and hands, and a kiss that wasn’t shown, which was rather cruel of the creators. More than anything else, this scene felt real, which considering most anime and the fantastical nature of this one, was an astounding feat.
Almost every anime has a romance aspect to it that at least one person will ship. That’s just the way the anime community works. However, few shows really take the risk of leaving two characters alone on a planned date. A lot of the time these scenes are just too awkward to fully capture and thus tactics are used to include intimacy at unexpected moments. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially if done well, but when will creators start taking more risks to represent deeper emotions. To write such scenes as in this list meant taking a risk, and these creators have earned a round of applause.