Romance is undeniably one of the most popular genres of anime. It can encapsulate so many things too, from chaste first loves between teenagers to mature and long-lasting love between adults. Romance can be paired with other genres as well, including science fiction, fantasy, supernatural, action, and more! Romance anime is enjoyed by people that dream of their own romance story to sweep them off their feet and by those who are already living their own love story. And of course, it's not only for girls as some people stereotypically believe! Romance anime can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of age and gender.
Because romance anime is so popular, it goes without saying that romance anime movies are popular as well. And that means there are a lot of them, with more coming out every year. So the next time you want to enjoy a film with someone special or just don't want to commit to an entire anime and want to watch a movie instead - we've made this handy list of what we feel are the Top 10 Romance Anime Movies. We have tried to include a lot of different kinds of love stories and genres, as well as new and old films alike. We hope that you can find a romance that captures your heart and imagination and sweeps you away with it!
- Air Date: Jun. 2013
Kurumi is very much in love with her boyfriend Hal in the movie Hal when he dies unexpectedly in a tragic plane crash. Unable to cope with the loss, Kurumi shuts herself in her house, depressed and isolated. Worried about her, Kurumi's grandfather enlists the help of an android called Q01, who takes the appearance of Hal and begins to visit Kurumi to try to cheer her up. While at first, she rejects the idea, Kurumi slowly warms up to Q01 and begins to return to her old self, leaving her depression behind. But as her feelings for Q01 continue to escalate, what will it mean for a relationship and future between a human and an android?
Our list of the Top 10 Romance Anime Films is starting out with a movie with a sci-fi twist! After all, it's a love story between a human and a robot, however, human Q01 may look on the outside. It's touching to see the relationship grow between Kurumi and Q01 and to see how she is able to slowly overcome her depression and move forward with her life after such a tragedy. It's a romance with a sad beginning, but we won't tell you if it has a happy or sad ending - you will have to watch it for yourself and see if a relationship between a human and an android can have a future! Hal is an especially appealing romance for robot and science fiction fans, but it's a good love story for other romance fans as well!
9. Zutto Mae kara Suki deshita.: Kokuhaku Jikkou Iinkai (I’ve Always Liked You)
- Air Date: Apr. 2016
Natsuki Enomoto and Yuu Setoguchi are childhood friends in Zutto Mae kara Suki deshita.: Kokuhaku Jikkou Iinkai - but Natsuki has a secret. She's actually in love with Yuu but is too shy to show him. Instead, she uses him to "practise" confessing her love to but claims that her feelings are never real. While she continues to keep this charade up for a long time, Natsuki ends up getting asked on a date by her classmate Koyuki Ayase. Now she is stuck in a real predicament where someone else is interested in her, but she likes her friend despite being unable to tell him. What will happen to Natsuki in the end?
Zutto Mae kara Suki deshita is a light love triangle romance, where all the characters seem to like someone else. It's also a story of secret high school love and confessions, with Natsuki always telling herself the next time she tells her feelings to Yuu it won't be practise anymore it will be real. It's a cute, short slice of life romance story that is great for people who like love triangles especially, but good for any fans of high school romance stories. It doesn't take itself too seriously while still managing to tell a good and believable story about young love and all the complications that go hand-in-hand with that.
8. Tamako Love Story
- Air Date: Apr. 2014
Tamako Love Story is a movie about fulfilling dreams, however big or small they may be. Tamako Kitashirakawa dreams of performing well at baton in the upcoming festival. She lives in the moment as she plans simply to work in her family's restaurant when she graduates despite her friends having much higher goals. Meanwhile, Mochizou Ooji dreams of moving to Tokyo to go to university, even though it means leaving his first love Tamako behind. The problem is, he has never confessed his love to her, and Tamako remains completely oblivious to his feelings. Will he be able to be brave enough to tell her how he feels before he has to move? Will the two ever achieve all their dreams?
Tamako Love Story is a simple but sweet romance story about two high school teenagers dealing with growing up and facing a relationship. It's very believable too; many people have been in the situation where they have a crush on someone and the other person has no idea if you won't just tell them. It makes Michizou's position a very empathetic one many viewers can put themselves in as well. Tamako Love Story is a good coming of age, slice of life romance film that is especially good for fans of shoujo manga and anime because it has a very familiar plot, but the well-written characters make it stand apart as an excellent romance movie.
7. Mimi wo Sumaseba (Whisper of the Heart)
- Air Date: Jul. 1995
Mimi wo Sumaseba is the story of Shizuku Tsukishima, a 14-year-old girl spending her summer vacation reading a lot of books. Interestingly enough, nearly every book she borrows from the library has also been borrowed by someone named Seiji Amasawa, who clearly shares her taste in literature. One day when she is riding the train, Shizuku sits next to a cat, and curiously follows it off the train to see where it's going. The cat leads her to an antique shop, which is owned by none other than the grandfather of Seiji Amasawa! The two seem bound by fate to meet one another, and they become friends as Seiji strives for his dream to play the violin and inspires Shizuku to try to become a writer.
Don't let the age of Mimi wo Sumaseba to turn you away from trying it! It was made by Studio Ghibli, so you can expect quality animation that had lasted through the years. It's a story about young love, with a friendship that was brought together basically by magic and blossoms slowly into something more. The romance in Mimi wo Sumaseba is always innocent and sweet, with the film's English name Whisper of the Heart being well suited to it. The romance is soft, just a whisper, that will touch your heart in a real way. Plus there is a bit of magic and whimsy found in the form of a mysterious cat statue in the antique shop, but we don't want to give away too many surprises about this film that's very likely to steal your heart with its charming young characters!
6. Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises)
- Air Date: Jul. 2013
Growing up in Japan in the 1920s, Jirou Horikoshi dreamed of creating amazing airplanes that would make the world a better place in Kaze Tachinu. That was before the great earthquake of 1923, and before World War II. Being a young man when the war starts, Jirou finds himself swept up in it alongside the rest of the country. When he first creates the Mitsubishi A6M Zero bomber aircraft, he's just working to fulfill his boyhood dreams. But the reality of creating an airplane during a time of war is that it's going to be used for destruction, and his dream airplane is used in ways he could have never imagined - and are far from what he ever wanted.
Now you're probably wondering why this war story about a man creating Japan's most famous wartime airplane is on our list of the Top 10 Romance Anime Movies. Well, Kaze Tachinu isn't a story about the war itself, but it's a story about Jirou. And it's a story about his lengthy courtship and eventual marriage to Naoko Satomi, the girl he pursues for a long time. They have a very sweet and chaste relationship over the years as he tries his hardest to win her heart and then does his best to take care of her. When Naoko takes ill, he does everything he can despite living in wartime Japan to be with her and cafe for her, even with the odds stacked against them. Kaze Tachinu is a very touching and sweet story of a wartime romance that will make you smile and laugh - but be warned, it's definitely going to make you cry, too.
5. Kotonoha no Niwa (The Garden of Words)
- Air Date: May 2013
In Kotonoha no Niwa, Takao Akizuki is studying to become a shoemaker. One day during the rainy season though, he decides to skip class to spend time practising sketching in a garden instead. In this garden, he meets Yukari Yukino for the first time. She's mysterious and beautiful, and not knowing what else to do, Takao offers to make her a pair of shoes. It's only the first meeting of many though as the two spend their days in the rainy season together, and just spending time with one another seems to make all their lives' worries whither away. The reality though is that their problems do not disappear, and as the rainy season draws to a close, the two will have to face them sooner rather than later.
Kotonoha no Niwa is a short film at only 46 minutes, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have time to tell a beautiful story. It's a slice of life romance with a psychological element as it gives an in-depth look at how Takao and Yukari deal with the problems they face in their lives. It also has very beautiful animation, which adds something special to the elegant and classy feeling of the story. If you are looking for a short, beautifully told and wondrously animated romance, Kotonoha no Niwa is perfect. It's got a few awards under its belt as well, so don't let this unsuspecting short film slip under your romance radar.
4. Doukyuusei (Doukyusei –Classmates–)
- Air Date: Feb. 2016
Rihito Sajou and Hikaru Kisakabe are classmates in Doukyuusei, but they aren't friends. In fact, the two are very different. Rihito is the studious type, an honours roll student with top marks. Hikaru's talents lie in music; he's an excellent guitar player who often performs live shows. When Hikaru offers to help Rihito with the chorus festival though, the two start to become friends. They could never have expected that their friendship would evolve into love! Now, these two boys are facing the challenge of high school and a relationship together as they try to figure out what the future means for them.
Doukyuusei is a shonen ai romance, so if that's not your thing you have been warned. But beyond that, it's a very touching, warm story about a high school romance between two very different people who slowly fall in love from being strangers to friends to lovers. It's a good coming of age story about the struggles of being a teenager too and facing those struggles alongside your partner. Doukyuusei will definitely leave you feeling warm and fuzzy and swept off your feet with its classic high school romance. And if you like shounen ai then consider it an added bonus - but it's a great romance movie even if that's not usually your interest!
3. Hotarubi no Mori e
- Air Date: Sep. 2011
Hotarubi no Mori e begins when Hotaru Takegawa gets lost in the woods looking for a forest spirit at only six years old. Luckily for her, she is found by a masked spirit named Gin, and while she cannot physically touch him or he will disappear, he leads her safely out of the forest. The only condition is that she must never return again, no matter how much she wants to. Every summer though as she grows up, Hotaru breaks that promise and returns to visit Gin. The two become closer and closer friends - and then romantic feelings start to come between them. But they don't even exist on the same plane and can't touch one another still, so what will their feelings come to?
Hotaru and Gin's unlikely and clandestine relationship is a story of forbidden love. The two were never even met to meet in the first place, let alone develop feelings for one another. And now they have to deal with what it means to have love between two people that are so different and can't even exist together on the same plane of existence. They're breaking every rule by spending time together so it's intriguing to see just where their story will take them. Hotarubi no Mori e is a beautiful but tragic romance movie and is perfect for the hopeless romantic fan looking for a forbidden love.
2. Howl no Ugoku Shiro (Howl’s Moving Castle)
- Air Date: Nov. 2004
Howl no Ugoku Shiro is the story of Sophie Hatter, a girl content to work hard in her hat shop in her small town for the rest of her life. When she is rescued by the infamous wizard Howl, notorious for being a man who steals women's hearts, she invokes the jealousy of the Witch of the Waste who was heartbroken by Howl in the past. The witch curses Sophie, turning her into an old woman! If she wants to lift the curse, Sophie will have to travel with Howl in his mysterious living castle to find the witch, and figure out how to restore her youth. But living with Howl proves to have its own challenges - and he has many secrets himself.
Also made by Studio Ghibli, Howl no Ugoku Shiro is a beautifully animated story about magic and romance. Sophie goes through a lot of different feelings for Howl from the start of the film until the finish, but as she gets to know who he really is, she falls in love with him. And the more she falls for him - and he for her in return - the more her youth is slowly restored, even when she doesn't notice. Both Howl and Sophie have very dark curses on them, and they can only lift them by helping one another and working together with their myriad of strange and quirky companions. It's a story reminiscent of a fairy tale but with much darker twists and concepts that will keep romance and action fans both happy.
1. Kimi no Na wa. (Your Name.)
- Air Date: Aug. 2006
Mitsuha Miyamizu and Taki Tachibana live two very different lives in Kimi no Na wa.. Mitsuha lives in the peaceful countryside of Japan but wishes for a more adventurous life in Tokyo. Meanwhile, Taki lives in Tokyo, where he struggles to find a balance between work and the rest of his life. When strange phenomena start to happen, the two find themselves unexpectedly switching bodies - and lives! Taki and Mitsuha begin their search for find one another, and for the answer to what is going on. Every action they take will change the other person's life and brings their fates together.
Kimi no Na wa. is by far one of the most successful and popular anime movies to be released recently and was shown in cinemas in Japan for months after the release, and even had international cinema releases too! And for good reason, the film is incredibly well done. It's not just another predictable cookie-cutter coming of age love story at all, but rather one that questions morals, gender, emotions, relationships, and more. And it had a supernatural backstory happening at the same time. Mitsuha and Taki's lives are connected without their control when they switch bodies with one another, which is a unique beginning to any kind of romance, and Kimi no Na. wa. will keep you on the edge of your seat wondering what is going to happen to them as you watch their relationship play out.
From high school sweethearts to science fiction situations, fantasy and magic to people brought together by fate, romance anime movies can have all kinds of settings, characters, and stories to tell. Some are about childhood first loves, and others about long term mature relationships. But whatever kind of romance you're interested in watching, there's sure to be a good romance anime for you. You'll smile, you'll laugh, you'll cry - and you're sure to fall in love with a movie that is all about falling in love.
What is your favourite romance anime movie? Is there one you wish you could have seen on the list? Do you think these should have an adjusted order? Let us know in the comments below!