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School romance is a genre that many of us in the anime community can’t seem to get enough of when it is done right. Whether it is for nostalgia, fantasy, or just immersion in a good story, this genre is a place for viewers to discover some of the top anime out there. School romance is something that helps exhibit the strength of a story and its characters given the limitations the genre places on itself, it forces creators to turn mundane circumstance into an exciting tale by forging extraordinary characters and intricate relationships with hope it will become an anime people will turn back to with fond memories.
This list is curated with brand new recommendations for all of you who can’t get enough of the school romance anime. We base this list both on opinion of the community but also mixing in some hidden gems we hope you find to be fine additions to the list.
10. 3-gatsu no Lion (March Comes in Like a Lion)
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: October 2016 – March 2017
A shogi prodigy turned professional in middle school. Rei Kiriyama has gained admiration from various members of the community. However, below this almost seemingly stoic exterior is a spiral of trauma and anxiety from his past Both the death of his parents and his adoption, as well as the pressure to live up to being a genius people used to expect of him can become too much. Rei soon learns to turn to mentors at the Shogi Hall and three neighbourly sisters: Akari, Hinata, and Momo Kawamoto, as well as their grandfather. Through his matches and blooming relationships, he will learn to grow as a person.
From the creator of Honey and Clover comes this strikingly beautiful story of individual growth and resilience. While not typically categorized as a romance anime, it makes the list for showcasing the importance of all the relationships in our lives and how they change with time and circumstance. If you are looking to play the long game with gratification of romantic themes, you will need to watch into season 2 of this show but the journey is worth the travel.
9. Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (After the Rain)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2018– March 2018
Akira Tachibana was formerly a track star of her high school’s team before suffering from a leg injury which hindered her chances of continuing. Now Akira spends her time listlessly attending high school, while ignoring advances from interested boys, and going to her part time job where she harbors a secret crush for her manager, 45-year-old Masami Kondou a kind divorced man who is none the wiser to her affection. Yet despite the huge gap in age, will Akira work up the courage to confess and how will Masami react?
After the rain is a romance anime that examines the circumstances of how we fall in love and who we fall in love with. The anime seeks to espouse a sense of realism in matches that we deem to be unhealthy, or illogical. It should be noted that while the anime certainly has its light-hearted elements, it does cover mature themes in it’s plot so may not be the go-to for those who want a traditional school romance story. Regardless, the animation is quite pretty, and the plot is intriguing enough to earn it a place on this list.
8. Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai (Tada Never Falls in Love)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2018 – June 2018
We follow the life of Mitsuyoshi Tada, who after losing his parents in a car accident, lives with his little sister above their grandfather’s coffee shop. One day, Mitsuyoshi bumps into a foreign girl naked Teresa Vagner from Luxembourg, while he was snapping pictures of cherry blossoms in the park. Teresa and her friend Alex, end up transferring to the same school as Mitsuyoshi and joins him and his friends in the photography club as they seek to capture beautiful moments and spend time with their new friends. Always taking two-steps back when it comes to love, will Mitsuyoshi begin opening to this new person in his life or will a hidden past keep the two apart?
A romantic-comedy anime, Tada Never Falls in Love is a refreshing balance of both colourful, spritely and serious romantic moments. Our main protagonist, Mitsuyoshi is someone who has closed his heart off for years and has never really connected romantically with anyone and so you as an audience will get to see how he develops these feelings and how he handles them. If this sparks an interest for you, check it out.
7. Sukitte Ii na yo. (Say “I love you”)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: October 2012– December 2012
Mei Tachibana, having felt the sting of betrayal and distrust from her friends in grade school, has since preferred the company of herself to avoid the same kind of hurt. Yet circumstance brings her to bump into Yamato Kurosawa, a professional model and one of the most popular boys in her school. Adverse to wanting to get to know him, a situation thrusts them together where they become closer than she would have liked. Yet overtime and through struggles to communicate and deal with new friends she never asked for, Mei uncovers feelings for Yamato she did not previously have, and Yamato tries to convey his feelings for Mei.
A classic school romance tale of outcast girl meets popular boy. This anime deals with what happens when one or both parties are not yet ready to pursue their feelings at full force all the while dealing with the unwanted attention or teasing from their classmates. This is a great anime for those who enjoy a social outcast story.
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2016 – September 2016
Sophomore high school student, Naho Takamiya has a bit of an odd start to the school year when she receives a mysterious letter that appears to come from herself, 10 years into the future, when she is 26 years old. Naho is skeptical as any rational person would be when receiving such a letter, however when events detailed in the letter begin to unfold in her life, she slowly becomes convinced. Yet the letters do not only focus on her but on a new student named Kakeru Naruse whom Naho is asked by her future self to keep watch over. Will Naho’s life change for the better by following the letters or will she come to regret her choices the same as her future self.
Orange is a school romance and drama anime that tackles sensitive subject matters of depression and regret. Given the anime has letters traveling in time, some may argue it is a fantasy or sci-fi anime, however these elements are non-existent outside of the writing of letters. We do not often see depression or mental illness alluded to in school romance anime for one reason or another, however Orange does a good job with incorporating all the necessary tools to balance those themes with the romance. If you are looking for something more serious this is for you.
5. Just Because!
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2017 – December 2017
This story begins at the close of a chapter, in the final semester of his final year of high school. Eita Izumi transfer back to his hometown that he left behind due to his father’s work. It is at his new high school that Eita will reconnect with friends from his past, like Haruto Souma a friend he used to play with on the baseball team. As well as Hazuki Morikawa, a band member, and Mio Natsume, someone who may still hold a candle for Eita. During a time where students are deciding their future, how will this familiar face’s sudden arrival impact their lives, what feelings will be rekindled?
Just Because! makes another fine addition to the school romance anime list. It picks up during a tumultuous time for the characters, right as we are between significant stages of our young adult lives. In that regard, there is a great sense of playing catch up with relationships in this anim. It may have the audience and characters worried at first, whether there is enough time for the romance to head in any satisfying direction. This is perhaps what distinguishes this anime from others on the list in how effective it handles the continuation or end of relationships past high school.
4. Tsurezure Children
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2017 – September 2017
Tsurezure Children takes us through the lives of various high schoolers, highlighting different moments in their romantic journeys. From gathering the courage to confess your feelings to someone who was just a friend to what happens after the confession where you two begin dating. The road of love is a bumpy one and these high schoolers do what they can to make it work.
This is a short formatted, romantic comedy anime with each episode clocking at around 12 minutes. Each episode is spent focusing on different pairs of couples at different stages in their relationship and brings a fresh humour to the genre. Worth the watch if you are tired of anime where you have to wait 12 episodes for any serious development with little jokes in between.
3. Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2014 – September 2014
In middle school, Futaba Yoshioka was the envy of her female classmates and the centre of affection of the boys due to her cute nature. She had not taken notice of any boys, not until one rainy day after seeking shelter from the downpour, she found herself standing with a classmate named Kou Tanaka under some cover. Kou was a soft-spoken boy. Futaba found herself taking interest in Kou and intended to invite him to the summer festival before a misunderstanding was formed that drove Kou away never to be seen again. Now in high school, Futaba has changed her appearance for the worse to fan off unwanted jealousy from the girls and attention from the boys, carrying on with her life as normal until she bumps into a male student who looks identical to Kou yet going by a different name. Is this young man the same one she once knew?
Blue Spring Ride is a school romance anime that, like Just Because!, deals with the picking up of a relationship following the passage of time. It shows how large a gap a couple year can make in us connecting with those we once had feelings for. How do we deal with feelings of someone who is no longer like who they used to be? You will find this anime on many must watch lists. It is sure to please for any classic school romance fans.
2. Tsuki ga Kirei
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2017 – June 2017
Middle school student and aspiring writer Kotarou Azumi begins his last year of middle school alongside new classmates including Akane Mizuno, a member of the school’s track team. Over the period of the year and various chance encounters and circumstance, a mutual affection begins to flutter between the two yet both struggle with overcoming their own fears and anxiety of one another’s thoughts to act on their true feelings. Will they be able to overcome their biggest obstacle, themselves, and find happiness or will their paths diverge at graduation?
From the studio that brought you My Teenage Romantic Comedy SNAFU! and Hinamatsuri comes a lower key school romance anime. As per the summary, Tsuki ga Kirei is focused on the budding relationship between a boy and girl in middle school. This anime does a very good job grounding the romantic themes to feel not so much like a viewer watching a fantasy version of romance but an actual relationship between two young people with all the awkward pauses, anxiety, and small triumphs that come with it. This is an anime for anyone who needs to relax and immerse themselves in a good story.
1. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April)
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: October 2014 – March 2015
Kousei Arima was a piano prodigy when he was younger, though he was viewed as being like a metronome in his robotic but perfect reproduction of classical music. One day, while at the top of his game, his world came crashing following the death of his mother. Finding himself no longer able to hear his own notes, he quit performing in competitions. Years passed, Kousei remains in the same rut he was before, unable to hear his own music. He coasts through a bland a life with his friends until he encounters the effervescent Kaori Miyazono, a beautiful violinist who might just change his outlook on life and help his music.
It would not do justice to leave Your Lie in April off a list of school romance anime. This heartfelt, and at times heartbreaking, tale shows the beauty in the world that we can only find in relationships that point it out to us. This anime does a great job at highlighting the importance of mutual support and kinship in relationships and the difference that can make. On top of the story this anime brings stunning visuals and a fantastic soundtrack to add to your classical music playlist.
The great thing about school romance anime is that when given a couple years, an entirely new top ten list can be made of popular or modern classics for any anime fan’s watch list.
We hope you enjoyed this updated list of must watch school romance anime. Have you watched or plan on watching any on the list? Is there an anime we missed that should have been on here? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
When we see the romance tag in anime recommendations, instantly character development comes into your mind. A good romance anime must develop its characters well to firstly, portray the immense feelings between the characters and secondly, to allow the viewers to understand what it’s going on and to empathize with the characters. That goes without saying that the selling point for romance animes are it's characters and many of them are still memorable to us.
As you will see from the list below, today we count 10 anime from a subgenre of romance - school romance. In a typical school life, it is not hard to find romance as more often than not, the close proximity of the two characters within the same building allows love to blossom and allows their relationship to develop.
10. School Rumble
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct 2004 - Mar 2005
High School delinquent Harima Kenji is in love with fellow classmate Tsukamoto Tenma. There's only one problem... Tenma is in love with fellow classmate Karasuma Ooji. This romance comedy is sure to give you a laugh or two as the different parties try their best (often failing) to win the hearts of their crush.
School rumble emphasizes more on the comic effect that arises due to the frustration of failing to get the crush to notice them. Originally starting of as a comedy show, the story eventually progresses and ends up as a heartwarming tale. Never losing its sights on the romance and comedy tag. School Rumble is a good balance of romance and comedy.
9. Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct 1998 - Mar 1999
Miyazawa Yukino's social standing was threatened by a new-comer. Arima Soichiro seemed to be better in everything - grades, looks, humble and likeable. She is not pleased with her new position as number 2 as she was used to getting all the praises and respect of her fellow classmates. How will jealousy and envy transform into love as the both of them adapt to his and her circumstances.
Besides all of the issues apart, the story is a well-balanced tale of how two seemingly competing individuals eventually get together in a school setting. No doubt old, it can be considered a classic of a romance and slice of life anime.
8. Kokoro Connect
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul 2012 - Sep 2012
Odd things are happening to members of the Cultural Research Club. Without any explanation, a supernatural occurrence caused all 5 members to switch bodies at random times. While it starts off as bewilderment, all 5 members will soon learn the deep dark secrets that each individual hold as they live through the personal lives of the body of the person they switched with. Can they accept the harsh reality and maintain their relationship as friends? Even more so, will some of them accept the feelings of the other party, especially if it was not meant to be known yet.
Kokoro Connect had an interesting premise. No longer will characters observe the world from their standpoint. As different aspects of their lives are modified and changed. They will have to live the lives of others both at school and at home. While many would presume that it is a strong intrusion of privacy, the show did great in portraying romance as different characters come to terms with the dark past and traits of their crush. Who though? We are not here to spoil any plot though!
7. Kimi ni Todoke
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct 2009 - Mar 2010
Poor Kuronuma Sawako is just a misunderstood girl at school. Her niceness and quiet demeanour is often misinterpreted as being awfully similar to the ghost character of hit horror movie, The Ring. Having the same long straight black hair of Sadako, the main antagonist is more than enough to send everyone running away in fear. Luckily for her, she happens to meet the popular Kazehaya Shouta. Will this be a new chapter in her life?
Kimi ni Todoke is actually a very simple but yet beautiful tale of school romance. Even though Sawako is isolated for most of her life, she maintains a sweet and innocent personality. It makes you happy to see her getting along with Kazehaya at school and in the classroom. This is a classic romance anime that is adapted from a hit manga and for good reasons too!
6. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct 2012 - Dec2012
Shizuku is only interested in scoring the best in any exams. Focused only in her studies at school, how can someone who was nicknamed "Dry Ice" ever find romance? Enter Haru, gentle and caring on one side but an uncontrollable monster at the other. These two social misfits seems like a very bad equation for love but hey, love is blind.
While the romance element takes a while to emerge in the series, it is worth the wait. Both characters are odd in their own way and there may even be times in which you will feel that there is no progress at all. Opposites do attract however, and there will definitely be romance in the classroom!
5. Amagami SS
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Jul 2010 to Dec 2010
After being stood up at a date during Christmas Eve, our main character Junichi Tachibana's heart was left in pieces. Jaded on the concept of love, he keeps it to himself most of the time and spends most of his time with his close friends. The story will branch out depending on the arc of the heroine and he will find love once again. This time however, it remains true.
Presented in different arcs, each exploring the routes of the different heroines, Amagami SS shows the start and end of every romantic interest of the different girls. All occurring in the school setting, but the anime shows how a different personality can change the view of the main character. What is particular good is the variety of main heroines such that it will be easier for you to pick a new waifu!
4. Kaichou-wa Maid-sama
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr 2010 - Sep 2010
Switching from an all boys school, it can be awkward to be the first few batches of girls to enter. Even more so if you're the first female student president. Misaki Ayuzawa goes beyond that barrier however. She is strict and an adept fighter as well. Her reputation for utilising such methods for discipline earned her the nickname of "Demon President". It should've ended there, however she has a secret, she works at a maid cafe. What happens when the most popular boy in school enters her cafe one day and see her in costume?
Kaichou-wa Maid-sama sees a couple being brought together in school. What is truly remarkable is the fact that this relationship has many ups and downs and it is definitely not easy to maintain. Yet, the characters devotion and dedication to each other proved that nothing could've stood in their way.
3. Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct 2012 - Mar 2013
Life is not easy in Sakura Hall. All of the residents are quirky and weird. Kanda Sorata is a new resident of this dormitory and he already wants out. His friend, Aoyama Nanami recommends that he get out but joins soon after as well. The final individual to this rom-com is Shiina Mashiro, a gifted artist. She quickly forms a liking to Sorata. Her childlike ways earned her titular nickname - The Pet Girl of Sakurasou.
Sakurasou juggles between friendship and romance. Bordering between the fine lines between these relations can be heart wrenching. Who do you think will end up with Sorata in the end? The school friend, Nanami who received and gave support to Sorata throughout their school life or the new comer, Mashiro, who has innocent qualities and a childlike personality.
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct 2008 - Mar 2009
Ryuuji Takasu was unfortunate enough to be born with sanpaku which made him appear fierce and even evil looking. However, he is a gentle soul at heart and even a germophobe. He long had a crush on his classmate Minori Kushieda. Next, is Aisaka Taiga. Miniscule in size, she has a crush on Ryuuji's best friend, Yusaku Kitamura. Due to circumstances, they will find themselves aiding each other to get the romance that they desire. Whatever will transpire next?
Whenever someone thinks of romance in a school setting, most would've heard of ToraDora. From start to beginning, you will always be immersed in the story and there will never be a moment where the story diverges away from its main theme. Truly a stunning masterpiece, it is a must watch for romance lovers.
- Episodes: 23
- Aired: Oct 2007 - Mar 2008
It was a chance encounter, but one that will change the lives of both Okazaki Tomoya and Furukawa Nagisa. While going up the slope towards his school, Tomoya met the sickly and frail Nagisa. Maybe it was fate, maybe it was purely coincidental or it could even be the inherent goodness in Tomoya. Regardless, he took it upon himself to be Nagisa's friend and helped her adapt into high school life. The events that follow can only be surmised as an exemplary form of love and gives meaning to what it truly means to give your all to that special somebody.
If anything, Clannad is known throughout the industry, is for its emotional conclusion and stunning animations at its time, it can be said to be Key's best work of art. Generally well received, most will say that it is a tearjerker and an anime that even holds the potential to change the world for you. It is subjective, but it is definitely a masterfully crafted story and perhaps even the quintessence of a romance anime. It goes without saying that we rank it at Number 1.
And there you have it, 10 school romance anime that is surely to leave you with feels. The beauty of a school romance anime is such that character development is allowed to happen as the characters are in close proximity with each other. We are all familiar with school as well, which adds to the sense of familiarity.
Moving on, have you watched any of them before? Did any of the character leave a lingering feeling of sentiment for them? Do let us know and we will see you next time!