It’s not just the anime itself that draws people in, but it is also the soft and dream-like tone of voice paired with top tier animation. Japanese culture has always had a profound sense of romance, even if they are never happy romances. This carried over into modern-day anime as well, which gives you an intense love story portrayed through constant heartbreak and tragedy.
Romance is the most popular genre of anime. The best romance movies explore love, at first sight, heartbreaks, teenage crushes and conflicts. Whether you’re living it already or dreaming about a story that will sweep you off your feet, there’s plenty to choose from in romance anime films! These can be mixed with other genres such as musicals, science fiction, adventures, psychological dramas and action anime films.
Here are our top picks for romance anime movies:
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- 17. Doukyuusei (Classmates)
- 16. 5 Centimeters per Second
- 15. A Silent Voice
- 14. The Anthem of The Heart
- 13. Weathering with You
- 12. Kimi no Na wa (Your Name)
- 11. Tamako Love Story
- 10. Mimi wo Sumaseba (Whisper of the Heart)
- 9. Hotarubi no Mori e (Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light)
- 8. KazeTachinu (The Wind Rises)
- 7. Kotonoha no Niwa (The Garden of Words)
- 6. Howl no Ugoku Shiro (Howl’s Moving Castle)
- 5. Zutto Mae kara Suki Deshita: Kokuhaku Jikkou Iinkai (I’ve Always Liked You)
- 4. Only Yesterday
- 3. The Cat Returns
- 2. Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time)
- 1. The Castle in the Sky
17. Doukyuusei (Classmates)
Hikaru Kusakabe is a normal, carefree boy in a rock band who never misses an opportunity to be present for the now. He was excited when he learned that his entire class would be participating in the upcoming chorus festival and couldn’t wait to make sure their song sounds as great as it can. By coincidence, Hikaru discovers Rihito Sajou- known for being an honour student with excellent grades—practising alone. Sajou cannot seem to get the class’ song right, and Kusakabe looks relieved at seeing a new side of his straight-laced classmate offers to help him out.
With their lives and personalities as total opposites, they began to grow closer over time. With the pressure of an unknown future ahead, what will happen? The art style really does set this movie apart. It’s got a simple yet complex simplicity that appeals to many people and is unusual for the anime genre.
16. 5 Centimeters per Second
One of the most incredible drama romance anime movies to ever be made is 5 Centimeters per Second, which follows Takaki Toono, a young boy’s journey as he strives towards reuniting with his childhood friend: Akari Shinohara. Though their friendship was cut short by chance and seemingly impossible circumstances, this story proves that nothing can stop true friends from being reunited in time for high school!
15. A Silent Voice
In one of the most poignant shoujo anime movies from Kyoto animation, audiences are brought to tears by the emotional story told in A Silent Voice. Shoya Ishida is a former school bully who goes from victimizing other school students with his gang bullying tactics and tormenting classmates for not living up to societal standards; he notably bullied one classmate because of her hearing disability. Years later, Ishida finds himself on the receiving end of bullying. The film depicts adolescence in its own style that is different from conventional coming-of-age films.
14. The Anthem of The Heart
Jun Naruse was a talkative middle school girl with an optimistic view of life. However, she believes in fairy tales and happy endings so much that it causes her to be gullible as well naive, which brings unfortunate events into the family’s bond when Jun accidentally reveals her father‘s affair after being influenced by those deep beliefs from childhood stories. Her name becomes tainted for good because of this one mistake—her parents’ divorce was blamed on little old Jun, who sealed away her voice, so no more bad things happen again!
The fairy egg has rendered Naruse unable to speak. With no way of telling them, she was still chosen for the musical alongside three other students: Takumi Sakagami, Natsuki Nitou and Daiki Tasaki. When trying to decline their offer at first, a chance encounter gave her an opportunity which would change everything forever – hearing each other’s beautiful singing voices while waiting there had given Naruse the confidence she needed when it came time to sing herself!
13. Weathering with You
A romantic story with fantasy elements and beautiful animation: this anime film takes place amidst the seemingly eternal downpour in Tokyo’s rainy season; high school student Hodaka Morishima arrives to find a job. He struggles and ends up with work where he is so underpaid that it doesn’t even suffice for his basic needs like food–let alone shelter or clothing. Meanwhile, orphaned Hina Amano also strives to make enough money by working hard to provide for her sibling.
Hodaka and Hina’s fate intertwine when he tries to save her from shady men. Consequently, Hodaka learns that she has a strange yet astounding power: the ability to call out the sun whenever she prays for it. With Tokyo’s unusual weather in mind, Hodaka sees the potential of this ability – suggesting Hina become a “sunshine girl.” Things begin looking up for them at first; however, with any great power comes an equally hefty price tag.
12. Kimi no Na wa (Your Name)
Body-swapping is one of the major tropes in anime and manga, often played for comedy. However, Kimi no Na wa uses it to create a refreshing romance that transcends time zones because they are able to experience each other’s lives first hand.
Kimi no Na wa is a romantic anime film on fate and circumstance that weaves together the lives of two people, Mitsuha and Taki. The actions they take will have dramatic impacts on each other’s life weaving them into an inseparable fabric held together by destiny.
11. Tamako Love Story
It’s the final year of high school for Tamako Kitashirakawa, and she only has one big goal: performing an amazing baton routine at Usagiyama Marching Festival. But all her friends are talking about what they’re going to do next, while Tamako just wants to stay with family in their restaurant business.
Mochizou can’t even bring himself to tell Tamako that he loves her, but his love for her is so deep and all-consuming. It’s making him crazy while she remains blissfully unaware of the anguish she causes by just being herself. He has no choice left now – if he doesn’t confess soon, then there will be nothing waiting at the end of his journey except heartbreak and regret!
From Kyoto Animation, it’s a classic rom com anime that is sure to warm your heart and make you laugh as you follow along with the misadventures of two young people in love.
10. Mimi wo Sumaseba (Whisper of the Heart)
Whisper of the Heart is an incredible Studio Ghibli film. The animation, like all their work, is breathtaking and mesmerizing. A boy and a girl keep crossing paths- with the boy seeming to be trying his best to get on this young writer’s nerves over time, but it eventually works out that they grow close as friends who have each other’s backs in pursuit of their dreams until one day she realizes he has been there for her all along. It may not hold up mythically when compared to many others from the studio, but it’s nonetheless a deeply beautiful story about love and pursuing your dream no matter what!
one of the best 90s anime movies: Whisper of the Hearts, reminds us that friends are so important because sometimes we just need someone by our side supporting
9. Hotarubi no Mori e (Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light)
Gin is a forest spirit, while Hotaru is a young girl who meets him when she’s lost in the woods. Gin cannot touch humans, or else he will disappear. As Hotaru grows into an adult woman, the two falls in love after years of interacting together, and their story ends tragically, but there’s a sweetness to such bitterness as well; because it all takes place on gorgeous animation that makes this experience striking for romance anime fans.
8. KazeTachinu (The Wind Rises)
Another Studio Ghibli romance anime film, this one is based on the real-life of Jiro Horikoshi: a man who faced many struggles throughout his life. First learning that he was unable to fly an aeroplane due to poor vision, then facing countless obstacles as an engineer for aeroplanes – even finding love in between with a woman whose own tragedy would arise.
7. Kotonoha no Niwa (The Garden of Words)
This story of a young shoemaker and an enigmatic woman is the perfect romance watch. The two meet in a park without knowing who the other was, but when their identities are revealed, more tragedy ensues that leads to near tragedy. Unlike most romance anime films, this unique love story has many cultural quirks, like the illustration of its scenery which looks almost photorealistic despite being hand-drawn.
6. Howl no Ugoku Shiro (Howl’s Moving Castle)
This Studio Ghibli anime movie adaptation is one of the most well-known and popular. Based loosely on a western book by the same name, this film tells an exciting story about Sophie’s adventure with Howl. Faced with incredible danger from jealous wizards and witches alike, she seeks nothing more than to be herself again – but even that becomes hard when her curse turns her into an old woman!
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5. Zutto Mae kara Suki Deshita: Kokuhaku Jikkou Iinkai (I’ve Always Liked You)
Directed by Tetsuya Yanagisawa, this high-school rom com anime movie focuses on a set of friends who have trouble telling their crush about how they feel. The film was released on April 23rd in 2016, and is perfect for any day you are looking to spend some time inside with your favorite pyjamas because it’s just so fun! This romantic comedy is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys movies about teenage awkwardness and jealousy. In addition to the excellent art, listen out for some really amazing soundtracks.
4. Only Yesterday
90s anime movie follows Takeo, a single girl who has lived in Tokyo throughout her life. She decides to visit her relatives in the countryside and relives memories of her younger years that she had forgotten about. When she alights, she is met by Toshio, a young farmer with strong features that make him seem older than his age would suggest. Her encounter with him makes her question whether she achieved all of those childhood dreams long ago.
3. The Cat Returns
With the elements of action anime films, this romance drama anime tells the story of Haru, a young schoolgirl who saves an extraordinary cat on her way to school. She later learns that the cat is quite interesting after it introduces her to an unknown kingdom of cats. Haru learns more about this fascinating world as she explores what was once just a neighbourhood for humans and animals alike! Haru has been spending all of her time in the Cat Kingdom, and she is starting to get more cat-like. She learns that if she doesn’t find herself soon, then she might turn into a real cat! Haru’s adventures with cats lead her down an interesting path – one where self-discovery can take place.
2. Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time)
A unique story with beautiful animation that delivers the “feels” perfectly. Makoto Konno is in her last year of high school, but she has no idea what to do with the rest of her life. She’s under pressure from teachers and friends alike, until one day when Makoto accidentally discovers that she can leap through time! Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo follows this now-time-travelling girl as she plays around with new power – however, every choice has a consequence, even more so than before.
1. The Castle in the Sky
This film has a deep and powerful storyline in the romance genre, with moments that are played just enough to make the viewer crave more. The protagonist, Pazu, is an adventurous boy who meets Sheeta as she’s floating down from the Sky in Castle in the Sky. A governmental agent is also chasing her, but this doesn’t stop our hero! He accompanies her on a quest for information about where she came from – their journey ends at a mysterious castle high up above them, but first, they have to get there.
Romance anime is a genre that has been around for decades. Which one of the 17 films on this list do you think should be number 1? Do you have any favourites that we didn’t mention in our article? Let us know! We are always looking to find new and interesting anime movies, so please share your thoughts with us in the comment section. And don’t forget: Enjoy!