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Top 12 Romance Anime of All Time

Neha B Deshpande
Anime movies and serials have been able to portray romance and love very effectively. If you love to watch the crimson red blushing cheeks of anime characters, this story has enlisted the top 12 romantic anime of all time. A must-watch for fans of manga and anime.

Not Just for Kids

Anime caters to a varied audience, not limiting itself to kids only. Romantic anime are not necessarily pure innocent love stories. Don't be surprised if some of them portray mature emotions. It is advisable to check the certification of the anime before you dismiss it as mere cartoon!
Romance anime are not necessarily restricted to portraying ideal, innocent love having shades of pink. The animated characters depict deep emotions even more gracefully than real actors can do. In the entertainment world, 'anime' have their own loyal fans and an almost cult-like following. 
Don't mistake these movies or serials to be suitable for kids, for anime or manga boasts of vivid characterization and enthralling plots that have adults hooked onto them. This Entertainism article, though, provides you with a list of top romantic anime movies and television serials that have captured the hearts of fans the world over.
Their eyes and body language―if you're a regular viewer of anime, you would know―seem real especially when the characters turn red and blush. If you're a die-hard romantic, you are sure to enjoy these beautiful art stories, where the anime characters have done a far better job than human actors! 
Well, kudos to the talented artists and technicians responsible for portraying one of the most difficult expressions―love―on screen. Some movies or stories even depict mature emotions so convincingly, that you tend to forget that you're watching animation.
Some manga forms have been adapted into television series as well as movies. Entertainism has enlisted both and the anime listed here, are no particular order or ranking.

Whisper of the Heart

Movie Release Year: 1995

This delicately crafted movie tells the story of a young school girl named Shizuku, who loves writing. She comes to know that all the books chosen by her have already been checked by a boy named Seiji. 
Once, while following a cat riding a train, she finds an antique shop and finds out that Seiji is the shopkeeper's grandson. Seiji is a ambitious lad who harbors a dream of being a violin maker.
Love blossoms between them, and Shizuku is inspired by his passion to follow her dreams too. As Seiji chases his dream in Italy, Shizuku, on the other hand, dedicates her time to writing and weaves an imaginary story starring the cat, which she had seen in the antique shop after taking consent from Seiji's grandfather.
This one will remind you of the good old days of young teenage love. A classic story, you'll certainly have a crush on the characters and wish they were not mere 'anime'!

Only Yesterday

Movie Release Year: 1991

A simple story which will remind you of your childhood dreams, however silly they may seem today. This is a story of a typical office-going urbane woman, Taeko, who takes a break and decides to visit the countryside, which is the hometown of her brother-in-law. 
This visit compels her to rethink her lifestyle as she remembers her childhood and the beautiful dreams she had dreamed of, as a child. She is accompanied by her brother-in-law's second cousin, Toshio, with whom she eventually falls in love. She decides to change for the good, and stay back at the countryside with Toshio.
A must-watch if you want a break from your monotonous routine. It compels us to rethink about our fast-paced life and the material pleasures we are always after. Time to visit the countryside again.

5 Centimeters Per Second

Movie Release Year: 2007

Can love survive the test of time and distance? Meet Takaki and Akari, the main protagonists of the movie. Childhood love separated by distance; perhaps it may remind you of your first love at school. 
Divided in three parts, the first part shows how both of them fall in love as kids and when their families decide to shift, they confess their love and promise to stay in touch.

In the second part, Takaki is a high school student, still in love with Akari; however, they both are no longer in touch with each other. He still aspires to meet her again. 
The last part, however, has a twist! Takaki has an extremely successful career; however, is lonely and emotionally, a destitute, with Akari, still imbibed in his heart. Akari, on the other hand, has moved on, and is soon to be wed to someone else.
In a chance encounter, they see each other at a train crossing. However, Takaki, realizes that it is time for him to move on.

This movie in a very soft and subtle way touches our heart, and perhaps, you may thank the writer for reminding you of your first love in a simple yet beautiful way.

The Garden of Words

Movie Release Year: 2013

For those who like stories drenched in romance (literally!), this one's a treat! Aptly named, this movie is the story of Takao, a young boy who aspires to be a shoemaker one day. One day, while sketching shoes in a garden, he meets a woman, named Yukari Yukino.
They have a very brief conversation. She remains secretive about herself, but keeps meeting him occasionally, only when it drizzles, and they both develop a special bond. He also decides to design shoes for her. However, the rainy season soon ends, and they go back to their lives. 
When he resumes school, he comes to know, that Yukari is actually a teacher at his school, who was on a break due to depression. While Takao confesses his love for her, she is apprehensive due to their age difference. He is hurt by her rejection, but when he leaves, 
Yukari admits to have blossomed in his company, and regained the courage to walk again, only because of him.
Epitomizing the quote 'love makes life worthy of living', this movie portrays the healing power of love. She mends her broken confidence, and he achieves strength to live his passion, highlighting the fact that, when it comes to love, age is just a number.


TV Series First Aired: 2007
Episodes: 23

Clannad is a pure intricate love story of Tomoya and Nagisa. Tomoya, an ambition-less boy, happens to meet Nagisa, a physically weak girl, who has to repeat the last year of high school due to illness. 
She wishes to restart the drama club, and Tomoya helps her with it. He gels well with her family and other four girls from the school: Kyou, Ryou, Kotomi, and Tomoyo, who have their own set of struggles. As the story progresses, he helps the girls, their friendship grows, and he begins to find a purpose in life.
Along with a real story, random flashes of an "illusionary World" comprising a girl and a ragged doll are shown. Also accompanied is an episode which shows an alternative world, where the events are different and Tomoya and Tomoyo are dating.
If you adore the typical school romance and friendship stories, this one is a must-watch. However, it is heavily laden with complicated emotions, as it is a journey for Tomoya―from his vagabond life with his abusive father towards finding a meaningful life. There are plenty of sad moments too, after all, love comes with pain.

Clannad After Story

TV Series First Aired: 2008
Episodes: 24

A sequel to the original series, it exhibits the growing intimacy between Tomoya and Nagisa. They get married and experience family life with each other. Nagisa becomes pregnant, and decides to give birth to the child despite being warned that her body is too weak to sustain it. 
Nagisa becomes pregnant, and decides to give birth to the child despite being warned that her body is too weak to sustain it. She succumbs, a little after giving birth to their daughter―Ushio.
Tomoya is left with the responsibility of raising their child. However, the child grows up, inheriting physical weakness of her mother, and dies after a brief illness.
It is later revealed that the girl from the illusionary world is actually Ushio, and the ragged doll is her father. However, in that world, Nagisa has survived childbirth, and they are a happy family. In an alternate story, it is shown that Tomoya and Kyou are a couple.
From being a husband to a doting father, Tomoya's life is full of emotional upheaval. An escape from the harsh reality, in our dreams, we all wish to have happiness. You can't expect anime to be uncomplicated, for somewhere it does depict what lies deep in our hearts―a world of our own imagination, where every wish of ours is fulfilled.

Cardcaptor Sakura/Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie

Television Series Aired: 1998 to 2000 (3 seasons)
Movie Release Year: 1999

The leading female protagonist Sakura, a 4th grader, lives an ordinary life under the care of her brother.
However, she is chosen as the guardian of the Clow Cards and is given the task of retrieving them, after she happens to release them inadvertently. Moreover, she begins to learn to capture the cards, juggling her daily routine, through various experiences.
Soon, a new student Syaoran Li joins her school, and it is later revealed that he is from the famous Li Clan of sorcerers from Hong Kong. He is initially hostile towards her and is not happy with her magic skills, often taunting her for being poor at it. 
However, he always helps her in times of need, and eventually, he begins to develop romantic feelings towards her. Although, he does not reveal it to her, he blushes at her sight, even feeling a little awkward about it. He remains confused whether or not to confess his true feelings for her, especially when she is heartbroken as her crush refuses her.
Eventually, he does confide his true feelings, and Sakura is left astonished at this. Moreover, as he is about to leave for Hong Kong, Sakura feels the pain and rushes to the airport, where he hands over a handmade teddy bear to her.
Though the protagonists' first meeting with each other ends up on a rough note yet they eventually fall in love. Such is the magic of love―cupid can strike anyone, anywhere, and anytime.

Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card

Movie Release Year: 2000

As time progresses, Sakura's feelings for Syaoran become intense, and she wishes to confess her love, soon. Her romantic attempts are however, thwarted, when her cards start disappearing due to a sudden invasion by the 'Sealed Card', which has enormous power, as much as the other fifty-two cards. 
Sakura is left with the task of restoring the balance, but for this, she has to sacrifice something:love. The Sealed Card reveals to Sakura that she is just lonely and wants to be friends with her, and the other fifty two cards agree to be with her. Sakura agrees, and converts the card, but it calls for the sacrifice of Syaoran's feelings for her.
Sakura is deeply saddened by this loss; however, still confesses her love to him. Surprisingly, he reciprocates his love too, thus revealing that no magic or negative force can ever take away true love from his heart.
This movie is an innocent story with a plain message―Love conquers all and can survive in difficult circumstances. This action-packed romantic story is a must-watch for those who want a dash of fiction, blended with the magic of love.

Howl's Moving Castle

Movie Release Year: 2004

Time for some action-packed romance. Sophie, a young lass, is cursed by a witch, because she gets envious of her growing friendship with the wizard named 'Howl'.
In her attempt to break free from the curse, a scarecrow takes her to Howl's Castle, which is inhabited by Howl and his aides―a fire demon 'Calcifer' and 'Markl'. As she continues with this quest, Howl is summoned for war by the king. 
The witch eventually loses her powers, and the power of her spell reduces, with Sophie ultimately regaining her original form. Meanwhile, Sophie and Howl develop romantic feelings for each other, and he decides to join the war to protect her.
In a turn of events, Sophie manages to free Calcifer and helps Howl regain his life. It is also later revealed that the scarecrow was actually the missing prince, who was cursed, and would regain his form if he kissed his true love.
Watch this movie, if you love fantasy. A perfect treat for those who love-themed movies. It also conveys that love can cure curses too!

Season 1: Vampire Knight (Television Series) , Season 2: Vampire Knight Guilty

TV Series First Aired: 2008
Episodes in Season 1: 13
Episodes in Season 2: 13

Vampire romance has caught the fancy of anime creators too! The leading female protagonist is Yuki Cross, a student of 'Cross Academy' run by her adoptive father.
What is unusual about this school is that it is divided into two classes: 'Day Class' and 'Night Class' that are attended by humans and vampires, respectively. She works as a guardian along with Zero Kiryuu, to protect the day students from the vampires.
On the other hand, Kaname is a pure-blood vampire who had once saved Yuki from a vampire attack. Later, it is also revealed that Zero is a vampire too.

This story is a complicated love triangle between Yuki, Zero, and Kaname. With Yuki confused about her feelings, as she has feelings for both. 
Though she chooses to be with Kaname, one half of her heart always craves for Zero. With complications of love, and Yuki trying to dig her past, the viewers are sure to be captivated.
This series is not your everyday, simple love story of course, it is more suitable for adult audiences. With the lust for blood and the perplexed love triangle, this one is certainly what you would term as bloody love!

Fruits Basket

TV Series First Aired: 2001
Episodes: 26

Tohru Honda, being orphaned after her mother's death in a car accident, shifts to her classmate Sohma Yuki's house, which is already occupied by his cousins Kyo and Shigure, too. 
However, the Sohma family have to face an unusual curse―they turn into animals of the Chinese Zodiac if a person from the opposite gender hugs them.

What follows is a myriad of events, where Tohru learns to live with the three men and keeps their family curse a secret. Tohru eventually falls in love with Kyo, though, initially apprehensive of his curse. 
She realizes that she wants him, but Kyo rejects, despite having the same feelings for her. He considers himself responsible for Tohru's mother's death, since he was present when her mother was struck by the car, but could not help her due to his curse. There are also hints of Yuki liking her, and being jealous of their relationship.
A difficult curse to live with, yet a message, which implies that, true love can accept 'roses with thorns', the way Tohru loves Kyo, despite his curse.


Movie Release Year: 2013

This is a recent entrant, the story is set in a futuristic world which is, obviously, technologically developed. Kurumi, a young girl, lives a lonely life engrossed in sorrow after the sudden demise of her boyfriend, Hal. To bring back cheer in her life, a robot―who is a clone of Hal―is sent to her. 
As the new programmed 'Hal' enters her life, he discovers the meaning of love, Kurumi's aspirations and emotions towards her beau.

For those who like science fiction romance, the movie does not have a typical happy or sad ending. 
It just portrays everything that is human, as the robot struggles to find a way to please Kurumi, be like a human, and live the love life which she once had, despite having no idea about it.

Can you program someone to fall in love? Nonetheless, anyone can fall in love. Even with a robot! For those who believe in the miracles that love can make happen.
There are many more anime movies or stories that have managed to win the hearts of fans around the globe.