Love is in the air. Or, should we say, on the screen. Dozens of romance anime are released every year, but series that really touch fans’ hearts can be harder to find.
From lighthearted school stories like Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun and ReLIFE to more fantastical tales like Yona of the Dawn and The Devil is a Part-Timer!, the romances this decade brought anime fans a whole new collection of love stories that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
Presenting the fan-voted romance series of the decade:
Your Lie in April (2014)
To make a good romance, the emotions we feel along the way are just as important to the story as the love between characters is. Your Lie in April is a masterclass in emotional storytelling, making the viewer cheer on the free-spirited Kaori one minute then leaving them crying over the emotionally broken Kousei the next.
From beautiful piano and violin performances to heartwarming friendships and everything in between, Your Lie in April is a series that has something for everyone. Centered around Kaori’s dedication to befriending Kousei and teaching him the joy of performing, Your Lie in April is, at its core, a story of a pure teen romance that’s muddled by a large dose of tragic realities.
Fruits Basket (2019)
The animated revival of Tohru Honda and the Somas was one of the biggest announcements of the decade. A nostalgic series for many long-time anime fans, Fruits Basket returning with an all-new anime that promised to faithfully adapt the manga was a dream come true.
When Tohru first meets Yuki, Shigure and Kyo, she thinks they’re just a normal family. However, she then discovers that members of the Soma family can turn into the Zodiac animals. At its core, Fruits Basket is a story about pain, love and healing wounds that many people can’t see.
Kaguya-sama: Love is War (2019)
Kaguya-sama: Love is War can be best described as a romantic comedy with plenty of intensity to it. At a glance it seems like a classic story about two top students who really like each other but are both too proud to admit it. But underneath their reasoning is so much more.
What makes the series so adorable is not only the silly ways in which Kaguya and Shirogane try to make the other confess their love first, but the sweet and funny conclusions each “battle” has. Add Chika Fujiwara’s dance as the cherry on top and you’ve got it all.
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai (2018)
The relationship between Sakuta Azusagawa and Mai Sakurajima in Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai is truly something special. While the series doesn’t stray away from its more fantastical elements, it’s this naturally-developing relationship at the show’s core that elevates the series in the romance genre.
Throughout the series, Sakuta is tasked with solving the mystery behind flare-ups of Adolescence Syndrome, affecting everyone from his kid sister Kaede to himself. They take many different forms, like scars across a chest or a literal disappearing act, but it’s Mai’s steadfastness that carries Sakuta through.
Snow White with the Red Hair (2015)
We all know the classic tale of Snow White. But what if that story was turned on its side, making the heroine a strong-willed girl who saves a prince that eats a poisoned apple meant for her? That’s Snow White with the Red Hair.
An updated take on a stereotypical romance anime, the show is made for an audience that craves a fantasy story with a more competent, independent female lead. Shirayuki approaches each problem head-on, making her just as capable as Prince Zen or any of her other male counterparts.
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