Romance anime is a broad genre. There can be romance in everything, from the grittiest horror to the most magical fantasy. For those perhaps looking for a break from an often harsh reality, however, anime that focuses on the sweeter side of life can be a soothing balm, a guilty pleasure, or even a comfort show. Rooting for a romance to succeed can be more exciting than even the most action-packed thriller. Romance anime can often provide unique premises too. If it didn’t, every romance anime would be the same, and that’s just not true.
Take Fruits Basket, Toradora!, and Ouran High School Host Club—they all have a unique premise with the main couple in a central role. In 2023, a lot of romance anime tends to land in the spring and summer anime seasons, a time when something light-hearted and pure most suits the season.
Here are some of the best and underrated romance anime series’ in 2023.
10. Endo and Kobayashi live!
The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte High schoolers Endō and Kobayashi start playing an otome game and realize that they can communicate with Prince Siegwald, the game’s main love interest.
If the game is played as intended, Lieselotte, Siegwald’s tsundere fiancé and the game’s villain, will end up dying a tragic death. To save Lieselotte from her impending demise, Endō and Kobayashi use their mysterious communication power to ensure that she lives happily ever after.
9. Tomo-chan is a girl!
How do you confess your feelings to someone who just doesn’t get the hint? Despite having a crush on her childhood friend Jun, Tomo has been friend-zoned since they were young.
As a tomboy with traditionally masculine hobbies and a fashion sense, Tomo is treated by the dense Jun as “one of his brothers.”. Even when she explicitly reveals her romantic feelings for him, Jun just can’t read the room, and Tomo’s escape from the hellish brozone seems impossible.
8. My Love Story With Yamada-kun At Lv999
Freshly cheated on and dumped by her boyfriend, Kinoshita is about to quit the game they used to play as a couple. But she’s not about to do so before venting her frustrations to Yamada, a fellow player whom she’s never met in person.
To her dismay, Kinoshita’s rant is met with a curt “I’m not interested. Kinoshita later bumps into Yamada at a gaming event in real life, where she recognizes him by his voice. My Love Story With Yamada-kun at Lv999 follows the unexpected romance between Kinoshita and the aloof gamer who’s inexperienced in love. One of the best romance anime to watch.
7. The Ice Guy And His Cool Female Colleague
Himuro is a cool guy, literally. The titular ice guy possesses a strange power that manifests in frosty snow whenever he feels intense emotions.
He carries a torch for Fuyutsuki, his calm and seemingly cold female colleague, who is always there to provide a solution to his icy conundrums.
The Ice Guy and His Cool Female Colleague is set in a normal office, and this simple series will no doubt scratch the itch for fans who are also into the slice-of-life genre.
6. The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten
A simple act of kindness can brighten someone’s day and even sprout a warm friendship. In The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten, Fujimiya runs into Shiina, his popular neighbor, who is adored by many for her beauty and personality.
Sitting alone on a swing, Shiina is completely drenched by the rain. Unable to leave her alone, Fujimiya offers her his umbrella, and he ends up catching the flu after braving the rain. Hoping to repay his kindness, the worried Shiina takes care of Fujiyama, and thus a sweet relationship begins.
5. Saint Cecilia And Pastor Lawrence
As a pastor, Lawrence tends to the church and provides a space where local townspeople can visit to heed the advice of the saint. The “Saint” is none other than the titular Cecilia, an earnest young girl who works hard to lend a listening ear to the locals and provide advice.
But there’s just one problem: the job takes a toll on Cecilia, which causes her to laze around the church in between visitors. Cared for by the overly protective pastor, Cecilia forms a bond with Lawrence, and the mutually supportive relationship gradually develops into something more.
4. The Dangers In My Heart
The Dangers in My Heart follows the budding romance between Kyotaro and his popular classmate, Anna. With a mind occupied by dark thoughts, Kyotaro fantasizes about murder and spends his time holed up in the school library reading about human anatomy.
By chance, he encounters the charming Anna, who secretly comes to the library to binge on snacks. Over time, they form a wholesome bond.
3. Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible
We’ve all heard of main-character energy. Now, meet Junta, the protagonist of Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible, who has major NPC energy despite being the protagonist in a romance anime.
As a wallflower who goes unnoticed by everyone at his school, Kubo blends into the background, so much so that he’s often mistaken for being absent from school, even though he’s right there. The only person who notices him is Kubo, his cute classmate, who pays attention to him.
2. A Galaxy Next Door
A Galaxy Next Door is a light-hearted romance comedy that follows Ichirō Kuga, a struggling manga artist who has to raise his younger siblings after his father’s passing.
A silver lining comes in the form of Shiori Goshiki, his beautiful and capable new assistant, who not only helps with his impending deadlines but also suddenly declares that they should get married.
1. Insomniacs After School
It isn’t rare to form bonds and friendships based on shared interests, but what if insomnia is what you have in common? Ganta and Isaki, two high schoolers who have trouble falling asleep, form an unlikely friendship and find peace in napping in their school’s abandoned observatory.
To protect their safe space, they revive the defunct astronomy club, and a tender love blossoms between them.