The 30 Best Drama Romance Anime
Drama? Romance? Can it get any better when it’s a Drama Romance Anime?? If you can’t get enough of love stories in anime, you must watch these heart wrenching series. These series are full of emotional roller coasters. Some of these are quite shocking, but all definitely have heart. Here's our list of the 30 best drama romance anime series!
Other lists of anime if you can't figure out what to watch!
30. Fruits Basket
Studio: Studio Deen
Playing heavily off of traditional Chinese and Japanese lore, Fruits Basket follows Tohru as she leaves the home where she was orphaned and finds a strange new place to live. At first, Tohru tries to make ends meet living in a tent. However, a popular classmate finds out her situation and invites her to live with them. The Sohmas are an eclectic bunch- twelve people with twelve very different personalities. Tohru soon discovers, though, that there’s more strange about them than just their actions.
The Sohmas are under a curse. Each one is tied to one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. A number of things can trigger a reaction where the Sohma family member transforms into that animal, including being touched by the opposite sex. At first, Tohru just tries to survive living in such a wild household. But as she comes to care deeply about the family, especially her classmate, she starts searching for a way to free them from their curse.
29. Magic Knight Rayearth
Studio: Tokyo Movie Shinsha
At first glance, Magic Knight Rayearth may not seem like much of a romance. Three very different girls from different walks of life all find themselves whisked away from a school field trip to a different world. They’re told they are there with only one task- to kill the evil empress who is destroying the entire land with her selfish magic.
When it becomes clear the only way they will ever get home is to complete this adventure, the girls start working together to become stronger and make it to the castle where the empress hides. However, a confusing medley of friends and foes intercept them all along the way. And not everything is as clear as it seemed when they first arrived.
28. Marmalade Boy
Studio: Toei Animation
While a dubbed version of this anime is not yet available, it is worth watching with subtitles for the endearing, heart-stopping action. Miki lives an innocent life with her parents as an only child. That is, until her parents inform her they are getting a divorce so they can both remarry other lovers. Miki is heartbroken, and her obnoxious new step-brother Yuu only makes matters worse. As she tries her best to do well in school, keep up with her friends and flirt with the boy she’s crushing on, Yuu does his best to dash her hopes. It seems the only joy he can get is from trying to make her as miserable as him.
Just when Miki thinks she can’t get any more frustrated, Yuu reveals feelings for her. Hesitantly, they begin dating, struggling to keep their love a secret. As more people in their lives find out, barriers spring forth that seem insurmountable. The disgrace of such a taboo love threatens to end their relationship, but Miki, at first the resistant half, fights to keep them together through the worst odds.
27. Ouran High School Host Clubi
Ouran High School Host Club is a classic romance drama of the anime world. Built on a variety of shojo tropes and traditions, it follows several students in and out of a high school club. They fall in love, break up, become rivals or friends, and generally do all of the things high schoolers do with a touch of anime flair. This anime has a touch of romance for everyone.
Mars is the wildly popular serialized manga from Japan. Rei is an absolute player. He sleeps with anyone who falls for him, and with his charisma, this happens pretty often. He blows off anyone who tries to get to close. It seems his only passions in life are his motorcycle races and his ego. Kira is a shy, anti-social artist who lives alone with her mother. She avoids going out and dreads talking to anyone-especially strangers. She’s dismayed when someone with a reputation like Rei approaches her one day.
The two form an unlikely friendship that quickly develops into a deep, passionate love. All of Rei’s rules are broken as he tries to exorcise his past to save his future with Kira. Meanwhile, Kira is fighting her own fears of abandonment and heartache. Everything reaches a fever pitch when Rei is threatened and injured during a big race.
Chobits is based on a best-selling story by CLAMP artist group. In the world of Chobits, AI is the norm and everyone has their own robot assistant. That is, everyone but the few too lame and poor to have even a tiny AI. One night, just such a boy finds a robot abandoned in an alley. She looks like one of the “romantic friend” robots- a beautiful woman made of metal. The boy thinks it is just too good to be true. He takes her home and, after some discreet searching, finds out how to turn her on and reboot her system.
The longer the boy has his robot, though, the more he sees she is different than other AI. She isn’t just programmed to act human- she learns and grows as a human, too. As the boy unravels the deep secrets of his Chobit, he struggles between physical desire, fear of terrible enemies and a desire to protect the innocent AI at all costs.
Another best selling manga by artist group CLAMP, Wish follows a fairly strange trajectory. God has sent his favorite angel to Earth. He was loathe to see her go, but she begged to be allowed to find her best friend and mentor, a beautiful older angel. However, as soon as she arrives, she gets trapped in a busy place. Jumping out of the frying pan and into the fryer, she tries to enlist a demon to help her get free.
Saved from this situation by a well-meaning human doctor, the angel swears to repay him however she can. She isn’t nearly as talented as she is well-meaning, though. She struggles to help him and break through his surly exterior.
As she splits her time between searching for her friend and helping the human with whom she now lives, the angel discovers some painful truths about life on Earth. Her friend isn’t as lost as she had imagined, and others are more lost than she ever dreamed. And the very types of human and demon she was warned to avoid become her closest allies.
23. Please Teacher!
After witnessing his sister commit suicide, Kei goes into a shock-induced coma for three years. When he finally wakes up and begins to recover, his family sends him away. They want him to escape the ghosts that linger in his home to try and help him heal more fully. However, whenever Kei is too emotionally distressed, he “freezes” again, slipping into a half-coma until he calms down.
At his new school, Kei becomes close friends with a small group. The story follows these friends as they learn the many ins and outs of romantic relationships. Strangely, though, these relationships change in unexpected ways whenever their teacher is around. It isn’t long until Kei discovers the dark truth about their teacher and the way she is instructing them in more than class.
22. School Days
School Days was hotly contested and even boycotted in Japan when it first aired. Based on a manga, it follows a boy as he explores different kinds of school relationships. Over the course of his junior year, he becomes the love interest of several girls at the school. The boy isn’t sure how to handle all of this female attention.
The more he struggles to choose between girls, the more his aberrant behavior shows. It becomes clear that the boy has a violent streak that all of the girls seem oblivious about.
The show attracted lots of negative attention for its violent endings and strange marriage of horror and romance. Some felt that it romanticized murder and aggression in an unhealthy way, while others felt it encouraged or even caused several violent acts in Japan similar to those shown in the show at the time they were committed.
While this show isn’t for the weak of heart (or stomach), it is an interesting look into a cultural phenomenon.
21. Saint Tail
Studio: Tokyo Movie Shinsha
An art thief is on the loose and nobody seems able to catch him. The police are baffled and art historians can’t find a rhyme or reason to his choices. There’s no way of telling where he will strike next.
Enter Saint Tail. A normal school girl by day, Saint Tail fights crime at night. She becomes obsessed with catching the art thief. It doesn’t hurt that he’s amazingly handsome. As she pursues him in the name of the law, she begins more and more to question why she wants to catch him, and whether he really wants to be caught.
20. Howl’s Moving Castle
Production Company: Studio Ghibli
A young girl insults one of the top witches in the land. As a punishment, the witch turns her into an old hag. As the girl already had “elderly” tastes, like sewing and cooking, she finds this amusing at first. However, she then meets the dashing magician Howl. He is known for cruelty and strange acts. She tries to resist but can’t help falling for him.
Hoping that she can win him over and get his help returning to her former state, the girl sneaks into his moving castle and befriends the little boy and the fire demon inside. It turns out, though, that Howl needs saved by her even more than she needs him. She sets aside her own desires to try to save his life, and discovers she could save herself all along in the process.
19. Vampire Knight
Studio: Studio Deen
Yuki is a teenage orphan with a strange and dangerous job. She is sworn to protect the vampire students attending the boarding school where she lives. She is especially keen to do her job well, as her long-time friend and crush attends the school. Bloodthirsty headhunters constantly seek to kill off the students, while adult vampires work against her to turn the students against other humans.
At Yuki’s side is her human friend Kiryu. Kiryu hates their job. He hates all vampires, in fact, and wishes he could let them all be killed off. Only his friendship and growing love for Yuki prevent him from doing so.
18. Full Metal Panic
Sousuke is a highly regarded gun-for-hire who resents his latest job- protecting Kaname, a high school girl determined to escape his watchful eye. She is the target of a terrorist group, and much as she annoys him, he must do his best to protect her from the enemy and from himself. The more she infuriates him, though, the more he begins to care for her. Soon he discovers there’s more to her than the facade of carefree high school student that he first saw.
17. Sword Art Online
Studio: A-1 Pictures
A new type of virtual reality game has hit the market. Thousands of players log in for the launch of the game, which they access through a helmet that stimulates all of their senses. However, they quickly discover they cannot log out. The sadistic game maker soon appears and tells them even worse news- if they try to force their way out of the game, or if they die in-game, they will die in real life. The only way out is to beat the game.
Several unlikely pairs team up to try to stay alive and escape the game, creating a tangled knot of love, jealousy and curiosity even as they fight for their very lives.
16. Vision of Escaflowne
Hitomi is transported from Earth to the strange world of Gaea, which itself is made of a hundred different worlds. She is quickly caught in the middle of a long-standing, bloody war. She tries her best to save Gaea from the spreading battles, as well as save herself, even as she discovers the true nature of Gaea. Along the way, she meets several friends and some more-than-friends who help her survive.
15. Tasogare otome x amnesia (Dusk Maiden of Amnesia)
Studio: Silver Link
Niiya Teiichi is a first year middle school student who just enrolled at Seikyou Private Academy. The school buildings are maze-like and extensive, so it is not surprising when Teiichi gets lost in one of the old buildings. It is here that Teiichi meets a ghost named Kanoe Yuuko, who has no recollection of her story. Teiichi decides to investigate her death by joining the Paranormal Investigations club (which Yuuko started) and starts by solving the school’s seven mysteries that involve the Yuuko-san ghost. The two work alongside the other members of the club: Okonogi Momoe, the only member of the club that cannot see Yuuko and Kanoe Kirie, Yuuko’s grandniece who closely resembles Yuuko. While working to find out the dark truth, Teiichi and Yuuko eventually grow close to each other. Tasogare otome x amnesia tells the tale of an unconventional romance story.
14. Sakamichi no Apollon (Kids on the Slope)
Studio: Tezuka Productions, MAPPA
Nishimi Kaoru was the top student at his middle school before moving to Kyushu for his first year of high school in the summer of 1966. Kaoru is an introverted classical pianist who is resigned to keeping to himself at yet another high school when he meets the wild Kawabuchi Sentarou. Despite their initial contrasting personalities, the two get along and soon begin practicing jazz together. Sentarou’s strong passion for the genre inspires Kaoru to learn more and join in on their after-school jazz sessions at Sentarou’s childhood friend Muake Ritsuko’s studio at her family’s record shop. Sakamichi no Apollon is a heartwarming story about three friends brought together for their love of jazz music.
13. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April)
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Arima Kousei was a child prodigy pianist; he an inhuman innate ability to keep perfect timing with the music, like a human metronome. This was partly due to his mother’s harsh and abusive instruction that taught him to play piano without emotion. However, when his mother passed away, he suffered a nervous breakdown and became unable to hear the sound of his own piano. After two years, he still hadn’t touched the piano and instead lived a monotonous life with his friends Watari Ryouta and Sawabe Tsubaki. Everything changes when the free-spirited and emotional violinist Miyazono Kawori enters Kousei’s life. She shows him that music can be so much more than just black notes on the page and helps Kousei heal. Your Lie in April is a beautiful anime that showcases the strength of friendship and music in the process of healing.
Studio: J.C. Staff
Takasu Ryuji is a second year student in high school who is frequently mistaken as a delinquent because of his gangster-like eyes. His best friend is Kitamura Yusaku, who is the VP of student council, class representative, and captain of the boys’ softball club. Ryuji has a crush on the cheerful girls’ softball club captain, Kushieda Minori. Her best friend is Aisaka Taiga, the petite and feisty girl known as the “Palmtop Tiger”, due to her angry outbursts at those around her. Taiga lives on her own, after living with her father and step-mother and constantly fighting with them. Taiga has a crush on Yusaku, so when Ryuji and Taiga learn of the other’s crushes on their respective best friends, they team up to get their friends together. Toradora! is a classic story about friends growing and developing through the obstacles they must overcome together.
11. Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo (The Pet Girl of Sakurasou)
Studio: J.C. Staff
Kanda Sorata is a second year student at Suimei University of the Arts who was kicked out of the regular dorms after taking in stray cats and is moved into Sakura Dormitory. Sakura Dormitory is the hall that houses the strangest, eccentric, misfit students at the school. This includes students like Kamigusa Misaki, a successful animator; Mitaka Jin, an aspiring playwright; Akasaka Ryuunosuke, a recluse genius computer programmer. At first Sorata feels out of place because he is surrounded by the geniuses of the school and plans on moving back into the regular dorms. However, one day a cute girl named Shiina Mashiro moves into the Sakura Dorm. She is an artistic savant, working towards becoming a manga artist, but is extremely hopeless with day to day living. Shiina cannot carry out basic tasks in life and has no common sense. Because of this, the dorm supervisor assigns Sorata to take care of Shiina, like his pet. Sakurasou is a wonderful story that depicts the growth of several characters. Be sure to watch this anime for one with great character development.
10. Nagi no Asukara (A Lull in the Sea)
Studio: P.A. Works
In a fantasy world where there are humans who live on the land and in the sea, the underwater middle school of Shioshishio closes down and the middle schoolers must to transfer to a school on land. Nagi no Asukara follows four middle schoolers from the sea: Sakishima Hikari, Mukaido Manaka, Hiradaira Chisaki, and Isaki Kaname. They soon befriend Kihara Tsumugu, a boy from land whose grandfather is a fisherman, at their new middle school. Nagishows their daily struggles to adapt to their new environment and the tense relationships between the people from land and sea. The group of five also discover new feelings between each other as they mature. Watch this anime for the beautiful artwork and complex romance story.
9. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai: The Flower We Saw That Day
Studio: A-1 Pictures
A group of six sixth graders drifted apart after one friend, Honma “Menma” Meiko, died in an accident. Ten years later, Yadomi “Jintan” Jinta, is now living as a recluse and has stopped going to school. During one very hot summer, Menma’s ghost suddenly appears and asks him to grant her wish so she can move on to the afterlife. At first, Jintan doesn’t think much of her ghost, thinking he’s just hallucinating from the summer heat and none of the other five friends can see her. However, the estranged friends reluctantly reunite to try and grant Menma’s wish. Through this, the group of friends realize they have all been struggling to move on from her death and that each has blamed themselves for Menma’s death. Anohana is a truly heartfelt series about pain, healing, and friendship.
8. ef: A Tale of Memories
Ef starts out with separate storylines that eventually cross over the course of the series. Hirono Hiro is a high school student and an established manga artist, and tends to skip classes to focus on his job. On Christmas Eve while visiting a church for research, Hiro runs into Miyamura Miyako. Miyako was in pursuit of a purse snatcher and steals Hiro’s bike to catch the thief but ends up destroying Hiro’s bike. Hiro ends up missing his childhood friend, Shindou Kei’s, Christmas party and instead ends up hanging out with Miyako. On that same night, Tsutsumi Kyosuke had been filming in town with his girlfriend when he caught sight of Kei running through the streets. He was captivated with her from the beginning. In another part of town, Asou Renji has fatefully run into Kei’s extremely shy twin, Chihiro, at an abandoned train station. Renji soon learns Chihiro suffers from anterograde amnesia, a disability that prevents her from remembering anything past the last 13 hours. However, they become friends and Renji decides to help Chihiro fulfill her dream of writing a novel. Ef is a beautiful anime series with a unique animation style and a storyline that will make you want to keep watching.
7. Kokoro Connect
Studio: Silver Link
Kokoro Connect is not your typical high school story with a romance. Five high school students decide to form a club for the social outsiders called the Student Cultural Society. The five friends are: Yaegashi Taichi, a pro-wrestling fanatic; Nagase Iori, an indecisive optimist; Inaba Himeko, a cool and collected computer expert; Kiriyama Yui, a skilled karate practitioner; and Aoki Yoshifumi, the class clown with a crush on Yui. Mysteriously, they begin swapping bodies with each other. This strange phenomenon randomly occurs, causing this newly formed group of friends to learn more about each other and themselves. Through these strange body swappings, each of the five learn each other’s darkest secrets and thoughts. It’s up to them to keep their club and their friendship together while uncovering what’s behind the supernatural occurrences.
6. Myself; Yourself
Studio: Doga Kobo
Sana Hidaka returns to his hometown after moving to Tokyo with his parents five years ago. He walks down the streets and realizes most things still look the same. He returns to Sakuranomori by himself to live in his friend Aoi’s family’s apartment building. Sana reunites with his group of five childhood friends: Nanaka Yatsushiro, twins Shusuke and Shuri Wakatsuki, Aoi Oribe, and Asami Hoshino. However, one friend, Nanaka, is completely different from when he saw her as an 11-year-old. Nanaka is now cold and gloomy compared to her sweet and caring self. Sana realizes that there are quite a few things that have changed since he’s been gone. Myself; Yourself is a great dramatic anime series that will leave you wanting to watch more as the mysteries unravel in Sana’s life.
5. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (Rumbling Hearts)
Studio: Studio Fantasia
Rumbling Hearts starts out with a group of four friends in high school. Narumi Takayuki is set up with the shy and kindhearted Suzumiya Haruka by her best friend Hayase Mitsuki and his best friend Taira Shinji. Their romance quickly develops and things seem to be going smoothly: Takayuki is going to apply to a university closer to Haruka while she makes plans to becoming a picture book artist. Tragically, while Haruki was waiting to meet Takayuki for a date, she is hit by a car at the train station. This puts her in a coma while the other three friends must learn to continue with life. The majority of Rumbling Hearts shows how the four friends must deal with life’s challenges after Haruka suddenly wakes up from her coma after three years. If you’re looking for a serious romance anime without the usual fluff, watch Rumbling Hearts for a tearjerker series.
Nana Komatsu, a naïve 20 year old who falls in love easily and becomes dependent on the people around her, leaves her small hometown by train after finally saving up enough money to move to Tokyo to reunite with her boyfriend and friends. By chance, she meets another Nana with the same age on this trip, and they develop a bond on the long train ride to Tokyo. Nana Osaki is a punk rock singer whose personality is the complete opposite of Nana Komatsu. Osaki is headstrong, independent, and very ambitious. She left her rural hometown as well in order to become a professional singer, even though she had been the lead vocalist of a popular band and she had been dating the bassist. The two Nanas have another fateful encounter and end up renting an apartment together. Nana is a great anime series that showcases the wonderful friendship between two women with contrasting personalities, but a seemingly inseparable bond, as they go through life with romances, heartbreaks, and challenges.
Studio: Kyoto Animation
Full of moe, you’ll find yourself swamped with sweet female characters in Clannad. Tomoya Okazaki is a high school junior known for being a delinquent student. A fight with his father resulted in a dislocated shoulder, preventing Tomoya from joining the high school. Ever since Tomoya has distanced himself from others. One day he meets a shy, soft-spoken girl named Nagisa Furukawa. He finds out she was held back a year due to illness and wishes to join the drama club. Despite his reputation for causing trouble, Tomoya decides to help Nagisa revitalize the drama club with the help of four other eccentric girls. While helping each of these girls with their own problems, Tomoya gains new friends that he didn’t have before. Watch this classic anime that is full of cuteness and full of heart.
2. True Tears
Studio: P.A. Works
True Tears depicts a truly heartfelt romance story in the life of Nakagami Shinichiro, a high school student who enjoys drawing and has been working on a picture book. Shinichiro childhood friend, Yuasa Hiromi, moved in with his family a year ago after her father passed away. Shinichiro has always had a crush on her, but has since stopped smiling around him at home, while at school she exhibits a cheerful persona and is popular. One day Shinichiro meets a strange girl named Isurugi Noe who loves the chickens at school. After teasing her, Noe curses Shinichiro with misfortune, but they quickly make up after the next day Shinichiro creates a chicken out of a tissue box. He finds out that she doesn’t cry because she strangely “gave her tears away”. Shinichiro also hangs out with his best friend Nobuse Miyokichi and his girlfriend, Andou Aiko, who secretly has a crush on him. True Tears beautifully reveals these situations in Shinichiro’s life and how he deals with them in such a realistic way. The animation is also beautiful and you won’t want to miss this wonderful series.
1. White Album 2
One of the most emotional series involving a traditional love triangle, dealt with in an unconventional way. Haruki Kitahara manages to save his small Light Music Club in school with the recruitment of a main vocalist and keyboardist, Setsuna Ogiso and Kazusa Touma. The three become close friends, but also develop a devastating love triangle between each other. This may seem like a series with a traditional love conflict, but this series really emphasizes the pain of helping one friend be the happiest they can be at the expense of betraying another. White Album 2 is one story you must watch for the real emotions that are experienced when someone is forced to choose between two friends. The characters have nuances in each of their personalities that makes them more than the usual archetypes.