Everyone has a favorite genre of anime, be it horror, shoujo, sports, or something else. Many anime fans’ favorite genre comes from the first show they watched as their introduction. The most popular shows in the U.S. are Sailor Moon, Naruto Dragon Ball, and Pokemon (if the latter can even be counted as anime).
A lot of people grew up on these anime, and if you grew up watching Sailor Moon, then chances are rom-coms are still your thing, even if you’ve branched out since then. If you’re in the market for a new rom-com anime, this list has got you covered.
Horimiya was a new anime for the Spring 2021 season and was released via Funimation, simultaneously dropping dubbed and subbed episodes. It immediately became a favorite among romance fans because of its realistic depiction of high school relationships and the likable characters (not to mention the initial punk and pierced appearance of Miyamura).
As for its place on this list, it deserves a spot simply because of its fanbase after only one season. Many are still holding out hope for season two, but season one wrapped with the group graduating. The show is so good because of its relatability; unfortunately, it’s not likely that Hori and Miyamura will go to the same college. Besides, we’d be missing out on the side characters’ relationships as well, which was a big part of the story. The one season it did have was compelling and simple, which solidifies its spot on the list.
Much like Horimiya, Haganai is another High School story. Haganai, however, follows Kodaka Hasegawa, a transfer student who can’t seem to make friends. Shockingly enough, this turns into the main plot. The Neighbors Club is then created by Kodaka and Yozora Mikazuki, a girl whose only friend is the air. The club is for those who don’t have friends and need to make them, which draws in Sena Kashiwazaki, who has no girlfriends and treats men as slaves. It’s easy to see why they all need help.
Of course, there are other members of The Neighbors Club, most of which have some sort of affection for Kodaka. With the entire club crushing on Kodaka, and his own awkwardness, shenanigans are bound to ensue. With a love triangle at the core of the show, Haganai is the perfect blend of comedy and romance.
8. The Quintessential Quintuplets
Our first harem anime is The Quintessential Quintuplets which follows the Nakano sisters as they get tutored by top student Futaro Uesugi. While the quintuplets come from a rich and privileged family, Futaro is the exact opposite; his mother has passed away, he has no friends, and his family is in debt, which he now has to pay off. This is how he ends up tutoring the sisters, since he gets paid so well to do so.
The Quintessential Quintuplets currently has two seasons that explore each sister’s growing feelings for Futaro while he remains blind for most of the series. While this is going on, it is revealed that he marries one of the sisters, however we don’t know which one, and so it becomes a guessing game throughout the show. With five sisters crushing on one guy, not only is there sibling rivalry, but also a love…pentagon? It’s funny, sad and sometimes frustrating depending on which sister is your favorite, but all around The Quintessential Quintuplets is a well-rounded rom-com.
In a world of Gods, Demons and humans, Shuffle! follows a group of girls who are all in love with Rin Tsuchimi. Two of the girls, Sia and Nerine, are the princesses of the Gods and Demons (respectively) who want to marry Rin after both having encounters with him as children. The entire anime, like The Quintessential Quintuplets, is spent guessing which girl Rin will end up with.
Of course, there are plenty of twists and turns along the way with characters admitting feelings no one knew were there. However, like any good harem, the sticky situations our characters find themselves in are some of the best parts. It’s a great mix of everything and is often overlooked as a rom-com, but Shuffle! is worth the watch!
6. Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War
Perhaps one of the best examples of a romantic comedy is Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War, which just finished airing its second season. Love Is War follows Miyuki Shirogane, the school’s president, and Kaguya Shinomiya, the vice-president, as they navigate their secret feelings for each other. Why are their feelings kept secret? Both are too proud to admit that they have a crush on the other.
That’s the premise. The two come up with plots and schemes to try and get the other to confess first, making the confessor weaker. Because it’s such a slow-burn, with neither of them confessing, it keeps Love Is War lower on the list than some others.
5. Sailor Moon
There are many genres Sailor Moon could fit into, and with it being a classic anime and many peoples’ first, it’s more than earned the title of iconic. It also happens to be a rom-com, and we see that in each episode through each character’s relationships. Whether it’s Usagi and Mamo being lovey-dovey or any of the sailor scouts bickering and getting into trouble, there’s romance and comedy galore.
From Usagi’s klutzy personality and fights with Chibi-Usa to the continuous theme of ‘love wins’, Sailor Moon is the classic rom-com anime that everyone should watch at least once.
4. Kamisama Kiss
Kamisama Kiss follows Nanami Momozono and Tomoe, the new Earth God and her familiar (respectively), as they navigate their relationship as well as Nanami’s newfound God status. What’s interesting though, is Nanami’s feelings are admitted early on, where as for all the audience knows, Tomoe has no interest in her.
Most people describe Kamisama Kiss as the perfect blend between Inuyasha and Fruits Basket, which could have something to do with the white-haired demon, but also makes sense plot wise. Nanami and Tomoe, are a good example of the enemies-to-lovers trope that so many people are a fan of. From love triangles to pop idols to a mystery girl from the past that Nanami feels she’s competing with, the messiness of the main relationship is fun to root for.
3. Ouran High School Host Club
For those who haven’t seen Ouran High School Host Club, I can’t recommend it enough! The basic plot is quite simple and could even seem boring, but with its electric characters and intriguing relationships, it’s easily in the top three. Ouran follows Haruhi Fujioka, a broke student attending Ouran Academy on scholarship. After accidentally breaking a vase worth more than her house, she is forced to join the host club, a group of male students who have lunch and/or party with girls for money. The twist is, no one knows Haruhi is a girl until she’s forced to change into uniform, and that’s when the chaos begins.
Almost every member of the host club finds themselves falling for her at some point, and it’s a huge debate on who she should end up with, but the heart of the show is Haruhi herself and her platonic relationships with these boys. She changes them for the better all while they slowly but surely warm up to her.
Like Ouran, Toradora is a top-tier rom-com that everyone should add to their list. Things get a bit more serious near the end of the show, however the main plot is a sort of love square that continuously gets more confusing. Ryuji Takasu is a high school student with a crush on Ami Kawashima. Taiga Aisaka (a tiny girl with big anger problems) is Ami’s best friend, who happens to have a crush on Ryuji’s best friend, Yusaku Kitamura.
Ryuji and Taiga team up to help each other win over the hearts of their crushes, only they soon find themselves falling for each other instead. With confusion and stubbornness on both ends, they continue to find ways into their crushes’ hearts, all while actually being in love with each other.
If the picture doesn’t intrigue you, I guarantee the plot will. Maid Sama! is about Misaki Ayuzawa, class president by day and a maid at a cafe by night. Considering no one takes her seriously as president, Misaki is forced into the stubborn and over-powerful leadership role instead, which is why her job as a maid has to stay a secret. Everything is going fine for her until Takumi Usui waltzes into her life, someone who is the complete opposite of her. He finds her in the cafe and takes an interest in her, considering she’s forced to be nice to him there.
This forced kindness though soon turns into more as the two spend more time together, all while Usui keeps the promise of not telling anyone about her job. Anyone whose watched Maid Sama! will tell you that Takumi Usui is their dream man, and I can’t argue. He’s one of the best anime men and Maid Sama! is the best romantic comedy anime to date.