The Best Japanese Anime Movies & Series To Watch For The Hopeless Romantic

For the #feels

If there is one thing that Anime does well, it’s evoking emotion from anyone that watches it. Whether you love the genre, hate it or just don’t care for it, it has a certain charm that just hits its audience. Bring on CGI and action scenes, but it will never replace larger-than-life tears and unrealistic strength.

And romance Anime? It’s like absolutely nothing else.

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie In April)

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When he was younger, piano prodigy Kosei Arima dominated every music competition that he joined, which earned him the respect of and hatred of most of his peers. But after his mother’s death, Arima suffered a mental breakdown that resulted in his inability to hear the music he played.

It’s two years later and Arima has resigned himself to living a mediocre life with his two friends, Tsubaki and Watari. But then everything is turned upside down when Kaori Miyazono, a violin prodigy who refuses to play by the technical rules, brings color and—quite literally—music back into Arima’s life. Too bad Kaori has her eyes on Watari.

Kimi no Na wa (Your Name)

Mitsuha is a high school girl in a town called Itomori within Japan’s mountainous Hida region. Bored with the routine of her life, she wishes to be a handsome city boy in her next life. One day, she finds herself in the body of Taki, a high school boy who lives in Tokyo. The two communicate with each other via notes on Mitsuha’s notebook and Taki’s phone, sometimes even writing directly on their skin.

As the two start to get close, the body-switching stops. Taki tries to call Mitsuha but is unable to reach her and he tries to visit Itomori but does not know the town’s name. In his search, Taki chances upon someone that recognizes the town, but all is put to a halt when he finds out what really happened to Mitsuha.

Byousoku 5 Centimeter (5 Centimeters Per Second)

Akari Shinohara transfers to an elementary school in Tokyo and quickly befriends a boy named Takaki Tono. But when the two graduate from elementary, Akari moves to the nearby prefecture of Tochigi. She and Takaki continue their friendship through letters, but even this is threatened when Takaki’s own family decides to move across the country to Kagoshima. Knowing it will be more difficult to keep in touch, Takaki decides to see Akari in person.

Before he gets on the train to meet her, he pens a letter confessing his feelings—which he loses on his journey. Takaki’s train gets delayed by several hours and worries that Akari has gotten tired of waiting for him.


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Ryuuji Takasu is a gentle-hearted high school student whose intimidating face betrays him. Meanwhile, Taiga Aisaka is a petite girl with a feisty and strong personality. The two run into each other and Taiga admits she has a crush on Yuusaku Kitamura, Ryuuji’s best friend. Ryuuji then confesses that he has a crush on Taiga’s best friend, Minori Kushieda.

As Ryuuji and Taiga try to help set each other up, the two start to spend an unnatural amount of time together—and it doesn’t help that they’re close neighbors either. As rumors begin to circle the school about their blossoming friendship, Ryuuji and Taiga come to the conclusion that they do enjoy each other’s company.

My Little Monster

Shizuku Mizutani is focused on her schoolwork and has no interest in making friends. She is one day tasked to bring class printouts to her seatmate, Haru Yoshida, who has been absent from school. When she gets to his home, Haru quickly greets Shizuku as a friend. These two, both social outcasts and awkward in their own right, start to form a friendship and teach each other what it’s like to care and watch out for someone else.

But when Haru confesses his love for her, Shizuku cannot readily return his feelings.

Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice)

Shoya Ishida is the school’s resident bully and sets his eyes (and commentary) squarely on a new girl with a hearing disability, Shoko Nishimiya. After weeks of taunting that reaches its peak when Shoya physically hurts her while breaking her hearing aid, Shoko changes schools once again.

Years later, it is Shoya who finds himself the victim of bullying. Socially isolated because of his past, Shoya tries to make amends and visits Shoko in their town’s sign language center.

Yuri On Ice

Twenty-three-year-old Japanese figure skater, Yuri Katsuki decides to put a hold on his career after a crushing defeat at the Grand Prix Final. But during a visit to his childhood friend, Yuri perfectly mimics the skating routine of Russian champion Victor Nikiforov. When a secretly-recorded video of Yuri’s take on the dance gains traction online, Victor offers to coach Yuri and get his career back on track.

Upon hearing about the new partnership, 15-year-old Russian skating prodigy, Yuri Plisetsky, travels to Hasetsu to make sure that Victor does well on an old promise to be his coach. But when Yuri K. defeats him in a battle that would decide who Victor coaches, Yuri P. goes back home and vows to win the Grand Prix Championship.

As Yuri K. and Victor try to regain momentum in the skating scene, the two share moments of unspoken closeness, understanding and—dare we say it?—love.

Rurouni Kenshin (Samurai X)

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Retired swordsman Kenshin Himura travels Japan after being the cause of countless deaths during the Bakumatsu era. Though it is his practice to never settle in one place—in fear of his Battosai life coming back to haunt him—he finds himself housed by Kaoru Kamiya in an unassuming dojo in Tokyo.

But his fears do become reality as previous comrades and new foes come out to light. Soon, Kenshin finds himself in the middle of several battles that he must win in order to protect the family he’s learned to call his own.

Fruits Basket

After her mother’s death in a car crash and the finding out that her grandfather’s house is temporarily unlivable, Tohru Honda decides to live in a tent in the woods. On her way back from work one day, she finds that her tent has been buried underneath a landslide. Yuki Souma and his cousin Shigure Souma stumble across her predicament and invite her to live with them.

While in the Souma house, Tohru finds out the Souma family’s secret: Each member turns into a zodiac animal when touched by someone of the opposite sex. Promising never to spill their secret, the family lets Tohru stay.

Although their secret is deeper and darker that Tohru initially understands, her presence and acceptance of the Souma family has a positive influence on them. She sets out to break the curse and makes a particular connection to Yuki and his other cousin, Kyo.

Kuzu no Honkai (Scum’s Wish)

Hanabi Yasuraoka has had a crush on her childhood friend and neighbor, Narumi Kanai, for as long as she can remember. So when she finds out that Narumi is her new homeroom teacher, Hanabi is thrilled. Meanwhile, Mugi Awaya has been in love with his tutor, Akane Minagawa, since middle school.

When Narumi and Akane start a relationship of their own, Hanabi and Mugi turn to teach other to try and mask their loneliness. The two start on a relationship that is simply a substitute for the ones they are actually in love with.

While there is no need to slap a holiday on watching a great Anime, this Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to settle down comfortably and just lose yourself in story that is well told, evokes emotion and charmingly presented.

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