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Everyone knows high school is a time for learning, growth, and making lifelong memories. However, it’s also the time for firsts—first crushes, first dates, first boyfriends, or girlfriends. There’s nothing quite as memorable as first love. So we’ve put together a list of some of the best high school romance anime to really get those sparks flying!

What is High School Romance Anime?

High School Romance anime are series about the romantic journeys of two high school-age characters. 

These series are often slice-of-life anime, but can also fall under the supernatural romance anime genre, or include comedy, fantasy, or action elements as well. As long as the focus is love, and the characters are of the right age, it will all fall under this same umbrella. 

While they are very similar to other romance series, high school romance tends to focus on first loves, confessions, and first relationships. These can be everything from adorable to awkward to straight-up disasters, as the teens are still learning to navigate love. There’s often a lot of school and family drama woven into these series as well to round them out.

What is the best High School Romance Anime?

While there isn’t a specific sub-genre for high school romance on My Anime List, there is still a romance category. 

The highest-rated show centered around high school-age children in the romance category is Fruits Basket: The Final, with a 9.06 rating. 

Now let’s take a look at the best High School Romance Anime you should be adding to your watchlist! 

1. Fruits Basket

Mal Score: 8.22

Aired: 2019

Imagine trying to kiss your first crush and he turns into a rat – oops.

What’s it about: Tohru Honda is your average high school girl – minus the fact that she’s a recently homeless orphan. With nowhere to go, she’s taken in by the Sohma family. What she doesn’t know, is that what seems like a kind gesture, comes with more than a few secrets.  

high school age anime boy and girl in school hallway

The Sohma’s aren’t a normal family – they’re all possessed by animals from the ancient Chinese zodiac and doomed to transform into their animal anytime they come in contact with the opposite sex. 

Between the curse, the Sohma drama behind closed doors, and the sudden love triangle developing, Tohru’s high school life is anything but normal these days. If she’s lucky she’ll be able to help the family break the curse and live normal lives before it’s too late. 

Why recommend it to your friends: This series has ended up in several of my lists so far and rightfully so! It’s too good not to mention again! 

The show really has something for every anime fan. There’s a large ensemble cast of lovable, well-written, three-dimensional characters. Even the villains were interesting, which really challenged your perceptions of right and wrong during the series. 

Despite everything going on, the romance in this series is strong. There are several relationships to follow and they all present different looks at high school couples. 

This show seamlessly transfers between being hilarious one minute to tear-jerking or intense the next. You’re never bored watching it (or rewatching it like me). 

If you don’t trust me, the MAL stats should tell you everything. This series is number one in three of its five genres, and it’s in the top four of the remaining two categories. 

This reboot is definitely worth the hype. 

If you enjoyed it, consider purchasing the Fruits Basket Manga!

2. Sukitte Ii na yo. (Say “I Love You”)

Mal Score: 7.44

Aired: 2012

Mei Tachibana isn’t simply playing hard to get, she just may be impossible.

What’s it about: Ever since a misunderstanding when she was in elementary school, Mei Tachibana has been a loner by choice. She has no interest in others and most people are only interested in making fun of her. 

Yamato Kurosawa is the exact opposite. He’s popular, charismatic, and the desire of every high school girl who’s ever laid eyes on him, but he’s not interested in any of them. 

A series of chance encounters at school brings them together and while Mei wants nothing to do with him, Yamato has never met anyone like her. He couldn’t be more enamored and he’s not going to drop this until he gets to know her. 

When a scary circumstance forces Mei to rely on Yamato to come to her rescue, she realizes she may have been wrong about him. If given the chance, he may even show her that she’s wrong about people and love in general. 

Why recommend it to your friends: As a romance lover, I’ve seen this series multiple times. It’s a classic romance story, so if that’s your thing, this series is perfect for you. 

Mei is apprehensive to the point of being cold, as most of the best loner girls are. She’s not awful, she’s just been hurt before, and the moment we meet Yamato, the audience knows he’s the perfect contrast to warm her icy exterior. 

Their chemistry is undeniable from the beginning. The dialogue and flirting are both cute, but also feel natural. I never cringed because things felt too cheesy or got upset because the plot was too unrealistic. 

While the romance is sweet, the high school element keeps things interesting. There’s no shortage of drama with catty fights, bullying, and backstabbing. There’s a good balance between the main characters’ love story and the side plots involving their friends. (Really though, Asami and Kenji are some of the best friends you could ask for!)

If you like your high school romance anime to truly feel like it was pulled right from the halls of your alma mater, look no further. This series is genuine without feeling boring or repetitive. It’s definitely worth checking out. 

Can’t get enough? Check out the Say “I Love You” Manga!

3. Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride)

Mal Score: 7.6

Aired: 2014

Whoever said, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” has never met Kou.

What’s it about: In middle school, Futaba Yoshioka was a completely different person. She was cute and girly, loved by the boys and hated by the other females. However as long as she had the attention of her friend, Kou, none of that mattered. 

high school anime boy and girl sitting on bench

When their plans to meet up at the festival fail and Kou mysteriously disappears, Futaba reinvents herself as a new person in high school. No longer is she the object of everyone’s affection—she’s now an unkempt tomboy with “friends” (a term I use very loosely).

She’s content to stay under the radar and keep up this facade, until one day Kou mysteriously shows up back in her life. He’s got a new name, new look, new attitude, and mysterious new back story, and even more new secrets, but one thing hasn’t changed. Futuba is still as obsessed with him now as she was in middle school. 

Why recommend it to your friends: Blue Spring Ride is somehow like and not like every teenage romance I’ve ever seen. The premise is familiar—unpopular girl likes unattainable boy. I thought I was going to get the usual tropes, but then the show takes a different turn, offering a refreshing take on a love story.

While Futaba and Kou know each other, it’s been so long and so much has changed, that they really don’t anymore. As a viewer, even just watching them get acquainted again would’ve been a cute romance. Still, the series goes further, adding some mysterious elements to Kou’s backstory that we have to solve in order to understand who he is now.  

The show does a good job of balancing the cute, flirtatious moments with more serious storylines to immerse you in the full high school experience. I loved that the focus wasn’t only romance, but also on friends, drama, and homelife, because it made the relationship between Futaba and Kou play out in a more believable way. It didn’t feel forced.

Kou’s definitely got a hot, mysterious, troubled guy thing going on. It’s not a full-on bad boy or nice guy vibe. He fits somewhere perfectly in-between and it never afraid to say what he thinks. It contrasts perfectly with Futaba’s pretend tomboy thing and brings her back to her true self, which is an improvement! If you’re a fan of flirtatious moments, I loved watching them relearn to like each other after all those years apart. 

While their love is innocent, the entire show isn’t. It doesn’t pull back on other storylines, making this series play out realistically. I definitely felt like I was back in high school with all the drama and pettiness. Still, it’s so entertaining that I’ve binged this series multiple times now! Worth it every time! 

Try out the Blue Spring Ride manga! 

4. Just Because!

Mal Score: 7.3

Aired: 2017

New year, new me is nice and all, but no one mentions the new relationship problems.

What’s it about: thanks to his father’s job, Eita Izumi has never truly been able to lay his roots anywhere. He’s used to starting over, so it’s no surprise when they move just before his third year of high school. However, there’s something different this time around—this time he’s going back to his hometown. 

His sudden reemergence brings back everything from old friendships to old flames, as he tries to navigate life as a not-so-new transfer student. 

high school anime boy giving girl piggyback ride

He finds himself spending a lot of time with second-year photography student, Ena, while trying to figure out feelings for his old crush, Mio. At the same time, he’s trying to help his best friend, Haruto confess his feelings for his crush. It’s a whirlwind of high school love triangles and crushes as Eita tries to help his friends while figuring out if it’s better to stay with the girl you know, or try something new?

Why recommend it to your friends: When this show came out, I was hooked weekly. As far as high school series go, it’s got all the right elements. What really sells this series, is the characters. 

It’s obvious from the beginning, this is a character-driven show. Eita, who from the way he talks and Carrie’s himself, you’d assume is a dull, predictable protagonist. I expected to find him boring or irritable but he wasn’t. I found his character to be charming in an almost angsty way, as most of his personality is just self-defense. He’s a raw, relatable character that is complex enough to feel genuine and likable but still makes the mistakes and choices you expect a teenager would. 

The ensemble cast is just as interesting to watch develop and work through their own romances. Haruto was a loyal friend who I wanted to see succeed with his crush! Mio was often conflicted between her love life and regular life, which made things more complicated for Eita and the others. Despite being younger, and sometimes a tad unpredictable, Ena added the much-needed bit of spontaneity and excitement Eita needed to grow. They all meshed well and I loved their connections. 

There’s a certain teenage awkwardness to these kids I love. Nothing is perfect here and things get messy unintentionally just like real life. I was often on the edge of my seat, but not waiting for some crazy twist or action shot, I just remember how terrifying things like crushes and confessions could be. This show captures the reality of those life-changing moments so well. I was crazy emotionally invested as if any of it affected my real life. 

When I recommend this to my friends, I always tell them I have a love-hate relationship with this series. I love it and I hate that Eita didn’t end up with my favorite girl.  

If you liked the show, you can own the Just Because! blu-ray!

5. Watashi ga Motete Dousunda (Kiss Him, Not Me!)

Mal Score: 7.02

Aired: 2016

Beauty is only skin deep…but boys’ love is forever!

What’s it about: This is Kae Serinuma…

This is also Kae Serinuma…

If you’re wondering how that’s possible, you can keep reading, or you can turn on Kiss Him, Not Me! already and find out!

As a dedicated otaku, Kae Serinuma spends most of her high school days obsessing over Boy’s Love content. She’s so deep, she even fantasizes about the boys in her class ending up together. Although some might find it weird, because Kae is fairly overweight, she goes rather unnoticed.

However, everything changes after Kae is dealt a devastating blow by one of her favorite shows. Too depressed to eat, go to school, or even leave her room, she confines herself until she recovers. When Kae finally emerges, not only has she lost significant weight, but she’s absolutely gorgeous!

It doesn’t take long for everyone in the school to notice the change. Suddenly all the boys she used to fantasize about actually want to date her, but all she wants is for them to date each other! Little do they know, locking down Kae may be harder than these boys think! 

Why recommend it to your friends: While the idea of losing that much weight that quickly may seem totally ridiculous, that’s half the fun. The whole show doesn’t take itself too seriously, leaving plenty of chances for you to laugh right along with all the awkward high school encounters. Free om the first episode, I found myself laughing out loud multiple times!

This is essentially a reverse harem (one girl and multiple boys), which I enjoy because it gives you multiple suitors to choose from! They range in personality from sweet or effeminate tsundere to classic bad boy, adding plenty of variety to the dates and running gags! There’s a guy for every viewer’s type (or even a girl this time)! Half the fun is seeing all the most desirable, perfect boys hit on this totally clueless girl.

Since Kae has never really dated before, she’s hitting a lot of high school romance firsts with these boys. Even if she’s not totally interested, there’s plenty of cute romantic content for the viewers to enjoy!

My personal favorite was Shinomiya! Something about the small, adorable ones always gets me! Whether or not he was successful in winning Kae’s hand, you’ll have to see for yourself! No matter who you choose, you won’t be disappointed!

Purchase the Kiss Him, Not Me manga here!

6. Domestic na Kanji (Domestic Girlfriend)

Mal Score: 6.71

Aired: 2019

They say men like older women because they’re more mature, but clearly, Hina Tachibana never got that memo.

What’s it about: Natsuo Fujii is like most boys—he goes to school, has his own hobbies, and has a crush on his young, attractive teacher, Hina Tachibana. Assuming he never has a chance with her, he decides to move on and hook up with Rui, an aloof girl his own age who is solely interested in losing her virginity. As expected, it’s painfully awkward and they both decide to move on.

Which is easier said than done when Natsuo’s father announces that not only is he getting married, but the woman he’s marrying is moving in with her two daughters—Hina and Rui. 

Not only is he stuck living with the teacher he’s madly in love with, but the girl he lost his virginity to a few days earlier. Now he’s forced to navigate his relationship with both sisters, as Rui and Hina begin to develop feelings of their own for him. It should all be so simple, but it only gets more complicated as he becomes forced to choose between being a stepbrother or something more. 

Why recommend it to your friends: Well if you’re like a lot of curious viewers, you probably came to check out the sxx in episode one! Just kidding! Even if the temptation is what you came for, you surely stuck around for the drama and romance, right?

If this series sounds a little scandalous, that’s because it definitely is! While the student-teacher angle may not be everyone’s cup of tea, this series takes an interesting look at several taboo subject matters in a way that is still entertaining to watch. 

high school anime boy has romantic encounter with teacher

I enjoyed the series for how frustratingly realistic it was. With a lot of shows, you expect the best fairytale outcomes, but this series isn’t trying to glamorize anything. Natsuo is in love with his teacher, a fantasy I’m sure many have had. Like most kids his idea of her is flawless, but in reality, Hina’s life is an absolute disaster! This really adds some unique layers to her character and the show as you wonder why he likes her. 

If you think you know where this show is going, you probably don’t. It faces a lot of controversies for its subject matter; still, it gets a decent amount of praise in reviews for its accurate portrayals of lust and general teenage inexperience. I was constantly expecting the relationships to play out one way, only to have the show do the opposite. There was never a dull or boring moment!

I love a good romantic drama, and this delivers. It has all the sparks, awkwardness, and adorable firsts of a classic high school romance anime with Natsuo and Rui. Still, it adds a lot of unexpected conflict and twists with Natsuo and Hina’s relationship. If you like edgier takes on the usual high school romance anime tropes, this is a more mature and worthwhile spin on the norm! 

If you liked the series, try the Domestic Girlfriend manga!

7. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April)

Mal Score: 8.67

Aired: 2014

The truth can set you free, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t going to hurt.

What’s it about: After spending most of his childhood dedicated to becoming a skilled pianist, Kousei Arima has yet to touch one in years. His mother, the reason he played, is also the same reason he quit. Once she passed, Kousei literally couldn’t hear himself play anymore, causing him to break down and quit.

Everything changes when he meets Kaori Miyazano, a talented violinist and former fan. Her passion and persistence change everything he knows about music and the abusive environment he learned to play it in. It isn’t long before he’s falling in love, but it seems she’s already secretly in love with someone else. 

While Kousei’s mental health gets better, Kaori’s anemia gets worse. As they plan to play the gala together, Kousei realizes Kaori’s biggest secret may not be who she’s in love with at all. 

Why recommend it to your friends: This is one of those shows that sucks you in before you even fully realize it. I still remember watching it for the first time and binging it in less than twenty-four hours. 

It has everything I love in a high school romance anime—adorable chemistry, drama, huge misunderstandings. Yet what makes it special is probably what sets it apart, and that’s the added musical element. The show isn’t only about the love between two characters, but the love they have for their passion as well. Even as someone who doesn’t know a lot about music, it’s easy to get drawn in by the beautiful sounds and cute scenes the characters share while playing. 

The connection here is almost electrifying. I felt it immediately between Kousei and Kaori. Seeing the way they interact was so intoxicating, I craved more. It felt so pure and genuine, you can’t help but find yourself rooting for them. Throw in a few tragic flashbacks and a dash of high school angst, and you really just want to see these kids together and happy in the end. 

This series tugs at all your heartstrings and takes you on an emotional journey most high school romance anime don’t. If you like a good cry (or can’t help but tear up during everything like me), this series will definitely melt even the iciest of hearts. It’s mature without being raunchy and bound to make you emotional at any age. 

If you liked the series, check out the Your Lie in April manga!

8. Given

Mal Score: 8.35

Aired: 2019

How does that saying go again? Boys will be boys.

What’s it about: Ritsuka Uenoyama is not only a high school student, but also a guitarist in a band he started with his friends. It’s his passion. After helping his classmate, Mafuyu Satō, fix the broken strings on his own guitar, Ritsuka finds himself reluctantly agreeing to give him lessons. 

While his guitar skills are lacking, Mafuyu is actually a decent singer. Ritsuka invites him to fill the spot they’ve been missing. 

As they begin composing music for a huge upcoming show, Ritsuka finds himself growing attached to the often aloof, Mafuyu. The more he learns about his tragic past, or watches him grow as an artist, the more he finds himself interested in him. But surely this interest isn’t love, is it? 

Why recommend it to your friends: When I first started this anime, I knew two things: it was a boys love show, and it was about a band. I had no idea how they two would come together, but I was pleasantly surprised by the originality of it. I haven’t seen too many boy’s love series in a high school setting, so this was a nice break from the norm. 

What really stood out, what that it was a slower burn than normal. Mafuyu is more than aware of his sexuality already, but as viewers, we watch Ritsuka come to terms with his over the course of the show. If you’re a romance buff, this will hit all of the romance tropes you’re expecting. It was so cute watching Ritsuka go through these romantic firsts and flirty moments while being confused as to what it all really means. 

Be warned though! It isn’t all meet-cutes and fluffy romance! There’s definitely a deeper, more complex love story being told here as well (be prepared to shed a tear or two!). While it follows Ritsuka and Mafuyu specifically, the series also gives glimpses at the unrequited feelings of other characters, as well as looks at Mafuyu’s old relationship. 

Even as side stories and flashbacks, these moments fit into the overall series very well. I found that the attention paid to these plots made the overall show more compelling. I loved every character, and laughed and cried and fell in love right along with them!

If you’re a fan of romance, and/or boys love, this series is a must-try! It’s not as over the top as a lot of yaoi series out right now! If you’re looking for a well-done high school romance anime centered around boys love (with surprisingly good music), look no further!

You can support this series by purchasing the Given manga!

9. Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen (Kaguya-sama: Love is War)

Mal Score: 8.40

Aired: 2019

If love is a battlefield, then I don’t want to know what hate is. 

What’s it about: Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya have it all. Power, respect, envy, and on top of that, everyone thinks they’re the greatest power couple to walk the halls.

The thing is, they’re not a couple. 

When it comes to love, neither of them have any experience, but they both know love makes you weak. For this reason, they refuse to confess to each other. However, if they can make the other person confess to them, that’s something different.

So naturally, the only logical thing to do is secretly engage in war tactics to trick the other into confessing. What could possibly go wrong there?

Why recommend it to your friends: If you haven’t at least heard of this series by now, id be surprised! There’s a reason it’s as popular as it is! 

I was skeptical first but at the insistence of a friend, I tried the first episode! I was immediately hooked after and couldn’t believe I hadn’t been watching since it premiered! 

For as serious and put together as both main characters come off, it’s hilarious and endearing to see that they’re really just normal teens with crushes! I think that’s half the appeal–these kids aren’t trying to be too mature or grown-up. They’re genuinely a bunch of confused kids navigating crushes! It is all the innocence of first love while still having to edge and maturity of a high school setting!

I can’t say enough good things about how fun this series is! Still, it isn’t only the jokes! The plot is easy to follow, even with each episode broken up into several shorter stories. The side characters are just as interesting as the mains (seriously still hoping for Fujiwara and Ishigami to fall in love over here). There are even more serious, tender romantic moments that really add depth to the overall relationship dynamic! I don’t mind waiting through all the fights to watch them fall in love! 

Luckily there’s no real war or fighting either, just plenty of fun high school romance anime misunderstandings! 

If you enjoyed the show, check out the Love is War manga!

10. Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai (Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai)

Mal Score: 8.29

Aired: 2018

If you thought puberty wasn’t hard enough the first time, try living through it twice!

What’s it about: Third-year student and famed actress Mai Sakurajima is literally disappearing. Slowly it seems no one notices her—her classmates, store owners, complete strangers. She can’t seem to understand what’s happening, but her classmate Sakuta Azusagawa is all too familiar with strange phenomena. 

It’s puberty syndrome, a condition that affects terns under immense stress by manifesting in strange, supernatural ways. 

For some, it’s body doubles or mysterious scars. For Mei, it’s being forgotten until she literally doesn’t exist. Luckily Sakuta can still see her. He’ll do everything he can to help her, and the rest of their friends, overcome their own mysterious problems. 

Why recommend it to your friends: I can’t fangirl enough over this show. if I could experience watching them fall in love again for the first time, I would do it in a heartbeat! 

The story is so unique, which is nice because it really sets itself apart from other high school romance anime. It touches everything from sci-fi to comedy, to romance without feeling too cramped. It had something for everyone, even my pickiest anime friends!

anime bunny girl pinches anime boy

This series has a lot to offer, but the characters are what really make it stick with you! The amount of chemistry Mai and Sakuta have out of the gate is some of the best I’ve ever seen! They have some of the best flirtatious banter! It’s not only well written but just spicy enough to make me blush at times and cackle at others. It’s just perfect for a truly believable high school romance! 

This is just one of those series that takes everything you love about a genre, and improves on it! It’s a show I think about it often and always recommend it. I love to rewatch it. It’s just that good. 

If you liked the series, try the Rascal Doesn’t Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai manga!

11. Horimya

Mal Score: 8.21

Aired: 2021

There’s a reason they say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover!” You guys could end up dating later!

What’s it about: Kyouko Hori is everything you expect a popular girl to be: smart, kind, pretty, and well-liked by others. Izumi Miyamura is a loner and the opposite of all of those things, at least that’s what everyone assumes. 

One day, chance just so happens to bring Hori and Miyamura together, sparking an unexpected, but undeniable, connection. There’s so much more to Miyamura than meets the eye, and not just the secret piercings and tattoos! 

From there, friendship blossoms into romance. Hori encourages Miyamura to come out of his shell and meet all sorts of new friends in the process…but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to the dramas of high school anyway. 

Why recommend it to your friends: This series was a big hit in 2021 and it’s pretty easy to see why!

On the surface, the show comes off as a classic slice-of-life romance about a beautiful girl and unpopular boy, but it’s more layered than just first crushes and misunderstanding plots.

anime boy holds anime girl

One of the things that really stands out about the series is how different the kids feel from the romance series of previous generations. It’s refreshing to see the way storytelling and plots have changed to reflect the trends of the times. Whenever new drama started, or new characters like the student council were introduced, the way students reacted wasn’t what I expected and I loved that.

The kids in this series are more accepting, more willing to acknowledge their feelings even if they don’t always share them. Horimiya isn’t relying on old tropes to be popular. Despite being a huge fan of the classics high school romance anime like Lovely Complex or Kimi ni Todoke, I was still able to appreciate these nuances in these updated storylines. The way they choose to tackle tense subjects like mental health and self-worth head-on, instead of just brushing over them, really made each character more dynamic and also more relatable.

The show was fun enough to get my interest, but what really got me to stay were the characters and relationships. Despite some serious awkwardness in the beginning, Hori and Miyamura form a bond that is impossible not to obsess over each week. I found this take on the opposite attracts trope to be entertaining, but also satisfying because the show didn’t make me wait an entire season to finally see them end up together. We really got to focus on their relationship together, instead of just the awkward courting phase which was a fun break from the norm!

One of the more authentic feeling high school romance anime! Not everything is a fairytale but that doesn’t mean the romance isn’t just as good! 

If you like it, consider purchasing the Horimiya manga!

12. Kimi ni Todoke

Mal Score: 8.0

Aired: 2009

It looks really could kill, I’d probably avoid Sawako too.

What’s it about: There’s something off about Sawako Kuronuma and all her classmates know it. Why else does she look like the girl from The Ring? Why else would she see spirits? If anyone actually bothered to get to know her, they’d realize that she can’t do that. She’s just a normal, painfully awkward high school girl. 

When her classmate, Shouta Kazehaya, finds himself curious enough to get to know her, is when everything changes! He’s everything that Sawako isn’t—popular, outgoing, approachable. They’re opposites, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to befriend her. 

It’s in meeting Shouta, that things finally start to change for Sawako. She begins making friends and even learns to speak up for herself instead of just taking everything people dump on her.

What starts as an innocent friendship may even begin blossoming into more, but could someone as popular as Shouta ever be into someone like Sawako?

Why recommend it to your friends: I still can’t believe how long it took me to watch this show! 

If you’re a romance fan, this series is a slow burn that totally delivers! It hits all the  ‘popular boy falls for mysterious, beautiful girl’ tropes and yet it never feels old or boring! What really helps is the comedy woven into the series. They’re great laughs, that also emphasize how harmless and misunderstood Sawako is as well. It all lightens the mood! 

I can’t talk about this show without fangirling over Shouta! Not only is he a literal prince charming, but the way the series plays his dynamic with Sawako is fun to watch! I really enjoyed seeing the guy this popular pine over a girl. He’s in love but he’s also a gentleman and genuinely wants what’s best for her. The guy definitely puts most high school boys to shame, but without feeling like his character is too cheesy or perfect. The balance is really what makes him likable!

This is one of the few shows where I don’t mind how long it takes the characters to realize they’re in love because the day-to-day interactions are just as satisfying! As far as high school romance anime go, this show is top tier and should definitely be on your list if it isn’t already! 

If you enjoyed it, check out the Kimi ni Todoke manga!

13. Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu (Komi Can’t Communicate)

Mal Score: 8.09

Aired: 2021

Whoever said “communication is the key to success”, has never tried to communicate with someone like Komi.

What’s it about: Hitohito Tadano is an ordinary first-year student whose only goal is to fly under the radar. At least it is until he meets the mysterious Komi, who is not only the most gorgeous girl he’s ever been but the most popular girl in school. Now he’s sitting right next to her, and the jealousy from the class is obvious.

high school anime boy and girl in class

What the class doesn’t know, is that Komi’s mysterious persona is no cool facade. She’s never made a friend because she can’t. Her crippling social anxiety literally keeps her from uttering words.

After convincing her to write to him, Tadano makes a promise. He’s going to help Komi overcome her fears and make a hundred friends. Problem is, Tadano is both overestimating himself and his classmates.

No one told him this was a school for strange and eccentric children, the kind who might be too much for Komi to handle after all.

Why recommend it to your friends: This anime was nothing I expected, but I absolutely loved it. The best way I can describe it is a mix between Love is War and Kimi ni Todoke. (You can’t tell me Komi’s chibi faces doesn’t remind you of Sawako’s)

At first, I thought it was strictly romance, but after laughing through the entire first half, I thought, ‘this must be a comedy!’ The next thing I knew I was teary-eyed and by the end of episode one, I was rushing to episode two!

There are a lot of nuances here. This series touches on subjects like social anxiety and gender without overtly throwing them in your face. I was enjoying all the jokes and eccentric characters so much, at first I didn’t even realize the bigger picture. There’s a lot to learn about accepting people who are different from you, but they use the dialogue and comedy well to blend the themes seamlessly into the story.

What this high school romance anime does especially well, is blend a lot of different ideas and tropes together in a way that doesn’t feel crowded. On the surface, you see the ‘generic main character guy’ and the ‘girl who’s so beautiful she has no friends and think, “I’ve seen this anime before”. Then the series introduces the rest of the cast and the eccentric school and shatters all your expectations. I thought all the different kids with their quirks would be too much, but they fit and all playoff Komi so well—which is amazing considering she literally doesn’t talk.

The connection between Tadano and Komi is rooted in genuine friendship, which is nice because I love a good ‘friends to lovers’ trope. You can tell he cares about her for more than just how she looks, and the closer they get, the more interaction and hilariously adorable moments between them you get. Yet, if you’re typically more of a shonen than shojo fan, this series doesn’t lean as heavily on romance as others, making it more appealing to a wider audience.

Can’t get enough? Check out the Komi Can’t Communicate manga!

14. Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice)

Mal Score: 8.96

Aired: 2016

If love makes you do crazy things, what do years of regret and guilt make you do?

What’s it about: Today, Shouya Ishida is going to kill himself. It’s the only way he can make amends for relentlessly bullying his deaf classmate, Shouko Nishimiya, back in elementary school…Or he would’ve killed himself, if only his mother hadn’t caught him and stopped him from carrying it out. 

So instead of sacrificing himself, Shouya must look for other ways to make everything right—even if that means confronting Shouko directly. 

anime boy and girl in high school hallway

He shows up at her school, attempting to return a notebook he took from her years ago, and somehow winds up asking to be friends. From there, his formally isolated and miserable life takes a complete turn, thrusting him into a world of friendship, drama, and even romance, he never thought he would be allowed to inhabit. 

In getting to know Shouko, Shouya realizes that the guilt he’s been carrying since childhood not only negatively affected his life, but hers. It’s going to take more than an apology to fix the damage he’s caused, and despite his good intentions, he might already be too late. 

Why recommend it to your friends: When I first read the description for this movie, I thought it sounded fairly depressing for a high school romance anime. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Did I cry? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely. 

Everything about this movie is captivating—the animation, the soundtrack, the acting (I enjoy it both subbed and dubbed honestly). I even enjoyed the side characters and plots. Nothing felt out of place. All of the elements come together to tell a cohesive, genuine story that a lot of people can relate to in one way or another. 

There are obviously lessons to be learned here about bullying and disabilities. The movie does a great job of presenting the themes, while still being hilarious and emotionally gripping. I was highly entertained, without ever feeling like the anime was trying to shove morals in my face. 

One of the best things for me though, was seeing the characters change and grow in a way that felt realistic. I knew there was going to be romance, but when the movie opens up with bullying, it doesn’t give you a lot of hope. Both Shouya and Shouko work tremendously hard to overcome the people they were as children and blossom into teenagers capable of loving one another despite their past. This movie doesn’t hold back, and its both honest and beautiful in its portrayal of how hard it can be to forgive people and move on. 

If you enjoyed the movie, purchase the A Silent Voice manga here!

15. Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru (My Dress-Up Darling)

Mal Score: 8.45

Aired: 2022

Some people play with dolls. Some people play with hearts. Gojou is about to become an expert at both.  

What’s it about: Wakana Gojou isn’t like other boys. Instead of joining a club or playing sports, he spends his free time crafting traditional Japanese Hina dolls in hopes of one day becoming a professional. It’s not the kind of hobby he can share with people, for fear of being ridiculed. So Gojou keeps to himself and hides away in the background.

high school anime boy and girl buy ribbon

He’s content to remain this way until the most popular girl in school discovers his secret! Marin Kitagawa is popular, outgoing, and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. She’s everything Gojou isn’t, but he has one talent she doesn’t–he can sew! As someone who’s always wanted to cosplay, but never had the skills, Marin sees this as the perfect opportunity!

After seeing how passionate she is, Gojou agrees to help Marin make the perfect cosplay! Maybe they’re not so different after all? Or maybe it’s those very differences that will remind Gojou why he’s kept to himself for so long.

Why recommend it to your friends: I can’t say I’ve been this surprised and excited by a show since “Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunnygirl Senpai”. Halfway through episode one, I knew I was going to binge this entire series! 

I’m usually not a sap for themes and messages, but as an anime fan, this one hit home. This anime really focuses on being yourself and finding passion and purpose in the things you love without shame. Not only is that a great philosophy to live by, but it’s also especially sweet to see in a high school romance anime! You shouldn’t have to change yourself to make friends, or even to fall in love and that’s beautiful. 

Even though there’s a clear theme, the show still does a great job of being engaging and entertaining. Marin commands attention both from her peers and from the audience. It’s hard not to love a character who is so confident in themselves. She really brings out a lot of good traits in Gojou (even though he’s mostly perfect anyway) and plays off his character in ways that are both hilarious, and charming. I wanted them together from episode one, but I knew I would have to be patient. Honestly, I could watch them flirt for seasons and be okay with it. 

This series is incredibly fun. Everything from the character designs, the jokes, and even the pop culture references to things like manga, visual novels, and otome games all made the experience even better. Plus I never thought I would say this, but this might be one of my favorite examples of fan service in an anime series. It’s there, but it’s never too long or drawn out. Honestly, some of the fan service is weaved into the jokes so well, you hardly notice it. 

It’s easy to see why this show was as popular as it was! If you haven’t already given it a chance, it’s worth a shot! It’s the kind of high school romance anime that has something for every fan to enjoy!

Check out the My Dress-Up Darling manga!

16. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun (Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun)

Mal Score: 7.86

Aired: 2014

When they said “labors of love”, it wasn’t meant to be taken this literally. 

What’s it about: When Chiyo Sakura says she’s a fan of Umetarou Nozaki’s, she means of him, not his work. Too bad the secret shoujo manga doesn’t quite understand. Instead of a boyfriend, Chiyo ends up with not only an autograph but a job helping Nozaki with his manga!

high school anime boy and girl sitting together embarrassed

With time, their lives become far more intertwined as she gets to know both him and his friends. What starts as an unrequited crush turned business partnership, soon blossoms into a genuine friendship. Still, Chiyo can’t help but want more. She doesn’t give up her goal of confessing, but unlike his characters, it may take Nozaki more than a few times to finally take the hint! 

Why recommend it to your friends: Confessing to a crush is hard enough already (I say that from firsthand experience). I can’t imagine what’s worse: being let down or being misunderstood? Still, this high school romance anime manages to take an uncomfortable situation and make it fun to watch! I thought the setup would be awkward, but it’s actually hilarious. 

Umetarou’s more aloof personality should seem dry or even mean, but he’s surprisingly charming. His cluelessness mixed with his straightforward personality plays well off the other bolder characters, especially Chiyo. 

This is a series with an ensemble cast really helps elevate the show. Sometimes it feels kike friends or side couples can distract from the main, but here they’re a compliment. Popular boy characters like Mikoshiba not only add some fun comic relief, but also more insight into Umetarou’s character. It’s always more fun watching a group of characters who genuinely feel like friends with each other, instead of just friends with the love interests being forced to hang out together!  

I’m not from Japan, so I can’t say how realistic a teenage manga author is, but it works! Regardless of the premise, this is one of those high school romance animes where you come for the fun but stay for the adorableness of it all. Sometimes it’s nice to watch teens be teens and really experience all the ups and downs of crushes! (Though honestly, the autograph running gag is hilarious enough for me to stick around!)

Support the mangaka by checking out the Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun manga!

17. ReLife

Mal Score: 7.99

Aired: 2016

“I want to relive high school!” – said no one ever.

What’s it about: It’s safe to say Arata Kaizaki’s life is going nowhere. He’s got nothing to show for 27 years, and even less to lose. So when a mysterious stranger offers him a pill that could literally change his life, he has no reason to say no! 

Of course, the pill isn’t without strings. Its only side effect is making him physically appear 17 again while retaining his current mind. With his newfound youth, Arata must just the ReLife program and redo one year of high school. If he can prove himself by thriving and helping the other teens, he might even land himself a job in the end! All he has to do is not blow this opportunity by doing something reckless like falling in love. Then again, no one ever said high school kids were the best at making decisions. 

Why recommend it to your friends: If you’ve been to high school, you know it’s not the kind of place most people are eager to go back to. So why watch a show about a guy doing exactly that? I can think of a few reasons. 

What really sold me on this show at first is how relatable it is, in both its comedy and its more serious parts. Arata isn’t thrilled about returning to school. He’s rather cynical but still open-minded enough that his observations of his surroundings had me crying laughing. It’s his conflicting love-hate relationship with the program that really makes the series, especially because he’s a genuinely good guy who wants to help the other teens.

While the comedy and slice-of-life aspects honestly would’ve been enough for the series, the added romance element throws the show for a loop in a good way! It’s the kind of romance that develops so naturally over the course of the series, it’s like you’re falling in love right along with Arata. Having a crush while in the program creates a unique set of complications that weren’t like a lot of other high school romance animes. It was one of the more original romance storylines that involved some captivating plot twists! 

This show is such an easy watch because it has a little of everything! It’s hilarious, but also romantic, dramatic, and heartfelt. It’s even a little mysterious at times to really round things out! A great watch for any high school romance anime fans! 

If you enjoyed this high school romance anime, give the ReLife Blu-ray a try!

18. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (My Little Monster)

Mal Score: 7.49

Aired: 2012

If all monsters were as likable as Haru Yoshida, maybe I wouldn’t still be afraid of the dark.

What’s it about: Getting top grades is Shizuku Mizutani’s number one priority. It always has been, at least until the day she meets Haru Yoshida. Despite his wildly unpredictable antics and violent nature, he’s like a breath of fresh air in her normally mundane life.

They’re nothing alike, and yet, the more they get to know each other, the more similar they really are. Somehow he’s clueless but equally as smart as she is. He’s violent, but also incredibly loyal and protective. Despite how hard to read he can be, everything he does is genuine and with Mizutani in mind.

When he confesses he to loving her after barely knowing her, Mizutani is taken aback. Yet instead of running, she finds she can’t escape him, and that maybe she might not want to. She might even find herself falling in love with him if she can look past everything else.

Why recommend it to your friends: Having never seen this show, I didn’t know what to think. Even when I was watching the first episode, there were so many ups and down and surprises, I wasn’t sure where it was going. Somehow despite all that, I couldn’t stop watching because it was surprisingly captivating. 

Some of the shorter, flashier scenes really helped to keep my attention, pulling me in with a hilarious joke and then showing me just enough drama to make me stay and keep me guessing. This anime finds a way to balance the story even when moving quickly through plot points. I was never confused by the fast pace. If anything, I liked how it kept me on my toes. 

Haru’s antics were crazy and unpredictable but equally as entertaining. I laughed at him and with him. I cried for him. He was blunt without sounding overly malicious, which was refreshing instead of playing off his rudeness for a joke. His character is hard not to like, and just like Mizutani, even when he was wild, I found him endearing.

This high school romance anime was filled with so many pleasant surprises I never felt bored. I was surprised by, but still appreciated, the way this anime got straight to the point. It left more room to focus on the actual relationship, instead of just the courting part! It was a nice change of pace from the usual drawn-out dating story and definitely worth the watch!

If you enjoyed the series, check out the My Little Monster manga!

19. Lovely Complex

Mal Score: 8.04

Aired: 2007

Everyone knows the best things in life are short and sweet, even the boys apparently. 

What’s it about: Towering above everyone at 172cm (5’8”), Risa Koizumi is easily the tallest girl in her class. While it draws attention, it’s not the kind she wants. It’s definitely not the kind that gets her a boyfriend. 

At only 156cm (5’1”), Atsushi Otani isn’t fairing any better. As the shortest boy in their class, the girls aren’t exactly flocking to date him either. 

anime girl and boy high five

It seems neither of them can lock down what they really want: a significant other. It’s not for lack of trying though! In fact they try, quite a bit with various schemes. Yet, when their constant antics lead them into a bet to see who can get into a relationship first, it becomes clear there’s undeniable chemistry between them. If only they would realize it too!

Why recommend it to your friends: The chemistry here is impossible from the beginning. It’s one of the biggest draws of this series to me.

A lot of high school romance anime can start off with the characters being awkward or pining,  so it was nice to see them interact as friends first. It really built a solid foundation that made the relationship between them seem not only realistic but more fun to watch. Even the height jokes never felt like too much or got old! It was nice to see the show didn’t totally rely on them! The two characters really played well off of each other and it made me root for them even harder!

Both characters have such strong personalities which was fun to see. Usually one is more timid, but I loved how outspoken Risa could be, especially since Otani was equally as opinionated. It was unexpected but added to the comedy. Just because they butt heads frequently, didn’t mean they couldn’t be caring as well. The emotions and interactions felt balanced but believable as well.

This anime was one I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as I did! I didn’t know anything about it when I first watched but was pleasantly surprised at how well it depicted their relationship! It was one of the more genuine feeling high school romance animes but it still has plenty of humor and fun to keep you interested!

Check out the Lovely Complex manga! 

20. Tsurezure Children (Tsuredure children)

Mal Score: 7.59

Aired: 2017

What’s better than one high school romance? Multiple high school romances for the price of one!

What’s it about: Teenage romances can be unpredictable. Sometimes it’s as easy as just a simple confession, while other times, it takes a lot more persistence. Some relationships last forever, while others crash and burn before ever getting off the ground. Tsurezure Children gives viewers a front-row seat to all of that and more. 

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This series follows multiple kids and couples through various stages of their relationships. Some students are just working up the nerves to confess. Other students are already dating and working through all the ups and down that come with an established relationship. There are even students caught up in stranger antics, like blackmail.

Told in short clips over the course of an entire season, Tsurezure Children offers the chance to see high school romance from every angle, watching how they intertwine and affect one another. Will your favorites end up together? Or will everything come crashing down in the end? 

Why recommend it to your friends: This is one of the more unique experiences on the list, but equally as good as any other high school romance anime. 

The most obvious difference between this series and most others is that episodes of Tsurezure Children are shorter than standard anime episodes. While there were times I definitely wished the episodes were longer, they were also very easy to get through and had basically no filler moments. Each episode is divided into shorter clips, usually, just a few minutes long, that follow or continue the story of a specific student. It was an easy series to throw on really quickly when you only had a little bit of time! 

What I really loved is that while the animation of the show makes it looks soft and adorable (which it is), it’s also very diverse and realistic. For a high school romance anime, they don’t shy away from more intimate storylines or even crazier ones like having to save a friend from a potential child molester. Yet it’s still quite funny and relatable. There’s never a dull moment! 

Not every couple gets a happy ending either. You get the ups and downs of dating all in one. What’s really fun, is when some of the students’ stories intertwine with the others! It really felt like being in high school again and keeping up with all the drama. Yet, despite all of the storylines, it’s easy to follow and really offers you a glimpse at all the different stages of young love and dating. 

This series was easy to love and so fast-moving that it never left me bored. If anything, I just wish there had been more of it! 

If you liked it, try the Tsuredure Children manga! 

21. Itsudatte Bokura no Koi wa 10 cm Datta. (Our Love has Always Been 10 Centimeters Apart)

Mal Score: 7.48

Aired: 2017

I never thought such a short distance could be so frustrating.

What’s it about: Haruki Serizawa and Miou Aida couldn’t be more different. He’s popular and outgoing. She’s sweet and timid. He wants to be a famous director. She’s still figuring it out. They shouldn’t even be on each other’s radar, yet they couldn’t be closer. 

They should be together already and everyone around them knows it. If only one of them could find the courage to take the last little leap. 

Even still, their lives are far more connected than they ever imagined. The circumstances that tie them together, may also be the very things to tear them apart. 

Why recommend it to your friends: For such a short series, I’m surprised it took me so long to finally watch it. Once I started it though, I just had to burn through the whole series. 

Out of all the high school romance anime on the list, this is by far one of the more emotional ones. I was not expecting to get my feelings hurt like this but I couldn’t help but come back for more! 

In just six short episodes, I formed an attachment to these characters that was hard to break. I wanted to see them all end up happy, even in the side relationships! That made the series that much more painful, but also more satisfying!

I would also say this is one of the more romantic entries on the list. Still, the series was never dull. There were good twists and some interesting drama to keep things interesting the entire time. 

If you’re looking for something more lovey-dovey, but still compelling, this is a good one. It definitely reminds you that there are more downs than ups in high school romance. Does that mean it doesn’t have a happy ending? You’ll have to watch and find out! 

You can stream the Our Love has Always Been 10cm Apart anime on here!

22. 5-toubun no Hanayome (The Quintessential Quintuplets)

Mal Score: 7.68

Aired: 2019

It’s always smart to keep your options open, but five options is a bit excessive.

What’s it about: Fuutarou Uesugi is a normal high school student with above-average intelligence from a family with a below-average bank account. So to help keep his family afloat, he takes a well-paying job tutoring five sisters. It sounds easy enough until it isn’t.

If beauty translated to grades, they’d all be star students, but sadly that’s not the case. Their study habits are bad enough, but their grades are even worse. If Fuutarou can’t figure out a way to bring their scores up, he’ll be out of the job he so desperately needs.

Even if he’s confident in his ability to teach, no one mentioned how much of a handful trying to deal with five teenage girls would be—especially when the feelings get involved too. One boy may be enough to tutor five girls, but he can’t love them all too.

Why recommend it to your friends: I was honestly expecting a harem anime the first time I dived into this. I wouldn’t have been upset or surprised, but I’m glad it wasn’t because what we get is so much better.

With five girls and five strong personalities, there’s never a dull moment. Not everyone gets along, especially not with Fuutarou, which makes for some exciting drama. Seeing one sister fall in love while another may be upset and another’s just starting to warm up to him really keeps you on your toes.

Even beyond the romance, the show has a lot to offer. The girls are all entertaining in their own right—with each of their personalities focused on a different trait. They have good chemistry with each other, which is hilarious, but throwing Fuutarou into the mix only adds to the fun! His dry humor really balances well with all the excitement.

With a movie as well, this is a high school romance anime that’s worth watching! The best part is probably trying to guess which sister Fuutarou will fall for in the end—I’m still not sure but I have my favorites!

Check out The Quintessential Quintuplets manga here!

23. Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-San (Don’t Toy with Me Miss Nagatoro)

Mal Score: 7.51

Aired: 2021

They say it’s not nice to toy with someone’s feelings. Luckily Nagatoro never claimed to be nice.

What’s it about: Once popular first-year student, Nagatoro sets her sights on the awkward second year, Naoto, his life is never quite the same.

Days he once spent alone in the art room, are now filled with teasing from his new underclassman.

Yet what starts as unwanted harassment soon begins to morph into something bordering friendship. Maybe she’s not teasing him because she likes him, but she’s not teasing Naoto because she hates him either. As the friendship blossoms, with both teens growing closer than they initially expected, it may even have the potential to turn into something more.

Why recommend it to your friends: With a title like that, I knew there was going to be some jokes and teasing involved and Nagatoro is relentless. However, this is one of those “don’t judge a book by its cover” relationships.

Unless this is your first high school romance anime, you’re probably used to the teasing dynamic a bit. It’s usually based on a crush or close relationship, but this doesn’t like that. Nagatoro and Naoto don’t know each other and they’re not crushing on each other. They’re just two people who’s paths crossed and they end up intertwined. It’s that dynamic that makes it interesting!

Naoto doesn’t have to put up with her, but he does. Nagatoro has other friends but she keeps choosing to find him and at first, you wonder why, but as they get closer you understand. It’s the perfect example of opposites attract and despite being from two different worlds, these characters play off each other well. The longer it goes on, the more Naoto comes into his own. As he grows more confident, the whole dynamic changes and you see Nagatoro really does care for him. It’s the most fun seeing her try not to act possessive over him and the bond they’ve created.

This is almost an enemies, to friends to lovers type saga. You get to see all the stages of the relationship and really become invested! You can’t watch this dynamic play out and not see it through to the end!

If you enjoyed the show, you can purchase the Please Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro manga here.

24. Ouran Koukou Host Club (Ouran High School Host Club)

Mal Score: 8.16

Aired: 2006

I swear the show isn’t what it sounds like. Unless it sounds like a show about a high school escort service…then it’s exactly what it sounds like.

What’s it about: Ouran High School is a place for children of the rich and elite filled with every amenity their heart desires. However even rich kids get bored too, and what better way to entertain them than with a host club.

What’s a host club you ask? It’s a club specifically for casual dating, where girls come to spend their free time with an available boy of their choosing. If you like a princely type of guy, there’s someone for that. If you’re into cool guys, they have someone for that. They even have cute guys and little devil types too!

So when Haruhi Fujioka, a girl who looks just like boy, finds herself in debt to the club, they take the chance to put her to work. The girls at school love her “natural type” vibes and are none the wiser about her being a girl. For as ridiculous as it all is, the longer Haruhi stays, the more she finds herself liking the club, and the more she finds herself falling in love with a certain member too.

Why recommend it to your friends: This series is a classic! I still remember the first time I watched it, I laughed out loud so many times during the first episode.

Haruhi is a memorable character, whose strong personality in a real contrast to the flamboyant male characters. She’s a strong independent woman who doesn’t need a man (or woman), so watching characters swoon over her while she comments on how stupid this situation is, is hilarious to see and hear.

The series tackles all sorts of fun or ridiculous tropes and topics to meet the requests of the females who come through the host club. The groups antics are nothing short of ridiculous, but its their serious dedication that really sells these acts. These boys do not play around, no matter how outlandish the request or interests.

For as silly as this high school romance anime can be, its also equally as genuine. The boys and Haruhi aren’t one-dimensional caricatures. They actually have depth, which is explored and really helps the viewers to understand these characters that much better. I loved the moments just as much as the comedic scenes as well. Seeing Haruhi fall in love with a guy you would think is everything she hates, is also fun to watch. It never feels forced for the plot either. There is genuine chemistry there, which makes watching the slow burn of their love even better.

If you liked the series, check out the Ouran High School Host Club Manga here.

25. Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU)

Mal Score: 8.02

Aired: 2013

First rule of customer service: the customer is always right…no matter how much Hachiman doesn’t believe they are.

What’s it about: Hachiman Hikigaya doesn’t believe in love, because he doesn’t believe in anything, and he’s not changing his mind anytime soon. In an effort to change his cynical ways, his teacher forces him to join the service club.

The only person who may be harder to handle than Hachiman is Yukino Yukinoshita. If looks could kill, they still wouldn’t be deadlier than her brutally honest way of saying things.

Despite their personalities, the two still come together in the service club to offer advice and guidance to the other students. Sometimes they actually even manage to help–now if only they could figure out their own problems.

Why recommend it to your friends: There’s a reason why this anime is so highly recommended–it’s hilarious. They really do put the “comedy” in romantic comedy. I definitely found myself genuinely laughing and not just snickering or thinking a joke was funny.

Sometimes those dry-type characters can be too boring or aloof to carry a show, but Hachiman is the perfect mix of caring and uncaring at the same time. He’s not totally checked out and still has the same desires every teenage boy does. You can tell he’s got room to change underneath his miserable exterior. He genuinely tries to give good advice too, which balances out some of his darker humor. He plays well off of Yukino, who actually seems colder than he is.

That brings me to what I enjoyed most, which was his dynamic with Yukino. She’s not your usual bubbly love interest, but she’s also not your typical tsundere type either. She and Hachiman are similar, but also just different enough that the jokes land perfectly every time. It’s also kind of fun to watch them change and grow together throughout the series as well.

As a whole, the series never feels too dark, cynical, or even uncaring. It actually gives off a vibe more similar to a fun romantic comedy thanks to some of the side characters and the scenarios the club is often dragged into. It’s a great high school romance anime to try if you’re looking for a funny, less conventional love story.

Purchase the My Teen Romantic Comedy Snafu manga here!

26. Beastars

Mal Score: 7.8

Aired: 2019

If you thought lions, tigers and bears were scary, wait until you see the animal mafia.

What’s it about: Beastars is just like any other high school romance anime, with one major exception—all of the characters are animals.

Set in an advanced anthropomorphic society where animals of different species live and thrive, this series follows a grey wolf named Legoshi as he tries to navigate a world where carnivores are considered the dominant species compared to herbivores.

After a friend of his, Tem the alpaca, is murdered by a carnivore student at school, Legoshi feels conflicted about his place as a wolf in society. Things only get worse when he develops a crush on his upper-classman, Haru, a small white rabbit he almost accidentally attacks one night on campus.

With tensions between carnivores and herbivores at an all-time high, his crush is not only taboo, but has some potentially deadly consequences as well. As a carnivore, it isn’t Legoshi’s job to protect everyone—but if he can just keep the girl he loves out of danger, maybe that will be enough.

Why recommend it to your friends: Hear me out. I know an anime about animal people might seem a little strange but don’t knock it before you try it.

The nice thing about Beastars is that it resembles most society’s so much, that it isn’t hard to immerse yourself into this animal culture. I actually liked the attention to detail the show gives different specifies like different menus for carnivores and herbivores, or how small animals walk along walls to not be crushed by larger ones. It all makes the world feel very real. The show often gets compared to Disney’s Zootopia, and in terms of world-building, I can easily see why.

Once you get passed the animals, this is definitely one of those shows that has something for everyone—action, mystery, drama, and romance. There’s a lot more going on here than just a love story, but almost everything is motivated by that love story. That motivation makes sure the story never gets too far off track, which helps because with an animal-based society, there’s a lot of room for side plots and semi-political storylines. Beastars does a good job of balancing everything it has to offer and tying it back to the central love story.

As soft and adorable as a show about animals may seem, this series doesn’t hold back. It’s not afraid to turn the drama up a notch with plenty of scandal, action, and promiscuity. If you’re expecting a kid’s show about animals, this isn’t it. I really liked how the series didn’t hold back with the intense storylines because it makes the stakes that much higher while allowing the relationship between Haru and Legoshi to really ground the series. It has the classic high school romance tropes like love triangles but also had some interesting gang-related side plots and other stories going on as well.

This is definitely a series I ended up enjoying more than I thought. I even read the manga. If you’re looking for a different spin on a high school romance, I highly recommend it.

You can purchase the Beastars manga here!

27. Sasaki to Miyano (Sasaki and Miyano)

Mal Score: 8.27

Aired: 2022

There’s obvious, there’s in denial, and then there’s Miyano, who wouldn’t know a good thing if it hit him in the face.

What’s it about: Yoshikazu Miyano is a fundanshi—a boy who enjoys yaoi or boys’ love stories. It isn’t something he brags about, and his friends accept him for who he is. It’s not like he’s fantasizing about ending up in a boys’ love scenario, or even a relationship.

Enter Shuumei Sasaki, an upperclassman who randomly enters Miyano’s life with a grand heroic gesture. What just started as a random occurrence soon blossoms into a friendship, or an obsession on Sasaki’s part really.

two high school anime males

For Sasaki, the day he met Miyano was a turning point in his life as he finds himself looking for any excuse to see the younger male more. He even goes so far as to start borrowing boy’s love manga from Miyano as a way of getting closer to him.

While Sasaki has a pretty clear idea of who he is and what he wants from this relationship, Miyano is still trying to figure himself out.

Even if he wasn’t looking for it, there’s no denying that Miyano has found himself smack dab in the middle of the most perfect boys’ love scenario—if only he would get a clue and realize it.

Why recommend it to your friends: If you’ve never watched a boys love series before, this is a good place to start. The first ten minutes of the series alone are almost like a boys’ love crash course in terms and tropes.

While a relationship between two men is still considered a bit taboo in this series, the characters don’t make a big deal out of same-sex relationships, which is nice because it doesn’t distract from the love story. The central focus is always the developing relationship between the two main characters.

Miyano is so oblivious sometimes it’s almost painful, but he’s also full of surprises. It’s interesting to watch his journey throughout the series because it doesn’t play out the way you would think at all! The more I learned about him, the more I had him, and this series, all wrong in the best ways. Sometimes with slice-of-life and high school romance anime, there isn’t much you haven’t seen before, but this series really has me thrown for a loop more than once with its storytelling.

What really made me love the series, was the chemistry between the two characters. I never got bored of watching them together. The flirting and cute scenes felt genuine—the same way a first crush or first love really is. It was awkward at times, confusing at others, but also rewarding too. Out of all the boys’ love series I’ve seen, this one felt the most sincere because it didn’t rely on crazy storylines or extreme BL tropes to make the show good. It was just a real love story between two young men.

If you enjoyed the series, check out the Sasaki and Miyano manga here!

28. Orange

Mal Score: 7.62

Aired: 2016

So where exactly do you find the mailing address for your past self? Asking for a friend…

What’s it about: Until today, Naho Takamiya was a normal high school girl with a crush on Kakeru, the new transfer student. Now, after receiving a letter from the future, she might be the only person who can save his life.

high anime boy and girl in an awkward romantic encounter

The letters detail all of her day-by-day decisions and encounters from now until the moment Kakeru ends his own life. In them, future Naho hopes not only to save her friend, but to get the old her to try the new experiences she was always too afraid to.

Naho soon learns that just changing a few small things won’t be enough to save Kekerus’s life. It’s going to take everything she has, and the help of her friends, to truly change the future, or shell risk losing everything she loves all over again.

Why recommend it to your friends: This series sounds sadder than it is, I promise. Is it an emotional roller coaster? Absolutely. Still, it isn’t all gloom and sadness.

For a high school romance anime, this series tackles so pretty heavy subjects like suicide and depression. What’s nice is that it never feels like a cheap storyline? The show approaches these mature subjects and handles them well, which makes the emotional tone of the show that much more intense. You feel like there are real stakes here because the actions the characters take have real consequences.

The real heart of the show though is the characters and their relationships. It’s obvious this is a close friend group–you can feel that from the beginning. That makes it easy to find yourself invested in the characters’ lives. I loved watching and trying to see which of my own friends in real life were like the ones in the show! I think I even liked some of the side characters more than I was supposed to! Since the group is so genuine, you really find yourself rooting for their success and hurting when they fail. (I’ll admit I cried more than once.)

This series manages to balance a fun side with a more serious side and bring you a story you can enjoy and relate to without ever feeling emotionally overwhelmed. This is a great series for fans who want a little more substance in their high school romance anime!

If you enjoyed the series, check out the Orange manga here!

29. Ore Monogatari!! (My Love Story!!)

Mal Score: 7.91

Aired: 2015

Here’s the reason they say “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.

What’s it about: Takeo Gouda is the literal definition of don’t judge a book by its cover. On the outside, he’s huge and intimidating, but on the inside, he’s a soft soul in search of true romance–if anyone would give him a chance. The fact that his best friend Makoto is always attracting girls with his good looks doesn’t help.

Despite his failings, he never lets that stop him from being a good guy. So when he saves a girl named Rinko on the train, only to learn about her crush on Makoto, he’s not surprised and tried to set them up.

high school anime students sit on a bench

But years of being the second fiddle, don’t prepare him for how he’s misread the entire situation. Rinko doesn’t want Makoto, she wants him! It’s almost too hard to believe and too good to be true! As the two begin dating, Takeo vows to be a good boyfriend.

If only that was the happy ending we were all expecting, buts only the beginning!

Why recommend it to your friends: This series was recommended to me before, and having never seen it, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it when I watched it!

Take a doesn’t have the traditional romance protagonist look to him, which I think is what always held me back. I always expected him to be the butt of the jokes, but that’s not the case at all! I liked his character the most.

He’s honest and funny, and he genuinely cares about his friends. I definitely pre-judged him and was pleasantly surprised by not only how likable he is, but how much characters like Rinko respect him too. While some jokes are made, this series doesn’t cop out with constant jokes about Takeo’s size or scary looks like you would expect.

What I really enjoyed about this show was the established relationship! It can be fun watching characters get together but sometimes that’s now what you want to see for twelve straight episodes. This series gets the courtship out of the way closer to the beginning so you can actually enjoy the characters together as a couple! This opens up the show for more storylines and scenes that you don’t always get to see!

I think that really helped make Takeo that much more likable because you actually get to see him try to be the good boyfriend he’s always wanted to be! It adds an interesting layer to the story you don’t see in a lot of high school romance anime!

Check out the My Love Story manga here!

30. Tsuki ga Kirei

Mal Score: 8.08

Aired: 2017

If there’s such a thing as love at first sight, this anime has convinced me.

What’s it about: Kotarou Azumi is an aspiring writer, and Akane Mizuno is a future track star. At the start of their third year of middle school, they’re classmates but also strangers.

high school anime boy and girl

Yet they can’t seem to stop running into one another, and they can’t deny there’s an undeniable connection there. The only problem is getting over the fear of taking the first leap; however, once they do, everything changes.

While navigating young love can be difficult and awkward, especially when trying to figure out middle school and high school at the same time, it may also be equally as rewarding in the end if Akane and Kotarou are willing to take the chance.

Why recommend it to your friends: From the constant giggling of teenage girls to the teasing and the meddling friends trying to help with your crush—everything about this anime feels like being fourteen again. Almost immediately I felt transported back to my school days (although mines weren’t nearly as exciting as a high school romance anime).

When recommended to me, I was told this anime feels like experiencing first love, and that’s the most spot-on description. It really seems to capture all the best and worst parts of first love, from the sweetest moments to the most awkward encounters. It’s so much more adorable and hilarious to watch these moments than it ever was to experience them.

At first, I thought the main characters might be too shy to ever actually get anywhere. I expected a long, drawn-out crush like so many other shows do, but it was surprisingly well-paced. Everything feels natural, not too rushed or too slow. You’re experiencing everything with these two at almost the same time, and it really helps to put you in their perspective and almost feel what they’re feeling.

I often say I’m rooting for characters, but this felt different. I wanted to see them together, but the emotions and dialogue between all the characters and their crushes felt so genuine that even though it isn’t a crazy drama series, you almost find yourself on the edge of your seat because you never know if things are going to work out! This is one of the few series that gets me to look back on my middle and high school years a little more fondly.

There’s no manga, but you can stream Tsukiksgarei on Crunchyroll!

31. Kawaii dake ja Nai Shikimori-san (Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie)

Mal Score: 6.97

Aired: 2022

If Shikimori is a jack of all trades, then Izumi is definitely a master of none.

What’s it about: Yu Izumi has a girlfriend, but not just any girlfriend. Shikimori isn’t just pretty or cute or in love with him—she might just be the coolest girl he’s ever met.

romantic high school couple hold hands

She’s always strong and reliable when he needs her to be, often coming to his rescue and he’s more than fine with that. While he tries his hardest to be capable, he’s never been the luckiest guy around, so it’s nice to have a girlfriend that keeps him from meeting his untimely fate on a daily basis. 

Although she often worries about looking too cool or tough and not cute enough, there isn’t a single thing in the world that Izumi would about his girlfriend.

Why recommend it to your friends: I didn’t know what to expect at first because I thought the show was going to be filled with high school romance anime stereotypes. I expected Izumi to be a completely useless character and Shikimori to be the classic perfect quirky anime girlfriend. 

Luckily that wasn’t the case. If anything, this series took those stereotypes and played into them in a way that was different and still cute. 

I loved that Izumi was actually very quite proud of his girlfriend and her accomplishments, as opposed to feeling jealous or less manly. It gave Shikimori the confidence to embrace both sides of her which was refreshing. Each character had more going on than just one “weak” or “strong” personality trait, which really made their relationship feel not only sincere but made it fun to watch. 

I found myself laughing at this series quite a bit. Even the parents and side characters were a fun addition to the overall series!

Check out the Shikimori is Not Just a Cutie manga! 

32. High school DxD

Mal Score: 7.34

Aired: 2012

The only high school romance anime I might recommend watching after high school.

What’s it about: Kuoh Academy is a special school with a special secret—some of its students are angels, fallen angels, or even devils. Yet even normal (overly perverted and tragically unlucky) students, like Issei Hyodo, still walk its halls every day completely unaware.

high school anime boy and girl embrace

When a date with a fallen angel leads to Issei being killed, his only hope comes at the hands of fellow student Rias Gremory—the devil that chose to revive him as one of her servants.

He’s suddenly thrust into a new world of monsters and even combat, with his own special abilities. Together with Rias, he becomes a member of the Occult Research Club in hopes of not only being able to help protect his friends but maybe even growing enough in the ranks of this new world to start his own harem one day.

Why recommend it to your friends: This may feel like one of the less conventional entries on the list, and it is. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you enjoy copious amounts of fan service, harem anime, and crude humor—this is for you!

Nobody told me before I started this show how raunchy it was. It doesn’t immediately stick out as a high school romance anime, but the more you watch it, the more you understand why it makes the list.

This series has a lot—demons, cool powers, epic fights. However, at its core, it’s about a horny high school boy’s crush on his classmate. Issei’s relationship with Rias makes up a lot of the story and motivation for what he does, but it’s never so over the top on romance that it distracts from the action. Issei is a hard character not to like and kind of sympathize with despite how wild he can beat times. He really is trying his best, but he’s inexperienced in combat, and like many boys, he’s often distracted by his lust.

I didn’t expect to laugh as hard as I was, but something about it is kind of intoxicating, even with the fan service. I never felt like it was so overwhelming that I couldn’t watch the show at all. If anything, it was so funny and just over the top that I found myself wanting more.

If you enjoyed the show, check out the High School DxD manga!

33. Toradora!

Mal Score: 8.10

Aired: 2008

Netflix may have introduced the world to the “Tiger King,” but he’ll never have anything on the original “Palmtop Tiger.”

What’s it about: Ryuji Takasu is a sweet boy with the face of a thug while Taiga Aisaka is the exact opposite. She may look innocent, but she’s one scary, cold-hearted high school student underneath. Those who know her terrifying exterior have nicknamed her the “palmtop tiger,” but most people don’t even bother to get to know the real Ryuji at all.

High school anime boy and girl in diner

Despite how they may be perceived, both are just innocent kids who would probably never cross paths if not for the fact they have crushes on each other’s best friends.

The obvious next move would be to help set each other up, but that’s easier said than done with these two. Maybe with a lot of effort, they can actually make these relationships work, or maybe it’s just easier if they end up falling for each other instead.

Why recommend it to your friends: it’s hard not to judge the characters when you first see them, especially when you’re like me, and you watched the series years after it came out, so you already have an idea of what to expect. Still, the series managed to surprise me with its storytelling and the emotions that it often made me feel.

There are so many tsundere girls, and scary-but-not-scary delinquent character’s out there that I expected the usual stories and tropes, but this series makes it clear why it’s stood the test of time.

I am a sucker for misunderstood characters, so immediately the plight of both characters stuck out to me! I was constantly rooting for them but genuinely upset and surprised when things didn’t go the way I wanted! That didn’t make the story bad though. If anything the constant twists and outcomes kept me interested. The small additions and details like Ryuji’s ability to keep a house and Taiga’s signature kicks really help to make the characters and the series memorable as a whole. Sometimes all high school romance anime can feel redundant, but this one was refreshing and funny without feeling boring.

You can tell this series is the foundation for so many high school romance stories after it, and it makes sense because, from the moment I finished the first ep, I knew exactly what it was considered a classic.

Support the Toradora manga here!

34. Sakura-sou no Pet na Kanojo (The Pet Girl of Sakurasou)

Mal Score: 8.10

Aired: 2012

After choosing a feline friend over his dorm, Sorata brings a whole new definition to the term “cat person”.

What’s it about: After taking in a cat at the prestigious Suimei University, Sorata Kanda is forced to move into the Sakura dormitory-a building meant to house the school’s most eccentric students. The thing is, unlike everyone else, Sorata isn’t talented or eccentric. He doesn’t write or have his own anime or any unique claims to fame to make him seem special.

high school anime boy and girl doing hair

The only person more clueless than him is Shiina, his teacher’s niece who also happens to live in the dorm. If she’s special, Sorata’s sure it’s for being absolutely helpless, and that definitely makes him feel needed as he helps to look after her. 

It’s not until he learns that Shiina is a highly regarded artist, Sorata realizes just how out of league he is with her and in this dorm. He’s never going to fit in there, so his only option is to get transferred back to the normal dorms–if only he could escape the Sakura kids or give up his cat. 

Why recommend it to your friends: Before this series was recommended to me, I had never even heard of it. Now, I see it everywhere, and it always comes with praise. It’s easy to understand why. 

At first, the show doesn’t look or sound like much, but after a few minutes, it really takes off and surprises you. The characters are all unique, if not a little wild, but it’s fun because that makes them easier to love or relate to. I found myself interested in characters like Misaki and Jin who not only had interests similar to my own but had interesting side plots in their own right during the series. 

The relationship between Sakuta and Shiina develops in a way that feels sweet and genuine. At first, the idea of him basically taking care of her doesn’t sound like it will end well, but both characters really inspire each other to do and be their best, which is sweet. Instead of feeling predatory, it’s actually adorable and endearing watching Sakuta try and show Shiina how to do normal tasks that most people would consider common sense. 

This is one of those high school romance series that is special not because of a wild plot but because of how sincerely the relationship builds between the characters. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, but it’s one that surprises you. 

If you enjoyed the series, purchase The Pet Girl of Sakura-sou manga here!

35. Kakkou no Iinazuke (A Couple of Cuckoos)

Mal Score: 7.23

Aired: 2022

Just when you thought your own family tree was complicated…

What’s it about: Nagi Umino was living a perfectly normal life until he found that because of a hospital mix-up years ago, the people he thought were his parents aren’t really his biological parents. It’s not the kind of mistake that can be easily reversed, but the families try to resolve it by meeting one another. 


On his way to his first meeting with his birth parents, Nagi runs into Erika Amano, a social media star who’s trying to deal with her own set of parent-related issues: they’re trying to set her up with an arranged marriage. 

After making Nagi pretend to be her boyfriend to get out of the marriage, everything seems to be working out—until Nagi realizes the person he’s been switched at birth with is none other than the same girl he pretended to be dating earlier that day!

It only gets crazier from there as it turns out that not only is their arranged marriage actually to one another but they’re being forced to move in together as well. 

Why recommend it to your friends: While the setup may sound a little far-fetched, that’s what really makes things interesting and makes this anime a fresh, fun watch. 

I knew I was sold on the characters when I found myself really enjoying Nagi and his family dynamics before the plot even fully revealed itself. It’s the whole idea of nature vs nurture as you see that not only does Nagi not resemble anyone in his family, he is clearly the most responsible member and they know it. Still, they all love each other anyway. Erika obviously looks different from her family as well, but her rich upbringing adds another layer to her character.

The actual fleshed-out families and contrasting personalities help to elevate the relationship between the main characters and make the whole thing seem more interesting than just a throwaway plot for some romantic comedy laughs—even if the show is still pretty funny. With high school romance anime, it can feel like we say the same ideas over and over, so it’s been nice having a series with such an interesting premise. It makes the classic tropes like unrequited love or love triangles feel almost new because of the new twists that come with such a wild plot (and believe me when I say, things get wild!). 

It’s the uniqueness of this high school romance anime that really catches the viewer’s attention. However, I stayed because I actually enjoyed the characters and wanted to see where this crazy idea took them. 

Check out the A Couple of Cuckoos manga here!

36. Kaichou wa Maid-sama! (Maid Sama!)

Mal Score: 8.01

Aired: 2010

It’s hard being both a feminist and a maid servant but anything is possible in the 21st century.

What’s it about: In a school that’s almost 80% male, Misaki may not be the most popular student, but as the first female president, she is the most respected.

high school anime couple embrace

No one would expect her, the tilt image woman’s rights advocate, to work somewhere like a maid cafe, serving prelimarily guys —so of course, her classmate Usui is surprised to see Misaki working in one. While he agrees to keep her secret, it doesn’t stop him from showing up every day to bother her personally.

It’s only through getting to know each other that they begin to realize that they both may have pre-judged each other but that still doesn’t mean that Misaki has any romantic feelings for Usui, right?

Why recommend it to your friends: When it comes to high school romance anime, Maid Sama is a classic and I’m sure everyone knows it at this point. It’s just one of those shows that does most things right.

The plot isn’t overly complicated or exciting, but it doesn’t need to be because it really allows the characters to shine! Misaki is portrayed as tough and unrelenting, but through working at the cafe you see she can be self-sacrificial and kind. Usui is supposed to be the crazy popular playboy character and he is. He’s suave and desirable but he’s also caring and understanding. We’d never get to see that if not for Misaki working at this cafe. Everything is set up so well that you really get a feel for these two and it makes watching them fall in love seems that much more genuine. There’s always a sort of tension in the air that I like because it adds weight to all of their scenes together.

It’s hard not to like Usui. He feels like the classic bad boy with a soft side character that was popular in teen dramas. Still, Misaki doesn’t make things easy for him, and that adds a surprising amount of comic relief. Everything about this romance feels well thought out and real, making it an easy series to get lost in and binge repeatedly. It’s like falling in love with it all over again.

If you enjoyed the show, check out the Maid Sama manga!

37. Nisekoi (Nisekoi: First Love)

Mal Score: 7.59

Aired: 2014

It’s everything you love about Romeo and Juliet but with gang wars

What’s it about: Despite being the son of a yakuza boss, Raku Ichijou has almost zero interest in inheriting the gang one day. Instead, he’s content living his life as a perfectly normal teenager, at least until the day a random transfer student named Chitoge Kirisaki accidentally knees him in the face on the way to school.


It seems that’s only the beginning of their relationship, as the pair soon find themselves forced to be around each other. With each encounter, it becomes more and more clear they can’t stand each other. Ichijo would be fine with never seeing Kirisaki again, but then his father drops a massive bomb on him: A war between yakuza factions is coming and the only way to stop it is if he dates the other gang leader’s daughter.

If only that girl wasn’t Chitoge Kirisaki.

Why recommend it to your friends: This show was so much funnier than I expected and I can’t believe I literally hadn’t heard of it until this year! The premise, although crazy, is still a pretty fun twist on the “forbidden love” trope. A lot of what makes this show entertaining, is that it takes common plots and turns them upside down to make them feel more new again.

When we first meet the characters, I thought I was just getting another high school romance anime with a tsundere girl and a pushover guy, but it wasn’t so cliche. Both Ichigo and Kirisaki surprised me with their growth and layered characters. They weren’t crazy deep, but they weren’t flat, one-sided characters either. They were fun to watch, especially considering it didn’t seem like either of them really “fit into” the yakuza environment. That only made their characters that much more likable and relatable.

I think the best part is that everything just feels so unexpected. The kids aren’t what you think at all—especially Ichijou. I didn’t think the parents would come up with such a crazy idea since usually, the kids are the ones with the bad ideas. I definitely didn’t expect the gangs to support it. The series is good without taking itself too seriously which allows for a lot more freedom to play around. The jokes aren’t too cheesy and really help to build the relationship between characters.

With high school romance anime, we know that most of the time the kids will end up together but for once, I was really excited to see how, especially since there are other love interests. I knew this series was going to do its best to try and catch me off guard and that’s what I really loved. If you like seeing classic storylines and tropes executed in unique ways, this is a good series. Somehow it manages to feel nostalgic and new all at the same time!

Check out the Nisekoi manga here!

38. School Days

Mal Score: 5.54

Aired: 2007

Full disclaimer: we are not liable for any PCs, TVs, cell phones, or tablets you may smash in frustration while watching this anime

What’s it about: After laying eyes on Kotonoha Katsura for the first time, Makoto Itou immediately falls for her. Problem is, he’s too shy to do anything about it.

high school anime male and females

After noticing his crush, his classmate Sekai Saionji agrees to help Makoto out and play matchmaker. She befriends both him and Kotonoha, in hopes of bringing them together…but never reveals her own motives for helping in the first place, and they may just have deadly consequences.

Why recommend it to your friends: Originally based on a video game, this may very well be the most controversial high school romance anime on this list. For that reason alone it deserves a shout-out.

This is one of those animes that you mention and either your friends know it and hate it immediately, or they’ve never heard of it at all. (Show it to them at your own risk).

However, none of this is to say that School Days is a bad show. It’s entertaining, just wild too. Think of the most dramatic teenage drama you’ve ever seen and multiply it times ten—that’s School Days. It’s intense, but that’s the fun of it. Once you get into it, you almost can’t stop watching. I remember binging the whole series in one night after I found it online.

Makoto is the poster boy for the plain, unremarkable male character who somehow ends up with a harem and you never understand why. Both girls deserve better, but as the viewer, you end up choosing sides anyway. (Team Kotonoha all day!)

This is one of those series that sticks with you because it’s so much crazier than some of the craziest entries you’ve seen in that genre. If you’re into dramas or soap operas, this show is definitely up your alley! If you’re just looking for a quick watch with plenty of surprises, this is still a good one! If you’ve never seen it and just want a good reason to flip a table, it’s definitely worth watching at least once just to say you did!

If you want to own this series, you can purchase the School Days blu-ray here!

39. Mirai Nikki (The Future Diary)

Mal Score: 7.44

Aired: 2011

The ability to see into the future sounds cool, until you find yourself in a battle royale deathmatch just to do it.

What’s it about: Yukiteru Amano is probably one of the few 14-year-old boys who still keeps a diary. Granted, he’s just recounting what he did that day in his cell phone, but still, he’s pretty consistent with it.

After having his phone transformed into something known as a future diary, Amano finds himself thrust into a game put on by the gods of space and time. His phone can now see the future up to 90 days in advance, but there’s a cost—Amano must find the other 11 diary holders and eliminate them to win the game and become the new god.

What he thought was an opportunity may just turn out to be a curse, especially when he finds his classmate obsessive Yuno is involved too.

Why recommend it to your friends: While this series probably feels the least romance oriented, it’s definitely got some romantic themes going still. There’s just a whole lot of other crazy stuff going on as well. Still, I think what people tend to remember most about this anime is the main relationship – at least, that’s what sticks out to me.

Future Diary combined everything I love into one show. I’m always looking for psychological thrillers, and this put a unique spin on the genre! I think I’ve seen episode one at least four times just trying to get other people to watch the show because the premise is that captivating! It’s one of those shows where you never quite know what to expect.

Even the relationship between Yukiteru and Yuno keeps you on your toes! Just because it starts off one way, doesn’t mean it’s going to end how you expect! With animes like this, the genre can play major roles in how the romance plays out, and Future Diary is no exception! In fact, Yuno is often regarded as the most iconic yandere character of all time, and some say even pioneered the character type, making it mainstream and recognizable. I don’t want to give spoilers, but everything and everyone are not always what they seem!

If you still want the fluff and fun of a high school romance anime but with more drama, higher stakes, and even a little science fiction, this is a great series to try!

Purchase the Future Diary manga here!

40. Kokoro Connect

Mal Score: 7.76

Aired: 2012

I know the expression says to “try walking a mile in someone else’s shoes”, but body-swapping may have been taking things a little too literally.

What’s it about: The members of The Student Cultural Society at Yamaboshi Academy have a problem. One day, at completely random, they began switching bodies with one another, and they have no idea how to stop it.

high school anime boys and girls with a laptop

Now five completely different friends with different personalities are being forced to navigate one another’s lives. They’re learning things about each other they never knew, and some of them have been holding back secrets the others could never imagine.

Despite how hard the phenomenon is for all of them, it also leads to positive experiences as they grow closer and maybe even manage to fall in love along the way.

Why recommend it to your friends: This high school romance anime definitely isn’t what I was expecting, but I enjoyed that. It had elements of surprise, comedy, and drama and even got a little mysterious as well. The way the show switches tones is seamless, with comic relief coming at the right moment or tension building perfectly through a scene. It never feels jarring, like the show is doing too much

The body swapping is also well-written and smooth despite how random it is. It makes for some hilarious moments, as well as some interesting relationship dynamics as well. There were plenty of moments where the kids revealed something about themselves or one another that I wasn’t expecting, and those twists really made me want to keep watching. The series isn’t only about body swapping anime though. There’s a lot more going on, and the show makes sure to keep the kids’ problems fresh and interesting. However, if body swapping anime is your thing, we know quite a few good ones.

The romantic aspects of the show are definitely more of a slow burn, but it works well because it gives you time to care about the individual characters before you care about their relationships. However, that makes watching the love triangles, unrequited crushes, and seeing your faves maybe not end up together, even more painful.

This show is touching, introspective, and overall entertaining. I was never bored eat thing it, and I was honestly surprised I had never stumbled upon it before. It’s everything I love in a high school romance series, and left me wanting more.

Purchase the Kokoro Connect manga here!

41. Romantic Killer

Mal Score: 8.22

Aired: 2022

I don’t know about you, but to me, having too many love interests to choose from doesn’t seem like the worst problem ever.

What’s it about: Anzu Hoshino has three loves: her cat, chocolate, and video games–but mostly video games. She’s perfectly fine living a normal, romance-free life filled with plenty of nights gaming at home.

So when a magical wizard claiming to be her love cupid shows up, Anzu is not only shocked but completely uninterested in whatever they have to offer. She quickly learns in order to earn her stuff back from the wizard, she must experience true romance.

high school anime girl and her two romantic interests

Suddenly her life is like a dating simulation, filled with hot boys, cheesy romantic situations, and random chaos. All Anzu wants is her three original loves back, but it’s starting to feel like she’s going to have to embrace romance whether she likes it or not.

Why recommend it to your friends: This series was newer, so I didn’t know what to expect going into it. I was pleasantly surprised.

This series is definitely a romantic comedy and meant to make you laugh – which I did more than a few times. At first, I thought with all the bright colors and the main character who “wasn’t like other girls”, that the show might be cheesy or predictable, but it wasn’t. If anything, at times, it seems to parody those types of cheesy romance tropes, and that just makes it even funnier.

It’s not often you see a magical sidekick in a show like this, but I loved the character! They not only added comic relief but would often throw a wrench in Anzu’s day (and the days of people around her as well), which kept her and me on my toes! It made the show more exciting than your standard high school romance because it added some unexpected fun.

This show was definitely a crazy wild ride with the magic and dating sim elements, but it was a great time too. It’s the kind of high school romance anime I know I’ll be rewatching again in the future!

If you liked the show, check out the Romantic Killer manga here!

42. Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry (Chivalry of a Failed Knight)

Mal Score: 7.45

Aired: 2015

Can you still be considered chivalrous with a female servant? Or do we all just agree that chivalry is dead at this point?

What’s it about: Ikki is a blazer, someone who can manifest a weapon from their own soul. He hopes to one day become a magical knight and attends Hagun Academy, one of the most prestigious chivalry schools Japan has to offer. It’s a school with a track record for producing promising magical knights, but unfortunately, Ikki is quite literally the student at the academy with the least potential. (He has the test scores to prove it).

high school anime boy and girl

After accidentally walking in on the highly talented Princess Stella Vermillion changing and insulting her, the two learn they are newly appointed roommates. Naturally, Stella is unhappy, but the two decide it’s only fair that they battle to see who decides the rules of the room. Loser must not only obey the rules, but obey the winner for the rest of their lives like a loyal dog.

By giving it every ounce of strength he has, Ikki manages to just barely win – proving that one’s ability to be a knight isn’t solely measured by magical prowess.

Why recommend it to your friends: Right off the bat, both Ikki and Stella have a ton of chemistry. It sad hard not to like them together to the moment they met, even if it wasn’t romantic. I just enjoyed their dynamic and the way their personalities play off one another.

Ikki is so much more carefree than I expected, but it actually makes his character better, I think. It’s a unique take, especially when being weak is usually something that bothers most young male characters. He’s not trying to overcompensate by being too brash or brave. He’s laidback but not uncaring, and it works because the females have such large personalities.

It’s comical and one of the few shows that feature some fan service for females for once. However, it may come at the cost of seeing some unexpected sister-on-brother loving, so do with that what you will. For a high school romance anime, this series definitely doesn’t hold back on the wilder tropes. The servant aspect comes into play at the most hilariously random times, made better by Stella’s own regal upbringing and expectations (definitely thinking about that episode 2 bath scene). Some of it can be funny though if you keep an open mind and don’t take it too seriously.

Overall, this is a fun show to binge. It’s not the raunchiest high school romance anime ever but be prepared for some fan service. Also, be prepared to laugh, and feel more sympathy than you’re expecting from a show as out there as this.

Support by picking up a copy of the Chivalry of a Failed Knight manga here!

43. Otome Game no Hametsu Flag shika Nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei shiteshimatta… (My Next Life as a Villainous: All Routes Lead to Doom!)

Mal Score: 7.48

Aired: 2020

Trying to date as a teenager is hard enough, especially when you’re life is literally on the line.

What’s it about: Katarina Claes is a young princess with a secret—in her past life she was a regular high school girl with a love of otome games and the life she’s living now has the same plot as one of her favorite games: Fortune Lover.

high school anime girl and her romantic interests

Only in Fortune Lover, Katarina’s character is a villain, doomed to be exiled or killed no matter how the game ends. Knowing every detail of the video game, Katarina vows to change her fate and begins making choices to be a better person before she comes of age. She has little interest in romance. She just wants to live.

However, Katarina couldn’t have possibly known that the changes she made growing up would only make her more desirable to her suitors. Now she must make sure to tread carefully through the world as any choice she makes could lead to her death or worse, romance.

Why recommend it to your friends: As far as isekais go, this is one of my favorites. It hits fun niches that aren’t as common, like reverse harem, and it works well. I found myself laughing from episode one, and telling my friends about the series too. Even though its a high school romance anime, it’s entertaining enough for any anime fan.

Katrina is an easy character to like. She’s more of a tomboy than a princess, with strange hobbies and talents. She’s trying so hard not to be a terrible person, which is hilarious to watch because deep down, you know she’s just an awkward high school girl. Everything she does makes her seem like a better person, which is good, but it also makes all the guys only love her more, which is exactly what she doesn’t want to happen. It’s fun but also feels genuine because the characters like her in spite of the fact she doesn’t fit the normal princess mold. It’s nice to see a main character in a harem anime who isn’t bland because it’s always hard to understand why anyone would ever want to be with them. Here, it’s easy to see why the guys can’t resist Katarina, and it isn’t about looks or trying to save her like you often see.

When it comes to romantic options, there’s plenty to like, with multiple boys and girls vying for Katarina’s heart. They’re all good options, with some being easier to see working out than others! I still have a hard time choosing who my favorite it, but that just makes watching the series even more entertaining as I try to decide! You want Katarina to find happiness, even if it is alone, but who can say no to this many potential lovers?

Check out the My Life as a Villainess manga here!

44. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. (Anohana: The Flower We Saw that Day)

Mal Score: 8.32

Aired: 2011

This series brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, “I see dead people.”

What’s it about: Five years after the death of his childhood crush Menma, Jinta swears he can see her again. Not just in his imagination either–he can see her, hear her, touch her. He even cooks for her. Even if he wants to ignore her, he can’t because Menma’s spirit won’t rest until he helps her fulfill her dream.

The problem is, Menma can’t seem to remember just what her dream even is. All she knows is that it’s going to take everyone from their old friend group to fulfill it.

Although Junta agrees, he hasn’t seen or spoken to their old friends since Menma died, and they’re not exactly keen on meeting up again, either. Maybe if they could see Menma too, it would help, but as far as they’re concerned, Junta is just hallucinating. If he’s going to help Menma fulfill her wish, not only is he going to have to find a way to a way to convince his friends to help but to help him figure out Menma’s wish as well.

Why recommend it to your friends: This may be one of the more unconventional high school romance anime since it involves a ghost, but it still deserves to be on the list.

This anime broke me in all the best ways possible. I laughed, I cried, I was happy, and I was angry all during the course of the series. It definitely has a way of making you feel things, I think, because everyone can relate to at least one of the character’s struggles. The show deals with grief, but shows it from all different angles so you get funny sides, jealous sides and even romantic ones.

Obviously, a ghost and a human can’t end up together in the end, but the romance between Junta and Menma still works. Their relationship is all about how strong first loves can be, and these two might have one of the strongest I’ve ever seen in anime. It’s genuine and sweet but still awkward at times, as it should be at that age. The saddest part is knowing their relationship is really over before it ever gets to start, but the series gives them closure at least. Even though I knew she was a ghost, I still hoped they’d end up together somehow.

It’s hard to know what to expect from the series, but it has great reviews, and it’s easy to understand why. Even with the supernatural aspect, it still manages to be relatable by taking sensitive subjects and making them easier to palet. I’ve seen this series multiple times, and it still manages to make me feel something new every time! If you’re looking for a high school romance anime with a little more substance, this is a great pick!

You can purchase the Anonhana: The Flower We Saw That Day manga here!

45. Scum’s Wish

Mal Score: 7.16

Aired: 2017

Is there any worse feeling than loving someone you’ll never have a chance with? Somehow this anime manages to make it feel worse.

What’s it about: Hanabi Yasuraoka and Mugi Awaya may seem like the perfect couple, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In reality, they’re both pining over people they cannot have. It might be one thing if they had eyes for other students, but they both are in love with their teachers, who are in love with each other, so it can never work.

high school anime boy and girl facing each other

At first, the two bond over their shared unrequited feelings, but over time the two begin to see each other as replacements for their respective crushes, even going so far as to be intimate in hopes they’ll forget their feelings.

Hana and Mugi eventually agree to a dating pact so that they can support each other, but only as long as neither of them catches feelings for the other.

Why recommend it to your friends: It sounds strange at first, watching two kids pine over their teachers. It’s obvious it would never work out, but when you understand the backstory behind how these feelings came to develop, you also understand why Hana and Mugi are so trapped in them. You can’t help but feel a little bad for them, honestly.

This isn’t the first high school romance anime to focus on unrequited love, but it’s one of the few that really touches on the parts no one wants to talk about. Hana and Mugi often feel bitter or resentful, even insulting the other teacher, as you would expect from kids. They’re not trying to be mature about the situation. They’re making stupid decisions and mistakes based on their emotions like teens are supposed to, and it makes the series feel very real in a way that’s almost hard to watch. You know they’re self-sabotaging, but they don’t.

Although it sounds sad, and at times it is, it’s also a series I couldn’t turn off. Every emotion is so intimate and intense like you’re the one feeling it instead of just watching. It’s almost like watching a car crash or a train wreck—you know bad things are going to happen, but you can’t look away. I was moved by the characters and very invested in the plot, curious to see if these two would fall in love or if things would only get worse for them. It had romance, drama, and even some deception I didn’t see coming!

Hana and Mugi have interesting chemistry. At first, it seems they only get along because they’re both suffering the same way. Maybe it’s because there are no romantic feelings at first, but their relationship feels effortless. They’re incredibly honest with one another and fall into roles almost as if they’ve been dating for years. As a viewer, you can’t help but love them together anyway.

This high school romance anime focuses on one of the most painful truths: you can’t force someone else to love you. If you’ve ever had a crush on someone who already liked someone else, you can certainly remember what that felt like.

Purchase the Scum’s Wish manga here!

46. Masamune-kun no Revenge (Masumune-kun’s Revenge)

Mal Score: 6.76

Aired: 2017

If revenge is a dish best served cold, Masamune’s plan is solid as ice.

What’s it about: Masamune Makabe is obsessed with revenge. However, it’s not random. He specifically wants to humiliate Aki Adagaki, the girl who rejected him and nicknamed him “pig’s foot” for being overweight when they were kids. Since then, he’s worked hard on getting in shape and plotting.

chubby anime boy gets rejected by anime girl

It all seems to be coming together when he runs into Aki again. She’s still the same beautiful, but heartless, “princess”; He’s now fit, handsome, popular, and ready to spite her. Too bad she doesn’t seem to remember Masamune at all.

After being dealt that devastating blow, Masamune decides to use his newfound good looks to seduce Aki instead. Once she falls in love he’ll reject her, humiliating her just as she did him all those years ago.

Except there’s one problem. Someone out there knows exactly who Masamune is and who he used to be. If he doesn’t find out soon, he may find himself getting embarrassed all over again.

Why recommend it to your friends: If the series sounds sort of ridiculous, it is, but in all the most enjoyable ways. It’s campy and funny and unbelievable at times. I think that’s what really makes this stand out from other high school romance anime.

It’s not for viewers who take everything too seriously, but if you can let go for a few hours, you’re in for some good laughs.

Masamune is a complete narcissist to start, but the former fat kid mindset that motivates him is pretty entertaining. He’s so self-aware that it’s actually hilarious. Still, while he’s obsessing over being physically attractive, he loses sight of almost everything else.

Honestly, Aki isn’t much better as a person, but somehow that’s why they work together. Neither of them are bad characters to watch, just self-absorbed people. In a weird way, it was kind of fun to watch two characters I shouldn’t like, become characters I rooted for.

This high school romance anime takes a different approach because it purposely starts off on the wrong foot. You think there’s no way anyone will change or learn anything, but they do, all while still including plenty of romance tropes!

If you’re willing to take a chance, you might find yourself surprised!

Check out the Masamune-Kun’s Revenge manga!


I think I speak for everyone when I say that high school isn’t exactly a place most people are eager to return too. That doesn’t mean there weren’t some good parts however.

High school romance anime remind us that the memories of first crushes and first dates are almost enough to make the experience seem almost worth it. If nothing else, it can be nice to know that you weren’t the only one having these same experiences.

So whether your high school dating experience was memorable or one you’d rather forget, there’s definitely a high school romance out there for you!