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7 Anime for Grown-Up Romantics

by Lynzee Loveridge,

Romance anime, or the medium in general, is dominated by adolescent stories. Characters between the ages of 14-18 getting in trouble, saving the world, or enjoying club activities make up a large majority of series every single season. Romance series are no exception, each running through the checklist of misheard confessions, teary-eyed dramatic climaxes, and maybe holding hands at the end. It's a cultivated ideal, but for viewers who are well past their high school years, they might want something a little more their speed. If you're looking for a love story taking place outside the high school setting, these seven shows will be up your alley.

7. Ah! My Goddess Kōsuke Fujishima's long-running manga follows the somewhat timid Keiichi Morisato, a college student that accidentally calls up (literally) a Goddess to grant his wish. Immediately taken with her beauty, but still convinced it's a joke, Keiichi wishes for Belldandy to stay beside him. This is how he eventually shacks up with four goddesses, a robot, and angels. The deities all take a romantic interest in him, but the story makes it abundantly clear that he's meant to be with Belldandy. Unfortunately, he's not very daring. The 48 volumes spends significant time on the duo's relationship, allowing it grow at a snail's pace while the two "pure-hearted" yet inexperienced characters try to figure out how to physically show their love for one another.

6. Golden Time Amnesiac college freshman Banri Tada entered into law school only to find himself entangled in the romantic affairs of his friend Mitsuo. Mitsuo enrolled in the school to escape his childhood friend and sort of betrothed Kōko Kaga. To his dismay, she follows him and enrolls in the same school regardless. The show follows Banri and his maybe-unrequited love he doesn't remember with fellow student, Linda, and Kōko learning to let go of her equally unfulfilled romance with Mitsuo. Whether you root for the main relationship or not is going to depend on how likable you find Kōko and if you can let go that despite their age, both are still relative newbies to relationships.

5. The Tatami Galaxy Masaaki Yuasa's adaptation of Tomihiko Morimi's novel follows a nameless protagonist as he tries to make the best of his college years, namely wooing the level-headed Akashi. His plight is being stuck in an endlessly repeating two years. Tatami Galaxy's episodes all serve as alternate timelines, with the main character joining a different college "circle" each time only to continually fall victim to black humor scenarios that prevent him from moving his relationship with Akashi forward. The end of the series gets more and more existential, with the protagonist realizing how important it is to seize opportunities in life, including romance.

4. White Album Tōya Fujii is an awful boyfriend. A really unlikable guy that teeters on the brink of Makoto Ito territory. He has a nice, "pure," up-and-coming idol girlfriend who is very busy and can't really see him. Tōya could tell Yuki that he doesn't have the fortitude to be with a successful, busy singer but he'd rather do anything but communicate effectively. Like fool around with her agent, her pop rival, his college friend, or the girl that rides bikes a lot. The entire show is set against a cold, wintery backdrop that reinforces isolated, melancholic feeling of the characters. Tōya is a dirtbag but watching is fickleness threaten to make everything fall apart around him is still sad.

3. Maison Ikkoku College student Yusaku Godai finds himself smitten with his apartment manager Kyoko Otonashi, the only reason he doesn't move out of the building. Kyoko is a young widow and Yusaku is all the makings of a long-running romantic comedy lead: generally lacking any kind of backbone. This leaves their romance meandering until he works up the nerve to confess only to find himself back at square one when a more attractive, wealthier suitor approaches Kyoko and a misunderstanding has everyone believing he's dating someone else. The drama in the series continues this way, with lack of communication and bullheadedness causing problems for two people who obviously love each other.

2. Step Up Love Story As a comparison to Ah! My Goddess, Step Up Love Story takes two virginal newlyweds and unabashedly approaches intimacy headfirst. The manga is equal parts a fictional story and a how-to guide for readers. It presents itself as a frank telling of not only Makoto and Yura's sex life, but also their siblings, friends, and even their middle-aged parents. The different characters allow a varied approach in types of romance, like Yura's sexually experienced sister or Makoto's "true love" seeking little sister, and normal sexual problems that can crop up. In comparison to the other entries on the list, Step Up Love Story earns its spot for its informative honesty in a medium where sex is either used strictly to titillate or is erased entirely for a "pure" love.

1. Emma: A Victorian Romance Emma is a classic story of a "taboo" love between individuals of differing social standing. Emma is a maid in England while William Jones is a higher-ranking heir from a merchant family. William immediately becomes taken with Emma but is under considerable pressure to marry at or above his station. Emma reciprocates his feelings but the two find themselves at odds when William becomes engaged to another woman and Emma leaves the area upon her employer's death. She also catches the attention of Hans, a stoic footman with impressive facial hair. The premise is one of the tried-and-true scenarios or romantic fiction and the historical English setting is enough to set hearts pitter-pattering.

The new poll: What's your favorite robot sidekick

The old poll: What's your most anticipated anime of winter 2019? Here's the results:

  1. The Promised Neverland
  2. Mob Psycho 100 II
  3. Boogiepop and Others
  4. The Rising of The Shield Hero
  5. Dororo
  6. Kakegurui××
  7. Kaguya-sama: Love is War
  8. The Morose Mononokean
  9. Magical Girl Special Ops Asuka
  10. Date A Live III
  11. Kemono Friends 2
  12. The Quintessential Quintuplets
  13. Star ☆ Twinkle Precure
  14. Dōkyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue.
  15. Domestic Girlfriend
  16. B-PROJECT: Zecchō Emotion
  17. Meiji Tokyo Renka
  18. Girly Air Force
  19. BanG Dream! 2nd Season »
  20. Kemurikusa


When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as the Managing Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her sons on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

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