Anime Underground

15 Anime Without Romance For When You're Sick Of Love 

Anna Lindwasser
Updated June 14, 2019 6.6k votes 2k voters 35.4k views 15 items

List Rules Vote up the best anime that tells a great story without romance.

Sometimes it can feel like anime - and pop culture, in general - focuses way too hard on romance. Though some of the best anime ever made focus partially or completely on matters of the heart, and there's nothing inherently wrong with these themes, they just aren't what everyone wants to see all the time. Whether you feel like the excessive focus on romance takes away from the plot elements that do interest you, can't get into the canon pairings that dominate your favorite shows, or just straight up don't want to see this kind of content, sometimes you want to watch anime with no romance. 

It's nearly impossible to find anime with no romance whatsoever since it pops up in everything from kids' shows to horror. Still, there are plenty of shows that make minimal or no use of romantic tropes. What are some of the best anime without romance? That depends on your personal taste. If you like slice-of-life, you might want to try Barakamon, an anime about a young man trying to fix his troubled personality. If you're more of an action fan, maybe take on One Piece - it's one of the only shonen giants with no canon pairings to get in the way of the action.

No matter what your tastes are, there's something not-so-lovey-dovey out there for you to enjoy. 

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Death Note is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 15 Anime Without Romance For When You're Sick Of Love
Photo:  Madhouse

Technically, the concept of romance exists in Death Note - the protagonist even has two girlfriends. But here's the thing - neither of those relationships is even remotely romantic. Light doesn't love Misa or Takada, he's simply using their feelings for him to manipulate them into obedience - just as he manipulates Mikami's desire to follow an all-knowing god of justice. Even Raye Penber and Naomi Misora's relationship at the beginning is mostly about the logistics of whether or not Naomi should give up a promising career.

Unless you count Ryuk's affection for apples as a romance, there's none to be found in this grim and loveless show. 

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Barakamon is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 15 Anime Without Romance For When You're Sick Of Love
Photo:  Kinema Citrus

When stressed out calligrapher Seishuu Handa punches an appraiser in the face, his father sends him to the remote Gotou Islands to try and calm down. There, he spends his days learning to live a slow-paced country life with neighbors who show him how to stop dwelling on things he can't control and live in the moment.

Though in his early twenties, Handa isn't emotionally mature enough for a romantic subplot - before anything like that can possibly happen, he has to get a grip on his emotions. Instead, most of his time is spent with children, the elderly, his coworkers, and his parents. 

Is this a good anime without romance?
One Piece is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 15 Anime Without Romance For When You're Sick Of Love
Photo:  Studio Pierrot

Despite 800+ episodes worth of content, One Piece has never engaged in a romantic storyline. Though there are plenty of pairings that fans of the series enjoy, none of them have come to fruition, and most likely none of them will. Why is that? Because according to Eiichiro Oda, the creator of the One Piece manga, "they are in love with adventure."

If you prefer your shonen without romance and aren't sure whether to tackle Bleach, Naruto, or One Piece, this information may help your decision.

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Mushishi is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 15 Anime Without Romance For When You're Sick Of Love
Photo:  Artland

Ginko is a mushi-shi - a person whose job it is to solve problems caused by mushi, mysterious lifeforms that can do anything from creating traveling swamps to imbuing people with psychic powers. In each episode, he encounters new mushi afflicting new groups of people.

Though some of the people he helps are part of a couple, there is rarely any focus on romance, and Ginko himself rarely considers such things. 

Is this a good anime without romance?