High school is well-known for being the most common setting for anime romance - to the point where older fans lament the lack of romance in any other context. It's popular for a reason - high school is the time when many people have their first experience with romance. In high school romance anime, emotions are heightened and stakes are high, which is great from a storytelling perspective.
But just because something is super popular doesn't mean that every example of the genre is good. Even if you love high school romance, you still might not like everything the genre has to offer. This list describes some of the best romance anime about high school life.
Which one will appeal to you depends on your personal preferences. If you like a little humor with your romance, Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun is a great choice. Prefer something super dramatic where everyone is miserable all the time? Try Scum's Wish. Want an LGBTQ+ romance? Watch Bloom Into You. Each of these shows has its own take on youth and love, so try out whichever one interests you.
The couple at the center of A Silent Voice may not attend the same high school, but they're both experiencing their first love during adolescence, so it counts. In elementary school, Shouya Ishida used to bully his deaf classmate, Shoko Nishimiya. Though he wasn't the only one responsible for doing so, he ends up taking the blame for the whole debacle and being ostracized himself. Once in high school, Shouya feels tremendously guilty about what he did and wants to make it up to Shouko. He gets the chance when he comes across her randomly, and the two begin building a positive and loving relationship - but not one without obstacles. Whether it's Shouko's protective younger sibling, Shouya's guilt and Shouko's trauma, or acquaintances with their own grudges, something is always getting in the way.
A Silent Voice is a beautiful movie that will definitely make you cry - but in a good way.
The great thing about Say "I Love You" is that Yamato and Mei, the high school couple in question, are both genuinely kind people who care about each other and show it. That doesn't mean there's no drama - the majority of the tension is caused by Mei's introversion and social anxiety butting heads with Yamato's extroversion and comfort with others - but they respect each other's differences and work hard to understand each other. That's what makes their love worth rooting for and makes the show worth watching - even when they're having misunderstandings that can be frustrating.
In middle school, Futaba Yoshioka and Kou Tanaka are the best of friends, and both are harboring a mutual crush. When they start high school, they're completely estranged from each other. Both of them have changed dramatically - Futaba has altered her personality to be more popular with her female classmates, and Kou has changed his last name and is a lot angrier than Futaba remembers. The story revolves around their struggle to reclaim their old relationship - or build a new one that serves them better.
One thing that makes Blue Spring Ride particularly noteworthy as a high school romance is how much high school politics play a role. Kou changed because of personal trauma, but Futaba changed intentionally so that she would be able to fit in and have a social life. This dramatically impacts her budding relationship - something that might not happen in another setting.
Ryuuji Takasu and Taiga Aisaka are two completely different people with two important things in common - they both have personalities that don't even remotely match their appearances, and they both have unrequited crushes on their classmates. The two strike up an agreement to help the other earn the affection of their respective crush, but they end up falling in love with each other in the process. This is a bare-bones description of a complex plot with some serious character development - and some serious laughs. Toradora! is one of the cornerstones of high school romance anime, so if you love the genre, you need to see this show.