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The 15 Best Historical Romance Anime Of All Time, Ranked

List Rules
Vote up your favorite historical romance anime.

Love is not constrained to any particular time period. While it's fun to read contemporary romance, sometimes it's even better to see couples falling in love in the past. Historical romance anime is a mini-genre that's worth exploring whether you're a history buff, a romance fan, or both. 

Some of the best historical romance takes place in Japan's past, whether that means the Taisho period like Taisho Otome Fairy Tale or the late 1960s like Shinichiro Watanabe's Kids on the SlopeBut period romance anime isn't confined to Japan - Arte takes place in 16th-century Florence. Some, such as The Wind Rises, are grounded in real history. Others are a little more fantastical - My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! is set in a history-based otome game. No matter what the setting is, these anime often have well-written, interesting female leads, and male heroes that are worth falling in love with.

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  • Yona of the Dawn
    Photo: Yona of the Dawn / Studio Pierrot

    Before her cousin Su-won did away with her father, Princess Yona of Kouka lived a life of royal luxury. With help from her childhood friend and bodyguard Son Hak, she barely escapes with her life.

    She soon realizes that her kingdom has some serious problems - and that as its only remaining leader, it's her job to solve them. But first, she has to learn the survival skills she never had to master as a princess. 

  • 2
    420 VOTES

    Snow White with the Red Hair

    All Shirayuki wants is to live a peaceful life working in an apothecary. Unfortunately for her, Prince Raji of Tanbarun wants her as his concubine. Shirayuki refuses, cuts off her, hair and tries to escape into the forest. There, she's rescued by Zen Wistalia, the second prince of the nearby nation of Clarines.

    In order to show her gratitude, Shirayuki moves to Clarines to put her herbalism skills to use. 

  • If you're okay with a loose interpretation of the term "historical," you might enjoy My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! Katarina Claes is reincarnated into the world of a historical otome game, but not as the heroine - instead, she's the villain!

    In order avoid the villains' painful fate, she decides to be as nice to everyone as humanly possible. Instead of making enemies, she makes friends - and ultimately develops her own harem, which she is totally oblivious to. 

  • 4
    157 VOTES

    Heaven's Official Blessing

    Heaven's Official Blessing
    Photo: Heaven's Official Blessing / Haoliners Animation League

    Likely because it's a Chinese anime and therefore has to adhere to Chinese censorship lawsHeaven's Official Blessing isn't officially considered a romance. That said, it does have heavy romantic themes, and is certainly worth watching if you appreciate historical romance. Taking place 800 years in the past, it incorporates history, religious themes, and fantasy. 

    Xie Lian was the crown prince of the Xian Le kingdom. He has ascended to the heavens and been rejected twice. 800 years after those failed attempts, he is set to ascend for a third time. Once in heaven, he meets a demon king who has apparently been watching him for quite some time.

  • 5
    136 VOTES

    From Up on Poppy Hill

    From Up on Poppy Hill
    Photo: From Up On Poppy Hill / Studio Ghibli

    From Up on Poppy Hill is a Studio Ghibli film directed by Hayao Miyazaki's son, Goro Miyazaki. Set in 1963 Yokohama, the story follows Umi Matsuzaki, a high school student who is trying to save her school's clubhouse from being destroyed in anticipation of the upcoming Olympic games.

    When Umi teams up with the newspaper club in order to spread their cause, she meets Shun Kazama, an orphan boy who doesn't know where he comes from. As the two begin to search for his origin, they start falling in love. 

  • 6
    120 VOTES

    The Wind Rises

    The Wind Rises
    Photo: The Wind Rises / Studio Ghibli

    This Studio Ghibli film was loosely based on the life of Jiro Horikoshi, an engineer who designed many of the fighter jets that were used by the Imperial Japanese Army in WWII. Like many of Hayao Miyazaki's works, it takes a strong anti-war stance by forcing the protagonist to grapple with the terrible cost his creations have exacted on the world.

    Meanwhile, he's dealing with some serious problems pertaining to the woman he loves. It's not an easy movie to watch, but it's a beautiful and important one.