The 20 Best Slow Burn Romance Anime, Ranked

List Rules

Vote up the slow burn romance anime that are worth the wait.

Will they, or won't they? What obstacles will get in their way? How can they possibly overcome those obstacles? These are questions that pop up when you're watching a really good anime with slow burn romance. In these anime, those questions aren't answered right away. Instead, they build suspense by having the relationship develop slowly over time. Often featuring truly intense romances, sometimes these shows are exactly what you need to get feel all warm and fuzzy inside - or to be miserable in just the right way.

If you're looking for a slow burn romance that will make you laugh, try Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, a series that takes the concept to its most ridiculous extreme. Want to cry your eyes out? Try Fruits Basket. Just want something that will get you in the feels? Toradora! is a classic choice. Did we name any of your favorites?


  • 1
    48 VOTES
    Fruits Basket
    Photo: Fruits Basket / TMS Entertainment

    Fruits Basket is a complicated story about a teenage girl named Tohru Honda who gets embroiled in the lives of the Sohma Clan's Zodiac. Members of the Zodiac transform into animals from the Chinese Zodiac, but it's not as cute as it sounds - their lives are controlled by a cruel, tyrannical God figure, and many of them have been severely abused by their parents. As she tries to help them deal with their problems, Tohru is still coping with the tragic demise of her mother. 

    She ends up in a relationship with Kyo Sohma, the family pariah. Kyo is one of the few people who encourages Tohru to take care of herself, not just others. Meanwhile, Tohru is one of the few people to honestly confront and accept the fact that he transforms into a horrifying monster. Their love builds over the course of the series, and is fully justified and developed by the end. 

  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War
    Photo: Kaguya-sama: Love Is War / A-1 Pictures

    Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is just about the slowest slow burn you could possibly imagine, because the whole point is that neither of the protagonists are willing to confess first. 

    Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane are the top two students at their school, and are the vice president and president of the student council, respectively. Both of them are madly in love with each other, and try a wide range of hare-brained schemes to get the other to declare their love. While this premise sounds like it could wear thin after three seasons, it ended up being hilarious and adorable. Will they ever actually get together? Only time will tell.

  • 3
    27 VOTES

    Kimi ni Todoke

    Kimi ni Todoke
    Photo: Kimi ni Todoke / Production I.G

    Often recognized as one of the best romance anime out there, Kimi ni Todoke is definitely worth a watch if you like slow burns. Because she's shy and looks a little bit like Sadako from The Ring, Sawako Kuronuma has a hard time making friends. That's why she's so drawn to Shouta Kazehaya - he's a kind person who gets along with others easily. She admires his ability to draw other people to him, and wants to learn how to do the same. 

    Things begin to change for Sawako when Kazehaya invites her to a test of courage. She uses it as a springboard to try and get along with her classmates. Meeting Kazehaya seems like the greatest thing in the world. What she doesn't realize is that it's not all one-sided - Kazehaya is also getting a lot out of being with her.

  • Snow White with the Red Hair
    Photo: Snow White with the Red Hair / Bones

    Shirayuki is a cheerful young woman who devotes herself to her job in an apothecary. When the prince of her nation demands that she become his concubine, she refuses. Zen, the second prince of a neighboring country rescues her, and ends up moving her into his palace. But Shirayuki has one condition - she wants to be allowed to keep working as an herbalist, and doesn't want anyone to think she's sponging off the prince. 

    Zen agrees to these terms, and treats her with courtly respect. But despite pushback from the rest of the royal family, the two can't help being drawn to each other and eventually falling in love.