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15 Amazing Romance Anime That Feature Realistic Relationships

List Rules

Vote up the most realistic romance anime.

There are a lot of romance anime out there that don't exactly portray relationships realistically. Either they rely on tropes like harems and tsunderes, or they're so overly dramatic that it's hard to take the story or the characters seriously. There's nothing wrong with unrealistic romance - sometimes that's exactly what you want to escape from the real world. But if you're looking for down-to-earth romance where the characters have plausible relationships, these types of shows can get tiring. If you're feeling exasperated by unrealistic romance, never fear - we have some great alternatives for you.

If you're looking for comedy that still rings true, try Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku or I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying. Aiming for something a little more serious? Try Kids on the Slope or NANA. Hungry for LGBTQ+ romance that isn't tropey? Try Given, Sweet Blue Flowers, or Wandering Son. Whatever you're looking for, there's a great realistic romance anime for you.

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  • Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku
    Photo: Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku / A-1 Pictures

    Realism doesn't have to be serious - it can be hilarious! Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku follows Narumi, an office worker who loves BL and anime, but wants to keep her nerdy interests a secret in the workplace. But her old friend Hirotaka doesn't care about appearances and starts talking to her about otaku topics at work.

    Narumi has to balance her desire to be seen as a normal young woman and her need to be accepted for who she is and connect with someone who shares her interests.

    Whether you're more like Narumi or more like Hirotaka, if you're reading a list about anime, you can probably relate to one or the other. 

    1,264 votes
  • 2
    1,745 VOTES
    Horimiya
    Photo: Horimiya / CloverWorks

    Many romance anime end when the protagonists get together, but Horimiya focuses on what it's like for two people to actually be in a relationship. Kyouko Hori and Izumi Miyamura seem like they wouldn't get along at all, but they share one important thing in common - both of them are hiding their true selves from the rest of the world.

    Hori seems like a carefree, popular girl, but in reality, she's dealing with a ton of extra responsibility in the form of taking care of her younger brother. Meanwhile, Miya seems like a quiet nerd, but he's actually covered in piercings and tattoos. The two show each other their true selves, support each other through hardship, get involved with each other's families, and overall act like a realistic couple. They even discuss physical intimacy, something that real teenagers do, but anime rarely addresses.

    1,745 votes
  • Both Tsuneo and Josee are trapped by different things - Tsuneo is trapped by his financial situation and his inability to pay for his dreams of pursuing marine biology, while Josee is trapped by a society that isn't built to accommodate her disability. The two come together when Tsuneo takes a job as Josee's caretaker. At first, Josee has no desire for a caretaker - she sees him as an extension of her overprotective grandmother. But as the two begin to build a genuine bond, they begin to see how they can lean on each other to achieve their goals and gain emotional support. 

    Their romantic bond is moving, but it's repeatedly tested by the confines of reality. That's part of what makes Josee, the Tiger and the Fish such a compelling movie - their love is tested by things that really happen to people, and it triumphs over those challenges. 

    621 votes
  • 4
    762 VOTES

    Kimi ni Todoke

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

    Kimi ni Todoke is widely considered to be one of the best romances in shojo history. That's partially because of how realistic it is. Sawako Kuronuma is a shy, kindhearted girl who is often misunderstood because of her "scary" appearance - her classmates think she looks like Sadako from The Ring. For this reason, getting to know her classmates is a bit of a struggle, which is why she's so happy to get to know Shouta Kazehaya, a friendly and popular boy in her class. But what she doesn't realize is that it's not just her benefiting from his presence - he also deeply appreciates his time with her. 

    This series is one of the more heartwarming examples on the list, but the characters still feel real, as do the situations they face and their responses to them. 

    762 votes
  • 5
    713 VOTES
    NANA
    Photo: NANA / Madhouse

    NANA is a classic in the romance genre, and for good reason. It's an exploration of the romantic and psychological lives of two young women with very different personalities and the same name. Nana Osaki is a musician whose lover left to join a new band. He offered to take her with him to Tokyo, but she refused, knowing she would never pursue her own musical dreams if she gave in to being his live-in lover. Meanwhile, Nana Komatsu has spent her life falling desperately in love with people who can't reciprocate her feelings, a tendency that led her to follow her boyfriend Shoji to Tokyo.

    The two Nanas meet by chance on a train, and eventually become roommates and fast friends. They grapple with their individual approaches to love and life, and the consequences of those approaches - as well as their feelings for each other. If you're looking for believable characters with emotional depth, you'll find it here. 

    713 votes
  • 6
    418 VOTES
    Tsuki ga Kirei
    Photo: Tsuki ga Kirei / feel.

    Too often, anime relationships between middle schoolers are presented as if they were relationships between adults. Tsuki ga Kirei doesn't do that. It focuses on the actual concerns and anxieties that a young teenager might have when pursuing their first love. When aspiring writer Kotarou Azumi and running-loving Akane Mizuno end up in the same class, they get their first taste of romance - but they don't know how to act on it.

    Their mutual shyness and awkwardness combined with issues with their families and classmates serve as roadblocks in their budding relationship - can they overcome them to finally say what they mean? 

    418 votes