16 Romance Anime Where The Popular Student Falls For The Unpopular MC

Voting Rules

Vote up the best romance anime with this premise.

Social status can be a huge deal in high school - and it certainly is in the world of anime. If one character is popular and the other isn't, it's a sure sign that they'll never get together, right? It's not, because there's nothing anime loves more than subverting expectations. There are plenty of great romance anime where the popular boy falls in love with the unpopular girl or the popular girl falls in love with a nerdy boy.

A classic example is Kimi ni Todoke, a charming story of a girl who is nervous around her classmates but ends up making friends and falling in love thanks to a friendly and popular boy. Looking for something a little less wholesome? Try Wolf Girl & Black Prince which is all about a sadistic and popular dude blackmailing an unpopular girl into being his “dog.” Meanwhile, Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki-kun does a great job of deconstructing this entire premise. 

Which of these series do you think should be the most popular?

  • My Dress-Up Darling
    Photo: My Dress-Up Darling / CloverWorks

    To Wakana Gojo, the most important thing in the world is mastering the art of making Hina Dolls. Because he's worried he'll be judged for his “feminine” hobby, he tends to keep to himself and hasn't managed to make any friends at school. He certainly doesn't think that he could talk to the beautiful and popular Marin Kitagawa.

    But Marin doesn't have the opinions Gojo expects her to have. She thinks his skills are fantastic, not to mention useful. In fact, they're so useful that she wants him to use them to help her cosplay all the anime, manga and video game characters she loves. 

    At first, it seems like Marin might be using Gojo, but she's not. Actually, she not only loves his work, she's also falling in love with him. 

    1,260 votes
  • 2
    1,044 VOTES
    Photo: Horimiya / CloverWorks

    At first, Kyouko Hori and Izumi Miyamura don't seem like they have much in common. Hori is popular and outgoing, while Miyamura tends to keep to himself. But it turns out that the two of them are more similar than they thought - both of them are hiding something major about themselves.

    Hori is popular, but she has to work hard to keep up with her friends. Why? Because most of her free time is spent taking care of her younger brother while her parents work. Meanwhile, Miyamura's drab appearance hides multiple tattoos and piercings. Through their secrets, the two of them grow closer. 

    1,044 votes
  • 3
    698 VOTES

    Kimi ni Todoke

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

    To her classmates, Sawako Kuronuma is a terrifying witch of a girl because her hair resembles Sadako's from The Ring - the similar name doesn't help matters, either. She's actually a kind person, but her bad reputation combined with her shyness makes it difficult for her to make friends.

    That changes when she starts getting to know Shota Kazehaya. Popular and friendly, Kazehaya is the encouragement that Sawako needs to start interacting with her classmates. What she doesn't realize is that he isn't just changing her - she's changing him, too.

    698 votes
  • Komi Can't Communicate
    Photo: Komi Can't Communicate / OLM

    Elegant, beautiful, and mysterious, Komi is the most beloved person in her school. But Komi isn't the person her classmates think she is. The reason she doesn't talk isn't that she's mysterious - it's that she's so anxious she can barely utter a word. She wants to overcome her shyness and truly connect with others, but it's easier said than done.

    By her side is Tadano, her first friend and her interpreter for the rest of the world. Tadano is an ordinary boy who is deemed Komi's social inferior. Their classmates get angry when they see them together because they don't think he's good enough for Komi. But Tadano and Komi really like each other - so much so that it seems clear that they'll eventually start dating, even if the anime isn't quite finished.

    765 votes
  • 5
    703 VOTES
    Maid Sama!
    Photo: Maid Sama! / J.C.Staff

    If you ask the few girls at Misaki Ayuzawa's school, she's amazing - but she's remarkably unpopular amongst the boys. That's because she refuses to put up with any nonsense from them. As student council president, she's not afraid to lay the smackdown on those who break the rules. 

    But Misaki is breaking the rules herself. Her school doesn't allow her to have a job, but Misaki's family is broke thanks to her dad walking out on them, so she has no choice but to take a gig at a maid cafe. She tries to keep it a secret, but Takumi Usui - the most popular boy in her school - quickly finds out the truth. He uses this information to tease and annoy her, while she tries desperately to keep him from revealing her secret. But all that time together - and some unexpected story twists - lead these two bitter enemies to fall in love. 

    703 votes
  • Your Lie in April
    Photo: Your Lie in April / A-1 Pictures

    Watch Your Lie In April at your own risk, because it will make you ugly-cry. 

    Kousei Arima is a gifted piano player who gave up on music after his mother passed away. Though he does have friends, he's too depressed to have a thriving social life. Meanwhile, Kaori Miyazono is a social butterfly who plays the violin beautifully. Once they meet, she gets to work helping to pull Kousei out of his shell and play music again. They grow close and start falling in love, but their time together might be limited by Kaori's increasingly poor health.

    607 votes