HS romance anime have been a mainstay on TV and in the movies for decades, just like battle shounen series with guys with superpowers and enemies with more and more power.
Some people think that this type of relationship anime has run out of ideas, and I can see why they think that.
Like other genres, it has a lot of poor projects with generic characters and plots that have been done before.
Still, the best ones can leave an effect that lasts, making sure that other anime fans will want to watch them as well.
With that in mind, here are my all-time favorite high school-based anime romance TV shows and movies.
35. Mahouka Koukou No Rettousei
It tells the story of a guy named Tatsuya who gets into a magic high school. The said school, on the other hand, is very strict with its students.
It will make sure that everything is taken care of. From studies to excellence. The top students, who are also called “Blooms,” will make their way to the top.
The worst kids, who are called “Weeds,” will be punished. Soon, the school will start to work, and things will happen between people.
The rest of Tatsuya’s life is spent at this school, where he and his ace sister Miyuki hope to become some of the best magicians in the world.
34. Sakura-Sou No Pet Na Kanojo
This story is beautiful because it is different. And that’s one reason why Sakurasou is such a well-liked show.
It’s about a guy named Sorata who has lived in a room for a long time. Almost all of the people who live in the dorms are bad people, and their problems are all over the place.
Sorata was about to leave this apartment and move somewhere else when Mashiro Shiina showed up out of the blue.
And now things start to get interesting.
Because now they are on their way to becoming some of the most interesting couples together.
But this won’t be easy because their attitudes are so different from each other.
Let’s see how it goes.
33. Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai!
The idea behind Chuunibyou is easy to grasp. But it’s also pretty embarrassing.
The idea here is that Chuunibyou is a thing that happens to students who think they are unique people that are hard for humans to understand.
Creatures that are picked to be different and have special abilities and stuff. And even though it sounds fancy, it happens quite often.
That’s why it was hard for Togashi Yuuta to get away from it. But the threat never went away, and soon Takanashi Rikka came into his life to bring back the Chuunibyou phenomenon.
Let’s just say that not much goes right.
32. High School DxD
Let’s look at the whole thing. The main plot of the series is about a weird guy named Issei who just wants to have fun at school.
But because of a terrible thing that happens, he ends up dying. But Rias Gremory saved him, and he was born again as her servant and a devil.
Issei is now on his way to find out why the accident happened and to serve Rias with his life.
But this service might also give our wicked boy all the time in the world to have fun with girls whenever he wants.
Let’s just say his dream came true when he died.
Clannad’s beauty is on a whole different level. And there is no doubt that it is one of the best anime shows you can see.
In the show, there’s a guy named Tomoya who is nothing but a slacker criminal. He doesn’t have many hopes for himself or the world around him.
But when he meets Nagisa, a girl with a pure goal, everything changes. She wants to bring back her school’s Drama Club and would do anything to make that happen.
Since he has nothing better to do, Tomoya decides to help her. But this friendship might soon become something that can’t be broken.
And that’s what will make the show so powerful and amazing to the people who watch it.
30. Blue Spring Ride
In Blue Spring Ride, two best friends from their childhood get back together in high school. It’s definitely a common shoujo trope.
But there’s a twist: Kou Tanaka and Futaba Yoshioka aren’t the same people they were back then. He’s gotten colder, and she’s trying to be less cute.
Kou’s last name has changed to Mabuchi, which makes things even more confused.
What happened when they were in middle school and meant to go to the summer fair together?
When I ask my friends for a good old teen romance anime, they often tell me to start with this one.
Ao Haru Ride isn’t a game-changer, but it’s a good show to watch because it doesn’t shy away from the emotional turmoil of high school.
29. Hana yori Dango
Hana yori Dango, which Makino Tsukushi stars in, is a cute reverse harem.
She is given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to go to a famous high school, even though she comes from a poor family.
Everything was going well until she angered the F4. Makino spoke out against their attitude and power trips at school, even though she didn’t know what would happen or who she was up against.
Does Makino have what it takes to take down four very rich and pretty guys on her own, even though they have declared war on her?
Funny enough, I had already seen two live-action versions of the 1992 source material that won an award before I heard about this older anime series.
The quality of the earlier projects is better, but Hana yori Dango is still worth watching, especially if you like old-school shoujo anime.
28. Kaichou wa Maid-sama!
Maid Sama is one of the best love stories you will ever see in an anime. There’s no question. Because of this, it is so high on this list.
It’s about a girl named Misaki Ayuzawa, who is the first girl to be the head of her school’s student council.
But because of that, she’s very strict about her rules and making sure people follow them. But it’s funny that Misaki isn’t doing what the school administration wants her to do.
She works in a maid shop, which is against the rules at her school. To make things worse, Takumi Usui ends up seeing her working.
Now that he knows Misaki’s secret, he will have the time of his life making fun of her all day long.
27. Say “I Love You.”
Mei put up walls around herself because of what happened with her so-called friends in elementary school.
She didn’t want to risk being hurt again. But high school is a whole new world with lots of new people, and that’s where she meets Yamato Kurosawa.
After the teen star kisses her to save her from a stalker, they quickly become a couple.
This sounds great, but Mei has a lot to learn about what it’s like to not only have a boyfriend but also make new friends.
Sukitte Ii na yo. came out in the fall of 2012, and it showed that creativity isn’t the only thing that matters.
Studio Zexcs didn’t go above and beyond what was expected, and the anime wasn’t exactly a surprise, but their translation was good.
In ReLIFE, a magic pill causes a 27-year-old man to go back in time to his high school self.
In the same way, you can’t be sure that the other characters are actually kids and not just pretending to be young.
Still, the anime version of this popular web manga is more than good enough to be on this list.
It’s interesting to see how Arata Kaizaki makes the most of this chance, which I think most of us would do because we all have “what-if” times.
Also, ReLIFE carefully balances its existential moments with a kind of humor and love teasing that is only possible when older characters turn back into their younger selves.
When you’re done with the TV show, look for the Kanketsu-hen follow-up, which has four episodes and will make you feel all the feels.
25. Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
The visual peek with Mai Sakurajima, whose name means “bunny girl,” might make you think that this show is shallow and full of fanservice.
Sakuta Azusawa, the male MC, is not ashamed of his pervy side, which doesn’t help.
Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai, on the other hand, has interesting characters and themes that both teens and adults can understand.
It also uses the supernatural (Adolescence Syndrome) to talk about bullying, being alone, feeling pressured by others, and health issues. Which is really cool.
Back to the main character, Sakuta is a lot like Oregairu’s Hachiman in that he is sarcastic but does not care about himself.
Most people think Mai is the best girl, but it’s Shouko Makinohara’s kind heart that gets things going for AoButa.
Also, the OP is a guaranteed banger, and both the TV show and movie were well done by CloverWorks.
24. Nisekoi: False Love
It’s possible that this anime isn’t the most famous one yet. But it is definitely on the way to becoming one.
The show is about a Yakuza family member named Raku Ichijo. Yeah, there’s no need to bother him.
Chitoge, on the other hand, comes from a family that is rivals with Raku’s. By chance, they both end up in the same place at the same time.
But that’s just the beginning of a partnership that will become a work of art in the years to come.
With a few more characters and a Harem, this story goes on to become one of the best in the medium.
23. My Little Monster
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun is one of the best shoujo books of the early 2010s, jokes aside.
It’s not a perfect package, but so many parts of it are good.
Tomohiro Kishi, who also worked on Dorohedoro, 91 Days, and MAPPA’s Attack on Titan, did a great job drawing the characters. Second, the music is an instant favorite that makes you think of a perfect, young summer.
Also, I love how the confession scene comes up quickly and out of nowhere. Haru is a sweet, but wild, boy. He is the opposite of Shizuku, who is always learning.
The only bad thing is that the translation ends with a cliffhanger, so you have to jump right into the manga.
22. Kase-san and Morning Glories
When their favorite book or light novel is turned into a movie too quickly, fans usually complain.
Kase-san and Morning Glories is only an OVA with 58 episodes, but it moves at a good pace and has beautiful animation, so it doesn’t feel like it’s missing something.
In its short length, it shows how Yui Yamada and Tomoka Kase learn to accept their differences in order to grow their new feelings for each other.
There are a lot of “good” or “vanilla” stories about high school couples in anime, but most of the main characters are straight.
Asagao to Kase-san is a great yuri because it shows how two young girls in love live their everyday lives.
21. Doukyusei -Classmates-
Moving on from Girls’ Love anime to Boys’ Love anime, Doukyusei is another solidly made hour-long anime project.
A-1 Pictures gave the movie a look that was both colorful and simple. Also, you can’t complain about the voice acting, especially since Levi from Shingeki no Kyojin, Hiroshi Kamiya, voices Hikaru Kusakaba.
There’s no other couple that could get in the way of their relationship.
As they get ready for the chorus event, Hikaru and Rihito Sajou get closer and closer to each other.
As graduation approaches, the guys pick on each other, make (and turn down) moves, and talk about their worries about the future.
This is something that everyone can relate to. Plus, the song that Yuuki Ozaki of Galileo Galilei made for this movie was amazing.
20. The Quintessential Quintuplets
How can you spice up a high school harem?
Well, the MCs of 5-toubun no Hanayome are a strange mix of men and women.
Fuutarou Uesugi isn’t interested in any kind of love, for one thing. He wants to study and earn money to help pay off his dad’s huge debt, so he agreed to teach for the wealthy Nakano family.
Also, there are five sets of twins in his family. Even though all five of the Nakano sisters are in danger of failing school, they won’t listen to him.
Can Fuutarou make things better for them both?
The girls might teach him a thing or two about being more social during their study sessions.
Tezuka Productions has been around for 50 years, but it’s only been hitting its stride again lately.
With two seasons of The Quintessential Quintuplets and a movie coming out soon, the company now has a well-known teen rom-com as well.
19. School Rumble
With School Rumble, you’ll never have a bad time.
The 52 episodes are full of comedy and romance, and the main characters are all high school friends.
Tenma Tsukamoto easily takes the spotlight with her lively and cutely childlike actions. On the other hand, her crush, Ouji Karasuma, doesn’t show much emotion but is good at sports, writing, and music.
Kenji Harima, who used to be a thug but no longer is, is head over heels in love with Tenma.
She doesn’t feel anything special for him, but the beautiful Eri Sawachika and Tenma’s responsible younger sister Yakumo have their eyes on him.
School Rumble is a throwback that feels more new than most teen relationship books from the last five years. And it’s never too late to tell people about Season 3.
18. Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You
Kimi ni Todoke is a two-season story about Shouta Kazehaya and Sawako Kuronuma.
It’s a pretty standard romantic comedy, but you can’t help but love it, in part because of how the characters grow and change and in part because Production IG is so good.
Shouta’s good looks and friendly personality have made him very famous since middle school. His fans even made a deal to stop fighting with each other.
Sawako, on the other hand, wants to make friends. But she’s awkward around people, and her name and long, black hair have led some people to think she’s Sadako from The Ring.
Shouta would love to be her friend, and maybe even more than that. Kimi ni Todoke is a great show to watch after a hard day because it is sweet and warm and has just the right amount of mistakes.
17. Your Lie in April
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso is a tearjerker that has been called an instant classic and has won two seasons in a row.
It is less about the time spent in the classroom and more about the people and passions that keep teens going.
Kousei Arima was a genius at the piano until a tragedy in his family forced him to stop playing and deal with his stress.
But his artistic journey isn’t over yet, because the cheerful Kaori Miyazono offers to play her violin with him.
My favorite scene in the whole series is the one where Kousei and Tsubaki Sawabe walk along the beach at night.
Your Lie in April is a full movie. It has heart-wrenching performances, vivid animation of the characters, and personal conversations.
16. Ouran High School Host Club
Hana Yori Dango is a lot like Ouran High School Host Club. In both, an average girl goes to a private school where almost everyone else is rich.
Also, Haruhi Fujioka has her own group of strange and very famous rich boys to deal with.
So what’s the point?
First, there aren’t just four good-looking guys in the host club; there are six. Second, Haruhi joins their group to make up for the very expensive vase she broke by accident.
You might think that a girl like her wouldn’t be able to keep other girls interested, but Haruhi has a lot of charm. She will soon be able to get both guys and girls to do what she wants.
Like My Next Life as a Villain, Ouran Koukou Host Club is a reverse harem anime that is sweet and funny and always makes me feel better.
15. Adachi and Shimamura
The Fall 2020 girls’ love (GL) series Adachi and Shimamura is very thoughtful and has a slow pace.
Sakura Adachi and Hougetsu Shimamura love to spend them at school and elsewhere with each other. When they’re alone together, it’s like they’re on a whole different level of life.
But instead of speeding up their change from great friends to lovers, the show focuses on the small, seemingly unimportant things that make their relationship stronger.
Adachi and Shimamura is about the personal and the everyday, and how people’s public selves don’t always show how they really feel.
This anime is beautiful and has a lot of heart, but it isn’t loud or rushed. Fans of both GL and romance anime will enjoy it.
14. Tsurezure Children
Tsurezure Children is a collection of short stories about young love. It has more main characters and couples than a few rom-com shows put together.
How do teens’ feelings affect their daily lives?
Satsuki Sasahara picked her school club based on the guy she liked. Chizuru Takano doesn’t care about love, but she falls for a guy who’s afraid that she won’t feel the same way about him.
Some characters fall in love quickly and become a couple, while others take longer. Some of them even don’t end up with the person they like.
No matter what their relationship state is, they all have their own problems and reasons for taking the next step (or not).
13. Bloom Into You
Yuu Koito lives right below a shop, so she knows everything there is to know about shoujo manga.
She thinks that when a guy tells her he likes her, she’ll be the happiest girl in the world. But when it finally did happen, it didn’t feel at all special.
Now that Yuu is in her first year of high school, she finds out another secret. This time, Touka Nanami, another girl, sent it.
The head of the student council loves Yuu because she feels safe around her, but she doesn’t want Yuu to feel the same way.
Yuu and Touka are at a crossroads when it comes to their identity, sexuality, public image, and fears, all of which are common in high school.
Yagate Kimi ni Naru is another great GL anime from the second half of the 2010s, along with Adachi and Shimamura, Kase-san, and Morning Glories.
We hope this is the start of a golden age for yuri anime that is complex and artistic.
12. Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun
Chiyo Sakura is memorable and funny because she is so innocent, even though she looks like the bug-type Pokémon Paras.
Plus, who doesn’t respect her drive (or stubbornness) to tell Umetarou Nozaki she loves him and make him fall for her?
Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun has more A-tier main characters than just these two high schoolers.
From the female prince Yuu Kashima to Mikoto Mikoshiba, who seems confident but is really a tsundere, the characters are always getting into strange jokes and mistakes.
Both Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun and Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun have only one season that ends with a cliffhanger.
Still, the fact that the versions aren’t finished doesn’t take away from the great stories they do tell.
11. Tsuki ga Kirei
Akane Mizuno does very well in school and in sports, especially track and field.
On the other hand, Kotarou Azumi doesn’t care much about his schoolwork, but he is good at both music and literature.
They are in the same section, but their lives are very different.
But after a few random encounters, the two start to go down the road of love. At first, they do it in secret while they figure out how they feel, but soon the rest of the class knows.
The story itself is just as beautiful as its name.
Tsuki ga Kirei is honest and good. It shows how love is the same for everyone and how special times in youth can change people’s lives forever.
10. My Dress-Up Darling
My Dress-Up Darling is from the winter of 2021-2022.
Is this a case of recency bias? I’m not sure.
I know for sure that Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru is a very sweet and fun story that might be one of CloverWork’s best works of the last ten years.
Marin Kitagawa is a pretty and famous girl who likes cosplay, anime, and (erotic) video games.
Wakana Gojou, on the other hand, is very interested in the traditional art of making Hina dolls.
After a chance meeting one afternoon at school, he decides to help her with her cosplay goals by making her clothes.
Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru is about following your interest, no matter what your gender or society says you should do.
Plus, Marin and Wakana get along well and are attractive on their own, thanks in part to some standout scenes, character animation, and character art (both clean and naughty).
9. His and Her Circumstances
His and Her Circumstances is a wild ride with amazing highs and frustrating lows. Longtime fans call it “Kare Kano” and love it.
Yukino Miyazawa and Souichirou Arima do their best to be good examples at their school. They are the only ones who can fight with each other in sports, in school, and in looks.
But the two only do this because they need outside approval and are afraid of being turned down.
As Yukino and Souichirou go from being enemies to real friends, they try to solve both new and old problems together, which often leads to funny situations.
Even though the director Hideaki Anno played key parts, the movie was made in a terrible way by the end.
It’s the kind of great story that makes you think about what could have been, since it had all the parts of a classic.
8. Bokura ga Ita
Unlike my #10 pick, Bokura ga Ita is at this spot in part because it makes me feel old.
It came out in 2006, and I still remember (and love) it as the only relationship shoujo series from Studio Artland that I can think of.
In terms of nostalgia, the past is a big part of both the show and its dramatic atmosphere.
Because of a terrible event, Motoharu Yano can’t fully live in the present and give Nanami Takahashi the love she deserves.
He doesn’t call her by her nickname, “Nana,” for a good reason. As if their own problems weren’t stressful enough, Motoharu and Nanami also have to deal with Yuri Yamamoto and Masafumi Takeuchi’s feelings for them.
Bokura ga Ita needs more love and a full version because it is personal and sometimes so painful that it is hard to understand.
7. Your Name.
As an original project, Kimi no Na wa. gave Shinkai and CoMix Wave Films the freedom to push their creative limits while using ideas and themes from the director’s earlier works like Voices of a Distant Star and 5 Centimeters per Second.
Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu live in different places. Taki lives in the country, and Mitsuha lives in Tokyo.
Their lives get mixed up in a supernatural story that honors Japan’s customs and the strength of its people.
Shinkai once again does a great job of exploring the idea of distance, whether it be physical, temporal, or mental.
Your Name proudly wears its heart on its sleeve for those who can’t. It is technically better, emotionally engaging, and has a lot of appeal, in part because of the Radwimps OST.
6. Kids on the Slope
I’ve already talked about Makoto Shinkai and Hideaki Anno, so it makes sense to include a high school romance anime by another famous director.
Like Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso, Shinichiro Watanabe’s Kids on the Slope is a story about young love and friendship that is told through a lot of music acts.
This josei story, in particular, is about jazz music.
Without it, Sentarou Kawabuchi and Kaoru Nishimi might not even have been pals. Even though Sentarou is a bad student, he is a nice beginner, and Kaoru is a quiet honor student.
Over time, they (and the cute Ritsuko Mukae) grow to like each other more and make the most of their summer together.
The first place goes to Toradora. This anime about a love story in high school has everything you could want.
Drama, comedy, tragedy, fun, excitement, and so on. It’s about a guy named Ryuuji who looks like a criminal but isn’t.
And Taiga looks like a cute girl but isn’t. These two people are in love with the best friends of each other.
So, they agree to meet up and set each other up. But as they travel together, they get so close to each other that their love story may take some turns they didn’t expect.
Taiga and Ryuuji are going to find out what high school love is really like. And they’ll know what it takes to become the kind of couple they want.
This will be a lot of fun! Because of this, Toradora is on top of our list.
4. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
This movie is the follow-up to the anime TV series Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu, whose first season was a huge hit with fans.
But here, Kyon’s world has changed totally. The energetic girl from the title is gone, and everything and everyone seems to be normal.
People expect Kyon to be happier than ever because they often see the world through his eyes and hear his thoughts. No more surprises from the supernatural will mess up his life at North High.
But is Haruhi’s not being there really a good thing?
Was she really just a girl who was annoying and didn’t like living a normal life, like he did?
Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu runs for almost three hours and is interesting from start to finish, including the famous Kyon speech.
It shows how good the original story was, how good the directors (Tatsuya Ishihara and Yasuhiro Takemoto), and how good Kyoto Animation is as a whole.
3. Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend
In the two seasons of this show based on a light book, Episode 0s are basically fan service specials.
But Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata is mostly entertaining because of how the characters act and talk to each other.
Tomoya Aki is a high-level fan who wants to make his own gal game (also called galga) because he enjoys playing them so much.
In order to make his dreams come true, he is helped by my best friend, the writer Utaha Kasumigaoka, and the artist Eriri Spencer.
But, as the funny title suggests, the main character, Megumi Katou, doesn’t seem to have much of a personality.
Others don’t even know she’s there or that she went somewhere. Can Tomoya and the rest of Blessing Software make a good game about her based on how she acts?
Saekano isn’t as hard as some of the other languages on this list.
But I like this rom-com anime because it has a lot of fan themes and the characters look good.
Also, this is a full version, so you don’t have to look for the Letters to the Editor.
2. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU
Who would have thought that Oregairu, which is based on a light book, would be one of the best romance anime of the past 10 years?
Even if you don’t want Yukino Yukinoshita or Yui Yuigahama to end up with Hachiman Hikigaya, you’d still want to finish all three seasons (and the future OVA) because of the constantly changing dynamics and brilliant character writing, as well as the excellent soundtrack, voice acting, and theme songs.
It all started with a guy who didn’t care about the promise of youth or making new friends.
Now that Hachiman and the other members of the Volunteer Service Club are getting close to graduating, they have all become better people.
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU is a long trip that you won’t regret. It’s bittersweet and always has great dialogue and solutions.
Horimiya is a new anime show that has quickly moved to the top of my list.
Look, I like stories that are made up of short pieces, so this was right up my alley.
Masashi Ishihama didn’t try to cover everything in the source material, and he didn’t leave the season on a cliffhanger when it was clear that there wouldn’t be a second season. Instead, he carefully looked at the story and picked specific chapters.
As the director of the well-known Shinsekai yori, he tried to understand the cast, especially Izumi Miyamura, and what they liked and what scared them.
This was the inspiration for the great OP scene, which shows the serious and sad sides of the characters and shows how important it is to let other people in.
The scene where Miyamura-kun and Hori-san tell each other how they feel is one of the most surprising, yet real and sweet, in all of anime.
With another scene between Kakeru Sengoku and Remi Ayasaki, Horimiya shows off its love skills even more.
This isn’t a “full” page-by-page adaptation, but it does introduce all of the key characters and show a lot of important events.
Even though it seems like time goes by too quickly, there is no such thing as a “bad” or “average” Horimiya show.
Horimiya might be better than what it’s based on, thanks to the voice acting, Ishihama’s creative direction, CloverWorks’ cute character art, and soothing color design. It’s a leaner form that, to my surprise, makes me feel more.