I'm having a really hard time finding a romance anime I'd enjoy. Any help in that regard?

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Not going to lie, this is going to be an extremely challenging request. However, my requests have always been challenging, and yet you always managed to provide fantastic help, so I hope I can count on you this time as well.

Recently, I got in a mood for a romance anime. I'm having a really hard time something I'd enjoy, though, because while I definitely don't dislike romance in anime as a concept, I simply can't digest all the tropes and cliches they are filled with. Here are my main gripes with romance anime:

What I'd really like to see is a romance anime that doesn't have those problems. Not just any one will do, though, because apart from having a well-realized romantic relationship, I'd like this romance to have some sort of interesting twist to it. What sort of twist? Really unusual characters/love interests, interesting gimmicks, captivating, non-cheesy story/premise... Basically anything that would make it more like something a guy in his twenties would want to watch, and not his 40-something year old mother. The romance still has to be the main theme of the anime, though, so avoid recommending any series with merely a romantic subplot. Please don't recommend any harems either.

Any year is fine. I'm also fine with hentai recommendations. Not because I just want jerk-off material, mind you, but rather because hentai, for obvious reasons, doesn't have to stop itself at anything, so it can easily show the more intimate side of the relationship. It also can't really be wasting time on inconsequential stuff due to the short runtime they often have. Plus, I've seen many hentai try to be more than just a porn flick, so who knows, maybe my perfect romance anime is sitting somewhere among the Rx rated ones? Don't focus too much on that part of the request, though. I'm mainly doing it to increase the chances of finding something, so if you can find me a hentai that fits what I'm looking for, then go ahead and post it, but I'd rather have the main focus of the recommendations be regular anime.

Please recommend only titles that end conclusively and don't require any manga to be read afterwards. I'm also not interested in manga recommendations (I'm aware manga might bring the desired results more easily, but I'm not interested in reading manga in general). Thank you in advance.

Physical intimacy is definitely a hard point, for sure. Anime markets itself toward a specific cliche of person, and the writers tend to shy away from having their characters cross the line into outright sex, even in a world of sexy harem nonsense, so as not to accidentally alienate that audience.

Sword art online is 95% garbage, but on a fundamental level the relationship between the two leads in its first arc is one thing that's often praised, even by its haters, so maybe that will work for you, although tread beyond season one and you'll wish you hadn't.

An anime called "the ancient Magus bride" aired this winter. It's a slow burn series, to be sure, but the art is beautiful and the relationship between the two leads is the whole point of the series.

There's also an old series called "Suzuka" that may scratch your itch. It's... basically an anti-fairy tale, showing teenage love, warts and all, in a fairly straightforward and sincere way

You could also step into the shojo genre to find what you're looking for. Most of the cliches you described are primarily used in shonen-aimed fare. Granted, shojo has its own cloying cliches to deal with, but if you're unfamiliar with the genre it could take some time for them to grate on you.

From shojo, I'd recommend either Skip Beat or Akatsuku no Yona, the latter if you still want your story to have a few non-romantic shonen elements.

One of the best romance anime is Clannad (though I'd recommend the game more for it being extremely unique regular route). The hero is depressed and has trouble at home and doesn't have more than single friend or drive to make more, so every time you play you can only focus on few characters so it gives a very lonely feel throughout the game. Rewrite the VN is amazing but the anime wasn't too good. I liked Little Busters! the anime but it wasn't very romance oriented to be honest.
Leaving Key behind, Ore Monogatari!! is really nice romance comedy, though I left it behind since it became same-y after a while. Also Tora Dora is nice and has the relationship being built pretty well. If I recall more anime in the process I'll update.

As for your problems:

1. The characters almost always fall into the same archetype. The guy is an awkward, shy, and often pretty dense nerd, who doesn't know how girls work, and the girl is a tsundere, who constantly abuses the male character, mostly physically, as her weird way of showing her deeply hidden feelings towards him.

The guy being a nerd is the unforunate result of most anime using an audience avatar to fit the general otaku (though really nerd) traits. Tsundere characters that abuse are usually bad writing unless there is justification of mental immaturity and it doesn't skirt to uncomfortable regions (remain slapstick in nature).

2. There's no chemistry between the characters. They don't talk with each other very much, they don't spend much time together, and they often barely stand each other's presence throughout the whole thing, and yet somehow near the end they suddenly start madly loving each other out of the blue and end up as a couple. Lack of a proper buildup makes their relationship feel very forced and unnatural.

That's general bad writing, though I think it's more in media that has the romance as a secondary genre.

3. Everything is pure and intimacy doesn't exist. The characters never get close to each other and are never intimate with each other. There's zero signs of affection being shown. The most you get is a single kiss at/near the end to symbolize they've officially become a couple. Other than that, though, you get nothing.

It is usually because once the romance becomes "official" the story usually ends, the goal is usually reaching to the point where the characters are comfortable in being intimate since having characters being lovey-dovey for hours of screen time can grind on a lot of people's gears and doesn't really create any conflict beyond simple misunderstandings or very convoluted stuff.

4. The events are artificially stretched out to the absolute maximum, teasing you as much as possible, often featuring long periods of nothing relevant to the relationship's development happening, which makes it especially annoying since the payoff is often not worth it at all.

5. The ending is often not satisfying. The characters' relationship often goes nowhere and the series end on a really "meh" note.

It depends on the genre, harem will usually suffer this greatly since it doesn't have the time to fully explore relationships and would rather settle on a status quo where nothing progresses.

balladbird:
Sword art online is 95% garbage, but on a fundamental level the relationship between the two leads in its first arc is one thing that?s often praised, even by its haters, so maybe that will work for you, although tread beyond season one and you?ll wish you hadn't.

Not really a fan of action shonen, personally (well, most of them, at least), so I don't think this is what I'm looking for. Plus, it being an adventure focused series clashes with my point of romance being the central theme of the show.

balladbird:
An anime called "the ancient Magus bride" aired this winter. It?s a slow burn series, to be sure, but the art is beautiful and the relationship between the two leads is the whole point of the series.

Sounds interesting. Unfortunately, it seems to still be airing and I watch only anime that are finished (don't wanna wait for the next episode, but rather watch it at my own pace). I'll add it to my list, though, and check it out when it finishes airing for sure. Thanks.

balladbird:
There's also an old series called "Suzuka" that may scratch your itch. It's... basically an anti-fairy tale, showing teenage love, warts and all, in a fairly straightforward and sincere way

Definitely sounds like something up my alley. Is there any particular reason for the polarizing ratings it's getting, though? It seems to either get an 8-9/10 or 3-4/10, nothing inbetween.

balladbird:
You could also step into the shojo genre to find what you're looking for. Most of the cliches you described are primarily used in shonen-aimed fare. Granted, shojo has its own cloying cliches to deal with, but if you're unfamiliar with the genre it could take some time for them to grate on you.

Well, the shojo genre might be free from the cliches I'm describing, but that doesn't really change the fact that the vast majority of it is the teeth-rottingly sweet and pure type of romance, with more cheese in it than in a pot of fondue, and that's not really what I'm after either.

balladbird:
From shojo, I'd recommend either Skip Beat or Akatsuku no Yona, the latter if you still want your story to have a few non-romantic shonen elements.

How does Skip Beat fare in regards to what I wrote above? Is it that sort of romance, or does it actually do something interesting to break the mold? As for Akatsuki no Yona, it doesn't sound like something I'd watch right now, but I like story-driven adventure shows, too, so I'll add it to my list. Thanks once again.

I have a couple of recommendations without the 'deres and with all the intimacy. Most of your problems stem from romcom and shoujo formulas, which leaves only drama. However, the "interesting twist" requirement is pretty vague. I'm not sure if down to earth ones are okay, as in similar to tv dramas, or only ones with anime wackiness.

White Album 2 is one of my favorites. It's down to earth, no anime wackiness, but it's adapted from an eroge which means your mother probably wouldn't be too interested. Intimacy wise, MC hooks up pretty early in the show, and there is a sex scene.

Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is less down to earth, also another eroge adaptation. MC hooks up early in the show, sex scene, betrayal, stuff like that.

ef: A Tale of Memories and ef: A Tale of Melodies are also eroge adaptations, but is not realistic at all. There are multiple stories with different characters throughout both shows. I can't remember Memories, but I do remember Melodies pretty darn well, because it was quite dark.

Yosuga no Sora is also an eroge adaption, which at this point I realized all of my recommendations are. Yes, it's the twincest one, but that's just a single arc. There are lots of sex scenes, and I'm not talking about the PG-13 ones. I'm talking hentai, except they don't show the genitals at all. I'm suprised they actually broadcasted this on tv. I don't think the story is exceptional, but I find the music, setting, and feel exceptional. It reminds me of a Studio Ghibli film, it's quite amazing really, because it's a show about fucking your twin sister.

It's a shame your requirements are so strict, because there are some great shows that are left out.

inu-kun:
One of the best romance anime is Clannad (though I'd recommend the game more for it being extremely unique regular route). The hero is depressed and has trouble at home and doesn't have more than single friend or drive to make more, so every time you play you can only focus on few characters so it gives a very lonely feel throughout the game. Rewrite the VN is amazing but the anime wasn't too good. I liked Little Busters! the anime but it wasn't very romance oriented to be honest.
Leaving Key behind, Ore Monogatari!! is really nice romance comedy, though I left it behind since it became same-y after a while. Also Tora Dora is nice and has the relationship being built pretty well. If I recall more anime in the process I'll update.

Not really a fan of VNs, but I might check out the Clannad anime. As for the rest, except for Little Busters, I got all of those recommended on multiple occasions by multiple people. From what I could gather about them, these don't sound like something I'd want to watch. Ore Monogatari is this sweet, pure romance, lacking the more realistic approach I'm looking for. And correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Toradora pretty much the epitome of cliche high school romcoms? From what I heard it utilizes pretty much every trope I have a problem with.

I don't like my name anymore:
However, the "interesting twist" requirement is pretty vague. I'm not sure if down to earth ones are okay, as in similar to tv dramas, or ones with anime wackiness.

I made it vague on purpose, in order not to hinder your creativity. Both more down to earth and the ones on the wackier side are fine with me, as long as the romance is well-executed and they don't fall into the tropes I have a problem with. Basically the only thing I don't want are series clearly made with middle-aged housewives in mind, with the premise and romance looking like it came out of one of those trashy romance novels you can buy at grocery stores, or some sort of soap opera. Now, for your recommendations:

I don't like my name anymore:
White Album 2 is one of my favorites. It's down to earth, no anime wackiness, but it's adapted from an eroge which means your mother probably wouldn't be to interested. Intimacy wise, MC hooks up pretty early in the show, but there is a sex scene.

Might be good. I'll add it to my list.

I don't like my name anymore:
Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is less down to earth, also another eroge adaptation. MC hooks up early in the show, sex scene, betrayal, stuff like that.

Sounds very intriguing. Definitely on top of my list for now. Thanks.

I don't like my name anymore:
ef: A Tale of Memories and ef: A Tale of Melodies are also eroge adaptations, but is not realistic at all. There are multiple stories with different characters throughout both shows. I can't remember Memories, but I do remember Melodies pretty darn well, because it was quite dark.

I prefer series focusing on a single story, but you kind of got my attention with the "quite dark" part, so I might check it out regardless.

I don't like my name anymore:
Yosuga no Sora is also from an eroge adaption, which at this point I realized all of my recommendations are. Yes, it's the twincest one, but that's just a single arc. There are lots of sex scenes, and I'm not talking about the PG-13 ones. I'm talking hentai, except they don't show the genitals at all. I'm suprised they actually broadcasted this on tv. I don't think the story is exceptional, but I find the music, setting, and feel exceptional. It reminds me of a Studio Ghibli film, it's quite amazing really, because it's a show about fucking your twin sister.

I'm not bothered in the slightest by taboo romances (I enjoyed Koi Kaze, which is another anime about incest, a lot). As I already mentioned, however, I don't really enjoy series not focusing on a single story, and on top of that, Yosuga no Sora seems to have this whole "time resets every arc" gimmick, which I find especially jarring in this case because it basically leads to romances that go nowhere multiple times. So yeah, sorry, but I'm giving this one a skip.

I don't like my name anymore:
It's a shame your requirements are so strict, because there are some great shows that are left out.

I just try to filter out stuff I won't enjoy as much as possible in order not to waste my time. That's why I'm always so strict and picky.

ninja666:

inu-kun:
One of the best romance anime is Clannad (though I'd recommend the game more for it being extremely unique regular route). The hero is depressed and has trouble at home and doesn't have more than single friend or drive to make more, so every time you play you can only focus on few characters so it gives a very lonely feel throughout the game. Rewrite the VN is amazing but the anime wasn't too good. I liked Little Busters! the anime but it wasn't very romance oriented to be honest.
Leaving Key behind, Ore Monogatari!! is really nice romance comedy, though I left it behind since it became same-y after a while. Also Tora Dora is nice and has the relationship being built pretty well. If I recall more anime in the process I'll update.

Not really a fan of VNs, but I might check out the Clannad anime. As for the rest, except for Little Busters, I got all of those recommended on multiple occasions by multiple people. From what I could gather about them, these don't sound like something I'd want to watch. Ore Monogatari is this sweet, pure romance, lacking the more realistic approach I'm looking for. And correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Toradora pretty much the epitome of cliche high school romcoms? From what I heard it utilizes pretty much every trope I have a problem with.

I do think Ore Monogatari is unrealistic, if anything, the expectation that you cannot have a romance without constant conflict is unrealistic and having the main couple get together after something like five episodes is simply refreshing. Sometimes life is simple and people who click well meet up without problems.

Toradora only breaks rule 3 (that is hard to do in general). The main character is a neat freak with a face of a thug, the heroine is a violent tsundere but has a reason for it (plus if I remember correctly it gets toned down after the first episode where he insults her unknowingly). They have a chemistry and the show builds it quite well (with them starting with a crush of each-others friends and slowly realizing they prefer one another). I never felt it stalled too long and the ending is great. It's the kind of show of "don't judge a book by its cover".
Reminds me when I first watched re:Zero I left it ten minutes in since it appeared to be just another LN generic story.

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!(Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!) I recently watched it as a recommendation from Bobular, and it definitely doesn't fall into the typical romance tropes. I actually went into it wanting just a fun romcom and got way more than I bargained for. It's only 12 episodes so it doesn't take a long time commitment and things move at a brisk pace. There isn't a huge amount of physical intimacy, but that's the only point that doesn't get checked from your list.

Synopsis from MyAnimeList:

"Everybody has had that stage in their life where they have thought themselves to be special, different from the masses of ordinary humans. They might go as far as seeing themselves capable of wielding mystical powers, or maybe even believe themselves to have descended from a fantasy realm. This "disease" is known as "chuunibyou" and is often the source of some of the most embarrassing moments of a person's life.

For Yuuta Togashi, the scars that his chuunibyou has left behind are still fresh. Having posed as the "Dark Flame Master" during his middle school years, he looks back at those times with extreme embarrassment, so much so that he decides to attend a high school far away where nobody will recognize him. Putting his dark history behind him, he longs to live a normal high school life.

Unfortunately, he hasn't escaped his past yet: enter Rikka Takanashi, Yuuta's new classmate and self-declared vessel of the "Wicked Eye." As this eccentric young girl crashes into Yuuta's life, his dream of an ordinary, chuunibyou-free life quickly crumbles away. In this hilarious and heartwarming story of a boy who just wants to leave his embarrassing memories behind, the delusions of old are far from a thing of the past."

image

inu-kun:
I do think Ore Monogatari is unrealistic, if anything, the expectation that you cannot have a romance without constant conflict is unrealistic and having the main couple get together after something like five episodes is simply refreshing. Sometimes life is simple and people who click well meet up without problems.

I definitely get where you're coming from with that, but we're talking about a show here, entertainment. It has to be something that's interesting to watch. And a show where everything is sweet, perfectly innocent, and goes perfectly, without any hiccups whatsoever doesn't sound like something that's interesting to watch, unless you just want something you can turn your brain off to, which in this particular case, is not something I'm after.

inu-kun:
Toradora only breaks rule 3 (that is hard to do in general). The main character is a neat freak with a face of a thug, the heroine is a violent tsundere but has a reason for it (plus if I remember correctly it gets toned down after the first episode where he insults her unknowingly). They have a chemistry and the show builds it quite well (with them starting with a crush of each-others friends and slowly realizing they prefer one another). I never felt it stalled too long and the ending is great. It's the kind of show of "don't judge a book by its cover".

Reminds me when I first watched re:Zero I left it ten minutes in since it appeared to be just another LN generic story.

Thanks for clearing that up for me, and for participating in general, but Toradora really doesn't sound like something I'd enjoy. Sorry.

Drathnoxis:
Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!(Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!) I recently watched it as a recommendation from Bobular, and it definitely doesn't fall into the typical romance tropes. I actually went into it wanting just a fun romcom and got way more than I bargained for. It's only 12 episodes so it doesn't take a long time commitment and things move at a brisk pace. There isn't a huge amount of physical intimacy, but that's the only point that doesn't get checked from your list.

Reading about it, I'm kind of on the fence with that one, but I'll add it to my list. Who knows, maybe I'll suddenly get in a mood for something exactly like this. Thanks.

ninja666:

Drathnoxis:
Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!(Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!) I recently watched it as a recommendation from Bobular, and it definitely doesn't fall into the typical romance tropes. I actually went into it wanting just a fun romcom and got way more than I bargained for. It's only 12 episodes so it doesn't take a long time commitment and things move at a brisk pace. There isn't a huge amount of physical intimacy, but that's the only point that doesn't get checked from your list.

Reading about it, I'm kind of on the fence with that one, but I'll add it to my list. Who knows, maybe I'll suddenly get in a mood for something exactly like this. Thanks.

I don't think that synopsis does a great job at encompassing what the show is, actually, but I wouldn't know how to describe it any better.

image

I'd suggest Kare Kano, or His and Her Circumstances by a different title.

It's 26 episodes long, the girl and guy get together within the first 5 episodes, and there's no love rivals or moments of will-they-won't-they. Also, no guy and girl getting mad at eachother due to forced misunderstanding. It's just following these two through their high school romance and the change it brings in them.

The art style is quite minimalistic, some would say cheap as it was done by Gainax during their dry spell, I guess (There's one episode that's all just cardboard cut-outs moving around, I'm not even joking.). But with Hideaki Anno at the helm, the visuals are striking nonetheless. You can also see in it the progenitor to what would one day become Fooly Cooly. And a fantastic score, too.

Check it out if you want one of the more believable romance animes.

I'm going to be real with you, nearly all romance anime is absolute trash.

If you want to find believable romance in anime you're better off looking in other genres (adventure, sports, action) that have two characters develop feelings for eachother and getting physical but you're gonna be looking at stuff from the 90s or early 2000s cause anime is definitely wussified right now.

Most of those have trash romance too because they're aimed at nerds who want wish fulfillment.

If you're certainly going all in on the full on romance where characters make progress in life and show genuine love and affection, the only actual answer that isn't horrifically obscure is unfortunately Clannad, and the Clannad anime is trash compared to the VN (and the VN is only decent).

On the whole, I would say VN's would offer far more romance than anime would and I am watching this thread in hopes I'm dead wrong and people start mentioning things that actually are good romance anime instead of garbage because unfortunately that's all I've seen.

Casual Shinji:
I'd suggest Kare Kano, or His and Her Circumstances by a different title.

It's 26 episodes long, the girl and guy get together within the first 5 episodes, and there's no love rivals or moments of will-they-won't-they. Also, no guy and girl getting mad at eachother due to forced misunderstanding. It's just following these two through their high school romance and the change it brings in them.

The art style is quite minimalistic, some would say cheap as it was done by Gainax during their dry spell, I guess (There's one episode that's all just cardboard cut-outs moving around, I'm not even joking.). But with Hideaki Anno at the helm, the visuals are striking nonetheless. You can also see in it the progenitor to what would one day become Fooly Cooly. And a fantastic score, too.

Check it out if you want one of the more believable romance animes.

Sounds like the kind of anime I'm looking for (well, except maybe for the cheap-looking artstyle, but then again, I'm not really all that picky in that regard either, it's the content that counts). Added to my list. Thank you.

Jerast:
On the whole, I would say VN's would offer far more romance than anime would and I am watching this thread in hopes I'm dead wrong and people start mentioning things that actually are good romance anime instead of garbage because unfortunately that's all I've seen.

I'm aware that manga and VNs are more likely to have what I'm looking for, but the problem is, I'm not interested in either. I just really don't like static media that involve lots of reading.

And in regard to the second part of the quote, I wouldn't say it's that bad. Some suggestions defeinitely were... off, but most of the series suggested don't sound like something that qualifies as "typical garbage".

ninja666:

Definitely sounds like something up my alley. Is there any particular reason for the polarizing ratings it's getting, though? It seems to either get an 8-9/10 or 3-4/10, nothing inbetween.

it's difficult to quantify precisely, and I imagine the reasons why may vary depending on the person, but if I had to guess, the polarization comes from the fact that Suzuka initially sets itself up like the usual anime escapist romance fluff, then throws the swerve of being far more grounded than the genre usually is. Some people may have come to it looking for some moe-moe escapism, and simply not liked the different tone. There's also the ending. I won't spoil it, but it deals with a situation that's not at all uncommon in real life relationships, but almost never seen in anime romance, and ultimately results in the story climaxing in a way that I would describe as "a happy ending...if not a wholly pleasant one"

The ending was also really divisive, when it came out, but I like Suzuka. there's just nothing else quite like it, especially as far as anime goes. It's like one of those love drama shojo series you might imagine, except told from the guy's point of view, and with an overtly masculine sense of tone, timing, and perspective. Like I said, it's hard to put into words what the appeal of the show is. When anime tries to market romance to boys, it usually does it either by making it a full on harem comedy, mixing it with an action plot, or purposefully making it fluffy and comical. Suzuka has moments of the latter, but is ultimately about the bond between the two characters. I guess if I had to pick a word for it, it'd be "earnest"

How does Skip Beat fare in regards to what I wrote above? Is it that sort of romance, or does it actually do something interesting to break the mold?

Skip Beat knocks your first few requirements out of the park and then some. There's good chemistry between the characters, and it has one of my favorite female leads in all of anime. It does drag on a bit, and I can't guarantee it'd scratch your itch, but it does seem like it might at least be worth the old 3-episode test for you.

balladbird:
if I had to guess, the polarization comes from the fact that Suzuka initially sets itself up like the usual anime escapist romance fluff, then throws the swerve of being far more grounded than the genre usually is. Some people may have come to it looking for some moe-moe escapism, and simply not liked the different tone. There's also the ending. I won't spoil it, but it deals with a situation that's not at all uncommon in real life relationships, but almost never seen in anime romance, and ultimately results in the story climaxing in a way that I would describe as "a happy ending...if not a wholly pleasant one"

I see. That's kinda what I thought. Thank you for clearing that up. I added Suzuka to my list.

balladbird:
Skip Beat knocks your first few requirements out of the park and then some. There's good chemistry between the characters, and it has one of my favorite female leads in all of anime. It does drag on a bit, and I can't guarantee it'd scratch your itch, but it does seem like it might at least be worth the old 3-episode test for you.

Definitely sounds like something worth a try, then. I'll add it to my list as well.

Seto No Hanayome.

It's the funniest anime series I've ever seen and it's also cute as a romance.
It's very over the top and exaggerated but it's really entertaining.
The visual humor is top notch.

The basic plot is this:
A teen goes to visit his grand parents by the sea.
He goes for a swim and starts drowning but gets rescued by a mermaid, although nobody believes him.
He goes back home and then a bunch of evil looking strangers barge into his house, along with the mermaid, only she has human legs.
Turns out that they're the mermaid Yakuza and the girl is the daughter of the boss.
The mermaid law states that a mermaid must marry the person they save (or something like that, I can't remember exactly) so here they are.
The 2 kids hit it off and start dating.
However, the father of the girl doesn't want some peasant human marrying his daughter so he's trying to discourage the kid (he makes Godfather style threats, hires assassins and other great things).
I won't say more because it would be spoilers but I highly recommend.

ninja666:

inu-kun:
Toradora only breaks rule 3 (that is hard to do in general). The main character is a neat freak with a face of a thug, the heroine is a violent tsundere but has a reason for it (plus if I remember correctly it gets toned down after the first episode where he insults her unknowingly). They have a chemistry and the show builds it quite well (with them starting with a crush of each-others friends and slowly realizing they prefer one another). I never felt it stalled too long and the ending is great. It's the kind of show of "don't judge a book by its cover".

Reminds me when I first watched re:Zero I left it ten minutes in since it appeared to be just another LN generic story.

Thanks for clearing that up for me, and for participating in general, but Toradora really doesn't sound like something I'd enjoy. Sorry.

Give it a try. I don't like romcoms much, but Toradora is great. The protagonists are all likeable, the jokes are generally funny, and constantly surprised me. Just make sure to watch it in Japanese.

Vanilla ISIS:
Seto No Hanayome.

It's the funniest anime series I've ever seen and it's also cute as a romance.

Does it meet my criteria, though? Because from what I could read from the reviews, it really doesn't like it does. It might be good as a comedy anime, sure, but I'm looking for good romance in particular.

Depending on how you view them, these might be okay:

Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka? (WorldEnd):
A little bit of sci-fi/fantasy blend of a setting, might infringe a little on points 1 and 5, depending on your view point. But I loved this show, not sure if there'll be a sequel or a spinoff or anything (aired mid 2017), but I think it ended on a definite point.

Plastic Memories:
More sci-fi setting, its a little bit slice of lifey at times. Characters are generally well rounded, though again it might infringe a little on the points you don't like.

Dryzdale:
Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka? (WorldEnd):
A little bit of sci-fi/fantasy blend of a setting, might infringe a little on points 1 and 5, depending on your view point. But I loved this show, not sure if there'll be a sequel or a spinoff or anything (aired mid 2017), but I think it ended on a definite point.

The setup sounds pretty interesting. I guess I can forgive the presence of the tropes to a certain extent, as long as the show doesn't depend on them. I'll add it to my list.

Dryzdale:
Plastic Memories:
More sci-fi setting, its a little bit slice of lifey at times. Characters are generally well rounded, though again it might infringe a little on the points you don't like.

The concept of robotic (or generally otherwordly) love interests is something I'm very fond of, but I kinda wish they'd stop relying on the cliche that the android only has a certain amount of days left till it dies and/or is a threat to the world and has to be eliminated (Chobits, anyone?). It always relies on cheap melodrama and while it may set up a cute romance along the way, it's all going to go to waste anyway because of the love interest inevitably dying at the end, making the entire show pointless. I doubt this case is going to be different, considering it has literally the same premise as all the other manga/anime about that topic before it.

Jerast:
On the whole, I would say VN's would offer far more romance than anime would and I am watching this thread in hopes I'm dead wrong and people start mentioning things that actually are good romance anime instead of garbage because unfortunately that's all I've seen.

You're calling Chuunibyou trash? You need to justify this statement right now. Use spoiler tags.

ninja666:

Dryzdale:
Plastic Memories:
More sci-fi setting, its a little bit slice of lifey at times. Characters are generally well rounded, though again it might infringe a little on the points you don't like.

The concept of robotic (or generally otherwordly) love interests is something I'm very fond of, but I kinda wish they'd stop relying on the cliche that the android only has a certain amount of days left till it dies and/or is a threat to the world and has to be eliminated (Chobits, anyone?). It always relies on cheap melodrama and while it may set up a cute romance along the way, it's all going to go to waste anyway because of the love interest inevitably dying at the end, making the entire show pointless. I doubt this case is going to be different, considering it has literally the same premise as all the other manga/anime about that topic before it.

I don't think the ending is pointless in it, it definitely more on the side of tragedy but there is still hope in the end. It actually does what it does well as the world is built really nicely with a bit of inversion of the idea of androids outliving humans. If not for the romance I'll recommend it as an interesting take on Blade Runner.

I'll second the recommendation for Clannad. I don't know how the anime compares to the VN and I imagine VN might well be better, especially given it's the source material, but the anime itself was enough to make me cry a bit here and there.

And I'm not even ashamed to admit it.

Other than that, Kuragehime might be up your alley. I hadn't watched it recently, and I'm pretty sure there's no intimacy, I'm also not sure if there was enough development for point #5, but all in all, it's good, solid fun, with characters veering very far away from the tropes described in the point #1.

Kimi ni Todoke might also work out, again, I hadn't rewatched that since seeing the original run, meaning my recollections are marred by the caustic mists of time and given it's a highschool romance with underage leads you'd better believe they're keeping it chaste, but it should meet the remaining criteria.

@Ugicywapih

Thanks for the recommendations, but I don't think they're what I'm looking for. You see, romance without any sort of intimacy is pretty common in anime and it really bothers me. I really want to find something that breaks out from that and those two simply don't do that. Not to mention, Kuragehime is one of those romances that don't end up anywhere (or at least you're portraying it as such), which is a thing I simply can't look past.

I have two recommendations:

1. Ah! My Goddess. This is an old classic, and has a few adaptations available. The best I can say about it is that the characters are all in university (aside from Skuld) and more or less act appropriately if a bit eccentric at times. Wonderful music too.

2. Please Teacher. This one I enjoyed a great deal, but if the hook loses then abandon it: it's about a romance between a male student and a female teacher. Who is also an undercover observer of an advanced alien race. And he knows that. The age issue is avoided with our MC having been in a coma for three years after his 15th birthday - though its more like suspended animation since he hasn't aged. This one has a fair whack of fan service, but at the same time wasn't shy about the two having a consummated relationship - indeed the OVA skirts so close to the line you'd expect it to be a pornographic oneshot.

Ranma 1/2... I believe it meets all of your required points...

HAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA

Drathnoxis:

Jerast:
On the whole, I would say VN's would offer far more romance than anime would and I am watching this thread in hopes I'm dead wrong and people start mentioning things that actually are good romance anime instead of garbage because unfortunately that's all I've seen.

You're calling Chuunibyou trash? You need to justify this statement right now. Use spoiler tags.

I approve of how much you seem to have gotten into Chuunibyou.

OT
I'll be honest and say I don't really know many full on romance anime, but here are some recommendations where I liked the romance in them.

image

I think Highschool DxD ticks every item on your list.

1) Whilst Issei is quite dense he's definitely not shy or a nerd. He is defiantly a massive anime style pervert though.
2) There is defiantly a connection between Issei and Rias, right from the first episode really.
3) Issei's only goal in life is to get intimate with Rias. It does take some time before he actually gets anywhere though.
4) There are periods where the focus is away from Rias and on other girls, but those girls either belong to Rias or probably will do at some point, so him helping them out is helping Rias out too.
5) If we're just talking about the first series, just to get you in to it, the ending is quite good in my opinion. There are currently 3 series out and the 4th is supposed to be coming out this year.

image

Ok, a more serious answer: Golden Time.

This one is one of the few romance anime I've actually watched[1].

The first thing I really liked about this one is that its not set in a high school, its at a university. The setting allows for things that you wouldn't see between two high school students, for example they'll go out drinking and they live more independent lives.

To avoid any spoilers I'll just describe the start of it so you can get a general idea. The main character is just starting his first day of uni when he gets lost and bumps into another guy who is also starting in the same class as him, they get along and help each other get to class. As they're going to class a woman steps out in front of them with a bouquet of flowers and slaps his new friend across the face with them.

image

The main character instantly falls for this girl as she explains that she is the fianc?e of his new friend, a claim he denies. After a bit of discussion it turns out the guy had made a promise to her when they were kids that they'd get married and she has stuck to it his whole life, basically ruining his relations with everyone else and planning out exactly what they'll be doing and when for both their lives forever. He decided to come to this university after telling her he was going to a different one purely so he could get away from her.

I like this because the main character is basically in love with his friend's stalker and he kind of knows that she's only hanging around with him to get to his friend but he feels sorry for her because she clearly has no other friends and so he keeps hanging around with her, despite the warnings from his friend.

image

Steins;Gate. Another one that isn't really a romance anime, but it is one of my favourite anime and I like the way the relationship develops between the two leads[2]. It doesn't stick to the points you asked for exactly, but as I said its one of my favourite anime so I'd feel bad for not recommending it.

The story is that the main character is a self proclaimed mad scientist[3] and he is attending a serious lecture on time travel. He meets a girl, Kurisu, who is also there for the lecture and basically starts annoying her with his childish proclamations of being a mad scientist.

After the lecture he leaves, but has to go back because his friend dropped something and finds the dead body of the girl he was just arguing with. In a panic he texts his assistant back at his 'lab' and suddenly everything changes. He meets the girl he just saw dead again and after determining she's not a zombie he leaves confused.

To cut a long story short, it turns out that he accentually invented a time machine when he was trying to build a microwave that could be operated by text. Kurisu follows him back to the lab out of curiosity about his raving about her being a zombie and together they try to work out how/why the time machine works and if they can actually get any practical use out of it, Kurisu adding actual scientific knowledge to the task.

image
[1] well I read, but there is an anime of it. I'd also kind of recommend Evergreen by the same author, but I don't think that has an anime.
[2] Though I prefer his relationship with the childhood friend in the visual novel
[3] Note: he is just a nerd

@Gordon_4

Both sound like something I might enjoy. I'll add them to my list. Thanks.

@Drathnoxis

I dunno. I remember watching some other romance adapted from a Rumiko Takahashi manga - Maison Ikkoku. It fell victim to pretty much every trope I described in the OP, save for the girl being a tsundere. Also boy did it drag out. I think I dropped it after 20 episodes because the relationship between the main characters was pretty much just going from one misunderstanding into another, without any sort of development happening. Would you say Ranma is any different in that regard?

Bobular:
Highschool DxD

image

Bobular:
Ok, a more serious answer: Golden Time.
[...]
The first thing I really liked about this one is that its not set in a high school, its at a university. The setting allows for things that you wouldn't see between two high school students, for example they'll go out drinking and they live more independent lives.

That factor certainly makes the whole thing more appealing. I'm tired of anime setting those romances in school and then going out of its way to think up something for the characters to do for fun apart from homework and bumbling about in school that's not illegal so they can show it on prime time TV, with results usually being the same tropes, such as a beach episode or a summer festival episode, being repeated ad nauseam.

Bobular:
To avoid any spoilers I'll just describe the start of it so you can get a general idea. The main character is just starting his first day of uni when he gets lost and bumps into another guy who is also starting in the same class as him, they get along and help each other get to class. As they're going to class a woman steps out in front of them with a bouquet of flowers and slaps his new friend across the face with them.

image

The main character instantly falls for this girl as she explains that she is the fianc?e of his new friend, a claim he denies. After a bit of discussion it turns out the guy had made a promise to her when they were kids that they'd get married and she has stuck to it his whole life, basically ruining his relations with everyone else and planning out exactly what they'll be doing and when for both their lives forever. He decided to come to this university after telling her he was going to a different one purely so he could get away from her.

Well, the girl seems more like an official case of being a nutjob rather than being violent purely because she's an anime character, so kudos to them. Does she have those kinds of outbursts very often, though? Because if she does, then it doesn't really make her any different from any other typical female character from a romcom anime.

Bobular:
Steins;Gate

I've seen this anime being mentioned quite often, but I've never really gotten around to actually giving it a try. Now's as good of a time as any. I'll add it to my list. Thanks.

Jerast:
I'm going to be real with you, nearly all romance anime is absolute trash.

This, except for Princess Mononoke of course. Now that's a lady,

image

Actually speaking of Miyazaki, you could do worse than The Wind Rises. Reading through your list of don'ts, I found myself realising that movie actually passes all those tests.

image

Rose of Versailles is my personal favorite. The characters are adults. It's historical, part tragedy, shoujo. The romance doesn't feel so fake. I know you're not gonna watch it, though. It's not new and shiny.

Ezekiel:
Rose of Versailles is my personal favorite. The characters are adults. It's historical, part tragedy, shoujo. The romance doesn't feel so fake. I know you're not gonna watch it, though. It's not new and shiny.

Nice insinuating you did there, buddy. I specified that any year is fine and even mentioned I watched Maison Ikkoku in the thread, which is an anime from the mid 80s. Hardly "new and shiny" if you ask me.

As for your suggestion, it sounds kinda interesting. I'll give it a go.

ninja666:
Well, the girl seems more like an official case of being a nutjob rather than being violent purely because she's an anime character, so kudos to them. Does she have those kinds of outbursts very often, though? Because if she does, then it doesn't really make her any different from any other typical female character from a romcom anime.

She does do it occasionally, but I think its handled quite well. She asks the main character for help at one point as she knows what she's doing is crazy and is actually pushing the other guy away but she can't help her self when she sees him even talking to another girl.

ninja666:

@Drathnoxis

I dunno. I remember watching some other romance adapted from a Rumiko Takahashi manga - Maison Ikkoku. It fell victim to pretty much every trope I described in the OP, save for the girl being a tsundere. Also boy did it drag out. I think I dropped it after 20 episodes because the relationship between the main characters was pretty much just going from one misunderstanding into another, without any sort of development happening. Would you say Ranma is any different in that regard?

Nah, I was joking with that one. You missed the white text. It fails every one of your points. I really like the show and think it's hilarious, but a good romance it is not. And it has the worst ending. If you want lighthearted comedy, Ranma's a good choice, if you want development noooooooooooooooooooooo.

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