Written by: Nicole Castro
Published on: February 14, 2022 at 15:35 PHT (GMT+8)
Happy Valentine's Day!
There is certainly no shortage of romance in anime in the history of the entire industry. But in recent years, romance in anime has greatly leveled up to include relationships that go against the norm of the classic boy-meets-girl formula (or give said formula a twist!).
So, whether you're already committed to someone in the 3D world or still waiting to be isekai-ed to wed your 2D husbando/waifu, you can't go wrong with making anime a part of your Valentine's Day. Check out our anime recommendations for every Valentine's mood below!
Mood 1: Relationship Goals!
Of course this has to be first on the list. These are the romance anime with couples that are end game. The ultimate green flag relationships.
1. Horimiya (2021)
This list would be incomplete without Horimiya, the romcom anime that won Best Romance at Crunchyroll's Anime Awards 2022! The hype is real because Hori-san and Miyamura proved that healthy relationships can exist in anime and remain interesting because there's nothing like getting to know more and more about your favorite person.
2. Fruits Basket (2019-2021)
Fruits Basket was a close competition for the Best Romance award, and at this point, we probably don't need to explain why. Every single character and every single couple in this series had their own unique way of teaching us viewers that love develops from a gradual, mutual display of vulnerability.
3. My Dress-Up Darling (Winter 2022)
My Dress-Up Darling may still be airing, but it has consistently been topping the polls for Best Anime Couple of Winter 2022 on sites like Anitrendz. Marin and Gojo give us a modern, very 2020s relationship vibe where girls can be more open with their sexual side and guys can be more timid and pursue stereotypically feminine hobbies.
4. Teasing Master Takagi-san Season 3 (Winter 2022)
The Takagi x Nishikata ship is sailing strong with the currently airing third season, and Takagi-san is getting more and more creative with her subtle confessions. And, what's this? Nishikata is starting to notice?!
5. Banished from the Hero's Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside (2021)
The year 2021 was abundant with isekai anime, but Banished from the Hero's Party... stood out for being recognized primarily for the Rit x Red ship. Rit and Red being so clearly into each other and acting like a married couple throughout the series makes us so happy-jealous we'd probably choose to be isekai-ed to this world more than the others.
Mood 2: Friendship Goals!
Sometimes, the most enduring relationships in life are the friendships, the do-or-die, the we-will-stick-together-until-the-end types.
1. The Promised Neverland Season 2 (2021)
While there will always be mixed opinions about how the second season of The Promised Neverland diverged from the manga, no one can deny that this series highlighted the power of friendship to a 110% with Emma, Ray, and Norman. They are hardcore proof that you can make the impossible possible with the right people by your side.
2. 86 — Eighty Six — Part 2 (2021-2022)
Part 2 of 86 is the arc wherein Shin, Raiden, Theo, Anju, and Kurena end up fighting for the Federal Republic of Giad. An especially memorable part of this arc is how Shin struggles with his feelings of isolation, and Raiden and the others continue to remind him that is still human.
3. Tokyo Revengers (2021)
The crux of this hit series by LIDENFILMS is the friendship between the founding members of the Tokyo Manji Gang (Mikey, Draken, Baji, Mitsuya, Kazutora, and Pah-chin). The drama ensues when the founding members make diverging choices that threaten to tear the gang apart. But Baji pulls off the ultimate act of friendship that had the entire fandom crying over Peyoung Yakisoba.
Mood 3: It's Complicated...
From the sweet, fluffy end game relationships, we move on to the spicy, spill-the-tea types. These kinds of relationships are stressful AF for the participants, but they definitely make for great sleepover discussions.
1. Love of Kill (Winter 2022)
This currently airing anime thrives on a sense of mystery as we viewers hang on every week to uncover the deeply buried past between Song Ryang-ha and Chateau Dankworth. The PV alone already makes us see how destined they seem for each other. But it obviously won't be smooth sailing since they're both involved in shady business.
2. Requiem of the Rose King (Winter 2022)
Nothing screams historical drama like forbidden liaisons and political instability as the cast marry and manipulate each other for the crown of England. Seriously, Richard III has an inescapable destiny with Henrys and Edwards...
3. Koikimo (2021)
Koikimo tackles the struggles of romantic relationships with significant age gaps, as seen in high school student Ichika Arima and office worker Ryou Amakusa. Of course, there's also the matter of Ichika still being a minor, which the entire cast (especially Ichika herself) are highly aware of. In the end, Ichika and Ryou make the mature decision to wait for each other while being direct about their feelings.
Mood 4: The Struggling Singles
Valentine's Day may be recognized as primarily a couples' holiday, but no way are we excluding the singles. Enjoy relating to the struggles of being single when you feel like you'll most likely marry your job first.
1. Uramichi Oniisan (2021)
While Uramichi Oniisan isn't exactly a romance anime, there are plenty of romantic relationship rants to be had here with Utano Tadano (CV: Nana Mizuki). Still, even without any bitterness on the difficulties of adult relationships, there's nothing like the joy of making innocent kids happy to end your day on a high note.
2. Osomatsu-san Season 3 (2021)
Our favorite virgin NEETs are back with a season 3 that has the Matsuno brothers finding crazier ways to make us laugh as they unleash their bitterness as self-proclaimed losers. But they also surprise us at episode 5 when they have a highly relatable discussion on getting married after attending a friend's wedding reception.
3. Police in a Pod (Winter 2022)
Police in a Pod is comprised of a cast of male and female police officers at Machiyama Police Station who give us realistic rants about being overworked and having an irregular lifestyle that makes it almost impossible to start a family (let alone have a sex life). If you're in the mood to commiserate with a fellow adult, this show is definitely for you.
Mood 5: Bittersweet
For those who relate to the "I do love you but...it's not you. It's me."
1. Attack on Titan: The Final Season (2020-Winter 2022)
Second to The Rumbling, the final season of Attack on Titan is famous for making the plot go full circle to episode 1 of season 1 when a younger Mikasa wakes up a younger Eren who was crying from a long dream, making us see the whole story and their relationship in a new light. "From You, 2,000 Years Ago" to "To You, in 2000 Years: The Fall of Shiganshina" indeed.
2. Mars Red (2021)
Need a tragic, humans x vampires romance with none of the angsty teen drama? Give Mars Red a try and watch military men making painful choices in the name of love and patriotism.
Mood 6: My husbando/waifu is not of this world
Isekai anime are known for having overly powerful male protagonists who end up with multiple relationships throughout the series. The love interests (often female) are all so well-crafted that the fandoms are eternally debating who is the show's best girl.
Whether or not polyamory is your thing, we can all agree that we're lucky to have so many amazing, difficult-to-choose-from ships!
1. Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation (2021)
While the anime for Mushoku Tensei gave the most screen time to the Rudeus x Eris ship, the fandom's love for Roxy and Sylphie plus the two girls' contribution to Rudeus' growth makes them difficult to ignore!
And with this series winning the polls for Anime of the Year 2021 on Anime Corner, there is a lot to love about this show beyond the girls. It has great storytelling, excellent worldbuilding, stunning animation, and an emotionally profound portrayal of Rudeus learning to love himself and the people who genuinely care for him in this new life.
2. How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom (2021-Winter 2022)
While the main ship is undoubtedly Souma x Liscia, the universe of How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom considers polyamory the norm, allowing Souma to marry the other main females of the show such as Aisha and Juna. The girls and their diverse personalities support Souma in different ways as he prioritizes the welfare of the Kingdom of Elfrieden.
Mood 7: The Wholesome Slow Burn
Sometimes, love does not need to be complicated. Similar to the end game couples, the wholesome, slow burn couples are those who are definitely into each other and just need a little bit of time to wrap their heads around how hopelessly in love they are with someone who sees through their soul.
1. Sasaki and Miyano (Winter 2022)
Currently airing boys' love (BL) anime Sasaki and Miyano wins our hearts for the gentle stares and quiet moments between the titular couple. The series also goes against the grain of many other BL series that tend to rush the relationship through sex. Sasaki and Miyano are a wholesome couple that hang out like regular high school students and take the time to think and talk about their budding feelings for each other.
2. Komi Can't Communicate (2021)
On the opposite end, the Tadano x Komi ship is the wholesome couple who understands each other while barely saying anything because they're so attentive to each other's needs. And Tadano makes for A+ boyfriend material because of how patient he is when Komi struggles to express herself through words.
Stay tuned! Komi Can't Communicate is getting a season 2 this April 2022!
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