Heart Eyes for Senpai: My Top 3 Romance Anime Picks


heart eyes for senpai. my top 3 romance anime picks

There are a lot of anime romances out there.

Like, thousands.

So when it comes to knowing where to start, I understand the struggle! Which is why I’m sharing my top 3 favorite anime love stories with ya’ll.

However, since I tried to ensure that my top picks also aligned with the ratings and reviews from the anime fandom at large, there’s a good chance you’ve already seen my top picks (or have heard of them at the very least). If so, take it as a sign you have good taste. I salute you.

And if not, clear your schedule. You’re gonna wanna watch these!

1/ Your Name

The fact that Your Name is at the top of this list should come as no surprise to any anime fan. It is by far the most legendary romance feature film in anime with some of the biggest names in the industry taking part in its creation. 

The story follows high school girl Mitshua and high school boy Taki who wake up one day and realize they have inexplicably switched bodies despite never having met one another before. As if that wasn’t intriguing enough, this Freaky-Friday-esque spell occurs at completely random intervals over time–neither of them being able to predict when they will wake up in their own bodies or each others–and they can only communicate with one another through notes and messages left where the other will see it. Through the experiences lived in each other’s perspectives and the scattered bits of communication they are able to share, they start to develop a special kind of intimacy with one another as they attempt to unravel why this phenomenon might be happening to them.

Without giving away any spoilers, let me say that the ending is a real punch in the gut but oh-so-poetic at the same time. And I’m a sucker for poetry.


Overall, it’s a uniquely endearing romance with stunning animation, compelling characters, and a story that will elicit chills and tears of both sorrow and joy.

So, if you’ve seen it already, take this as your sign to watch it again. Otherwise, WHAT ARE YOU STILL DOING HERE? GO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW!

2/ Weathering With You

Created by the same genius behind Your Name (artist & filmmaker Makoto Shinkai), Weathering With You is another feature-length anime romance masterpiece.

The story revolves around teenage runaway Hodaka who hops on a ship to escape a troubled life in the outskirts of Tokyo and is saved from being thrown overboard by a freelance writer and aspiring publisher named Suga who winds up offering him a job and a place to live. In addition to Suga, Hodaka also befriends a young woman named Hina who eventually reveals that she is a “sunshine girl” or someone with a spiritual connection that grants her the ability to stop a downpour of rain and replace it with sunshine. With Hodaka’s help and encouragement, Hina begins to market her special gift, bringing sunshine and hope to the rainy season of mainland Tokyo. However, at the height of their success, the past Hodaka tried to escape catches up with him–just as they also realize Hina’s gift comes with a deadly cost.


Like Your Name, this film is sure to leave you with tears of sorrow and joy as it beautifully navigates themes of loss, love, and the sacrifice of being of service to others. 

Watch it now on HBO Max.

3/ Kaguya Sama: Love is War

This is a complete series that started off as a popular manga and was later adapted into an anime that just wrapped up its third and final season–meaning you can stream the full love story from start to finish right now.

The story follows high school students Miyuki Shirogune and Kaguya Shinomiya who are number one and two of their class, President and Vice President of the Student Council, and desperately, secretly in love with one another. Unfortunately, they both believe that to confess their feelings first would be the ultimate act of defeat, so the story centers around their various, incredibly humorous attempts to get the other to confess first. Though it sounds like the kind of eye-rollingly typical romantic comedy plot, it’s actually a refreshingly unique take on the genre that not only perfectly captures the intense and terrifying feelings of first love but also contains a full cast of completely relatable characters. 


The struggles of the mind-games Shirogune and Shinomiya play in their quest to elicit a love confession from each other reminded me so much of the early days of my flirtationship with my (now) husband–when we were both uncertain about how the other felt and too prideful to be the one to make the first move. Embedded with hilarious narration, this anime also had me constantly dying with laughter–only to then hit me with a case of the feels so strong my laughter turned to tears in the best way possible. It’s an absolutely beautiful love story that I highly recommend you watch.

At the moment, the full series can be streamed on Crunchyroll with a subscription.

honorable mentions: less popular but still good

The Not-So-Popular-But-Still-Worthy Watches:

As mentioned before, there’s a lot of anime romances out there. To sift through them all would be a nearly impossible feat for anyone. And unfortunately, a lot of titles can remain hidden from the spotlight, never gaining the popularity they deserve.

The following titles were less popular than my top 3 picks, but they are still very much deserving of a watch.

Spy x Family

Okay, so technically this isn’t that much less popular than my top 3 picks. In fact, it’s arguably one of the most popular new anime to come out this past year. It’s also not exactly a love story either. However, since the central theme of the series revolves around what it means to be a family, I’m arguing that it counts.

The story is about a super spy named “Twilight” who is tasked with a mission that requires him to infiltrate a prestigious private school in order to gain access to a political leader who is essential to ensuring peace between two warring nations. In order to complete his mission, Twilight must take on the identity of Loid Forger, a single father to the young girl, Anya, who he quickly adopts for the mission. The plan is to enroll Anya in the private school and get her to befriend the political leader’s son who is in her same grade. However, in order to gain entry, Twilight also has to find a wife since the school only accepts students from a two-parent household. 

Thankfully, Yor Briar, a gorgeous young woman, is eager to find a husband and establish herself as an upstanding woman in society in order to mask the fact that she secretly works as a lethal assassin. When fate introduces Twilight and Yor to each other, the two come up with a pact to be each other's pretend spouse in order to secure the goals they are striving for. What neither of them knows or even suspects, though, is that little Anya has a secret too: she can read minds. 


With all three of them struggling to maintain their secrets from each other and the world, chaos naturally ensues in a way that is both adorably charming and a hilariously accurate depiction of what life with a young child is like. You think you have control of the situation, but NOPE! Kids gonna do what kids do best and keep life entirely unpredictable–in the most entertaining way possible.

Spy x Family currently has 2 seasons that can be streamed either on Crunchyroll or Hulu.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie

This anime is an adaptation of a lesser known webtoon that used to be featured regularly on the Japanese-only app Comico (now offered as Pocket Comics in the US). So to say this anime flew under the radar of popularity would be an understatement. Which is why it absolutely deserves a mention here!

The story revolves around Moriko Morioka, a 30 year old woman who has decided to quit her stressful corporate job and spend her remaining days as an otaku obsessed with an MMORPG called Fruits de Mer. While immersing herself in the game world, she befriends a fellow player with an avatar named Lily. What she doesn’t know is that Lily is actually a former male coworker of hers who has had a crush on her forever. And the best part is that “Lily” also has no idea that the fearless knight named Hayashi he’s been playing with is actually Moriko. 

As someone who became addicted to MMORPGs as a new mom stranded at home with an infant for the first few years of motherhood, I really related to Moriko’s experiences of finding meaning, purpose, and deep friendships in the virtual world she escapes into. I also appreciated the offbeat humor and the unexpected way the love story unfolds throughout the series.

The full series (and it’s accompanying OVA) can currently be streamed on Crunchyroll.

Romantic Killer

This is a recent Netflix series that I found while browsing recommendations on the Anime Feminist blog. Though I’d seen it pop up a few times while scrolling through Netflix, I wasn’t particularly intrigued by the less-than-convincing synopsis provided on Netflix. After reading Anime Feminist’s review, though, I decided to give it a shot. And I’m so glad I did!

The plot revolves around high school girl Anzu whose greatest three loves: chocolate, video games, and her precious pet cat are taken away from her by a quirky wizard named Riri. Riri has been sent to force Anzu into opening herself up to love, and vows to return access to Anzu’s greatest loves only once she has successfully managed to fall in love. 

Determined not to let Riri win, Anzu commits to resisting Riri’s efforts to get her to fall in love with the hope that Riri will give up and return to whatever weird world they came from. Unfortunately, the task becomes easier said than done when Anzu suddenly finds herself the object of affection and attraction to a multitude of dreamy dudes.

Like I said, the plot synopsis just doesn’t do it justice. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s ridiculous in the best and most unexpected way. The series takes the common tropes of romance and somehow makes you feel like it’s done something different. It’s refreshingly honest, unflinchingly weird, and genuinely one of the most interesting romantic comedies I’ve seen. 

Unfortunately, only one season is currently available on Netflix and there’s no telling when–or if–the second season will appear. However, it’s worth watching the first season if you have the time.

Now that I’ve given you some stellar recommendations, connect with me on social media and let me know which ones you’re interested in watching. Which one will you watch first? Which one(s) have you already seen? Did you like them? Why or why not?

Also, if you have any recommendations yourself, I’d love to hear them!

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