10 best romantic anime movies to watch on Netflix now (2024)

If you are in the mood to watch something heartwarming, then the best romantic anime movies on Netflix can serve as the perfect fix. Noted for their unique stories, fantastic animation and lineup of outstanding characters, anime movies on Netflix offer myriad emotions and depict romance like no other.

Most romantic anime movies have a light-hearted theme infused with hints of fantasy, drama and supernatural elements. But, they do not shy away from portraying intense emotions, too. Themes like lost love, heartbreak, sacrifice and a spiritual journey to discovering oneself also form part of the primary narrative.

Stalwarts of the anime world

Studio Ghibli stands as an evergreen name in the world of anime and animation movies. Its co-founders, Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, have directed classics like My Neighbor Totoro (1988) and Grave of the Fireflies (1988). Their films are known for their strong plot, characters and emotional depth. Contributions from filmmakers like Makoto Shinkai are also no less. Shinkai is known for beautiful artwork and intricate storytelling in his films and has given gems like Your Name and Weathering with You.

Producers, too, have done their part. Toshio Suzuki and Yasuyoshi Tokuma have played a crucial role in producing Ghibli’s films and thus contributed significantly to taking this art form to its present glory.

Some other incredible romance anime movies and genres

Animation romance movies like Shin’ichirō Ushijima’s I Want To Eat Your Pancreas (2018) show the pain of knowing that two lovers cannot be together for long, and Mamuro Hosoda’s The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006) about two high-school best friends from different times striving to be together are quite emotionally stirring and immensely popular.

The supernatural romantic anime movie To The Forest Of Firefly Lights (2011) and school romance movies Doukyusei (2016) and A Silent Voice (2016), both of which have very different perspectives of a love story, are also masterpieces. On the other hand, The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl (2017) is an unusual romantic comedy anime, while Bubble (2022) is one of the most beautiful yet sad romance anime movies.

In the fantasy genre, titles like Howl’s Moving Castle (2004), A Whisker Away (2020) and The Cat Returns (2002) are some of the best romantic anime movies to add to your watchlist. These films incorporate an element of magic, with protagonists possessing certain extra-terrestrial powers.

From Oscar nominations to winning Tokyo Anime Awards and accolades from various revered film festivals, these romantic anime movies have earned critical acclaim as well.

All these animated romance movies beautifully weave together many themes, including adventure, science fiction, and fantastic elements, and promise an emotional journey like no other.

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Some of the best romance anime movies to add to your Netflix watchlist

Jump To / Table of Contents

  • Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
  • Sasaki and Miyano: Graduation chapter (2023)
  • Whisper of the Heart (1995)
  • Ponyo (2008)
  • Ocean Waves (1993)
  • A Whisker Away (2020)
  • The Cat Returns (2002)
  • Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop (2020)
  • Bubble (2022)

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

Voiced by: Takuya Kimura, Chieko Baishô, Tatsuya Gashûin

Synopsis: Sophie (Baishô) is a young girl with an uneventful life as a milliner at her hat shop. She crosses paths with the handsome wizard Howl (Kimura), and they begin an unusual love story. However, Sophie is cursed by an evil witch, which causes her to age prematurely. Now, the Howl goes to lengths to free her of the spell, while Sophie helps him shed his emotional baggage and begins to understand his mythical walking castle.

About the film: A stellar title on the best romantic anime movie list, this is a Studio Ghibli production. It is loosely based on British author Diana Wynne Jones’s 1986 novel of the same name. The English version has Christian Bale, Emily Mortimer, Jean Simmons and Lauren Bacall lending their voice to key characters.

Awards won: Howl’s Moving Castle won four awards at the 2005 Tokyo Anime Awards, including Best Director and Best Animation Of The Year and was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year at the 2006 Academy Awards.

Image: Courtesy Howl’s Moving Castle/ IMDb

Directed by: Shinji Ishihira

Voiced by: Yûsuke Shirai, Sôma Saitô, Ryôhei Arai, Mitsuhiro Ichiki, Yuna Kamakura

Synopsis: The endearing love story revolves around two high school students, Shuumei Sasaki (Shirai) and Yoshikazu Miyano (voiced by Saitô), who start a new relationship. But as Sasaki’s exams and graduation draws near, the two boys must find a way to balance school and their budding romance.

About the film: The romantic anime movie is based on Shō Harusono’s Sasaki and Miyano manga (serialised from 2016), which stands at nine volumes, according to a February 2023 CBR report. Its anime adaptation was released in 2022 with 12 episodes and an original video animation.

Directed by: Yoshifumi Kondô

Voiced by: Yoko Honna, Issei Takahashi, Takashi Tachibana

Synopsis: Shizuku (Honna) is a young high school student and a voracious reader who wants to become a creative writer. One day, she goes through the checkout cards of her library books and notices all of them have been previously checked out by one Seiji Amasawa (Takahashi). They chance upon each other on various occasions and soon become important parts of each other’s lives. But Shizuku and Seji’s respective ambitions take them on separate paths. Will the two ever meet again?

About the film: Among the best romantic anime movies on Netflix, Whisper Of The Heart is based on Aoi Hiiragi’s manga of the same name. Miyazaki joined the team as a co-writer, and the film became a huge commercial success at the time.

Image: Courtesy Whisper Of The Heart/ IMDb

4 /10

Ponyo (2008)

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

Voiced by: Tomoko Yamaguchi, Kazushige Nagashima, Yûki Amami, George Tokoro, Yuria Nara

Synopsis: Sōsuke (Doi), a five-year-old boy, rescues a beautiful goldfish trapped in a bottle in the waters and names her Ponyo (Nara). He puts Ponyo in a pail, and they form a strong bond. But her half-human wizard father Fujimoto (Tokoro), who lives underwater, wants Ponyo to return to the waterworld. The two persistently resist all attempts to separate them until Ponyo faces a crucial decision — either she gives up her magical powers and remains a human or returns to her earlier form as a fish.

About the film: It is one of the most beautiful anime romantic movies from Studio Ghibli that depicts young love. Its English version features Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Tina Fey and Noah Cyrus as voice actors.

Awards won: In 2009, Ponyo won Best Film Score and Best Animation Film at the Awards of the Japanese Academy, along with five accolades at the Tokyo Anime Awards.

Image: Courtesy Ponyo/ IMDb

Directed by: Tomomi Mochizuki

Voiced by: Nobuo Tobita, Toshihiko Seki, Yoko Sakamoto, Yuri Amano

Synopsis: Narrated in flashback, the romance anime centres around Taku Morisaka (Tobita), who is headed to his school reunion. Thinking about the old days when he was a high school boy, Taku remembers Rikako Muto (Sakamoto), a new student at his school. He first met her via his close friend Yutaka Matsuno (Seki). But, as Taku became involved in Rikako’s life, their relationship developed a strain. After years of no contact, Taku learns about Rikako’s circ*mstances and realises he has always been in love with her.

About the film: Ocean Waves marks the first Studio Ghibli film which was not directed by Miyazaki or Takahata, opening doors for new talents to expand under the revered banner. The film is based on Saeko Himuro’s novel of the same name. It was serialised 23 times in Tokuma Shoten’s Animage magazine between February 1990 and January 1992 and was later published as a book.

Image: Courtesy Ocean Waves/ IMDb

Directed by: Jun’ichi Satô, Tomotaka Shibayama

Voiced by: Mirai Shida, Natsuki Hanae, Hiroaki Ogi

Synopsis: Miyo Sasaki (Shida) is a high school girl who is highly infatuated with fellow student Kento Hinode (Hanae). But, he doesn’t reciprocate her feelings. However, she uses her supernatural power to turn into a beautiful cat anytime, at will, to stay close to her. Kento, unaware of this, pets and cares for the beautiful feline and even names her Taro, after his beloved pet. But as her love for Kento deepens, she wishes to remain in her cat avatar forever.

Image: Courtesy A Whisker Away/ IMDb

Directed by: Hiroyuki Morita

Voiced by: Chizuru Ikewaki, Yoshihiko Hakamada, Takayuki Yamada, Yōsuke Saitō

Synopsis: A young girl named Haru (Ikewaki) rescues a cat from being run over by a truck, and she is showered with unusual gifts. She learns the cat she saved was Prince Lune (Yamada), the heir to the Cat Kingdom. To show his gratitude, the Cat King showers her with gifts and takes her to his kingdom to get her married to Lune. Haru begins to develop feline features, and when she is prevented from leaving, the Baron (Hakamada) and Toto (Saitō) help her escape.

About the film: Considered among the best anime romance movies on Netflix, The Cat Returns is based on Aoi Hiiragi’s manga spin-off of Whisper of the Heart, titled Baron: The Cat Returns. The English dub features Anne Hathaway, Kristen Bell and Peter Boyle.

Image: Courtesy The Cat Returns/ IMDb

Directed by: Kyohei Ishiguro

Voiced by: Somegorô Ichikawa, Hana Sugisaki, Megumi Han, Natsuki Hanae

Synopsis: The romance anime follows the love story of Cherry (Ichikawa), a young and shy boy who is always on headphones and works at a shopping mall, and Smile (Sugisaki), a bubbly young girl and internet personality. While Cherry is quiet and enjoys haiku, Smile is full of energy but wears a mask to hide her buck teeth and braces. One day, during an incident at the mall, their phones get swapped, setting them into an unexpected romantic relationship.

Directed by: Xuan Liang, Chun Zhang

Voiced by: Guanlin Ji, Timmy Xu, Shangqing Su

Synopsis: Chun (Ji) is a teenage young girl from a mystical world who is sent to the Earth as a red dolphin. She instantly falls in love with a young fisherman boy (Xu) who drowns while saving her from a fishing net. Upon returning home, a guilt-ridden Chun gives up a part of her lifespan to the Keeper of The Souls to save the boy, whom she dubs Kun. Kun, on the other hand, is now turned into a fish whom she must nurture till he is an adult.

About the film: The Chinese romance anime is heavily influenced by the ways and methods of Studio Ghibli stalwarts Miyazaki and Takahata, and their style of narration is visible in almost every scene.

Image: Courtesy Big Fish & Begonia

10 /10

Bubble (2022)

Directed by: Tetsurō Araki

Voiced by: Jun Shison, Mamoru Miyano, Riria

Synopsis: In an alternate universe, Tokyo becomes an epicentre of weird bubbles that break the laws of gravity and make the city unsuitable for living. Although the residents are asked to flee, young people stay and train in parkour. Hibiki (Shison) is an 18-year-old parkour enthusiast who aims to win big. One day, he attempts to climb the Tokyo Tower but fails and plummets into the ocean. He is saved by a mysterious young girl named Uta (Riria). They both train in intense parkour and form a close bond. Now, faced with the challenge of the bubbles, will their relationship be enough to save themselves and the city?

(Hero and feature image: Courtesy Whisper of the Heart/ IMDb)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

-Is there any good romance anime?
Some of the best romance anime movies include 5 Centimetres Per Second, Doukyusei, Weathering With You, Only Yesterday and The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl.

-Is Your Name a romance anime?
Your Name (2016) is one of the best romance anime movies directed by Makoto Shinkai.

-What is called romantic anime?
A romantic anime includes elements of a love story, where two protagonists come close over the course of the film or show. Or, they go on self-discovery and realise their liking for each other. Sometimes, romantic anime films also include fantasy and magical themes which render a supernatural touch.

-Is there any romance anime on Netflix?
Some of the best romantic anime movies on Netflix include Howl’s Moving Castle, Sasaki and Miyano: Graduation Chapter, Whisper of the Heart and Only Yesterday.


The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publication.

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10 best romantic anime movies to watch on Netflix now (2024)


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