10 Best Romance Anime That Not Set In High-School
10. Maison Ikkoku (1986)
The oldest entry on the list (by a huge margin), Maison Ikkoku is an all-time romance classic. College student Yusaku Godai, fed up with his annoying fellow tenants at the Maison Ikkoku boarding house finally decides to move out, but the arrival of a new manager whom he's instantly taken with results in a change of plans.
Viewers who want to experience the anime to its full potential will have to sift through a lot of filler as there are nearly 100 episodes worth of content, but it's all worth it in the end as the two protagonists do get married.
9. Nana (2007)
Nana's storytelling was exceptionally progressive for its time, exploring themes of love, friendship, and romantic relationships between not a single couple but among multiple people of different ages, sex, and walks of life. The story starts with the fateful meeting of two women of the same name who move to Tokyo in order to fulfill their respective ambitions, Nana Komatsu and Nana Oosaki.
Although they look like polar opposites of each other on the surface, one being a punk rockstar and the other a simple sweet-natured person looking for love, a beautiful friendship blooms between the two.
8. Clannad: After Story (2008)
Clannad: After Story is the sequel to 2007's Clannad, as suggested by the name itself, and it's one of those sequels that many fans will probably agree that never should've been made simply because of how horribly depressing it is. The original Clannad, although a bit melancholy at times, is overall a wholesome tale of two high school students falling in love and the various interesting people around them.
Clannad: After Story follows the main couple into their adult years as they get married and have a daughter, which is just lovely and all until the female protagonist dies in one of the most heartbreaking moments ever in anime.
7. Sword Art Online (2012)
When people think of romance anime, Sword Art Online probably isn't what first comes to mind. Although it has some excellent romantic development between the two main protagonists Kirito and Asuna, the show has always been more focused on its action-adventure elements. Meeting under life-death circumstances while stuck inside the virtual world of a video game, the two fall in love and even get engaged in the real world.
Their romance is one of the most well-maintained aspects of the show, compared to the writing which can be weak at times.
6. Plastic Memories (2015)
Plastic Memories is an original work (as in, not based on pre-existing material) from the Doga Kobo, the studio behind many popular anime such as Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun. Nearly as depressing as the aforementioned Clanaad series, it also involves the death of a loved one but what makes it different is that the audience is made aware of in the very beginning exactly how the show is going to end.
But even then the conclusion is an emotional punch in the gut that will leave viewers feeling heartbroken over the "death" of an android.
5. Snow White with the Red Hair (2015)
The title of the anime obviously hints at the popular fairy tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but that's where the similarities between the two end as the plot of the anime is rather dissimilar. Protagonist Shirayuki's name means "snow white", but her bright lustrous red hair is what makes her the most noticeable in the eyes of the people, sometimes the wrong kind of people.
When the Prince Raji of the kingdom tries to forcibly take her as his concubine, she escapes to a neighboring country where an unlikely romance between her and that kingdom's prince Zen Wistaria ensues.
4. The Ancient Magus' Bride (2017)
A dark fantasy anime on the surface, The Ancient Magus' Bride's main protagonists are far from what one would consider a normal couple if they can be considered one in the first place. Teenager Chise Hatori, tired of her traumatizing past and despondent circumstances chooses to sell herself into slavery as a last-ditch effort.
She is bought by Elias Ainsworth, a half humanoid creature who takes her in as his apprentice and potential wife. The relationship between these two characters, both half-human and coming from tragic backgrounds, works as the backbone of this supernatural series.
3. Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku (2018)
As indicated by the title, the show follows two long time friends who are hardcore otakus after they suddenly decide to start dating each other one day. Narumi Momose, a "fujoshi" and otome fangirl finds herself working in the same office as her long time friend Hirotaka Nifuji, who is a gamer otaku.
While discussing the matter of how difficult it is for otaku people to find romantic partners, they arrive at the obvious conclusion that they could just date each other.
2. Sing Yesterday For Me (2020)
Arguably one of the most mature romance anime in recent times, Sing Yesterday For Me tells the story of 4 people stuck in a strange love square (as if love triangles aren't dramatic enough). Haru is an eccentric girl with a pet crow who openly likes Rikuo a lot, but he has feelings for his college friend Shinako who still hasn't let go of her deceased ex-boyfriend.
She treats her ex-boyfriend's family like her own but his younger brother Rou seems to be in love with her. With its realistic cast of characters and adult themes, the anime is a bittersweet romance-drama for the ages.
1. Tonikaku Kawaii: Fly Me to the Moon (2020)
Scenarios in which characters get together as a couple after falling in love (like normal people) are few and far between in anime, and marriages rarely ever happen. Tonikaku Kawaii surprisingly manages to do both in the very first episode. Nasa Yuzaki, a genius high school student, is almost killed in a truck accident but is saved by a mysterious woman with whom he falls in love at first sight.
The two meet after some time and instantly decide to get married, and what follows is a rom-com about these two newlyweds that is every bit as romantic as it is comedic.