Vampire romance is a popular subgenre of anime, often taking the form of harems or reverse harems. Due to their supernatural nature, these kinds of love stories create more conflict and higher stakes than typical romance plots, offering viewers complex relationships with love interests who are more than human.
Anime viewers are usually fascinated by vampire love interests who are powerful and prestigious, being seen as higher beings with greater capabilities and longer lifespans than humans. This perception has made vampire protagonists very desirable, despite their bloodlust, which is what allowed these five vampire romance series to steal our hearts.
One of the most recognizable vampire romance anime series ever, Vampire Knight ran for two 13-episode seasons. The series revolves around Yuki Cross, who attends Cross Academy boarding school after being adopted by its headmaster, Kaien Cross. She has almost no memories of her early childhood or her original parents -- her first being when Kaname Kuran saved her from a vampire. She has a crush on Kaname as a result, a pureblood vampire with royal status, which stems from her gratefulness toward him for saving her life.
The story picks up with Yuki and her childhood friend Zero living together at the academy after Kaien Cross takes him in, as well. Zero is a vampire hunter who despises vampires but also grapples with a secret identity. His psychological battle with himself makes for a captivating plot point in and of itself. As both Zero and Yuki's biggest secrets gradually come to light, their relationship becomes increasingly complex as they descend further into darkness. Meanwhile, Kaname has no intention of allowing Zero to remain close to Yuki, eventually offering viewers a shocking plot twist that will change the main trio's lives forever.
Devils' Line is arguably one of the most underrated and lesser-known vampire romances out there, despite its perfect five-star rating on MyAniList. Not only does this anime have a well-developed and mature romance, but it also provides a captivating mystery and police thriller plot as well.
In this series, 0.01% of the Japanese population exhibit vampire characteristics. They are called "Devils," and their existence is hidden from the general public because of their rarity to prevent panic. Devils appear and act as regular humans until they see or smell blood, at which point their thirst takes over, their eyes change color and they grow long fangs.
Tsukasa Taira is a grad student who meets love interest Anzai while he's monitoring a potentially dangerous Devil. Yuuki Anzai is a half-devil half-human police officer and a major part of the F Squad, a special task force to handle devil-related crimes. Anzai believes Devils and humans shouldn't mix, but Tsukasa wants Devils and humans to coexist and to see that peace achieved. They work together along with the F Squad to investigate recent crimes, offering viewers engaging police action and thought-provoking mysteries. This clash of genres makes this vampire romance much more than a simple love story: its high-stakes plot aims to radically change the world.
Diabolik Lovers is a controversial anime, typically dividing viewers into those who either loved or hated it -- with not much in between. Adapted from an otome game, like many reverse harems, it's comprised of two 12-episode seasons. In these two seasons, Yui Komori believes she's moving in with distant relatives after her father moves abroad, but she's actually moving into the Sakamaki brothers' mansion. The six brothers are vampires who take her in as a sacrificial bride, later revealing that Yui's father is not who she thinks he is.
As Yui tries to understand her father's past by uncovering his secrets hidden in their mansion, the Sakamaki brothers are physically and psychologically abusive toward Yui. They act cold toward her and feed off her whenever they want, seeing her as their property. While they slowly warm up to her later on, Yui responds to their cruelness with kindness and a desire to understand them better. Given their behavior, some viewers argue that the vampire brothers are toxic. Others enjoy their major character development as they grow closer to Yui.
Despite the dark and questionable subject matter, Diabolik Lovers remains a favorite for many, earning a full five-star rating on MyAniList. Viewer discretion is advised before watching this series, though, so consider your comfort level before tuning in.
Dance With Devils
Dance With Devils is another reverse harem vampire romance, but with a musical element incorporated throughout. The series ran for one 12-episode season with the addition of a theatrical film that was released after it concluded. The story revolves around Ritsuka Tachibana, a typical 16-year-old schoolgirl who suddenly finds herself caught between the worlds of vampires and devils when she attends Shikō Academy. As natural enemies, both sides compete to obtain the forbidden grimoire that will give their side control of the world. While both sides believe Ritsuka is the key to finding the grimoire, her red-headed cousin, Lindo Tachibana, is hiding their family's biggest secrets to keep her safe.
At the Academy, the student council is made up of mysterious and attractive boys who are school royalty. They summon Ritsuka to their elaborate council room to get closer to her, but she has no idea they're secretly devils. As Ritsuka grows closer to Rem Kaginuki and the student council -- despite her cousin's protest -- the series plays on intriguing moral ambiguity wherein the audience must evaluate both sides to decide right from wrong.
Meanwhile, Dance With Devils also offers its viewers enchanting vocals and compositions through its musical element, which is not something commonly found in the vampire romance subgenre.
Rosario + Vampire
Rosario + Vampire stars a human boy named Tsukune Aono who accidentally ends up at Yōkai Academy -- a school for monsters. It's a vampire romance comedy and harem in one, made up of two 13-episode seasons. The plot centers around Tsukune meeting Mokami Akashiya at the Academy, the female lead and resident vampire, who desires his blood. Moka also has a split personality. When she has pink hair and wears the Rosario Cross she is kind, but when she has white hair and the necklace is removed, she becomes much colder. Tsukune is the only one who can remove her Rosario Cross, causing her to transform whenever they're in danger.
During his time at the academy, Tsukune grows to care for monsters by considering them his equal and wanting them to coexist with humans. He even joins the school's newspaper club, which is full of monster girls who fall for him, creating the series' harem storyline. As Rosario + Vampire highlights the developing friendships between these different monsters, it proves that personal relationships are not limited to those who come from the same background.