The 4 Best Romance Anime of 2020 You Probably Missed

2020 was a rough year all-around, but despite some understandable delays in production early in the year, it was still an amazing one for anime -- especially within the romance genre. When fans around the world needed that dose of love, anime delivered.

As well as providing long-awaited second seasons of fan favorites like Fruits Basket, a lot of new releases that came out this year are absolutely fantastic. But some of them have fallen under the radar, thanks, in part, to having to compete with extremely popular returning anime. But don't let that be a deterrent -- these four anime were among the best of the year, hands down.

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Sing "Yesterday" For Me

Sing Yesterday For Me Anime Haru and Rikuo

Based on the manga series written by Kei Toume, Sing "Yesterday" For Me was finally brought to air this year in its first anime adaptation. A story of four people who cannot seem to make love work for them, the plot mainly follows Rikuo Uozumi as he continuously tries and fails to make it work with his college-crush Shinako Morinome. While that's going on, the other two main characters, Haru Nonaka and Rō Hayakawa, struggle to pursue their own loves -- Rikuo and Shinako respectively. It's an absolute cluster of unreturned feelings and misunderstandings, which all of us have experienced at one point or another.

The plot constantly brings up the characters' various pasts and how each of them cannot seem to let those go in order to start fresh in a new relationship. They all carry baggage, including Rō's older brother who had passed away some years before. This brother was also the love of Shinako's life, whom she seems unable to move on from, creating a barrier that Rikuo cannot cross no matter how hard he tries. It's frustrating to watch for Haru as she keeps trying to convince him to choose her.

Sing "Yesterday" For Me is a surprisingly mature take on romance, giving a stark viewpoint into the reality of unrequited love. It also highlights the importance of effort in a relationship; simply having feelings for someone isn't enough on its own. Overall, it's a fresh take on the romance genre and one of 2020's best anime additions.


In Spectre Anime Poster

Hinging on the classic trope of unlikely friends, In/Spectre is a romance anime that's not really a romance. It's predominantly a mystery story that focuses on Kuro Sakuragawa and Kotoko Iwanaga as they take on various monsters and yōkai in service of Kotoko's job as the Goddess of Wisdom. The catch? Kotoko is madly in love with Kuro, much to his chagrin as he's struggling to get over a recent breakup.

Though this is a very dialogue-heavy, slow burn of an anime, the dynamic between the two protagonists is what truly drives the show. Laden with supernatural elements and two main characters who have strange powers, the anime focuses on the action-based plot but always keeps the character's romance on the fringes, ready to develop and flourish, which kept those nay-sayers hanging on until the finale of the season. It might be what makes them return for In/Spectre's second.

Asteroid In Love

Asteroid In Love Anime Picnic Scene

Premiering in the spring of 2020, Asteroid In Love immediately captured the hearts of viewers with its heartfelt and incredibly relevant story. Mira Konohata befriends a boy named Ao Manaka in her childhood and they make a promise together to find an asteroid. Years later and now in high school, Mira joins the Earth Sciences club where she reunites with Ao. Much to her confusion, she realizes that Ao is actually a girl. Together with their classmates, they conduct experiments and continue to work on their promise to one another: to find an asteroid.

Many viewers don't consider this anime a full-on romance, but the focus on the relationship between Ao and Mira is what drives the show. Asteroid In Love goes to prove that romance doesn't need to be sexual. While it does have some light sexual subtext, it's truly about the romance of companionship and the effort that goes into that, just like any other romantic relationship.

It's adorable, funny, and heartfelt -- exactly what a romance anime needs. Sometimes, friendship is more important than a sexual relationship, and this anime embodies that idea, especially in 2020 when relationships of all kinds have been brought to a halt.

Science Fell in Love, So I Tried to Prove It

Science Fell In Love Anime Shinya and Ayame

Love is essentially chemicals firing in the brain, right? That's what Science Fell In Love, So I Tried To Prove It is all about -- the science behind falling in love. Adapted from the manga series by Alifred Yamamoto, Science Fell In Love follows two brilliant STEM researchers who try to conquer the task of finding a scientific way to quantify love. After Ayame Himuro confesses her feelings to her fellow researcher Shinya Yukimura, he doesn't know how to handle it so he does what he knows best: he researches. They both believe that math is the ultimate tool for understanding things, therefore, this should also apply to romantic emotions.

This anime fell under the radar of many viewers but it's absolutely worth a watch. Reminiscent of Dr. Stone with its experiments and focus on research, Science Fell In Love certainly achieves its goal of quantifying what love is. As the two protagonists delve deeper into their research, Shinya begins to come to terms with his own emotions, which is harder than he expects.

It's a fantastic romance anime that takes a unique approach -- one that is rewarded with satisfying moments between the protagonists. Will their love flourish beyond the research? Season 2 was officially greenlit in October, so hopefully, fans will find out sooner rather than later.

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