Romantic comedies are incredibly popular among anime viewers, and the 2010s brought this genre into the limelight with an arsenal of well-known titles. However, the sheer amount of rom-coms produced soon overshadowed many great series, causing them to fall out of anime's collective memory. Here are the five best anime rom-coms of the 2010s that are unjustly overlooked and underrated.
Wolf Girl and Black Prince
Wolf Girl and Black Prince aired in 2014 and stars Erika Shinohara, a high school girl trying hard to fit into her new friend group, all of whom have boyfriends. Not wanting to be left out, she shows them a picture of a random boy and claims he's her boyfriend. However, the boy she took a photo of is actually Kyoya Sata, the most popular guy at their school. Her friends recognize Kyoya and can't believe she's actually dating him. When her friends ask to meet her boyfriend, Erika resorts to approaching Kyoya and explaining her situation in the hope that he'll help her lie to her friends.
To Erika's surprise, Kyoya agrees to their fake relationship -- but on the unexpected condition that she'll act like his pet. Kyoya relentlessly teases and degrades her as she carries out his every order, including barking on command. This rom-com undermines the classic romance tropes audiences have come to expect by taking a seemingly princely character and turning him into an unpredictable sadist. While their wild fake relationship comes with comedic twists and turns, genuine romance lurks beneath the surface.
Tsuredure Children is a 2017 rom-com with an extensive cast comprised of classmates attending the same high school. This anime focuses on the growing pains of young love and how difficult it is to confess your true feelings to the person you like. Given this rom-com's unusual format, viewers get to experience various couples and scenarios that portray the different facets of romance.
While some couples suffer from unrequited love, others struggle because they like each other but don't know it, both too afraid to tell each other. The web of romance and frequent miscommunications lead to many comical situations, but the series has been grossly overlooked, perhaps due to its untraditional format.
Ao-chan Can’t Study!
As the most recent anime on this list, Ao-chan Can’t Study! is a romantic comedy that aired in 2019. The series stars Ao Horie, the daughter of a famous erotic novelist. Her classmates often recognize her connection to her father, so she desperately wants to get out of his shadow. When she goes to high school, she soon meets a popular boy named Takumi Kijim, who wants to be friends with her.
However, Ao has a biased and negative perception of boys based on her father's work, believing they're all perverted. Given her upbringing, Ao ironically can't stop imagining them as a couple and getting in awkward situations with Takumi. Not only does Ao-chan Can’t Study! offer waves of romance and comedy, but it also ironically plays upon fanservice.
My Little Monster
Airing in 2012, My Little Monster enjoyed relative success with its debut but has faded from anime's collective memory since. Starring an overly studious girl named Shizuku Mizutani and a boy with a bad reputation named Haru Yoshida, this rom-com plays on the difficulty of two people with entirely different personalities coming together. After the pair unexpectedly meet, Shizuku becomes curious about Haru's loving and childish personality despite always being absent from school and the violent rumors circulating about him.
While Haru's wild and unpredictable behavior becomes a comedic focus in the series, the high school friend group that soon develops also offers crazy antics of its own for audiences to enjoy. Whether it's taking care of Haru's pet chicken or getting into fights at the batting range, the characters bond over uncontrollable situations and celebrate their differences. Despite many misunderstandings and communication errors, the cast of My Little Monster undergoes satisfying character development as they struggle with unfamiliar feelings of love.
Inu X Boku SS
A kitsune rom-com originally airing in 2012, Inu X Boku SS is commonly overlooked and not often discussed in the anime community. This supernatural rom-com stars half-human, half-yōkai who live in a special apartment building called Ayakashi Kan. Ririchiyo Shirakiin is a wealthy yet lonely girl who moves into the apartment for her own safety, but she's soon accompanied by a powerful SS agent named Soushi Miketsukami.
Despite being the most powerful and skilled agent in the SS, Soushi willingly chooses to serve Ririchiyo and protect her with his life. Soushi is a passionate and possessive fox yōkai, making him a desirable kitsune with a romantic drive.