What’s better than a nice long slow-burn romance story? Or maybe a good old childhood-friends-to-lovers trope! Or what about the often hilarious and frustrating fake dating love stories?
The romance genre is jam-packed with all different kinds of entertaining tropes and stories. In manga, the romance genre is even more diverse as different subgenres like fantasy, sci-fi, coming-of-age, and more are incorporated into each lovesick chapter. Dive in to these romance manga picks as we unpack the best love stories from the genre!
The 27 Best Romance Mangas You Must Read
There are literally tens of thousands of romance manga available, drawing in readers from all over the world. It can definitely get a bit overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best and most memorable romance mangas out there! Can’t wait to know more? Then read on!
- A Girl on the Shore
- The Ancient Magus’ Bride
- The Demon Prince of Momochi House
- My Love Story!!
- The Quintessential Quintuplets
- My Dress-Up Darling
- Kaguya-Sama: Love is War
- Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku
- Inu x Boku SS
- Love in Focus
- Komi Can’t Communicate
- Kobi Won’t Let Me Be Invisible
- How Do We Do Relationship?
- So Cute It Hurts!!
- Honey So Sweet
- Daily Butterfly
- A Tropical Fish Yearns For Snow
- The Two Get By Tomorrow Too
- Waiting for Spring
- Perfect World
- An Incurable Case of Love
- Honnou Switch
- Everyone’s Getting Married
- A Sign of Affection
- Nisekoi: False Love
1. A Girl on the Shore
We’re starting off with a unique pick that some people won’t necessarily classify as romance. A Girl on the Shore is a deep and thought-provoking look into the human psyche. It’s complicated, wild, and full of intense energy just radiating off the pages.
This manga is set in a rural seaside town and follows the twisted relationship between Koume and Isobe, two teenagers brimming with lust and hate just looking for a bit of fun. A Girl on the Shore is definitely far from a typical sweet romance manga. Instead, it’s a gritty and realistic look into the world of angry adolescents.
But as the story progresses, it becomes even more complicated and you start to see the lines blur between lust and love. A Girl on the Shore is filled with very human and vulnerable characters, explicit displays of intimacy, and true raw emotion.
2. The Ancient Magus’ Bride
Pivoting off our first pick, here we have another romance manga on the opposite side of the spectrum. If you’re a fan of fairytales–especially Beauty and the Beast–then you will definitely have fun reading The Ancient Magus’ Bride.
Here we follow a teenage girl named Chise Hatori. All her life, she’s been an outcast all because of her strange ability for being able to see and talk to mysterious, unseen beings! Chise also comes from a very poor background and has been forced into slavery pretty much all her life.
Everything changes when a mage named Elias Ainsworth rescues Chise and makes her his new apprentice. As the two get closer, Chise starts to fall for her new mentor. The only catch? She’s not sure Elias is actually a hundred percent human! The Ancient Magus’ Bride is another unconventional love story that’s as entertaining as it is thought-provoking.
3. The Demon Prince of Momochi House
Next up we have another unlikely pair, but this time with a supernatural twist! The Demon Prince of Momochi House combines traditional Japanese folklore and modern takes on love.
Here we follow Himari Momochi, an orphan who has nothing left to lose. On her 16th birthday, she inherits the grand Momochi family estate. Himari is warned that the estate is actually haunted, but with nowhere else to go, she ignores it and takes in her new house.
When she arrives, she’s surprised to see that the stories are actually true! Momochi House sits right on the boundary between the human world and the spirit world, and so all sorts of creatures lurk in the shadows. Here Himari also meets Aoi, a sexy young man who entered the house as a boy and became trapped as its spirit guardian ever since.
Now that Himori has arrived, Aoi hopes he can take her place as the guardian of Momochi House so he can finally be set free and return to his old life.
4. My Love Story!!
If you want to swoon as well as laugh, then My Love Story!! is the one for you! Here we follow Takeo Gouda, a tall and muscular high school student. Despite his intimidating appearance, he’s actually devastatingly shy. This dreadful combo does not have much luck with women, as Takeo has to deal with the fact that every girl he likes falls for his best friend instead.
One day, he ends up saving his shy schoolmate, Rinko Yamato, from a heckler on the train. Thus begins a cute romance full of ups and downs and plenty of fun! As their bond grows closer, Takeo and Rinko start to help each other overcome their insecurities. My Love Story!! is a great manga about self-confidence.
5. The Quintessential Quintuplets
Our next pick may also be a bit of a wild card, but hear us out. The Quintessential Quintuplets falls under a genre of manga that may seem unfamiliar or weird at first, and that is harem manga. Harem manga basically refers to stories that have at least three or more characters fall in love with one male protagonist.
The Quintessential Quintuplets is a surprisingly wholesome take on the subgenre. We follow Futaro, a high school student who works part-time as a private tutor to a group of quintuplets: Ichika, Nino, Miko, Yotsuba, and Itsuki.
Right at the beginning of the manga, we find out Futaro gets married to one of the quintuplets, and we’re left guessing who until the very end! Futaro and the girls’ relationship is at times funny and sometimes even heartwarming. With a gorgeous art style and really likable characters, The Quintessential Quintuplets is a romance manga we definitely recommend.
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6. My Dress-Up Darling
If you want a wholesome coming-of-age manga about two characters who help each other grow, then we can’t think of a better pick than My Dress-Up Darling. Here we follow Wakana Gojo, a high school student who proves looks can be deceiving. Despite his tall physique and manly appearance, Wakana has a secret hobby of making intricate hina dolls at his grandfather’s shop.
There he meets Marin Kitagawa, the only person he’s ever felt comfortable sharing his hobby with. She herself has a secret hobby: she’s into cosplaying! One day, Marin asks Wakana to help her out in making costumes, and the two start a beautiful friendship that eventually turns into something more.
My Dress-Up Darling is a sweet romance story between two people determined to help and support each other no matter what. It’s a manga overflowing with romance and charm!
In Noragami, romance is set against the backdrop of fantasy and isekai manga. Here we follow Hiyori Iki, a teenage girl who unfortunately gets into a serious bus accident. But this accident has a silver lining; it puts her in a unique position of being able to go in and out of two other worlds known as Near Shore and Far Shore.
With these newfound abilities, she meets Yato, a stray god without a shrine of his own. Yato longs to have his own shrine and make a name for himself as a god. On the other hand, all Hiyori wants is to have her human body repaired–and who do we turn to in times like these? Gods, of course!
With an interesting premise, a delightful cast of characters, and a sweet little love story, Noragami is a fan favorite for a reason.
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8. Kaguya-Sama: Love is War
A staple of the romance genre is the will-they-won’t-they trope. It’s both frustrating and yet oh so addicting to see two characters who clearly love each other but just won’t make a move! Nowhere is that trope better than in Kaguya-Sama: Love is War.
Here we follow Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane, two high school students who are both members of the Shuchiin High Student Council. They’re madly in love with each other and everybody knows it, but the problem is, neither side will confess! Instead, what ensues is pure psychological warfare wherein the first one who confesses “loses.”
Kaguya and Miyuki turn everything into an intense mind game to try to get the other one to confess. This manga is fun from start to finish, and we definitely think the payoff is worth it in the end!
9. Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku
Did you ever have a hobby that you’re just a bit embarrassed sharing with other people? Well, the main characters of Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku can definitely relate. Narumi and Hirotaku work in the same office. Not only that, they also both have secret hobbies that they’re too embarrassed to share with other people!
Narumi is obsessed with yaoi (boys’ love) manga and anime. On the other hand, Hirotaku is a closet video game nerd. Together, the two start to learn more about each other and bond over their similar hobbies. Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku is a comedic manga with sweet themes of romance and accepting who you are.
10. Inu x Boku SS
If you want your romance with a side of supernatural action, the Inu x Boku SS is the way to go! This story follows a lovable cast of characters inspired by yokai, also known as demons in traditional Japanese folklore.
At the center of it all is Ririchiyo, a 15-year-old Atavist. This means that while she is human, she has demon ancestors, so she has the unique ability to reincarnate if killed. Because of this, she decides to move into a high-security apartment where everyone is protected by their own Secret Service Bodyguard.
Here she meets Soushi Miketsukami, a stunning young man who is instantly devoted to her. He also happens to be her Secret Service Bodyguard, and he will do everything just to protect Ririchiyo. If you like the bodyguard/protector trope, Inu x Boku SS is definitely for you!
11. Love in Focus
Next up we have another coming-of-age manga, but this time it’s centered on the theme of art. More specifically, photography! Love in Focus follows a high school student named Mako Mochizuki who has fallen in love with the art of photography. It’s the way she bonded with her grandfather, a photographer who taught her everything she knows, up until his final days.
After his passing, Mako has no choice but to move into a boarding house with her childhood friend, Kei. Still dealing with her grief, Mako is happy to find out that this boarding house is full of photography students! One boy in particular catches her eye: Amemura, the cold and standoffish yet intriguing guy.
As Mako learns more about Amemura’s past, she starts to sympathize with him more and more. Love in Focus is a great story about young people following their dreams and the respect they have for their favorite art forms. It’s also gorgeously drawn and just delightful from start to finish!
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12. Komi Can’t Communicate
In high school, it can be hard to make friends–especially if you’re dealing with mental demons like social anxiety. Komi Shoko has that experience. While her classmates don’t know about her social anxiety, it’s actually severe enough that Komi has a hard time making friends.
Her classmates just assume that her shy and avoidant personality is because she thinks she’s too good to talk to them, but in reality, all Komi wants is to make a hundred friends. When she meets Tadano, he decides to help her achieve her friendship goals. What ensues is a wholesome slow-burn friends-to-lovers romance that’s too sweet to handle! This manga also has a good and realistic representation of social anxiety, which readers will definitely appreciate.
13. Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible
Speaking of wholesome manga, we can’t skip talking about Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible. Here we follow Shiraichi, a teenage boy who has gone through life mostly unnoticed. He’s gotten used to the fact that pretty much everyone just ignores him–that is until he meets the titular Kubo!
She’s a sweet and curious girl who makes it her mission to help Shiraichi stand out more. That’s when Kubo starts to make Shiraichi do wild and wacky dares in order to get more people to pay attention to him! Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible is a super cute and entertaining romance manga revolving around all the crazy antics Kubo comes up with.
14. How Do We Relationship?
The fake dating trope is one of the staples of the romance genre. No matter how many times we see it, it’s always so addicting to see two people who are only pretending to like each other fall in love with each other for real! In How Do We Relationship?, the fake marriage trope involves two women: Miwa and Saeko!
All her life, Miwa has known she prefers women. Now that she’s at university, she finally thinks she can be a little bit more of her true self. The problem is that she’s super shy and doesn’t know where to start when it comes to romance. Here comes Saeko to the rescue, Miwa’s slightly quirky but super popular friend. The two get into a fake relationship to help Miwa come out for real.
But what happens when they actually start to fall in love with each other? How Do We Relationship? is a more mature take on the fake dating trope following a swoon-worthy romance and realistic characters!
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15. So Cute it Hurts!!
If you’re looking for a youth romance manga that’s as entertaining as it is cute, then So Cute it Hurts!! is the perfect pick! Here we follow the Kobayashi twins: Megumu and Mitsuru. Megumu goes to an all-girls high school where she has fun being an otaku with her friends. On the other hand, Mitsuru goes to an all-boys high school where he is more known as a ladies’ man and a fighter.
One day, the two decide to crossdress and switch places with one another! Thus ensues a fun romp filled with hilarious misunderstandings and a wacky cast of characters. When the possibilities of romance arise, the switch ends up becoming even more complicated than either character could have thought. So Cute it Hurts!! is a great read if you want a lot of comedy with your romance stories!
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16. Honey So Sweet
Nao Kogure is a shy teenage girl who only wants to keep to herself. But despite being so shy, she’s always ready to help out someone in need. When she encounters a boy her age who’s wounded in the middle of a rainstorm, Nao has no choice but to help. She patches up his wounds and even lends him her umbrella.
Years later, Nao is now in high school. She still keeps mostly to herself, that’s why she’s so shocked when she is suddenly asked out by the delinquent bad boy named Taiga Onise! While Taiga’s looks can be intimidating, Nao soon discovers the sweet guy who’s hidden underneath. And as the two get closer, Nao starts to realize they may be more connected than she thought.
17. Daily Butterfly
Popularity can have its bad side–high schooler Suiren Shibazeki knows this best. All her life she’s been the subject of too much attention due to her captivating and cute looks. The attention becomes too much for Suiren who wants to just avoid it altogether. Now in high school, she tries to keep as low of a profile as possible.
What catches her eye is a boy who is just as quiet as her. Kouha Kawasumi is a talented karate prodigy who’s completely unaffected by Suiren’s popularity. One day, he even saves her from a group of boys, and thus begins a quiet and heartwarming, slow-burn romance between the two soft-spoken people.
18. A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow
High school student Konatsu Amano’s life changed when her father got a job overseas, forcing her to move to the countryside to live with her aunt. There she is dragged into the open house exhibit of her new high school’s aquarium. Aside from the beautiful fish and tranquil environment, what catches Konatsu’s eye the most is the pretty upperclassman named Koyuki Hanami.
In an attempt to get closer to her, Konatsu joins the unique aquarium club at their high school wherein Koyuki used to be the only member. Konatsu and Koyuki are kindred souls; both share a kind of loneliness and quietness that only the other understands. As the two get closer and closer, they start to figure out what they actually mean to each other. A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow is a beautiful slow-burn romance between two girls figuring out themselves and their place in the universe. The gorgeous artwork is also a plus!
19. The Two Gets By Tomorrow Too
Sometimes, it’s better to read a romance manga that starts out with the couple already together. No more will-they-won’t-they and no more frustrating slow-burn! Here in The Two Gets By Tomorrow Too, we follow Yuuya Aida and Rio Ahara after they’ve just moved in together after one year of dating.
It can be hard to balance dating with all of our other adult responsibilities, and Yuuya and Rio know this best. Though their busy schedules keep them from seeing each other most of the time, they still treasure every moment they get to spend in each other’s company. The Two Gets By Tomorrow Too is a cute, wholesome, and realistic manga about domestic living. Whether it’s playfully fighting over food or having deep conversations about the future, this couple is a delight to follow from start to finish.
20. Waiting for Spring
High school can be daunting–a whole new environment and a whole new set of people. Freshman Mitsuki Haruno definitely feels intimidated, but she won’t let that stop her. Though she’s had a hard time making friends, she’s determined to keep trying.
Friendship comes in the form of the four most popular boys in school. When they coincidentally drop by Mitsuki’s part-time job, the five of them start to form an adorable and wholesome friendship. But as they get closer, Mitsuki starts to fall for one of them, a basketball player named Towa. The only problem? Towa is not allowed to date due to playing for the team! What makes matters worse, Mitsuki’s childhood friend Aya comes back to their hometown, and Towa has been harboring secret feelings for her for years.
21. Perfect World
They say first love never dies, and nowhere is it more true than in Perfect World. When 26-year-old Tsugumi Kawana reunites with her high school crush, she has to admit that she still has feelings for him. The good thing is that Itsuki Ayukawa also seems to have feelings for her!
But there is something the two of them must accept: Itsuki is now wheelchair-bound. It’s not easy, but Tsugumi and Itsuki work through difficulties that come up in their relationship. Perfect World is lauded for its good and realistic disability representation. Aside from that, it’s simply a cute love story between two friends who will do everything to make the relationship work.
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22. An Incurable Case of Love
Calling all medical drama lovers! We have a serious case of lovesickness, STAT! An Incurable Case of Love combines all the thrills of a medical drama with all the swoon-worthy moments of a romance story! Here we follow Nanase Sakura, a young woman who decides to become a nurse after seeing a young and handsome doctor save a life.
By coincidence, she ends up working at the same hospital as him. But as Nanase learns more about him, she finds out he’s not exactly the hero she remembers. Still, Nanase works hard at her job and she genuinely cares for her patients. Her hardworking and sweet personality may just catch the eye of one of her colleagues!
Twenty-seven-year-old Arata Kaizaki’s life didn’t turn out the way he wanted it to. As a child, he had big dreams for the future. But now as an adult, corporate bullying pushed him to his lowest. He quits his company and prays for a chance to restart his life.
That chance was unexpectedly given by Ryou Yoake, an employee of ReLIFE Research Institute. Ryou convinces Arata to join the ReLIFE experiment, saying it will help him overcome his difficulties and find the strength to re-enter corporate life. With nothing left to lose, Arata agrees. The experiment changes his body back into his 17-year-old self, and the only thing he has to do is relive his high school life for one year.
ReLIFE is not your typical romance manga. While it has a cute romance on the side, it also has a cool time travel plot and relatable characters with relatable problems like struggling with adulthood!
24. Honnou Switch
Different from other romance manga, this one starts with a breakup. Right at the beginning of Honnou Switch, we see Koyori Hoshi’s boyfriend break up with her after a serious relationship of two and a half years. Feeling heartbroken and miserable, Koyori seeks refuge with her childhood best friend, Hijiri Akiyama.
The two go out for drinks in order for Koyori to forget about her boyfriend for a while. But after a night of drinking, the two wake up right next to each other in the morning! Now Koyori has to question if she’s really willing to start a relationship with her best friend, or if this is just a rebound to forget about her ex.
Honnou Switch is perfect for fans of the childhood-friends-to-lovers trope. You’ll definitely have fun following Koyori and Hijiri’s journey, with all of its awkward and delightfully sweet moments!
25. Everyone’s Getting Married
All her life, Asuka Takanashi has dreamed of getting married and becoming a housewife. She thinks she’s on the right track; her successful career will pay for her future needs, and she has a lovely long-term boyfriend to boot. But Asuka’s plans get derailed when her boyfriend suddenly breaks up with her to pursue his own goals!
Asuka feels lost and directionless as she tries to navigate her life on her own–that is until she meets the charming Ryu Nanami, a newscaster who seems to be the man of Asuka’s dreams! The only problem? He is strongly opposed to getting married!
Everyone’s Getting Married is all about misunderstandings and compromises. It’s a realistic look at adult dating and a wonderful story about two people willing to make it work.
26. A Sign of Affection
If you want a cute college romance with great disability representation, then A Sign of Affection is for you! Yuki is a college student who lives a pretty normal life. She loves studying and hanging out with her friends. She’s always on social media and loves to go out shopping. She may be hearing impaired, but that doesn’t stop her from living her life to the fullest.
One day, she bumps into Itsuomi. He’s a worldly college student who can speak multiple languages, but he doesn’t know sign language. The two find it a bit hard to communicate, but the spark between them is clear as day. A Sign of Affection is a super cute love story with really great and progressive representation!
27. Nisekoi: False Love
And last but definitely not the least, we have Nisekoi: False Love! If you’re looking for an action-packed romance between star-crossed lovers, then this is the story for you. Think the 1996 version of Romeo + Juliet, only with a distinct Japanese manga twist!
Nisekoi follows the high school students Raku Ichijo and Chitoge Kirisaki. Raku is the son of a leader in the Yakuza (Japanese mafia) faction Shuei-gumi. Meanwhile, Chitoge is the daughter of the rival gang known as Beehive. The two should have been sworn enemies since birth, but their lives take a different turn when they meet in an unexpected situation.
Raku is even more surprised when he finds out Chitoge is a transfer student in his class. The two instantly dislike each other, but it turns out life has other plans for them. In order to make a pact between the two gangs, the leaders agree to settle their feud by pairing their children together! Now Raku and Chitoge have to pretend to be in a relationship while secretly hating each other.
But of course, there is that saying that “the more you hate, the more you love.” As Raku and Chitoge get closer, they find out they’re more alike than they once thought. Nisekoi: First Love is a jam-packed romance manga for the ages!
We hope you liked our ultimate guide to the best romance mangas out there! Which one are you most excited to pick up first? Tell us in the comments!
Some people like to put down the romance genre for being too cheesy or overdone, but we think that’s only because they haven’t found the right stories yet. Romance mangas are fun and entertaining, but they can also be deep and thought-provoking at the same time. And besides, there’s nothing wrong with having a good dose of teeth-numbing sweetness every once in a while, right?