20 Romance Manga To Read So You Can Fill The Void In Your Non-Existent Love Life

Romance manga you should read

Romance manga have been popular since the 1950s. Fans of the genre will tell you that your heart will race while reading because the interactions between the main characters are just too cute.

Nowadays, people may prefer watching romance shows instead of reading them, but trust us when we say that you won’t regret checking these manga out. The beautiful illustrations, great plot and amazing characters will get you hooked instantly.

1. Skip and Loafer (2018 – present)

Image credit: Kodansha

Hailing from a small town, Iwakura Mitsumi has always dreamt about becoming a civil servant and enacting positive change in the world. But while she’s book smart, the 15-year-old country girl realises that life in a big city is not as easy as it seems, and her move to Tokyo comes with challenges.

When she gets lost on her first day of school, she is helped by Shima Sousuke, a handsome boy who happens to be her classmate. The pair quickly becomes friends, and their bond strengthens subtly but surely.

This popular seinen title has earned praises for its writing and characterisation, and an anime adaptation is slated for release in April 2023.

Artist: Misaki Takamatsu
Genre: Romance, school life, slice of life, seinen
Volumes: 8
Status of manga: Ongoing

2. The Two Gets By Tomorrow Too (2019 – 2021)

Image credit: Amazon Japan

Sometimes, we just need some light-hearted love story with pure unadulterated wholesomeness. None of those drama-riddled series where characters have to go through all odds to be together.

The Two Gets By Tomorrow centres on Yuuya and Rio, a couple who has been together for over a year and is moving in together. The series follows the everyday life of the pair, from deep conversations about their future, to little things like staying up to wait for each other to be back home.

Artist: Suzuyuki
Genre: Romance, comedy, slice of life
Volumes: 5
Status of manga: Completed

3. My Love Mix-Up! (2019 – 2022)

Image credit: Shueisha

Miscommunication can make or break a relationship, and in the case of My Love Mix-Up!, an innocent misunderstanding leads to a blossoming relationship between 2 boys.

Aoki, one of the main characters, has a crush on Hashimoto, who sits next to him in class. But he’s devastated when he borrows her eraser and finds out that she has written the name of another boy, Ida, on it. According to a Japanese superstition, that is supposed to make your crush fall in love with you.

An unusual love triangle is formed, and Ida is led to believe that Aoki is the one who has a crush on him. In a bid to hide Hashimoto’s feelings, Aoki goes along with the flow and confesses.

Artist: Wataru Hinekure
Genre: Romance, school life, boys love
Volumes: 9
Status of manga: Completed

4. My Happy Marriage (2018 – present)

Image credit: Amazon Japan

Set in the Taisho period, My Happy Marriage is inspired by the classic fairy tale, Cinderella, but with a supernatural twist. Unwanted and unloved, Miyo has nothing going on for her in her life. She is neglected by her indifferent father and stepmother, and Kaya, her stepsister, treats her like a mere servant. 

Unlike Kaya, who has inherited the family’s psychic ability, Miyo has none. Deemed worthless to the family, Miyo is arranged to be married to Kiyoka Kudo, heir to one of the most powerful clans and rumoured to be a cruel person.

Contrary to her fear, her husband-to-be turns out to be kind and warm-hearted, giving Miyo hopes of finally escaping from her cold family.

Artist: Akumi Agitogi
Genre: Romance, historical
Volumes: 4
Status of manga: Ongoing

5. Will You Marry Me Again If You Are Reborn? (2017 – 2019)

Image credit: Amazon Japan

Will You Marry Me Again If You Are Reborn? follows an old couple, Toranosuke and Kaoru, who survived a horrific world war.

Now in their sunset years and with Toranosuke bedridden, the elderly pair look back and reminisce about the good and bad times they’ve had together. While they are very much still in love, it’s clear that they don’t have much time left together – so be prepared to bawl your eyes out as the series goes through their life story.

Artist: Miku Morinaga
Genre: Romance
Volumes: 4
Status of manga: Completed

6. A Sign Of Affection (2019 – present)

Image credit: Wikipedia

At first blush, Yuki and Itsuomi have nothing in common. The former is hearing-impaired and prefers to keep to her small circle of friends, while the latter is a multilingual guy with a penchant for travelling.

When the 2 meet through a mutual friend, love blossoms as they experience and learn new things through each other’s world.

Artist: Suu Morishita
Genre: Romance, shōjo
Volumes: 8
Status of manga: Ongoing

7. Wotakoi: Love Is Hard For Otaku (2015 – 2021)

Image credit: Amazon Japan

Closet otaku Narumi wants to start afresh. To do that, she concludes that being an otaku is the root to all her problems in her life, and decides to conceal her love for anything anime or manga. 

To her dismay, she bumps into Hirotaka, a fellow otaku and her childhood friend who knows about her hobbies, at her new workplace. To prevent Hirotaka from outing her, Narumi invites him to catch up over drinks. The reunion ends on a surprising note as Hirotaka proposes that they date instead.

Artist: Fujita
Genre: Romance, comedy, workplace
Volumes: 11
Status of manga: Completed

8. Love, That’s An Understatement (2021 – present)

Image credit: Kodansha

If you’re one to get annoyed with romance manga series that drag out romantic tension for more chapters than necessary, you might want to pick up Love, That’s An Understatement. Risa, the main female protagonist, prides herself on being self-sufficient and is well-prepared enough to handle anything that gets thrown in her way.

So when she spots Zen, a delinquent who is covered in bruises, she helps him without hesitation. Underneath his rough demeanour, Zen is a softie who is sweet to everyone he cares about.

Risa’s innocent act of kindness causes Zen to take an interest in her, and the romance develops at a rapid pace, making this a satisfying read.

Artist: Momo Fuji
Genre: Romance, shōjo
Volumes: 2
Status of manga: Ongoing

9. Days With My Step Sister (2021 – present)

Image credit: Kadokawa

It’s not everyday that you get a new stepsister, and a popular schoolmate who’s known for her beauty at that. Following their parents’ remarriage, Yūta and Saki are forced to live together as step-siblings.

To ensure a seamless transition to this new arrangement, the 2 agree to keep a respectful distance from each other. But as their relationship progresses with each clumsy interaction, they’ve come to learn of each other’s insecurities and develop a comfortable relationship.

Artist: Ghost Mikawa
Genre: Romance, slice of life
Volumes: 2
Status of manga: Ongoing

10. Last Game (2011 – 2016)

Image credit: Animate 

Naoto Yanagi and Mikoto Kujo are polar opposites. Naoto is rich, smart, and handsome, whereas Mikoto is poor, practical, and apathetic. Since young, Naoto has never lost to anyone, but that changes when he meets Mikoto. This starts a one-sided rivalry between them and Naoto challenges Mikoto in all areas in an attempt to defeat her.

Despite always losing to Mikoto, Naoto refuses to admit defeat. He follows her through middle school to college, where he issues a final challenge – a “Last Game” to decide who’s the winner once and for all. 

Initially, Naoto’s “Last Game” was to make Mikoto fall for him and then break her heart. However, in a turn of events, he falls in love with her for real and changes his “Last Game” plan to get her to marry him. 

Artist: Shinobu Amano
Genre: Romance, school life
Volumes: 11
Status of manga: Completed

11. Horimiya (2007 – 2021)

Image credit: Fanpop 

Kyoko Hori is a bright and popular girl in school, but the real her is a homebody that doesn’t dress up and is always busy taking care of her younger brother, Souta. Izumi Miyamura is a gloomy bespectacled nerd at school, but the real him is a young punk with 9 piercings and countless tattoos. 

Image credit: Scans_Daily 

They accidentally find out about each other’s real personas outside of school when Izumi helps Souta home. Both agree to keep each other’s secret and they grow closer as they get to know more about one another.

Artist: Daisuke Hagiwara / HERO
Genre: Romantic comedy
Volumes: 41
Status of manga: Completed

12. Strobe Edge (2007 – 2010)

Image credit: AA ELITE 

Ninako Kinoshita never knew love until she encountered the popular Ren Ichinose. Although Ninako falls for Ren, she knows it is impossible for them to be together as he is already dating Mayuka Korenaga. 

However, a series of events between Ninako, Ren, Mayuka, and Takumi Ando – Ren’s best friend – leads to Ren and Mayuka breaking up and a love triangle between Ninako and the 2 boys blossoms. 

Strobe Edge is a youth romance that shows us the struggles of those in a love triangle and teaches us to be honest and brave with our feelings.

Artist: Io Sakisaka
Genre: Coming of age, romance
Volumes: 10
Status of manga: Completed

13. Hiyokoi (2009 – 2014)

Image credit: Nekotoo 

Hiyokoi follows the story of Hiyori Nishiyama, a short 15-year-old girl that stopped growing taller due to an accident. After getting discharged from the hospital, Hiyori begins high school life and befriends Yuushin Hirose, who towers over her with his 190cm height. They later grow closer after an incident where Yuushin helps Hiyori out. 

Image credit: JK’sWing 

This is a story of a girl adapting to high school life, making new friends, and falling in love with her soulmate. 

Artist: Moe Yukimaru
Genre: Romantic comedy, school life
Volumes: 14
Status of manga: Completed

14. Kyou Koi wo Hajimemasu (2007 – 2014)

Image credit: AnimeNewsNetwork 

Tsubaki Hibino is great at hairstyling but is too shy to style her own hair at first. This causes her to be mocked in school for her old-fashioned look. When the popular Kyouta Tsubaki teases her about her appearance, she cuts his hair in defiance. Intrigued, Kyouta begins to pursue her. 

Although Tsubaki tries to reject all of his advances, they eventually fall for each other. However, there’s a problem: Kyouta has commitment issues due to past betrayals. 

The story shows the journey of Tsubaki and Kyouta – falling in love, overcoming past trauma, facing obstacles such as love rivals, having a long-distance relationship in college, and finally having their own happily ever after.

Artist: Kanan Minami
Genre: Slice of life, romance, coming of age
Volumes: 15
Status of manga: Completed

15. Wolf Girl and Black Prince (2011 – 2016)

Image credit: Mar5ta 

Erika Shinohara desperately wants to have friends in high school, so she lies about having a boyfriend in order to fit in as the girls in her clique are all attached. To make her stories believable, Erika snaps a photo of a stranger in the streets and tells her friends that he’s her boyfriend. 

Image credit: MangaFreak 

Much to her surprise and horror, he turns out to be the most popular guy in their school, Kyoya Sata. To prevent her lies from being exposed, Erika asks Kyoya to be her pretend boyfriend. As they act as a couple, Erika discovers that Kyoya isn’t the perfect “prince” everyone thinks he is – in fact, he is cynical, arrogant, and snarky. 

Despite starting out as a pretend couple and having completely different personalities, Erika and Kyoya end up falling for each other and becoming a real couple. Together, they influence each other to mature and improve as individuals. 

The manga shows their journey as a couple through their high school years and eventual adulthood – overcoming challenges such as love rivals, misunderstandings and jealousy, and the problems that their long-distance relationship brings.  

Artist: Ayuko Hatta
Genre: Romantic comedy, school life
Volumes: 16
Status of manga: Completed

16. Namaikizakari (2013 – 2021)

Image credit: MyAnimeList 

Yuki Machida is a second-year high school student and the manager of the school’s basketball team. She has an unrequited love for Kido, the basketball captain. First-year student Sho Naruse discovers this. 

After Sho joins the basketball team, he constantly riles Yuki up to get her attention. Knowing of Yuki’s affections for Kido, Sho vows to win her heart and thus begins his pursuit of her as they go through high school. 

Artist: Miyuki Mitsubachi
Genre: Romance, school life, sports
Volumes: 23
Status of manga: Completed

17. Dengeki Daisy (2007 – 2013)

Image credit: MyAnimeList 

When Teru’s older brother died, 16-year-old Teru was left with only a cell phone connecting her to someone called “Daisy”, whom her brother said will watch over her instead. “Daisy” then becomes Teru’s pillar of support and source of strength through their conversations. 

After Teru breaks a school window by accident, she is forced to work for the cruel and grouchy 24-year-old school janitor, Tasuku Kurosaki. As Teru works for Kurosaki, she realises he isn’t as bad a person as she initially thought, and she begins to fall in love with him.  

Image credit: RightStufAnime 

Teru also starts to suspect the true identity of “Daisy” and believes that “Daisy” and Kurosaki are one and the same. Although Kurosaki loves Teru, he refuses to admit his feelings for her as he feels responsible for her brother’s death. 

Artist: Kyousuke Motomi
Genre: Romance, drama
Volumes: 16
Status of manga: Completed

18. Lovely Complex (2001 – 2007)

Image credit: MyWaifuList 

At 172cm, Risa Koizumi is taller than the average girl, while the 156cm-tall Atsushi Otani is shorter than the average boy in Japan. Both are constantly paired together in their school as a comedic duo because of their height difference. 

Risa has a crush on Ryouji Suzuki, while Atsushi likes Chiharu Tanaka. Risa and Atsushi decide to help each other with their crushes, but Ryouji and Chiharu end up dating each other instead. 

Image credit: MangaHere

Although they couldn’t get together with their crushes, not everything was for naught as Risa and Atsushi became much closer than before. Risa falls for Atsushi and eventually confesses to him, but being unsure about his feelings and worried over their height difference, Atsushi rejects her. 

After a series of events that bring Risa and Atsushi even closer, Atsushi puts aside his height complex to start dating Risa.

Artist: Aya Nakahara
Genre: Romantic comedy, school, drama
Volumes: 17
Status of manga: Completed

19. Hatsukoi Wazurai (2013)

Image credit: Goodreads 

Hotaru, a high school student, hasn’t been in love but wants to find out what love is. After seeing friends around her start dating, she wishes to experience it for herself, and Shinri, the most popular and handsome guy in school, says he would teach her. Together, they learn what love is through date experiments. 

Image credit: senszei 

Artist: Marina Umezawa
Genre: Romance, school life
Volumes: 1
Status of manga: Completed

20. Snow White with the Red Hair (2006 – present)

Image credit: angel-cesia 

Shirayuki, Tanbarun’s herbalist, has beautiful and distinct red hair. But this, unfortunately, causes her to attract unwanted attention from Tanbarun’s conceited prince, Raji Shenazard. Raji asks her to become his concubine. Not wanting to become his concubine, Shirayuki cuts off her long red hair and flees overnight. 

While fleeing, she meets Zen Wistalia, the second prince of the neighbouring country of Clarines. When Raji sends a poisoned apple to Shirayuki in a bid to recapture her, Zen ends up poisoned and Shirayuki has to use her knowledge of herbs to save him. 

Image credit: 13th-Musician 

Together with Zen’s companions, Mitsuhide and Kiki, Shirayuki travels to Clarines and decides to become the royal court’s physician. As Zen and Shirayuki grow closer and fall for each other, both must work together to achieve their respective dreams and to stay together.  

Artist: Sorata Akizuki
Genre: Romance, fantasy
Volumes: 25
Status of manga: Ongoing

Best romance manga to read

With the wide variety of romance manga published, it is not far-fetched to say that there is at least one out there that will be the perfect match for your taste. From smart and gentlemanly to shy and cute, your ideal type can definitely be found in a shoujo manga. Go check these romance manga out and get ready to be swept off your feet. 

For more, check out: 

Cover image adapted from: Kodansha, Wikipedia, Kadokawa
This article was written by Shi Han Ong on 28th September 2020 and updated by Xiu Ting Wong on 2nd March 2023.

Shi Han Ong

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