Valentine’s Day brings with it many fond memories of love in all its forms, often celebrated in the most beautiful ways through the varied magical worlds of anime.
You don’t need to look far to find some fantastic anime to watch on Valentine’s Day with your loved one, as there are quite a slew of potential options. From the tear-inducing narratives bred by Makoto Shinkai to the fantasy realms of Hayao Miyazaki, there’s more than enough love out there set across the vast ecosystem that is Japanese animation.
But, to make finding the perfect movie or show that much easier (and less of a potential battle on that special day), we’ve corralled the best Valentine’s Day anime to bring true love to your OLED TV with ease. The following must-watch anime come highly regarded not simply for their subject matter or merely for being romantic, but through heavily insightful storytelling full of incredible warmth and symbolism with characters you truly want to spend time with.
So, whether you’re cuddling up next to your loved one all day, or even just approaching a crush for a lovely night of TV watching, these several anime Valentine’s Day picks are sure to make you feel something — and may well leave you appreciating even more of what’s right in front of you.
'The Girl Who Leapt Through Time'
Beautifully blending science-fiction into a real heartwarming romantic tale, “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” proves to be an enriching experience that shouldn’t be overlooked. Produced by the brilliant minds at Madhouse, creators of one of my personal favorite ongoing anime series in “Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End,” the 2006 anime and sequel to the 1967 novel of the same name follows a young high school student as she relives the same day stuck in a time loop.
You might be asking yourself, “Is this just the anime version of ‘Groundhog Day’?” and to a degree you would be right, but there’s so much more to this story. It’s also won a multitude of awards, including several among the 2007 Tokyo Anime Awards, like Animation of the Year and Character Design.
“The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” also has a surprisingly killer soundtrack developed mostly by Kiyoshi Yoshida. The entire 98 minute film can be experienced on Crunchyroll in either English dub or Japanese with subtitles.
'Weathering with You'
Are you one to love those rainy days? The days where you can just kick back in the house, watch the clouds roll by and experience the pitter patter of rain drops intoning against your window? Then “Weathering with You” is the perfect anime escape this Valentine’s Day.
It comes as no surprise that one of the best anime movies like “Your Name” is bred by the very same mind. Makoto Shinkai is renowned for his romantic anime films, many of which take on some mystical and magical undertones reminiscent of yet another renowned anime director in Hayao Miyazaki.
“Weathering with You” is no different, following the young Hodaka Morishima after he ran away from home to live in Tokyo. Though it’s not easy being a first-year high school student living alone in the big city, when he meets Hina Amano his whole world flips asunder and the rain no sooner washes away that pang of loneliness.
You can experience the stormy magic of “Weathering with You” on Max in both English and Japanese audio.
While Netflix might have the perfect show for Valentine’s Day, it probably doesn’t hold a candle to the utter brilliance that is “Your Name.” Yes, it’s yet another Shinkai anime film, but that just goes to show how moving and thought provoking his romantic anime films are — and I didn’t even list “A Silent Voice” or “5 Centimeters per Second,” both of which are likewise fantastic anime for Valentine’s Day.
“Your Name” is a rather interesting depiction of a girl-boy duo that swap bodies at random moments. Like most Shinkai anime films, it’s filled with an underlying thematic core that’s perfect for the day of love, highlighting the gravity and complex nature of destiny intertwining with love itself.
Shinkai’s masterpiece comes heralded as a must-watch romance anime with two incredibly relatable characters that you not only want to spend time with but want to see truly prosper. “Your Name” is available to stream this Valentine’s Day on Crunchyroll in English only.
'I Want to Eat Your Pancreas'
Forewarning in that despite its somewhat ludicrous name, “I Want to Eat Your Pancreas” may well be one of the saddest and most heartbreaking anime ever conceived — but I still find its message totally worthwhile as a beautiful Valentine’s Day anime experience.
When young high school student Sakura randomly says to Haruki in the middle of the library the titular “I want to eat your pancreas,” his confusion outweighs his curiosity. But, little did he know that one line would change everything — most especially when he discovers that Sakura is terminally sick with some form of pancreatic illness.
As the only student in their high school that knows of her sickness, Haruki must no sooner navigate life with a new friend that he knows will die within the next year. His asocial demeanor and closed-off self becomes ever-more open and warm as the story unfolds and, although it may leave you bawling, I find the underlying brilliance inherent of “I Want to Eat Your Pancreas” totally worth its obligatory tear show.
Released in 2022, “Suzume” is yet another Makoto Shinkai entry totally worth the Valentine’s Day anime watch-along. The 2-hour movie follows the titular Suzume, a 17-year old Kyushu resident who is roped into a magical adventure alongside a random drifter named Hokuto Matsumura.
Full of heart and adventure, there may well be no better anime suited for Valentine’s than the lovely “Suzume.” It’s not only got incredible action and a deeply moving premise on the importance of preserving nature but also leverages some of the most entrancing animation in the industry — all thanks to the brilliant mind that is Makoto Shinkai.
"Suzume" was even nominated for Best Animated Motion Picture in the 2024 Golden Globes, but lost to the Studio Ghibli masterpiece that is "The Boy and the Heron." You can experience this fantastical Valentine’s Day anime on Crunchyroll in both English and Japanese audio.
It wouldn’t be a Valentine’s Day anime list without one of the most popular romantic anime in the industry. “Fruits Basket” proves to be on most anime fans’ lists, especially those who love slice of life and romantic comedies, as it follows a young orphan girl who must help 12 family members overcome dramatic alterations that see them involuntarily transforming into animals of the Chinese Zodiac.
Trust me, as far as anime plotlines go, this one is certainly an inventive one, but once you get to know the characters — especially Tohru Honda — you’ll find that “Fruits Basket” is quite an endearing tale, one that isn’t afraid to be a little off the rails while still holding true to its underlying romantic themes.
It’s easily one of the best anime shows for beginners, so even if you and you’re loved one aren’t too accustomed to watching anime, “Fruits Basket” will still be one you won’t want to miss. Both the original 2001 anime and its Final Season from 2019 are available to watch in both English and Japanese on Crunchyroll.
'My Dress Up Darling'
As one of the top best anime couples that aren’t even a couple (yet), Marin Kitagawa and Wakana Gojou are a lovely duo to follow this Valentine’s Day.
Gojou — not to be confused with the anime world’s favorite blue-eyed sorcerer from “Jujutsu Kaisen” — isn’t exactly the most outgoing of individuals. The 15-year-old high school student wields a major passion for hina doll craftsmanship, which he has taken up from his grandfather. But after bumping into one of the school’s most popular girls and learning of her own passion for cosplay, he finds a true friend for the first time in his life — and maybe even something much more.
Don’t sleep on this fantastic romantic comedy, one that will consistently keep you guessing on how far Marin and Gojou’s relationship will go. All episodes of the first season of “My Dress Up Darling” are available on one of the best streaming services you’ve never heard of, Crunchyroll, and a second season has already been announced back in September 2022.
'Castle in the Sky'
It’s hard to find a work bred by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki that’s not chock full of thematic feeling and memorable symbolism. Look no further than the anime director’s latest “The Boy and the Heron,” which won Animated Motion Picture at the 2024 Golden Globes (among a slew of additional nominations), to see just how far his visions fly.
And fly they certainly do in 1986’s “Castle in the Sky,” Studio Ghibli’s first real anime feature film, which stars James Van Der Beek as Pazu, Anna Paquin as Sheeta, and Mark Hamill as Muska. The magical tale follows Sheeta after she graciously falls from the sky, landing in Pazu’s village. Sheeta’s crystal blue necklace holds myriad significance and could be the answer to an age-old secret, one that might well be best kept hidden.
Though it might not be a traditional romantic film for the ages, it’s marked most especially by the beautiful relationship that blossoms between the two young protagonists. If there’s anyone to emulate when it comes to being a genuine and loving man — despite the fact that he’s all but 12 years old — it’s the hard-working and always-faithful Pazu.
“Castle in the Sky” is streaming exclusively on Max in both English and Japanese audio.
'Your Lie in April'
As an avid fan of jazz, I couldn’t leave out the story of the struggling piano prodigy and his reemergence into the world of music at the behest of an eccentric girl with her own musical talents. “Your Lie in April,” which officially debuted back in 2014, is a surefire hit for the audiophile couples out there looking to experience a beautiful music-filled anime this Valentine’s Day.
With only a total of 22 episodes and an additional OVA, “Your Lie in April” also isn’t exactly too long, which makes it quite easy to get into. All episodes are streaming on Hulu and Crunchyroll in both English and Japanese audio.
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Ryan Epps is a Staff Writer under the TV/AV section at Tom's Guide focusing on TVs and projectors. When not researching PHOLEDs and writing about the next major innovation in the projector space, he's consuming random anime from the 90's, playing Dark Souls 3 again, or reading yet another Haruki Murakami novel.