We all need a little love in our lives, which is why so many of us love a good romance story. And wouldn't you know it? The romance genre is one of the most popular genres in all of manga.
The best romance manga stories deliver gut-wrenching angst, chest-bursting confessions, and frustrating quarrels that arise between lovers who got their signals crossed.
Some of these are classics that established the romance manga tropes we love. Others stand on the shoulders of those classics. And yet others put freshly creative spins on the genre itself.
Here are my picks for the most romantic manga series that'll make you smile and help you get through the dreariest of days.
10. The Quintessential Quintuplets
What's more dangerous than two women being in love with you? Five identical quintuplets trying to win your heart at the same time!
That's the situation Futaro Uesugi finds himself in when he's hired by a father to help his daughters pass their exams.
The manga starts with a flashforward to the day when Futaro eventually marries one of the sisters, but you're kept in the dark about which one of the five he marries. Thus, the central mystery!
The Quintessential Quintuplets offers plenty of humor, romance, and angst as the identical sisters slowly learn to be individuals beyond their quintuplet bubble. As you read it, you'll find yourself cheering for one of the girls above the rest, hoping she gets her happy ending.
9. Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War
What happens when two teenagers are obviously in love but both of them are too stubborn to admit it? In this case, a love war.
Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War is one of the funniest and most romantic manga that you'll find, with visual humor mixed in with the over-the-top antics of the main cast.
The blossoming romance between Student Council President Miyuki and Vice President Kaguya is full of silly moments, yet this story manages to be oddly realistic in how it approaches young love.
8. My Dress-Up Darling
This slice-of-life manga follows the slowly-building romance between two teenagers who couldn't be more different.
Gojo is painfully shy and obsessed with making Hina dolls. Marin is one of the most popular girls in their class and she can't get enough of all things geeky and otaku. Together, they embark on a journey where Gojo helps Marin to cosplay as her favorite characters.
My Dress-Up Darling is a slow-burn romance that seriously pays off if you have the patience to wait it out. You'll be laughing and crying in equal measure along the way.
7. Fruits Basket
Fruits Basket is easily one of the most iconic romance manga ever made. In fact, it's been adapted to anime twice over the years!
Tohru Honda is an orphan girl who discovers that the Sohma family is stuck under a long-running curse that causes them to turn into animals of the Chinese zodiac whenever they're stressed or weak.
While the manga has plenty of comedic moments, it's extremely heartfelt. You'll cry your eyes out at multiple points as you experience the laughter, joy, and sorrow that this manga delivers.
6. Tomo-Chan Is a Girl!
Tomo Aizawa has a problem: as it turns out, she's such a tomboy that her best friend doesn't see her as a girl at all. When she confesses her love to him, he reacts by giving her a high-five and a headlock.
Tomo-Chan Is a Girl! does a great job of exploring how Tomo can embrace her feminine side without ever suggesting that she needs to change who she is to win Junichiro's heart.
The central message is that she's fine the way she is, which is something that's genuinely refreshing in the romance manga genre.
5. Catch These Hands!
Most high school romance stories feature at least one sensible, diligent student. Catch These Hands! turns that on its head.
This manga follows Takabe as she looks to put her fighting days behind her—that is, until she encounters Soramori. The two girls soon find themselves in a rivals-to-lovers plotline.
Catch These Hands! started in 2022 so it's still in its early days, but it already shows plenty of promise with its humor and exploration of love between two unlikely characters. It has just the right balance of sweetness that keeps you eagerly awaiting every volume.
4. My Androgynous Boyrfriend
Wako is a manga editor who works all day while her beautiful boyfriend Meguru spends his time being gorgeous and gaining new followers.
My Androgynous Boyrfriend is a slice-of-life romance manga that does a great job of exploring masculinity in the online and fashion spheres, with lots of humor and silliness in the mix.
Wako and Meguru are an unusual couple, but the manga looks to celebrate their atypical relationship. It regularly swings between lighthearted and emotional, which keeps you on your toes and guessing at future developments with each volume.
3. The Rose of Versailles
Most romantic manga series take place in modern times—and not just modern times but high school years. The Rose of Versailles is unlike any of them. This one takes place in pre-Revolution France.
The Rose of Versailles centers on a highly fictionalized version of Marie Antoinette as she falls in love with the female captain of her guard.
This highly influential romance manga boldly explores politics and sexuality in a fresh way, which is why it has become one of the most celebrated shojo manga of all time.
The art is especially beautiful as it embraces the European story through the lens of a Japanese artist. If you're craving an intense love story, you owe it to yourself to pick this one up.
2. The Demon Prince of Momochi House
Mixing supernatural elements into romance is a great way to capture readers, as proven by hit stories like Twilight. With a title like The Demon Prince of Momochi House, you can expect something similar here.
Himari Momochi moves into a house that's both beautiful and clearly haunted. As it turns out, the whole building acts as a gateway between the material world and the spirit world.
She even finds that several demons and spirits are living in the house, several of which are vying for her love.
This manga constantly feels like it's on the brink of going too far with its fantastical elements, and yet it manages to stay firmly grounded in the romantic tension between Momochi and her new housemates.
1. Skip Beat!
Kyoko is the kind of woman found in many romantic comedies who centers every decision she makes around the man she loves.
When he decides to move to Tokyo to become a famous idol, she follows him blindly—only to be treated terribly and cast aside. To get revenge, Kyoko leaves to become an even bigger star than he ever was.
All of that drama takes place in the first few chapters of this long-running romance manga, and it only gets more over-the-top from there.
Song battles, love rivalries, and petty revenge are par for the course in Skip Beat!, making it one of the most entertaining love stories you'll ever read and one of the most romantic manga of all time.