10 Good Short Romance Anime To Watch If You’re Short On Time

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Are you a busy bee? We all know the story: school, work, and other responsibilities in life are keeping you from more important tasks – like finishing your favorite romance anime.

Well fret not.

There are many noteworthy series that won’t eat up your free time each day. Yes, their running time is significantly shorter than typical romance anime, but they don’t skimp on the quality romance storytelling. Many are just as good(if not better) than much longer titles.

So here are my favorite short romance anime series to keep you entertained when you’re flooded with deadlines.


10. Looking Up At The Half-Moon

Looking Up At The Half-Moon anime screenshot

Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora has 24-minute episodes, but it only has six episodes.

So it’s finished at a time when the rest of seasonal anime have just reached their second half.

But here’s the thing:

Having just six episodes is perfect for the story and relationship that Looking Up At The Half-Moon is trying to tell.

The MC is Yuuichi Ezaki, a boy who’s bored staying in the hospital due to his hepatitis A. Before long he encounters Rika Akiba, a beautiful girl who’s rather harder to get along with than her appearance might suggest.

Soon enough the two become closer, helping one another lighten up during their confinement.

Note: this is a romance drama, so the hospital plays a crucial role here.


9. Tokyo Marble Chocolate

Tokyo Marble Chocolate anime

I saw this in an online film festival last year packaged like it was one movie instead of two 26-minute OVA episodes — and it works so well.

After all, this is essentially one story told from two perspectives: that of the girlfriend and the boyfriend.

At only 52 minutes overall, Tokyo Marble Chocolate is the kind of romance anime you watch right before you go to bed.

It’s wholesome and endearing.

There’s nothing like seeing two individuals try their best in love no matter how many times they’ve failed before.

The character design is simple yet effortlessly distinguishes itself from other anime. Also, you can watch the second OVA first without ruining the viewing experience.

Oh, and there’s a small donkey.


8. Koitabi: True Tours Nanto

Koitabi: True Tours Nanto anime

Similar to Looking Up At The Half-Moon, this series is just six episodes long.

But Koitabi: True Tours Nanto goes even further as a short anime, featuring only seven-minute episodes.

This is an original anime made by PA Works.

There are three couples, each with two episodes to tell something about their relationship. They all offer different dynamics and personalities, with their common denominator being that they’re all set in Nanto City, Japan (hence the title).

You really can’t go wrong with this if you’re short on time.

In 14 minutes, you’ve already had a wonderful glimpse at the lives of two people — and the art style here is particularly impressive.


7. The Garden of Words

The Garden of Words anime screenshot

This is one of only two short movies on my list.

I have a good feeling that you, along with millions of fans of Makoto Shinkai around the world, have already heard about this mind-bogglingly gorgeous 46-minute wonder.

As you might expect from any Shinkai film, Kotonoha no Niwa is all about elevating the setting (and the seemingly small character moments) through visual and aural splendor.

The garden (and perhaps the rainy weather too) where the man and the woman meet feels like its own character, a third wheel to the slow but sure development of their relationship.

So if you’re in the mood for a relaxing yet conveniently short romantic film, consider this.


6. There She Is!!

There She Is!! anime

Now, what if you only had less than 30 minutes?

Well how about a five-episode ONA about a female rabbit intent on being with a male cat?

There She Is was a welcome surprise.

It’s set in a world where love between two different species is considered undesirable. But if that’s the case, why would Doki (the rabbit) still choose a cat to fall in love with?

There She Is illustrates, in an adorable manner, a real issue that society is still grappling with today — a long-standing problem where certain groups of people are adamant about controlling who others should love.

Even if you don’t consider this parallel, this short anime is magnificent in its authentic tenderness.

And it doesn’t even have an actual dialogue. You rely on the animation and music to understand their feelings.


5. Honobono Log

Honobono Log screenshot

What if I told you there’s a 10-episode romance anime that’s shorter than one regular-length episode?

At only 20 minutes, Honobono Log is a brief but worthwhile trip to the many manifestations of love, the kind that develops in ordinary couples and families you see every day in public.

The anime is minimalist, but its clean and soft appearance adds to its allure.

Fanworks did a great job capturing the everyday moments that are often taken for granted yet make life worth living.

The stories are nothing complex, but that’s perfectly fine — the point is to highlight what is essential.


4. Hotarubi no Mori e

Hotarubi no Mori e anime

It’s been 10 years since it premiered, but this 45-minute film from Brain’s Base remains to be one of the most memorable romantic stories I’ve seen.

Somehow, an anime with supernatural elements feels all too real. As if it’s happened countless times in human history.

I cringe at the thought of shows based on forbidden love, but this is different.

Hotarubi no Mori e is the exception — the one that proves writers can still explore such a concept with new eyes and much grace.

The human girl Hotaru Takegawa and the forest spirit Gin cannot touch each other, nor can they interact outside the forest. Even then, they meet each summer without fail, catching up and putting in the effort to reaffirm their connection, one lacking in physicality but is nevertheless palpable in its intimacy.


3. A Day Before Us

A Day Before Us anime screenshot

Yes, it’s possible to finish three seasons of an anime in less than two hours, roughly the same time you’d take to watch six regular episodes.

A Day Before Us is an original anime that debuted in 2018 with three seasons.

The so-called “Season Zero” lasted until the following year.

With each episode only between two and three minutes long, the series offers bite-sized romance. Four teenagers take the spotlight as viewers witness developments in their youthful dating lives.

This is a very sweet and lighthearted short series that can easily soothe your tired senses after a rough day.

If you liked Honobono Log, chances are you’ll like A Day Before Us as well, given their visual styles are not that different from each other.


2. Tsuredure Children

Tsuredure Children anime

Whether you call it Tsuredure Children or Tsurezure Children doesn’t really matter.

The key to the success of this romantic comedy is its young cast who are all main characters — it’s not merely about one MC or two MCs who comprise the main couple.

Yes, it’s 12 episodes long.

But each one is only 12 minutes.

Despite the temporal limitation, Tsuredure Children is already better than your average school romance anime.

It presents a multitude of possibilities in young love.

Some blossom, some don’t.

Each couple has unique yet familiar circumstances and obstacles to love. They might just make you think back to high school and your classmates, all trying to navigate the world of adolescence and infatuation however they could.


1. I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying

I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying anime

Without a doubt, Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken is my favorite short anime of all-time — romantic or not.

In my eyes, it’s a nearly flawless series.

The first episode starts with a flashback to the young couple’s wedding. Just from that moment, you get a sense of the humorous yet all too real world of I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve gotten older, but this feels like the perfect romance anime for people like me.

The two MCs are neither teenagers nor jaded middle-aged adults. Instead, they’re on the cusp of once again discovering and reinventing themselves.

The husband Hajime Tsunashi is an otaku who’s intent on living a life not bound by a nine-to-five office job. His wife Kaoru works hard as an office lady.

Together with a bunch of hilarious supporting characters like Youta and Miki, they traverse married life and its uncertainties, fully aware of how simultaneously nerve-racking and fulfilling it can be to face the future as a family – the basic social unit that makes the world go ‘round.

Both seasons begin and end with satisfyingly sincere episodes (and all other episodes will surely make you chuckle and root for the two), and I hope a third season isn’t out of the question.

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R. Romero

Millennial introvert on the lookout for slice-of-life anime, world cinema, and European music. Follow on Twitter @notspencer08