I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a million times: I LOVE Valentine’s Day. I’ve always loved it because not only did my family grow up exchanging gifts for it, but it is also 10 days after my birthday so the entire month is just filled with love, pink, and red. Aside from loving Valentine’s Day as a holiday, I also love LOVE! I mean, you follow this blog so you already know I’m always highlighting my favorite Boy’s Love stories and other anime and manga featuring love.
Of course, I am one to love a good theme so I decided this was the perfect time to share some of my favorite anime movies that contain some type of love or romantic plotline! While I have many movies that I could name, for the sake of accessibility and ease, I picked ones currently available on streaming platforms. Let’s jump in, shall we?
Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop
Runtime: 1hr 27 Minutes, Netflix
If you need something cute and low-stakes, I highly recommend Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop. The movie is an adaptation of a three-volume manga by Imo Oono. It was directed by Kyouhei Ishiguro, who also directed Children of the Whales.
Cherry is a shy boy who writes poetry and words at a senior daycare of sorts. One day on a field trip, he meets Smile, a cute girl who is popular on social media and wears a mask. Both of them hit it off pretty quickly and get into some wacky adventures together. For two awkward teens, it is an awkward romance but it just makes sense.
Weathering with You
Runtime: 1hr 52 Minutes, HBO Max
When it comes to romance, we know the director of the critically acclaimed Your Name movie, Makato Shinkai has it on lock. Known for those “longing” type of love stories, Shinkai did not disappoint with his movie, Weathering With You.
Weathering With You takes place in Japan during a time of strange weather phenomena. Hodaka is a teen runaway who ventures to Tokyo and ends up meeting Hina, a girl who seems to make the rain go away. Along with Hina’s younger brother Nagi, the three set up shop to make money with Hina’s powers. Despite the people Hina’s powers help, there is a downside too.
As with any Shinkai film, Weathering With You is filled with breathtaking animation and music. It’s also a good watch today considering Shinkai’s next movie, Suzume, is coming to the US soon.
The Stranger by the Shore
Runtime: 59 minutes, Crunchyroll
If you’ve been following this blog for some time, you already know about The Stranger by the Shore and how much I love this movie. The Stranger by the Shore is based on an ongoing manga, Seaside Stranger: Umibe no Étranger, by Kanna Kii.
The Stranger by the Shore stars Shun, a novelist living on an island who ends up meeting Mio, a depressed high schooler who sits on a bench looking out to the shore. Since Mio is in high school, nothing happens between the two and soon Mio ends up leaving the island. Three years pass and Mio, an adult now, returns to confess his love to Shun!
This movie is a cute slice-of-life romance and the best part is the manga extends way past the movie so if you want more, you got it!
Josee, the Tiger and the Fish
Runtime: 1 hr 38 minutes, Crunchyroll
If you want some tears with your love today, I highly recommend Josee, the Tiger and the Fish. I actually had the opportunity to watch this movie in theaters when it premiered in the US and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Based on the short story by Seiko Tanaba, then later adapted into a manga by Nao Emoto, Josee is about a college student named Tsuneo who takes on a part-time job basically “watching” Josee. Josee is a wheelchair-using woman who has sort of given up on her own dreams. Throughout the caretaking, both Tsuneo and Josee grow closer as they each broaden each other’s horizons. The romance is a little slow burn in my opinion, but it’s still cute to watch.
Ride Your Wave
Runtime: 1 hr 34 Minutes, HBO Max
If you’ve seen Ride Your Wave, you are probably thinking “Lisa, why on Earth are you including this tear-jerker on this list?” But listen, it is necessary. Ride Your Wave is another movie I was able to watch in theaters, and since that day, it has never left my mind. I think about this movie all the time.
Ride Your Wave showcases the relationship between Hinako, a surfer and college student who is new to the area and Minato, a firefighter who rescues her when her apartment building catches on fire. The two instantly fall for each other, and experience a beautiful relationship together. Unfortunately, Minato loses his life tragically.
Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler: it is in the synopsis. It is a romance movie but also it is so much more than that. The movie then follows Hinako as she navigates the grief of losing the love of her life and has to learn to love herself and life all over again.