Sometimes, romance anime aren't as simple as they seem. Many stories don't revolve around two high school students trying to confess their love or protagonists stuck in a juicy love triangle. Various love stories tend to take complicated directions, like justifying romance between a high school girl and a middle-aged man or a middle school boy and a teenage girl. It's hard to make sense of these age gaps sometimes, but there are gems that portray quite appropriate age-gap love stories which touch the heart.
Even though the power dynamics in some of these anime aren't as well-balanced, the following romance anime, which follow chracters with appropraite age-gaps, are worth the watch.
Sing "Yesterday" For Me
Life works in mysterious ways, especially when love is involved. Sing "Yesterday" For Me is an anime adaptation of a manga of the same name and follows a messy romance.
There are multiple contenders involved, which primarily include a younf college graduate named Rikuo, a high school dropout named Haru, and Shinako, Rikuo's senior and is starting a teaching career. The age gaps aren't too dramatic and still appropriate to highlight the complexity of the relationships featured in the series.
After the Rain
Not every person wants that heart pounding, butterflies-in-stomach kind of love when they are young. Some people crave maturity and a safe haven that can't be met in a traditional high school romance. After the Rain deals with a large age-gap that's surprisingly not inappropriate at all.
That's because it's not about the middle-aged man trying to seduce a young girl or even the other way around. In After the Rain, the protagonists are looking for something more than just a romantic relationship. After the rain has a beautiful yet serious tone that identifies a person's maturity as simply needing support rather than indulging in messy romances.
First Love Monster
In First Love Monster, the usual tropes of awkward misunderstandings are ramped up when a seemingly normal pretty boy is revealed to still be in elementary school. Kaho belongs to an influential family, and a faithful encounter with a charming stranger changes her life forever. The show is basically more of an over-the-top romantic comedy that's almost age appropriate, but thankfully, there aren't any uncomfortable encounters between the protagonists.
Kaho immediately falls in love with Kanade, who saves her from getting hit by a truck, but it's soon revealed that he's only a fifth grader with a body of a princely high schooler. So, one can imagine how any potential romance between these two would develop.
The World is Still Beautiful
Age-appropriate romances don't always mean a one-year gap between the couple. Nike holds the power to call forth rain, and she has to marry the Sun King Livius to better the relationships between two nations. Little does she know, the king is still just a boy, and soon realizes that Livius is quite mature for his age.
Even still a child, Livius has a cold personality, and despite being considered a "monster" by many, he opens up a special place in his heart for Nike. Their care for each other, love, and understanding is extremely warm. There's nothing wrong with being with a younger guy considering he has the maturity of that of a successful leader.
Kamisama Hajimemashita, or Kamisama Kiss, is a classic romance anime that enjoys a cult-level following. It's a beloved fantasy romance that follows the story of a homeless sixteen-year-old girl named Nanami Momozono, who surprisingly receives a shrine and the status of a new deity when she helps a stranger. As it turns out, the previous God had a familiar named Tomoe -- a broody, handsome fox spirit who isn't fond of having a new owner.
As the story progresses, both Nanami and Tomoe can't deny the attraction between them. Though Tomoe may be a few hundred years old, he doesn't fit in the typical age-gap romance trope and enjoys a very "appropriate" romance with the high schooler. Kamisama Kiss is a wonderful watch with loads of comedy, supernatural, and romance.
The age-gap in Koikimo isn't as inappropriate as it seems, outside the standard trope of the guy wearing down the girl in an effort to win her over. Ryou is a corporate man in his twenties, and Ichika is a high schooler who, by chance, saved his life.
Ryou's vice is that he is a total womanizer, and his behavior in pursuing Ichika makes her uncomfortable at the beginning of the series. Even though Ichika finds Ryou's advances creepy, he becomes enthralled by her whenever she rejects him. Koikimo is a hilarious watch, and while everyone may not appreciate the guy's aggressive advances, it is a typical romance that's perfect for fabs if campy romantic comedies.