Try 18 of the Best Romance Manga For a Serotonin Release
Once upon a time, I wrote a Book Riot article that was all about romance manga. You can read 50 romance manga over there that will bring so many emotions out of you, I can assure you that. But the thing is…I wrote it in 2019! And you know that in the publishing world, be it books or manga, we constantly get new releases that end up being our new favorites. So, I wanted to do an updated version of that post with more newly-released romance manga — as well as some that you may not have heard of — that I know you can enjoy as well.
In 2021, I decided to start collecting my favorite manga, but also to start buying physical copies of new manga. The sad thing is that many romance manga have been discontinued over here in México, so it’s hard to find copies of my all-time favorites, like Ouran High School Host Club, Maid-sama! or Kimi ni Todoke. Hopefully, with the success of Fruits Basket (and its new Collector’s Editions), they decide to start selling them again! Or maybe a new publishing house can start translating them again. The good thing is that they do have other favorites that can be mine immediately, like Ao Haru Ride, Lovely Complex, and Wotakoi.
The next romance manga are all officially English-translated, so you can either find them on your favorite online retailer or bookstore. Let’s hope that we get more romance manga translations this 2022 and beyond!
Sweat & Soap by Kintetsu Yamada
Choosing to put this on the top, because this manga is the best thing you could ever read. But also because it’s now completed and you can read the whole thing today!
Sweat and Soap is definitely the romcom manga you need to be reading. It follows Asaka, a woman who sweats considerably, and Koutarou, her coworker who also happens to be a perfume developer and cannot get enough of Asako’s scent.
A Sign of Affection by Suu Morishita
If you’re looking for a more mature romance manga, I highly recommend A Sign of Affection. It’s set in college, a place we don’t see often in shoujo manga, so that’s something you can look forward to!
Yuki is a typical college student; her whole life revolves around studying, being with her friends, and the latest shopping sales. But, when a chance encounter leads her on meeting upperclassman Itsuomi-san, her world starts to expand. Though Itsuomi-san can speak three different languages, he cannot speak sign language…How can they communicate?
Love Me, Love Me Not by Io Sakisaka
Probably one of the few romance manga in this list that is completed. Io Sakisaka has blessed us once again with a classic with Love Me, Love Me Not.
If you’re a fan of Io Sakisaka’s past work, like Strobe Edge or Ao Haru Ride, I’m positive you’re also going to love this one. This story is about fast friends Yuna and Akari who are just going through their high school life. When they meet, they find out they live in the same apartment complex, making their friendship stronger.
Yakuza Lover by Nozomi Mino
Now, if you want a romance manga that features a bit of smut, choose Yakuza Lover! To all the mafia lovers, this will hit the right spot.
Yuri meets the underboss of a mafia family at a party one night. Despite the fact that they feel mutual attraction, Yuri doesn’t want to get involved with him. I mean, he’s a bad boy! But her heart says something else and somehow they keep bumping into each other.
Ima Koi: Now I’m in Love by Ayuko Hatta
Most of the time, in shoujo manga, and specifically in the romance genre, the story follows the main character who falls in love, right? Most of the time, the story is about how the main character will confess and all the problems that arise with falling in love. You most likely will get the confession all the way to the end and you won’t get a lot of chapters with them as an official couple. Not in this one.
In Ima Koi: Now I’m in Love, we meet high school student Satomi who has always been too shy to ever confess her feelings, so her love life has never really taken off. But everything changes when she suddenly blurts out her crush on her impossibly handsome classmate Yagyu! To her surprise, he agrees to date her.
My Love Mix-Up! by Wataru Hinekure
This romantic comedy will surely capture your heart! A high school shoujo romance that will lead to a blossoming relationship between two boys.
Oh, mistaken identity rules this storyline, because Aoki, our main lead, has had a crush on Hashimoto, the girl who sits next to him, for a while now. One day, Aoki borrows her eraser and he sees that she wrote down the name of another boy there! This same boy, Ida, sees Aoki holding an eraser with his name on it, so now Ida thinks Aoki has a crush on him…
A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow by Makoto Hagino
This manga is definitely that sort of soft, gentle romance you are desperately searching for.
Konatsu is slowly adapting to a new school, to a new environment, but it sucks she has to join a club because it’s required. She hasn’t had time to think which one she is going to pick, but she’s seriously thinking about joining the Aquarium Club because of this sunshine of a girl named Koyuki.
Kaguya-sama: Love is War by Aka Akasaka
Once upon a time, a friend recommended this anime. I wasn’t that intrigued about it, didn’t think it was a romance romance, you know? Oh, was I so wrong. This story has everything you have ever wanted: comedy, romance, intrigue, and a beautiful story of friendship and found family.
Kaguya and Miyuki like each other. But they are also very prideful. They don’t want to confess their own feelings first…so they have to come up with schemes and plans to make the other one confess first.
Given by Natsuki Kizu
If you want a very emotional story, Given is your pick. Music, friendships, growth, healing — it’s really a wonderful, wholesome story that will bring tears to your eyes every time you think about it.
Uenoyama is bored with his life; everything feels like it’s a routine and nothing seems to change. Then, one day, he finds a lonely, sad boy holding a broken-stringed guitar in his favorite napping spot. And when he hears him sing? His whole world completely shifts.
My Dress-Up Darling by Shinichi Fukuda
This manga actually has an anime adaptation currently being released. My Dress-Up Darling introduces us to the cosplay world. Not many romance anime showcase the art of cosplay, so it’s definitely a joy to see this story on screen.
Doll-artisan hopeful Wakana Gojou has become a loner after a traumatizing event with a friend. His days are passed in the home ec classroom instead. Girls like Marin, popular girls who constantly have friends around them, are aliens to him. But when Marin sees Wakana one day sewing, she barges into his life! You see, she loves one thing and one thing only: cosplaying. And she wants Wakana to help her.
The Demon Prince of Momochi House by Aya Shouoto
Ok, it seems this is the first fantasy title on this list! What! We totally need more fantasy romance like Kamisama Kiss and Yona of the Dawn. Fortunately, The Demon Prince of Momochi House is here to stay.
Imagine inheriting a mysterious estate that exists between the human and spiritual realm? This happens to orphan Himari Momochi! On her 16th birthday, she’s meant to act as the guardian between the two worlds. But on the day she moves in, she finds someone inside who has already taken her role.
Cheeky Brat by Mitsubachi Miyuki
Okay, Cheeky Brat has been so popular throughout so many years. It has finally landed an English translation so you’ll see it officially translated in stores! Think sports romance with endearing characters and you get this beautiful story.
Yuki became the basketball team manager only because she had a crush on the captain. Girl, we get it. When the captain announces he got himself a girlfriend, Yuki can’t help but cry her eyes out. Who finds her? The pretty playboy Naruse who wants to wiggle his way into her life as quickly as possible.
Love of Kill by Fe
So, what about assassins? They also can fall in love. And they do in Love of Kill. (It actually also got an anime adaptation! It has been streaming since January, so you can totally watch it as well).
One of her missions, Chateau Dankworth meets Son Ryang-ha, also a professional hitman. Their paths always seem to cross and Son Ryang-ha continues to save her when she’s in danger. But their secrets are far too many to keep hidden and one day they’ll for sure come out.
Spell of Desire by Tomu Ohmi
Now, this isn’t really new, but I’m choosing titles that I didn’t add to my original list, so all of you can have a wide variety of titles you can choose from. Spell of Desire is by the same mangaka who did Midnight Secretary so you can guess it’s going to get spicy.
Kaoruko Mochizuki is living her life when a man dressed in black walks through her herb shop’s doors. He claims that Kaoruko is a witch and that she needs him to control her awakening powers.
So Cute It Hurts!! by Go Ikeyamada
I remember reading this one so long ago. Go Ikeyamada’s art and storytelling are so engaging. Also, I adore the way she writes her love interests, because they’re always so soft and caring.
The Kobayashi twins do what every single twin craves to do: exchange lives for a day. When Mitsuru is in danger of failing his history classes, he asks his sister to swap clothes with him and do his tests. But what will happen when Megumu enters his only-boys school?
Chéri, My Destiny! by Okoge Mochino
I’m always a sucker for foodie romances, truthfully. Also, look at this beautiful cover!
A pastry chef is very confident about his French sweets. He opened a patisserie after studying in France and he is the head chef there. But then he hears about a local Japanese sweet shop his customers are enamored with. He thinks starting a food war is the right choice to make, but he never thought something will happen because of it…
Lovesick Ellie by Fujimomo
This is the perfect manga for this age. I mean, so many people can relate to the heroine — she has a Twitter where she tweets very thirsty things. But on the outside? Everyone seems to think of her as a boring person. If only they could see her feed…
But one day, by accident, she discovers that her perfect classmate Ohmi isn’t so perfect (he’s quite selfish and manipulative, oh my!). He also finds out her secret *oooh*.
Catch These Hands! by murata
And finally, but definitely not least, you should read Catch These Hands! if you’re into the former rivals trope. It’s coming out in March, so you can read all the other titles in this list, and then when this is out, read this as well.
Takebe is a former delinquent who is trying to leave her wild past behind. But one day, she bumps into her former high-school rival Soramori. One thing leads to another and suddenly they’re fighting and Takebe loses and now has to accept dating Soramori…?!
If you’re looking for completed manga, because you love reading it all in one go, these best completed manga series will be perfect for you. Or let’s say you want to know which new manga is releasing this year! We can help you with that as well. No worries, here at Book Riot, we have you covered.