If you are an anime fan and a fan of romance anime in particular, then there is little that is more relatable than a romance series about otaku. Let’s face it, even if we aren’t obsessive about anime to a true otaku level, we all want to be loved for who we are and what we like. Of course, being obsessive about something – games, anime, books, or whatever – leads to a number of funny situations, which in its own way can make otaku romantic comedies highly amusing even if you aren’t in it for the romance.
And You Thought There Was Never a Girl Online?
Who hasn’t looked for love in their online MMOs at one point or another and got burned by it? This is the starting premise for this series about a boy who thought he found love in his MMO and the character turned out to be a man playing or girl character, or at least that’s what they said. After giving up on it, he soon finds out that the girl that is overly attached to him in the game is actually a girl in real life and goes to his school too.
Oreimo has become infamous as the go-to otaku comedy. While it is about the occasional uncomfortable growing relationship between a normal brother and his tsundere little sister that is into eroge games, it does display other otaku girls that he explores romantic and platonic relationships with. It does also provide a rare glimpse at female otakus in a widely male-otaku dominated anime genre.
Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun
While some of the characters in Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun don’t classify as otaku, it is a great romantic comedy series about a girl who tries to confess to a boy only for him to confuse her for a fan of the shoujo manga series that he creates. Through circumstance, she ends up working for him, but with multiple potential couples in play, it provides a fun romantic romp.
Welcome to the NHK
The main character of Welcome to the NHK is more of a NEET than an otaku, but as you explore the physiological effects of seclusion, you watch him as he explores a number of otaku activities. Furthermore, you watch a girl try to bring him out of his shell and the feelings that grow for each other. However, in terms of comedy, the show has more of a dark humor to it.
Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend
Although Saekano ends up looking more like your typical harem series, it does feature both a male otaku and several female otakus, all of them brought together for their various talents and love of dating sims. As the story progresses, though, that harem element turns into drama and occasional comedy, but not in your usual obnoxious harem way, which makes it truly a special watch.
I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying
This short episode series is the quintessential otaku romantic comedy. The whole series is about your average working lady that loves to socially drink and her husband who is a otaku. They seem like two people that shouldn’t work as a couple, but she goes to lengths to understand his hobbies and you are shown that it not a person’s interests that make a successful relationship, but the people themselves.
Haruka Nogizaka’s Secret
This anime series is your classic “secret otaku” series with a romantic comedy element added onto it. Nogizaka is cute and popular, but she is also secretly an otaku. When the main character finds out, he helps her enjoy her interests and also protect her secret, so naturally feelings develop between them.
This is a bit of a twist on your usual otaku romantic comedy. In Blood Lad, the main character is a vampire in hell, but he also happens to be a major human otaku with a particular love for Japan and anime. When a human wanders into his domain, he is thrilled. However, events transpire that lead him into the human world to help her. Although the romance is a subplot and his otaku hobbies take a back set to typical action adventure plots, it is a unique twist.
The main character in Princess Jellyfish is a NEET who is fearful of men, but she is also a complete otaku for jellyfish. She ends up living with a man that likes to dress as a beautiful woman, and of course much of the comedy ensues from this set up. It is a distinctly unique otaku romantic comedy and beloved by many because of its unique set up and characters.
World Only God Knows
The main character in this series can win any girl’s heart, at least in dating sims. His unhealthy obsession with them has taken over his life pretty much, but one day when he tries to prove his supremacy in dating sims by accepting an anonymous request, it turns out to be from a demon that winds up having him capture evil spirits. The twist is that the only way he can do this is to woo real girls. Unfortunately, he hates real women, but can he make love blossom?
The Pet Girl of Sakura Hall
The Pet Girl of Sakura Hall is very much about the characters discovering who they are and what they want to be in the future in a school life setting. However, with three different couples in play, every character involved has a distinct otaku interest. Animators, artists, writers, coders – they are all passionate about their interests enough to classify as otaku. Not only can this series be inspiring to young watchers trying to figure shit out, it has superb comedy, but you don’t always get the pay off from the relationships that you want.
Genshiken follows the adventures and relationships of the Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture, which brings the full spectrum of otaku culture together in its members. While the show can be difficult to get into (the first few episodes are a bit boring) it not only showcases the humor of otaku hobbies and those that engage in them, but you get to watch some surprisingly complex relationships develop.
Love, Chunibyou, and Other Delusions
The characters in this series are more chunibyou than actual otaku, but I think a lot of anime fans can relate to the way that they act, or at least cringe at it. We’ve all wanted to believe we were something more – a dark flame master, the host of a god in our eye, ect – and in private we may have acted these out. However, this show takes that behavior to an uncomfortable, but humorous level while also having a sickly sweet romance as the main plotline.
In Gamers, the main character used to be your stereotypical gamer nerd until he underwent an image makeover. Unfortunately, while he tries to keep his love of games a secret, he ends up being drafted into the gaming club club that is filled with a variety of gaming otaku that aren’t usually what we think of when we think of typical gamers. Not only are the game references in this show on point, but the romance of it is as sweet and awkward as you could hope for.
D-Frag follows the story of a thug that wants to take over the school, but after a run in with the four girls of the game development club, he gets drafted into it. This is the rare example of four female otaku and a singular normal guy coming together. While the romance isn’t spectacular, the comedy of this series is by far the star of the show.
If you have any more good otaku romantic comedy anime recommendations, let us know in the comments section below.