Anime has incredible power to influence audiences with compelling stories and memorable characters. However, that doesn’t absolve the industry of the fact that giving representation to toxic male tropes and relationships just isn’t nice. Yes, romantic anime is pretty gullible in its interpretation, but it’s fair to say that audiences can always tell the difference between a complex love story and a disturbing one. There are plenty of adorable yet classic shows that are considered the pinnacle of the romantic anime genre, but deep down they are somewhat toxic.
Famous shows like Granny to more recent classics like Future Diary, these anime may depict unhealthy relationships, but they’re so captivating that fans can’t help but ship them off as a guilty pleasure. So here are some of the most toxic romance anime that are still fan favorites.
Domestic girlfriend is a dumpster fire
Based on a manga series by Kei Sasuga, Domestic Girlfriend can be called a pure “family drama” where the participants literally live under one roof. Natsuo may be the most average guy alive, but he’s been dragged into the most outrageous romantic drama of all time. There’s the usual student-teacher relationship that’s highly “not recommended”, but the protagonist can’t help it. He’s in love with his teacher, and when he gets rejected, he thinks the best way to get over it is to sleep with a random high school girl.
That’s not even the most outrageous aspect of Domestic Girlfriend, as it turns out that Natsuo’s parents are remarrying, and his step-siblings are none other than the women, one of whom slept with him and the other rejected him. It’s glorious trash to watch as the male protagonist does everything to keep his feelings intact for the teacher, but also welcomes the other girl’s advances.
Scum’s wish is borderline toxic
The protagonists of Scum’s wish are in an unrequited spiral of romantic feelings with two different people, but they look to each other for relief from their sorrows. Mugi Awaya is in love with her former tutor, while Hanabi Yasuraoka has feelings for her current teacher and old family friend. When the two find no way forward in their quest for love, they pretend to date as neither can have whoever they want.
This concept is very confusing and quickly turns into something toxic. Drowning in false feelings isn’t even the most problematic part. The tutor Mugi is in love with ends up bowing to his feelings, and they only reunite for the audience to find out that using teenagers is fueling his tutor’s obsession.
My little monster has several disadvantages
my little monster is one of the best romance anime out there, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. It has to be the audience’s biggest shipping guilty pleasure because, at one point, the series downplays just how toxic the dynamic actually is. People were screaming when Haru and Shizuku finally got into a relationship, but their journey was filled with male shojo tropes that are now very underrated.
Their relationship isn’t the healthiest, and most of the time Haru pushes himself on Shizuku. At one point, he even drags her into a deserted alley and literally threatens to harass her if she makes noise. It just doesn’t seem fair coming from someone who constantly wants to sue the other party for being in a romantic relationship.
School days have no meaning
school days doesn’t do justice to how high school romances can and should be – just watch Horimiya Where Nijiiro Days. It’s a disaster from start to finish and doesn’t add anything of value to the “young love” genre. It follows the story of a very complicated love triangle where one side constantly tries to cheat on them while the other supports this cheating. Makoto is a high school student who enjoys cheating on his girlfriend with a girl who encouraged them to go out with them.
That’s not even the worst, as there are other girls who fall for Makoto’s spell – annoying as they are – and end up obsessing over him. So, yes, it’s a real dumpster fire that would want the audience to stick around until the end to find out what happened to these characters.
Wolf Girl and Black Prince Exhibit Toxic Masculinity
No matter how amazingly gorgeous Kyouya is or how adorable the protagonist is, no guy can call a girl his “dog”, even if she’s a fake girlfriend. the wolf and the black princeErika finds herself in a bind when she lies to her friends that she is dating Kyouya. Afraid of being found out, she asks for his help thinking he’s exactly the “princely” type he looks like, only to find he has a dark side. He treats her like his pet, gives her orders and even makes fun of her feelings.
Kyouya is that typical male protagonist who thinks bullying a girl’s heart is the way to go. While the show isn’t half bad, it just spoils the whole vibe by inflicting a toxic relationship and, again, taking a damsel in distress approach.
Junjo Romantica literally glorifies bullying
“Boy Love” is overtly well received in the anime world, but shows like Romantic Junjo do little to glorify same-sex relationships. In place, Romantic Junjo dwells on this disturbing line of thought, believing that nagging and imposing on someone else will eventually lead to him falling in love with her.
The story is about an “alleged” romance between a young college student and his brother’s author friend, who writes erotic novels. Not only does Masaki dislike Akihiko’s explicit interest in writing about gay relationships, but he gets physical with him without permission. Even though audiences love a great BL couple, some shows just don’t distinguish between flirting and unwanted touching. Anime like these should portray a mature side of an age-old romance.
Future Diary follows an unhealthy obsession
Well, when the romantic moments come, the audience loves it, but what’s on display in Future Diary is as unhealthy as possible. The fact that it takes a cold-hearted person to “survive” a Survivor Game isn’t enough, but killing people because the person thinks they might steal their lover is, of course, screwed up. Future Diary may have its shipping moments, but if audiences watch the plot, it’s just not described as a good love story.
Yuno will kill anyone in the blink of an eye if she even feels like someone is trying to get close to Yukiteru. It seems like there’s no way out of this relationship because even when Yukiteru threatens to leave her, there’s a chance she’ll shoot him in the head too.