Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, which means that love—and the smell of chocolate—is in the air. In Japan, there are two different kinds of chocolates that women and girls give out on Valentine’s Day: 1) obligatory chocolates for friends and colleagues, and 2) more personal, usually handmade, chocolates for their love interest. We see this tradition depicted in many anime series, particularly in the romance genre. Here are 14 Valentine’s Day episodes to watch on February 14th!
1. Fruits Basket (2019) — “It’s Valentine’s, After All” (S1 Ep10)
Despite their many differences and deep hatred for each other, something Kyo and Yuki have in common is their distaste for Valentine’s Day. Kyo dreads the holiday because he knows he’ll be love-bombed by Kagura, who is violently in love with him; meanwhile, popular Student Council member Yuki always receives more chocolates and love confessions than he can deal with. In this episode, they end up roped into a double date with Kagura and Tohru, which is fine for Yuki (who may or may not be in love with Tohru) but miserable for Kyo (who is definitely in love with Tohru, even though he doesn’t know it yet).
The original series from 2001 also has a Valentine’s Day episode (episode 11, “Everybody Loves Chocolate”).
2. Tokyo Mew Mew — “Mystery Solved! The Truth about the Blue Knight” (S2 Ep45)
Chocolate and jewelry are great and all, but finding out that the mysterious and handsome knight who often aids you with your magical girl duties is actually your boyfriend so you don’t have to be torn over having feelings for two different guys is a pretty awesome Valentine’s Day gift. Even though the chocolates she makes are disastrous, Ichigo still gets the guy in the end. Good for her!
3. Wolf Girl & Black Prince — “Preparing for Battle -Valentine day-” (S1 Ep6)
Nice guys may not always get the girl, but they can at least get pity chocolates. In this episode, a rift opens between the protagonist Erika and her quasi-boyfriend Kyouya when she gives a Valentine’s Day cupcake to a shy male classmate named Kusakabe. He is actually my favorite character in the series, and Kyouya is a jerk, so I personally was glad to see Erika get closer to Kusakabe and spend less time with Kyouya (but naturally this doesn’t last long).
4. Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! — “The Chemical Substance of Love” (S2 Ep9)
Did you know that chocolate makes the brain release endorphins? In this episode, the villains take advantage of this fun fact and essentially attempt to overdose the leader of the Battle Lovers, Yumoto, with happiness. However, they failed to account for the fact that Yumoto is always bursting at the seams with happiness anyway, so all this scheme results in is Yumoto telling all his friends how much he loves them.
5. Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun — “If This Feeling Isn’t Love, Then There Is No Love At All” (S1 Ep12)
It makes sense that a romance manga author’s favorite holiday would be Valentine’s Day, because it’s the perfect opportunity to find inspiration for his stories. Nozaki’s thoughts are always preoccupied by his manga, but even more so on Valentine’s Day; in fact, he is so distracted by his research that he ends up not receiving a single Valentine’s Day chocolate, not even from the girl who has been pursuing him for months. Poor Chiyo eventually gives the chocolates she bought for him to her friends.
6. The Way of the Househusband — “Episode 52” (S1 Ep9)
This short segment doesn’t quite count as an entire episode, but I still feel it deserves a spot on this list. Former yakuza member Tatsu has mastered a wide array of domestic skills, which naturally includes baking. In this episode, he shows off his confectionary prowess in a baking class where the topic is chocolate cake. Of course he takes his completed cake home for his beloved wife, but first he teaches a current yakuza the importance of putting your heart into your baking.
7. The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan — “Be My Valentine” and “Her Melancholy” (S1 Ep4&5)
Homemade chocolates are undeniably more sentimental than store bought ones, since they require so much more time and effort. So you can imagine the devastation poor Yuki must have felt when her crush showed more interest in another girl’s generic chocolate bar than in the chocolates she worked so hard to make with her own hands. This is why love triangles are one of my least favorite tropes!
8. Sugar Sugar Rune — “Chocolat, A Chocolate Filled With Sentiments” (S1 Ep32)
How could a show with a main character named “Chocolat” and a plot that involves collecting sparkly hearts not have an episode dedicated to the holiday that largely revolves around chocolate and love? There are a lot of things about human traditions that Chocolat and Vanilla don’t understand as witches from another world, and one of those things is the importance of giving chocolates on Valentine’s Day. Their male classmates’ desperation to receive chocolate from a girl inadvertently leads Chocolat to realize that there might actually be a boy she would be willing to give her heart to.
9. My Love Story — “My Chocolate” (S1 Ep20)
This show will probably always reign supreme as my favorite romance anime ever. At first, gorilla-like Takeo finds it impossible to believe that the adorable girl he is in love with actually feels the same way about him. But Rinko truly is head-over-heels for him, and does everything she can to prove it to him. This includes making him extravagant Valentine’s Day chocolates, which of course Takeo treasures.
10. Lucky Star — “Delicious Day” (S1 Ep13)
There isn’t really any romance in this silly slice of life anime, and even the Valentine’s Day episode isn’t an exception. It actually wouldn’t even be entirely accurate to call this a “Valentine’s Day episode,” since the holiday is featured in just one of its multiple mini plots. Still, we get to see the girls exchanging chocolate with each other instead of giving any to boys. Isn’t female friendship so beautiful?
11. Vampire Knight — “Memories of Blood” (S1 Ep2)
Although they call the holiday in this episode “St. Xocolatl Day,” it’s essentially just this world’s version of Valentine’s Day, where students at Cross Academy give chocolates to each other. Of course, the Day Class students don’t know the Night Class students are vampires that would prefer the taste of their blood over their handmade chocolates. Can vampires even eat chocolate? I guess it depends on the series’ vampire lore.
12. Shugo Chara!! Doki — “I Hate These Stupid Chocolates!?” (S2 Ep19)
What do you do on Valentine’s Day when your crush hates chocolate? There are plenty of other gifts you could give him, but in this episode, we meet a girl who is already a gifted chocolatier and is determined to make a treat that even her chocolate-hating crush will enjoy. Meanwhile, our tsundere heroine Amu decides to try her hand at making chocolates for her own love interest, Tadase.
13. Kiss Him, Not Me — “Back to My Original Self! What Should I Do?” (S1 Ep5)
For some people, real life romance pales in comparison to the love they feel for fictional characters. Kae is one of those people, so when her favorite manga series hosts a contest to send Valentine’s Day chocolate to your favorite character, she’s all in. Unfortunately, she recently had what may or may not count as her first kiss, and the memory keeps distracting her. Why must real people ruin everything?!
14. Brothers Conflict (OVA Ep2)
Brothers Conflict has two OVAs (special episodes outside of the main series): one about Christmas, and one about Valentine’s Day. Since the main premise of this show is 13 brothers competing for the affection of their new step-sister Ema, it makes sense that the brothers would use this holiday as an excuse to try to win her over with chocolate. As usual, however, Ema appreciates all 13 of them equally, and sees them as family rather than potential love interests—which would automatically put the chocolates she gives them into the obligatory category rather than the romantic one. Sorry, boys, but she’s brother-zoned all of you.