Before getting started, note that this list of the best sex scenes in anime, including only TV anime series, theatrical releases and otherwise mainstream DVD releases. This list will not include any hentai anime releases, which will be handled in a separate list.
That being said, some of you may wonder what the point of such a list is. People may watch anime for the ecchi and the romance, but probably a much smaller minority do so with an expectation of seeing a pair of characters get involved with one another to such an intimate degree. At least, that’s what the anime meta has taught us to think.
At best, sex scenes can be emotionally engaging moments that end up searing the series into your memory. This is the standard by which we at Honey’s Anime decided on our selection. How this is done is by different series is something that should be discussed more often, and this list serves as a signpost to that end. This is our compilation of the top 10 anime sex scenes.
10. Shinseiki Evangelion (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: October 1995 to March 1996
Misato Kisaragi is the character in Evangelion that deserves more attention than she gets. Thankfully for the purpose of this list, some of her most defining moments come in an unexpected scene following her emotional distraught late into the series, when we find her laying intimately with Kaji after having been so concerned for Shinji’s well-being.
Shinji had just avoided his most dire predicament yet, this time losing his entire physical being after being absorbed into the cockpit of Unit-01 after a battle with an Angel that was only one step away from wiping humanity from the face of this Earth. Misato, who was obviously the most emotionally invested in saving Shinji, chooses to deal with her relief by lying with her old flame Kaji in a brief but intense scene.
Misato isn’t a character who lets out her inner self often. As a result, it’s beyond shocking to see her let everything out down to the deepest and darkest corners of her mind without any hesitation; that’s how important Kaji was to her and that’s how much we learn that she relies on him. In an even briefer moment of inaction, we see Kaji casually drop a birth control pill on the dresser as Misato tries to convince him of her terrible personality, but it’s convincing to no one. It’s a farce that is immediately recognisable, but it’s a moment that it becomes possible to recognise the complexity that is Neon Genesis Evangelion as we realise the depth of her character, and the amazing writing of the whole series when we later learn that the pill was really a long awaited opening for Kaji to relay to her the even darker secrets that NERV hid from the world.
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: January 2012 to March 2012
Strictly speaking, the now universally infamous toothbrush scene isn’t a sex scene in the literal sense. However, if Studio Shaft’s ridiculous aptitude to visual storytelling makes sure that we recognise every bit of sexual imagery for what it is.
Koyomi Araragi and his sisters are close, but his supposed “challenge” raised against the older Karen goes way beyond anything to be expected among siblings. Thinking that he’ll be able to deny her a chance to meet the perverted Kanbaru Suruga, he proposes a competition where he either wins by getting her to give up from the unpleasant sensation of having her teeth brushed by someone else, or he loses if she’s able to tolerate it long enough. Frankly, it takes less than a few seconds for everyone to forget about it having been a competition in a first place.
The situation goes from lewd to undeniably sexual when it becomes clear that Karen finds the entire experience a very sensual affair, and the show goes crazy from displacing the pair into the depths of the universe to show the pervertedness of the situation. It’s really something that needs to be seen than described, but do make sure that there are no prying eyes in the room when you do so.
8. Yosuga no Sora
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2010 to December 2010
This is the first entry of this list in which a sex scene employed to tie up two characters’ romantic interest in one another and show their progression to the next phase of their relationship is a major part of the series. Incidentally, Yosuga no Sora ends up showing such a scene four times throughout its 12 episode runtime thanks to its series structure. The scene we at Honey’s Anime have chosen is not any of the four, but a scene that is more narratively significant in that it sets off the inner turmoil of half of the main cast, and was used as part of two separate storylines.
Haruka and Sora are closer than a typical pair of twins, to the point that from a young age they had already been sexually attracted to one another. However, to the dismay of both, Haruka’s first sexual encounter is not with Sora but with their childhood friend neighbour, Nao. Distraught from her parents’ arguments and the fact that Haruka, her first love, will be leaving her in the near future, Nao makes the mistake of forcing herself onto Haruka physically; making things worse is the fact that Sora had been there watching in secret.
As far as consequences go, Nao cuts off whatever chance there is of Haruka and Sora having a normal life and the event, better described as a case of female on male rape, is the beginning of a series of unfortunate events in the twins’ lives. For Nao, it meant years of suppressed guilt.
7. Boku wa Imouto ni Koi wo Suru
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: May 2005
Going back to the point about how seasoned anime fans tend to never expect any sex scenes even from anime revolving around romance, this is largely due to the story conventions of the shoujo genre. The one exception to this is a 1 episode OVA aptly named, when translated to English, ‘I Love My Sister’.
One thing that is very impressive about this anime in general is how well it integrates sexuality in what would otherwise be very typical developments in a shoujo story. Iku, the titular female sister, had her love taken away from her when the anime shows Yori being seduced and having sex with her best friend Tomoka. Even when the pair finally find themselves in each other’s arms (in a love hotel, no less!), the usual dynamic of Yori teasing and comforting Iku remains true.
From Iku’s shy nervousness to Yori’s assertiveness to the latter’s clear awareness of the taboo they are committing, this is a sex scene that is multifaceted and engaging.
6. Koi Kaze
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2004 to June 2004
Immediately follow the shoujo incest oneshot is a one cour-long TV series about Koshiro’s budding love for a high school student who is barely over half his age, who by the end of the first episode is revealed to be his younger sister Nanoka. Separated since their parent’s untimely divorce, their love only continues to grow in between the anxiety they face from social pressures and Koshiro’s persistence sexual frustration.
By the last two episodes, Koshiro has finally found it in himself to approach his sister in an emotionally authentic way, going as far as to refuse the advice of his close friends. The climactic sex scene of the penultimate episode is nowhere near like Iku and Yori’s, as any joy we have of the pair being together is twisted by the realistic sense of impending disaster that Koi Kaze emphasises. Even when the scene makes it so clear that the pair are truly in love, the horror in their eyes give the scene a dramatic tension as we can never ignore that their relationship is a mistake.
5. Kara no Kyoukai: Tsuukaku Zanryuu
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: February 2008
The third entry to the Kara no Kyoukai seven-part film series makes its way into the second place of our list, not at all for being any more emotionally satisfying than the entries ranked below it. Instead, Kara no Kyoukai: Tsuukaku Zanryuu deserves a high placing for being one of anime’s most brutal and most well-executed rape scenes.
Fujino Asagami, the victim of the situation, is a classmate of protagonist Mikiya Kokutou’s younger sister and, as many people in the Kara no Kyoukai world are, a wielder of supernatural abilities. In a truly unfortunate fashion, her parents deemed her powers to be unnecessary and had them sealed through medication, numbing her sense of touch as a side effect. As such, despite being completely helpless against the repeated sexual assault by the local gang, on some level she is so devoid of physical displeasure that it only serves to infuriate them further.
Like every other Kara no Kyoukai film, Tsuukaku Zanryuu holds nothing back to bring us out of our comfort zone. The realistic direction of the scene is astounding, from the detail put into the disheveled state of the room and everyone in it to the haunting sound of flesh hitting flesh. Even then, the film refuses to let our distress be the judge when it gradually becomes impossible to distinguish between right and wrong, and bring about the justice that everyone involved deserves.
4. Kareshi Kanojo no Jijo (Kare Kano)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: October 1998 to March 1999
After Hideaki Anno’s success with the mega-popular Evangelion series, no one could have expected him to adapt a shoujo manga of all things. Anno made sure we wouldn’t regret watching it though, as the show brings with it a lot of the directing genius from Evangelion while also providing the emotional satisfaction that some viewers may have felt is missing.
What KareKano does better than almost any entry in this list is build up; from the moment the episode begins to the moment when they give themselves up to each other, the show convinces you that everything is happening as it should. Soichiro, who suffered from an early childhood of mistreatment by his birth parents and his overbearing relatives found it difficult to accept the unconditional love of his current parents. On the other hand, when the person whom he loves unconditionally, namely Yukino, is also doing everything she can to make his life easier, he can’t help but be caught in the moment and want to make her his own.
And what a beautiful moment it is. The pair are initially nervous, slightly afraid of taking their relationship to a more intimate level. However, they quickly find ease in one another and the ephemeral happiness they share is immortalised.
- Episodes: 47
- Aired: April 2006 to March 2007
Midway through NANA, it became the case that Hachi’s fulfillment came at the cost of Nana’s happiness and the precious friendship that they had developed together. This is underlined and highlighted in episode 34, when we see the clear beginning of Nana’s breakdown from her inability to accept Hachi and Takumi’s unhealthy relationship.
Hachi is completely under Takumi’s dominance, uttering no words as Takumi speaks entirely for the pair when relaying to Nana about their decision to marry, and their decision to essentially force Nana from the apartment she and Hachi had become so attached to. Brought into her own room, Takumi forces himself onto her disregarding anything Hachi has to say. This is a sex scene that tells us that whatever feelings are keeping the pair together, love has little to do with it.
Nana hears everything as it happens, unable to hide her despair from feeling as though her best friend has betrayed everything their friendship had been about. In a spur of unconscious emotional outbreak and a follow-up attempt to cope, she breaks the strawberry-decorated glasses that symbolised all that was precious between she and Hachi.
2. Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki (Wolf Children)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: July 2012
In many cases, anime tends to skyrocket the level of drama through the sex scenes. Wolf Children shows that this does not always have to be the case, showing only an instance of an almost poetic instant of physical intimacy that tells us all we need to know.
Hana’s relationship with the werewolf is simple and endearing, starting with a fateful meeting in a college class that the latter snuck into despite not being a student. Even though their love was mutual and obvious, it was not until the werewolf reveals his identity that we understand the weight and difficulty of their relationship, and the life that they would have to lead in order to make it work. To the surprise of no one, Hana wholeheartedly accepts the werewolf for everything that he is.
In two brief shots of the pair affirming their love, Wolf Children makes a beautiful but fleeting picture of the moment that Hana and the werewolf make the decision to spend the rest of their lives together. There was need for the details to be portrayed, as eroticism had no place in that very moment; the framing of the shot made clear that the focus was on the purity of their relationship. As a result, even though we learn that the time they had together was tragically short, there is no doubt in our minds that the love that tied them together was very real indeed.
1. White Album 2
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: October 2013 to December 2013
Although Yosuga no Sora might have you expect that eroge adaptations are a wealth of dramatic sex scenes, it’s actually rather rare for them to serve as anything more than advertisements with low production values. Thankfully, in the same way of Yosuga no Sora being a high quality adaptation of a decent romance story, White Album 2 brings into anime form a story about young love that is truly deserving of attention.
Haruki, Setsuna and Kazusa are brought together in a series of fateful events as a band to perform for in a school festival; in every sense of the word, they wish for the absolute best for one another. However, in the night of the performance, Haruki is put into a position to choose between the two girls and the delicate balance of their relationship is unknowingly ruined forever.
At the series’ dramatic conclusion, Haruki finds himself unable to give up on the person who he had always loved, and the two lie together in the long-awaited acknowledgement of their mutual feelings. Tragically, this is a scene that is as much a culmination of the pair’s repression of their feelings as it is a realisation that the final member of their group has been betrayed by the two persons who are most precious to her, and nothing is more sad than understanding that this is the result of all three doing what they felt was best for each other.
As unusual as they are in anime, sex scenes are an important way of telling stories that otherwise would not have the same impact. Surely, entries like White Album 2 and Kara no Kyoukai would not have been as immersive if the creators were limited their explicitness.
Are there other series that deserve a mention? Are anime better or worse because of sex scenes? Let us know in the comment section below.