Romantic Drama is a concept used in series to create tensions of highs and lows in order to leave the audience in suspense over an outcome in a romance based series.
The nature of anime production favors spectacle-anime's mode of production often makes it better suited to special effects, science fiction, and fantasy. Human interest drama or romance can usually be made cheaply with live-action materials, and consequently appears in anime only rarely- Human Crossing is one of its best examples, although drama can also feature in crime shows such as Domain of Murder and in psychological horror like Perfect Blue.
Regarded primarily as a children's medium, anime concentrated on comedic stories for its first decade. Its first demonstrably dramatic work was Noburo Ofuji's Whale (Kujira, 1927), in which a beautiful woman survives a shipwreck along with three male passengers who immediately begin fighting over her. They are distracted by the arrival of a whale, their hunting of which encourages its vengeful return, in a story that ends with the woman the sole survivor, riding on the whale's back. Early anime romances dealt with comedy and tragedy in equal parts, from the faithless husband's antics in The World of Power and Women (1932) to the heartbreak of Madame Butterfly (1940).
Some Wartime Anime remained humorous, although others put joking aside in order to warn audiences of the dangers lurking unseen, as in Sanae Yamamoto's Defeat of the Spies ( Spy Gekimetsu, 1942). The postwar period brought increased access to Disney films such as Bambi (1942), encouraging Japanese animators to consider tragic scenes alongside the comedy of traditional children's entertainment. This maturing attitude to storytelling helped lift anime out of the single funny vignettes of cartoon shorts and into feature-length storytelling as found in The Littlest Warrior (1961). However, the desire to appeal to a children's market continued to limit romantic plots or the seriousness of certain topics -Woof Woof 47 Ronin (1963) adapted a famous tragedy from the kabuki stage, tempered by the use of a cast of talking cartoon dogs which detracted from its dramatic weight.
The growth in the 1970s of the female manga market led to the adaptation of many more romance stories for animation. Candy Candy (1976) established many durable conventions of the girl's anime, including the orphan heroine victimized and persecuted like Cinderella, enjoying the attentions of a secret benefactor or admirer such as that found in Daddy Long-Legs, and enduring a series of torments while waiting for her Prince Charming, often in the company of a small furry animal. Such dramatic traditions even influenced the plots of anime supposedly based on historical fact, such as the breathless excitement of Young Princess Diana (1986).
Homosexual longing and romance did not solely rely on the arrival of video, first appearing in the TV series Pataliro (1982). However, video made it far easier for anime with more mature themes to go into production, such as the gay subtexts of Song of Wind and Trees (1987). As the niche market expanded for amateur and professional comics featuring love between handsome young men, gay characters in anime gained wider acceptance. Science fiction and fantasy settings were also popular, as Ties of Love and Tokyo Babylon showed in 1992, but anime also made use of "real life" backdrops to tales of gay sexuality and its social consequences, like the family in Oh Family, football and music in Zetsuai, and organized crime in Kizuna. Girl-on-girl crushes are usually portrayed as innocent adoration, but sometimes with a lesbian subtext, as in Utena.
The same period, however, also saw maturation of themes on TV, with extended romantic dramas such as Touch (1985) and Maison Ikkoku (1986). Following the success of the alien spouse of Urusei Yatsura (1981), romance in the 1990s often took on the characteristics of a dating simulation computer game, in which a male protagonist was obliged to work out which of several contenders would be the most appropriate choice for a happy ending. This has led to the " harem" tradition typified by Tenchi Muyo!, in which a single boy is surrounded by a cast of adoring females. The extremes to which this has been carried are exemplified by Negima and Hanaukyo Maid Team, where the (underage) male protagonist is surrounded by literally dozens of women from whom to choose. Slacker mentality comes to the fore, with pretty girls that materialize by accident in lonely geeks' closets, or memory loss subplots that offer hope from forgotten childhood contacts. The archetypal lead for the harem show is often a solitary shut-in with borderline Asperger's Syndrome, alienated from friends and family and so inept and passive that his only hope of romance is either a past association occluded by amnesia (he was once loved, but has forgotten, as in Love Hina), or a future event about which he is told by time travelers, such as that in DNA or Kirara. There is no now for the harem show's point of identification; now is a miserable, dull, pointless time, although there may have been a dreamtime then when he was popular with girls, and might one day be a dreamtime soon, when he will be again. The tropes of the harem show have also been inverted for girls, as with the male love-interests of Boys over Flowers or Paradise Kiss. Many love objects also appear to be childhood friends, which is both a way of introducing ready-made love objects and a form of nostalgia-modern urban Japanese yearning for the simpler associations of their rural pasts, when people genuinely could go to the same school as their parents, and everyone in a town would know each other from childhood, a concept known as osana-najimi. The proliferation of quasi-incestuous titles (e.g., Sister Princess or Onegai Teacher's sequel Onegai Twins) may be another symptom of modern life-perhaps related to the shortage of real-world siblings noted in Bubu Chacha. Living in close proximity to a sibling, humans in the real world are subject to the Westermarck Effect, a deadening of any mating impulses-in effect, the onset of a lack of sexual interest. Traditional China and Japan, however, both have many cases of "adopted" daughters, brought into a family as potential marriage candidates for the family's son, making the idea of romantic attraction to a stepsister less odd than it may at first appear in shows such as Marmalade Boy (1995). However, it is worth noting that, to the modern, sedentary, couch potato teenager, the appeal of a love interest in one's own household may simply be that it does not involve having to walk so far.