10 best anime couples with ideal power balances

Kirito and Asuna in Sword Art Online
Image via Crunchyroll

Either owing to unfair disparities in physical ability or appearance, mental or social skills, or economic or political power, most real-life romantic relationships are unequal. However, in a world where power is still rarely balanced between couples, it’s refreshing to see pairings in movies or on TV that showcase a fair distribution – which is close to what we get with these 10 best anime couples with ideal power balances, including Sword Art Online‘s Kirito and Asuna and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood‘s Edward and Winry.

10. Yamada and Shiraishi – Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches

An unlikely pairing, bad-boy Ryu Yamada and do-gooder Urara Shiraishi seem to have nothing in common at first, until a sudden mishap literally pushes them into each other’s path in Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches. In this comedic anime of body-swapping chaos, Yamada and Shiraishi team up to discover the source of the problem, only to realize that the spell is activated by a kiss. As they work toward uncovering a solution, Shiraishi’s intelligence, pragmatism, and resourcefulness prove invaluable, while Yamada’s physical strength and determination, as well as his growing protectiveness and concern for his comrade, play a crucial role in the resolution of the plot.

Throughout the wild ride of Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Yamada and Shiraishi’s intensifying romantic bond only serves to strengthen their ability to work together to solve the issues they face.

9. Masamune and Aki – Masamune-kun’s Revenge

Tumultuous end-game couple Masamune Makabe and Aki Adagaki of Masamune-kun’s Revenge are well-matched as rivals in terms of background and personality. To begin with, both come from well-off backgrounds and have a hard edge to their souls. However, Aki seems to be financially above Masamune, living in a mansion with maids and a chauffeur. She also has more social clout at school, having been enrolled there longer and ruling with an iron fist. Her confidence, dominance, and “cruelty,” as well as her ice-cold demeanor, make her a formidable adversary to reckon with. Her vicious put-downs of the boys who confess to her and the deference that other girls show her place her in a position of decided social power.

However, Masamune’s brutal determination to cure his own self-loathing puts him in the dominant position here. Believing that childhood friend Aki betrayed him long ago by answering his youthful love confession with the epithet of “Pig’s Foot,” referring to his formerly overweight physique, he is hell-bent on obtaining satisfaction through revenge based on his “Love or Die” plan, in which he fantasizes that he will persuade Aki to fall for him now that he has physically conformed to the ideal of thinness, only to reject her upon realizing his true identity.

In the end, Masamune’s very weakness is what gives him the strength, determination, and cunning needed to pursue his vengeful goal. Ultimately, the two romantic leads of Masamune-kun’s Revenge deserve each other, although Masamune eventually comes to realize that all is not as it seems.

8. Ashitaka and San – Princess Mononoke

This highly interesting couple from Hayao Miyuzaki’s revered masterpiece Princess Mononoke deserve a spot on this list. Prince Ashitaka, an exile from his home village owing to an unfortunate curse placed within his arm, is an expert archer and rider of yeows (as seen with his faithful animal companion Yakul). He also possesses great physical strength, as shown when he pulls and holds San and Lady Eboshi apart after interrupting their battle. His kindness, resoluteness, and resourcefulness, as well as his problem-solving and peace-making skills, come in handy, both for himself and others, throughout Princess Mononoke. His romantic interest, San, isn’t far behind him.

Having been raised by wolves in the midst of the forest, San is used to rough-and-tumble living, being an unusually quick and agile person. She is skilled with a dagger and spear, and her boldness toward and anger against humans for their war on her forest family make her a formidable adversary. Her close relationship with the animals of the forest is a critical asset as well. Although Ashitaka physically subjugates her in Irontown during her fight with Lady Eboshi, the cards of power transfer to San’s hands once they find themselves back out in the wild. With Ashitaka unconscious and wounded, it is left entirely up to San whether the helpless boy lives or dies, reversing their previous power dynamic.

7. Mel and Jayce – Arcane

A classic power couple, Arcane‘s Mel and Jayce both have a lot to offer each other. Hailing from the powerful Medarda warrior clan from the empire of Noxus, Mel doesn’t use her exile from her family as an excuse to sit idle, forming connections with various prestigious people from her place on the Piltover council. Her poise, ambition, pragmatism, and intelligence serve her well, making her a success in her own right. She’s also unafraid to pursue what she wants romantically, as evidenced by her successful and well-timed move on Jayce Talis.

Jayce himself is a worthy subject of Mel’s interest, being a brilliant inventor and scientist as well as a fellow member of Piltover’s council. His dream to harness magic through science spurs him to action, becoming a reality through Mel and Viktor’s support. His ambition, energy, and persuasiveness, along with his willingness to take risks and steadfast belief that his inventions will help Piltover, cause him to rise quickly in high society. Hopefully, Mel and Jayce will appear in Arcane‘s next season, so we can witness the further development of their interesting relationship.

6. Korra and Asami – The Legend of Korra

An unexpected and welcome twist in The Legend of Korra series was the romantic union of Avatar Korra and Asami Saito, which is lovingly referred to by fans as Korrasami. (The subsequent comic series gives us a closer look at this relationship.) However, to the casual observer, this pairing may not appear egalitarian on the grounds that Korra is, after all, the Avatar. She has the power to bend water, earth, fire, air, metal, and energy – a succinct, albeit remarkable list of capabilities.

That being said, Asami’s abilities as a non-bender are decidedly above average. While still a very young woman, she is already the CEO of Future Industries, her disgraced father’s successful Satomobile company. She is also a promising engineer and architect, is no stranger to hand-to-hand combat, and enjoys driving various engines and operating complex machinery. Her kindness, independence, determination, and intelligence (traits she shares with her girlfriend), along with her influence over Korra and their friends, only serves to strengthen her position of power in life. With all of these factors taken into account, The Legend of Korra‘s massively improved romantic pairing (I’m glaring at you, Mako!) is hardly on a lopsided footing.

5. Alibaba and Morgiana – Magi

The adorable Alibaba and Morgiana pairing from the Magi series is refreshingly different than most, as both have strengths in different ways than one would normally expect. A member of the gifted Fanalis tribe, Morgiana is equipped with superhuman strength and speed, with significant skill in martial arts. She can also use the chains she once wore as a slave to fight opponents. Her unusual hearing and smelling abilities also provide an advantage.

Morgiana’s determination to protect her friends and her goal to end slavery also give her mental strength. Being much physically stronger than Alibaba, she is very protective of him and can carry him with ease. On the other hand, Alibaba himself is hardly without clout. Despite his formerly humble start as the secretly illegitimate son of the late king of Balbadd, he eventually inherits the throne after his incompetent half-brother’s dethronement. Although he has little luck with the ladies, he is actually quite gifted, being brave, ambitious, educated, and resolute, good with a sword and equipped with djinn flame magic inside a blade. His tendency to reveal even his most embarrassing emotions (such as distress over not being able to get a girlfriend) earns him the trust of his men, solidifying his position as their leader.

Furthermore, Alibaba likes Morgiana so much that he suffers an emotional breakdown when, owing to an unfortunate misunderstanding, he realizes that they aren’t yet a couple! Yes, at the end of the day, Magi‘s romantic duo truly have a lot to offer each other.

4. Davion and Mirana – Dota: Dragon’s Blood

Another shining example of a symbiotic pairing is Dota: Dragon Blood‘s Davion and Mirana. The two friends and lovers each possess an ability that puts them on a god-tier level. As a famous member of the Dragon Knights, Davion is physically strong and agile, adept with a sword, and a good rider. However, once he merges with Slyrak the Eldwurm of Fire, he receives the unique ability to transform into a half-dragon, half-man of sorts, giving him superhuman strength, speed, and dexterity, along with killer teeth and claws.

Davion can also breathe fire, cast balls of it at enemies, and fly with massive dragon wings. Tough scales protect his body from attacks. Mirana, on the other hand, while hardly lacking in the area of supernatural powers, is also fortunate enough to have many high-ranking connections. Owing to her connection to patron goddess Selemene, she is the Moon Princess of the Nightsilver Woods, as well as the daughter of the former emperor and empress of Helio Imperium. As the kingdom’s heir, she has inherited the ability to use the sun’s magic in various ways, with its rays even improving the aim of her arrows. All in all, Dota: Dragon Blood‘s romantic couple both have something to bring to the table!

3. Nanami and Tomoe – Kamisama Kiss

On the surface, Kamisama Kiss duo Nanami and Tomoe appear to be in an unequal relationship, with the snarky, cunning, arrogant, and domineering fox yokai seated firmly in the driver’s seat. His controlling personality, advanced age, and considerable experience allot him a huge advantage over his land-god mistress, who is still in high school, having turned up at Mikage Shrine abandoned and homeless. And there’s also the fact that his powers are pretty darn fantastic. Being able to smite one’s enemies or fly in the air using enchanted blue flames, not to mention use magic leaves to alter appearances, is no joke. He’s also an expert swordsman, has razor-sharp claws on his hands and feet, and possesses superhuman strength, agility, and hearing. He doesn’t even need to eat!

That being said, Nanami’s powers as a land god are significant, if not nearly as flashy as her fox familiar’s. She is able to compel both her familiars (Tomoe and Mizuki) to obey her earnest commands, which makes their powers effectively her own. She also learns to grant certain wishes with white talismans, and has a monkey-like shikigami that can work with her to purify and protect an area, creating barriers to ward off evil presences. She also gets hold of an elixir in the form of peach pills that can heal injury or sickness.

But in the end, it is the kindness, courage, loyalty, and determination of Kamisama Kiss‘ heroine that serves as her true power, as these traits allow her to get close to and positively influence the people around her. Her presence changes a once-jaded Tomoe into a more open-minded and caring yokai, who chooses to stay by Nanami’s side as her faithful familiar because he wants to, eagerly helping his mistress become the successful land god of Mikage Shrine.

2. Edward and Winry – Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

At first glance, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood‘s close but comedically argumentative pair, Edward Elric and Winry Rockbell, may not seem to belong on this list. After all, Edward becomes a state alchemist at a very young age, and has the rare ability to perform complex alchemy without a transmutation circle, an automail arm that can be transmuted into various deadly blade types, and unusual athletic prowess.

However, Winry’s own accomplishments are nothing to sneer at. As a young mechanic and surgeon-in-training, she demonstrates considerable intelligence, creativity, and responsibility. Also, many times throughout Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Winry refuses to accept any nonsense or excuses from Edward or Alphonse, never hesitating to put the boys firmly in their place when challenged, and repeatedly lets Edward have it when he messes up the work she has done on his metal arm and leg.

Winry’s assertiveness, independence, and pragmatism act as a sufficient force to rival Edward’s short temper, stubbornness, and recklessness, and her position as the Elric brothers’ childhood friend often places her in the role of trusted advisor. Fortunately for Edward, he still has the opportunity to study alchemy after losing his ability to perform it, or his relationship with Winry would have become decidedly unequal!

1. Kirito and Asuna – Sword Art Online

When one thinks of an ideally equal anime pairing, Sword Art Online‘s beloved virtual game-playing couple instantly springs to mind. Indeed, Kirito and Asuna’s romantic devotion to each other is only rivaled by their expert virtual gaming skills and knowledge, along with their shared traits of intelligence and determination. And although Asuna is eventually revealed to be part of a wealthy family in real life, she is still friendly and grounded toward others. Her social position is never utilized as leverage over Kirito or used to put him down in any way, although he seems to live a typical middle-class lifestyle.

Throughout the Sword Art Online series, the two lovers always prioritize each other, while at the same time maintaining healthy friendships and hobbies. And although many fans believe that Kirito is ultimately the stronger of the duo, this has never exactly been confirmed. As the main protagonist of Sword Art Online, Kirito naturally gets more of the spotlight and hence, viewers’ attention, so who knows what the true answer is?