Some people watch anime for the action, some watch it for the plot, some watch it for both, and then there are viewers who are hopeless romantics and mainly watch for the potential romance. Watching the classic push-pull struggles between two people is what keeps us involved in the characters and storylines.
Whether the anime’s genre is romantic or not, there’s almost always a couple. Some of these couples are side-pairings in popular shows that focused on someone else, while some are the main couple the anime is centered around. These fantastic anime and the delicious anticipation between the would-be romantic partners are the glue that hold the story together. This is a compiled list of some of the best pairs in shows from past and present.
10. Kaguya Shinomiya & Miyuki Shirogane (Kaguya-sama: Love Is War)
While they’re not strictly a couple, the entire plot of Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War, is based around them trying not to confess their feelings for each other. Kaguya and Miyuki have transformed love into a war, hence the title. All fans of the couple have to go on are the stolen glances or the ‘could’ve beens’ in missed opportunities.
Their stubbornness with each other is what makes them as a future couple so entertaining, not only is it so ridiculous how far they’re willing to go to not let their feelings out, but that’s literally the plot of the whole show. It’s all about them, with appearances from the rest of the student council of course, but every episode centers on some sort of plot to get the other to confess their feelings first. It’s so chaotic and messy and that’s what makes them so lovable.
9. Haruhi Fujioka & Tamaki Suoh (Ouran Highschool Host Club)
For many, Ouran Highschool Host Club, more commonly known as Ouran, was an introduction into the world of anime. It can either pull you in or turn you off completely, but if you know about these two goofballs you were definitely pulled in. Simply put, Ouran is a wacky rom-com that follows a Host Club at a rich private school after a poor student on scholarship (Haruhi) breaks a vase and joins the club to work off his debt.
If only it were that simple…
The twist is that Haruhi is actually a girl who wears boys’ clothes, so when the other hosts find out they try and teach her to be more ladylike and refined, meanwhile she teaches the boys how to behave like regular people instead of the spoiled rich kids they were raised as. There are many possible couples, and quite a few scenes between Haruhi and each of the guys to give them a chance. No one has the same chemistry as her and Tamaki, the prince of the host club, and that proves itself throughout the series.
8. Izuzu ‘Rin’ Sohma & Hatsuharu ‘Haru’ Sohma (Fruits Basket)
Fruits Basket is another popular anime, especially with the 2019 reboot that just finished. While there are many couples to choose from in Fruits Basket, Rin and Haru always stand out. Haru is a genuinely sweet guy and nice to all unless given a valid reason not to be. Rin, on the other hand, is a girl who’s never felt like she was enough for anyone. The first time we meet her is in the hospital as she’s refusing to see Haru. The two have been on and off since they were younger, but eventually, Rin ended it because she didn’t want to hurt or burden him with her own problems anymore.
Haru continued to persevere despite their separation, he pushed when he needed to but let her be alone and distant too. They just have a really great dynamic of wanting what’s best for each other, even if it isn’t what they want in that same moment.
7. Nagisa Furukawa & Tomoya Okazaki (Clannad)
Clannad is definitely one of the more popular romance animes, but it’s also known as one of the saddest animes of all time. We find Nagisa and Tomoya in both Clannad and its sequel anime, Clannad: After Story. The original series follows Tomoya through high school where he’s always been viewed as a delinquent, but when he befriends Nagisa, he sees school through new eyes as he begins to make new friends and connections.
The pair begin their time together trying to restart the drama club, but quickly find themselves pulled into other adventures by new and old friends alike. While the question of who Tomoya will end up with is posed, it’s pretty clear from the beginning who it will be, and even though he has great chemistry with some of the other girls, nothing beats the bond between him and Nagisa.
6. Taiga Aisaka & Ryuuji Takasu (Toradora!)
Toradora! is an anime that follows the lives of two high schoolers, Ryuuji and Taiga, whom both have crushes on the other’s best friend. They agree to help each other out in making each of their friends fall for the other, but along the way grow close and end up liking each other. It sounds cliché, and it may be, but it’s also a sweet story once you get down to the basis of each character and their home situation and how it’s made them into who they are in the series.
Taiga is known as a fierce tiger because of her short stature and consistency in being fiery toward anyone who could possibly be mocking her. You come to find out this is because she lives alone and has had to take care of herself, so her only real friend is Minori, the girl Ryuuji has a crush on. Ryuuji lives with his drunken mother who tries her best, but ultimately leaves him to take care of both himself and her. As Taiga and Ryuuji grow closer, they see these similarities and try to help one another out when need be. It’s a slow burn relationship, but sometimes those are the best kind.
5. Haruka Tenou & Michiru Kaiou (Sailor Moon)
Props to Sailor Moon, which originally aired in the nineties, for having a same-sex couple. Dub watchers at the time were shown them as cousins, but when Viz took over the rights they corrected that to have it line-up with the original anime better. Sailor Moon has its main couple, Usagi and Mamoru, but they’re very vanilla which is why they didn’t make the cut. It was kind of mysterious as to whether Haruka and Michiru were a couple or not. Initially, it’s presented that Haruka is a guy who has a thing for Usagi while Michiru likes Mamoru. Those feelings were just covers though, and as we learn more about them as both guardians and people, it becomes more apparent that their real feelings are for each other.
The best part of their relationship comes when they get to take care of baby Sailor Saturn and be an actual family, along with Sailor Pluto. We see the two out buying flowers together, publicly as a couple which is such a leap from the small hints at romance in seasons prior. Watching them each teach Hotaru/Saturn about their separate passions is so simple and beautiful, especially for an older, classic anime like Sailor Moon.
4. Kagome Higurashi & Inuyasha (Inuyasha)
A fan-favorite couple has always been Inuyasha and Kagome. They are the definition of a ‘slow-burn’ ship and we are totally here for it. Some people argued it should’ve been Inuyasha and Kikyo in the end, but, there’s so much wrong with that relationship that we can’t even get into because of how much great there is between Inuyasha and Kagome.
The two go from bickering, to flirting, and everything in between within one episode. It’s a great dynamic, especially as Kagome begins to realize her feelings for the half-demon. She’s unsure how to act around him because of his lingering feelings for Kikyo, and so she backs off and settles on just being partners. As the series continues though, their connection continues to grow, and with each accomplishment or failure, Inuyasha’s feelings slowly begin to reveal themselves. It takes a long time to get there, but the wait is so worth it once The Final Act hits.
3. Chisaki Hiradaira & Tsumugu Kihara (A Lull In The Sea)
While not the couple a lot of us expected, it was one that felt like a breath of fresh air among all of the confusion and missed connections in A Lull In The Sea. Initially, Chisaki likes Hikari and you think Tsumugu has feelings for Manaka, but as this plot thickens, things are very rarely what they seem and we get a chance to watch new feelings blossom.
It isn’t until Chisaki and Tsumugu are adults that feelings for each other are revealed, and even then it takes a long time for them to get there. With Tsumugu’s quiet nature and Chisaki’s guilt about her friends trapped under the sea, the two continue to live as friends in the same home, nothing more. When Tsumugu can’t take it anymore, and after pressure from another man with feelings for Chisaki, he finally admits how he feels to her. Things get complicated, but in the end, they’re a very sweet and wholesome couple that was a welcome surprise.
2. Misaki Ayuzawa & Takumi Usui (Maid Sama)
Another fan-favorite couple has to be Usui and Misaki. Maid Sama had an interesting storyline: Misaki secretly works at a maid cafe, Usui then finds out and has to keep her secret from everyone else. Misaki presents herself as a tough and stubborn girl, seeing as she’s the student council president and no one would take her seriously otherwise. Usui, though, teases and challenges her which surprises her, considering he’s the most wanted guy at school.
As the series progresses and Usui shows his feelings and protectiveness over Misaki, she slowly begins to let her guard down. Of course, there’s way more antics than their budding romance, but their romance does overshadow most of it. From Usui rescuing her and doing everything in his power to keep her secret, to Misaki finally accepting her feelings at the festival, there’s no denying their status as one of the best couples in anime.
1. Nanami Momozono & Tomoe (Kamisama Kiss)
Many people describe Kamisama Kiss as a blend between Inuyasha and Fruits Basket, which explains its popularity. The fusion of two great shows also explains the love for the leading couple of the show. Tomoe is a demon familiar who is as stubborn and pretentious as they come, Nanami is the new and unknowing God of the run-down Mikage shrine. After sealing the familiar contract with Tomoe, he is bound to protect and serve her.
Similarly to Inuyasha, we find Nanami competing with the idea of a past love of Tomoe’s. Not to mention, the two white-haired demons have incredibly similar personalities. Nanami and Tomoe are enemies-to-lovers gold and watching the two warm up to the idea of one another is what makes Kamisama Kiss so watchable. The build-up and payoff evens itself out nicely, which is what puts these two at the top of the list.