The fall 2022 anime season is set to be one of the best in fans’ recent memory, with couples like Loid and Yor giving fans plenty to root for outside of saving the world in Spy x Family or conquering the world of sports in Blue Lock.
Romance is a huge part of nearly all media, but it can be a bit complicated in anime. Many anime, especially shonen, opt to save their big romantic moments until the very end. However, some anime have beautiful romance arcs with great depth. Many of the best arcs follow the course of a real relationship with its many twists and turns along the way.
The titular protagonist of Fullmetal Alchemist, Edward Elric, frequently relied on his childhood friend Winry for support. However, the remake of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood gave the pair one of the most iconic romantic endings in anime.
Sadly, Winry and Ed had a very close friendship that constantly felt like it could be something more for the vast majority of the series. It would have been fantastic to see more of them as a couple, but what fans got was great. Ed’s “equivalent exchange” monologue where he asks Winry to give him half of her in exchange for half of him was among the top moments in the series.
Lelouch & C.C. (Code Geass: Lelouch Of The Rebellion)
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion follows a young boy named Lelouch Lamperouge, a high schooler granted the power of Geass by a mysterious young woman named C.C.
While their ambitions and power as a duo grew, so did Lelouch and C.C’s affections for one another. At first, it seemed they’d be nothing more than platonic allies in the anime while Lelouch ended up with his friend, Kallen. However, Lelouch’s “witch and warlock” monologue set him and C.C. up as the show’s main couple. After the movie, Lelouch of the Resurrection, their implied marriage cemented one of the darker love stories in anime.
Vegeta & Bulma (Dragon Ball)
Vegeta may have been the egotistical Prince of All Saiyans, but after allying with earth he fell in love with the human Bulma. However, the Goku’s rival and Bulma had a rockier road than most Shonen Jump anime couples.
Part of what makes Vegeta and Bulma work so well is how big a role Bulma played in Vegeta’s redemption arc. Slowly building a family made Vegeta kinder and nobler. Unlike Goku, who never changed throughout his relationship with Chichi, Vegeta managed to go from one of the worst villains in the galaxy to a loving father and husband.
Historia & Ymir (Attack On Titan)
Shonen anime aren’t especially known for including LGBTQ+ couples, which made Historia and Ymir a breath of fresh air. Starting out as friends in the cadet corps, their relationship slowly blossomed into something more.
Tragically, just like the majority of good things on Attack On Titan, their love ended in tragedy. Ymir going back with Reiner and Bertholdt sadly doomed her, but she left with the hope that Historia would be safe. Ymir’s final letter to Historia showed that they were arguably the most tragic love story in Attack on Titan, in a show full of them.
Kurisu & Okabe (Steins;Gate)
Makise Kurisu and Okabe Rintaro are two of the most iconic characters in anime, even independently of one another. The Steins;Gate protagonists are some of the most brilliant and hilarious characters in anime.
Oftentimes, one half of an anime couple feels secondary to the protagonist. However, Kurisu was always more than just a love interest for Okabe. Watching them grow as people alongside one another, while slowly developing feelings for each other made their eventual romance feel so much sweeter. In the end, throughout every possible reality in Steins;Gate, they found each other.
Naruto & Hinata (Naruto)
While their love story was never the main focus of Naruto or Shippuden, Naruo and Hinata arguably had the greatest story of the original “big three” anime of the 2000s.
Part of what made Naruto and Hinata a unique couple was that their journey subverted a common anime trope. Usually, the person with the one-sided crush who eventually ends up with their crush is the protagonist. However, after years of pining, Hinata finally ended up with the person she fell for as an academy student. There was no more perfect way to bring Shippuden to a close than Naruto and Hinata’s wedding.
Lena & Shin (86)
One of the more underrated science fiction anime, 86 follows dual protagonists Vladilena Milize and Shinei Nouzen. Lena functions as the tactical commander for Shin’s squadron while he serves as the field leader.
Tragically, the oppression of the 86 meant that Lena could never physically meet Shin. However, after two grueling seasons, the two were finally able to meet in real life away from the cruelty of the republic. Their story will hopefully continue in season 3, but no official date has been confirmed for the incredible sci-fi anime.
Tohru & Kyo (Fruits Basket)
Fruits Basket has become a name synonymous with slice-of-life anime, and Kyo Sohma and Tohru Honda are one of the most famous slice-of-life anime couples ever.
After living with the Sohma family for a very short time, Tohru discovered a strange curse upon the family. On their journey to deal with the curse, the hot-headed Kyo and gentle Tohru gradually fell for one another. Part of what made the couple so great was the amount of time they actually got to spend as a couple, including both the highs and lows.
Kaguya & Miyuki (Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War)
Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War has been one of the funniest anime of the 2010s and 2020s. However, it’s also been one of the most beautiful and emotional thanks to its leads, Miyuki and Kaguya.
One of the more beautiful dualities in anime is the love story between two of the most brilliant students in Japan being rooted in an inferiority complex on both sides. Miyuki always felt that Kaguya was a brilliant prodigy he could never stand up to, while Kaguya felt she was a cruel and angry person who didn’t deserve to be with someone as kind-hearted as Miyuki. However, season 3 finally gave the iconic pair the first kiss they’d been terrified of.
Nagisa & Tomoya (Clannad)
Throughout Clannad, a delinquent student named Tomoya forms a bond with a sickly third-year named Nagisa. The two gradually grow throughout Clannad, ending up as a couple.
However, the events of Clannad are nowhere near the end of Tomoya and Nagisa’s tale. Clannad: After Story is the true masterpiece of the franchise, detailing their adventures as they grow as partners and parents. After Story is one of the most heart-wrenching anime of all time, and the Clannad franchise as a whole details one of the greatest love stories in the genre.
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