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Top 10 Couples in Anime and Manga

Ah, love, sweet love. Anime has science-fiction, action, fantasy, horror, and realistic drama, and it often, in the midst of any genre, also has love. Here is our unscientific and wholly subjective list of the top 10 anime couples of anime and manga.

Sorata and Arashi from X

10. Sorata and Arashi, from X: the TV series. These two may be the “darkest” couple on the list, but only because X is such a heady blend of supernatural, good vs. evil, and universal stakes. It takes an Ice Queen like Arashi to sort out the womanizing Sorata, and you’re rooting for them from the first moment. If only they stay alive long enough to enjoy it… (Buy X on DVD from Amazon…)


Tenchi and Ryoko from Tenchi Muyo!

9. Tenchi and Ryoko… or Ayeka from Tenchi Muyo!. I know, I know… I can hear the groans from here. But you have to admit that the question of which damsel would win the fair hero Tenchi kept people wondering and fighting for years. Whether you pull for the hot-headed space-pirate Ryoko or the powerful space-princess Ayeka, Tenchi hopes to prove that he’s not only some chosen alien-human hybrid able to save the world (repeatedly), but maybe even a good man. Setting the standard for harem comedies for years to come, Tenchi wins either way. (Buy Tenchi Muyo stuff from Amazon…)

Kyo and Tohru from Fruits Basket

8. Kyo Sohma and Tohru Honda of Fruits Basket. In a dark, depressing anime, Tohru’s gritty, determined cheerfulness might just be the only light, and it does not go unappreciated by the abused, neglected cat Kyo. Of course, some readers/viewers would prefer to see Tohru with “the Prince,” Yuki, that’s just tough. It’s the “one who was never loved” who needs love the most, and Tohru is the only one strong enough to love the alley-cat Kyo. (Buy Fruits Basket stuff from Amazon…)

Miaka Yuki and Tamahome from Fushigi Yugi

7. Miaka Yuki and Tamahome from Fushigi Yugi. They may make everyone’s favorite couple’s list, but there’s a good reason for that. They struggle, they fight, they overcome. They may not be the cutest (Syaoran and Sakura, anyone?) or the hottest couple (maybe Amon and Robin, or Mars’ Rei and Kira), but they are definitely the most undying. The situations they face are legitimately heartbreaking and testing, and they’ve earned their place on the list. (Buy Fushigi Yugi stuff from Amazon…)

6. Spike Spiegel and Julia from Cowboy Bebop. They may be doomed from the beginning, and Julia may not actually feature very much in the show per se, but her specter haunts Spike and informs the action from beginning to end, or from end to end, depending upon how you view the chronology of the show. Julia’s personality can even be said to live on, in some ways, in Faye Valentine, another strong-willed woman Spike can’t help but like. (Buy Cowboy Bebop stuff from Amazon…)

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Kyoko and Godai from Maison Ikkoku

5. Kyoko and Godai from Maison Ikkoku. Godai is part hapless romantic comedy hero and part everyman; who doesn’t sympathize with the earnest young man stuck trying over and over to get into college so he can make a life for himself? Meanwhile, he falls in love with his slightly older gorgeous landlady, the gentle, intelligent widow Kyoko. A classic of comedy, drama, and anime in general, Kyoko and Godai show how convoluted the road to true love can be. (Buy Maison Ikkoku stuff from Amazon…)

Kaoru and Kenshin from Rurouni Kenshin

4. Kaoru Kamiya and Himura Kenshin from Rurouni Kenshin. In the middle of this most shonen of shonen samurai series, there lies a gentle romance. Whether you prefer the OAV or the manga ending, their romance endures over years and survives Kenshin’s wanderings, his violent past, constant danger, and maybe even life-ending diseases. In a show with a theme of redemption and the assertion of life in the face of death-mongering, their romance serves to affirm the basic humanity of even the most dangerous of characters. (Buy Rurouni Kenshin stuff from Amazon…)

Kagome and Inuyasha from InuYasha

3. Kagome Higurashi and Inuyasha from InuYasha. Bravely loving even the most frustrating and irritating of demon-dogs, Kagome manages to survive and even transcend possibly being a reincarnation of InuYasha’s lost love, Kikyo, who herself shows up to create a nice, tidy love triangle. However, it’s clear from the beginning that Kagome is a much better match for InuYasha than Kikyo is. Despite the best efforts of Koga, InuYasha’s wolf-demon rival, a host of demons who want to defeat InuYasha and/or eat Kagome, and the machinations of the nefarious Naraku, the pair triumphs. An amusing side-couple is that of the businesslike Sango and the womanizing monk Miroku; often used for comic relief, they are themselves quite an interesting couple and a good match. (Buy InuYasha stuff from Amazon…)

Deedlit and Parn from Record of Lodoss War

2. Deedlit and Parn, from Record of Lodoss War. A classic: a knight and his lady, a human and an elf, a fighter and a magic-user. Deedlit and Parn set the standard for subtle, under-spoken but definite love stories for ages to come. We didn’t have to see love scenes or babies to know that they would die for each other, and that Deed might just pull an Arwen and die with her short-lived human beloved. (Buy Record of Lodoss War stuff from Amazon…)

Ranma and Akane from Ranma ½

1. Ranma and Akane from Ranma ½. This couple is as prototypical as it gets. Akane is a spitfire, loved by Ranma for the very reasons he can’t bring himself to admit he even likes her, while Ranma is as reliable as the wind and as impossible to tame. Anything less would bore her as much as the viewers. Though they both have umpteen-gazillion rivals, they muddle through and, not unlike Takahashi’s Kagome and InuYasha, clearly fall in love over the length of the series. You never stop rooting for them, even when you, like their partner, want to strangle one or both of them. Highlights include the OAVs An Akane to Remember and The Two Akanes, Ranma, Look At Me! What can we say? Takahashi knows how to write squabbling lovers who are also equals and interesting. (Buy Ranma ½ stuff from Amazon…)

The character of love in both anime and manga is as varied and different as the titles themselves, delving into forbidden love, desperate love, sweet love, young love, first love, and final love, but just like the real world, no two people are exactly alike, and no romance will be exactly like another. Anime and manga both have an ability to insert romance into titles that may not seem to be a natural for it, and yet it works. The above ten barely scratch the surface of the variety and styles possible, but they are my favorites, and maybe they can inspire you to find your own favorites.

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102 comments

  • this is so cute, and helped me find a few animes i’ve never heard of.
    I sugest u put down Kouta and Lucy/Nyuu from Elfen Lied. Sure, Lucy may or may not be dead depending on how u take in the last ep, but so . adorable. Kouta, the regular boy. Lucy, the dicloin(spelling?) that can cause a persons body to explode in half just by looking at them, using her invisible, and very strong vectors. To get it ud have to watch the anime..

  • These are sweet.i would put Inu+Kag first but thats cuz there favorite couple!it’s cute Inuyasha and Kagome will do almost anything for eachother and funny how Inuyasha gets so Jealous!The love subplot has like 3 love triangles!!!

  • Yea. Inu&kag shouldve been 1st! I like the list but inu&kag juss seem like the ultimate anime couple! Seen EVERY episode of inuyasha!!!

  • Inu&Kag 4everr!!!! They should’ve been 1st!! Not that Ranma and Akane are bad, but I REALLY LUV THE INU&KAG COUPLE!!

  • Yea that was pretty good but Inuyasha and Kagome should be the the first one. And then Ranma and Akane right below that! They’re both pretty cute couples!!!

  • I’ve never really liked Inuyasha and Kagome. I agree that they are cute, but I prefer non-canon. Like Sesshomaru or Naraku and Kagome.

  • I know this sounds kinda corny but you should include Daisuke Niwa and Riku Harada from D N Angel. I mean, practically the whole series is about them falling in love, right?

  • Wow all the pics are down right awsome…Personally I’ve become smitten with Kyo and Tohru…I’m kinda in love with FruitsBasket!

  • I love Fushigi Yuugi :3 <3 I’m glad that you put them as cutest a couple because they are! TamahomeXMiaka :3 this rock

  • I think that Miaka and Tamahome aside from Deedlit and Parn are the cutest and most undying couple. It did offend me, but otherwise, good job! :3

  • i think that inuyasha and kagome should of been before Spike Spiegel and Julia from Cowboy Bebop
    Because spike and julia are NOT a very cute couple at all

  • eek! i hate kagome and kaoru, so those 2 couples were out of the question,i havent seen some of the other animes, so i cant say much about those, but what happened to the cutest couple in the whole world, sakura and syaroan?!(not their tsubbasa reservoir counterparts, but their original CCS parts)

  • I may be a bit late but, Mimi… Lucy and Kouta? Dude, there are so many reasons they shouldn’t be together, not the least of which being Lucy is an unstoppable death engine. And knowing what went down as kids…. ugh. Badwrong.

  • kio and tohru are the cutest!!!!!!!!!!!!! I still havent whatched the episode were they kiss xoxoxoxo

  • Rati: Thanks for your message…but from what Spanish I understand, you’re saying you have one question and it’s why MSN? I’m sure a lot of people who use MSN are wondering the same thing, frankly. Or to put it another way, hopefully without butchering it, No entiende su pregunta, Ud. puede preguntar una manera diferente? College was a long, long time ago.

  • Miaka and Tamahome’s love story is sooooo.. romantic I just wish I was as lucky as Miaka.I wish that I have a boyfriend like Tamahome

  • I posit Lawrence and Horo from “Spice and Wolf.” I don’t think it was out when this list was made, (not the anime, anyway,) but I have so very little to do with my time.

  • LOL You write really well, and your descriptions and arguments are entertainingly accurate. :) May I just ask, did you also write this piece — ? :)

  • Ai~: No…that’s Dindrane’s opening but the rest of the content appears to be unique. So go for the original, I say. And accept no substitutes.

  • kaoru&kenshin inuyasha&kagome kyo&tohru the 3 of them look SOOOOOOOOOOOOO CUTE!!!!!!!!!!! XD

  • RANMA AND AKANE FTW! NUMBER ONE, YES!!!

    I’m sorry but InuYasha and Kagome don’t even begin to COMPARE to the level of romance that Ranma and Akane share. Don’t get me wrong, I love InuYasha and Kagome (Yes, die Kikyo, DIE!), but Ranma and Akane share a much deeper bond. Why?

    Because InuYasha is still confused about who to pick, Kikyo or Kagome. In the manga he never really states he ‘loves’ Kagome (but we all know he does).

    HOWEVER, no matter how many girls want Ranma and how many boys want Akane, third parties never really have a chance because Ranma and Akane don’t see anyone but each other. There was no Kikyo in this one, and I love that! Ranma loves no one but Akane, and Akane loves no one but Ranma. And in the end, he screams he loves her ^_^.

    And this is why I think you are absolutely right. Your criticism on anime couples is very accurate, and if I was you I wouldn’t really pay attention to the “ZOMG INUxKAG SHOULD HAVE BEEN FIRST PLACE BECAUSE THEY’RE SO KAWAII” comments since more than half of the InuYasha fans haven’t watched Ranma 1/2 ^_^(Which they SHOULD because Ranma is InuYasha’s ancestor, both from Takahashi-sensei).

    I also agree on the TohruxKyo thing because I knew from the start that Yuki saw her as a mother more than he did a girlfriend.

    Awesome article! Keep it up! :D

  • omgomgomg tohru and kyo???????!!! aaaaaaaaa
    hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!soooo cuute<333!!!!!!!!

  • hello I am not ok with your choice!¶
    ¶you chose animate excel however you did not give their true values.¶
    ¶my opinion it has is fushigi yugi which would have to have the first place because one can see their intense love.¶
    ¶whereas in ranma they do not make that to certainly dispute one can see their love but it is not as romantic as fushigi yugi they make all their impossible not to be separate.¶
    ¶but good it is my opinion.¶
    ¶thank you very much for that you made and good continuation.¶
    excuse my English because I do not speak it well because I am algerienne.¶

  • ucelle: No worries–and my staff can back me up on this–your English is actually better than more than a few native speakers’. Thanks a lot for your comment.

  • I’m so happy my fave couples made the list!!! kyo and tohru, akane and ranma, and ofcourse!!! inuyasha and kagome!!! man i read like a bujillion fan fictions of that couple I’m so hooked!!! wahahaha!! I’m interested in the other couples as well…