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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

  • inu & kag 4 eva!!!!!!!!!!! kyo & thouru 4 eva!!!!
    !!!!!!! what about serena and darien??? there like a legend!!

  • what about Van and Hitome from Escaflowne? I like them best…maybe I am just a sucker for tragic romance.

  • I think Serena and Darien (Mamoru and Usagi) from Sailor Moon should be on this list

  • i love most of your pairings

    except kenshinxkaoru, i prefer tomoexkenshin…

    inuyashaxkagome and kyoxtohru are big favourites:D

    what about sakuraxsyaoran?? *pouts* that was my OTP when i was a kid.

  • miaka and tamahome should be number one
    mamoru and usagi
    aoi and karin
    kagome and inuyasha
    touru and kyo
    but the the rest are okey 4 me

  • All the the guys on Fruits basket are sooooooo!! Cute :D Lol…

    Wish i was on that show.. id probley end up kissing them… :P x

  • I completely agree with ranma and akane as no.1! xD

    As I was reading through I was thinking “hmmm…I wonder if this person has Ranma…nah, its a bit old…’ and there it was as number 1! I couldn’t agree less.

    One thing I like about that couple is that it definatly wasn’t love at first sight, and their relationship develops slowly over time with excellent character development.

    I also think that over half th peope who have read/read IY havent Ramna.

  • hmm… on my list, i would add AYA and TOUYA from AYASHINO CERES… and the leads from HIS AND HER CIRCUMSTANCES…

  • OMG!! ~ Tenchi x Ryoko ~ I thought I was the only one who loved that couple.. they’re so adorable together X3!!

  • FUSHIGI YUUGI IS THE BEST ANIME EVER.. I LOVE THE STORY..IT’S ABOUT LOVE,FRIENDSHIP AND SACRIFICES…
    NURIKO AND HOTOHORI WOULD BE A CUTE COUPLE IF NURIKO IS JUST A WOMAN…HOW SAD….

  • Usui&Misaki should be on too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • i love it! i love miaka and tamahome.. as well as ranma and akane.. its a good thing to know that lots of people appreciate manga and anime.. by the way i red the Hearts of ice by Krista Perry and i love it! Im hungry for more..

  • wow…………………………….. enfernes all my favorite anime cartoon character is in hir. mhiyaka & tamahome akane & ranma inuyasha & kaGOME BUT FOR ME THE BEST 4 ME IS FUSHIGI YUUGI BECAUSE ITS ALL ABOUT FRIEND SHIP & LOVE STORY OF ANOTHER WORLD I LOVE U MHIYAKA & TAMAHOME…………………..

  • Okay, I have seen a crap-ton of these “top 10/20/50/100 anime couples” lists and I have to say, yours is, BY FAR, the most comprehensive and objective one I have read. Your summaries of why they are on your list is well written. Thanks for this.

    Currently, mine is Hei and Yin from Darker Than Black but the ones on your list are pretty classic.

  • I’d have to add Klaus and Dorian from “From Eroica With Love”… what’s that you say, they weren’t really a couple? Give it time, I say. Give it time. *g*

  • My favorites are

    Usagi and Mamoru form Sailor Moon

    Miaka and Tamahome from Fushigi Yuugi

    Kira and Rei from Mars

    Kayano and Takeru from The Devil Does Exist

    Yuniko and Ryu from Wild Act

    Haruna and Yoh from High School Debut

    Hanabi and Yasuaki from Happy Hustle High

    Aya and Tooya from Ayashi no Ceres

    Lucia and Kaito from Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch

    Yukari and George from Paradise Kiss

    Nanami and Yano from Bokura ga Ita

    Karin and Kiriya from Kare First Love

    Yukino and Soichiro from Kare Kano

    Misao and Kyo from Black Bird

    I had to add some to the list.

  • out of all the couples inuyasha and kagome becuz have u seen the show best show in the whole wide world!!!!

  • OMFG!!! They are re-booting Rurouni Kenshin into a new anime! Here’s to them doing the Junchuu Arc at last and taking out all the crappy fillers! Please let Bones be the production company, please.

  • sasuke x sakura best couple 4ever !!!>.<
    so sweet, sad and tragic !

    shinichi kudo and rann !!! where is it!!??? its very good couple !!!

    and naruhina!? where's it!?
    and nalu !? wheeree.!
    ps : i like the couple that still not happend ! it's make me want to know , is it be couple or not!?? hehehe..but i like elie x haru ( rave)

  • Liked every couple on the list…except miaka and tamahome. I think their relationship is way too cheesy and melodramatic…but…different strokes for different folks.

  • I simply adore Ranma and Akane and so, thank you for putting them on the first spot. I like how most of the photos of the pairs are sweet saved for Ranma and Akane. I’m blabbering but I just can’t get enough of them right now (currently watching all the eps of the anime, will delve into the manga soon).

    I also think Kudo Shinichi and Mouri Ran should be on the list. I mean, we’ve had more than 600 eps worth of their romance.

    It was a nice list! Thank you for sharing! ^_^

  • I soooo agree with Ranma and Akane. they’re like the BEST ANIME COUPLE IN THE WORLD. BOTH ARE DENIAL, TOO PROUD.. BUT DESPITE THE HESITANCE IN THEIR WORDS, IT IS VERY CLEAR IN THE WORLD THAT THEY REALLY DO LOVE EACH OTHER THROUGH THEIR ACTIONS ^^

    RANMA && AKANE FTW!!!! I WILL FOREVER LOVE THIS ANIME COUPLE.

    teheee childhood memories ^^

  • dear dafuq….i like tomoya and nagisa too but this not your list of anime couples, it’s hers. also, the clannad anime started airing in october 2007 but this list was compiled before then so maybe it just missed?

  • The only ones I’m truly familiar with on this list are Ranma & Akane and I have to agree that they are like the epitome of an anime couple. Other animes with romantic themes in them I recommend are “Welcome to the NHK” and “Hayate no Gotoku”… NHK is a bit depressive but it’s rooted on love and has its funny parts… and Hayate no Gotoku is just plain funny but every once and then some deep stuff happens.