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Monday, February 12, 2018

Anime Ichiban: Top Ten Anime Couples


Have you ever fantasized about being with that special someone? We all have to some degree. There are even those lucky few who have taken this one step further and managed to find that person. If you are one of those people, congratulations.

LofZOdyssey Anime Reviews would like to wish all loving couples a very Happy Valentine’s Day. And if it's not February 14th, here’s to many fulfilling years for you two.

For the rest of us though, we need to find our romance fix somewhere else.

By now it’s no secret. But if you are new here, you should know something about me. I don’t hide my enjoyment of the romance genre. With the variety of different series on this site, there’s nothing quite like a good love story. Seeing two people grow close is enduring. Watching characters try to make a relationship work can be heartwarming.

With every range of sappy emotions involved, it’s no wonder that love is so common in storytelling. It’s so common in fact, the romance genre can’t contain everything. Weather action, comedy, or even horror, couples tend to pop up everywhere.

And why not? Settings and atmosphere are not the things that determine if a romance will succeed. Any genre combination is suitable as long as one thing remains true. The pair at the center needs to be worth following.

If that’s not the case, then what even is the point? Following two pieces of white bread around is boring. If there’s no spark, there’s no passion. If there’s no passion, then there’s no fun. Today we will be looking at the ten couples who’s fire burns brighter than the rest.

There is a lot to pick from. So, to help determine this list, a couple must meet the following three criteria.

First, we are choosing from anime series only. Movies and OVAs are excluded. However, Internet series are eligible.

Second, feelings of affection must be mutual. Degrees of passion can vary. A blazing romance between two people is not necessary. Partners need only see each other beyond friendship.

Third, no speculative couples. A pairing must be confirmed according to the continuity of their anime. Relationship status as per any original source material, manga, video game, etc., is irrelevant. And of course, popular fan ships will not count.

With our rules set, here are my Top Ten Anime Couples.

I’m putting these two low on the list because they are too new. After some time, this pair could very well climb higher. But to ignore them would have been way worse.

Although they haven't been around that long, Moriko Morioka and Yuta Sakurai were so God damn cute.

When I got to Net-juu no Susume, I wasn’t expecting one of the most heartwarming romance stories I’ve ever seen. On the contrary, I went into this show thinking it would be serviceable, but in the end forgettable. Boy was I wrong, and this duo was the main reason for that.

First off, they were an older couple. It was refreshing to get out of high school for once. Different options opened up to let these two grow closer. Many series treat their characters like they are adults anyway. Thus, it was nice to have characters that actually were.

What drew me to Moriko and Yuta was them figuring out who the other was. In a way, we got two couples for the price of one. Whenever they were their online avatars, Hayashi and Lilly, the same chemistry existed. But when they realized how close they were to one another, it was almost like a fairy tale. While that sounds corny, it worked in this show’s favor.

And it was the moment when that realization clicked that did it for me.

With Moriko’s adorable awkwardness and Yuta’s random bits of smoothness, how could I not add them to this list? Recent or not.

If I put Moriko and Yuta so low on the list because they were so recent, Shinichi Kudo and Ran Mouri don’t have that problem. Yet they are at the number nine spot because I might be one or two or one hundred plus episodes behind in Detective Conan. The last time I watched this show was back in 2015, but I didn’t stop because I got bored of it. I had just started this site and my time became a little occupied.

Yet these two have never faded away from me. In reality, Shinichi and Ran should be higher. Too bad there’s three years’ worth of their relationship I don’t know about. That said, I’m not going to ignore the prior TWO DECADES worth of episodes I did watch. If you want to talk about longevity, this pair has it.

I’m not sure who is in the more tragic situation. It’s either Shinichi who can’t tell the person he loves he’s alright despite being right next to her. Or its Ran who is in the dark on what is going on with Shinichi. Both scenarios suck. That’s why whenever they do get the chance to meet, it’s great.

To this day, I still remember when Shinichi finally confessed his feelings for Ran in London. While that made their relationship clearer, it hasn’t made their circumstances any better.

And as far as I know, Ran still hasn’t figured it out that Shinichi is Conan. She’s come close a couple times and Shinichi has had to go to obscene lengths to trick her.

Although it would pretty much mean the end of the series, the day I’m looking forward to the most is the day these two finally get to be together.

This is a pair that has a lot going around it. While there is plenty of, let’s say “competition”, it’s all played up for show. Though there may seem to be many options, that's not the case. 

The truth of the matter is, Koyomi Araragi and Hitagi Senjougahara are the couple of the Monogatari series.

There are a lot of characters I like in this franchise. Koyomi himself wouldn’t even be in my top five. Impressive since he is a strong character in his own right. But the only two that work as a romantic duo are the former vampire and the no-nonsense girl he rescued.

On the surface, these two’s personalities seem far and away apart. Koyomi and Hitagi do reach extremes. Except they are extremes that play off each other well.

Hitagi is blunt and has no qualms about issuing threats of violence. Threats she will follow up on if necessary. This would cause many people to back off. The thing with Koyomi is, intimidation doesn’t result in the desired effect. He becomes even more willing to help someone out.

This has created a sincerity in these two’s relationship. In turn, this has made their bond strong. Even with Koyomi’s habit of gathering admirers, his heart belongs only to Hitagi. And though she may be unapologetic when speaking her mind, Hitagi always means what she says. Therefore, when she says she loves Koyomi, it’s genuine.

There are many reasons why Monogatari is great. These two together account for one of the strongest.

Before I get people freaking out, let me explain myself. It was mostly this series that inspired my rules.

First, the day Gray reciprocates Juvia’s feelings is the day they go on this list. Their dynamic is one of the best things about Fairy Tail

Second, no matter how you look at it, Natsu and Lucy have only ever been a fanship. They were never a thing in the anime. I know because I was looking forward to this and it never happened.

Another season is coming in 2018. So, both of these scenarios may come to be. But if they never do, Fairy Tail still has Erza Scarlet and Jellal Fernandes.

These two have a history between them. It was their feelings for each other that got them through the roughest and most volatile period in their relationship. 

One of my favorite moments from Fairy Tail was when these two confronted their past strife. To say this scene glued me to the screen would be an understatement. Since then, Erza and Jellal have been fighting side by side knowing the other would be there for them.

For reasons, they have chosen to be apart from each other. But no matter what excuses they think of, everyone knows it’s a front. And the two that understand this the best are none other than Erza and Jellal.

There are many things I am anticipating about the next season of Fairy Tail. Where these two’s story goes is high on my checklist.

I'm distinguishing Brotherhood from the 2003 series. That version of Edward Elric and Winry Rockbell’s relationship wasn't going to make this list. 

But as was the nature of Brotherhood, not only did it do things better, it did them way better.

The characters of Ed and Winry in Fullmetal’s second series were massive improvements to their original counterparts. And that was on an individual level. Together though, they became a highlight of an already outstanding show.

I’ll admit, these two becoming a couple wasn’t a main focus of the Brotherhood story. But it is for that reason they are this high on this list. Them becoming one was a byproduct of the narrative. It felt natural and it wasn’t forced in. 

When it clicked that they had feelings for each other it wasn’t this overblown moment. They accepted it without any weirdness. Ed and Winry cared about each other. Their actions throughout the series displayed that.

The one scene that secured their inclusion on this list was when Ed became a human wall to protect Winry. He didn’t even hesitate to take a hit that would have killed him. 

What gave these two their sixth entry status was everything that happened afterward.

Although their relationship wasn't a focus of Brotherhood, I was hoping for a happy ending for Ed and Winry nonetheless.

Nanami Momozono is one of the prettiest characters I have come across. Is that why she is part of the number five slot? No, but I like to make that known whenever the chance arises.

The Kamisama Hajimeashita series is fantastic. The reason for that has to do with its two main characters, Nanami and Tomoe. 

Nanami is caring and kind. She has had to deal with many unfortunate things in her life. But she has taken those challenges in stride. When she became a god, it was overwhelming. That didn’t stop her from giving it her best shot though. Also, there is a sarcasm to her I have to appreciate.

Tomoe is a bit of a jerk. Or at least that’s a persona he prefers to maintain. When we learn what he has been through, it's not hard to understand where he is coming from. That’s why it makes sense why he would be standoffish about allowing someone to get close to him.

These two coming together was like an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. Both sides were going to be at a loss of what to do. And whatever they did end up doing, it was the thing, deep down, they wanted to do the most. Even if they tried to convince themselves otherwise.

For both Nanami and Tomoe, things would be easier if they didn’t have feelings for each other. It would make things hurt less, that’s for sure. They’ve each had opportunities to bail out. Yet each and every time they only grew closer.

I suppose it was a matter of time before a couple from one of my Top Romance anime would make it on this list. To be fair, the criteria was a bit more complex in the other. That doesn’t change the fact there should be a little more overlap. But what are you going to do?

With Monogatari's Koyomi and Hitagi, they worked because their different personalities came together. For Chuunibyo, the exact opposite was true. Rikka Takanashi and Yuuta Togashi were so similar, they were a perfect match. It would have been one of the world’s great mysteries if these two didn’t become a couple.

Rikka and Yuuta had an interesting history long before they ever started dating. It was Yuuta who inspired Rikka’s delusions. And as fate would have it, Rikka would be the one to rekindle Yuuta’s fascination with the dark arts. This was a nice layer to their relationship. But this is not why they are the number four pair.

These two gave each other a purpose. They allowed one another to move on from the pain they were holding inside. If you’re keeping track, this is actually the third separate list Rikka and Yuuta have been a part of. Completing the trio was my Top Ten Tear Inducing Moments.

And when they weren’t ripping your heart out, this duo got quite cute. Granted, most of that adorableness was Rikka’s doing. Yet you have to give Yuuta some credit. These two were comfortable around each other to be themselves. Throughout the Chuunibyo franchise, this was wonderful to see.

And thus, we have our first married coupled to make the list.

I love this show. It is a shame this series never got a third season. It would be wonderful to see the continuation of Kaoru and Hajime’s story.

Like it was with Net-juu’s Moriko and Yuta, it was nice to follow an older couple. But unlike the two reserved MMO addicts, Kaoru and Hajime were a little livelier.

Some of you may be asking, isn’t it a tad gimmicky to have a good-looking girl married to an anti-social otaku? Well, this series does have an answer to that. Kaoru loved her husband. And Hajime loved his wife. 

This series was great at throwing in tiny details that illustrated how much these two cared about each other. There was a moment where these two were at a restaurant. There was nothing special about this scenario. That didn’t stop Kaoru from casually saying, “I love you” to Hajime. In turn, he said “I love you” back to her with a smile on his face. It was small things like that which strengthened this pair's bond.

But the best came when something happened that changed these two’s lives in an instant. Once the weight of this realization hit Kaoru, you could see how scared she was. This show was silly and goofy to no end. Yet in this moment, Hajime's first instinct was to comfort his wife.

If that’s not love, I’m not sure what is.

Anime Hajime Review: Ore Monogatari

In my Top Romance anime list, this series reached the number two spot. The reason for that was the relationship between Takeo Gouda and Rinko Yamato.

Never judge a book by its cover. And never assume you know what a love story’s main protagonist should look like. In almost every other series, Takeo would have been a side character. His best friend Makoto would have taken the lead role. Not in Ore Monogatari.

Early on in this series, you will be rooting for Takeo. He’s a good guy and is someone you would love to have on your side. He was selfless, caring, and willing to help people at the drop of a hat. The only thing was, the poor guy was a bit intimidating. Every girl he had a crush on couldn’t get past his looks. Whether he was aware of this or not didn’t matter. This wasn’t fair. He didn’t deserve such treatment.

And that’s why it’s so easy to love Rinko. The frightening qualities others associated with Takeo, she admired. As she saw it, her man wasn’t a lumbering beast. He was a strong, confident knight she could turn to when she needed support. Plus, she was willing to defend her boyfriend should anyone say otherwise. In fact, she couldn’t understand why Takeo didn’t have more admirers. 

These two were special. They were why I enjoyed this show so much. They are why I still think about this series every now and then. Because of this, I almost gave them the top spot. But like before, I had to go with something else.

How could I not go with Usagi Tsukino and Mamoru Chiba from Sailor Moon?

Back in the original Toonami days, it was these two. All these years later, it's still these two. Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask, even to people who don’t watch anime these characters are recognizable.

This relationship is the definition of destiny. Past, present, future, this is a couple that has survived the passage of time. But the part of their story we were present for was more than enough to make them memorable.

At first, Usagi found Mamoru to be the most insufferable person she had ever met. To Mamoru, Usagi was an immature brat. Despite this, they couldn’t shake the feeling something was connecting them.

Once they learned of each other’s alter egos, they realized how important they were to one another. As the series went on, they began to remember their past lives as well as the roles they would go on to play. Before they knew it, they couldn’t imagine being apart.

There are plenty of love stories. Yet it will take something game-changing to knock these two off the top.

Until that happens though, Usagi Tsukino and Mamoru Chiba are the best couple in all anime.

Final Thoughts

There were many pairings I had to consider when coming up with this list. I hope the day comes where I can revisit this topic. To do that, it will require a few shows to get a second season. That and a few potential duos need to cross a certain threshold.

Don’t misunderstand, I have many dream pair-ups of my own. Some of them I even feel have a chance of becoming a reality. One can’t underestimate the addictive nature of the “will they or won’t they” plot point.

With romance a prominent feature on this site, the chances of another couple finding a spot in my top ten are not zero. And I’ll be sure to let you know when that happens, should it ever.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? What did I get right? What did I get wrong? Who do you think are the Top Ten Couples in anime? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

And if you liked what you read, be sure to follow me on my social media sites so that you never miss a post or update. Also, please share this list across the internet to help add to the discussion.

I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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