The medium of anime has produced some amazing tales of romance where the relationship is built up properly and the couple gets to live happily ever after with canon approval. Unfortunately, though, some of our favorite anime couples either never got together in the first place or their relationship was cut short before it could even really begin. Some would say that the best way to mend our broken hearts is to write “fix-it” fanfiction, but we have an even better idea – complaining about it on the internet! So let’s talk about the five anime couples we wish had actually gotten together, shall we?
5. Ash Lynx and Eiji Okumura from Banana Fish
Okay, maybe it’s true that a stable romantic relationship between a New York gang leader with a mafia bounty on his head and a naïve Japanese photojournalist wouldn’t be possible, but at least let us dream. Ash and Eiji understand each other on a deeper level than anyone else in their lives, and they keep each other grounded through the emotional turmoil both of them face. Eventually, though, Ash’s criminal past catches up with him and he’s killed before either of them could properly express their feelings. We just wish they could’ve been happy together!
4. Umetarou Nozaki and Chiyo Sakura from Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun (Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun)
Fireworks ruin everything. It’s a trope that many a romance fan knows, but the sound of fireworks covering up a confession is particularly frustrating in Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun. Cheerful high-schooler Sakura has a seemingly unrequited crush on her upperclassman, the stoic (and very dense) mangaka Nozaki. She does everything she can to indicate that she likes him, but Nozaki always assumes that she’s a fan of his manga instead. Finally, after spending a romantic evening together at the summer festival, she confesses her love to him while they’re watching fireworks... but he mishears her and thinks she just likes the show. And there’s no resolution after that! Come on, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, must you ruin a heartfelt expression of love for a cheap joke?
3. Ichigo Kurosaki and Rukia Kuchiki from Bleach
Ichigo and Rukia have been buddies since the very beginning of the anime, fighting Hollows together and bickering like an old married couple. Ichigo even fought the terrifying Soul Society captain Byakuya just to save Rukia from banishment! It’s a well-established relationship between two strong characters, and yet they don’t actually get together in the end. Instead, Ichigo marries Orihime (who had a lot of characterization potential, but ended up largely being defined by her devotion to him) and Rukia gets with her childhood friend Renji (who used to be her enemy). Oh well – at least we have over a decade’s worth of fanart and fanfiction to make us feel better.
2. Kumiko Oumae and Reina Kousaka from Hibike! Euphonium (Sound! Euphonium)
Hibike! Euphonium is an adorable anime about girls in high school concert band. It absolutely nails that feeling of camaraderie between the band members and the drama that surrounds things like auditions and competitions, but it does commit one cardinal sin – queerbaiting. Semi-romantic female friendships that don’t actually go anywhere are common in shoujo high school anime, but this one is particularly egregious because Kumiko and Reina are meant for each other! They’ve been drawn to each other since middle school, share plenty of physically intimate moments, and even have a “confession of love” (in those exact words) atop a mountain overlooking a festival! Fireworks don’t ruin it this time, but Kumiko and Reina’s adamant refusal to date each other for the rest of the series certainly does.
1. Subaru Natsuki and Rem from Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-)
We just want good things for Rem, all right? Subaru fell in love with Emilia at first sight and has only ever had eyes for her since then, but his interactions with Rem are just as romantically compelling, if not more so. When Rem summons all of her courage to confess to him, Subaru just shuts her down by saying that he loves Emilia instead (but would consider taking her on as a second wife if Emilia would allow it, which isn’t much better). Now that Rem has fallen into a magical coma and most people have had her existence wiped from their minds, it doesn’t look good for our little blue-haired oni maid to get her happily ever after. Still, the light novels aren’t finished yet, so anything is possible...
Other couples we wish had gotten together include Shinji Ikari and Kaworu Nagisa from Neon Genesis Evangelion, Joseph Joestar and Caesar Zeppeli from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and Satoru Fujinuma and Kayo Hinazuki from Erased. But do you have any favorite anime romances that got a raw deal? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!