For most of us in the northern hemisphere, the month of February is cold and miserable. We seek whatever warmth we can find. We often find that warmth by either sitting under the kotatsu or curling up with a neko on the couch and watching anime, and for some of us warming our souls by watching some sweet slice-of-life or romance anime. The past year has given us plenty of heartwarming moments in a multitude of shows. We decided that now with Valentine’s Day almost upon us that we’d revisit our Honey’s Anime list of Cutest Anime Relationships. How do this past season’s anime stack up to our previous lists, find out as we countdown the Top 5 Five of the Cutest Relationships in Anime Updated Valentine’s Day Edition.
5. Akane x Kotarou and Tsuki ga Kirei
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2017- Jun. 2017
A romantic relationship, at least for most of us, develops very slowly especially when we don’t have a lot of experience. At some point the world decides you need to meet someone and the wheels go in motion to bring you together. A romance doesn’t have to burn with a fiery passion from the get-go and that is true of 9th graders Akane Mizuno and Kotarou Azumi. Akane is an anxiety-prone girl who tries not to let her worries overwhelm her. Kotarou is a quiet and introverted boy who does traditional dance as a member of the neighborhood association and dreams of becoming a writer. The two don’t really travel in the same circles in school yet find themselves coming together at random times. And each time they part they each have a feeling of yearning to have spent more time. The relationship develops like a lot of young love in the modern age over texting late at night in bed. We get to watch and relate as these young lovers agonize over the wording of each message as they try to say the most benign things and the most important things at the same time.
We love these two because despite each of them having suitors that balance their introverted natures with the enthusiasm of an extravert, they each realize that no one can understands them like the other. The chance to take a slow look at a relationship as it develops and watch their feelings grow, get hurt, heal and be rekindled is one of the reasons we love this adorable couple. Akane and Kotarou are so careful about expressing their feelings that they can be frustrating at times but in the end, it pays off, especially in the scene after the end credits in the final episode; it will fill your heart with warmth.
4. Yamada x Shirashi from Yamada-kun to Shichinin no Majo (Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2015- Jun. 2015
We’ve all seen the story of the bad boy and the quiet girl falling in love. The tale of Yamada and Shirashi is pretty much that, with the exception of witchcraft being added to the mix. Yamada, the school tough guy, is walking on the stairs when he collides with quiet, intelligent, beautiful Shirashi and they fall down the steps and accidentally kiss. The kiss in this case isn’t the important part. The important part is Yamada and Shirashi switch bodies. A story begins where the emotional Yamada and stoic Shirashi begin investigating the supernatural phenomena at their school and discover they are the only ones with a power.
We love this couple because from almost the moment they meet you can tell that they each fill a role in the other’s life. Yamada is struck by Shirashi’s stoic matter-of-fact nature and that she is not intimidated by him at all. She simply accepts him for who he is. We even get a glimpse that she likes him early on when she refuses to kiss anyone else during an experiment on her body-swapping ability. Shirashi is lonely, she lacks close friends or any intimate bond, and Yamada fills that role. You really can’t get more intimate than body swapping. We also get a sense early on that he likes her too, as one the first things he does is stick up for her when she is bullied by other girls. We like a couple that complements each other and these two definitely do. Yamada wants someone to protect and gets not only that but someone that motivates him to be more than just a tough guy. Shirashi gets someone that not only cares for her but motivates her as well by giving her someone to cheer her on and be proud of her. The story has been told before, but you can’t help but be happy for the two when they finally kiss, not just to swap bodies but for love.
3. Shirayuki x Zen from Akagami no Shirayukihime (Snow White with the Red Hair)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul. 2015- Sep. 2015
We’ve all seen that couple, the beautiful one, the one that makes you think they’re so gorgeous and pretty and so lovey-dovey that they make you jealous and sick to your stomach. Shirayuki and Zen are just that couple, only in anime. Shirayuki (Snow White) has apple-red hair. Her vibrant red hair is a very rare thing in the medieval world she lives in; it’s so rare that men are entranced by it to the point of wanting her as a prize. She flees from the kingdom she grew up in only to be kidnapped by a group of bandits. Shirayuki is fortunate to be rescued by Prince Zen of Clarines and his companions. Right from the beginning the sparks start to fly. Zen is head over heels for the commoner, which can cause problems later, and offers her refuge and protection in his kingdom. She begins a job as a court apothecary and the adventures and courtship begin.
We can’t help but love watching Zen wrestle with his feelings for Shirayuki as he balances his responsibilities to the kingdom and his love for the truly uncommon commoner he rescued. Zen is the classic white knight always charging to the rescue yet he is always tentative when it comes to expressing his feelings for Shirayuki, even though everyone in their orbit knows exactly how they feel for each other. Shirayuki is also cautious, especially when it comes to dealing with men. She has the right to be cautious considering men have attempted to kidnap and possess her most of her life. We get to watch her overcome her insecurities and build the bonds of trust with Zen. She and Zen both realize they have to figure themselves out first and understand their own hopes and dreams before committing to each other. The story is quite sweet and you (along with the rest of the people in their orbit) often find yourself shouting JUST KISS ALREADY!
2. Moriko x Yuuta from Net-juu no Susume (Recovery of an MMO Junkie)
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: Oct. 2017- Dec. 2017
Who says love is for the young? We know there are many of us who never had that high school relationship, who never had the college one either, who just never made a connection with anyone until one day when we’ve just about given up, we find them and it changes our lives. The story of Moriko and Yuuta is just that kind of story. The 30-year-old Moriko has willfully become a NEET (Not in Employment Education or Training). She got burned out, quit her job and is now unemployed after 12 years of office work. Moriko decides to dive back into the world of MMOs she enjoyed when she was younger. She decided to join a MMO guild and make new online friends. Yuuta is an up-and-coming young man who works an office job by day and is an MMO player by night. The two meet online and decide to partner up; the catch is their avatars’ genders are the reverse of the players. A wonderful romantic comedy begins as the two fall in love online. The only question is will that translate to a real-world romance?
Moriko and Yuuta are an adorable couple and begin in the best way possible: they talk. They become friends online, they don’t know if the person on the other end is male or female, gay or straight, married or single, a student or pensioner, they just know that the burden of life feels easier when they have the chance to talk. We watch the relationship grow beyond the game and that makes us feel wonderful. We get joy from watching Moriko realize that she is in love and not understanding what exactly to do with the feelings she has. Then we become overjoyed when we see her happiness fulfilled. We think in a world of anime that is dominated by overpowered high school teens it is quite refreshing to see a couple of adults find love.
1. Tohru x Kobayashi x Kanna Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon (Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jan. 2017- Apr. 2017
The tale of two dragons and an office worker living in an apartment in Tokyo where one of the dragons is a maid and the other is an elementary schooler is the kind of thing you’d only see in anime and manga. Kobayashi is an office worker that goes out drinking one night and on the way home stumbles across a wounded dragon in the woods. She saves the dragon’s life and the next day answers the door of her apartment to see the dragon standing there and transforming into a young woman. The dragon, Tooru, announces that she will repay Kobayashi by becoming her maid. We also find out that Tooru is in love with Kobayashi, though the plan-spoken office worker doesn’t seem intent on returning her romantic feelings. The two are eventually joined by Kanna, a dragon child, whom the two take care of as if they were her mothers. The story is absolutely sweet as we watch the three form the bonds of family in a world that may not understand their genuine love for each other.
You don’t need to look further than the fourth episode of the series, titled Kanna Goes to School, to understand all the warm and fuzzies it has to offer. The story details Kanna’s jealousy of the other elementary aged kids; she wants to go to school. She goes shopping with Tooru and Kobayashi and like any elementary student is excited to get school supplies. You smile as Kobayashi notices that the little dragon wants a cute pen and notebook but is afraid to ask for it only to be indulged by her surrogate mother. We are treated to Kanna playing and getting to know the human world better after a rainy day and Kobayashi and Tooru just smiling and watching like the loving parents they are. The idea that we can love each other whether male or female, dragon or human is the moral of this story. The relationship is filled with so much love and cuteness it has to the be the cutest anime relationship in recent years.
The stories can be sad or so sweet you’d go into sugar shock. We also find not all the best relationships overflowing with love and kindness are the romantic type. A memorable story can be about navigating young love or finding the people and the place where you belong. We think the key is that the relationship in whatever form it takes makes you, the viewer, feel warm and happy inside.
With the holidays coming up and New Year’s right around the corner, I thought we could celebrate in our own way with my top 5 cutest anime relationships. From the relationships that couldn’t be, to the relationships that are, loved lost to love acquired.
Most anime have some sort of relationship factor to the stories they hold, but these are the ones that just really stuck out and pulled on my heart strings. Especially when it comes to the romance category of anime, I’m a hard customer, so these are the relationships that legitimately made me go “awwwww.”
5. Kazuto Kirigaya ♥ Asuna Yuuki – Sword Art Online
These two are adorable. Not just in the sense of young love, but in the sense of what traumatic times can do to pull people together. Possibly the most famous anime relationship, I’d be remiss to leave this adorable couple out.
They meet inside of a game they’ve been trapped in. Kazuto under the pseudonym Kirito and Asuna using her real name in the game, they meet when forming a raid for the first stages boss. After defeating the boss they split ways and go on their own, Asuna joins the most prestigious guild to take up inhabitance in the game and Kirito going on his own.
Through joining forces to face the front line bosses, they continually see each other. One time she catches Kirito lounging about during a planning session and he convinces her to lie down and relax for once as well.
Eventually Kirito finds a rare ingredient for food and the two get together for dinner. The relationship truly starts to blossom here, developing more and more throughout SAO until it’s just painfully obvious they’re meant for each other. You find yourself enthralled with their story and filled with the desire for nothing more than to see their happily ever after.
4. Taiga Aisaka ♥ Ryuuji Takasu – Toradora!
Taiga is a tsundere, one who can’t correctly show her true emotions. This is a show that begins with a delinquent looking gentleman; he really is a teddy bear, and a ferocious tiny little thing. They both have crushes on other people and decide to help each other out. They soon learn that Taiga lives right next door to Ryuuji, and their planning begins.
Toradora! is an adventure throughout, where you find yourself rooting for both of them to end up with the person they want until eventually, you realize they need to be together. They fall in love (finally!) and then try to come to terms with their emotions. This is one of the sweetest relationships I have seen, with actual issues that normal couples work through and it shows the phases of problems to resolutions. All in all, this anime really pulled at my heart strings and made me invest more than just my time watching it.
3. Shouko Sashinami ♥ Haruto Tokishima – Valvrave the Liberator (Kakumeiki Valvrave)
This anime isn’t as heavily invested in the romance as others, and at the same time it is. It’s not an in your face romance, it’s subtle until the time comes for it to be direct. It’s incredibly well done in this respect, because Valvarave is more of an action anime.
Shouko and Haruto start off with their own little seeds of romance when the show begins. When Haruto gains the ability to pilot a Valvarave, the relationship blossoms more. When it’s shown that he’s become immortal because of this, she betrays him by selling him out to the enemy they’d spent months fighting. Oh that moment in time stings, the pain in his eyes, you can almost feel it yourself.
He still loved her, even after that. That was something special to me, to be able to move past a betrayal of that magnitude. She realizes her mistake, and he forgives her for everything. That was quite possibly the most heartwarming moment in the entire series, especially knowing what’s going to happen to Haruto in the end (but I won’t ruin that surprise for you!).
2. Kousei Arima ♥ Kaori Miyazono – Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso)
This is a brand new anime, one that features a boy that has essentially been broken. His name is Kousei Arima, a pianist prodigy from when he was a child. His mother died two years prior to the start of the anime, leaving him with more scars than good memories and the inability to hear his playing anymore. He has completely given up on the piano, refusing to enter any more competitions.
Kaori Miyazono comes along, a girl who likes his best friend. He meets her by way of music; he hears her playing with some kids trying to attract doves to their park.
After a misunderstanding, she brings him and the rest of his friends (including his best friend and his longtime friend Tsubaki Sawabe) to her violin recital. It’s here that he finds meaning in the music again, with Kaori playing not from the sheet music, but playing the song in her own fashion.
This is a relationship that’s still growing, with the anime only up to episode 11 thus far, so I’m not going to reveal any spoilers to you.
However, I can already feel the relationship happening, I can feel the happiness this brings me and I can’t wait for the entirety of the season to come full swing. This is a show that has you upbeat the entire time, with moments of foreshadowing that leaves you with a sense of dread. Over all, this is my second favorite relationship.
1. Banri Tada ♥ Kouko Kaga – Golden Time
This relationship is my favorite overall. Starting with Banri helping Kouko get over her newly recent ex, and progressing to show their love for one another.
This is an anime begins with the explanation that Banri Tada has lost his memory.
Before he moved to Tokyo to go to a private law school he was in an accident, it’s later found he was on a bridge waiting for his friend Nana Hayashida to confess his love to her when a car drove by and clipped him, pushing him off the bridge into the shallow waters below. Nana cannot stand that her best friend is gone and decides to let him forget about her and his love for her.
Upon arriving at Tokyo he meets Mitsuo Yanagisawa and his soon to be ex, Kouko Kaga. She appears crazy at first, quite possibly up to stalker standards, especially when Mitsuo breaks up with her. This prompts the sympathetic Banri into helping her get over him.
Eventually they end up together in one of the best relationships I’ve seen come from any anime. If I say any more it’ll ruin the show, so I’ll refrain, but know that your heart strings will be pulled, twisted and strained throughout the course of their relationship.
This concludes my top 5 favorite relationships (in no particular order), if you have any others feel free to let me know, and as always leave them in the comments section below!