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What’s better than being in a relationship with one person? Being in a relationship with two of course!
Okay okay, we are not here to promote polygamy; what we are talking about are love triangles. Sure, they might not be a pleasant experience for the people involved, but you have to admit that watching love triangles unfold is great fun. The drama, the secrets, the heartfelt moments - no wonder anime featuring love triangles are as popular as ever. And that is exactly the reason why we want to update our Top 10 Love Triangle Anime for you.
Our first recommendations are already two years old and a lot of great shows have been released in the meantime. So if you’ve already watched all our original recommendations, then pay attention now, because we have a completely new line-up of great love triangle anime coming up. Enjoy!
10. Zero Kiryuu x Yuuki Cross x Kaname Kuran from Vampire Knight
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2008 - July 2008
We’re starting our list off with an oldie that is still as popular today as it was back in the days: the undead love story of Vampire Knight.
Yuuki cannot remember her childhood or where she came from but has now found refuge as the adopted daughter of Cross Academy’s chairman. What might seem like an ordinary academy at first glance, actually hides a dark secret: at Cross Academy humans and vampires study side by side. Yuuki is one of the few human students aware of this secret and it’s her job as guardian to establish peace between the two races. On top of that, her private life is no walk in the park either and she gets stuck between two men she loves deeply.
The love triangle between Yuuki, Zero (her fellow human guardian) and Kaname (the handsome leader of the vampires) is one of the key aspects of Vampire Knight. From the very beginning of the show it is made clear what the heart of each character feels and as a viewer, you keep wondering how the story will unfold. What makes this love triangle especially interesting is the added component of featuring different races, so if you love vampire stories, but haven’t watched Vampire Knight yet, we’d say it’s about time to change that.
9. Kaori Miyazono x Kousei Arima x Tsubaki Sawabe from Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April)
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: October 2014 - March 2015
From a story featuring creatures of the night, we are now moving on to one featuring gifted musicians.
Kousei’s life started out great: he was a musical prodigy who enjoyed nothing more than playing the piano. But things changed when his mother passed away and with her, his musical abilities left him. He had already given up on music when violinist Kaori Miyazono crosses his path. The young girl is everything Kousei isn’t: energetic, colorful, vibrant, full of life and in love with her own music. Can the young girl turn Kousei’s fate around?
Two players are on the field, but where does the love triangle come in? The missing piece is Tsubaki, a childhood friend of Kousei who has been with him from the very beginning. She is always there for him, cheering him on and slowly but surely has to watch her sisterly love for him grow into a more romantic kind of love. This love triangle is simply heartbreaking: on the one hand, we have a loving childhood friend who has known Kousei for years, on the other hand, we have a beautiful girl who might be able to give Kousei’s life meaning again. If you want to know how this story ends, then check out Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso.
8. Yoshino Takigawa x Aika Fuwa x Mahiro Fuwa from Zetsuen no Tempest (Blast of Tempest)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2012 - March 2013
If you’re a fan of a good mixture of drama, psychology, and mystery, then you should definitely be familiar with our next recommendation, Zetsuen no Tempest.
Yoshino and Mahiro became friends under unlikely circumstances, but everything changes when Aika (Yoshino’s girlfriend and Mahiro’s younger sister) was killed. Mahiro sets out to find the one responsible, while Yoshino wanders the streets aimlessly and just wants to forget about the past. A completely new adventure they are yet to understand is about to unfold for the two of them, but can they forget about the people of their past?
At this point, you might wonder how a brother could be part of a love triangle involving his sister (no, it’s not that kind of anime). Actually, Aika is not related to Mahiro by blood and he soon realizes that what he feels for her is more than love between siblings. Both guys care about her more than anything else in the world and cannot believe that she had to leave them in such a brutal way. Zetsuen no Tempest’s love triangle stands out since one member is already deceased, but the remaining two are still stuck in their rivaling love for her. A big recommendation of ours!
7. Hiromi Yuasa x Shinichirou Nakagami x Noe Isurugi from True Tears
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: January 2008 - March 2008
True Tears is an anime that has passed underneath the radar of many viewers, even though it’s an outstanding story when it comes to down to earth love stories.
This anime starts out rather ordinary: Hiromi is a beautiful, popular, smart and athletic girl and Shinichirou has a big crush on her. He’s lucky enough to be living in the same home as her, but he soon has to realize that there’s something Hiromi is hiding from the world. While being cheerful in public, she acts cold and distanced at home. At the same time, energetic Noe steps into Shinichirou’s life and shows more than just a little bit of interest in him.
If you’re a fan of romance, Slice of Life and/or school stories, then you should be able to enjoy True Tears. What makes this anime so special in our eyes is the fact that it’s very down to earth. There are no overly dramatic moments nor crazy fights between the characters. Instead, you really get a chance to get to know the characters and find out more about their particular backgrounds. True Tears is a charming story and gives you a new take on love triangles, so we’d recommend you to give it a try.
6. Arata Wataya x Chihaya Ayase x Taichi Mashima from Chihayafuru
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2011 - March 2012
Next up is a show that will not only make your hearts beat a little bit faster, but also teach you more about Japanese culture.
Arata, Chihaya, and Taichi meet in elementary school, and while being fundamentally different the three soon become close friends. What stands at the heart of their friendship is a shared love for karuta, a traditional Japanese card game. Chihaya, in particular, becomes obsessed with the game and starts participating in professional tournaments. As it goes in life, the three friends slowly start growing apart only to cross paths again in high school. While the passion for karuta still connects them, there is now a different kind of love slowly developing among the three students.
Chihayafuru is a beautifully designed and animated story and a definite must-watch for fans of Japanese culture or Slice of Life stories. On top of having a captivating storyline, you will also notice your heart beating faster every time the love triangle emerges. Chihaya seems to be oblivious to the feelings of the two guys but cares about them deeply in her own way. At the same time, the guys are afraid of losing her as a friend and thus try to suppress their romantic feelings. It’s a bittersweet feeling that will keep you at the edge of your seat so we definitely urge all of you to watch Chihayafuru if you haven’t already.
5. Yoshioka Futaba x Kou Mabuchi x Yuuri Makita from Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2014 - September 2014
You will certainly remember Ao Haru Ride, the hit love story from the Summer season 2014, right? If not, here is a quick reminder.
Futaba grew up as a cheerful, sweet and innocent girl who loved everything cute and feminine. But what made her popular with her male classmates only brought her jealousy from the girls she wanted to befriend. That’s why in high school she decided to turn her image around and become a cool tomboy instead of a sweet heartbreaker. Just as Futaba starts getting used to her new life, a crush from her past reappears and threatens to reveal her secret.
In Ao Haru Ride there isn’t simply one love triangle, but rather a complex constellation of different feelings the main cast has for each other. While Futaba’s feelings for Kou might stand in the middle of the story, the crush her newly-found best friend Yuuri develops for him also cannot be neglected. Ao Haru Ride is all about growing up and understanding who you are and who you want to be. Romance is part of that painful progress and is beautifully incorporated into the overall story of Ao Haru Ride. Two thumbs up from us!
4. Kazusa Touma x Haruki Kitahara x Setsuna Ogisa from White Album 2
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: October 2013 - December 2013
Next up we have another story set in a school with White Album 2.
Haruki, Setsuna, and Kazusa are friends, united by their love for music and performance. Driven by the wish to revive their music club, the three students cross paths and somehow end up becoming more important to each other than anyone had anticipated. But while they all care for each other on a friendly level, there are still these romantic feelings between them that ultimately could drive them apart and destroy the music they’ve created together.
You might scratch your head at this point and wonder why we included a sequel instead of the original series. The reason is simple: White Album 2 is not so much a sequel as it is its own story, so you don’t even have to watch the original White Album to enjoy this show. This being said, White Album 2 features a special kind of love triangle where the two “rivals” are actually not rivals at all, but friends. This means that while the two girls hope to start a relationship with Haruki, they also don’t want to hurt each other in the process. It’s a complex situation that will entertain you for many episodes so give this show a try.
3. Kouko Kaga x Banri Tada x Nana Hayashida from Golden Time
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2013 - March 2014
College is the time in your life where you can reinvent yourself, grow up and fall in love - and that is exactly what Banri does in the comedy show Golden Time.
Banri suffers from amnesia and has troubles remembering certain aspects of his past. But this doesn’t stop him from walking into the future with confidence and starting a completely new life as a law student in Tokyo. What he didn’t expect though was someone as beautiful and energetic as Kouko stepping into his life and turning it upside down.
Once again we have a show where everything seems to go well between two main characters, only for a childhood friend from the past to show up and change everything. On top of the coming-of-age aspect and the love triangle, there is also Banri’s mysterious past waiting to be uncovered, so there are more than enough elements to keep you entertained. We admit that Golden Time is sometimes viewed as a controversial show that you either love or hate. We don’t want to pass any judgment, but if you’re looking for a love triangle mixed with a fun college/coming-of-age story then you should give Golden Time at least a chance.
2. Meiko “Menma” Honma x Jinta Yadomi x Naruko Anjou from Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. (AnoHana: The Flower we Saw That Day)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: April 2011 - June 2011
Only two anime are left on today’s list and since we figured you haven’t shed enough tears by this point, why don’t we throw AnoHana into the mix?
Few things are more innocent than the friendship between young children. In the case of Jinta and his friends, this friendship seemed like it would last forever, at least in their hearts. But everything changes when one of them dies unexpectedly and everyone goes their own way in order to forget about the past. Can the friends become close to each other once again?
Oh, AnoHana, one of our all-time favorite tearjerkers. No matter how much you promise yourself you won’t start crying, by the end of this little gem tears will almost certainly cover your cheeks. While the friendship between the main cast might be the most important part of AnoHana’s story, there is also a small love triangle going on between Jinta, Menma, and Naruko, who doesn’t want to admit to herself that she has feelings for her childhood friend. All in all, this might be one of the most tragic love triangles on our list since it not only consists of heartbreak, but also jealousy, death, and regret.
1. Manaka Mukaido x Hikari Sakishima x Chisaki Hiradaira from Nagi no Asukara (A Lull in the Sea)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: October 2013 - April 2014
We have come to the end of today’s list, but before we release you to give all of today’s choices a try, we still have one more show waiting to be introduced: Nagi no Asukara.
We all know that life on earth started inside the water, but Nagi no Asukara takes this idea a little bit further. In this universe, humans originally lived underwater and it was only a few of them who decided to abandon their world to live on land. Years passed and the distance between the two different worlds keeps increasing. Now, a group of students leaves the ocean to lead a normal life on land, but will they be able to overcome their differences and the hatred that drives the two worlds apart?
Nagi no Asukara is easily one of the most beautiful anime on this list; the animation, design and color scheme simply interact flawlessly to make for a stunning viewing experience. The love triangle in question unfolds between three childhood friends who make their way to the surface together. Once again, the characters involved are afraid of admitting their feelings since they do not want to ruin the friendship they have. But sometimes feelings are too strong to be suppressed, so check this anime out if you are curious how it will end. Let us just say that it is a lovely story that combines important issues like discrimination, segregation, and heartbreak with a beautiful scenery.
As interesting as love triangles are, they are also painful to watch, right?
Watching the person you love be with someone else is never a nice experience and love triangles consist of a lot of such pain and heartache. At the same time, we still enjoy watching them since we’re hoping for a happy ending. We want the couple we’re rooting for to be together and to finally get the happiness we think they deserve. So if you’re in the mood to ride an emotional rollercoaster then give all of our recommendations today a try. Just make sure to keep a package of tissues nearby!
Now it’s your time to talk! What do you think of our updated list and which anime have we missed out on? Leave a comment down below and share your opinion with the community.
The blossoming of love between two people is something that is considered both sweet and beautiful. After all, it takes an almost magical set of circumstances to properly initiate a full-fledged relationship. However, circumstances always get more interesting the more complicated they get. Thus, one simply cannot help but be drawn to stories that involve not just two persons, but three.
The love triangle theme has been around since pretty much the dawn of literature. It does, after all, pander to man’s seemingly genetically predisposed tendency to be drawn to choices that will ultimately affect the course of his life. In anime, the theme of love triangles is very much explored, with titles both modern and classic utilizing love triangles to effectively drive the plot forward.
Our list today looks at the most notable love triangles and the reasons why they are significant to us anime fans. Here then, is our list for the Top 10 Anime Love Triangles!
10. Makoto Itou x Kotonoha Katsura x Sekai Saionji - School Days
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2004 - September 2007
It is said that love itself involves a certain degree of insanity. In anime, there is not one example that can probably attest to this adage more than one of the most controversial titles in recent years, School Days. After all, the story of Makoto, who is widely considered as the worst male lead in anime history, as well as Kotonoha and Sekai, has gone down in anime infamy.
The love triangle in this anime is quite graphic, as one sees the main character consistently take advantage of the two female leads for his own gain. He takes advantage of Kotonoha, who sincerely loves him, and he does the same for Sekai, essentially using her as a sexual object simply because she enables his behavior. The dynamic of the three garners the same amount of revulsion that you would get out of a Saw movie, but just like the film, it draws you in with the promise of a worthy conclusion. And when it finally does, you will see just how big a price one would pay if a love triangle benefits only one person.
9. Tuxedo Mask x Sailor Moon x Black Lady - Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Crystal
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: July 2014 - July 2015
It is no secret that the story of Sailor Moon is essentially the story of love between a lady from the moon and a man from the Earth. Transcending life itself, they are very much destined to be together, fighting by each other’s side, and sacrificing one’s life for the other. In fact, they are quite perfect for each other, until another person comes along with feelings for Tuxedo Mask - someone close. His own daughter.
Possessed by dark energy, the issues of Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask’s daughter from the future, Chibiusa, come into fruition, turning her into the sultry Black Lady. Though the love triangle only lasted a couple of episodes, it did have a massive effect on the plot of the anime. Throughout their daughter’s stay in present-day Earth, Usagi could not shake off the feeling that her future daughter seems to be taking her partner away from her. As it turns out, she really was, since Chibiusa felt so neglected in the future, she ended up falling in love with the idea of her father in the past. I swear, Black Lady’s passionate kiss with the past incarnation of her father was quite a big shocker for those of us who are used to the childish innocence of the original Sailor Moon series.
8. Hiro Hirono x Miyako Miyamura x Kei Shindou - ef: A Tale of Memories
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2007 - December 2007
This little gem in the slice of life genre actually holds one of the best love triangle stories in recent years. What makes the love story between Hiro, Miyako, and Kei a very engaging tale is the fact that it is so relatable. Everyone of us, I believe, has had an experience with a crush or the like that is very much like the dilemma faced by Hiro in the anime.
On one hand is Miyako, whose introduction to Hiro’s life involved an impulsive chase after she inadvertently stole his bike. While the circumstances of their meeting was nowhere near conventional, they do end up spending a somewhat magical time together, during Christmas eve. On the other hand, however, lies Kei, who is basically a constant in Hiro’s life. She genuinely cares for him and even goes to great lengths to make him happy. These two girls signify a very real struggle faced by those who end up choosing between two people - do you choose one that has always been there, or one that might make you happiest?
7. Hitomi Kanzaki x Van Fanel x Allen Schezar - Tenkuu no Escaflowne
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 1996 - September 1996
When a person is faced with a choice between two possible partners, one usually looks at the positives and the negatives in each person. For Hitomi in Tenkuu no Escaflowne, this struggle is real, for her affections for Van and Allen, two men whom she feels attracted to, ultimately leads her to a huge existential crisis.
The young prince Van is brash and cocky, yet he is also ultimately kind and caring. On the other hand, there is the gallant knight, Allen, who is dashing and chivalrous, yet seemingly hiding numerous secrets from his past. Hitomi ultimately faces a tough choice, for both men are good men, and both are actually great matches for her, despite their flaws. This is something that anime viewers were able to relate to, for this very dilemma happens quite often in real life. In this case, how can a girl really choose without losing something significant?
6. Kohta x Lucy x Yuka - Elfen Lied
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2004 - October 2004
Love can be a battle between those who can provide you with a life of safety and security and those who can provide you with a relationship filled with passion, dangers, and intensity. In the case of Kohta in Elfen Lied, love ultimately becomes a matter of choice between a cousin who has loved him ever since he was a child, and a cataclysmic killer whose heart only he can reach.
Yuka provides Kohta with the chance of having a most loving, conventional relationship possible. She loves him deeply, and is willing to do anything for him. However, viewers of the anime know that a relationship with Yuka will only give Kohta a happy, albeit average life. Lucy, on the other hand, is one who does not even hesitate when she kills, yet her feelings for Kohta are very real and sincere. As dangerous as she is, Lucy is the one who can give Kohta a life that Yuka can never give him - a life of rabid intensity and passion that will truly make him feel alive.
5. InuYasha x Kagome Higurashi x Kikyo - InuYasha
- Episodes: 167
- Aired: October 2000 - September 2004
In a very real sense, love can be a matter of choosing between a person who has touched your heart in the past and a person who has managed to reach your heart in the present. For InuYasha, this is a very prominent dilemma, as he is faced between his love for Kikyou, a woman who shared his love with in the past, and his developing feelings for Kagome, Kikyou’s very own reincarnation, in the present.
The tale of InuYasha is first and foremost, an epic of love. Its love story is very much relatable to viewers too, as most of us have faced a somewhat similar dilemma as InuYasha in our past. There are, after all, people who just stay with you, even long after they are gone. These people, like ghosts, forever haunt us, to the point when they make moving forward extremely difficult. This anime shows us a very real concept in love, and does it beautifully.
4. Kyouko Mogami x Ren Tsuruga x Sho Fuwa - Skip Beat!
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2008 - March 2009
There are times when we get hurt, yet despite the pain, we never can really throw away the person behind the source of our tears. We may say we hate the person, but in our heart of hearts, we know they are still there. This is something that is very well expounded in Skip Beat!, with protagonist Kyouko being hurt badly by Sho, who, despite the young girl’s efforts, continue to haunt her. Even after finding Ren, who in his own mysterious way, shows her care and affection, Kyouko is still rooted in the pain she mercilessly received from a man she truly trusted.
Skip Beat! excelled greatly in character development, and this is seen in the way the three characters in the story’s love triangle are fleshed out. While Sho is a egoistic, immature young man, Ren seems to be the complete opposite, being a man who is always calm and in control. For Kyouko, the choice between the two men seems to be simple, yet it isn’t, since Sho’s effects on her go way beyond the present. For many people, this is very true, and this anime manages to portray such inner struggles really well.
3. Hagumi Hanamoto x Yuuta Takemoto x Shinobu Morita - Honey and Clover
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2005 - September 2005
Honey and Clover has become quite a staple when one talks about love triangle anime, and for good reason too. After all, the love story between the gifted Hagu and the two flatmates, Yuta and Morita, is something that is takes straight out of real life. In the anime, Hagu represents the ideal female, one who is essentially a blank slate when it comes to relationships. Her two choices, on the other hand, are very symbolic of the types of persons we end up going for.
Morita is the very definition of mystery. The fact that no one even knows what he does and that he disappears for certain periods of time add to his mysterious factor. Add the fact that he shows his affection to Hagu in unconventional ways and you end up with the very definition of a man who seems to have many layers. Takemoto, on the other hand, is the very definition of a man who women consider to be “safe” and risk-free. The fact that he encouraged Hagu to look at him as an older brother ultimately cost him a relationship with a woman he can possibly love for his whole life. At the end of the anime, Hagu finally does fall for one of them, and for those of us who have been in Takemoto’s shoes, we all know how such a conclusion feels like.
2. Yona x Son Hak x Soo Won - Akatsuki no Yona
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2014 - March 2014
There are times when those who we fall in love with turn out to be people who we do not even recognize. Sometimes, such revelations cost us greatly, and we end up paying a high price for our mistake. In Akatsuki no Yona, the princess of Kuoka learns this lesson in the costliest way possible, as the man she loved since she was a child turned out to be the man who will rip away everything that she considers precious. If it wasn’t for the intervention of Hak, a man whom she does not feel much affection for, she would certainly have been killed by the man she has been dreaming of marrying.
Yet despite the grave betrayal of Soo Won, Yona still holds on to the last pure memory of him before he turned his sword against her father. As the series progresses, viewers also see that even if Yona and Hak are getting closer, Soo Won is still there somewhere in her heart. For us, this is something that happens frequently, as those who have betrayed us in the past still have a tendency to haunt us in the present. RIght now, we still do not know how Yona’s tale would end, but if the anime and manga are to be considered, it is quite certain that the tale of Yona’s, Soo Won’s, and Hak’s love triangle is set to have an explosive conclusion.
1. Hikaru Ichijyo x Misa Hayase x Lynn Minmay - Super Dimensional Fortress Macross
- Episodes: 36
- Aired: October 1982 - June 1983
At the top of our list is an anime that practically became the definition of a love triangle anime - the 80’s classic, Super Dimensional Fortress Macross. Indeed, the story of the young pilot, Hikaru, the beautiful, headstrong Misa, and the attractive, talented Minmay has gone down in anime history as one of the industry’s most notable love triangle. In fact, it has practically legendary status, with the franchise’s latest iterations, including the critically-acclaimed Macross Frontier, still taking its cue from the original love triangle in the 80’s classic.
What makes this love triangle so engaging is the fact that the characters are so fleshed out, viewers will end up empathizing with both Misa and Minmay. Both girls have very endearing qualities that make them great, if not perfect, for Hikaru, and despite the anime concluding with the pilot’s final choice, one cannot help but feel like he should have gone for the other. Love triangles are all about choices and giving up one to get another. This anime portrays this perfectly. The anime closes with a really great note as well, proving that it is the one perfect example of the genre we now know as the space opera.
Of course, other notable love triangles have been portrayed in anime. Some of the special mentions here would be those featured in anime such as Nana, True Tears, and even G Gundam. In anime, the better the characters are developed, the more impact the love triangle will have.