The argument was made in the 1989 movie “When Harry Met Sally” that men and women can’t just be friends because a sexual relationship always gets in the way. Plato, a Greek philosopher born in 428 B.C., believed that men and women could have a relationship where their feeling of love could become so strong that they’d transcend physical attachment. The statements he made to that effect became so ingrained in western culture that to this day the idea of a deep, meaningful relationship without sex is called “platonic.” We now look into our animated world and count down the Top 10 platonic relationships in anime.
10.Okabe and Mayuri from Steins;Gate
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Apr. 2011- Sep. 2011
The story of Steins;Gate is one of science fiction where an inventor, a cosplay enthusiast and a tsundere neuroscientist come face to face with the realities of time travel and a conspiracy to control the world all from a flat in Akihabara. Okabe is a self-proclaimed mad scientist and operates the “Future Gadget Research Establishment” lab in a loft in Akihabara. He spends most of his time inventing useless gadgets and diving into conspiracy theories in internet chatrooms. He does at times seem a bit of a Chunibyou despite being a full-fledged adult. Mayuri is a childhood friend of Okabe and doesn’t seem to be on the same academic level as her friend. She has a friendly personality and optimistic outlook. She loves the stars and sometimes can be found reaching her hand out to the sky in what she calls the “Stardust Shakehand.” The behavior can happen in the middle of a conversation as she zones out and reaches for the stars.
Despite seeming to be completely detached from reality and completely self-involved, Okabe cares about his friends and especially Mayuri. The two have been together for years and know each other on very deep level. We see this expressed by the way he accepts her for who she is and even says she is a member of his lab, even though she isn’t a scientist and doesn’t understand most of what is discussed in the lab. Okabe doesn’t even question when she zones out and reaches for the sky. He wants to protect her and look out for her. The relationship they have is one of deep love and understanding evidenced by the way she is always there for Okabe even if he is less than nice at times and has a tendency to be arrogant and pigheaded. Okabe and Mayuri have a deep love that seems to transcend a physical relationship. We also know their relationship will never change because she isn’t assertive and we know that his heart belongs to someone else.
9. Lelouch and Kallen Stadtfeld from Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch [Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion]
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct. 2006- Jul. 2007
The Holy Empire of Britannia rules most of the world with its military might and this includes Japan. A hallmark of the Imperial rule is stripping the country and its people of their names, making Japan Area 11 and the people that live there 11s and not true citizens of the empire -- only a ruled people. Lelouch Lamperouge is an exiled prince of Britannia who lives a quiet life in Area 11 under an alias. He is caught up a rebellion when he is gifted the power of a Geass, “the power of kings,” by a mysterious girl named C.C. He can order anyone to obey him even if it means their death. The limit of the power is it can only be used on a person once. He uses this power to aid the rebellion against the empire in hopes of deposing the Emperor, his father, and reshaping the world.
The hidden prince Lelouch is an average student at Ashford Academy where he is a member of the student council. He lives in a home on the campus with his younger sister Nunnally as they are technically wards of the Ashford family. Lelouch is a brilliant strategic thinker who is often thinking multiple moves ahead, a skill he proves time and time again hustling chess. He is, however, wearing a mask. A deep-seated resentment of his father and the empire are just beneath the surface. He spends hours concocting a cold, ruthless plan that will let him eventually destroy his father and the empire. Kallen a.k.a. Karen Kouzuki is a member of a prestigious family, attends Ashford Academy and is a member the student council along with Lelouch. She, like Lelouch, wears a mask at school as well. She pretends to be a frail and demure girl at school. Kallen also harbors resentment for the empire despite being a member of the upper class; she considers herself Japanese, not an 11. She is secretly a member of the resistance and often goes on missions conducting guerilla raids against imperial forces.
The relationship between Kallen and Lelouch seems to be a close one, yet, at arm’s length. She becomes one of his top lieutenants and military confidants. Kallen and Lelouch even share their dreams for the world they are trying to make. Kallen, though she understands Lelouch’s drive and trusts his logic and plan to the end with unwavering faith, doesn’t always agree with his cold and calculated ways. Lelouch on the other hand is detached. He only had two people in his life he actually cared about deeply and that would be his mother and sister (his feelings change as the show goes on). Lelouch may care for people but the concept of love seems foreign to him. He admires Kallen and respects her for her willingness and commitment to their cause but may not even be capable of more emotionally. We think in many ways you could describe him as a sociopath, a person usually defined by having a lack of empathy or conscience. So, Kallen is probably better off keeping things professional and platonic.
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion PV
8. Theodor and Irisdina from Schwarzesmarken [Schwarzes Marken]
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2016- Mar. 2016
It is 1983 and the world has both a cold war going on between the Warsaw Pact and NATO and a real war between monstrous alien invaders and all of human civilization. The alien life forms are called the BETA (Beings of Extra Terrestrial Origin and Adversary). The Eastern Bloc countries have been on the front lines fighting them. The future of humanity is looking pretty grim as the BETA slowly push back humanity’s best, overrunning city and after city. The use of conventional weapons and the latest in technology called Tactual Surface Fighter (TSF), large humanoid robots, are fully employed to fight back against the BETA. The East German 666th TSF squad must fight to defend their country from the BETA, the paranoia of the East German Secret Police and a coup by the Secret Police to take control of the government.
Captain Irisdina Bernhard is the command officer of the 666th TFS Squadron. She is a decorated officer and earned her and her squad’s reputation on the battlefield. Irisdian is one of those officers that inspire confidence in her men by leading from the front. A cloud hangs over her as some think she is a secret police spy, having supposedly killed her brother in exchange for her own life. Irisdian believes in the East German state and most of all in the People’s Army. She also lives in a constant state of alert as she is ready to sortie at any time. Second Lieutenant Theodor Eberbach of the 666th is one of Irisdina’s best pilots and a close-quarters combat expert. He has a special hate for the Secret Police after they killed his family while they tried to escape to West Germany. He was captured and tortured and eventually released. Theodor has problems with fitting into the team as he has serious trust issues and prefers to fight by himself and not as part of a unit.
Irisdina and Theodor both have rough personalities and aren’t always trusting of other’s motives, but they do have a mutual respect for each other. You watch that respect grow over time. The relationship between the two grows from merely Captain and Lieutenant to shared interests, respect and admiration. The two live in a time of constant war where the casualty rate is extremely high and most missions are suicide missions. The two probably find each other attractive and available, yet they don’t form that more intimate bond. The bond they share is of a common cause and a shared trust; they will either achieve it or die trying. Irisdina and Theodor share a soldier’s bond formed in a war for survival.
7. Julie and Tooru from Absolute Duo
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2015- Mar. 2015
Blazers can materialize weapons from their souls and are sought after as soldiers and security personal throughout the world. A good portion of the Blazers attend Kouryou Academy High School to prefect their unique abilities. The school requires each student to pair with another as part of a lifelong partnership. The theory is that only by working as part of a pair can they obtain an ultimate state of power called Absolute Duo.
Julie Sigtuna is a quiet, demure student from a northern European country. The other girls at the school think she looks like a doll with her petite stature, pale skin and trademark bells she wears in her hair. She calls forth Twin Blades and attacks with swiftness. Julie wants to avenge her father’s death and to do that she needs to find a partner and refine her power. Tooru Kokone is a Blazer whose power is a shield, an unheard of defensive blaze. He, like Julie, has a traumatic past; when he was a child an unknown assailant killed all the children in the dojo where he trained. Tooru never wants to be unable to protect someone again which is likely the reason for his defensive blaze. He is an average student and very responsible.
Tooru takes his role as a part of a Duo seriously. He sees something in Julie that he sees in himself. The couple spends most of their time together in and outside of class. Tooru and Julie also room together. Julie often finds her way into Tooru’s bed where she curls up, calling him father in her sleep. Tooru was first shocked at this behavior but became accustomed to it. He begins to take on a paternal role with Julie, seeing her more as a daughter or someone to be protected than a love interest. We see his love interest role in Lilith Bristol, another student. The devotion and love between Julie and Tooru is one that transcends romance, it is one of family.
Absolute Duo Trailer
6. Shinya & Tsunemori from Psycho-Pass
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: Oct. 2012- Mar. 2013
The idea of a world where crime almost never happens sounds like a utopia. Yet, a government run in concert with the Sibyl System, a cybernetic system that measures a person’s latent criminal potential, may not be all it’s cracked up to be. If you think the wrong thing it can mean reeducation or immediate termination. We find out that when the system was activated anyone who spoke out against it or was deemed undesirable was deported, e.g. journalists, political groups and teachers. The system was sold as a way to guarantee safety and lower crime but it was in fact the creation of a totalitarian Japan. Enforcement is handled by the Sibyl enforcers, a group of regular officers and enslaved persons who have the ability to think like criminals so they either work for the system or are put to death.
Shina Kougami is an enforcer. He is also forced to be an enforcer because of his “high criminal mentality.” Kougami is also a very skilled detective and closes cases quickly. He does his job efficiently and executes it with no outward thought or bias. We do find he has suspicion about the Sibyl system.
Akane Tsunemori is too smart for the job she has and the world she lives in. She is highly intelligent and could have had any job she wanted, yet she chose to work for Sibyl. Akane is a little naïve to the harsh realities of criminal justice under the Sibyl system at the beginning. She, with her own sense of justice, begins to see the flaws in the system and decides to find a way to challenge it from within.
The two do start their relationship with a rather contentious act. She stuns him with her service weapon on their first mission. He plays the role of senpai, trying to guide her into the life she’s chosen. At times she may be horrified by the job but he makes her face those realities because he wants to prepare her to lead. He grows to respect her and her outlook and opinions on the justice system. The two have a close bond, not only because they have to trust each other with their lives, but they both seem to have the same dream, they just are going about working toward it differently. Akane and Kougami don’t seem to have an attraction, either, just a deep-seated respect.
5. Mikasa and Eren from Shingeki no Kyojin [Attack on Titan]
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr. 2013- Sep. 2013
(The two would never see each other like that even if Mikasa is nursing a one sided crush)
The arrival of the titan centuries ago has forced humanity to live behind massive walls. A titan is a giant humanoid creature that is hard to kill and seems to take pleasure in devouring humans. The walls built by humanity hold the danger at bay and society continues but stagnates in a feudal system. A titian larger than anyone ever recorded peers over the outer wall and pulls down the stones allowing an invasion of the man-eating abominations. The humans flee deeper into their own territory made up of concentric walls hoping that the next wall will keep them safe.
Eren Yeager lost his family in the destruction of the Rose Wall and dedicated his life to the eradication of the titans by joining the Survey Corps. The Survey Corps is an elite group of soldiers that journeys outside the wall to combat the titans. Eren took his first two lives as a young man when he came across three men who had murdered a couple and were attempting to capture their daughter, Mikasa. He rescued Mikasa and his parents took her into their family. Eren also discovers after combating the titans he has the ability to transform into a titan and fight them on equal terms.
Mikasa is a quiet, stoic girl who doesn’t say much or ask much of others. Mikasa is also a skilled fighter. She is considered one of the best in her unit having killed numerous titans and the only way to kill a titan it to slice out a section at the nape of their neck, so the girl absolutely has skill. Mikasa is also devoted to Eren and always wants to protect her impulsive brother who charges into situations without thinking.
The bond between Eren and Mikasa seems to be unbreakable. He was her savior. She in turn endeavors to become his savior. She doesn’t even doubt him when it is revealed that he can transform into a titan. Her mission in life is to protect Eren from himself, others and the titans. Eren wants to protect Mikasa, too. He always stands up for her even though by the time they are in the army she is the far better fighter. We get the hint that Mikasa might have a crush on her adoptive brother but it’s not elaborated on. Eren doesn’t see Mikasa as anything more than a friend and a sister type. His vision since the fall of the Rose Wall is very narrow, too. Eren has one focus: to kill the titans and unravel the mystery of the titan menace; he doesn’t seem to consider romance for a single moment. The two are an amazing fight duo and have complete trust in each other.
Shingeki no Kyojin PV:
4.Naho and Suwa from Orange
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul. 2016- Sep. 2016
Regrets and guilt and the road not taken are all explored in Orange, the story of a group of friends who all receive letters from their future selves. The letters were pleas to stop a friend of theirs named Kakeru from committing suicide. The group of friends centered on handsome and athletic Suwa and quiet and sweet Naho try to find a way to change history and keep their friend with them in the future.
Naho is a sophomore in high school; she’s a quiet girl that spends her days with a tight-knit group of friends. She is drawn to her friend Kakeru. The crush she develops blooms into love. Because of the letter from her future self, she knows those feelings will end in heartbreak if she doesn’t act. The quiet girl who was never very confident finds a way to step up and plead with him as a friend to fight his destructive feelings. She fights for him because she not only wants to be there for him as a friend but also because she loves him. Suwa is Naho and Kakeru’s friend. He is a star on the soccer team and popular. He is even Kakeru’s best friend. He also received a letter from himself detailing the events leading up to Kakeru’s suicide. Suwa is determined to not let his friend die. He also knows now that event will devastate Naho. He will also do anything to save Naho that pain, even at the expense of his own happiness.
The relationship between Naho and Suwa is one on of deep friendship. Naho and Suwa have known each other for years whereas Kakeru is a transfer student. The small circle of friends they have pre-Kakeru includes three girls and two boys; there’s a delicate balance and no romance amongst them. Naho, given her lack of self-confidence, never considered that one of the guys would want to date her. Of course she was wrong. Suwa had been nursing a crush on sweet Naho for a while when she fell for Kakeru. He, having received a letter of his own from the future, knows that he and Naho are married and have a child. The two of them live a happy life but with the regret of not being able to save their friend. Despite knowing he will end up with the girl of his dreams if he does nothing, Suwa pushes Kakeru and Naho together and works his hardest to secure their happiness while sacrificing his own. He knows given his choice of saving his friend and the love of his life from a life of regret the only relationship they can have is one of friendship. It’s a choice he seems to make easily.
3. Subaru and Rem from Re: Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu [Re:Zero- Starting Life in Another World]
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr. 2016- Sep. 2016
Subaru finds himself in another world after getting killed while making a run to the convenience store. He wakes up in this new fantasy world and promptly is killed by some thugs. Subaru then wakes up again from his previous point of death. He is immortal. He can die an agonizing death, but after he dies he comes back with all the knowledge of the previous timeline. He meets and saves a silver-haired half-elf girl named Emilia. Subaru finds a way into the household of her guardian, Roswaal L. Mathers, and works as a butler of sorts, mainly because he is completely in love with Emilia. He also wants to protect her from the sinister forces gathering in her orbit.
The house where Emilia resides has two maids. Rem and Ram are twins, one with pink hair and one with blue hair. The petite meek-looking girls are half ogre. Ram really doesn’t like Subaru. The complete opposite can be said for her sister. Rem, though she warships and respects her twin sister, takes a liking to Subaru. She also only looks defenseless. Rem, as an ogre, can summon incredible strength that left unchecked leads to an intense bloodlust. She also has a way of talking that could be considered as superficially polite. We’ve sometimes heard it called “the retail voice,” the voice a person at the register uses to sound nice and polite even if they don’t think much of the customer.
Rem falls hard for Subaru after he saves her, regardless of his mere human strength. Subaru develops feelings for her as well but they never quite cross that threshold into romantic love. A remarkable almost episode-long monologue has Rem pour out her feelings to Subaru. She explains all the ways she loves him and what a calm, peaceful life filled with happiness and children they’d have if they ran away together. Subaru and Rem are friends, they get along and they care for each other both physically and emotionally; to any outsider the story Rem lays out is the most natural course of action. Rem has one person in her way to happiness: Emilia. Subaru is in love with Emilia. He is fixated on the half-elf girl. Subaru can’t see past Emilia to the perfect girl for him. He cruelly will continue to be as close to Rem as he would a lover but without crossing that line, even though she is in love with him and would gladly fill that role. The relationship by definition is platonic but it may not be exactly healthy.
Re: Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu PV
2. Satoru and Kayo from Boku dake ga Inai Machi [Erased]
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2016- Mar. 2016
Satoru Fujinuma is a 29-year-old struggling manga artist working as a delivery guy and trying to get his break. He also has the secret ability to rewind time. He calls his gift Revival. He has never jumped very far into the past and has only traveled a few minutes back each time he triggered the Revival. Satoru finds his mother murdered and the police think he did it so he activates his power to solve the mystery. This time the Revival is different as his mind travels back to his elementary school self. Satoru finds a connection between the murder of a classmate and his mother and knows if he can just find the murderer he can save his mother.
Kayo is Satoru’s classmate and in the first version of history that is all she is. She is a quiet girl who is found murdered and forgotten. The Revival version shows a different version of her, a version that the adult mind in the body of younger Satoru can see more clearly. Kayo is a quiet girl who shows up late to class and always looks a mess not because she a bad person, but because she is abused. Her mother and her mother’s boyfriend treat her terribly. She is ignored in class by the other kids because she is used to keeping a low profile and tries not to be noticed at home. She is a sweet girl who is simply yearning for someone to show her the smallest bit of kindness.
Satoru makes it his mission to include her and find ways to care for her. He wants to give her a fighting chance at life. The two gradually bond as they spend time together and become best friends by elementary school standards. She is suspicious of his kindness at first but gradually accepts and returns his feelings. The two even share an amazing evening in the snow under the stars as he tries to grant her wish of seeing a Christmas tree even though it already February. The level of trust they put in each other is on a very pure level. You could see that one day the two them could grow old together. You see them having a lifetime of memories together. You see all the possibilities they have before them as long as Satoru can change her fate.
1. Ikta and Yatorishino from Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin [Aldermin on the Sky]
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul. 2016- Oct. 2016
A lesson we learn in history is that all empires eventually fade; in our world the empires of Alexander the Great, the Romans, and the British eventually faded. The same is true for the Kativarna in the world of Aldermin on the Sky. The nation filled with corruption and a royal family with waning influence goes to war with the Republic of Kiokia to regain some of its glory. The war doesn’t go well and is simply in a stale mate that is bleeding the countries resources dry. Ikta is a brilliant young man trained in the new philosophy of science. He hates the army, he hates hard work, and he hates the royal family. Itka would rather be sleeping, studying or chasing women. Ikta may not be the strongest or most motivated commander but is able to make up for that with his tactical brilliance. He will also become the savior of the empire, after being drawn into the world of royals, the military and the war when he saves the emperor’s granddaughter.
Yatorishino Igsem is Ikta’s opposite in almost every way. She is a ferocious warrior, dedicated soldier, and because of her family’s special place as the swords of the empire she is completely loyal to the royal family. Yatorishino is also Ikta’s best friend. Ikta and Yatorishio meet as children when she was sent to study under Ikta’s father, an unconventional officer exploring the new field of science. The children were forced to fight for survival one night in a mountain cabin. It would become an event in their lives that cemented their trust and love for each other. We see the two as young adults and officers, still the best of friends. The two literally lean on each other, often resting back-to-back sharing their thoughts or a meal. We see after one brutal engagement Yatorishino gets lost in bloodlust. She stands victorious, covered in blood with the bodies of half a dozen men at her feet. Yatorishino seems lost in a trance, unable to let go of her swords until a simple touch of Ikta’s hand on hers lets her relax, drop her swords and collapse from exhaustion.
The best example of their bond is her response when Itka asks her, in front of a group of friends, what she would do if the empire she has sworn to serve told her to kill him. “First, I will do everything I can to kill Yatorishino. I’ll rip her soul, grind it to powder, and throw that powder on the flame so that she’ll never be reincarnated. After everything is done the one remaining part, the Igsem part, will kill you.” To further illustrate their incredible bond is Ikta’s response. “Then until the moment two blades sever my neck, I will mourn the loss of my friend.” We believe that this speech is the number one expression of their relationship and the perfect example of the deep and profound love they share.
Aldermin on the Sky PV
We appreciate deep relationships. The ability for two people to devote themselves to each other’s happiness and protection without sex getting in the way is divine. A spiritual connection on such a deep level is worthy of our envy. The characters on this list all seem to share that connection on one level or another. We also recognize that in some cases a crush might exist but not be shared and the person with the crush often resigns themselves to the idea of physical love never being an option. Still though, having that deeper relationship is just as rewarding. A couple that truly sees each other for who they are, past all the clothing and masks we typically put up, have connections that very few people do.