#1 Nagisa Furakawa x Tomoya Okazaki in Clannad: After Story (Anime, originally Visual Novel)
After only watching Clannad, maybe not everyone will immediately list Nagisa as his favorite Clannad girl (I didn’t). Just like Kanon (2006), Clannad is also an anime that is divided into 5-episode-arc that focuses on each heroine, so Nagisa like everyone else only get the spotlight in a few episodes, and was demoted to a side character in the rest of story.
Then, there is Clannad: After Story, the second season of Clannad, aptly named because it is literally Tomoya and Nagisa’s story after they got together. The strength of Clannad: After Story lies in the fact that it portrays romance between our main couple differently from 99% of other romance works, whether they be anime, manga, books, or movies. In your typical romance stories, writer try to make the plot interesting by orchestrating break ups, love triangles, new girls, etc in the plot. This is supposed to make the audience see how much hardships that the couple went through before finally getting a happily ever after ending. But what if a story has none of these?
Audience are treated to hardships that Tomoya and Nagisa faced as they married and live together in a new home. Both of them are exposed to the responsibilities that they must bear as a member of the society. Tomoya works hard in order to support his wife, while Nagisa learns how to be a good housewife. Several years later, they experienced for the first time what it means to be parents, and how to be responsible ones.
In short, After Story is one that narrates Tomoya and Nagisa’s quest for finding happiness, through overcoming numerous ups-and-downs of life, and finally by becoming a happy family in a town full of miracles.
#1 Makoto Itou x Kotonoha Katsura in School Days (Anime, Manga, originally Visual Novel)
In this beautifully written tragic love story, Makoto’s girlfriend, Kotonoha Katsura, remains faithful toward her boyfriend until the bitter end, enlightening fans of School Days with a shining example of what an ideal girlfriend should be. The story being told here is most saddening, and the morals to be learnt shout out loud right at its audience.
Even if the person you love loses sights of what are important, you should not lose faith. Believe in those you love, and you will be granted a satisfying conclusion.
On the odd chance that the results betrayed your beliefs, perform what must be done even if it is not something a normal person would commit too.
The not troll version of #1 is coming soon …
Would it be what everyone expects it to be? yes, pretty much any self-proclaimed anime fan can guess the #1 on this countdown already. If you guess wrong, well … sorry but you are not a real fan. I’ll take the trouble and write a few short paragraph about the couple anyways. Until later, have fun.
#2 Yuzuki Eba x Haruto Kirishima in Kimi no Iru Machi (Manga, Anime)
This manga is translated into A Town Where You Live in English. Notice the you (as in Kimi) in this usage usually refers to a girl, but can also refer to a guy. In this case, the town that was referred to in the first part of this story is Hiroshima, Haruto’s hometown, a place in which Yuzuki Eba seeks to find her first love in. The town in the second part of the story refers to Tokyo, Yuzuki’s hometown, a place in which Haruto moves to in order to win back his girlfriend Yuzuki. In the third phase of the story, the town refers to any place where both of them settle down, together. At least, that’s how I want to interpret this manga in a poetic way.
Now let’s get down to some facts.
Was this manga epic (in the sense of really poignant romance) in the first 100 chapters?
Yes. The progression of relationship between Yuzuki and Haruto is something fascinating to read.
Do I get the urge of punching the characters in KnIM at numerous occasions?
Without a doubt. I wanted to punch Haruto so many times throughout the manga, because of some of his stupid decisions, and Yuzuki as well for the same reason.
Is Haruto the biggest jerk in the world?
Well, maybe not the number 1 biggest jerk in the world, but he certainly is a big jerk. So what? Aren’t we all? Every man and woman is a jerk in relationships at times for whatever reason. And if you have never been a jerk, the chances are that you probably haven’t been in a relationship before. It’s fine being a jerk at odd occasions, but the important thing is to realize that you were a jerk and apologize to those people of whom you have hurt, or at least prioritize those of whom are dearest to you.
Does this manga becomes endlessly side-tracked by new characters/new love interests?
I wouldn’t deny it, but isn’t that the how it is with life? Haruto isn’t going to be stuck with the same friends his known since childhood forever, just like a normal person wouldn’t be. When he joins new clubs, work at new restaurants, or find new jobs, he meets new people, along with new female characters who are romantically interested in him. In the end, what is most important is staying with the person you love the most despite new (and old) temptations, and that is all.
Will Haruto and Yuzuki end up with each other?
If the majority of fans wish for it, YES. In this case, it is literally true because mangaka will always take what fans want into account (public demand and preference dictate what is being produced). That is, unless he wants to alienate every fan with an ending that is even more notoriously atrocious than Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai. Specials, he would make an ending where Haruto and Yuzuki is together. Rest assured.
A beautiful love story.
#3 Koyomi Araragi x Hitagi Senjougahara in Monogatari Series (Light Novel, Anime)
Senjougahara x Araragi
Time to talk about everyone’s favorite tsundere and half-vampire, Soujougahara and Araragi-kun. I think that everyone who has read the light novel or watched the anime would have a really hard time disagreeing with the chemistry that exist between these two characters.
Everything from their rapid-tongued, witty, and sarcastic exchange of phrases, Soujougahara’s cute tsundere tendency as well as Araragi’s “bravery and heroism”, and their perfect contentedness in forming a special “SM” relationship, do nothing but help to prove their perfect chemistry together as a couple. Fans are treated to even more goodness during the second season, where even though the couple’s screen time together is almost non-existent, still viewers become more convinced that they are perfect for each other.
Senjougahara becomes strong when she is with Araragi, so she can treat her love with Araragi as her first and only love.
Of course, Araragi may not be the ideal boyfriend, having a harem too many female friends who are excessively fond of him, even including his own sisters! However, Araragi maintains his faithfulness despite hanging out with his female friends more than he should be, simply because he’d have to be careful if his girlfriend is the fearsome stationary-wielding, sharp-tongued tsundere none other than Hitagi Senjougahara.
Yuuichi Aizawa x Ayu Tsukimiya in Kanon (2006) (Anime, originally Visual Novel)
Wait … what! Are you insane, bunny? You forgone one of the holy trinity in favor of Sword Art Online? Well, let me explain myself properly. While Kanon 2006 is one of the most beautiful and mind-fucking romance slice-of-life anime out there, the couples in it are not as strong. If I did not interpret it wrong, the main couple should be Ayu and Yuuichi. Yet, it is the couple that I feel have the least romantic compatibility. Certainly, I liked Shiori and Mai much better than Ayu. In the end, Kanon is one of the best romance slice-of-life anime, but the 5-episode-per-arc narration just doesn’t cut it for qualifying the main couple as one on this countdown.
Kazusa Touma x Haruki Kitahara x Setsuna Ogiso in White Album 2 (Anime, originally Visual Novel)
Rygart Arrow x Sigyn Erster in Break Blade (Manga, Anime)
Maybe I will change my mind if the manga actually does reach a conclusion. For now, let’s just say that too much angst and no result come from this relationship.
Ryouta Sakamoto x Himiko in Btooom! (Manga, Anime)
If it is the case that you are a hardcore RPG game nerd, there is a high chance that your game has an in-game feature that allows your character to be “married” to other players. On the off-chance that the players in real life are indeed the genre they claim to be in the game, there is perhaps one in a millionth of a chance that players who are married in game meet and fall in love with each other in real life, if they decide to meet in real life, that is.
Now, what are the chances that two players meet in real life in a life or death situation, and the male player saves the female player several times before they finally fall in love. Most amazingly, they are doing all this before they realized that they were married in game before.
Well, that is the case for Ryouta and Himiko, and I can’t say that I did not enjoy the hell out of it.
Lelouch Lamperouch x Shirley Fenette in Code Geass (Anime)
Yes. I am a huge fan of Code Geass, but I did say that hard-core shipping is not the point of this countdown, so I refrained from putting this on it. And while I get this chance, I want to ask a question that I always wanted to ask, “to all Kallen lovers, what is it that you love about her?” Cuz I am having a hard time still to see any good points about her, whether it be character design or voice acting.
Exa x Sheila in Superior (Manga) & Maou x Yuusha in Maoyuu Maou Yuusha (Manga, Anime)
Both manga focus on the “unconventional” relationship between our male Hero and female Demon Lord, because you know, there must be some deconstruction pieces for the millions of hero vs. demon lord fictions out there. Personally, I found the romantic relationship to be better done in Superior than Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, which focuses too much on the economics behind everything (but I can’t see I did not enjoy it since I am in ECON major).
Yui Hirasawa x Mio Akiyama in K-ON! (Light Novel, Anime, Manga)
Cuz yuri romance is not legit romance.
Brought to you by the funniest troll on MyAnimeList under the username of bunny_lover.
To all the candidates that fell short of being on the countdown.
Yuzuru Otonashi x Kanade Tachibana in Angel Beats! (Anime, Manga)
While these two certainly formed an unbreakable camaraderie at the end of their afterlife experience, it is doubtful that the feelings elevates to that of romantic attractions. Perhaps in their next life they can give romance a try together.
Ranka Lee x Alto Saotome x Sheryl Nome in Macross Frontier (Anime)
If you haven’t realized from the header, Macross Frontier actually ends the anime with a love triangle. While this might be a wise move from the producers that does not piss off neither camp of shippers, it does disqualify any couple from being on this countdown.
Houtarou Oreki x Eru Chitanda in Hyouka (Light Novel, Anime) & Hachiman Hakigaya x Yukino Yukinoshita in Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. (Light Novel, Anime, Manga)
Regrettably, the disadvantage of having awesome male leads who dislike doing anything that use up “energy” (resembles me in every way possible; a synonym for introvert) is that the male leads will never make the first move even if they are given plenty of signs, as well as they tend to meet female leads that are just as shy, if not more so.
You could not fathom how much I want a second season for both of these series.
Junpei Manaka x Tsukasa Nishino in Ichigo 100% (Manga, Anime)
To be fair, the main couple does end up with each other in the end. However, as aptly titled by the mangaka, this show is more about the “high school harem of Junpei Manaka” than romantic development between any specific couple.
Moka Akashiya x Tsukune Aono in Rosario to Vampire (Manga, Anime)
To put the main couple from the epitome of harem anime/manga is to destroy the validity of my top pairing list with my own hand. This is something I’d rather not do.
Shu Ouma x Inori Yuzuriha in Guilty Crown (Anime)
I have something to tell the script writer of this anime (Hiroyuki Yoshino [also creator of Seikon no Qwaser] I am looking at you!). If you are going to have a character design as flawlessly created as Inori Yuzuriha, do not. I repeat, DO NOT. pair her up with a male lead who might just as well be Shinji Ikari the second.
Taiga Aisaka x Ryuuji Takasu in Tora Dora! (Light Novel, Anime, Manga) & Holo x Kraft Lawrence in Spice and Wolf (Light Novel, Anime, Manga)
I can make up a million excuses to justify why these two couples are not on the countdown, but the most reasonable excuse is that … I haven’t watched these shows yet. I know. It is shocking, but I haven’t seen Spice and Wolf and Tora Dora! yet. Oh well, expect them in the future when I decide to make another version of this countdown.
#4 Okabe Rintarou x Makise Kurisu in Steins;Gate (Anime, Manga, originally Visual Novel)
“Hyouin Kyouma” x “Christina”
There is a common expression, “opposites attract”, which applies to pretty much everything in life, including relationships. Well, much like how the central plot of Steins;Gate focuses on defying time and space (time-space!), the relationship between male and female leads, Okabe and Kurisu, is one where two shining examples of tsundere actually got together, defying the “likes repel” rule.
Indeed, how can two tsundere even talk without getting into arguments? The thing is, they argue with each other 90% of the time, and the remaining 10% is made up of Kurisu spewing out scientific explanations and Okabe pretending that he understands them. Somehow, this relationship works, and it is bloody brilliant! Furthermore, let’s not discount the fact that our one and only mad scientist “Hyouin Kyouma” risked his original worldline to save Kurisu, while Kurisu returns the favor by preventing him from disappearing later.
Love that transcend Time and Space? Check!
#5 Hiro Hirono x Miyamura Miyako in ef: A Tale of Memories. (Anime, Manga, originally Visual Novel)
Out of the 4 main couples of ef series, the pairing that I like the most is Hiro and Miyako. Ironic that this pairing is definitely the least unfortunate couple (you will know what I mean if you watched both seasons of ef series), and for most parts the relationship didn’t suffer too much angst (well a little bit).
Hiro and Miyako works well as a couple because of their character chemistry, and how easily and comfortably they can talk and spend time with each other. They’ve met their fair share of emotional trauma and obstacles along the way. In the end, they’ve discovered a fundamental truth about love. If two people enjoy spending time together and think of each other when they are apart, isn’t that already enough reason to love each other?
And so they did.
#6 Haru Glory x Elie in Groove Adventure Rave (Manga)
Haru x Elie
If you have never heard of Groove Adventure Rave or also called Rave Master, suffice to know that it is the predecessor of Fairy Tail (by the same mangaka), with much more superior story, less fan-service, and epic fights that make Fairy Tail looks silly in comparison. Besides from all that, objectively, one thing that it has and not a lot of other battle shounen has done is (light) romance. I have to admit that placing this couple as high as #6 on this countdown is mostly due to my fanboyism toward this manga.
However, if a guy and a girl spent 300 chapters worth of time together on an epic quest, naturally some sort of romance would develop between them, right? Being a battle shounen manga, Haru also saves Elie in an epic manner (of course, while saving the world in the process) while spewing out some cool lines that is characteristic of shounen. Honestly, Haru and Elie’s relationship epitomizes in the very last page of this manga, something so unexpected yet so appropriate that it would surely put a smile on reader’s face.
#7 Emiru Ikuno x Tatsuhiko Kido in Nozoki Ana (Manga)
Emiru x Kido
People form different kinds of relationship with each other. They vary from families, friends, acquaintances, lovers, and apparently, individuals who are form perverted relationships with each other. However, sometimes even perverted relationships may develop into unbreakable love.
The development of relationship between Emiru and Kido is a tale of betrayal, perversion, and primal desires. However, even though they were hurt in the process many times, they also experienced warmth, safety, and comfort from each other. In the end, both characters were able to overcome their surroundings and their pasts because the strength of their love.
#8 Kensuke Nimura x Kagura Tsuchimiya in Ga-rei (Manga, Anime[Ga-rei: Zero])
Kensuke x Kagura
In the under-rated and under-exposed manga known as Ga-rei, we have our female lead, a cold, determined spirit-exterminator Kagura and our male lead Kensuke, who is a noobie at the supernatural business and only qualifies as an exterminator because of his supernatural sight ability. While Kagura does not fall into the emotionless girl clone of Ayanami Rei stereotype, she might as well be exactly that in terms of romance at the beginning of the story.
Well, how does Kensuke gets someone like Kagura to date him? Simple. Beat the shit out of final boss after solving the mystery in the most epic form possible, all the while saving the world and arguably more importantly, Kagura. Oh and did I mention that his sword is one that can cut through time and dimension if the heroine needs to be saved?
#9 Taichi Yaegashi x Himeko Inaba in Kokoro Connect (Anime, Light Novel)
Taichi x Inaba
If you have never before experienced love and purely rely on anime, manga, or other works of fiction to interpret a hard-to-describe experience like love, you might be deluded into thinking that most people will find their soul mate in their first romantic experience. In the real world, the lifetime long partner that you end up with may not be your first love. In fact, it is rare that someone does spend a lifetime with her first love (definitely not the case for me anymore). Fortunately, we have something like Kokoro Connect to illustrate this point (given that you have watched Kokoro Connect: Michi Random).
Love may not work out in the first try. That’s fine. Accept the fact that it didn’t work out and treasure the memories. You might just find that special someone who does happen to be your soul mate on the next try. In this case, Taichi x Inaba.
#10 Ryousuke Kaga x Lisara Restall in Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai. (Light Novel, Anime, Manga)
A lot of you might be wondering just why the hell is a couple from an ecchi show on the list, but I have my reasons. Despite Ryousuke’s deeply rooted enthusiasm in eroticism, he remains faithful to his only love, Lisara, and is not shy to express it (both his love and his faithfulness). Again, we as audience are treated to a character who never loses sight of what he truly love and stick to that mindset firmly. Even if several girls fall for him, frequently tempting him with fan-service that would make any man veer off course, he still proudly keeps his eyes only on Lisara. Of course, it helps that his love interest is a red-haired, scythe-wielding sexy demon tsundere.
In the end, it would be most bizarre if Lisara did not fall for Ryousuke. After all, we are talking about a guy who dares to tell his crush that “size doesn’t matter” with a convincing voice that implies he meant it right after Lisara loses out on a breast-size contest.