Shikimori’s Not Just A Cutie features the titular Shikimori, an incredibly athletic girl whose skills border on superpowers. Her boyfriend is the frail and clumsy Izumi who she has to constantly protect from life-threatening danger.
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While they’re a cute couple who defies traditional gender dynamics in anime, the relationship often does have the same problem as many shonen anime couples. The relationship often feels completely imbalanced due to how much Shikimori does for Izumi with very little in return. They’re certainly very cute, but Izumi needs to find more ways to help out Shikimori in the future.
Ishigami and Iino
The secondary characters from Kaguya-Sama, the shut-in pessimist Ishigami and strict genius Iino, don’t seem like a natural romantic fit. However, their chemistry has become clearer in the third season.
While currently in the anime Yu’s affections are directed at his upperclassmen Tsubame, he and Iino have been hinted at as a future couple all season. The two have a perfect “rivals to lovers” arc that they’re currently in the middle of, and both students could stand to learn something from the other.
Yor and Loid Forger
Yor and Loid Forger are an assassin and spy who need a partner to help them with their respective careers. Even in the anime, their relationship clearly is growing into something more.
Complete families are rarely the focus of anime, but Yor and Loid Forger and their adorable daughter Anya have carved themselves a fantastic niche in the genre. The trope of two people pretending to be a couple and eventually falling in love is a pretty classic one without being totally overdone, and Yor and Loid are one of the most unique executions of the trope.
Tsukasa and Nasa
On what protagonist Nasa thought would be his deathbed, he was saved by a girl that he instantly fell in love with: Tsukasa. When he later asked her if she would go out with him, she responded that they’d need to get married.
The married life of Tsukasa and Nasa in Tonikawa follows their development as a beginning couple and married couple at the same time, considering it’s Nasa’s first real relationship and they get married in the very first episode. The two are a fun comedic duo in a bizarre but adorable comedy anime about married life.
Komi and Tadano
Tadano, the protagonist of Komi Can’t Communicate, is an empathetic and kind boy who on his first day of school runs into the titular Komi, a girl with severe social anxiety.
Together, Komi and Tadano work to make Komi many friends and help her overcome any issues her social anxiety gives her in everyday life. The quiet Komi and empathetic Tadano are surrounded by an outrageous cast of characters that help cause both halves of the couple to grow as people.
Legoshi and Haru
One night, the normally kind wolf Legoshi has a rare ravenous moment and nearly accidentally devours his fellow student Haru. From there, the two form an unlikely bond and grow together throughout the series.
Legoshi is one best slice-of-life anime protagonists of all time, and Haru is a great supporting character with her own unique ideals and personality. The two have one of the best dynamics of any slice-of-life couple out there that tackle plenty of unique themes on class and gender that can only be tackled in a show like Beastars.
Gojo and Marin
The protagonist of My Dress-Up Darling, a hina doll worker and student named Gojo, begins the show’s main relationship by making clothes for his classmate and aspiring cosplayer Marin.
Marin and Gojo are a great example of an anime couple that doesn’t feel one-sided at all. Both Gojo and Marin have a romantic interest in one another from the beginning and both are constantly getting fulfilling things from their relationship. Marin helps Gojo break out of his shell, while Gojo uses his skills and creativity to help Marin live her dream.
Tohru and Kyo
Towards the start of Fruits Basket, the orphaned Tohru ended up living with the mysterious Sohma family, each cursed to occasionally transform into animals of the zodiac.
After living with an anime family even stranger than the Forgers in the Sohmas, Tohru naturally became close to the inhabitants of the home. While she made friends among the Sohmas, she also met the fiery Kyo who represents the mysterious cat zodiac. Despite the Sohma curse and plenty of drama along the way, Kyo and Tohru live happily ever after.
Kaguya and Miyuki
Kaguya and Miyuki are the vice president and president of an elite school’s student council. The two clearly have feelings for one another, but their pride won’t allow them to initially admit it.
Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War is one of the best comedy anime of the 2020s, and it has two of the funniest protagonists possible. Watching Kaguya and Miyuki’s feelings for one another grow is one of the best parts of the series. Both are geniuses whose main weakness is each other, and all their battles of wit are hilarious to see.
Nagisa and Tomoya
Clannad and Clannad: After Story follow the sickly Nagisa and delinquent Tomoya from their teen years to early adulthood as they grow as people and family.
No other anime tells the journey of a couple quite as beautifully as Clannad, and the growth of both characters to adults is both beautiful and heart-wrenching. Tomoya is arguably one of the most beloved protagonists in all of anime, and he and Nagisa endure so much, especially regarding Nagisa’s illness, that it’s impossible to not root for them.