Top Anime Love Stories

Power Couples of Japanese Animation

From science fiction thrillers to childhood adventures, anime (Japanese animation) comes in many forms and genres. But no matter the classification, almost every anime series involves a love story featuring a power couple who will stop at nothing to see love win.

This list of the greatest anime love stories features characters from every genre, from teen anime adventure Inuyasha to the adult-themed Cowboy Bebop. Throughout each series, the couples must overcome super villains and impossible odds to stay together and give love a chance. Perfect for Valentine's Day or any day, you can tune into some of these anime series and watch their romances unfold.

of 09

Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask ("Sailor Moon")

Kodansha Comics

Originally airing from 1992 to 1997, the "Sailor Moon" anime was based on a manga (Japanese comic book) by Naoko Takeuchi which came out concurrently with the series. 

The series follows schoolgirl Usagi Tsuiko as she uncovers the secret to her power as Sailor Moon. Joined by the other Sailor Soldiers (all named after planets), Sailor Moon takes on evil all while she faces growing up as Usagi Tsuiko when not fighting bad guys.

In later episodes, the character of Tuxedo Mask appears and becomes a source of romance for the now young adult Sailor Moon. And we admit it, she's whiny and he's grumpy, but who doesn't know a few couples just like that? And where love is concerned, this anime couple is a match made in heaven. All in all, these two were made for each other — you know, planets aligning and stuff like that.

of 09

Vegeta and Bulma ("Dragon Ball Z")

Vegeta and Bulma from "Dragon Ball Z". Toei Animation

Another children's anime from the same time period was the highly popular "Dragon Ball Z," which originally aired in the United States on Cartoon Network in 1998 as part of their afternoon block of animated programming called "Toonami." 

This show is appropriate for TV-Y7 (meaning viewers 7 and over) and features one of my favorite anime couples: Vegeta and Bulma. Their energy is dynamic on screen and although most people assumed the intelligent and cool-headed (mostly) Bulma would choose Yamcha, the love between her and the hot-tempered Vegeta is a joy to watch unfold. 

It's one of those situations where you know that Bulma's frustration and reaction to Vegeta's arrogance and his arrogance in the face of her rejection are just classic "hard-to-get" tactics by both as they resist their inevitable love for one another. 

of 09

Miaka and Tamahome ("Fushigi Yuugi")

Miaka and Tamahome from "Fushigi Yuugi". Studio Pierrot

"Fushigi Yuugi" was a short-run anime series spanning two seasons and 52 episodes and airing only on Japanese television from 1995 to 1996 but re-released to English markets in 2012 and 2013. 

This is one of those anime love stories that would make a great made-for-tv-movie. In the show, Miaka is mysteriously transported into a book where she is attacked by a group of men. Tamahome comes to her rescue being the stand-up guy that he is.

Sparks fly, romance happens. But it's only later, after playing her protector for a while, that Tamahome realizes the love of his life is right in front of him. All together now... "aww!"

of 09

Ai and Yota ("Video Girl Ai")

Aota and Ai in "Video Girl Ai". I.G. Tatsunoko

When Yota discovers his love for Moemi isn't mutual, he sadly rents a video to cheer himself up. That's where he meets Ai Amano. Stepping out of his television, Ai tells Yota she's there to help. Of course, you can guess what happens next... Ai and Yota fall madly for each other.

This wouldn't be so bad except that Ai is a "video girl" and she has a limited running time before she'll disappear forever. How's that for a romantic twist? 

Only running six episodes in length, this short OVA series beautifully captures one of the earliest animated references to love between artificial intelligence and human partners.

of 09

Keitaro and ??? ("Love Hina")

Keitaro and Naru in "Love Hina". Xebec

A truly funny anime series, Love Hina revolves around Keitaro, a young college wanna-be who's soul mate moved away when they were only kids. Before that last parting, the two made a promise to find each other again at Tokyo University.

Keitaro still remembers his promise and has every intention of keeping it. Unfortunately, he can't remember his love's name and he's having a little trouble getting accepted at TU. Now that's true love!

Fortunately, the matter is cleared up when he does finally get into Tokyo University and the love story that evolves is truly magnificent to behold. 

of 09

Tenchi and His Harem ("Tenchi Universe")

Tenchi's Many Suitors in "Tenchi Universe". AJC/VAP

One of my favorite anime shows all around, the series originally aired as 6 OVAs in 1992 but was later expanded into "Tenchi Universe" with a retelling of the same adventure in an updated format.

In both, Tenchi is your average guy until he discovers that he's descendent of the planet Jurai's royal family. Suddenly, Tenchi is quite the popular guy as the girls just seem to flock his way. Not romantic in the "deep love" sense, but Tenchi's "cluelessness" when it comes to dealing with his love-struck harem make it well worth the mention.

of 09

Spike and Julia ("Cowboy Bebop")

Spike and Julia in "Cowboy Bebop". Sunrise Studio

Though their love was destined to fail from the get-go, it's a love story nonetheless. Spike travels the galaxy doing what he does best and yet Julia is somehow always somewhere close by. Star-crossed lovers that just can't seem to find the right time, planet, or circumstances populate this 26-episode cult classic anime. 

The styles, characters, soundtrack, voice cast, and animation have all received great critical praise as well as numerous awards in science fiction. A truly compelling story, regardless of the romance, this series is definitely worth checking out. 

of 09

Kaoru and Kenshin ("Rurouni Kenshin")

Kaoru and Kenshin in "Rurouni Kenshin". Aniplex and Fuji TV

A classic romance, Kenshin finds strength when he thinks of Kaoru and she gets jealous anytime he pays attention to another woman. They fight, they yell and they pretend they could care less about one another. But we know differently, don't we?

Another cult classic anime, "Rurouni Kenshin" aired on Cartoon Network's popular "Toonami" anime block alongside Dragon Ball Z. Though the series never garnered much commercial success in the states, its popularity in Japan led to the release of several movies and many more mangas in the franchise since the show's first premier.

of 09

Inuyasha and Kagome ("Inuyasha")

Inuyasha and Kagome in "Inuyasha". Sunrise Studio

Perhaps one of the longest and most endearing anime love stories, "Inuyasha" follows a modern 15-year-old schoolgirl Kagome as she accidentally (or because of fate) falls back in time to feudal japan where she meets a wolf demon and human hybrid named Inuyasha.

Together the two venture off with new friends in search of shard pieces to Inuyasha's ultimate power. The title character's womanizing mannerisms and contempt for humans paired with Kagome's ancestral ties to Inuyasha's destiny — including being able to command him to "sit" — make for really fun romance. This series is definitely worth the watch!