5 Worst Anime Relationships
by Jacki Jing & Lynzee Loveridge,
Anime, and fiction in general, can be a lot different things. You can meet characters that inspire you to be a better person, go on a fantastic adventure with a group of friends, learn to appreciate a new skill or sport, and maybe even meet the hero that gives you butterflies.
Then there's this week List, which promises to give you absolutely none of that. This is a crash course of in what NOT to do when trying to build a loving, supportive relationship. As Lady Gaga would say, these characters are caught in a “bad romance” and it's time to stage an intervention.
5. Love Hina – Love Hina was one of the most popular romcoms in the 2000s. The premise is simple enough. College-age guy Keitaro fails to pass the entrance exams to Tokyo University, gets kicked out by his parents, and goes to live with his grandma only to discover she's turned her hotel into a boarding house for women. His grandma makes him the manager thus cementing Keitaro's unenviable position as a comedy-punching bag.
Much of Love Hina's comedy is built around Keitaro's relationship Naru, one of those hotel's tenants. Naru and Keitaro's relationship dynamics would be considered pretty dated now, but back when the show premiered it was pretty common to have a well-meaning guy continually get into accidentally erotic or sexual situations with the female characters just to have them beat the crap out of him. It was a wacky, slapstick element and way to add some fanservice to a show without making guy an actual creep (even if all the girls keep calling him one). I'm happy this sort of thing went out of style because how can you root for a couple where one is constantly wailing on the other over every little thing?
4. Death Note – Misa never stood a chance of living happily-ever-after with Light. The guy isn't interested in anyone but himself anyway, making Misa little more than a pawn for his ambitions. Misa, on the other hand, is fully devoted to Light and believes in his vision. Any romantic ideas though are entirely one-sided. The two might as well be opposites to start with: Misa is outgoing and has a successful idol career but isn't particularly academic. Light, meanwhile, is always thinking three steps ahead of everyone else. For him, Misa is easy to manipulate and her feelings for him just make it easier. The only thing the two have in common is moral ambiguity; neither seems to take much issue in subverting the police and their investigations if it means Light can continue acting as Kira and killing criminals.
It's easy to feel bad for Misa since her feelings for Light are genuine but she's manipulative, too. She makes sure Light knows that if he were to ever date anyone else, she'd have them killed. Light and Misa really shouldn't be dating ANYONE.
3. OREIMO – Where do we start here? I guess we can't talk about OREIMO without first acknowledging the elephant in the room. Brother-sister romantic couples aren't exactly rare in anime. Usually there's about a hair of separation; the pair are actually step-siblings, one of characters is actually adopted, or they're cousins and just refer to one another as “sister” or “brother”. OREIMO doesn't have plausible deniability: Kyosuke and Kirino are blood-related. They have the same parents. They are 100% siblings.
And while initially their possible relationship seemed more like comedy fodder than anything resembling a serious possibility, the anime managed to alienate plenty of its fans when it decided to rip the Band-Aid off and commit to its...well lead couple. Kuroneko was RIGHT there, guys.
2. Future Diary – Most of you guys have probably heard the term “tsundere” to describe an anime character. Typically “tsundere” refers to someone who acts serious on the outside but secretly has lovey-dovey feelings on the inside. These are the characters that cross their arms and say things like, “It's not like I like you, or anything!” Then there's tsundere's dark, scary cousin, yandere.
The easiest way to describe yandere is an obsessive stalker that would just die to be with you, or might kill you if you don't agree to be with them. Future Diary is already an anime about contestants killing one another to become a god, so this was never going to be a bright and cheery show. Yuki finds himself in the middle of it and his only chance at survival is pairing up with his self-proclaimed stalker-turned-girlfriend Yuno. Yuno is OBSESSED with Yuki and has no issue torturing or murdering anyone that threatens him. She also scares the absolute crap out of him most of the time but how is Yuki supposed to make a clean escape from someone like Yuno? Future Diary plays a lot of its dark content for spectacle and tries to sell Yuki and Yuno's relationship as something romantic in an ride-or-die kind of way. Can someone, anyone, call an adult?
1. The Rising of The Shield Hero – Shield Hero has gotten its fair share of criticism for its underlying messages about women and its main character Naofumi, who isn't exactly the noblest of heroes, to say the least. Instead of opening that whole can of worms, we're going to open a different one: Naofumi and the relationship with his devoted...slave Raphtalia. Now, I know what you're thinking, Naofumi did try to release Raphtalia from her bonds and she instead chose to continue as his property. Point acknowledged and I'm going to go ahead and heavily side-eye that plot contrivance. Relationships in fiction do not have to perfect. No one would still be talking about Friends if Ross and Rachel had it all worked out from episode one. That said, removing autonomy from either person—where one person literally owns the other—isn't even a relationship.
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