March 08, 2006

Cute Anime Couples

Following up on my sister's post about television/movie couples (in which she mentions Mikako and Noboru from Voices of a Distant Star as the "most touching, even transcendent" pairing), here are a few more thoughts about anime couples.

Hands down, the cutest anime couple is Keiichi and Belldandy from Ah! My Goddess. Keiichi dials a wrong number and gets the "Goddess Help Line," is granted a wish, and wishes for Belldandy, the Goddess, to be his girlfriend. My new favorite couple, though, is Chiaki and Bob from Tenjou Tenge. Tenjou Tenge is another one of those Battle Royale/Lord of the Flies martial arts series, in which the high school (or the entire school district, as in Ikki Tousen) is run by a brutal student government (adults nowhere to be found). In fact, Tenjou Tenge is Ikki Tousen, but without all the confusing allusions to medieval Chinese history.

The relationship between Chiaki and Bob is introduced as a fait accompli when we meet them (they're living together), so right off we've dispensed with all the "She loves me, she loves me not" prevarications that drag down most anime romances. But what makes Bob and Chiaki so loveable is Bob's Japanese/American/African/Hispanic ancestry. Although the writers can't resist some obvious stereotypes (Bob is as big as a Mack truck, to start with), his phenotypical foreignness allows him to be openly affectionate and loyal to Chiaki, and she equally devoted to him. It is easily one of the most satisfying relationships in all of anime.

Also tied for first are Makoto and Saki from Genshiken. In the first episode, Saki falls hard for Makoto, and they're pretty much hooked up by the second. The problem is, Makoto is an otaku of the first order. A cute otaku, to be sure, but as devoted to video games and anime as he is to her. Their relationship isn't as solid as Chiaki and Bob's, but this is to be expected, since much of the humor comes from Saki's efforts to either adapt to the otaku lifestyle, or wean Makoto away from it. But they're actually allowed to behave like college students, rather than bashful teenagers on a perpetual first date.

Runners up include Ranma and Akane, who are declared"engaged" by their fathers but, of course, can't stand each other. (Ranma additionally suffers from that annoying little curse that turns him into a girl whenever he's doused with cold water). They're contenders for couplehood in the first season, but since the relationship never proceeds past the sit-com premise, they get boring as a pair. Kaoru and Aoi from Ai Yori Aoshi suffer a similar fate. The first four episodes are top notch, but then the series turns into a low-brow "harem" comedy, and the viewer is left to muse about what might have been.

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# posted by Anonymous Anonymous
4/02/2006 1:47 PM   
I'd add Jinto and Lafiel from Banner of the Stars.