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Yay, another top 10 list. Or rather a top 12 list. Why 12?
Because I'm ripping off Nostalgia Critic sort of...
Because I can't bring myself to get rid of one of these entries to make it 10.
This is a list of my favorite anime relationships. And I'm not just talking about love relationships, although some of them are, in fact, on this list. But this isn't my Top Pairings List either, this is just a list of relationships that I really like to see and I think work really well, whether they be romantic, family, or friendship.
So, here we go, starting with number 12...
12. Sakura and Momiji - Binbougami ga!
This is an example of one of my favorite Love/Hate relationships, and for the most part, they work very well together (as two dueling, hateful enteties can get). These two never fail to get a laugh out of me at how absurd they can get, with Sakura trying everything in her power to keep her tremendous good fortune, and Momiji trying to do her job, when she wants to that is. Its nice to see how ridiculous these two can get, even after they have a nice sentimental or down moment. In terms of friendship, I favor Sakura and Rindou over these two, but when they get a nice moment together, especially in the last stretch of the anime, its very heartwarming. Its the best and funniest anime rivalry I can think of.
11. Ryoko and Ringo - Okami-san
No, I don't ship these two as yuri, but as one of my favorite friendships. I liked these characters the first moment I started watching Okami-san, and while there wasn't too much substance to their friendship in the beginning, you could sense the strong bond they had between them. It only got better from there, though. Once you found out about Ryoko's past and when Ringo explains her relationship with Ryoko to Ryoshi, it tugged at my heart strings. The flashback to when Ringo and Ryoko start to become friends is one of my favorite parts in the anime itself, and its so heartwarming. Whenever I see the confrontation they have and Ringo explaining to Ryoko that she doesn't have to be alone in her struggle and even though she's strong, she still wants a friend to stay by her side, I tear up. Its so great to see two different personalities share the same fears and concerns and try to help one another in their struggles. Its one of the best parts of the anime and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
10. Nodoka and Yue - Negima
This is a relationship that I ship as both a friendship and yuri pairing. Its really hard to choose which I prefer, because in both circumstances they are good, although the yuri pairing is more of a ship than anything. Unlike the above friendship, Nodoka and Yue's is actually put to the test in both the manga and the original anime adaptation. You know they've sucked you into a good character relationship when you feel the heartache when they fight or are having troubles; and that's exactly what I got when I saw them struggling. I always asked myself "Oh god, will they reconcile? Is everything going back to normal in the end?" Even though Nodoka didn't do as much as Yue did, since Yue helped her friend come out of her shell and confess her feelings, hiding her own, its still pretty cool to see Nodoka, in the end, apologize and help fix things between themselves. They were among my favorite girls in the class in the Negima roster and no matter what they go through, they always seem to overcome it and share a strong bond that impresses me.
9. Ran/Rachel and Shinichi/Jimmy - Detective Conan/Case Closed
While this would be higher on a pairings list, its semi-low on this list due to how hammered in its become in the course of the series, but I'll get to that in a minute. For what it is, the relationship between these two characters (whichever varation of their names you prefer to use) is lovely but very tragic. The fact that they both were so close to confessing their love to one another, or have in certain parts of the series (like Jimmy in Movie 4 or Rachel in Movie 8) makes it all the more painful when you realize that they cannot be together at the moment, and wonder if they ever will be able to. And even when they doubt the other still holds strong feelings, you can tell they both care for each other as strong as they always have, with Rachel always thinking of Jimmy, and Jimmy (as Conan) always protecting Rachel. This is lower on the list, though, because the formula of "Rachel pining after Jimmy" or "Rachel coming close to discovering Jimmy's secret and being fooled" has been used way too many times in the overall series, movies and OVAs included. Its not bad, but its been hammered in so much, I just wish they got more creative with it, with maybe Rachel actually being in on the secret and doing her best to help him get back to his original form. A nitpick, but a strong one. As character relationships go, this is definitely bittersweet.
8. Naru and Mai - Ghost Hunt
Another half and half one, in which I definitely support a romance, yet like it when they play off each other as a boss and coworker, or somewhat of a love/hate relationship. Mai is infatuated with Naru as the series goes on, but is repulsed by his big ego at times and yells at him when she thinks he is being too cold. And even through his tough and emotionless exterior, you feel that Naru does care about Mai in some way, protecting her at times and giving her advice. Whether or not he holds romantic feelings for her is up for fan debate, but for what it is, its a great comedic relationship that gets the fangirl feels stirred up inside me as well.
7. Sasami and Misao - Sasami: Magical Girl's Club
Essentially, I am talking about the Sasami and Misao from the spinoff from Tenchi Muyo since I have only seen that and not the rest of the Tenchi Muyo series. But, if the friendship is still the same in the adaptations before this, then they could fit along with this. For right now, though, I primarily mean the Sasami: Magaical Girls Club characters. While the first season didn't develop much for the bond they shared, it still introduced the two and made them very likable and their relationship enjoyable. It wasn't until Season 2 that their friendship was put to the test, and quite darkly too. Misao feels more at home with the competing team of witches and feels Sasami is not only winning over her love interest Monta, but that she doesn't want much to do with her. She gets wrapped up in Chief Sorceress's scheme and Misao's true worries come to light in a form of new dark power. And damn, is it dark! Much like Nodoka and Yue, I felt the heartache when Misao got caught up in the misunderstanding and their friendship is almost ruined because of it. But, much like any happy ending, the restore their bond in a lighthearted and cheerful way, and it made me all the more happy to view the whole series.
6. Ellis and Nadie - El Cazador de la Bruja
This is a pairing that I definitely ship, but even if you don't support a romantic relationship between these two, you still have a very touching friendship. What the strongest aspect of it is, at least what I think it is, is how protective Nadie is over Ellis even though Ellis is still her "bounty." She doesn't wish to turn Ellis in, at least not after she gets to know her. Through the course of their journey and the perils they face, their friendship is strengthened and its at a very natural pace. The pacing of the show itself was one of its greatest points, and in building the characters, they succeeded very well. Some of the more intense scenes, in which one is put in danger, seeing how the other reacts is actually touching at times. Ellis does grow to care very much for Nadie, even going so far as to putting her life on the line for Nadie's sake, and its the same for Nadie. The climax of the series, without spoiling, is one of the best, in my opinion, of any anime and is sad yet heartwarming. This is probably one of my favorite yuri pairings, but even when not a yuri pairing, their bond is so strong that it holds you throughout the course of the series.
5. Chikane and Himeko - Kannazuki no Miko
This is definitely a favorite pairing. What don't these two go through? They have heartwarming moments, they go through dark transformations and suffer through heartbreak, ultimately leading up to big battles and sad departures and confessions and...good God, they go through a lot. Which makes it all the better when you see the outcome and their strong relationship. Holy cow, its a lot to digest but it makes for great drama and a wonderful flowing story of love. If the anime was strong in anything, it was definitely the characters and the relationships between them, especially these two. They knew what to do to develop a romance between them and even include some strange dark elements (such as that infamous *rape* scene that still leaves me with a heavy heart when I see it...). Whether they be the ones committing the terrible acts or are the victims, you understand the strong love they have for each other. Chikane's jealousy is heartbreaking, but whats even more heartbreaking is how she wants Himeko to be happy and how fucked up she gets to be because she's putting her love first. Its heavy stuff, ending bittersweetly, but its enough to save the anime from being bland, and represents one of my favorite pairings of all time.
4. Hotaru and Chibi-Usa - Sailor Moon S
Not a common relationship that comes up when I talk of anime friendships. For what I did see of Sailor Moon S, I was very impressed with the relationship between these two. Sailor Saturn, along with Mercury, was always my favorite scout and after a while, I decided to watch the episodes in which her powers come to fruition; it was out of curiosity. What I didn't remember was Chibi-Usa becoming her friend and good God, did this have me squealing with fangirl delight. The scenes in which Chibi-Usa expresses her worry over Hotaru's epileptic fits is just too cute. And its such an odd relationship but it works. Even up until the bullshit ending of the arc, their friendship is one of the most adorable I have ever seen.
3. Switzerland and Liechtenstein - Hetalia
Keep your Germany and Italy, I'll take my Switzy and Liechtenstein anyday of the week! While I do NOT support them as a couple, I love the brother and sister relationship between them. Liechtenstein's backstory is kind of sad, and the fact that Switzerland took her in and fed her even when he couldn't feed himself is sweet. He looks out for her as a brother would, yet doesn't really know how to be an ideal role model. He wants to impress her but also wants to give her good life advice. And she's not dumb or airheaded, just more naive and innocent than most of the female countries in the series. Its cute but also nice to see a brother and sister relationship so strong in an anime that mainly has a major yaoi fanbase (and no, Russia and Belarus or Ukraine don't count)
2. Yui and Miaka - Fushigi Yuugi: The Mysterious Play
Fuck the romance, THIS is what kept me hanging on when watching Fushigi Yuugi! The most heartbreaking and heartwarming friendship in any anime I have ever seen. Even when I had the whole basic plot spoiled for me early on, I knew I wanted to know what happened to these two and if they would make up in the end. Normally, fights over stupid misunderstandings really irritate me, and while it did here as well, it was justified. It made for good drama and good mixed feelings between the two girls. They wanted their friend, but they also wanted the guy as well, and were fighting over winning him over. But more than that, one was fighting to hide her pain while the other was trying to prove her loyalty and that this was a whole misunderstanding. The pacing for it was magnificent. It wasn't "Oh I hate you" suddenly and then "I forgive you" in the next instance. They had to fight and struggle, which made you feel as if you were in the center of the problem. And even Yui in the beginning didn't want to fight, you can see her struggle internally to decide how she feels. Its not until some nudging from Nakago that Yui gets back on track of hating Miaka. And seeing Yui mad at her best friend (whom she's been friends with since freaking childhood!) from what she believes was abandonment really tore me up inside. Even when Miaka learns what had supposedly happened to Yui while she was away makes you see how much regret Miaka has for not supporting her friend at the correct moment. I could gush about this all day; bottom line, this is one of the most complex and yet relatable friendships I've ever seen in an anime, and it makes me want to rewatch the anime all over again just to see how everything plays out in the end.
1. Hana, Ame and Yuki - Wolf Children
Out of all the family relationships in anime, this takes the cake, and was perhaps one of the strongest parts of the entire movie. Its what made it a great family flick, with a lesson for both parents and kids. Well, maybe not "lesson" per se, but a "message"; that, inevitably, we all have to grow up and change, and follow our own path. Hana does everything in her power to make sure her children grow up happy, healthy and strong, as does every parent. And doing that with two half-wolf children can't be a walk in the park (especially with the father dead). She tries to make the right choices for her children to raise them well. But, she's not perfect. No parent is and its one of the likable parts of her; she's kind at heart and tries her best, but sometimes even that doesn't fix things or save the day. And even though her children become independent, especially as Ame grows to explore his wolf heritage more, she tries to hang onto the old days and do her best for them. And I'm sure that she felt selfish at times, wanting her children to stay at home (especially Ame) and be with her, but she also wanted them to go and live their own life. As a parent and person, she ultimately respects and supports that, even if it means letting go of her babies. That doesn't mean Ame didn't love her, or that Yuki was closer. The two are very close to their mother and love her; they also want to pursue their own lives and make their own choices. Its the most realistic family relationships in an anime I have ever seen, and still leaves me feeling both happy and melancholy in the end.
And that, my friends, was my top 10 12 anime relationships/friendships.
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