Get Your Freak On: Anime & Manga’s Strangest Human/Non-Human Romances

Some of the most fun anime series involve romantic relationships between humans and non-humans, such as Tohru Honda and Kyo Sohma from Fruits Basket and Chia and Hideki Motosuwa from Chobits. A few interspecies couples in anime stand out due to how bizarre the pairing is, so here’s a list of some of the best yet odd human/non-human couples in anime and manga.

Riiko Izawa & Night Tenjou - Absolute Boyfriend

Night and Riika meet for the first time in Vol 1 of the manga.

Absolute Boyfriend is a shojo rom-com manga created by Yuu Watase (Fushigi Yugi and Arata: The Legend). Watase takes a step away from her standard fantasy manga to present a modern-day love story about a woman and a cybernetic doll. Riiko Izawa never had a boyfriend and is constantly rejected by every single crush she had. She decides to order a cybernetic doll to relieve her romantic failures but eventually falls in love with the doll she named “Night Tenjou.”

There are many series involving unrealistic romances between real-life humans and robots, where the robot either acts more human or the person puts human emotions onto the robot. However, what makes Absolute Boyfriend stand out is the ending depicts a more realistic portrayal of the consequences when a human falls in love with a robot.

Kobayashi & Tohru - Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is a slice-of-life manga series by Coolkyousinnjya. One evening, a drunk Kobayashi frolicks around the mountains and encounters a dragon from another world. Kobayashi takes out a holy sword from the dragon’s back. The dragon, Tohru, is grateful for Kobayashi’s action and returns the favor by acting as her housekeeper. However, Tohru causes more trouble than intended.

The romance between Kobayashi and Tohru is subtle. Tohru has a crush on Kobayashi, and although she doesn’t explicitly reciprocate those feelings, Kobayashi appreciates Tohru for everything she does. The good thing about their relationship is that Tohru transforms into a human, so she blends in within society; however, as a significant other, the challenges in the relationship comes from the fact that you have to teach her how to act "human."

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Nagasumi Michishio & Sun Seto - My Bride Is a Mermaid

This is the cover of My Mermaid is a Bride.

In Tahiko Kimura’s My Bride Is a Mermaid, Nagasumi Michishio is saved by a mermaid, Sun Seto. Unfortunately, Nagasumi must be executed because he learned of Sun's identity. To escape death, Nagasumi and Sun marry one another. The story centers on how this couple adjusts to marriage life while having in-laws who act like the Yakuza, plotting Nagasumi's death.

My Bride is a Mermaid is a wholesome rom-com. Like the other series, My Bride Is a Mermaid focuses on making an interspecies relationship work despite the differences in physical nature and emotional well-being. Furthermore, My Bride Is a Mermaid is fun to watch because you get the perspective of outsiders who disapprove of interspecies mingling.

Kimihito Kurusu & His Monster Housemates - Monster Musume

Monster Musume Kimihito and cast

Monster Musume is a harem rom-com created by Okayado. The series is set in a world where magical creatures, known as "liminals," exist. They are protected by the government, which passed the "Interspecies Cultural Exchange Act." Magical creatures can act as foreign exchange students, learning about human culture and society. One day, Kimihito Kurusu accidentally receives a liminal on his doorstep, even though he didn’t volunteer for this exchange program. Kimihito decides to take Miia -- a lamia -- under his wing. Soon after, he's a caretaker for multiple liminals. Plus, his world turns upside-down when the government announces he’s required to marry one of them as a social experiment, which results in all the liminals trying to gain his love.

Monster Musume is a prime example of interspecies relationships. It’s difficult to select just one relationship in this series, since each female liminal has her unique qualities, making her relationship with Kimihito oddly amusing. Monster Musume does shed light on the importance of understanding one another, even if you come from different species.

Ban & Elaine - The Seven Deadly Sins

Elaine saves Ban

The Seven Deadly Sins by Nakaba Suzuki tells the story of the titular group of knights, who were framed for a coup within the Liones Kingdom. The third princess, Elizabeth Liones, gathers the group together, alongside their leader, Meliodas, in hopes that they can clear their name and stop the Holy Knights. In The Seven Deadly Sins, one romantic relationship stands out: Ban, an immortal human, and Elaine, a fairy.

Throughout The Seven Deadly Sins, Ban and Elaine have intimate moments that are more cringe-worthy and over dramatic than romantic. It also has fans question how these two can magically fall in love so quickly. However, viewers can appreciate the devotion the two have for one another, as they are willing to sacrifice their lives to protect their loved ones. For instance Elaine gives the "Fountain of Youth" to Ban, and Ban resurrects Elaine by giving up his immortality.

Nishiki Nishio & Kimi Nishio - Tokyo Ghoul

This is Nishiki and Kimi.

In Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul, ghouls secretly live among the human population. Ghouls look and act like humans, but to survive, they eat human flesh, making it seem impossible for them to have civil relationships with humans. However, that isn't the case for a ghoul named Nishiki Nishio and a human being named Kimi Nishio.

Strangely, Nishiki falls in love with a human, even though humans are prey to ghouls. However, they have a strong relationship, as Kimi accepts Nishiki’s ghoul side. The only real issue now is how their children will adjust to having an interspecies identity. However, they don’t have to worry since they can get parenting advice from Ken Kaneki, since he’s half-ghoul and half-human.

King Bradley & Mrs. Bradley - Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

The main premise of Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist is that Edward and Alphonse Elric search for the Philosopher’s Stone so that they can return Alphonse to his original body after failing to revive their dead mother. However, they encounter Homunculi, who constantly foil their plans. One particular Homunculi relationship in Fullmetal Alchemist that’s disturbing is the one between King Bradley and Mrs. Bradley.

King Bradley is a Homunculus named “Wrath.” Unlike Nishiki and Kimi, King Bradley keeps his identity a secret to his wife. What’s disturbing about their relationship is that they "play house" with their adopted son, Selim Bradley, who is also the Homunculus Pride. King Bradley presents himself as a "family man,"  but in reality, he has a dark past and committed heinous crimes throughout his life.

Chise Hatori & Elias Ainsworth - The Ancient Magus’ Bride

The Ancient Magus’ Bride is a fantasy romance series by Kore Yamazaki. Chise Hatori lived a difficult life, and she's sold as a slave to a mysterious mage named Elias Ainsworth, a humanoid with a deer-like skull head. Chise isn’t treated like a slave by Elias, instead learning magic from him while he plans to make her his bride.

As a fantasy series, interspecies relationships are normalized. The character, Elias Ainsworth can’t be classified into any mythological and legendary creature known to humans. Some fans have viewed him as a wendigo with human characteristics, but that is speculation. By not being able to classify Elias, fans of The Ancient Magus' Bride have a difficult time conceptualizing how their relationship works when it comes to physical intimacy and emotional support. However, Elias is still a true gentleman because he shows respect and consideration when it comes to Chise.

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