The best relationships provide a sense of healing, with both members serving to build their partner up. A sense of play and unconditional acceptance creates a sense of belonging unlike any other. As anime and manga often cut to the core of the human experience, it is no wonder that so many series focus on romances that give way to fluttering hearts and contended smiles.
To unravel the common threads that build a love with rock-solid foundation, here are a few of the most adorable and wholesome relationships in anime and manga -- and where they can be viewed, so readers can take notes or simply gush over how cute they are.
Takagi and Nishikata (Teasing Master Takagi-san)
It takes someone special to know how to press all the right buttons without going too far. Teasing Master Takagi-san builds on the adage that "kids pick on the ones they like" through the titular Takagi's constant pranks and practical jokes on her classmate Nishikata. Though Nishikata may get flustered by her unending ploys, they never come across as cruel and their playful banter portrays young love in a refreshingly authentic form. It's particularly endearing to watch Nishikata's over-the-top reactions whenever he walks into a trap, pauses to consider Takagi's feelings for him, then blushes right before plowing straight into the punchline.
Teasing Master Takagi-san is widely available for stream on Netflix, Crunchyroll and Funimation. The manga is currently being translated into English by Yen Press in physical and digital format. Among several spinoffs, a sequel manga titled Teasing Master (Former) Takagi follows the pair's relationship as adults.
Isaac Dian and Miria Harvent (Baccano)
Best characterized as the most innocent Bonnie and Clyde ever, Isaac Dian and Miria Harvent are two eccentric thieves who accidentally become immortal. In the gritty setting of Baccano, which focuses on the exploits of an alchemically undying mafia in the 1930s, these lovers provide levity and joy with their wacky hijinks. From dressing like Santa to steal chocolate bars, to escaping aboard a luxury rail liner as cattle rustlers, they have so much fun together that it takes them over 70 years to realize they haven't aged a day.
Isaac and Miria may be criminals, but they always vow to keep everybody safe and happy. Their zeal for romance and theatrics ensure that no matter what, the real loot will always be friends they make along the way. While no services are currently streaming Baccano, Isaac and Miria can be found gracing the pages of the manga adaptation and the original light novels from Yen Press. Though DVDs and Blu-rays of the anime appear to be out of print, they are still available for purchase at a decent price online.
Shizuku Tsukishima and Seiji Amasawa (Whisper of the Heart)
Whisper of the Heart is one of Hayao Miyazaki's most underrated films. It eschews Studio Ghibli's more frequently utilized fantasy tropes in favor of a down-to-earth story about first love and artistic pursuits. Following numerous fateful encounters, protagonists Shizuku Tsukishima and Seiji Amasawa discover each other's passions for their respective crafts. After finding out that Seiji has been training for years to be a luthier, Shizuku slowly realizes her own budding dream of being a writer.
The duo work to hone their skills while cheering on the other's separate goals. Few anime have musical numbers, but the film's original rendition of John Denver's "Country Road" underlines the coming-of-age journey the pair takes as their mutual respect gives way to romance. Whisper of the Heart is available for streaming on HBO Max and can be purchased physically on DVD and Blu-ray, or digitally from iTunes, Google Play and the Microsoft Store.
Yuuri Katsuki and Victor Nikiforov (Yuri!!! On Ice)
When world class ice skater Victor Nikiforov decided to train underdog rookie Yuuri Katsuki in Yuri!!! On Ice, neither of them realized they were the other's soulmate. Through tears and sweat, Victor used the skating rink to light a flame in Yuuri, teaching him how to get in touch with his sensuality and let his passion flow. Inversely, the kindhearted Yuuri thawed Victor's heart and showed him how to be honest with himself and his feelings.
Whether on the ice together or backing the other from the sidelines, this couple's unabashed love proves they were not just born to make history, but to find each other. The original anime can be streamed on Crunchyroll and Funimation. An upcoming film titled Yuri!!! On Ice the Movie: Ice Adolescence was initially slated for a 2019 release, but is currently postponed with no new official release date.
Miku and Tatsu (The Way of the Househusband)
Leave it to an otaku salarywoman to accept a yakuza thug with the soul of a domestic housekeeper. The Way of the Househusband's central plot follows the Immortal Dragon Tatsu as he leaves his life of organized crime behind for the sake of love. Tatsu's ability to adapt to cleaning, cooking and errands is remarkably charming, especially as he does so without any sort of obstruction from masculine pride.
In turn, Tatsu's other half Miku works just as hard as she takes on the role of primary income earner. Her unlimited love of Tatsu shines through whenever she helps him find cute outfits at the mall or laughs off his panicked response to breaking her anime figures. Time after time, this unconventional husband and wife combo encourage and embrace each other in the best ways. The anime is currently streaming on Netflix alongside its live-action spiritual spin-off The Ingenuity of the Househusband, starring Tatsu's voice actor Kenjiro Tsuda as himself. The ongoing manga is currently being localized by Viz Media.
Yuuki Hase and Kaori Fujimiya (One Week Friends)
Often described as Fifty First Dates if it were a shojo manga, One Week Friends follows the relationship of Yuuki Hase and his initially standoffish classmate Kaori Fujimiya. When it's revealed that Kaori's secluded personality is a result of her anterograde amnesia, Yuuki vows to stay in her life despite knowing she will forget all about it when each week ends. While the pure-hearted protagonists are initially satisfied just to be friends, they soon question the nature of their burgeoning feelings.
One Week Friends provides a touching look at what it's like to support someone through disability, whether it be as platonic or romantic companions. The original manga is available physically or digitally from Yen Press. While there are no streaming services hosting the anime, it can be purchased digitally from Google Play and the Microsoft Store. A live action adaptation was also released in 2017, but has not seen an American release.