If you use anime in order to set the standard for your real life relationships, you are going to be disappointed at the best of times and horribly abused at worst. Unlike actual television shows that occasionally show relationships that are at least somewhat normal, anime tends to take romance to the extremes. Either it is so unrealistically perfect that every one of your significant others will never live up to your standards or it is so bad that you will think abuse is somehow normal.
Why can’t anime just show a normal, healthy relationship?
The same reason your single friends don’t want to take basket weaving with you and your special someone. It is so damn boring to watch. Romance anime junkies want drama, and nothing breeds more drama than bad relationships. And boy, are there plenty of bad relationships to be found throughout anime.
Mischievous Kiss features a bad romance that goes both ways. You have Kotoko, who after getting flat out rejected during her confession of love by her crush, proceeds to still stalk and hold a major obsession over him. Her crush, Naoki, is no prince either. If he isn’t being completely cold to her, he is stringing his obsessive stalker along.
Through circumstance, they end up living together and feelings begin to develop, but even after they start dating, things get worse. Noaki ends up getting jealous and possessive even though he still, for the most part, continues his cold attitude. Kotoko, on the other hand, starts to come into her own, but continues to try and please a man that is so constantly hot and cold to her.
What isn’t wrong about falling in love with your right hand? I guess it is somehow less wrong when that hand turns out to be a girl like in Midori Days. Still, what is more unhealthy than developing feelings for a girl that is trapped as your hand. It is not like she can get away. While Midori does eventually get unhanded and put back in her body, she has no memory of her time spent with Seiji. This makes the fact that after a few days of being stalked by a guy she doesn’t remember even more strange when she suddenly admits that she loves him.
Nana is the go-to anime for romance fans that like a ton of drama. However, while Nana Osaki is actually relatively well adjusted in the realms of love and life, Nana Komatsu is a train wreck. Throughout the series she not only goes through multiple bad relationships, but one of her key character traits is falling in love with someone at first sight. “Falling in love” with someone within moments of meeting them is not love, it is infatuation, something that doesn’t pan out for Hachi very well.
My Little Monster
The relationship in My Little Monster between Shizuku and Haru is akin to two ships passing on the water. Very briefly are they aligned, but for the most part, they spend their time on two opposite sides. At first, Haru likes Shizuku, and then her snippiness pushes him away. Shizuku then realizes that she actually likes Haru, and that is how the rest of the series goes. Basically their whole relationship becomes one trying to push the other away.
As cute as Toradora is, you can’t deny that there are a few things wrong with the relationship between Taiga and Ryuuji, at least at first. Ryuuji is fine, but it is Taiga that is the problem. Her verbal and physical abuse gets out of hand way too often. As someone who has trouble being honest with her own feelings, often hiding them behind violence, it can make for a bad relationship down the line. However, by the end of Toradora, Taiga does seem to come to terms with it more.
Hana Yori Dango
Hana Yori Dango’s popularity is baffling considering how terrible the actual relationship is. It is the poster child for the (thankfully dying out) trope that rich men can basically do whatever to you and you’ll love them all the same. Throughout the series Domyoji continues to try to dominate Makino either physically or through his money. He blackmails her family, kidnaps her, and basically tries to buy her love.
And it works! They fall in love. Sure, she loves him for him, but you can’t argue that she isn’t at least a little pleased by the money too? What’s worse is that without the money, Domyoji is actually a pretty unlikable sort of person.
Class President is a Maid
While the relationship between Usui and Misaki has a lot of swoon-worthy moments, it basically began as some pretty hardcore stalking. His initial behavior is pretty much harassment, which continues on through the relationship. Do girls like a relationship with a lot of challenges to keep things interesting? Because that is pretty much what his personality offers. Nothing says love like telling someone to go away only to have them become more aggressive.
Ah, School Days. Or rather, “Unhealthy Relationships: The Animation”. There is no relationship in School Days that even comes close to being normal. Makoto is a serious man slut who not only cheats on Kotonoha constantly, but cheats on her with the girl that actually encouraged them to date just because Kotonoha wasn’t ready for sex. While Makoto tries and fails to break up with Kotonoha, her feelings become even more desperate to keep him, her desperation eventually turning into obsession. However, during this whole love triangle, Makoto also ends up kissing and having sex with several other girls. So naturally, it all ends in tears and severed heads, as you’d expect from a stint of serial cheating.
Wolf Girl and Black Prince
Wolf Girl and Black Prince begins with Erika lying to her friends about who she is dating in order to impress them. When asked to prove it, she ends up snapping a picture of a random guy, only to have them recognize him. Naturally, to protect herself from embarrassment, Erika asks the guy, Kyouya, to pretend to be her boyfriend. Unlike any actual nice person, he agrees, but only if she agrees to become her “dog”.
That is not how fairy tale, or even mundanely average, relationships should start. Eventually the two fall in love, but not really because Kyouya changes, it is more because Erika develops a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome.
Kodomo No Jikan
The entire plot of Kodomo no Jikan surrounds Rin, a 3rd grade girl, and her tireless efforts to seduce Daisuke, her 25-year-old teacher. There is little more to say as to why this wildly inappropriate relationship is unhealthy. Of course, there is also the added drama in the series where Rin’s cousin, who raises her, gets jealous of Daisuke because he wants to sleep with Rin too. So, there’s that.
B Gata H Kei
Where to even start? Yamada wants to have casual sex with 100 different men while she is in high school, but first she must lose her virginity. However, being self conscious about her lady bits, she chooses Kosuda to be her first, a complete nerd. However, Yamada is inept at seduction and Kosuda is an actual honestly nice guy. Yes, the anime is full of laughs, but they end up together in the end. Does this mean Yamada will give up her slutty quest? Should Kosuda be concerned that he was literally a stepping stone? We will likely never know, but it doesn’t make for a strong foundation for a relationship.
Pet Girl of Sakura Hall
Sorata likes to take in abandoned and helpless things, like his growing collection of cats. Mashiro is literally barely able to take care of herself. Eventually they begin to have feelings for each other, feelings that the infantile Mashiro barely understands. When you are responsible for taking care of a girl “like she was a pet” (which is the plot of the series), it is not healthy. I think at one point he even bathes her, if I recall.
People don’t watch Dragonball Z for the romance, but if you examine the romantic relationships within, they are really kind of disturbing.
First, you have Chichi that basically stalked Goku and forced him to marry her, only for her husband to die for great lengths of time, possibly to escape her long-term verbal abuse (but mostly to save the world).
Next you have Vegeta and Bulma, which the anime neglects to address how they even got together during a time skip, but if you believe the doujinshi, it is very rape-y. While both Bulma and Vegeta have strong personalities, the amount of yelling they do in their relationship is not healthy. Vegeta also beats his son, so there’s that. Who knows who else he his beating, but one thing is for sure, it is definitely not Goku.
Finally there is Krillin and Android 18, a couple that yet again fits with the trend of a strong woman completely dominating a man. For the first years of their marriage, it is clear that she is not fond of living with Roshi and she is never seen showing Krillin much affection. However, because she has literally nothing to go back to or somehow feels indebted to him, she stays and verbally berates her husband.
For those who have seen Future Diary, I don’t need to go into much detail into why the relationship between Yukiteru and Yuno is super unhealthy. Having a partner that is willing to kill for you is one thing. Having a partner that does kill for you and literally feels nothing about the act is a completely different thing. Whether it is killing your enemies or killing your friends because they might take him away from her, the blossoming relationship displayed n Future Diary is one of the most disturbing in anime.
Kiss x Sis
Unlike other series like Myself;Yourself or Oreimo where romantic feelings between siblings remain in the realms of the less creepy “Implied Only,” Kiss x Sis takes it to the next level. However, the relationship between Keita and his older twin sisters is somewhat better as they are not related by blood, but no less unhealthy. Not only is it really quite strange to fall in love with someone you have treated as a sibling, but two women vying for one man will never end well. Twins may be the dream, but polyamoury typically ends in hurt feelings.
Junjo Romantica tells the tale of a budding romance between young college student Masaki Takahashi and his brother’s erotica author friend Akihiko Usami whom he moves in with. The show also goes on to tell the side story romances of two other couples, but it is the main one that is the problem. Let’s be perfectly clear here first, though. Their relationship isn’t unhealthy because they are two men, but because Akihiko is basically a molester.
Upon first moving in, Masaki is quite noticeably uncomfortable, not just because Akihiko writes erotica about homosexual relationships, but because he is very touchy. As things go on, his unwanted touching keeps getting rejected, but gets worse until the point that it is basically molestation. Even though Masaki initially tells him to stop, Akihiko also starts in with the rape-y phrases like “You know you like it”.
Again, another anime series featuring a relationship with two men, but that’s not what makes it unhealthy. Super Lovers tells the love story between Haru and his much younger adoptive brother Ren. The love that grows between them is mutual, but at no point is Ren, a previously abused child and one not even out of school, an appropriate partner for a man some 10 years his senior. It would be better if Haru were somehow reluctant to the relationship, but he initiates it with his downright predatory behavior.
This disturbing relationship, much like the one in Junjo Romoantica, is pretty much par for the course in the shounen ai/yaoi genre though. The genre loves its manipulative, dominating, or older/younger tropes and they pretty much stick to their guns.
Agree? Disagree? Are there other really unhealthy relationships that we have missed? Tell us about it in the comments section below!