Top 5 Anime Pairs

Top 5 Anime Pairs

Introduction

It’s time for another Top 5 list because I still haven’t finished DanMachi: Sword Oratoria which is what I planned to write about today (I was supposed to finish it a week ago). But, this is more exciting for me to write anyway, and hopefully you’ll enjoy it as well.

As the title says, today we’re going to be going through my Top 5 Anime Pairs. By pairs, I mean two characters who work together or have some sort of relationship with one another, romantic or otherwise. I’ve tried to pick fairly unique pairs with different types of relationships.

And no, Naruto and Sasuke aren’t on this list, sorry.

Also, I plan to do more Top 5 lists like this one in the future, so if you enjoy it, leave a like to let me know. I’ve already started planning out lists for Top 5 Anime Trios and Top 5 Anime Groups (4+).

5. Shinichi Izumi & Migi

Shinichi Izumi and Migi from the anime Parasyte -the maxim- are the first pair we’ll be taking a look at. Parasyte is one of the best horror anime I’ve seen, if not the best, and the relationship between the two main characters fits into the themes of the anime perfectly.

Originally I was conflicted about adding Shinichi and Migi to this list because they share the same body, but I decided to add them because they really are two very different characters. Their relationship is also one which evolves over the course of the series, which is something I’m a fan of as you’ll learn throughout this post.

Shinichi Izumi and Migi from the anime Parasyte -the maxim-
Shinichi and Migi

As an alien parasite, Migi wasn’t exactly the most welcome guest when he first took over Shinichi’s right arm. Shinichi just wanted a normal high school life, as most anime protagonists thrown into crazy situations do, and Migi just wanted to survive in the most efficient way possible.

While you’d think they’d be able to work well together considering Shinichi having a normal life is probably the safest thing for Migi, this wasn’t always the case. Shinichi prioritizes his social life, while Migi prioritizes eliminating any threats to himself.

It also doesn’t help that their personalities are exact opposites. Shinichi thinks that life is a precious thing, while Migi sees life as something to fight for by any means necessary, even if that means ending other lives in the process.

While the whole series revolves around the idea of humans being reduced to prey by the apex predators that are the parasites, this idea is also exemplified through Shinichi and Migi’s relationship. If Migi really wants to do something, Shinichi has no real way of stopping him.

However, I mentioned that their relationship changes over the course of the series. While I won’t say that these two ever become “friends,” they do become allies once their goals align. Eventually, Migi’s “attack first, question later” mentality becomes the best way for Shinichi to protect those he cares about.

Once they do become allies, we also get to see how these two very different characters are able to use their individual strengths to cover each others weaknesses. An example of this is when the pair are fighting a parasite in the school and Migi focuses on defense while Shinichi focuses on offense.

Now, that’s not to say that Shinichi has more offensive capabilities than Migi, but Migi’s extreme defense is able to make up for Shinichi’s lack of defense. However, because Migi is focusing on defense, he can’t attack, which is where Shinichi comes in to fill that role.

By the end of the series, though, we actually see Shinichi and Migi swap roles compared to how they were in the beginning. Due to the transfer of DNA between the two of them, Shinichi eventually becomes the cold, detached one, while Migi begins to have some semblance of “feelings.”

Shinichi and Migi are the symbiotic relationship of the list. Migi needs Shinichi’s body for essential nutrients, and Shinichi needs Migi for protection from other parasites.

Even if the plot of Parasyte doesn’t seem like something you’d care about, I still highly recommend it if only for the complex characters.

4. Edward & Alphonse Elric

Edward and Alphonse Elric, known as Ed and Al, from Fullmetal Alchemist (and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood) are the fraternal relationship on this list. Despite their appearances, Ed, the short one, actually the older brother, and Al, the large suit of armor, is the younger.

As brothers, these two would do anything for each other, and in fact they have. But, their relationship isn’t solely based around the fact that they’re related by blood, it runs much deeper than that. What their relationship is really built on are their shared experiences.

Edward "Ed" and Alphonse "Al" Elric from the anime Fullmetal Alchemist
Ed and Al

Ed lost his right arm and left leg, and Al lost his entire body, when the two of them tried to use alchemy to resurrect their dead mother. This one event more than any other is the reason these two are so close. There’s almost nobody else in the world who had the same experience as them and lived to tell the tale.

So, what makes their relationship truly special is the combination of their blood ties and shared experiences. They each know each other inside and out (in Al’s case, literally) and know each others strengths and weaknesses much like Shinichi and Migi.

What you’ll learn from this list is that the best pairs are made up of different types of people who are able to work together effectively. But, Ed and Al are actually pretty similar. They’re both proficient in alchemy and physical combat, and since they grew up together they think alike too, so why are they on this list?

Despite being so similar, they do have their specialties which they’re able to use effectively precisely because they’re so similar that they know how each other think. Ed has an advantage when using alchemy due to not needing a transmutation circle, and Al is physically stronger, doesn’t tire, and is made of metal.

This means that when in combat, Ed is the more mobile of the two (although Al can still do some crazy acrobatics for how large he is), and Al is able to focus on defense as well as dealing out large hits to opponents who are distracted by Ed.

But, outside of combat, I’d say their relationship is actually the most standard of any on this list. They’re brothers and they act like brothers. They get into fights and each think they’re better than the other for one reason or another, but in the end they wouldn’t trade each other for anything in the world, which is precisely what the anime is about.

While Parasyte has probably been dropped out of my Top 10 Anime (I’ll be making an updated version of this list sometime in the future), Fullmetal Alchemist is still safe and sound. Not only is it an amazing series, but it’s also perfect for beginners, so I highly recommend everyone watch Ed and Al’s adventures.

3. Spike Spiegel & Jet Black

Spike Spiegel and Jet Black (great name) from Cowboy Bebop are the professional relationship on this list, although that’s not all the relationship between these two characters is. They’re also best friends, although neither one of them would ever admit it.

Spike is an ex-gang gang member, and Jet is an ex-police officer, and yet they’ve teamed up aboard their ship, the Bebop, to become bounty hunters. These two are about as opposite as you can get, but somehow they still manage to work as a team even if it’s a haphazard one.

Spike Spiegel and Jet Black from the anime Cowboy Bebop
Spike and Jet

Spike is the “muscle” of the team even though Jet has more muscle. By this, I mean that he’s mainly the one going out and physically capturing bounties thanks to his skill at both physical combat and weaponry. He’s the outlaw of the two, and so this role fits him perfectly.

Jet, on the other hand, is the owner of the Bebop and serves as both the pilot and mechanic. He tends to want to do things in the most efficient and “safe” ways, while Spike is the opposite and prefers do whatever he wants.

Now, at this point you may be wondering why I didn’t save these two to be part of my Top 5 Anime Trios along with Faye Valentine, or Top 5 Anime Groups with the rest of the Bebop crew. The reason is that those other characters don’t add enough to the duo that is Spike and Jet for me to think they really make a difference.

Spike and Jet alone are such a good pairing that they don’t really need the rest of the crew to be interesting characters.

However, my favorite part of their relationship is actually their autonomy. Unlike Shinichi and Migi who are literally inseparable, or Ed and Al who are almost always together, Spike and Jet don’t really interact with each other all that much when they’re not working.

That said, that doesn’t mean they don’t actually care about each other. As I mentioned at the beginning, these two are actually best friends, if only because they’re the only ones who understand each other. They both have end goals, and even if they’re self-destructive, they won’t stop each other from achieving them.

This is actually why their final encounter is one of my favorite parts of the anime. Spike goes to fight against his rival for the last time, and both he and Jet know that he’s not going to come back alive. Faye even tells Jet to stop Spike from going, but he refuses simply because he knows how important this is to him.

So in summary, Spike and Jet’s relationship isn’t one of the best because of how they work together, but rather how they allow each other to work independently and don’t interfere with each other. It’s a much different dynamic from how the rest of the relationships on this list work most of the time.

2. Sayaka Miki & Kyouko Sakura

Anyone who knows me and my anime preferences should have expected this next pairing from the beginning. Sayaka Miki and Kyouko Sakura from Madoka Magica are a flawless pair. Unfortunately for them, there’s an even more flawless pair in the number one spot, but we’ll get to them soon enough.

While this isn’t the extent of their relationship, Sayaka and Kyouko are the romantic relationship of the list, and I refuse to listen to anyone who tells me their relationship is anything less than that. These girls literally die for each other, and if that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

Sayaka Miki and Kyouko Sakura from the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Sayaka and Kyouko

The relationship between these two starts off rocky, with their initial contact being in the form of an all out duel between rival magical girls. However, Kyouko slowly becomes part of the main group and attempts to somewhat fill the void left behind by Mami.

But, just because she joins the group doesn’t mean she and Sayaka are on good terms with each other. Both of these girls have competing ideals and can never seem to agree on anything. Kyouko believes magic should only be used for oneself, while Sayaka believes it should only be used for others.

Their character designs also reflect this dichotomy, with Kyouko’s being primarily red and Sayaka’s primarily blue (two colors often representing opposing sides). Despite their differences, though, the girls actually have a lot more in common than they each think.

Much like how Mami served as the mentor to the younger girls, Kyouko, also older, sees Sayaka as her former self. Kyouko once held the same beliefs as Sayaka, but over time she became more callous due to the things she’s seen. She wants to protect Sayaka from following in her footsteps.

Unfortunately, Sayaka doesn’t follow Kyouko’s footsteps, and instead goes too far in the other direction, eventually descending far enough into despair to the point of no return. Sayaka dies and becomes a witch just as she and Kyouko were finally starting to understand each other.

This in turn causes Kyouko to realize how much Sayaka actually meant to her, and she tries desperately to bring her back by fighting against the witch. In the end, she determines that if she can’t bring Sayaka back, the least she can do is die with her. Kyouko launches a suicide attack and takes out the witch along with herself.

That’s where Kyouko and Sayaka’s story ends for a bit, but then at the ending of the series, the two are resurrected thanks to Madoka’s wish. However, this doesn’t last long, as Sayaka dies once again, this time to save her friends from a wraith, the things that replaced witches in the new universe.

We enter the sequel movie, Rebellion, with Sayaka still dead. However, she’s sent back into the world in order to perform a specific task, and here she reunites with Kyouko once again. It’s at this time that the two are finally able to express how they feel to one another.

Kyouko tells Sayaka that it’s felt like she’s been living in a nightmare ever since Sayaka died. Sayaka responds by saying that she thought she died without any regrets, but she’s come to understand that her one regret was that she left Kyouko behind, alone.

Now, Rebellion had its issues, but if that scene wasn’t your favorite part of Madoka Magica, then you must be even more dead inside than I am. And yes, I do have both of their Nendoroids set up next to each other. I’m not some kind of monster who would separate them.

1. Koyomi Araragi & Shinobu Oshino

Did you really expect a pair from anything other than the Monogatari series to be in the number one spot? If you guessed Sayaka and Kyouko were going to be here, then that was a very good guess, but while they’re the perfect pair, there’s one more that goes beyond perfection.

There are a lot of pairs I could have chosen from this series. Koyomi and Mayoi is probably what most people who know me would expect. The fire sisters, Karen and Tsukihi is another great pair. There’s even Koyomi and Hitagi if we’re going the romantic route.

However, I can’t talk about a pair in the Monogatari series and not make it the most iconic and arguably most complex one, Koyomi and Shinobu. Their relationship is everything I’ve mentioned in the previous four on this list, and yet not like any of them at all at the same time.

Koyomi Araragi and Shinobu Oshino from the Monogatari anime series
Koyomi and Shinobu

They have completely different ideals regarding life, just like Shinichi and Migi, and yet are best friends. They’re family, just like Ed and Al, and yet have no familial bonds. Their relationship can end at any time, just like Spike and Jet’s, and yet they’ll never abandon each other. They plan to die together, just like Sayaka and Kyouko, and yet they’ll never forgive each other.

Koyomi and Shinobu are bound together for the rest of their lives because of their differences. Koyomi couldn’t allow Shinobu to continue killing humans as a vampire, and yet he couldn’t bring himself to let her die either. So instead, she resides in his shadow and sustains herself on his blood.

But since Shinobu lives inside Koyomi’s shadow, neither one of them really has any privacy. They’re inseparable, together 24/7, and because of that they know more about each other than anyone else possibly could.

But even though Shinobu is now essentially Koyomi’s servant, she could theoretically choose to end her life at any time by no longer taking Koyomi’s blood. This, in turn, would make Koyomi revert back into a normal human rather than a pseudo-vampire.

However, even though this is what they both originally wanted in the first place, neither one is able to give up on the other any longer. They’ve been through so much together that even though they’ll never forgive what they see as the sins of the other, they refuse to be apart.

They’ve even gone so far as to say that they’ll die with each other if that’s what it comes down to. On the other hand, they’re just as ready to live eternally with each other if that’s how things end up instead.

I don’t even know what to call their relationship other than just “partners.” They do everything together without exception, and have no intentions of ever doing anything alone.

And while I mentioned that Koyomi is the master in their relationship, it started off just the opposite. Even now that they’re relationship has stabilized, we can still see remnants of how things used to be in how Shinobu still acts as the mentor and Koyomi as the pupil.

Basically all I’m trying to say is that everyone should watch the Monogatari series. It’s seriously the best anime ever made and I even have a nifty viewing guide for it which can be found here.

Conclusion

So what’s your favorite pair of anime characters? Let me know in the comments, and while you’re down there, give this post a like if you enjoyed it. Follow me on Twitter or Tumblr, or subscribe to my blog via email, if you’d like to get notified every time a new post goes live.

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