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Top Forty Pairs In Anime #25-21

10 min read

The rules for this are simple – the pair in question have to be in an existing relationship. It doesn’t have to be romantic – friends, family, work colleagues, schoolmates, anything like that. They don’t even need to like either other initially, character development can make an antagonist pair into easily the most interesting dynamic in the whole show. Of course, romantic pairs are also included in this list, mainly the theme is that these pairs must basically ‘complete’ each other. You feel that without one, the dynamic of the character will be changed (and in some cases, they do as you’ll see) and you wonder what would happen without them.

Spice & Wolf#25 LAWRENCE/HOLO (SPICE & WOLF)

Similar to the Saga/Sugar entry, this is an interesting one as it is between human and supernatural being. Unlike Saga/Sugar though, Holo is visible to everyone in vaccinity, and is…well a hot she-wolf god. However the interesting thing here is that Lawrence accepts this almost immediately, and at first it’s a relationship of convience. Holo uses him to try and return to her homeland, whilst Lawrence uses her in aid for his business. The interesting thing is whilst the relationship is of convienience, it is never seeing as each other ‘using’ each other, as the two very slowly begin to enjoy each others company genuinelly. Their relationship is very teasing, and flirtatious at times (mainly on Holo’s side) but it does develop into something a bit more than trust.

It’s not just romantic interludes that help (or hinder) their relationship, especially when both of them get potential interests as well (and Holo does become the violent protective girlfriend when she turns into wolf form) – but the trust really becomes one of need for both of them – for Lawrence when he’s in trouble finance wise or when he thinks he is going to lose Holo, and for Holo when she learns that her homeland no longer exists. It develops from teasing friendship to true companionship. The most interesting thing is, despite her wolf power, this is hardly an issue for Lawrence because whilst in her human form it is very casual and Lawrence never really even mentions it to her. The only times it comes up when Lawrence is in the shit and Holo has to save his butt. Of course, Holo’s own little traits give Lawrence a few headaches (her apple fandom ^^) but it is obvious she is worth it, and Lawrence understands that Holo’s life in this form is new and considering her persecution as well as elation as a god from towns folk, she truly appreciates how normal Lawrence acts in her stead.

Lawrence/Holo does as expected develop into something more than friends, but that strain despite the fact one is a human and one is a centuries old god isn’t as prevelant as you may imagine, and the romantic part of their relationship is very subdued. It is all done by their interaction as being friends, and from that, it becomes stronger. It’s a duo of companionship, trust and love which gets the time to develop in both a tough time period, tough financial status and of course, a tough moral status due to Holo’s goddess nature. And yet, you could never tell any of their problems just from their simple friendship. A joy to watch and develop.

Hellsing#24 INTEGRA/ALUCARD (HELLSING)

This one is similar to the relationship above, except with a unique dynamic. Whilst the supernatural being is the almighty one, he is not the one in charge of the relationship in question, it is the weaker human. And thus, the relationship or Sir Integra and Alucard is one of the most complex I have had the pleasure to watch.

The relationship is odd due to it being more of a master/servant relationship – this at first is definitely strange because of just how godly powerful Alucard is. He could easily destroy Integra and almost anybody he chooses, vampire or not. Yet despite his blood knight tendancies, it is discovered first of all that when Integra became master of the family, it also bound Alucard to her. It is later discovered that the only person who has ever defeated Alucard was a human -Abraham Van Hellsing who founded the Hellsing organisation. His belief that only a human could defeat him is what makes his relationship with Integra so fascinating, because from servant/master to more knight/lady. When Integra first meets Alucard when she was a little girl, it evolves her from timid to hard lined, quite cold hardass Sir Integra.

Indeed, Integra isn’t the nicest of persons, and the fact Alucard seems to do her bidding on a whim seems a bit offish, but as the series develops, you can see the care she has for her subjects, and how that reflects in Alucard, who also practically does what he wants as long as Integra orders it. By the end of the series, seeing Integra smile despite the years going by just from the final return of Alucard showcases just what he actually meant to her. Again, you do ask yourself if the relationship is or was ever intended to be romantic, but it really hits you that the two definitely had something between them outside of a work duo relationship. Indeed, Integra’s emotional side when certain events happen involving Alucard is a real shocker considering her stoic nature for most of the series.

Integra’s levelheadedness contrasts with Alucard’s wild style, and they compliment each other in a very unique way, even taking on board the supernatural elements. To say it’s one of the most unique pairs here is an understatement, and even as the series ends it’s still shrouded in mystery. But maybe that’s why I enjoy it, as the questions maybe more interesting than the answers…

Skip Beat#23 REN/KYOKO (SKIP BEAT)

This is another complex relationship – and also another one that started off on neither actually liking each other much at first. In fact, their relationship still has elements of that but for different reasons. Kyoko’s obsession of revenge against Sho combined with the lack of love in her heart due to said betrayal leads to her wanting to get into the showbiz business. Of course, these elements of hatred and selfishness don’t sit well for Ren, an actor who prides himself amongst professionals…but yet actually have a few similarities with Kyoko, mainly the fact that no-one comes close to his heart, because he’s never learned to love.

Cue the interesting dynamic.

Ren even is on one of Kyoko’s first gigs, where we get to see Kyoko’s determination and her skills as an inn worker in full force – Ren helps her out when she gets injured (much to her embarrassment) and really sees what this girl can be capable of. Of course, nothing is ever roses, and Kyoko still has to prove herself. But as the months go by and Kyoko begins working on various jobs, including working in a show with Ren, the two actually learn to help each other as they become friends. Ren acts like a sempai to her, but with a strict edge (causing Kyoko to instantly recognise when he is mad through a charming smile) constantly causing Kyoko both worry, but also the edge to learn to improve herself, which really works as many trials fall before her with various rivals and people trying to sabotage her or get jealous over being a new star. But perhaps the most interesting story is the fact that Ren and Kyoko knew each others as children, as Kyoko’s childish fairytale style nature is showcased several times, the fact she never lost that mentality, whilst Ren doesn’t let her know about their past, which also leads to his own attraction to her, with Kyoko who completely abolishes love, is totally oblivious.

As of this Skip Beat is still continuing, and I have no idea if Kyoko and Ren will get together, but why I like this relationship is again the complexity of the sempai/kohai relationship, with both of them helping each other out. Ren’s manager basically pushes them together, with Kyoko helping him out with meals and such, also establishing relationships and friendships like with Ren’s father. The romance aspect is one sided and only midly hinted out but he is very protective of Kyoko (Sho and the Vin Ghoul incidents) and Kyoko gradually grows to respect and care for Ren. Various little things really suggest that they are a more unique pairing than anyone else in the show/manga (like not doing Valentine’s chocolate for Ren because of the amount he would get, despite Ren most likely only wanting hers) which gets a lot of little complexities and bumps in the road in their relationship. But that is what makes it so interesting and enjoyable.

Kaleido Star#22 SORA/LAYLA (KALEIDO STAR)

Sora and Layla are another pair which startled out on the wrong foot. Here, the difference is Sora never seemed to ever dislike Layla despite her initial put downs of joining the Kaleido Stage, whilst Layla always wondered why Kalos thought that this girl will be the one who will be the next major star. It turns out however that Sora can’t get out of her life – she somehow always gets involved someone, whether it is being in performances with her, challenging her to prove she can hack it in the stage, thinking about her birthday, or even replacing her as the main star whilst she is filming a movie. At first, it seems like Layla couldnt care less despite Sora being oblivious at times.

It isn’t until they get to share the spotlight that things change. The two have to be together 24/7 learning their mannerisms for a performance, so they can truly work together. It actually comes to a real stand still when they actually practice their battle scene in the wide ocean, which could have caused real danger to both of them. After the two manage to be each others equals there, Layla and Sora have a nice chat. And Layla admits it is the first time she ever has done this.

Layla NEEDED someone like Sora. This is the key dynamic that Layla has, because no-one, not even her then current partner Yuri, made her think so much. It was almost borderline obsession why Sora was such a plague on her mind, but opposites attract because of their own common bond of the Kaleido Stage. After Layla’s mother died, she reserved into a cold diva like shell, and it was someone like Sora, who was so peppy and energetic, that made her break the shell. Sora completed her which is why the Legendary Great Manoevre could only work between those two. And of course, the subsequent tragedy for Layla. But even that didn’t stop their relationship. Layla still has moments of coldness to say the least, but she acts as much as a mentor to Sora as much as a friend, and in the Legend of Phoenix OVA, well, the haircutting scene…only Sora could do that. Their level of trust was impossible to break – as Layla said herself, Layla is no longer Sora’s goal, she is her pride. You can feel Sora’s tears both in heartbreak during the end of Season 1 and of joy at the end of Season 2 as their relationship has come full circle – they truly love each other and cannot be complete without the other. Even when apart, you know their hearts are always connected.

And always will be.

Sasami#21 MISAO/SASAMI (MAGICAL PROJECT S)

One of my most underrate pairs – and one I absolutely adore, because this friendship is one of my personal favourites, of a very underrated series because of the whole magical girl aspect in a Tenchi Muyo series. Because Misao is one of the most developed of characters I’ve ever seen, because of her split side as Misa.

Misao is reversed, shy, very similar to Hisami in fact, though she’s more of a shy genius style girl who is best friends with Sasami, who is far more energetic and genki. This is actually a cause of conflict for young Misao, because inwardly she is a bit jealous of how popular and nice Sasami is. This is partially the reason why Rumia is able to make her become Pixy Misa, a more outgoing, stupid and silly magical girl who doesn’t look anything like Misao (compared to Sasami/Sammy) and whilst their friendship is still steadfast and strong, it does stem from Misao’s loneliness and how much fun she has with Sasami’s family, then coming back to an empty house as her mother is at work and her dad is abroad as a piano player. These pains of loneliness manifest in Misao, as Misa is definitely the person she wants to be – and this allows for many conflict once the two girls inevitably find out.

What concludes is one of the most heartwarming talks between Sasami and Misao in the depths of her depression, as the two reconcile and show their true relationship and friendship together. It’s from Sasami that Misao grows and becomes happier, and through Misao that Sasami learns humility and just how much she needs Misao as a friend as much as Misao needs her. Seeing the two interact with the other kids after Misao breaks out of her funk, especially as she now voluntarily becomes Misa to help Sammy out in the final arc, is a joy to watch. I love these two to bits and seeing them grow for each others on the side whilst not knowing that at first they are each other’s enemy, it combines comedy at first, into actually heart-tugging tragedy, into absolutely happiness seeing them reconcile.

Adorable.

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