Arranged marriages aren't nearly as common as they once were in either the East or West - but they are still practiced from time to time. Since it's still a small part of Japanese culture, it also shows up occasionally in anime.
Sometimes, the whole storyline of an anime is built on the concept. Love & Lies is set in a futuristic world where everyone is assigned an ideal partner based on a scientific algorithm. At other times, the arranged marriage is simply a small part in a larger story. Few people would say Black Butler is about arranged marriage, but it does play an important role.
The messaging about arranged marriages also varies significantly. In Sword Art Online, Asuna's betrothed is an abusive, manipulative monster, and her happy ending only comes when her boyfriend rescues her from him. Meanwhile, the prospective couple in Ai Yori Aoshi still wants to be together even when the arrangement is called off.
These stories offer a unique take on the romance genre, so if you're looking for something other than the usual set-up, you might want to try one of these fascinating shows.
- Photo: Studio Deen
Ranma Saotome is the heir to a renowned martial arts dojo, and his father wants him to marry one of Soun Tendo's daughters in order to ensure the Tendo dojo's future. This potential union is complicated by the fact that Ramna was cursed to transform into a girl whenever he's splashed with cold water - and by the fact that Ranma and his fiance Akane don't exactly get along.
Will the two of them ever be able to form a genuine relationship?Is this a good show?
- Photo: J.C.Staff
Aoi Sakuraba and Kaoru Hanabishi are childhood friends who were once engaged via an arranged marriage that was intended to secure a business relationship between their two families. When Kaoru is disowned by his family, the engagement is dissolved and Aoi is expected to marry someone else.
Aoi isn't willing to give up on Kaoru so easily, though, so she leaves her family and follows him to Tokyo in order to go ahead with it anyway. Of course, this won't happen without some major complications.Is this a good show?
- Photo: Xebec
Lala Satalin Deviluke is the princess of an alien empire, but she isn't an ultimate authority over her own life. In fact, she ran away from home to another planet in order to avoid a marriage arranged for political gain. As an excuse to avoid this unwanted union, Lala pretends to be in love with an ordinary human teenager, Rito Yuuki.
Though initially a ruse, Lala ends up falling in love with Rito - a fact which plunges his life into complete chaos.Is this a good show?
Here Comes Miss Modern is a 1970s anime that was recently remade into a series of movies. It tells the story of Benio Hanamura, a young woman living in a time when arranged marriage was expected. Benio is a budding feminist who wants to choose her own husband rather than having one chosen for her.
When she's forcibly engaged to a young officer, she tries to act as improperly as possible in the hopes of breaking up the arrangement, but her new family appreciates her spunk. She discovers that she actually loves her new life - but the outside world calls her fiance away, disrupting everything.Is this a good show?