The 20 Best Anime Couples Who Started As Childhood Friends

Voting Rules
Vote up the couples that best exemplify the romantic power of childhood friendship.

Picture this: two children are the best of friends - they play together, tackle problems together, and maybe even start to develop romantic feelings for one another. As they enter their teen years, those feelings have grown into a full blown romance. Cute, right? Childhood friendships developing into later romances are a common trope in the world of anime - so much so that if two characters are known to be childhood friends, you can guess that they're going to get together, or at least have some serious romantic tension. 

Who are the best anime couples that started as childhood friends? That depends on your personal preferences. Do you like your romance with a little danger on the side? Then Minato Namikaze and Kushina Uzumaki of Naruto might be your favorite childhood friendship based couple - they first start falling for each other after Minato rescues Kushina from kidnappers. Do you like your romance drama-free? Then Yuuko and Takeshi Nishigori, the couple who runs the skating rink near Yuri's house in Yuri!!! on ICE might be right up your alley.

No matter how you like your romance, if you like early friendships that blossomed into romance, one of these couples is bound to appeal to you. 

Photo: Kyoto Animation

  • 1
    5,543 VOTES

    Winry Rockbell & Edward Elric - 'Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood'

    Winry Rockbell and Edward Elric started off as neighbor kids who sometimes played together, and eventually deepened their relationship when Ed and his brother moved in with the Rockbell family after their mother's death and a subsequent alchemy accident. As Winry's mechanical skills develop, she takes charge of building and servicing Ed's prosthetic limbs, which forces the two to meet up every so often, even when Ed is busy working as a state alchemist. Though the two bicker constantly, their relationship eventually turns romantic, and at the end of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, they're married with two kids.

    5,543 votes
  • 2
    3,858 VOTES

    Yona & Hak Son - 'Yona Of The Dawn'

    Yona actually has two childhood friends, Hak Son and Suwon. Any chance of romance with Suwon is totally destroyed when he kills her father and nearly kills her in an attempt to take over their kingdom. After Yona flees for her life, she dedicates herself to rooting out corruption and helping the underprivileged people of her nation - and in the process, she ends up falling for Hak Son. 

    3,858 votes
  • 3
    4,706 VOTES

    Kushina Uzumaki & Minato Namikaze - 'Naruto'

    Yes, the childhood friends to lovers trope even appears in shonen anime. Kushina Uzumaki and Minato Namikaze are Naruto's parents, but they first met when they were kids in Ninja Academy. Due to having the nine tailed fox sealed inside her body, Kushina is kidnapped. She leaves strands of her red hair behind, hoping that someone will find them and realize that they're hers. The only person who comes for her is Minato - the classmate she'd previously written off as weird and unreliable. After he rescues her, her opinion of him changes dramatically, and the two become close friends - and eventually, they become lovers.

    4,706 votes
  • 4
    3,080 VOTES

    Yusuke Urameshi & Keiko Yukimura - 'Yu Yu Hakusho'

    Yusuke Urameshi & Keiko Yukimura - 'Yu Yu Hakusho'
    Photo: Sunrise

    Yusuke Urameshi and Keiko Yukimura have known each other since they were little kids - and it's for that reason that their relationship works so well. Yusuke is a violent teenager who is always getting into fights and doesn't take school seriously. Keiko is a bit more straight-laced, but she knows that there's more to Yusuke than his thorny exterior implies. She knows that he can actually be quite caring and sweet, and she knows that his family life doesn't exactly contribute to a healthy lifestyle. It's their childhood connection that keeps her invested in a relationship that she might otherwise have walked away from.

    3,080 votes
  • 5
    787 VOTES

    Narumi Momose & Hirotaka Nifuji - 'Wotakoi: Love Is Hard For Otaku'

    Narumi Momose & Hirotaka Nifuji - 'Wotakoi: Love Is Hard For Otaku'
    Photo: A-1 Pictures

    As kids, Narumi Momose and Hirotaka Nifuji bonded over their mutual love for gaming and other otaku activities. But because Narumi was a bit more socially adept and extroverted than Hirotaka, who couldn't bring himself to confess his crush on her - the two eventually drifted apart.

    They met again when they coincidentally got jobs at the same office. At first, Narumi wanted to keep her otaku proclivities a secret, since she's had some bad reactions from prospective partners in the past. But she ended up giving up on that idea when she realized she was probably better off dating someone who she doesn't have to lie to. Over the course of the series, the two develop a healthy, mutually respectful relationship that involves a lot of gaming, cosplay, and other nerdy activities. 

    787 votes
  • 6
    1,772 VOTES

    Mochizou Ooji & Tamako Kitashirakawa - 'Tamako Market'

    Mochizou Ooji and Tamako Kitashirakawa have known each other since birth, as their families are close friends who operate businesses in the Usagiyama Shopping District. Their relationship is contentious at first - Mochizou used to tease Tamako until she cried - but as they get older, their relationship becomes a lot more friendly - the two communicate through cups attached by a string, and they spend much of their spare time together. In the Tamako Market movie, Tamako Love Story, Mochizou confesses his love for Tamako, and after some reflection, she accepts his confession and reciprocates, leading the two to become a couple. 

    1,772 votes