While the majority of real world relationships eventually come to an end, anime breakups are a surprisingly rare occurrence. Even when a show is focused solely on romance, the story is often about the beginning of the relationship, not the end. Still, breakups do happen, and when they do they can make for some the most dramatic and unforgettable scenes in anime history.
The problems that lead to anime characters splitting up are just as varied as the characters themselves. When Nana Osaki and Ren Honjo of NANA break up, it's because of something that could happen to anyone - Ren gets a job opportunity in another city and has to leave Nana - and their band - behind. Most people aren't going to break up for the reason that Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask did, though - Tuxedo Mask sent his past self false prophetic dreams that claimed that Sailor Moon would be in danger if they stayed together, as a test of their love.
Whatever the reason, these breakups have the power to engage your emotions and keep you thinking about them for years to come.
Usagi Tsukino and Mamoru Chiba, also known as Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask, are star-crossed lovers whose relationship is one of the most enduring things about the Sailor Moon series, so it may surprise some people to know that once upon a time, the two broke up.
This happened because Mamoru started having weird prophetic dreams that told him that Usagi would be in danger if the two of them stayed together. Instead of telling her this, he instead tells her that he no longer loves her. This is bad enough, but the worst thing about it is that the dreams weren't even real - Mamoru's future self sent them to his past self to retroactively strengthen the relationship. Apparently, making the person you love miserable is totally romantic.
Ren Honjo and Nana Osaki didn't break up because they didn't love each other - they broke up because Ren got a career opportunity he couldn't refuse, and Nana didn't want to leave her own career behind. The two of them were musicians who found success with their band Black Stones, but when Ren gets an offer to join a more popular band called Trapnest, he ultimately accepts, leaving behind his home - and Nana. Nana eventually does decide to come to Tokyo herself to pursue her own musical dreams and resume her relationship with Ren, but despite their devotion to one another, their love is ultimately doomed.
Akari Shinohara & Takaki Toono - 5 Centimeters Per Second
The breakup between Akari Shinohara and Takaki Toono is among the most devastating in anime history. That's because the two of them didn't break up because their relationship wasn't working out, or because they no longer loved each other - it was because actually being together proved impossible. After Akari's family moved, the two friends tried to stay in touch. When Takaki's family is about to move even further away, they try to meet up, but are stopped by everything from bad weather to train problems, and ultimately only get a few precious hours together. During those hours, they share a kiss, and promise to stay in touch with one another. Realizing the futility of it all, Takaki stops writing, and the two drift apart.
Bulma and Yamcha's relationship officially ends with Bulma falls in love with Vegeta, but it was already on thin ice. Yamcha had been cheating on Bulma, so there was already some serious distance between the two of them. Bulma started getting closer to Vegeta while he was staying on her family's property, and was impressed by his single-minded dedication to his training. Yamcha's jealousy ended up provoking the end of the relationship, leaving Yamcha alone for now and Bulma pursuing a relationship with Vegeta that would ultimately end in marriage.