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The 13 Most Unforgettable Anime Breakups of All Time

Updated December 18, 2018 3.2k votes 937 voters 21.1k views13 items

List RulesVote up the anime breakups with the greatest emotional impact.

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.

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  • 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.

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  • Photo: Madhouse

    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.

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  • 3

    Akari Shinohara & Takaki Toono - 5 Centimeters Per Second  

    Photo: CoMix Wave

    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. 

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  • 4

    Banri Tada & Koko Kaga - Golden Time

    Photo: J.C.Staff

    After an accident leaves Banri Tada without memories, he's trying his best to start a new life from scratch. While attending law school, he ends up growing close to Koko Kaga, his rich and beautiful classmate. Things get complicated when his memories start to return and he remembers Linda, his former best friend who he once had feelings for.

    Worried that regaining his old self will change him irrevocably and make him no longer love her, Koko decides to break things off with Banri. For those hoping for him to resume his relationship with Linda, this is a relief, but for those who want things to work out between Koko and Banri, it's devastating. The two do ultimately get back together, as Banri realizes that he will never truly be the person he was before the accident. 

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