LGBTQ+ relationships in anime either come across as tender or facetious. Queer anime characters, when they show up at all, often never experience requited love. When a relationship does blossom, they often follow unhealthy dynamics that aren't reflective of real-world relationships, relying instead on yaoi and yuri tropes.
That said, there are some awesome LGBTQ+ anime couples that serve as positive representations of their respective communities. Yuuri Katsuki and Victor Nikiforov of Yuri!!! on ICE are deeply committed and wholly in love, pushing each other to be their best selves both on and off the ice. Ymir and Krista of Attack on Titan are forced into roles that don't suit them, but they find meaning and comfort in each other. Mitsuyo Akechi and Michi Inukai of A Centaur's Worries have a much more relaxed approach to love. They're just high school girlfriends who like each other, proving that queer love doesn't have to be dramatic to be worth showcasing.
These relationships vary in tone and intensity, but all of them make for excellent stories.
Victor Nikiforov & Yuuri Katsuki - 'Yuri!!! on ICE'
Yuri!!! on ICE is unique among anime with LGBTQ+ themes because there's no ambiguity whatsoever about the relationship between the two protagonists. After Yuuri Katsuki's figure skating career nearly tanks, his skating idol Victor Nikiforov offers to train him for the upcoming Grand Prix competition. As they prepare for the event, they start falling in love, and their relationship escalates to the point of an on-ice kiss and a marriage proposal.
Their relationship is far from perfect, though. Victor can be unnecessarily rude and Yuuri's anxiety can get in the way of his communication skills. Nevertheless, the two are clearly wild about each other, and committed to dealing with their issues. This makes their relationship feel real without detracting from the overall sense of romance.
Shion & Nezumi - 'No. 6'
Nezumi and Shion come from very different worlds. Nezumi has experienced terrible suffering, watching his entire village burn to the ground and barely escaping with his own life. Meanwhile, Shion has lived a life of privilege and ignorance inside a protected city called No. 6 – the very city responsible for Nezumi's tragic past.
When Shion helps Nezumi escape from a conflict, he's stripped of his position and is nearly arrested before Nezumi helps him in turn. From there, the two begin to develop a relationship, slowly falling in love despite their deeply dissimilar backgrounds. Ultimately, their differing views on how to handle the political strife that surrounds them separates them, but their deep love persists.
It's impossible to mention queer relationships in anime without including this couple: Michiru Kaiou and Haruka Tenoh, also known as Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus. The best thing about their relationship is how obviously in love they are. The two have no qualms about kissing, flirting, and embracing in public.
But Haruka and Michiru are more than just their physical relationship – they also work beautifully together as fellow Sailor Scouts, and do a great job raising the reborn Hotaru along with Setsuna.
Ymir & Krista Lenz - 'Attack On Titan'
Ymir and Krista Lenz's relationship is one of the best things about Attack on Titan, which is saying a lot given the overall quality of the show. The two bond over their complex hidden histories, throw aside expectations that have been placed on them by others, and devote themselves completely to keeping each other safe and happy. It's a genuinely beautiful relationship that blooms in the midst of chaos and bloodshed.
Early in the Attack on Titan fandom, there was some debate as to whether or not Ymir and Krista were romantically involved, but their relationship was confirmed both by the manga author Hajime Isayama and Krista's voice actor, Shiori Mikami.