Anime Underground

The 13 Best Yaoi Anime Couples of All Time  

Anna Lindwasser
8.4k votes 2k voters 20.3k views 13 items

Yaoi is a niche anime genre that focuses on the romantic relationships between male characters. It often has tropes that are unique to the medium - including things like massive age gaps and power differentials that may not appeal to all readers. While yaoi, boys love, and shonen ai aren't for everyone, they enjoy a huge following for a reason. It's wonderful to have anime with LGBTQ+ relationships at the forefront, and some of those couples are truly fascinating.

But who are the best yaoi anime couples? That's up to you. From classics like Gravitation to new shows like Hitorijime My Hero, there are plenty of great yaoi anime with great couples that are worth rooting for. 

A few of these couples come from anime with contested designations. Some people would call Yuri on ICE!!! a yaoi anime because the couple at its center, Victor and Yuri, are both men. Other people think it isn't yaoi because it doesn't adhere to certain yaoi tropes. Depending on your take on the issue, you might feel that some of these pairings don't belong on this list. If so, take their presence as another opportunity to celebrate an awesome couple. 

1
Yuri Katsuki & Victor Nikiforov - Yuri!!! on ICE
Yuri Katsuki & Victor Nikiforo... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 13 Best Yaoi Anime Couples of All Time
Photo:  MAPPA

Yuri!!! on ICE is a mainstream anime that some people consider to be yaoi - but regardless of your stance, this pairing is worth celebrating. Both because of their obvious affection for one another and because of their support for each other's professional and personal goals, they're one of the most wholesome gay couples in all of anime.

When Yuri Katsuki puts on an embarrassingly terrible skating performance, he sinks into a depression and nearly gives up his career. When Victor Nikiforov, a Russian skater who Yuri idolizes, sees a videotape of Yuri skating, he decides to personally prepare him for the next Grand Prix. Over the course of their training, the two begin falling in love. What's great is that Victor doesn't just save Yuri from a failed career - Yuri also saves Victor from a lifetime of loneliness. 

Is this a good couple?
2
Ash Lynx & Eiji Okumura - Banana Fish
Ash Lynx & Eiji Okumura - Bana... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 13 Best Yaoi Anime Couples of All Time
Photo:  MAPPA

Banana Fish is a yaoi anime in that there's a same-sex couple at the helm, but it doesn't adhere to many of the medium's tropes. Ash Lynx and Eiji Okumura are immediately dedicated to each other from the moment they meet, even though their lives and personalities couldn't be more different. Eiji is a former pole vaulter from Japan who has led a relatively carefree life except for a career-altering injury. Ash has led a terrifying existence rife with crime. When Eiji is roped into Ash's difficult life, he refuses to give up and go home - he wants to help Ash however he can. Meanwhile, Ash will do everything in his power to protect Eiji. Their love story is a bright light in the chaotic hellscape that is the rest of this anime. 

Is this a good couple?
3
Nezumi & Shion - No.6
Nezumi & Shion - No.6 is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 13 Best Yaoi Anime Couples of All Time
Photo:  Studio Bones

Nezumi and Shion come from very different walks of life. While Shion lives a privileged and protected lifestyle inside of a wealthy city, Nezumi lives on the outskirts, exposed to the full dangers of an unequal and treacherous world. When Shion gives Nezumi a place to stay for the night, his high social status is revoked, and he sees the true nature of the world around him. Through all this turmoil, the two boys fall in love - but their painful dystopian reality may not allow their love to flourish. 

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4
Masamune Takano & Ritsu Onodera - Sekaiichi Hatsukoi
Masamune Takano & Ritsu Onoder... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 13 Best Yaoi Anime Couples of All Time
Photo:  Studio Deen

If you're a fan of first loves, Sekaiichi Hatsukoi features a couple you're sure to love. After Ritsu Onodera quits his cushy job at his father's publishing company and transfers to a place where he can make a name for himself on his own terms, he finds himself working with Masamune Takano, the strict and exacting editor-in-chief. It turns out that Takano is the person who broke Onodera's heart in high school - an experience that has turned him off of dating into his adulthood. Takano regrets leaving the relationship and sees this as an opportunity to get Onodera to fall in love with him again. 

Is this a good couple?