We all have those fictional couples that live in our heads rent-free. Be it bantering enemies-to-lovers or childhood friends secretly pining for each other, it’s hard not to get obsessed. Keep reading to learn about the nine romance manga couples we can’t get enough of!
1. Sakura and Syaoran from Cardcaptor Sakura
Sakura and Syaoran are one of the most wholesome soul pairs within the CLAMP multiverse. The rivals-to-lovers first meet when Syaoran, a transfer student from Hong Kong, tries to force Sakura to give up the magical Clow Cards she’s tasked with collecting. Syaoran, who’s a direct descendant of the mage who created the cards, refuses to accept Sakura as their keeper. However, as the story progresses he’s won over by her charms, supporting her as she grows into a proper Cardcaptor.
Watching Syaoran slowly become a blubbering fool for the oblivious Sakura is one of the most rewarding parts of this manga. It’s even more gratifying when the latter ultimately reciprocates in a touching declaration of love. Spoiler alert: it involves a handmade teddy bear.
2. Zen and Shirayuki from Snow White with the Red Hair
In a sea of toxic romances, Snow White with the Red Hair gifts us with one of the healthiest OTPs in shoujo manga. Herbalist Shirayuki encounters Prince Zen when she flees her home after her striking red hair garners some unwanted attention. This results in Zen inviting her to settle in his neighboring kingdom and start anew. The two go on to develop a friendship built on mutual support and admiration — all of which carries over to their romance. Part of what makes Zen and Shirayuki so compelling as a couple is how secure they are in their relationship. Even when their difference in social standing is met with opposition, the pair’s love never wavers.
3. Hak and Yona from Yona of the Dawn
From the moment Yona of the Dawn begins, these childhood friends are put through the ringer! After a tragic betrayal, a dethroned princess Yona must learn to fend for herself outside palace walls. Luckily, her devoted bodyguard is right there by her side. Having longed for the princess since their kid days, Hak is always willing to stake his life for Yona. But as protective as he is of the princess, the pride of seeing her come into her own might just be greater. As a result, Hak and Yona make for one hell of a power couple!
4. Taiki and Chinatsu from Blue Box
Taiki and Chinatsu are devout athletes who inspire each other to be better. The badminton player has held a torch for the basketball starlet since their first run-in at the school gym. When Chinatsu’s parents move away, to not prevent her dream of taking her team to Nationals, they leave her in the care of family friends — Taiki’s parents. As if seeing his crush at early morning practice wasn’t enough, now he gets to see her at the breakfast table, too?! Nevertheless, Taiki resolves to not let his feelings cause trouble for Chinatsu, focusing instead on his goals while she pursues hers. Seeing these two motivate one another, makes their slow-burn romance all the more endearing.
5. Iino and Ishigami from Kaguya-sama: Love is War
This side couple almost steals the spotlight from the main love story. By the time Iino and Ishigami form part of Shuchiin’s 68th student council, the long-time classmates already share a history of friction. She’s a model student who’s a stickler for the rules. He’s a slacker who’d rather game than study. Given their opposite nature, the two don’t get along. Though they claim as much, both have a pattern of secretly doing good deeds for the other. Readers are also privy to how much the pair actually has in common. Once their romance officially sets in motion, we’re all hooked on Iino and Ishigami’s long game.
6. Nakami and Magari from Insomniacs After School
These insomniacs find solace in each other and the night sky. After bonding over their shared sleep disorder, Nakami and Magari reinstate their school’s astronomy club. From then on, their sleepless nights are occupied by astrophotography and one-on-one podcasting. Their friendship alone is adorable, but seeing it evolve into more is just beautiful. Watching the gloom wash off the cynical Nakami in Magari’s bright presence will make you want what they have.
7. Risa and Otani from Lovely Complex
Risa and Otani are two goofballs with plenty of similarities — including a height complex. Risa is particularly tall for a girl, and Otani is particularly short for a boy. Their height difference and silly banter have everyone labeling them a “comedy duo.” Given their reputation, when Risa catches feelings for her petite frenemy, making him view her as a potential girlfriend is a tall order — pun intended. But as their shared interests bring them closer together, it’s only a matter of time before mutual feelings arise as well.
8. Yuki and Itsuomi from A Sign of Affection
This couple proves that communication is key to a successful relationship. After a meet-cute on the train, deaf college student Yuki is taken by world traveler Itsuomi. The charming Itsuomi also latches onto her, quickly learning sign language just to get to know her better. The two then form a deep connection that soon blossoms into a full-blown relationship. Seeing how enchanted they both are with one another is romantic on its own, but what really sets them apart is how proactive they are in trying to understand each other. It’s that open dialogue that makes Yuki and Itsuomi’s fairy-tale romance all the more aspirational.
9. Takagi and Nishikata from Teasing Master Takagi-san
Teasing is a love language for these two. Day after day, Nishikata comes up with new ways to one-up his classmate Takagi. The teasing master is always a step ahead, constantly managing to fluster him. But while Nishikata is so caught up in trying to pull one over on her, he fails to realize Takagi’s romantic interest. Every time he approaches her with a new game, she’s just delighted at getting to spend more time with her crush. The sweetest part about this middle school will-they-won’t-they is knowing that the pair do end up married in the future. But the fun of following their story is getting to see the journey to their happy ending.
Every time we encounter a new fictional couple, it feels like the first time. We just love love, and we know you do too. Here’s to hoping you find a new OTP to obsess over on this list!