Love triangles in anime have been one of the more popular romance dynamics for years. Due to this, they have a surprisingly large presence in non-romance shows — especially shonen anime. Love triangles in shonen anime are some of the best due to their compelling circumstances entrenched in typical shonen action.
Although there are various ways love triangles present themselves, the circumstances of each shonen show make them unique. Additionally, many anime fans have strong opinions about how they want the triangles to resolve themselves. There is much debate about love triangles in shonen anime, but fans cannot get enough of their favorite complicated romances.
10 Rio & Kaede Clash For Nagisa's Affections (Assassination Classroom)
While it is not widely publicized in Assassination Classroom, Nagisa Shiota is the object of more than just Kaede Kayano's affections. Rio Nakamura also has her eyes on the blue-haired protagonist. Kaede is usually more reserved and embarrassed in her feelings for Nagisa, while Rio tends to show her admiration through relentless teasing.
Though both girls want Nagisa to notice them, Rio decides to step back upon learning Kaede's feelings for him. Rio even encourages Kaede to confess her own feelings. Fans feel for Rio's plight, but they were very happy to see Nagisa and Kaede share their affection in a later episode.
9 Everyone's Feelings Are Unrequited Between Eren, Mikasa & Jean (Attack On Titan)
Attack On Titan is not known for its lighthearted moments. However, Mikasa's feelings for Eren have been painfully known throughout the fandom, and the early seasons of the anime show Jean's feelings for Mikasa. Unfortunately, no one's love is requited in this triangle.
Eren has always dismissed Mikasa's affections for him, and in some cases, has used them to his advantage. Likewise, every time Jean tries to compliment Mikasa or flirt with her, he is met with indifference. Attack On Titan is a show meant for tragedy — even in romance.
8 Yoko & Kamina Flaunt Their Love In Front Of Simon (Gurren Lagann)
One of the most heartbreaking sequences in anime is the scenes leading up to (and during) Team Die Gurren's fight with Beastman General Thymilph in Gurren Lagann. As they prepare for battle, Simon is out in the woods when he notices a pair from the team meeting secretly outside of camp. Yoko and Kamina wish each other luck and encourage each other in the upcoming battle before sharing a passionate kiss. This is much to Simon's horror, as he has harbored feelings for Yoko since meeting her.
The kiss humiliates Simon so much that it affects his ability to pilot Lagann. Fortunately, Kamina snaps him out of his funk, and he regains his piloting ability. While the battle ends in tragedy, the loss of life makes Yoko and Kamina's kiss all the more poignant.
7 Ray, Emma & Norman Plot Together (The Promised Neverland)
Ray, Emma, and Norman are three orphans living at Grace Field House in The Promised Neverland. The three live in relative happiness until the latter two discover the truth of their lives within the house. With their lives at stake, the two boys start to get a little bolder in their interactions with Emma. Tensions grow as Norman and Ray fight for their lives and Emma's attention.
Both boys hold deep affection for Emma. They fiercely protect her and would do anything to keep her safe. Emma can fend for herself, but it is nice to know that Norman and Ray always have her back.
6 Asuka, Shinji & Rei Pilot The Evas (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
Neon Genesis Evangelion is a classic show involving giant mechs called Evas and dangerous monsters called Angels. Yet, at the heart are three teens who power the Evas. Shinji Ikari is a shy, closed-off boy who dislikes confrontation. Even so, he is the ideal partner in the minds of Asuka Langley Soryu and Rei Ayanami.
When Asuka finally admits her feelings, she is scared of rejection and the notion that she likes someone she is jealous of. Rei, on the other hand, is quietly intense about her feelings for Shinji. While Shinji does like Rei back, the two worry about the consequences of rejection.
5 Komi Finds Friends In Tadano & Ren Yamai (Komi Can't Communicate)
Hitohito Tadano is the first friend toward reaching Shoko Komi's goal of making one hundred friends in Komi Can't Communicate. Tadano is a nice, respectable boy who — like everyone else — has fallen for Komi's quiet charm. However, his feelings are not as outwardly intense as one of Komi's other friends, Ren Yamai.
Ren takes her affections to an obsessive level — even kidnapping Tadano at one point. Ren's actions are terrifying, yet Komi still agrees to be her friend. Ren may be out of the running for Komi's attention, but Tadano is very much still in the game.
4 Yato Interferes With Yuki's Emotions For Hiyori (Noragami)
Yato is a god who is down on his luck in Noragami. Throughout the show, Yato works tirelessly to regain renown and followers. To carry out this mission and fight against certain evil spirits, Yato accepts Yukine or "Yuki" as his regalia. Yuki is the spirit of a troubled teen. Yet, when he meets Yato's human friend, Hiyori Iki, he is instantly smitten. Unfortunately, Yuki tries to take advantage of Hiyori, but she is thankfully stopped by Yato.
While Yuki's feelings burn hot from the onset, Yato's admiration for Hiyori grows throughout the show. The more time he spends with her, the more they fall for each other. There may not be a conclusive anime ending to either of these relationships, but the three still make a great trio.
3 Louis Is Suspicious Of Legoshi & Haru (Beastars)
Legoshi is a mild-mannered wolf until he meets Haru, the dwarf rabbit who runs the gardening club in Beastars. Conflicted by his feelings, Legoshi finally concludes that he has fallen in love with Haru. However, he is devastated to learn that Haru's heart belongs to the Drama Club President, Louis.
Louis and Haru met when he was hiding after losing his horns. The two strike up a physical relationship, but Louis is reluctant to go public with their attachment as he is trying to become the next Beastar. This causes tension in his relationship with Haru, which starts to bring her closer to Legoshi's open arms.
2 Toru & Miyamura Fight For Hori's Love (Horimiya)
Kyouko Hori is a popular high schooler in Horimiya. So when she begins to date the dark Izumi Miyamura, many people are baffled — especially Hori's long-time admirer, Toru Ishikawa. He is angry at first that Miyamura has taken "his" girl, and fights Miyamura.
Despite this, Toru and Miyamura eventually strike up a close friendship. They both agree that the most important thing is Hori's happiness, and vow never to get in the way. Toru is understandably heartbroken, but it is not long before he finds himself in the middle of another love triangle.
1 Light Uses Misa & Kiyomi For His Agenda (Death Note)
Light Yagami is the cunning protagonist of Death Note. He evades incarceration for his many crimes up until the end, thanks to help from various people he manipulates. Two such people are Misa Amane and Kiyomi Takada.
Misa is the owner of another Death Note and offers to help Light of her own accord — even offering her skills to him if he agrees to be her boyfriend. Likewise, Light strikes up a bond with his old classmate, Kiyomi, to utilize her television position to get messages to the public. Death Note may not have a happy ending, but Kiyomi and Misa highlight the lengths to which Light would go to achieve his ambitions.
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