Article: Most Romantic Studio Ghibli Love Interests

The best couples in anime comes from the legendary anime Studio Ghibli, whose protagonists tend to come in a set of pairs, due to the studio’s recurring theme of profound bounds. Hayao Miyazaki, the director and writer once said that he wants to portray a slightly different relationship, one where the two characters mutually inspire each other to live. If he could, then perhaps he’ll be closer to portraying a true expression of love. As such, there are very few Ghibli pairs who are explicitly romantic, leaving it ambiguous whether they are suitable as a family, close friends, or lovers, present or future. However, this isn’t that critical part of any of them, and what makes them so memorable is how they change each other’s lives forever.

1. Kaguya And Sutemaru

Kaguya as a moon spirit that is sent to be raised on Earth is constantly torn between the two worlds. She adores humanity and the small wonders that Earth has to offer, in particular those simple mountain villages where she spent her childhood. Her closest to that place is Sutemaru. He was always kind and protective of her, and they may well have remained close, but they get separated when she becomes a noblewoman. He represents the happiness that she desperately craves but can never have.

2. Kiki And Tombo

Kiki in her journey to finally coming of age and into her own as a witch, meets and befriends many people in her new town. From Ursula, her artist friend to Osano and Fukuo, her parental figures, who all teach her many valuable lessons. However, Tombo was the most essential part of her growth. He was the first person she met when she arrived in Koriko and was determined to befriend her. The longer she spent in the city, the more emotional pitfalls and obstacles she faced, culminating in losing her magic. It was seeing him in the middle of an airship accident that ended up giving her the boost she needed get back on her broom and to regain her magic.

3. Howl And Sophie

When Sophie is cursed by a witch, she must go to Howl, a mysterious wizard, for help. She gets drawn deeper into his world of magic, and ends up realizing that it may have been her, who was meant to save him all along. By the end of her journey, she becomes more self-confident, seeing herself as a smart, strong, and capable person, which is how he sees her. They are the favorite pairing of many Studio Ghibli fans. She is a kind person who loves Howl, but also doesn't have problem stopping his drama in its tracks: when his lost heart is restored by Sophie, and his most remarkable traits are brought out by his efforts of protecting her.

4. Shou And Arrietty

Shou is a lonely boy who is living with his aunt before undergoing a risky operation to cure his heart condition. Arrietty is one of the family of Borrowers who are secretly living in the house. Borrowers and Humans do not interact, but these two forge into a life-changing friendship anyway. His patient efforts to win the trust of Arrietty’s family are particularly memorable. Ultimately they are forced apart, in the English dub, where he confirms that he never sees her again. In the original one, it’s left ambiguous whether her family made it to a new one and if he survived the operation.

5. Chihiro And Haku

When Chihiro’s parents get cursed, leaving her trapped in the spirit world, the first spirit she meets is Haku, and he is also the first one who goes out of his way to help her. Her journey teaches her to be selfless, brave, and responsible, all of which she uses to save him from his curse. She ultimately departs the Spirit World as a stronger person. These kids meet twice purely by chance and don’t get to stay together. However, both times, it’s one of the most significant moments of their lives. He promises they will meet again one day, and even if that isn’t true, their adventure will stay with them their whole lives.

6. Ashitaka And San

Ashitaka after being cursed and exiled from his village makes his way to Iron Town, where he finds an ongoing conflict between the forest spirits who want to protect their land and the townspeople seeking to expand into the forest. San is the head of the spirit’s force, raised by wolf gods and harboring hatred towards humans. He resolves to bring peace between them. His determination to protect life at all costs earns her respect. The two take turns saving one another's lives as the war of gods, humans, and spirits escalates to nearly destroying everyone involved. At the end he finds a new home, and she admits that she wants to stay close to him.

7. Jiro And Naoko

The same wind that lifts Jiro’s war planes into the sky and ends up guiding him to Naoko, the love of his life. They are loyal and deeply in love with each other, and nothing makes them happier than being close to each other. Unfortunately, due to her terminal tuberculosis, they live together and are cut off too soon. Hayao took considerable liberties with the life of the historical Jiro when writing the novel. In real life, his wife did not have tuberculosis; they lived long and had five children. To drive home the film’s themes of loss, love and helplessness against change, Miyazaki turned it into a romantic tragedy.

8. Ponyo And Sosuke

Childhood friendships are often the most sincere and closest of all. In the anime, it is what not only allowed them to stay together but also saved all of humanity from being consumed by the ocean. Even after having such a powerful magic, it is their innocent love that is stronger than any of it. The workings of supernatural and human worlds are too large for either to fully understand. What matters at the end was her determination to be with him no matter what and his acceptance of Ponyo for all that she is.

9. Sheeta And Pazu

Sheeta is the only connection to the legendary floating castle, Laputa. Pazu has long dreamed of finding the castle one day. When they are caught up in the dangers of everyone trying to find and claim Laputa’s power and having only each other to protect their world, this was Studio Ghibli’s first movies introducing recurring elements of future projects, like sweeping scores by Joe, strong environmentalist themes, and the template for the protagonist pairs. Pazu and Sheeta exemplify many positive qualities that Miyazaki enjoys giving his young heroes: honesty, loyalty, and incredible perseverance.

10. Shizuku And Seiji

Shizuku even before meeting Seiji is fascinated just seeing his name on all the checkout cards of the library book she is interested in. When she finds that her annoying classmate and the mysterious Seiji are the same, she’s appalled. But as they get close, they become each other’s most vital support. They are pulled towards different arts, but the lessons they get to learn about how to pursue their dreams are the same. Even though their pursuits ultimately separate them, their love remains.