Some love stories begin with the most unlikely couples or situations. Old enemies can turn into lovers within the right context and scenario.
This trope is quite common as some of the best couples out there were born out of hatred or dislike, or even with enemies in war.
Love and hatred are complementary emotions but they often get interchanged.
There may be spoilers throughout the article so you can just look at the titles if you simply want to know what are the best anime where enemies become lovers.
Table of Contents
20. Masamune-kun’s Revenge – Masamune Makabe x Aki Adagaki
When he was little Masamune was a chubby boy and he was bullied by a girl called Aki Adagaki, who kept calling him piggy. This took a toll on young Masamune, who decided to act and get revenge on the girl.
He planned to lose weight and seduce the girl to have the possibility to reject her and break her heart.
This backfires spectacularly as the boy ends up falling in love with Aki. Turns out that she liked him even back then but was unable to properly express her feelings.
The plot won’t be so easy but this show is entertaining, and a good choice if you don’t know what to watch.
19. Baldios – Aphrodia x Marin
Baldios is an anime that premiered in the early ’80s and it shares the classic elements of the mecha genre that was dominant at the time.
Aphrodia is a lieutenant in the employ of the evil Gattler, the military leader that gained control over the planet with a coup.
He wanted to leave the planet while the scientists led by professor Reigan wanted to find a way to clear the air on the surface and save their life on the planet.
During the assault on the laboratory Aphrodia’s brother gets killed by Marin, Prof. Reigan’s son. This sparks a hatred between the two but when they’ll realize what is going on on their planet they will join forces to take down Gattler.
The relationship between Aphrodia and Marin features deep feelings of love and hate.
The main reason is that they both are dragged into a conflict that they didn’t start and now are trying to find out the truth hidden in their chaotic planet.
18. Golgo 13 – Duke Togo x Others
The story of an infallible sniper, able to hit any target from almost any distance.
Golgo 13 is the alias the protagonist uses in his work as a hitman. A series of different, often unrelated missions show us his coolness in taking lives.
Although the anime focuses more on depicting the incredible abilities of the main character.
He is a mysterious mercenary who will work for anyone able to meet his asking price. Love also comes for ruthless, iron men like Golgo, and we will have a marked romance component during the show.
Every relationship is contextual to his mission and he isn’t afraid to use his charm to get to a point where he can accomplish his goal.
This is also one of the best violent anime with romance that you really should watch if you like the subgenre.
17. Outlaw Star – Gene Starwind x Melfina
Outlaw Star is based on a famous seinen manga and the anime adaptation aired in 1998.
We are in the future called the Towards Stars Era in which many star systems have been opened to space traffic. Gene Starwind and James Hawking run a small, unassuming handyman agency to make a living.
One day they are hired to protect Captain Hilda, who is piloting a spaceship, the XGP-15A II, also nicknamed “Outlaw Star,” in search of a legendary location that holds immense treasure.
But as usual evil-doers, lurk in every corner ready to take advantage at any time, and this situation is no exception.
Gene has a tumultuous relationship with Melfina, a biological android intended as the XGP 15a-II’s navigation system.
They will both be unsure about their feelings until the very end when they will confess their love for each other.
16. Maid-sama! – Misaki Ayuzawa x Takumi Usui
This anime is set in Seika High School, a predominantly male high school where Misaki Ayuzawa achieved the position of first-ever female student council president.
Misaki encounters Takumi Usui as he rejects a love confession by a classmate who starts crying.
This prompts Misaki to intervene but Usui shows indifference. Usui will meet once again the girl outside the school where he discovers that she has a job at a maid cafe!
This is embarrassing for Misaki and tries to convince Usui to keep this to himself.
He will keep the secret but he will also start visiting often to tease her and build a relationship with her that will slowly turn into an actual love interest.
Maid-Sama! is a little gem that we consider among the best romance anime on Hulu. It has a solid story, some cool MCs and a cute and moe romance.
15. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable – Koichi Hirose x Yukako Yamagishi
It is 1999 and the new protagonist is Josuke Higashikata, the illegitimate son of Joseph Joestar. Joutarou Kuujou heads to the mysterious town of Morioh to meet Josuke and to teach him to make use of his Stand power.
They will begin looking for the Bow and Arrow, an artifact that can generate Stand Powers, and is at risk of falling into the hands of a serial killer that is frightening the town.
Thanks to the cast of characters introduced over the episodes, they will succeed and kill the serial killer Yoshikage Kira, bringing peace once again to the town.
The couple having a love/hate relationship is composed of Yukako and Koichi. The two have a toxic relationship because she is obsessed with him to the point where she attacks and tries to kill him to keep him for herself.
She is also capable of hurting him when he doesn’t reciprocate her feelings
Yukako eventually sees the errors of her way and becomes much more relaxed when she and Koichi begin a true relationship.
14. Nisekoi – Raku Ichijou x Chitoge Kirisaki
It tells the story of Raku Ichijou, the heir to a very powerful Yakuza family. He is now a typical teenager but many years ago he made a promise to a girl that gave him a pendant that he is obsessed with.
Raku tries desperately to find the girl with a key that will open his pendant and he also has a huge crush on his old friend Kosaki Onodera.
However, Raku is dragged back to reality by the appearance of a rival gang of his family, the American Bee Hive Gang. The two clans decide to settle by pairing Raku with the daughter of the enemy’s leader, Chitoge Kirisaki.
The two teenagers are forced into a fake relationship for the sake of their families right at the beginning of the story, but they don’t like each other at all.
But even if it’s a false love, who knows if this act can produce real feelings as the story goes on. And that’s what makes Nisekoi one of the best romance anime with early couples, as you will see what are the consequences of this premise.
13. Dragon Ball Z – Vegeta x Bulma
Dragon Ball Z is a legendary anime that tells the story of Goku, a man who discovers to be part of the Saiyan race and decides to put use his powers to protect humanity and Earth.
This anime show tells lots of stories with many compelling characters that make it stand out and be remembered as one of the most successful shonen of all time.
Many of these characters build relationships with each other throughout the series. For example, Vegeta goes through many changes, starting as a villain and later becoming a hero.
He will marry Bulma and they will give birth to Trunks. Vegeta was one of Goku’s first enemies that started switching side during the end of Freezer’s saga.
12. Princess Tutu – Ahiru x Fakir
Drosselmeyer is a bizarre writer who has the power to make the fairy tales he writes come to life. In one of his fairy tales, he tells the story of Ahiru, a duck who has fallen in love with the reclusive Prince Mithos and who the writer makes into a human girl.
Thanks to a magical pendant Ahiru can transform into the titular Princess Tutu, a girl who uses her powers by dancing. To save Mithos, who no longer has feelings, the girl-daughter will have to recover the scattered fragments of his destroyed heart.
During her quest, Ahiru often bumps into Fakir, a guy who often gets in her way. They will end up together despite their initial relationship being pretty contentious.
11. A Silent Voice – Shouya Ishida x Shouko Nishimiya
A movie from 2016 that tells the story of Shouya Ishida and Shouko Nishimiya, two high school students that had a tumultuous relationship in elementary school.
Shouya was indeed bullying Shouko due to her deafness although he will apologize to her proving to be repentant about his past actions.
The two will soon become friends but this relationship will be threatened by their issues and the lingering depression of the girl.
They never truly become a couple but the plot shows how two very conflicting characters can eventually become much closer over time.
10. Lupin III Series – Arsene Lupin III x Fujiko Mine
Lupin III is an iconic anime series based on the works of Monkey Punch.
The iconic protagonist Lupin III is the grandson of Arsène Lupin, the gentleman thief. He is following in the footsteps of his grandfather by becoming a world-famous thief who is both feared and admired.
Many people decide to join his gang, such as Daisuke Jigen, a skilled gunman, and Goemon Ishikawa, an expert samurai.
Lupin is also hunted down by the law, represented by Inspector Zenigata, who is always left speechless by the cunning of the thief.
And how can we forget Fujiko Mine, another thief whose great charm will often manage to get Lupin into trouble, being at the same time a dangerous enemy but also his greatest love.
Lupin III is a long series, with a large number of series, movies, spin-offs and more, but if you are looking for a great adventure, with breathtaking scenes and wonderful music, don’t think twice and dive into it.
9. Super Dimensional Fortress Macross – Hikaru Ichijyo x Misa Ayase/ Maximilian Jenius x Milia Fallyna
A cult mecha anime from 1982 with a love triangle and strong romance elements.
The plot starts with the human race finishing a space airship based on an alien wreck called Macross. When they try to launch the ship, they get attacked by the alien race Zentradi and the remnants of humanity embark on it to escape planet Earth.
This marks the beginning of a war against this unknown race of aliens.
The main character Hikaru was disliked by his superior Misa Hayase in the beginning but the two of them developed a strong relationship as the show went on. And later, the popular idol Linn will join them in one of the best love triangles ever.
Another example is provided important example is given by Max Jenius and Milia, enemies in war that married in Episode 25 (Virgin Road). Milia was a Zentradi Aviatrix but defected to the humans after meeting her future husband.
8. Spy x Family – Loid Forger x Yor Briar
Twilight, one of the world’s top spies, has spent his life taking on undercover missions to make the world a better place.
One day he receives a particularly difficult assignment, and to succeed in his new mission he will have to form a temporary family and start a new life.
Joining him will be the beautiful and mysterious Yor, who will pose as his wife, and Anya, a little girl with mysterious powers they will have to care for.
Even though every member of this fake family is playing a role and is trying to deceive the others, they will slowly develop feelings for each other in a cute romance subplot. And maybe they will become more important than their respective final objective.
7. Rurouni Kenshin – Kenshin Himura x Tomoe Yukishiro
The protagonist of the series is Kenshin Himura, a legendary warrior who, after helping to depose the Tokugawa shogunate, lives his life protecting people from injustice.
He kills the boyfriend of Tomoe, the girl who will end up being the love of his life. She resents Kenshin for what he has done so she tries to seduce him and set a trap with the Shogunate spies that will lead to his murder.
Tomoe will change her mind about Kenshin after being close to him and she realizes that she has fallen in love with him after he saves her. She will try to stop the plot to kill Kenshin but the Shogunate spies will ultimately face him.
This is an iconic love/hate relationship with a very dramatic ending that kicks off the plot properly.
6. Angel Beats – Yuzuru Otonashi x Kanade Tachibana
Angel Beats! is a well-received anime from 2010, consisting of 14 episodes that blends a typical high school setting with supernatural elements, romance and action.
The protagonist is Yuzuru Otonashi a 17-year-old that unfortunately discovers what happens to the soul after a person’s death.
He finds himself in a seemingly high school-like afterlife, populated by people who died prematurely or from unwanted deaths.
With them, he forms the Afterlife Battlefront, determined to fight against their predetermined fate and challenge the student council president, Kanade Tachibana, one of the best kuudere girls in the genre.
And although we cannot tell you too much to avoid spoilers, as the plot continues perhaps even enemies can become allies, and even lovers.
Angel Beats! is a different anime from the usual, with a distinctive plot and some good plot twists. It may not be a masterpiece, but it certainly deserves a chance.
5. Toradora! – Ryuji Takasu x Taiga Ayasaka
Toradora is an anime focused on the two main characters. Ryuuji Takasu is a high school student who’s kind and pretty chill but his face is very intimidating and rubs people the wrong way. Taiga Aisaka is instead a small girl with a feisty personality.
The two of them will help each other during the show and they will start to know each other better. Ryuuji discovers the sweet side of Taiga and she will also find out that behind Ryuuji’s face is not a delinquent.
They will help each other with their respective crushes but they will inevitably start to develop feelings for each other that they will have to handle.
It is not a proper hate-love story but is one that tells us how you can grow attached to someone who, at a first glance, has nothing in common with you.
This is a solid romance anime for guys that want to start with the genre and don’t know how to do it.
4. Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team – Shiro Amada x Aina Sahalin
This anime from 1996 it’s part of the immense Gundam universe, a staple of the last century’s anime production.
This iteration is set in the year 0079 when the Earth Federation is planning on waging war against the Principality of Zeon and retaking land from it.
The main character Shiro Amada is sent to Southeast Asia to take command of the 08th MS Team and lead the charge against the Zeon forces. He is a capable soldier but he will fall in love with an enemy pilot called Aina Sahalin.
The relationship between the two is forbidden because both of them are risking being labeled as traitors by their respective sides.
3. Card Captor Sakura – Sakura Kinomoto x Syoran Li
Card Captor Sakura is one of the best-known manga and anime related to the world of magic. The story features a 10-year-old girl who one day stumbles upon a mysterious book in her father’s library.
The girl, intrigued, opens it and releases the magic contained within it in the form of cards, at the same time acquiring magical powers.
These powers will be useful for the protagonist to undo the damage done, beginning a journey that will lead her to find all the lost Clow Cards.
Due to each Card’s ability to act independently, Clow had sealed them away. Now that they have been set free, they could be dangerous and it is up to Sakura to make up for her mistakes.
Syaoran is introduced as an antagonist given that on more than one occasion he gets in her way. He will slowly fall in love with Sakura and the two will start dating.
2. Berserk – Gatsu x Casca
A masterpiece of the dark fantasy and sword and sorcery genres that came out in 1997.
Few other works can match this one due to the complexity of its characters and for starring two incredible personalities: Gatsu and Griffith.
This work has irreversibly influenced every media outlet that has approached fantasy from a horror perspective.
Casca and Gatsu experience a very tumultuous relationship. At first, Casca is obsessed with Griffith and idolizes him but he is not interested in her and he sees her just as one of his soldiers.
Casca also hates Gatsu for the preference that Griffith shows for him.
Although their relationship will dramatically change over the years when they will both realize their feeling for each other after having left Griffith’s ranks.
1. Kaguya-Sama: Love is War – Miyuki Shirogane x Kaguya Shinomiya
Kaguya-sama – Love is War is a recent anime that premiered in 2019 and is among the best psychological romance anime.
The plot follows Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya, two students attending the prestigious Shuchiin Institute who are blatantly in love with each other.
However, the two are too proud to admit it and instead compete in entertaining psychological battles in which one tries to make the other confess.
Both of them are very smart so it won’t be easy for either of them to force the other to commit a mistake.
They don’t really hate each other but they enjoy the competition and they like to challenge each other in every way they can.
This is one of the best romcoms in recent years that you really watch if you haven’t already. There’ll be room for comedy, psychology and one of the cutest romance subplots ever.