The first couple that comes to mind when the term “forbidden romance” is most likely to be Romeo and Juliet, the star-crossed lovers from Shakespeare’s classic play. The feud between their families is what keeps their love taboo, ultimately resulting in their violent and tragic ends.
It’s true that in general, happily ever after, or even happily-ever-after, is a rare conclusion for forbidden lovers, whether they have class differences to navigate, royal dictates to transcend, or a blood feud to resolve. But there are some couples who find ways to fall in love and make a life together, despite the deck being stacked against them.
10/10 Belldandy is a goddess and Keiichi is only human
Oh! My goddess
Belldandy and Keiichi have a murky relationship in Oh! My goddess. They meet when the mortal Keiichi summons the goddess Belldandy and wishes her to remain by his side. He struggles with feelings he can’t quite verbalize for the goddess.
It turns out that Heaven put a strong seal on Keiichi’s zeal for Belldandy to try to maintain the distance between gods and humans. Heaven does not look kindly on love between humans and goddesses. Despite the severity and their differences as beings, the two eventually marry and live forever as husband and wife.
9/10 Krillin falls for an android
Krillin and Android 18 by Dragon Ball has one of the more impossible divides between an anime couple, as she is a machine and Krillin is human. Android 18 meant to kill Krillin, along with everyone else in her path, but she decided to spare him and parted ways with him with a kiss.
Even though she’s a killer, Krillin can’t help but develop feelings for her. For his part, he wanted to spare her when he was going to kill her. And after some attempts to find a way together as human and android, they finally get married and have a baby.
8/10 Commoners are not meant to marry princes
IN Cinderella Monogatari, the titular character comes from a merchant family that has fallen on hard times. Although Cinderella is a commoner and Charles is a prince in line for the throne, the two have an unlikely first meeting where Cinderella comes upon Charles disguised as a lowly pageboy. Their relationship begins as a sincere friendship.
When Cinderella discovers Charles’ true identity, it is with a heavy heart that she distances herself from him. Her reasoning is that Charles could never lower himself by being with a servant. Even through the separation, Charles’ feelings for Cinderella remain. After some trials, including a foiled assassination attempt, the couple gets their happily ever after, just like in the fairy tale.
7/10 Romeo & Juliet come from warring factions
Boarding School Juliet
A feud between two countries rages inside a boarding school called Dahlia Academy i Boarding School Juliet. The main couple, Romio Inuzuka and Juliet Persia are rivals and pretend to hate each other to escape criticism from their respective groups.
Romeo and Juliet grow closer and try to keep their relationship a secret, which puts a strain on their romance. Romio believes in their relationship and wants to “change the world” so they can be together in peace. Unlike the Shakespearean tragedy which Boarding School Juliet is based on, this couple works through their problems and ends up happily married.
6/10 Bad things happen when Yokai fall in love with humans
IN Kamisama kiss, when the water yōkai Himemiko wants to meet her human crush, Tomoe warns Nanami that it is forbidden for yokai and humans to fall in love. He’s apparently referencing Himemiko’s attempt to propose to the human boy, but he’s also thinking about when he himself fell for a human woman in the past.
This is bad news for Nanami, as she soon develops feelings for Tomoe, a fox yokai. Just as Nanami insists on helping Himemiko find a way to connect with the human boy she loves, she ignores that rule again for Tomoe. Although the anime series has not covered all of the manga, the manga continues to show how Tomoe and Nanami skirt the forbidden love rule.
5/10 Villetta and Ohgi come from opposing factions
Villetta and Ohgi’s romance begins in Code Geass when Villetta suffers from amnesia and does not realize that Ohgi is supposed to be her enemy. Similarly, when Ohgi saves Villetta after she is shot, he doesn’t piece together who she is.
The couple fall in love unaware of the complications that would come to haunt them as they come from opposing factions. When Villetta regains her memories, she is initially horrified by her feelings for Ohgi. Eventually the couple reconcile and they go on to have a family together.
4/10 Shiro & Arturia are master and servant
Arturia is the Once and Future King, otherwise known as King Arthur i Fate/overnight, and Shiro is her master. Shiro admires Arturia so much that he compares her tinkling armor to the ringing of bells. He is also very protective of her.
The Servant and Master relationship doesn’t really allow for romantic affection, yet Arturia and Shiro fall for each other. These feelings are hindered by Arturia’s self-deprecating belief that she is undeserving of love due to her past mistakes in life. After much strife – and even death – the two are reunited in Last episode the end of the visual novel.
3/10 If Kyo hugs Tohru, he turns into a cat
The very nature of the Zodiac curse i Fruit basket forbids the members from embracing the opposite sex, which poses a significant problem for Kyo and Tohru. However, they cannot avoid developing a closeness through small and significant moments in the interaction.
When they first meet, Tohru accidentally crashes into Kyo, triggering his curse that instantly transforms him into a cat, clearly foreshadowing the reason behind their “we must stay apart” kind of angst. Tohru’s radical acceptance of his true form draws them even closer, despite the curse.
2/10 Emma is a worker downstairs and William lives upstairs
Emma: A Victorian Romance
Emma: A Victorian Romance takes place in a time when there were particularly strict social rules about class distinctions. Couples who break these rules can face significant consequences. They may lose their profession, social status, family ties and inheritance.
Emma is a maid with a kind heart and William is the heir to a wealthy English family. His family is extremely reluctant for him to marry the woman he truly loves because of her station, but William defies these strictures to be with her regardless.
1/10 San and Ashitaka come from two different worlds
IN Princess Mononoke, San and her wolf brothers have been raised to be at best wary of humans, and certainly not to socialize with them. San has good reason to follow these rules because humans have only abandoned her or damaged the forest that nourishes her, her family, and her allies.
Similarly, Prince Ashitaka, although no longer a prince, terrifies the people of Irontown when he protects San instead of attacking her during a skirmish. San even tries to kill Ashitaka while he is disabled, but she fails to do so. Although she is at odds with the people of Irontown, Ashitaka transcends this barrier with her respectful, idealistic nature, patience, and kindness.
NEXT: 10 Best Anime Romance That’s Not For Everyone