nc#1 – the attitude of searching for love in anime

You think, why do we watch romance anime? Maybe the answer is pretty clear; it’s so enjoyable. But then again… why? Well for me, one of the most enjoyable elements when I watch a romance is searching; the point when a character in the story couldn’t care less about anything else that is happening to them except one thing, to find what they are looking for, and that is love. They run, travel across time and space, fly and drown … sometimes, the story ends with a sad ending knowing that they couldn’t find what they’re looking for even after the last minute of the story runtime.

By the way, welcome to the (not) compilation on #moe404; this is my first attempt to put a list together about anime that I think should be listed. For this first try, I’m taking the concept of searching for love. But don’t mistake this with the genre of romance-mystery, because not every mystery in anime is about searching, such as Perfect Blue (which is a great mystery movie) that has managed to draw the viewer to search, but none of the characters themselves are … well, searching.

So without further ado, in no particular order, here are my best picks of anime with the characters that are searching for their love.

batou x kusanagi motoko (ghost in the shell)

First, let’s point out the least romantic scenario in this list; Batou and Major.

Little do people realize that Batou at times is shown to be the voice of reason and concern for Major Motoko, he’s even one of the few people who Major herself admits that she can confide in. Of all the Section 9 members, Batou is the closest person to the Major both personally and professionally. Even on missions, he is known to disregard her rank or authority to ‘speak freely’ to her without permission.

I think it’s both easy and hard to explain what kind of relationship they both are in considering there isn’t any moment where the characters state their definitive feelings to each other. But the disappearance of Major at the end of the first movie made Batou’s emotions laid out in Innocence as something was lacking, even for the most part he expressed nothing whatsoever. Later in the movie, Batou’s reaction and expression on their first encounter after such a long time suggest that he actually kept a romantic feeling for Major.

Even more in the movie of Solid State Society, Batou admits that he’d been covering up Major’s involvement in many cases prior to the Puppeteer case. But no spoilers, presuming that you haven’t watched the movie. Still, the movie closes with Batou putting his arm around Major, although whether or not this is foretelling of any relationship between the two is still left ambiguous.

To be honest, I haven’t watched every series of Ghost in the Shell, but even only after watching the first two movies, and especially when Major disappeared from Batou’s life, I captured the tone of loneliness from Batou’s character. He seems like he’s always searching for something that Major had left for him in his past; it’s either her ideology, her dogma, her philosophy … or just her, herself.

Who knows.

tachibana taki x miyamizu mitsuha (your name.)

For the second one, I want to line up our most beloved couple; Mitsuha and Taki. They both are people who were separated not only by space, but also the fabric of time. One could say, Mitsuha is resurrected from the land of the dead thanks to Taki who keeps searching for her. One could say, Taki is a badass whose his determination managed to bend time and space so he can give Mitsuha one more chance to live her life.

Your Name. is a great movie, in case you don’t know about this yet, you have to watch the movie to least keep up with the communities most favourited movie in this decade. Your Name. is so beautiful as it is one of the best works from Shinkai-sensei who is a visionary animator, writer, producer, and most famously an anime director. Your Name. is also the highest-grossing anime film of all time (literally still is), not only in Japan but also around the globe, as Shinkai-sensei was listed by Variety (western magazine) as one of the 10 animators who us —anime connoisseur— need to watch closely.

The movie itself tells a story about a high school girl in a rural Japan and a high school boy in Tokyo … who swap bodies. Mitsuha is bored with the country life, and she wishes to be born in a huge city as a handsome boy in her next life. It comes true; she and a boy from Tokyo named Taki begin to switching bodies, even though for what reason or what the cause is still unknown.

They communicate by writing messages in their books, their phones, and sometimes on each other’s skin. In their social life, they push each other’s buttons, Mitsuha even causes Taki to develop a relationship with his coworker while Taki causes Mitsuha to become a popular brat in her school. This is a very light-hearted movie, until Taki finds out about a comet that crashed into Earth and destroyed the town that Mitsuha was living in … that happened three years ago.

This isn’t a review post, but in short, Your Name. is a movie with a huge plot hole, but the amazing directing has managed to cover that shortcoming by the beautiful cinematics and heartbreaking story. This led up to the movie receiving nominations and prizes from academy awards and film festivals around the world. Undoubtedly, the eternal relationship between Taki and Mitsuha is one of the best things that happened in the movie. I wonder, who isn’t touched when they see Taki endlessly searching and willing to do anything to meet Mitsuha, even if it’s only for the last time..,..

mouri ran x kudou shinichi (case closed)

These two are also a really unique couple; one could say this is a joke, another would say this is the most mysterious duo of all time. Even the show itself; Case Closed aka. Detective Conan has started airing before I was born and the TV series is still on-going strong. Well, isn’t that consistency in production at its finest? Okay so, who are they, you may ask? Well, these two are the main characters in this franchise.

Shinichi Kudou and Mouri Ran are a lovey-dovey couple just like any teenagers who are enjoying their high school life. But there’s a twist, Shinichi is actually a famous mystery expert even though he’s only seventeen. One day when Shinichi was on a date with Ran, he sees two suspicious men and he decides to follow them. This led him to become a witness of a disturbing illegal activity, and unfortunately, the men catch Shinichi and dose him with an experimental drug formulated by their criminal organization and abandon him to die. However, Shinichi is still alive, but soon he realizes that he woke up in the body of a seven-year-old.

Since that day, Shinichi takes an alias and live as Edogawa Conan, he keeps his secret identity with only people who are NOT close to him. This is because he’s afraid of … let’s just say that if Ran knows about his true identity, the ‘black’ organization will try to hurt her and her family, which of course Shinichi won’t allow that to happen. This also led to the long distance relationship between him and Ran; even though he’s always been next to her this whole time, Ran never knows the truth, she’s always waiting for Shinichi to call her and she’s even ready to fly across cities and islands to just meet him in person.

three godfathers x kiyoko’s mother (tokyo godfathers)

Don’t you know that love doesn’t only exist between young couples? In Tokyo Godfathers, this attitude is presented in a way where a newborn baby is found, and they must protect her and no matter how hard it is, to find her mother as well. Tokyo Godfathers is a love story, a one-night adventure, and it explains a lot about what exactly is true love. This is a movie that will melt your heart even though your heart might be as cold as dry ice. Here’s the short synopsis..,..

In the dark side of Shinjuku, Tokyo, when it’s Christmas Eve, three homeless people discover a baby girl in a garbage dump while they were looking for Christmas gifts for themselves. One of the homeless people believes that this is a gift from God, and so she decides to not abandon the baby girl. The three then begin to search for the baby’s parents. For that, they head to the brighter parts of the city where other people are enjoying their holiday festivities.

I have written a lot about this as a review post, you’re more than welcomed to read it if you’re interested (click here). So in case you’re looking for a new addition to your movie night, and you didn’t know about Tokyo Godfathers, then you should watch this with someone that you’re close with; whether it be with your parents, your soulmate, or your body pillows.

fujima satoru x hinazuki kayo (erased)

Which is the future and which is the past? Yeah… about that. ERASED aka. The Town Where Only I am Missing is a detective-drama revolving around a very young girl who was murdered, while there’s also a teenager who is sent back 18 years to the past to save that murdered girl. The teenager named Satoru and the girl named Kayo, and they were classmates when they both still young.

Listen, I’m not really invested towards the show even though it’s actually directed by Itou Tomohiko, which is the great guy behind the making of Death Note and Monster, two of the greatest mystery TV shows. But again this isn’t a review post, so I won’t start to rant about this right now. But listen to this too; many people have actually liked ERASED a lot, and so that’s why I think this show is worthy enough to be listed in this post.

It’s a mystery show so there’s searching element involved (obviously). But again, just imagine if you had someone that is willing to go back in time almost two decades, just so he can prevent something bad from happening to you. Well actually, it’s pretty hard to imagine since in ERASED, Satoru didn’t go back in time as his will, but instead, this phenomenon he called “revival” just force him to do that. But the show executed the concept very good and it managed to develop a deep and mature relationship between Satoru and Kayo.

kirigaya kazuto x yuuki asuna (sword art online)

You’ve seen this coming, haven’t you? Yes, as well as we all know that in the second part of the first season of Sword Art Online, there’s a Land of the Fairies where Asuna is missing. She didn’t come back to the real world with Kazuto, and so it makes him very anxious. Of course, the story tells about Kazuto’s struggles of finding his loved one, he even broke his promise to his sister, to never again use the streamlined helmet coated in dark blue, NerveGear … never again.

The arc is called the Fairy Dance, and it had been two months since the end of the events of the Aincard. When Kazuto received an email from his friend which included a photo of what appeared to be Asuna trapped in a birdcage, he decides that he would never stop looking for her until he gets to hold her hands once again. He seriously thought that it’s better to die than to live his life all alone.

The real pain is the result of losing someone you care about. No matter, my heart will be forever yours, and I will fight until the day I see you again. Rather than leaving you to die, I’d much rather die together with you.

— Kirito aka. Kirigaya Kazuto.

watase asuna x shun (children who chase lost voices)

The first paragraph of the synopsis for this movie reads like this; If you could turn all your memories into a song, what would it resemble? Children Who Chase Lost Voices, is a story about Asuna who lost her father and lives a lonely life. One day when she listens to music coming from her father’s crystal radio, she met a mysterious boy who later she found out that he was going to die. In order to see the boy once again, she sets out for a long journey to a long-lost world bound to surpass her very imagination, turning her once melodic life into an intricate requiem.

Just once before, I tuned in to a really mysterious melody; it was a song different from any music I’d ever known before, almost like it was the sound of someone’s heart itself. When I heard it, I was both sad and happy at the same time, and I was able to feel like I was no longer alone. It will stay with me, always … but I wish I could hear it once again.

That one time when Asuna listened to that transmission, she felt like there is a far-off world she had to get to. In the movie, she said that her home is not where she belongs, she always thought about a place she had never seen before. Until finally she met with the mysterious boy who said something about him wanting to see a place, and someone he had to meet. But the boy died, and so Asuna chases him all the way to another world. Here, in a world inspired by a legendary kingdom that is said to be located in the Earth’s core, she wonders about the music she had lost, his song that once she heard.

konno makoto x mamiya chiaki (the girl who leapt through time)

The story of this movie is adapted from two old light novels that are released in 1967, it’s about a clumsy high-school girl named Makoto whom one day discovers that she has the ability to leap back in time, and so she decides to use her newfound powers without hesitation to satisfy her own desire. This is a movie that tells about the amour of a time traveller, about how one’s feelings can penetrate the dimensions of time, about how turning back the past can make the distance between you and your loved one fall apart.

To be honest, this movie is where the idea of this post came from. It’s almost at the end of the movie, when I watched a scene where our main character is running down the street chasing after her missing love … there was no music in the background, and the animation was displaying only her running and running. In that one moment, I realized this tiny romantic expression that I think many people need to appreciate more, one element that touched my heart.

Right then I thought, I’d be so happy if there’s someone who would search for me, who would run across streets or bend time and space, only to meet me … I’ll be so happy.

toono takaki x shinohara akari (5 centimeters per second)

Okay now, I saved the best for last. 5 Centimeters Per Second is easily my favourite movie from Shinkai-sensei, it’s a love story that started at the beginning of the 1990s when cell phones are still uncommon and email hadn’t yet reached the general population, until the movie ended with our focus character in 2008. There are three acts in one movie, and I’m always crying every time I watch the end of every act.

Jealousy is right up in my weak spot. Relatable characters will definitely pump up my blood while I’m enjoying their love story, but not all of them can make me cry or even just care enough. But every time I’m jealous, like- every time my mind wonders, what if I could feel that affection, or what if I have someone like her to hold on to, I always cry —and I mean seriously, ALWAYS cry, every time.

5 Centimeters Per Second is a movie about distance and separation between Takaki and Akari, it’s a very simple movie but, what you take from watching it totally depends on how you approach it. For me personally, I see this movie as a story about someone who thinks that he has that something, someone to hold on to, while in the reality he actually doesn’t have that … something.

It all started when Takaki was still a child, growing up in Tokyo, he’s introduced to a special someone who said, “It’s five centimetres per second, the speed at which cherry blossoms fall, it’s five centimetres per second.” And so, Takaki never let her go since then. Even after she left him and moved away to a nearby prefecture of Tochigi, he always remembered her promise to watch the fall of cherry blossoms together once again in another year, another season. Still though … she has left.

But not gone. Even after all that, they both were still reaching to each other through letters, hoping that their heart would come closer, maybe 5 centimetres closer every time they send a letter to each other. Until one cold night, realizing that the two of them will keep moving even farther away from each other, after serious planning, Takaki decided to visit Akari. He took multiple trains from Tokyo to Tochigi only to spend one night with her. In that one cold night, they cried. In that one cold night, they shared a kiss.

And right then it felt like I finally understood where everything was, eternity, the heart, and the soul. It was like I was sharing every experience I’d ever had in my past 13 years. And then, the next moment, I became unbearably sad. I didn’t know what to do with these feeling. Her warmth, her soul. How was I supposed to treat them? That, I didn’t know. Then right then, I clearly understood that we would never be together. Our lives not yet fully realized, the vast expanse of time. They lay before us and there was nothing we could do. But then, all my worries, all my doubt, started melting away. All that was left were Akari’s soft lips on mine.

One kiss, and suddenly Takaki doesn’t care anymore about the distance that has separated the two of them all this time. He holds the feeling of her lips after years and years, not knowing that for Akari, the kiss that night was the unsaid goodbye. For a very long time, Takaki lives in his fantasy, his own world … still believing that one day when cherry blossom falls, love will unite them once again, and from there they will be together forever.

And just like I said, there are still the second act and the third act of the movie, though I won’t spoil the story any further. I haven’t reviewed the movie on this blog, but let me be blunt and tell you that 5 Centimeters Per Second is 100% recommended to watch! So go ahead and experience the weight of these feelings that maybe —just maybe— might make you feel the same jealousy that I felt every time I watched it. Let me just close this listing with a few verses from the lyrics at the movie’s ending theme, “One More Time, One More Chance” by Masayoshi Yamazaki.

I am always searching somewhere for you
At dawn’s town, At Sakuragi street
Even though I know you won’t come here
If my wish is to be granted, please bring me to you right now
Betting and embracing everything
To show you there’s nothing else I can do

I am always searching somewhere for your fragment
At the destination’s shop, At the corner of the newspaper
Even though I know you won’t be there
If the miracle was to happen, I want to show it to you right now
A new morning, myself
And the “I love you” which I couldn’t say

I always end up looking somewhere for your smile
At the railway crossing of the fast pace town
Even though I know you won’t be here
If life can be repeated, I’ll go to you many times over
There’s nothing else that I want
Nothing else is more important than you

I am always searching somewhere for you
Opposite of the house, the other side of the alley’s window
Even at the intersection and dream
At dawn’s town, At Sakuragi street
At the destination’s shop, At the corner of the newspaper
At the railway crossing of the fast pace town …
I am always searching somewhere for you..,..

Okay, that’s it; that’s the last one. Glad you made it here! So, what do you think? Can you now appreciate more the gesture when someone is, well, ‘searching’ for you? 😂

To be honest, I had so much fun writing all this. But also at the same time, I’m still confused on how to do everything correctly remembering that this is my first time writing about anime listing/compilation kind of post. Did I just explain too much about something? Did I even explain enough to make you understand? Even though #moe404 is already noted as a blog which contains heavy spoilers, did I wrote too many spoilers here?

I have seen and read a lot of anime listings such as Top 10 kinds of posts, especially on Honey’s Anime. But for me, most of them are kind of boring and rarely make me understands the subject in question; like, it always gives me answers (of course), but oftentimes the post didn’t give me an understanding about WHY this is the answer. And because I believe that other people are feeling the same, I’m trying now to do better and especially, explain better. I hope this post will be received better.

click here to search the entire blog for “ghost in the shell” | click here to read the early review of the movie, Your Name. | click here to find out what made Your Name. very popular | click here to read the review of the movie, Tokyo Godfathers | click here to search the entire blog for “sword art online” | and click here to read the review of the movie, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Anyhow, a huge thank you from me to you! Reading my writings really means a lot. And tell me in the comment section, seriously … what do you think about this post? And oh, I wonder if I should just do a Top 5 or absolutely do Top 10 just like everybody else. For your information, I planned this post with only seven couples to be listed, but then the idea started coming while I was writing, and so it ended with nine listed here, not even all of them are couples. So I don’t know, should I make sure to do a Top 10 for the future?

And hei, if you like reading this, don’t forget to hit the like button to encourage me making this kind of post once again. You can also support us on Patreon or buy us a coffee on Ko-fi if you would. Keep watching anime, and I’ll see you again in the next anime post! Bai-bai now~

© written by nesha5971
proofreaded by thistrippyhippy
some of insert pictures are credited to ilya kuvshinov

28 responses to “nc#1 – the attitude of searching for love in anime

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  4. I’m a fan of romantic anime series. I add to this list Zero Two X Hiro from Darling in the Franxx. I loved how their relationship evolved chapter by chapter. I think that episode 13 was a wonderful way to narrate how they met when they were kids. Nice post.

  5. This was very good! I love romance , writing it and reading it. However I do love a great anime that has elements of romance or affection in them. Ghibli’s ‘When Marnie Was There” had that.. Albeit not in the typical way we may see romance and the attachment of feelings. CLAMP also seems to deliver well in this regard however the writers are all women so that helps. That is to take nothing away form male writers who also excel at it. I was fond of the slow grown attachment we saw in ‘Chobits”.

    Feel free to comment on my posts at fuse as well. We used to have a lot of anime lovers on the old fuse. I am hoping we can recover those times.

  6. I watch anything romance related to see people’s different expression on that feeling. Sometimes it connects to me on a personal level like 500 Days of Summer, or make me reflect on the worries about embracing it like in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Romance movies like understand how to express a person’s feeling on wanting to find a significant other.

    I’ve seen about half of these, and have to say they do well in capturing a certain part of being love really well. I might be just a cold hearted person, but a lot of these tragic sounding romance are kind of thing.

    To date, I would say my favorite anime is easily Sakura, and Sharon from Cardcaptor Sakura. They’re just so adorable together it’s nearly impossible for me not to smile seeing them together. A romance that completely broke my heart….Jame’s Cameron Titanic XD. Man, that movie left me weeping after it was over. Got me as a kid, and still gets me as an adult.

    • i haven’t watched Cardcaptor Sakura, but I have watched Titanic; and it’s quite heartwarming even though it didn’t break my heart as it broke yours =’3

    • thank you for reading, Yum! and you better start watching those movies you missing out! 😋 im envy you, i really want to watch these for the first time again..,..

    • yes indeed, I agree.

      since there’s only little to none who would love you and accept you, it is not surprising that stories about the search for love are popular ❤

  7. I am probably the only person who feels this way but I loved Takuma x Hayami in H2O. I wept like a baby at the end of that one. The anime had a few rough spots at the beginning and even when it is over you aren’t sure what was real and what was his imagination. I still enjoyed it a lot more than its MAL ratings would suggest.

    • oh yash, i remember reviewed the series way-way back. what do you think that has made you have a different perspective than what the majority of people have towards the show? did you take the show differently? or is it relatable to you at some point?

      • i just reread that blog post of yours once again. im still as confused as why you love the series as you confused why the majority of people hates it. but not meaning for debate here; im happy for you if you enjoyed your time watching it 😋

      • The main problem IMHO was that there was a lot of really ham-handed fan-service in the first couple episodes where the protagonist ended up with his face in the crotch or his hands on the boobs of a girl and they used his blindness and her clumsiness to set it up. That wasn’t an issue in the second half of the season where the real plot took place.

  8. I like top lists regardless of the number 😉 My own romantic top 10 is quite different tho 😂 but now you got me interested on one anime I had no idea existed :3 nice post!

  9. I wish I had time enough to answer all your questions… I haven’t. But basically I will say this is a very good post 🙂 ! I’ve liked it much, and appreciated a lot the information you give on the 3 movies here that I’ve not yet watched.
    As for the “top five” and “top ten” lists’ matter, I do much prefer the freedom (like yours here) to choose and comment as many or as few items as you really feel like.
    May I add I love the selection of screen shots you always make ? 🙂 I have also downloaded the beautiful large image of this girl at the top and at the bottom (this with the large magenta lace on the blouse). I love it ! Thanks for sharing !
    ((Hugs!)) And continue to blog all these excellent posts ! I am enjoying them heartily ✨ !!

    • aw, thank you for reading! and thank you for the compliment! ❤ im so glad the post turned out likeable. your inputs are also noted.

      and im very happy that you like the media i put up there. as you may know, it’s my first time using gifs inside the post i wrote, because usually i don’t. thank you for reading, and im happy you’re enjoyed reading it!

      • You are very welcome, Nesha ✨ I always enjoy reading your reports; they are very complete and interesting. Very best regards ❤

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