While many anime couples are of the same age, there are a few with some startling age differences. This is acceptable at about five years, but what’s shocking is when there’s a decade between them.
There are many problematic issues with age gaps of more than ten years in real life. The problems of power dynamics and status are usually glossed over in anime.
This article will cover age differences of well over that amount, or just very shockingly large ones. Some age gaps are even in the range of 1,000 years or more.
Note: These entries will contain spoilers for the various anime they appear in. A content warning for possible s**ual assault and violence as well. The article likewise only reflects the author’s opinion. The only rule is that there must be a confirmed relationship during or at the end of the series.
These anime had problematic age gap relationships
1) Kenshin and Kaoru (Rurouni Kenshin - 11 years)
The age gap for the official couple of Rurouni Kenshin is 11 years. Kaoru is 17, and Kenshin is 28 by the time the series starts. To be fair, however, it at least covers that aspect more than once. By the time the series ends, they’re both adults and married.
An age gap of that length is usually more than a little odd, especially when one of them isn’t even 18. They don’t get into the romance immediately, nor are they officially a couple until the end of the series. Not that shocking, but it’s a start.
2) Kagome and Inuyasha (Inuyasha - 200 years)
Here’s a more substantial age gap and one of the most iconic couples in anime. At first, Kagome and Inuyasha did not get along but slowly began developing romantic feelings for each other.
It helps that both saved each other multiple times. It also helps that Inuyasha credits Kagome with helping him find love, believe in people, and make friends.
Inuyasha looks 15 in the anime but has a substantial age gap of over 200 years on Kagome. He was haunted by memories of his first love, Kikyo. It’s a bit of a shocking revelation that Inuyasha is that old and that Kagome is Kikyo’s reincarnation.
3) Tsukasa Tsukuyomi and Nasa Yuzaki (Tonikaku Kawaii - 1,000 years)
At first, the couple in the romantic comedy Tonikaku Kawaii, aka Fly Me to the Moon, didn’t seem special. It’s just a girl and a guy who got married when the latter turned 18, right? What’s so shocking about that?
The main girl, Tsukasa Yuzaki (née Tsukuyomi), is immortal and dates back to the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter story. She was the daughter of the emperor’s servant, dying of illness.
The servant gave her the elixir he was ordered to burn on Mt. Fuji, and she’s lived for over 1,000 years. The story features first kisses, nervousness, and trying to help an immortal girl.
4) Kei Kusanagi and Mizuho Kazami (Please Teacher! - 8 years)
Just when you didn’t think teacher and student relations were going to come up, Please Teacher! is here. The relationship between 15-year-old Kei Kusanagi and his 23-year-old teacher Mizuho Kazami does extend into dating and marriage.
Mizuho is an alien, and Kei gets stuck in a three-year coma. The latter is now 18 years old and stuck in a 15-year-old’s body.
The two get caught having a romantic relationship by the principal. They are forced to marry and to keep everything quiet.
Naturally, hijinks ensue. It’s one of the most popular anime about the subject and crosses genres between sci-fi and romantic comedy.
5) Asami Onohara and Kyosuke Ichimaru (My Wife Is a High School Girl -
In an eerily similar situation to Please Teacher!, this duo is already married by the time of the anime.
Much less tragic than Sailor Moon’s Naru Osaka and Nephrite, Asami Onohara and Kyosuke Ichimaru are student and teacher. Kyosuke is 25, and Asami is 17. The age gap may only be eight years, but it is still uncomfortable.
What makes the relationship more uncomfortable are Asami’s advances. The two swore not to make love until she graduated from high school. However, Asami tries to get Kyosuke to break it. It’s not as bad as other anime, as there are still a plethora of issues that the two confront.
6) Nanami Momozono and Tomoe (Kamisama Kiss - 600 years)
In the anime Kamisama Kiss, Nanami Momozono ends up owning a shrine after saving its previous owner. Hijinks ensue upon discovery that the shrine was haunted by a kitsune familiar named Tomoe, and she’s now his master.
The two set out to fix the broken-down shrine and form a relationship. This couple couldn’t be more different at the start.
Nanami is 16 at the beginning of the series and broke from her father’s gambling debts. She is kind, earnest, and charitable.
Tomoe is well over 600 years old and the complete opposite. The series sees them both get along better and marry by the end because they change each other significantly.
7) Satō Matsuzaka and Shio Kōbe (happy sugar life - 8 years)
The content warnings at the start are primarily for this entry. Despite the relatively small age gap of eight years, the relationship, in this case, is between an older teen and a child.
The anime is a dark look at the delusional relationship constructed by Sato Matsuzaka, a teen girl with a reputation for promiscuity.
She takes in the lost girl Shio and treats her nicely, with the only condition being that she cannot leave Sato’s apartment. Sato vowed not to let anything or anyone stand in their way, to very bloody results.
She is 16, and Shio is 8. Likewise, while there’s never any s**ual contact, there’s more than enough to show why it’s disturbing.
8) Ryō Amakusa and Ichika Arima (It’s Too Sick to Call this Love, KoiKimo - 10 years)
What happens when a 17-year-old girl saves a 27-year-old womanizer from falling down a long flight of stairs? A one-sided romance until the end of the series.
At the start of KoiKimo, salaryman RyoAmakusa is extremely hungover from late-night drinking. After nearly falling to his death, high school student Ichika Arima saved him. It’s a ten-year gap between a womanizer and a high school student.
Amakusa gets infatuated with her and tries everything in the book: flowers, chocolates, red roses, even his body. They change as they start growing closer.
While Amakusa develops a better personality and stops chasing her, Ichika becomes more confident in herself. When the latter confesses to him, he says he’ll wait till she’s an adult but does reciprocate her feelings.
9) Koshirou Saeki and Nanoka Kohinata (Koi Kaze - 12 years)
This one leads into a couple and is technically inc**t, but it is a far more realistic look at it. Koshirou Saeki is 27 and depressed after being rejected when he runs into 15-year-old Nanoka Kohinata.
Nanoka was similarly rejected by a person she loved. The two decided to spend time together and discover they are brother and sister in a shocking twist.
This anime has no fluff or fetishization usually shown with the subject and is treated as realistically as possible. The romance is painful, guilt-ridden, and fraught full of issues. The series doesn’t let the viewer forget this, either in anime or manga form.
10) Chise Hatori and Elias Ainsworth (Mahoutsukai no Yome - centuries)
Another weirdly long age gap is the one between a 15-year-old girl and her handler, an ancient creature with the head of a beast. The premise of The Ancient Magus’ Bride is that Elias obtains Chise Hatori in a slave auction and proclaims he’ll make her his bride. It’s a lot deeper than that, of course.
Chise sold herself into slavery just to find someone who may want her. Her mother killed herself, and her father left because they couldn’t handle her attracting demonic trouble.
Elias, meanwhile, has memory problems and very skewed morality. It’s effectively Beauty and the Beast but in anime form.
Although not a central couple, Van Hoenheim and Trisha Elric from the Fullmetal Alchemist series also deserve a mention for having centuries between them, as Hoenheim was an immortal and Trisha was a regular human being.
Poll : Age gaps: Problematic or no?
Yes, especially if over 10 years.
No, or at least depends on the writing