With Valentine's Day fast approaching, we’ve got love on our minds! Some of the tastiest valentine's treats in Japan involve not only chocolate, but lots of fresh strawberry flavor as well! We can’t help but wonder what makes the perfect strawberry pairing.
In fact, the Japanese word for strawberry, ichigo (いちご) happens to be a very popular name in the realm of anime and manga - and of course - behind every great hero is a strong partner. So in the spirit of #cupidsgift, let’s take a look at some of the strongest Ichigo relationships in anime and manga!
Ichigo Kurosaki x Orihime Inoue - Bleach
Perhaps the most iconic red head in all of anime, Ichigo Kurosaki is the lead character of Bleach, one of Shonen Jump’s “Big Three” anime properties, enjoying massive success along with One Piece and Naruto before the epic saga concluded in 2012.
His most striking feature (if you look past his massive, demon-slaying sword), is his bright red hair, which more than lives up to his name! Although many die hard Bleach fans argue that the cool, calm, and collected Rukia Kuchiki was the perfect match for Ichigo, in the end, it was Orihime Inoue - the series’ second most famous red head - that stole his heart. (Coincidence? I think not).
All doubts of their relationship aside, in the end, their love for each other was stronger than life and death itself! When Inoue was kidnapped by the villainous demon Arrancar, Ichigo fought to his death in order to save her, but hearing her cry his name in terror was enough to bring Ichigo back from the brink of death and slay her abductor. By the time Bleach concluded, the two were happily married.
Talk about a power couple.
Ichigo Amano x Makoto Kashino - Yumeiro Patissiere
Yumeiro Patissiere tells the story of Ichigo Amano, a typical 14 year old girl who loves nothing more than eating sweets. Although she feels that she has no real talent, Ichigo finds herself attending an elite culinary school, in order to achieve her dream of becoming a pastry chef!
We can all use a little encouragement in times of doubt, and for Ichigo, that’s where Makoto Kahino, the “Sweet Prince”, comes in. Unlike the sharp, sometimes sour relationship of our red-headed power-couple from Bleach, this pair could be likened to something more like a soft and sweet Strawberry Daifuku KitKat. A perfect match made in heaven, yum!
Although their feelings for each other aren’t immediately obvious, the seeds of love between the two are sown throughout the series, like when they share a dance on Valentine's Day in episode 19!
As the first season wraps up, the budding couple make a promise that they will express their true feelings for each other only after they have achieved their goals. At the conclusion of the series, a time skip occurs, and we see the two living happily ever after in Paris, working together in their very own sweets shop.
Ichigo Arita x Chihiro Akiyama - Nosatsu Junkie
The last pairing we’ll look at today is a deep cut, coming from the shojo manga Nosatsu Junkie that ran for 16 volumes between 2003 - 2008.
This relationship stands out because it proves that sometimes a perfect match isn’t obvious - sometimes a little courage is required to make things work. At first, Chihiro’s over-the-top, cocky personality doesn’t mesh well with Ichigo’s shy, quiet demeanor. However, as the series goes on, their feelings for each other evolve into a loving, supportive relationship. After three years of going steady, Ichigo still blushes like a strawberry every time she shares a kiss with Chihiro.
Although their personalities may not be the most obvious of pairings - when they come together, they really have a way of growing on you. In the end, it just works!
Clearly, for the Ichigo's of anime and manga, love is just as sweet as their name suggests! Did we miss any Ichigo pairings you think deserve a spot on the list? Who's your favorite anime couple? Let us know in the comments below.