Why do so many romantic anime revolve around forced relationships?

One of the most popular tropes in romantic anime is the “forced relationship” between the two main protagonists. A forced relationship is when one or both characters are pressured into entering a romantic relationship due to unforeseen circumstances. Usually, at the start of these relationships, the two characters don’t get along, but they end up falling in love as they spend more time together. Some examples of popular forced relationships include Nisekoi Raku Ichijo and Chitoge Kirisaki and Engaged with the unidentifiedby Kobe Yonomori and Hakuya Mitsumine.

At first glance, these relationships in the cartoons are problematic as the characters are unwillingly forced into relationships with people they may not be romantically interested in. Even so, tropes of “forced relationship” continue to stimulate public interest for some reason.

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The forced relationship scenarios are unrealistic, focusing on couples in “love-hate” relationships or relationships strictly for non-romantic purposes. Yet even though these stories are predictable, viewers find these love stories captivating as they glorify the idea that two individuals can fall in love despite being forced against their will to be together.

In Nisekoi, Raku Ichijo and Chitoge Kirisaki are from rival gangs but are forced into a relationship by their respective families to keep the peace between the gangs. Raku and Chitoge hate each other, but as Raku gets to know Chitoge, he soon develops sincere feelings for her. Likewise, in Rent a girlfriend, Kazuya Kinoshita hires a girlfriend named Chizuru Mizuhara. Soon after, she is forced to be Kazuya’s official “fake girlfriend” to appease her family, especially her grandmother. Even though their relationship is strictly business, Kazuya and Chizuru begin to question whether or not they have real feelings for each other, especially when other suitors get involved.

Forced relationships in Nisekoi and Rent a girlfriend occur when outside characters become involved in the love life of the protagonists, glorifying the idea that forced relationships can work. These types of relationships are romanticized to make it seem like they are doomed and organic, as others coincidentally contribute to the loving union between two people who once hated each other. These stories fuel the public’s fantasies that forced feelings can be mutual. While forced relationships would obviously be unethical in real life, audiences may still enjoy watching them happen in these romantic animes.

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Kyouya mistreats Erika, Wolf Girl and Black Prince

Plus, these forced relationship fantasies suggest that toxic relationships are healthy. For example, in Wolf Girl and Black Prince, Erika Shinohara blackmails Kyoya Sata into being in a bogus relationship because she wants to impress a group of girls. However, in return, Erika must act as Kyoya’s servant. On the surface, Kyoya and Erika look like a loving couple; Nonetheless, Kyoya teases Erika to the point where she questions whether Kyoya likes her or not.

Wolf Girl and Black Prince is a prime example of why forced relationships or those based on coercion are not a good idea. If a relationship isn’t based on love, a person can take advantage of another person’s feelings, which happens to Erika as she slowly discovers Kyoya’s dark personality. Kyoka’s teasing and ridiculous demands make it seem like he’s taking advantage of Erika’s feelings. From where, Wolf Girl and Black Prince shows how forced relationships can lead to toxic relationship mindsets.

A forced relationship feels romantic because two characters who didn’t get along before develop a passionate love affair after getting to know each other on a deeper level. However, these forced relationships suggest toxicity and abuse. Behind the romance and intimacy is manipulation, possessiveness, and emotional exploitation. Even so, anime fans can still enjoy it in a fictional romantic setting.

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