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A Scientific Approach to Finding the Best Love Triangles in Anime

In the above image, one can see the formation of a love heptagon in real time.

Anime love is hard enough between two characters. Just ask this pair and you’ll see what I mean. But sometimes a third character comes along and really gums up the works of the heart. Scientifically, we call this phenomenon a “love triangle.” Contrary to popular belief, love triangles come in all different shapes. Sometimes it can be an equilateral triangle, where each character is equally in love with the wrong person. Other times it’s an isosceles, with two characters who belong together but a sexy third character keeps mucking it up for both of them. Sometimes it’s a scalene triangle. And God help you then, because everybody’s emotions are out of whack. And sometimes, love triangles aren’t triangles at all. Sometimes four characters have a thing for each other and you get a love square. Or a love trapezoid. Or a love rhombus. A love parallelogram. Sometimes you get FIVE characters loving on each other and you get some sort of demonic love pentagram. It’s complicated, but it is also scientifically proven to make an interesting story. Theoretically, at least.


ASCII Media Works

Proving our theory, let’s take a look at this love triangle, which, of course, isn’t a love triangle at all. I’d call it a love parallelogram. The adorable Taiga and Ryuji are both in love with other people, but neither of the objects of affection are that great of a match (at least in anime terms, well-adjusted characters bore us). Ryuji and Taiga think that they are opposite each other on the love parallelogram lengthwise, meaning that they are far from each other. But really they’re on the love parallelogram widthwise. They think they aren’t a perfect match, but to the independent observer, they were closer to each other all along. This phenomenon is called the Geometric Paramore Distortion Field, where a character believes themself to be incompatible with another character that they were, in fact, made for.

Ouran Highschool Host Club

(image credit: bones)

Shit! This isn’t a love triangle either. Between the main cast members of the show, it’s really a lopsided love heptagon, with each character getting the hots for Haruhi at some point or another. And Haruhi gets the hots for them, too. I mean—did you see the sparks that flew when—strong silent type—Mori carried Harihu away from some nasty snakes and bugs? That’ll make your nethers throb. Kaoru also had a massive crush on Haruhi for a little while there, and the people in the lab actually thought that it was a scientific probability that he would end up with her (instead of Tamaki). But Tamaki won out in the end because he is slightly more of a main character. This phenomenon is known as the Main Character Attraction Principle, which states that it is statistically more likely for main characters to end up with other main characters than side characters. If this weren’t the case, the love hexagon would have taken on a complex multidimensional form similar to E8—in order to account for the sheer magnitude of women that Haruhi is able to magnetically attract.

Fruits Basket

(image credit: Studio Deen)

FINALLY. We did it, everyone! Screw the black hole photographs or whatever the James Webb telescope captured. We have captured an ACTUAL LOVE TRIANGLE ON OUR HANDS. In the wild! This is a monumental discovery, up there with the laws of thermodynamics and the Higgs Boson. And there’s a lot of thermodynamic activity in this one, it’s getting hot. It is still hotly debated (lol pun) whether or not this is a love isosceles or a love equilateral triangle. Those in the classical, canonical sciences believe it to be a love isosceles, with the two brothers sharing a love for each other that is fundamentally different than the love they share with the heroine. However, several scientists who are studying the Large Slash Fiction Character Collider believe that in a “parallel fanfiction created universe,” the two brothers could be incestuous. Some discoveries are better left unmade.

Devilman Crybaby

(image credit: Science SARU)

This triangle is an extremely unstable scalene, because (excuse the scientific jargon) this love triangle is what researchers in the field would call “fucked up”. Akira is in love with his friend Miki, and vice versa. On paper, this is a normal romantic relationship. But researchers in the field observed that after having a sex dream about Miki, Akira’s devil powers activated, causing him to nocturnally emit semen at such a high velocity that it adhered to the ceiling. Further study is required, but that is, for lack of a term “weird.” The known laws of love triangle physics begin to break down with the introduction of Akira’s other childhood best friend Ryo, who researchers discovered to be a being who is both theological and extraterrestrial in nature. It is theorized that this being (known to religious scholars as an “angel”) is attempting to bring about the destruction of humankind in order to reconcile their complex feelings towards Akira. Again, more study is required, but, from a purely scientific standpoint, it’s pretty fucked.


(image credit: Pierrot)

Researchers first discovered readings of “titillating amorous triangular anomalies”—or TATAs—when the series tritagonists were beginning their study of the ninja arts. Put in layman’s terms, Naruto wanted to mack on Sakura, who wanted to mack on Sasuke, who wanted to mack on his brother. But not with his lips mind you. With a kunai. In the heart. However, in a turn of events that has left researchers baffled, this unstable love scalene was stabilized into a love parallelogram with the introduction of a foreign body: Hinata Hyuga. And my god, that foreign body sure gave a lot of body. We were cleaning nosebleed stains out of lab coats for weeks. In the end, after Sasuke’s brother was fatally macked on by a respiratory illness, the probability of Sasuke macking on Sakura increased exponentially, and the two formed a stable chemical love bond on the parallelogram. Interestingly enough, in flat denial of the fundamental laws of the Main Character Attraction Principle, Naruto formed a stable chemical love bond with Hinata. This has led scientists to form a new hypothesis of a phenomenon called Waifu Replacement Theory, where a main character will transfer the love they held for another main character into a side character (when the probability of a love bond between the two main characters reaches zero). Science is a fickle mistress, and we’re still researching the love triangle between anime, the real world, and the viewer to this day.

Featured image credit: Bones

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Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels in crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.