[[quoteright:233:[-[[Manga/AzumangaDaioh http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sakaki-chiyo.jpg]]-] ]]
[[caption-width-right:233: A supposed [[ShrinkingViolet loner]] and a [[{{Moe}} cute]] [[CheerfulChild child]] come together to form... a protective [[CoolBigSis older sister]] and an [[UpToEleven even]] ''[[{{Moe}} cuter]]'' [[CheerfulChild child]].]]

Wherein two characters interact and work together, and are designed to emphasize each other's positive qualities. Similar to a MoralityPet, except the boost is directed to the character's cuteness rather than their morals.

This can mirror, but not usually replicate, what could be a romantic pairing. Actual romantic stories tend to involve a lot of drama and seeing characters at their weakest and most awkward, occasionally becoming {{Plot Tumor}}s if they become [[SatelliteLoveInterest the sole definition of any given character]]. Sufficiently cynical fans are always wary of CharacterDerailment and ShippingBedDeath, while other fans are just very possessive of their beloved characters; they do not even want the ''potential'' to reach the DieForOurShip stage. The problem is fans like the ''idea'' of the situation, but not the procedure and are worried that the hypothetical payoff is not worth it. The main differences between Romantic Couples[[{{Tradesnark}} ]] and Moe Couplets[[{{Tradesnark}} ]] are as follows:

* RC relationships bring conflict. MC relationships bring harmony and balance.
* [=RCs=] can bring out negative aspects of personalities. [=MCs=] bring out only positive ones.
* [=RCs=] are often 'conventional' relationships where the amount of intimacy is explicit. [=MCs=] usually are not consistent, even between episodes, by nature of the unusual individuals involved.
** Explicit RC information means the audience tends to settle onto an agreed 'canon'. and writers typically adjust their writing to appeal to this. MC audiences are not able to, giving writers maximum flexibility.
* [=RCs=] are usually designed to appeal to two different types of audience members. [=MCs=] are designed to appeal to the same one.
* [=RCs=] may consist of a new character who threatens to impede the established character's personality. New characters in [=MCs=] are usually nonthreatening and much more easily maintain the [[StatusQuoIsGod Status Quo]].

Interestingly, the Moe Couplet often exists alongside an OfficialCouple, with the danger that if either overlaps, the audience might [[FanPreferredCouple prefer one over the other]]. Occasionally, later installments featuring them might be hit with CharacterExaggeration and actually ''gain'' official romantic overtones. Other times a show may be made up exclusively of Moe Couplets so EveryoneIsSingle.

In practice, only one of the characters really needs be designed like this, often a younger one whom the audience finds 'safe' and non-threatening. They are extremely popular in {{yuri}} and {{yaoi}} works, due to the natural maximization of MoeMoe in the audience, but it's also present in other genres (particularly slice of life works that [[NoHuggingNoKissing lack romance]]). The WholesomeCrossdresser (who is usually implicitly gay) has this relationship with {{shoujo}} leads. In {{shounen}}, a (usually unattached) female co-lead has this relationship with the male lead if he gets his official girlfriend outside his circle of friends. Couplets are also common gimmicks in designing an EconomyCast. See also TheNotLoveInterest.
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!!Examples:

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[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Sasami and [[HeadPet Ryo-Ohki]] from ''TenchiMuyo''.
* [[MagnificentBastard Lelouch]] of ''CodeGeass'' isn't exactly the most happy or stable person on the planet, [[DarkAndTroubledPast and for]] [[CrapsackWorld good reason]], but you wouldn't know it from his interactions with either [[GirlNextDoor Shirley]] or [[IllGirl Nunnally]]. Either of the latter two bring out the softer and more light-hearted side out of the former, and are both inspirations behind the world he wants to create. [[BlitheSpirit Euphemia]] has a similar effect on [[spoiler:the [[DeathSeeker suicidal]]]] [[BrokenAce Suzaku]]. [[spoiler:Which makes it all the more tragic when said {{Moe}} counterparts are StuffedIntoTheFridge (with one exception, though the truth doesn't come out until it's too late), amongst other assorted [[TraumaCongaLine mishaps]], pushing both Lelouch and Suzaku [[DespairEventHorizon past the breaking point]]]].
** A less tragic and more conventionally adorable one also happens between [[LonelyRichKid Tianzi]] and the [[YamatoNadeshiko older, more worldly Kaguya]].
* Lyar Von Ertiana and Kotoko-01 from ''DivergenceEve''.
* While [[BloodKnight Kenpachi Zaraki]] is the farthest thing you're gonna get from moe in ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'', pair him and [[KillerRabbit Yachiru]] up, and their interactions are either funny or totally adorable.
** Meanwhile, pair the already {{moe}} Orihime with either Ichigo, Uryu, or [[CoolBigSis Rangiku]], and watch the {{Moe}} factor rocket [[UpToEleven into the stratosphere]].
* Mai Tokiha in ''{{Mai-HiME}}'' evolves into this. Leaving the [[ShipToShipCombat Shipping Wars]] aside in regards to Yuuichi, her relationship with her brother Takumi shows off her [[CoolBigSis mature qualities]]. Later iterations effectively pair her with Mikoto (a highly marketable but otherwise potentially [[TheScrappy annoying]] character) which lets her fully assume a motherly mode that doesn't conflict with her badassness and letting Mikoto's clingy qualities be endearing.
** Similarly, Akira's overly serious {{ninja}}-like demeanor is balanced by Takumi who is given the excuse he needs someone to take care of him because of [[IllGirl his delicate health]], letting Akira show off her [[{{Tsundere}} tender side]]. It also helps that Takumi is [[YamatoNadeshiko very gentle, polite and homey.]]
* For comparison, the ''ProjectAKo'' series may have been an early invoker of this trope, and the only thing keeping C-ko's otherwise annoying personality barely in check.
* In ''[[TheSlayers Slayers]]'', Gourry does this for Lina. The show has more subtle romantic undertones, but Lina tends to react in surprisingly cute ways if she thinks Gourry is being particularly affectionate towards her. This happens with enough rarity it never affects her strong qualities as a shounen lead to any real degree and also doesn't {{squick}} the non-romantically inclined audience.
* Setsuna from ''MahouSenseiNegima'' emotes much in the same way Motoko from ''LoveHina'' does. Both are popular characters in their series, but Setsuna's affection towards a ([[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation controversially]]) oblivious character seem more tolerated by the fandom.
** For example, girl wearing cat ears and glasses - {{moe}}. Two girls wearing cat ears and glasses, one with a crush on the other, walking around a festival - [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/mahou_sensei_negima/v28/c251/18.html moe that pierces the heavens]].
* Keiichi and Belldandy's relationship in ''Manga/AhMyGoddess'' might qualify, creating the strange irony of essentially being married ''without'' an actual lack of relationship progression. Both get to emote to more-or-less harmless characters who are the least likely to exploit each other's selflessness.
** A [[WildMassGuessing sufficiently paranoid viewer]] may purport that most MagicalGirlfriend and HaremSeries invoke this subtly; male characters exist to invoke cute qualities of females, so long as they are good-natured but ultimately 'harmless'.
* Nagisa has this relationship with Tamao in ''LightNovel/StrawberryPanic'', despite being in an OfficialCouple. Safe to say those not enamored of the OneeSama archetype and the drama they bring often [[FanPreferredCouple prefer]] her to Shizuma.
* Similarly, Yumi in ''[[LightNovel/MariaSamaGaMiteru Marimite]]'' has this kind of relationship with several characters compared to the one she has with Sachiko, leading to the fan-joke that Yumi could create her own ReverseHarem.
* Latvia and Sealand in ''AxisPowersHetalia''. Sealand helps Latvia not be a twitching emotional wreck and Latvia keeps Sealand grounded in reality.
** Also America and Japan. People who find America obnoxious and pushy at times and Japan dull compared to the rest of the cast often like them better after seeing their interactions together, with America drawing Japan out of his emotional reticence with his natural cheer and energy and Japan acting as the calm, mature foil to him. Even (and maybe ''especially'') America/England and Greece/Japan shippers adore them as [[HeterosexualLifePartners BFFs]]. However, actual romance fic for them is rare, probably because the harmony of their OppositesAttract [[OddFriendship friendship]] tends to go out of the window when people try writing them with romantic tension and Japan has a different type of MoeCouplet with Greece that translates much better to romance.
** As for Japan and Greece, while they may not have as obvious an OppositesAttract dynamic as Japan and America do, their [[BirdsOfAFeather similarities]] ''and'' more subtle differences in personality end up enhancing their {{Moe}} points. Not only are they both {{Kindhearted Cat Lover}}s, which has a [[CuteKitten built-in cuteness factor]], but Japan can give off the subtle impression that underneath his stoic exterior lies a [[{{Kuudere}} sweet, warm-hearted, and even shy soul]] without it being overwhelmed by louder personalities (and him possibly coming across as a less endearing/moe [[TheStoic Stoic]] instead) when petting Greece's cats or simply being at ease with him, and Greece's laidback, easygoing nature makes him the ideal partner to patiently deal with Japan's emotional reticence and romantic/sexual awkwardness. Ironically, they're the only pair (mostly) confirmed to have had sex in canon, but the fact that most (and arguably, the best) fanworks for them focus much more on the tranquility and harmony of their dynamic than on sex, and that it's difficult to imagine Greece ever forcing himself on Japan or making him truly uncomfortable in spite of his ReallyGetsAround reputation, makes them a true Moe Couplet. (Not to mention that it's quite easy to write them as an [[HappilyMarried established romantic couple]] without compromising their natural dynamic.)
** Not to mention [[OfficialCouple Italy and Germany]]. [[DrillSergeantNasty Germany]] is rather intimidating, but he'd probably be a lot more so without [[GenkiGuy Italy]] constantly [[HoYay demanding a hug or kiss or... something]].
* [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/1111.jpg Demonstrated]] in ''OuranHighSchoolHostClub''.
** Lampshaded when Kasanoda makes it apparent that without Hunny, Mori is just as intimidating as he is.
* Sakaki and Chiyo in ''Manga/AzumangaDaioh'', who often pair off. Sakaki comes off as [[FaceOfAThug intimidating]], but really she's just [[ShrinkingViolet shy]] and in love with [[CutenessProximity all adorable things.]] Chiyo is a CheerfulChild who really wants to be an adult. When the team up, they cover each other's weaknesses and the {{Moe}} increases exponentially. Add in their pets, [[BigFriendlyDog Tadakichi-san]] and [[KindheartedCatLover Maya]], and things get even better.
** Chiyo and Osaka also sometimes count, such as when Chiyo's overpowering cuteness and Osaka's gentle, slow-going pace lead to Chiyo in a penguin suit getting happily hand-fed by Osaka.
* ''Manga/HayateTheCombatButler'' has this type of relationship between most of the characters, both of the romantic side sort and the non-romantic. Sakuya almost forces other characters into these with her thinking the world is a BokeAndTsukkomiRoutine and tries to make many of the other characters her other half in them. Nagi with Isumi treads the line [[spoiler: When they were young, Nagi forced Isumi to imprint a 'marriage certificate']] and Isumi understands (and helps to expand on) Nagi's self-made-manga.
** Hayate himself is in several of these, not necessarily all in the romantic field, but strangely, ''he'' is the one whose moe factor is ramped up generally.
* Well-expressed in ''TheSacredBlacksmith'', especially the ending theme. Lisa paired with any of the other characters increases her own moe and significantly brings out at least one trait of the other characters.
* [[IllGirl Yutaka Kobayakawa]] and [[TheQuietOne Minami Iwasaki]] from ''Manga/LuckyStar'' also counts, and it's probably an allusion to Chiyo-chan and Sakaki respectively from Azumanga Daioh as mentioned above. But it doesn't stop [[ShipperOnDeck Hiyori Tamura]] activating her ShippingGoggles.
* Homura Akemi, with her experience and power, protecting the sweetly innocent Madoka Kaname in ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'', gains this quality as the series progresses. [[spoiler:Even more pronounced in the original timeline where the roles are reversed]].
* In {{Pokemon}}'s [[Anime/PokemonHeroes 5th Movie]], Ash and Legendary-of-the-film Latias have this trait in abundance. Despite the obvious InterspeciesRomance, their interactions are so sweet and cute that [[PortmanteauCoupleName [=AltoShipping=]]] is still a rather popular couple in the fanbase despite the movie having come out back in 2002.
* [[CloudCuckoolander Haru]] and [[CuteMute Kisa]] from ''FruitsBasket''. Also PlayedWith between [[BrokenBird Rin]] and [[MouthyKid Hiro]], who are both pretty cynical and aloof, but are evidently concerned for one another.

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[[folder:Comic Books]]
* [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy]] are occasionally treated like this by the fandom, partly due to their team-up being one of ''genuine'' friendship, a way of emphasizing strong female characters, and diffuses much of their underlying creepiness (Harley seeming more comedic than actually crazy, and Ivy being less misanthropic, etc.)
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[[folder:Literature]]
* The genesis of the [[Literature/HarryPotter Harry/Hermione]] [[{{Shipping}} shippers]] may be this. Hermione is a magical genius, except when it comes to dealing with actual dark wizards, which is Harry's specialty (his life is basically a long series of fighting dark wizards). When it comes to personality, Harry is selfless to an annoying degree even when personal friends are not involved, while Hermione focuses on immediate gain and loss to her close friends (especially when it comes to grades!). While these traits alone would get kind of annoying, together they play off each other quite well, even without going into {{Shipping}} territory.
** Similarly, Harry and Luna seem to be a more canon MoeCouplet. Luna is a CloudCuckoolander who hardly seems troubled by anything and helps her father run the magical equivalent of a tabloid magazine, while Harry becomes more [[HurtingHero traumatized as increasing numbers of his friends and loved ones die. Some of them right in front of him.]] Yet Luna understands what losing a loved one feels like, enabling her to empathise with his grief over Sirius--and Harry knows what being picked on feels like, so he naturally wants to help her out when people hide Luna's things and mock her behind her back.
* Imriel and Alais in the ''Literature/KushielsLegacy'' series. From childhood on each of the cousins see each other as an actual person, not a product of their parentage. It gets to the point where Imriel's interactions with Alais are the most consistently happy moments in his life.
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[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''ICarly'': Carly and Freddie. Pretty much everything they do as a couple is cute [[UpToEleven to the extreme]].
* Odo and Kira from ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', who tend to soften considerably when they're around each other and generally bring out each other's good sides.
* This was part of the logic for including Archie Kennedy as a recurring character in the ''HoratioHornblower'' TV series. Horatio tends to keep a lot to himself, and having a more expressive friend of his own rank and age gives Horatio someone he can open up to in a way that he can't with his superior officers or subordinates, and Archie's sarcastic tendencies make a good contrast with Horatio's more serious demeanor. The fact that Archie is a {{Woobie}} also gives the normally stoic Horatio a chance to express his ''[[KuuDere deredere]]'' side through his concern for his friend.
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* BioWare's ''Franchise/MassEffect'' games feature this, though by nature of being an RPG, it's up to the player to truly fulfill this trope. Regardless, Ken and Gabby in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' have this kind of relationship. As for the optional, player-driven ones: Liara, Garrus, and Tali are the most obvious.
* So your job is to exterminate a bunch of little demon brainsuckers, and you've killed all but one egg, but then the egg hatches and thinks you are its mommy. Do you a) kill it anyway or b) become its adoptive parent (at least temporarily)? [[{{Metroid}} Samus]] chose option b.
** Of course, if she ''had'' killed it, [[LaserGuidedKarma she'd be dead]], since it ate the unbreakable blocks that blocked her escape.
** Also, in ''SuperSmashBros Brawl'', there's Samus and Pikachu. In the adventure mode, Samus is trying to find her PoweredArmor, and she finds poor little [[{{Pokemon}} Pikachu]] being used to power a generator, so she breaks the cage. Later, after Samus gets her PoweredArmor back, [[spoiler: Ridley nearly kills her, but Pikachu saves her]].
* [[Franchise/MetalGear Snake and Otacon.]] Otacon [[DefrostingIceQueen warms Snake up]] and [[MoralityChain restrains him from going over the edge,]] while Snake helped Otacon out of his shell and grounded him. The fact that all of their interactions from VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2 on are a barrel of cuteness hovering somewhere between HappilyMarried and LikeAnOldMarriedCouple doesn't hurt.
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[[folder: WebOriginal]]
* Roommates Tennyo and Generator in the WhateleyUniverse. Separately, they're a PersonOfMassDestruction and a ManicPixieDreamGirl. Together, they're like an older sister - younger sister pair.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* BetaCouple Zuko and Mai from ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''. Her EmotionlessGirl crushed his emo {{Wangst}} in the first episode of Season Three in just one sentence, and from that moment on she was the natural antidote to his tendency to gloom, just as he was her natural antidote for her tendency to emotionally distance herself from everything.
-->'''Mai:''' I just asked if you were cold, I didn't ask for your whole life story.
** Doubly so in that at the end of the show, when they've both triumphed over their own respective issues above, Mai ''still'' provides the natural antidote to another one of Zuko's weaknesses -- [[spoiler:his enthusiastic political idealism could render him potentially vulnerable as Fire Lord, were it not for the fact that his Fire-Lady-To-Be is an icy pragmatist with the patience of a stone]].
* [[KimPossible Kim and Ron]] have their moments, especially when they were kids.
* ''[[WesternAnimation/{{Thundercats 2011}} [=ThunderCats (2011)=]]]'' has Panthro and Ro-Bear Bill!
* [[{{Adorkable}} Gus]] and [[TheCutie Cornchip Girl]] from ''WesternAnimation/{{Recess}}''
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