Follow TV Tropes


Chains of Love

Go To
Kamui and Fuuma don't seem to mind the chains...

"Come to me, cover me, hold me
Together we'll break these chains of love."
Erasure, "Chains Of Love"

An Anvilicious version of the Red String of Fate, Chains of Love are often utilized in manga artwork, especially in Shoujo and Yaoi. Used to indicate that two people are "bound" together literally and often unwillingly, perhaps suggesting that one of the two is the "old ball and chain" to the other. Often used to generate sexual tension between the chained parties that may or may not progress into Slap-Slap-Kiss depending on the plot.

May overlap with Because Destiny Says So and What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic? If used in a villainous or negative way, this often overlaps with Bondage Is Bad.

Alternately can be seen as bits of cloth, thorns, or in one case, red wires, an amalgamation of the Chains and Red String that's possibly even more Anvilicious than the two separately.

On the non-symbolic side is the Chained Heat plot. See also Slave Collar.


Anime and Manga

  • CLAMP is fond of using these, to the extent that it's not clear if they have a bondage fetish or simply enjoy teasing the Fangirls.
    • Kamui and Fuuma of X1999 are shown several times in these, tying into the "destined" aspect of their relationship and rivalry.
    • Likewise the two leads of Legal Drug appear multiple times in bondage-gear, playing up the Ho Yay even further.
    • Sakura and Syaoran of Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- are shown sporting the chains in some color pieces, and at one point all the main characters receive clothing with prominent chains.
    • Heck, even their bonus arts for Code Geass sported Lelouch and Suzaku united by chains. Ear chains. More detailed examples below.
  • Kaori Yuki of Angel Sanctuary also includes this in her art.
  • As does Matsuri Hino of Vampire Knight.
  • Literal example: in Death Note Light and L are literally chained together during a story arc. Though Genre Savvy Misa does actually point this out, the main symbolic meaning is something else entirely.
  • Get Backers sure contains a lot of this for a shounen.
  • Happens both literally and in the artwork of Loveless, though in the literal case it's used as a spell to try and immobilize the protagonists.
  • Used in the second season's Ending Theme of The Familiar of Zero, with Louise mentioning taking Saito for a walk with the "chains of love" (or "leash of love", same thing). Given how she treats him normally, this is entirely unsurprising.
  • Quite frequently with Lelouch and Suzaku in Code Geass art. Unsurprisingly, the characters were designed by CLAMP, who drew a lot of these pictures themselves. The artbook "Mutuality: CLAMP works in Code Geass" is full of this.
    • Exaggerated with the second season's first ending theme, which puts everyone in them (with the exception of Nunnally, who gets ribbons instead).
      • And the second one puts Lelouch and Suzaku in them again.
  • Meine Liebe Weider puts Ludwig in chains in the OP.
  • A lot of Okane ga Nai artwork includes Ayase in chains.
  • This Full Metal Panic! gag doujinshi (from in an episode of Lucky Star) featuring... Gauron and Sousuke.
  • The back cover of one volume of the manga and at least one or two other official illustrations for Descendants of Darkness show Muraki and Tsuzuki in this pose, featuring red or black ribbons or chains. Not surprising given Muraki's tastes...
  • Miku becomes chained to the shinigami Sei after a near-death experience in Shinigami Lovers.
  • Played for Laughs in Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts, where Shouko Kirishima will do whatever it takes to bring Yuuji Sakamoto with her to the movies... even if it means chaning him up and applying her reluctant boyfriend a Static Stun Gun for some Shock and Awe and a twisted variant of Electric Torture.

Comic Books

  • In Strangers in Paradise, Katchoo and Francine are handcuffed together by their friends Casey and David in an attempt to make them finally work out their differences.


  • There is a Western example in The 39 Steps in which it is commented that after being handcuffed together for most of the film, it makes sense for the male and female protagonists to marry.


  • Carole King's "Chains," first recorded by the Cookies and later covered by The Beatles.
    Chains, my baby's got me locked up in chains
    And they ain't the kind that you can see
    Whoa, these chains of love got a hold on me


  • Done metaphorically and maternally in Bally's Wizard!!; the backglass shows Tommy's mother Nora with a heavy silver ball shackled to her ankle reading "Tommy."


Video Games

  • Pandora's Tower has Aeron carry around a literal chain, enchanted with a lock of Elena's hair, allowing him to track her location and monitor the progress of her curse. It avoids being too ostentatious since apart from being an incredibly dangerous weapon that gets stronger with the couple's bond, it's also an exploration aid and device-activating multitool, among other plot-driving powers.