Anyone who’s watched anime for even a marginal amount of time can tell you the same thing; childhood friends are just awesome in general. Sure, there are some pretty horrible ones out there, *cough* Sasuke *cough* but most of them end up being awesome in their own way. From the classic bro best friend, to the one who moved away and even the childhood love. Each childhood best friend has their own trope that makes the life of the main character that much sweeter.
Don’t you wish you were a main character?
Here at Honey’s, we wish we had our own anime childhood friend as well. So join us as we count down the Top 10 Anime Characters You'd Want as a Childhood Friend!
10. Kei Takishima (Special A)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Apr 2008 – Sep 2008
Kei is an overachiever. He has the IQ of a genius and the abilities of an Olympiad, allowing him to accomplish feats beyond what a normal human is capable of, within limits of course. This puts him above the purview of most people around him. Despite that, Kei isn’t overcome by arrogance and is in fact quite a nice guy once you get to know him.
Kei is in fact, quite kind to those whom he chooses to treasure and as such would make an ideal childhood friend whether you’re a guy or girl. While it’s quite possible that anyone who has him as a childhood friend would suffer from some sort of inferiority complex, because who can compete with that, Kei is more than likely to instead push you to your limits and act as a goal line for us. Instead of putting us down, he makes us become the best that we can be, and that’s what a true friend does.
And for the ladies….well, he’s pretty good looking right?
9. Sena Kashiwazaki (Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct 7 2011 – Dec 2011
Sena falls under the childhood trope of the “Forgotten First Meeting”. She had initially met the main character Kodaka early on in their childhood because of the friendship between their fathers, putting her ahead in terms of the pairing wars. However, because they were kids and kids are dumb, they quickly forgot about their encounter soon after despite how much they enjoyed their time together.
Years later, they meet again but can’t quite remember the other person. After going through some random slice of life events together, they finally recall who they are and reunite once more. Though they don’t actually get together at that point, there remains the possibility for love to blossom. This one is for the guys, because all we dream of meeting that one really good looking and funny girl who we have some secret connection with.
It’s a childhood dream of course. But then again, she would be a dream of a childhood friend.
8. Umaru Doma (Himouto! Umaru-chan)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul 2015 – Sep 2015
Umaru isn’t a childhood friend in the strictest definition of the term, but that’s just semantics so let’s move past that quickly and assume that her brother, Taihei, is the second part of the childhood friends in question. On the outside, she acts like the perfect high school girl. She’s beautiful, smart and popular. Everyone loves Umaru for her cool and kind personality and it seems as if she can do no wrong.
However, her inside personality is the complete antithesis of her outside one; that is to say that Umaru acts like a weirdo Otaku who shuts herself in the house with nothing but junk food and internet. So what makes her a good childhood friend in that case? It’s not about how good a friend she is, or how amazing of a person she can be to you. It’s the fact that if you were placed in Taihei’s position, Umaru shows her true side to you and only you. This level of trust is something that not everyone enjoys, but something everybody wants. Is there a better feeling than when someone trusts a side to you that they don’t show to anyone else?
Plus she’s completely adorable!
7. Kosaki Onodera (Nisekoi)
- Episodes: 20
- Aired: Jan 2014 – May 2014
Onodera is one of the few girls in the running for Raku’s heart in the popular manga and anime Nisekoi. Each one of the girls share one thing in common. They are all childhood friends with Raku and each other and as a result, each of them fell for the same person and have been competing for him ever since their feelings resurfaced in the future.
So why Onodera and not any of the other girls on this list? Because while each of the other girls would be great waifus, they may not be the best childhood frien. Onodera hits the top of the list for being the “Patient Childhood Love Interest”, though she doesn’t exhibit many of the Girl Next Door clichés as much. She takes the feelings of everyone into account, as seen when she decided to postpone her confession to Raku when Onodera realised that he may have feelings for Chitoge.
While it’s debatable amongst fans who the best waifu is, Onodera is certainly the best childhood friend, as kind and caring as she is.
6. Youhei Sunohara (Clannad)
- Episodes: 23
- Aired: Oct 2007 – Mar 2008
Clannad often focuses on the relationship between Tomoya and Nagisa, as it should being the type of anime that it is. Youhei doesn’t get much screen time in comparison, remaining much more in the background throughout the series, but that doesn’t make him a bad character. It is precisely because he is such a good friend to Tomoya and so supportive that the show doesn’t feel the need to show him developing as a person, excluding the arc with his little sister.
Youhei is your very typical bro. He’s as much of a guy as a guy can be and he has all the bad habits that come with being one. It’s hard for Youhei to understand more complicated emotions like sorrow, but he understands enough to know that you need him to be there when he is feeling down. Even if you choose to abandon him, he won’t abandon you; as seen for his continued support of Tomoya even when he went down a really dark path.
Again, it’s not about who is the best person ever, but who is the best kind of friend ever.
5. Hideki Hinata (Angel Beats)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr 2010 – Jun 2010
Again, Hinata isn’t really a childhood friend by the strictest definition of the term, but hear us out. Just because someone isn’t a childhood friend in the series that they are from, doesn’t mean that they can’t be a good childhood friend regardless. Like the many characters of Angel Beats, Hinata suffers from a tragic past involving a failed baseball competition and drugs to suppress his feelings of failure.
Fortunately, like many characters of the show, he learns to move past his demons and relive his life. Hinata is given the opportunity to move on at any moment from that point, having fulfilled his purpose of being at the fake high school. But he chose to stay for a while longer to help out with Otonashi and the troubles he is having with the fake Tenshi.
Sometimes all we need is someone to give us a helping hand, and Hinata can certainly lend us one.
4. Mio Naganohara (Nichijou)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr 2011 – Sep 2011
Before we begin, can all the readers repeat the following mantra? “We are horrible people and we do horrible things that annoy a great amount of people.” Done? Because that’s the truth. We do a lot of nonsense over the course of our lives that piss off many people and it’s a solid fact that many of us face broken friendships and even relationships due in fault to our very own actions.
That’s why we all need a Mio in our lives. Mio is the best friend of Yuuko and Mai. Yuuko in particular is like an over exaggerated version of us, in which she pulls the weirdest crap each and every day and constantly pisses off Mio to the best of her ability. Despite that, the two always seem to reconcile and become better friends than before. That’s because Mio is the “friend who can put up with all your shit”.
We’re all horrible people, and that’s okay because some people are like Mio, and they accept us for who we are.
3. Yosuke Hanamura (Persona 4 the Animation)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct 2011 – March 2012
Yosuke Hanamura is the best friend of the main protagonist in Persona 4. In the context of the anime, he is named Yuu Narukami. In the beginning, he is extremely jealous of Yuu’s rapid adaptation to the persona ability and his apparent high level of control over them. Because of this, he develops an inferiority complex towards Yuu and always tries to upstage him, landing the group in trouble quite a few times.
However, Yosuke quickly realises the folly of his actions and resolves to become a better person. His friendship with Yuu becomes much closer over time and when the final battle eventually comes, he tries so hard to save his best friend that his persona evolves into a greater form. So he doesn’t start out to be the best person ever, but no one is born perfect. The fact that he was able to better himself as a person to help his friend is something to be admired.
Besides, wouldn’t it just feel so good if you knew someone became a better person because of you?
2. Winry Rockbell (Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct 7 2011 – Mar 2012
Human Transmutation; the most forbidden of arts for a good reason. No one person has ever succeeded in bringing the dead back to life, and the cost for even trying can cause even more death to strike at the hearts of the alchemists who try. The Elric brothers have done the same mistake, causing one to lose an arm and a leg, while the other has turned into an armoured monstrosity. As they grief for their losses, the one who stood by them through it all is their childhood friend Winry Rockbell.
In the context of the show, Winry is nothing special. She is a simple automail mechanic, and those are a dime a dozen, and has no alchemical prowess to speak of. What Winry does have is something every human being should have, simple human kindness. In the time of their greatest need, it wasn’t the most powerful alchemist that brought them back to the light, but a simple girl who just wanted to help her friends.
Everyone needs a light now and then, and Winry is their light. And we wish she was ours too.
1. Tsubaki Sawabe (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso)
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: Oct 2014 – March 2015
Tsubaki is the childhood friend of Arima Kousei, the troubled child genius who lost his ability to play the piano due to the death of his mother. When he fell into depression, those around him withdrew from him, thinking that he needed space or simply out of their own guilt. The one person who stood by his side is Tsubaki. Tsubaki never pushed him to recover before he was able, and simply stayed with him as a friend for as long as he needed her.
The most heartbreaking part? Over the years, she fell for him, though Tsubaki didn’t realise it until the events of the show began. But he was clearly in love with Kaori by then. But she didn’t fight and scream. Nor did she try her best to win him back. Tsubaki simply gave him the best advice she could and encouraged him with a smile on her face, never wavering till he left her sight. She sacrificed her happiness for him in the end. Too bad it took something like this for everyone to see what a great person she is.
If she were your childhood friend, would you have chosen to go with her instead?
Love them or hate them, childhood friends is a trope that will stay for a long time. Because we all wish that we always had a friend that stayed by our sides. And for as long as humanity has this intrinsic desire, the anime industry will respond in kind by crafting more stories that fit our fantasies.
Have an anime character you want as your childhood friend? Tell us in the comments below!