Well, time to latch onto Bryan’s Idea and make a list for my birthday. I guess you could say that I am a sucker for childhood friends. When I see a set of childhood friends in an anime, I will almost always root for them to end up together. There are several exceptions to this trend, but I would say that I am still batting a pretty high percentage in this regard. I guess one of the differences between my list and Bryan’s is that I am not addressing a specific type of girl. I don’t really latch onto anime characters in a way where I am like “I love kuudere girls” because I never really picture myself with animated people. That is just me. However, I am a little too enthusiastic when it comes to pairing off anime characters with each other. I will admit it. I am a shipper. I love shipping, but as a straight male, most of my ships are straight. What are my tendencies when shipping? See the above section. Unfortunately, childhood friends are known to be a part of unrequited love which really irritates me. Time for a little history lesson. The featured picture for this article depicts the first pair of childhood friends that I actively shipped while being completely aware of what I was doing. For those of you that are familiar with Rin and Kaede from Shuffle!, you may be wondering how such a crazy pair could make me ship childhood friends. Well, I can’t really answer that question very well. What I can say is that behind all of the homicide, Kaede really cared about Rin and that is what matters. Oh well, I decided to pick my five favorite pairs of childhood friends, or osananajimi characters because we are talking about anime, and make a list. However, keeping the list to five was tough. I ended up taking the words of Ai from Oreshura and separating the childhood friends that grew up together from the ones that met at a young age and have a reunion any years later. Even then it was tough. Also, I didn’t count Naruto couples because there were too many to consider or things from One Piece because Oda doesn’t really want to write romance.
5). Takeru Takaishi and Hikari Yagami (Digimon Adventure 2)
I know that it feels like I am contradicting two of the things that I stated in my introduction by having these two on the list, but I have excuses. Even though I watched Digimon Adventure 2 before I watched Shuffle!, I wasn’t aware of the fact that I was shipping at the time. I was young. Also, even though the two spent time apart after meeting as children, they kept in touch and their relationship flowed smoothly. No grand reunion or anything. Just more of the same. These two are great together. Don’t tell me that you watched Digimon and didn’t like T.K. and Kari as a couple. They were the little kids in the first season with incredibly strong partners and the veteran members of season two. The had that chemistry that just wouldn’t go away and partner Digimon that both became angels. If that isn’t a signal, then I don’t know what is. I guess that these two are riding on nostalgia, but that is why they are only number five on the list.
4). Natsu Dragneel and Lisanna Strauss (Fairy Tail)
Please don’t tell me that I am contradicting myself again. Natsu and Lisanna grew up together for quite some time before she got transported to an alternate universe. Now I know what the people who know me are thinking. How the hell can Natsu and Lisanna be on this list when Natsu and Lucy make up my second favorite anime pairing of all time? Well, I used to not be so certain about that one. A single episode of Fairy Tail had me in childhood friend mode again. Watching Natsu and Lisanna build a home together and warm Happy’s egg was adorable. Watching Natsu grieve for Lisanna had an even bigger impact on my heart. Let me tell you something. When they played back the moment when Lisanna asked if Natsu would look for her when she was lost and he said yes, then Natsu stares at their old playhouse, a little part of me died. You can’t say that it isn’t love. Lisanna used to joke about marrying Natsu, then the accident happened. The worst part of it all was the reunion though. They find Lisanna because she never really died, but the writing for her character sucked. It turns out that Hiro Mashima never intended on bringing her back. I believe it was the director of the anime, Shinji Ishihira, that liked her character so much that he requested she be brought back. Not having intended on her being in his story would definitely explain her insignificant role in the series. It is because of that, that I will simply look at what was intended for the readers. If it wasn’t for the fact that Natsu and Lucy have such a great romance, then I would definitely have this pair much higher than four on my list.
3). Van Flyheight and Elisi Linette (Zoids)
I guess there seems to be a contradiction in every single one of my picks. Yes, I watched Zoids before Shuffle! like with Digimon. However, I was still unaware of what shipping was at the time, so it doesn’t count. Anyways, onto the romance. No arguments when it comes to the whole childhood friendship thing. Van finds a organoid as a kid and there is a girl inside. They travel together and we get a time skip where they are still together. Fantastic. Elisi isn’t what you would call your average person, but all of the crazy things regarding her ancestry and everything else just shoot right past Van. Even when things seem down, Van is always there for Elisi. I guess the whole taking care of each other as kids things is somewhat amplified in this series because they were literally living together. Traveling, surviving, and whatnot. You could say that this is another series that is riding on the nostalgia train, but I can definitely say that this couple has some real depth. I watched the series again about two years ago and I feel that their dynamic definitely held up. The countless times that they save each other and the wonderfully romantic moments, like the one depicted in the picture, make for a romance that is so great that it is almost out-of-place in a series like Zoids. Oh well, it all fit within the story and I need to go back and watch some of the best parts again.
2). Edward Elric and Winry Rockbell (Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood)
I know that it isn’t the biggest contradiction, but I will dispute it. Yes, Ed went off and traveled for a good portion of his adolescence, but he would see Winry from time to time and they definitely kept in touch. The whole growing up together part is definitely there. Everyone says that they remember Ed’s scream as he lost his limbs, but do you remember Winry’s face when she saw her friend covered in blood? I sure as hell do. These two are great together. I would say that they probably have the most developed relationship out of all of the couples that you will see on this list and that is why they are this high. I chose the Brotherhood version of these two for a few reasons. The first one is that they are canon. Being canon helps because it is fucking awesome. The next is the fact that they had so many great moments in the series. When Ed consoled Winry and stopped her from shooting Scar. When Ed couldn’t look Winry in the fact as she made his automail winter compatible because he realized that he loved her. When Ed forced himself to live because he promised to not make Winry cry tears of pain again. Oh yeah, and they had two kids. Do I really need to say more? I will assume that everyone watched Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood because if you haven’t yet, then you have more important things to do with your life than reading my article. For all of the normal anime fans, it is very clear why these two are fantastic. I still remember one of the greatest marriage proposals of all time because of Edward and Winry.
1). Rintarou Okabe and Mayuri Shiina (Steins;Gate)
I am finally not breaking any of the rules and it is about time. I am already at number one for goodness sake. Well, people who watched Steins;Gate may be questioning why I chose a couple that is not canon. Well, the connection between these two is so strong that it doesn’t need to be canon to be number one in my heart. The scene that is depicted above was beautiful enough. Okabe watched as his friend slowly drifted away from him after she suffered a great loss. However, Okabe would not lose her and he promised to never let Mayuri go. Well, when agents from SERN decide that they need to kill Mayuri, that promise is put to the test. The reason that these two are number one is because of the countless deaths that face Mayuri. Okabe goes back in time more times than you can imagine trying to find a way to stop his childhood friend from dying. However, we have some Final Destination stuff going on and things get worse and worse. Mayuri even ends up dying in place of Okabe when he decides to sacrifice himself in order to do anything that may alter the timeline. Okabe goes back so many times that he is no longer shocked by Mayuri’s death. You may say that is harsh, but the dead look on his face says otherwise. How would you feel in his situation? This hopeless man has lost track of how many times he has traveled back in time in order to save someone dear to him only to watch her die over and over again. Your mind starts to crumble, but your spirit will not give up. Kurisu even doubts the way that Okabe feels about her because she doesn’t think she can live up to someone who would drive a man to do all of this. The connection between Okabe and Mayuri is apparent to everyone and their heart wrenching tale is what puts them at number one on my list.
The Cuts Made by Technicality:
I mentioned in the introduction that I decided to make an important decision when forming my list. I took Ai’s advice and separated the childhood friends that grew up together and the one’s that met as children and were reunited without staying in touch. It was a tough choice to make, but I did it. The only problem is the fact that I group all of these people together in my mind when I am shipping. I feel that their stories hold a similar feeling that means they are worthy of being mentioned in this post. So, here is a bonus list of my top three favorite pairs that missed out on being childhood friends.
3). Sana Hidaka and Nanaka Yatsushiro (Myself; Yourself)
I can’t believe that I have to think about this anime again. It isn’t like it was bad or anything like that, but it is a tragic story and that means that I cried on multiple occasions. Obviously, these two did not grow up together. They were great friends as children and people would joke about how close they were. However, Sana suddenly moved away and left all of his friends behind. It is usually easier to move when you are younger, but that isn’t how this anime treated his departure. Four of our five characters experienced some sort of trauma and that made the story itself very sad. The thing is, Sana didn’t even recognize Nanaka when he saw her again after all of those years. Can you really blame the guy? Yes, she almost killed herself because you weren’t around you ass. I guess I forgot to mention it. Sana and Nanaka both attempted suicide. Their lives were bad. Honestly, Sana was only bad at making friends, but Nanaka lost her parents to a fire that had arson and adultery written all over it. The two used an out of commission mailbox to relay letters to one another as children, but Sana left and he could not receive any of the messages anymore. When her parents died, Nanaka needed Sana. She was desperate to have him at least console her, but he showed up far too late. It is all of this trauma that lead to them coming back together in a very romantic fashion. Let’s just say that Sana never left Nanaka again and that they would be higher on my list if I actually liked Sana’s character. That’s right, I think he is a bitch so they can only be so high.
2). Eita Kidou and Ai Fuyuumi (Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru)
Well, I can’t use Ai’s statement in my post and not feature her in it as a contender. I like to say that Eita and Ai have a great relationship for a romantic comedy. They have this very sweet story where they met in kindergarden. Eita has known Ai longer than he knew even Chiwa. Eita would hang out with Ai and this made her do something that a lot of little kids do. She proposed to Eita and they promised to get married. Well, they are in high school now and the relocated Ai has finally returned to be at the same high school as her first and only love. The only problem was that Eita forgot all about Ai. It was kindergarten dammit. Oh well, after walking Eita down memory lane, Ai jogs his memory on a date that culminates with a private fireworks show. This would have been precious if Ai wasn’t somewhat crazy. The girl still has the marriage papers from kindergarten and she is demanding Eita’s stamp so they can get married. Calm down dude, you just met the guy again. Well, it is her overly enthusiastic effort to marry Eita that makes Ai so great. We see her trying on wedding dresses and trying to find Eita’s stamp to seal the deal herself. Did I mention that she is a tsundere heavy on the dere? Well she is. You can’t keep a girl away from her beloved Takkun. Especially when he dismisses your insanity and picks out your swimsuit for you. It is tough to describe right now, but if you watch the anime, then you will definitely understand why Eita and Ai need to be on this list together.
1). Kodaka Hasegawa and Sena Kashiwazaki (Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Next)
I honestly liked this couple well before I knew that they had a prior connection to one another. It wasn’t until well into the second season of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai that it was revealed that Kodaka and Sena not only met each other as children, but were promised to one another because their dads are best bros. I guess that explains the whole meeting as kids, but not growing up together thing. Sena had grown up winning a lot of genetic lotteries. She is smart, athletic, and very beautiful. However, this beauty lead to guys fawning over her for all of the wrong reasons. Unable to trust guys or make friends with the very jealous girls, Sena ended up having no friends. Kodaka was in the same predicament because his natural hair color and cold demeanor make it seem like he is a delinquent. Well, Kodaka is actually extremely kind like most harem protagonists so he was sure to capture the hearts of many ladies. Sena actually fell in love with Kodaka after he saved her from some guys at the pool. Kodaka legitimately cared about Sena. It was the first time that a man other than her father had scolded Sena. The basis of their relationship is great. Kodaka became a guy that Sena could actually trust and depend on. They even have the blessing of Sena’s father who was actually ecstatic to hear that her daughter was getting along so well with her fiance. This is another case where you need to watch the series in order to truly grasp how great their relationship is. We all know what Kodaka wanted to say in the last scene of season two and these two brought us what I consider to be the single greatest marriage proposal in the history of marriage. That is why they are the number one set of characters that missed out on being childhood friends.
I love childhood friends. I can’t get enough of their established love even if you have to throw in a bit of stalker or homicidal maniac. I am a shipper and I know what I like. I just gave you eight great examples of why childhood friends make for great love stories. Unfortunately, one of those will never be canon and I have come to accept that. A ship doesn’t need a canon to sail baby. Well, this list should make for a bit of an insight into what I like when it comes to anime. I am pretty sure that is the reason for these birthday posts. Regardless, I hope that you like at least one of these pairs. Also, if you also like childhood friends and shipping, then we can be friends. It is as simple as that.