I had an unexpectedly easy time with this one. I suppose where adults, kids, non-humans, and couples are all subjects that warrant debate and exhaustive selection, there’s nothing especially complex about simple friendships.
Friendship is simply a matter of who you trust and usually get along with in some way. It’s pure and simple, uncomplicated by things like attraction. Brothers-in-arms, soldiers fighting side-by-side, people who respect and challenge each other, and watch each others’ backs, these are friendships built upon commonalities, and especially on trust. One can either trust a man, or not, and the hardships men endure together, the good times and bad, these forge a bond of fellowship which endures for eternity.
Friendship is sacred, and it is honest, and it is obvious, without subtleties or confusing gray areas. People may search for romance forever, and it will always be complicated, but friendship is easy to recognize.
And, well, friendship is the connection between kindred souls who, through whatever circumstance, have found one another.
As someone once put it, friendship is born the moment two people meet and go, “You too? I thought I was the only one!” 😀
So, in no particular order, I present five of my favorite anime friendships. 🙂
1) Vash & Wolfwood
Vash the Stampede is a man almost without true equal. He is smart, funny, incredibly strong, and his determination is immense. His brother might match his capabilities, but he’s a sociopathic mass-murderer intent on wiping out all of humanity, so, not particularly good family material. If there is one man to match Vash, it’s his best friend and comrade.
Nicholas D. Wolfwood is a priest who packs a good deal of firepower. He has the skills and the humor to match Vash, but also the heart and will. He brings a perspective which Vash lacks, rooted in the harsh realities of survival. This causes them to clash on occasion, but there is no doubt that they would stand by one another’s side until the stars went cold, every one of them.
The two of them together are an excellent, nigh-unstoppable team. When Vash is knocked down, Wolfwood comes to get him back on his feet. Even after Wolfwood dies, his legacy lives on, protecting Vash and enabling his victory. For their unflagging comaraderie, they are among my favorite examples of friendship.
2) Ushio & Tora
Ushio and Tora
The chemistry between these two is obvious at first glance, but it takes some time for a bond to form between them. After all, Ushio is a young human boy who naturally cares for people, no matter his tough guy exterior, while Tora is a ravening monster very keen on eating people (at least until he discovers hamburgers). Both of them walk with pride, the sort which they will not sacrifice, and their respect for each other is built gradually. But the two are kindred souls, and an exceptional partnership on the battlefield.
It is the connection between them which inspires and rallies all of their friends and allies together against their common foe. As such, friendship between them might be unusual, but it had to feel genuine, and it does. They maintain an adversarial edge to their relationship all the way to the finish, but there is no question that they are absolutely friends.
3) Spike & Jet
We never see how Spike Lee and Jet Black meet and form their bounty hunting partnership, but we certainly see the bond between them.
The two of them are both strong tough guys, which, I know, that seems to be a recurring theme of my picks, which is a bit ironic, I suppose, considering how much I’m not a tough guy, but I am digressing. Returning to the point, they’re both tough, but in different, complementary ways.
Spike is more what one usually thinks of as tough: cool, in a hot-headed sort of way, quick-witted, headstrong, a bit reckless, never hesitating to pick a fight and never slow in ending it either.
Jet is more stoic, cool-headed and calm, but with an iron will that makes his strong body all the more formidable. He takes a step back and sees the bigger picture more often than not, more down to Earth, steady as a rock in supporting the people around him.
The two of them, of course, work well together, watching each others’ backs and keeping an eye on each others’ blind spots. They fight and argue, sometimes badly, but they forgive and move on. When one burns too hot, the other cools them down, and vice versa. So long as they are able, they will always have each others’ six.
4) Kaisar & Favaro
Rage of Bahamut
I am, in fact, quoting my own review of the show when I say this, because I am lazy and I managed to nail it the first time around. 😉
Where Kaisar is preoccupied with nobility and chivalry, Favaro revels in being a rascal. Where Kaisar takes the weight the world on his shoulders, Favaro loves to scamper away from all form of responsibility. Where Kaisar is self-restrained and dignified, Favaro is willfully reckless in every way. And on it goes, the two men could not be more different, as Kaisar is the son of a former nobleman and Favaro is the son of a bandit chief. Yet, they are kindred spirits, bold and strong and courageous. Both have suffered similar losses as well, and both can show compassion in surprising ways.
What really sold their friendship to me, at least, was what happens when we learn the truth of their shared past. They were childhood friends, the sons of men of honor, and both of their fathers were betrayed and murdered by the same demon. Kaisar blamed Favaro for it, and Favaro accepted the blame if only so Kaisar would have something to live for. When Favaro learns the truth of the matter, he goes even further, taking more of the blame onto himself. When Kaisar learns it, he regrets his actions, but then, most cruelly, Favaro actually becomes possessed by evil, and Kaisar finds that he must fight his old friend one more time, this time knowing all that his friend has done for him. It’s a tragic, heart-rending moment…
…and, as it turns out, a bit faked, because the two of them, who are always on differing wavelengths, are able to work together with minimal communication when it counts!
Seriously, these two are both fascinating and entertaining to watch! 🙂
5) Mustang & Hughes
Fullmetal Alchemist franchise
As with all of my picks, these two have their differences, they work well together, they complement each other, they trust and are loyal to each other, they have years of history together… really, the list just goes on.
Anyone familiar with this story knows that Maes Hughes and Roy Mustang go way back, and when Mustang decided to become the Fuhrer and improve their country, Hughes naturally offered his support, without hesitation or reservation. They have fought and bled together, plotted together, risked their lives for each other. They have the bond of brotherhood between their souls. And when Hughes, tragically, is murdered (and anime fans everywhere cried), Mustang takes up the quest for justice as naturally as taking his next breath.
There are few moments more satisfying than seeing Mustang succeed in his quest, and few moments more touching than seeing him turn away from his own darkness for the sake of his friend’s memory.
Someone once said, “The blood of the covenant flows thicker than the water of the womb.” Meaning that men who bleed together for a shared cause have a bond that can surpass even that of biological family. I like to think that my five picks each represent this idea, in their own way.
And that’s my five picks for friendships!
How about you? What would your picks be?