Fanart Friday returns, manly tears still flowing from the 49ers' so-close-I-could-taste-it loss. Last week, we got ready for Super Bowl XLVII with a look back at Eyeshield 21, but this week we're brofisting it up with some of the best friends in anime, manga, games and more!
Don't get confused with rivals, which we already covered in Pistols at Dawn Edition, or the sidekicks from Second Fiddle Edition--but being completely honest, a lot of "best friend" characters find some overlap in one or both of those categories. Now, let's get started!
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Let's start with something a little lower on the popularity scale, but still pretty darn fun--Sugar Sugar Rune! Chocolate and Vanilla are best friends, but something happens partway into the series that pits them against each other. IS THEIR FRIENDSHIP STRONG ENOUGH TO LAST THIS TRIAL? Of course!
When I initially thought of doing this theme, these two idiots were the first ones to pop into my mind. Before they were a Great Teacher and a respected mechanic, Eikichi Onizuka and Ryuji Danma were just a couple of punks looking for love... but they always, always had each others' backs. I can't mention enough how much I miss this kind of manga and anime.
As soon as I say that, of course I come across this picture. Gintama does the awesome, goofy sitcom thing for long stretches at a time, and then suddenly hits you with a few episodes that are equal parts heart-wrenching and heartwarming. The Umibozu arc (episodes 40-42), in my opinion, really hits all the right notes... and the talk at the end between Gin and Umibozu even made me tear up some. Damn you Gintama, for being so good. T_T
Seriously, whatever happened to these guys? In the early 2000s, people just would not shut up about GetBackers, and then as soon as the anime finished its run and the manga ended, everybody just forgot it even existed. Ginji and Ban are the typical classic anime "odd couple," but beneath all the very realistic snark and exasperation was a very warm and honest friendship.
I had a discussion with my roommate while looking for art of K-ON!'s Mio and Ritsu, specifically about how guys see female friendship. Some of you will look at this picture and say "okay, they're friends, they're hugging." Some of you will say the same thing but find its innocence particularly cute. A portion of you will immediately imagine the pair of them making out, which is not what (most) female friends do. Same goes for male friends, fangirls.
You might be wondering why Happy is here instead of, say... Lucy or Gray. The answer is simple: watch some Fairy Tail. Natsu and Happy are inseparable, and I always feel that Natsu's bond with his Exceed goes above and beyond any human relationship he has. You might even say it exceeds the AAGH STOP STOP NOT THE FACE
A great friend doesn't always have to join in your adventures, but can provide emotional (or tactical) support over the phone. Just think of Metal Gear Solid's Snake and Otacon as having a long-distance friendship.
Sometimes, you have a friend who's just plain better than you at everything. Don't treat it as a challenge, and don't think you're inferior--they're your friend, and only a total dick would make fun of you for it! Rurouni Kenshin embodies this kind of friendship best with main character Kenshin and tagalong brawler Sanosuke!
Contrary to all that "friend zone" talk that everybody loves to go on and on about, I believe men and women can be friends without things getting awkward. Resident Evil's Chris and Jill bust bio-weapon heads and have each others' backs, but (other than Chris' very canon crush) they maintain a strong working relationship and a healthy friendship.
You don't see Switch as much for the latter part of Sket Dance's run, but the series always does a good job of making all three lead characters (and their friendship) incredibly important. Now, the real question: when are they going to pick the anime back up? That wasn't a very good place to end it...
Kimi ni Todoke starts Chizu and Ayane almost as bad guys... until you find out that they're actually pretty cool people. Sawako's first honest-to-God friends are some of the most important people in the series, and show that first impressions aren't always what they're cracked up to be.
Son Goku has many friends and many rivals, but he only has one actual best friend: Krillin! Vegeta's just that psychopath who visits every now and then--Krillin is the one he happily invites over to just hang out.
Sinbad's awesome and all, but there's no denying how important the three lead heroes of Magi are--or how important they are to each other! I stopped somewhere around episode 7 or 8--I really should be catching up on this one!
A lasting friendship isn't always sunshine and roses. Sometimes it can turn pretty tragic, like it does for Puella Magi Madoka Magica's Homura and Madoka. And, uh... that's all I'm gonna say about that--just watch the show!
For being so cute and cuddly, Pokémon can get surprisingly hardcore. As a trainer, Red takes absolutely no crap from anyone, especially if you're dumb enough to go after his Pikachu. I'll say it again--why did they make Ash the hero and not this guy?
With Soul Eater headed to Toonami, we can all get a chance to relive the hilarious camaraderie of Soul, Black Star, and Death the Kid. It's not that the three of them go off on crazy adventures, but rather Soul and Black Star doing funny stuff and dragging Death the Kid along for the ride.
Here's a dynamic duo that doesn't get quite as much screentime as it used to--Sonic has only been showing up on his own lately (or armed with a sword... or turning into a werewolf) while Tails provides a story/support role. C'mon, guys, the Sonic Adventure games weren't all that bad...
Naruto is one of those rare titles where you can take just about any pair of characters and find some connection between them, whether friendship or rivalry or romance. For this particular group of heroes, it leans more towards friendship... but friendship that grew from fierce rivalry.
Bleach's Orihime and Tatsuki embody one of the healthiest, strongest and most emotionally-charged friendships I've seen in recent years. You remember all that stuff I was saying about not being gross when it comes to female friendships, and having some class? I take it all back. KIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISS
And, uh... yeah. That about wraps it up for this week (I am not looking up Orihime/Tatsuki doujin right now, I swear). There's no way I could have included everybody--who are some of your favorite pairs of best friends in anime/manga, games, movies, or comics? Sound off in the comments!
Like I say every week, your work is always welcome here on Fanart Friday, regardless of your skill level or experience! Just PM me a link to your work, and I'll make sure to include it in a future installment! For those of you wanting to get a head start on next week's Fanart Friday, we'll be "celebrating" Valentine's Day (doing the complete opposite of last year's Reservation for Two Edition) and characters stricken with PERPETUAL SINGLENESS! You can't help but feel bad for characters who stay bachelors (or bachelorettes) no matter how hard they try. Who would you like to see fanart of next week?
Thanks again for checking out Fanart Friday--have a great weekend, and we hope to see you next time!