Post Reply The long time or childhood friend curse
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37 / M / Virginia USA
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Posted 10/25/15
First pardon me if this has been brought up before. I am sure it has at least at some point or perhaps in another thread/forum, but I wanted to get some more current takes and thoughts on the matter.

So in anime it seems like more times than not, let's say 85% of the time, the childhood or long-time friend of an MC or primary character tends to have feelings towards another protagonist or MC, etc. And whether they make it known to that character or not we as the viewer can tell that those feelings exist. I am curious as to why so many time those feelings rarely go reciprocated? At least in my time viewing anime the childhood or long-time friend rarely ever gets their happiness. And even more often it seems like they end up having to cheer on the relationship(s) they wish they had.

It's kind of heartbreaking when you really think about it and I am just curious as to why this may be a common trope in anime and manga? Anyone have any insights? Or am I completely wrong in my assumptions? Feel free to rebuke as well.

Posted 10/25/15
Those damn mysterious transfer students!
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22 / M / Fraxinus
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Posted 10/25/15
I'm guessing it's probably because since they're childhood friends, it's implied that they'll manage to be friends long into the future, too. But with a new friend who doesn't have a history with the MC, they probably end up together to add some more permanence to their relationship, to equal the status of the childhood friend... even if it may leave the childhood friend having to lock up their feelings and just smile and be happy with their childhood friend ending up with someone who's not them...

That's my theory, anyway...
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24 / M / St.Louis - USA
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Posted 10/25/15
The friendzone.
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36 / M / Planet Sanno
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Posted 10/25/15

Yamstarch wrote:
I am curious as to why so many time those feelings rarely go reciprocated?


Because many main characters are not into headbands.

(Seriously, you'd be surprised how often the "childhood friend" characters wear headbands. Almost every time.)
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31 / M / The Abyss of Time
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Posted 10/25/15
Close friends tend to be overlooked, while the new person is exciting and new. Also kinda plays into a shallower aspect that the new person is in some way more appealing (for whatever reason) than the childhood friend. Then again I can get behind either one depending on how the story plays out.
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22 / M
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Posted 10/25/15
One of the problems here is that, sometimes, childhood friend characters feel like they're just thrown into the plot. I don't know how many anime/manga descriptions I've read that mention the MC, heroine, and premise, but, right at the bottom, there's one sentence saying that the MC has a childhood friend who has feelings for him. They don't end up with the MC because, well, that's the role they get.

Of course, I'm talking about a very specific, yet common, genre. Some do a much better job at integrating childhood friend characters into the story than others.

Typically, the scenarios where childhood friends "win" are usually either true harems or the childhood friend is explicitly the main romantic interest. Also, authors also use tricks to obscure the supposed mundane nature of childhood friends, usually with a long period of time in which the MC and his friend do not see each other.
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55 / M /
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Posted 10/25/15
I think the big thing is the childhood friend is rarely seen as a romantic interest. That would require a whole new mindset. Also the MC then has to ponder what happens if I get rejected? So then not only no romance, but you might have lost the friendship as well.
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21 / F
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Posted 10/25/15
Muv-Luv, though.
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36 / M / Planet Sanno
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Posted 10/25/15

Saemonza wrote:
Muv-Luv, though.


Muv Luv is kind of a special case ... in every possible way. *chuckles*
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27 / M
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Posted 10/25/15 , edited 10/25/15
If you want childhood friends to win you need to look towards older anime and manga, childhood friends were the rave and then just died out, but it's hard to find translated ones.
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52 / M / Bay Area
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Posted 10/25/15
Sometimes childhood friend wins but rare if they go abroad then come back that formula works sometimes in favor of childhood friend.
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21 / M / US
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Posted 10/25/15 , edited 10/25/15

PeripheralVisionary wrote:

Those damn mysterious transfer students!


Damn this had me laughing so hard!
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28 / M / USA! USA! USA!
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Posted 10/25/15 , edited 10/25/15
Because they're just friends.

With benefits.

It's in the name of the damn archetype.

Why they, or the audience, expected anything more is entirely their fault.
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