In numerous instances of fiction, a hero alone may not always be able to get the job done regardless of their strengths. In some stories, he or she will need a support team, or they may just need a sole sidekick. A sidekick has qualities that compliments the main characters in a way that makes up for their faults (or it can be the reverse), or has qualities that equal the hero to have them in two places at once. Others have roles just to be a glorified cheerleader. Sometimes they can be a foil to the main character and keep them in check.
Like the main hero, sidekicks can come in all shapes and sizes. So if you’re looking for a good sidekick from anime, this list should help you in what qualities you want in one.
10. Puck from Berserk (2016)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul 2016 – Sept 2016
If big things can come in small packages, then one example is Guts’ most noted companion, the cute little elf named Puck. He joins Guts after he frees him from some cruel thugs who only used him as target practice on a knife throwing board. Curious about his savior, Puck decides to stick around regardless of Guts’ life of endless horror and violence.
A majority of his role is to be the comic relief in a world literally gone to Hell. One example of how he expresses this quality is how he thinks he can handle himself in a fight when, in fact, most of his attacks do no damage, or he just chickens out. The unique thing about him is that he is only visible to those who believe in fantasy creatures. For some individuals who belong to religious sects that don’t believe in elves, he cannot be seen as demonstrated with Farnese and members of the Holy See.
In addition to being the comic relief, at heart, he is a very good-natured creature who cares about others and tends to show empathy in comparison to Guts, who rarely shows such emotions. In fact, the emotions of humans run through him and can affect his own well-being. Thankfully, his ability to fly is useful to Guts for easy reconnaissance purposes (especially if the opponent can’t see him), and he can produce healing dust that heals physical wounds.
9. Migi from Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu (Parasyte -the maxim-)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct 2014 – Mar 2015
Sometimes the most useful of sidekicks can literally be a parasite that happens to live in your right hand, which is the case of Izumi Shinichi. Migi’s (meaning the right side in Japanese because he took over Shinichi’s right hand) influence on Shinichi progresses throughout the series both physically and emotionally. Due to Shinichi being physically weak at the start of the series, Migi will naturally do all the fighting against other parasites on his own (and Shinichi will develop a body suitable for combat).
If anything, Migi and Shinichi are of one body to the point that one cannot live without the other. Thanks to Migi’s presence, Shinichi naturally develops enhanced abilities, which helps him in his fight against the other parasites. Though Shinichi acquires the qualities of parasites such as showing a lack of emotion towards situations that would shock ordinary people, Migi in turn also develops some human-like qualities such as empathy.
As this duo’s unique partnership progresses, they are able to find trust as one entity whenever they are in battle. They go as far as to help each strategize battle plans. Thankfully, he can also help Shinichi whenever he is in any other forms of trouble. His presence allows him to transform himself into various objects of many substances and uses whether they would be blades or keys.
8. Pikachu from Pokemon
- Episodes: 276
- Aired: Apr 1997 – Nov 2002
If there have to be any recognizable sidekicks in the history of anime, it would certainly be Pikachu, the face of the Pokemon. Though Ash (or Satoshi in the Japanese version, named after co-creator Tajiri Satoshi) may possess hundreds of Pokemon throughout his journeys into the wild, if there is one Pokemon he can always count on, it is the Pikachu that has walked with him from day one.
Though other trainers, including Ash, tend to keep their other Pokemon contained in Poke’ Balls, Pikachu refuses to be contained. Ash has been ridiculed as a poor trainer for not keeping Pikachu in a Poke’ Ball, but the series always demonstrates that they share a deep bond and that Ash lets him free as a demonstration of that. Their connection is deep to the point that even though, Pikachu is always limited to his own name, Ash understands what he is saying.
At times, they are willing to sacrifice themselves for each other. Early in the series, Ash puts himself in harm's way when a flock of Spearow’s attacked Pikachu. And any fan cannot forget in the inaugural Pokemon: The First Movie when Ash sacrifices himself against Mewtwo, and Pikachu desperately tries to revive him with all of his power. Though Pikachu cannot speak, he can still express emotions and no one needs words to see that Pikachu cares about Ash who he not sees as a master, but as his best friend.
7. Kyon from Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
- Episodes: 14
- Aired: Apr 2006 – Jul 2006
If opposites do attract, look no further than Kyon and Haruhi. Kyon is just a regular teenager who is caught up in the hijinks of Haruhi Suzumiya, a hyperactive girl who is turned off by regular people but doesn't tend to see that in Kyon. Incidentally, he ends up as a member of her club, the SOS Brigade (after somewhat sarcastically suggesting the idea to her). Like most people, he sees Haruhi as a strange girl, but for some reason finds himself joining her on her unusual excursions. He tries to talk sense into her but tends to fall on deaf ears.
As the series progresses, it demonstrates why his presence is necessary. Kyon is the kind of sidekick who is a yin to Haruhi’s yang, whose imagination and emotions have mysterious influences onto the real world. Due to Kyon’s creative use of just being average, whatever shenanigans Haruhi causes, he can help influence Haruhi to restore balance. It was thanks to him that the infamous and controversial Endless Eight was put to a stop. Though Kyon and Haruhi are not officially an item, there is very clear chemistry between them and share a distinct need for each other.
6. Robert E.O. Speedwagon from JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct 2012 – Apr 2013
Upon his introduction in the first story arc, Speedwagon is just a penniless hooligan but still lives by a code of honor. After encountering Jonathan Joestar, he befriends him out of his respect for his compassion. His role is mostly served as the comic relief by providing over the top narration. Whenever he sees something, he just has to scream it to the top of his lungs in an attempt of being dramatic. In a way, Speedwagon is a character that represents the audience who reacts in the same way they would while watching. He also tends to get emotional in a way that connects the audience with its characters.
Going into the second story arc in his advanced years, Speedwagon shows that he is totally reformed from the thug he initially was by becoming a successful businessman in the U.S. In addition, he continues to show his devotion to Jonathan by supporting his family and serves as an uncle like figure to Jonathan’s grandson, Joseph. Though he is dead by the time of the third story arc (due to old age), his Speedwagon Foundation continues to support the activities of the Joestar family. Even in death, his legacy still lives on by giving moral and financial support to his foundation.
5. Replica from World Trigger
- Episodes: 73
- Aired: Oct 2014 – Apr 2016
In an anime where worlds collide, curiosity tends to follow. Sometimes humans crave what they want to see on the opposite side, while the same can be true for the others on the opposite end of the realm, which leads to the plot of World Trigger. The A.I. Trion Warrior named Replica, serves not only as just a sidekick, but also as a guardian to our main character, Kuga Yuuma, and as the catalyst to how the events of the series unfold.
It is thanks to Replica’s suggestion that Yuuma comes to visit the regular world. His programming and knowledge give Yuuma (and other characters) counsel that is at his unlimited disposal. Replica can offer all the advice it can but ultimately makes the realistic disclaimer that he can’t make the decision for anyone knowing it's up to the individual to face whatever consequences that decision is. Even though Replica can’t force people to make decisions, he still has enough free will to save those he cares about at the cost of his own life.
4. Genos from One Punch Man
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct 2015 – Dec 2015
The dedicated and disciplined Genos (aka Demon Cyborg) is pretty much Saitama’s polar opposite. While Saitama is relatively bored (but willing) with being a superhero, Genos is passionate about his profession thus making his role a foil to Saitama’s easygoing nature. A majority of their relationship is more on the comedic side compared to other superhero relationships. With Saitama’s strength, he may not need a partner, but he must have bill to pay, right? Thanks to Genos helping him take care of that problem, that is where their relationship is founded on. His obsession with Saitama goes as far as calling him Sensei, showing how much he respects him while Saitama is just a humble guy who built up his strength through a hard training regiment.
Unfortunately, due to people’s love of style over substance, Genos tends to have higher recognition for his feats compared to Saitama. Genos feels offended every time Saitama doesn’t get recognition though he doesn’t care. But thanks to their time together, Genos learns that it is not Saitama’s strength that makes him a hero, but for his simple down to earth personality. But in the end, if you need a roommate that can help take care of rent, hopefully, someone with cash like Genos is looking for a place to crash as long as you have a skill that he is seeking.
3. Alphonse Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
- Episodes: 64
- Aired: Apr 2009 – Jul 2010
In some instances, a sidekick can be the kid brother to the main character. In Fullmetal Alchemist, it is the bigger little brother to Edward Elric, Alphonse, or Al for short. Due to a failed experiment in trying to bring their mother back to life, Al loses his physical body and Ed puts his soul into a suit of armor lying around in their house. As a result of his appearance, it is only natural that he tends to be assumed as the titled Fullmetal Alchemist. Thankfully, Al still retains his powers as an alchemist and his present body allows him to fully use his other combative capabilities.
The series does a great job of portraying Al is still an innocent child at heart in contrast to his appearance where people tend to not see him as a child. Due to Al’s current predicament, he is Ed’s sole motivation in becoming the best alchemist and find the Philosopher’s Stone. Compared to Ed who is rather short-tempered, Al demonstrates great maturity and empathy despite his appropriate childlike innocence and does his best to keep Ed in check.
He has his own unique abilities in bringing out the best in people which is the main reason why he is someone you need to have around you. Though Ed’s frustrations may get the best of him at times, the fact that he still has his brother with him is what counts. There is no bond stronger than that between siblings and what better sidekick than your own flesh and blood.
2. Armin Arlert Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr 2013 – Sept 2013
Though Armin may not have the same physical attributes as Erin or Mikasa, what he lacks in body, he makes up for in mind and ultimately, heart. While Eren tends to be hot-headed and acts with little to no thinking, Armin is the one who keeps a cool head and tends to be the chief strategist. When things go wrong, he is the one that tries to keep things together. When Eren gets into trouble with other soldiers, Armin calms him down. When Mikasa gets enraged during Eren’s court martial, Armin manages to restrain her knowing it’s only going to lead to more problems. When sacrifices need to be made, he is always the first to volunteer to show he cares for his friends. The very fact he always puts others before himself is why if you need someone for something, he’s your man.
It is also thanks to Armin that Eren is driven to see the outside world. If anything, Armin is probably the closest thing to being educated about the outside world compared to everyone else. Where talking about the outside world before the walls is equivalent to breaking the law. Thanks to his Grandfather’s upbringing, he learned of the old world through a book he illegally possessed and is the closest person to being educated.
1. Rem from Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Re:ZERO –Starting Life in Another World-)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr 2016 – Sept 2016
What can be more helpful in any situation whether it would be fighting crime, the forces of the netherworld, or just getting by in life? How about a demon maid girl named Rem? At a base level, she is simply a demon maid who can cook and clean for you (and has horrific powers). After having her life saved by Subaru, she dedicates herself to him and discards all of her initial doubts about him. She is sweet on the outside, but if you have her loyalty she will throw everything including the kitchen sink to protect you. Despite her abilities, she also has her vulnerabilities where a nice man can comfort her when needed.
Her qualities feel very sweet, ideal, and surreal all the same time. Though Rem may be a demon, she shares characteristics similar to that of a real human girl where she enjoys the smaller things with Subaru, such as, when he pats her on the head. The best thing that makes her a great sidekick is that she sees the most positive things in Subaru in the simplest manner. And we won't mention the rest between the two, for it is heartbreaking!
It is undeniable that making this list was very difficult which it could be for any writer in regards to this topic. In addition to this list, we will throw in some honorable mentions. Those honorable mentions are (1) Luna from Sailor Moon, (2) Krillin from Dragon Ball, (3) Jiji from Kiki’s Delivery Service, and (4) Jim Hawkins from Outlaw Star.
To be quite honest, with all the anime fans out there all around the world, this list without a doubt, would be endless. This time, we’re interested in your list. Got your own ideas? Leave yours in the comments below!