One of the most profound characters in an anime series is the childhood friend. Anime childhood friend characters tend to have more developed personalities and pasts making them more enjoyable to read about. Their extensive history with the main protagonist makes them one of the most emotionally powerful characters in a series.
There are plenty of anime childhood friend characters out there from best friends to lovers. Each story is different, but the friendship is true and strong. Do you think your own friendships can beat these top 10 childhood friend characters?
Beware of spoilers!
10. Takishima Kei (Special A)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2008 - September 2008
Special A follows the story of Hanazono Hikari who first experienced failure by the hands of Takishima Kei, who constantly teases her about being second. To redeem herself, Hikari has enrolled at Hakusenkan, a prestigious school, where she is still second to Kei in the whole school. Together, they attends what is known as the Special A class, a class of the top students of the school. Here, they skip class, goof around, and pretty much find ways to waste time while Hikari is still set on defeating her rival, Kei!
Special A is an anime full of childhood friend relationships, but the one who stands out on top has to be Takishima Kei. Kei is actually Hikari's childhood friend, though she does tend to see him as a rival on more days than not. Despite what Hikari thinks, Kei regards her very highly and even goes out of his way to protect her at all costs, even if it puts her in danger. He is always looking out for her, giving her guidance when she needs it most. Kei will also do anything so long as it makes Hikari happy. Yes, Kei is Hikari's biggest rival, but he's also one of the best childhood friends/rivals that she could ask for.
9. Kuonji Ukyo (Ranma 1/2)
- Episodes: 161
- Aired: April
Ranma 1/2 tells a tale of Saotome Ranma, who one days falls into one of the cursed springs of Jusenkyo while training with his father, Genma. There are many springs on the training ground with different curses. Ranma ends up emerging from the spring as a girl while Genma a panda. Their forms change with the use of hot and cold water, to their relief. The two end up at the Tendo dojo where Ranma discovers that he is engaged to the dojo owner's daughter, Akane, so that Ranma can inherit the dojo. Now, they must somehow find a way to live in peace while also coping with their new curse. Oh the antics that will arise!
Ranma's childhood friend is Ukyo, the okonomiyaki chef master! Ukyo has known Ranma since they were 6 and though she has romantic feelings for him, Ranma doesn't treat her like an annoyance the way he does everyone else, especially Shampoo. Ukyo and Ranma are quite close as friends and still tease each other, as seen when Ukyo messes with Ranma after finding out about the curse. Although Ranma originally believed that Ukyo was a boy, their friendship just continually grows even know knowing that she's female. They share a friendship so close you probably would mistake them for siblings at least once, but everyone needs a childhood friend like Ukyo, right?
8. Sunohara Youhei (Clannad)
- Episodes: 23
- Aired: October 2007 - March 2008
Okazaki Tomoya doesn't care about life and doesn't think that he'll do anything with his life. Tomoya is usually skipping class and wasting time until one day, he meets a girl who shouts out loud, "Anpan!" She is Furukawa Nagisa and she has a habit of shouting out the names of foods she likes for motivation. Nagisa doesn't have any friends and is trying to revive the drama club, so Tomoya decides to help her with this endeavor. The two end up bringing in the help of four girls, but each girl has their own story and Tomoya soon realizes he can't keep wasting his school life if he wants to help them with their problems.
Tomoya's childhood friend, Youhei first strikes you as an idiot for his stupid antics and dramatic behavior. Coupled with the fact that he likes to skip school and waste time with Tomoya, you can't help but feel no respect for him whatsoever. Although Youhei and Tomoya's friendship isn't as long as other childhood friendship (since they got to know each other during adolescence), the two keeps the other grounded. Tomoya may tease Youhei often and put him in peril at times, but Youhei is one of the reasons Tomoya even bothers coming to school. They need each other to survive the mess that is high school. Didn't you need someone like that growing up?
7. Sunakawa Makoto (Ore Monogatari)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2015 - September 2015
Gouda Takeo is popular with all the sports clubs in the school because of his size and build. Unfortunately, that's exactly why he's unpopular with girls. It's too bad because Takeo has a pure heart and a sweet personality which has earned him admiration amongst the boys at school. To top it off, Takeo's best friend, Sunakawa Makoto is a prince that has stolen the heart of every girl that Takeo has ever had a crush on. One day, Takeo saves a cute young girl, Yamato Rinko from a pervert and falls for her, but it seems she's interested in Makoto. The gallant knight that he is, Takeo sets his own feelings aside and decides to help her with her own love story when all he wants is his own.
Sunakawa Makoto, Takeo's childhood friend, may seem to be a pretty boy who steals the hearts of every one of Takeo's crushes, but he's in fact the best friend Takeo needs. Makoto is honest, often giving Takeo advice when he needs it. Makoto puts up with Takeo and all of his antics, which sometimes doesn't bold well for himself, but in the end, they're best friends. Makoto may not always confide in Takeo, but he's always there for him when he needs it.
6. Hiradaira Chisaki (Nagi no Asukara)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: October 2013 - April 2014
Humans once lived beneath the sea, but one day, humans who preferred the land left the ocean to live above water, stripping them of their Ena, which gave them the ability to breathe underwater. Since then, the relationship between those who lived in the sea and those on land began to dwindle. In Nagi no Asukara, four childhood friends go to the land to attend school where they are met with prejudice and hate, but little do they know how much they both need each other.
Although Nagi no Asukara follows the lives of a group of childhood friends, Chisaki is one of the childhood friends that we can't ignore! She is a rather quiet individual who would rather support her friends despite what her own feelings are. Although Chisaki originally held feelings for Hikari, she only wishes the best for Hikari and Manaka, even if she herself ends up unhappy. Her childhood friends should feel lucky for having her.
5. Nagachika Hideyoshi (Tokyo Ghoul)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2014 - September 2014
Ghouls exist amongst the human populace, feeding on them when necessary, so humans live in fear, not knowing when their lives are about to be cut short. Unfortunately, ghouls are capable of hiding their appearance so that they look like humans. It is in this cruel world where Kaneki Ken, an ordinary college student, decides to ask out Kamishiro Rize. This one action ultimately changes the course of Kaneki's life as he becomes a half-ghoul/half-human with no idea of how difficult it is to be a ghoul.
Nagachika Hideyoshi is just the anime childhood friend that Kaneki needed in his life. Kaneki hasn't had a lot of good fortune in his life, but Hideyoshi is the salvation that Kaneki needed when he experiences misfortune. Even after Kaneki becomes a half ghoul, Hideyoshi continues to watch out for Kaneki, keeping to himself the fact that he knows about Kaneki's secret. Hideyoshi and Kaneki share a strong friendship that cannot be broken by time or misfortune.
4. Mouri Ran (Detective Conan/Case Closed)
- Episodes: Unknown
- Aired: January 1996 - Ongoing
In Detective Conan, Shinichi is a mystery expert at the young age of 17, but one day, Shinichi becomes a witness to a crime which resulted in his being drugged and left to die. Shinichi miraculously survives, but he now has the appearance of a 7 year old. Now, Shinichi must hide who he is while he attempts to find the solution to fixing his situation.
Shinichi's childhood friend is Mouri Ran. Ran is a very understanding and level-headed girl who does everything she can for those she cares about. She is always showing compassion for those around her and only acts in haste if it will save the lives of her loved ones. Ran sets aside her own feelings in favor of supporting her childhood friend, Shinichi in his current job. She has full faith that he will keep his promise to return, but in the meantime, she suffers in silence as she waits making her one of the top childhood friends!
3. Shiro (Deadman Wonderland)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2011 - July 2011
Ganta finds himself incarcerated after he is framed for the mass slaughter of his classmates by a mysterious man in red that only he saw. Now, Ganta is in Deadman Wonderland, a prison where prisoners battle to the death for sport as spectators watch in amusement. Life is bleak until one day, Ganta finds he has the ability to use his blood as a weapon. Now, Ganta has what he needs to fight for his life and find out the secrets behind the man in red to ensure that justice is served.
As far as anime childhood friend characters go, Shiro is a tricky one. While others may think it's debatable whether or not she is a good childhood friend, I believe she's one of the top. Shiro has been shown to help Ganta time and time again throughout Deadman Wonderland, often appearing at the most opportune moments to save his ass from whatever troubles he's in. Sometimes her actions may seem contrary to Ganta's well being, but she usually knows what's the right course to help him. Even if it means she looks like the bad guy, Shiro is always willing to do whatever it takes to help Ganta which makes her suitable for #3 on this list!
2. Hyakuya Mikaela (Owari no Seraph)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2015 - June 2015
Humans over the age of 13 have been infected by a mysterious virus. Simultaneously, vampires have emerged to enslave humans and use them in whatever sadistic way they wish. Young Hyakuya Yuuichiro dreams of killing off every last vampire to ensure humans are once again the dominant race.
A childhood friendship that clearly borders on BL, Yuuichiro and Mikaela have a friendship that even transcends death. Or rather, rebirth. Mikaela has already proven that he is willing to sacrifice his own life to save Yuuichiro, but even when he is reborn as a vampire, Mikaela only has the wellbeing of Yuuichiro in mind. He'll even take on being a vampire to save his dearest friend. Their friendship borders on dangerous as they stand on the opposite ends of a dangerous war between humans and vampires, but they both want to restore the family that they once had. Mikaela and Yuuichiro will do whatever it takes to save the other, no matter what the circumstances.
1. Ichimaru Gin (Bleach)
- Episodes: 366
- Aired: October 2004 - March 2012
Bleach follows young Kurosaki Ichigo who has the ability to see ghosts and spirits. One day, Ichigo meets the shinigami, Kuchiki Rukia, who risks herself to save Ichigo and his family from a Hollow. Unfortunately, Rukia needs Ichigo to defeat the Hollow so she gives him her shinigami powers. Now, Rukia can no longer do her job so she mentors Ichigo on how to be a shinigami, in her stead, to save humans from the hands of Hollows.
There are so many touching childhood friend stories, but perhaps the best childhood friend relationship is between Ichimaru Gin and Matsumoto Rangiku. Gin has been taking care of Rangiku since they were both children. He joined the Soul Society to change things so that she would no longer cry. Gin even goes so far as to betray the Soul Society, turning himself into a bad guy, to get revenge on Aizen for hurting Rangiku. Although the situation is quite complicated, it is apparent that Gin truly treasures Rangiku and will do everything within his power to protect her.
Ah, there are so many good childhood friend characters in anime, how do you even choose? From childhood friends to childhood romances, there is a lot of fun to be had with childhood friend characters! Childhood friends are that one anime trope that never gets old.
So, this is our list of top 10 childhood friend characters, but are there any that you have in mind?