Every anime has its focus on certain themes, and can teach the viewers some important life lessons. While it's true that the main theme of friendship pops up almost in every show, it is also true that some of them are based of friendship altogether. Friendship anime show the viewers the importance of bonds, and how often many hands make light work.
In this ranking, we will mention only ten among all the friendship anime out there. We tried to choose the most popular, the most touching, and those where friendship is the absolute main theme, and what moves every character's action.
As this is an updated ranking, if you crave for even more friendship shows, make sure to scroll down to read our original article!
10. Shinsekai yori (From the New World)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: September 2012 – March 2013
Shinsekai yori takes place in a Japan 1000 years from now, and revolves around five children: Saki, Satoru, Shun, Maria and Mamoru. These kids live in a utopian village: the water is clear, it's full of nature, and people seem to get along very well. This is but one side of the coin, as that utopia is bound to come crashing down as, due to some circumstances, the five kids discover about the outbreak of psychokinesis that can make people become monsters. Furthermore, the sad truth about the bloody past that brought mankind to that point will be unveiled in front of their very eyes, through the disappearances, one after the other, of their friends.
Shinsekai yori is a full-fledged friendship anime, as we see a group of friends very fond of each other, while they face together something bigger than them. As they grow up, they'll go through hardships, and even confront with the tragic loss of important people. The only one thing that remains unchanged through years of struggles to survive is their bond, which is stronger than anything, and in spite everything.
9. Isshuukan Friends (One Week Friends)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2014 – June 2014
Yuuki Hase is a 16-year-old boy with a crush on Kaori Fujimiya. The girl, though, is one unsociable fellow, and when Yuuki manages to muster all the courage to ask her if she wants to be friends, Kaori's answer is no. Thing is, due to an accident during middle school, Kaori suffers a memory loss: in a few days she begins to forget the people she met. Yuuki wants to be more than a one-week friend to Kaori, though, and will put all his efforts into that mission!
Isshuukan Friends has a light feel, sprinkled with a little melancholy as Kaori keeps losing her memories, and Yuuki tries every week to befriend her, with determination and willpower. We follow the daily routines of these two teenagers, as they begin to interact with each other, and get to know each other step by step. It is a friendship anime that deserved a mention here, because it teaches an important lesson: give your all for an important friend, even when the situation seems desperate.
8. Nagi no Asukara (A Lull in the Sea)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: October 2013 – April 2014
Humans are split in two sides: those who live underwater, and those who live on the surface. Hikari Sakishima, Manaka Mukaido and their childhood friends – Chisaki Hiradaira and Kaname Isaki – live underwater, but attend a school on the surface. By chance, this group of friends comes to know Tsugumu Kihara, a boy from the surface. The lives of these friends are bound to change, as they'll face the discrimination from the people on the surface, and their personal struggles of growing up.
Nagi no Asukara is a friendship anime that went a bit, unfairly unnoticed. This is a coming of age story, revolving around a group of friends who discover more about the society they live in. What's more, they will deal with sad truths, and despicable lies, learning how nothing is the way it seems. Nagi no Asukara wields the important message that friendship knows no boundaries, and that's why we think that it more than deserved a mention here.
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2016 – June 2016
Katsuhira Agata is the perfect target for bullies, since his sense of pain has vanished altogether. Every day, the bullies extort money from him, after beating him to a pulp. Some circumstances bring Katsuhira, his childhood friend Chidori, and four other teenagers to become “Kiznaivers”: according to the Kizuna System project, the six of them will be connected through pain, so if one feels pain – either physical, or emotional – all the others will be struck with the same amount of agony. So, they are forced to face their inner demons, and become friends, and allies.
Kiznaiver is a wonderful show, where each character has a strong and defined personality, that clashes with the others. So, in the beginning, we have six teenagers who argue a lot, but as the show goes by, they finally manage to understand one another. When the situation becomes dangerous, then, they are forced to feel and comprehend one another's pain: a situation that will make their bond stronger. After all, Kiznaiver takes its name from the Japanese word “kizuna”, that means “bond” in English. No wonder friendship has the most important role in this show!
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2010 – April 2011
Moritaka Mashiro is an aspiring illustrator; Akito Takagi is an aspiring writer. They share one dream: to create a popular manga series. That's how these two teenagers decide to join forces and fight for their dream. Mashiro wants to follow his uncle's steps and become a famous manga artist, then he wishes for his crush – an aspiring voice actress – to voice one of the characters he drawn. Takagi wants to help Mashiro in order to see his own stories take form. Little they knew about the hardships of the world of manga: the sky-high competition with other artists, the tight schedules, and so on. Determined to make their dream come true, they'll give their best!
Bakuman is a show where the high morals of friendship are highlighted from beginning, to end. In fact, in this show, the border between friendship and rivalry is always blurry, and foes eventually become friends. This show starts with two boys who become best friends, and embark together on a difficult dream. Yet, hardships don't scare them; on the contrary, they find new strength in them as long as they are there for each other. Bakuman is a friendship show that we highly recommend, all the more if you enjoy slice of life anime based on reality!
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2016 – September 2016
Naho Takamiya is a 16-year-old high school girl who one day receives a strange letter sent by herself from ten years in the future. Even though, in the beginning, Naho thinks it's just a prank letter from her friends, much to her surprise what is written in that letter happens for real. Naho Takamiya from ten years in the future is a woman full of regret: according to the letter, Kakeru, the new transfer student, won't be with them in the future. Naho from the future wishes for Naho to change that part, otherwise she will be full of regret as well.
Orange revolves around a group of friends who have to avoid a tragedy. As day by day they keep getting closer to Kakeru and discover what an amazing person he is, they struggle to save him. This is a very emotional, and touching show, as it wields dark themes; yet, the important message it sends is to always fight for a friend in need, even when that friend doesn't want your help.
4. Hachimitsu to Clover (Honey and Clover)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2005 – September 2005
Hachimitsu to Clover revolves around five friends who are college students. As they are about to enter the adult world, they still move uncertain steps toward their future, and struggle to understand themselves. Shinobu, Yuuta and Takumi share a little room for poor students, with no bath. Hagumi is a talented artist with doll features, and Ayumi is an older sister-like girl whose love is not reciprocated. Their lives are bound to change, and their paths are bound to part, but not their bond.
As you can see by these premises, Hachimitsu to Clover is a full-fledged friendship anime, and when it hits, it hits hard. In fact, this story is more mature, and the relationships depicted are not idealized. It totally deserved a mention, as we see how their lives keep getting intertwined, and their friendship evolves, changes as the years go by, and by the end of the show we have five adults whose lives part ways with the memory of those days together. If you still haven't watched it, it's time to give it a shot!
3. Nijiiro Days (Rainbow Days)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: January 2016 – June 2016
Nijiiro Days revolves around four high school boys – Nacchan, Mattsun, Tsuyo-pon, and Kei-chan – as they struggle through their teenage years. Each totally different from the other, these four friends have a constant in their lives: their solid friendship. Supporting each other in every situation, together they overcome every hardship. Among girls who don't reciprocate their feelings, delusional romances, low grades, and class trips nearing tragedy, their lives go by!
Nijiiro Days is a bit non-conventional as a friendship anime, as our protagonists are a group of male friends and the focus is right on their friendship. Yet, it deserved a mention, as throughout the entire show we see the brotherhood keeping them together. It's amazing to see how they back each other up in every possible way, and how they can be sincere with each other without being afraid. If you enjoy comedy, too, Nijiiro Days will make you crack up!
2. ONE PIECE
- Episodes: 844
- Aired: October 1999 – ongoing
Monkey D. Luffy is a 17-year-old boy, who loves adventure, and wants to become the Pirate King. When he begins his journey bound to lead him to the greatest treasure – the One Piece, belonged to Gol D. Roger – Luffy meets interesting people, and his pirate crew keeps growing. Together with his crew headed for the Grand Line, Luffy will solve mysteries, and beat other pirates blocking their way to the One Piece!
One Piece doesn’t even need an explanation as to why it has our second position in a friendship anime ranking. This show is purely based on friendship, and bonds among the crew. Throughout the entire show, the main theme of friendship is shouted by Luffy in basically every circumstance, and the main concept of “nakama” (“friend”) is what dictates Luffy's every action. It is enough to simply think that in the darkest moment of his life, Luffy managed to go on only thinking about his crew. Tell us if it didn't deserve a mention here!
1. Natsume Yuujinchou (Natsume's Book of Friends)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2008 – September 2008
Takashi Natsume is an orphan, who changed family year after year, because every relative found him weird. Actually, Natsume can see the yokai – spirits – just like his grandmother Reiko could. The tables turn exactly when he finds the Book of Friends belonged to Reiko. The notebook is full of the names of yokai, and when Natsume meets Madara, alias Nyanko-sensei, he will start a journey bound to give to all those spirits whose name is in that book, all their names back. By doing so, Natsume will start to learn the spirits' loneliness, which is very similar to his.
Natsume Yuujinchou deserves our first position as it revolves around a boy who developed a cold attitude toward others, meant to protect himself from being hurt. Yet, life gives him the chance to open up to people and spirits, and in the blink of an eye Natsume's life becomes full of friends, humans, and spirits. Each of them is ready to lend him a helping hand in time of need, and Natsume will finally come to know the joy and happiness of friendship. Give it a shot, because Natsume Yuujinchou is a real masterpiece of its kind!
With the wonderful Natsume Yuujinchou, our ranking of friendship anime came to an end. We truly hope you found it useful somehow. The anime world is full of anime where the moral of friendship becomes the very cornerstone of the entire show. Sadly, we had to choose only ten, so now it's your turn to share your opinion! Why don't you let us know what other show could have fit this chart? Don't hesitate, leave a comment below! See you next time!
Anime teaches us many life lessons when we watch them. There have been lessons of never giving up, that it’s okay to lose sometimes, or to even treasure your self-worth at times. One of the more prominent messages that anime have is the moral of friendship. In these anime, we are shown that playing lone wolf doesn’t always pan out. Having friends not only means that we have support that sometimes it even brings out the best of us.
If you ever needed a list to point out the anime that have loud declarations of friendship that make you shudder with excitement, this is the list for you. Join us as we count down the top 10 Friends Anime.
10. Fairy Tail
- Episodes: 175
- Aired: October 2009 – March 2013
In the land of Fiore, there lies a guild of mages known as Fiore residing in the town of Magnolia. A young celestial mage, specialising in the summoning of celestial spirits, aspires to join Fairy Tail. Enter Lucy Heartfilia, the celestial mage. Coincidentally, she runs into a dragon slayer named Natsu Dragneel, who is part of the very guild she wants to join.
There’s not much we really have to say about Fairy Tail to show that friendship is indeed a running theme throughout the long running and loved series. There are many moments where the heroes of the series are beaten down and defeated, but only pull through at the last moment when they realise that failure is not an option because their friends are on the line.
Indeed, when his friends are in trouble, Natsu’s dragon slayer magic always goes into overdrive mode. Never for greed, avarice, selfishness or self-gain, the motley crew of Fairy Tail’s only motivation are their friends, and the good of everyone of course.
9. Sakamichi no Apollon (Kids on the Slope)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2012 – June 2012
Kaoru Nishimi is an honour student who moves to a new town because of his father’s job. Sentaro Kawabuchi is a thug of a student with a bad boy attitude. Before meeting, Kaoru tended to keep to himself. With their meeting, Kaoru started to open up from his shell and enjoy the many fine things in life, like jazz.
This isn’t a series about different kids falling into different geometric kinds of love. Indeed, otherwise it wouldn’t be here on this list. It’s more of an interesting experiment to pit various characters with many contrasting backgrounds against each other and see how they do as friends. And the best part? They do it to jazz music!
8. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: April 2011 – June 2011
A group of friends got along really well until a tragic incident happened, forcing them apart from each other. The group became estranged after the incident, no longer being friends. Now years later, a mysterious and surprise force causes them to pour out their guilt about the incident and forces them to confront their past together,
Sometimes, we get anime that have friends already being friends protecting each other from the harshness of life. Other times, we get new people trying to get along. In this case, we have friends who are no longer friends, somehow, becoming friends again. Make no mistake, Anohana is a tale of tragedy and loss, but it does highlight to us how important friends can be during moments like this.
7. Katekyo Hitman Reborn!
- Episodes: 203
- Aired: October 2006 – September 2010
Sawada Tsunayoshi is a no good dame who can’t get anything right. His tests are average (Read: barely passing), his athletics are nothing to brag about and he can’t seem to get along with his classmates. Worried about him, his mother hires a home tutor for him. Except the home tutor is a hitman. And he’s a baby. Tsuna’s life is about to be turned upside down.
Don’t be fooled by the synopsis of the anime, Hitman Reborn! is less slice of life and more action oriented. But what about it denotes friendship? The main battle system of the series revolves around the concept of familia, where each person covers an aspect of the sky, with Tsuna being the sky himself. This drive that makes them protect each other, as well as the way they work together in times of crisis just screams friendship.
6. Nichijou (My Ordinary Life)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2011 – September 2011
The English title should tell you about half of everything you need to know about the anime. It’s about the everyday life of a large cast of characters as they try to get along and just live in general. What it doesn’t tell you however, is the lollygagging hijinks of all the characters as they go through their daily lives, whether it’s screwing with each other or just getting into hilarious situations.
While large fight scenes with the main character shouting, “I will fight for my FRIENDS!” can be all well and good, sometimes we need something simpler to lighten the mood. Nichijou is purely about a few friends going through their daily lives. No drama, no tension, just some light hearted (and sometimes gut busting) humour.
5. Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo (The Pet Girl of Sakurasou)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2012 – March 2013
Sorata Kanda is made to move from the normal dorms into the run down dorms of Sakurasou because he can’t bear to let go of his cats. The problem he faces with this is that every resident at Sakurasou are whacky, insane and yet genius at their chosen specialty, making him feel rather lacklustre.
It’s important to fight for our friends. There can’t be enough anime that state this fact. But sometimes it’s also important that our friends fight for us. Sorata really doesn’t know what to do with his life at this point, and it’s only through the support of his new friends at the dorm of Sakurasou that he really starts to pick up the pace. Sometimes all we need is a helping hand.
4. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Episodes: 64
- Aired: April 2009 – July 2010
In a world where alchemists have the ability to transmute objects into differing things at the blink of an eye, two brothers have committed a fatal alchemical mistake. Edward Elric, the Fullmetal Alchemist of the series, has lost his arm and leg to it. Alphonse Elric, the younger brother of Edward, has lost his entire body and his soul is attached to a suit of armour. The two set out to find a way to restore themselves, getting into trouble along the way.
The main concept of alchemy in the series is selfish in nature. It mostly focuses on self-empowerment. Fullmetal Alchemist places its characters in what is essentially a selfish world for backstabbers, and shows their struggles to get through to the end of the day and remain friends. It’s the ultimate test of friendship.
3. Boku Wa Tomodachi Sukunai (I Don't Have Many Friends)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2011 – December 2011
Hasegawa Kodaka can’t make friends because of his blonde hair, making everyone think he’s a delinquent. He joins The Neighbour’s Club, which is for people who have this exact problem. Of course, he runs into a variety of weirdos that have their own share of problems, but as time goes on they start getting along regardless.
The anime has the word friends in it. Enough said. But in case you needed more, Boku Wa Tomodachi Sukunai follows the traditional formula of a social outcast joining a club to make friends and they proceed to have adventures together. What makes it stand out so much is the way it is executed. You can’t help but fall in love and laugh along with the characters and their hijinks.
2. Kokoro Connect
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2012 – September 2012
The five students of the Student Cultural Club have had a happy go lucky life until an unexplainable force starts screwing with them by forcing them to swap bodies at random. Many more unexplainable phenomenon start happening, like mind reading, causing fractures and cracks to appear on their idyllic friendship.
When your perfect world starts to fall apart, can your friendship last or was it just a farce all along? Kokoro Connect tries to answer this question. A group of friends who seem like they would never fight, break apart or even no longer be friends are put to the test when strange things start to happen to each other. The anime shows us that friendship isn’t about being perfect, but accepting each other for who we are.
1. One Piece
- Episodes: 729
- Aired: October 1999 – January 2016
Monkey D. Luffy is an aspiring pirate who wants to reach the end of the grand line in order to obtain the greatest treasure of all, One Piece, and become the pirate king! Along the way, he picks up an assorted crew of people, each with their own backgrounds and skills that they contribute to the journey. Together, they must fight the government, other pirates and all sorts of monsters to reach the treasure of One Piece!
One of the most iconic phrases said by Luffy is, “You are my NAKAMA!!!” In case you didn’t know, nakama means friend. Indeed the concept of nakama is one of the most emphasised throughout the series. No matter what happens to the crew, as long as they look to each other, their nakama, they can pull through each and every situation, no matter how dangerous it gets. It’s such a prominent theme that the fan base uses the word nakama instead of friends! That should tell you a lot about the kind of series One Piece is.
It’s great that there are all sorts of anime to sate our needs. Sometimes we need a high stakes drama that keeps us on the edge of our seats. Or maybe a nice tragedy for us to cry a river to can be the thing of the day. But something we can all agree that we enjoy is an anime that shows us the friendships of different characters and at times we can even learn a thing or two from them.
Friends are the variety of life. We can’t do without them most of the time. After all, we’re all just humans who need support when we go down. These 10 anime understand this concept. So if you needed a pick me up, look no further!