One of my pet peeves in anime is this one trope where the already bruised and beaten main character sees their life flash before their eyes. The montage emphasizes on wholesome moments with their friends, which is exactly what the main character needed to gain just the right amount of strength for one final blow to their enemy.
That’s what we like to call the power of friendship. Looking at you, shounen anime. But the power of friendship can mean much more than a convenient way for the hero to save the day. It could mean strong bonds between characters that play a part in their growth.
There are tons of anime out there with wholesome friendships between characters, but these five stuck with me (through many lost and gained connections).
Making friends goes beyond saying hello, like in “One Week Friends”
Fellow introverts, y’all know we know this well. It’s hard to make friends (heck, I still fuss over and rehearse what I say before I make a call). Polar opposites Kaori and Yuuki become friends for a week, learning new things about each other and creating memories that, well, let’s just say one of them won’t be having anymore. This show teaches that making friends, while simple and easy for many people, is a complex process for others.
Friends drift apart for many reasons, like in “Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day”
I’m not ashamed to admit this show made me cry the first time, then made me cry again when BTS released “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 1.” Years after the death of Menma, her childhood friends reunite (whether they liked it or not), and bring back past memories they all avoided till then. It showcases loss, grief and pain in losing loved ones, and how differently we all deal with such emotions in adolescence.
True friends will accept you for who you are (even if you’re a weeb, yes), like in “Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku”
At some point in our lives, we’ve tried to be people we’re not―like Narumi, who believes she needs to hide her love for anime to blend in. Sometimes the power of friendship is just finding people who accept you for who you are, even if it’s a small friend group.
True friends care enough to break through walls we built, like in “Ao Haru Ride”
Some may say this anime is cliche, like your typical shoujo package, but that’s part of what’s interesting about “Ao Haru Ride.” It takes what’s already familiar and gives us a refreshing perspective on high school friendships.
Friends celebrate your successes with you, like in “Haikyuu!!” (and most sports anime, TBH)
One thing I love about anime is we don’t have to limit a show in one genre. A show can be both sports and slice of life, like a lot of our faves here. “Haikyuu!!” comes right off the top of my head with wholesome and dynamic friendships in and out of the court, and it’s shows like this that make introverted ol’ me wish that I’m part of a tight-knit group, too (but maybe not sports as the binding element).
Photo from “Ao Haru Ride”