You’ve Got A Friend In Me: My Top 5 Best Friendships In Manga

Often when we think about Valentine’s Day we immediately associate it with hearts and cupids. It’s the one time of the year where flower, card, and candy companies are eager to make a ton of money off of those who have a special someone in their lives to spoil on a day devoted to love. It can be the best day for couples to reminisce how they met and fell in love with each other or it can be the most alienating day of the year for those who don’t have someone to share it with. We tend to focus so much on the love between couples that we often forget there is another type of love out there––love between friends.

Romantic love is wonderful to have if you’re lucky to find it, but love between friends is just as important. Friends are those who will be there for you no matter what happens. They have seen all your good, bad, ugly, and everywhere in between but are willing to embrace and accept every part. When you’ve got a true friend they will never leave you. In honor of Valentine’s Day this week, I have selected my top favorite friendships from manga. Valentine’s Day spends way too much time focusing on romantic couples. It’s about time we recognize the best of the best BFFs in manga. Without futher ado:

Tomoyo (left) and Sakura (right)
Tomoyo (left) and Sakura (right)

1. Sakura & Tomoyo (Cardcaptor Sakura). Sakura and Tomoyo have the cutest friendship I have ever seen in manga. These girls are the best of friends and they support each other in their endeavors. Tomoyo is a budding filmmaker and costume designer, and Sakura supports her best friend by wearing her creations and letting Tomoyo film her. Only really good friends would be willing to wear their best friend’s designs no matter how crazy or ridiculous they might look in them. Tomoyo also deeply supports Sakura by encouraging her to be the best she can be. There have been times when Sakura doubts her ability to capture all the cards, but one encouraging word from Tomoyo is all she needs to regain her confidence. Friendship is always about support.

Kyouya (left) and Tamaki (right)
Kyouya (left) and Tamaki (right)

2. Tamaki & Kyouya (Ouran High School Host Club). This pair is an odd couple, as different as day and night. Tamaki is often self-indulgent, friendly, overly energetic, and a naive idiot at times. Kyouya, on the other hand, is more intelligent, refined, calculating, and is usually a step ahead in seeing the profit in any potential venture. These two don’t seem like they’d be very close friends, much less get along with each other, but opposites can and do attract. I imagine these two embodying the yin and yang. Tamaki is the light while Kyouya is the dark. They balance each other out and act as a compliment to the other. Tamaki reminds Kyouya how to lighten up and have fun, while Kyouya grounds Tamaki in reality when the King of the Host Club gets too carried away with having his head far above the clouds.

Ayu (left) and Nina (right)
Ayu (left) and Nina (right)

3. Ayu & Nina (Ultra Maniac). Ayu and Nina are another example of friends who are the complete opposite of each other. Ayu is calm and collected, while Nina is more of a bouncing ball of energy who likes to help but screws up the best of intentions. In a lot of ways the meeting between Ayu and Nina is a friendship they needed in each other’s lives. Nina, as a witch from another world, needed a friend to talk to when her secret other life gets rough and Ayu needed someone to teach her how to be more herself and not hide who she really is. Ayu has spent a good majority of her school life perfecting an image she believed everyone wanted to see, including her longtime crush Kaji. Eventually, Ayu realized how exhausting it is to suppress who she really is. Nina is able to show her that she doesn’t need to pretend to be someone she’s not. It’s better to live as the person you really are. Friends will always want you to be who you are and not who you pretend to be. 

Scott Pilgrim (left) and Wallace Wells (right)
Scott Pilgrim (left) and Wallace Wells (right)

4. Scott Pilgrim & Wallace Wells (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World). Another odd couple friendship. Their friendship kind of reminds me of another duo I named on this list, Tamaki and Kyouya, because they are similar. Scott would be a more toned down version of Tamaki and Wallace is kind of like a gay guy version of Kyouya. Scott often does stupid things or isn’t too good at seeing the bigger picture. Wallace often has to steer Scott in the right direction, be the voice of reason, and dish out tough love when Scott needs it. Who else would nag Scott into doing the right thing and break up with Knives Chau like a proper adult? Wallace is also the “too cool to be your best friend” most people wish they had. Scott relies on Wallace to give him the unvarnished truth, no matter how hard it is. Wallace shows his concern for Scott in his own way by dishing out real talk to Scott. Friends aren’t afraid to tell you the truth, even if it may not be something you want to hear.

Yui (left) and Miaka (right)
Yui (left) and Miaka (right)

5. Miaka & Yui (Fushigi Yugi). This friendship is almost like the bond of sisters. One can’t imagine not having the other in each other’s life and neither would abandon the other person. This is why in the main story of Fushigi Yugi the rift between Miaka and Yui is painful to watch because Nakago has successfully manipulated Yui into believing Miaka only cared about being with Tamahome and not saving her best friend. Of course, Miaka’s true motivation is to be reunited with Yui and to bring her home. Meeting Tamahome is an unplanned accident and a complicated one. Miaka’s dogged determination to save Yui is one of the strongest shows of love and friendship in a series I’ve seen. Even though Yui may have given up on Miaka, Miaka herself refuses to give up on her best friend and that’s true friendship. Friendship can sometimes be so strong that it transforms into a feeling of them being like family. You can’t abandon that.

Friendship is an equally beautiful display of love, which is why this saying is true, lovers may come and go but friendships are forever. Or something like that. When you have a good friend, you have all the love you’ll ever need in the world. Who are your favorite friendships?

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8 thoughts on “You’ve Got A Friend In Me: My Top 5 Best Friendships In Manga

  1. When I saw the title I thought of Buzz and Woody obviously… This is interesting; exploring friendships in manga. I think the duo from Bakuman should get a mention. They’re pretty awesome.

    1. Yeah, the song was stuck in my head when I was thinking of a title for this post. It works! I haven’t had the pleasure to check out Bakuman, but I’ll take your word for it. Any good friendship in manga is worth mentioning!

  2. Your first three are three of my personal favorites too. Wataru Yoshizumi does a great job with potraying powerful friendships in her manga, so I would also add Mei and Mika (Marmalade Boy) to the list too.

    1. That’s right! I forgot about Mei and Mika. I always liked their friendship in Marmalade Boy too. They’re hugely supportive of each other and are ready to lend a shoulder to cry on. They remind me a little bit of Sakura and Tomyo’s friendship from CCS.

  3. Nice post, I also really adore Tomoyo and Sakura friendship so much because Tomoyo and Sakura have a very nice bond with each other. Seems like Tomoyo and Sakura do compliment each other very well as friends. Yes, at the surface Tomoyo may seems eccentric and a bit weird, but actually she cares a lot for Sakura.

    Tomoyo and Sakura friendship reminds me of me and my best friend from the elementary school, we used to have really sisterly-like close bond with each other. And until now, we are still as close as ever just like we used to be at the elementary school.

    The other friendship that I like is Kim and Ron from Kim Possible, Kim and Ron both are really close friends since the pre-K with two different personalities. Kim is popular and intelligent while Ron is goofy and scatterbrained, despite the sheer difference between them they actually have really nice bond with each other. And what is even more surprising, Kim and Ron both became romantic couple eventually.

    Mikan and Hotaru from Gakuen Alice friendship is also quite good, despite of the opposite personality between them. Mikan and Hotaru friendship kind of reminds me of Kim and Ron friendship from Kim Possible. Hotaru is pretty much somewhat like Kim because she is intelligent and grounded, but Hotaru can be cold and aloof. While Mikan to me seems to be somewhat similar to Ron because she is cheerful and kind of goofy. Despite of Hotaru sometimes behaves cold and distant towards Mikan, but actually Hotaru genuinely cares a lot for Mikan.

    Ruka and Natsume friendship from Gakuen Alice also quite similar to Mikan and Hotaru friendship. Rule and Natsume both have different personalities, Ruka is nice and gentle while Natsume is cold and distant. There is a quirk about these two guys friendship, they both fell in love with Mikan (the main character from Gakuen Alice) which resulting the love triangle. Even though they have different personalities and fell in love with the same girl, they still manage to make each other happy.

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