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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?