Friendship doesn’t always make perfect sense on the surface. Many a time, it’s only in reflecting on where we’ve been and how we’ve grown together that we realise why our bonds have stayed so strong. Despite the ridiculous arguments and petty differences, the obstacles overcome keep true friends connected across all distances. So it is for these five weirdo pairs, whose faith in one another against all the odds make them a few of our favourite friendships in anime, full stop.
Gohan and Piccolo – Dragon Ball Z
Putting aside the fact that these two are the upper tier of parenting goals, let’s appreciate for a moment how strange it is that they’re even friends. Piccolo put poor Gohan under the pressure of a thousand thrashing green fists in preparing him for the invasion of the Saiyans, mercilessly berating him for his ignorance of the fight ahead. As cruel as he might have been in the interests of shaping Goku’s son into someone who fights for himself, their love and respect for each other is plain to see right through to Super; in battle, in sacrifice and Piccolo playing perfect grandpa to Gohan’s daughter Pan.
Yuki and Haru – tsuritama
One is a kid adrift from the joys of friendship, because of social anxiety and his grandmother’s constant need to move locales for work. The other really could be the alien he claims, clueless to the subtleties of socialisation. But in both discovering an appreciation for the peace of fishing in Enoshima, they teach each other where they belong, as what begins as a hobby calls them to a greater purpose. After all that passes, neither of them want to leave the town they’ve come to love, although they must. But since their unlikely friendship bloomed, they will always find Enoshima’s tranquil, valiant spirit in themselves.
Franky and Iceberg – One Piece
The trusty old ship One Piece is waterlogged with improbable friendships, the fact the Straw Hat pirates keep sailing together a wonder in itself. But there is a particular brotherhood we never get to see enough of, because it is one of those truest of friendships distance can never break. Growing up under the tutelage of shipwright Tom, their ways after couldn’t have been more separate; Iceberg a businessman and political spearhead in Water 7, and Franky a self-constructed cyborg pirate. For all that, and the rifts raised between them over the tragic loss of their teacher, they couldn’t live without one another, and trust us, that’s saying a lot.
Kaoru and Sentaro – Kids on the Slope
We could never forget the moment of their meeting, anxious new kid Kaoru running to the roof to throw up from first day nerves, and discovering an angel. Straight away, he sees through to the gentle soul of school thug Sentaro, defining their intuitive and beautiful bond through their teens and beyond. Kaoru may look like even more of a waif beside brick-outhouse built Sentaro, but only in this striking difference can each recognise the fears in the other, and help break through to one another’s confidence through the bold brass of their shared love – jazz music.
Naruto and Gaara – Naruto
Each born with a ferocious tailed beast nestled within their souls, for the hardships they share in bearing this mark, two people could never be so different. Gaara’s young life taught him to see himself as a monster, with nobody to show him any other way to be. Not until Naruto came along to drag him through the dust and teach him a few things about friendship and self-belief. Learning from his defeat that love and kindness are the forge for true strength, Gaara comes to see Naruto as a role model. And so, a sound headbutting begins one of the most powerful friendships and redemptive arcs in all of anime.
All these ten friends go to show, it’s what we can teach each other that truly makes a strong friendship. Which of these unlikely pairings is your favourite? Or do you have a totally different idea for the ultimate odd couple? Let us know in the comments below – you might just introduce us to the friends we’re yet to meet.