6 Fantastic Female Friendships in Anime
by Lynzee Loveridge,
Hello readers! As you may or may not know, I'm approaching my fifth anniversary as the author of The List. With the exception of brief hiatuses and reprints over the last year or so, that's roughly 250 columns written about anime and manga topics and characters. In the time that I've been writing this column, I rarely write about myself on a personal level. It's just not that relevant, so while there is personal opinion involved when I choose the "best" or "worst" of something, there isn't usually much controversy over the choices.
This column isn't controversial either, but it is personal because I want it to serve as a dedication. Today, my best friend in the whole world is moving six hours away across the state. Prior to moving today, we lived on the same block and every Sunday we watched anime together and made dank nachos, fancy cheese boards, or misguided attempts to follow the recipes from Love Rice. Jamie was my Maid of Honor at my wedding, she hand-stitched most of my wedding dress, and she's certifiably the coolest girl to ever attend my high school. So because I'm pretty torn up about her leaving, and because she's responsible for teaching me the importance of adult female friendship, I'm writing about best girl friends this week. These friendships aren't as good as ours, but some of them are pretty close.
Kei & Yuri (Dirty Pair) Kei and Yuri seem like polar opposites at first glance. Kei sports a tomboy haircut and quick temper while Yuri is more traditionally feminine and flirtatious. In reality, both are pretty scary when crossed and Kei pursues guys just as much as Yuri, although her tastes are different. The way they bicker would lead viewers to believe that their relationship is far more abrasive than it is, but Kei and Yuri always have each other's backs, which is important since they're usually flubbing their missions and causing unnecessary destruction in their wake.
Rei & Usagi (Sailor Moon) This duo originally got a bad reputation because of its overly zealous English dub where their childish bickering was turned up to far bitchier levels, especially in Rei's case. The truth of the matter is that Usagi and Rei are incredibly similar, it's just that Rei has crafted a veneer of elegance to hide that she loves reading shōjo manga just as much as her more straightforward friend. She's also not afraid to give Usagi a reality check when she needs it, like in the first season finale. Usagi and Rei's bond continues throughout all five seasons; Rei is always the first to call out to her after a harrowing battle and Usagi is always especially broken up when Rei is downed by a foe.
Sawako, Ayane, and Chizuru (Kimi ni Todoke) All three girls are victims of stereotyping based on their outward appearance. Sawako resembles Sadako from The Ring because of her long hair and unintentionally sinister laugh and facial expressions. Chizuru is impressively tall and sporty but has an incredibly sensitive heart. Ayane is easily mistaken for a Gal but is actually very mature. All three girls bring out the best in each other, so even when incredibly shy Sawako hears bullies spreading rumors about her friends, she stands up for them. Ayane and Chizuru also help support Sawako's romantic interest and set people straight when they try to meddle in it. The trio make up an ideal of a friendship built on emotional depth, support, and understanding.
Galko & Otako (Please tell me! Galko-chan) Don't let the character designs fool you, Galko-chan is one of the best true-to-life anime examples I've seen of female friendship during adolescence. Like the girls in Kimi ni Todoke, Galko falls victim to stereotyping because she has large breasts and a flashy sense of fashion. The guys in the class and some of her peers assume she's both stupid and promiscuous. Much of the discussion in the show is built around Galko, her nerdy friend Otako, and their "pure" friend Ojō discussing puberty. Ojō's relationship with the two doesn't resonate nearly as much though, as it's really more about Galko and Otako learning from one another. In between their discussions about nipples, Otako makes a cruel joke at Galko's expense that plays on the stereotypes surrounding her, so she has to learn how to do the right thing and apologize. It's a conflict that actually feels genuine when friends can often be too prideful to admit their mistakes.
Miyu, Ran, and Aya (Super GALS!) The relationships in Super GALS! are a little saccharine (it ran in the young girls' magazine Ribon) but its heart is 100% pure friendship. Miyu, Ran, and Aya aren't perfect but that's what makes their camaraderie so great. Sure, maybe Miyu used to be a bully that beat the crap out of people and Aya was a baby step away from sex work, but there isn't any resentment or judgment between the three of them about their pasts or mistakes, so long as they're there for one another when it's time to defend their Shibuya turf. Everyone needs friends like that.
Nana and Nana (NANA) Nana Osaki is pure punk rock and Nana Komatsu is a sweet girl chasing after a guy when they first meet. Neither knew how important the other would be when they became roommates on a whim. Osaki is determined to pave her own way in music, desiring recognition for her own talents above things like traditional romance. Komatsu is more traditional, quick to fall in love and dedicate herself to that person even if it isn't in her best interest. The two girls end up being pillars of stability for one another because, despite all of Osaki's talk, her fear of abandonment leads her to rely heavily on Komatsu. Meanwhile, Komatsu learns to be more grounded, making difficult decisions about her romantic future instead of selfishly trying to have her cake and eat it too.
Which fighting game is most deserving of a sequel?
The old poll:From this season's offerings, which of these settings would you most want to live in?The results were:
- Western Restaurant Nekoyama: Where magic beings come to get a good meal (Restaurant to Another World)
- Steampunk London (Princess Principal)
- Alternate Evolution Earth: it's full of monsters (A Centaur's Life)
- Town of Osu (Made in Abyss)
- Kotobuki-so: Where yo-kai hang out (Elegant Yokai Apartment Life)
- Another Another World (In Another World With My Smartphone)
- Alternate Future Japan: Where your marriage partner is assigned at 16 (Love & Lies)
- Ancient Japan (Touken Ranbu)
- Fuyuki. (Fate/Apocrypha)
- Kingdom of Fremmevilla: where I can fight giant beasts with a magic robot (Knight's & Magic)
- Hyakkaō Private Academy: prepare to gamble (Kakegurui)
- Septpia - where I can make a contract with extradimensional beings (Hina Logic)
- Dream World (18if)
- Ansheint (Magical Circle Guru-Guru)
- Hell (Hell Girl: Fourth Twilight)
- Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nuturing High School: A super elite high school (Classroom of the Elite)
- Ancient China full of demons (Saiyuki Reload Blast)
- Shinjugamine Girls Academy (Battle Girl High School)
- Turkiye: A war-torn country (Altair: A Record of Battles)
When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as the Managing Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her sons on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.
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