Well this question kind of comes about in response to a previous one. Hopefully you enjoy it and share your thoughts on it in the comments below. And a always, if you have something to ask me you can complete the survey below or by clicking here. I’d love to hear your question.
I’ve been rewatching Yama no Susume over the weekend and then I saw the Inquiring Minds question about OTP’s… And it occurs to me, why do we always talk about romantic partners? Let’s talk about true friends! The pairs or groups that will always be there together and for each other.Derek
So I guess there are two parts to this question. Firstly why we’re all fixated on romantic partners and shipping characters rather than friendship, and secondly looking at characters that are true friends.
I’m not really sure why, but maybe it is the whole fairy tale upbringing but the whole romantic falling in love and being with the one you love is kind of a standard of stories. As such, having characters fall in and out of love is kind of fascinating. That and it is always so adorable to watch. I’m just not sure I could see the same discussions about two characters becoming good friends and ‘will they – won’t they’ be friends forever debates raging. Okay, maybe as viewers we all just like speculating about a fictional character’s romantic prospects.
So while I’m not sure why we are fixated on OTP’s and falling in love, I do know there are some fantastic examples of friendship that come through in anime. Recently, Run With The Wind has done an excellent job bringing ten guys together and making them feel like genuine friends over the course of its series and it has been nothing but pure joy watching them celebrate each other’s successes and supporting those who might be having a harder time.
Still, the pair that immediately came to mind when I read this question was Chito and Yuuri from Girls’ Last Tour. While I have read some posts that ship these two, I found their friendship to be an utterly believable one and one that really helped carry the anime (given these two were largely the only characters in it). Both were charming in their own way but the way their personalities bounced off the other really sold the show.
You could completely believe that Yuuri would do whatever it took to defend Chito and she would work to get them out of any tight spots (even if her own lack of forward planning was what had gotten them into that spot in the first place). Where Chito would hesitate to act, Yuuri would take the plunge, leading to the pair making discoveries that might otherwise have passed them by. On the other hand you could count on Chito to keep Yuuri from diving into too much trouble and have the longer view of how they would survive and bring knowledge into the discussion. While the two might have had their share of disagreements, such as when Yuuri burnt one of Chito’s books, the two never stayed put out for long because they needed the other one.
The other anime that immediately sprang to mind was School Live. For obvious reasons the girls had to rely on one another but I believe their friendship grew and was really genuinely portrayed throughout the anime. Yuki would not be alive without the support and love of those around her and I believe she knows that very well and each girl contributes something that is needed emotionally for their survival as well as their more practical skills.
Hopefully that kind of answers the question and I’d love to know what you all think so throw us a comment and let us all know.
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15 thoughts on “Inquiring Minds Want To Know 2019 #10”
I’m going to generalize here, but when we’re talking about shipping habits I think we have to remember that a big part of the anime community are teenagers, and teens are also highly active in the common fandom activities like fanfiction and fanart that encourage and fuel shipping (it might be a little outdated now, but a data study of fanfiction.net in 2011 showed that 80% of the authors who revealed their ages were 17 or under, and 78% of them were girls). Teens also, as a rule, tend to have a more simplistic perspective on love and relationships than adults do, since they lack real-world experience. It’s much easier for me now when I’m 40 to study relationships (real or fictional) and judge degrees of intimacy – casual friends vs. close friends. vs. mutual attraction, etc. I couldn’t do that nearly so well when I was 15.
As for a great example of true friends in anime, I’ve been mulling that over since I first read the question this morning, and I just keep coming back to K-On. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers over the years (both girls and guys) talking about how much K-On reminded them of being with their friends in high school. There’s a telling scene in the middle of that series where they’re wondering why they can’t get more freshmen to join their club, and one of their classmates says something to the effect that from an outsider’s perspective, they’re so tight with each other it doesn’t feel like there’s room in the club for anyone else. They’re the kind of friends where it’s easy to picture them all in the future as bridesmaids at each other’s weddings, as young moms having tea while their kids play together, and as grandmothers meeting up at the senior center in the afternoons.
That’s a fairly good point about the average age of anime fans.
I still haven’t watched K-On (I probably will eventually just because it is so often talked about but it isn’t really something I’m in a rush to watch) so I can’t comment on their friendship.
This link just popped up in my “More from WordPress” area, and I thought it was a great read that made some really good points: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/148787789/posts/407
Sample quote (relevant to this conversation): “I think when you’re growing up, especially as a teen, you see like love with your friends as a smaller version of love and love with a boyfriend, it’s love with a capital L kind of thing. But now I’m realizing that platonic love is love with a capital L.”
I could have phrased that way better than I did… The first part (about OTP’s) was meant to be a statement introducing the actual question “what are your favorite friends, pairs or groups that will be there for each other forever?”
But you did answer the question quite nicely… Chito and Yuuri are among the ones that spring to mind for me.
Oh good, I did answer the question then.
I’ve had a few come in recently where I’m struggling to figure out what the questioner wants as I’d really like to answer their question properly but I’m not sure if I’m reading it right. Still, I have a lot of fun with these posts.
Yeah, Chito and Yuuri are just too adorable and I wish we had more pairs of characters like them. They just really built off of the other so well.
I think the delineation between “best friends” and “lovers” is really quite a thin and subjective one, with a line that has to be crossed in order for them to be in one category or another, which is why people have such differing opinions on who they’re comfortable shipping (and also why I generally have a rule of only shipping canon couples).
It’s also probably why shonen creates so many ships, particularly guy x guy ships – not only is the source material easily accessible in regards to both licensing and production, it’s easy to interpret relationships between characters as either friendship or romance, thus pleasing everyone. For instance, I’m just under halfway through the Kuroko no Basuke manga as I type this comment and I was initially deterred from the series from some friends’ incessant shipping of certain characters…so when I got to see two of said characters’ personalities in action, it turned out I saw them as really good friends.
There is definitely some subjectivity in the line between close friends and lovers, particularly if it isn’t an anime that is going to be explicit in its romance, that allows people on both sides to interpret the relationship in the way most convenient to them.
“I think the delineation between “best friends” and “lovers” is really quite a thin and subjective one, with a line that has to be crossed in order for them to be in one category or another”
Does it have to be crossed? As the famous question goes “why not both?” That’s certainly true of my wife and I. (29 years come June, so we’re doing something right!)
I think the binary choice, the line, springs more from the Western habit of putting things into black-and-white categories. Something is either fish or fowl, and there’s no grey areas or multiple positions on a spectrum.
That’s actually a fair point. Well said.
That’s why I said it was “thin” – because you’re married, you sit slightly closer towards the “lovers” side of the line but even though the barrier exists, that’s not to the exclusion of you two being “best friends” (at least that’s my perspective).
That said, anime’s (and other media’s) ability to blur the line makes it hard to talk about.
I think it is interesting that any time you have two female characters that are tight friends it is immediately assessed as being yuri by a fair number of people. (Subtext, you know.)
I don’t really care if someone does yuri. I love the genre. But women can have very close bonds with each other and still have no sexual or romantic interest involved. It reduces female friendship to just another variant of romance and that could be considered disparaging to heterosexual women who really are just very close friends.
An example might be the assassins in Noir. There is just a touch of yuri in one episode near the end but it is between one protagonist and an important antagonist and it wasn’t anything the protagonist pursued. Whether that means the relationship between the two protagonists was gay is just opinion but I didn’t see any romance in it.
Guys who are close friends happen a lot more. There will be fanbase shipping but not nearly to the same extent.
Men and women can be very close as well and still not be romantically involved. That is something very rare in anime. If it does happen, the two will get shipped immediately by the fan base regardless.
I think anime viewers are projecting the inner needs onto the anime even when there is little objective evidence for it. More people feel a “need” for romance a given type than feel a need for friendship. That is where “subtext” comes in. You can read ANY subtext into an anime you want. ***If it is truly subtext, you created it yourself.*** Which is fine as long as you understand that it is one of multiple possible equally valid interpretations and not any kind of absolute truth. It is dogmatism and not any particular interpretation that really bugs me.
I don’t really mind when two characters who I just see as friends end up getting shipped by the larger community. Whether it is projecting or not, it is largely harmless and if it makes someone happy to see two characters romantically involved, so be it.
Though, as you said, it becomes a bit more of a problem when those putting characters into a relationship then insist that relationship exists.
Which isn’t the same as the situation with Yuri on Ice between Victor and Yuri where it wasn’t even subtext (they exchange rings on the steps of a church, that isn’t subtle or unclear in the slightest) where some people still wanted to argue that they weren’t in a romantic relationship.
Same principle, opposite side of the fence. Viewer needs trump actual text.
I lovedd Yoi! (Something I can’t say for most sports anime.)
I don’t think it can get more explicit than a ring.
I do start to get tweaked when people start assigning the Yuri label to kids who haven’t hit puberty yet.
A couple of 10 year olds hold hands and it sets people off. I see that fairly frequently as a k-6 sub. They just haven’t been brainwashed yet that friends don’t do such things.