The Autumn 2017 anime season gave viewers many things, but one thing I took away from it was an absolute love of Chito and Yuuri, a duo made up of two moe girls surviving in a dying a world. In a show that really only had two characters for the majority of its run time, those two and their relationship was crucial to the show’s charm and success and they pulled it off with seeming ease. But what made those two such a perfect duo?
I kind of touched on this in one of my episode posts where I pointed out that Chito and Yuuri had pretty much demonstrated the two types of people in the world (an over-simplification but it does feed in to why these two work so well). For those who didn’t read the post the basic idea was that the girls had found a path marked by arrows and Chito had commented that she wished life could be like that with clear arrows pointing the way. Yuuri on the other hand wanted to leave the path just to see what might be down another away.
From that, it might seem like the show was simply playing on the opposites attract characterisation as seen in a million buddy cop shows and there is an element of that in Girls’ Last Tour. And yet, the relationship the girls have is more complicated than just being opposites of one another.
So while Yuuri might be the more adventurous and the first to ask if something is edible or to simply try biting something and Chito might be the kind of try to find a description of it in a book and not trying eating it until she is sure it is edible, both girls do in fact explore a world that is seemingly dead and has proven more than once to be dangerous and both remain surprisingly positive in the face of fair amount of hopelessness.
It is in the final episodes however that you really realise that for all that Chito has been the quiet one, the one not carrying a gun, the one unlikely to race ahead without a plan; she can only be like that because she has Yuuri with her. Yuuri saves Chito when the path crumbles beneath their bike and took the lead in defending the two when they were threatened, and yet when Yuuri gets into what might be a sticky situation, Chito doesn’t hesitate.
She picks up the gun and she races after her friend. Likewise, we have seen a number of times that Yuuri might come off as lazy, selfish and a little bit silly at times and yet she comes through every time when Chito needs her. Yuuri is also only able to be Yuuri because Chito has her back and won’t let her do anything too stupid. What makes the relationship really work is clearly both girls know what the other provides for them and they respect the other for the balance they provide.
That is what makes these girls so adorable to watch as they muse about life, the universe and everything (or at least where they will go next and what they might eat). It is also what makes it so fun thinking about whether you are more like Chito or Yuuri and most of us will draw the conclusion that there’s a little bit of both inside of us depending on the situation (though Yuuri lost me a little when she set a book on fire).
After finishing Girls’ Last Tour I started thinking about other anime duos that I’d really enjoyed and this was actually a struggle as so many anime rely on group dynamics (five is a number that comes up a lot particularly in high school anime – though that is a post for another day). I ended up thinking of Takeo and Sunakawa from My Love Story and Isaac and Miria from Baccano.
Takeo and Sunakawa are fantastic and were what really made My Love Story come alive for me (okay, I also like Takeo’s relationship with Yamato given it is what the show is about). And when thinking about it, Takeo and Sunakawa have a similar style relationship to Chito and Yuuri. On the surface they seem like opposites and that’s fine enough and would create enough of an interesting watch.
And yet it is the way they complement each other and the way that they use the other’s strength to support themselves that makes the relationship truly meaningful.
It isn’t all smooth sailing (particularly when Takeo decides he needs to practice kissing and Sunakawa is his nominated test subject) but Takeo ditches his girlfriend on her birthday midway through their date to be with Sunakawa at the hospital when Sunakawa’s father is having surgery. And Sunakawa turned down every girl who ever asked him out because they’d all said something bad about Takeo behind his back. These two are a fantastic duo and to be honest I’d love a second season of My Love Story just to see more of these two and where their lives take them.
Isaac and Miria are a little different. To start with, they aren’t the main characters in Baccano. They certainly cross into almost every story, but they are strictly side character/comic relief in the story. Also, they aren’t opposites.
Instead these two characters are positive thinking epitomised with happy-go-lucky attitudes that keep them going in the face of more or less anything. They bounce off each other, build each other up, and work together in absolute unison. Despite their limitations in thinking things through at times, you just know that everything will work out in the end for the two of them and they are definitely the happiest of the cast in Baccano.
They are certainly an odd pairing given neither really brings anything to the table that the other one does not possess. And yet it is impossible to consider these two characters simply being a single character. While some of the jokes could have worked, it is the relationship between the two and the way they work together that sells every scene they are in and steals the viewers attention.
Anyway, I’m going to keep my eyes out for other duos in anime and I’d love to know some of your favourites so if you have a favourite anime duo be sure to leave a comment below.
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23 thoughts on “The Dynamics of Duos In Anime”
Chito/Yuuri and Takeo/Sunakawa are both great picks. In both cases they have great chemistry and the kind of bond that you don’t even question. I especially liked the deeper dive into Chito and Yuuri, because I think that’s one that it’s too easy for the viewer to just take at face value and not really think about it as much as they should.
A few duos that I really like: Ed & Al in FMA, Kurau & Christmas in Kurau: Phantom Memory, Aoi & Hinata in Encouragement of Climb, and Mirielle & Kirika in Noir.
Ed and Al are awesome together even when they aren’t getting along. They really nailed the dynamics of brotherhood with those two.
Spike and Jet in “Cowboy Bebop” very much work the “odd couple” narrative, as do Mugen and Jin in Samurai Shamploo. But my favourite duos are Akane and Shinya in “Psycho-Pass” in which there is a dark,conflicted love possibility; and, in the same series, Akane and Nobuchika who start off with the typical boss-subordinate relationship, but who, through the reversal of circumstances, emerge as something closer to friends…
Akane and Shinya are great to watch together though it definitely takes Shinya time to get used to the idea of working with Akane.
Takeo & Sunakawa are definitely one of my favourite duos. I also love Nyanko-sensei & Natsume, the Takahashi brothers, and Takumi & Iggy from Intial D. 😀
What sort of a Haikyuu!! fan would I be if I don’t mention Bokuto-kun and Akaashi-san?
Or Kuroo-kun and Kenma-cchi? Or Iwaizumi-san and Oikawa-kun?
Haikyuu did have some good duos that worked well together. Nice suggestion.
I wish more stories had friendships like Sunakawa and Takeo’s, and plus have the full support of a girlfriend like Yamato.
It was just a nice set of characters. Amazing how not everyone has to be horrible or edgy to make an interesting story. That is probably why My Love Story was such a relaxing and fun viewing experience.
Omg! It is so cool. Keep the good work up!
Great list! I also enjoy a few duos that evolve into romances, e.g. Okabe and Kurisu in Steins;Gate or even Shichika and Togame in Katanagatari. Some of them can be really cheesy, but it’s just really nice to watch characters with personalities that just click to develop deeper relationships.
Shichika and Togame from Katanagatari are perfect (why didn’t I think of them when writing this post). I always loved the back and fourth dialogue between those two. Excellent suggestion.
I always forget about Isaac and Miria because, well, it’s Isaac and Miria. A duo I really enjoy watching is Lelouch and C.C. from Code Geass, and another would be Batou and the Major from Ghost in the Shell. Oh, and on the non-sci-fi side, Mako and Ryuko from Kill la Kill and Log Horizon’s Shiroe and Akatsuki. So many beloved characters!
Lelouch and C.C. are a fantastic duo. Great choice.
Would it be too rude to say NGE Shinji and his … ? Well, a more serious addition to the list could be Riko and Reg from Made in Abyss – probably not my favorite but certainly effective duo. And, of course, Lawrence and Holo.
I didn’t get into Riko and Reg so much as a duo. As much as they are on the adventure together and working together it just feels like Reg still hasn’t found enough of his own identity and he’s mostly just following along with Riko.
Though Lawrence and Holo were a great duo. Not my favourite anime but they are a pair of characters that work well together.
Agree about Reg. Still, I think he complements Riko quite well even at this point. For me their duo-ness became most apparent when they were forced to act on their own (Riko when Reg used up all his energy and Reg when Riko was injured) – they are far less well-off separately.
Holo and Lawrence feel like they are the least exaggerated from all the mentioned duos. Well, they seem to have more realistic personalities and still are able to work quite well.
I have been thinking about your question for a bit, but I have to say my favorite duo has to be The Major and Batou. Two cyborgs that just have such a great dynamic, and both struggling with humanity. And ofcourse the love Batou has for the Major also makes it a much deeper relationship. Which only adds more layers to it 😀
Some of my favorites would be Alexander and Waver from Fate/Zero, these two were also complete opposites but they built up a fantastic bond over the course of the show. One Punch Man’s Saitame and Genos also come to mind, since they make for a very eccentric teacher student duo. When the chemistry between two characters is good it can really make for some very entertaining scenes.
Genos and Saitama were a good duo, though I always felt kind of sorry for Genos.