So this is going to a be a quick rant about how tired I am of seeing childhood friends in anime. Not for the reason you think either. I love the thought of a childhood friend that loves the main male character. I hate the fact that they are just talked about for 3 episodes at the beginning of the series then just tossed to the wayside when a new female character is added to the roster.
This spawned from me finally starting to watch Dagashi Kashi. First episode in, they introduce Saya. I don’t know why but I immediately got this sinking feeling that she is also not going to have a chance with Kokonotsu. This bothers me, I have nothing against Hotaru but I want Saya to win his heart. But I feel like that wont happen. Now, yes I’m not currently up to date on this show either, I’ve only seen the first 3 episodes. But I have this nagging feeling that Saya is gonna get screwed in the end.
Why?! Whats the point of having a character that is obviously perfect for the male character yet she is almost only thrown in for comic relief because she can’t confess her feelings? I find it almost offensive that most of the male MC’s never see them as possible love interests. This can also go into the dense male character trope as well I guess. The male MC almost always see his childhood friend as just that, a friend. I’m sorry but that is not how things are in real life. Read the writing on the wall, she wants the D!
For me, Oreimo, Sakurasou, and shuffle! are the three most guilty of this. I’m sure there’s more but these are first to pop into my head.
Oreimo has manami, a cute moe style girl that actually is the same age as the protagonist. Unlike the other girls in the show. Other than his sister, she knows the most about him and at some points, seems to care more about him and his well being and feelings than the others. The fact that she is totally pushed to the side and with minimal amounts of development on top of that is just sad and upsetting.
In sakurasou no pet na kanajo, nanami is a workaholic childhood friend who has been by his side and through some hardships the whole time. I liked her as well and wanted her to succeed so badly. I found her extremely relatable, she works hard and is continuing to go after her dream. Between her and Mashiro, I felt that Nanami had more skin in the game and went after Sorata way more than Mashiro ever did. I also felt she had a lot more chemistry with him, they seemed to get along a lot more and do more things a couple would actually do. With Mashiro, He just stares at her for first few encounters. What do they have in common at all?
The last one I’ll talk about is from Shuffle! Now I wasn’t completely bothered by how this one was handled because she actually does something when she realizes her man is essentially not gonna be her life anymore. Yeah, she goes full yandere but she actually acts on her feelings and the best part… the main male character finally sees her as a romantic love interest. Even if it’s only for a little bit before rejecting her. I wanted her to win too. Maybe I have some sort of fantasy where a girl from my childhood that I liked secretly liking me? But boy did that shit never happen.
I think this is mostly to let the viewer see a female character before the real love interest is introduced. The only reason I can think of as to why authors and such add these characters in is to associate unrequited love and to show that the male MC has experience with women. That way once other female characters show up, they get development with the main male while the childhood friend doesn’t “need it” since they are already friends so they already made development together in the past.
Oh wow… this turned out to be not so short after all. Regardless…
I hope you enjoyed! Have a wonderful day!