Zazu: Oh, just look at you two! Little seeds of romance blossoming in the Savannah. Your parents will be thrilled, what with your being betrothed and all.
Simba: Be-what? Zazu: Betrothed. Intended. Affianced. Nala: ... meaning? Zazu: One day you two are going to be married! Simba: Yuck! Nala: Ew! Simba: I can't marry her, she's my friend! Nala: Yeah, it'd be so weird.
To those less familiar with the movie, they eventually fall in love with and get married to each other, though to the more Genre Savvy of viewers, this isn't that much of a surprise.
Childhood Friend Romance is a part of romantic plots, when characters develop romantic feelings for someone who they spent their childhood years with.
In the cases when this love turns out to be one-sided, it is sometimes explained with "Westermarck effect", a theory that describes how people who grow up together are psychologically hardwired to think about each other Like Brother and Sister.
When it is mutual, and none of the characters are bound by the "Westermarck effect" (maybe because they only met when they were older than 6, when it's supposed to apply, or only for a shorter time), it is usually played as a special bond between the two characters. Childhood Marriage Promises may be involved.
When it is one-sided, the friend might grow to care for the other's child or sibling.
The victorious form can be a Second Love, after one or both have married, and then lost their spouses.
Subtrope of Childhood Friends. See also Patient Childhood Love Interest, for a variant common in Harem Series.
See also Just Friends, which these sort of romances generally go through, because as the name says, they start off as childhood friends before all the confusing effects of puberty happen. (Stupid Sexy Friend may apply when the Westermarck effect doesn't.) See also I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship, in which these kind of romances may be postponed or avoided because of a strong childhood friendship. Or even see also Puppy Love, where 2 children below the age of puberty already form (or try to form) an officially romantic relationship.
The aptly-named Najimi in Akikan is in love with her childhood friend Kakeru.
Ano Hana presents a childhood Love Dodecahedron. Jinta/Jintan and Meiko/Menma like each other despite she has been dead for many years, Atsumu/Yukiatsu also has a crush on Meiko/Menma after many years, Naruko/Anaru liked Jintan as a kid and still does as a teenager, but Yukiatsu considers her as a possible Replacement Love Interest and Chiriko/Tsuruko likes Yukiatsu.
At the end, Menma finally passes on and it's implied that Jintan and Yukiatsu will hook up with Anaru and Tsuruko eventually.
In Arata Kangatari, Kotoha is in love with her childhood friend Arata. However, Arata is oblivious and only sees her as an important part of his "family".
Possible male-male example: Germany and North Italy. If Germany is the Holy Roman Empire (North Italy's first love), that is. And according to the end of the Valentines strip... it's very, very possible.
Baccano: Jacuzzi Splot and Nice Holystone. Their backstory in the later episodes was quite touching: After Nice permanently scarred her face and lost an eye as the result of playing with explosives when she was little, Jacuzzi got a large jagged sword tattoo on his face so she wouldn't be the only one with a distinctive face. They've been together ever since (although Nice still hasn't given up her love of explosives yet).
Kagerou, the unfortunateYandere from Basilisk is said to be in love with Gennosuke since they were kids. Her poisonous powers developed when she was a teenager, though, and that's one of the reasons why she can't marry him.
Yuzu Yamamoto of Bitter Virgin is in love with her childhood friend Daisuke.
Bleach: Pure-blood Ryuuken and Mixed-blood Katagiri first met as very young children. Katagiri devoted herself to Ryuuken as his Ninja Maid from that moment on, even after Ryuuken is placed by his mother into an Arranged Marriage with Masaki Kurosaki in an attempt to ensure he marries another pure-blood. Ryuuken appears to have genuinely cared for both women; he wants to make things work with Masaki even though he knows Masaki won't be happy with him yet has obvious Unresolved Sexual Tension with Katagiri. Although he and Katagiri are clearly not Oblivious to Love, it's also an unspoken situation as neither of them view their feelings as viable until after his parents give up on the Arranged Marriage idea. When he and Katagiri Marry for Love, it therefore makes Katagiri an odd combination of First Girl Wins and Second Love.
Sanae and Tsubasa, who have known each other since their Elementary days, which eventually grown into love when they are teenagers. They are currently married.
Tsubasa's other friend Kumi, is also in love with him, but he rejects her love (in a kind way). Kumi is saddened by his rejection, but being a Plucky Girl she bounces back rather quickly.
Yayoi has a crush on Tsubasa, but he didn't return her feelings. She moves on without complcations... and might end up ith her other childhood friend, Misugi.
In Claudine...! the titular character's neighbor Rosemarie confessed her love to him but was rejected. She does seem to be the girl who understands him better, out of all of these involved in his life: she calls him "a true man given a female body".
In Corsair, when Aura was young she found Canale lying on the streets and took him in. She's more or less had been planning to marry him ever since, but since this is a Boys Love series, she ended up on the wrong side of the triangle. She's upset about it, but doesn't push the issue when she finds out.
Neneko Izumi from DearS is Takeya's childhood friend and near the end she admits she has unrequited love for Takeya, but she had to let him go. She also says she is unable to become Takeya's bride when they are in the classroom talking about their goals in life.
DNA˛: Junta's childhood friend Ami Kurimoto wins in the end. (By default, as the one he actually fell for had to return to the future.)
Doujin Work: Osana Najimi's childhood friend Justice seems to have feelings for her.
Elfen Lied: Kouta and Lucy. He knew Lucy when they were kids, but after she killed his father and sister because he lied to her about his cousin's gender, he erased her from his memory. However, to Lucy their time together are her only happy memories. As well, Kouta and his cousin Yuka who has a crush on him, and who were friends in childhood. The conflict in childhood between Lucy and Yuka drives a fair portion of the plot.
Erza and Jellal are childhood friends from their days of slavery at the Tower of Heaven. They are the most Ship Teased couple in the series and clearly have feelings for each other. Unfortunately, every time they're about to get a chance to be together something will happen to take Jellal away, like corruption, or death, or arrest, in that order. Even after Jellal escapes from prison, he refuses to start a relationship with Erza since he feels he must continue punishing himself for his crimes.
Natsu and Lisanna apparently were this before Lisanna's supposed death. After their heartwarming reunion at the end of the Edolas arc however, the relationship stalled due to how Out of Focus this plot, and even Lisanna herself, became.
A tragic example in Kenshirou and Yuria, barely... While the story of the Unlucky Childhood Friend Juuza is sympathetic, the story of the victorious Kenshirou is not any better, either. Just as they were about to get married as promised, his jealous best friend Shin suddenly took her away with his iron fist. From then on, Kenshirou was changed forever as a cold-faced stoic. At least, he still managed to reunite with his beloved Yuria in the last moment of her life - miraculously extended thank to his initially Aloof Big Brother, Raoh, who also wanted to grab her into loving him by force...
Another childhood friend of Yuria's, Juuza, fell in love with her very early. Sadly, his hope of marrying her was shattered to pieces when it was revealed that they were half-siblings; to further make it worse, he also discovered that she fell for Kenshirou in the end. Heartbroken, Juuza began to live a life as The Casanova, indifferent to the cause of Nanto Seiken — cheerful, carefree from the outside, but weeping inside - until he learned of the true identity of the Last Nanto General and made his honorable Heroic Sacrifice.
In 5 Centimeters per Second Takaki and Akari spent their childhood together, but due to circumstances of life they don't end up together. Made painfully tragic by the fact that everything is realistically played out.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Edward Elric and Winry Rockbell. In the last chapter, Ed proposes to Winry in a funny way by stating that in accordance with Equivalent Exchange he will give her half of his life and she will give up half of hers to him and she says she'll give her whole life to him, then rethinks it and offers a percentage back. One of the final images from the series shows them as married with two kids; the Chronicles book released in autumn 2011 further confirms that they go on to have several children.
In Gintama, Otose and Jirochou grew up together in Kabukichou. He was a little punk, and she scolded the crap out of him trying to keep him out of trouble. When they grew up, Jirochou became a vigilante to "keep the peace" in Kabukichou, and graciously stepped aside when Otose married Tatsugoro, his best friend and rival (and a cop), because he knew the vigilante life couldn't make her happy. But when Tatsugoro died taking the bullet meant for Jirochou, he makes his friend promise to protect Otose and Kabukichou. It...didn't work out very well.
Kirie from Girls Bravo has known Yukinari since they were children and has a crush on him. However, she is more of an childhood tormenter than friend.
Gokusen: Shinohara-sensei is seen with a cute girl and the Kurodas worry that Kumiko will have a fit. Then they decide that the girl will probably turn out to be his sister (since that always happens in manga). On learning that the girl is actually Shinohara's childhood friend, they go right back to panicking.
This is Gosho Aoyama's thing: Shinchi and Ran, Kaitou and Aoko, Heiji and Kazuha and some side characters get in on this Officer Chiba has one who works with him, but he doesn't know it until later. While only one of these pairs are official, it's strongly implied that the others will be, no matter what.
Goshuushou Sama Ninomiya Kun: Both Reika and Mayu are childhood friends to Ninomiya and both are still fighting over him years later. Complicated by the fact that he forgot them both because Mayu wiped his memories with a kiss.
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE: Flit Asuno and Emily Amonde. They're Happily Married with two kids in the second part of the series (and one of them is the second-gen protagonist Asemu). However, this mostly happened because of the horribledeath of Flit's first love, Yurin Le Ciel. Flit simply can't forget poor Yurin, and judging by episode 15 Emily is painfully aware of it.
If we count teenage-hood friends then we have Flit's son Asem and Romary.
Zhou/Wicked from Half Prince spent 8 years in love with Lan/Prince, but he lived far away and she never recognized him when he played online with her. When she starts on a new game at the beginning of the story she develops thanks to a bet made with her brother, and ends up a much more self-sufficient person than he's used to. Her knew personality makes it so his attempts to coddle and look after her like he always have only offend her, and she ends up choosing his love rival Gui.
Kasumi from Hand Maid May is a childhood friend whose problem is merely having to compete with a harem full of cyberdolls for Kazuya's attention.
It appeared she would win when Cyber-X/Takuya Saotome is revealed to be Kazuya's descendant from the future. The series pulled a twist when it revealed, in the last episode, that Cyberdolls are equiped to conceive and bear children. Talk about "fully functionial"...
Junjou Romantica's Hiroki was in love with his childhood friend Akihiko, who fell in unrequited love with a high school classmate. Hiroki persuaded Akihiko to have sex with him (blindfolded, so that he could pretend he was with the one he loved), which only led to heartache, as it neither won Akihiko's heart for Hiroki nor got Akihiko out of his system. (Both of them ultimately find love with someone who loves them back, fortunately.)
In Kaichou wa Maid-sama!, Shintani Hinata has been in love with Misaki since they were children. Unfortunately for Hinata, he's got no chance against Misaki's feelings for Usui. Later chapters of the manga suggest that Misaki's little sister Suzuna has a crush on Hinata; it remains to be seen how this will pan out.
Yoshimori from Kekkaishi pines for Tokine — a childhood friend, next door neighbor, and fellow Kekkaishi. Despite their similarities and common histories, Tokine only sees Yoshimori as the crybaby kid she used to watch out for. Tokine also likes older, taller men, and Yoshimori is two years younger than her and rather short at present. Ouch.
In recent manga chapters, however, it is hinted that Tokine seems to be developing feelings for him. Even having a mental He Is All Grown Up moment when she imagines how Yoshimori would be when he's older. The ending of the manga implies they hook up.
Izumi from Kemeko Deluxe! is Sanpeita's childhood friend who harbors a crush on him, but Sanpeita is apparently oblivious of her feelings.
Kemonozume has a love triangle in which Kazuma is an Unlucky Childhood Friend to Rie who is, in turn, an Unlucky Childhood Friend to Kazuma's older brother, Toshihiko. For poor Rie it even involves a Childhood Marriage Promise.
Tragically played with in the original series. Misa Hayase had a fiancee named Riber Fruhling, whom she had known and loved since she was young (her love for him was one of the two reasons why she joined the military). Some time before the Macross takes off, he leaves and promises to come back, but never does. And in a recognization mission in the Moon base, Misa finds out the truth... Riber was Dead All Along.
Macross Frontier: Michel and Klan. Michel admits he loves her right before he dies. Apparently they like to make us cry. Interestingly, in the movies, this Tear Jerker is averted in the case of Klan and Michel. And elsewhere this was pulled out of freaking nowhere near the end of the second (and final) movie when Alto flashes back to a chance meeting with Sheryl when they were pre-teens in a revelation that she was the first girl after all.
Macross Plus: Double whammy with Isamu, Myung, and Guld. They been friends since childhood but their friendship falls apart when it turns into a Love Triangle. Years later when they all meet up again, Isamu finally wins with a flashback that strongly suggests he had already if not for Guld's temper.. This nonetheless gives it an entry in victorious ( Isamu) and unrequited ( Guld).
The "Takamachi Family". Les Yay to the max with two main characters who are best friends ever since childhood.
Chanohata Tamami in Mahoraba is in love with her childhood friend, landlady Aoba Kozue, but doesn't stand a chance against newcomer Shiritori, for the mere fact that her rival is male. Lesbians in anime sure have it tough.
Anya wants this with Negi, but it appears unlikely to happen. It does not help that she is a full-blown Tsundere convinced her old friend is being lured into temptation by all those overdeveloped middle school girls.
In chapter 146 it's revealed that Medaka actually proposed to Zenkichi when he was two and thought he "friend-zoned" her after he rejected her.
In the final chapter ending, regardless of the outcome of their duel with each other, they are gonna get married.
In Midori Days, Seiji comes across a childhood friend who had moved away not long after they met. Seiji shows interests in her, but comes to a hard stop when he realizes she's a doujinshi manga artist that writes and drawsBoys Love works, which is the justification for her not wanting anything to do with straight men.
In Nana: Reira/Layla, Trapnest's vocalist, grew up with Takumi and is in love with him, but he doesn't reciprocate.
Naruto: Yahiko and Konan, even though it's only hinted at. Since Yahiko dies early on, becoming Nagato's avatar for his Deva Path, nothing much comes of it.
Safu from No6 is in love with her childhood friend Shion. She very straightforwardly confesses her love, he says he thinks of her as a friend but tells her to ask him again in two years, she promises to wait for him... then he runs off with Nezumi, and the series is drowned in Ho Yay.
Prétear has fun with this when the resident geek Yayoi digs up the fact that Himeno's stepmother Natsue and her driver Tanaka were classmates. Yayoi immediately assumes there had to be some romance going on between the two since their childhood, with the unlucky one being Tanaka — he got to work for Natsue and stay close to her, but she chose somebody else over him twice. Made even more funny when it is hinted that not only it is not just a product of Yayoi's crazy imagination, but Tanaka actually still likes Natsue.
Princess Tutu: Rue and Mytho are revealed to be these, once you find out how long she's been waiting for him.
Sayaka from Puella Magi Madoka Magica is in love with her childhood friend Kyousuke Kamijou, who doesn't notice her affections. Thisdoesn'tendwell, although her chances of winning were quite high if it weren't for her unfortunate circumstances.
Ukyō Kuonji in Ranma ˝ is Ranma's childhood friend and one of his many fiancées. However, Ranma doesn't likes her that way, he even thought Ukyō was a boy. On top of this, Ukyō tends to act and dress like a guy, so she really isn't helping Ranma think of her as anything other than his boyhood friend. Unlike most of Ranma's other suitors, he actually enjoys her company and sees her as a friend, and so often goes to eat at her restaurant.
The anime decides to give this an extra bit of Yank the Dog's Chain in the "Great Girly-Girl Gambit" filler episode. Ukyō decides to prove to Ranma that She Cleans Up Nicely, in hopes of making him stop seeing her as just One of the Boys... but, firstly, all of the pervert boys in her class decide that seeing her girlied up means they want (and deserve) a piece of her, so they keep interrupting her efforts to talk to Ranma about their relationship. Then she gets into a literal Cooking Duel to decide who is Ranma's one true bride because the other girls don't like the idea that she's getting serious. And then the perverts attack Ranma for letting the duel take place, and so, guilty and ashamed for causing Ranma such trouble, she goes back to her masculine outfits.
Mousse has known Shampoo since they were kids, as well, but he's more of a Stalker with a Crush than a friend. Particularly seeing as how it's shown that Shampoo has been ignoring him and beating on him since they were kids together, and has grown even more disdainful of him since. Shampoo does refer to Mousse as "stupid friend from child times" when introducing him to Ranma. Though this might be a simple slip of the tongue, given Shampoo's notoriouslypoor Japanese skills...
Rose of Versailles: Oscar and Andre. They do get together- but only get to consummate their relationship one night before Andre dies in battle, and two before Oscar herself dies.
Alien Fiore of the Sailor Moon R film met Mamoru when they were both small orphans and they became good friends — Fiore seems particularly possessive of Mamoru as an adult. When he eventually returns from space, Mamoru has already re-met his soulmate Usagi. Fiore tries to get her out of the way, but ultimately accepts their relationship.
Jin and Misaki in Sakurasou No Pet Na Kanojo, but with a twist—while Jin remained loyal to Misaki, he felt unworthy of her, so he became The Casanova. Inspite of this, as of the fifth light novel volume, after they graduate, both become a couple.
The Secret Agreement: Yuuichi and Iori meet by chance as kids and despite their different statuses fall in love while they're still quite young, and plan to carry on their affair even after Iori marries. The relationship is undermined a little by the possibility that their love is only a manufactured delusion, however.
Tanda from Seirei No Moribito has been in love with Balsa since they were children, and they're now in their thirties. She obviously has feelings for him but is apparently too badass to settle down.
Mawari of Seto no Hanayome is a childhood friend of Nagasumi, who she has a crush on, but Nagasumi is already engaged to someone else.
Tamao from Shaman King admits that she likes her childhood friend Yoh, even though the chances are slim to none, seeing how Yoh is already engaged to and in love with Anna.
Kaede Fuyou in SHUFFLE! lived with her childhood friend Rin for a while, but when he starts taking interest in another girl, she, um...loses it. She gets better, though.
The "other girl", Asa Shigure, is also Rin's childhood friend.
Paraietta in Simoun is Neviril's childhood friend and has a huge, but unrequited, crush on her.
Sket Dance: Bossun's biological parents grew up together in an orphanage.
Tatsuhiko Aouta from Slam Dunk has had a crush on his childhood friend Haruko since they were young.
Both Tira and Chocolate Misu of Sorcerer Hunters have crushes (a sweet and quiet one in Tira's case, a much more explicit and open in Chocolate's) on Carrot Glace. They are the only females he doesn't chase after since they were raised together and therefore he views them as if they were his sisters.
In the manga, Carrot marries Tira, leaving only Chocolate to fit this trope. And considering how her sister and Carrot aren't exactly happy after 10 years, it may have been for the best....
In the Mazinger universe, Duke and Rubina from UFO Robo Grendizer. They were friends and engaged through an Arranged Marriage. They liked each other so neither of them minded. However, her father launched a conquest campaign against Duke's planet, killing thousands of its inhabitants and accidentally turning it into a radioactive wasteland. Then their relationship became a Star-Crossed Lovers romance ended up tragically.
Ataru Moroboshi and Shinobu Miyake, at least in the beginning. Early chapters of the manga had Shinobu to like Ataru but just unable to get past his perversion and him being a Weirdness Magnet to become his official girlfriend. Also one chapter early in the series with Ataru's future offspring that was revealed at the end to be hers. They were supposed to end up together, but Rumiko Takahashi's editor found that Lum was unexpectedly popular and Takahashi was forced to change the Official Couple. Cue Ship Sinking in almost all of Takahashi's other works.
Rupa and Carla. Carla has loved Rupa ever since they were children, but he rejected her because he was engaged to Lum and Carla changed from a childhood friend to a violent assailant. At the end, Rupa admits to Carla that he loves her and asks her to marry him.
Merle, the Cat Girl, in Vision of Escaflowne has known Van all their lives, she is a friend of his since early childhood, and makes no secret of the fact she's got a crush on him (the main reason she's so hostile towards Hitomi, in the beginning, is because she's afraid she'll try and steal Van from her). Van, meanwhile, seems to do his best to ignore her feelings and ends up falling in love with Hitomi. Merle ends up pulling an I Want My Beloved to Be Happy and chooses to withdraw and leave Van and Hitomi to work things out, though she does give Hitomi a little "talk" about how Hitomi's inability to make up her mind over the Love Triangle.
In The World God Only Knows, Keima's friend Tenri has been in love with him since she was 7. However, he refuses to acknowledge her as his childhood friend.
Bamse has the example of former villain Vargen and his childhood crush Virginia, they meet up years later, but by then she is already married.
Rayek from ElfQuest grows up with Leetah, first starts communicating with her magically before she's even born, shares his life with her, and on the day he asks her to stay with him forever... the hero shows up and claims her for himself. (They eventually settle it with a good old fist fight. 10000 years later.)
Mender spends his very early years around The Chief's Daughter Ember, eventually takes her virginity after they reunite, and is promptly forgotten when he goes off to fight in the war and Ember meets a Proud Warrior Race Guy stranger. Elves have no concept of cheating - all sex is good sex - but Ember does treat him pretty horribly.
A milder ElfQuest example: Cutter and Skywise, who are just enough years apart for Skywise to hit puberty first and Cutter to be left behind wondering why his friend spends so much time in the bushes with Foxfur. By the time Cutter is 16, he loses both of his parents and Skywise loses Foxfur, and it's implied that they spend some time together as mates after that before Cutter ends up with Leetah. They're still occasionally seen sharing a bed together from that point on, but they're never as close again as they were before Leetah came along.
Envy and Todd from the Scott Pilgrim series were friends since they were eleven, and they started dating after they graduated from college and formed a band, but he showed no signs of affection towards her, and cheated on her with two different girls, one of which was the drummer of their band. He also lied about being a vegan.
Blind gives us Naruto and Hinata. These two have known each other their whole lives yet end up married. Might kinda be justified in that they spent every living moment(potty breaks and a baths excluded) together, due to Hinata being blind, from birth and continually hold hands.
It's common in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfics to portray Shining Armor and Princess Cadence as having known each other since they were both foals, and having fallen in love along the way.
Also very common for Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash, who are actual childhood friends and one of the most popular pairings among the fandom.
The Grand Highblood and the Condesce in Hivefled (who met when the Condesce was a preteen and the GHB was a baby) are a Sick and Wrong example. As moirails who are sexually involved, they're violating the taboos of troll culture, and then there's their endearing little hobby of bonding via the sexual abuse and murder of teenagers.
One of the character bios for the story specifically notes that trolls (who aren't raised by their biological relatives) have no Westermark Effect.
Films — Animation
Carl and his deceased wife Ellie in Up. Much of the plot revolves around his pain from believing that he failed to fulfill his promise to her.
Raven/Mystique for Charles in X-Men: First Class. Charles does a lot of flirting with other women and Raven is clearly jealous. It's left ambigious whether she actually had romantic feelings for him or wanted to prove she was worthy of being a romantic interest. But either way, Charles only sees her as a sister and someone to protect.
He starts out being the Unlucky Childhood Friend who won't make a move while she's in a relationship with another guy, but after he saves her a time or three he works up the nerve to tell her how he feels about her and they become an Official Couple.
Melody(1971) took this to extremes with the ten-year-old lovebirds deciding to skip the part about growing up first and get married at once. They actually manage to pull this off, albeit very unofficially, and it turns into an elopement when the adults raid their wedding party.
Subverted with Bruce Wayne and Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight, where Rachel breaks her promise to wait for Bruce in Batman Begins and ends up with Harvey "The Two-Face" Dent instead. She winds up getting killed!
Nine year old Anakin Skywalker does end up marrying Padme Amidala. Granted it didn't turn out too well in the end.
In Some Kind of Wonderful Keith and Watts have known each other since at least the third grade. Initially Keith doesn't notice her—due not only to knowing her for a very long time, but also because she's this close to qualifying for Wholesome Crossdresser—but following a whole lot of Character Development for everybody and a Practice Kiss, he ends up choosing her. Curiously enough, the popular girl he was pining after isn't made out to be a bad person, just one who's better off on her own.
When Mary of It's a Wonderful Life was a child she said that she was going to marry George. He didn't fulfill his dreams but she did before too long.
Thor: The Dark World: It was evident in Thor that the titular character and Sif, along with the Warriors Three, are very close friends, merely hinting that Sif might have romantic interest in Thor. However, it's been confirmed since then that not only does she have feelings for him and is a childhood friend of his, but there will be a Love Triangle between Thor, Sif, and Jane in the sequel. Whether Thor has unrealized romantic feelings or only platonic affection for Sif remains to be seen.
Jaimie Alexander: She (Sif) does sacrifice quite a bit for Thor, because she is so very much in love with him, so you do get to see that... She cares about him. They grew up together, you know?
Heathcliff and Catherine of Wuthering Heights are an illustrious example. They have a passionate, enduring love, were raised as brother and sister, and may actually be half-siblings (though this last element remains ambiguous), and Incest Is Relative. Heathcliff also qualifies as an Unlucky Childhood Friend.
Little Women's young Amy ultimately marries Theodore "Laurie" Laurence who she's known since childhood. When she was afraid she would die without being kissed he promised to kiss her before she died. She surely considered herself victorious when he started expressing interest in her.
Laurie experiences the non-mutual form of this trope with Amy's older sister Jo.
Nat Blake and Daisy Brooke (Laurie's niece), who had been good friends since Little Women's sequel Little Men, got married in the final sequel Jo's Boys.
Laurie (who's a guy) loved Jo since they met as teenagers, but she only ever saw him as a brother/friend. When he finally has to say it straight out for her to accept it (with Jo ignoring all his advances and moving away to avoid the inevitable), she shoots him down and he freaks.
In the last sequel, Jo's Boys, Tommy misses out on Nan since she just wants to be a single doctor, taking care of people. He's not too broken up, though; he marries a girl he only got with to make Nan jealous when she's his perfect match and Nan couldn't care less.
There are several examples in the Anne of Green Gables series. Perhaps the most extreme is with Miss Lavendar and Stephen Irving from Anne of Avonlea: they met when Lavendar was six and Stephen was nine, and soon after made a Childhood Marriage Promise. They were formally engaged when Lavendar was twenty... and then had a fight and broke up. Stephen then moves to America, marries, and fathers a son, Paul. Paul's mother dies, and Paul moves back to Avonlea to live with his grandmother, befriends Lavendar (who remained single for twenty-five years, having regretted their break-up and not wanting to marry anyone who wasn't Stephen), and writes to his father about it. Stephen returns to Avonlea and reconciles with Lavendar, and the two are married... twenty-five years after they were engaged and almost forty years after they had met.
Anne and Gilbert themselves, who were friends after she stopped hating him.
Most of Anne and Gilbert's children, as well, marry childhood friends. The most notable is their youngest daughter, Rilla, who marries her childhood friend/crush Ken Ford. In Rilla of Ingleside, Ken gives Rilla her first kiss before heading off to war and begs her not kiss anyone else while he is gone. The book ends with his return and a sweet proposal using her childhood nickname.
Averted with Rilla and Carl. They were great childhood friends because they were close to the same age, but they mutually agreed to never get together.
They used to talk together of almost everything and were teased about each other at school; but one evening when they were about ten years of age they had solemnly promised, by the old spring in Rainbow Valley, that they would never marry each other. Alice Clow had "crossed out" their names on her slate in school that day, and it came out that "both married." They did not like the idea at all, hence the mutual vow in Rainbow Valley. There was nothing like an ounce of prevention.
In Frankenstein, Victor and Elizabeth. But tragically, their marriage was short-lived.
Taran and Eilonwy in the Prydain Chronicles. When Taran finally asks her to marry him after years of silent pining, Eilonwy replies, "Of course I will, and if you'd ever given any thought to the question you'd have already known the answer."
Dawn and Jimmy in Dawn by V. C. Andrews, with a squicky twist: They were raised as brother and sister, but after the truth is revealed, Jimmy admits that he used to wish Dawn wasn't his sister because she's the only girl he's ever wanted. She eventually gets over this revelation and they get married.
In the Dragonlance novels, Laurana and Tanis are childhood sweethearts, complete with a Childhood Marriage Promise. Tanis then leaves Laurana after being confronted by her family who do not believe a bastard half-human like him is good enough for an elven princess. Many years later Tanis is reunited with Laurana who is still very much in love with him and has become an incredibly beautiful woman. Tanis soon realizes he still has feelings for her as well, but the situation is complicated because he is now also in love with another woman, Dark Action Girl Kitiara Uth Matar, setting up a three-book-long Betty and Veronica triangle. It is only after Tanis sees Laurana's beauty and courage while she is a prisoner of Kitiara that he realizes she is the one he truly loves. Tanis then saves Laurana from a Fate Worse Than Death and the two are married.
In Harry Potter, Harry eventually marries Ginny Weasley and Ron and Hermione Granger get married.
Severus Snape was in love with his childhood friend Lily Evans, as revealed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (and hinted at since at least Order of the Phoenix). In fact, his unrequited love for Lily, and guilt over her death, was a major factor in Voldemort's downfall — not bad for the maladjusted kid who fucked up so badly with the girl he liked that he got thrown over for an ex-Jerk Jock.
At the same time, this trope is fairly common in the universe of Harry Potter, as not only do wizarding children go to the same school as others in their region/country from age 11 on, but also share a "house" for seven years. It's a dorm room atmosphere with the same faces from adolescence through puberty to of-age young adults.
Snape's case also provides an interesting look at the implications of this trope in regards to the "one-sided —> care for child or sibling" idea. Namely, Snape cared for Harry because he was Lily's son, but was also cold and cruel to Harry because he was James's son. Funny how things change when I Want My Beloved to Be Happyisn't in play.
In the incredibly popular The Phantom of the Opera, Raoul de Chagne and Christine Daae - not only in the original novel, but also in the musical and in the film.
Lucy and Zach in Nancy Werlin's Impossible. It's kind of complicated by a prophecy that Lucy, like her mother, will go insane when she gives birth to a child if she doesn't complete threeimpossible tasks, but they work it out in the end.
Although the length of their relationship is not specified, Lotte and Albert in The Sorrows of Young Werther have been close friends long enough that he was in the room with her when her mother died. They remain an established couple throughout the novel, much to the despair of her admirer , Werther, who blows his brains out.
Arguably, Miro is Ouanda's Unlucky Childhood Friend in Speaker for the Dead, with a twist: After he and Ouanda turn out to be half-siblings, he gets sent out to space, and because of relativity, everyone else ages a few decades. So while Ouanda has aged 30 years, long since forgotten Miro, and married someone else, Miro still misses her and feels abandoned. Doesn't help that he's handicapped either.
Littlefinger has his own Unlucky Childhood Friend, Lysa Arryn. Whom he marries — and then kills. She was batshit insane and fond of throwing people off tall mountains, so it's not like she didn't have it coming... though most of his other actions have less legitimate excuses.
Rand and Egwene in The Wheel of Time series are more of a subversion. The decision to break up is mutual, they remain friends, and they both get happily involved with other people later in the series.
Cinderpelt and Firestar Warrior Cats (verified by Word Of God). She was originally Firestar's apprentice, meaning it started out as a case of Hot For Teacher, but by the end of the first series, she was one of his closest friends.
Mason from Vampire Academy was so unlucky, he didn't even live long enough for Rose to give him a chance.
Sylvie, the heroine of Kiss by Jacqueline Wilson, believes she is in love with her friend Carl and has always imagined they would get married one day - only for him to come out as gay. It's left somewhat ambiguous at the end of the book when Carl kisses her and tells her he will always love her; but she appears to take this in the platonic sense.
Zigzagged in Miranda July's "Something That Needs Nothing." The main character is in love with her best friend, Pip, and has been in love since they were children. The two have had very sporadic sexual encounters, but the main character is resigned to the fact that Pip will never love her romantically. Once she starts working as a peep show artist, and devises a new persona for herself, that's when she gets Pip to fall for her.
Willow and Xander in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Willow had a crush on him for years. They get together briefly in season three, only for Willow to realize she'd rather be with Oz. (And then with Tara.) Turns out they were born to be Platonic Life Partners, not lovers.
In "The Gift", the fifth season finale, Xander declares, "Smart chicks are so hot!" Willow replies with a wistful smile, "You couldn't have figured that out in 10th grade?"
The comics reveal Dawn and Xander, who appear to be together in the comics now. Dawn has always had a crush on Xander.
iCarly: Freddie and Carly have known each other since the sixth grade. Freddie started off on the show with a crush on Carly. He saves her life, they get together for an episode but break up.
Mary Connell and Danny McCoy in Las Vegas, both having known each other since they were toddlers and Danny always coming to Mary's aid when her molester father would come after her. They come together and he proposes to her in the first season finale, but they end up breaking it off because of Danny's post-traumatic stress disorder. Two seasons later, Danny winds up falling for Delinda Deline (whom he had a brief affair with in the first season) and they become official, even impregnating her later on, much to Mary's dismay.
Kevin and Winnie in The Wonder Years is this and a less tragic version of Star-Crossed Lovers; they clearly loved each other, but the ending narration reveals that Winnie went off to Europe and Kevin married and had a son with another woman.
Deconstructed in Harper's Island. Henry desperately loves his childhood best friend Abby, not realising he was made to spend so much time with her in childhood because he was adopted and she is actually his half-sister. His plan to win her heart involves murder. Lots of murder. It doesn't work.
Interesting case on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers with Kimberly and Skull. Skull maintained a strong and obvious crush on Kim, including flash backs to their childhood. His affection was returned on several episodes before Kim's departure and he might have stood a chance if not for her boyfriend at the time. However, writers have stated that they had intended for Kim to be the mother of Skull's confirmed son, Spike, in later seasons.
On Smallville, Clark and Lana had been classmates since childhood, with Clark harboring a crush on her. Eventually, they got together...though they ended up becoming an on-and-off couple that became rather unpopular. Clark finally grows out of it during the last couple seasons though.
Chloe Sullivan was one of Clark's closest friends since the eighth grade and has a crush on him, though she eventually matures out of it, similar to how Clark himself grew out of his former crush on Lana.
In LOST, Kate was Tom's childhood sweetheart, but then he was married. That didn't turn out too well.
Charlie is Megan's childhood friend who has a crush on her in Privileged.
Adam to Toby in Dante's Cove — by the time he realises he's gay and in love with his best friend, Toby is in a committed relationship with Kevin.
Boomer to Garland in the little-known children's series Maddigan's Quest. It gets to the point that, at a crucial moment, Garland chooses to trust quasi-love interest Timon over him- which turns out to be a mistake.
From Japanese drama Shokojo Sera, Kaito's childhood friend Yukari grew increasingly jealous of his relationship with Seira. It didn't help that Kaito romantically pursued Seira (who reciprocated those feelings) and his family immediately accepted Seira into the family while being critical of Yukari's attempts to fit in (it's implied she was only nice to Kaito's family when Kaito was around). She would eventually give up Kaito to Seira.
To elaborate, the girl in question is almost never single (since she's the perfect Girl Next Door hottie) so there's a limited "window" where she's single. Long story short, the window opens and Ted tries to keep other men away from her. She manages to get away from him and his rival, and on her way home meets the man she had grown up with and loved (mutually). The window never opened again.
Switched at Birth: Emmett's been waiting for her long-time best friend Daphne for eight years, but she's only just realized she's into him too...right after he starts dating Bay. Whoops.
Doctor Who: Amy and Rory, from the Eleventh Doctor's era... until Rory is erased from time, comes back to life as an Ancient Roman, and then is revealed to be a disguised Auton created from Amy's memories. Oh dear. But then he comes back to life for real, and they get married at the end of the 2010 series.
Olivia and Peter in Fringe, though (like the Simpsons example below) it's an interesting case. They briefly met as children while both trying to run away from their guardians, and later got together as adults, but neither of them remember their first meeting as a result of suppressing traumatic memories from around that time.
The 2000 TV version of Arabian Nights makes it that Scheherezade and the Sultan were childhood playmates, and she's not marrying him only as a noble act of self-sacrifice. By the end, he (comes to realise that he) loves her too.
On Revenge, Jack Porter and Amanda Clarke were Childhood Friends and were so close that he continues to take care of her dog for her after 18 years and named his boat after her. Now he has feelings for Emily, not realizing that she is in fact Amanda all grown up. Emily/Amanda returns the feelings but doesn't act on them due to her revenge plot. Also she may or may not be falling for her Honey Trap victim Daniel.
This was the original series arc for Wizards of Waverly Place. The main character Julia (Alex) was a young wizard whose best friend was Jordan (Justin), the 'Boy Next Door' - and the idea was for them to have wacky adventures while slowly but surely becoming something more as they grew up. (Selena Gomez and David Henrie were hired for, among other things, the obvious chemistry they had as best friends who would grow into a romantic relationship.) However, the chemistry and timing that the two had as potential love interests didn't go away when Executive Meddling turned them into siblings, creating what this wiki recognizes as the Most Triumphant Example of a Relationship Writing Fumble.
Inverted and then played straight at the end of "Living Next Door To Alice".
Backstreet Boys song "How Did I Fall In Love With You" is about the realization that the singer's friend is one of these.
A common theme in country music:
George Strait's "Check Yes or No"
Clay Walker's "One, Two, I Love You"
Bryan White's "Rebecca Lynn"
Trisha Yearwood's "She's in Love with the Boy"
Tim McGraw's "Don't Take the Girl", though that one has a Downer Ending.
Taylor Swift's "Mary's Song"
Diamond Rio's "Meet in the Middle"
Miranda Lambert's "Me and Charlie Talking"
"The Search Is Over" by Survivor. The singer is searching for "the one" and finally realizes that it's his lady friend who's been there for him the whole time. A Truth in Television, since writer Jim Peterik based it on a friend of his.
"She Hasn't Always Been This Way" by Doc Walker has a guy coming to terms with a sudden crush on his best friend's little sister (also a friend of his) who is now very hot. They're not friends any more, and she won't even talk to him.
"May" by James Durbin is the story of a very tragic version of this. The two kids grow up and get married, but the title character dies in childbirth and from that point on, the protagonist can't help but see her every time he looks at his daughter.
The video for Kelly Clarkson's song "My Life Would Suck Without You" shows Kelly's dysfunctional relationship with her boyfriend starting when they both were children.
The title character of Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac is in love with his cousin Roxane whom he used to play with as a kid. At Act II Scene VI, Cyrano and Roxane tenderly remember when they were children and played each spring at Cyrano's house at Bergerac.
Roxane: Confession next!... But, ere I make my shrift, You must be once again that brother-friend. With whom I used to play by the lake-side!... Cyrano: Ay, you would come each spring to Bergerac! Roxane: Mind you the reeds you cut to make your swords?... Cyrano: While you wove corn-straw plaits for your dolls' hair! Roxane: Those were the days of games!... Cyrano: And blackberries!... Roxane: In those days you did everything I bid!... Cyrano: Roxane, in her short frock, was Madeleine... Roxane: Was I fair then? Cyrano: You were not ill to see!
Éponine Thénardier could be seen to be this in the musical of Les Misérables. However, in the book, Marius doesn't meet her until adulthood and barely knows her.
The traditional Pantomime version of Cinderellaadds the character of Buttons, who's been a servant to the family since both he and Cinders were children, and is in love with her. She is destined to marry the Prince. Depending on the production, she either never notices how Buttons feels or lets him down gently.
In the Rodgers And Hammerstein musical Allegro, Jenny is Joe Taylor's girl from childhood, and she keeps writing to him while he is away at medical school. When they meet again, Joe decides to marry her even before finishing his education, though Jenny would prefer it if he were wealthier. In the second act, they move to the city at her insistence so he can earn more money at a big city practice. When Joe hears that his wife is having an affair with a soap tycoon, he feels he doesn't care anymore about the girl he's known since he was eight years old.
Stuart Patterson's play Cinderella, which is based on the panto but is not itself a panto, calls the Buttons character (see above) Callum, and he and Cinderella end up together once she realises the Prince is a Prince Charmless. Callum then turns out to be Lost Orphaned Royalty of a neighbouring kingdom.
In Dorothy L. Sayers's The Emperor Constantine, Maximian jovially talks of how Fausta and Constantine were sweethearts as children. He's about to propose a political marriage — one that requires Constantine to divorce his wife and his son's mother.
Fire Emblem (Blazing Sword in Japan): Wil, if paired with Rebecca.
The Sacred Stones: Tana if paired with Ephraim, Innes if paired with Eirika, Colm and Neimi, Artur and Lute, Kyle if paired with Syrene. And no matter who you pair up Eirika with, Lyon will end up as a specially tragic Unlucky Childhood Friend.
Fire Emblem Awakening: Two of Chrom's potential wives are Sully (Childhood playmates and fellow soldiers) and Maribelle (noblewoman from a family close to his own), so it can go both ways.
In the case of the Second Generation children, they've all known each other from childhood due to their parents being Chrom's friends and partners. The most obvious case is Cynthia and Inigo, since Cynthia has liked him from a while already,
Potentially Aika and Vyse from Skies Of Arcadia. The game's pretty vague about there even being a love triangle to resolve, though. Aika gives Vyse a kiss on the cheek, but Fina gets an arm around her in a scene either right after or right before.
The recent US release almost has a canon couple in the protagonist and Bianca, considering that the box art has two blond children (Flora and her children have blue hair). The Japanese DS release does this as well, but it's less obvious since the blonde children are on the back cover rather than the front.
Official art always shows the children with blonde hair, and every version of the game to date has featured Bianca on the front cover, and the back cover of the Japanaese DS release is the only time Flora has appeared in the box art at all. The creators really aren't subtle about the fact that they think Bianca is a co-main character and Flora...isn't.
In Overlord II, Kelda is the childhood friend of the Creepy Child that is to become the Evil Overlord and the only Nordbergian to actually like him (despite allreason), resenting her hometown for tossing him out for the magic-hunting Glorious Empire. When he returns approximately thirteen years later to conquer Nordberg she quickly joins him as a Mistress, though she eventually has to share him with two other mistresses. She can still be this trope if the player keeps her as First Mistress.
Irvine and Selphie in Final Fantasy VIII grew up together in an orphanage(along with Squall, Zell, Quistis and Seifer), but due to exposure to Guardian Force summons Selphie didn't remember him at first. They hook up at the end of the game.
Vaan and Penelo in Final Fantasy XII, though you have to work really, really hard to see the scene where they kiss each other in the secret ending of Revenant Wings.
In Final Fantasy X, at first, it appeared that Wakka was an Unlucky Childhood Friend. He had known Lulu since they were kids, but she had fallen in love with his younger brother. When his little brother died, it appeared that Lulu wouldn't accept anyone else into her life. We see in the sequel, Final Fantasy X 2, that they are married and have a boy.
Jade Empire has Dawn Star, the sweet-natured childhood friend of the Player Character. A male character has the option of flirting, and eventually pursuing a relationship, with her. Played with a bit in that despite the player character's flirting, she never actually twigs to the idea of their relationship being romantic until Silk Fox shows up and pronounces Dawn Star a rival for the player character's attentions. A female character can become Heterosexual Life Partners with her instead.
In Kingdom Hearts, you have Sora and Kairi. They've been leaning there since day one.
Siskier and Garlot in Blaze Union, but it only happens in the C route.
Gabriel and Marie Belmont in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, who meet their tragic doom just before the beginning of the story; especially think about how sweet and warm it was when they married each other, fulfilling their promise to stay together forever. For such a reason, Gabriel breaks down completely after failing to resurrect her. Imagine how happy Gabriel must have been before Marie's tragic death...
In Xenoblade, Shulk and Fiora seem to be going in this direction until Fiora is killed in the Mechon assault... but, then it turns out that she wasn't quite dead and they hook up in the ending.
Hinted Ichinose and Aki from Inazuma Eleven, not married yet but having a long-distance relationship.
Fuyuka is this in the Dark version of the GO game.
Guillo in Baten Kaitos Origins. Other obstacles standing between him/her and Sagi include the fact that he/she is a living puppet, and the fact that Sagi probably always thought of him/her as a man, even though he/she technically has no gender. Or rather he/she is both gender since he/she seems to be deeply influenced by his/her creators, who were a man and women and are the ones he/she got her voice(s) from.
There's a bit of Fridge Horror in that (at least in the original version of the game), she is nowhere to be found in Elcid or anywhere else after that, which implies that she's much worse off than anyone thought. Subverted in that she does show up in the ending, crying uncontrollably because subconsciously she knows that Maxim is gone forever. It is also very likely that Tia never saw him again when she left the party for the last time, and that they parted on shaky or outright bad terms. So not only did she lose any chance of getting Maxim, she also lost her friendship with him and will never have the chance to mend the latter since he's dead.
Subverted (to a point) in Super Robot Wars Original Generation. Kushua Mizuha begins the game with a crush on her childhood friend Ryusei, but by the middle of the game, has moved on to somebody else. In the Alpha series, however, she does end up with her friend (who was not Ruysei), but since the first OG game came out between the first and second Alpha games, it wasn't quite a foregone conclusion until she appears in her Mech from Alpha 1.
The Disciple from Knights Of The Old Republic 2 to a female player character who ends up with Atton or doesn't pursue a relationship might count. Canonically, the Disciple had a massive crush on the Exile from their first meeting when both were in their mid-teens, but the Exile was completely oblivious to his attraction and never really reciprocated.
If the Exile is chosen to be male, it is heavily implied, through dialogue with Kreia, that Jedi Master Atris had strong feelings for him. But the Exile never reciprocated these feelings either.
There's a sidequest early in Jade Empire that deals with this. You come across a woman who tells you that her husband is being menaced by a gang of bandits. You later come across the bandit leader....who turns out to be said Unlucky Childhood Friend for the husband.
Bianca of Dragon Quest V is the protagonist's childhood friend. She becomes an Unlucky Childhood Friend if the player decides to marry Nera or Deborah instead of her.
The Unlucky Childhood Friend variant is a running theme in the World of Mana:
Possibly role-flipped in the first Tokimeki Memorial game: it is likely for the player character to become unlucky when pursuing childhood friend Shiori Fujisaki, as she is actually one of the harder girls to win over (due to high stat requirements across the board). If you play the game the right way, you'll be victorious instead.
Chrono Cross clearly demonstrates this trope, with the male lead Serge already dating a girl called Leena, who later (rather unceremoniously and silently) gets shafted as Serge more or less begins to ignore her completely as the plot starts to thicken. The main ending of the game even implies that Serge and Kid (the female lead) are destined to be together.
The player character of Shin Megami Tensei I ends up as the unlucky one when he finds out that his childhood friend is dating someone else, who later joins your party when she goes missing. It's also up to you to choose how you see her. After the End, though, she perhaps ends up the most unlucky...
The girlfriend of the Law Hero just happens to have the same name as the Heroine. Don't remember if she was actually a childhood friend of the Hero but there are no indications that the Hero feels anything towards her. Given that he's a Silent Protagonist, who knows what goes through his head.
Eternal Sonata has Falsetto as the Unlucky Childhood Friend for Jazz whom seems to be in a relationship with Claves.
Happens in Halo, of all places. In the story Palace Hotel in Halo Evolutions reveals that John-117, when he was a child, had a friend with whom he made a "silly Childhood Marriage Promise". A month later, John was drafted for the SPARTAN-II project. During the beginning of the Battle of New Mombasa, John found her again, with that photo, and realized that she had missed him... but knowing well that she could die in the next fifteen minutes in the coming skirmish, and that revealing to her who was he would compromise the secret of the origins of the SPARTAN-II soldiers, he chose not to, leaving the poor woman to think John had died when he had been a kid, when the Spartan in front of her was him.
In Dragon Age: Origins, Tamlen from the origin for the Dalish Warden becomes an Unlucky Childhood Friend if said Warden is female. The female mage can also actually establish herself to be one - while Jowan is introducing her to his covert girlfriend Lily, she can state that she actually has feelings for him, and if she says she means it, he'll become flustered that she's bringing it up in front of Lily and exclaim that she's like a sister to him.
Adele is an one-sided example for L'Arc in Arc Rise Fantasia. She doesn't take it well.
Fuyuka is an one-sided example for Endou in Inazuma Eleven, although it depends on which version of the GO game you are getting: In the Shine and Anime version, she falls into the unlucky side.
A childhood connection with the main winnable character is a staple of the Tokimeki Memorial series. Whether the player character chooses to pursue a romance is up to the player; whether or not they succeed is up to how well the player understands the game.
If the Lone Wanderer is male, he and Amate are implied to have feelings for each other in Fallout 3, something her father doesn't fancy the idea of. They never get together because depending on LW's actions in the quest Trouble on the Homefront, he's either thrown out of the Vault for good or she gets killed (either by the LW himself or a group of Enclave soldiers). On the other hand, the "best" resolution of the quest has Amata becoming the new Overseer and hinting at the possibility that she will accept the LW back in the future.
The incarnations of Link and Zelda from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword are stated to have been very close for a long time prior to the game's events (to the point where their entire community is well aware, and one of whom, Groose, even harbours extreme jealousy over it) and there do seem to be hints of deeper feelings between the two (more obvious on Zelda's part, due to her flirtations with Link), but whilst the game does end with them reunited, they do not seem to have made the step into going through a Relationship Upgrade.
YMMV on that last part; to many, the implication is that they stay behind to found human civilization on the surface, erm, the old-fashioned way.
Dias and Rena from Star Ocean The Second Story grew up together and have been close since childhood, until Dias suffered a tragic loss and decided to leave the town. The couple can go either way with this trope, depending on whether the player chooses to attempt to earn Rena's ending with Dias or pursue someone else.
Takamizawa Natsuki is an Unlucky Childhood Friend example in Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro Na and its anime adaptation, Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro Na ~Crescent Love~.
In general, visual novels will often feature at least one childhood friend. Whether or not the main character ends up in a relationship with her (or him) depends on the player's choices.
Sunao Fujimori and Matsuri Honjou are both Sora Hashiba's childhood friends in Suki Na Mono Wa Suki Dakara Shoganai. You can choose either one in the visual novel but in the anime Sunao is the victorious childhood friend.
Kiri is an Unlucky Childhood Friend for Hiroki in Canvas 2, though he secretly reciprocated. Unfortunately, Yanagi was also one of these and Hiroki wanted to give those two a chance instead.
Souji and Sayaka in Suika. It can be subverted in the alternate route, though. However, in the main story she is the winner.
Anyone you choose in SHUFFLE! will become the Victorious Childhood Friend except for Primula since they had all met Rin sometime as children and Asa met him in Jr High. Mess up going after a girl however and you end up with Kaede, wishy washy on your choices and you end up with Kaede. She is clearly the default heroine in the game. EVERYONE becomes a Victorious Childhood Friend if you choose Tsubomi in Essence+ although it's also implied that this is the expected end for the first game too when you choose a girl and Eustoma and Forbesii remind you that polygamy is legal in heaven.
Ryouta and Hiyoko in Hatoful Boyfriend are, for all intents and purposes, this because even though the female protagonist can romance other pigeons, the game's longest route has him choose to stay with her for as long as it takes to cure him of his disease and transplant Hiyoko's brain and spirit into a body.
Torta from Symphonic Rain is Chris' childhood friend and appears to be the main heroine although the golden ending features Arietta, Torta's sister and Chris's other childhood friend as the main heroine.
While Minori's technically Unlucky Childhood Friend in all routes of Brass Restoration except her own, it's only really mentioned in Yoshine's. And also in Yoshine's route, there's Koutarou.
Arguably Minori's unlucky even in her own route. Just as things seem to be going well for her and Ryo, Ryo fails a Test Kiss and she takes it badly. The rest of the route involves little more than getting things back to the way they were.
Chie and Shika in Kira Kira. She finds it very difficult to admit to him, but does eventually. Interestingly/conveniently enough, it happened right as he was beginning to shape up to be one himself.
Kouhei and Nagamori in ONE ~To The Radiant Season~ if you choose Nagamori's route. She gets flustered when he brings it up and Kouhei is such a jerk to her its amazing she still likes him.
Shiori Fujisaki and Naoto Takami (aka the main protagonist) in Tokimeki Memorial. In the original game, Naoto is likely to become an Unlucky Childhood Friend due to Shiori's high standards, but this game and all the Classic Kirameki Saga games (except Nijiiro no Seishun and Irodori no Love Song where Saki and Ayako are the respective heroines and main interest of the protagonist) treat the pairing as the Golden Ending.
This pairing is also canon in the Motto! Tokimeki Memorial Radio Drama series,
And as of Tokimeki Memorial 4, because the Radio Drama-exclusive characters became Canon Immigrants in this game, and seeing the Ending of Shiori's Expy Yuu, it's strongly implied that the pairing became canon in the main series:
Makoto Itou and Otome Katou, if you choose her over all the other girls in School Days. The anime downright makes her the Unlucky Childhood Friend despite her sleeping with Makoto. Then again almost EVERY girl in the cast sleeps with him in that continuity.
Miou and Masayuki in A Profile. She is presented as unlucky since she and Masayuki broke up in the past. She appears to be the main heroine, however, meaning that in many ways she's still 'victorious'.
In Little Busters, the main heroine, Rin, is part of a group of very close childhood friends the protagonist has belong to since he was quite young - the eponymous Little Busters. The Ship Tease between Riki and Kyousuke would also count as this.
In the Front Mission series (specifically 5), there's Walter Feng and Lynn Wennwright, who were childhood friends. It's also played with for a bit, in that Lynn was a Forgotten Childhood Friend, and they only hook up once Walter transfers out of her unit and the main plot is dealt with.
Subverted in Kevin & Kell: Rudy and Fiona knew each other when they went to the same day care, but actually hated each other during their time together until Fiona moved away. Years later, when Fiona moved back, they ended up dating. Victorious Childhood Enemy, maybe?
They did not remember any of this until their former teacher told them about it.
Played straight with Bruno and Corrie, who first got to know each other when Bruno, on his first hunt, made the "mistake" of talking to his prey.
Alan and Beatrice from The Dreamer. Alan and Beatrice have known each other since Beatrice was in her early teens.
Right now, it looks like Jadis from the Whateley Universe qualifies. Her bestest bud from elementary school, who she hasn't seen in years, is now at Whateley Academy with her, but already has found a girlfriend. Only Jadis is the daughter of the internationally feared supervillain Dr. Diabolik, so things could change in a lot of ways...
Jadis hasn't exactly been pining for Phase, though. At most, she seems to enjoy getting together with him and discussing literature like they used to.
The roadblock for Kim not dating Ron was because of falling to peer pressure, as well as doubt about Ron's level of maturity, but the trope still stands. As Kim points out when Bonnie forces herself on Ron, it took them twelve years to actually kiss.
Also, Ikem and Ursa in Avatar The Last Airbender The Search. Ikem confessed he loved Ursa since they were six. Ursa happily agreed to his marriage proposal, but soon met Ozai and went into an Arranged Marriage with him, due to a prophecy involving their bloodlines. The fact that Ursa still loved Ikem is a major factor in the Dysfunctional Family she and Ozai had with their children, especially since it's possible that Zuko is actually Ikem and Ursa's child.
In The Legend Of Korra Tenzin and Lin Beifong, who have known each other since they were kids, were a couple in their younger years. However, they broke up after they began to have "different goals" and Pema confessed her love to Tenzin.
JonesyGarcia and NikkiWong of 6teen were best friends since they were four and got together relatively quickly in the series. While they do break up in season two, it eventually works out and they become solid High School Sweethearts throughout the rest of the series.
Fridge Brilliance: The first three future episodes involved a look into the future by a fortune teller or Professor Frink. Holidays of Future Passed starts off with the Simpsons taking their Christmas card photos, with a fast forward to the future. This makes this the only future episode one that's canon.
In Rugrats, since Kimi's introduction in Rugrats in Paris, she and Tommy were often paired together during their adventures and both had similar traits and personalities (during their infancy). This possible pairing was assumed, due to Kimi being Tommy's female counterpart. However, things do not look so good in All Grown Up!. But despite their interests in other one-time characters (Z; Olivia, Rachel, Anita), Tommy already dating his girlfriend, Rachel (up until their breakup), and their disinterest in each other (possibly out of respect for Tommy and Chuckie's friendship) in the episode "TP + KF" where the pairing is finally touched on, it is hinted at the end of the episode that they have a slight interest.
From Chowder, the aforementioned protagonist and Panini as revealed in the finale.
Babar and Celeste's relationship in the animated series and film, eventually moving into Happily Married as adults. Notable in that, in the books, they were cousins, whereas the series ignores/changes that particular aspect and makes them unrelated to one another.
In Code Lyoko, Sissi Delmas reveals in episode "Marabounta" that she's in love with Ulrich Stern since kindergarten. Her lack of success wooing him doesn't come so much from him seeing her as a friend, though, but more from Ulrich simply not liking her.
Noah has a long-standing crush on his best friend, the titular character in Atomic Betty. Naturally, she doesn't notice his feelings for most of the series. She does become aware in the post-episode short "Bizarre Love Triangle" when Sparky, DeGill, and X-5 spy on Noah with his webcam, revealing his feelings to Betty when she walks in on the trio. So far, she hasn't done anything about said knowledge.
Aqualad in Young Justice had a longtime crush on his friend Tula, even considering leaving the team to be with her. Unfortunately for him, she began a relationship with his best friend Garth during the time he was away. But he understood and wished them the best.
Peter and Gwen Stacy in The Spectacular Spider-Man. By the end of the series she had actually gotten him to reciprocate, but they were dating other people at the time; she was unable to immediately break up with her boyfriend, Harry, because of the "death" of his dad, and before that could get straightened out the show was Screwed by the Lawyers. If the show had continued, Peter would probably have ended up with Mary Jane anyway.
Ginger Foutley and Darren Patterson from As Told By Ginger. In the end of the show's run, we see that after their breakup they eventually get back together at some point. And are shown to be married and have a baby girl with ginger hair, in the distant finale.
Theodore Roosevelt's second wife Edith (the first one, Alice, fell to Death by Childbirth) lived next door to the future president in her childhood and was best friends with his sister Corinne Roosevelt.
Also, Harry Truman. He first met his future wife, Bess Wallace, when they were five in Sunday School. From fifth grade through high school, they were in the same class. She turned him down the first time he proposed (in 1911); after time in various jobs, plus a stint as an artillery captain on the Western Front, she finally accepted in 1919 (shortly after he opened a promising haberdashery).
Dorothea Hurley married her high school sweetheart Jon Bon Jovi at the height of the band's popularity, when thousands of girls were throwing themselves at him. They're together to this day.
Ditto Cheryl Alley and Ron Howard, though he probably didn't have nearly as many girls throwing themselves at him back in the day.
Former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt and Hannelore "Loki" Glaser first met in 1929 when they were both ten years old; they were happily married from 1942 until her death on 21 October 2010.
David Eisenhower and Julie Nixon understandably got to be good friends as children in the late Fifties, seeing as his grandpa was President and her dad was Vice President for eight whole years (their first meeting was at the 1956 Republican National Convention, when they were eight). They married just under a month before her father was sworn in as President.
J.R.R. Tolkien and his future wife Edith met as teenagers. Tolkien's foster father eventually demanded that they stop seeing each other until Tolkien was twenty-one and a full adult. After a few years with no contact between them, John Ronald Tolkien wrote a letter to Edith on his twenty-first birthday to ask if she still wanted him. It turned out she had become engaged to another man, but only out of fear that Ronald had forgotten her; she broke off the other engagement promptly and agreed to marry him.
Similarly, William Petersen (of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation fame) first met his current wife,Gina, when she was a small girl and he was a teenager working on a project with her filmmaker father. Fast forward a few decades to after Petersen's divorce from his first wife, and they got better acquainted, got married, and now have twin girls together.