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Childhood Friend Romance
aka: Unluckychildhood Friend
Not pictured, 12 years of Just Friends

Zazu: Oh, just look at you two! Little seeds of romance blossoming on the savanna. 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.

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.

Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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 with the help of her friends, 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".
  • Axis Powers Hetalia:
    • Possible male-male example: Germany and North Italy if Germany is the Holy Roman Empire (North Italy's First Love). According to the end of the Valentines strip... it's very, very possible.
    • Austria and Hungary are like this too, even though she used to beat him up. By the time they're older nations, she beats anyone ELSE who tries to beat him up.
  • 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).
  • Yuuji Sakamoto and Shouko Kirishima from Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts. Although Yuuji is in denial due to Shouko's Yandere tendencies, while Shouko keeps chasing after him because he was her Only Friend and later rescued her.
  • Basilisk
    • Kagerou, the unfortunate Yandere. She 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.
    • In the manga, Gennosuke and Oboro were engaged as kids but only saw each other once before being separated for years. In the anime, this is expanded into a very cute flashback scene with them being adorkable kids together. And in the main story, theirs is a Perfectly Arranged Marriage. But they end up as Star-Crossed Lovers.
  • In Beelzebub, Himekawa has been arranged to marry his former best friend Kugayama since the first grade. The issue is that Kugayama originally posed as a male (since being the heir to the Kugayama family meant she was raised as a guy), and never told Himekawa her true gender nor the engagement, as it was arranged due to Kugayama having a crush on him in the first grade before eventually falling in love with him. Then their friendship fell apart when they were fifteen due to a betrayal on Kugayama's behalf, pretty much making all of it moot until the truth was revealed years later. Himekawa is still confused about the situation and his feelings on the subject are unclear, but he admits that he still cares for her and will always call her a friend no matter what, implying that his feelings for her run deeper than platonic friendship.
  • Yuzu Yamamoto of Bitter Virgin is in love with her childhood friend Daisuke.
  • Bleach: Ryuuken Ishida and Kanae Katagiri met as young children whereupon Katagiri immediately devoted herself to him as his Ninja Maid. Her Undying Loyalty remained unshaken even after Ryuuken's mother arranged a Blue Blood engagement between Ryuuken and Masaki. Although Ryuuken genuinely cared for both women, the arrangement was complicated by both Ryuuken and Masaki knowing they were romantically incompatible and by Ryuuken and Kanae knowing they were very romantically compatible. Only when the engagement falls through does a relationship between Ryuuken and Kanae finally become viable and they eventually Marry for Love.
  • Deconstructed in Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai. Perhaps due to her clear social cluelessness, throughout most of the series Yozora simply assumes that being Kodaka's childhood friend means that him loving her is inevitable regardless of anything else that happens. When she realizes that, in real life, this isn't an instant romance button, she has a very bad freak out. (All the more so because the entire time, she's only been able to control her envy of Sena's various merits by constantly telling herself that none of it matters, because she is the childhood friend and thus no amount of beauty, talent, wealth or even genuine love on Sena's part would win her Kodaka. When she discovers that he's actually known and was friends with Sena since long before he ever knew her, she falls into utter despair once again.)
  • Captain Tsubasa:
    • 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, and she's pregnant with their first child.
    • 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 complications... and might end up with her other childhood friend, Misugi.
    • A tragic example of this is Stefan Levin and his dead lover Karen, as revealed in the World Youth arc. They have known each other since childhood and they wanted to get married when they grow up and she would've have been his wife if it wasn't for the accident that killed her. In her dying words, she told Stefan to be the best soccer player in the world.
  • 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.
  • DNA²: 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 — and she asked Ami to tkae care of Junta so he'd be happy even if without her.)
  • Doujin Work: Osana Najimi's childhood friend Justice seems to have feelings for her.
  • In Dragon Ball, Goku and Chi-Chi have this kind of relationship. Goku and Chi-Chi met during one of his adventures, and Chi-Chi had been pining after Goku ever since, even getting a Childhood Marriage Promise from him. However Goku, being Goku, didn't know what marriage or romantic love was for most of the first half of the series until she explained it to him when met up again as adults, after which he returned her feelings. The two remaining married for the rest of the series.
  • 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.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • 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.
    • The anime adds several scenes that attempt to make Natsu and Lisanna out to be this before Lisanna's supposed death. After their reunion at the end of the Edolas arc however, any further development completely stalled, with him focusing more on missions and her focusing more on reconnecting with her brother and sister. To date, they have had a grand total of two one-sentence-long conversations since her return.
  • Fist of the North Star:
    • Kenshirou and Yuria. 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.
  • Fruits Basket: Most of the Members of the Zodiac grew up together, so many the Juunishi couples have an element of this.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Edward Elric and Winry Rockbell grew up together and is pretty obvious their feelings for each other aren't just familial as they claim. 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.
  • Future GPX Cyber Formula:
    • Hayato and Asuka grew up together since their fathers (who were also best friends since childhood) used to be in their racing team and she even lampshades this once. They have a sibling-like relationship until towards the end of the TV series, and they eventually got married at the end of SIN.
    • Canon Immigrants Shiba and Rena are childhood friends and classmates from the PlayStation game. Then in the middle of the game Rena kissed him, and their relationship is established in SIN's ending.
  • Franz and Eugénie are both in love with their childhood friend Albert in Gankutsuou.
  • Gate Keepers: Shun and Ruriko. In the sequel Gate Keepers 21, it is revealed that they got married and have a daughter, Ayane. However, Ayane changed her middle name due to resentment with her family.
  • The members of the Genshiken are all impressed that Saki is Kousaka's childhood friend, as they've seen this trope over and over in anime. However, the two of them really do end up dating.
    • ...and, in fact, the members get to watch Chihiro and Ritsuko enact this trope in Kujibiki Unbalance.
  • 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, Kogoro and Eri, Heiji and Kazuha, Officer Chiba and Miike Naeko and some side characters get in on this. 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.
  • Gundam:
    • Mobile Fighter G Gundam: Domon Kasshu and Rain Mikamura grew up together because their fathers were partners in the development of Gundams and over the course of the series, several characters note how close they are. The final blow to the Final Boss is fueled by their love for each other.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Allelujah Haptism and Soma Peries/Marie Parfacy met as kids when they were stuck as experimentation subjects. They didn't actually find and stay with each other until the second season... after her Heel-Face Turn. They become a Battle Couple and stay like that for the reast of the series..
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: Frau Bow is in love with her childhood friend Amuro Ray, but he honestly couldn't be less interested. She ends up with her other childhood friend, Hayato Kobayashi.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ: Fa Yuiri and Kamille Bidan after they go through much heartbreak in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. Earn Your Happy Ending, indeed.
      • Another set: Elle and Beecha. Elle is initially attracted to one of her friends Judau, but she ended up with Beecha instead via a Last Minute Hookup.
    • 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 horrible death 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 ½ 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.
  • Hand Maid May: Kasumi 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"...
  • Takashi and Rei in High School Of The Dead. Complete with a Childhood Marriage Promise.
  • Honoo No Alpen Rose:
    • Jeudi and Lundi got together really fast. Their problem with their relationship is less about them getting together and more about them staying together through their ordeals. They do get their happy ending, but not before much heartbreak.
    • Leon has been in love with Jeudi since they were children. As seen above, he had no chance.
  • Ikki Tousen: Ryoufu Housen and Chinkyuu Koudai are a very tragic version.
  • Ichika and Houki from Infinite Stratos can close to kissing in the finale before being chased down by the remaining members of the harem.
  • 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 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.
  • Tsugumi from Kannagi has a crush on her childhood friend Jin.
  • Souma Oogami from Kannazuki no Miko is Himeko's childhood friend who is in love with her. Although she does appear to have feelings for him, her feelings for Chikane are stronger.
  • Kare Kano: Yukino's parents Takashi and Miyako, whom they met when they were children and got married after finishing high school.
  • Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl: Hazumu and Tomari. Tomari gets a hold of Hazumu as the resolution of a very melodramatic Love Triangle. The other girl, Yasuna, is the one though who actually sacrifices most for her loved one—at least in the manga. In the anime, Yasuna dumps Hazumu after they try it for a while. Interesting detail is that all involved are girls, although Hazumu used to be a boy who as a kid promised to marry Tomari.
  • 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. Later in the manga 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.
  • Kenko Zenrakei Suieibu Umisho: Kaname and Amuro, though the part where their childhood encounter was revealed didn't get adapted in the anime.
  • Kimba the White Lion: Kimba and Kitty have known each other since they little cubs, she would later become his mate and give birth to a son and daughter.
  • Love Hina: Keitaro made a Childhood Marriage Promise with a mysterious 'promise girl' and the series' overaching plot is about him reuniting with her at Tokyo U. There are two strong candidates for said promise: Naru and Mutsumi, whom he both met as kids around the time the promise was made. The promise girl turns out to be Naru. Musumi takes it pretty wel, wishes them happiness, and they are married by the end of the series.
  • Lucky Star: Konata's parents. Lampshaded by Konata (a 17-year old saying this) that it's a common hentai game story; she seems to know a lot about those...
  • Macross:
    • 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 have 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).
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha:
  • Mahoraba: Chanohata Tamami 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.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!:
    • Konoka Konoe and her personal bodyguard Setsuna Sakurazaki were very close friends when they were kids until an unfortunate incident caused Setsuna to distance herself from Konoka for several years. After renewing their friendship, Setsuna's feelings are made painfully obvious; Konoka acts innocent but seems to intentionally provoke Setsuna. They make a pactio, and in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, they're not explicitly stated to have married each other but they're mentioned to have married in the same year and the accompanying image certainly implies it.
    • Negi's childhood friend Anya has an obvious crush on him, not that he knows or she wants to admit it since she's a full-blown Tsundere convinced her old friend is being lured into temptation by all those overdeveloped middle school girls.
  • Shiho Munakata in Mai Hi ME has a thing for her so-called "big brother" Yuuichi Tate, but he initially sees her as more of an annoyance, since she's always following him around and getting angry at him when it looks like he's taking interest in other girls.
  • Ginta and Koyuki in MÄR. Interestingly, while they clearly like each other, them being childhood friends was revealed over time. In the first episode, there's no indication they were anything other than classmates who got along fairly well. However, flashbacks as well as Koyuki's strange dedication to informing his mother of his adventures slowly revealed they've known each other for quite some time (there's flashbacks in the anime dating back to when they were 5 years old). Though Koyuki herself isn't present for much of the series, the Ship Tease lives on with her counterpart, Snow. Even then Koyuki is shown to be very devoted to Ginta, keeping track of her dreams of him and telling his mother of his adventures, and making copies of her school notes for months on end. The anime ends on something of a Maybe Ever After note after Koyuki and Snow merge.
  • Marmalade Boy is chock full of this:
    • Tsutomu Rokutanda has loved his classmate Arimi for a very long time.
    • Anju Kitahara is Yuu's childhood friend and probably first love.
    • Ryouko Momoi loves Namura since school times.
    • Takumi Kijima, Ryouko's Unlucky Childhood Friend, got over it and married another long time friend of his, Rei.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico: After years of childhood friendship, a long estrangement, and twenty-five and nine-tenths episodes of She Is Not My Girlfriend, Akito and Yurika end up together at the end.
  • Mawaru-Penguindrum:
    • Keiju Tabuki and Momoka Oginome. When Tabuki was about to disappear from existence on the Child Broiler, Momoka rescued him. It is hinted in the series that Momoka had feelings for Tabuki, as she worked him into her future in the Diary and she would have been his wife if it wasn't for her death. Needless to say, her death had a huge impact on him.
    • Also, Momoka and Yuri Tokikago. Momoka was the first person who accepted Yuri for who she was, and took a massive risk via rewriting Yuri's destiny to save her from her abusive father, almost burning herself to death. Yuri was also deeply traumatised by Momoka's death, and she's always been in love with her.
  • Medaka Box: Zenkichi and Medaka. Zenkichi has been trying to get Medaka to fall in love with him for years. Although Medaka's feelings for him were arguable for most of the series, it eventually becomes obvious she does have feelings for him, but thought he "friend-zoned" her after he rejected her marriage proposal when they were two. 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 draws Boys 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.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Asuka and Shinji in the Alternate Universe of the episode 26 and in the spin-off Angelic Days. In those settings, Asuka is closer to the 'childhood friend tsundere' archetype; the one that goes to his house to wake him up every day before school, becomes jealous of other girls, and denies liking. Shinji himself has less of a hedgehog's delimmna with her than in the main continunity.
  • Nisekoi loves this trope, with all the main members of the Unwanted Harem being forgotten childhood friends, one of which the main character was in love with.
  • 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.
  • Three members of Yuuto's Unwanted Harem in Omamori Himari are childhood friends: Himari, Kuesu, and Rinko, although he forgot about the first two after they parted ways until they reunited years later. Since none of the girls have secured his heart yet (Rinko hasn't even kissed him yet), which of the girls (or for that matter, whether or not any of the girls) will end up as the Victorious Childhood Friend has yet to be determined.
  • Manami from Ore Imo has an obvious crush on her childhood friend Kyosuke, but he doesn't have any strong feelings for her other than close friendship.
  • Mariya in Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru is Mizuho's cousin and childhood friend who has a crush on him.
  • Isabella has feelings for her childhood friend George in Paradise Kiss. In the Distant Finale isn't very clear on the current state of affairs between them, but she did tell him she wanted to devote her life to helping him in his career as a designer, even if he didn't love her back.
  • 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 and local Ill Boy Kyousuke Kamijou, who doesn't notice her affections while she quietly pines over him and never tells him. Alongside Sayaka's other massive problems, this contributes to her fall over the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Ranma ½:
    • Ukyō Kuonji is Ranma's childhood friend and one of his many fiancées. However, Ranma doesn't like her that way, he even thought Ukyō was a boy at first. 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 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 the 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 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. 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 but this might be a simple slip of the tongue, given Shampoo's notoriously poor Japanese skills...
  • RahXephon: Ayato and Haruka. Their relationship is complicated because of the Year Inside, Hour Outside effect and the Laser-Guided Amnesia, but the ending managed to get around all that neatly.
  • Real Bout High School:G is Aoi's childhood friend and the love of her life. Unfortunately, he is an orphan and he would eventually be adopted by a rich paranoiac and trained to be a killer. This brutal training involved assembling a gun while blindfolded and firing before the boy across from him could, and being forced to kill a wild dog he had befriended with his bare hands. This training would eventually break him (and blind him in one eye), and he and the other boys revolted and escaped. He's since become a sadistic street fighter and criminal mastermind, but Aoi knows he's in there somewhere...
  • 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.
  • Sailor Moon R: Alien Fiore 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.
  • Scryed: Ryuho and Mimori meet as teenagers at a high class party their parents attended and quickly bond. The DON'T end up together because Ryuho doesn't feel it would be right, partly due to the last actions of Hopeless Suitor Scheris Adjani.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Seto no Hanayome : Mawari is a childhood friend of Nagasumi, who she has a crush on, but Nagasumi is already engaged to someone else.
  • Shaman King: Tamao 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, who is also his childhoodfriend.
  • 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. She likes him as a brother, only, and both has eyes only for Rukawa and has Ship Tease with Sakuragi.
    • The prequel Piercings reveals that Ryouta and Ayako met when they were both ten years old. Back then, he thought she was a weirdo. Now, he's totally head over heels in love with her.
  • 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....
  • Special A: Hikari and Kei & Akira and Tadashi.
  • Telepathy Shoujo Ran: Ran and her childhood friend Rui are in love with each other, although Ran is more vocal about it.
  • Tenchi Muyo GXP: Kiriko Masaki has known and looked after Seina since he was a child. She falls in love, and marries him at the end.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew: Berry and Tasuku in A la Mode have known each other since they were children, especially the time when Tasuku comforted Berry after her mother's death, and he still hugs her every day. Their love for each other is what breaks the Saint Rose Crusaders' spell of the hypnotizing the city's citizens.
  • Touch: Tatsuya, Kazuya and Minami were friends ever since they were born and had been together ever since. Almost everybody who knew them wanted Kazuya and Minami to get together and get married, but she doesn't notice his feelings. Then Kazuya dies in an accident and Minami realizes that she's in love with Tatsuya all along.
  • Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle: Syaoran and Sakura grew up together and already have a warm and affectionate friendship in the first epiosde. This bond is the most important thing Syaoran has and so this is what he has to pay Yuuko for the power to travel between worlds. Thus, Sakura never remembers any of the time they spent together as children.
  • Akina of UFO Princess Valkyrie has a crush on her childhood friend Kazuto.
  • 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.
  • Urusei Yatsura:
    • Ataru Moroboshi and Shinobu Miyake. Early chapters of the manga had Shinobu like Ataru but 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.
    • 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.
  • Vision of Escaflowne: Merle the Cat Girl 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 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 because she doesn't fit the archetype he's familar with.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Ekou and Amon are childhood friends, but because she is the person he loves the most, Amon has to kill her as a sacrifice to master Exodia the Forbidden One.
    • Yu Gi Oh Zexal: In the final minute of the final episode, Kotori finally tells Yuma that she "loves his smile", and the usually oblivious Yuma accepts her feelings. It's all very surprising since Yugioh is a No Hugging, No Kissing kind of show.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Yuusuke and Keiko have known each other since childhood, and studied in the same school. Keiko would scold Yuusuke for skipping classes and bad behavior in school. They end up together at the end.

    Comic Books 
  • For Better or for Worse:
    • Michael Patterson and Deanna Sobinski went to elementary school together, were parted when Deanna moved away, and reunited in university. Then they got married.
    • Anthony Caine and Elizabeth Patterson met in elementary school as well. She moved away and then moved back home. They got married in the finale.
  • Lana Lang, in some versions of the Superman mythos.
  • 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 treats him horribly.
    • Cutter and Skywise 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.

    Fan Works 
  • Blind gives us Naruto and Hinata. These two have known each other their whole lives and marry. 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.

    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.
  • The Lion King: Simba and Nala provide the page quote. They grew up playing around and then, after they finished growing up, they became the Ruling Couple of the Pride Lands.
  • Derek and Odette in The Swan Princess. Though it started as an Arranged Marriage that they both protested, and they didn't really get along, love came quickly once they were adults.
  • This trope is heavily implied in Epic between Queen Tara and Ronin. Queen Tara makes playful digs at his serious nature, flirts with him, and is constantly trying to convince him to smile during the pod ceremony. Meanwhile, Ronin makes it all too obvious that he's crushing on her big time. Of course she's murdered before any of it can come to fruition, and several characters can't help but mention it when they hear the news.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Raven for Xavier in X-Men: First Class. Xavier does a lot of flirting with other women, and Raven is clearly jealous. It's hard to tell whether she actually had strong romantic feelings for him, or if she just wants to establish that she's worthy of romantic interest, but either way he says that he can't see her as anything but a sister and someone to protect.
  • Sky High: Layla and Will are neighbors and because of that and other things Warren believes this of them. It becomes a fact at the end of the film.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The first scene is Child! Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann meeting, when will's saved from a shipwreck and taken in by the crew of the ship Elizabeth's in. Skip forward to the main story and Elizabeth considers them close enough for First Name Basis. Will, for his part, has this Always Save the Girl complusion that Jack never lets him live down. They marry in the third film.
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a curious case indeed. Benjamin Button was born as an old man and so his "childhood" with Daisy Fuller looked like a girl hanging out with her grandfather. Nevertheless, they're a couple when they're the same age.
  • Forrest Gump: Forrest and Jenny walked to school together every morning. It's used as a time skip it's such a long duration. It's a bumby ride but they are ultimately Happily Married. Then, she dies.
  • 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 pull this off, albeit unofficially, and it turns into an elopement when the adults raid their wedding party.
  • The Dark Knight: Rachel breaks her promise to wait for Bruce in Batman Begins and ends up with Harvey "The Two-Face" Dent instead.
  • Star Wars: Nine year old Anakin Skywalker marries Padme Amidala, whom he met as a child.
  • 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 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?
    • As of the second movie, it is heavily implied Sif will turn out to be an Unlucky Childhood Friend. She attempts to reach out to Thor while he is still brooding about not being able to see Jane, but he just thanks her for her friendship and skill in battle and walks away. His father Odin tries to set him up with her later in the movie, but he replies she is just a friend. Throughout the rest of the movie, he repeatedly ignores her in Jane's favor, and during the few times they do interact, it appears to be purely platonic on his side.
  • In French movie Love Me If You Dare, the lead couple grew up as kids together, sleeping together in the same bed well into their teenage years and they continue acting out their Belligerent Sexual Tension into adulthood.
  • Neverwas includes a burgeoning relationship between Zach and Maggie, who had apparently romped around the neighborhood in grand adventures as children, although Zach had largely forgotten her until they met as adults.

    Gamebooks 

    Literature 
  • Wuthering Heights: Heathcliff and Catherine have a passionate, enduring love, were raised as brother and sister, and may be half-siblings (though this last element remains ambiguous), and Incest Is Relative.
  • Little Women
    • 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 himself experiences the non-mutual form of this trope with Amy's older sister Jo. He 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 immediately shoots him down and he freaks. He gets better later, enough for him to fall for the now grown-up Amy.
    • 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.
    • In the last sequel, Jo's Boys, Tommy misses out on Annie aka Nan since she just wants to be a single doctor, taking care of people. He's not too broken up, though; he marries Dora, a girl he at first only got with to make Nan jealous when she's his perfect match and Nan couldn't care less. In fact, Nan was all "... the Hell?" when Tommy reminded her of their Childhood Marriage Promise...
  • 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 were raised together because of her father's tragic fate and his mother decided to invoke this trope. Tragically, their marriage was short-lived.
  • Chronicles of Prydain: Taran and Eilonwy. 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 by V. C. Andrews : Dawn and Jimmy 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.
  • Jane Austen was fond of this trope:
    • Fanny Price and Edmund Bertram of Mansfield Park (even though Mrs. Norris tries to invoke the Westermarck Effect), who are also cousins but in a time and setting where that was commonplace.
  • In Harry Potter
    • Harry eventually marries Ginny Weasley whom he became friends with in his second year of Hogwarts.
    • Ron and Hermione Granger, High School Sweet Hearts, marry afterwards.
    • Severus Snape was in love with his childhood friend Lily Evans, as revealed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (and hinted at since 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. 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 Happy isn't in play.
    • 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.
  • Nancy Werlin's Impossible. Lucy and Zach are 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 three impossible tasks, but they work it out in the end.
  • The Sorrows of Young Werther: Although the length of their relationship is not specified, Lotte and Albert 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.
  • Tre and Nora become this in Stuck after reuniting for the first time in 5 years. Then they broke up. And then they stick together permanently.
  • Will and Alyss in Ranger's Apprentice. To the genre-savvy, it was obvious there were some feelings between them even as early as the start of the first book.
  • In P. G. Wodehouse's Jill the Reckless, Wally. He confesses that his bad behavior stemmed from a crush in childhood.
  • Twilight: Jacob Black spent some time with Bella when they were kids and tried to re-connect with her when she moves to Forks, but loses out to Edward.
  • War and Peace: Sonya, who was given the Childhood Marriage Promise by Nikolai Rostov.
  • Speaker for the Dead: Miro and Ouanda 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 from a A Song of Ice and Fire fell in love with the High-born daughter of his foster family and he suffers for it. He doesn't seem to have taken it very well, and gets even by starting an awe-inspiringly violent civil war that begins with the death of the man his love married.
    • Littlefinger and 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.
  • Raoul to Louise in The Vicomte de Bragelonne. Then she falls in love with Louis XIV...
  • Simon towards Clary in Mortal Instruments. After he reveals his feelings to her, Clary wonders if she feels the same way towards him. She doesn't.
    • Luke is an example as well, for Jocelyn since she was married to Valentine, but now they're set to be married.
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's Smith of Wootton Major, Smith gave Nell a silver coin from the cake even when they were children, at the Feast of Good Children.
  • The Saga of Hrolf Kraki: Bjorn and Bera, parents of Elk-Frodi, Thorir Dogfoot, and Bodvar Bjarki:
    "Bjorn, the king’s son, and Bera, the Farmer's Daughter, played together as children and they got on well. (...) Bera and Bjorn loved each other a lot and were always meeting."
  • In Patricia C. Wrede's Frontier Magic trilogy, William and Eff at the very end of the third book.
  • In Seanan McGuire's October Daye novels, Connor and Toby had this — and both face the tragic unhappy inability to marry.
  • 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.
  • Orrec and Gry in Annals Of The Western Shore. Their families are allies, and they always considered themselves obligated to each other even if their parents were discussing marriage prospects. In the second and third book, they're Happily Married.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • Lizzie McGuire: Lizzie and Gordo have been friends since they were one day old. Gordo has pined after Lizzie for quite some time. She is oblivious to his feelings and her feelings for him until the near-end of the series. They officially get together in The Movie.
  • 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.
  • Matt and Elena on The Vampire Diaries. They grew up together and dated in high school.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Smallville
    • Clark and Lana had been classmates since childhood, with Clark harboring a crush on her. Eventually, they got together. Clark finally grows out of it during the last couple seasons.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Maddigan's Quest:Boomer to Garland. 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.
  • How I Met Your Mother: The "second-greatest love story" Ted has ever heard involves a girl who is explicitly described as a Girl Next Door and her childhood friend. 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 his 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.
  • Boy Meets World: Cory and Topanga met in elementary school, become friends, and then become so oblivious to their mutual attraction that their friends set them up.
  • If the Series Fauxnale of Scrubs is any indication, J.D.'s son Sam and Turk's daughter Izzy will become this! It's unclear if this is a vision of things to come or just J.D.'s final Imagine Spot.
  • Lilly and Oliver in Hannah Montana. They have been best friends since preschool and eventually get together.
  • Happens in Life With Derek as a Last Minute Hookup in the penultimate episode between Derek and Emily.
  • Naturally Sadie has Taylor hook up with Rain after she comes back into his life during season three.
  • Queer as Folk UK: Vince finally rides off into the sunset with Stuart at the end of the story. The US version has the failed version- Michael is in love with Brian, who loves him but not in that way. Both eventually find love with others and move into Heterosexual Life-Partners territory (minus the heterosexual part).
  • More like Victorious Young Adulthood Friend, but after 7 years and 4 movies, Star Trek: The Next Generation's Will Riker finally hooks up with Deanna Troi.
  • 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. For bonus points the one who makes Amy realise Rory has feelings for her in the first place is their daughter.
  • 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.
  • On Teen Wolf, Stiles' childhood friend Heather resolved to lose her virginity on her 17th birthday, and Stiles was her intended target. Subverted somewhat in that it is not indicated that she was in love with him, but felt comfortable enough with him that he was the preferred choice for her first time.
  • Emergency!: Roy and Joanne Desoto. One of the few things we learn about them is that they were childhood friends who later fell in love.

    Music 
  • 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:
  • Trisha Yearwood's "She's in Love with the Boy" is about a girl planning to marry one of her friends: "even if she's gotta run away, she's gonna marry that boy someday."
  • Tim McGraw's "Don't Take the Girl",
  • Jody And The Kid by Kris Kristofferson tells the story of a boy who is admired and constantly followed around by a younger girl. Flash to decades later when the now grown man and woman are walking down the same paths hand in hand, under the same nickname, "Jody and the Kid" given to them by the town elders.
  • "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.
  • Flight of the Conchords' "Bus Driver's Song" is narrated by the bus driver, who keeps derailing his tour of the town to talk about Paula, a woman who used to live next door to the driver when they were little. The driver used to think they'd get married one day, but she married someone else.
  • "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.
  • Butch Walker has a somewhat creepy take on the Unlucky Childhood Friend in the video for "Mixtape".
  • The song ''Naisho no Hanashinote , with lyrics by supercell has the singer lamenting that her school crush, might have their eyes on someone else, and hopes they will one day realize her feelings for them.
  • Neil Sedaka's Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen has a young man marvel at his now beautiful 16 year old child-hood friend, and how she used to be like a little sister to him.

    Podcasts 

    Theater 
  • 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 Cinderella adds 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.
  • Spring Awakening has Ilse as the most unlucky childhood friend ever to Moritz, who (among other things) is so terrified/confused about his own sexuality that he'd rather die than keep going on. That doesn't do wonders for romance.
  • Patience and Archibald in Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience were friends as small children, but then lost contact with each other for a while before falling in love during the play.
  • Melchior and Wendla in Spring Awakening. However given the Downer Ending the show has, it fits Unlucky Childhood Friend more.
  • Motel and Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof; initially it was thought that it would be unrequited due to Tzeitel being promised off to marry the town's wealthiest citizen, but with pleading on their part (and Motel standing up for himself on why he wishes for her), Tzeitel's father, Tevye, agrees to it.
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • Childhood friendships are very common in Fire Emblem and can often go either way, thanks to the support system of some of the games. However, some are out of the player's control.
  • Mystery of the Emblem: Princess Sheeda/Caeda and Prince Marth, who end up married at the end of the third game.
  • Genealogy of the Holy War, if the player pairs them: Tailto and either Azel or Lex, Ayra and Holyn, Ferry and Lewyn, Seliph and either Lana or Larcei, Lana and Ulster. Since the majority of the second-generation playable characters grew up together, it's kind of inevitable.
  • Thracia 776: Leif and Nanna, raised together by Finn and later living with Eyvel.
  • The Binding Blade: Lilina, if paired with Roy.
  • 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.
  • Radiant Dawn: Sothe and Micaiah (although Sothe mentions that he sees her as a sister) end up married if you keep their preset A-Support for the entire game. Arguably, Soren if paired with Ike. Also, Geoffrey if paired with Elincia, and the aforementioned Sothe and Micaiah.
  • 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, best friend of his younger sister Lissa), 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, retainers and partners. The most obvious cases involve Sumia's daughter Cynthia and either: Olivia's son Inigo (she has liked him from a while already), Lissa's son Owain (who says he has always had a crush on her), or Cherche's son Gerome (whom she helped get over his fomer fear of heights when they were kids, and who may or may not have liked her from then on).
    • Also Chrom's daughter Lucina and the aforementioned Gerome. Right before their mutual Love Confession, she calls him her "most stalwart companion ever since childhood."
  • Kushua and Brooklyn from the Super Robot Wars Alpha series. In Super Robot Wars Original Generation she was Ryusei's Unlucky Childhood Friend, but she moves on to Brooklyn instead.
  • Minori is victorious in one of the four routes in Brass Restoration.
  • Although there isn't a canon couple in Dragon Quest V, Childhood Friend Bianca is far and away more popular than Flora/Nena as the marriage candidate among the fanbase, and the game itself beats you over the head repeatedly with the blunt object of an idea that you REALLY should marry Bianca.
    • The 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.
    • The Hero and Medea in the true ending Dragon Quest VIII. There are game features that allow the Hero to talk with Medea (who is normally stuck as a horse) and they talk about both current events and their past together before the story started. It's even more awesome because they destroy an Arranged Marriage to an utter Jerk Ass, yet still fulfill the terms of the original promise.
  • 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 all reason), 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.
  • The Legend of Dragoon: Dart and Shana briefly had a Like Brother and Sister thing because he was raised by her family. There's a flashback showing them as children playing together and Dart scaring away a feral dog to protect Shana. They hook up at the end of Disc 2 and are still a couple in the epilogue.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Cloud and Tifa. The only part of Cloud's memory that wasn't messed up was The Promise he made to her when they children, to rescue her if she was ever in trouble. Their relationship is Confirmed by Word of God.
    • Cloud and Tifa were actually something of a Deconstrucion of the "Childhood Friends" shtick. For most of the game we're led to believe that they were very close growing up, but it's later revealed that this wasn't the case. Tifa was a popular kid who hung out with her own little clique of friends, while Cloud was an outcast who kinda "orbited" around the group because he was too shy to ask if he could play with them.
  • 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.
  • The third Golden Sun game, Dark Dawn, confirms Isaac and Jenna hook up, and father Matthew.
  • Most Dating Sims have at least one of the winnable girls as the Childhood Friend, so the trope is fulfilled upon winning that girl.
  • In Jak and Daxter, Jak, Daxter and Keira grow up as friends, with both boys having a crush on Keira. Keira returns Jak's feelings and the two get together. Oddly enough, Daxter is perfectly okay with this. Then again, he is more of the flirty type who hits on any pretty girls. Plus, he later gets Tess, so it's all cool.
  • 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.
  • In Valkyrie Profile Lenneth it's possible for Lucian to end up happy with his childhood friend Platina, if you get the Golden Ending. In fact, since Platina is now Lenneth Valkyrie and the new All-Mother, this may well be Eternal Love.
  • World of Warcraft: Malfurion and Tyrande fall into this category; Malfurion's brother Illidan, however, is of the unlucky variety, and went crazy because of it.
  • 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.
  • Tia from Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals: she leaves the party when Maxim marries Selan because simply seeing him would cause her pain.
  • 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.
  • The Unlucky Childhood Friend variant is a running theme in the World of Mana:
  • 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.
    • 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. — except in Nijiiro no Seishun and Irodori no Love Song where Saki and Ayako are the respective heroines and main interest of the protagonist. all the other media treat the pairing as the Golden Ending, including 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 is the 100% canon one in the main series:
    Yuu: there is a certain woman I have long since admired. She is wise, beautiful, athletic, gentle and kind... And right beside her, there was always a kind looking man. They always seemed so happy... it was lovely to see. One day, I asked her. How did your romance together first begin? And that was the first time I heard of the legend of the tree told in this [Kirameki High] school. On her graduation day, she confessed her love to him right under this tree, and that started their romance. Ever since that day, I thought, I too wanted to find someone wonderful and confess my love to them under this tree.
    • This trope is also very important in the second game: The protagonist was childhood friends with several of the girls, but had to move away years ago and they were all heartbroken upon that. These ladies are: Hikari Hinomoto (main protagonist), Kasumi Asou, Akane Ichimonji, Homura Akai, Mei Iijyuin, Miho Shirayuki and Miyuki Kotobuki. It's specially bad in the case of Akane, since that is the actual reason why her super protective older brother Kaoru, the infamous Sou-Banchou hates the protagonist so much.
  • In Harvest Moon "Back to Nature" (For Girl), "Friends of Mineral Town", or "More Friends of Mineral Town", Rick and Karen are a rival pairing but you can marry Karen (boy versions) or Rick(girl versions) thus making one of them this if you marry them. You can also get them married.
    • Also, "Back to Nature"'s version for boys is especially notable because it includes a backstory for the male player character in which he met a girl and played with her as children. This is an unusual case, however, because you learn this in a flashback and the flashback is deliberately designed to not make it clear who this is, since the little girl in the flashback has features that look like they could belong to any of the girls. And guess what? No matter which girl you romance, that girl will always turn out to have been whoever it was you played with as a little boy.
  • 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. Even if you put Leena in your party at every opportunity, she still gets no attention from her boyfriend! 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.
  • Siskier in Blaze Union, except in the C route/Nessiah route/Soltier route. Said situation unfortunately leaves Jenon the Unlucky Childhood Friend to her instead.
  • Adele is an one-sided example for L'Arc in Arc Rise Fantasia. She doesn't take it well.
  • Lone Wanderer 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 (their entire community is well aware, and one of whom, Groose, even harbours extreme jealousy over it) and there are hints of deeper feelings between the two, both in the game and in the marketing material. The end of the game doesn't state whether they choose to be a couple, but it does end with them choosing to stay together.
  • 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~.
  • York and Miko in the true ending of Cross Edge.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2 this is implied to be the case by other villagers between the Player Character and either Bevil Starling (if you're female) or Amie Fern (if male). Amie is abruptly killed off at the start of the game, while Bevil leaves the party after helping you retrieve a Plot Coupon from a ruin in the swamp.
  • RPG:Shooter Starwish has the protagonist Deuce work as a pirate with a crew. His childhood friend Tessa serves as the ship medic. Whether or not she is victorious depends on the player.
  • Mortimer and Bella Goth, a married couple in The Sims, are revealed to have been friends since childhood in the prequel, The Sims 3.
  • The main character in Queen's Tales: The Beast and the Nightingale has a childhood friend named Dorian who keeps sending her love letters despite the fact that she doesn't feel the same way.

    Visual Novels 
  • 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.
  • Kei from ef - a tale of memories is Hiro's childhood friend who has a crush on him.
  • Yoh from Saya no Uta is Fuminori's childhood friend who has a crush on him. Losing him to Saya, however, is the least of poor Yoh's various horrors and troubles.
  • Kanon: Childhood love interests are the theme of the harem (with the notable exception of Shiori, which is why it's recommended players finish Shiori's route first, since you don't learn about any childhood friends in her route).
  • 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 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, even more so because she lived with him for most of the series EVERYONE becomes a Victorious Childhood Friend if you choose Tsubomi in Essence+ although it's 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. 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.
  • 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'.
  • Three of the five main heroines in Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai are Childhood Friends. Miyako, in particular, is the Patient Childhood Love Interest, to whom Yamato has been maintaining a Just Friends stance to for the last several years, despite her being rather pushy about it.
  • In Little Busters!, the main heroine, Rin, is part of a group of very close childhood friends the protagonist has belonged 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.
  • Dreamy Days In West Tokyo revolves almost entirely around love between childhood friends. The Player Character returns to her old neighborhood after ten years and reconnects with the boys she used to be friends with as a little girl, causing old crushes to revive into full-blown romance.
  • Morenatsu has this, as all potential love interests save one are all childhood friends of the player. Justified that it's been five years since the player last saw his friends, as he moved away to the city back when he and his friends were in early puberty. Some of them even had crushes on him back then before he left, and the rest (including the player) start to harbor feelings over the course of the game.
  • Lamune: After a series of She Is Not My Girlfriend, Kenji and Nanami do end up together.
  • True Love Junai Monogatari: This is what happens if the PC gets together with Mikae Morikawa, whom he has known since kindergarten and had a sort-of Childhood Marriage Promise with.

    Web Comics 
  • Played straight in Divine Bells with No-Woo's childhood crush on Mu-Hyang.
  • Fox and Collin of Boy Meets Boy and Friendly Hostility, who still commonly refer to one another as best friends. Although not so much in Other People's Business.
  • Played with 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.
  • When Axe Cop was still in fighting school, he had a secret crush on the then-Water Princess. It was so secret, he didn't even realize it until he was grown up. And since he was 100% compatible with every woman in the universe, of course the feeling was mutual.
    Axe Cop: Oh yeah... I'm in love with the Water Queen. I better ask her on a date.

    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe qualifies. Jadis' 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...
  • Parodied in Doppelgänger with Lisa
    Victor: You know, maybe what I always really wanted was right here... *leans into kiss Lisa*

    Western Animation 
  • The Flintstones: Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm have known each other from infancy - and their relationship, ultimately, ends up in marriage.
  • Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable (pictured above). The biggest roadblock to Kim's and Ron's Relationship Upgrade, mostly for Ron (it's one of the reasons he decided not to risk it during Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama) was their long friendship. 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.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender : Mai had a crush on Zuko when they were kids; there's a flashback to show it. She's still interested in him during the main narrative and he, ultimately, reciprocates.
    • 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.
  • In Teacher's Pet Leonard and Leslie who have been best friends since they were babies. Leonard fell in love with her first and Leslie started to fall for him in season 2. In the movie, they kiss on the lips and they finally end up together.
  • 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.
  • Danny and Sam of Danny Phantom, who have been friends since second grade with an obvious attraction to each other.
  • Word of God states that Manny and Frida of El Tigre become this sometime after high school. This is to be expected as the show was created by a husband-and-wife team who made the show from experiences they had when they were younger.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Candace and Jeremy who met in late elementary school.
    • It's been stated (in-universe, not Word of God. Time-travel was involved) that Isabella is going to marry either Phineas or Ferb. All three of them are "less than 15."
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles example: Although the details are glossed over, this is what apparently occurred between Hamato Yoshi and Tang Shen -unfortunately for them.
  • Jonesy Garcia and Nikki Wong 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.
  • Tootie and Timmy become this in The Fairly Oddparents' Live-Action Adaptation, A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner!.
    • Timmy's parents themselves are this. Though Timmy's mom had been with Dinkleburg until their college years, when he dumped her.
  • The Simpsons: Homer and Marge met when they were children. They are an interesting case, in that neither realized that they had met as children until long after they were married. Both thought that they had met in their senior year of high school.
  • 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.
  • ThunderCats (2011): Tygra and Cheetara because the former did something sweet for the later during her Darkest Hour. She never forgot it.
  • 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.
  • Atomic Betty: Noah has a long-standing crush on his best friend, the titular character. 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.
  • Young Justice:
    • Aqualad 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. He he understood and wished them the best.
    • Barbara Gordon is described as "Dick Grayson's oldest friend," and her single line of dialogue in season one was getting annoyed when he paid attention to another girl. The tie-in comic delves into this a little further, showing that she did confess to him on his fourteenth birthday, which immediately cuts to them kissing on his nineteenth birthday. We know that Dick's had several relationships during that five year gap (one starting exactly 31 days after that confession) and they're not explicitly a couple, because Dick, at nineteen, isn't ready to settle down and Barbara knows it, but there is an understanding that they love each other.
  • 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.
  • It's the Word of God that this happened to Wicket and Kneesaa from Ewoks long after the series' ending, long after Return of the Jedi, even.

    Real Life 
  • 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).
  • Saint Elisabeth of Hungary and her husband Louis IV of Thuringia. They double as Perfectly Arranged Marriage: they were engaged by their parents as kids, Elisabeth went to live with Louis's family as a little girl, and they fell in love as they grew up. He died few years later, though, and Rebellious Princess Elisabeth went to great lengths to not be forced into an Arranged Marriage (even threatening to disfigure herself).
  • 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 federal 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.
  • Incumbent Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met his future wife Svetlana Vladimirovna Medvedeva when they were in middle school. They married after finishing their studies. They're still together.
  • 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 21st 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.
  • John Quincy Adams met his wife Louisa when she was four and he was twelve. He met her again when she was 22. They were married shortly thereafter.
  • 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.


Balanced HaremUnrequited Love TropesCommitment Issues
All Guys Want Sorority WomenAdministrivia/Pages Needing Example ContextCloudcuckoolander
Cherry BlossomsLove TropesChildhood Marriage Promise
Childhood FriendsFriendship TropesCloudcuckoolander's Minder
Unkempt BeautyTomboyWholesome Crossdresser
Chewing the SceneryCharacterization TropesChildren Are Innocent
Important HaircutLiterature/Take Back The SkiesArranged Marriage
Cheerful ChildYoungstersChild Mage
Jerkass WoobieOverdosed TropesOur Vampires Are Different
Bonus EpisodeImageSource/Western AnimationChunky Updraft

alternative title(s): Unlucky Childhood Friend; Victorious Childhood Friend; Childhood Friend Love Interest; Childhood Sweetheart
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