"I've known Barbie since we were in matching cribs!"
There are many kinds of friendship: work friends, school friends, drinking buddies and more. Yet one of the very closest types of friendship is that of Childhood Friends. Before you have to worry about the shock of betrayal or the possibility of romance, this is the friend that will always have your back. No one knows you better than them. And it shows when childhood friends are treated more intimately or are trusted more than other friends.
Supertrope of Childhood Friend Romance
, Patient Childhood Love Interest
, Beleaguered Childhood Friend
, Forgotten First Meeting
and Forgotten Friend, New Foe
Contrast Old Flame Fizzle
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Anime & Manga
- Slice of life series oriented toward male audiences particularly love to use the childhood friend, as a stock character archetype, typically either as The Lancer or Patient Childhood Love Interest. This is especially in cases of the latter, which bring prominence to the fact that the characters are childhood friends more often than the former.
- Nagi, Sakuya, Wataru and Isumi are all childhood friends in Hayate the Combat Butler. While Wataru does like Isumi, for the most part it's entirely platonic. A large portion of the cast dynamics revolves around their relationships together. And surrounding them is their families and how they interact. In fact, they seem to be Generation Xeroxes to an extent, though their parents are very minor characters.
- Reinhard von Lohengramm and Siegfried Kircheis in Legend of the Galactic Heroes had a bromance as epic as the title of the show. Their shared childhood memories were commonly shown in flashbacks.
- Lelouch and Suzaku in Code Geass. Basically the only reason why Lelouch didn't brainwash or kill him early on.
- At some point, Lelouch says, "You're the only one I didn't want to use the geass on," referring to Suzaku, and the reason he did it was to force Suzaku to save himself (when he's planning to sacrifice himself to take down Zero), other than that one time Lelouch doesn't care who he brainwashes (including his own sister, who is supposedly the reason he's trying to change the world), Childhood Friend Romance maybe?
- Ichigo and Tatsuki are childhood friends. They grew up together, attended the same dojo together and Tatsuki bore witness to, and was affected by, the huge impact Masaki's death had on Ichigo's family and, in particular, Ichigo himself.
- Rukia and Renji ran with a gang during their childhood years in the Rukongai 78th District. Once their three friends died, they travelled together to Seireitei to train to become shinigami whereupon events separated them for over forty years before their friendship was able to be renewed at the end of the Soul Society arc. Renji was inspired by Ichigo's strength to turn traitor to Soul Society and help Ichigo save Rukia from the executioner's block as a result of his childhood friendship with Rukia.
- Hitsugaya and Hinamori are childhood friends of the brother/sister type. Since blood families are almost unheard of in the Rukongai, families of adopted strangers spring up instead. One old woman in the 1st District became a grandmother to both Hitsugaya and Hinamori and raised them together. Hitsugaya's conflict with Aizen becomes more personal than the conflict between Aizen and other captains because of Aizen's exploitation of Hinamori and Hitsugaya's desire to protect her. This gets much, much worse before it gets better.
- Gin and Rangiku were childhood friends in the Rukongai. Gin found Rangiku collapsed and offered her food. From that day, they travelled together until they became shinigami. Gin joined Aizen on a century long quest for vengeance because of a past attack by Aizen on Rangiku which was what led to her collapsed state when she and Gin first met.
- Ryuuken Ishida and Kanae Katagiri were introduced to each other as very young children. Kanae was supposed to be Ryuuken's personal servant and bodyguard, but they were so close that, by the time they'd reached their late teens, she was also his battle partner and confidante. This is a Childhood Friend Romance, as Kanae is the Missing Mom of Ryuuken's son, Uryuu. Her tragic death is implied to be one of the biggest reasons for why Ryuuken hates Quincies and doesn't want Uryuu to be one.
- Kyouko and Sho in Skip Beat! were friends in childhood, and know each other just as one would expect with all those years of experience....although calling them "friends" currently would be something of a mistake.
- Grizzly Bear and Polar Bear of Shirokuma Cafe have known each other since they were cubs. Polar Bear's laid-back personality and fondness for trolling his friends plays off beautifully against Grizzly's more tempestuous and grumpy personality.
- Tabe-chan, Sanae, and Mizuki from Popcorn Avatar.
- In Tamako Market, not only is Mochizou a childhood friend of Tamako, he is also the son of the owner of Rice Cake Oh! Zee and thus works for the competition. No, they aren't really in a romance yet, although Mochizou seems to have some interest in Tamako.
- Hiyori and Manabe in Kotoura-san. Hiyori is interested in Manabe, but Manabe sees her as just a friend. And quite a bit less than that after he found out that she was responsible for four grown men sending him to the hospital with serious injuries.
- Veronica and Carlo of Bokura no Kiseki were raised in the same monastery together.
- The entire premise of Ano Hana The Flower We Saw That Day revolves around a group of six childhood friends who drifted apart after one of them dies and years later, Menma appears as a ghost asking Jintan to have a wish granted, but she doesn't know that wish, so he gathers around his old friends to help solve his problem.
- In K-On!, Yui and Nodoka. Also, Mio and Ritsu. This becomes a bonding point between Mio and Nodoka in the second year (when they're not in the same class as Ritsu, Yui, or Tsumugi) as they compare notes on what it's like being the more responsible member of a pair of childhood friends.
- In Shinryaku! Ika Musume, Eiko says she and Goro and childhood friends, and, well, that's pretty much all there is to that. She doesn't have eyes for him, and he has eyes for her older sister.
- In Ichigo Mashimaro, Chika and Miu.
- We have Tomoe and Akura-Ou from Kamisama Kiss.
- Attack on Titan has Eren, his foster sister Mikasa, and Armin as well as Reiner and Bertolt.
- Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa and Rin from Free! were friends in elementary school until they went their separate ways when Rin went overseas to Australia to go study. When they are reunited years later, the three remaining guys saw Rin's personality changed and he declares Haruka as his rival. In the first season's final episode, Rin makes up with his old friends, which culminated in them shared a big hug at the end.
- Ryu, Shota and Chizu of Kimi ni Todoke were friends when they were a lot younger; Ryu and Chizu have been friends pretty much their entire lives.
- Lupin III Dragon Of Doom: Goemon and Kikyo, though he is a few years older at least. Sadly, she turns out to be Evil All Along.
- Pandora Hearts has two very different examples:
- In the newest and upcoming Pokémon series, Ash reunites with Serena, a girl he met when he was younger.
- In Saki, Satomi Kanbara, president of the mahjong club of Tsuruga, is childhood friends with Kaori Senoo, and knows that Kaori will join on her request that the Tsuruga team will have enough members to enter the tournament. While Kaori has no experience playing mahjong, she has incredible Beginner's Luck, and does fairly well in her round.
- Both Sena and Yozora are this to Kodaka in Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Madoka Kaname met Sayaka Miki (and to a lesser degree, Kyousuke Kamijou) in kindergarten. In primary school, Hitomi Shizuki joined them.
- Chiya and Sharo in Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka?, since they both live right next to each other.
- Marco and Jake in Animorphs.
- One of Larry's regrets in The Stand was how he ruined a childhood friendship by quibbling over a small amount of money when he knew perfectly well he was wrong. It's one of the memories he holds to convince himself that he 'aint no nice guy.' We never see his friend in the present (he probably died in the superflu pandemic), but it clearly bothers Larry at how pointlessly selfish he was and how he lost a really good friend over it.
- Derek and Laura of the web-novel Domina. She moved away years ago for reasons he doesn't understand—all she'll say is that its his fault.
- Cassel and Lila from White Cat by Holly Black.
- Polly Plummer and Diggory Kirke in The Chronicles of Narnia. They meet in the first book The Magicians Nephew and the final book, The Last Battle reveals they kept in contact their whole lives.
Live Action TV
- The reason Mike stuck around his poisonous best friend Trevor for so long on Suits, even after Trevor ruins his dream of becoming a lawyer, is because Trevor and Mike are each other's oldest friends.
- Monica and Rachel from Friends.
- The five friends on Disney Channel's I Didn't Do It know each other ever since when they were on third grade.
- Yuuki and Heita in Big Bang Age. Yuuki is apparently one of Heita's only real friends and the two are rather close. He's rather... surprised to learn the truth about Yuuki, too. Both are rather minor characters, though, so the relationship isn't as fleshed out as it could be.
- In the mage starter area in Dragon Age: Origins, the player character and Jowan are quickly established as having been close friends since the age of five or six — this is probably a deliberate attempt to make the player more inclined to go along with Jowan's (illegal, and questionably moral) plans and/or care about his fate later in the game. There even seems to be a possible dialogue option to defend why you placed your trust in him that is something to the effect of, "but we've been friends since we were kids".
- Alex and Kyle from The Colour Tuesday. Its the bedrock of their alliance.
- Shulk, Reyn, and Fiora from Xenoblade.
- Some of Link and Zelda's reincarnations (Minish Cap and Skyward Sword, to name two).
- Aden and Sonja, the protagonists of Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny, have been friends since birth.
- Endou and Kazemaru in Inazuma Eleven, but it's never been disclosed how long exactly. Technically a number of the members of Aliea and Little Gigant as well because they grew up together.
- In GO, Tenma and Aoi. According to the latter's seiyuu Aoi has a crush on Tenma, but it has yet to be seen or hinted at.
- From GO as well, Amagi with Mahoro and Yukie. That is, before they fell apart when Mahoro started actively avoiding Amagi. Naturally in this kind of series, they make amends.
- Shindou and Kirino too.
- Garlot, Siskier, and Jenon in Blaze Union. Both Siskier and Jenon have got some sticky feelings that complicate things, but for most of the game the three are nigh inseparable and their almost-familial friendship is an important source of emotional support for Garlot.
- Ceodore and Ursula from Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. Despite they reveal they are childhood friends, they seems only share only one scene together in the whole game. You do get to use their powerful combination attack, though.
- Kingdom Hearts has Sora, Riku and Kairi. The first two have known each other their whole lives, while the latter arrives in their hometown when she's a kid and joins them.
- Luke and Nick from The Walking Dead have been close friends for at least 20 years.
- Kouin, Yuuto, Kaori and Kyouko of Eien no Aselia fall into this. Kaori doesn't have much of the dynamic, and Kyouko is more of a romance, but Kouin and Yuuto definitely fall into this. The third chapter focuses around Kouin and Kyouko equally with the main plot of the entire world blowing up.
- Phoenix Wright, Miles Edgeworth, and Larry Butz from Ace Attorney.
- Arihiko and Shiki in Tsukihime. Arihiko is one of the few people who really knows all about Shiki and understands him and the two are mostly inseparable.
- Yoshiyuki, Wataru and Koko are all childhood friends in Da Capo II. Koko's relationship with the other two gets much more complicated, but Wataru and Yoshiyuki fall straight into this intead. It's one of the factors that makes Koko's route that much more dramatic.
- In Tokimeki Memorial 2 Substories: Leaping School Festival, an Event in Homura Akai's route reveals that her grandfather Ringo and Hibikino High's headmaster Bakuretsuzan are childhood friends, and still are the best friends in the world despite the years and the fact they were (friendly) rivals for the heart of the girl who would become Homura's grandmother, in their High School time.
- And then there's Homura herself with Akane Ichimonji. The two are best friends since childhood, although Akane feels from time to time the need to take a break from Homura and avoids her, as shown in an Event in Childhood Mode. Speaking of Akane, in the 10th Drama CD, she and the protagonist, Kouichi, discuss about childhood friends:
Kouichi: Say... Ichimonji-san, do you have someone you can call a childhood friend?
Akane: Me? Mmm... Well, someone I could call as such... I'd say Homura.
Kouichi: Aah, Akai-san, huh?
Akane: Well, rather than a childhood friend, she's more like a kusare-en (a destined friend, a fatal bond) to me.
Kouichi: I see.
Akane: But, it's nice to have childhood friends.
Kouichi: Is that so?
Akane: They know each other very well, and can say everything to each other! They're like best friends, or even family!
- The original eponymous Little Busters! were made up of five childhood friends, four guys and one girl.
- Hiroki and Yanagi in Canvas 2. A later event in the story is about an attempt to repair said friendship due to some complications involving the third childhood friend that they both liked.
- In Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai we have both the Kazama Family including seven people, and the 2-S trio of Touma, Jun, and Koyuki.
- Yuuchi from Kanon has childhood friendship relationships with all female main characters, except Shiori.
- Ryouta and Hiyoko, in Hatoful Boyfriend. Ryouta even gets anxious and possessive when considering the idea that Hiyoko may grow apart from him in time.
- Penny, Sara and Michelle of Penny and Aggie have been friends since their preteen years, Penny and Sara for at least two years longer. Word of God also has it that Fred and Daphne have been best friends since childhood.
- Beniamo Cassano and Beniamo Ilmar (now known as Kang Horyang) from Tower of God, two boys who grew up together as scientific experiments.
- Also, Baam and Rachel, but their relationship was always kinda complicated.
- Lee and Frank in Prince Of Cats met in, and have inseparable since, second grade.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, this seems to be the main reason Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy are so close. They both went to flight camp together, and Dash was happy to defend Fluttershy from the bullies who would pick on her.
- Might be something of a variation, as the show kind of skirts around the topic and it's unclear how well they knew each other as kids. The first two seasons showed that Rainbow knew next to nothing about her, and Fluttershy failed to recognize one of Rainbow's old friends.
- According to the Motorcity bible, Julie and Claire (who appear to be this their mid-to-late teens) have been best friends since kindergarten.