"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.
— Midge, Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse
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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 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, trained at the same dojo, and Tatsuki recalls how much his mother's death affected his family. Ichigo, most of all. Though she eventually laments how much they've grown apart over the yearsnote , due to Ichigo gradually shutting her out.
- 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.
- 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 anohana: 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.
- Maken-ki!: Takeru has known both Haruko and Inaho since childhood; albeit at different times:
- Takeru knows Haruko from the time they spent together at his father's dojo, where they used to spar. Haruko developed a crush on him during that time, but she refuses to admit it.
- In Inaho's case, Takeru was her only friend as a kid, because her father was strict with her out of fear that she'd leave him. So the time they spent together is an important memory for her.
- 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.
- Variable Geo: The OVA depicts Yuka and Satomi as having grown up together as sparring partners at her grandfather's dojo. They've drifted apart over the years, but their bond remains as strong as ever.
- 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:
- Sheryl Rainsworth and Rufus Barma swore to work together to prevent another Tragedy of Sablier from occurring, even if their respective families' interests ever came in conflict. Rufus is also her Unlucky Childhood Friend and kept asking for her hand in marriage from their student years to present time. Sheryl is in her seventies and married to someone else, but as Rufus puts it, "a divorce can fix that!"
- Gilbert and Ada Vessalius, who have known each other since they were nine and three years old respectively, are Like Brother and Sister. Ada is the only member of the Vessalius family Gilbert didn't hide from after betraying the Vessalius by becoming a Nightray. His motive for said betrayal was to rescue Oz, Ada's older brother, from the Abyss, so it was only ever a betrayal from his point of view.
- 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 Is the Order a Rabbit?, since they both live right next to each other.
- Two pairs in Tonari no Kashiwagi-san, Kotone and Sayaka, and Yuuto and Kazuki have known each other since they were small.
- Cross Ange has Ange and Momoka who were raised together ever since the latter met the former and already knew she was a Norma.
- In The Asterisk War, Amigiri Ayato and Sasamiya Saya knew each other since they were kids but lost contact with each other when Saya's family moved 6 years prior. They reunite the day after Ayato transferred to Seidoukan Academy (they would have reunited much sooner but Saya slept in that day and missed school).
- In the 6th volume, we learn that Julis-Alexia van Riessfeld and Orphelia Landlufen were this as well.
- Jurai and Hatoko of When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace have known each other since elementary school and supported each other the whole time.
- In Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata, Tomoya and Eriri bonded through their shared otaku interests in their elementary school years. While events caused a rift in their relationship for some time, they still help each other out when they're in high school.
- Akina and Chigusa of Shinozaki-san Ki wo Ota Shika ni! are shown to have been friends since preschool and are still close even though they now go to different high schools.
- Your Lie in April features few example:
- Watari, Kousei, and Tsubaki, who have known each other since they were kids.
- Emi and Takeshi who've known each other ever since they started competing in piano competitions as children.
- There are three sets of childhood friends in Mahou Sensei Negima!, two of them fall under Childhood Friend Romance, but there's one that (mostly) lacks any romantic subtext:
- When Ayaka first met her in preschool, Asuna was an Emotionless Girl since she had her memory wiped after spending at least 150 years as a living weapon. So Ayaka attacked her and it defined their relationship ever since. Near the end of the manga Asuna says that meeting Ayaka was "the best luck she ever had" and Ayaka lived to 115 out of sheer willpower when Asuna had to go away for 100 years.
- In Pokémon XY, Ash finds himself meeting up again with Serena, a girl he met when he was younger.
- Dawn, Leona, and Kenny have known each other since Kindergarten.
- The four main boys (minus the newcomer) in Kimi to Boku have known each other since Youchien (Japan's Kindergarten).
- Nanoha, Fate, and Hayate from Lyrical Nanoha met when they were nine, so by the time of StrikerS they're referred to as childhood friends. Although, Nanoha and Fate's relationship technically falls into a different category.
- Nanoha had also been friends with Arisa and Suzuka for several years before she met Fate.
- In The Matrix/Supernatural crossover Hunting Series there's Dean, Sam and Tom after John Winchester saved Tom from vampires. It really starts after the three boys play tag around the Impala setting them to be friends for life.
- Bolin and Asami in Forced To Be A Family. They meet when Hiroshi stops by the police department to identify a suspect in his wife's murder and brings Asami along with him, and Bolin (living at the station as Lin's charge) invites her to play a few games of "Avatar".
- In the Naruto fanfic, Wind Monk Banishment, Fuu and Shibuki have known each other since childhood and remain close. He's probably the only person Fuu respects and considers a dear person next to Naruto.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- Thor: The Dark World. As it turns out, Thor and Sif have been close friends since childhood, with Sif having developed romantic feelings for him (implied in the first film and now confirmed) and platonic feelings from his end (or possibly unrealized romantic feelings, as it's also been confirmed that there will be a Love Triangle between Thor, Sif, and Jane in the sequel).
Jaimie Alexander:' She cares about him. They grew up together, you know?
- The Flatbush Four in Last Vegas
- Alex Stewart and Rosie Dunne in the movie adaption of "Love Rosie".
- 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.
- Though the two actually met as first-year midshipmen at Saganami Island and not as children, Michelle Henke otherwise fills this role for Honor Harrington; when Henke is introduced in The Short Victorious War, she is quickly established as Honor's oldest and closest friend. Though the two spend months and even years apart — and endure reciprocal cases of Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated — their friendship is a running thread throughout all subsequent novels; Honor is always at her easiest and most uninhibited with Michelle, no matter how many other close friends she makes throughout her life.
- In The Hunger Games, Delly Carwright and Peeta are of the Like Brother and Sister variety.
- 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.
- Doctor Who:
- The Doctor and the Master were grew up together on Gallifrey and were close friends. It ended badly, but occasionally they are still on Friendly Enemy terms.
- Amusingly deconstructed with Runcible in "The Deadly Assassin" - he and the Doctor were apparently schoolfriends and are still reflexively fond of each other, but when they try talking together their conversation is comically awkward and they have little in common, in a very school reunion-type manner. They mostly make awkward small talk about how many times the Doctor has regenerated and try to avoid meeting each other's eyes.
- In Brooklyn Nine-Nine Detective Jake Peralta and Gina Linetti, the precinct civilian administrator, grew up together as kids. This doubles as an Actor Allusion, as Andy Samberg (Jake) and Chelsea Peretti (Gina) also were childhood friends.
- In Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Mac and Charlie have been friends since childhood.
- Clarke Griffin and Wells Jaha from The 100 have been friends since they were little.
- Subverted in New Dynamic English, where the mysterious "brother" who unintentionally harassed Max on the phone is actually Bobby King, Max's childhood friend. Max and Bobby were close friends to the point where they called themselves brothers until Max was about five years old, when Bobby moved away (most likely to New York).
- Advanced V.G.: As in their OVA portrayal, Yuka Takeuchi and her best friend, Satomi Yajima, have known each other since childhood. They grew up together as sparring partners at her grandfather's dojo and have been competing against each other for just as long.
- 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".
- Xenoblade: Shulk, Reyn, and Fiora have all known each other since childhood, having grown up together in Colony 9. While Shulk and Reyn are best friends, he developed romantic feelings towards Fiora. Which her older brother, Dunban, heartily approves of.
- The Legend of Zelda: The nature of Link's relation to Zelda varies with each game, with most portraying them as acquaintances, or simply comrades-in-arms. While in others, such as The Minish Cap and Skyward Sword, they're cast as childhood friends with hints of a romance between them.
- 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.
- 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.
- Skies of Acadia: Legends: Aika was one of the orphans taken in by Vyse's father, when she was a child. So she and Vyse have known each other since then, and have an unshakable bond. Though they avert the Westermarck Effect, as it's subtly implied that Aika may have a crush on him.
- L'Arc with Alf and Adele in Arc Rise Fantasia.
- 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.
- Shiki is also this with the maids Hisui and Kohaku. Also, Akiha except she is his sister even though she's not really his sister.
- 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.
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!
- 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:
- 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.
- This is Mayuri's and Okabe's relationship in Steins;Gate. While they care deeply for each other (to the point that Okabe nearly kills himself by repeatedly time jumping trying to avert her death), there's practically no sexual tension between them, and they never speak of each other in romantic terms. If asked, they will refer to Mayuri as Okabe's "hostage", a sort of in-joke reference to one of his Mad Scientist rants when they were younger.
- The girls in My Harem Heaven Is Yandere Hell are this to Yuuya. Since this is a Yandere Romance Game, things will go downhill.
- Subaru and Saki are this in Yandere I Love You So I Want To Kill You. Subaru takes advantage of her already established feelings and gets her to have sex with him.
- 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.
- Prince Of Cats: Lee and Frank met in second grade and have been inseparable ever since.
- Vampire Cheerleaders features a crossover childhood friendship between Stephanie Kane (the protagonist of Paranormal Mystery Squad) and Layla Delacroix (from Eerie Cuties). Which came about as a result of Ascended Fanon, since both have emotive skull hairpins. As it turns out, it was coincidental, but Adam Arnold (the author of PMS) collaborated with Giselle Legace and David Lumsdon (the co-writers of Eerie Cuties and Magick Chicks) and made it so Layla had a matching set of hairpins as a child and had given one to Stephanie as a parting gift.
- Georgia, Rita, Ean, Siggi and Jen in Fine Sometimes Rain grew up together and have been close friends since childhood.
- Gaea and Golgotha in Noob. Gaea may have since become a Dirty Coward Con Woman, but you'll have to deal with quite the Big Sister Instinct if you dare lay a hand on her while Golgotha is online.
- In The Most Popular Girls in School, a number of the main and recurring cast have known each other since the Third Grade, or for some, earlier than that. It would be much more appropriate to say that some pairs are Childhood Vitriolic Best Buds.
- It's revealed in Grojband that Trina and Mina have known each other since Kindergarten.
- 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.
- Motorcity. According to the Motorcity bible, Julie and Claire (who appear to be this their mid-to-late teens) have been best friends since kindergarten.
- Candace and Stacy in Phineas and Ferb. They have shared an enduring friend relationship. It is unknown when they met or how they became friends. What is known is that their relationship can be traced as far back as the third grade, when they were trying to impress a boy named Billy Clarke.
- In Sixteen, the main cast (minus Caitlin) have been friends since Kindergarten.
- Rhett & Link
- Tom Kenny and Bobcat Goldthwait
- In the ice dancing world, Meryl Davis & Charlie White have been partners (and friends) since they were eight.
- Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir even "dated" when they were 7 & 9.
- According to The Lonely Island's Youtube, they met in Junior High.
- Mathias Nygård and Jussi Wickström, the vocalist and guitar player for Finnish metal band Turisas, met as young teenagers.
- Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of N*E*R*D met when they were 12, according to The Other Wiki.