"Sometimes a guy needs a pal out of the locker room."
Part of the storytelling method is to make a character relatable to the audience. The audience would like
to be relatable to the hero because who doesn't want Phenomenal Cosmic Powers and to get the girl (or guy)?
But since we're mundanes, the Muggle Best Friend is our relatable character — an ordinary person drawn into the hero's extraordinary world.
They have no super powers, no magic, no Applied Phlebotinum
. But despite the danger, they're loyal and will stick to the side of their heroic best friend no matter what the Call to Adventure
may throw in the hero's path. They are frequently Secret Keepers
and can be Plucky Comic Relief
They represent the tie that the character still has to their original, pre-super life. They will usually interact with the main character's family, friends and Love Interest
even when the hero is unable to. They are most common in shows where The Hero
does not have a Five-Man Band
- if they do they will be overshadowed as the position of Best Friend tends to go to The Lancer
, but might still serve a background function. At some point they will be held hostage by the villain and they are often in the risk of getting Killed Off for Real
to provide The Hero
with a reason for revenge
Note that the key trait of the character is that they are a piece of the character's former life and so they do not exclusively appear supporting superheroes or magical beings, but simply shows when the hero moves into a different league after receiving the Call to Adventure
Also, Love Interests
can also be Muggle Best Friends, and will provide a good reason to be equally worried about your secret life and your normal life, especially if you are on a Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World
schedule. The Chick
can also double as Muggle Best Friend. In circumstances like these, an Understanding Boyfriend
may come into play.
Occasionally you will have the Muggle Best Friend wish for powers so they aren't always a liability or potential hostage; they usually end up with powers that last for one episode only
— just so they realize being normal is cool enough on its own, or that having powers isn't as cool as it's cracked up to be. For flavor, fits of jealousy brought on by I Just Want to Be Special
may pop up and strain things between them before The Power of Friendship
reasserts. Once in a while, the friend will leave the trope when they acquire some sort of metahuman abilities.
May cross over and into Badass Normal
territory, but mainly Muggle Best Friends are just ordinary people. Related to A Boy And His X, obviously, especially when the X is super powered. May act as the Audience Surrogate
. More than one may team up to become Those Two Guys
. Compare Fantastically Indifferent
and Unwitting Muggle Friend
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Anime and Manga
- Naru, and to a lesser degree Umino from Sailor Moon. Specially meaningful in the R season of the first anime, where it's implied that Naru may have graduated into Secret Keeper - she at least knows Usagi is into something very important, though she may not know why.
- Similarly, in "Codename: Sailor V" we had Minako's best friend Hikaru, who bore an uncanny resemblance to Sailor Mercury and showed greater courtesy and common sense than her friend. (At one point, after Minako had lied about her age to participate in a blood drive for the sole purpose of receiving juice in exchange for her contributions, an aggravated Artemis pleasurably envisioned a scenario where the responsible Hikaru had alternately been chosen as Sailor V instead, and how much easier his life would be as a result).
- In the live-action series, Motoki is also this to Mamoru (as well as Makoto's Muggle Love Interest).
- Cardcaptor Sakura has Tomoyo, and in the anime Meiling.
- Miyako to Maron/Jeanne from Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne. Unlike the other examples, Miyako is also an antagonist to her because Jeanne is a thief and Miyako helps her police father to arrest her. In the manga however, she knows all along that Maron is Jeanne and she protects her by intentionally failing to catch her.
- Gunslinger Girl has Claes, sorta. She's also one of the Cyborgs, but becomes this when she cannot go into missions anymore avter the death of her handler and learning that she's got a weak heart.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has Alisa and Suzuka. Eventually phased out come the third season and beyond, when The Hero decided to move out of earth.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica has surprisingly, the titular character Madoka herself. The series is a tug of war between Kyubey (for) and Homura (against) over whether she turns magical girl.
- In Ultra Maniac, Nina Sakura, a Cute Witch, transfers into a normal school in the human world, and meets Ayu, the one who would fit this trope. She befriends her (though at first, Ayu was annoyed by Nina), Ayu finds herself being the target of Nina's many (failed attempts) of helpful magic.
- Mai of Mai-HiME has Chie and Aoi, two girls who are never aware of or involved in the Himes' conflicts.
- In Bleach, Mizuiro, Keigo and Tatsuki. And to a lesser degree Chizuru, Ryo, Mahana and Michiru. Not so muggle in the case of the first group, however.
- Orito from Is This a Zombie?
- Kazumi from Shakugan no Shana.
- Noein has Ai, Isami, and Miho.
- Kazumi to Devilman Lady.
- Furuichi in Beelzebub until he gets tissues allowing to call one of the Behemoth Squad or Behemoth himself who empowers him.
- Manta from Shaman King is this to Yoh.
- Sayori to Yuuki from Vampire Knight.
- This trope must be the reason why Saten's role is expanded in the anime adaptation of A Certain Scientific Railgun.
- Miku to Hibiki in Senki Zesshou Symphogear. Until the second season where she gets her own Symphogear.
- Onoda to Naruko in Yowamushi Pedal since the start of the series.
- Kuroko to Kagami in Kurokono Basuke
- Seiji to the titular heroines of Happiness Charge Pretty Cure.
- Moe and Miwa from Tokyo Mew Mew are this to Magical Girl Warrior Ichigo.
- Tokyo Ghoul has several.
- Hide becomes this to Kaneki, and is kept in the dark about his friend's transformation into a Half-Human Hybrid. Then it turns out, he knew almost the entire time and didn't care.
- Yoriko for Touka, who is desperate to keep her human friend from learning the truth about her.
- While Tsukiyama refers to her as his "pet", Chie manages to be his only known friend. Unlike the other examples in the series, she knows he's a Ghoul and doesn't care.
- Agent Abigail Summers of the ISA is this to Oberon. Dr. Morgan Flaye is this to Oberon as well at NGT in the science fiction series, Alterien.
- Cherise is the Muggle Best Friend to Joanna Baldwin in the Weather Wardens series as of Windfall, and the Love Interest of Kevin as of Thin Air.
- Laura is the Muggle Best Friend to Kate in the Adventures of a Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series, and she's the self-titled Sidekick as well. Even after reading the first book, it's clear that Laura's daughter Mindy will be the Muggle Best Friend to Kate's daughter Allie when Allie ends up trained to follow in Mom's footsteps.
- Dillard from The Kingdom Keepers, though unlike most examples he's largely left out of the loop.
- Bella's friends Angela, Jessica, Mike, Eric, Ben (Angela's boyfriend), and Katie (Eric's girlfriend) in Twilight. The last two are cut from the films. Angela is the one Bella is closest to
- In the start of the Codex Alera series, Tavi is the only person who can be one of these to everyone he meets, since he is the only character who has no nifty elemental-control Furies. He prospers being a Guile Hero, by inspiring loyalty and through alliances. Later in the series he gains a little something a powerful Fury, Alera herself. When combined with his high intelligence and Training from Hell, well, suffice it to say he is justifiably lionized as the greatest First Lord, ever.
- In the Wings Quartet, David and Chelsea are this to Laurel, a faerie (which in this universe is the same as a Plant Person).
- Lampshaded in Dan Shamble Zombie PI, in which Officer McGoo is Chambeaux's BHF (Best Human Friend}.
- Mostly averted in the Harry Potter series. Harry has no muggle best friends, and wizards are supposed to keep their magic secret from muggles. However, a few of the supporting characters do have a muggle best friend or two. For instance, Arbella Figg is this to the Order of the Phoenix, and Hermione's parents are implied to be muggle best friends of Arthur Weasley. Muggle family and spouses of witches and wizards are implied to normally fill this role, though Aunt Petunia is a subversion, as she hates all magic due to jealousy of the attention her sister got for being a witch. Dudley is a double subversion, as he starts out being a bully to Harry, but they reconcile at the beginning of the 7th book, and remain on "Christmas card terms" throughout adulthood.
Live Action TV
- On Wizards of Waverly Place: Harper to Alex. Zeke to Justin. Theresa to Jerry.
- Arthur to Merlin on Merlin. Merlin is a powerful warlock with extraordinary powers and abilities while Arthur is a human who possesses no superhuman powers but instead, is royalty.
- Chloe to Clark on Smallville (Until she develops her own powers). Before Chloe, it was Pete Ross.
- The Scooby Gang in Buffy (until Willow develops magic powers of her own). Xander retains this role all the way through the televised run of the series even as other characters grow beyond it.
- Teen Wolf:
- Stiles is this to Scott and the rest of Derek's pack. He's the only one in their whole group that doesn't have any combat training or some type of supernatural powers.
Matt: "Werewolves, hunters, kanimas. Itís like a frickiní Halloween party every full moon. Except for you, Stiles. What do you turn into?"
Stiles: "Abominable snowman, but itís more of a wintertime thing. You know, seasonal."
- Lydia is initially this to Allison, as she doesn't have combat training and is unaware of Allison's double life. Subverted when it's revealed that between the two of them it's Lydia with supernatural powers.
- Virtually every companion ever on Doctor Who, with the exceptions of fellow Time Lord Romana, half- Time Lord River Song, time-traveling immortal Jack Harkness and girl with a crack in time inside her head Amy Pond. Most of them are young (the exceptions being Adelaide, Donna and Donna's grandpa Wilfred) and human or humanoid, with no special powers. Even the aliens (Adric, Nyssa, Turlough) are fairly normal - they might be smart, but nothing beyond a Brainy Brunette or The Smart Guy.
- Ando on Heroes... until he got powers of his own. (Sensing a pattern here?).
- Claire had Zach who had no powers, and later, Gretchen before their Relationship Upgrade
- Peter has Hesam
- And lastly Noah Bennet could've been The Haitian's powerless pal.
- Partial example: Teen Genius Doogie Howser's best friend Vinnie, a guy of average intelligence that helps him relate to the world of normal teenagers.
- George and Katie from No Ordinary Family. (Until she got a super powered baby who sometimes lets her use the powers, and he got put on the 'Super Powered Crash Test' plane in the last episode.)
- Maria Deluca from Roswell. Also Liz and Kyle until they began to develop powers of their own.
- Keely Teslow to Phil on Phil of the Future, though she quickly became the Love Interest as well.
- On Grimm, both Hank and Juliette can be this to Nick.
- Robin is this to Vlad in Young Dracula, although he is definitely in the I Just Want to Be Special camp.
- Kenzi to Bo in Lost Girl.
- In Worm, there are two:
- Emma Barnes is this for Shadow Stalker i.e. Sophia Hess.
- Kevin Norton is this for Scion i.e. Zion.
- Lester of Angel Of Death is this for Cody.
- Static Shock had Richie, Virgil's best friend — but it became subverted when in the third season they upgraded Richie to Bang Baby as well.
- Spud and Trixie to Jake from American Dragon Jake Long. Spud had his A Day in the Limelight episode as a frog boy.
- Tucker and Sam to Danny on Danny Phantom. Tucker got ghost powers for one episode. Sam got plant powers for one episode.
- Frida to El Tigre. She actually stole the El Tigre belt to go out as La Tigresa to satisfy her wish to be special too.
- Brad and Tucker to XJ-9.
- Rainbow Brite had a boy from Earth that she was friends with. His name was Brian, and he was the only human able to see her.
- Most of the human friends in various Transformers media.
- Subverted in Transformers Animated, Sari appears to be this. She is, in fact, a cybertronian protoform in a human alt-form.
- So far, Noah from Generator Rex is this to the titular Evo.
- Gwen from series 1 Ben 10 until she got her Lucky Girl powers and then began studying magic.
- In the Darkstalkers cartoon, Victor had a Muggle friend named Klaus.
- Though having super powers in the Avatar universe is not uncommon, you still couldn't call the people without powers a minority. Sokka is the most obvious example for this, being surrounded by a little girl with earth powers, a sister with water powers and an omnipotent bald child. Unless you count throwing a boomerang and comic relief as super powers.
- Tommy Anybody to Mr. Bogus.
- Barbie CGI movies often have this.
- Noah in Atomic Betty.
- In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Marco Diaz is this to the eponymous princess Star Butterfly.