A set of Commercials ("Belong") for Carling lager show a group of mates in fantastic situations sticking together despite the fact they're losing out on something if they didn't. For example learning the meaning of life.
Anime & Manga
Attack on Titan. During the battle against the Female Titan, Eren watches helplessly as one comrade after another is slaughtered during her onslaught. He essentially had two options: Shift into Titan form himself, charge in recklessly, possibly defeat her, albeit at the cost of compromising Erwin Smith's plan to capture her alive; or put his faith in his comrades, let the elites do what they do best, and believe in Smith and Levi and that their plan will work. End result? Levi's elites are killed off, dozens of other redshirts pile up, Eren's anger gets the better of him and he gets his ass kicked (and capture), Levi gets badly injured, and lastly the Titan escapes as Smith has no choice but to retreat.
In a sense, Berserk does this as well, as a lot of the story revolves around the importance of camaraderie, with Guts, who had been solitary for most of his life, having to rely on his comrades and other people even if he doesn't want to, but forming bonds so strong that he'll go off on a rampage when that bond is broken, specifically when his former charismatic leader/friend Griffith betrays the Band of the Hawk by making them sacrifices to the Godhand so that he could continue his selfish life dream, resulting in a nightmare-fueled bloodbath of unforgivable proportions.
Parodied in the Karakurizer fillers (anime episodes 213-214). Tessai sells the Karakurizer in episode 213 that they will defeat the hollows using the power of friendship, and they they actually do in episode 214.
Played straight at the end of anime episode 340. Kon tells Nozomi that Ichigo and his friends would save her by teaching the Big Bad Yushima "the power of friendship".
Busou Renkin. Kazuki, while defending his school from a homunculus army released by Doctor Butterfly, says that he's regaining strength by drawing on the spirits of his friends and classmates. What he (and the audience at this point) don't know at the time is exactly how literal that statement is - he's begun to draw on the life force of the people in the school, signaling that the Black Kakugane in him is beginning to awaken.
Code Geass: Lelouch salvages a potentially disastrous situation by successfully pulling off a speech about friendship and The Power of Love. The most startling is probably when he tells the Chinese Empress that she can marry for love, instead of being forced into a political marriage with one of his Black Knights.
While the girls of Deadline Summonner are already pretty powerful by themselves, they can pretty much demolish anything that comes their way when Mamoru coordinates them with the help of his Desperation Attack.
Each character in Digimon Adventure has a "crest" that ties them to a particular virtue; Most of the characters had some kind of crisis related to their crests, where they started to doubt their own virtues only to pick up an Aesop just in time for a Big Damn Heroes moment. For example, Tai tried to force a digivolution and traded courage for recklessness and hubris, then ended up with the rampaging Skull Greymon, he learned to be somewhat less reckless before Agumon reached the true ultimate stage. Also, one of the Crests is the Crest of Friendship. so.. it's the power of friendship saving the day. The digimon CAN'T digivolve really without these kids...in a sense, these kids, the bond the Digimon share with their human partners, lets them grow in power.
Duel Masters, as mentioned above, used this a lot, with Shobu's friends constantly helping him build and rebuild his deck, and regain his dueling spirit, among other things. Shobu's not the only one to take advantage of this... Hakuoh, the aloof Dragon of the first season, was subjected to Defeat Means Friendship, breaking through his shell, and he manages to defeat Shobu in their next game.
The second favorite trope of the namesake mage guild from Fairy Tail, the first one being friends. Not only the characters must rely on each other to win in this manga, hurting their friends pushes Berserk Button for more than one of them, resulting in Unstoppable Rage, directed at the villain responsible. Asskicking for justice usually ensues. One could say that it's a theme prevalent throughout the entire series and is not just limited to the namesake guild.
Flint The Time Detective has this in most if not all of the episodes with frienship not only being what is needed to void the effects of the Petra Stamp but also make the Great Clock move again and save the world.
A recurring theme in Fullmetal Alchemist (manga and Brotherhood anime), though most beautifully portrayed at the very end when Edward has his final confrontation with the Truth. He offers to exchange his ability to use alchemy in order to get his brother Alphonse's body back. When the Truth asks if he's sure he can manage without the ability, Ed replies that he knows he'll be okay because he has his friends to back him up. The Truth smiles, tells him that he's just given the right answer, and shows him how to get out with Al's body.
Fushigi Yuugi. Specifically, Nakago scornfully mentioning it and declaiming that it won't defeat him. And then it does.
Shu: The power to use my friends as weapons. This is the sinful crown I shall accept.
High School Of The Dead has a subversion. Toshimi and Misuzu's bid for BFF survivors of the apocalypse — complete with pinky promise — lasts about as long as it takes one of them to kick the other down a flight of stairs.
In the answer arcs, the protagonists believe The Power of Friendship to be the key to Screw Destiny. In that light, the question arcs can be seen as examples of what happens when the friends are broken up by suspicion and distrust.
The answer arcs of Higurashi do show that the power of friendship can help overcome anything...especially if one of your friends is the heiress to a family of Yakuza, a couple others are moles for the conspiracy, and a few more are cops who are incredibly skilled at hand-to-hand combat.
The tagline is even "Higurashi is a series about "friendship"! Friends help you move...Real friends help you move bodies!"
Early in InuYasha, it's suggested that the empathic sword Tessaiga's full power can only be unlocked if it's being used to protect a human. This quickly falls by the wayside as the plot progresses, in response to a general shift in the mindset of the title character from being only out for himself toward being more protective of others in general.
The titular character of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple believes in this...which is odd, since in the beginning the closest thing he has to a friend is the blatantly self-serving Nijima. He's clearly aware of this too, since he uses Nijima's personality to make a point a few times.
The penultimate arc dealt with the "theft" of the heroes' Friendship Power with a number of cursed dolls. This resulted in everyone abandoning our hero when he needed a partner for the tag-team Tournament Arc. Thankfully, he manages to get some help from his unaffected Obi Wan.
The final arc returns to the issue. Kinnikuman, stripped of the Kajiba Kuso no Djikara, his Heroic Resolve in a can, early on, is constantly shown unable to perform his old tried-and-true techniques simply because he's fighting at barely more than 1% power. His first major fight after losing the KKD is one he only starts winning when he taps into a similar, though inferior, force known as "Shin Yujo no Power", "Genuine Friendship Power."
Played with when Kinnikuman Soldier enters the picture. At first, he appears to be a rather cool-headed and stoic leader who constantly insists "This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself" whenever he's told to rush to a teammate's aid. After being called out for this attitude in the match between Team Super Phoenix and Team Soldier yet again, Kinnikuman Soldier fires back that the Justice Choujin's friendship is a rather weak one: sure, they're all pals, but they've become far too dependent and protective of one another, and that such a friendship is more of a detriment than an advantage. While everyone is skeptical at first, it's proven true twice, first when Buffaloman immediately demands to tag in Soldier when he sees the terrifying power of Mammothman's tusks because he's injured, and then when all of Kinnikuman's team wants to rush to Buffaloman's aid despite being on opposing teams. Soldier then goes on to show them "Genuine Friendship Power" in action.
The Law of Ueki does this nearly as often as Yu-Gi-Oh!, which gets pretty Anvilicious at times. At one point, the gang is fighting a team of soldiers, and the soldiers can't comprehend how helping each other out is so important—they even mention that a soldier should "follow orders and look out for himself." Which is what real-life soldiers are taught...plus one more thing: Watch your buddies' backs.
Taken literally, as Negi's artifact allows him to use all of his partner's artifacts, meaning that he gets stronger as he aquires more allies.
It's also deconstructed a bit, as Negi constantly goes through Training from Hell so that he won't have to rely on The Power of Friendship, and by extension, won't endanger his friends by forcing them to fight alongside him (not that it stops them). Makes his abovementioned artifact much more ironic.
In Mai-HiME, in the 25th special, Natsuki reflects on how she had once been a bitter loner, but meeting Shizuru, Mai and Mikoto enabled her to open up to others and realize that no one can live alone.
In Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, the Power Trio sticks together through sadness via pep talks and cake sharing, making it through everything thrown at them. In the series finale, Lucia and Seira reveal that, no matter what kind of pain Michal and Michel, respectively, have put them through, they still empathize with them and want to become their friends. The Power of Friendship is strong enough to actually make them waver, and Fuku panics and goes to try and take over their combined mind and body. He succeeds... but not for long, as the mermaids' friendship and forgiveness reach even him.
The Evil General Durahan in the anime Monster Rancher specifically references this trope in an episode where the bad guys betrayed each other no less than four times in under an hour. Friendship has its benefits it seems.
In a more straight use of this trope, the characters' courage, along with friendship, can be used to make themselves stronger. In the last episode Genki summoned the courage of every heroic character on the planet to use in a Combined Energy Attack. In contrast, when Moo goaded the heroes into hating him to make him stronger, the power of their hatred drove him insane.
One can derive a considerable amount of strength from the mere fact that you're using it to protect someone important to you (chiefly Naruto himself, but there are others). This lesson is explained by one of the first villains in fact; a ninja's greatest strength comes when they are protecting someone they hold dear. (There are those in the Naruto fandom who call this phenomenon "Friendship no Jutsu" or an "Epic Battle of Friendship").
The philosophical conflict between this and The Power of Hate leads to Sasuke's split with the village.
In a twisted way, this is also the key to unlocking the potential of the Uchiha clan's Sharingan power. The upgraded Mangekyo Sharingan can only be achieved by killing someone with whom the user shares a close emotional bond (ie a best friend or beloved sibling)
Luffy: Of course I don't know how to use a sword! I don't know anything about navigation, either! I can't cook! I've never even told a lie! I know that I can't survive without people around me to help! Arlong: And you call yourself a Captain!?" "What are you capable of? Luffy: I can beat you to a pulp!
But the best part is when all the Straw Hats declare war against the "World Government" (a.k.a. 170 united nations) just to prove their friendship to a desperateandsuicidal Robin and save her from herself.
Pokémon: All Pokémon companions. The various manga series will also often invoke this between the humans themselves, whether it's between trainers, rivals, gym leaders, and companions.
The Pretty Cure franchise has this as its premise. The power of every Precure is formed by their bonds with the others; the first two sets can't even transform separately. The yuri fanboys for that series have popularized the notion of "the power of Romantic Two-Girl Friendship", which is sort of the same thing.
When Mami Tomoe gets hyped up on the Power of Friendship during the battle with Charlotte, it causes her to fight recklessly against the witch, as opposed to the cool, careful and methodical style of witch killing that she used from the second episode. This results in Mami freezing up when Charlotte goes One-Winged Angel, immediately followed by one of the most nightmarish and horrific deaths of the entire series as Mami is Eaten Alive.
Most of the major battles in Sailor Moon are won via the power of forgiveness, and the friendship of the protagonists is a major source of power. (Marketing for the English dub of the anime emphasized this aspect of the series as much as it possibly could.)
A VHS tape of the Sailor Moon English dub has the words 'The Power of Friendship' on it.
Although the series is more focused on individual empowerment, Saint Seiya often indulges in The Power of Friendship. More often than not, combining everyone's Cosmo through their friendship is the only way to overcome the current arc's Big Bad.
Saiyuki's Genjyo Sanzo, a mortal man with no supernatural powers beyond his religious rank, is several times shown able to stop the rampages of Son Goku in all-out Seiten Taisei God Mode - usually with his bare hands. How? Because of the depth of the friendship they shared in their previous lives.
Yoh Asakura in Shaman King manages to best the Tao family several times because they don't acknowledge The Power Of Friendship. Towards the end of the series, The Power of Friendship brings Tao Ren back to life and allows him to defeat half of the Quirky Miniboss Squad
Parodied when Black Star and Soul are fighting Kid. Despite their friendship, Black Star can't even wield Soul.
Black Star: Now you'll get a taste of our Power of Friendship! Soul: That's right! An unfathomable, endless power!
This also demonstrates the fact that being friends is not enough on its own. If soul wavelengths don't match, you're stuck no matter how much you want to win. An exception to this seems to be the black blood, which allows the power of insanity to over-ride bad soul resonance (Maka and Soul in London), albeit by causing injury and hallucinations into the bargain.
Black Star was for a time a Ineffectual Loner example. While he could beat teams in his class without Tsubaki, that tactic was getting him nowhere when it came to achieving what he actually wanted - to use the Nakatsukasa Purpose/fey blade mode. Typically for him, it took Kid beating him into the ground for the 'assassin' to see sense. In an uncharacteristic moment of reflection, Black Star actually acknowledges this when Spartoi set out to rescue the shinigami. Followed up on when he actually rescues Kid - the importance of the meister/Weapon relationship emphasized by the one who, originally, was least able to recognise it. Unfortunately, the relevance to Kid falls flat given that the majority of the arc has him separated from Liz and Patti, and that the end of the storyline involves not the trio but Kid and Black Star.
While it takes him a while to recognise it, this has a lot to do with why Stein didn't go completely mad. Stein ultimately tells Spirit that he, Marie and the students are the reason why he's not about to give up.
A big difference between the conclusions of the anime and the manga. The anime ends with Maka's 'punch of courage' that fitted the series themes from one angle. The manga goes for the broader, Power of Friendship approach by having Soul's 'musical' skill invoke the power/courage/support of all the True Companions to allow him and Maka to reach Crona within Asura's soul. And then Soul leaves a spot for Crona's 'note' to add to the tune.
The Power of Friendship is also part of what is necessary for Gattai to work, although it is primarily Fighting Spirit. But then, as the great Kamina says, "a true combination isn't the combination of mecha. It's when the spirits of great men unite and become one! THAT'S A TRUE COMBINATION!"
Tiger & Bunny. Kotetsu tries to cure Barnaby's amnesia with the power of friendship, begging him to remember what a good team they are. It's the Embarrassing Nickname that does the trick, but only true friends can tease each other.
In Tokyo Mew Mew, Ichigo's Power of Friendship with Masha ups her Ribbon Stawberry Check to Ribbon Strawberry Surprise. More kickass sparkles, anyone?
Wonderfully parodied along with many other Shounen tropes in the first episode of The Tower of Druaga, where a Final Form Jil has been beaten by the Dark God Druaga... when the voice of a Goddess speaks in his ear, and every character shown so far, including the villains show up in spirit form to give support, including the Red Shirt who died early on of Retirony. Sadly, our hero cannot remember his name, despite remembering the correct names of all the enemies and bit persons he has encountered on his travels.
This is a major theme of the Headmasters and Powermasters in Transformers. In the American continuity, the Transformers and his/her organic pilot must cooperate extremely closely in order to be an effective fighting unit. Transformers Headmasters has a technique called Head Formation, which allows the Autobot Headmasters to share energy between themselves and power up. The first time it is used, the narrator helpfully notes that we're seeing the power of friendship in action. They can use 'the power of friendship' to fire a great big DEATH RAY.
The greatest strength of Eita Touga's army in 12 Beast is their impeccable coordination, complementing each others' strengths, and covering for the others' weaknesses. He also states that he "fights for his friends," and it's implied that his soldiers are so loyal to him because of honour or a sense of personal debt.
Unico is an almost literal example; it seems he can only use his magical powers to help out those he considers his friends. When Unico turns Katy back to a cat, he can't turn her into a human again because he's mad at her for ditching the old lady she was helping out and generally being selfish.
Jil: Fatina! Neeba! Kalli! And... I can't remember his name, but he's definitely one of my friends! Utu: It's Utu!
Yes! Precure 5: Inverted when Rin and Karen were forced to work together to save the others. They were particularly effective because they really rubbed each other the wrong way, and neither one of them wanted to get shown up by the other. Speaking of the power of Romantic Two-Girl Friendship, that's how you "turn on" a Simoun.
The central theme of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise. Let's count off what friendship can do: magically solve an extremely difficult puzzle, restore HP in a live-action fighting game, repel mystical mind-reading artifacts, magically write a name none of the characters remember, fuse dragons together, keep your soul from getting stolen by a magic circle, and summon an Egyptian God.
In fact, Word of God claims that this theme was originally supposed to be even more important than the card game that is used so much in the series. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out quite the way they planned it...
Tea/Anzu displayed this so much (at one point even saying "the power of friendship") that it became a running gag in the Abridged Series. Joey recovered from being struck by lightning because of friendship. Yeah.
In .hack//SIGN, Tsukasa is finally able to log out thanks only to the pushing, pulling, and eventual bonding of his/her in-game friends.
In Exiles, when the Exiles are being curbstomped by King Hyperion in the Crystal Palace, Beak's appearance prompts Hyperion to mock him for not running because he wouldn't have tried to follow, and Beak responded by openly admitting how weak he was, saying his only power was being good at making friends. At which point two heroic Hyperions made their appearance.
As for the Fantastic Four themselves, this trope is the reason why, despite the fact that individually none of them are anywhere near the most powerful end of the spectrum of superheroes, they are the ones who everyone calls when faced with huge, world-destroying cosmic threats.
In JLA/Titans: The Technis Imperative, Cyborg/Victor Stone (who has become confused and crazy and turned into a giant machine who tries to eat the moon) gets talked down by Garfield Logan, his best friend, who tells him repeatedly that they're still friends and he isn't buying the idea that Vic doesn't care about that. Incidentally, it's a shock of familiar friendship behavior that actually grabs Vic's attention: after several other Titans try reasoned pleas, Gar erupts with an irritated "Hey Rustbucket! Let go of the frickin' moon already!!" before launching into his long list of explanations of why Vic's actions mean he is a colossal dumbass.
Nightwing's greatest weapon. Sure, natural acrobatics and Batman-trained skills in combat and sleuthing are nothing to sneeze at, but no other hero in the DC Universe boasts the sheer number of allies Nightwing has. Hell, the guy has had his villains team up with him against bigger or badder foes. Why? Basically because he asked nicely.
While Spider-Man started out as a loner, he's become friends with a great deal of Marvel's other heroes (and even some of the less pleasant types like Loki and Deadpool are on good terms with the wallcrawler), especially the Fantastic Four, who treat him like family, and he's been part of several incarnations of The Avengers, and as Peter Parker he has a big group of Muggle friends who he can count on. When Spidey's in trouble, a large portion of the Marvel Universe has his back.
The Titans and Young Justice are all over this trope. They aren't the equals to the JLA or JSA in sheer power. It's their ability to work as a team and the fact that you mess with one, and expect any and all past and present members to show up looking to kick your butt that makes them frightening.
Tintin in Tibet is a great example of this, both with regards to the Tintin going on an apparently insane quest to rescue his friend Chang as well as with Captain Haddock sticking with Tintin through ever more hazardous situations despite his misgivings about mountaineering and believing that there is no chance that Chang survived the airplane crash.
In Watchmen, The Power of Friendship is apparently the only thing that can counter Rorschach's Knight Templar attitude about everything. The only time we see him display a more-or-less human reaction (outside of flashbacks) is when Daniel bursts out and spells it out for him just how difficult exactly "being his friend" is.
W.I.T.C.H. also relies on this: its tagline is "The Magic of Friendship". The heroines occasionally split up to tackle a problem, and don't always suffer for it, but are explicitly weakened when one of them actually quits.
World War Hulk has a subversion. Several of Banner/Hulk's friends try to appeal to their history, their friendship, or his better nature. It never works because Hulk's own True Companions contain the traitor who caused the problem for which he blames the Earth heroes.
Gets Deconstructed, Reconstructed, and Deconstructedagain in A Pikachu in Love. Pikachu spends most of the fic questioning just how strong his bond with Ash really is, how long it would honestly last, and does consider leaving him at a few points to stay with Pichi, who he could have a full relationship with due to both of them being Pokemon. Gets Reconstructed in that Pikachu eventually realizes just how much Ash and Co. really love him, and feels ashamed of himself for thinking Ash would forget about and leave him behind one day. It then gets deconstructed again in that it's his friendship with them that forces him to leave Pichi for a final time, and just after she had confessed her love for him in hopes he would stay with her...
Fallen King examines and ultimately deconstructs this. While their friendship sustains them and helps them to never give up, Joey realizes that the villains can and will use it as a weapon, and ultimately decides that he, Tristan, and Tea must stop being friends to save the world.
Done in a purely symbolic way in Power Rangers GPX. By the penultimate chapter in Part 1, four of the Rangers have become a tight friends even after one Ranger split from the team. Acutally, make that two, since he dragged his younger sister with him. Anyway, with said symbolic power, they were able to defeat the enemy general.
In the Hunger Games fanfiction Some Semblance of Meaning, this is how ValeWhitaker makes it so far in her Games. She isn't a strong fighter by any means, nor is she at all ruthless, and she survives mainly by making friends instead of war. She has a lengthy list of allies—Kit, Fen and Lark, Phlox (though she quickly makes a Face-Heel Turn), and eventually Obsidian—and when she does die in the final confrontation, it is because she is defying the Capitol, not due to any betrayal. Both she and Obsidian comment over the course of the story about how it's more important to stand for something and to forge bonds than it is to win by plowing through everyone in your way.
In With Strings Attached, the obvious love the four have for one another, despite their frequent quarrels and cranky moods, impresses the Hunter far more than any of their magic. After all, he's no stranger to power, but he doesn't have a single friend in the world. Ultimately, he is won over by this quality.
Tony Stark's kindness towards and acceptance of Bruce Banner/The Hulk, refusing to treat him like a ticking time bomb the way everyone else is, has drastic consequences later on, as not only does his insistence that the Hulk can be used for good get through to Bruce, who decides to come back to help during the final battle, but the Hulk remembers Tony and winds up saving his life.
Rhino the Hamster from Disney's Bolt completely believes in this trope.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children : Cloud is chastised by Tifa for being an angsty loner. When he finally lightens up, his friends show up en mass to save the day with a spectacular and very symbolic action set piece.
Played with in Iron Man 2. When Rhodes takes the Mk II, his Beam-O-War with Tony produces a powerful blast, which is needed in the climax to defeat Whiplash after Rhodey makes up with Tony.
At the end of It's a Wonderful Life, George Bailey ends up being saved by one of the more mundane versions of this trope: after he was falsely accused of stealing some money placed in his care that is now missing, all the people he's helped over the years come together and give him enough cash to replace the money that was stolen.
The King's Speech focuses on the friendship between King George VI and his speech therapist and how it helped the former grow into a strong leader.
In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the group is ready to give up after one of the members betrays the group and they're almost killed. Tom Sawyer makes a dandy little speech about team unity and how they can win this fight because they have each other. Suddenly, and from that point on, everyone is BFFs and ready to fight.
Thankfully, most of that scene was cut, indicating that the production team decided that giving any more screen time to an already insufferable token American character was a bad idea.
Sam and Frodo's friendship in The Lord of the Rings can be summarised in eleven simple words: "I can't carry it for You, but I can carry You".
In Madeline: Lost in Paris, "Togetherness Will Set Us Free" is built on this trope, with Madeline encouraging her new friends inside the sweetshop they are imprisoned in to work together for their freedom. This later leads to the girls to work together to take out the Big Bad and her dragon, with the help of Madeline's friends from the Old House in Paris.
Pacific Rim: Because Drifting to pilot a Jaeger requires two people to be mentally linked so closely they'll be seeing each other's memories, they have to get along really well with no secrets; most pilot teams thus appear to involve close family or Battle Couples.
In the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, when Scott finally battles the Big BadGideon, his only chance to win is when his friend Knives steps in and battles alongside him.
Smokey and the Bandit is all about this trope. Not only do Bandit and Snowman succeed by working with one another, but also by relying on assistance from all their CB radio friends.
In Star Trek, Spock Prime cites this trope as the reason why Kirk and Spock must learn to work together; it is the only way the Enterprise can defeat Nero.
Star Wars: The Emperor thinks Luke is a fool for trusting his friends to destroy the greatest superweapon ever built. We all know how that turned out.
Luke Skywalker: Your overconfidence is your weakness. Emperor Palpatine: Your faith in your friends is yours.
Animorphs plays with this a lot but ultimately plays it straight. While some books seem to imply that the group's close interpersonal relationships cause conflict and makes them less effective as guerrillas, the overall message that the group''s loyalty gives them the advantage over the uncaring Yeerks.
The backbone of Avalon: Web of Magic, and stated outright by the author many times. No main character ever accomplishes anything without her friends backing her up.
Battle Royale where Shuya and Noriko feel that the power of friendship will get them through the program. Shogo disagrees and is proved right when the rest of their classmates betray each other and play to win. In fact in the end Shogo pretends to betray them (I'm sure more than one person thought he really did) in order to get the three of them out.
Seen throughout Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain. "The companions," as Taran's friends are known, help him and each other repeatedly. It's particularly a theme in the third book of the series, The Castle of Llyr, in which they discover that Princess Eilonwy's magic trinket becomes more powerful when the holder thinks more of others than of themselves.
While this trope is present in almost all of Tamora Pierce's works, it's particularly notable in the Circle of Magic series. Four children, from the most different backgrounds possible (a kind and caring noble-girl, a frumpy and snarky merchant daughter, an outcast trader girl and an egotistical street rat) become best friends and foster siblings, whose minds become mentally linked. On their own, they're formidable mages. Together? Run.
In the Codex Alera series, the Big Badthe Vord Queen calmly remarks to the hero that "Your bonds strengthen you. My sisters will never know that."
In The Dresden Files novels, a big running theme is, as powerful a wizard as Harry Dresden is, he is only able to defeat the bad guys (who are FAR more powerful than him) with the help of his friends.
A recurring theme in the The Elenium trilogy by David Eddings is that Sparhawk wouldn't manage to survive the epic quest he must undertake without the help of his best friend from childhood, his squire, his tutor, and the other knights who join them on the adventure. Sparhawk is The Chosen One, but his friends are what enable him to achieve his destiny.
In the Fate/stay night prequel novels, Fate/Zero, the servant Rider, who actually happens to be Alexander the Great, has actually weaponized the power of friendship with his Noble Phantasm, Ionian Hetairoi. Because of the tremendous bond of loyalty and friendship between him and his soldiers, they are actually able to answer his call, breaking the laws of time and space to recreate the land they once marched over and fight alongside him once again.
In the Gaunt's Ghosts novel Sabbat Martyr'', this is what saves Rawne from being converted by Chaos.
Vito Corleone: Friendship is everything. Friendship is more than talent. It is more than government. It is almost the equal of family. Never forget that.
In E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth's Core!, Book 2 of The Guardians of Childhood , it is said in the ending that the power of freindship is magical indeed and that they had done what good friends should do: save one another.
A significant theme throughout the entire series; Word of God has even stated that Harry, Ron, and Hermione's bond is the chief reason for Harry's success and continued survival, and that they are a case of the whole being more than the sum of its parts.
This is exemplified in every book: 1st book, Hermione's intellect and Ron's prowess with chess allow Harry to reach the last chamber of the gauntlet; 2nd book, Ron goes into the Forbidden Forest - which he knows has spiders, which he has a phobia to - out of his loyalty to Harry and Hermione; 3rd book, Ron and Hermione put themselves between Harry and Sirius, telling him that they'll have to pass through them if he wants to reach Harry; 5th book, when Harry believes Sirius is on the Ministry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville and Luna go with their friend despite Harry repeteadly telling them to stay at Hogwarts; 6th book, Ron and Hermione state that they are going to go with Harry on his Horcrux-searching quest, no matter what; and 7th book, Ron and Hermione stay with Harry for a lot of time - even Ron's leaving is useful as it allows him to gain information about what's going on everywhere else - and each of them manages to destroy one Horcrux.
Also from the third book onwards whenever Harry needs to create a Patronus he uses thoughts of his friends or loved ones.
Tars: I would scarcely recognize you, John Carter, but there is no other mortal upon Barsoom who would have done what you have for me. I think I have learned that there is such a thing as friendship, my friend.
Now is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky; And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk, the Law runneth forward and back — For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.''
The series emphasizes this trope, particularly with the friendship between Sam and Frodo. Frodo would not have been able to make it through Mordor without Sam's help.
The Fellowship itself is really all about this trope. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli running for days with very little food and rest to try and save Pippin and Merry from death and torture is one of the strongest examples.
Also, Gandalf's friendship and concern is what ultimately helps Bilbo give up the Ring of his own free will at the beginning of the story.
Mildly justified in the climactic fight of Of Two Minds. The two main characters are fighting an older, more experienced, eviller version of one of them, and their only advantage is that it's two against one.
In Rick Riordan's The Last Olympian, why the Ares's cabin campers followed Sirena; they didn't guess it wasn't Clarisse because they wanted to go fight next to their friends.
According to Ghastly Bespoke, this is the main reason the good guys won the war against Mevolent.
"No, the reason we won was friendships like that. [...] Mevolent's lot? They wanted to bring the Faceless Ones back, but the main thing was that they wanted to be there when it happened. [...] So there were no sacrifices to save their friends, none of that. And that's one of the reasons they lost. It got to the point where they couldn't trust each other, because it was all about personal survival. Whereas with us... we were fighting, and dying, for each other."
When a Sith Lord's spirit (Exar Kun) tried to push the young Jedi students attacking him over the Despair Event Horizon by taunting them about their weaknesses, their friendship strengthened them and thwarted his mental attack. At this point, Exar's former-Jedi master appeared as a Force Ghost and said "Together, Jedi can overcome their weaknesses."
Fate of the Jedi book series: Dark Side people (Nightsisters and Sith) with a technique called a 'control web'. It allows them to combine their powers, and 'weave' their control over a dozen Rancors, or weaken an Eldritch Abomination.
In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000Ultramarines novel "The Killing Ground", Leodegarius tells Uriel that Pasnius has been fiercely loyal to him. Uriel tells him that Pasanius is his friend, and that's what friends do.
Sons of Fenris: Ragnar arrives at the mess hall feeling demoralized and isolated; his old company is eating, and his fellow Wolfblade, Haegr, is sitting alone. When they realize that he is there, one raises a toast, and they all pounce to talk and commiserate so eager that Haegr comes to reclaim him. Ragnar proclaims that his old company are still his battle brothers.
Wolf's Honour: Ragnar goes to a cold and isolated spot on the Fang to think. Torin and Haegr track him down; Haegr deduces his location because whenever Ragnar is in a black mood, you can find him in the most unpleasant place where he could put himself. Ragnar admits to not telling where he was because they would have dragged him out of it as soon as they learned.
In William King's Warhammer 40,000Space Wolf novel Wolfblade, Sven stays with Ragnar while his case is being considered by the Wolf Lords, and fumes about the injustice of its even being considered something to be tried, until Ranek shows up to send him away. Ranek admits the support does him credit, but the Wolf Lords will be angry with him if they discover it.
Why The Amazing Race uses teams of two, and what differentiates the show from most other competitive Reality Shows.
Angel, like Buffy, tends to play it pretty straight (although it's generally more subdued), but lightly parodied it at least once:
Angel: You may have the attitude, and you may have the power. But there's one thing you don't have and never will: friends. Four of 'em, standin' behind you with big, heavy things.
The A-Team. So much so that in the beginning of Season 5, when Hannibal, Face, and B.A. are finally captured and put on trial all three of them choose to plead guilty for the infamous crime they didn't commit because the only way their lawyer can prove them innocent is by pinning the crime on Murdock. The team realizes that if that happens Murdock will be sentenced to death. All three of them stand up and plead guilty, knowing that they will face the firing squad. They were willing to die to protect Murdock.
The basic premise of Black Hole High seems to be that, at least within the Applied Phlebotinum field of the school, character flaws trump physics. In the second episode, it makes perfect logical sense that realizing that your friends care for you can cure invisibility.
It is specifically stated, both within the show and in interviews with writers, that the reason Buffy has lasted so long as a Slayer compared to her predecessors is that she has friends—the so-called "Scooby Gang"—who look out for her. This is why Faith fails; she's unable to trust people and form lasting friendships.
Played for darker twists when it's revealed that many Slayers end up dead, not because they make physical mistakes which lose battles, but because constantly fighting demons cuts away a Slayer's ties to the world until everything she fights to protect has either died or abandoned her. With nothing they appreciate in the normal world, these Slayers become Death Seekers, and Buffy is forced to fight against her own suicidal feelings through seasons 5 and 6.
In the Season Four climax, the Scoobies use a spell that combines all their powers into Buffy's body - becoming, in other words, The Power of Friendship given corporeal form. They proceed to demonstrate this power by curbstomping the previously unstoppable Adam.
One of the themes in Burn Notice. Michael's a bad-ass spy who can handle anything...but even he needs the help of his friends and family to save the day. Moreover, Michael has acknowledged that he is Not So Different from many of the villains his team have dealt with over the course of the series—particularly Larry (yes, Dead Larry), and in the episode "Enemies Closer" he admits that what keeps him from crossing the Moral Event Horizon is his connection to his friends. Or maybe he was only talking to Fi.
The "Power of Three" in Charmed relied on The Power of Friendship to work. At one point the sisters intentionally used their powers on each other in a heated argument, which immediately caused the loss of their powers.
Chuck Bartowski has lost his powers and nothing seems to work to restore them. And to make matters worse the bad guys capture him and his best friend (who has no idea of what he really does) and are about to execute them, with no help in sight. In one of the series greatest moments, Chuck regains his powers.....with a simple buddy talk with Morgan.
Near the end of Season 3, the Big Bad Shaw has effectively destroyed Team Bartowski, by capturing Chuck, Sarah, Casey and Beckman. Little does he know that by now there's a second brigade to Team Bartowski - Ellie, Devon and Morgan. This second string's counterespionage credentials are practically nil — but they'll do anything to rescue Chuck, Sarah and Casey.
Throughout the series, any character who stubbornly holds to the belief that a proper spy should have no personal attachments is either shown to be at the very least wrong (Sarah& Casey, in early episodes), unlikeable (Corrina), or vulnerable to being turned (Shaw).
In the series 3 finale, Martha escapes the Master's takeover of Earth and spends one year traveling the world telling everyone about the doctor and how they're supposed to say (and believe!) "doctor" over and over during an onconming countdown. When said time arrives, everyone in the world doing this (even the Master's human followers and his ownfreaking wife) gives the Doctor the strength he needs to overpower the Master and undo all his evil.
All of the Doctor's previous companions have shown that they're quite willing to die (in some cases, repeatedly) to protect him. ''Journey's End'' has Davros that the Doctor basically turns everyone who loves him into living weapons for his cause.
Rory makes a point of it too, in a somewhat different fashion, in series five, by pointing out that part of the reason the Doctor's so dangerous is because his overconfident behaviour and impulsive nature encourages others to risk their lives just to impress him. When Rory himself ends up doing the exact same thing later in the episode, in light of the previous guilt-tripping the Doctor is less-than-impressed.
In The Warmachines, the mind-controlled Polly clearly sees Ben escaping, and says nothing. When someone asks after him, she explains, but when he asks her why, she does not know, and after a moment, starts to remember that he had been her friend.
This also works in Firefly. It's what Mal tries to beat into Jayne's head throughout the show, especially in "Ariel," and it's how the crew gets the better of Saffron twice.
Saffron: Everybody plays each other. That's all anybody ever does. We play parts. Mal: You got all kinds a' learnin' and you made me look the fool without trying, yet here I am with a gun to your head. That's 'cause I got people with me, people who trust each other, who do for each other and ain't always looking for the advantage.
Friends obviously. Its pretty clear none of the characters would get through any of their problems, without the rest of the gang to support them. This was established from the minute the theme song played:
I'll be there for you..When the rain starts to pour
I'll be there for you.. Like I've been there before
I'll be there for you...'Cause you're there for me too
Parodied in an episode of The Good Life: "You know, Tom and Barbara are the only real friends we've got. Pity they don't have any money or power."
Even though they're often at each other's throats for one reason or another, the "non-judging Breakfast Club" of Gossip Girl always band together when one of them is in trouble. As Gossip Girl herself puts it, "With friends like these, who needs armies?"
Heroes also features a lot of this, but taken to almost anvilicious (but still enjoyable) levels concerning Hiro and Ando.
This seems to be the main reason Sibuna keep winning in House of Anubis. Fabian makes a speech about it in season 2, even, claiming that while the teachers have more of the advantages, they have the team, and they'd win because they wouldn't let each other fail.
In How I Met Your Mother, Future!Ted is pretty clear to his kids that life will occasionally (or even frequently) suck really badly, but if you have friends to accompany you on your journey through it, it'll never be completely terrible.
He also notes that the pull of friendship is more powerful than any number of problems, complications, and conflicts that might get in its way: "Friendship is an involuntary reflex; it just happens."
Kamen Rider Fourze: The show is perhaps more focused on this trope than any of the other Kamen Rider shows put together, as it stars a hero who wishes to make friends with nearly everyone, and lives up to the promise by creating the Kamen Rider Club, with contains him and six other True Companions.
All of Gentaro's States' form are only fully achieved when he reaffirmed/gain friendshipnote Elec for JK, Fire with Tomoko, Magnet with Kengo, Cosmic with the entire Rider club (+ Ryusei), Rocket from Nadeshiko.
The bond between them also powers his Super Mode. The Super Mode is so depended on it that the lost of JK's friendship, as well as the disappearance of Tomoko, made Gentaro lose the ability to turn into Cosmic States mode.
''Leverage' features this heavily as the team is made up of individualistic thieves who had always worked alone. One they begin working together, they realize how much more effective they were than before.
Sherlock plays this trope for drama. the titular character is forced to give up life as he knows it in order to save the only three people in the world he considers friends: John, Mrs Hudson, and Lestrade. It's made all the worse by a conversation not long before this:
Sherlock: Alone is what I have. Alone protects me. John: No. Friends protect people.
Parodied in the comedy show Stella, in which the three main characters use the power of friendship to create an invisible forcefield to trap a rival group of evil paperboys that have been bullying them throughout the episode. They then threaten to use the power of friendship to crush the bullies to death if they don't cut it out. Stella's Aesop is ALWAYS the power of friendship. ALWAYS.
In the second episode of Young Hercules, Ares decides that Hercules's weakest point is his "pathetic mortal feelings", and sends Strife to attack Hercules through his best friend, Iolaus. In the end, it is Iolaus shouting Herc's name during Hercules and Strife's final showdown that distracts Strife long enough for Hercules to win the fight.
Believe it or not, on 24, this is what ultimately turns Jack Bauer back from the dark side in the final episode and prevents him from assassinating Russian president, Yuri Suvarov. When Chloe O'Brian comes for him to try to talk him down, he asks her why she came and she replies that she had to, she's his friend.
On the subject of Reality game shows, this trope does have its place in some reality game shows like Survivor or Big Brother. In both games, there're one or two people who make friends and manage to make it further. Especially given these two games have people who proudly declare I'm Not Here to Make Friends. There's almost always one person who's evicted simply because they're at the bottom of the totem pole.
In Big Brother, if the other houseguests don't like you for whatever reason, you can expect to face the public vote. This often leads to an Unpopular Popular Character, adored by the audience but disliked by their fellow players.
Several seasons of the American Survivor show that this really can be an underestimated boon. In this game, you have to convince 7-9 players you most likely evicted to vote for you to win. If you wantonly bullied your way through the game and left a trail of angry and insulting jurors, you'll probably finish third or second, while someone who got in friendly with them will be seen as the lesser evil. This is even lampshaded by Jaison in Samoa, which is perhaps the most clear-cut example of showing this trope in action. In Samoa, one player called Russell Hantz carried his alliance through the game but was an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy. He clearly knew the game, yet apparently didn't know that the players he sent to the jury had to like him, or at least respect him. He sociopathically pushed his way through the game, and ended by bragging to the jury about how awesome he was, and was surprised when their response was, "NO!", and their votes almost all went for the girl who went around making friends with people.
The Arabian god Wadd was the deity of friendship, besides being also a moon and snake god.
The tyrant of Syracuse was so impressed by the friendship between Damon, who volunteered to be a hostage for Pythias's return and be executed if he did not, and Pythias, who not only returned to his execution to spare Damon but did so in spite of being captured by bandits and Breaking the Bonds to escape, that he pardoned Pythias for conspiring against him. Thus this is Older Than Feudalism.
Kane and Daniel Bryan (Hell No) are doing this right now albeit partially zigzagged (I AM THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS, etc.)
Interestingly, having a large group of friends means something entirely different in professional wrestling. Factions comprised of more than 2-3 wrestlers are typically called "stables", and their primary function in story telling is usually to have members of the stable assist other members in their matches and post-match beatdowns... which is dirty play and against the rules. As a result, the aesops associated with this trope are usually averted: the heroes are loners who fight alone against the odds, the villains are cowards who come down to the ring with all of their friends in tow.
Tabletop Roleplaying Games
Byron Falls from John Wick's Big Book Of Little Games utilizes it in mechanics - players divide points between their friends - the more points asigned to a person, the stronger is your relationship with them. When you help one of those friends, you use number of dices equal to how many points you spend on them. However, it also deconstructs the trope - you cannot asign the same number of points to two different friends, and if any of them betrays you, they use number of dice equal points you spend on them for all actions against you.
The indie RPG Misspent Youth by Robert Bohl is all about this. Characters are required to be one another's friends by design, you ask questions about your friendship at the start of every session, all conflicts are between The Authority and the friends, the stakes of all conflicts are agreed-upon by all of the players at the table, and usually when a conflict is won it's with a friend's character's abilities.
Breath of Fire IV: Subverted in the "bad" ending in which the main character was absorbed by the villain who then proceeded to summon an enormous dragon to fight the remainder of the party. Said party spouted something about friendship, but it was quickly snuffed out by the fact that the dragon had infinite HP, which regenerated every turn, counterattacks that did thousands of damage, an attack that reduced everybody to 1 HP, and was controlled by the player. The game then proceeded to end with all of humanity being destroyed.
In Bubble Bobble, it's this that breaks whatever curse Bub & Bob are under. So much that if you beat the game without your friend i.e. player 2, you won't get the True Ending.
Death's true ending in Castlevania Judgment implicated that even beings of ultimate evil like Death and Dracula are not exempt from this trope. In fact, it's what primarily keeps them together.
In Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice, during the final battle, this is a Discussed Trope. While idealistic hero Almaz calls it this, Mao categorically denies that it has anything to do with friendship, claiming it's some sort of cosmic energy he was hiding in his body.
Playing the trope straight, Valvatorez of Disgaea 4 strongly believes in the power of friendship, and utters the following line in the last battle:
Valvatorez: Do you see now, God!? This is the power of demons, angels, and humans! A power that's much stronger than yours, the ties of our camaraderie!
Depending on how you play the Warden, Dragon Age: Origins has some very powerful examples of this. A female Warden who befriends Morrigan can induce her to admit that she has never had or even wanted a friend before, but has come to view the Warden almost as a sister. A number of the other companions have similar trust issues, but with thoughtful gifts and compassionate dialogue choices, you can get them to make similar confessions regardless of the Warden's gender. This translates in gameplay as stat boosts.
The power of friendship allows everyone to survive their Duel Boss fights in the last route of Duel Savior Destiny. Otherwise, they'd all have died either before the fight or right after it.
Used against the player in E Xceed 3rd: the third boss, Giee, uses Summon Magic, and claims that the love and trust between herself and her summons grants her incredible power (since she's just the Stage 3 boss, she goes down hard).
The player's party is about to be wiped out right before the final battle, when the camera switches back to Earth, to show people sending "their prayers" to the characters. After that, several of the protagonist's friends (some dead ones too!) materialize briefly by his side with words of encouragement. Each such speech heals the members a bit, until they're at full strength again.
The same game also turns it against you with the Four Fiends. After taking down the final Fiend, Rubicant, he realizes that you beat him because your party fought him as a team.
In Final Fantasy VI, upon reaching the Final Boss, the party responds to his nihilistic revelations by talking about all of the individual bonds they've made with one another, what they've learned throughout their individual experience, and why real love is worth risking their lives and fighting to preserve. The villain's response? "This is sickening. You sound like chapters from a self help booklet!" Kefka is wrong. He is stopped. It's also worth noting that in a game where one of the central themes is "human connection makes you a person," Kefka, the villain, is alone in absolutely every way.
In Final Fantasy IX, after a particularly distressing revelation, Zidane turns into a zombie-like Jerkassnote Zidane's jerkass phase was caused by Garland apparently ripping out his soul. Before that, while he was a bit freaked out, he instantly proclaimed his allegiance to Gaia and his friends and tried to turn on his creator. and tries to go it alone. His friends gather around him and convince him that they need each other, helping him turn back into a nice guy.
This is used more literally during the ending; after the party is completely wiped out by Kuja's Ultima and helpless when Necron appears, the four party members not participating in the final battle hand their power over to the four others, fully healing them and giving a few encouraging words as they do so.
In the later games, units that spend significant time battling near each other can have what are called "Support Conversations" wherein they develop their relationships, causing them to have a boost to their offensive or defensive ability when within a short distance of each other. You heard that right: Shipping provides a strategic advantage. This is justified in Fire Emblem, as all of your characters are soldiers or fighters of some degree. The support levels are gained by having the units fight near each other, so the game is recognizing that people who fight as a team tend to get better at it over time.
Grand Theft Auto V of all things heavily employs this trope, particularly in the Golden Ending. Rather than kill his two friends and mentor figures at the behest of Devin Weston and the FIB, Franklin instead opts to get Michael and Trevor together to take down everyone who wants them dead, despite the latter two's ongoing feud. In the end, the protagonists eliminate all their enemies, deal with their inner demons, strengthen their bonds, and earn their happy endings. The other endings where Franklin betrays one of the two are much bleaker.
In Improbable Island, there are some situations, especially when there is threat level 1 in every outpost, it simply is not feasible to continue normally, as the cost of healing will outweigh the payouts of hunting. However, in you are part of a large guild, especially one with maxed out buffs, a competent player can become nearly invincible to all level-appropriate encounters, as the enemies will barely be able to overcome your damage resistance, let alone your regen.
In InuYasha: Secret of the Cursed Mask, depending on which character you spend your rest days with, you gain more powerful combination attacks with said character as your in-game friendship grows (and character-specific endings, but they just follow similar formats).
In the final battle of Jade Empire, your allies weaken the enemies that the Big Bad sends at you before you face him. The game's Karma Meter system makes this a Downplayed version. The only difference between being an All-Loving Hero who believes in the power of friendship (Open Palm), and a tyrant who just killed all the followers who disagreed with him (Closed Fist), is you have to fight a few more enemies.
Crucial to the Kingdom Hearts series. Sora's Keyblade, and indeed all keyblades, seem drawn to individuals with strong hearts and emotions, including — and especially — friendship. But magic and normal combat also seems to operate under this trope; Donald Duck and Goofy and all of Sora's various friends triumph repeatedly through their bonds with each other.
Sora's Drive Forms could be seen as a physical manifestation of this, as can the Keyblade itself actually. The Keyblade changes form when you use a different trinket as the keychain. The keychains he uses are representative of the worlds that he visits, and Kairi's charm is the chain for the Oathkeeper Keyblade. The Power of Friendship gets you better weapons!
Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep states that The Power of Friendship is Sora's superpower. Birth By Sleep makes friendship essentially Kingdom Hearts version of Spiral Power. It also allows Aqua to smash the Keyblade equivalent of Excalibur by turning her own into a lightsaber of friendship. It gives Ven the power to leech Vanitas's abilities off of him and use them to defeat Vanitas, and it gives Terra the ability to control his own armor even after his heart and body have been taken by the big bad. Finally it allows Ven (who's currently comatose) and Terra (who's currently trapped in his own body while another controls it) to magically transport their keyblades to the realm of darkness to one shot freaking Darksides (the strongest of the pureblood heartless) and save a currently HBSOD ing Aqua while also giving her the will to live again. If you have a keyblade and at least one close friend in KH verse, you will be unstoppable. Gameplay-wise, D-Links are basically the invoking of The Power Of Friendship, in which characters tap into the powers of characters they've interacted with. Most of these actually involve friendship (Experiment 626, Zack and Mickey) while others a bit less so (the Disney Princesses and in Terra's case, Maleficent).
coded keeps up the trend; the connections and friendship that data Sora has built with Mickey, Donald, and Goofy allow data Sora to summon a keyblade, and may have actually created a heart for him.
The Power of Friendship is the central theme of 358/2 Days too, centering around the friendship of Roxas, Axel and Xion
Played with like wow in Kingdom Hearts 3D. The villains use Sora's reliance of the power of friendship to lure him into a trap and Xigbar attempts to deconstruct the trope by pointing out that if Sora's power comes from his friends then he doesn't have any of his own. Sora completely ignores the attempt to send him into a Heroic BSOD and reconstructs it on the spot, saying that that makes him part of something bigger than himself and he's totally cool with that.
Done in Left 4 Dead as game mechanic. Going Rambo and your chance to die is 100% 99.999% (solo runs are being attempted, but no one yet seems to have bagged 'em all) from Smoker and Hunter. Only your friends can help you out of that.
An argument could be made for this trope's inclusion in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Link and the imp Midna increasingly learn to trust and rely upon one another; there's even a screencap after one battle they fight together where they look like they're posing for some kind of friendship poster. Additionally, the first item Link receives in the game is a fishing pole handcrafted by his young friend Colin; if Link pulls the fishing pole out during his final fight with the Big Bad, his enemy actually stops moving and stares at it, giving Link the opportunity to get in some hits without retaliation.
Since this trope is part of the premise of the gameplay of The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Zelda develops a habit of randomly turning into Tea from Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series and delivering Friendship-speeches. Aside from these speeches, however, the concept works incredibly well for a game series where The Hero usually fights all alone and leads to many heartwarming scenes. The cheesiness of this is rather hilariously lampshaded: after they fight together to beat Byrne they have a huge celebration for their teamwork...then notice the boss took the opportunity to hobble away in the meantime.
In Mario Baseball, some characters have good chemistry with other players. Moves involving two players (e.g. one throws the ball to the other) are improved if those players have good chemistry with each other. This kind of friendship is represented visually by music notes.
Mega Man gains power by fusing with the "souls" of his friends, and some powerful items are only available by playing link games with other players (ostensibly, friends). The game focuses more on the bond between family members though.
The main character of Battle Network would go on to create the foundation of the world of Star Force, making him the most successful protagonist ever.
The game harps on the importance of relationships almost constantly. In fairness, the "Brother Band" system that underpins this emphasis on relationships also confers very practical benefits. Brother Banding with NPCs (or actual humans over Wi Fi) gives the player (or both players) bonus HP and the option to share their "favorite cards" for use in battle. This doesn't stop the game from also using it somewhat Anviliciously in other contexts, including when the main character is Lost in Space and his friends direct him back to earth using the awesome power of friendship. And not all of them are even really Brothers with him.
Solo praises the civilization of Mu... which went down solely because its inhabitants didn't trust each other. Meanwhile, ingame the Rogue powers that can be gained are far inferior to what Geo can get from the standard Brother features, and the Super Mode (which, amusingly enough, is a symbol of what Mu could have been if the people worked together) is only accessible if you have a Brother from an opposite game (Or a Wave Command Card). In fact, by the next game Solo ditches the whole "alone" aspect by teaming up with an ancient Mu relic. This doesn't stop him from constantly talking down to Geo, no matter how many times Geo beats his face in or how many "battle of ideals" Solo loses. There's a reason most people don't take Solo seriously.
Done at the end of Earthbound in possibly the most heartwrenching, most powerful, most incredibly meta way ever. Giygas is defeated by all the prayers of the friends the Chosen Four make over the course of the game, including the player.
In Neverwinter Nights 2's endgame Black Garius uses your tiefling companion Neeshka's devil blood to put a geas on her. If your Influence with her is strong enough, she'll break the geas, refusing to attack the only person who's ever been nice to her.
The Paper Mario series has this, and not just because switching between your immediate partners is what allows you to overcome the obstacles along the way. In each game, the climactic battle with the Big Bad begins with you getting in a few hits before he makes himself invincible somehow. Then the wishes or prayers or feelings of the friends you've made in all the places you've been enable the breaking of the barrier, so the fight can begin in earnest. The whole "power of friendship" scene is extremely long in the second game against The Shadow Queen compared to the ones against Bowser and Super Dimentio.
In Persona 3, the strength of your fused Personae is dictated by how strong your relationships with other people are. These relationships are usually platonic, but five of them are romantic, and several are of the surrogate family variety. During the ultimate confrontation with the Big Bad, the combined strength of all of the protagonist's relationships creates the Universe Arcana and sustains the PC during the final battle, providing the power to create the Great Seal, which prevents The End of the World as We Know It.
The Social Link system returns in Persona 4. Many of your social links are with party members, and having a stronger social bond with them will improve their combat abilities to the point where their Personae are upgraded to an improved form. During the game's True Final Boss fight Izanami-no-Ookami attempts to use One Thousand Curses on the protagonist, only to be blocked by each active party member in turn. When the Protagonist is finally hit with the attack, every completed social link appears before him, telling him about the impact he's had on their lives and offering their support. The power of all these social links transforms your starter Persona into Izanagi-no-Ookami, allowing you to break free from the attack and lift the fog of deceit once and for all.
This trope is, thankfully, subtly, invoked, and called 'trust' by Detective Gumshoe. In the first game (especially the DS-exclusive 5th case) Phoenix unintentionally shows this to Edgeworth. When Edgeworth returns in the 4th case of the second, he either reminds Phoenix of this or shows it to him directly. Through the combined efforts of Wright, Edgeworth and Von Karma, Engarde is found guilty, which is called a 'miracle' in the end.
Mia also mentions in the 2nd game that friendship is "the strongest weapon in the world and you have it in abundance". Mostly to cheer Wright up though.
One of the major themes in the franchise is the relationship between trainers and their Pokémon. Regardless of the forms they take or abilities they have, all can be befriended and made into potential allies. Another theme is the relationship between trainers themselves, both in-game and the players since it's almost impossible to collect all Pokémon within a single game and trading between players is vital.
The move Return, which grows stronger the higher the user's happiness value is. Inverted with the move Frustration, which is stronger the less happy the user is.
This trope is what drives the plot of PokéPark Wii, because friendship powers a crystal that keeps a floating island from falling and crushing the park.
Some Pokémon can only evolve when their happiness level is at maximum.
The Pokémon-Amie feature in Pokémon X and Y allows you to interact with your Pokémon and increase its affection for you. Pokémon with a high affection get a number of bonuses, like an increased critical hit rate or a chance to shrug off status effects, ignore stat-lowering moves like Leer, or even survive attacks that would have knocked them out.
Given a very bittersweet nod in Professor Layton and the Unwound Future. It's revealed during the course of the gameplay that Luke, the Prof's devoted apprentice, is going to be moving overseas with his parents (and his father is also one of Layton's closest friends). Layton points out a statue depicting the friendship between a different adult and child, and promises Luke that no matter where they are in the world, they will always be friends.
Rival Schools thrives on this. The students (and teachers) in this game usually gain their strength from their bonds with their friends, and are able to triumph over loner villains in each game. It's so powerful that in each game, a mole sent by the villain (Kyosuke in United By Fate and Yurika in Project Justice) ends up switching over to the good guys because of the friendships they've developed.
Parodied in the season finale of Sam & Max: Freelance Police season 2 when Sam tells Satan that he managed to escape his own eternal punishment through the power of friendship and cooperation. Max then adds that he mauled the demon guard and ripped out his kidneys.
Samurai Warriors - The personal philosophy of Kanetsugu Naoe (well, that and Justice). Everyone else is annoyed by his constant speechifying and tells him to shut up.
This is a gameplay mechanic in Shining Force III. If two characters work together to defeat an enemy unit or heal each other they can gain relationship point,to increase the level of their relationship Ally-Partner-Friend-Trusted-Soulmate. When two characters with a relationship level stand near each other, they get a stat boost.
This is what Red of Solatorobo says keeps him going even when things get rough. Also the reason he claims the Caninu and Felineko will not dissolve into war like the humans did, since humans only began to war on a global scale when they stopped helping each other get better.
In Sonic Adventure, the power of friendship restored the Chaos Emeralds' power after they've been drained by Perfect Chaos, giving Sonic the means to go Super in order to stop the rampaging beast from destroying the world.
The general theme of Sonic Heroes deals with teamwork and friendship.
The general theme of Sonic Rush, where the power of friendship allows Blaze to access the power of the Sol Emeralds and go Super to stop the Eggmen from taking over the world.
The main character, Edge, of Star Ocean The Last Hope will repeat the same sappy, sugary lines about the power of friendship until the player gets diabetes.
Try to count how many times Asbel says the word "protect" or "friends" in Tales of Graces. But don't make this into a drinking game. If you did, you would die. You would die horribly. The frequency of friend-protection rivals that ofKUREAAAA.
Tales of Hearts uses this constantly in its themes. Then it starts measuring it about a third into the game. Then, your characters start sharing abilities when their Soma Link gets high enough. And then you find out that one of the Limit Breaks has an extension which is unlocked when the character's total bond is high enough. All while never forgetting to bring it up in every other line of dialogue.
Played with in Thief II: The Metal Age. One of the epigraphs that preceed the cinematic sequences before each level is from the Keepers' Book of Secrets: "Reliance on others is strength for the weak, but weakness for the strong. Wisdom lies in knowing one's own nature over time." Garrett has always been a (effectual) loner, but winds up needing to make allies to solve the problems he faces in the game. If the epigraph is correct, this means Garrett used to be strong but now has become weak.
Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume deconstructs this trope. The main character carries a cursed artifact, the Destiny Plume, which makes the target super-strong for one battle but kills them at the end of the fight. It only works on people who trust him and consider him a friend, and none of them realize he's the one who's cutting them down. Frequent use of it makes you more powerful, but as you can imagine, it's not exactly healthy for your Karma Meter. As it's mentioned, "The closer the better". This also turns it into a form of Gameplay and Story Integration, since you can't sacrifice "guest" characters (partly because they're important to the plot of that story arc) as they haven't actually considered Wyl their friend yet.
This theme is prominent in The Witcher if you choose to work with the Order or, more accurately, with the knight Siegfried. From the very start, Geralt muses that he prefers to work alone but fighting monsters back-to-back with Siegfried has unexpected advantages. Throughout the game, the two men can develop a friendship that is awkward at first (since they come from very different backgrounds and neither is particularly good at being friends) but becomes one of unconditional trust towards the end.
Part of the point behind The World Ends with You is getting Ineffectual Loner Neku to open up and cooperate with his teammates in order to survive "The Game" being played around Shibuya. Keeping close ties (or, in game terms, a high "Sync" ratio) with them increases their fighting effectiveness, since the Noise also fight in tandem.
In World of Warcraft defeating both raid bosses and the opposing faction requires effective communication, teamwork, and persistence. This is why guilds are more successful than pick-up groups.
Choose a video-game where players are put in teams and have to play against one another. Any game. Even if one team has better players, if they're not working together or supporting one another, and the other team is, the other team is almost certainly going to win.
In Flipside, this is Blithe Spirit Maytag's entire modus operandi. She can defeat otherwise implacable villains by refusing to treat them as villains. To truly understand this, she manages to befriend a Nigh Invulnerable, cursed monster girl while that girl is eating her.
This is the main theme (just look at at least half the CMO Hs listed on that page!), and it doesn't just apply to the friendship of the four main characters. Does anyone have the relevant Andrew Hussie quote?
This is even more evident in the Squiddles. In fact, a line from their theme song is "The power of friendship and The Power of Love..."
"I think I'm having a friendship aneurysm!"
Karkat, the grouchy hate-spigot who once claimed that friendship counts as a disease for his species, seems to be friends of some closeness or another with all but one or two of the other trolls, and ends up being the glue that holds them together as a team (which one of the other trolls theorizes actually screwed them over because normally trolls are so combative that hatred is a form of romance which plays a key part in breeding, and they have a whole extra form of romance just to prevent regular hate from mutating into an adulterous breeding-hate). On top of that, he's the direct descendant of what amounts to troll Jesus, who actively preached that trolls could become a great species if they would only adopt a philosophy of friendship and love (it didn't work).
Notably at one point, Karkat settles down a rampaging troll by shooshing him and papping his face, when everybody else was gunning to kill him. Although mind you, this counts as a form of romance to trolls as well.
Schlock Mercenary runs on it, in a twisted way. The mercenaries are amoral and violent, have to be wary of every government body, and have to treat the concept of "allies" with dubious detachment at best. But they can damn sure rely on their friends and no mistake.
This is probably the chief reason that Davan from Something Positive is still hanging in there. Granted, in this case it's the power of dysfunctional friendship, but they're nevertheless the strongest force in his life.
Terror Island, of all comics, had this: the entire plot revolved around roommates Sid and Stephen trying to make the other buy the groceries. At the end, they report having found a grocery store. When asked which of them bought the groceries first, they say that they both did. They're asked how that's possible, and they respond "friendship".Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
Subverted by Linkara at the end of his Mechakara saga.
"You're not just a tool, you're my friend! And you're also well paid!"
Wyn from the web fiction serial Dimension Heroes refuses to team up with the other Dimensional Guardians until he falls under the control of a monster and is subsequently freed by them, realizing that the only way he'll be able to defeat the forces of darkness is to team up with them.
This happened precisely once in the entire history of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe: When Doctor XX had captured several members of the Hyperion Academy student body, she gloated over her prisoners, proclaiming that as "mere children", they never had a hope of defeating her.
Doctor XX: Did you really think you'd win? I'm more powerful than any of you! Battlecry: Yeah? Maybe so... (cue the wall coming down as the rest of the students arrive) but you're not more powerful than all of us!
In her review of Spice World, the only plus The Nostalgia Chick can give the Spice Girls is at least they were marketed as being friends. But they screwed that up in their reunion video when they weren't even looking at each other.
Once the series starts moving away from pure shenanigans and starts providing a framework to understand their universe, the odds stacked against the Blood Gulch Crew are absurd - the only way they can even survive is by increasingly relying on each other, working past their faults and shortcomings, even as they relentlessly needle each other for those faults. Of note are two instances in the later seasons:
The crew's combined efforts allow them to take down the Meta, who had spent all of seasons 6-8 being a ruthless, terrifyingjuggernaut. The only way they accomplished this, according to Word of God, is by the power of friendship.
When Agent Carolina and Epsilon are on their last legs, the Blood Gulch crew arrives in styleto help her fend off a seemingly endless wave of mooks.
Played darkly straight. The usual tone of this trope's use in Sailor Nothing: Himei wakes up everyday and stops herself from slitting her wrists open by reminding herself that she has friends to live for.
When Himei is ready to lie down and die at the hands of her own Yamiko, Aki gets her up by saying, "Himei! If you die, you can't go on your date tomorrow!"
Survival of the Fittest plays this for drama, and also tragedy. In a story where the goal is to the the last one left standing and the main moral appears to be "don't trust anybody", friendship has no place and SOTF has no qualms with showing the reader exactly why. Version 0 ends with Sydney Morvran and his friends hiding in the school building. An accidentally dropped flashbang causes them all to go insane with paranoia and butcher each other, Syd using one of them as a human shield. Groups and friendships both tend to collapse in a dramatic fashion, especially once suspicion of killers starts to go around, and people often end up being slaughtered by others who were their closest colleagues before the game. Battle Royale, which SOTF is based on, used this trope.
Ultra Fast Pony takes a middle-of-the-road approach to this one. On the one hand, it acknowledges how great it to have someone you can trust to be on your side in a fight. (Even if the friendship is very dysfunctional.) On the other hand, the series loves to mock the idea that friendship is a literal, supernatural power.
Apple Bloom: Well, isn't friendship magic? Applejack: I don't know. Do you have friends? Apple Bloom: Yeah... Applejack: Are you magic? Apple Bloom: No... Applejack: Well, there you go then!
Yugi: Losing a children's card game has caused me to have an existential crisis! Tea: I have prepared a friendship speech for such an occasion! Yugi: NevermindI'mallbetternow. Tea: [to a doctor] Go back to your leeches and your potions! Friendship is the only cure!
One episode even had a drinking game for how many times friendship was mentioned. Though it also happens to be the one where Yugi and Joey have to duel each other to the death.
Yugi: I just wanted you to know how important your friendship is to me, Joey. It means even more to me than card games.
Mandell was a little more subtle about it with the Galaxy Rangers, but their "pool the badges" tactic is built on this. It also featured prominently in "Mindnet," where the other three go out of their way to clear Shane's name, and Shane overtly chooses his friends over his Supertrooper "family." It also was played wonderfully in "Psychocrypt" when Doc, Niko, and Shane decide to help Zach.
In an episode of The Amazing World of Gumball, Gumball bursts out of a cement prison after seeing the possible outcome of his friendship if he weren't to get to someone's house in time whilst saying the trope name in the process.
It's the only thing that can cool down Aang's Unstoppable Rage. Azula's Villainous Breakdown is largely due to her inability to inspire loyalty through trust and friendship instead of fear. It was also implied that friendship can withstand generations—as in, they last lifetimes through reincarnation.
[Avatar Roku tried to use the Power of Friendship to restrain Fire Lord Sozin, and it worked initially. When Roku tried to stop a volcano from destroying his village, Sozin helped him, and this was after Roku put the veto on Sozin's expansion plans. Then Roku fell into a vulnerable position and Sozin left him for dead. When he was older, he immensely regretted it.
The Boondocks makes a Spoof Aesop out of this, with Flonominal and Thugnificent stating that the only reason to ever have friends is so that you never have to deal with your own problems like a man, instead relying on other people to take care of your problems for you.
Cubix runs on this. If Connor refuses to give up on him, then he's coming back, even if everyone else in the show agrees he shouldn't be able to. This is how Connor fixes him in the first episode, before the two of them have even technically 'met'.
My Little Pony And Friends features this in the episode "The Magic Coins". Niblick, creator of the coins, refuses to help Megan and company undo the damage the ponies' poorly though-out wishes on the coins have caused unless they bring him a treasure of greater or equal value than the coins. After three failed attempts, Megan finally gets the idea to use the last of the coins to wish for a friend for Niblick, which even the crotchety troll comes to agree is a better treasure than anything he could think up.
Even in the spin-off feature film My Little Pony Equestria Girls, despite being in a human world, the same friendships Twilight developed in Equestria work here to magically defeat the demonic form of Sunset Shimmer.
"I'd be a grumpy gus too if no-one ever hugged me." "Hey, you know what? I never have been hugged. Maybe this is what I needed. Or maybe I'm just a jerk who enjoys bullying other animals." "Oh. Well, in that case I can just squeeze you until you pop like a grape." "No, no, hugging's good! ... Actually I'm liking the hug."
Definitely a theme of Sofia the First, in which the title characters ability to make friends and see the good in everybody is revolutionizing things in the castle that she moved to after she became royalty.
Deconstructed in Sponge Bob Square Pants, where the titular character tried to invoke this to force Mr. Krabs and Plankton to work together in The Other Patty. In fact, this plan was to support his own "goofball scheme" as Mr. Krabs in fact. So in the end, they try to give Spongbob a piece of their mind while he flees from them.
Strawberry Shortcake is big on this and large portions of the 2003 series in particular operate on it. The ultimate expression of it is the songs "Back Together" (from "A Horse of a Different Color") and "The Gift of Friendship" (from "A Berry Merry Christmas.")
Recess often plays this trope straight as the main cast works together to resolve whatever problem they face. Then there's this weird episode.
When playing kickball against a team of weirdly similar kids from a neighboring school, T.J. tells his friends they can beat their doppelgangers because they have The Power of Friendship... and the camera cuts to his counterpart telling her team the same thing. Both groups are friends internally, but competing against each other.
Truth In Television
Dennis Rodman seems to be trying to invoke this with his visit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, telling him that he has a "friend for life." It is Rodman's hope that his visit may help, if even in some little way, to cool the hostility of the North Korean government towards the United States.
Hoplites in battle, whose main strength was in trusting that they could depend on each other.
Invoked by the US military after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on the 11th of March 2011. The aid mission that they launched on the 12th was called "Operation Tomodachi" (Japanese for friend).
The most successful animals in nature tend to be those who cooperate with others, either of their own species or not.
Truth in music? Queen wrote an awesome song about the Power of Friendship, the aptly titled Friends will be Friends
The reason why the Human species has become the dominant species of Earth, along with great creativity, the ability of think out strategies and unlimited ruthlessness.
Some anthropologists also suggest that the Toba Event forced the early humans of Eastern Africa to learn to work together or face extinction.
The relationship between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill helped save Britain and the world from Nazi Germany. Indeed, one could easily imagine a dialogue between Churchill and Hitler much like the one between Luke Skywalker and Emperor Palpatine.
There was an attempt to arrange a dialogue in Munich between Hitler and Churchill in November 1932, when both struggled for power. Hitler declined.