Three friends from childhood. A girl, her best friend and her best male friend. Is it too much to ask for no drama?
The main girl is The Hero
, and is usually an Audience Surrogate
. Whether or not she's an Action Girl
, or a Cute Clumsy Girl
, or the Girl Next Door
, she'll be easy to relate with. The other girl will usually be the opposite from her in some way in personality or looks. She isn't The Rival
, usually. That's usually saved for another girl who's the main villain, maybe the Alpha Bitch
or a Dark Action Girl
. Tomboy and Girly Girl
or Red Oni, Blue Oni
combinations are common with this pairing.
The guy in the equation is usually friends with both of the two girls or knows them. He is often a childhood friend of both of them and has different interactions with the both of them. He may be just a friend
Very much susceptible to the Love Triangle
, if romance is in the equation. Whether or not the guy is in love with The Hero
or The Lancer
is usually up to the particular show. There may be a Cat Fight
that might ensue, but usually there's more tension amongst the trio than anything. Expect a lot of Ship-to-Ship Combat
and Die for Our Ship
in regards to which girl ends up with the guy.
Compare ˇThree Amigos!
, where the protagonist is usually male; see also Two Guys and a Girl
- A "switched places" variant on Macross Frontier in the form of "A Guy and Two Girls": Alto, Ranka and Sheryl.
- In the early seasons, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha had Nanoha, Fate and Yuuno as the core cast. Atypically, Fate and Yuuno were Nanoha's love interests.
- IGPX: Takeshi, Amy, Liz. A rare example where the one male is The Hero.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion has the initial Three Children: Rei, Asuka and Shinji.
- While Tenchi Muyo! is your typical harem anime comedy, the tension is mostly centered on the main Love Triangle of Tenchi, Ryoko and Ayeka.
- No matter the version of Cardcaptor Sakura you go after, there'll always be a girl rounding out the group with Sakura and Syaoran (Kero-chan notwithstanding): if you go for the manga, Tomoyo's always there with them, but in the anime, Meiling is added to the equation.
- Those Who Hunt Elves: Junpei, Ritsuko and Airi.
- The anime adaptation of School Days takes this setup and pushes it past the breaking point with reckless abandon. Two girls, one guy, zero brains. And that's the point.
- Mawaru-Penguindrum has Tabuki, Yuri and Momoka. Both Tabuki and Yuri are in love with Momoka, whom she has known them since they were children. And then Momoka dies/disappears in the Tokyo subway attacks and since this is a Mind Screw series, things get... complicated from there.
- Samui, Karui and Omoi (the guy) from ''Naruto in contrast to the overused Two Guys and a Girl fomular of the series.
- Log Horizon has the older Akatsuki and the younger Minori vying for the affection of the protagonist, Shiroe.
- Trigun: From the start it's Vash, Meryl, and Milly
- The Trope Codifier and possibly the Ur Example in comics is Archie Comics, which has revolved around the same Love Triangle between Archie, Betty, and Veronica since 1941.
- Scott Pilgrim: Scott, Kim Pine and Ramona Flowers.
- Transmetropolitan: Spider, Channon, and Yelena
- Strangers in Paradise starts out like this, but it gets... complicated.
- Y: The Last Man, being a Gendercide world, has this setup with Yorick, 355, and Allison.
- Blu and Jewel's children, Bia (female), Carla (female), and Tiago (male) in Rio 2
- Lizzie McGuire: Lizzie, Miranda and Gordo.
- That's So Raven: Raven, Chelsea and Eddie. Only once (for each girl) was there ever so much as a Ship Tease; in one of said instances, Raven points out the Unfortunate Implications of what would happen.
- Hannah Montana: Miley, Lilly and Oliver. Disney was pretty into this trope.
- iCarly: Carly, Sam and Freddie (pictured), until Gibby joins them.
- Now that Carly left, Sam & Cat has Sam, Cat and Dice.
- A.N.T. Farm: Chyna, Olive and Fletcher. Later on though, Angus joins them.
- Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger: Like the Macross Frontier example above, Nobuo, Mizuki and Yumeria.
- Naturally Sadie: Sadie, Margaret and Rain.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy, Willow and Xander.
- True Jackson, VP: True, Lulu and Ryan.
- Although they're not the show's main characters, Doctor Who's Paternoster Gang has Jenny, Vastra, and Strax.
- If you choose the female in Pokémon Black and White, you have female player, Bianca and Cheren.
- Skies of Arcadia gives us the famous trio, the Air Pirates Vyse and Aika, and the Silvite Fina. This is played with; Vyse is the leader of the group, and though there is a visible Love Triangle, it is not the main focus of the story, and it strays away from it, leaving it unresolved - given the circumstances, it was handled quite well.
- More than unresolved, numerous fans found the handling of the Love Triangle to suggest a canon OT 3.
- In Katawa Shoujo, main character Hisao can date one of five girls, each of whom has a best friend who often shows up during her route. The possible "two girls" are Lilly and Hanako, Rin and Emi, and Shizune and Misha (who does not have a route). Though there's a certain and infamous option in Shizune's route that includes her...
- Disgaea: Hour of Darkness has Laharl the prince and two girls, Flonne and Etna.
- Mitsumete Knight R: Daibouken Hen: while the party is always composed of one guy (MacLeod) and two girls, you can choose which two girls, among a pool of five, will follow MacLeod in the quest. Choosing wisely the two girls is crucial, as they have different battle strengths, and have different relationships between each other (some, like Hanna and Linda, hate each other's guts, leading to crippling Jealousy Events).
- Braceface: Sharon, Maria and Connor.
- Though in the episode "The Pickford Project", Connor was bitter about not having any guy friends and was paired with Alden and Brock. By the end of the episode, Connor's happy with the friends he's got.
- Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable and Monique (even though she isn't a main character).
- Cyberchase: Matt, Jackie and Inez.
- Wonder Pets has Tuck (a male turtle), Linny (a female guinea pig) and Ming Ming (a female duckling).
- Pepper Ann plays this pretty straight, Pepper Ann (star), Nicky Little (female opposite), Milo (male just friend).
- Sofia the First plays this straight with Sofia and Polar Opposite Twins Amber and James.
- Cupcake (female), Rebound (female), and Patches (male) the puppies in the Hub's Pound Puppies (2010)
- What About Mimi? had Mimi, Elaine and Russell.