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A Boy and His X
aka: A Girl And Her X

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Oh, you're my best friend, in a world we must defend!

A heartwarming story told through the ages: Something unique enters a young man's (or woman's) life, and they form a bond that changes them forever, usually starting them down the path to adulthood.

What that something is, however, varies widely. From the classic "A Boy and His Dog", all the way to… well, keep reading, you'll see.

Be warned, however, that whatever X is can easily fall victim to Death by Newbery Medal, especially if it's of the huge and/or monstrous variety.

See also Interspecies Friendship, Monster and the Maiden and Nonhuman Sidekick.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Jiu Jiu: A girl and her two shapeshifting, demon-fighting, werewolf familiars. Takamichi was devastated by her the death of her beloved twin brother Takayuki, and the sudden focus placed on her as the heir to the family legacy of demon-fighting (when she'd previously been ignored and told she was of zero value to her clan) caused her to retreat emotionally. Being made responsible for werewolf "jiu jiu" pups Snow and Night gave the adolescent demon-hunter an outlet for the love & care she had only ever been able to express for her brother. Protecting the duo gave her a purpose in life beyond her family's work. Tor their part, Snow and Night are totally devoted to Takamichi (having been raised by her since werewolf-toddler-puppyhood). They want to see her succeed in her hunts, but more importantly they want to keep her safe and stay by her side. Snow and Night are the only people in the world who have shown Takamichi unconditional love since her brother, and Takamichi is everything to the two jiu jiu.
  • Pokémon: The Series: Although the series has a large, rotating main cast with countless character arcs, the central characters are Ash Ketchum and his Pokémon partner, Pikachu. After getting off to a rough start in the first episode, the two became inseparable best friends, unwilling to part ways even offered the choice.

    Comic Books 
  • X-Men:
    • The origin story of Maggot (a South-African mutant whose digestive system was two semi-autonomous slugs that could eat anything) was titled "A Boykie and His Dinges". Translated from the South-African slang the flashback was written in, that's "A Boy and His Things".
  • Parodied in a scene from The Badger. Norbert pets Lamont, his North American "Buffalo". The villain promptly comments, "Ain't that sweet? A Deranged Individual and His Bison." (Hey, at least he was biologically accurate.)
  • What If?: "I'll Be Your Best Friend!" (v2 #92) was the tale of a boy and his robot — specifically Josh (kid brother of X-Men Cannonball and Husk) and a damaged Sentinel (robot designed to kill mutants such as the X-Men.) Many readers questioned why this story was published as a "What If" given that it could've easily fit into Earth-616 canon.
  • One Xenosaga 4-koma aptly sums up the series as "A Girl And Her Doll". Said "doll" is a combat android with the power of a fleet.

    Fan Works 
  • A common idea in Danny Phantom stories, likely because they were last seen both roaming on their own, is for Danielle and Wulf to meet up and become friends. Such examples include:
    • Harmless: Prior to coming to Danny aid's in a coming battle with a powerful, ancient ghost, Danielle met up with Wulf, and brought him along when she met the rest of the Fenton family.
    • In the Facing the Future Series, following being Happily Adopted by the Fentons, Danielle encountered Wulf, and due to her past with strays while roaming, was able to bond with him easily, to the point that she gave him a new outfit to replace his prison garb look. Unfortunately, Jack and Maddie won't let Wulf live at Fenton Works.

    Films — Animation 
  • Big Hero 6: Hiro and Baymax; a boy and his robotic healthcare companion. Hiro is a Brilliant, but Lazy Teen Genius who loses his brother Tadashi in a fire accident. The healthcare robot Tadashi built provides him his much-needed emotional support, and the two of them (along with Tadashi's old friends) become superheroes who fight crime, with Hiro maturing into a much more responsible person.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: Hiccup is a viking boy who's too scrawny and too kind-hearted to become a dragon slayer. He meets an injured dragon he names "Toothless", bonds with it and becomes its rider, maturing a lot on the way.
  • The Rescuers Down Under has a boy named Cody, who befriends a giant golden eagle named Marahute after he rescues her from a poacher's trap.
  • Inverted with The Good Dinosaur. Arlo, a talking dinosaur, befriends a feral human boy after the two became lost in the wilderness. Arlo is initially a nervous and cowardly dinosaur, but his adventures with the human boy help him find his courage.
  • Lilo & Stitch: A Girl And Her Alien(s). In the original film, Stitch was adopted by her by pretending to be a dog.
  • Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron: A boy and his horse... and another horse who did not want to be owned by anyone but warmed up to the boy by the end of the film.
  • Astro Kid: After Willy crash lands on an alien planet, he befriends a local creature named Flash. Flash quickly becomes his best friend and together they manage to survive on the planet till help finally arrives.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Trope Maker is probably Lassie Come Home, about a Yorkshire boy and the collie that won't be separated from him. Lassie's strong relationship with Joe drives the plot, as she is determined to get back to Yorkshire against all odds to return to him. The film spawned five sequels, multiple reboots, multiple TV shows, cartoons, a manga and more, which all featured Lassie as a Heroic Dog with a strong bond to the 'boy' in each version, where she helped him and his family out of dangerous situations.
  • Alpha (2018) is about a young hunter separated from his tribe taking care of a wolf separated from her pack. The two work together to bring down prey and help each other whenever one of them is injured. This can also count as the very first "A Boy And His X" in human and dog history.
  • A-X-L is a film about a teen boy named Miles who finds a highly-advanced military-created Robot Dog in a junkyard. The two form an unbreakable bond, but his creators want him back.
  • The post-apocalyptic classic A Boy and His Dog is about a young man and his psychic canine mentor. The film shows that the boy's Undying Loyalty to his (talking) dog is so strong, that when his dog dying and he's met a cute girl who is sexually interested in him, he kills the girl and feeds her to his dog to save him.
    Blood: Well, I'd certainly say she had marvelous judgment, Albert, if not particularly good taste.
  • The Transformers spin-off/prequel/reboot Bumblebee narrows down this trope, with the focus of the film being entirely on Charlie and her friendship with Bumblebee. The alien invasion/disaster movie aspect of the prior films being pretty much all but removed, and the robot war mostly being a factor for the backstory and the motivation of the badguys.
  • There's a movie called Gargantua, in which a boy befriends a baby giant monster, and must keep it safe from a poacher that wants to capture it and sell it as a sideshow attraction.
  • Lean on Pete is about the bond between a troubled teenager called Charley and Lean on Pete, a mediocre racehorse bound for the slaughterhorse. Charley steals Lean on Pete from his owner to avoid his fate and the two go on a cross-country trip.
  • The Magic Crystal: A Boy and his Sentient, Talking Venusian Crystal with Psychic Powers. Which he obtains from his uncle, a globe-trotting secret agent, during a tour in Greece. It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context.
  • Monster Trucks: The story of a boy and a subterranean creature that escapes from its secret environment, with Trip adapting his truck so that 'Creach' can basically use it as a wheelchair/support system to move around on land.
  • Old Yeller is about a boy named Travis, who is set up to learn responsibility while his father is away. Travis meets a stray dog named Yeller, and his learning to trust the dog leads to a close partnership.
  • Pete's Dragon (1977) features the dragon rescuing Pete from his abusive guardians, who had bought him. The opening song features Pete and the dragon playfully declaring their love for each other.
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu is the story of a young man and his talking, snarky, coffee addicted Great Detective Pikachu teaming up to solve the mystery of the disappearance of the young man's father. With the added twist that the Pikachu turns out to be said missing father, trapped in the body of a Pikachu.
  • The Skateboard Kid: A boy and his talking skateboard. A young skateboarder named Zack builds a mechanical skateboard which comes to life after being struck by lightning. After the skateboard protects Zack from the neighborhood bullies, the two become best of friends.
  • Ted: A boy and his teddy bear, who comes to life. Instead of helping him mature, the teddy bear hinders the boy's emotional development and results in him becoming a Manchild. But then over the course of the movie the now grown-up man learns the responsibilities of adulthood.
  • Many Terminator films have this vibe:

  • The Last Dragon Chronicles incorporates this trope a lot. Usually it's A Boy and His Dragon although A Girl and Her Dragon pops up almost as frequently (if not more). David gets many a dragon sidekick as the series progresses: G'reth, Golly, and even Sharing a Body with Grockle. But Gadzooks definitely takes home the medal. Lucy has Gwendolen and Zanna has Gretel.
  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy has one in Ptolemy and Bartimaeus, they'd have died for each other... one did. Then there's Nathaniel and Bartimaeus that comes after Ptolemy dies (way after, 2000 years plus), though they may not be an example as they both loath each other until the end and continuously argue (hilariously) throughout the whole three books.
  • The Temeraire series: A Boy and His Dragon. Or, possibly, A Dragon and His British Naval Officer. While not guiding Laurence into manhood, Temeraire does mark a significant shift both in his life and understanding of the world.
  • The Anthology Tales from Jabba's Palace has a story called "A Boy And His Monster" focusing on Jabba's Rancor Handler Malakili and his Relationship the abused Rancor. Fortunately for him the book gives him a happy ending, despite the death of his best friend, by having him opening a successful restaurant in Mos Eisley after Jabba's death.
  • The Harlan Ellison story A Boy and His Dog twists this trope: The boy is a serial rapist and the dog helps him find victims. The boy really does seem to love him, and finds his dog… food.
  • One of the books in C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia inverts the trope in its title, The Horse and His Boy. The book sometimes plays the trope straight and sometimes inverts it, as the boy is not always in charge, and is less experienced in the ways of the world than the former warhorse. The inversion is also discussed at one point, when someone tells the boy's traveling companion that it might be more accurate to say that she belonged to her horse.
  • In an inversion similar to that in The Horse and His Boy, in Fredric R. Stewart's Cerberon, the eponymous unicorn has been George's best friend his entire life. The novel opens with George clearly in command, but by the end it's Cerberon who is in charge. In a Shout-Out to C. S. Lewis, Cerberon's mother is named Jewel, after the unicorn in The Last Battle.note 
  • In one of Robert Rankin's Brentford stories Omally (always spelled without the apostrophe, for some reason) refuses to die without his faithful Marchant. Pooley comments, "A boy and his bike! I feel sick!"
  • Heralds of Valdemar: While bond-animals of various sorts are common throughout the series, the one that fulfills the trope most strongly is the Companions. These are magical horses (that are later revealed to be spirit-guardians given mortal form) who seek out and bond with children who would make suitable Heralds. This moment of bonding marks the start of their journey towards maturity, and the bond is so strong that the death of either Herald or Companion almost invariably leads to the death of the other.
  • Humanx Commonwealth: Flinx is an empathic, genetically altered mutant who, in his early life, forms a psychic bond with an Alaspinian miniature dragon (minidrag for short) named Pip. The species naturally forms such bonds in the wild, and is rarely known to do so with humans. However, due to Flinx's unique nature, Pip acts as an amplifier and focus for his powers in addition to being a fierce protector.
  • Dragonriders of Pern: Dragons Impress at hatching, and the ritual is a rite of passage for Pernese youth. This forms a lifetime bond that marks the beginning of a youngster's training as a dragonrider and their growth into maturity and their role as protectors of the planet.
  • I, Q a Star Trek: The Next Generation book written by John De Lancie, parodies this when Q snarkily refers to Picard and Data as "A boy and his computer".
  • A Dog's Purpose is this type of story from a dog's point-of-view. It follows a dog being reincarnated several times and its life with humans. To emphasise this, the protagonist often refers to his main owner Ethan as "the boy".
  • Isaac Asimov's "Robbie": Gloria has had her Robot Buddy "Robbie" for three years before the start of this story. Her mother, worried about what the neighbors have been saying, wants to get rid of the robot. Gloria is, of course, devastated by her loss. She never stops looking for where Robbie might have gone, checking every robot she comes across, and even checking factory robots.
  • The Magic Shop book Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher is about Jeremy and the bond he forms with his pet dragon.
  • Skyward is described by author Brandon Sanderson as being about "a girl and her starfighter," with the starfighter being an artificial intelligence named M-Bot.

  • Puff the Magic Dragon, a tearjerker of a children's song, has the eponymous dragon as the boy Jackie Paper's best friend. Jackie is described in the song as Puff's life-long friend, who nevertheless abandoned him as he grew older.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus aka. AEW's Jurassic Express also go under the name "A Boy and His Dinosaur".

    Video Games 
  • MapleStory:
    • Maha is Aran's magic, talking polearm. The former is Aran's only link to her past and the two have been through thick and thin, turning aside entire armies and bickering with each other over her missing memories.
    • The whole point of Evan's class is forming this relationship between a Farm Boy and his magic dragon, who acts as Evan's ticket towards the life of adventure he's always dreamed of.
    • Ilium is a member of the Flora who only had his magic robot, Ex, for a friend because of Illium's crippling shyness. Ex is later joined by Machina, which was made from a statue Ilium made for a festival and the two can combine to form the powerful fighting robot, Deus.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess features a fallen Twili named Midna who turns out to be the titular princess and her wolf companion Link (some of the time, anyway). At first, their relationship is more akin to pet and owner, with Midna riding Link around as though he were a horse and simply using him to fulfill her own ends, but by the end of the game, they've become Fire-Forged Friends (with no small amount of Ship Tease on the side).
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel features Rean Schwarzer with his mech, Valimar the Ashen Knight after he inadvertently finishes the trial with his friends. Rean ends up piloting Valimar throughout the Civil War in Cold Steel II and helps end it. At first, Valimar talks robotic but when Rean gets better at piloting Valimar, Valimar ends up talking like a human and starts remembering things from before he slept 250 years before the start of the game.

    Web Videos 
  • The Nostalgia Chick has this complaint about Dragonheart and other dragon movies, seeing as how most girls loved dragons (or at least she did) and women never factor in the films.note 

    Western Animation 
  • Danny Phantom: Sam directly mentions this trope a couple of times.
    • First when Danny meets a ghost dog (the same episode where Valerie becomes an important reoccuring character) and is trying to tame him.
    Sam: A boy and his dog. Somehow, it's not supposed to be this weird.
    • The second is a "boy and his snow beast", presumably referring to Frostbite.
  • The New Scooby-Doo Movies: in "The Caped Crusader Caper," Shaggy and Scooby go missing on a camping trip. Batman (guest star with Robin) assures the kids that a caped crusader always gives priority to a boy and his dog.
  • The Simpsons parodies this with Soccer Mummy, a film within the show in which a reanimated Egyptian mummy joins a little league soccer team and teaches a young boy to believe in himself.
  • Sintel is about a girl who rescues a wounded baby dragon and befriends it. As the dragon grows up, it flies away with a flock of dragons passing above. Sintel sets out on a long journey to find it.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): A Girl And Her X



A Girl and her Dragon

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / ABoyAndHisX

Media sources:

Main / ABoyAndHisX