Follow TV Tropes


Bromantic Foil

Go To

"Only things I care about in this world: sports, your love life."
George to Nathaniel, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

This is a male character common in any media with a romantic plot. He serves as a foil to the male lead, both for the audience and for the potential Love Interests in the work. Often he has an outwardly abrasive personality. Despite that, he is the main character's primary male companion. Common developments for the character include some sort of falling-out with the main character, often over a very serious issue. He is often a Chivalrous Pervert or Lovable Sex Maniac, and meets with the disapproval of the female cast members in various ways, from exasperated sigh to Megaton Punch. Sometimes this is taken to the point of being a Butt-Monkey. If the work has an Official Couple featuring a stereotypically attractive female, he'll probably publicly and futilely lust over her right up until the main character's interest comes out in the open.


As the main character's foil, his function is to show by example what the main character is NOT. Often, by contrast with him, it is no surprise that the main character has an Unwanted Harem. If he does end up in a relationship, he's probably part of the Beta Couple. If he gets together with the main character, it's through a Gay Option. Often he is also the Plucky Comic Relief.

Sub-Trope of Foil. See also The Lancer, Sidekick, Those Two Guys.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Akame ga Kill! isn't a harem series (at least, not officially. . .), but it does play the trope straight with Lubboc. He's a Chivalrous Pervert, but most of the women on his team find his antics annoying. By contrast, Tatsumi seems to just naturally attract female attention. He does have a Love Interest of his own, Najenda, the leader of their entire group in fact, but she's not really considering a relationship until after their war is over. He ends up dying anyway, so nothing ever comes from it sadly.
  • Are You the Only One Who Loves Me? has protagonist Joro with his friend Taiyou/"Sun-chan" as a double subversion. At first, Sun-chan looks like your typical cool best friend; he's athletic, approachable, handsome, and has the attention of the two girls Joro was initially trying to date. Then at the end of the first arc we learn that he never really liked those two and strung them along, despises Joro for stealing away the attention of a girl he liked in middle school, and attempted to date the heroine if not for Joro inadvertently making her fall for him, making the aforementioned incident happen again. It briefly ruins their friendship, but after they reconcile Sun-chan pretty much becomes a true Bromantic Foil and largely played comic relief.
  • Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts - Yuuji is the best friend, but Kouta is the pervert.
    • Baka Test is an unusual example in the the lead guy, Akihisa, is the Butt-Monkey and the best friend, Yuuji, is the one abusing and using said butt monkey. Then again, it is also unusual in that Yuuji is only a few steps short of being the lead guy himself; it wouldn't be a stretch at all to say that Akihisa and Yuuji are both the protagonist.
      • Not to mention, Yuuji has a love interest of his own: Shouko Kirishima. Though Shouko is, well, a Yandere...
  • Furuichi of Beelzebub plays it dead straight. He lusts after all the girls, and is quite jealous of the attention Oga gets. He has an admirer of his own, though: The Manly Gay demon Arandron.
  • In the first season of Code Geass we get the cool protagonist Lelouch and his more awkward best friend Rivalz.
  • Masomi Kida of Durarara!! seems like this compared to the (sort of) protagonist, Mikado. While Mikado is fairly shy and reserved, Kida is a keet and Chivalrous Pervert constantly obsessed with hitting on girls. Ultimately subverted though, as Kida's personality and general cheerfulness is largely Obfuscating Stupidity, and he's actually pretty melancholic. As for Mikado, while he is shy, he hides his inner badass.
  • Tadashi Teruya from 11eyes, Kakeru's best friend (somehow) and constant subject of derision by Shiori. Curiously, in Story of another side, he actually gets a chance to show that he's more than just the Butt-Monkey.
  • In Haruhi Suzumiya, Taniguchi is a friend to the protagonist, Kyon, and is a Casanova Wannabe and a Small Name, Big Ego, whereas Kyon himself is a snarky Covert Pervert.
  • Nobunaga from Haruka Nogizaka's Secret. Yuuto's best friend who's very open about his fanboy tendencies, when the point of the series is to keep Haruka's own love of anime hidden.
  • Eishirou Sugata from Heaven's Lost Property. While he's a lot more reserved than Tomoki, he's also completely bonkers.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War has Ishigami, who contrasts the male lead Shirogane. Where Shirogane is popular, a hard worker, and thinks before he speaks, Ishigami is a pariah, Brilliant, but Lazy, and has a bad habit of putting his foot in his mouth. However, Ishigami ends up being the Hero of Another Story instead, with his own love story and interests making up a major chunk of the plot.
  • Mugio in Kujibiki Unbalance (both versions).
  • In Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions, there's Makoto Isshiki, Yuuta's back-seat classmate who has a hobby of profiling girls in their class.
  • Yamato Kurose from Mayo Chiki! is this, though since the female lead pretends to be a man he teases the main character for being gay instead of lusting after her in his turn.
  • Haruhiko Nezu from Princess Lover!! is the show's perpetual punching bag.
  • Ryoga performs this role for the title character of Ranma ½: lawful, wrathful and guarded where Ranma tends to be chaotic, arrogant and trusting. Notably, he is outwardly much more shy and polite to pretty much everybody except Ranma, who is a major Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Edogawa from Sora no Manimani. In comparison to reserved bookworm Saku, he's loud, crazy and not even technically a member of the Astronomy Club.
  • In Student Council's Discretion, Ken has the bluntly stated goal of turning the entire (female) student council into his harem, and draws analogies to a main protagonist in ero-games that he plays. Kurimu, the President, responds that his actions are probably closer to this trope instead.
    • It's also a Shout-Out to Clannad: Ken states that his name can be written like "Okazaki" in kanji, and Kurimu answers "You mean Sunohara, right?".
  • Saruyama from To Love Ru. He's there just to be the envious friend that is jealous of Rito's ever growing harem. His Casanova Wannabe antics are also the exact opposite of Rito when it comes to trying to impress girls. Don't help that, in the sequel Darkness, he gets pushed to the background.
  • Wolfwood and Vash from Trigun have the bromance and the foil part going, including the dramatic fight, but not the rest. Wolfwood is about as cool as Vash, with a bonus of brooding, dark looks, and they use similar varieties of Obfuscating Stupidity.



     Live-Action TV  


     Video Games 
  • Masaki "Maki" Edo from Gift ~eternal rainbow~. A master of crackpot inventions.
  • The Persona series has a tendency to do this with characters of the Magician Arcana:
    • Persona 3 has two, Junpei and Kenji, the latter of which has you help him in a doomed attempt at love. Junpei's shot at love doesn't end much better, at first. Chidori sacrifices herself to heal Junpei, even knowing that using her powers could potentially cost her life. That said, if (and that's a very strong "if") one does things right, it's possible for her to survive in the Updated Re-release.
    • Yosuke fills the same shoes in Persona 4. His attempt at love is even more doomed: Not only is Saki murdered (and he later discovers she hated him all along), but her death is actually what gets the plot rolling.
    • Ryuji joins the ranks of the foil to the protagonist in Persona 5. Although, he is not a Magician, but the Chariot, and he doesn't have a love interest, so he plays this trope straight.
    • However Morgana, Persona 5’s Magician, does follow series tradition to a certain extent—he and Joker, living together, are clearly shown to be close, and he has a crush on Ann, whom he constantly professes his love for (in a rather... linguistic fashion), but she never gives him the time of day because he’s... you know... a cat.
  • Alistair can act as one to a male Warden PC in Dragon Age: Origins.
  • Mass Effect, Garrus serves as this to a male Shepard, especially if Paragon, where he's The Cowl to their Cape. In the third game, he even ends up hooking up with Tali, if Shepard didn't romance her.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: Reyn, the Boisterous Bruiser Dumb Muscle, plays this to the main character Shulk, The Engineer Chosen One. Reyn is a big, bulky guy with a crush on the Team Mom Sharla that is still mourning her missing past lover and looking for him, while Shulk is a much more introverted guy who is in love with his childhood friend Fiora, who reciprocates his feelings for her, while also having Melia fall for him.
  • In The World Ends with You have Neku and Beat. Neku is serious and cautious while Beat is goofy and hot-headed.

     Visual Novels 
  • Kaine in A Profile acts as a foil by... being a largely normal person with normal human reactions, which is enough when compared to Masayuki. He also happens to be a female-to-male Transgender man.
  • Possible subversion in Aselia the Eternal - The Spirit of Eternity Sword. Kouin comes across as rather perverted and isn't as pretty as Yuuto... but he's also more intelligent, competent and even stronger than he is. He just lacks charisma.
  • Uzuki from Sharin no Kuni counts as one, but he is definitively amongst the odder examples of this trope: Even the main character usually ends up as plagued by his antics as the Unwanted Harem. He's also Ambiguously Gay and shows little if any overt interest in any females on top of it.
  • Kenji Setou of Katawa Shoujo is notable for lacking the usual perversion of this trope - he's a paranoid misogynist instead. Possibly a deliberate subversion, considering the dev team's origin. He also calls the main character "bro". In the first act no-girl route, he is the main character's companion during the School Festival.
  • Sumiyoshi of Snow Sakura (eroge) is a very typical example, heavy on the Keet and perversion.
  • Masayoshi does this to the protagonist Junichi in Amagami. Interestingly for a female variation, Kaoru does this as well whether she's the love interest of the arc or not.
  • The Sociable, popular, hard working chick magnet Asino who is of average ability contrasts against the protagonist antisocial genius Chris from Symphonic Rain and is basically his only male friend. Though not perverted at all, if you go down Fal's route, it ends up with a Love Triangle between him, Chris and Fal.
  • Youhei Sunohara from CLANNAD (both Visual Novel and Anime) is an example played straight, heavy on the Butt-Monkey. It was even lampshaded by Tomoya after he was ogling Tomoyo.
    He's one of those people who can never be the main role for anything.
  • Suginami in both Da Capo and Da Capo II. Despite the large gap of years separating the two series, there will always be a Suginami, and he will always be there to serve as the protagonists' foil.
  • Torahiko Ooshima from Morenatsu, a gay furry visual novel. Subverted, however, in that he's very tsundere-ish and is the game's canon route (when it gets released), also making him a homosexual example. It's further subverted: He's certainly got the outwardly abrasive part, and fits that part of the trope, but he's also Mr. Fanservice of the game, making it something of an act. It ends up reaching Stepford-y points, particularly during emotional parts of the game.
  • Arihiko from Tsukihime is Shiki's only normal friend, as well as being a comic-relief slacker, pervert, and all-around failure.
    • Seorin's Let's Play lampshades the Ho Yay between the two and Exaggerates it.
    • Shiki doesn't really have "normal" friends. As pointed out in Kagetsu Tohya, they became friends because they've both had an encounter with death that is way too close for comfort. Satsuki isn't normal either; the Nanaya gland don't work on normal girls.
  • Issei Ryudou from Fate/stay night, Shirou's only normal friend, comedic example of He-Man Woman Hater and the Unknown Rival of Rin, one of the heroines.
  • Yamato's three closest male friends in Majikoi! Love Me Seriously! all qualify as different variations of the trope. Gakuto and Moro are both perverts who are unlucky in love, but while Gakuto is an extroverted Casanova Wannabe, Moro is an awkward Nerd who feels overshadowed by his more impressive friends. Kazama, conversely, is The Ace and a Chick Magnet who Yamato often feels inadequate compared to, but is also a Chaste Hero who poses no immediate threat to him romantically. Gen, Yamato's fourth closest male friend, almost reads as an inversion of this trope, as he is a standoffish Tsundere who nonetheless gives mature and sensible romantic advice to Yamato and may become his romantic rival depending on the heroine he chooses to pursue.
  • Taisuke Sawanaga from School Days, also Kotonoha's Dogged Nice Guy and the Plucky Comic Relief. Though he's more of a deconstruction, considering what he does to his crush in the anime and at least one game route...
  • Steins;Gate has Daru, an otaku Lovable Sex Maniac and the worst guy Okabe could possibly get dating advice from.
    Daru: Excuse me, have you considered giving the wisdom between these pages a try?
    Okabe: That's a hentai game strategy guide, jackass!
  • Kazuhiko "Kattchan" Miyoshi in True Love Junai Monogatari.
  • Played straight by Aizawa Eiichi in The Devil on G-String and lampshaded in one of the many times he breaks the fourth wall.
  • One of the earliest examples is Yoshio Saotome from Tokimeki Memorial, the main chara's best friend as well as the older brother of Yumi, one of the possible love interests.