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Bully Turned Buddy

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"I know we were jerks to you before, so let's start over."
Ling to Mulan, Mulan

Bullies. They're mean, they're rude, and in fiction, they're everywhere. For the character being bullied, it can usually feel like they and their bully will be bitter enemies until the end, and that they will look back and think only of the pain they were put through as a child.

And yet, bullies are people, too. With little exception, most of them are just as capable of feeling love and camaraderie as anybody else. While this can usually manifest in a Loving Bully, a Gang of Bullies, or even a Girl Posse, occasionally the bully will find friendship somewhere else- usually through Heel–Face Turn- and become close friends with the very person who used to be their victim.

The reasons for this can vary. The bully could've been sympathetic all along, and the kind-hearted protagonist is willing to forgive them after they learn more about them. The bully could have had it out for the protagonist because of a genuine misunderstanding, and once said misunderstanding is cleared up, they offer their friendship to the protagonist as a way of atonement for treating them badly. The bully could've also just been a dumb kid; Kids Are Cruel, after all, and people grow up. There could be a scene of the victim finally Challenging the Bully, and winning, with Defeat Means Friendship happening in full force. Maybe they were a Peer-Pressured Bully who decided to do the right thing. Or, they just end up bonding, and the hero learns their bully is actually a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, Lovable Alpha Bitch, or Defrosting Ice Queen.

Whatever the cause, though, this scenario ends with the hero and their bully becoming good friends, despite the odds. Their friendship becomes stronger than could ever be expected at the start, even if that just means they're on friendly terms rather than mortal enemies.

Overlapping sister-trope with Reformed Bully; while many cases of this trope are Reformed Bullies, not every Reformed Bully becomes the hero's friend, and not every bully that befriends the hero is so quick to give up their bullying ways for good. It may also overlap with Bully and Wimp Pairing or Cool Kid-and-Loser Friendship. May be the result of School Forced Us Together. Compare Fire-Forged Friends, Friendly Rival, and Loner-Turned-Friend. Contrast with Former Friend of Alpha Bitch, Jerkass to One, We Used to Be Friends, and Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up, where the bully never changes out of their cruel ways. When it's friends who sometimes act like bullies, that's Vitriolic Best Buds or With Friends Like These....


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Birdmen, Kamoda used to be a part of a gang that bullied Karasuma when they were in elementary school. But after Karasuma set up a big Batman Gambit to stop the bullying, Kamoda got so impressed he became his friend. Afterwards, the other bullies then turned their attention to Kamoda, but Karasuma pulled another gambit to stop it, and they've been best friends ever since.
  • Call of the Night: After Yamori returns to school, Micchan and Sacchan (the girls who harassed him into Skipping School in the first place after he turned down Sakura's Love Confession) are shocked that he's not scared of them anymore and decide that he isn't really worth harassing (especially since Sakura doesn't hold his rejection against him at all). The three of them go on to become something closer to friends during the school trip to Hokkaido after the girls get to see what Yamori is like when he isn't pretending to be an honors student. After Yamori rescues her from Haruka, Sacchan even develops a crush on him.
  • Cesare - Il Creatore che ha distrutto — Giovanni de'Medici has an Establishing Character Moment in the first chapter when he forces Scholarship Student Angelo onto a Moody Mount who almost gets him killed, as punishment for upstaging him in class. However, his Rich Bitch persona doesn't last long, and by volume 3, Cesare has gotten him to admit his insecurities and accept help. By the end, he and Angelo are hugging and crying after entering the political world together as friends.
  • In Cross Ange, Hilda and her fellow pilots Rosalie and Chris make several failed attempts to bully Ange. After escaping from Arzenal and going through a Trauma Conga Line together, Hilda and Ange become first reluctant allies and then Fire-Forged Friends (and then Hilda falls head over heels for Ange).
  • Doraemon: Gian and Suneo are perennial bullies for Nobita, but he still continuously hangs out with them (and not always by force). By adulthood, the trio seem to have become genuine friends, and Gian and Suneo hold a bachelor party for Nobita before his wedding to Shizuka.
  • Dragon Ball: Krillin starts out as a bully to Goku. After going through Training from Hell together, they become best friends.
  • Hajime no Ippo: Masahiko Umezawa began the series as Ippo's bully and tormentor at school. After Ippo begins to take boxing lessons, Umezawa undergoes a Heel Realization and begins to respect Ippo's perseverance and quickly becomes Ippo's number 1 fan.
  • In Interviews with Monster Girls, Imori and Kimura pick on Yuki, mistaking her initial reservedness for arrogance. After the situation gets sorted out, they are shown to get along well, going to the karaoke with Yuki (as well as Machi and Hikari) as soon as the next episode.
  • Downplayed with Onodera from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War as while she was never a bully per se, she did help to perpetuate Malicious Slander about Ishigami and Miko due to her love of gossip. She later befriends both of them when she gets to know them better and even begins shipping them around the time of winter vacation.
  • Lady!!: Thomas Waverly is Madeleine's equally cruel son and he loved to taunt Lynn by destroying her things and scapegoating her for things him and his sister did. His bullying was so bad that Lynn was driven to return to Japan. In the manga, he eventually became friendlier to Lynn and they kept in contact when she lived abroad, while in the anime his cruel bastard antics are exaggerated and he never reforms.
  • Little Witch Academia (2017):
    • Diana Cavendish starts off as an Academic Alpha Bitch who tends to frequently and coldly pick on Akko for her childish attitude, her poor understanding of magic, and her tendency to cause trouble. After Akko rescues her from Daryl's snakes and helps her stop Daryl from illegitimately becoming the family head, the two become Fire-Forged Friends, which becomes solidified after Diana helps bring Akko back from her Despair Event Horizon after finding out Chariot stole her magic and the two later work together in stopping the Noir Rod.
    • Diana's Girl Posse, Hannah and Barbara were originally even worse to Akko than Diana, often bullying her out of prejudice and for her status as an Inept Mage. However, after Akko goes out of her way to bring Diana back to Luna Nova, Hannah and Barbara start to develop a grudging respect for the girl, even briefly thanking her for doing so, which later culminates with them hanging out with her and others by the epilogue.
  • The Lyrical Nanoha franchise has Nanoha's Childhood Friends Arisa and Suzuka, the former having bullied the latter until Nanoha slapped that attitude out of her. They're basically inseparable by the time the series starts, and supplemental material shows that their friendship is still going strong ten years later in college.
  • Major has this in the early seasons with several characters. Sawamura in the Little League arc begins as a tormentor to Komori until Goro and Kaoru stand up to him, and even join them to save the Mifune Little baseball team as a player. During the Junior High arc, Oobayashi, Muta, and Oikawa go out of their way to sabotage the Mifune East baseball club to try and get it shut down until Goro (again) sets them straight. They all become friends and supporters of Goro when he continues to play and rise through the ranks until he makes it to the Major Leagues in adulthood.
  • In My Hero Academia, Katsuki Bakugo has tormented and ostracized Izuku Midoriya ever since they discovered Midoriya was Quirkless. This animosity pervades their relationship even as Midoriya tries to mend the bridge. Only after they brawled after Bakugo deduces that Midoriya got his Quirk from All Might do they come to a mutual understanding and become closer to Friendly Rivals. Even then, Bakugo continues to call Midoriya "Deku" (not that he minds anymore) and remains coarse with him. In the Dark Hero Arc, this becomes more clear when Bakugo apologizes to him for his past actions to the point of even calling him by his real name to snap him out of his self-destructing path to go after AFO.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Toji introduces himself to Shinji by beating him up because his sister was badly injured as collateral damage when Shinji fought the Angel Sachiel in the first episode. After Shinji saves Toji and Kensuke from Shamshel, during which time Toji sees the strain Shinji's life as a pilot puts on him, he feels bad about his earlier behavior and eventually asks Shinji to punch him back so they can be even for the earlier incident (which Shinji refuses to do in the manga, on the grounds that it's more fun if Toji owes him). From that point out, they are friends.
  • In A Silent Voice Shoya becomes this to Shoko after the time skip.
  • Takopi's Original Sin: With his help, Takopi eventually ends up causing Shizuka and Marina to become friends.
  • Wandering Son: Throughout elementary and middle school, Doi and Oka bullied Nitori for being girly. When they're put in the same all-boys school, they become reluctant friends.
  • In the first chapter of Yu-Gi-Oh! Jonouchi (Joey in the English dub of the anime) and Honda (Tristan) bullied Yugi for being an awkward nerd. After Yugi stands up for them against an alleged Bully Hunter who turns out to just be planning to blackmail Yugi, Jonouchi apologizes to Yugi and gives him the help he needs to finish the Millennium Puzzle. After this, they become best friends. Honda doesn't come around quite as fast, but he does eventually become friends with Yugi, if not quite as close.
  • In Yuri!!! on Ice, Takeshi Nishigori was a bit of a bully towards main character Yuri Katsuki when they were kids. He mellowed out over time and is now one of Yuri's closest friends.

    Asian Animation 
  • Lamput features a "villain becomes friend to other villain" variant. "Origins" reveals that Fat Doc and Slim Doc originally had a rocky relationship when they first met in lab school, with the latter constantly tormenting the former for amusement. It isn't until both end up involved in an accident in the teacher's science experiment that they finally become friends.

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man has Flash Thompson as a famous example. While Flash was Peter's high school bully, he mellowed out considerably in college and especially when he returned from enlistment, gradually becoming one of Peter's closest friends such as when they taught at their old high school. Peter himself mourns him when Flash, as Agent Anti-Venom, gives his life to save Peter in Go Down Swinging and he calls Flash his hero.

    Comic Strips 
  • Funky Winkerbean: During the original timeline, when the main cast was in high school, Bull Buchman torments main protagonist Les Moore. By midway through the first time jump, sometime in the mid-1990s, they are colleagues and have become friends.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Lance and Whitey from Chickenhare and the Hamster of Darkness. They evolve from pushing Chickenhare around in school to joining his posse when he battles the Big Bad's forces at the climax.
  • Brent McHale in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs starts out as a bully toward Flint, but eventually they become friends. In the sequel, Chester V uses a Chinese proverb to convince Flint that he could never be his friend since he was a bully which makes Flint question his friendship with him, but Sam sets it straight with another Chinese proverb.
    Sam: A bully made friend is a friend 'til the end.
  • Sunset Shimmer of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls starts off as an Alpha Bitch par excellence, ruling Canterlot High with an iron fist and bullying the Humane Five. One Painful Transformation and subsequent Heart Beat-Down later, Sunset Shimmer pulls a Heel–Face Turn and befriends the Humane Five, becoming their equivalent to Twilight Sparkle.
  • Turning Red: Tyler Nguyen-Baker spends much of the film insulting and harassing Mei and her friends. During the 4*Town concert, when Mei and her friends discover he's also a fan of the group, they hug and welcome him into the "sisterhood". After the climax, it's revealed that he's now a Reformed Bully who hangs out with Mei and her friends, and he even wears a friendship bracelet that matches theirs.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 13 Going on 30: Seventeen years into the future, Jenna learns that former Alpha Bitch of her school (who played a mean prank on her just recently) Lucy is now her best friend. However, Jenna has become a jerk over the years, and it's later revealed that both she and Lucy have been working against the fashion company they've been working for.
  • In 21 Jump Street, Jenko used to be a popular jock, who picked on the unpopular nerd, Schmidt. However, then they both ended up at the Police Academy together, became partners, and then best friends by the time the plot begins.
  • Played With in the "improved" timeline of Back to the Future (the one where George is a successful writer and Dave works in an office), Biff is on friendly terms with George, following George standing up to him back in 1955.
  • In Cool Hand Luke, the relationship between Luke (Paul Newman) and boss prisoner Dragline (George Kennedy) becomes this. Luke is forced into a fight with the much stronger prison bully, who shames him in front of a crowd by refusing to fall down and take his beating. After this Dragline's new respect turns into friendship.
  • In I Love You, Beth Cooper, valedictorian Denis confesses his love for the popular cheerleader in his graduating speech, as well as insulting all the people he never liked — including the school bully, who Denis claims that he was probably neglected or sexually abused by his parents as a child, which is why the bully has rage issues. Luckily, when Denis is chased by Beth's angry boyfriend (another victim of Denis' speech) much later, the bully admits that Denis was right, apologizes for the stress and trouble he's caused everyone over the years, and doesn't hesitate to try and beat up the angry boyfriend while Denis and his friends try and escape. It is implied that they are on close terms after the events of the film.
  • Barry in Sing Street is the standard school bully who's giving Conor a hard time. Later on, though, he joins Conor as a roadie for his band and they become buddies.
  • Juvenile delinquent Lee starts out bullying and tormenting the shy, nerdy Will in various ways in Son of Rambow, but they become best friends after spending some time out and about together.
  • Sky High (2005): Warren Peace is initially set up as Will's Arch-Enemy in the titular school, being an aloof jerk whose supervillain dad was taken down by Will's. However, his softer side comes out over the course of the film, and he ultimately teams up with Will to defeat the Big Bad, becoming friends with him in the process.

  • 10 Things to Do Before I Die: Ted's childhood bully, Billy Rifkin, ends up auditioning to join Ted's band.
  • Angel Child, Dragon Child: At first, Raymond is a mean young boy who bullies Ut and her sisters. When they get into a fight, the principal punishes them by making them talk to each other. They come to an understanding, and Ut tells Raymond about how she and her family came to America, but her mother had to stay behind. He comes up with the idea of holding a Vietnamese fair to raise enough money so Ut’s mother can make the trip to America.
  • The Book of Lies (2004): Initially, Fergus antagonises the other boys at the orphanage, including Marcel. After the two team up against a pack of wolves, however, they respect each other more, becoming friends.
  • Ella and Friends: In the first book he appears in, Pukari beats up the other kids. In the later books, he's friends with them, though he still occasionally threatens them, but usually doesn't go further than that.
  • Subverted in Ender's Game. Ender makes an effort to befriend Bernard, the bully of the rookie students, and it was just starting to work when Ender was unexpectedly assigned to one of the teams. Over time, Bernard gets jealous of Ender's success and attempts to help Bonzo jump Ender in the showers, though it should be noted that unlike Bonzo, Bernard didn't want to seriously harm Ender, just give him a slice of Humble Pie.
  • In The Footfalls of Chess Horses by Vladislav Krapivin, Vashek, along with the rest of his class, plagues the life of Bully Magnet Tyupa (an awkward, fat boy from a dysfunctional family who barely scrapes enough grades to stay at school at all). But then, as Vashek gets a little brother by adoption (with serious physical and mental health problems) and goes through serious Character Development, he also begins to protect Tyupa and slowly ends up one of his best friends.
  • Ghost Girl (2021): Nellie starts off the novel as Zee's rival and primary bully, but becomes her second-closest friend after their adventures together.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Downplayed with Hermione Granger. While not a 'bully' per se, she does antagonize Ron and Harry a few times through being a stickler for the rules and an Insufferable Genius; she and Ron in particular are initially rather abrasive toward each other. But when a mountain troll puts Hermione in danger, Ron and Harry help her fight it off, marking the beginning of their friendship. Through the rest of the series, Hermione is a member of the team, and ends up marrying Ron at series' end.
    • A straighter example with Dudley Dursley, Harry's bullying cousin. He spends the first five books being nothing but mean to Harry, but then Harry saves his very soul from a Dementor, which Dudley is very grateful for, even if he has a hard time showing it at first. And on top of all that, the Dementor effectively Mind Rapes Dudley into realizing that he's a spoiled, cruel bully. It takes him another two books, but he marks his final appearance by giving Harry a handshake. They remain on civil terms from then on.
    • Draco Malfoy spends most of the books as Hogwarts' resident bully and Harry's arch-enemy among the students. This ends up downplayed. While he suffers a great deal under Voldemort during his sixth year, he remains an enemy of the Trio to the very last battle. He turns face and becomes a better man, for his son and wife's sakes, but he never mends things with Harry and his friends. It isn't until Harry Potter and the Cursed Child that Draco and Harry genuinely become friends.
  • Nerdycorn: The other unicorns enjoy making fun of Fern, mocking her, and never inviting her to the sparkle dance. When she stops fixing their stuff, they realize they've been jerks to her, and when she saves the sparkle dance that year, change their tune and become friends with her.
  • Operaton Do Over: Mason is constantly bullied by two football players named Dominic and Miggy. After Mason joins the football team and displays impressive determination, stamina, good humor, and team spirit, Miggy starts to accept Mason and shows a nicer side. Dominic remains a cruel and sour Jerk Jock who hates Mason's presence, but improves after the Time Skip in the final chapters when Mason's mind gets sent back to his older body in an altered timeline. By that point, Dominic is willing to give him a friendly high-five after a football game.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Clarisse La Rue initially has a Hate at First Sight relationship with Percy Jackson. She is introduced attempting to prank Percy with a flush toilet, not knowing that he is the son of a water god. But after he helps her through her quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece, she genuinely thanks him for it, and becomes less hostile afterward.
  • Public School Superhero: Ray-Ray Powell seems to start becoming this toward Kenny after he starts teaching him chess at Dr. Petty James' request. One of Ray-Ray's first acts is getting the other bullies to stop picking on Kenny and his friends.
  • In Ranger's Apprentice, Horace bullied Will throughout childhood, but after Horace experiences bullying himself at Battleschool and the two get through a few dangerous situations together they become Heterosexual Life-Partners.
  • Mentioned in 'Salem's Lot; Mark recalls that at a previous school he went to, a bully that he won a fight against declared to the other students that he and Mark were "buds".
  • A Song of Ice and Fire showed a couple of examples.
    • Grenn the watchman tried to antagonize Jon Snow for his arrogance at first (Jon isn't exactly victim material, so Grenn never was an actual bully to him, but he tried). After Jon stopped being an elitist prick around his fellow recruits, he and Grenn became friends.
    • Later, Sam Tarly, the perfect victim material, appeared in the Watch, and some of the Watchmen tried to bully him. Jon protected him and made sure Sam could make friends in the Watch.
  • Special Operations: Ned Grimmo treats Finn pretty badly but bonds with him more once they realize that they're both anti-Nazi.
  • The Tripods. Henry starts off this way in the village where the protagonist Will grows up, but it turns out he shares Will's reservations about his upcoming Capping and leaves the village with him.
  • Unbelievably Boring Bart: Nick "The Mimic" starts acting like Bart's friend after Bart beats the Lerkians at ChickenHead LavaLamp's live stream event at the school.
  • Warrior Cats: When Firepaw first joined ThunderClan, he and his friends were being constantly bullied by the older apprentices Sandpaw and Dustpaw. This continued even after being granted his Warrior name; however, one day in battle Fireheart saved Sandpaw from a death she didn't realize was coming, and this moment made her warm up to him. From then on, they were close friends...and eventually, after Sandpaw became Sandstorm and Fireheart became Firestar, they became mates as well. As for Dustpaw / Dustpelt, he eventually became a loyal, if distant, warrior as well.

    Live-Action TV 
  • All American: For some reason, in the fourth season, Cameron is bros with Spencer, despite having antagonized him the previous seasons. Spencer did call him out the previous season for not honoring a black woman who became the victim of Police Brutality, which might have woken something in Cam (even if the audience didn't see it).
  • Played With on Awkward.: After an entire high school career of being bullied by Sadie, she and Tamara ended up running into each other after college...and became best friends, closer than Tamara and Jenna were. However, this doesn't last forever, as Tamara eventually realizes that Sadie is the same mean person she was in high school, and breaks their friendship off.
  • Played With in The Big Bang Theory's "The Speckerman Recurrence". Leonard's former high school bully tracks him down. Leonard thinks he might be there to apologize for his bullying ways, but it turns out that the bully has an idea for an invention that he wants Leonard's help with. The bully doesn't even realize that what he had done to Leonard was bullying, he is under the impression that they were just playing around.
  • Meyer Lansky describes his initial meeting and friendship with Lucky Luciano this way in Boardwalk Empire. Lucky was a bully running with a gang already, and Meyer was a poor immigrant kid living nearby. Lucky attempted to bully Meyer, only for Meyer to refuse to give in to him, despite getting a couple of beatings for it. After several such occasions, Lucky became impressed with Meyer's guts and invited him to join Lucky's gang. The two then went on to become lifelong friends and business partners.
    Meyer Lansky: One day on my way to school, I got stopped by a gang of older boys. The leader said he wanted my lunch money. I told him to go fuck himself. He laughed, said he'd beat it out of me. So I spit in his face. He did beat me, they all did, and they took my money. Next day, same thing. Again I spit in his face, again we fought. But the third day? The kid asked me to join his gang. He was Charlie Luciano, and that's how we teamed up.
  • Harley Keiner was The Bully in Boy Meets World, antagonizing Cory when they were both in school. Come Girl Meets World, he Took a Level in Kindness and becomes Cory's pal after Cory gets him hired for a job when he struggles to find employment.
  • A recurring theme in Cobra Kai, but somewhat zig-zagged. In the original Karate Kid, Johnny bullied Daniel; now, as adults, the two repeatedly try to set aside their differences and become allies, possibly appearing to be on the verge of becoming actual friends, but it keeps falling apart. Among the younger characters, though, there are several examples of bullies becoming friends with their former victims, and in the third and fourth seasons, Daniel clearly becomes a friendly ally to Chozen, his tormenter from the second film.
  • In Freaks and Geeks, Allan has a My God, What Have I Done? moment after he nearly kills Bill by putting peanuts in his food (which Bill is severely allergic to), and visits him in the hospital where he confesses to Bill that he antagonized him and his friends because he himself had many things in common; Bill, in turn, invites him to a Sci-Fi convention he's going to with Neal, Sam, and Gordon. Allan ultimately backs out of going with them to the convention, but stops antagonizing the Geeks in subsequent episodes (and even goes as far as saying that Bill's "the man" when he talks back to Coach Fredericks).
  • Gilmore Girls: Paris Geller is this to Rory Gilmore. In her first appearance, Paris is introduced as an Academic Alpha Bitch who antagonizes Rory out of jealousy. However, as Paris is established as a Control Freak with No Social Skills they gradually become friends and later college roommates and Paris even admits that Rory was her first real friend.
  • House of Anubis: Patricia relentlessly tormented Nina when she first arrived at the school, on the assumption that Nina was responsible for her friend's disappearance. But Nina was willing to forgive her once Patricia began to cool down, and by the end of season one, they'd become very close friends and loyal Sibuna members.
  • My Name Is Earl: The titular Earl, a jerkass, bully and career criminal, becomes The Atoner after getting hit by a car and left by his wife. He makes a list of all the bad things he can remember doing and sets to make up for them. The first item on his list revolves around Kenny James, who Earl bullied in school and is a closeted homosexual. Earl helps Kenny out of the closet and from that point on, he and Earl become good friends. While Earl would make amends with many other people he had tormented in the past, Kenny was the only one to stick around throughout the whole show.
  • In season 1 of One Tree Hill Nathan bullies Lucas and all of his friends. By season 10, the entire group is very close-knit and Nathan has to be reminded that Mouth got his nickname when they were kids because Nathan told him he had a big mouth and punched him in it. Nathan doesn't remember doing this and is genuinely apologetic.
  • Raising Dion: In Season 1, Dion is initially picked on by a boy named Jonathan King, most prominently when Jonathan steals Dion's watch under the pretense of performing a magic trick. After a fallout with his friend in class, their teacher assigns him to Dion and Esperanza as their partner for the science fair project. Now forced to work together, Jonathan slowly warms up to them when they turn out to be nicer to him than his previous friends. At the end of season 1, he learns about Dion's powers. Come season 2, and he has become one of Dion's True Companions group "The Triangle of Justice" alongside Esperanza.
  • On Royal Pains, Hank has repeatedly found himself treating his childhood nemesis Ken, which has led them to almost becoming friends.
  • Iron Fist (2017): When they were children, Ward bullied Danny. In season 1, when the long-lost adult Danny returns, Ward doesn't seem to think their relationship was that antagonistic, and by the time season 2 starts, they've become close friends.
  • Northern Rescue: All three of the West kids have character relationships that at least feel like this. Taylor spends a lot of the first season feuding with two spelling bee rivals, Stacey (who accuses her of cheating and posts an embarrassing video of her online) and her friend and defender Raji but eventually becomes fairly friendly with at least Raji after a spell-off. Downplayed with her sister Maddie and her friend Gwen insulting each other the first few times they meet, but it's less bullying and more confrontational on both girls' part and they're getting along okay by the end of their first episode. Scout's wrestling team rival Jason is the most bullying of the three and while he and Scout get on better terms as the show progresses they also have a less friendly relationship compared to the other two.

    Video Games 
  • In Bully, the main character's plan is to invoke this by subjugating the leaders of the school's gangs to defeat Gary by beating them up and declaring them his friend. For some reason, this works.
  • For the first half of Concrete Genie, protagonist Ash is being relentlessly bullied by four other kids. By the end of the game, he's accidentally uncovered their personal traumas and saved their lives, and they've helped him drive the Darkness out of Denska. The end credits show them gradually becoming closer to each other, and Ash's final diary entry states that all along, he needed friends.
  • Susie in Deltarune starts out as a big, mean, Barbaric Bully that everybody in the school fears, threatening to eat the protagonist's face and making them do her homework, all in the first scene. But one quick trip to another world later, she's learned to tone down the violence, open up, and make some friends.
  • Elohim Eternal: The Babel Code: Beyoz's half-brother Romeus used to bully him for being half-Jehudan but is currently supportive of him as a Judge.
  • Groose in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword starts out as a bully to most of the Knight Academy and sees himself as The Rival to Link for Zelda's attention, though Zelda never shows any interest in him. After he finds out that Link is The Chosen One while he himself has no prophecied part in events, he has a minor breakdown and then decides to help anyway, and in the end is instrumental to defeating the Big Bad.
  • Lie of Caelum: Aya used to feel inferior about her lack of control over her Flow ability and bullied Miyu to compensate. After she loses to Hitoshi, Miyu forgives her, resulting in them becoming friends.
  • Mega Man Battle Network has Dex originally appearing as more of an arrogant, oafish figure in Lan's classroom, boasting constantly about his skills and lording over the other students. This lasts for all of about two chapters before Lan beats the pants off Dex in Net Battling, earning the latter's respect and eventually leading the two to become best friends.
  • Butch DeLoria from Fallout 3 can be this. He harasses the Player Character as a child, but if you make an effort to befriend him he can eventually become your traveling companion.
  • In Mafia II, Vito originally became friends with Joe because he stood up to the latter when he bullied Vito as children.
  • Prayer of the Faithless: Aeyr used to be like the other Asalan military trainees in mocking Mia for her meek personality, but after he saw how hard she worked, the two formed an Odd Friendship.

    Visual Novels 
  • Happens several times in Choices: Stories You Play:
    • In The Freshman, Becca, formerly Alpha Bitch number one, falls on hard times and eventually becomes friends with the main heroine.
    • In The Royal Romance, Olivia starts as a mean, self-centered rival for Prince Liam's heart, but after her Character Development she becomes one of the heroine's closest friends. The process can be sped up If the main heroine acts nice towards Olivia from the start.

    Web Comics 
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: William Winsbury acts like a mean-spirited loudmouth in his early appearances as a freshman student, including a physical altercation with the main characters in gym class. He leaves that behind as he matures and eventually settles in as part of their group of friends.
  • Heroes of Homeroom C: On his first day of school, Albert runs afoul of a large kid named Raymond by defending Damien from his cruelty. Raymond basically has it out for Albert from that point forward. He and his friends start warming up to Albert, however, when they help him stop Damien's zombie army.
  • Magical Boy: Pyper is initially introduced as an Alpha Bitch Heteronormative Crusader towards Max and Jen but after she comes out to them, she joins in on Max's magical boy adventures.
  • Teddy from Weak Hero is initially a sadistic bully that was set on Gray by Phillip. After Gray kicks his ass, Teddy re-evaluates himself and realises that Gray and his friends have a genuine loyalty to each other that he doesn't share with his own "friends". It's because of this that he ends up gravitating back towards Gray's group, and is eventually integrated into them after he helps them out against the other bullies.
  • Marry My Husband: In high school, Jiwon was bullied by Jiye and her posse due to rumors that Sumin spread. At the high school reunion in Jiwon's second life, she asserts that the bullies were operating on misinformation, and they become good friends. It turns out that, after Jiwon's death in her first life, the bullies learned of the truth anyway and showed up to her funeral, full of remorse.
  • Tales of Greed: In "Bully Controller", Dorong gains control of his bully Daebal through a game on his Switch. After a bit of a rough start, they form a bond as they take on numerous gangs. At the end, Daebal gets a game called "Loser Controller", but it's all in good fun.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: In the present day, Hayley is the one member of the Smith family whom Klaus consistently gets along with. But when Hayley mentally regressed into a six-year-old in "Hayley Smith, SEAL Team Six", she began bullying Klaus, and judging by his reaction, this was commonplace when she was younger.
  • Arthur: Binky Barnes was a school bully and the leader of the Tough Customers, but over time, he renounced his bullying ways and became friends with Arthur and the rest of the third grade cast. The other Tough Customers would eventually renounce bullying as well, but with the odd episode aside, they aren't that close to the third graders.
  • Hey Arnold!: Harold Berman starts out as something of a bully to Arnold, but the two later become good friends after Harold undergoes Character Development.
    • Also Torvald. In his first appearance, he was a rather ruthless bully towards Arnold and his friends often stealing their lunch money. However, after Arnold helps Torvald pass his test, Torvald becomes friends with Arnold and even helps him out in a football match against two more ruthless bullies, Wolfgang and Ludwig.
  • Kaeloo: In seasons 2-4, Pretty was an Alpha Bitch who often bullied Kaeloo, Stumpy, and Quack-Quack, and was an Abhorrent Admirer to Mr. Cat who kept violating his boundaries. In season 5, Pretty is revealed to have undergone an offscreen Heel–Face Turn and befriended them all after becoming a nicer person.
  • The Last Kids on Earth: before the apocalypse, Dirk was the school bully, who liked to target Jack and Quint. After becoming one of only 4 human survivors left in town, and spending some time all alone, he joins his former victims and June to stand a chance against the monsters and zombies. Eventually, the four become a close group of friends, though Dirk still likes to mock Jack and Quint if they act too nerdy.
  • The Looney Tunes Show: Daffy Duck and Porky Pig are friends now, but an episode dealing with their high school reunion reveals that Porky was a popular jock who bullied the nerdy Daffy (Daffy was so traumatized by this that he convinced himself that he was the jock who bullied Porky.)
  • The Loud House: In her debut appearance in "Heavy Meddle", Ronnie Anne Santiago was a rude and abrasive bully to Lincoln. Over the course of Seasons 2 and 3, her pranks against Lincoln were less cruel. After "City Slickers", the bullying aspect of her character has more or less disappeared entirely, as she and Lincoln are now good friends.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Diamond Tiara used to bully the Cutie Mark Crusaders for their lack of a Cutie Mark and showed little mercy to the other classmates too. As of "Crusaders of the Lost Mark", however, her cruel tendencies are revealed to have been born of her mother's emotional abuse. The Crusaders reach out to her after seeing what she goes through on a daily basis, and by the end of the episode, Diamond Tiara breaks out of her shell and openly considers the Crusaders to be her friends.
    • Babs Seed starts off as a bully to the Crusaders too, latching onto Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon and joining in their torment. By the end of her episode, however, she reconciles with them after they learn she was bullied at her old school for not having a Cutie Mark either.
  • The Owl House:
    • The Protagonist Luz Noceda actively tries to invoke this with Amity Blight—whose first few episodes were largely spent acting haughty and superior to Luz and her new friend Willow—due to Luz trying to emulate her favorite book character, who was able to make friends of all of her enemies. She does, indeed, succeed fairly quickly in defrosting her (it helps that Amity doesn't actually like being mean to others and feels bad about it, only doing so thanks to her Abusive Parents making her feel like she can never show weakness), to the point that Amity soon develops a crush on Luz, and they even start dating in Season 2.
    • It's eventually revealed that, in the backstory, Amity was an inverted example to Willow, as they were once best friends before Amity broke off their friendship due to Willow not being nearly as powerful of a witch as she was. Or, at least, that's the false reason Amity gave for it. In truth, her aforementioned Abusive Parents forced her to cut Willow off, under threat of ruining Willow's future if she didn't, out of the belief that she wasn't of a high enough social standing to be Amity's friend. It's then played straight again once this comes to light, after which Amity and Willow begin to repair and renew their friendship.
  • Buford from Phineas and Ferb began initially as a bully to Baljeet, but mutual help and respect came along, such as rescuing Buford's goldfish, and now Buford has a Frenemy relationship with Baljeet.
  • Nelson in The Simpsons started out as a bully and antagonist to Bart and Lisa, but in later seasons he befriended Bart and even dated Lisa. However, it also depends on the episode, where Nelson can revert to being an antagonist, although it's rarely the main focus of the plot and if it's used as more than a simple gag, there's generally another reason behind it (being paid to do something questionable, doing it to uphold his tough-guy image, peer pressure, etc.)
  • Wish Kid: Nick's Dad is now friends with the former bully who used to pick on him back when they were kids. In one episode, it inspires Nick to wish Francis to be his friend.

    Real Life 
  • In Jackie Chan's autobiography, he recalls how he was frequently bullied by the head student of his theater troupe Yuen Lung, but things mellowed into more of a rivalry after Chan became the lead star. As Chinese opera diminished in stature, the two started pulling for each other in finding film jobs. "Yuen Lo" grew up to be Jackie Chan, and Yuen Lung grew up to be Sammo Hung.
  • Rapper Immortal Technique bullied Lin-Manuel Miranda at the high school they went to together, although they are now friends.