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There are many kinds of friendship. Work friends, friends from your class, drinking buddies and more. Yet one of the very closest types of friendships is that of the Childhood Friends. Before you have to worry about the shock of betrayal or the possibility of romance, this is the friend that will have your back. No one knows you better than these friends. And it shows when childhood friends are treated more intimately or are trusted more than other friends.
This is a supertrope of Childhood Friend Romance, Patient Childhood Love Interest, Beleaguered Childhood Friend, Forgotten First Meeting and Forgotten Friend, New Foe. Please do not add examples to this page that would fit better on one of those instead. Also contrast Old Flame Fizzle.
Anime & Manga
- Pictured above: Detective Conan has Kansuke Yamato, Takaaki Morofushi and Yui Uehara.
- Ran, Shinichi and Sonoko have been friends ever since kindergarten. The first two "evolve" into Childhood Friend Romance.
- It later turns out that Ran and Shinichi briefly met Masumi when they were kids, too. They had forgotten it, however.
- Heiji and Kazuha start as this, but they're going more and more into Childhood Friend Romance. And then there's Momiji, who claims that her childhood friend Heiji gave her a Childhood Marriage Promise. . .
- Ano Hana is, basically, this trope mixed with Love Hurts and Death by Newbery Medal. The protagonists are a bunch of teenagers (Meiko/Menma, Jinta/Jintan, Naruko/Anaru, Chiriko/Tsuruko, Atsumu/Yukiatsu and Tetsudo/Poppo) who swore up and down by the trope, until one of them died tragically right after a big fight between two of the kids. The story is about them starting to get close to one another again...
- Nagi, Sakuya, Wataru and Isumi are all childhood friends in Hayate the Combat Butler. While Wataru does like Isumi, for the most part it's entirely platonic. A large portion of the cast dynamics revolves around their relationships together. And surrounding them is their families and how they interact. In fact, they seem to be Generation Xeroxes to an extent, though their parents are very minor characters.
- Reinhard von Lohengramm and Siegfried Kircheis in Legend of the Galactic Heroes had a bromance as epic as the title of the show. Their shared childhood memories were commonly shown in flashbacks.
- Lelouch and Suzaku in Code Geass. Basically the only reason why Lelouch didn't brainwash or kill him early on.
- Quite a few among the Shinigami in Bleach, including Rukia and Renji, Hitsugaya and Momo, and Gin and Rangiku. While fans occasionally have shipping lines along these angles, there's nothing confirmed or beyond the level of an occasional hint (save for the first, who go into Childhood Friend Romance at the end). During the soul society arc, these interactions led to a level of conflict among lieutenants and captains that was throwing the entire area into turmoil. And Gin was motivated by Rangiku all along, but if he was in love with her it's not 100% clear.
- Despite being childhood friends, the above traits do not fully apply to Tatsuki and Ichigo. However, they're shown to still care about one another despite their new distance; it shows in moments such as Tatsuki being offended and hurt when Ichigo refused to trust her with important information (for her protection), punching him through a wall and asking "aren't we True Companions?!". They simply grew apart as they got older, but definitely maintain some closeness (though not to the point that a Childhood Friend Romance seems likely). It helps that they have a mutual friend in Orihime, whom they both adore to death and who becomes Ichigo's wife with time.
- Kyouko and Sho in Skip Beat were friends in childhood, and know each other just as one would expect with all those years of experience....although calling them "friends" currently would be something of a mistake.
- Captain Tsubasa follows the protagonist ever since he's 12 years old, so he considers his most stable teammates from Nankatsu and the kids who surround the team (and to a smaller degree, the rivals he meets in these years - Hyuuga, Matsuyama, Misugi, etc.) as his childhood friends.
- Genzo Wakabayashi moved to Germany at age 12, meeting Karl-Heinz Schneider and Hermann Kaltz around that time. The three consider themselves as this even as years pass and Karl becomes the biggest soccer rival for Genzo.
- Stephen, Bill and Jeanie from Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair.
- The Prince of Tennis has Kawamura and Akutsu, Atobe and Kabaji, and Inui and Renji. Though considering that the protagonists are middle schoolers, one can also see those who met in their first year (like Tezuka and Fuji, plus the others then-first years in Seigaku; also Renji, Sanada and Yukimura) as this too.
- There's also Ryoma, the other first-years in Seigaku (Kachiro, Katsuo and Horio), plus Tomoka and Sakuno.
- Psycho Pass has Akane Tsunemori, Yuki Fukuhara and Kaori Minase. And then, Yuki is murdered by Makishima...
- Also Mika Shimotsuki, Kagami Kawarazaki and Yoshika Okubo. Out of them, only Mika survives.
- Nobuchika Ginoza and Shinya Kougami met in school, and were close friends until Kougami was demoted from Inspector to Enforcer and that shattered Ginoza's faith in him.
- In Season 2, there's the Big Bad Kirito Kamui and the young congressman Kouichi Kuwashima. It becomes a huge plot point when Kuwashima, who barely dodged going in the field trip that killed Kamui's classmates and almost killed him, joins his once friend's revenge... in the name of their other chilhood friends, aka the classmates that died in that trip
- Season 3 has Kei Mikhail Ignatov and Arata Shindou.
- One of Larry's regrets in The Stand was how he ruined a childhood friendship by quibbling over a small amount of money when he knew perfectly well he was wrong. It's one of the memories he holds to convince himself that he 'aint no nice guy.' We never see his friend in the present (he probably died in the superflu pandemic), but it clearly bothers Larry at how pointlessly selfish he was and how he lost a really good friend over it.
- Derek and Laura of the web-novel Domina. She moved away years ago for reasons he doesn't understand—all she'll say is that its his fault.
- Cassel and Lila from White Cat by Holly Black.
- In Squid Game, the protagonist Gi-hun/Player 456 was this with Sang-Woo/Player 218. Then they find themselves trapped in a Deadly Game, and Sang-Woo goes through a Face Heel Turn...
- Kouin, Yuuto, Kaori and Kyouko of Eien no Aselia fall into this. Kaori doesn't have much of the dynamic, and Kyouko is more of a romance, but Kouin and Yuuto definitely fall into this. The third chapter focuses around Kouin and Kyouko equally with the main plot of the entire world blowing up.
- Yuuki and Heita in Big Bang Age. Yuuki is apparently one of Heita's only real friends and the two are rather close. He's rather... surprised to learn the truth about Yuuki, too. Both are rather minor characters, though, so the relationship isn't as fleshed out as it could be.
- In the mage starter area in Dragon Age Origins, the player character and Jowan are quickly established as having been close friends since the age of five or six—this is probably a deliberate attempt to make the player more inclined to go along with Jowan's (illegal, and questionably moral) plans and/or care about his fate later in the game. There even seems to be a possible dialogue option to defend why you placed your trust in him that is something to the effect of, "but we've been friends since we were kids".
- Alex and Kyle from The Colour Tuesday. Its the bedrock of their alliance.
- Phoenix Wright, Miles Edgeworth, and Larry Butz from Ace Attorney.
- Shulk and Reyn, from Xenoblade.
- Aden and Sonja, the protagonists of Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny, have been friends since birth.
- Endou and Kazemaru in Inazuma Eleven, but it's never been disclosed how long exactly.
- In GO, Tenma and Aoi. According to the latter's seiyuu Aoi has a crush on Tenma, but it has yet to be seen or hinted at.
- From GO as well, Amagi with Mahoro and Yukie. That is, before they fell apart when Mahoro started actively avoiding Amagi. Naturally in this kind of series, they make amends.
- Garlot, Siskier, and Jenon in Blaze Union. Both Siskier and Jenon have got some sticky feelings that complicate things, but for most of the game the three are nigh inseparable and their almost-familial friendship is an important source of emotional support for Garlot.
- Ceodore and Ursula from Final Fantasy IV the After Years. Despite they reveal they are childhood friends, they seems only share only one scene together in the whole game. You do get to use their powerful Combination Attack, though.
- Ken Masters and Ryu from Street Fighter started training together under Gouken's watchful eye when they were pre-teens, and have stayed friends ever since then.
- Fire Emblem:
- Archanea games: Merric and Marth, crossing in to Best Friends-in-Law when Merric gets together with Marth's sister Elice.. The DS remake of Mystery of the Emblem adds the Canon Immigrant Norne and the Player Character Kris.
- Gaiden and its remake, Echoes: Alm and Celica are in a Childhood Friend Romance, but they also have this with three boys named Gray, Tobin and Kliff. The remake adds a girl named Faye, Alm's Unrequited Tragic Maiden.
- Jugdral games: Sigurd and Edain, whose friendship kickstarts the plot as he goes rescue her when she's abducted by Jamke's evil relatives. Also Sigurd, Quan and Eldigan, who met as young teens in the Academy; Lex, Azelle, Edain and Tailtiu (who can go into Childhood Friend Romance); and Lewyn with both Annand and Erinys (ditto).
- Several of the Second Generation characters: more exactly Seliph with Edain's kids Lana and Lester, Lachesis' son Diarmuid, and Ayra's Half-Identical Twins Larcei and Scáthach.
- In Thracia 776 Leif has this with Mareeta and Nanna (the second case going into Childhood Friend Romance), and also with Asvel. He could've had it with Miranda, but her father's execution and her imprisonment ruined it.
- Elibe games: Binding Blade has Roy and Lilina, if they don't hook up. (Then again she's his Implied Love Interest...). Roy also has this with Wolt, the son of his nursemaid Rebecca, though Wolt sees it as Forbidden Friendship until Roy convinces him otherwise.
- Blazing Blade has Roy's father Eliwood and Lilina's father Hector, who have known each other ever since they were pre-teens. Lyndis and Florina may be this as well.
- Sacred Stones: The Renais twins, Eirika and Ephraim, can be seen as this to Prince Lyon of Grado since they met as young teens.
- Tellius games: Rolf and Mist, the youngest members of the Greil Mercenaries. Ike and Soren met when they were kids too, but Ike cannot remember since it happened around the same time an horrible incident took place and he was given Laser-Guided Amnesia by someone else, which as a side-effect made him forget how he met his companion. Soren, on the other hand, remembers everything but doesn't reveal it unless he and Ike have an A support in Radiant Dawn.
- Awakening: Lissa and Maribelle, plus Cordelia and Sumia.
- Fates: the Player Character Corrin was mostly raised in a Gilded Cage-like environment since childhood, so s/he has this with the Ninja Maids Flora and Felicia and the Battle Butler Jakob. Silas was this as well, but ended up banished after trying to release the Avatar from his/her prison; he then becomes the Forgotten Childhood Friend, but will be brought back into the Avatar's circle no matter the path.
- Odin, Laslow and Selena are three travelers who have walked the world together since they were young, and now they serve the Nohrian nobility. They're actually Owain, Inigo and Severa from the aforementioned Second Generation group in Awakening.
- In Hoshido, Princess Sakura's retainers Subaki and Hana are this to Sakura's siblings Princess Hinoka and Prince Takumi, respectively. At the same time, the Court Mage Orochi and Prince Ryoma's retainers Saizo and Kagero know each other from when they were pre-teens.
- Warriors: The Aytolis twins, Rowan and Lianna, are this with Prince Darius.
- Three Houses: Princess Edelgard von Hresvelg and Hubert von Vestra, Caspar von Bergliez and Linhardt von Hevring.
- The Blue Lions have Prince Dimitri Alexandre Blaiddyd, Sylvain Jose Gautier, Ingrid Brandl Galatea and Felix Hugo Fraldarius. He also sort-of had it with the aforementioned Edelgard when she lived in Faerghus, but none of them remember it clearly.
- The Golden Deer have Raphael Kirsten and Ignatz Victor.
- Three of the Ashen Wolves have childhood friends in all the other Houses. Constance von Nuvelle is friends with Ferdinand von Aegir (Black Eagles) and Mercedes von Martritz (Blue Lions), plus Mercedes' younger brother Emile aka Jeritza; Balthus von Albrecht is friends with Hilda Valentine Goneril (Golden Deer), and Yuri Leclerc was friends with Bernadetta von Varley (Black Eagles) - in fact, he is the commoner boy that once was beaten up for befriending her.
- Arihiko and Shiki in Tsukihime. Arihiko is one of the few people who really knows all about Shiki and understands him and the two are mostly inseparable.
- Shiki and the maids Kohaku and Hisui, too. Also, Akiha except she is his sister even though she's not really his sister.
- Yoshiyuki, Wataru and Koko are all childhood friends in Da Capo II. Koko's relationship with the other two gets much more complicated, but Wataru and Yoshiyuki fall straight into this intead. It's one of the factors that makes Koko's route that much more dramatic.
- In Tokimeki Memorial 2 Substories: Leaping School Festival, an Event in Homura Akai's route reveals that her grandfather Ringo and Hibikino High's headmaster Bakuretsuzan are childhood friends, and still are the best friends in the world despite the years and the fact they were (friendly) rivals for the heart of the girl who would become Homura's grandmother, in their High School time.
- And then there's Homura herself with Akane Ichimonji. The two are best friends since childhood, although Akane feels from time to time the need to take a break from Homura and avoids her, as shown in an Event in Childhood Mode. Speaking of Akane, in the 10th Drama CD, she and the protagonist, Kouichi, discuss about childhood friends:
Kouichi: Say... Ichimonji-san, do you have someone you can call a childhood friend?
- The original eponymous Little Busters were made up of five childhood friends, four guys and one girl.
- Hiroki and Yanagi in Canvas 2. A later event in the story is about an attempt to repair said friendship due to some complications involving the third childhood friend that they both liked.
- In Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai we have both the Kazama Family including seven people, and the 2-S trio of Touma, Jun, and Koyuki.
- Shall We Date Ninja Shadow:
- The twins Kaname and Saori (the Player Character) have this with Yoshiyuki Shingu. In Saori's case, this can evolve into Childhood Friend Romance if he's her chosen lover.
- Saori's boss Makoto Nakagawa has this with Asagi and Zeyo Sakamoto. By extension, so does his older and antagonistic brother Toru.
- The Dutch orphan Eduard was taken into a Japanese village when he was around 12 years old, and made friends with two locak boys named Ukyo and Natsume. The first two joined the Nagasaki Vigilantes whereas Natsume is in the Edo Vigilantes.
- The other Vigilante groups have this too: Toya and Gin Shinonome (Shadow Vigilantes), Cerberus and Griffon (White Roses), Yahiro Kyougoku and Ryuunosuke (Kyoto Vigilantes).
- The titular character of Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright, has this with Miles Edgeworth and Larry Butz.
- Also, Apollo Justice and Clay Terran. Shame that Clay is murdered...
- And Athena Cykes, with Juniper Woods.
- Penny, Sara and Michelle of Penny and Aggie have been friends since their preteen years, Penny and Sara for at least two years longer. Word of God also has it that Fred and Daphne have been best friends since childhood.
- Lee and Frank in Prince of Cats met in, and have inseparable since, second grade.