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This trope refers to a specific Plot, often seen in ancient epics. In it, two heroes are intensely close friends. Unfortunately, the one who's not the main character dies during the course of the story. The death has a profound effect on the remaining hero, and changes them forever.

It's important to note that
1.) The two cannot just be friends or acquaintances. They have to be REALLY close, and
2.) The supporting character's death needs to be a huge turning point in the story.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Tragic Bromance include:

Anime & Manga

  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Colonel Roy Mustang and Liutenant Maes Hughes were friends ever since the Academy times, survived the cruel Ishbalan war, discussed the mental wounds left by the horrible shit they witnessed there, and decided to do their best to keep Amestris peaceful. Then Hughes was murdered after he learned the exact extent of the villains' plans and Roy was deeply affected by that...
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann - Simon and Kamina. They consider each other brothers, despite not being blood related; they're still extremely close, and when Kamina dies Simon suffers an extremely severe Heroic BSOD.
  • Nabari no Ou - Miharu and Yoite.
  • This occurs twice in Neon Genesis Evangelion to Shinji, first with Toji and then with Kaworu (in a way).
  • Legend of Galactic Heroes: Reinhard and Kircheis. How much does this trope play out? Comparable to Gilgamesh&Enkidu or Alexander&Hephaestion.
    • There's also Reuenthal and Mittermeier, the "twin stars of the Empire."


Comic Books


Film

  • Brian's Song - Brian Piccolo and Gayle Sayers (yes, he's male).
  • Captain America: The First Avenger: This is the fate of James "Bucky" Barnes. This also follows the comics, though in the film Bucky and Steve are the same age, while in the comics Steve is older. Then, in Captain America and the Winter Soldier, Bucky returns as the mind-wiped Winter Soldier...
  • Forrest Gump: Forrest and Bubba. After Bubba's death, Forrest fulfills his friend's lifelong dream by buying a shrimping boat.
  • Several John Woo films
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Happens due to KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAN! to Kirk, who has to watch as Spock dies. Of course, in the next movie Spock gets better, but at the time it was intended to stick.
  • Volcano: An epic womance between the two scientists. The remaining scientist (Anne Heche) is that much more determined to convince FEMA that there's really a volcano starting in Los Angeles because her best friend died to prove it.
  • X Men First Class: A version of this happens, in which Magneto and Professor X form a close friendship, but ultimately part because of a major difference in ideals. Notably, neither is killed, though Xavier does sustain a permanent injury that leads to Magneto cradling his cripple.


Live Action TV

  • Arrow: Subverted. John Diggle ends up burying Oliver Queen.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Subverted as Willow is the token best friend sidekick, but Buffy is the one who dies. Although Buffy gets better after just a few months, Buffy and Willow between the season 5 finale and the season 6 premiere totally fits this trope. Buffy's death causes Willow to go into a spiral of desperation and bargaining that eventually leads her into extremely morally ambiguous territory in her effort to resurrect her best friend, leads to her sliding into Drunk with Power, and emotionally sets her up for a Despair Event Horizon after her unrelated romantic tragedy involving Tara one season later.
  • Horatio Hornblower: Horatio and Archie's friendship in the TV movies is an arguable example, although the emotional fallout after Archie's Heroic Sacrifice and death isn't explored overtly in the subsequent series.
  • Legends of Tomorrow: Subverted as Heat Wave is actually the sidekick, but Snart is the one who died (albeit not for artistically subversive reasons).
  • Sherlock: John is devastated by Sherlock's apparent death in The Reichenbach Fall. He's not even aware that the reason Sherlock committed (fake) suicide was to save John's life.
  • Shut Up Flower Boy Band has one of the members of the titular band die in a tragic fashion. Being teenagers, the rest of the band doesn't take his death too well.
  • Supernatural (TV series): Sam and Dean Winchester manage to do this to one another multiple times. Dean is the ruling champion, but if it weren't for Sam's first major death the whole plot from the beginning of season three onward would not exist in any recognizable form.
    • Getting him out of it caused Dean to die at the end of season three, which caused Sam to have a major character shift in the four months between then and when Dean got better again at the start of season four; and the combination of what the two of them did while Dean was dead set up the need for Sam to die at the end of season five...
      • Dean's 101 deaths during one season three episode hit Sam pretty hard, too, especially the one that last six months before the bastard undid it. And hence the title of reigning champion. Also the fact that he stayed dead the longest.
        • Sam may have been resurrected quickly after the season five finale, but his soul stayed in Hell for over a year.
    • And as of the end of Season 6, it looks as though Dean and Castiel are headed in this direction.


Literature

  • The Bible - David and Jonathan
  • Dragonlance: Raistlin's ascension to the tower of high sorcery leaves Caramon a drunken wreck for years. Without his brother, he felt completely unneeded. It is only after Raistlin actually dies that he is able to move on with his life.
  • The Iliad - Achilles and Patroclus
  • Landon Parke-Laine and Anton Next in the Thursday Next series. Especially tragic because Landon's testimony in the investigation of the events that killed Anton turned Anton's name to mud for all history.
  • Sherlock Holmes and Watson, when Holmes apparently dies in The Final Problem. Luckily, he was just hiding.
  • The Silmarillion - Turin and Beleg. Made even worse by the fact that Turin was the cause of Beleg's death!


Mythology


Theatre

  • Romeo and Juliet - Romeo and Mercutio, complete with Mercutio dying in front of Romeo due to a terrible mistake by him and Tybalt.
  • West Side Story - Tony and Riff


Video Games

  • Final Fantasy VII - Cloud and Zack's friendship is only touched upon in flashbacks during the game, but elaborated in other entries of the franchise such as Last Order, Crisis Core, and Advent Children.
  • Fire Emblem is chock full of these:
    • In Genealogy of the Holy War, Sigurd and Eldigan were best friends since their teen days, they remain close as adults, they trust each other like almost no one else... but then they're pit against each other, and Eldigan is ultimately executed.
    • Fire Emblem Awakening has Chrom and Robin aka the Avatar, if Robin is male or a female not romancing Chrom. Chrom's tragic murder at Robin's (possessed) hands leads to The End of the World as We Know It and the Bad Future Lucina and the other children hail from.
    • Done in almost the exact same fashion in the backstory of Fire Emblem Fates, between Anankos and the unnamed Vallite king, who were best friends like their kids, Corrin aka the Avatar and Azura, would be in the future. An increasingly unstable Anankos, in a fit of rage, accidentally murdered Azura's father, which was the final straw in his already-unstable mind snapping completely and him becoming the Big Bad. Even more tragically, the King was an All-Loving Hero and apparently tried to comfort Anankos as he died.
    • In Fire Emblem Gaiden, this happens between Gray and Tobin if one of them dies. Its remake, Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, adds Python and Forsyth (again if one of them kicks it, also adding some Homoerotic Subtext) and Clive and Fernand, especially after Fernand's Face-Heel Turn and death in Clive's arms.
  • Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake and Gray Fox, but properly explored in Metal Gear Solid, where it's shown Fox's death has broken Snake's heart when Fox Comes Back Wrong as a cyborg desperate to fight Snake to the death so he can find some peace.
  • Persona 3 - Shinjiro's death, from Akihiko's point of view. Bonus Points for the allusion to Castor and Pollux (see Mythology).

Real Life

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