Most anime protagonists have a friend who stands by them through thick and thin. However, they often find themselves in life-threatening situations and never get any credit for their sacrifices. It is quite common for anime to kill the best friends to give the protagonists the emotional push necessary to reach their potential. Even those who don’t lose their lives are stuck in a thankless role and are never appreciated. Krillin from Dragon Ball is an excellent example. Although, he trains under Master Roshi along with Goku and is just as hardworking. As the show progresses, it becomes obvious that Krillin will never be as good as Goku. However, his weakness does serve as a metric to measure Goku’s extraordinary abilities.
Krillin is undoubtedly not the weakest character in the series. He is, in fact, remarkable when compared with other human martial artists. But, the villains on Dragon Ball are rarely human, so Krillin struggles when he fights them. He often needs to be rescued by Goku, who ends up saving everyone. The contrast between the protagonist and his friend helps creators make the lead character appear extraordinary, which is important for the plot. However, Krillin is a bit luckier than most of the protagonist’s best friends since he went to live until the last installment of the series. He was even married and rarely seemed unhappy. Unfortunately, most of the protagonist’s best friends are not as lucky as him. Either they fade into the background or die just for the character development of the main character.
One great example of such a best friend is Naru Osaka from Sailor Moon, who had a much more depressing end than Krillin. When the series started, she used to be an important character since she was very close to Usagi. On several occasions, she was in the spotlight, with the most memorable of them being when she fell in love with Nephrite, a villain in the series. However, her limelight did not last long. As soon as Nephrite was defeated, her time in the spotlight ended. She was later paired up with one of the supporting characters, which seemed to have been done to give a sense of closure to the story.
In the subsequent seasons, her roles diluted further, and she was reduced to just another minor character on the show. Even though she made many appearances, they were mostly short-lived and were not intended to give her an opportunity to make a lasting impression. By the time Sailor Moon Sailor Stars, the series’s final season was released, she had already faded into the background. It is almost as if she never really existed. Krillin and Naru are just two of many anime best friends who were just a tool for creators to make the protagonist look extraordinary.
Although, some of the anime best friends did end up becoming an important part of the series with time. Killua from Hunter x Hunter is a great example. Whenever Gon and Killua are with each other, one can’t say for sure who the protagonist is. Killua does not play second fiddle and is an important part of the cast. Bakugo from My Hero Academia is another lucky character that did not fade into the background. In fact, with each season, the creators have given him more opportunities to express himself. However, these two characters are exceptions, and usually, the anime best friends have a sad end.
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