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The 7 Best Anime Duos, Ranked

naruto and sasuke

Do you have a best friend?

Do you laugh together? Cry together? Race monster trucks? Paint each other’s toenails? Exorcise demons from each other’s bodies?

What’s that? You and your best friend don’t do those things? Oh, you poor baby. Sounds like your best friend isn’t best friend material after all. It sounds like you should return them to the Best Friend Emporium where you found them and get a refund.

Got your money back? Looking for a new best friend now? Good. To help you on your search, I’m gonna give you some anime examples as to what an EXCITING best friendship looks like. That way, you know exactly what to look for when you’re screening your candidates.

So buckle up. Best friends are incoming.

7. Spike and Jet – Cowboy Bebop

spike and jet looking at a new bounty!

You and your best friend probably share an apartment in Bushwick. Cowboy Bebop‘s Spike and Jet live with each other in the cold vacuum of SPACE. Consider the bar raised. These two have such a close relationship that they actually WORK together. Doing what? HUNTING DOWN SPACE CRIMINALS, THAT’S WHAT. Spike and Jet are two intergalactic bounty hunters who always have each other’s backs when a situation gets sticky. That sounded wrong. But c’mon, we’ve all been there with our best friend at least once right? I’m sure Spike and Jet have gotten lonely at some point … space is vast, after all.

6. Ash and Pikachu – Pokémon

Ash, Brock, Pikachu, and Misty in Pokemon
(The Pokémon Company)

Pokémon is proof that your best friend doesn’t even need to be a PERSON for your relationship to work. It doesn’t matter that Ash is a pre-pubescent kid with a penchant for animal cruelty, and Pikachu is an electrically charged rat. They’re PERFECT for one another. And how do they show their bond? By causing other weird talking animals extraordinary amounts of PAIN. Ash and Pikachu are world champion Pokémon battlers, and maybe you and your best friend could be too! Find a moose* during mating season and try to catch it in a net! Then name it and tell it to fight other meese, mooses, whatever! Boom, instant BFFs. You’re welcome.

5. Ryuko and Mako – Kill La Kill

Mako copping a  sapphic feel?
(Studio Trigger)

You need a friend who’s gonna BURN for you. SUPPORT you. CHEER for you while you fight your rivals wearing nothing but a blood-sucking bikini. Ryuko and Mako of Kill La Kill are the best of pals, and maybe a little something more. And by “maybe” I mean CANONICALLY (watch the end credits). Sometimes you need a best friend who’s gonna kiss you on the mouth to motivate you to defeat your evil fashion-icon mother and her army of sentient alien clothes. We’ve all been there. And hopefully after saving the world in 26 episodes, you and your best friend can go on a cute ice cream date around town!

4. Simon and Kamina – Gurren Lagann

kamina and simon drilling

Sometimes having a best friend isn’t enough. Sometimes you need a BROTHER. Someone who’s gonna protect you, look out for you, and pilot a giant robot mech suit with you in order to fight off aliens. We all need that in our lives, and Gurren Lagann delivers. Shy little brother Simon and bombastic big bro Kamina make the perfect pair. They compliment each other, compensate for each other’s weaknesses, and MAN DO THEY DRESS WELL TOGETHER. If your best friend doesn’t regularly show up to your hangout sessions with an outfit that SERVES, then you REALLY need to rethink your priorities.

3. Edward and Alphonse Elric – Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric as they appear in the 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist anime

Sure, we can all count on our siblings to pilot a mech suit with us. But can we truly depend on them if we were to hypothetically try to resurrect our mother using a forbidden alchemical ritual and lose our entire body in the process? Would our big brother be there for us if we accidentally got our soul trapped in a suit of armor? And would our big bro STILL have our back if the two of us ended up uncovering a government conspiracy that threatens the fate of the entire country? If that’s a no, then your sibling is not Best Friend Material. It’s called Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, not Best Friend-Hood. If they don’t love you like Edward loves Alphonse, they’re just not worth it.

2. Naruto and Sasuke – Naruto

naruto and sasuke

Listen, if you and your best friend didn’t accidentally kiss on the first day of ninja school to the shock and titillation of your fellow classmates, you really ought to be on the lookout for a better meet-cute. Naruto and Sasuke are “friends” in big quotation marks, because they literally spend over half the series screaming each other’s names and trying to kill one another. Naruto really does feature some of the most belligerent sexual tension I’ve ever seen. But that’s what friends are for, right? Besides, they make up in the end! And it only takes half a million episodes to get there!

1. Goku and Vegeta – Dragon Ball Z

Goku and Vegeta being best bois

Sometimes you and your best friend didn’t start as best friends. Sometimes, the first thing you bond over is a mutual hatred of each other’s guts. I mean, who hasn’t been through this? It’s that thing when your best friend is an alien from space who demands the surrender of your home planet at the risk of total obliteration. Dragon Ball Z reminds us of the importance of enforcing BOUNDARIES, and letting your new best friend know your VALUE. In this case, your value is OVER NINE THOUSAND. After proving your worth to your best friend (by fighting them to the death and blowing up half the planet in the process), eventually they’ll come around and see that you’re WORTH IT. Who knows? One day they might even sacrifice their life to save you and your friends, and you’ll just have to return the favor by wishing them back to life with a dragon’s balls. And this particular dragon has SEVEN of them. Would your best friend collect seven dragon balls for you? Think long and hard.

(featured image: Pierrot)

*The Mary Sue does not condone capturing and befriending moose. We also do not condone the grammatically correct pluralization of moose, which is, incidentally, moose.

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