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Old 2013-04-22, 13:55   Link #1
Dwalin
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Childhood friend romances

I noticed many people on internet hate romances between childhood friends. What's sad is that they don't just dislike specific pairings of specific characters, but hate this type of pairings in general, only because it's love between childhood friends. People often get so mad that they even write fanfictions where childhood friends are evil and selfish individuals while the "other woman" (or man) is a kind person with a heart of gold. For example, people are constantly bashing Akira from the "Ufo Baby" anime (don't know if you watched it) and that kind of behavior makes me extremely sad and depressed.
People sometimes say they don't like childhood friend characters because they are one-dimensional and just watch silently as the main character gets with somebody else instead of acting on their feelings. But, if they DO act, then they are labeled as evil [censored] who stand in the way of the other heroine. No matter how they behave, many people seem just to hate the concept of staying with the first love for the rest of the life. Don't know, maybe they consider this outdated for the modern society and this is the saddest thing.
I would like to ask: what do people on this forum think about this kind of romance? I personally like it much more than love stories between people who met as adults because if the bond is established in an innocent period such as childhood, there is a guarantee it's really love and not just lust. I think the love formed between two children that last throughout their lives is one of the best things ever, even though it's so rare...
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Old 2013-04-22, 14:01   Link #2
hyl
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For me it depends on how well (or bad) the childhood friend is written. In some stories they can be 2 dimensional (written as nothing more than a friend from childhood) but they can also be written as great characters (like ones with great synergy with the protagonist by knowing what he thinks and likes etc.).

Also i am not sure which type of "osananajimi" you are referring. There is the type that the protagonist knows since childhood and never left eachother and the other common type is the what i call"reunitied osananajimi ", the ones in which both characters haven't seen eachother for some years

edit: i am also somewhat biased towards osananajimi due to VN's, because most of the time they are pretty good characters
Spoiler for some are spoilers :o:

Last edited by hyl; 2013-04-23 at 10:05. Reason: spoiler tags
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Old 2013-04-22, 14:09   Link #3
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I have to admit. I've never enjoyed a romance on account of it solely being a childhood romance. Personally, I always felt that anime needed to expand more on intragender (depending on the series, too) platonic relationships. But really, must any close nonfamilial relationship be like that?

Certainly, childhood friendship romance does have its place when the core of its story has its roots in childhood such as Chihayafuru or Kanon (though that show threw it around to the point of meaninglessness).

There are also certain angles where it just makes sense if you want to portray another as the sole love of one's life. A few series did it really well, but I have to admit, there's just not too much that interests me... though romance as a whole doesn't really do it for me most times.

I guess there is one use that turns me off, and that is some random revelation that "we used to be childhood friends" comes tossed up to cement something in. That just comes to me as awfully contrived. In the end, it comes down to whether the show actually shows them being friends in the past instead of just stating it, and thus taking it for granted.
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Old 2013-04-22, 14:18   Link #4
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It depends on how well the childhood friend romance thingy is represented in the plot. Similar to what hyl says, there are many types of osananajimi. I do like this type of romance, and like you, I think it is very sweet too. For me, it becomes one dimensional when one friend likes another friend but keeps the feelings buried and acts angsty if someone snatches him/her away, or if that childhood friend becomes possessive and transforms into a she-devil, like Moritani in the first half of Kotoura.

My favourite childhood romance has always been Li-ren and Kajika in Hanasakeru Seishounen. Granted, Kajika is a bit of a brat, but their relationship has a depth that I can't seem to feel in other animes. They understand each other almost perfectly, and very honest with their feelings. In other animes, usually one has to sit through countless episodes of self-denial before reaching the end of the tunnel.
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Old 2013-04-22, 14:20   Link #5
Dwalin
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Originally Posted by hyl View Post
Also i am not sure which type of "osananajimi" you are referring. There is the type that the protagonist knows since childhood and never left eachother and the other common type is the what i call"reunitied osananajimi ", the ones in which both characters haven't seen eachother for some years
I personally prefer those who never left each other and grew up together because in the cases when the characters knew each other only briefly and haven't seen each other for a long time they often don't even remember one another, so they are not really "childhood friends".
But to some haters it doesn't matter, they just hate any type of relationship that involves being close during childhood. They just say it's some "stinky sugar-coated crap" without being able to present a stronger argument. Maybe they are just not good in their hearts and therefore cannot stand moving and tender things.
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Old 2013-04-22, 14:31   Link #6
hyl
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Originally Posted by Dwalin View Post
I personally prefer those who never left each other and grew up together because in the cases when the characters knew each other only briefly and haven't seen each other for a long time they often don't even remember one another, so they are not really "childhood friends".
But to some haters it doesn't matter, they just hate any type of relationship that involves being close during childhood. They just say it's some "stinky sugar-coated crap" without being able to present a stronger argument. Maybe they are just not good in their hearts and therefore cannot stand moving and tender things.
That looks like the same kind of bias that people have towards badly developed pairings with tsundere (maybe kuudere as well) characters. But then again, you will find lots of hate towards certain type of common pairings.
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Old 2013-04-22, 22:50   Link #7
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A childhood friend romance isn't necessarily bad in theory.

Like the OP, I like the idea of a girl and a boy who were close friends as little kids and eventually grow into a romance as teenagers and young adults. Like the OP says, the "childhood friend" background means that their romantic bond isn't likely to be rooted purely in lust or the passion of the moment, but in genuine love.


However, I think that the childhood friend romance tends to run into certain problems when romance conflict comes into play. I find this to be frequently true of how love triangles play out when part of it involves a childhood friendship:

1. The female childhood friend of the male lead tends to come across as being a bit possessive of him. In worst-case scenarios, she can even come across as being a "ball and chain" to the male lead. She can come across as very pushy, domineering, fueled by jealousy. It's not the most attractive picture.

2. I think that people have a certain bias in favor of "the shiny new toy". This is true in many areas in life (why do you think the "mysterious new transfer student" is such a popular archetype in anime?), and romance is no exception. Seeing a guy get smitten by an attractive new girl tends to be emotionally compelling to many viewers, I think. The new girl brings a certain excitement and liveliness that wasn't there before. She tends to come to represent dynamic change while the childhood friend tends to represent the status quo. It's not hard to see how this could disadvantage the childhood friend in the eyes of many viewers.

3. Exacerbating No. 2 is the fact that "the new girl" tends to be a dream girl in one or more ways, while the "childhood friend girl" tends to be a "girl next door" type. While people tend to like the "girl next door" character type, she tends to play second fiddle to the "magical dream girl".


Now, keeping the above 3 factors in mind, consider Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate, Shakugan no Shana, Accel World, Ano Natsu, Hyouka, True Tears and Sakurasou.

To varying degrees, these 7 anime shows demonstrate that what I'm writing here really does tend to apply a lot.
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Old 2013-04-23, 01:17   Link #8
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With very few exceptions, I absolutely despise it.

Why?

Because it's so removed from reality!

For one thing, people's feelings change as they get older. It's highly unlikely that your five-year-old best friend is going to come up to you ten years from now and declare,
"I HAVE LOVED YOU ALL MY LIFE, LET'S GET MARRIED."

No.

It's.........stupid.

Quote:
if the bond is established in an innocent period such as childhood, there is a guarantee it's really love and not just lust.
Here's the thing though: children can easily confuse their feelings for "love" at such an early age. It could only be a familial love instead of romantic love. Especially if those two children never try interacting with others; then they have nothing to compare the relationship to, therefore convince themselves it is "love"...when it's not.

Another thing, if you've known each other for practically forever, you are normally too far into the Friend Zone.
Trust me, I tried dating a friend, whom I knew a lot about.
...........it was awkward as hell and now we don't hang out anymore.
Yeah, don't try it.......unless you're positive neither of you is in that "Zone".
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Old 2013-04-23, 01:21   Link #9
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Well it a very overused trope and abused at times. Just look at Haganai. It took Kodaka an entire season to remember his childhood friends name who ended up being Yozora--blergh. Oh, there's also the Nisekoi manga in which every character becomes a childhood friend because the MC seemingly forgot his childhood. Amnesia?? Is there some sort of magic that you can forget someone's face--blergh.

It's not that having a childhood friend is bad but it really is overused and abused in anime.
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Old 2013-04-23, 04:56   Link #10
Dwalin
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Originally Posted by Chiibi View Post
With very few exceptions, I absolutely despise it.

Why?

Because it's so removed from reality!

For one thing, people's feelings change as they get older. It's highly unlikely that your five-year-old best friend is going to come up to you ten years from now and declare,
"I HAVE LOVED YOU ALL MY LIFE, LET'S GET MARRIED."

No.

It's.........stupid.
I don't really see why people think fiction should necessarily be realistic. When I read or watch fiction, I do it to immerse myself in a world which gives a sense of hope unlike real life and where rare but good things are more common.
It's sad you are so full of unjustified hatred. An tell me, if this is all about it supposedly not being realistic, then do you hate every anime in which non-realistic elements appear, such as magic and science fiction? If not, then please explain again.
I also don't see why people in the modern society are looked upon as weird in those rare cases their feelings DON'T change with time and they never change partners. Please show some respect towards those who have different principles.
And don't judge ALL people by YOUR standards. If YOU would never be able to date a childhood friend, I would never be able to date somebody whom I met as adult simply because it would go against my principles and because I need to know a person for my whole life to completely trust her.
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Here's the thing though: children can easily confuse their feelings for "love" at such an early age. It could only be a familial love instead of romantic love. Especially if those two children never try interacting with others; then they have nothing to compare the relationship to, therefore convince themselves it is "love"...when it's not.
If they convince themselves it's love, it's their right. I have great respect for people who only had one lover during their whole lives, no matter how few such people are.
I would also like to say one thing, and please don't take it as an insult as it's just a personal opinion of mine: do you think that, to understand what love really is, one has to date, or maybe even have physical relations with, many different people? I by no means try to impose my opinion on anybody, everybody does whatever they want, but to me such a way of living is just plain dirty.

Last edited by Dwalin; 2013-04-23 at 08:02.
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Old 2013-04-23, 05:28   Link #11
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To me it depends on how well the romance is written. A good childhood romance is great, but poorly written ones are annoying.

I tend to be biased towards childhood friends because they usually represent the "Betty" in a Betty and Veronica relationship. You know, the girl next door, safe, domestic, and status quo. I tend to be of the philosophy that if you have a good thing, don't let it slip away while you go chasing rainbows.

As for realistic, of course it's realistic. As recently as the 1980s, 50% of men married their first love. It's even been summarized in a pithy saying: "A man will love the first woman to tie a string to his heart."

However, over the last three decades there has been some significant changes. The rise in the marriage age, and the massive increase in causal sex has greatly reduced the pressures for men to marry early- when they would most likely marry their childhood friend. I wouldn't be surprised if a successful childhood romance is less common now than 30 years ago.
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Old 2013-04-23, 09:49   Link #12
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As for realistic, of course it's realistic. As recently as the 1980s, 50% of men married their first love.
They need not have been childhood friends, though. A quick Google search for statistics on childhood friends marrying brings up little useful data.

As I have written before, I also find this meme unrealistic, though I wonder if this is an area where Asian and Western experiences differ. Americans are so mobile (35% have moved within the past five years), with American women marrying so much later than they used to, that it is hard to imagine a lot of us are marrying childhood friends. My sense is that geographic mobility is less extensive in the developed Asian countries like Japan, though the trend toward older marriages has been happening there as well. In 2011, the average age of Japanese grooms was 31; for their brides it was 29. It's hard to see lots of thirty-year-olds marrying someone they knew twenty years before.
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Old 2013-04-23, 09:56   Link #13
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Originally Posted by Dwalin View Post
I noticed many people on internet hate romances between childhood friends. What's sad is that they don't just dislike specific pairings of specific characters, but hate this type of pairings in general, only because it's love between childhood friends.
I'd like to point out the opposite is also true. Some people love childhood friends romances only because they're about childhood friends, regardless of the context and the actual personalities of the characters. It's pretty natural for people to feel the opposite way about some things.

I feel rather indifferent towards it. The characters being childhood friends doesn't really add any special flavor to a romance for me. All that matters is how much they love each other, not how long they've been hanging together. I suppose it could be seen as more romantic to end up with somebody you've known your whole life, but it doesn't do much for me.
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Old 2013-04-23, 10:00   Link #14
Dwalin
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I'd like to point out the opposite is also true. Some people love childhood friends romances only because they're about childhood friends, regardless of the context and the actual personalities of the characters. It's pretty natural for people to feel the opposite way about some things.
Yes, but I don't insult other kinds of love stories only because they are NOT childhood friends. I just like the stories about childhood friends more, that doesn't mean I have no respect for people who like other stories as well. At least, I have never seen a single person insulting non-childhood-friend romances only because they are not childhood friends, while the opposite is very common.
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Old 2013-04-23, 10:07   Link #15
hyl
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Yes, but I don't insult other kinds of love stories only because they are NOT childhood friends. I just like the stories about childhood friends more, that doesn't mean I have no respect for people who like other stories as well. At least, I have never seen a single person insulting non-childhood-friend romances only because they are not childhood friends, while the opposite is very common.
Well if the characters are not childhood friends, then the osananajimi factor obviously doesn't come into play.
Your last example makes just as much sense as this: i don't like *insert a couple* because the female character is not a tsundere.

Also i have seen people insult certain pairings, there are some forum members who detest a pairing with a tsundere heroine.
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Old 2013-04-23, 10:15   Link #16
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Well if the characters are not childhood friends, then the osananajimi factor obviously doesn't come into play.
Your last example makes just as much sense as this: i don't like *insert a couple* because the female character is not a tsundere.

Also i have seen people insult certain pairings, there are some forum members who detest a pairing with a tsundere heroine.
Sorry, I don't understand. Maybe I explained myself badly. What I meant is that, while it's true what Kanon said about some people liking only childhood friend stories and others disliking this category, the childhood friend fans never insult the other categories (as far as I know), they simply limit themselves to liking osananajimi stories without despising other kinds of stories, but there are people who dislike osananajimi stories as such and openly declare their hatred.
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Old 2013-04-23, 10:19   Link #17
hyl
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Sorry, I don't understand. Maybe I explained myself badly. What I meant is that, while it's true what Kanon said about some people liking only childhood friend stories and others disliking this category, the childhood friend fans never insult the other categories (as far as I know), they simply limit themselves to liking osananajimi stories without despising other kinds of stories, but there are people who dislike osananajimi stories as such and openly declare their hatred.
Well maybe it has to do with the "osananajimi trope" being used slightly too much over the past few years and most of the characters were not that much developed in animes.
Most of the time they are written to be a character who likes the main characters just because she has known the main character since childhood without any other reasons. That does make them look just as bland (or shallow) as other "archetypes" like the bracon imouto.

Not that i am saying that every osananajimi and "bracon imouto" characters are shallow but i seem to get that impression sometimes from animes because of bad or lazy writing.
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Old 2013-04-23, 10:21   Link #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwalin View Post
I don't really see why people think fiction should necessarily be realistic.
If it's too far removed from the real world, you can't relate to it.

Quote:
It's sad you are so full of unjustified hatred.
Not really. I don't feel sad that I hate it. I think it's a dumb, overused, poorly written cliche.

Quote:
An tell me, if this is all about it supposedly not being realistic, then do you hate every anime in which non-realistic elements appear, such as magic and science fiction? If not, then please explain again.
No, of course not! I prefer fantasy situations over fantasy romance tropes, that's all.

Quote:
I also don't see why people in the modern society are looked upon as weird in those rare cases their feelings DON'T change with time and they never change partners.
Because it's like they never matured.


Quote:
If they convince themselves it's love, it's their right.
Not if they're five! Come on....XD

Quote:
I have great respect for people who only had one lover during their whole lives, no matter how few such people are.
I do as well. I think having one love is incredibly romantic and pure.
Childhood friends are not the same as first loves.

Quote:
do you think that, to understand what love really is, one has to date, or maybe even have physical relations with, many different people?
No, but I think you have to be older than a little kid to understand what love is. You need to go through experiences, you need to talk to people, etc. When anime doesn't address this, it feels like BS. Because in many cases, when two little kids are torn apart and one of them is like "Nooo, I always wanna be with you, you're my whole world, this must mean LOVE!" I just facepalm.
Little kids form "inseparable bonds" with friends all the time....but it's normally only a phase and they grow out of it.
I used to work with children at my mother's preschool. It was an odd phenomenon if I didn't have a different little boy following me around each week.
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Old 2013-04-23, 10:25   Link #19
hyl
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Originally Posted by Chiibi View Post
If it's too far removed from the real world, you can't relate to it.


Not really. I don't feel sad that I hate it. I think it's a dumb, overused, poorly written cliche.


No, of course not! I prefer fantasy situations over fantasy romance tropes, that's all.


Because it's like they never matured.



Not if they're five! Come on....XD


I do as well. I think having one love is incredibly romantic and pure.
Childhood friends are not the same as first loves.


No, but I think you have to be older than a little kid to understand what love is. You need to go through experiences, you need to talk to people, etc. When anime doesn't address this, it feels like BS. Because in many cases, when two little kids are torn apart and one of them is like "Nooo, I always wanna be with you, you're my whole world, this must mean LOVE!" I just facepalm.
Little kids form "inseparable bonds" with friends all the time....but it's normally only a phase and they grow out of it.
I used to work with children at my mother's preschool. It was an odd phenomenon if I didn't have a different little boy following me around each week.
It seems that you are probably misunderstanding about something.
Osananajimi's are friends who have known eachother since childhood, it doesn't always mean they are children at this very moment.
Usually the base for such romance is that one of them or both have gradually developed (romantic) feelings for eachother over the years.
Well except for the other type that i mentioned earlier about the "reunited osananajimi", who haven't seen eachother for some time.

Like for me Anohana did the frienship (and to some extend romance, but IMO it was weaker than the friendship element ) part of osananajimi very well
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Old 2013-04-23, 10:32   Link #20
Dwalin
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Chiibi, if you DON'T hate EVERY SINGLE non-realistic element in animes, then why hate this particular element? With this, it seems it's not like you hate it because it's allegedly not realistic, since you admitted yourself that you don't hate fantasy for example.
If it's because of that negative personal experience you mentioned, I can understand, but if it's not, then I can only say that you are the first person in my life whose point of view I am not able to understand no matter how hard I imagine myself being in your shoes.
Just saying childhood friend stories are "dumb" isn't really the best and most convincing argument ever, I think most of the people will agree with this, even those who are not fans of osananajimi stories.
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Not if they're five! Come on....XD
It's still their right.
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Because it's like they never matured.
You say so. I don't. In my opinion, they are far more mature than people who change partners, because I think that not being able to stay faithful to one person is a clear sign of weakness.
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