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11 Fierce Foes in Anime That Went on to Become Friends

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Anime is filled to the brim with rivalries that turn into friendships down the line. Below, we have compiled a list of 11 of the fiercest foes that became friends in anime.

11 Fierce Foes That Became Friends in Anime

Naruto and Gaara (Naruto)

Gaara is the first person Naruto meets that had an upbringing similar to his own. Both characters had childhoods that were filled with disdain because of the demons, known as Jinchuriki, they carry inside them.

When the two battle after the Chunin exams, Naruto is not only able to defeat the Demon of the Sand, but also show him compassion. It is through their bond that the two characters are able to grow from outcasts in their village to beloved leaders throughout the course of the series.

Kaiba and Yugi (Yu-Gi-Oh!)

Despite the fact that all they really do is duel each other in a card game, there are few rivalries that are fiercer in anime than that of Seto Kaiba and Yugi Muto. These two start off Yu-Gi-Oh! not being able to get along, as Yugi and the Pharoh always manage to defeat Kaiba, despite his best efforts.

A cavalcade of other evils continually arrive throughout the anime though, showing that while Kaiba may be a bit of an egomaniac, he’s not a bad guy. While a friendship might not exactly be the right word to describe it, the two work together throughout the latter half of the series to defeat bad guys quite a lot.

Goku and Vegeta (DBZ)

The relationship between Goku (Kakarot) and Vegeta is a tumultuous one at best, as Vegeta starts out Dragon Ball Z by trying to kill Kakarot and take over the earth. After being defeated by Goku, the Prince of all Saiyans runs away and swears revenge.

Something funny happens by the end of the Freeza arc though, as the two join forces from there on out, continuing their rivalry by trying to one-up each other and get stronger as the series continues.

Though Vegeta may have dipped back into his evil ways during the Buu arc, it is merely out of a yearning to best Kakorat and win their rivalry.

Kenshiro and Rei (Fist of the North Star)

Like many characters on this list, Rei had all but abandoned his humanity around the time he met Kenshiro in Fist of the Northstar. With his parents killed and his sister kidnapped, it was all he could do to survive as a mercenary.

When Rei was hired to infiltrate a village protected by Kenshiro, he instead betrayed his dealers, working with Ken to trick them and get his sister back. Rei and Ken became trusted allies after that point, proving there is hope even for the most destitute souls.

Elric Brothers and Scar (FMA Brotherhood)

Edward and Alphonse Elric manage to convince plenty of foes to give up their evil ways in the Full Metal Alchemist, using their empathy to bond with Humans, Chimera, and Homunculi alike. It’s the connection they share with the Ishvalan known as Scar that is the most poignant though.

Not only is Scar a serial killer that targets State Alchemists, but he also killed the parents of the Elric Brother’s best friend, Winry, in a blind rage. Winry and the Elric’s understand the world isn’t as black and white as it appears though, choosing to forgive the Ishvalan and work together to take down the true enemy, Father, instead.

Mob and Dimple (Mob Psycho 100)

We meet Dimple early in Mob Psycho 100, as he tries to use his evil spiritual powers to take over the world. Even though he is a powerful spirit, he is defeated by the anime’s protagonist, Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama, effortlessly.

He doesn’t give up after defeat though, scheming and trying to manipulate Mob into taking over his body throughout the rest of the first season. By the start of the second series, it is all too clear that Dimple has turned over a new leaf entirely though, even showing that he cares for Kageyuam and his opinion.

At one point, Mob even turns his body over to Dimple to watch over. Instead of taking advantage of this, Dimple is shown worrying about Shigeo’s wellbeing, choosing to go out of his way to save rather than steal his body.

Renji and Ichigo (Bleach)

When two hard-headed machismo males like Renji and Ichigo meet for the first time, conflict is inevitable. The hate these two barred toward each other lasted long after their first meeting, resulting in plenty of bickering throughout Bleach.

Eventually, they broke down each other’s barriers, becoming more like brothers that love their rivalry as opposed to enemies.

Aang and Zuko (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

At the start of the Last Airbender, Zuko’s only goal is to capture or kill the Avatar so he can return home from exile.

As time goes on, Zuko’s conscience weighs on himself heavily though, as he wonders if he’s doing the right thing.

Even with Zuko’s ferocious pursuit of him throughout Book 1 and 2, Aang is able to understand where he is coming from in Book 3, allowing him to join their group and make amends.

Zuko’s transformation from the main antagonist to Aang’s fire-bending teacher as the series wraps up is one of the most satisfying arcs in all of anime.

Kenshin and Sanosuke (Rurouni Kenshin)

Trying to murder someone is the easiest way to become friends in anime, just ask Himura Kenshin and Sagara Sanosuke. After attempting to kill Kenshin early on in the series, Sanosuke decides to join the protagonist in order to learn from him.

Along the way, Sagara not only learns from the man who defeated him, he constantly helps Kenshin in battles throughout multiple arcs. Sanosuke goes from being an enemy to one of the main characters of the show as a result of this.

Simon & Viral (Gurren Lagann)

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. In Gurren Lagaan, Simon and Viral understand this better than anyone, as the two must work together to defeat Anti-Spirals.

While it seems like an odd pair at first, considering how often Simon and Kamina fought Verrill pre-time skip, the two operate Gurren Lagann better than any pair before them. It isn’t long before the pairing brings out a previously unseen depth to Viral’s personality as well, proving Beastmen are no different from humans after all.

Deku and Todoroki (My Hero Academia)

While the main rivalry between Izuku “Deku” Midoriya and Katsuki Bakugo makes for some dramatic tension in My Hero Academia, it’s Deku’s rivalry, and subsequent friendship, with Shoto Todoroki that makes for compelling anime.

Todoroki couldn’t have cared less for anyone but himself until the Sports Festival, as he was laser-focused on proving his father wrong. It isn’t until Midoriya pushes him to his limits in their battle at the event that Shoto decides to go all out.

Respect and admiration for one another soon follows, as Todoroki strives to better understand himself and his powers thanks to the encouragement from Izuku.

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Andrew McMahon
Andrew was Twinfinite's Features Editor from 2020 through until March 2023 and wrote for the site from 2018. He has wandered around with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications sitting in his back pocket for a while now, all the while wondering what he is going to do for a career. Luckily, video games have always been there, especially as his writing career progresses.