The 10 Most Unlikely Anime Duos Who Work Really Well Together

One of the great aspects of storytelling is the relationships that develop between characters. Enemies become friends and vice versa, as the story moves forward. And usually, these friendships that the audience wants to root for come in duos or trios.

Anime is no different, with notorious duos such as Naruto and Sasuke from Naruto or Bakugou and Midoriya from My Hero Academia being examples of some of the most stereotypical front-and-center relationships. But sometimes, characters that would otherwise not be expected to interact at all get thrown together for the sake of the story. These can be main characters or side characters, and while it seems unlikely to the audience that they should get along, it somehow works.

Takeo & Sunakawa – My Love Story!!

My Love Story!!‘s Takeo is a large, burly man. He has essentially the ultimate wingman for his good-looking, studious best friend, Sunakawa, their entire lives — at least, until he saves Rinko Yamato and, for the first time, she falls in love with him instead.

A true bromance for the ages, Sunakawa is so fond of Takeo that he has remained single because every girl interested in him has made fun of his friend. Sunakawa is happy to help Takeo navigate his new relationship, allowing them both to grow more from the roles they’d been living in since childhood. This unlikely duo takes a classic shoujo trope and turns it on its head with gusto.

Dabi & Hawks – My Hero Academia

When fans originally thought of a friendship between these two in My Hero Academia, it was meant as a joke. The characters had not interacted in any way, but they were of similar age and would probably cross paths at some point, due to Dabi being a member of the League of Villains and Hawks being a Top 10 Pro-Hero. And then came the revelation that Hawks took on the role of a double agent to infiltrate the League of Villains.

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The friendship is short-lived and ends in a fiery fashion, but they do seem to work together for a while. Furthermore, given the subsequent revelations of Dabi’s backstory and Hawks’ own admiration for Endeavour, it is perhaps not surprising that some fans are hoping for another chance for this most unlikely of friendships to blossom.

Kuchiki Byakuya & Zaraki Kenpachi – Bleach

Kuchiki Byakuya and Zaraki Kenpachi in Bleach

In a story with as many characters as Bleach, it might be difficult for the showrunners to make sure that everyone gets a chance to shine and interact with each other. Both of these characters are considered some of the most powerful Captains in the series, and viewers have seen them battle other characters enough to know this.

They’re both also pretty stubborn and set in their ways: this is played to comedic effect when they battle the 0 Espada Yami in Hueco Mundo towards the end of the fight with Aizen. Viewers are treated to the two arguing in the middle of the fight and then arriving back in Soul Society together.

Nana & Nana – Nana

The selling point of the classic anime Nana is how different these two characters are, despite having the same name. There’s friendly, girly Nana, and hardcore, conflicted Nana, and had they not ended up sharing a living space, they would never have run into each other.

In their case, similar to Dabi and Hawks, their friendship actually ends up breaking the relationship, as they become too immersed in each other’s lives and affected by the decisions the other makes. Ultimately they end up somewhat consumed by each other in an unhealthy way, resulting in a forceful separation that has left audiences curious as to the outcome to this day.

Kuroo Tetsuro & Tsukishima Kei – Haikyuu!!

During Haikyuu!!’s Training Camp Arc, Tsukishima ends up working with Kuroo on blocking after avoiding extra practice for a few nights, and he suddenly ends up with a new best friend. Odd couples abound in this series, even another Nekomata and Karasuno in Kenma and Hinata, but none have truly been as popular with the fanbase as these two.

Kuroo’s patient and playful teasing which finally corner ambivalent Tsukishima into agreeing to extra practice, the fruits of which come into play later during the game against Shiratorizawa, were a joy to watch. They revealed a facet of Tsukishima’s character that had not previously been touched upon and made him just as competitive as his teammates.

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Kurodo Akabane & Ginji Amano – GetBackers

GetBackers is the story of the relationship between Ginji Amano and Ban Midou, who work as retrievers for anyone from teenage girls to sketchy businessmen in Shinjuku. While the heart and soul of the series is the relationship between the two main characters, side characters add color and dimension to the world they live in, perhaps none more so than Kurodo Akabane.

In one of the more hilarious team-ups, cheerful Ginji Amano is partnered up with bloodthirsty Kurodo Akabane during a mission. Ginji is terrified of the man, and there is a hilarious sequence in which he tries, and fails, to run away. The two actually work quite well together, although their differing moral compasses make it difficult for them to team up that often.

Light Yagami & L Lawliet – Death Note

Despite being at odds for almost the entire time they share the screen together in Death Note, there are a few episodes where these two end up working together, which make for one of the most bittersweet deaths in anime. As the audience sees them working so much against each other for so long, the team-up is unexpected and works very well, at least until it’s over.

It’s clear from the episodes they share and what follows that they were each other’s true equal in a way no other character in this world was. Following L’s death and the time skip, it becomes obvious no other character could match Light’s energy, and indeed, it takes two geniuses to bring him down, whereas L constantly challenged him.

Garou & Tareo – One Punch Man

One Punch Man has several odd couples, including Saitama and his cactus, but this one takes the cake. Garou, known up to this point to viewers and readers as the smug hunter-killer-turned-monster, develops a friendship with average neighborhood kid Tareo after he saves him. This humanizes Garou to the audience.

It’s not even a one-off interaction, there are several, leading Tareo to think of Garou as a hero and telling him as much. Tareo even looks after him when he is defeated and may be the catalyst in Garou’s redemption story. This is not the kind of friendship one might expect when first introduced to Garou.

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Gojo Satoru & Nanami Kento – Jujutsu Kaisen

By all accounts, these two should not have ended up working together as much as they have. As viewers find out in Jujutsu Kaisen, Nanami actually quit being a sorcerer for a while and detests the way Gojo handles life, in general. In Jujutsu Kaisen 0, it is revealed that Gojo considered Geto Suguru to still be his best friend, not Nanami. While they work together, it is not a future either envisioned as students themselves.

Yet the two actually work incredibly well together, especially when tag-teaming Itadori Yuuji’s training. While Gojo provides Yuuji with a wider picture of what he wants to build for sorcerers, Nanami’s down-to-earth approach to taking care of curses is just as important in Yuuji’s development as both a sorcerer and character.

Rock Lee & Gaara – Naruto

Gaara defeated Rock Lee by breaking his leg during the Chuunin Exams. This marked a switch in Naruto‘s narrative. The last thing that could have been expected at the time was that, several episodes later, these two would team up masterfully and Lee would forgive him as if nothing happened.

On top of their previous history, Rock Lee and Gaara’s personalities are not exactly the best suited to each other, given Gaara is a more taciturn, introverted character, whereas Rock Lee is the complete opposite. Despite this, the two work very well together and have a healthy respect for each other beyond the fight in which they team up.

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