art by @Ruttika_Shin on Twitter
Anime is so versatile, it shows us so many scenarios, so many worlds and so many characters and we explore them and find new dynamics in them to enjoy.
One thing we can definitely see occuring again and again is the strong concept of friendship.
With the power of friendship, anime characters overcome the toughest of challenges as it pushes them to the brink of motivation. As the idealistic concepts are very often used in anime, it is no surprise that we find ourselves with amazing friendships throughout anime history.
Now while it might be interesting to just look at the friendships themselves, in this post we will delve into the dynamics with the help of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator.
What is MBTI?
For those of you who aren’t familiar, let me quote myself!
“[…]It’s basically a personality test that divides every person into a set of letters that combine a certain type of personality. There are 16 types in total, and they’re divided in four categories: the analysts, the diplomats, the sentinels and lastly the explorers.”
For everyone who doesn’t know the specific personalities that will be discussed, let’s look at the singular personalities first before delving into the relationships!
Entertainers are as their name says free spirited people that will always bring light to wherever they arrive.
Their strengths encompass their beautiful way to see life in itself. A challenge to be who they truly want to be without jeopardizing their individuality. ESFPs are very practical and go about everything they do in a carefree and liberal way. Working hard to attain their goals, they do everything and talk to everyone on their big journey.
Rules and regulations only weigh them down, and they are very emotional and can get extremely sensitive when criticised. Entertainers have incredible people skills and know how to lighten up a room immediately. Their emotional intelligence is very distinct and they can almost feel the atmosphere around them.
While all of that sounds amazing, ESFPs live greatly in the moment but have problems thinking ahead and planning their future, often setting themselves up for failure in academic terms.
ENTJs are often seen in leading roles as the name suggests, and they love to thrive and feel accomplished by leading others to victory.
They are assertive and thrive in situations where they can voice their opinion. Their strong will is what makes them tough and resourceful, and they love to see results and efficiency.
Even though they sound very stern, ENTJs are passionate and love to connect to others through those passions. Getting the first word in doesn’t faze them at all, and their company is often aware of them when they enter the room. People around ENTJs respect them a lot and strive to be like them when it comes to living their own truth.
ENTJs don’t like to be told what to do, but if pushed far enough they can exhibit changes in their ideals, which comes with a huge warning sign as they like to command before they listen.
Logicians are a very rare personality as well as they make up 3% of the population. INTP’s are creative and find their own individual solution to their problems. They usually don’t flock with many people and are more private. The world is a playing field for them, they observe and learn steadily to get to their goals.
From the outside they might show as closed off and condescending, although they just have a problem with explaining their complex thoughts thoroughly to people that don’t quite understand. When their attention is grabbed, they can spend a lot of time thinking about certain processes until they are satisfied. This makes them fast learners and very ambitious, but only if they can put their own spin on it.
Logic is important to them, they are rarely driven by emotions and would rather have their alone time working on their favorite interests.
Still, if you pique their interest and give them some time, they become very trustworthy.
Consuls know how they can deeply connect to other people.
They are often popular and well-liked in their community and become great leaders wherever they go.
ESFJs are the people that will get a group project going and have a strong sense of duty.
They will always offer help when needed and love to serve others and give very solid advice.
As great organizers they have no problem planning social gatherings and are a joy to have at every place in life.
Consuls strive to help others and won’t back down when someone needs help.
Harmony and peace is very important to ESFJs, as they like to keep a balance in everything in their life, their dedication to doing good is part of that and their loyalty is very apparent.
As they have a huge influence on their team, they are often worried about how they are perceived and don’t like to be seen in a bad light.
Therefore they stay with old methods they know and are scared to take on new risks.
Consuls definitely avoid confrontation, and get very sensitive when criticised harshly, especially from people they care about.
Their fear of what light they are seen in also drives them to stay in their lane and being reluctant to change their ways. They get uncomfortable in new situations that call for flexibility and varied approaches.
Virtuosos love to get their hands dirty. They are practical and innovative and they use all methods known to them to navigate through their field of passion.
With ISTPs you get a more relaxed version of the Explorer type. They are more rational and combine their spontaneous behaviour with a bit more logic than other Explorers.
As long as their freedom is still in their hands, they don’t mind other people in their own special area and strive for innovation.
While all of these are admirable traits, everyone still has their faults as well.
Virtuosos are very stubborn and are adamants on doing things their own way.
Somebody else butting into their affairs can easily make them insensitive and blunt, especially since the introvert in them makes it harder to break their shell.
It’s not hard to befriend ISTP’s at all, they’re mostly open to new acquaintances but they keep everyone at a safe distance. Banter and surface friendships are easily acquired,but actually breaking through their bubble is not so easily done.
Now let us go to the dynamics!
The rival/friend dynamic: Kirishima and Bakugou (ESFP – ENTJ)
A relationship that starts off rocky first before it develops into a balanced and supporting friendship that is fueled by rivalry.
The first time Bakugou and Kirishima met was the first introduction of class 1-A. Bakugou as the notorious loudmouth already made the impression of being aggressive and abrasive, but that did not stop Kirishima from forming a relationship with him.
As an ESFP, Kirishima has a high emotional intelligence and his extraversion makes it easy for him to connect to others. Now Bakugou on the other hand, motivated by his goal of being the best, doesn’t take friend requests easily.
Except for their extraversion, every other personality indicator clashes together, but as Kirishima takes the time to hold himself next to Bakugo, and keeps encouraging him as well as challenging him, they start to slowly become better friends.
While other people were afraid of Bakugou’s reaction or believed the rumours that were spread of Kirishima kept Bakugou close, showing that he could be friends with him if he wanted to. Even though the ENTJ blew him off a lot of instances throughout the anime we can see that he slowly lets the ESFP in.
A friendship that builds on the foundation of beating the other but still working together.
Endless support dynamic: Gon and Killua (ESFP – INTP)
Again, another ESFP charging into the field of friendship!
And in this case, Gon Freecss charges into the quiet lonely world of the INTP Killua.
As an INTP, Killua keeps to himself and stays within a region of logic and principle, while Gon is a highly emotional and feeling person who speaks his mind at any occasion.
While their first encounter at the Hunter exam was purely for the fact that they were of similar age, they developed a more profound friendship from that point on. The reason for that is that through the Hunter exam and through the challenges they had to face in that exam they automatically grew closer by supporting each other.
That is why this dynamic is called the “endless support” dynamic because Gon does everything for his friends and as he considers Killua to be one of his friends he does not stop until his friend is free of his family’s clutches.
Killua on the other hand is a little reserved at the beginning but slowly grows more warm due to Gon’s support and openness. His INTP traits are what he needed to develop in order to survive his peculiar family. He needed to be meticulous and methodical to push through the life of a Zoldyck.
But in the end when he realized that he actually wanted to be Gon’s friend more than listen to his controlling brother, a more carefree and childlike Killua emerged. Showing us the both of the characters have a great influence on each other.
Both of them are young children that needed an equal partner they could lean on, and they found a strong friendship that got them through the biggest of perils.
Partners and more dynamic: Maka and Soul (ESFJ – ISTP)
Maka and Soul are a perfect example of what real partnership means. In Soul Eater the concept of Partners and partnering up with a weapon and a master is a normalised concept. Even though technically we have multiple partnerships in this anime Maka and Soul are a prime example for loyalty.
As an ISTP, Soul has different set ideals and doesn’t let just anyone into his bubble. As the cool guy that he is, he believes in certain principles of chivalry and bravery which is a huge part of why he is so supportive of his master.
Maka as the ESFJ is a personality that loves to help other people and be the supporting role. She loves to see harmony in her surroundings and keeps the peace between family and friends.
Still, as a master she’s assertive and known to calculate her every move. Her altruistic nature makes her a very interesting protagonist and also a very good counterpart to Soul’s impulsive nature.
The reason why they are called Partners and more is because they would do everything for each other to protect their partner.
No matter the cost.
Now these are just three small examples for friendships in anime, but there are many many more out there! Please feel free to comment on these dynamics or show us your own!
Are there any dynamics you would like to see in the future?
A friendly tea has been spilled!