One of the most iconic designations in the anime medium is the pigeonholing of shonen anime sidekicks, a moniker which has come a long way since its inception.
The role of shonen anime supporting cast used to consist of being a cheap motivation for the protagonist to use as fuel, whether through their injury, death, capture, or something else.
Since then, however, the role has evolved to become so much more. Being a shonen anime sidekick now offers room for development and character growth, sometimes even more than the protagonist.
Here are the ten most iconic shonen anime supporting cast members, ranked in no particular order.
One Piece dominates list of most iconic shonen anime supporting cast
1) Vegeta (Dragon Ball)
Arguably one of the most iconic shonen anime sidekicks on this list, Vegeta is everything a supporting character should be. He acts as a confidant for Dragon Ball’s protagonist, while also being a rival who pushes him to be at his best.
Their relationship may not seem as friendly at certain moments, but he and Goku have the perfect dynamic of unbridled support and fierce rivalry.
2) Krillin (Dragon Ball)
Similarly, Krillin also makes a good case for being one of the most iconic shonen anime sidekicks on this list. While Vegeta takes his spot roughly midway through Dragon Ball Z and beyond, Krillin was the original friendly rival for Goku up until that point.
The two, as children, always pushed each other under the tutelage of Master Roshi. When not training, their friendship always shone through, whether by hanging out with one another or being fiercely protective.
3) Roronoa Zoro (One Piece)
Roronoa Zoro’s role as the first Straw Hat crewmate and as Luffy’s oldest friend in the crew solidifies his inclusion as one of the most iconic shonen anime sidekicks. His role in the series only grew after his introduction, making his status in the crew even more iconic.
Any anime fan in general, and especially One Piece fans, will certainly agree with his inclusion on this list.
4) Sasuke Uchiha (Naruto)
The best-friend-turned-rival of the eponymous protagonist of the Naruto series, Sasuke Uchiha’s iconic status as a shonen anime sidekick is an interesting one. The two spend the majority of the series not speaking to one another and going down two completely different paths. However, they still serve as benchmarks and goals for one another.
When the two finally reunite late in the Naruto: Shippuden series as well as during Boruto, their friendly rivalry shines through and becomes clear. Without a doubt, Sasuke ranks as one of the most iconic supporting characters in the medium.
5) Rukia Kuchiki (Bleach)
The final Big Three main shonen anime sidekick, Bleach’s Rukia Kuchiki serves as mentor, friend, and damsel-in-distress for protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki. Her ever-evolving role eventually settles on being a comrade and friend as her former Substitute Soul Reaper is officially welcomed into the group’s ranks.
Even after this moment, she continues to maintain a presence in the series, serving as a motivation for Ichigo and even a rival at times.
6) Zenitsu Agatsuma (Demon Slayer)
Whether for his actual development or merely for his comic relief, Demon Slayer’s Zenitsu Agatsuma is undoubtedly one of the most iconic shonen anime sidekicks of the New Generation. Even in general, his notoriety and relatability seem to strike a chord with anime fans, both new and old alike.
Without a doubt, there is no other supporting character like Zenitsu in any series or show, let alone the anime medium.
7) Katsuki Bakugou (My Hero Academia)
Also known as Kacchan by My Hero Academia protagonist Izuku Midoriya, Katsuki Bakugou and his not-so-friendly rivalry with the former is a highlight of the series. The two’s relationship has catapulted Bakugou to being one of the most iconic shonen anime sidekicks of the new generation.
The two eventually become much more friendly than they initially started out as, but the journey they experience together on their way solidifies their iconic bond.
8) Yuno Grinberryall (Black Clover)
Black Clover’s deuteragonist is undoubtedly one of the most iconic shonen anime sidekicks. Yuno serves as both inspiration and motivation for the series protagonist Asta.
Despite being more skilled in magic and having a higher rank than Asta, Yuno remains the sidekick to the series’ protagonist as someone who seems to always fall just short of the former’s personal accolades.
9) Megumi Fushiguro (Jujutsu Kaisen)
Serving as a teammate, best friend, and sometimes mentor to Jujutsu Kaisen protagonist Yuji Itadori, Megumi is an incredibly iconic shonen anime sidekick. He’s regarded as one of the best-written characters of the current generation, with his growth throughout the series thus far a particular highlight.
His constant growth nets him additional fame in a medium where progression in all forms is key.
10) Vinsmoke Sanji (One Piece)
Finally, the third member of One Piece’s Monster Trio steals the final spot on this list. After the Whole Cake Island arc, Sanji’s depth as both a character and one of Monkey D. Luffy’s best friends grew tremendously for a number of reasons.
This growth catapulted him sky-high in terms of fans' views and overall, made him a much better character. There’s little doubt that, even amongst One Piece’s all-star cast, Sanji is one of the most iconic shonen anime sidekicks.
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This article was modified on Saturday, July 08, at 11:30 pm.
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