Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. You know what that means, right? Romance is in the air! Unfortunately, this also means that the air will be filled with sadness and disappointment, so I have compiled a list of the most romantic relationships ever formed between two people with no sexual interest in one another. You’re welcome.
Rules: 1. One entry per franchise. 2. The two characters can’t actually be brothers, e.g. Mario & Luigi. 3. No inanimate object pairings, e.g. Chell & Companion Cube. 4. Entrants are disqualified if they are merely hiding their carnal love, e.g. the guys from Army of Two.
For the purposes of this article, the definition of “Bromance” is malleable to the needs of comedy. However, a scientific method was used to put the nominees in order. Specifically, bromantic intensity was measured by the number of gigabytes of slash fiction and yaoi fan art on the internet. It took a long time to research this piece. It was very hard. Really long and really hard.
What were we talking about again?
I’m sure any Tales of Vesperia fan-girl can tell you why Flynn and Yuri belong together, but the great thing about their relationship is that so much of it is merely implied. Sure, they’re friends on opposite sides of the law, but it is clear that their history together creates a complicated bond that transcends right and wrong. The two work perfectly as thematic foils, but they also make incredibly effective reluctant rivals.
Every time you run into Flynn, the player isn’t sure whether the two are going to fight or make out. It’s like Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves in Point Break, except the homosexual subtext is subtle.
This entry is somewhat unique in that the two characters don’t consider themselves equals. The protagonist of Suikoden (canonically named “Tir”) is of noble birth, so his servant Gremio spends much of the game as little more than a faithful employee. However, over the course of the adventure it becomes clear that they have a truly powerful friendship, despite their differences. I could go on, but you already understand all there is to know about them once you reach the quote below.
“I think it’s time to say goodbye. I can’t see anymore. Young Master. I’m proud of you. Promise me that you’ll always follow your heart. That is my first, and final… request….”
Fun fact: Oerba Yun Fang was originally written as a male character. This was changed during the course of Final Fantasy XIII‘s tumultuous development, but it appears that very little dialogue between her and Vanille was affected by the gender swap. The result is gaming’s most flirtatious best friends.
Interestingly, this is far from the only instance of the developmental process taking a toll on character sexuality. Numerous Fire Emblem titles had gay (and incestuous) relationships translated into platonic affection for Western audiences. An excised same-sex route from Katawa Shoujo sheds a wholly different light on the friendship between Hisao and Kenji. Meanwhile, Persona 2: Innocent Sin didn’t even make it into English until Tatsuya and Jun’s relationship was toned down enough. Not even Harvest Moon is safe from lovers becoming “best friends.”
The upside? A host of adorable bromances.
If only this April Fool’s Day joke were real. Gears of War is a great series, but its unrelenting masculinity makes it a veritable minefield of homoeroticism. Case-in-point? The first game features an achievement called “I Can’t Quit You Dom.”
Even without the Brokeback Mountain references, Marcus and Dom have a great dynamic. They have each other’s (extremely muscular) backs though thick and thin, right up until Dom sacrifices everything for his friends. If a franchise as dark and serious as Gears can be said to have an emotional core, the camaraderie between these two is the gooey center.
Seriously though, Marcus and Dom are the J.D. and Turk of games.
I wish I could make new and interesting jokes about the relationship between Drake and Sully. However, to my eternal shame, someone else came along first and perfectly captured the essence of these two men (via NeoGAF). Feast your eyes:
No–no words. No words to describe it. Poetry! They should’ve sent a poet.