I totally planned this blog post for National Siblings Day (which was April the 10th) but got distracted by work so didn’t get a chance to write it. Regardless, I still wanted to write it, so here’s my list of my top five favourite animated sibling’s relationships.
5. Digimon- Matt Ishida and TK Takaishi.
My favourite episode of Digimon has always been the season one episode ‘Greymon Garumon’. In this episode, Tai tells Sora that “Matt doesn’t treat TK like a brother, only like he’s a bother.” Matt reveals that they’re half-brothers and don’t get to see each other often. Despite this, throughout the episode, Matt shows his protective side. For example, he tells Gabumon to lie down with TK during the night to keep him warm, claiming that he’s sending Garbumon away because he’s making him sweat. Matt then risks his life in an attempt to save TK from being attacked by a Sea Dragon (creatively name Seadramon). With TK and Matt, the creators prove that even half-siblings can share the same kind of protective bond the full siblings do.
4. Rugrats- Phil and Lil DeVille. Tommy and Dill Pickles. Chuckie and Kimi Finster.
Rugrats is great for showing a range of sibling relationships which were well developed over the series extensive run.
Phil and Lil are fraternal twins who are practically identical, so much so that in one episode all they have to do is give Phil the pink bow and their mother can’t tell the difference. The episode focuses on the crisis of individuality that a lot of twins feel, and proves that although they claim to want independence, the twins really do need each other.
In the Rugrats movie (1981), Tommy’s younger brother Dill was born and the movie dealt with the theme of sibling rivalry and jealousy. In one scene Tommy practically attempts to kill Dill, but thankfully his sense of brotherly protection kicks in and he spends the rest of the movie caring for his baby brother.
Chuckie goes through most of the episodes with only his father, but in the movie Rugrats in Paris (2000), his dad Chaz gets married and Chuckie gains his step-sister Kimi.The pair are incredibly sweet together and I’ve always loved their relationship, particularly in the spin off series ‘All Grown Up’ in which Chuckie tries to protect Kimi from her supposedly deviant boyfriend.
The wide range of family structures addressed in the series meant that there was always a character which children could relate to. I always sympathised with Tommys plight in the Rugrats Movie, as I did once try to return my younger sister to the hospital, just like Tommy does in the movie (In my defense I was only two at the time!).
3. Frozen- Elsa and Anna.
The latest Disney film has a great focus on the relationship between the two protagonists; Anna and Elsa. The sisters were incredibly close as children, but after Elsa accidentally hits Anna with her powers, Elsa is removed from Anna’s life in order to protect her. Anna grows up separately from her sister, desperate from any kind of acknowledgment from Elsa. After Elsa’s powers are revealed, Anna understands why her sister has been so distant and rushes to talk to her. The films big climax finds Anna forsaking the true loves kiss which she needs to save her life in order to protect her sister. Anna is, of course, saved by her own act of true love, and Elsa learns that love is all that she needs to thaw the eternal winter (because love has always been the natural enemy of snow). The focus on sisterly love is a refreshing shift away from Disneys typical girl-meets-boy formula.
2. Lilo and Stitch- Nani and Lilo Pelekai.
A lot of people praise Disney’s Frozen for focusing on the importance of the sisters relationship, forgetting about the relationship in Lilo and Stitch. After the death of their parents, Nani shoulders a great deal of responsibility, choosing to raise Lilo on her own. Aliens aside, a massive portion of the plot is dedicated to Nani’s struggle to support her sister, and the threat of social services taking Lilo away. The film shows a more natural form of self-sacrifice, while Anna literally gave her life to protect her sister, Nani does so metaphorically. One of the reasons Nani gives David when she explains that she can’t date him is that all of her time is taken up looking after Lilo. The characters have a incredibly realistic relationship, with Lilo resenting Nani’s rules and Nani having to cope with the stress of raising a child despite being relatively young herself. Despite their rocky relationship, it’s clear that the sisters love each other, and the prospect of Lilo being taken away is simply heart-breaking.
1. Fullmetal Alchemist- Edward and Alphonse Elric.
Edward and Alphonse are essentially the anime version of Sam and Dean Winchester, they will literally die for each other, and are willing to do anything as long as it would ensure their brothers happiness. Family is the single most important thing to the Elrics, their father left at a young age and after their mother dies, the brothers attempt human transmutation to bring her back. The result is that Edward loses his leg in the trade, while Alphonse loses his entire body. Edward sacrifices his arm to retrieve Alphonse’s soul, attaching it to the suit of armour. This scene is incredibly emotive, particularly Edwards line;
“Give him back! He’s my brother! Take my leg, take my arm, take my heart – anything, you can have it! Just give him back! He’s my little brother, he’s all I have left!”
The series follows the Elric’s journey to restore their bodies back to normal, with each of the brothers thinking about each other, rather than themselves. The characters are well written and incredibly emotive. Even with Alphonse’s lack of facial expressions the characters are very moving, and their dedication to each other is clear in practically every action whether it’s the manga, the 2003 series or Brotherhood. Even in the film Conqueror of Shamballa where the brothers are in separate worlds and Alphonse has no memories of his brother, their every move is motivated by their desire to be together.
All in all, the Elric brothers are perfect examples of sibling bonding, so much so that even one of the soundtracks is dedicated to the theme of brothers. Go have a listen by clicking this link to the voice actor for Edward singing the song.
So that’s my top five animated sibling relationships. What do you guys think? Do you agree with my choices, or do you think that there are some siblings that have been missed off the list? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you guys!