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The Not Love Interest is an interesting phenomenon in which the character who fulfills a typical "Love Interest" role doesn't actually have a romantic relationship with the hero. This trope often represents a Subversion of one or more Love Interest tropes, or tropes that normally lead to a character becoming a Love Interest, such as Rescue Romance.
This trope points out that certain roles and dynamics are frequently shared between the hero(ine) and the Love Interest, or that characters in these dynamics frequently evolve into a romantic pair. This is so common that when that is Averted or Subverted, viewers are surprised by a non-romantic relationship.
The Hero may have an actual love interest, but they will usually be less significant than this character.
It's a common source of Shipping fuel, often spawning Fan Preferred Couples. Frequently happens with Heterosexual Life Partners and Platonic Life Partners. It appears prone to being pointed out in interviews, DVD commentaries/special features, and other things in the manual.
Compare Heterosexual Life Partners, Platonic Life Partners, Like Brother and Sister, Just Friends and Tragic Bromance. Has nothing to do with She Is Not My Girlfriend, though somebody might say this (with actual sincerity). This trope is to UST as oil is to water vapor. In Space. Romantic Two-Girl Friendship is a subtrope. Relationship Writing Fumble is what happens when the writers try to do this and it doesn't work.
Anime and Manga
- In Black Cat, Saya is Train's Not Love Interest. Her function in the plot is similar to that of a traditional dead lover / love interest; in fact, Train's affection for her is enough to cause Creed to "take drastic measures". But it's later revealed, perfectly and seriously, that Train never contemplated any romantic involvement with her.
- Before the Eclipse, Guts and Griffith of Berserk were very much like this. Griffith in particular took things to rather Yandere levels, particularly as he started falling further and further toward the Despair Event Horizon. Before Guts, Griffith was also the most important man in Casca's life as well. He tends to have that kind of effect on people.
- In Bleach, Ichigo rushes into the unknown to save Rukia from Soul Society, and later does the same for Orihime, rushing into Hueco Mundo to save her. Neither girl is his official Love Interest... until the ending of the manga reveals that Rukia is the only one who fits in this trope: she has her own Love Interest (her Childhood Friend Renji), and Orihime is married to Ichigo now.
- In Naruto, Naruto is somewhat attached to Sasuke, even after he leaves Konoha to join Orochimaru, then goes rogue and basically becomes an international criminal. Before then, the show devotes not insignificant amounts of time to the two rivaling each other at becoming better ninja; both is (partly) the other's inspiration. However, Sasuke is not as much Naruto's friend as Naruto would like him to be. Until the very end, that is, when he finally more or less "reforms"
- Tenchi and Kiyone of Tenchi Muyo! often drift into this kind of relationship, notable because she's one of the few regular female characters not infatuated with him.
- An interesting case in Eyeshield 21: at the beginning of the series Anezaki Mamori initially joined the football club for the sake of Sena, her childhood friend, arguably most important person at the time, and Not Love Interest. More specifically, she joined to protect him from the bullying of the football club’s captain, Hiruma Yoichi. Initially, Sena is all Mamori cared about, getting worried over his injuries and yelling at Hiruma for picking on him and etc. However, as the series progressed, Mamori started spending more time with and getting closer to...the aforementioned Hiruma Yoichi. It got to such a point that at the end of the manga, although Sena is still a dear friend to her, Mamori completely intends for her and Hiruma to play seriously and defeat him, since he's on a rival team now. So while Sena remains the Not Love Interest and important to Mamori, it's hinted that at the end of the day, sticking by Hiruma is higher on her priority list.
- In the TV series of Record of Lodoss War, Spark becomes highly commited to his mission to save Neese, as he's the leader of the group. It's even made fun of by Leaf and Raina, who put quite an effort into getting them together. In the end it seems he only manages to rescue her with The Power of Love, but once she is freed from the dark magic and awakens in his arms, she just hugs him in thank and there's never any indication that Spark wasn't just trying to protect a good friend.
- Rune Soldier, which is based on a work by the same author as Record of Lodoss War, does it again with Louie and Melissa. At first Melissa is devestated by being ordered by her god to support unlikely hero Louie as a "Valliant Champion", as he is the complete opposite of what she always hoped for. Over the course of the show, she helps Louie to overcome some of his worst traits and comes to appreciate his genuinely good nature and desire to help people in need. Over time, she stops being constantly embarrased by having him as her valliant champion and even stands up to others to defend him against being called a useless idiot. While there are certainly some scenes with heavy romantic overtones between them, they never show any actual romantic interest for each other, and it's heavily implied that Ila is actually Louies girlfriend and has been so for quite some time before he met Melissa.
- Despite several characters making jokes and comments about it, Setsuna and Marina of Gundam 00 genuinely seem to not have any romantic interest in each other. Their connection comes more from the fact that they are from neighboring countries and are both searching (in very different ways) for answers to the same questions. When outright asked if they were dating, they both deadpanned "We are not a couple" in unison, without any of the embarrassment or blushing this kind of situation usually entails. If anything, their relationship is more akin to that between a mother and child, or a big sister taking care of her younger brother. (The fact that Marina looks like a younger version of Setsuna's Missing Mom does NOT help.)
- Despite the Ship Tease that certain fans are all too eager to point out, this is Riff and Cain's relationship in Godchild. Cain has a number of Love Interests over the course of the series -- and they all have a noticeable impact on him -- but Riff is the person with whom all his trust and strongest feelings lie. And Cain is the only significant person in Riff's entire life. It's played around with quite a bit towards series end, though arguably The Grand Finale managed to play the trope straight once more.
- The original Yu-Gi-Oh! has both Katsuya Jounouchi/Joey Wheeler and Yami for protagonist Yugi Mutou, who serve as his Heterosexual Life Partners.
- Tiger and Bunny has a Ho Yay example. Barnaby shows up in Kotetsu's life at a critical point in the latter's career and fits into so many "love interest stereotypes"  Ice King|Defrosting]] Sugar and Ice Ice King who bears some suspicious parallels to the widower hero's late wife and was mentored by the show's Big Bad that the writer/artist for the manga adaptation has even joked about him being the show's 'heroine'. The creators' fondness for teasing their "wonderful relationship" doesn't help.
- In Death Note, L is this for Light. L evokes feelings in Light that he feels for no one else. L is the most important person in Light's life even after he is dead. And in the anime L is the only person on Light's mind when he's dying. Even Light's canon love interests, Misa and Takada, cannot compete with Light's rivalry with L.
- Played straight in Mahou Sensei Negima in the case of Chisame, who is pestered relentlessly by Chachamaru to confess her feelings to Negi, to which Chisame replies that close friendships don't always have to be romantic.
- Lenore, from Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl, becomes this for Ragamuffin, who is portrayed as a Complete Monster before he meets her.
- Captain America: Bucky to Cap. I mean... all the films are about Cap saving Bucky. “When I had nothing, I had Bucky”
- Doom: The previous page picture is from this movie, which took a certain pleasure in subverting the typical hero/heroine love interest angle, as well as other tropes. Samantha and John Grimm are estranged but loving fraternal twins.
- The Expendables: Barney and Sandra. He ultimately decides to return to Vilena with his crew and rescue her, but it's because he respects her courage in standing up to the Big Bad, not because he's fallen in love with her.
- Hot Fuzz: Danny is this to Nicholas. Word of God says that in the original script Nicholas had an actual love interest, but she was cut and some of her storyline and actual lines were given to Danny.
- House of Wax: In this 2005 remake, the characters played by Elisha Cuthbert and Chad Michael Murray seem very much like ex-lovers who will reconcile at the end, since everyone else is dead. But they're brother and sister, so no.
- I Robot: Calvin and Spooner's relationship shows all the classic signs of them becoming love interests — even a Scar Survey — but by the end, there's nothing to suggest they're going to be more than friends.
- Inception: Ariadne and Dom. The latter is still a little hung up on his deceased wife and the former gets some Ship Tease with Arthur.
- Megamind: Intrepid Reporter Roxie Ritchie is always being saved by superhero Metro Man and is quite emotional when he's no longer there to protect the city. However, it turns out they were never actually involved, to the surprise of Megamind (Roxie's real Love Interest).
- Withnail and I. As Paul McGann, who played, uh, the latter, said, it's like a "marriage gone wrong", and their relationship drives the more serious part of the plot. There's no love interest for either of them; there's not even any any significant female characters.
- Even after Harry Potter fell in love with Ginny Weasley, their romance always took a backseat to his friendship with Ron. Hermione also takes this role sometimes -- notably when the trio were separated in The Deathly Hallows.
- Edmund and Lucy, from the Chronicles of Narnia, become this in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, due to the fact that they always look for one another and desperately call each other's name when they are separated.
- The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Henry and Vlad. The two are extremely close and often act more like love interests than any of the girls (many girls, in Henry's case) that they are interested in. Vlad seems to be Henry's only serious relationship.
- In The Dresden Files, Harry's relationship like Thomas is like this sometimes. Thomas Raith the incubus is Harry's friend and half-brother and they never have any doubts about the relationship, but when Harry is between girlfriends, Thomas takes on that role in the story a little bit: He's closer to earth in some ways and has needed to be rescued more than once.
- Because Sherlock Holmes isn't that close to his brother Mycroft and eschews the possibility of friendships and romantic interests as things that might get in his way, Dr. Watson is literally the only important person in his life. It's shown most clearly in The Three Garridebs when Watson is wounded, but it's apparent in subtler ways throughout the series. For his part, Watson, despite being a more emotional and social person than Holmes, has few friends, no surviving family, and is unmarried or a widower for most of the series, so that Holmes is the most important person to him.
Live Action TV
- Justin and Alex from Wizards of Waverly Place. The Movie implied that they are meant to be by each other's side forever, when Justin has declared in the end: I'd never leave you, after Alex has confessed her true feelings. (No, no those kind of feelings, but close to it. )
- Joey and Phoebe in Friends. Also a Fan-Preferred Couple and often hinting about potentially being together in a future. Besides some isolated kisses, they never actually dated, never had sex and in fact Joey ends up introducing Phoebe to her husband to-be. Also Joey and Chandler (referenced in the Joey spin-off). Lisa Kudrow and Matt Le Blanc even wanted to throw in a line during Phoebe's wedding episode that implied the two had been having casual sex throughout the show's run. But the producers denied them.
- NCIS: Tony and Ziva have drinks, dinner, spend time together... but it's Not a Date. Ditto for McGee and Abby (who are exes), Gibbs and Jenny/Ducky... the show seems to run on this trope. The team's become so co-dependent and attached to one another they seem to function as each other's love interests.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 5, Buffy's newly-created little sister Dawn fulfils this role, to the point where Buffy says, given a choice between killing Dawn, and letting the apocalypse happen - well, goodbye world, it's been fun. Joss Whedon said on the season 5 DVD "[Buffy's] love interest for the season was her sister."
- It sometimes seems like any woman Xander dates is doomed to play second fiddle to the two very important women in his life, Buffy and Willow. Cordelia senses it ("When you're not babbling about poor, defenceless Willow, you are raving about the all-powerful Buffy"), and Anya seems to as well ("When things get tough, he/ Just hides behind his Buffy"), hence her fight with Willow in "Triangle" (An imperfect example because both women were in fact love interests for him, but in Willow's case it was only briefly.)
- For that matter Buffy serves as The Not Love Interest for Willow. After Tara's death, before she embarks on her quest for vengeance, Willow visits Buffy; who was shot, and saves her life.
- Elsewhere in the Buffyverse, when Spike appears in Angel season 5, he quickly takes on a role like this, as their complicated history and relationship drives a lot of drama, far more than anything to do with Angel's actual love interest for the season. Again it's noted by Joss on the DVDs. "We finally found the right girl for Angel - Spike." Hilariously, the in-universe movie adaptation of After the Fall, called "Last Angel in Hell", gender-flips Spike into Angel's love interest.
- In season four Angel's son Connor filled this role.
- The Winchester brothers of Supernatural. Though some fans will always insist differently.
- Kaylee seems to play this role for most of the crew of Firefly (the writers even admitting that the easiest way to create drama for everyone was to threaten her), with the exception of her actual Love Interest Simon.
- Mal and Zoe. One episode centers around Wash's complaints that there's UST between them. However, at the end of the episode Mal and Zoe's attempted kiss (to "defuse" this so-called tension) is painfully awkward. Even the resident Badass Jayne, normally the most lecherous member of the crew, is unnerved.
Zoe: [dead monotone] Take me, sir. Take me hard.
- Kirk and Spock from Star Trek the Original Series are each other's Not Love Interests.
- It's worth noting that they inspired the first Slash Fic.
- Roddenberry himself declared about a romantic relationship: "...we certainly believe that the affection was sufficient for that, if that were the particular style of the 23rd century." Draw your own conclusions.
- Played more straight in the new movie, with Kirk and Spock re-enacting the basic pride and prejudice hate-turns-into-love story...only platonically. Damion Lindelof (producer) even commented on the DVD that the heart of the story was Kirk and Spock "falling in love with each other, in a way, but not in a romantic way, in a Butch and Sundance way."
- Monk's closest relationship is with his nurse Sharona and later on her replacement Natalie. They are not romantically involved. Given that they were inspired by Holmes and Watson, it's a given.
- House and Wilson in House, given that they're based on Holmes and Watson. Wilson is, if not the most important person in House's life, damn close.
- The US version of Queer as Folk has Michael Novotny and Brian Kinney. While they don't get the explicit romantic pairing of their British counterparts, it's clear that they're it for each other. Twinks come and go, husbands and children and family are important, but when it comes down to it, the comic-book addicted geek and the slutboi-with-issues are the love story of the show.
- Criminal Minds: Derek Morgan and Penelope Garcia.
- This conversation from the season three episode "Penelope" that takes place after Garcia got shot says it all:
Morgan: I'm not going anywhere.
- While midgets, their mothers, foxy judges and prostitutes aplenty will come and go, Denny Crane and Alan Shore will always find themselves back on the balcony sipping Scotch and smoking a cigar at the end of every day. And then they got married. Denny and Alan... well, they are to The Not Love Interest what The Not Love Interest is to UST.
- Tim and Daisy in Spaced. One of the series's main subplots is the slow-but-steady erosion of the "not" from the phrase. The last scene in the "Skip to the End" documentary demonstrates this, showing them as a couple with a child.
- Chuck and Ellie (his sister) seem to do a lot more hugging than Chuck and Sarah in Chuck.
- No matter their differences, the insults flung between them, or the abuse heaped upon one another, Merlin and Arthur are destined to be together. Just not together together.
- The Inspector Lynley Mysteries: No one will ever be as important to Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers as they are to each other, to the point where they have explicitly called each other their reason to get up in the morning. Lynley's relationship with Helen consistently takes a backseat to his relationship with Barbara. If they're not in love with each other, they're this trope.
- Wire in The Blood had Dr. Tony Hill and his Most Important Person DCI Carol Jordan. Seeing as Tony has difficulty being a real boy on the best of days, Carol kept him grounded and reminded him there was life outside work and serial killers.
- Dr. Cal Lightman and Dr. Gillian Foster on Lie to Me, partners who own the Lightman Group and have serious Will They or Won't They? going on. Made explicit in "The Whole Truth", when Cal talks to the fiance of a man who engineered his own assisted suicide with the help of his best friend (named Leo):
- Psych: Girlfriends may come and go, but Shawn and Gus will always be the most important people in each others lives. Though the hit slash pairing is Lassiter and Shawn.
- President Jed Bartlet and Leo McGarry on The West Wing. They act and bicker exactly like an old married couple, spend all the time possible together, tease and flirt (in a joking way), and play a blatantly spousal/parental role in the staff's nuclear family-modeled True Companions. While Jed may have an excellent wife and family outside of the west wing of the White House, Leo is for all purposes the love interest in Jed's "other" family inside the west wing, with the thrill of politics in place of sex and romance.
- Jack and Liz Lemon are this on Thirty Rock. They even get married, accidentally for one episode and still don't see each other as anything but best friends.
- On Dexter the titular vigilante has his sister Debra. He even notes in one episode that if he could have feelings for anyone, they would be for her.
- Mulder and Scully of The X-Files were this for each other from the get-go, and they were supposed to stay that way; the original idea was that they would never be more than platonic work partners. However, the chemistry between the actors caused their platonic relationship to look pretty non-platonic in the eyes of the fans, and by season five, the writers started playing with the idea that they could be more than friends. By season seven, they were.
- Tori and Andre from Victorious. Made more interesting that they've done two love duets but they're best friends, and don't see each other as anything more, so far.
- Eureka has Sheriff Carter and his Deputy Jo Lupo, but instead of a romance developing with those two, Carter ends up being involved with Doctor Blake.
- Kurt Hummel from Glee has a perfectly good boyfriend to whom he is devoted, in the form of Blaine, but his father Burt will always, always be more important than anybody else in his life, especially after Burt's heart attack.
- Kurt also has another one in his "Brassy Hag" Mercedes. They're always there for each other, they do basically everything together, they're incredibly close...but Kurt just happens to be gay and not interested. Early in the first season, though, Mercedes was none the wiser and actually thought they were going out, until Kurt turned her down and later came out to her.
- Sherlock: As based on the original source material, John Watson for Sherlock Holmes. Watson's proved to be willing to kill and risk his life for Sherlock, and then he was the final hostage in Moriarity's game with Sherlock. This actually led to Sherlock losing his cool and getting furious at Moriarity for involving him.
- The Doctor has this kind of dynamic with the majority of his companions. Especially notable are Sarah Jane Smith from the classic show, Donna Noble and the Tenth Doctor in New Series 4, and (once the ship was sunk) the Eleventh Doctor with Amy Pond & Rory Williams. He even went so far as to call them "the people I LOVE!!!" in one episode.
- Up until around early season 8, Clark Kent and Chloe Sullivan, to the point where real-world journalists who hadn't kept up with the series assumed they were a couple in Season 6.
- Skins had this with Emily and JJ in the latter's S3 episode. They helped each other overcome their problems and became close friends and, at the end of the episode, they even slept together. However, Emily made it clear from the beginning that it was a pity screw, simply a response to JJ's earlier statement that if he got to be normal for a day, the first thing he'd do was lose his virginity. The viewers know it's not going anywhere since, like the Kurt/Mercedes example above, Emily just isn't into boys that way.
- Wallace to Veronica Mars. Of course Executive Meddling said it would never happen. Weevil and Dick could also qualify as the same. Actually anybody but Troy, Duncan, Logan, and Piz could qualify
- In The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg serves as this for Jim Ellison, serving as a support to deal with Jim's physical and emotional problems as a Sentinel and also needing Jim to rescue him every other episode.
- Starsky and Hutch are often this towards each other, especially when in danger.
- InWarehouse 13 You have Pete and Myka, in a show like this normally the two main characters have UST, but Pete and Myka have purely platonic feelings for each other and don't think of each other in a sexual way, which Myka states in one episode after they think they had sex.
- Mark and Roger from Rent. Exemplified by the fact that the big reconciliation after Roger leaves New York for Santa Fe, and then comes back is not between Roger and his girlfriend, Mimi - it's Roger and Mark, who get an entire song ("What You Own") dueting about how similarly-miserable and yet still devoted to each other they are.
- Several in Bionicle, in part due to most characters being asexual and aromantic. For example, Gali tends to fill this role for Tahu, as she often argues with him and he is more protective of her than the other Toa. The two address each other as "brother" and "sister", although, this doesn't stop the shippers since they're Not Blood Siblings.
- Otacon is Solid Snake's Not Love Interest in Metal Gear Solid. In the first MGS, they have what could be described as a Meet Cute in a warped sort of way, exchange some emotionally loaded dialogue, and, if Meryl (the actual love interest) dies, Snake leaves with Otacon instead. And then they wind up raising a kid together in Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots.
- The voice actors have some fun with how "Not" Otacon actually is (see the lengthy MGS entry under Ho Yay). In Canon, though, MGS4 tried to sink the Snake/Otacon ship and make it clear he was the Not Love Interest and Snake's Platonic Most Important Person. It didn't work.
- And Meryl counts, too. Even though she canonically survives, she never does become Snake's love interest. Hell, she actually hooks up with the series' dedicated Butt Monkey!
- Rui to Wes in Pokémon Colosseum. Their initial meeting certainly seems like it's working up to a Rescue Romance, as Wes saves Rui from a band of kidnappers. The two team up, and Rui follows Wes everywhere. Without Rui's ability to see Shadow Pokemon, there isn't much Wes can do, so they depend heavily on each other. However, after that, there's not much evidence that their relationship is anything but platonic. Even the end of the game (which the Genre Savvy viewer might expect to hold some kind of Love Confession) has... not much, really. Maybe Rui's just not into bad boys. Though it's hard to establish any kind of a relationship when Wes never says anything.
- Similarly, in the "This is not a Meet Cute" department, there's Double H to Jade in Beyond Good and Evil. After Double H's rescue, he becomes Jade's loyal sidekick, following her everywhere. His single-sided devotion to her slowly deepens to a real friendship between the two of them. However, there's no overt romance between them, though they are frequently shipped.
- Kumatora to Duster (or maybe it's the other way around) in Mother 3. When Duster gets Easy Amnesia for three years), it's Kumatora who stays with him throughout it, even if only on the sidelines. And while she hides herself behind harsh words, she genuinely seems to care for him. But as for love? There's no real evidence of that.
- Yosuke to the Protagonist in Persona 4, along with considerable amounts of accompanying Ho Yay.
- A lot of people play Neeshka like this, in Neverwinter Nights 2, as she's a genuinely likable character, but the developers never finished her Romance Sidequest
- It's very possible to have one of these in Dragon Age Origins. Alistair and Morrigan are the most obvious ones, provided you're outside of their preferred gender, but pretty much anyone in your party can become this.
- In Kingdom Hearts, Sora's devotion to his friend Riku and determination to find him is one that you would normally expect to see an RPG hero express towards a Distressed Damsel Love Interest.
Sora: Riku... It's Riku. Riku's here! I looked for you. I looked everywhere for you!!
- Super Mario Bros.: According to Luigi, Princess Peach is Mario's Not Love Interest.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 has this with Noel and Serah. They have basically the same dynamic as any other male and female lead of a JRPG, but Serah is engaged to Snow, and Noel has Ship Tease with Yeul.
- Miles Edgeworth to Phoenix Wright in Ace Attorney. Old childhood friend, troubled past, Edgeworth's frozen prosecutor heart melted by Phoenix's honest passion...it's no surprise they're the most common ship in the fandom.
- Davan and PeeJee of Something Positive. PeeJee even described herself as his "platonic life-partner".
Davan: Am I going to have carve "Davan loves you very much" backwards into your forehead?
- In Red String, Ayu has been Makoto's best friend since they were little. She's easily the closest person to him since his beloved grandmother's death. There are absolutely no romantic feelings between them, despite what the fandom who wants him out of the way for Kazuo and Miharu might suggest.
- Questionable example: In the episode of Danger Mouse where DangerMouse fights a dragon, the Genre Savvy dragon insists on doing things right, and since DM doesn't have a love interest, the dragon makes Cowardly Sidekick Penfold the designated "Damsel in Distress".
- In The Road to El Dorado, Miguel and Tulio are each other's Not Love Interests--not only do they hide their friendship by fighting, confess how much they mean to one another as they think that they're slowly dying, but they even have a painful break-up! According to some, the original script had them more explicitly be lovers--no wonder their Ho Yay factor is so high.
- Gwen to Ben in Ben 10. They are of opposite genders, but they're also cousins (not that that stops some people). Their relationship hovers somewhere between siblings, best friends, best frenemies, and everything else, all at once. While Gwen does get a love interest in the sequel series, Ben and Gwen are still #1 Best Teammates.
- It's much more apparent in Alien Force since both characters have matured greatly, rarely fight, and openly hug each other
- Terry and his Girl Friday Max in Batman Beyond, mostly because other than Bruce she's the only person he can trust with his Secret Identity.
- Despite having a history together (As well as being the primary Transformers Animated turn-on) Blackarachnia always came second to Optimus in terms of importance when compared to Sentinel. He leaves the fembot behind behind to save Sentinel and himself which results in her transformation to technorganic, gets more episodes devoted to their rivalry, and in BA's last appearance he seemed more concerned about Sentinel than her. The ironic thing about this? The she-spider was the reason for their antagonist rivalry in the first place!
- On My Life as a Teenage Robot, Brad. He's protagonist Jenny's best friend and usual foil, but Word of God says that if the show had continued, she would likely have wound up with her geeky admirer, borderline Stalker with a Crush Sheldon.
- On Teen Titans, while Terra is Beast Boy's official Love Interest in season two, his teammate Raven fits this trope for the rest of the show, with the two sharing several close moments in relation to both of their character arcs. They're a Fan-Preferred Couple and became canon in the DCU right around the time the show ended.
- Some fans see this with Raven and Robin, who also share a few unusually close moments.
- This is mostly what Ren and Stimpy's relationship in the original series is about. In the adult spinoff called Adult Party Cartoon, however, they are quite explictly portrayed as a homosexual couple.
- In Voltron: Legendary Defender, with all of Keith and Shiro's interactions, one would think they were love interests (especially since this Shiro is canonically into men). But it's clear that their relationship, while intensely supportive, isn't necessarily romantic... either that or Keith does harbor romantic/sexual feelings for Shiro, but never makes a move on him (probably due to the deal with Shiro's lost lover Adam). Besides, at the end Shiro later marries a young man named Curtis, and Keith is shown to be nothing but happy for them.
- On Daria, Daria and Jane have this sort of relationship. The final episode (not counting the finale movie) has Daria note this while Jane helps her through an emotional crisis:
- The other wiki has a page devoted to this phenomenon