Some anime characters are worth emulating. They're not the stars of this list.
Behind the Gokus and Luffys, are second fiddles hoping to have some of that spotlight for themselves. Perpetually attached to the protagonists, these characters play a huge part in building the credibility of the central figure, no matter how trivial they seem on the surface.
Here are five who have mastered the art of being a sidekick:
Joey Wheeler (Yu-Gi-Oh!)
The yellow-maned Duelist is the typical anime sidekick: loyal to the lead, brash towards everyone else, and is often seen as a joke. The staggering improvement in his play turned him into a worthy adversary for Yugi and the other great players. One of the most emotional episodes was when Joey—possessed by Marik—battled his closest pal to the death.
Usopp (One Piece)
In the beginning, the long-nosed liar had delusions of being the main character. He has a strange connection with Luffy, even giving the latter all he could handle when the two fought at one point during the series. With Usopp overcoming his cowardice in latter chapters, he has proven to be indispensable as a member of the Strawhat Pirates.
Max Domon (Flame of Recca)
We first saw the mohawked manchild destroying everything in his path while wanting to beat the hero, whom he has gotten close with as the story progressed. Despite the chip on his shoulder as the perceived weakest member of Team Hokage, Max has one edge over Recca: getting the hottest chick in the anime (Aira). Well, sort of.
Krillin (Dragon Ball Z)
The vertically challenged baldie taken the top spot in the list if not for the countless times his invincible ally wasn't able to prevent him from dying. Krillin and Goku go way back as Master Roshi's pupils, when they were still at odds. Usually reduced to comic relief, he is considered the most powerful human by many.
Alfred (Ghost Fighter)
The gold standard for biggest rival-turned-best friend secondary characters, he started out as a pain in the ass for Eugene in school. Although arguing all the time, the orange-haired wielder of the Spirit Sword and protagonist shared a relationship like no other, seen in multiple instances when one of them grieves the other's supposed death.