Cataline’s Collegium: Nakama

Challenge for my beloved readers.

Find examples of a Nakama in Western literature or movies.

Doesn’t have to be recent and if you are more comfortable with Eastern examples use them instead.

Here is the format to be used while discussing it in the comments.

Title: The Three Musketeers.

The Leader: D’artagnan

The Rival: Athos

The Tank: Porthos

The Brains: Aramis

The Heart: Constance*

Provide a footnote for characters that don’t quite fit their role. Beginning with an (*) For example. *In the novel, Constance Bonacieux doesn’t easily fit into the role of The Heart, being only D’artagnan’s love interest and of course a married woman. However, this Nakama has been adapted into several other iterations over the past 100 years. In these she invariably finds her way quite easily into this role.

Please discuss in the comments.

26 thoughts on “Cataline’s Collegium: Nakama

  1. My first instinct was the OT Star Wars trilogy, but I can’t seem to fit the characters in other than Chewbacca being the Tank and R2D2 and C3P0 being collectively the brains. Or the brains and the mouth.

    Luke’s not exactly a leader: a lot of the movies involve him going on his own to do things he’s uniquely suited for, but getting help.

    Han Solo could be the rival because of the semi-adversarial/friendship he’s got with Luke, but Luke’s never really in charge.

    Leia ends up taking on a leadership role often, but she also knows diplomacy and she Heart-like motivates Luke and Han in the first movie. Does Han’s romantic conquest of her apply to the rival/leader relationship? I don’t know.

    And if anything, Luke’s struggles are internal and moral as much as external, which gives him some Heart qualities.

    No one-to-one match of those three roles.


    1. They were nakama in the very first movie. After Ben left it was Luke that talked Han into rescuing Leia.

      Leia did function as the Heart after Ben died.

      Luke tried to get Han to join the Rebels in attacking the Deathstar and eventually he followed Luke in.

      And there was always a bit of disatisfaction in the audinece that they never really got back together again.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmmm… How about The Fellowship?

    Aragorn would be Alpha
    Boromir would be his rival
    Gimli is the Tank
    Gandalf is the brains
    The hobbits are the heart

    Illuvitar knows where Legolas fits in. Tricksy elves!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How about the sci-fi show “Firefly”, and follow-up movie “Serenity”?

    The Leader: Captain Mal
    The Rival: (Bad Guy of the Week)
    The Tank: Jayne
    The Brains: The Doctor(?)
    The Heart: Usually: Inara. At other specific times: Kaylee/Wash (Wash being quieter about it)


    1. You are very Close.

      The only problem with your list is the Rival.

      The Rivalis always part of the Team. Never an active opponent.

      In the case of Firefly it most easily conforms to Zoe who was clearly Mal’s second in command. She was the one who had the right to get up in his grill when he was screwing up.

      He would take it from her with little arguement.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Core Team:

        Mal – Leader
        Zoe – Tank – very much the Bravo
        Wash – Brains (ish)
        Inara – Rival
        Kaylee – Heart

        Ancillaries: Book, Doc, and River

        Hmmm. Does my favorite series have Nakama?

        The Middle-man – Leader
        Wendy Watson – Bravo
        Ida – Brains
        Lacy – Heart
        …..? Rival…? No. A 4-man Western Team


  4. Title: The X-Men

    The Leader: Cyclops

    The Rival: Wolverine

    The Tank: Colossus

    The Brains: The Beast (when he was absent, Prof. X)

    The Heart: Jean Grey

    When John Byrne was creating Alpha Flight, he said, “there needed to be a leader, a bastard, a love interest and a big guy. My wrinkle was to have the bastard and the love interest be brother and sister.” As for the Brain, it was always Shaman who had the “this is what’s going on” speech.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Leonardo leads (Leader)
    Donatello does machines (Brain)
    Raphael is cool but rude (Rival)
    Michelangelo is a party dude (Heart)

    If you wanted to stretch, make April or Splinter the Heart and make Michelangelo a Tank as in Brusier, or promote Casey Jones to Tank.

    Way back when they were good, had a video where they pointed out Western teams are more likely to have four members, often based on four personality types of ancient medicine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 2000s Timm/Dini Justice League

      Leader; Superman
      Rival: Batman
      Brains: Martian Manhunter
      Tank: Wonder Woman
      Heart; The Flash

      Teen Titans animation was practically an anime, so probably wouldn’t count.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Title: House Atreides in the early chapters of Dune (1965)

    The Leader: Duke Leto
    The Brains: Thufir Hawat

    The Tank: Duncan Idaho – “One of nature’s Bravo Males, he’s everyone’s best friend… He is usually good for a hearty laugh and can even be kind-hearted. But can also be troubled and taciturn.” -Cataline

    Duncan wasn’t a muscle-bound guy, but he was their best swordsman, and he fits Cataline’s description fairly well.

    The Heart: Gurney Halleck – the team’s poet and a good friend to everybody else in the group.

    The Rival – okay, there really isn’t one. It can’t be Dr. Yueh, he’s closer to being an opponent (traitor), and one who could never be accepted as the leader of House Atreides. Paul Atreides will grow into the role of the House’s leader, but he really doesn’t have the sort of friction with his father that the role of “Rival” requires. Like Paul, Lady Jessica is capable of leading House Atreides, but can’t be the rival because she doesn’t seek to lead, or even be the power behind the Ducal throne, because, well, nookie.

    Title: House Harkonnen (in the 1965 novel Dune)

    The Leader: Baron Vladimir Harkonnen
    The Brains: Piter De Vries
    The Tank: Glossu “Beast” Rabban

    The Rival: Feyd Rautha-Harkonnen (the heir apparent, but also the nephew who attempted to assassinate Baron Vladimir)

    The Heart: nobody really. The Harkkonens are black-hearted villains, after all.


  7. Title: The Revolt on Arrakis chapters in Dune (1965)

    Leader: Paul Muad’dib
    Rival: Stilgar (although his ability and willingness to challenge Paul as leader wanes as the novel progresses.)

    The Brains: Reverend Mother Jessica Atreides
    The Tank: Gurney Halleck (a skilled warrior who makes friends among smugglers and Fremen alike)
    The Heart: Chani


  8. One more: The Lords of Witchland from The Worm Ouroboros (1922)

    The Leader: King Gorice – the evil lord of evil
    The Rival: Lord Corinius – the most ambitious and treacherous of King Gorice’s courtiers

    The Brains: Lord Gro
    The Tank: Lord Corund, a skilled and honorable warrior, he even command some respect from the novel’s heroes (the Lords of the ironically-named Kingdom of Demonland)

    The Heart: Lady Prezmyra


  9. Title: Galaxy’s Edge (Cole & Anspach)
    The Leader: Chhun
    The Rival: Wraith/Keel
    The Tank: Crash (KRS-88)
    The Brains: Garret
    The Heart: Tough call, could be either Leena or Prisma

    Had to look up some of those names since I haven’t read “Season One” in a while, but I think they fit…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Title: The Magnificent Seven (1960. Other than the hot redhead, I disavow all knowledge of the recent “remake”)
    The Leader: Chris (Brenner)
    The Rival: Chico
    The Tank: Bernardo* (Bronson), Britt (Coburn), Vin Tanner (McQueen)
    The Brains: The village men, Harry Luck, Lee (Vaughn)
    The Heart: Petra**

    *Bernardo is almost certainly the tank, but the rest of the guys I listed really fit there best, too.

    **Petra isn’t part of the group, but nobody else really fits here, as far as I can tell. Or if they fit here they fit elsewhere better.

    Maybe this is cheating, since it’s actually a rip-off of Seven Samurai, but it’s the first thing that popped in my head.


    1. That choice is rather interesting because Magnificent Seven was based on Seven Samurai. Unsurprisingly, Kurosawa use of Nakama was deliberate, The transfer of character traits to the Americaninzed version was what made it stand out so much.


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