The Rival

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"How very fitting that Yugi is competing in the first duel of my tournament. It's only a matter of time before he and I face off against each other again. After all, he's my arch rival. The Sherlock Holmes to my Moriarty. The Kaneda to my Tetsuo. The Speed Racer to my Racer X. I could go on, but I won't."

The grim, volatile foe of the protagonist who, through a series of inexplicable events up to and including attempted murder, gains grudging respect for said hero/heroine (and may even save them) and goes from intolerable ass to tolerable ass. They usually never measure up in a crisis and ofttimes end up sacrificing their lives (Redemption Equals Death) so everybody else can have Character Development. Unless they're a Dark Magical Girl. Frequently a Foil for the hero, showing what he could have become. Usually begins the series with a leg up on The Hero.

If fate is unkind, they may be the Butt Monkey version, the Unknown Rival. If they start out as an Aloof Ally, a Heel Face Turn can be expected somewhere down the line. Occasionally a regular villain might go through a similar process and become a Friendly Enemy. Will probably lead to Foe Yay.

Often subject to an Embarrassing Rescue. Might turn evil. If the character in question is also a bit of a rebel, then expect some bad posture and a tendency to lean against things. Compare with the Arch Enemy, this trope taken up to the max, and The Lancer, with a similar personality but on the side of The Hero. Could one of the Opposed Mentors. See also Fandom Rivalry.

Examples of The Rival include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Mazinger Z: Boss was The Rival from Kouji in the original series (albeit, as much as Kouji was concerned, he was un Unknown Rival). He was jealousy of Kouji because he was a better bike rider AND Sayaka had a crush on Kouji. The first thing he did when they met was picking a fight with him. However, as the plot and Character Development marched on, he slowly grew to respect him, and they became friends. Also, in many Super Robot Wars games Kouji is rivals with Asuka Langley Soryu. The two of them always but heads. It is amusing, since she would be more liable to antagonize Tetsuya (both of them are two prideful Ace Pilots -Broken Aces, actually- can not stand losing).
    • Great Mazinger: Boss was The Rival from Tetsuya for a while. Boss could NOT stand Tetsuya, but Tetsuya only found him annoying, although he certainly did not care for Boss stalking Jun and showering her with unwanted attention. Tetsuya regarded Kouji like his real rival, and when Kouji returned, they got a very heated relationship. Kouji wanted to be friends or at least partners, but Tetsuya got very jealous and paranoid. He was an orphan kid with a huge Inferiority Superiority Complex, plenty abandonment issues and no self-esteem whatsoever, and he regarded Kouji like a threat would steal his father from him, take away his reason to exist, and replace him. Geez, he even accused Jun from wanting replacing him with Kouji (in spite of Jun barely knew Kouji and she had spent the whole series trying Tetsuya noticed her). He was ALWAYS arguing, bickering and fighting with Kouji, wether they were discussing tactics or battling the enemy.
    • UFO Robo Grendizer: Minister Zuril saw The Hero Duke fleed like his rival, since he was in love with Rubina, King Vega's daughter, and Rubina was in love with Duke. Nonetheless, Duke regarded him like another Vegan commander he had to defeat.
  • Gary (Motherfucking) Oak is Ash's Rival in Pokémon. In the anime he kept the rivalry until the end of the Johto saga, when he was defeated and pursued a different career. In the next saga we are introduced to Drew and Harley, which become May's Rivals.
    • In Diamond and Pearl games, you have a rival who is also your childhood friend and more of a friendly rival.
    • In fact, in every Pokémon RPG, the main hero/heroine has a Rival since the start of the game; in the later ones they even have two.
    • The Hoenn arc was the only arc Ash himself went without a direct rival. As of D/P he's now got Paul, who happens to be at least a half-dozen shades darker than Gary ever was, to worry about, and the new guy is not only efficient in subduing Ash, but also darwinistically cruel; any Pokemon he deems weak is dropped or handed off without a second thought.
      • Incidentally, Paul's actions are frequently compared to the modus operandi for most people playing the game.
      • As of the end of the Sinnoh Arc, Paul seems to have gotten better. At the very least, his defeat at the hands of ex-party member Infernape has forced him to acknowledge Ash's skill.
      • Gary has since returned on a couple of occasions to help Ash and company, and is more of a Friendly Enemy than anything else. Similarly, in Hoenn Ash did pick up a new rival in Morrison, although again they became Enemies right from the start.
    • Ash later met Barry, who is a borderline ditz. Nevertheless, their rivalry is fairly friendly and Barry became a fan favorite. It also helps that he Lampshades most of the tropes/traditions in the show.
    • In Best Wishes, Ash's new rival is a reserved amateur photographer and beginning trainer named Trip. His first battle with Ash ended in his favor, because a previous encounter with Zekrom temporarily left Pikachu without his signature electric attacks. Trip himself leans more on Gary's side of the Jerkass scale, if only because he dislikes Ash's energetic personality. This is later subverted though as he's revealed to not be a jerk at all and is more annoyed with Ash appearing at the most crucial moments then anything.
      • Bianca has been confirmed as another Rival this region, and is every much a lovable ditz as Barry.
    • May and Dawn both have their own Rivals, as previously mentioned; though as far as personality goes, May has Harley and Dawn has Ursula and—shockingly enough -- Jessie.
    • The manga have various, to name a few: Pokémon Special has the game rivalries intact, mixed with important NPCs as rivals. Pokémon Golden Boys has Black, who is a counterpart to Silver, and arguably Chris. Pocket Monsters has Kai, who is a counterpart to Blue. Pokemon Diamond And Pearl Adventure has Jun, a counterpart to Damion.
  • Ryoga from Ranma ½.
    • Also from Ranma, one-time manga character Asuka Saginomiya, "The White Lily", is Kodachi Kuno's rival. She pretty much IS Kodachi, just in a different color. She actually manages to top Kodachi in terms of hamming it up by carrying around a large picture frame with lilies tied to her back so she can pose.
  • Ren Tao to Yoh Asakura from Shaman King.
  • Half the cast of Dragonball Z, Vegeta being the most prominent example, with Yamcha being the first.
  • Ichigo Kurosaki has garnered a grand total of six rivals - Uryu Ishida (though they never fought directly), Renji Abarai, Byakuya Kuchiki, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez (he took it more personally than Ichigo), Ulquiorra Cifer and Ivan Azgiaro (a subversion; he's killed early on).
  • In Black Lagoon, Shenhua is Revy's rival.
  • Takahashi Keisuke (specifically, because he best fits the "intolerable ass" requirement), and at least half the cast of Initial D.
  • Syaoran Li in Cardcaptor Sakura.
  • Fate in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, throughout the first season. The second season featured one Wolkenritter to match up against each of the main combatants on the cast; Signum vs. Fate, Vita vs. Nanoha, and Zafila vs. Arf. Signum and Zafila were more like worthy opponents to their respective counterparts, but Vita plays the trope straight.
  • Kai of Beyblade gravitates between The Rival and The Lancer.
  • Hakuoh and Kokujo from Duel Masters, the former doing a total 180 in every aspect after Shobu beats him, while the latter never really stops being the rival, softening only the slightest bit.
  • Sasuke of Naruto floats in and out of this role. Kishimoto actually stated he read up on the archetype in various manga when making him.
    • Sasuke's entire creation was based on the fact that Kishimoto's editor said that Naruto needed a rival. Guess the fangirls should be grateful for this trope.
    • Then there's Sakura and Ino, though their rivalry has toned down a lot in Shippuden.
  • Seto Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh!! practically defines The Rival.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX! has Jun Manjoume, a partial Expy of Kaiba, who serves as Judai's rival. Later, he gains a second rival (also a partial Expy of Kaiba, though utilizing different aspects of his personality) in Edo Phoenix. And for a few episodes Hell Kaiser Ryo could also count as a rival to both Jaden and Syrus. Also a Kaiba Expy, even using what is in its core a Cyber version of Kaibas deck.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's! introduced Jack Atlas as a rival to Yusei, and another Expy of Kaiba down to the white Badass Longcoat. However he underwent Character Development and come Season Two he's part of the Five-Man Band that makes up the heroes.
  • Konjiki no Gash Bell!! has a number of these, most notably Brago, who is called "the demon to beat" by Kiyomaro.
    • They also have Bari who decisively beat them but spared their book. There was also Shinichi/Eshros, who fought the pair into a corner and would have won. Fortunately, Shinichi just wanted to test his strength against Kiyo and Zatch, and retrned their book.
  • Koga in Inuyasha.
  • Char Aznable from Mobile Suit Gundam was so popular and influential that pretty much any rival in the Gundam franchise is an Expy of him.
  • From Gundam Seed Destiny Kira Yamato and Shinn Asuka are rivals to each other.
    • Although this case in interesting in that neither of them know anything about each other nor each others names. They meet once but say very little and don't know who the other is. In fact once Shinn upgrades to Destiny Kira doesn't even know he's the same pilot he's fought before. So they are effectively faceless enemies to each other for their entire rivalry.
    • Athrun Zala is Kira's rival in the orginal Gundam Seed and probably his main rival overall.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Graham Aker is the rival to Setsuna F. Seiei.
  • Andy from Cowboy Bebop. Mind you, he wasn't so much Spike's 'rival' as 'someone who resembled him far too much' and just happened to be chasing the same bounty.
  • Akira in Hikaru no Go: The series premise makes turning evil and/or the need for a rescue, embarassing or otherwise, highly unlikely. Mass quantities of Foe Yay are used, seemingly to make up for it.
  • Suzaku Kururugi in Code Geass.
    • But definitely not Rivalz.
    • A little more complicated than that. Suzaku plays friendly enemies with Lelouch, due to their friendship but drastically opposed viewpoints. Though Lelouch is initially not aware, and feels quite betrayed when he finds out, he sort of understands Suzaku's views and situation, going so far as to save him twice, despite it. Up until the second season, where things get... generally more violent, and their respective actions, much less forgivable.
    • On the other hand, Kallen and Suzaku more easily fit the mould of the rival, with both being exceptional pilots, and the same ultimate goal.
  • In The Prince of Tennis both Sanada and Atobe start out as formidable, intimidating opponents. Along the way they earn the main team's respect to a degree, and in the last match, they help the main character regain his memories so he can face his last opponent (who happens to be Sanada's captain).
  • Negi Springfield to Kotaro Inugami in Mahou Sensei Negima, though Kotaro eventually joined the Nakama after a Heel Face Turn. They become friends. A Similar rivalry exists between Negi's Father Nagi and Jack Rakan, who again later joined that Nakama. Currently, Fate Averruncus plays this to Negi as well as being his Arch Enemy. We later find out that Fate did this at a time against Nagi as well.
  • Suzu from Peacemaker Kurogane.
  • One Piece, one of the current biggest anime around, and had seemed to avoided a rival for several arcs, with the exceptions for the Big Bad who wants to be the next King of the Pirates, (though Buggy the Clown may count) but come chapter 498, Luffy gets not one, but eight different rivals, in a group called, 'The Eleven Supernovas' which Luffy and Zoro are a part of. So far Straw Hat Luffy met and got a rivalry with Eustass Kid, and Trafalgar Law.
    • Though, due to Luffy's generally friendly attitude towards the people he meets, these aren't yet very active rivalries. In particular, Luffy and Law's interactions have been beneficial for both of them, with Law even being responsible for saving Luffy's life. This seems like it may change in the current Punk Hazard arc, however.
  • Soul Eater has Ox claiming himself Maka's rival (only academically speaking), and Black Star sees himself as Kid's. Gopher appears to see Maka as his rival for Noah's attention, much to the girl's bewilderment upon first meeting the guy out to kill her with extreme prejudice. He takes the same attitude towards Kid who, like with Black Star, is simply not bothered.
  • Ultra Magnus to Optimus Prime in Transformers: Robots in Disguise, as he feels he should have gotten the Matrix. He never turns evil, despite Megatron's best efforts.
  • In Future GPX Cyber Formula, Hayato has rivals throughout the series, starting from Naoki Shinjyo, and continuing on with Randoll, Osamu (as Knight Schumacher in 11) and finally Bleed Kaga.
    • The side characters: Gudelhian and Heinel, and Leon takes this role to Henri (both of these rivals are in the same team). Bootsvorz was the rival to Osamu in their F1 days.
  • In Eyeshield 21, Seijuro Shin fills this role for Sena. Haruto Sakuraba is also this for Monta. There are several other Rivals present throughout the series, too. Unusually for this trope, there is (usually) no antagonism between them. While they're all determined to surpass each other, there is only mutual respect between (most of) them.
  • Light and L are classic examples, foils with similar traits, differing ideals and near-opposite appearances to offset their near-identical approaches to problems. They suffer from a serious case of Rivals Team Up under odd circumstances as well, though it both was and wasn't true teamwork.
  • Gajeel and Erza from Fairy Tail could both be considered this to Natsu.
    • Gray was as extreme an example of a rival to Natsu as it could be in the early Fairy Tail days, but Gajeel seems to have taken his role starting with the Fighting Festival arc.
  • Viral, as you might guess from his name, serves this role towards Kamina and Simon in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Hamfistedly lampshaded by Rival-san Lendo of the Rival Ninja Corporation in the manga-inspired American comic book Ninja High School.
  • The Thing is generally portrayed as this when fighting Hulk, and the same can be said of Captain Marvel and Superman.
    • Namor the Submariner and the Hulk were both mainly used as obstacles for heroes in early comics, which may be why writers decided to pit them against each other. Hulk hates Namor's rudeness and arrogance and Namor hates Hulk's childish behavior and stupidity. The rivalry remained even when they were on the same team.
      • Admittedly thanks to their time on the Defenders they act more like squabbling siblings as opposed to actually trying to kill each other.
    • Wolverine is also seen as Hulk's rival. That's probably because Wolverine debuted in Hulk's book.
    • Hulk has several rivals; Thor qualifies and on the villainous side, Hulk has a long running rivalry with the Juggernaut.
  • One of the hallmarks of Superman/Batman comic book series is that the titular characters are ideological rivals and the reader is treated to their differing opinions of the same event. For example, where Superman sees the discovery of Kara as a love story (finding a long lost family member) Batman believes finding another Kryptonian is a detective story (is she really the noble person she is claiming to be, or is she hiding something?). It should be noted that while both have very different opinions, they generally respect each others beliefs due to their superficially different, but surprisingly similar origins.
  • Ashley Swift is The Rival to Jennifer Mays in The Maze Agency. Jen's success is all the more galling for Ashley as Jen used to work for her.
  • The eponymous Katy Keene had Gloria and Lucki.
  • Chili is this to Millie the Model.
  • Book 3 of Les Légendaires introduce a group of hero named the Fabulous (consisting in asian-like swordman Michi-Gan, Comanshawas warrior Shaki and Michi-Gan's foster daughter Toopie) who started out as this to the Legendaries. Notably, while the Fabulous displayed the typical jerkass rival attitude toward the Legendaries at the beginning, it was arguably justified: not only were the Legendaries at this point still blamed by everyone for the Jovenia Incident, but the Fabulous also reproached the Legendaries to have disbanded for two years in reaction to the blame, thus not being there when Alysia needed them (Danael later admits they were right on this point). On the other hand, the Fabulous placing themselves as replacement to the Legendaries while calling them outdated and constantly criticizing them didn't really made them easy to sympathise with at first. After the two teams were forced to collaborate, they eventually developped mutual respect, and are in good relationship in the following books.
  • Deff Skwadron with Karnage Skwadron and Kannibal Skwadron. They all work for Boss Badthug, but...

I could say we wuz 'olding back so's we could study The Grimlug's aerial defences under real-time kombat conditions--
I could say that, but I'd be lyin'. Fact is, we just wanted to watch them smug gitz get blown to pieces.
'course, after that it wuz still gonna be our turn next...


Film[edit | hide]


Literature[edit | hide]


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Crais from Farscape.
  • Lex from The Tribe is a rival to Bray, as well as most other males on the show with any authority. He's also a thug and a petty criminal who thinks he's much more of a Magnificent Bastard than he really is.
  • Turk had a rival in Bonnie during the early seasons of Scrubs
  • So Random and Mackenzie Falls are rival television programs on Sonny With a Chance.
  • Bania in Seinfeld.
  • Carter Baizen to Chuck Bass on Gossip Girl.
  • Sharon Raydor shows up as this to Brenda in Season 5 of The Closer, possibly because Commander Taylor is now something of a Lancer. After working together (quite well) to solve a case in the most recent season finale, they agree that they "simply don't like each other." This is, of course, going to turn out to be a big fat lie.
  • Many of the secondary Heisei Kamen Rider play this role at first, then eventually become an ally or a true foe.
  • A considerably more benign version of this trope is Prince Arthur and Lancelot from Merlin. Both of them respect the other, but both are painfully aware of their mutual feelings for Guinevere.
  • Bimpe from Tinsel is Telema Duke's rival, both in the industry and for Soji. Kwame is Soji's rival. Brenda Mensah is Fred Ade-Williams's rival.
  • Eric to Wes in Power Rangers Time Force. Plus For Rivals Team Up and Eric becoming The Lancer


Radio[edit | hide]

  • A light-hearted comedy example can be found in the long-running "feud" between comedians Jack Benny and Fred Allen. The two would frequently appear on each others shows to harass one another and trade barbs, leading to a Crowning Moment of Funny when Jack Benny, who had taken an assumed name to appear on Allen's new game show, finds out his "big prize" is to have his pants pressed—right then and there.

Jack Benny: You haven't seen the end of me, Allen!
Fred Allen: It won't be long now!


Toys[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Wolf from Star Fox to Fox McCloud.
  • There are many rivalries from the Advance Wars series between COs (Commanding Officers). Eagle and Andy (one of the missions where you fight Eagle is even named "Rivals!"), Sami and Sonja and possibly Grit and Max from the first game, Adder and Sensei and Lash and Sonja from the second game, and possibly Hawke and Candy/Kindle from the third. Days of Ruin/Dark Conflict doesn't have rivalries as such; everybody generally just hates each other, except for the NRA and IDS (the two main antagonist armies of the game) who get along nicely. Except when in a reveal the player finds out that Caulder/Stolos (the Mad Scientist and Big Bad) couldn't really care less about anyone living or dying (the NRA included), apart from when it has "scientific" purposes, and essentially leaves the NRA to crumble after its defeat.
  • Knuckles from the Sonic the Hedgehog games is often billed as Sonic's "friendly rival"; in the Archie comics, the "friendly" part was often ignored, as many of the two's conversations simply wound up dissolving into fistfights. This lasted until the "Endgame" arc, after which the two became steady friends.
    • Another example from the Archie comic: Geoffrey St. John, who competed with Sonic on missions and for Sally's heart. To a lesser extent (a much, much lesser extent), Antoine also originally fit the bill.
    • Shadow plays this a lot straighter.
    • Eggman started out as an enemy of Sonic's, but became this due to Villain Decay.
      • Uh, Eggman's still Sonic's Arch Enemy, he's just not as much a threat as he used to be (in the games anyway; the comic version seems to be making a comeback)
    • Shadow and |Silver to Modern Sonic, and Metal Sonic to Classic Sonic, as seen in Sonic Generations.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Miles Edgeworth was a childhood friend of Phoenix who was his rival in the first game, but eventually became his friend again. Phoenix himself says that one of his primary motivations for becoming a lawyer was so he could face Edgeworth in court.
    • Franziska von Karma steps up to the bench for the second game. She violently wants to defeat Phoenix because she wants to succeed where Edgeworth failed.
      • She also takes up this position in Investigations, specifically in the flashback case four, where she's a thirteen-year-old obsessed with beating Edgeworth in everything. Edgeworth mostly ignores it.
    • And for the third game we have Godot who really hates Phoenix's guts and won't explain why. He blames Phoenix for Mia's death.
  • Ryu and Ken from Street Fighter have been friendly rivals to each other from the very beginning of the series. Later, Sakura and Karin came along as rivals to one another.
    • Later games have introduced different rivals to each of these characters - Alex for Ryu in III, and Rufus for Ken in IV.
    • And Sagat plays the role of rival to Ryu straighter than Ken does.
      • Not really, there's too much enmity between Ryu and Sagat. They're more Archenemies then mere Rivals.
      • Despite being The Dragon in the early Street Figther games, Sagat is a an honorable man and not a bad guy at all (unlike Vega and Balrog, who were Bison's subordinates.) He chases Ryu because he wants a rematch between warriors and definitely sees Ryu as a rival.
        • Later on in the series he does a bit of a one-eighty and goes from being obsessed with revenge to focused on being a better fighter. Gets over his Ryu-hate too. He's like a less "blows up stadiums full of people to piss off Kakarot" version of Vegeta.
    • And then there's Ryu and his Noble Demon/Evil Counterpart Akuma.
  • Mortal Kombat has its own big rivalries as well:
    • The most famous one is between the series' two resident Ninjas, Sub-Zero and Scorpion.
    • Sonya Blade has a major one against Kano, who she's sought to bring to justice.
    • Kitana has one against her Evil Twin Mileena, while Jade has one against Tanya (who betrayed the royal family).
    • And as for friendly rivalries, there's Liu Kang and his fellow Shaolin Kung Lao.
  • Wario is Mario's rival, though its doubtful whether Mario has noticed.
    • Waluigi is also supposed to be Luigi's rival. It's even less likely that Luigi has noticed.
  • Ky Kiske to Sol Badguy in Guilty Gear.
    • Also Ragna the Bloodedge and Jin Kisaragi in BlazBlue.
  • Seifer to Squall in Final Fantasy VIII.
  • Sora and Riku (At least in the beginning) in Kingdom Hearts.
  • Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis has Roxis to the main character Vayne. So much so, that on one occasion he even thinks of competing against Vayne in a marathon, even though they're on the same team.
  • Date Masamune and Sanada Yukimura from the Sengoku Basara series play this role to each other, since they share the main character slot. Masamune probably fits the description better overall.
    • Also Chosokabe Motochika and Mori Motonari to one another, though it's only Motochika who sees it like that.
    • And Samurai Heroes gives us Tokugawa Ieyasu and his rival Ishida Mitsunari.
  • Jak gains a racing rival/ArchEnemy in Erol in the second game. Daxter also gains a Vitriolic Best Buds, a talking monkaw named Pecker.
  • In the Tokimeki Memorial series, there's two types of rivalries:
    • Between High Schools :
      • Kirameki High, the High School of Tokimeki Memorial 1, has a sworn rivalry with Suega High, a neighbour High School, especially in sports domains (Suega's Soccer Club is known as one of the strongest in the National Inter High Circuit, and the opponent to reach and defeat for Kirameki's Soccer Club, in Gaiden Game Nijiiro no Seishun ; it's also one of the last and strongest opponents in other sports clubs' friendly matches, in the original game) ; this doesn't prevent the two to cooperate and doing a common music concert in Tokimeki Memorial Pocket.
      • Kirameki High also has a sort of rivalry with Hibikino High, the High School of Tokimeki Memorial 2, but it is a much more friendlier one than the one with Suega High, as students from both High Schools interact a lot and often come to the other High School and their neighbouring districts.
    • Between individual characters :
      • Tokimeki Memorial 1 has Yumi and Saki, for the Unknown Rival variety (Yumi considers Saki her rival for the protagonist's heart as soon as Saki shares a bento with him, but Saki doesn't notice Yumi's jealousy ;
      • Tokimeki Memorial 2 has Mei and Homura, for the Arch Enemy variety, as well as Junichiro and Takumi towards the protagonist, if they're in love with the same target girl as the protagonist, for the straight version of the trope.
  • In Mitsumete Knight, Hanna and Linda are sworn rivals who don't get along and can go into Volleying Insults, but they hold each other in high regards, Hanna admitting Linda is a faster runner than her, and Linda going for the trouble of going to Dolphan Academy to discover her, and deep down admiring her perseverance, being herself a hard-worker.
  • As stated above, you get a rival in every Pokémon game. In the main series, as of HGSS, you have Green/Blue, Silver, Brendan/May Wally and Pearl/Barry.
    • Pokémon Black and White give you Bianca and Cheren as your rivals. You read that right - you have two rivals this time around. However, Bianca's role is a little more comparable to Brendan/May, whereas Cheren is the true rival.
      • Although he isn't given the title of "rival," N arguably qualifies as well since he is racing against you to collect badges and even beats the Pokemon League before you a la Green/Blue.
  • Yanagi and Hiroki have this relationship in Canvas 2 after reconciling.
  • In the House of the Dead franchise, James Taylor seems to share a friendly rivalry with Thomas Rogan, hinted by the vs CPU mode in the Typing of the Dead and James' comment in the final score screen in the House of the Dead 4.
  • Ulysses of Fallout: New Vegas is heavily implied to be this for The Courier, with them eventually having a final showdown in Lonesome Road. He's also a case of Unknown Rival in that the Courier has never heard of him prior to the DLC.
  • Devlin of Vanguard Bandits is almost always butting heads with the hero Bastion and it is difficult to get him to like you. Unfortunately, you will need to get him to like you.
  • Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami from King of Fighters. Their rivalry has rooted since the times of their ancestor. Iori is COMPLETELY OBSESSED in beating the crap out of Kyo, and while Kyo is usually dismissive, he wouldn't miss out a good brawl with Iori.
  • Riki is Kunio-Kun's rival. In some games, such as Renegade or Crash N The Boys Street Challenge, he serves as a boss fight or foe.
  • Touhou has Marisa versus Reimu, and Marisa is/was[1] even a stereotypical enemy-turned-rival. There's also the considerably more violent Mokou versus Kaguya. Recently, Reimu has gained another rival that is Sanae.
  • Protagonist version, Anna Hottenmeyer from Mr. Driller.
  • Asura's Wrath: Yasha is Asura's main rival in the story mode. Akuma/Oni becomes an even better example in Lost Episode 2. Both Asura and Akuma are so determined to defeat each other, they turn into statues after fighting for over 500 YEARS! Then they start moving again, and fight even more!


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Captain Gamer's nemesis (Czar Gamer) regularly swings from friendly rival to bitter enemy and back again.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, Lord Horribus considered himself to be Torg's rival, though Torg didn't take this too seriously for much of the series. And even after Horribus killed Alt-Zoe, Torg still denied him the chance for a final showdown.
    • Bun-Bun also has a Rival in the form of Santa Claus, who tries to kill him each Christmas. An odd version of the trope, since Bun-Bun is a Heroic Sociopath, and Santa is generally portrayed as a decent (if slightly obsessed) guy just trying to see that justice is done.
  • Lance has a rival in Gold Coin Comics named Blake, who has traits from Seifer in FFVIII.
  • Sixx and Butterfly, and to an extent Ginger and Laura in Collar 6.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Craig Tucker and his friends are this to the main four boys in South Park
  • Mandark is Dexter's rival in Dexter's Laboratory. The two clash a lot though Mandark does have a serious thing for Dexter's sister Dee Dee.
  • In SpongeBob SquarePants, Squilliam has been Squidward's rival since highschool band class.
  • In Chowder, Endive has been Mung Daal's rival in the catering business for years. Panini should be Chowder's rival, but she chooses to be his Yandere Stalker with a Crush instead.
    • Apparently Panini was originally supposed to be just that when the creator pitched the series. He decided to retool her when it got picked up.
  • On American Dad, Roger invokes this trope in a horse race when he tells one of the other jockeys he got it on with his wife. Roger did this deliberately because he thought the race would be more interested if he had a rival to compete against.
  • Jimmy Neutron and Cindy Vortex, NON-STOP, in "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" and "The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius". She does however get a "Relationship Upgrade" from his rival and enemy in the first season/movie to his rival-friend in the second season to his girlfriend in the third season.
  • Randall Boggs from Monsters, Inc. is not only the rival to James P. "Sulley" Sullivan, but is also The Dragon as well.
  • In The Mighty B!, Bessie Higgenbottom's rival is Anton St. Germain.
  • The Little Man from The Pink Panther (both oringinal and 1993 remake) and Pink Panther and Pals.
  • Nester, his mom and Paddy in Scaredy Squirrel.
  • Principal Pixiefrog from from My Gym Partner's a Monkey frequently sometimes towards Adam.
  • Kyle and Salty Mike from Squirrle Boy
  • Cheif and Lok from Tak and the Power of Juju
  • Gordie, Kendal and Ronaldo from Kick Buttowski
  • Nova(Sam Alexander) to Spider-Man in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series.


Real Life[edit | hide]

Famous rivalries, where either of the two sides can be considered The Rival, depending on your point of view.

  • LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, all the way back into their high school years.
  • Isaac Newton vs. Gottfried Leibniz. Clashed over who actually invented calculus (now most agree that Newton came up with the idea first, but Leibniz probably came up with calculus independently from Newton). The rivalry was mostly one sided, with Newton and the UK treating Leibniz as an personal insult. This resulted in English mathematicians refusing to acknowledge developments in math from the rest of Europe, ultimately holding up English mathematics for about a century.
  • Benjamin Disraeli (Conservative) vs. William E. Gladstone (Liberal), considered to be one of the most famous of political rivalries, lasting a decade and a half. Two consummate politicians who loathed each other, clashed over the post of the British prime minister. (Gladstone served longer as PM).
  • Thomas Edison vs. Nikola Tesla. Fought over the early electricity market, especially over whether power should be supplied as Direct (Edison) or Alternating (Tesla) current. Edison undertook a particularity vicious smear campaign against Tesla, which resulted in Tesla being pushed off public life and dying penniless and alone. Although Tesla has now been vindicated in that alternating current was better for transmission of electricity (if Edison had won, the electrical grid would have been so complex that electricity would probably never have replaced steam power as the driver of modern society).
  • The University of Oxford and The University of Cambridge, ever since the 13th-century, most famously manifests in the annual boat race between the two schools.
    • Similarly (if less old), The Royal Academy of Music and The Royal College of Music; unlike Oxbridge they don't have a specific contest, but expect at least one representative from each to reach the latter rounds of music competitions. Each institution has been known to jokingly refer to the other as That Other Place.
    • University College London (UCL) and King's College London also have a similar rivalry.
    • Across the ocean, there's Yale and Harvard in America and Queen's and McGill in Canada.
      • And MIT and Caltech.
        • University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin have their own boatrace, presumably in parody of the Oxbridge one. Both unis famously dislike each other, UCD being formerly 'Catholic University of Ireland' and Trinity being famously Protestant has an unfortunate role in this hatred.
    • Don't forget Army and Navy.
  • Joseph Priestley vs. Antoine Lavoisier. One of the first ever rivalries over sicence, Priestley once sent a spy to steal Lavoisier's research on gases.
  • Averted in the case of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart vs. Antonio Salieri, who were friends in real life. The rivalry was made up by in a play by Pushkin long after the both men were dead.
  • Played straight with Georg Friedrich Handel and Domenico Scarlatti, two virtuoso megastars of the Baroque keyboard. It was later conceded that Handel was the more accomplished organist and Scarlatti the superior harpsichordist. Interestingly, Johann Sebastian Bach, the other obvious candidate for this trope knew Handel by reputation only; the two maestros famously never met all.
  • Maria Callas vs. Renata Tabaldi. Two polar opposite opera singers, they did manage to work together in the end.
  • Joan Fontaine vs. Olivia de Havilland. Rival movie stars who fought over Oscars, they are rival sisters to boot.
  • Aaron Burr vs. Alexander Hamilton. Ended in a duel, Hamilton was killed, and the resulting public outcry destroyed Burr's political career.
  • Two Canadian Fathers of Conferederation, George Brown and John A Macdonald, were rivals. George Brown, the founder of the Globe and Mail, was much fiercer in the rivalry; his quest for power was ultimately fruitless (in other words, he was appointed a member of the Senate), whereas Macdonald was knighted and served as Prime Minister for 19 years.
    • Brown got a college named after him, though.
      • One of the reasons Brown didn't succeed, though, was that he wasn't given the chance: he was assassinated.
  • A number of leaders of the Liberal and Conservative parties of Canada fall into this trope, most famously John G. Diefenbaker (Conservative leader 1956-67, PM 1957-63) and Lester B. Pearson (Liberal leader 1958-68, PM 1963-68). The two men were extremely intelligent, accomplishished individuals who were able to be civil to one another.
    • Others include Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Sir Robert Borden, W.L. Mackenzie King and Arthur Meigen, Pierre Trudeau and Joe Clark, and John Turner and Brian Mulroney.
  • Pierre Trudeau (prime minister of Canada) vs. Rene Levesque (leader of Parti Quebecois, a mainstream political party advocating for the separation of Quebec). The duo fought bitterly over ten years over the independence of Quebec. The rivalry culminated during the drafting of the Canadian constitution, Trudeau, fearing the trouble Levesque is going to cause, had to trick Levesque by waiting until he was asleep before starting the backroom deals that was ultimately to produce the document. Levesque and the province of Quebec never forgave the trick, they still have not signed the constitution.
  • Joseph Stalin vs. Leon Trotsky. Most now agree that Trotsky would have made a better leader, but Stalin won the argument by having a ice axe stuck in Trotsky's head.
    • Appositely summarised by comedian Yakov Smirnoff thus:

The two most powerful men in Russia are Stalin and the last man who spoke to him.

    • Revisionist historians, working from newly released archival evidence, have argued that Stalin actually was the better leader, and that Trotsky lost because he simply was not as politically savvy. His account of Stalin and Stalin's rise to power is regarded as smear, insofar as it portrays him as a political non-entity of average ability who achieved power through sinister Obstructive Bureaucracy, and that the real Stalin was a multi-talented Magnificent Bastard.
  • Richard Dawkins and Stephen J. Gould over the idea of gradual evolution or punctuated evolution.
  • Michelangelo and Da Vinci. They held a painting contest to see who was better, but due to outside interference neither ever finished their painting.
  • MSNBC vs FOX News, for the title of the most loudmouthed/opinionated/rude/biased/partisan "news" network. With the most public fight being that between Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly.
    • Got so bad that the bosses allegedly tried to make a truce, which didn't last long.
  • Hockey has a fair share.
    • Don Cherry and European players, though he's softened in recent years.
  • Many British football clubs have these.
    • Manchester United .vs. Manchester City
    • Liverpool .vs. Everton
    • Celtic .vs. Rangers
    • Arsenal .vs. Tottenham
    • Newcastle .vs. Sunderland
    • Aston Villa .vs. Birmingham City
    • Southampton .vs. Portsmouth
    • Watford FC .vs. Luton Town- proving that it's not just the more well-known clubs who hate eachother's guts.
  • The list of sports rivalries are nearly endless, they'd practically need their own tropes pages. However, this trope is probably played straightest in boxing, not surprisingly considering the 1-on-1 aspect of the sport. The most famous rivalry was between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, with Frazier still bitter long after their respective retirements. This was the classic form of rivalry, as they were just about diametrically opposed in the ring and out in terms of temperaments, attitudes, and persona.
  • The rivalry between tennis players Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal has its own page on Wikipedia. (it's mostly on-court, though)
  • Most sports rivalries, including 99% of all college sports, don't include the "respect" part. In the case of rivalries like Ohio State-Michigan, Duke-North Carolina and this troper's Arizona-Arizona State, there's nothing but pure hatred. "Sports rivalry" just has a better ring to it than "sports arch-enemyship".
  • In the U.S., Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus versus Cirque Du Soleil—the two biggest circus companies in the world, each with a distinctive approach to the form. Ringling is "traditional", with three tours that crisscross the country and are relaunched with new acts and themes every one-to-two years; Cirque is "contemporary", in that each show is a unique, theme-driven piece of theater that can run for years on end with few changes. Also, the former uses live animals and the latter does not (with the exception of some doves in Believe). Because Cirque shows are usually performed under tents in big cities and Ringling Bros. travels the broader arena circuit, this rivalry was largely one of style until Cirque started adapting its older shows for arenas in 2007 to expand its audience.
  • How is the Lancashire-Yorkshire rivalry not here yet?
  • It's often joked, though with much substance, that the true bitterest enemies and rival Generals of World War Two, were General Patton and Field Marshal Montgomery.
  • There was a legend in the Army of the Potomac that McClellan and AP Hill had been rivals for the same girl and she had married McClellan. When they were hard pressed the soldiers said, "Why didn't you marry him?"
  • No UCLA and USC? Sometimes they make fun with their opponent's mascot.
  • Otto von Bismarck vs Ludwig Windhorst(Leader of the German Centre Party). Windhorst was by far the ablest and most dangerous critic of Bismarck's policy. The iron chancellor said once:"Everyone must have someone to love and someone to hate. I have my wife to love and Windthorst to hate."
  • University of Kentucky and University of Louisville. Sheer, undiluted hatred in the Bluegrass State.
  • Pioneer palaeontologists Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope. In their case, it got ugly.
  • Michigan and Ohio. Both states are still a little miffed over Toledo.
    • This creates a strange problem every year for fans of Michigan State University's sports teams: on one hand, Michigan State's biggest rival is the University of Michigan, but on the other hand, Michigan's great rival (as mentioned above) is Ohio State. The great majority of MSU students/fans are from Michigan, raised on a diet of hatred for everything related to Ohio. The result is that a perpetual debate in East Lansing is whether one should root for Ohio State or Michigan when they face each other. Consensus is somewhere around Henry Kissinger's observation about the Iran-Iraq War: "Too bad they can't both lose."
  • The Polish computer game magazines Top Secret and Secret Service. The latter was made up of the old Top Secret personnel who all went and left back in 1993 to start their own mag. These were the old days of videogame journalism, when they still could pepper their issues with very thinly veiled Take Thats at each other.
  • The entire countries of America vs. Soviet Russia during the Cold War.
  • The most glorious sports rivalry in the USA - Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees in Major League Baseball!
  • Chicago and New York City. Just Chicago and New York City.
  • A more recent rivalry between Karl Rove and Rick Perry has its own page on The Other Wiki.
  • As of late, the media's been setting up Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus as this.
  • Alexei Yagudin and Evgeni Plushenko, possibly the fiercest rivalry in the history of figure skating.
  • Historically, England and France were like this a great deal, fighting a number of wars against each other all the way up to the 1800s. they've stopped since World War I broke out, however.
  • At one time, many fans always pitted Jerry Goldsmith & John Williams as to who was the better composer although both were good friends in real life.
  1. Depends on whether you consider the events in PC-98 game as having happened