Created By: calil_bfr on July 27, 2017 Last Edited By: calil_bfr on September 3, 2017

Rancorous Companion

A one-sided Teeth-Clenched Teamwork where a character resents something another one did to him/her.

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"You want me to kill THE ENEMIES of Jappos, I'll kill THE ENEMIES of Jappos... Rebs, or Sioux, or Cheyenne... For 500 bucks a month I'll kill whoever you want. But keep one thing in mind: I'd happily kill you for free."
Nathan Algren, The Last Samurai

Sub-Trope of Teeth-Clenched Teamwork. Here, the grudge against a teammate is motivated by rancor for something this teammate once did that hurt him/her - be it physically or psychologically, be it against him/her or someone/something he/she cares about.

It differs from its Super Trope on the fact that, while there are many examples where characters dislike each other, the receiving end of the rancor tends to never feel the same way back, since what he/she did wasn't motivated by revenge against the character who feels it. If the characters happen to be rancorous against each other (not to be confused with a common mutual disliking), it's never for the same reason.

While sometimes the grudge is strong enough to make the character wish to kill the one who caused the rancor, this type of rancorous character should not be mistaken for a Starscream, since the rancor isn't always for the leader of the group and, when it is, the character doesn't show any intention of taking his/her leadership, with revenge being the only goal. This second aspect, at first glance, should be able to qualify the character as a Creon, but he/she is never shown to having an opportunity to take the power and refusing to do it.

Also, it's not a Token Evil Teammate for being able to happen in a group of villains as well and, even if the character has other personality traits that make him/her a Psycho Sidekick, the latter doesn't involve rancor against someone of the group the character enters or is already in.

Not a Poisonous Friend or False Friend either, since these characters' intention isn't protecting their masters and they don't show any signs of faking a friendship to any members of the group intending to betray them; sometimes it's the exact opposite, with the character clearly expressing his negative thoughts about these members.

If the rancorous character is a villain who wants revenge against a hero but makes a truce with said hero in order to fight a common enemy (or the other way around, with a hero joining a villain for said fight), it is more like an example of Enemy Mine; however, this situation fits better into this trope if a villain joins a group of heroes which has one or more of them disliking the villain for an additional and more personal reason.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z: Even long after he had a Heel–Face Turn and joined the heroes, Vegeta never totally gave up on his wish of defeating Goku in battle, to the point of allowing an enemy to take control of him so he could let his vengeful side lead him again.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Usui, whose blindness was caused by Shishio in the past, only accepted to join Juppongatana after being conceded the right to kill Shishio whenever he felt the latter showed a breach in his defenses.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins: Hendrickson reveals that he aims to start a war between the Holy Knights and the Demon Clan after breaking the seal of the latter. Dreyfus, his fellow Holy Knight, voices his displeasure but is told by Hendrickson that he must partake in the scheme or else he will die; he answers that Hendrickson is the one who will. He takes a battle stance to start fighting Hendrickson but is interrupted by the fact that a great source of power (three of the Seven Deadly Sins) is approaching Liones. Hendrickson says that they must stop the quarrel to defend the kingdom, to which Dreyfus reluctantly agrees, telling Hendrickson he will never forgive him.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Karasu and Bui were once defeated by the Toguro brothers in a fight. They came to join the brothers in their Dark Tournament team but that didn't stop them from wanting the revenge they swore after that defeat.

    Books 
  • Artemis Fowl: The second and third books portray the relationship between Artemis and Holly as this, as Artemis kidnapped Holly in the first book and used her to swindle the faeries out of a considerable sum of gold. Nevertheless, she helps rescue his father from the Russian Mafia in gratitude for him preventing a coup by goblins, and he requests her aid when a prototype computer he designed is stolen by a business rival. From the fourth book onward, they become something resembling Fire-Forged Friends.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Cliffhanger: Gabe Walker was a mountain rescue worker who had the help of his helicopter-pilot girlfriend Jessie Deighan, until his best friend Hal Tucker took his completely untrained girlfriend to climb to the summit of a cliff, which led to her horrifying death hundreds of feet below when the rescue equipment failed to function properly.note  In spite of Gabe's valiant efforts, Tucker blamed him for the tragedy. Gabe took the blame to heart and left the mountains in guilt and grief. 18 months later, Gabe came back to pick up his things from Jessie, just in time to be the only climber qualified enough to reach a band of plane crash survivors trapped in the mountains by a snowstorm. He partnered himself with Tucker, who still hated him.
  • The Last Samurai: Nathan Algren joins Colonel Bagley's group of military instructors who train the Japanese army in the Western war tactics, despite personally hating Bagley, who was his commanding officer during the American Civil War who had ordered his men to commit atrocities against Native American population. Nathan joins mainly for the money and because his old compatriot and friend Zebulon Grant also joins.

    Live-Action TV 
  • House of Anubis: The students of Anubis House are not a team in the right definition of the word, but Patricia tends to really dislike the new kid who joins the House each season. It's for different reasons each time, however, and typically personal ones. With Nina, she believed she was responsible for causing the disappearance of her best friend, Joy.

    Video Games 
  • Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits: Delma agrees to assist Darc in his plan to unite the Deimos under his leadership, even though he openly admits to her that he killed her Jerk Ass brother Densimo in a fight. At one point she does attempt to take revenge for Densimo by stabbing Darc in the back, leaving him for dead and trying to seize control of his clan from him (which would also make her a kind of Starscream), but he welcomes her back into his service after her coup fails, as he believes in Asskicking Equals Authority and sees her strength and ambition as valuable traits.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy XII, several members of the party behave like this towards Basch when he first joins the team, with Vaan accusing him of murdering his brother Reks and Ashe blaming him for assassinating her father, the King of Dalmasca. It turns out that Basch was framed for both crimes by his identical twin brother, a Quisling who works for the Archadian Empire under the name Judge Gabranth.
    • Hope behaves this way towards Snow for the first part of Final Fantasy XIII, blaming him for the death of his mother. He's suffering from a case of Villain-by-Proxy Fallacy, as Hope's mother died in a hail of gunfire from hostile soldiers as Snow tried to save her life.
  • Front Mission:
    • When Maury learns that Lloyd was involved in the Larcus Incident and is indirectly responsible for starting the war that burned her hometown, she signs up as a member of his unit so she can follow him into battle and watch him die.
    • There's a stage where Canyon Crow (the good guys team) has to work with Driscoll. While Driscoll doesn't seem to care, Lloyd is pretty ticked off since Driscoll killed his fiancee right in front of him in the opening mission. Even though relying on Driscoll's ridiculously overpowered wanzer is the only way to win (You're greatly outnumbered), Lloyd still tries to kill him when the mission is over. He can't since the OCU (Lloyd's country) as signed a peace treaty with the USN (Driscoll's country).
  • Persona 5: None of the Phantom Thieves are particularly happy about working with Goro Akechi to steal Sae Niijima's heart because he's spread negative press about them throughout most of the game, one of the conditions for his assistance is that the group disbands after the mission is completed, and the Thieves already know that Akechi is part of the Conspiracy, and is plotting to kill the Protagonist.
  • Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy: Towards the end of the game, Layton and Luke are forced to team up with Descole, a villain they've been contending with for the entire prequel trilogy, to prevent their mutual enemy Bronev from succeeding. Layton is not exactly happy about this, and Luke frequently voices his displeasure, especially considering that Descole kidnapped his mother and butler while impersonating the latter in order to force his father to do his bidding.

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy: Quagmire was revealed to be such in the eighth season due to revealing his hatred of Peter's dog Brian because of, among other things, Brian hitting on Lois despite Peter giving him food and shelter. This one-sided contempt continued and boiled for a while, until Brian started to develop a mutual hatred for Quagmire, making it more an even-handed Teeth-Clenched Teamwork whenever they were both taking part in Peter and Joe's antics.
Community Feedback Replies: 20
  • July 28, 2017
    Koveras
    • In The Last Samurai, Nathan Algren joins Colonel Bagley's group of military instructors who train the Japanese army in the Western war tactics, despite personally hating Bagley, who was his commanding officer during the American Civil War who had ordered his men to commit atrocities against Native American population. Nathan joins mainly for the money and because his old compatriot and friend Zebulon Grant also joins.
  • July 28, 2017
    calil_bfr
    Thanks, Koveras! Added it.
  • July 28, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    If this is an established group / team / outfit, then this'd be Token Evil Teammate or Psycho Sidekick.

    If this character claims loyalty, but acts subversively, then that's The Starscream or Poisonous Friend.

    As a character, this sounds like The Creon; as a plot device, it matches with False Friend.

    Unless the description can specify something functionally unique about this, it seems we've got this one covered already.
  • July 30, 2017
    Koveras
    ^ I am not seeing how any of the tropes you listed overlap with this proposal, so please do elaborate on each of them.

    My understanding of this trope is "Any character who joins a group in its common purpose despite personal enmity with one or more of its members".
  • July 30, 2017
    calil_bfr
    oneuglybunny, I updated the trope description with the reasons it's different from the ones you listed. It's like Koveras said in the answer to you.
  • July 30, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Ah, I see now. Well done on defining where this mechanism differs from established tropes. We're focusing upon an in-house conflict. Okay, this could be exploited as a plot complication, or as a character development tool. No further objections. :)
  • July 31, 2017
    calil_bfr
    Thanks! =)

    I updated the trope concept to encompass characters who develop a rivalry for one or more of their group companions due to envy, since it's what one of the examples shown (Vegeta) does. Also added another example in Rurouni Kenshin that's within that concept.
  • July 31, 2017
    Astaroth
    Enemy Mine and Teeth Clenched Teamwork probably deserve to be bluelinked somewhere in the description as well

    • Delma in Arc The Lad Twilight Of The Spirits agrees to assist Darc in his plan to unite the Deimos under his leadership, even though he openly admits to her that he killed her Jerk Ass brother Densimo in a fight. At one point she does attempt to take revenge for Densimo by stabbing Darc in the back, leaving him for dead and trying to seize control of his clan from him, but he welcomes her back into his service after her coup fails, as he believes in Asskicking Equals Authority and sees her strength and ambition as valuable traits.
  • August 1, 2017
    calil_bfr
    Thanks, Astaroth! Bluelinked them both, also making this trope a Sub Trope of Teeth Clenched Teamwork. Added your example too.
  • August 1, 2017
    Astaroth
    • The second and third Artemis Fowl books portray the relationship between Artemis and Holly as this, as Artemis kidnapped Holly in the first book and used her to swindle the faeries out of a considerable sum of gold. Nevertheless, she helps rescue his father from the Russian Mafia in gratitude for him preventing a coup by goblins, and he requests her aid when a prototype computer he designed is stolen by a business rival. (From the fourth book onward, they become something resembling Fire Forged Friends.)

    • When Maury in Front Mission learns that Lloyd was involved in the Larcus Incident and is indirectly responsible for starting the war that burned her hometown, she signs up as a member of his unit so she can follow him into battle and watch him die.
  • August 1, 2017
    eroock
    What would be the justification to split this off from Teeth Clenched Teamwork?
  • August 1, 2017
    calil_bfr
    @Astaroth: Thanks again! Added your examples.
  • August 1, 2017
    calil_bfr
    @eroock: Not all teeth clenching is motivated by rancor. Also, a rancor-motivated teeth clenching tends to be always unilateral, with the target of the rancor not feeling the same way back.
  • August 3, 2017
    Basara-kun
    Video Games:
  • August 4, 2017
    calil_bfr
    Basara-kun, I think this one's too much inside Enemy Mine to be included here. Sorry.
  • August 7, 2017
    calil_bfr
    Removed two examples listed inside Teeth Clenched Teamwork and added them in this trope, since they fit better here.

    • Front Mission: There's a stage where Canyon Crow (the good guys team) has to work with Driscoll. While Driscoll doesn't seem to care, Lloyd is pretty ticked off since Driscoll killed his fiancee right in front of him in the opening mission. Even though relying on Driscoll's ridiculously overpowered wanzer is the only way to win (You're greatly outnumbered), Lloyd still tries to kill him when the mission is over. He can't since the OCU (Lloyd's country) as signed a peace treaty with the USN (Driscoll's country).

    • Professor Layton And The Azran Legacy: Towards the end of the game, Layton and Luke are forced to team up with Descole, a villain they've been contending with for the entire prequel trilogy, to prevent their mutual enemy Bronev from succeeding. Layton is not exactly happy about this, and Luke frequently voices his displeasure, especially considering that Descole kidnapped his mother and butler while impersonating the latter in order to force his father to do his bidding.
  • August 9, 2017
    calil_bfr
    Removed an example listed inside Teeth Clenched Teamwork and added it in this trope, since it fits better here.

    • Persona 5: None of the Phantom Thieves are particularly happy about working with Goro Akechi to steal Sae Niijima's heart because he's spread negative press about them throughout most of the game, one of the conditions for his assistance is that the group disbands after the mission is completed, and the Thieves already know that Akechi is part of the Conspiracy, and is plotting to kill the Protagonist.
  • August 12, 2017
    Astaroth
    • Final Fantasy:
      • In Final Fantasy XII, several members of the party behave like this towards Basch when he first joins the team, with Vaan accusing him of murdering his brother Reks and Ashe blaming him for assassinating her father, the King of Dalmasca. It turns out that Basch was framed for both crimes by his identical twin brother, a Quisling who works for the Archadian Empire under the name Judge Gabranth.
      • Hope behaves this way towards Snow for the first part of Final Fantasy XIII, blaming him for the death of his mother. He's suffering from a case of Villain By Proxy Fallacy, as Hope's mother died in a hail of gunfire from hostile soldiers as Snow tried to save her life.
  • August 12, 2017
    Psi001
    • Quagmire was revealed to be such in the eighth season of Family Guy due to revealing his hatred of Peter's dog Brian. This one sided contempt continued and boiled for a while, until Brian started to develop a mutual hatred for Quagmire, making it more an even handed Teeth Clenched Teamwork whenever they were both taking part in Peter and Joe's antics.
  • August 14, 2017
    calil_bfr
    Thanks, Astaroth and Psi 001! Added your examples.
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