Created By: Ryuuma on February 26, 2012 Last Edited By: MorningStar1337 on May 17, 2013
Troped

Elemental Rivalry

Rival/nemesis characters with contrasting elemental powers/association.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Sub-Trope of Red Oni, Blue Oni.

One of the easiest ways to put emphasis on two rivals is (if the context's right) to give them contrasting Elemental Powers, usually matching their character.

The most common couples are Fire for the hot-blooded one and Ice for the calm one. Light and Darkness are also extremely common, especially between the Big Good and Big Bad. In anime and manga the pairing Thunder and Wind is not unheard of, referring to Buddhist Mythology. Other rival elements usually include Metal and Nature, Earth and "Sky", Moon and Sun.

Of course the "rivals" aren't always enemies. Usually they can also be friendly rivals or even siblings.

See also Red Oni, Blue Oni, Elemental Powers, Sibling Yin-Yang, Land, Sea, Sky and Fire, Ice, Lightning.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In Dragon Ball GT we have the two brothers Nova Shenron (fire) and Eis Shenron (Ice).
  • Yaiba is the chosen wielder of the Raijin sword and is a good natured, noisy hero. His rival Onimaru wields the Fujin sword and is a cold-blooded, evil tyrant.
  • In One Piece is seen with two of the Admirals: the lazy but righteous Aokiji and the ruthless General Ripper Akainu. Also the duel between Ace and Blackbeard reached his top with Ace's Sun clashing against Blackbeard's Darkness.
  • In Naruto, the titular hero has Wind chakra, while Sasuke has Lightning Chakra. Another friendlier example could be Kisame and Itachi (who can use Fire techniques.)
  • In Gamaran, the Boisterous Bruiser Zenmaru specialize in the "Kagutsuchi Kata" (Fire God Form) style, while the much calmer Shinnojo is an expert of the "Mizuchi Kata" (Water Dragon Form).
  • In ''Fairy Tail there are Natsu (Fire) and Gray (Ice). Another elemental-related rivalry is the one of Makarov (Light) and Jose (Darkness).
  • Digimon Adventure: The Hero Tai was Fire, The Lancer Matt was blue Fire in his early forms and Ice in his more powerful stages.
  • Digimon Savers: In their burst mode evolutions Masaru powers up by summoning a miniature sun and dropping it on himself, while Thoma powers up by summoning a crescent moon.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin: Kenshin and the Kyoto arc Big Bad Shishio Makoto can be considered rivals (both were highly skilled hitokiri during the Bakumatsu period (1853-1868), and now they're enemies. In their final battle, Kenshin's revamp and secret attack summons forth a fierce squall, while Makoto's special attack and power up are announced by roaring flames.
  • Rin Natsuki/Cure Rouge and Karen Minazuki/Cure Aqua from Yes! Pretty Cure 5. The former uses fire elemental magic and is designated as the Cure of Passion. The latter uses water elemental magic and is designated as the Cure of Intelligence. These two characters early on are depicted as rivals that couldn't get along most of the time and hate being one-upped by the other. However, over the first season, they came to an understanding, and the rivalry became less severe.

Comic Book
  • Namor the Submariner and the original Human Torch.
  • X-Men has Surge and Dust who are rivals. Not the usual type, though. Another example is given by Iceman and Havok.
  • Batman and the Outsiders has a villainous couple with heat and cold powers, who are actually trying to find a cure to their opposite powers.

Film
  • Heat Miser and Snow Miser in The Year Without a Santa Claus.
  • Iceman and Pyro in the X-Men film.
  • Discussed in Freddy vs. Jason where it's suggested that some of the animosity between Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees stems from the fact that the former was created from fire, and the latter was created from water (Freddy became a dream-dwelling demon after being burned to death by an angry mob, and Jason became a hulking zombie after drowning as a child).

Live-Action TV
  • The first Bad Future in Heroes has a fire-using Peter battling Sylar, who is using ice powers.

Mythology and Religion
  • In Eastern Mythology, there are the Demon-turned-gods Fujin (wind) and Raijin (thunder).
  • In Egyptian Mythology we have Horus the Sun god opposed to Set, the god of storms.
  • Japanese Mythology has Amaterasu (sky, sun, light) and Susanoo (storms and ocean).
  • Generally speaking, almost every religion will associate the Big Good god with Light or Sun or the Heavens, while the Satan character of God of Evil will be associated with Darkness, Night or Earth (namely the Underworld]].
  • Leviathan (Sea) and Behemoth (Earth).

Music
  • In the Emerald Sword Saga, the bad guys are almost always associated with fire, while our heroes are marked with wind.

Tabletop Games
  • The four Elemental Lords of the Forgotten Realms setting each hate the one that embodies their opposite element. Akadi the Lady of Air battles Grumbar the Earthlord, and Kossuth the Firelord duels Istishia the Water Lord.
  • Warhammer and Warhammer 40K: The four Chaos Gods are opposed two by two, as they are essentially the sum of one emotion felt by sentient creatures. Khorne (rage) is opposed to Slaanesh (desire) and Tzeentch (hope) is opposed to Nurgle (fear of death).

Toys
  • Most Toa teams in BIONICLE have a Toa of Fire as The Hero and a Toa of Ice as The Lancer, typically having a Red Oni, Blue Oni dynamic. Tahu and Kopaka are the most prominent example, although they're both just as likely to start arguing with Gali, the Toa of Water, as they are with each other.

Video Games
  • In Pokťmon your rival will always pick up the pokemon who has the elemental advantage over yours. It also has opposing "elements":
    • Darkrai(dark), Cressilia(psychic)
    • Groudon(Ground), Kyogre(Water)
    • Dialga(Time), Palkia(Space)
    • Flygon(ground), Salamence(Flying) but the last one is more about the people who play as them, What can Flygon do ...that Salamence can't?
  • Eternal Darkness has a triple example between the gods of Strength, Insanity and Knowledge.
  • Killer7 has a character with power over death and his rival with power over life.
  • Scorpion and Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat.
  • Samurai Warriors has Kenshin (ice) and Shingen (fire), Yoshihiro (wind) and Ginchiyo (thunder) and also Nobunaga (wind) and Mitsuhide (thunder). Note that in most cases it refers to the chosen element of their ultimate weapon.
  • Mitsunari (darkness) and Ieyasu (light) in Sengoku Basara. It also has the duo Kenshin (ice) and Shingen (fire) as tamer rivals.
  • Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams has the Genma God of Light (Fortinbras) opposed to the Oni God of Darkness (Soki).
  • Prince of Persia The Forgotten Sands has the elemental opposition between Razia the Marid Queen (who has powers over water, which in the series symbolize life) and the Ifrit Lord Ratash, who has power over both fire and sand (which, in the series, is opposed to water as a symbol of death and entropy.)
  • Kingdom Hearts: Initially Sora was Light, and Riku was Darkness, though Riku's HeelĖFace Turn has turned him into a YinYangBomber. Also Saix/Isa and Axel/Lea whose powers are Lunacy and Playing with Fire, the closest stand in for Power Of The Sun. They started as best friends, but are now enemies.
  • Dark Dawn: Two gems that give you the power to evaporate water or turn it to ice are held by the Sand Prince and the Frost Queen. The former is a Worthy Opponent who battles you to gauge your strength before he willingly gives you the gem, the latter is a textbook evil queen who won't give up her gem peacefully.
  • King of Fighters has 'K and Kula Diamond, whose styles are similar, yet, they use fire and ice respectively. While not his enemy, Kula was specifically designed to directly oppose 'K, and is even referred to as "The Anti-'K", in series.
  • In Mana Khemia 2 Fall of Alchemy
    • Somewhat indirectly we have Raze and Ulrika, who got their powers from the Light Mana and Dark Mana respectively. Indirect because while Raze is a truly Light 'em Up guy, Ulrika is more like Soul Power. The real Casting a Shadow person is Ulrika's best friend, Chloe, who doesn't have much interaction with Raze otherwise.
    • There is also some sort of rivalry between Whim and Yun, being a Water Mana and Fire Mana respectively.
    • Not explicitly, but in Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis we have Vayne and Roxis. Roxis, pacted to the Mana of Light, has a lot of light-based moves. Meanwhile, many of Vayne's attacks have creepy blades and eyes that would indicate his element would be darkness. However, Light and Darkness aren't actual elements in battles.
  • In Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice, Main Character Mao is able to learn Ice magic naturally, while his Childhood Friend and rival Raspberyl excels in Fire magic.
  • In Touhou, we have Kaguya Houraisan representing the Moon and Fujiwara no Mokou representing Sun. While Kaguya's actual powers don't have much to do with the Moon, she is a Lunarian. Mokou meanwhile has a lot of The Phoenix theme going on.

Western Animation
  • In Adventure Time Flame Princess ( fire elemental ) sees Finn crying over her. She thinks he's a water elemental because he "releases water," which is why they can't get along.
Community Feedback Replies: 39
  • February 26, 2012
    randomsurfer
    There's a ykttw going now for Fire user vs. Ice user, so I guess this would be a supertrope to that.
  • February 26, 2012
    Ryuuma
    Yes, this could easily include the above-mentioned, as is much more vast and ample.
  • March 2, 2012
    chicagomel
    • A basic element of Pokemon. There are fire types, water types,grass types, ect (14 I think in total) and most have a weakness to at least one of the other types. A dual type may have multiple.
  • March 2, 2012
    Damr1990
  • March 3, 2012
    SteamGoth
    A more specific and literal Pokemon example: in the start of the games, the rival will always take the starter with a type advantage over the player.
  • March 3, 2012
    Ryuuma
    ^ This one is good, but the other one about Pokemon is not. You should just point out some pokemon who are rivals and have opposite elements. If memory serves me right, Moltres and Articuno could be one example.
  • March 5, 2012
    Cider
    Pokemon and opposing "elements".

    • Darkrai(dark), Cressilia(psychic)
    • Groudon(Ground), Kyogre(Water)
    • Dialga(Time), Palkia(Space)
    • Flygon(ground), Salamence(Flying) but the last one is more about the people who play as them, What can Flygon do ...that Salamence can't?

    • Killer 7 has a guy with the power of death and another with the power of life.
    • Namor the Submariner(water) and the original Human Torch(fire)
      • Also within the Fantastic Four, Human Torch and The Thing.
    • X-men has Surge(electricity) and Dust(Sand), more philosophical rivals who(usually) don't get in physical fights
    • Power Rangers has the Wind Ninja Academy and the Thunder Ninja Clan.
    • Since they supply the three magics that make up the Elemental Rock Paper Scissors, the rival "gods" of Strength, Knowledge and Insanity from Eternal Darkness probably count.
    • Some text state the Behemoth(land) and the Leviathan(sea) are enemies.

    I think this one should just take all the fire user vs ice user examples
  • March 5, 2012
    Catbert
    I'm copypasting this from the fire user vs ice user. Some of them need to be rewritten a bit to improve quality.

    Examples

    • The Year Without A Santa Claus - Heat Miser and Snow Miser.
    • One of the very earliest instances of Lets You And Him Fight, if not the Ur Example, was the original Human Torch vs Namor the Sub Mariner. Granted, Namor isn't ice, but he is water - very cold water.
    • The cartoon series Spiderman and his Amazing Friends, his friends were Firestar and Iceman, subverting the tropes in that they were friends fighting as a team.
    • In the NESTS Chronicles of The King of Fighters, when K' defected from the NESTS cartel, they altered Kyo Kusanagi's DNA and implanted it into a young girl named Kula Diamond. Whereas K' wields fire, Kula has control over ice Although she was originally the antagonistic foil of K' in order to help flesh him out, after K' saved her and a wounder Foxy from K9999 and Angel in KOF 2001, Kula & co. joined K'.
    • The X-Men films had Iceman v Pyro. They start out as school/teammates, but then Pyro joins Team Magneto and goes all villainy.
    • Justice League has best friends Fire and Ice.
    • Batman And The Outsiders subverted the trope with a husband-wife team who were supervillains only because they hoped to finance a cure for their heat and cold powers.
    • Katara (being a waterbender, thus being able to form ice) and Zuko (being a firebender) from Avatar The Last Airbender have this kind of rivalry after Zuko heel-face-turns and joins the gaang. Azula might also serve as a sort of evil Katara counterpart.
    • In Darker Than Black, November 11, An Ice Person goes up against Maki, whose power is Stuff Blowing Up.
    • Burn and the Big Bad Keith in Psychic Force (the later wants to recruit the former into his organisation, the former wants to talk the later into chilling out a little). At the end of the former's story mode he even lampshades it by musing this trope might be a case of Because Destiny Says So.
    • Scorpion and Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat. Would this troper be out of line in calling them the Trope Codifier?
      • @Kutulu I would say no, because Fire and Ice are usually treated as an even match in fiction. (Fire melts ice, melted ice puts out fire)
    • The two villains from Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, IIRC
    • Mega Man ZX: Prometheus and Pandora have fire and ice attacks respectively (though the latter also has lightning attacks).
    • So, verse and prose, they came together. No ice and flame, no stormy weather and granite, were so far apart. Eugene Onegin much, maybe can be somehow modified into a page quote?
    • The first bad future in Heroes had Peter with Fire going up against Sylar with Ice.
    • Subverted in Pok√ɬ©mon. Fire is super-effective against Ice, but Ice is not-very-effective against Fire (except in Generation I, where it's normal-effective.) That being said, there are plenty of other things Ice is strong against.
      • Done well in the anime, though. Ash's Charizard against Noland's Articuno in the Battle Frontier arc is a fair battle despite the typing, due to Articuno's ridiculous stats and access to Water attacks, which are super-effective on Charizard. (Also, Ice attacks hit Charizard for normal damage as it is a dual-typed Fire/Flying.)
    • Natsu (fire) and Gray (ice) in Fairy Tail; Lucy even lampshades it.
    • Most Toa teams in Bionicle have a Toa of Fire as The Hero and a Toa of Ice as The Lancer, typically having a Red Oni Blue Oni dynamic. Tahu and Kopaka are the most prominent example, although they're both just as likely to start arguing with Gali, the Toa of Water, as they are with each other.
  • March 5, 2012
    Cider
    You could probably steel a few of the more "literal" examples from Order Versus Chaos too, though that page is not strictly about "elements", some examples treat them as such.
  • May 5, 2012
    Ryuuma
    Ordered. Any more examples or advice?
  • May 5, 2012
    MiinU

    Anime

    • El Hazard: The Wanderers does this with Shayla Shayla and Afura Mann: the priestesses of fire and wind respectively. There's an entire episode that chronicles their rivalry from their first meeting, at the royal priestess academy, up to the present day. Shayla narrates the first half, which ends with their first battle. While Afura covers the latter, which concludes with their rematch before graduation. The outcome is never seen, either time. And since both are unreliable narrators, the viewer has to decide for themselves how it ended.
  • May 5, 2012
    Koveras
    • According to the lore of The Elder Scrolls series, Flame Atronachs and Frost Atronachs are locked in a state of permanent warfare against each other all across the Oblivion planes. It takes the influence of a Daedric Prince like Mehrunes Dagon to make them stop fighting each other even temporarily.
  • May 30, 2012
    chicagomel
    The latest Pokemon one is Reshiram (light) and Zekrom (dark). I think Tornadus and Landorus are opposites, but I can't be sure on that one.
  • December 9, 2012
    Onitatsu
    BUMP.
  • December 14, 2012
    Onitatsu
    Bump.
  • December 14, 2012
    Cider
    In addition to the (philosophical) rivalry between Dust and Surge, X-men also had romantic rivals Iceman and Havok.
  • December 14, 2012
    StarSword
    Tabletop Games:
    • The four Elemental Lords of the Forgotten Realms setting each hate the one that embodies their opposite element. Akadi the Lady of Air battles Grumbar the Earthlord, and Kossuth the Firelord duels Istishia the Water Lord.
  • December 14, 2012
    Cider
    Oh, Reshiram and Zekrom are a Fire vs Electric rivalry. They are also a Yin vs Yang.

    Are you going to start adding these examples to the list or are you waiting for the launch to do that? I already put on the Bionicle example but only that only since I started to think you may not want them added, for whatever reason.
  • December 15, 2012
    Onitatsu
    ^ I'm just very lazy, so I tend to wait for the examples to gather, and then add them. You're free to add them yourself if you wish so. However I'm not sure about Reshira, bs Zekron, as normally Fire and Electricity aren't commonly seen as rivaling elements (Fire is usually opposed to water, ice or wind).
  • December 15, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Pokemon doesn't really have rival "elements" on a gameplay level. Characterwise, Rehisram and Zekrom are rivals (yin-yang stile), and I remember that in Pokemon Emerald Teams Magma and Aqua were rivals.
  • December 15, 2012
    MiinU
    The OP missed the El Hazard example.
  • December 15, 2012
    acrobox

    Also more generally Lunacy and Power Of The Sun are often paired.

  • December 15, 2012
    mightymewtron
    In Adventure Time Flame Princess ( fire elements ) sees Finn crying over her. She thinks he's a water elemental because he "releases water," which is why they can't get along.
  • December 21, 2012
    Onitatsu
    ^^^ Even if Zekron and Reshiram have a yin-yang rivalry, this is alone is only half of the requirement. To fulfill this trope, the guys have to:
    • Being "rivals", both opponents or friendly rivals.
    • Having elemental powers/being associated with elements that are almost always seen as opposite.

    Since Electricity/Thunder/Lightning isn't really an opposite of Fire, this doesn't count.
  • December 21, 2012
    MiinU
    ^@Onitatsu - Then how does the Avatar example count, since Aang and Toph weren't even rivals, since they were never competing with each other in anything?? And while Katara was at odds with Zuko and Azula, at different points, there wasn't any sort of rivalry going on. They were enemies, plain and simple.

    Usually, when there's a rivalry of any sort, either the characters themselves, or an outside observer will acknowledge it as such; even if the characters in question are enemies.

    At no point does Aang consider Toph his rival, she was his earthbending master first, who eventually became his friend. Katara never saw Zuko or Azula as her rivals either. As far as she was concerned, they (and the Fire Nation as a whole) were the enemy. Things changed between her and Zuko, but there was never any rivalry. So the Avatar example should be deleted.
  • December 22, 2012
    Chabal2
    • Warhammer and Warhammer 40 K: The four Chaos Gods are opposed two by two, as they are essentially the sum of one emotion felt by sentient creatures. Khorne (rage) is opposed to Slaanesh (desire) and Tzeentch (hope) is opposed to Nurgle (fear of death).
    • Dark Dawn: Two gems that give you the power to evaporate water or turn it to ice are held by the Sand Prince and the Frost Queen. The former is a Worthy Opponent who battles you to gauge your strength before he willingly gives you the gem, the latter is a textbook evil queen who won't give up her gem peacefully.
  • December 23, 2012
    Onitatsu
    ^^ I'll be honest with you: considering that I don't give a dried lamprey tail about that series, I never bothered to check out and I trusted the word of whoever proposed the example, believing that he knew what he was talking about. Apparently I was wrong. Anyway, so if Aang and Toph aren't rivals, then I'll remove them. Happy now? Can you sleep better?

  • December 23, 2012
    MiinU
    ^@Onitatsu - Isn't the idea to make certain each example is factual and fits the trope, before adding it to the OP?

    If someone submits an example from a work, and someone else points out that the information in the example is either incorrect, or that the example doesn't fit the trope, isn't better that they tell you so it can be corrected before the YKTTW is launched?

    So why the rudeness?

    I was simply pointing out that the example didn't fit, according to the criteria you set, and because whoever submitted it didn't have their facts straight.
  • December 23, 2012
    Onitatsu
    ^ That wasn't being rude. Yet. And, 1) I'm lazy.

    2) I assume that those who suggest the examples like the work they're talking about, so should know enough about it and see wether their example actually fit the trope. For example, in the ykttw page I only suggest examples related to works that I like hence I'm familiar with.

    On a second thought, yes, sorry, I was too harsh in my answer. Is just that I don't like that series, so I didn't care for it much. I'll try to correct this behaviour in the future.
  • December 23, 2012
    MiinU
    ^@Onitatsu - It's cool, and I apologize for getting defensive.
  • December 23, 2012
    Onitatsu
    ^ Good then... seriously, there're really no examples of this in Avatar? since is all about elemental powers, I thought that at least one pair should be there...
  • December 23, 2012
    Onitatsu
    ^@Onitatsu - The only one that exists is between Zuko and Azula, but they're both firebenders. Plus, that's more a case of sibling rivalry/sibling yin yang, so it still wouldn't count.

    But, now that I think about it....

    Video games

  • December 25, 2012
    Onitatsu
    ^ That would do.
  • January 3, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    • In Mana Khemia 2 Fall of Alchemy
      • Somewhat indirectly we have Raze and Ulrika, who got their powers from the Light Mana and Dark Mana respectively. Indirect because while Raze is a truly Light Em Up guy, Ulrika is more like Soul Power. The real Casting A Shadow person is Ulrika's best friend, Chloe, who doesn't have much interaction with Raze otherwise.
      • There is also some sort of rivalry between Whim and Yun, being a Water Mana and Fire Mana respectively.
    • In Touhou, we have Kaguya Houraisan representing the Moon and Fujiwara no Mokou representing Sun. While Kaguya's actual powers don't have much to do with the Moon, she is a Lunarian. Mokou meanwhile has a lot of The Phoenix theme going on.
  • February 16, 2013
    TrueShadow1
  • May 16, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    Compare this YKTTW which could be a fire and water/ice based subtrope. Also can I launch this page and add the relevant examples to the YKTTW I linked?

    Also I added the examples from the above comment.
  • May 16, 2013
    ChrisX
    One more example before we go:
    • Rin Natsuki/Cure Rouge and Karen Minazuki/Cure Aqua from Yes Pretty Cure 5. The former uses fire elemental who is designated as the Cure of Passion. The latter uses water elemental who is designated as the Cure of Intelligence. These two characters early on are depicted as rivals that couldn't get along most of the time and hate being one-upped by the other. However, over the first season, they came to an understanding, and the rivalry became less severe.
  • May 16, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ I added your example. Though I'm still waiting for Onitatsu to say I can launch it. (Or to launch it himself) And also so that I can add this and several other examples to the YKTTW link in my last post.
  • May 17, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    Since Onitatsu hasn't been active for more than three months, you can launch this one yourself

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=gah9tl93dlb37mkm8kk5o39f