Elemental Rivalry
Rival/nemesis characters with contrasting elemental powers/association.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-02-26 03:22:45 sponsor: Ryuuma edited by: MorningStar1337 (last reply: 2013-05-17 07:17:57)

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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 Pokémon 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 Heel-Face 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.
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