Created By: Nits on April 6, 2008
Nuked

The Archenemy

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I searched with the most obvious words and was very surprised we don't seem to have this one.

An archenemy, archfoe or nemesis is one of the hero's enemies that has a special relationship with him. The Archenemy isn't necessarily the Big Bad, or The Rival, he can even be a Harmless Villain, but he can still be described as the hero's most important enemy. Among a Super Hero's Rogues Gallery, there's always one villain that is special, the fights against whom are more significant than the others, one that shares something with the hero. The feeling can be one-sided, too.

The Archenemy is often a Foil of some sort, probably most commonly an Evil Counterpart, to the hero. Tropes like Antagonist in Mourning, Enemy Mine, The Only One Allowed to Defeat You and Evil Versus Evil are common with The Archenemy.

Examples include:
  • Obviously, any Super Hero has one, such as
    • Lex Luthor is Superman's archenemy,
    • Doctor Doom is the Fantastic Four's archenemy,
    • Magneto is the X-Men's archenemy,
    • and Green Goblin is Spider-Man's archenemy.
  • Mojo Jojo is the archenemy of The Powerpuff Girls. He used to be the girls' father's, Professor Utonium's, pet monkey and was mutated in the same experiment in which the PPG were created. He came to loathe the girls for stealing away the attention of his "father" and is devoted to destroying them and then ruling the world.
  • The obligatory Soreike! Anpanman example (it's me writing, after all): Baikinman is Anpanman's archenemy, bent on defeating him because... he was born to fight Anpanman. They were even born exactly at the same time. Also one of the one-sided affairs, since Anpanman is equally nice to Baikinman as to everybody else, when he isn't trying to hurt someone.
  • In many long-running game franchises:
  • In Don Rosa's Duck comics, the Beagle Boys and more specifically their founder Blackheart Beagle seem to be Scrooge Mc Duck's archenemies.

...and so on, and so on. It'd be nice is the examples listed some characteristics of the relationship between the characters, at least in my opinion.

The Archenemy is a very clear name, but not inherently a Wiki Word, unless we write it Arch-Enemy. Any other suggestions for the name?
Community Feedback Replies: 39
  • April 6, 2008
    GermanTroper
    I think this is Big Bad
  • April 6, 2008
    Nits
    No it isn't. Bowser, for example, has not been the Big Bad in each Super Mario game, sometimes even fought alongside Mario. Mojo is hardly the Big Bad of the PPG, either, Him is much more dangerous than him.

    Also, the Big Bad doesn't necessarily have the special relationship with the hero that The Archenemy has, which is the defining feature of this trope.
  • April 6, 2008
    SchrodingersDuck
    Also, this covers more morally ambiguous situations. For example, neither Light nor L would be the Big Bad in Death Note, but both are each other's archenemy.
  • April 6, 2008
    VampireBuddha
    In Transformers, Megatron is Optimus Prime's archenemy.

    In The Dark Tower, Walter is Roland's archenemy, but not the Big Bad.
  • April 6, 2008
    {{Meta4}}
    How Did We Miss This One?

    Wikiwordability isn't the cardinal virtue it once was, but maybe we could have Arch Rival as a redirect?

  • April 6, 2008
    Nits
    Yes, I think we should go with the most obvious choice for a name. So is it The Archenemy or Arch Enemy?
  • April 7, 2008
    BlackDragon
    Personally, I like the term Arch Nemesis. It sounds much more sophisticated, don't you agree?
  • April 7, 2008
    fleb
    Seconded, Black Dragon.
  • April 7, 2008
    SonTenks
    Yeah, I prefer Nemesis. The -sis makes it sound more Latin.
  • April 7, 2008
    BlackDragon
    Actually, it's greek. Close, tho. ^_^;
  • April 7, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    Gotta mention the Monarch from Venture Brothers. He wants to be Doctor Venture's Archenemy, though frequently overshadowed.
  • April 7, 2008
    Nits
    Isn't Arch Nemesis redundant? Although I think it's a legitimate word. Works fine for me.
  • April 7, 2008
    Heliomance
    Possible page quote: Now it's time for me to tell you about Young Nastyman, archrival and nemesis to Wonderboy, with powers comparable to Wonderboy!
  • April 7, 2008
    Ghilz
    Actually, while long, i found the perfect page quote, from the Venture Bros.:

    Hank: What's your problem with our dad anyway?!

    The Monarch: (awkwardly) Well, I- he- he's my nemesis. My archenemy.

    Dean: I don't think pop thinks you're his archenemy.

    The Monarch: Come on, I'm sure the walls of the Venture Compound are practically caked with the lingering curses of the Monarch's name.

    Dean: Uhh, no. I've never even heard him mention you.

    Hank: Yeah, I always thought Baron √únderbheit was dad's arch-enemy.

    The Monarch: (astounded) √únderbheit!?! Why, that dime-store Doctor Doom isn't fit to -- just you wait til your father calls me back!!

    • Dr Wily and Megaman
    • Sigma and X in Megaman X
    • Cobra Commander to Duke and the GI Joe.

  • April 7, 2008
    EponymousKid
    Except Venture really does hate the Monarch by the end of season 2...
  • April 8, 2008
    Vampire Buddha
    I vote for Arch Nemesis.
  • April 8, 2008
    Sunder the Gold
    Arch Nemesis. Frequently subject to Chronic Villainy if he ever gets the chance or desire to go straight.
  • April 8, 2008
    Pteryx
  • April 8, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    Arch Nemesis
  • April 8, 2008
    TheWanderer
    The Archenemy or Arch Enemy

    Rene Belloq, the Evil Counterpart to Indiana Jones, is probably the closest thing he has to this.

    Vader is Luke Skywalker's. (Meanwhile Vader probably counted Obi Wan as his)
  • April 9, 2008
    Medinoc
    I vote Arch Nemesis.
  • April 9, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    "You go save the hostages, ___ is mine!" Or a similar phrase can often be heard in a team hero situation when the specific arch nemesis is running amok and the hero wants to deal with him "personally".

    It's important to stress that the arch nemesis does not have to be the "Big Bad" This trope is especially common in "My Kung Fu is Stronger then Yours" anime. It gives lesser heroes a chance to display heroics.

    This could easily branch into a new trope as well: "Dormant Arch Enemy". When a series starts you have never heard of this guy, but you know his work:

    -A traumatic and major event that happened to the hero, perhaps the defining moment of the hero is sometimes "ret conned" to include this new villian as the partial or inadvertant cause.

    -An incidental or minor character is "ret conned" to feel the far reaching effect of that heroic defining moment, the importance of the event often seems to add some weight to the villian or foil.

  • April 9, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    We never learn the details, but as per some kind of feud stretching to before the series, Dr. Quest and Dr. Zin seem to both hate and grudgingly respect one another's guts in Jonny Quest.

    ...now that I think of it, that sounds a lot like Worthy Opponent. No?
  • April 9, 2008
    BlackDragon
    If there is respect as well as enemity between the hero and the Arch Nemesis, then it's probably a Worthy Opponent. However, such respect is far from everpresent - quite frequently, there's nothing between the two but seething hatred... and maybe just a drop of Foe Yay. :p
  • April 9, 2008
    Nits
    I really don't like Arch Nemesis that much. I feel like it should be either "archenemy" or "nemesis", not a combination of both... But it is a real word. Though to people whose native tongue isn't English, Arch Enemy would be easier to understand than Arch Nemesis.
  • April 9, 2008
    Doug S. Machina
    I think it outght to be Arch Enemy or Nemesis. Arch Nemesis sounds redundant, like "Big EvilBad".

    Made fun of in this The Non-Adventures of Wonderella comic.
  • April 9, 2008
    fleb
    Oh yeah: Captain Hero on Drawn Together belatedly realized that the random homeless guy they ran over was "My... ARCH... NEMESIS!"

    I kind of like the redundancy in the title. It borders on snarking on the more over-the-top enmities that never get resolved yet stay completely serious business.
  • April 12, 2008
    Nits
    I could launch this as Arch Enemy with redirect from Arch Nemesis, if it's okay.
  • April 12, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    Arch Nemesis is much cooler. Just think of the Buffy quote: "-We're your arch nemesis-es. You may've beaten us this time, Slayer. But next time... Umm... next time... - Maybe not"
  • April 12, 2008
    Sir Psycho Sexy
    I don't care either way-m Arch Enemy or Arch Nemesis.
  • April 12, 2008
    concatenated
    • Real Life: Jesse Jackson was Martin Luther King, Jr's archenemy. See Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson by Kenneth R. Tinnerman.
  • April 12, 2008
    Zaratustra
    • The Sentry's archenemy is The Void, which is his own alternate personality. Complicated.
    • Hal Jordan and Sinestro.
    • Bart Simpson and Director Seymour Skinner, as explicitly described on one of the episodes.

  • April 12, 2008
    BobbyG
    Doctor Who: the Doctor and the Master.
  • April 12, 2008
    Otempora
    How could we forget Professor Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes?
  • April 14, 2008
    synesthesiademo
    In Spongebob Squarepants, Mr. Krabs and Plankton.
  • April 15, 2008
    Nits
    I'd go for simplicity over coolness... The redirect should keep others happy as well.

    I'll launch this this week once I have time.
  • April 16, 2008
    Pteryx
    What happened to this one?
  • April 16, 2008
    UnknownTroper
    I might be completely wrong here, but it is my impression of matters that the answer to your question is as follows: "Noone posted in it for 21 hours".
  • April 18, 2008
    Nits
    I'll launch this now, hopefully people will go and flesh out the examples a little.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=ivgwcyy9&trope=ArchEnemy