Plot arc consisting of the character in direct competition with other characters in a generally organized fashion rather than a "fight of the week" situation. The ''fighting'' can be whatever relevant competition exists for the show, whether it be martial arts or [[CookingDuel bread making]]. It can even be TheTourney, the original tournament. If the tournament sponsors are up to something sinister then this is NotJustATournament.

From a broadcaster's point of view, tournaments are extremely useful as filler to avoid catching up to the [[OvertookTheManga source material]] and can be used to give CharacterDevelopment to otherwise [[CantCatchUp underused characters]]. They can also allow a writer to introduce a [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters substantial number of new characters]] very quickly, some of which potentially may become regulars if they gain a sufficient fandom. Another benefit is that it can be used to showcase otherwise impossible fights (such as ones between two members of the same team).

However, because they are easy to make filler with tournament arcs can get stretched dangerously long for quite arbitrary reasons. If other plot-points are put on hold too long or too much in favor of tournaments it could upset the show's pacing and alienate what attracted people to the story in the first place. Also, when used as filler it tends to get the butt-end of the budget, and tourney episodes will suffer from really obvious camera tricks and costcutting in an attempt at balance along with its time stretching. Usually not the case in a manga though, as the reader still enjoys incredibly detailed and attractive fight scenes and character development.

Tournaments are almost always single-elimination; the characters will not face the same opponent more than once. Proper seeding will be entirely ignored, and yet even so the hero will always find himself facing tougher and tougher opponents every round. His final opponent will probably be TheRival or a BigBad (Possibly even the tournament sponsor himself after his plan is revealed) or his [[TheDragon Dragon]] (in case the work is in the fantasy genre, it might even be an actual one, perhaps even in both senses of the word). Sometimes, other characters will get ADayInTheLimelight to focus on their fights. Often this will be an ally of the main protagonist but it may also be TheRival or a sympathetic AntiVillain.

If the hero is the only focus of the TournamentArc he will often be distinguished by his unwillingness to seriously hurt his opponent or violate FlexibleTourneyRules, and sympathy for his opponent's situation no matter how violent or nasty they may seem to be. The hero's final opponent, on the other hand, may actually kill opponents, often "by accident", even if the tournament is not supposed to be to the death. On the other hand, it may be an anything-goes, {{Bloodsport}} type of deal, and the hero may be a CombatPragmatist who kills if it improves the odds of him living.

If the tournament is a sub-plot in a video game and not the focus of the story it is the InevitableTournament.

See also RescueArc, WarArc, NotJustATournament. Compare TheBigRace.

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
%%* The entire plot of ''Anime/KidouTenshiAngelicLayer'' revolves around such a competition.
* The various Tenkaichi Budokai tournaments in ''Manga/DragonBall''. Note that despite being a literal Tournament Arc, the Budokais fit almost nothing else in the description on this page, except the Other World Tournament. Then there's the tournament that Cell organizes, along with the various World Martial Arts tournaments that take place in both the first Dragonball and Dragonball Z. The various Strongest Under Heaven tournaments are one of the (if not the) earliest examples of this trope, with the difference being that in this case they were built directly into the storyline and in fact were the main focus for a long time. It fits the whole theme of the characters constantly trying to become stronger, and the story actually ends in the middle of a new Strongest Under the Heaven where the main characters kids and grandkids get to fight.
* The Dark Tournament from ''Manga/YuYuHakusho''. Also an early short arc that determined who would get to train with Genkai, and managed to ignite Kuwabara's powers, and the final tournament to decide who would rule the demon world (''heavily'' abbreviated in the manga). The anime version of this final tournament subverts the usual formula. [[spoiler:The main characters and villains aren't placed on opposite sides of the bracket and end up facing each other in the quarter finals. The main villain defeats the main character, but expends so much energy doing so that he loses to some no-name in the next round, allowing a minor character to come from behind to take the win.]] This tendency was {{Lampshaded}} in YuYuHakushoAbridged by Koenma.
-->'''Koenma:''' Tournaments like this don't happen every three sagas.
-->'''George:''' But sir-
-->'''Koenma:''' Nope, tournaments like this are rare indeed.
* ''Anime/RevolutionaryGirlUtena'' bases most of its 39-episode plotline around a single grand tournament with three distinct phases or sub-tournaments. It was less formally-structured than usual, so the show's first ReCap episode is used to organize them explicitly to the audience.
* ''Manga/FairyTail'' has the S-Class Trial and the Grand Mage Games.
* ''Manga/DragonHalf'' uses an at-times slapstick tournament as an opportunity for Mink to meet her idol, Dick Saucer.
* About half of the ''Anime/YuGiOh'' arcs: Duelist Kingdom, Battle City, Battle City Finals, KC Grand Prix. The main parts of Duelist Kingdom and Battle City, despite being technically set at tournaments, were really more unorganized fight-of-the-week events by the nature of the rules, rather than being bracketed tournaments.
** The sequel ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'' didn't pick up this trope until its second season, despite that said tournament was named after the series.
** ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds'' has its first and last major arcs as tournament arcs: the Fortune Cup and the World Riding Grand Prix.
** ''Anime/YuGiOhZexal'' has the World Duel Carnival.
** ''WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries'' follows suit as well.
* The Shaman Fight in ''Manga/ShamanKing'', to determine who will get to channel God (basically).
* ''Anime/MobileFighterGGundam'' revolved around a fighting tournament with giant robots where the winner's nation was awarded political control of the Earth.
* The various ''Franchise/StreetFighter'' series, based off the video games of the same name, revolved around several street-fighting tournaments and the shadowy figures of good and evil involved.
* The Pro Exam in ''Manga/HikaruNoGo''.
* ''Manga/NanatsuNoTaizai'' Meliodas, Ban, King and other characters participate in a tournament to regain Diane's weapon.
* The chuunin examination arc of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' was a formal TournamentArc [[spoiler:that is actually cut short]].
* The Hunter Exam and the Heaven's Arena arcs from ''Manga/HunterXHunter''. However, the final stage of this exam is a subversion of the more typical TournamentArc is several ways: the winners don't advance to see who is the only one to pass, the ''losers'' advance to see who is the only one who doesn't, you can't just beat up or kill your opponent, you have to convince/coerce/force them to surrender without killing them (or you're disqualified and everyone else passes), and [[spoiler:it's ended only five matches through when Killua kills one of the other contests.]]
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' basically revolves around the protagonist trying to earn the right to enter a region's championship tournament with the actual tournament capping the StoryArc. Later with the introduction of a new type of competition called Pokémon Contests, the female protagonist has her own separate quest that leads up to a separate tournament. The tournament arcs, ironically, are extremely short when compared to similar shonen storylines, going for as little as six episodes. Considering that other anime have tournaments as side stories that can drag on for 20 episodes or more, one has to wonder why ''Pokémon'' limits the point of its show to only six episodes per every three years. There's also Hearthome Tag Battle tournament during the Sinnoh saga and the Club Battle and Junior Cup tournaments during the Unova saga.
* Roughly two-thirds of the entirety of ''Anime/{{Beyblade}}'' is one giant TournamentArc. The second season was largely devoid of it, but the last few episodes returned to that format.
* The Fall Tournament in ''Manga/{{Eyeshield 21}}'', which makes up the bulk of the plot, actually making most things ''not'' in the TournamentArc to be filler. And before that, of course, was the Spring Tournament, where the Devil Bats only played two games before losing. The White Knights, the Gunmen, and the Nagas were still introduced in this tournament, and the loss played a very important part to Sena.
* The latter portion of ''Manga/FlameOfRecca'' is a tournament arc.
* Nearly two-thirds of ''Manga/{{MAR}}'' is focused on a twisted version of this. After terrorizing most of the planet MÄR, the evil Chess Piece group organizes a War Game where the remaining good guys may team up and fight their most skilled members from each rank. To the higher-ranking members of the Chess, it's nothing more than entertainment, until [[spoiler: Ginta defeats their team captain, Phantom, in the final battle of said War Games. They've apparently let the protagonists grow in strength, and it ends up biting them back in the ass, ''big time''.]]
* Soon after it started, ''Last Order'', the OddlyNamedSequel of ''Manga/BattleAngelAlita'', became a TournamentArc that's still ongoing.
* While not so much an "arc" as a "two-parter", ''Manga/HayateTheCombatButler'' has one of these. As you can probably guess, it was a BattleButler tournament, which was just as silly as it sounds. Klaus and [[TalkingAnimal Tama]] don a PaperThinDisguise, only to lose when Hayate catches Klaus' necktie (removing a butler's necktie means defeat), after Klaus [[ClothingDamage shows off his power]].
* The ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' manga has the Mahora Budokai tournament during the school festival super-arc. It's basically the point at which the [[GenreShift genre balance tips]] from HaremComedy to [[{{Shounen}} shounen action]], and also manages to finally kick off the previously stagnant MythArc. (Fun fact: The author determined the initial matchups for it by rolling dice; this explains how some of the first round matches are where the quarter-finals or semi-finals fight would be in other series. Namely who Negi fights in the first round.)
** There's another tournament later on [[spoiler:during the Magic World arc]], though few of the matches are shown in any detail. [[spoiler:Until the final battle against Jack Rakan.]]
** Averted during the sports festival. Despite coverage of the contests being the main attraction, Kotarou thinks they are so powerful at this point that they should sit on their hands and let someone else have a chance for a change.
* The Deadmen in ''Manga/DeadmanWonderland'' hold deathmatches called Carnival Corpse for the amusement of bettors and to keep themselves occupied. While not a StoryArc ''per say'', they're very important to the plot.
* ''Manga/BoboboboBobobo'' has a tournament arc, but it's just as crazy and silly as the rest of the series, including the fight against [[OneWingedAngel Sambaman]]. It ends up getting interrupted after only a few battles, though, due to the new BigBad launching their assault.
* Dakki springs one on the heroes near the end of the ''Manga/HoushinEngi'' manga, pitting them in one-on-one matches against some super-powered demons.
* ''Manga/PrinceOfTennis'' is basically a huge tournament.
* ''Manga/AttackNumberOne'' (volleyball)
* ''LightNovel/KinosJourney'' has a two-episode tournament storyline about halfway through in which Kino unknowingly travels to a country that forces newcomers to participate in a series of battles: whether they win or lose, travelers either become permanent citizens of the country (and, unbelievably, make up a new law of their choice) or lowly slaves. While an excellent fighter (who is matched only by Shizu, her sword-wielding male counterpart), Kino doesn't seem entirely too pleased by how the tournament works.
* All sports and games anime, such as the aforementioned ''Manga/PrinceOfTennis'' and ''Manga/HikaruNoGo'', tend to rely on a tournament structure. Given that this is the way *real* sports are organized, this is unsurprising. Most such anime does not suffer from the negative effects often attributed to a Tournament Arc.
* ''Anime/KujibikiUnbalance'' has the Kujibiki tournament to determine the next student council.
* ''Manga/YakitateJapan'' is literally one TournamentArc after another. On the other hand, besides {{Cooking Duel}}s, you can't do that much with bread.
* Initially played straight with the Shogun Tournament in ''Manga/SamuraiDeeperKyo'', but then subverted when it gets to be Kyo's turn and he decides to hell with the one-on-one setup, he'd rather fight everyone at once. [[spoiler: He does, and then wins. End of tournament.]]
* ''Manga/SaintSeiya'':
** The series kicked off with the Galaxian Wars, a tournament sponsored by the Kido Foundation, in which fighters from across the globe battled for the right to earn the legendary [[PlotCoupon Gold Cloth]]. In reality, this tournament was part of [[TheChessmaster Mitsumasa Kido]]'s plot to create [[TrueCompanions a new generation of Bronze Saints]] loyal to Athena, and have the strongest among them inherit the Sagittarius Cloth he had been entrusted with. It kind of went straight to hell when [[FaceHeelTurn Phoenix Saint Ikki]] stole the Cloth for his own motives, its origins and purpose were explained, and the tournament was never finished.
** There was also another tournament that was wrapping up at the start of the series, where Seiya was fighting to just earn the right to be a Saint in the first place. We only see the final match.
** And there's another tournament in ''Anime/SaintSeiyaOmega''. Following the classic's spirit, it went to hell before the finals even began.
* ''Manga/UltimateMopDaisukeDX''
* Near the end of ''Anime/{{Planetes}}'', [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Hachimaki]] goes through a series of tournament style tests, in order to join the first mission to Jupiter on the new fusion powered ship, Von Braun. [[spoiler:He becomes [[MillionToOneChance one of the 18 finalists out of some 20,000 people]], and sets out for Jupiter during the conclusion along with his [[LikeFatherLikeSon dad]].]]
* ''Manga/KenichiTheMightiestDisciple'' has the Desperate Fight of the Disciples tournament. Of course, his masters destroy the infrastructure of the entire thing.
* ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'' uses a variation of the typical tournament to determine the rightful successor to the title of boss of the Vongola crime family. The two candidates vying for the throne each gather an inner circle of six underlings, and gives them each half a ring. Each one of them then fights one match, against the person with the other half of their ring. Winner gets the complete ring. At the end of seven battles, the side with the most complete rings gets to be in charge.
* ''Anime/GhostSweeperMikami'' has one early on for the purpose of identifying the next crop of spiritualists fit to be deemed Ghost Sweepers. The main reason Mikami and Yokoshima get involved is that Shouryuuki needs someone to infiltrate the tournament and find Medusa's moles, lest she end up with agents inside the Ghost Sweeper community. As for secondary reasons, suffice to say that this is the beginning of Yokoshima's ''own'' spiritual powers manifesting and ramping up...
* ''Anime/MegaManNTWarrior'', the [[AnimeOfTheGame anime of]] ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork'', had the N1 Grand Prix netbattling tournament.
* ''Anime/SonicX'' has an [[AddedAlliterativeAppeal especially egregious example]] in its attempts to [[AnimeOfTheGame incorporate the storyline from Sonic Battle into the anime canon]]. Few actual action scenes were shown, [[TheScrappy Chris]] had idiotic "character development" and {{wangst}}, and the one fight scene that could pique the fans' interest, between Knuckles and Rouge, takes place under a tarp.
* The plot of the ''Anime/FutureGPXCyberFormula'' series revolves around the Cyber Formula Grand Prix, where they have the chance to be the world champion.
* ''Manga/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaViVid'' has the Dimensional Sports Activity Association's Inter-Middle Championship that Vivio, Einhart, Lutecia, Rio, and Corona join. In something of a twist on the usual formula, all of them get defeated before even reaching the City Finals, since, after all, they're still rookies and going up against opponents with years more training and experience. Einhart in particular gets the truly nasty luck to meet the returning, undefeated champion Sieglinde Jeremiah in her fourth match of the elite class, which goes [[CurbStompBattle about as you would expect]] such a matchup to go. Also, Rio is the only one of the other three who fought against a tournament veteran and one of the favorite participants, Harry Tribeca, so Rio ended up losing in the third match. Corona lost in the third match against Einhart (well, she ''is'' more experienced than her). However, Vivio, our HandicappedBadass CloneJesus and the daughter of the original heroines Nanoha and Fate, ended up losing against the underdog newcomer Miura Rinaldi in the third match, who also defeated another favorite tournament veteran Micaiah Chevelle in the first match. While at least five participants (including Vivio, Einhart and Sieglinde) have ancestral connections to the Ancient Belkan Era, Miura hasn't shown to have something like that, she even started to learn Striker Arts ''after'' Vivio. Miura just happens to be one of the most talented disciples of the Wolkenritter. As a whole, the entire season is a big TournamentArc, that makes the lost of the main characters even more shocking. And it's still going on.
* The entire ''Manga/TheLawOfUeki'' anime is a tournament arc, wherein candidates to become God bestow powers upon High School students and have them fight in order to determinet he next god.
* ''Manga/GrapplerBaki'' has the Maximum Tournament, that it's not about who is the strongest. At most, it's kinda about who is the strongest after Hanma Yuujiro. Out of the tournament, the Underground Arena is also used for other arranged fights. There's also the Raitai arc, the Chinese tournament to choice their next Grand Kaioh.
* ''QueensBlade'' introduces the characters in "fight of the week" fashion in the first season. The TournamentArc ''is'' the premise, and takes up the second season.
* ''Manga/{{Kinnikuman}}'' has had multiple tournament arcs, the first being the 20th Choujin Olympics. Then there was the American Tag Tournament, the 21st Choujin Olympics, the Dream Tag tournament, and finally the Scramble for the Throne survivor series. Being a wrestling spoof and one of the two trope-making examples of the {{Shonen}} FightingSeries, this isn't too surprising.
* ''Manga/{{Kurogane 2011}}'' being a [[GamingAndSportsAnimeAndManga sports manga]] usually features these although so far they normally breeze through tournaments save one particular match due to losing that match or via OffscreenMomentOfAwesome {{Montages}}..
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', we have 'Davy Fight Back' arc, which unfortunately, was completely set up in the villains' favor. However, the heroes still won.
** The Dressrosa arc becomes one of these as Luffy enters a tournament to win [[spoiler:his deceased brother's former Devil Fruit]].
* Deconstructed at ''Manga/MutekiKanbanMusume'': at last year's District Sumo Contest ArrogantKungFuGuy Miki won [[CurbStompBattle leaving fifty people wounded, including a professional wrestler]], with [[ATwinkleInTheSky one still missing]]. This year they simply change it to a non-violent competition.
* In ''Anime/JewelpetTwinkle'', the main characters work their way to being elligible to participate in the Jewel Star Grand Prix, the winner of which is granted three wishes. Said competition starts in episode 42 and lasts until the end, with matches taking on such forms as handball, needlework, etc. The last few matches are full-blown fights, however, with the last one putting the world in jeopardy.
* In ''Manga/{{Subaru}}'', the tournament arc involves preparation for and participation in [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prix_de_Lausanne Prix de Lausanne]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:{{Comic Books}}]]
* One arc of MarvelComics' ''ComicBook/ImmortalIronFist'' center around a contest between the Seven Cities Of Heaven and their "immortal weapons" (the individual weapons, such as Iron Fist, Fat Cobra, and the Prince Of Orphans are not immortal, but the position is). They don't compete for the prize; they compete not to lose, each city only appearing on Earth once every ten years...while the loser of the tournament's city can only appear once every fifty. [[spoiler: The tournament ends up being played very differently than you might expect- starting with TheHero ''losing'' in the first round, and to a completely new character rather than his rival Davos.]]
* The basic structure of the first arc of ''ComicBook/WizardsOfMickey'' with the second arc being Mickey's fights against the Blot after winning the tourney.
* MarvelComics did this twice with its "Contest of Champions" miniseries. DC had "Arena". The "Marvel vs. DC" crossover could also count as a tournament arc.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fanfiction]]
* The Camoa Cup in ''FanFic/TheTaintedGrimoire'', with the twist that Clan Gully faces [[{{Jerkass}} Acidwire]] during the first round after the preliminaries have finished. Also much shorter then expected.
* This is the SpinOff series of ''FanFic/SpyroTheDragonTheGrandDragonGames''.
* The last chapters from the first part of the CrackFic ''Fanfic/MaxWolfRevolutions'' involves the main character being part of some sort of a wizard tournament.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:{{Literature}}]]
* In the ''ASongOfIceAndFire'' {{prequel}} ''The Hedge Knight'', the plot revolves around an old-fashioned knightley tourney, until the GenreShift comes to play. In the main series, the Hand's tourney, while not a StoryArc, is used to introduce several important characters and the chivalric tradition of Westeros.
** Another story in the ''Dunk And Egg'' side series, ''The Mystery Knight'', also centers around a tournament.
* ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire''. Particularly noticeable in TheFilmOfTheBook, which cuts out most of the side plots.
* Shows up with regularity in the ''Literature/ApprenticeAdept'' series. Games of skill, strength, and chance are used to decide serious matters rather than forcing the issue into bloodshed (though blood is also regularly shed).
* ''Literature/DeltoraQuest'' has the protagonists take part in a gladiatorial-style one of these when they're dead broke, in the belief that after everything they've fought their way through they can win the much-needed prize. Lief and Jasmine even talk about how to arrange who wins if they have to face each other. [[spoiler: Unfortunately the whole thing is a scam.]]
* The second book of the ''Literature/ToughMagic'' series, ''Trenus'', has a tournament arc for a while, and the third, ''Magithral'' is actually two tournaments one right after the other.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:{{Live-Action TV}}]]
* The choral competitions in ''Series/AllTheSmallThings''.
* The Show Choir Tournaments happening in every season of ''Series/{{Glee}}''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:{{New Media}}]]
* [[OriginalCharacterTournament Original Character Tournaments]] are made of this.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:{{Professional Wrestling}}]]
* Ironically, actual tournaments are somewhat rare in modern wrestling due to short audience attention spans. If and when it's obvious the tournament is going to lead to a showdown with TheRival in the end, it's considered better marketing to skip the tournament and just hype the showdown. Any time they vacate a title they have a championship tourney, with a new title holder crowned that night.
* Unusually, Wrestling/{{TNA}} is experimenting with this with their Bound for Glory series. Not an actual tournament, per se, but more like an actual league with points for wins and with matches on TV and at house shows counting towards each wrestler's standing. The eventual winner receives a title shot at the Bound for Glory Pay-Per-View. Additionally, TNA tried this before with their contendership ranking, though they made the mistake of allowing fan voting. Predictably, the IWC voted up Internet favourite Desmond Wolfe and others instead of the supposedly more popular wrestlers they were pushing at the time. Wrestling/KurtAngle, notably, pulled himself out of the rankings, declaring that he had not earned his place and vowed to defeat the entire top ten, one by one until he reached number one or he would retire making this a good example of this trope.
* Wrestling/{{CHIKARA}} annually has their [[http://www.wrestling-titles.com/us/pa/e/chikara/chikara-ylc.html Young Lions Cup]] Tournament, with the previous champion vacating the title, and their King of Trios Tournament.
* The King Of the Ring, originall held in June, was once one of the WWE's main pay per view events. It fizzled out after 2003.
* MUCH more common in Japan, where the original JWA once held the World Tag League, which eventually became the J-Cup/G1 Climax for NJPW and the Worlds Strongest Determination Tag League for AJPW, as well as several other minor ones.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:{{Roleplay}}]]
* ''Roleplay/YuGiOhEastAcademy'' has one right off the bat.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:{{Video Games}}]]
* Strangely out of place, but one does pop up in The Answer of ''{{Persona 3}}''. [[spoiler: Wherein Aigis and her sister proceed to beat the living crap out of the rest of the cast over a PlotCoupon.]]
* In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'', the RxW Smacktacular and Tokyo tournaments have you confront enemy summoners and/or demons. You have the option of sparing them or executing them on the spot when you win over them. [[spoiler: Sparing them won't please the crowd.]]
* ''KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' has this as an early sidequest on Taris.
* ''JadeEmpire'' has this as one of the possible paths you can take in the Imperial capital to attract the attention of the Lotus Assassins, formatted similarly to the [=KotOR=] example.
* Every mainline ''{{Street Fighter}}'' game is set in a tournament run the the final boss of the game. The original Street Fighter tournament was organised by Sagat, ''VideoGame/{{Street Fighter II}}'' by M.Bison, ''VideoGame/{{Street Fighter III}}'' by Gill, and Seth was running the show in VideoGame/{{Street Fighter IV}}.
* ''{{The King of Fighters}}'', in which almost ''every'' tournament is [[NotJustATournament run by somebody planning something shady]]. In '94, it was Rugal Bernstein and his desire to defeat powerful fighters (dipping them in liquid metal if they proved unable to beat him). In '95, Rugal was at it again as a ''cyborg''. '96 and 97 were the exceptions, both organized by Kagura Chizuru with the intent of finding warriors powerful enough to help her contain the Orochi threat...so of course that same threat interfered. In '96 it was Goenitz, and in '97 it was the remaining Heavenly Kings and Orochi itself, both times with humanity's continued existence at stake. In '99, 2000, and 2001 it was NESTS and its CEO Ignitz, who wanted to become a god. Later on in the ''Maximum Impact'' series, certain characters comment on how everybody hosting KOF is somebody with an axe to grind, and how it would be nice to fight in a tournament in which the fate of the world didn't hang in the balance every year.
* MortalKombat was once like this until [[VideoGame/MortalKombat3 3]], onwards.
* The first ''GuiltyGear'' game uses this.
* ALL of ''MegaManBattleNetwork 4''.
** Parts 3 and 6 have Tournaments of their own, but at least they didn't take up the whole game.
* Chapter 3 of ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'' involves fighting in a tournament while trying to find the Crystal Star.
** Chapter six of ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'' had another tournament arc, [[spoiler: then it gets subverted, less than a quarter of the way through the 100 fights you run out of time and the void [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt destroys the world, leaving an empty, white void.]] ]]
* Shows up in the second ''VideoGame/{{Fable|II}}'' game in the form of The Crucible.
* Ironically, outside of the real-life metagame, actual tournaments are only present twice in the ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' series: the Battle Dome in ''[[VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire Pokémon Emerald]]'' and the Pokémon World Tournament in ''Videogame/PokemonBlack2AndWhite2''.
* The first ''SummonNight'' Swordcraft Story game is set in a tournament arc.
* There's a very strange one in ''TheLegendOfSpyro: The Eternal Night'' in which Spyro is captured by pirates and forced to compete in tournaments for their entertainment. It serves no real purpose to the plot other than giving an excuse for Spyro to be lost and alone at the White Isle later, and yet [[TropesAreNotBad that's not necessarily a bad thing]], as the tournament and subsequent escape from the pirate fleet is one of the most excellent parts of the game.
* Football Frontier and Football Frontier International in ''VideoGame/InazumaEleven'', befitting a game about (magical) football. Holy Road in ''GO!''
* ''VideoGame/DanballSenki'' features several LBX tournament, most prominently Artemis.
* ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' features Colosso, a tournament that takes place annually in a town you pass through. [[InevitableTournament Obviously, you take part in it]].
** What makes Colosso unusual is that, while you are forced to partake, actually winning it is optional. If you lose, someone else is declared champion and the plot just moves on.
* Some of the games in the ''KingdomHearts'' series have battle tournaments. Usually, only a short tournament is required by the plot, but there are many more that open up throughout the game that the player can pause the plot to go partake.
* The Rites of Rulership are something like this in ''QuestForGloryV'', consisting of a competition between four claimants to the throne of Silmaria ([[spoiler: eventually whittled down to just the player character and [[RomanceSidequest Elsa von Spielberg]] when the other two competitors are murdered to further the goals of the BigBad]]). The player must investigate the assassination of the previous king and solve a number of other puzzles connected to both the Rites and other problems, such as the drugging attacks against the city's resident wizards.
** Played straighter with the arena, where the player character can watch fights or participate themselves. Strangely, each competitor in the arena, most of whom are conveniently ([[spoiler: or not, if they're killed during the Rites of Rulership as this can prevent 100% completion for the fighter]]) competitors in the Rites of Rulership, each take turns as "champion" of the arena for the week, and must fight each of the other competitors, rather than one character becoming champion and maintaining the title until defeated.
* ''KingdomsOfAmalurReckoning'' features the House of Valor faction, in which you join to participate in its annual gladiator tournament as team leader of the Crows, a team of fighters made up of the last surviving members of former teams that must fight with a severe handicap of only ever fielding two members in a fight (one of which must be you). In addition to the main storyline quests, you also have the option of participating in smaller fights against large groups of enemies, often with some sort of restriction like a time limit or not being allowed to get hit if you want to win.
* ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion'' has the Arena faction, which rather than having the plotlines of the other factions, consists of nothing more than a long string of fights (to the death, naturally) the player can participate in for gold, before finally facing off against Agronak gro-Malog, the "Grey Prince" and reigning Grand Champion for his title. After becoming Grand Champion, the regular fights cease, but the player has the option of continuing to fight in weekly exhibition matches against monsters scaled to the player's level. In addition to this, there's also Boethiah's Daedric Quest, which has the player participating in [[AmbiguousGender his/her]] "Tournament of Ten Bloods" where they must traverse a circular arena fighting nine other combatants, drawn from the game's playable races (with the player taking the tenth slot). The reward for winning Boethiah's tournament is his Daedric artifact, the enchanted katana Goldbrand, which is one of the strongest weapons in the game.
* In the [[MassivelyMultiplayerOnlineRolePlayingGame MMORPG]] ''Videogame/AuraKingdom'' the lvl. 30-40 area Catckara Forest acts as this. You help various dwarves to build or repair their personal robots for their annual robot fighting competition. After ensuring that the competition goes off without a hitch the quest giver Augustus gives you the honor of piloting his own robot. In the ensuing tournament you fight a [[WhenTreesAttack woodbeast]], a [[{{Golem}} stone golem]], a ''[[NinjaPirateZombieRobot giant robot T-rex]]'', and then the reigning champ.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'': There are 2 {{Breather Episode}}s disguised as these.
** First, the ''Festival of the Hunt'' in Lindblum, where monsters are let loose on the streets; whoever kills the most wins. A fun competition in between the tense action leaving Dali and the onset of CerebusSyndrome after leaving Lindblum for Burmecia, and an opportunity to receive a prize of your choice (win as Zidane for money, let Freya win for a useful Accessory).
** The second is at the beginning of Disc 3; [[WhamEpisode after the emotionally draining events of Disc 2's climax]], your whole party (sans Steiner and Dagger - who have to deal with Alexandria in the wake of [[spoiler:Brahne's death]]) takes a vacation in Treno, with Zidane partaking in a card-game tournament against players from all over the continent. Once again, winning nets you a useful accessory: the [[AutoRevive Rebirth Ring]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:{{Visual Novels}}]]
* ''FateStayNight''. The entire plot IS a tournament. However, while there are rules, and one person functions as a referee, no one actually follows the rules, including said referee, who's also participating. It's more of a free-for-all in practice.
%%** ''FateExtra'' plays it straight though.
* ''VisualNovel/MajiDeWatashiNiKoiShinasai'' has several tournaments, most notably in Tsubame's route. Paired team battle, where the 1st fighter to lose, loses for the whole team. The prize? A chance to fight Momoyo, who isn't participating, because that'd be unfair. But Yamato is! In Wanko's route, she also enters a tournament for the same purpose.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:{{Web Comics}}]]
* WebComic/HandCommand is a webcomic about a RockPaperScissors Tournament.
* The webcomic ''{{Achewood}}'' ran a TournamentArc about a competition called [[http://achewood.com/index.php?date=01252006 The Great Outdoor Fight]], which was not so much a tournament as a gigantic brawl. The competition's tagline was "3 Days, 3 Acres, 3,000 Men." A [[http://greatoutdoorfight.com/index.php/Main_Page wiki]] was created around the same time, which reports the rules and history of the Fight in ludicrously comprehensive detail.
-->'''Roast Beef''' (Talking about Ray's father, a previous Fight champion): [He] threw a beer through Carl Veldt's head... perfect spiral, scientists are still figuring it out... tore off Fancy Mark Clancy's entire middle... no one said it could be done...
* ''SluggyFreelance'' did this as part of its parody of ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire''.
%%* ''GoldCoinComics'' has an entire chapter that is pretty much based on a championship tournament.
* The whole Second Arc of ''{{Nectar of the Gods}}'' is one big [[SeriousBusiness bartending]] {{Tournament Arc}}, which in actuality is a big revealer of secrets to many character pasts.
* ''Webcomic/BroRangers'' is currently in a tournament arc which was admitted to be filler by the author from the get-go. Unlike a lot of big tournament arcs in other series, the tournament is just a regular old tournament, and holds no real significance to the plot besides character interaction and development.
* The central focus of ''Webcomic/PoppyOPossum''[='=]s second chapter is one of these, where Poppy gets to abuse her SuperStrength a little bit to work off some debts.
* ''WebComic/DragonBallMultiverse'': So far, the whole comic (excluding the special chapters).
%%* The entirety of ''Webcomic/MMBN7TheWorldTournament''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:{{Western Animation}}]]
* The second ''[[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003 Ninja Turtles]]'' series did this at the end of its second season with its "The Big Brawl" four-parter--one of the more concise examples of this trope.
* In the cartoon ''GarfieldAndFriends'', one of the episodes in the second season (entitled "Basket Brawl") featured the cast playing basketball with foods such as seven-layer cakes, each attempting to either eat the food (Garfield's goal) or to get it in the picnic basket (everyone else's goal). [[spoiler:Naturally, [[CurbStompBattle Garfield got all the food]].]]
[[/folder]]

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