"I gotcha back, you watch my front."
Think about your closest friends. If you know them well enough, you also know their strengths and weaknesses. You know how they think, how they react, how they tick. You trust them to know the same about you, too. You might even trust them enough to let them fix your car—but not drive it. Hell would freeze over before you let them drive it.
In action oriented stories, two characters who are friends will work with each other during combat. Often this will present the image of Back-to-Back Badasses
. If one person is big and the other short, the big guy will use brute strength and the short guy will use finesse
. Maybe the big guy will clasp hands with the short guy and fling him around as though he was a weapon.
Or the big guy will use the short guy as a projectile.
No matter what, they will fight in tandem. They will watch each other's back. There is something genuinely satisfying about watching the heroes take out a room full of bad guys by working together.
Characters who tend to do this are The Hero
and The Lancer
because they are foils
to each other and so their fighting style complements the other. Even a mismatched Action Duo
can be Bash Brothers with enough bonding/training.
It is not uncommon in certain stories to have two separate badasses
who come together, spend some time trying to kill each other only to eventually turn their skills onto the hapless enemy who happens to piss them both off.
If the "brothers" are actually related by blood
, it's a Sibling Team
. A combative inversion is Fearful Symmetry
. In a fantasy setting, they might be a Sword and Sorcerer
. Not to be confused with the Smash Brothers
who are, well, Super
. The romantic version is the Battle Couple
. And finally, a female duo may overlap with Lovely Angels
Compare Red Oni, Blue Oni
, Moveset Clone
, and Sword and Sorcerer
The name comes from the world of sports, where it refers to a pair of great players who end up on the same team. The first use of the term was in Baseball
, where Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire formed a dangerous duo for the late-1980s-early-1990s Oakland A's on account of their incredible (and, as it turned out, steroid-induced) power hitting. It has since spread to other players and sports.
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- Berserk has a few moments like this in later arcs, with Guts smashing headlong into the Monster of the Week while Serpico leaps around taking care of the Mooks.
- While they're not really close friends, one episode of Bleach had Chad and Uryu facing off against two foes. Originally, they were getting beat up hard. That is, until Uryu opted to switch opponents with Chad, seeing Chad's slow but strong style better on Uryu's opponent, and Uryu weak but fast style on Chad's.
- Before the advent of Rukia and The Call Knows Where You Live and Ichigo turning into this unstoppable level-grinding machine, Ichigo and Chad also went bully hunting like this. They agreed years ago that if it wasn't okay to get in fights on their own behalves (and being redheaded and half-Mexican, respectively, they're major targets) they would always fight to protect each other. It's very sweet. Chad has spent the last two hundred chapters trying to be strong enough to keep this promise again. No dice.
- Dragon Ball Z: Gohan and Krillin are the best of friends and greatest examples of bash brothers (though, ironically, Krillin is close friends with Gohan's father and is more of an extended uncle to Gohan). After the seven year time skip, the next generation of warriors Goten and Trunks are the newest set of bash brothers to the show.
- Goku and Piccolo became this in an Enemy Mine situation against both Garlic Jr. and later against Raditz.
- Burter and Jeice are implied to be this, being the only members of the Ginyu Force who fight together rather than one-on-one. Unfortunately for them, their only on-screen fight is against Goku, who's way out of their league.
- Goku and Vegeta play with this, but mostly in the movies and especially the Majin Buu saga.
- Frieza and Cell wound up forming one of these after their defeats, training together and teaming up on Goku when he gets trapped in Hell in GT (not that it helps them at all).
- In Gintama, this happens mostly during the serious episodes. Usually, Kagura and Shinpachi team up in the serious story arcs to deal with Mooks and the occasional Elite Mook.
- The Benizakura Arc has Gintoki and
Zura Katsura in a Back-to-Back Badasses moment, fighting against space pirates hired by Takasugi and then declaring war on Takasugi with the exact same words and in the exact same manner.
- Kira and Athrun from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED do this several times, coordinating their attacks and defenses to the point of near-telepathy.
- It helps that the Freedom and Justice are designed to work in tandem with each other, thus adding an extra layer to their status as this.
- From Harlem Beat, we have Naruse-Sawamura duo both in their streetball and highschool team.
- In Hunter × Hunter it was said that two members of the Genei Ryodan (Uvogin and Nobunaga Hazama) had this kind of relationship. They were at their strongest when they fought large groups of enemies together, though Uvogin would never admit it.
- In the second last episode of Kotetsushin Jeeg, both Hiroshi Shiba (the original Jeeg pilot) and Kenji Kusanagi (the sequel's new pilot) are finally given the chance to both transform into their respective Super Robots, and what follows is an epic, epic double-teaming brawl.
- Nagi and his team the Ala Rubra in Mahou Sensei Negima! fought like this. Negi and Kotaro have been developing a style like this since entering the colosseum as a team.
- Mazinger Z has Kouji and Boss. They begin at odds with each other but quickly they become good friends and fight together; Great Mazinger has Tetsuya and boss, and later in the series, Tetsuya and Kouji; UFO Robo Grendizer gave us Kouji and Duke; And finally Mazinkaiser showed more examples of how devastating Kouji and Tetsuya are when they are fighting together.
- Subverted in Naruto. It looks like Naruto and Sasuke are building into this, but then Sasuke pulled a Face-Heel Turn.
- as of the more recent chapters, they revisit Naruto and Sasuke becoming this again in the battle with Obito and this time they succeed.
- As of Shippuden, Naruto has developed into this with Killer B, who is also this with A / the Raikage. It turns out they're not actually related - A adopted Bee because he was badass enough for their combat styles to mesh.
- Ino-Shikamaru-Chouji is a better fit. They've been best friends for so long (since before they became ninjas), Chouji is able to pick up Shikamaru's strategies and prepare well before anyone else, Shikamaru knows just how to set up Ino's powers, and likewise Ino knows how to cover Chouji's weak points. By the time of the 4th Ninja World War, the trio's practically invincible.
- The Ino-Shika-Cho trio even extends into their family. It's actually a tradition for three of the current generation to be put into a team together with a Sarutobi as their sensei.
- And more recently, Kinkaku and Ginkaku. The two dead shinobi who survived being eaten by the Kyuubi for two weeks!
- In One Piece, Zoro and Sanji are somewhat like this. They may bicker in the midst of battle and occasionally attack each other, but once they work together (as shown in the Davy Jones games), they are near invincible.
- And as of chapter 572 we've had Luffy and Ace.
- The entirety of the Straw Hat Pirates are very capable at working together against foes. This aspect was heavily portrayed during the events at Thriller Bark and the Sabaody Archipelago.
- Ranma ˝ has a antagonistic version of this as a Villain of the Week arc. Azusa Shiratori and Mikado Sanzenine are masters of Martial Arts Figure Skating, a team known as the Golden Pair for their combined skill and excellent teamwork. Outside of combat, however, the two don't get on too well, as Mikado finds Azusa's kleptomania and ditzy antics annoying, while Azusa has the personality of a Spoiled Brat and is quite willing to beat on Mikado if he interferes with her antics (giving back something she stole from a pretty girl, or chasing girls when he should be practicing). In fact, she's ultimately the one who beats Mikado, causing them to lose.
- Perhaps to highlight their Belligerent Sexual Tension, Ranma and Akane keep swinging between playing this straight and averting it. While they played it perfectly straight in the Martial Arts Figure Skating story, most if not all of their subsequent 'team battles' had them getting in each other's way and forgetting to pay attention to their enemies to squabble with each other (often over the fact Akane is Overshadowed by Awesome compared to Ranma and Can't Catch Up, yet refuses to admit this)... though, inevitably, they would pull together (if only after having been beaten once) and manage to pull off a victory, though their opponent would frequently come close to victory by taking advantage of their bickering.
- Kenshin and Sanosuke from Rurouni Kenshin.
- Played straight in Soul Eater with the Resonance or Chain Resonance Links, you want evidence? Watch episode 36.
- Simon and Kamina from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, and later, Simon and Viral.
- Don't forget Jogin and Balinbou.
- Vash and Wolfwood in Trigun. Their fighting styles are relatively similar and they have a Wide-Eyed Idealist versus Knight In Sour Armour thing going on for contrast.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! had two pairs: The Paradox Brothers from the Duelist Kingdom arc and Lumis/Umbra from the Battle City arc. Joey and Yugi are this in their various tag team duels (heck, even their Dark Magician and Flame Swordsman show signs of it); a major problem in the Lumis/Umbra duel is Yugi and Kaiba's inability to pull this trope off. In the anime at least, Yugi and Kaiba eventually play this straight in their confrontations with both Dartz and Zorc.
- Yusuke and Kuwabara from YuYu Hakusho were a more heroic version.
- This following upon several years of Kuwabara incessantly returning to challenge Yusuke to fights and getting his clock soundly cleaned. Yusuke has been known to do this with other members of his team, as well. Once very briefly with Hiei.
- Sena and Monta from Eyeshield 21 are the best (respectively) runningback and wide receiver in Japan, best friends, and the keys to Deimon's offensive power. Needless to say, some of the Devilbat's best plays involve the two working together.
- Of course, there are also the Ha-Ha Brothers who show signs of this, though they're a triple package. The moves they used in their first game, and continue to use, sink the "bash" part rather well. A more conventional example would be Tetsuma and The Kid of the Wild Gunmen, showing how epic their teamwork was in their first appearance.
- Similar examples would be Taka and Yamato of the Teikoku Alexanders (another runningback/reciever duo), and the lethal three way combo of Takami (quarterback), Shin (linebacker/runningback), and Sakuraba (reciever) of the Ojou White Knights. The last three are especially interesting as Sakuraba and Shin, and Sakuraba and Takami are Bash Brothers by themselves; when their plays begin to intersect it simply becomes more of a problem for the other team. For a literal example, there's the Sibling Team of Agon and Unsui of the Shinryuuji Nagas.
- Despite being the leaders on the opposite spectrum for talent, Agon and Hiruma are an effective combination. Agon who runs on pure reaction is complemented by Hiruma who runs on pure mental ability. Despite their hatred for each other, they work extremely well together.
- Ian and Mitchal of Heat Guy J.
- In Fist of the North Star, Kenshiro and Rei, while rescuing Airi and Mamiya from the Fang Clan, have some seriously Bad Ass action sequences together. Raiga and Fuga, the Sibling Team gatekeepers of the Cassandra Prison who pull a glorious Heel-Face Turn and subsequent Heroic Sacrifice, also qualify.
- The title characters of Tiger & Bunny become this once Kotetsu/Wild Tiger successfully wins Barnaby/"Bunny"'s trust in him.
- In Air Gear, the original members of the Sleeping Forest all seem to fight in duos in ways that support each others' styles. Probably part of why they're one of the greatest Storm Rider teams in existence.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Alex Luis Armstrong and Sig Curtis (who befriended each other through Pec Flex) work together to curb stomp Sloth in a scene that is Rated M for Manly.
- This is after Alex and his older sister Olivier got through a very long period of wearing him down; Sig only came in at the end, and the Armstrong team was pretty damn impressive in its own right.
- Ed and Al obviously do this, too. They have a lot of practice fighting together.
- When Ed and Ling or Ed and Greeling are working together, they generally produce shades of this even when not actively engaged in combat. With lots of bickering.
- Every Red Oni, Blue Oni pair in Digimon eventually becomes this, with the relationship extending to their partner Digimon - Taichi and Yamato (and Agumon and Gabumon), Daisuke and Ken (and V-mon and Wormmon), Takuya and Kouji, and Taiki and Kiriha (and Shoutmon and MetalGreymon). Masaru and Agumon of Digimon Savers are a surprisingly rare instance of a Digimon being this with their human partner, being that Masaru is the only Digimon lead to actively fight Digimon personally.
- Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle gives us Fay and Kurogane, starting from their battle with Kishim.
- Kuroko no Basuke gives us Kuroko and Kagami. Often giving them the otp name; "Kagakuro"
- Though this is noted to be rare in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, with most girls operating alone, this just makes the rare duos all the more dangerous. Mami and Kyouko were once this, but broke up after Kyouko's family died, and Mami's desire to find a new partner drives much of her motivation. By the time of Rebellion, Kyouko and Sayaka have become a fairly close pair, often employing Combination Attacks and apparently living in the same house. In Oriko Magica, Oriko and Kirika do this whenever Oriko isn't grounded by Power Incontinence. Fanon typically upgrades all of them into full-on Battle Couples.
- Long before Madoka was doing it, Pretty Cure's most iconic teams were all either this trope or Battle Couples depending on who you ask. Black and White in particular occasionally used each other as weapons in the first season; on one occasion two monsters threw them at each other, so the girls locked elbows on impact and torqued their bodies around each other so they both went flying boots-first back the way they came.
- While they start the series off as mortal enemies, Ryuko and Satsuki of Kill la Kill develop this dynamic when they join forces against their own mother, Ragyo.
- Batman and Robin do this quite often. It was especially common in the live-action Batman series.
- Much less frequently, you get really astounding sequences with large chunks of the "Bat Family" (Batman, Batgirl, Robin, Nightwing, and a few more minor ones) fighting side by side.
- Also, our page image...Bats with Superman.
- Examined in the World's Finest maxiseries; the first time they meet with the explicit purpose of working together, they're at a function as Bruce and Clark when the guest of honor, a world-famous plastic surgeon is kidnapped. They split up and both go after the kidnapper, which so spooks the hostage that he runs out into the street and gets himself killed. When they compare notes they both observe that this happened because they didn't work together. The rest of the series is about their annual meetings to honor their failure and learn to work together until they're working as a well-oiled machine. Some of their guilt is mitigated when they learn at the end of the maxiseries that said hostage was actually the surgeon's body double who had kidnapped and replaced the real man after giving him amnesia in an attempt to steal his fortune. The real reason he was so spooked was because he was afraid that Batman and Superman would expose his scheme.
- Aquaman and MartianManhunter.
- Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin specialise in this.
- In the X-Men, Colossus and Wolverine have the "Fastball Special" (sometimes called for with "Hey bub... two words"), which basically involves Colossus throwing Wolverine at an opponent. Other characters inside and outside of Marvel have occasionally borrowed the move. Basically any combo of a character with Super Strength and one with an Absurdly Sharp Blade or six can do this.
- Any combination of Wolverine, Colossus and/or Nightcrawler.
- In the extremely rare occasions that they're seeing eye to eye, Cyclops and Wolverine can do this quite well, though they end up as Red Oni, Blue Oni much more often.
- Mandrake The Magician and Lothar.
- Watchmen: Rorschach and Nite Owl II, in the old days. The bond they forged still lasts.
- Marvel also has Luke Cage and Iron Fist.
- Power Man and Iron Fist are perhaps one of Marvel's best examples of this trope in action: Luke is a Made of Iron Boisterous Bruiser and Danny is Weak, but Skilled with some elements of Lightning Bruiser. Ever since they were paired up for roughly two decades worth of comics they were ALWAYS seen together, until Luke got picked as one of Brian Bendis' favorite characters and appeared more often without him. The duo was reunited when Danny joined the New Avengers, of which Cage had become the leader.
- Spider-Man and Daredevil. The two have teamed up many times and they are best buddies. It helps that they both share a number of villains. (Their first ever collaboration was against an evil hypnotist who couldn't affect the blind Daredevil but made Spidey beat him up for a while.)
- And their shared enemies the Enforcers featured Ox and Fancy Dan, who would often tag team enemies with their astounding strength and martial arts skills, respectively. Later additions Hammer Harrison and Snake Marston would do much the same.
- For that matter, Spidey and Johnny Storm.
- Marvel's original Bash Brothers, Captain America and Bucky Barnes.
- In Pre Crisis days, Superman could do this with Supergirl. Or with Krypto, for that matter.
- Green Arrow and Green Lantern.
- Quantum and Woody
- Marvel's Zapata Brothers are Mexican wrestlers, so it's only to be expected that they have an array of team-up moves. They also enjoy high-fiving during melees and switching out as if they were in a tag team match.
- Sam & Max: Freelance Police aren't fighters per se, but if there are doors to bust down and bad guys with lead deficiency, they'll deliver the damage together. Moreso in the comics, but they get rare moments in the video games, too.
- Astérix and Obelix always team up together to beat up a bunch of Roman soldiers. While sometimes they have the village to fight with them, most of the time it's the two of them (and Dogmatix).
- Booster Gold and Blue Beetle. The amount of Ho Yay fanart of them is staggering.
- In Star Wars: Legacy, Cade Skywalker and Jariah Syn are this throughout his pirate and bounty hunting days, though on Jedi stuff Cade's fellow Padawan Shado Vao sometimes takes the role. Imperial Knights Antares Draco and Ganner Krieg almost always fight as an in-sync duo.
- Cable & Deadpool, at least in the series titled that way.
- Wonder Woman and her younger sister, Donna Troy are this, and the two of them are building a similar relationship with Cassie Sandsmark, the second Wonder Girl. Donna and Dick Grayson are often written this way in the pages of Teen Titans.
- Thor and Beta Ray Bill
- Gamora and Angela are Smash Sisters in Guardians of the Galaxy
- Heroes: Surak compares Kirk and Spock's relationship to the "warrior bond-brothers" he had observed in his own day.
- Insontis II: Groping for a Vulcan term to explain his and Spock's relationship, Kirk settles on "pi'kine", which according to the footnotes, means "little shield-partner."
- The Mass Effect and Pacific Rim crossover Hunters Of Death has John and Jane Shepard, usually fighting as a team either on the ground or in a giant robot as copilots
- Manolo and Joaquin from The Book Of Life, since they were kids. Not only do they playfully fight with each other, they also fight together against a common enemy. Be it an angry bull as kids or when they fight Chakal as adults.
Film (Live Action)
- The 2009 Star Trek Film, when Kirk and Spock beam onto the Narada and start shooting up everything in sight.
- In Black Hawk Down and Real Life, the two Medal of Honor winning snipers, Randy Shughart and Gary Gordon live, breathe, and die this trope. From their hilarious-slash-Tear Jerker Chess game, which they never manage to finish, to their exchange of looks before they both deploy to aid the downed Night Stalker, the film makes the friendship of the two remarkably clear for two fairly minor characters.
- In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Logan and his brother do this for the first fifteen minutes of the movie. The opening sequence is a Badass Montage through The American Civil War, WW1, WW2 and The Vietnam War!
- Any cooperative combat in the Star Wars prequels, especially between Masters and their Padawans. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon against Darth Maul in Episode 1 are the best example. It is because of the same thing with Obi-Wan and Anakin in Episode 3 that turned their climactic duel into a sort of Fearful Symmetry.
- Probably the best moment of Spider-Man 3, with Spider-Man and Harry.
- Fulton Reed and Dean Portman in D2: The Mighty Ducks were explicitly called "the Bash Brothers." Also affectionately called "Enforcers."
- An enforcer is actually an unofficial role on an ice hockey team, not a title. Their job is to play dirty and violent.
- Aragorn and Gimli did a fine example of this in The Two Towers. Needing to give a gate some time to be repaired, Aragorn and Gimli did a flying leap onto the ramp and proceeded to fight off an entire legion of Uruk-hai. One of the best sequences of many impressive ones in the trilogy.
- One of the tag teams in Nacho Libre did a lot of this (also incorporating high-fives and the like), apparently being twin brothers.
- One of the central motifs of Heroic Bloodshed movies like A Better Tomorrow, The Killer and Hard Boiled is two characters, usually Blood Brothers as well as Bash Brothers, doing this.
- Any of the Rush Hour movies with Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan.
- Also the movies with Italian actors Bud Spencer and Terence Hill.
- In The Chronicles of Riddick, Riddick and Kyra are a rare opposite sex version of this, once they stop fighting each other. The Crematoria sequence showcases it nicely.
- Pirates of the Caribbean had this in various sequences, but the most pure form was when Will was trying to free Jack from the noose and they raced to the castle edge. Subverted in that they taken down plenty of soldiers between the two of them, but sheer numbers and guns outweighed their ability to finish their job.
- 300 outlines this in particular when discussing their tactics. The individual Spartan is superior to the individual Persian soldier, but their sheer numbers would overwhelm them in any situation except for the bottleneck position they chose to defend. Even then, only because each Spartan defended the one next to them that they created a near impenetrable line... of course, they don't always follow this rule, often preferring the Rule of Cool and breaking the line for slow-motion individual brawls.
- Astinos and Stelios are this briefly on the second day.
- In Iron Man 2, Tony and Rhodey do this after finally settling their differences.
- The central premise of just about any Buddy Cop movie. Riggs and Murtaugh, Lee and Carter, Tango & Cash et al.
- And of course the literal brothers Connor and Murphy McManus in The Boondock Saints.
- In The Devils Rejects, a pair of bounty hunters called the Unholy Two are hired to track down and capture the Ax-Crazy Firefly clan. They actually succeed and disappear afterwards with no repercussions.
- Pretty much everyone in The Avengers. Black Widow and Hawkeye constantly once Hawkeye is back on the Avengers' side, Thor and Captain America, and Thor and the Hulk are particularly notable.
- The films The Barbarians and Double Trouble, starring the bodybuilder twins Peter and David Paul, have their characters constantly bickering with each other and kicking equal amount of ass in fight scenes. This is taken even further in Twin Sitters, where their characters call backup from two other twin bash brothers to save two kids from the bad guys.
- Rocket and Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy, best exemplified in the prison breakout scene.
- JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood is literally a group of vampires not related by blood who nevertheless live and fight together against the Omega and the Lessening Society.
- Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.
- Drizzt Do'Urden and Artemis Entreri can operate like this, much to their mutual displeasure.
- They're both highly skilled dual-wielders who independently developed extremely similar fighting styles...And it took them about five minutes of conversation for each to recognize the other as what he could have been. Both don't like what they see in the other person, especially when compared to what they see as their strong points. However, if they must cooperate, they slaughter entire groups of who they're against. Often fighting back-to-back and continually moving, and with one setting up an opening for the other to exploit a second later, and it's mentioned that they move so much in sync that it's tough to tell who's who or who's doing what.
- Caramon and Raistlin in the Dragonlance series.
- Rodrigo Belmonte and Ammar ibn Khairan in Guy Gavriel Kay's The Lions of Al-Rassan literally fight back to back at one point, taking out some mooks to prove their awesomeness. Later, they're forced to fight one another as the champions of Expys of the Muslims and Christians in medieval Spain.
- Older Than Feudalism: Great Ajax and his half-brother Teucer in The Iliad. Teucer hunkers down behind Ajax's shield and lays down a Rain of Arrows, Ajax finishes anyone who manages to close.
- In the Inheritance Cycle, Eragon and Murtagh shared the field of battle many times early in the series and developed a bond as strong as brotherhood. It wasn't too surprising when they turned out to actually be brothers.
- A more consistent example is Eragon and Arya. It's explicitly stated that they're the other's perfect shield mate.
- Sherlock Holmes: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson]] are a classic case. Just check out the "Awesome" page for the series and note the examples falling under "Holmes & Watson".
- The sequel of the remake of Clash of the Titans had the brother gods Zeus and Hades against the Legions of Hell at full power.
- Harry Dresden and Karrin Murphy become this, because Harry is a magic nerd who, despite his Memetic Sex God page, really has no idea at all about women. It's lampshaded as pretty sad several times throughout the series.
- The Alphas: they're a pack of wolves with human-level intelligence. Be. Afraid.
- Harry and Thomas Raith become this. like the Eragon example, it shouldn't be that much of a surprise that they're half-brothers.
- Thomas and Lara Raith in full vamped-out mode cut through an army of super-ghouls like chaff. Harry describes them as matched parts of a force of nature, their stand all the more beautiful and awe-inspiring for being totally hopeless.
Live Action TV
- Gender Flipped version from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy and Faith, for a short time in season 3 - most obvious in the episode "Bad Girls". "Rise and shine, boys! It's your wake up call!"
- In Season Nine's Angel and Faith, Angel and Faith have this kind of relationship.
- Life On Mars- Sam Tyler and Gene Hunt have been known to achieve this on occasion.
- On occasion? Tandem desk-leaping & sychronized punching.
- The A-Team. Very much so. Hannibal knows the strengths and weaknesses of each of the other three team members, and knows exactly how to best use their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. Different as they may be, when they all fight together, it's a bad day for slimeballs everywhere.
- Face and Murdock especially seem to be this. They have a very effective tag-team fighting style.
- Doubly so for Murdock and B.A. They usually drive each other nuts, but together they are a force of nature.
- The Stargate Atlantis episode "Midway." A horde of Wraith decide to storm Earth, and slaughter most of Midway station staff. Who's gonna stop 'em? Two guys named Teal'c and Ronon Dex. The opening featured the two of them trying to beat each other to death, it was simply amazing to watch them turn their combined badassery on the hapless Wraith.
- NCIS: LA. G. Callen and Sam Hanna always have each other's back. They bicker sometimes and have a friendly rivalry, but always come through for one another.
- It's always a treat to watch the four team members of Stargate SG-1 combine to unleash maximum badassness on their enemies.
- Hercules and Iolaus from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
- Xena: Warrior Princess and Gabrielle sometimes, though they usually fight separately against the same enemy, not in tandem.
- Scrubs featured an Imagine Spot where J.D. visualized Turk and The Todd going up against kung-fu-fighting surgeons. The two made a formidable team... until the betrayal five.
- Both shown and averted in the Battlestar Galactica episode "The Oath": Bill Adama and Saul Tigh make a last stand at a docking bay. They don't pull off a victory.
- Hawaii Five-O. Steve Mc Garrett and Danny "Danno" Williams argue like an old, married couple - but they always have each other's back in a fight, and God help anyone who comes between them.
- In any Kamen Rider series, expect the main Rider and the secondary Rider to eventually become this. More prominent in the Heisei shows, where it's pretty much the norm for any given show to have at least two riders of its own, but the Showa era had a few of its own like the Double Riders when they were onscreen together, and V3 and Riderman when the latter figured out he should be fighting all of Destron and not just the one guy he had a grudge against.
- Jason and Tommy, c'mon.
- Angel and Spike have pulled this off a few times, fighting alternately for good and evil.
- The Groosalugg with Angel, and once with Gunn.
- Rome: Pullo and Vorenus they start off with an Odd Friendship then turn into this, I guess killing over a hundred people side by side and changing history together will do that to you.
- On Glee, Puck and Finn may hate each other over what happened with Quinn, but they'll team up to defend New Directions.
- Supernatural's Sam and Dean Winchester. Raised to fight monsters, we watch them fight monsters. A lot of mutual back-watching.
- Michael and KITT from Knight Rider manage to pull this off even though they're a man and a car.
- Used in Chinese Paladin between Yue'Ru and Xiaoyao.
- Norse Mythology: In the many stories where they weren't beating the crap out of each other, Thor and Loki often wandered the countryside together, looking for asses to kick. A relationship thought by some to be evocative of Lightning and Fire. Loki also had a great time tag-teaming with his blood-brother, Odin.
- The Epic of Gilgamesh: Gilgamesh and Enkidu.
- The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny video, Haloid.
- Even more in Haloid's spiritual sequel, Dead Fantasy, most notably with Ayane/Kasumi and Yuna/Rikku, but really all the characters did this constantly.
- To a degree with a well-trained military unit. Most special forces teams are trained this way, covering what their buddies can't. No tossing each other around though as far as I know.
- Fighter aircraft usually fight in pairs, the wingman covering the leader.
- And also operate in pairs of pairs - a common formation for fighter aircraft (at least in World War II) has four aircraft forming a flight, in which there are two elements, each with two aircraft constantly covering each other, and each element covering the other. Two well-known formations of this type are the American Finger Four (origin of the name: hold out your hand, fingers together. If each fingernail represents one aircraft, that shape is basically a Finger Four formation) and the German Schwarm (basically identical, just appeared earlier on). The Germans' early adoption of this sort of formation led to some early, easy victories against the Royal Air Force.
- In Leet World, Player and Chet.
- Every pro wrestling tag team ever, but some tandems exemplify the big guy/little guy dichotomy particularly well: Batista and Rey Mysterio Jr (at least until Batista's Face-Heel Turn), Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty, and Jesse and Festus to name a few.
- Several literal examples:
- The Steiner Brothers
- Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray)
- The Wrestling/Von Erich Family in general
- The Armstrongs
- The Hart Foundation, in most incarnations were related by blood or marriage with the exception of Brian Pillman.
- The Villanos
- Eddie and Chavo Guerrero Jr, though uncle and nephew, were very close in age and say they were raised as brothers.
- Goldust and Cody Rhodes
- The Wild Samoans, in fact most Samoan wrestlers have lineage going back to two or three legendary Samoan wrestling families.
- The Usos.
- Carlos and Primo Colon.
- The Hardys
- Several others who weren't really brothers, but were in storyline:
- Several other tag teams, while not related at all, real or kayfabe, are inseparable in the minds of fans because they never found or sought individual success. They fought together through thick and thin.
- Dungeons & Dragons: in the typical Fighter-Rogue-Wizard-Cleric party, the Fighter and Rogue fight most efficiently together in a manner similar to this - the fighter directing the battle and drawing the attention of his targets while the rogue tumbles into an advantageous position to deal massive Sneak Attack damage.
- Magic: The Gathering would frequently set up two cards that are designed to complement each other and other cards controlled by the player in this way. The most pure form is the Brothers Yamazaki from the Kamigawa set, in which the one Legendary per name on the field rule doesn't apply to them and they give each other a major boost when together.
- Star Wars Miniatures has some pairs of characters who have Synergy (combat bonuses) or Rapport (cost discounts) when used together. There is also a tournament format called "Dynamic Duo", in which players select only two characters for their squad, who must together cost exactly 100 points.
- Warhammer 40,000 has a few unit combinations that compliment each others' skills very effectively. Scout Bikers and Terminators in a Space Marine army, for instance; the Scouts have teleport homers that patch up the Terminators' lack of mobility by dropping them on the enemy on a spot that moves very quickly, the Terminators make up for the Scouts' lack of durability and close combat prowess, everyone wins. Except for the poor Tau on the other side of the field that just got a new orifice to defecate through.
- Ciro and Kareem from Project0, bust into an enemy stronghold and divy up how they complete the mission. apparently they've been doing this for a long time.
- Torg and Riff from Sluggy Freelance do this during the "Dangerous Days" arc, though only after they get done shooting and yelling at each other first.
- It's hinted that Piro and Largo do this in some online games, such as the Endgames MMORPG.
- Invoked in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, where to counter Frans Rayner's Dangerously Genre Savvy use of the Conservation of Ninjutsu against the McNinja clones, Dr. McNinja switches sides and fights alongside a shocked and confused Rayner, who has no choice but to accept this or else give up and let the clones kill him.
- Steve of Coga Suro is delighted both times he gets to invoke this trope- once in the future with his older self [citing the need for a double-Steve combo move] and again in the sequel with his son.
- The titular heroes of Nip and Tuck are implied to be this, especially here.
- Girl Genius: Bill and Barry Heterodyne, oh so much.
- Tower of God: Anak and Hatsu as well as Rak and Koon.
- We only get to see it in brief flashbacks, but My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has Princesses Celestia and Luna taking down Discord and King Sombra. There was also Tirek, but they may have acted more as commanding officers rather than taking action personally in that case for all we know.
- Justice League would seclude a handful of characters together so they could take on bigger threats. The most common was Green Lantern and The Flash, though Superman and Wonder Woman would occasionally get in.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In the 2007 TMNT movie, Splinter even said that when they work together and are in the right rhythm, they are unbeatable.
- Raphael from the 2003 cartoon is very dedicated to this trope. While all the Turtles cooperate in battle, he stands out as an especially reliable back-watcher. In nearly every fight, Raph will prevent an enemy from nailing one of his brothers from behind.
- Turtles Forever takes this to the apex with the '03 Turtles eventually fighting in tandem with the '87 Turtles, and the '03 style of straight ninja fighting is contrasted with the '87 slapstick style.
- Transformers Animated with Prowl and Captain Fanzone when they go to Dinobot Island and have to fight off a slew of mutated creatures. It was that episode that gave some viewers a lot of respect for Fanzone, because even though he didn't like them he was still willing to work with them.
- In-universe, this was probably part of why Fanzone started actually liking the Autobots, or at least tolerating them. In a later episode he even sided with them against Powell.
- Another example is the big guy-little guy team of Bulkhead and Bumblebee. They've been close friends ever since attending Autobot Boot Camp together, and are usually seen watching each others' backs on and off the battlefield. The two have even developed their own variation on the Fastball Special utilizing Bulkhead's wrecking ball hands and Bumblebee's smaller stature.
- Transformers Prime has the villains Knock Out and Breakdown, whose introductory episode had them nearly take down the entire team, including Optimus, by themselves. They are extremely close friends outside of battle too, contrasting the fractured and "out for themselves" Decepticon forces.
- The main reason the Autobots are able to match the Decepticons despite being at a disadvantage both in firepower and numbered forces is because they have bonded closely as a team. Each of them can pair off with the other in combat. The third season episode "Evolution" not only features an epic Bash Brothers with previously at-odds characters Wheeljack and Ultra Magnus, Optimus asserts that their bond as a family is what makes them more dangerous than an entire army.
- Optimus and Megatron always become this whenever they are both thrust into an Enemy Mine situation against a greater foe.
- From Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- The series pretty much makes Aang and Sokka to be this, as well as Unrelated Brothers.
- "The Blue Spirit" had Aang and Zuko.
- "The Boiling Rock" had Sokka and Zuko.
- Katara and Zuko in "The Southern Raiders". They are seen training back to back in the finale as well, but don't actually fight together as Azula challenges them to one-on-one duels instead.
- In The Legend of Korra, Mako and Bolin are actual brothers, and hand out asskicking like a pro team.
- Lin and Suyin, once they settle their differences, are almost always fighting together in major battles, such as double-teaming P'Li in Season 3 or helping cripple Kuvira's Humongous Mecha in Season 4.
- Ben 10: Omniverse has Ben and Rook Blonko.
- Dr. Girlfriend's Moppets in The Venture Bros. are dwarfs who fling one another around...
- Samurai Jack featured a fight with Jack and the Spartan King against an octopus-like machine in Jack and the Spartans.
- Likewise Jack and the Scotsman.
- Memorably happened in one episode of Batman Beyond where Bruce, rejuvenated by a few dips in a Lazarus Pit, fought some mooks alongside Terry, with an electric guitar version of the Batman: The Animated Series Theme blaring in the background.
- In Teen Titans: Robin and Slade during an Enemy Mine. Although it works so well because they know each other's styles so intimately and are similar—back in season one, they kept falling into Fearful Symmetry.
- A similar example in Xiaolin Showdown: Omi and Chase Young.
- Luminara and Bariss Ofee in Star Wars: Clone Wars. Their lightsaber fight against the battle droids showed them to be perfectly synchronized.
- Other expanded universe material unveils that the two of them specifically learned to fight like this.
- The SWAT Kats live this trope, though only rarely are they actually fighting in the same room at the same time. When they do, T-Bone acts as The Big Guy and goes at baddies with fist swinging, while the slighter Razor relies on a quicker, more acrobatic fighting style. The rest of the time, their approach to a problem will still always depend on their teamwork (whether it's air/ground, or piloting/weapons). If one kat is in serious trouble (or worse, unresponsive), the other will get very distressed and might channel that into a "this is for my buddy!" attack.
- Finn and Jake. They took on a Giant Spellcasting Undead King with a Magic Gauntlet, Magic Tiaras and Sweaters. and won.
- Superman and Captain Marvel. Their initial efforts to take out the more experienced and ruthless Black Adam separately doesn't work well for the pair. However, once they start working together, they eventually find their rhythm and proceed to lay down a beautiful beat down on him. It was a pleasant contrast to other animated showings of the characters where the two heroes end up fighting each other.
- In the US, there is an old saying, "A friend will help you move, a good friend will help you move bodies, and a brother will have the bodies moved before it occurs to him to ask why the hell you need bodies moved."
- Another variant: "A friend will visit you in jail, a good friend will bail you out, but a bro will be sitting beside you going 'Damn, that was fun!'".
- Many Ice Hockey forward lines embody a three-brother party. One of many examples would be the "Crash Line" of the New Jersey Devils teams of the 90s and early 2000s. The Crash Line was composed of Bobby Holik, Randy McKay, and Mike Peluso; the average weight of a Crash Line player was 215 pounds. Needless to say, the Crash Line was a dominating, physical and ultimately instrumental part to the Devils' championship success. They were extremely successful and provided the "grind line" defensive template that is used to this day.
- Of course, the "grind line" terminology was derived from the Detroit Red Wings—who, after being destroyed by the Crash Line in the 1995 Stanley Cup Finals, quickly adopted the same techniques and established the original Grind Line of Kris Draper, Joe Kocur, and Kirk Maltby. This line led them to two straight Cups in 1997 and 1998 and permanently encoded this technique in the essence of the game.
- In the late 1980s, Bob Probert and Joey Kocur of the Red Wings were sometimes refered to as "the Bruise Brothers".
- When they both played for the Oakland A's, Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco were nicknamed "The Bash Brothers" for their one-two punch when put together in the line-up.
- Recently in the NBA, a variant of the term has entered use for describing the Golden State Warriors guard pairing of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson - The Splash Brothers, referencing the pair's incredible 3 point shooting
- Military units in real life, particularly when performing CQB (Close Quarter Battle) maneuvers, such as rescuing hostages.
- Despite the common depiction of a Cold Sniper acting alone, dedicated snipers are always deployed with a spotter, someone who can confirm the kill because the actual sniper is too preoccupied with making the shot itself. They are also one to advise on which bullet to use and what modifications to make depending on the situation, as well as double-check the distance to the target.
- In fact, in many situations the spotter is the more experienced soldier, as the spotter's work is more complicated, which is saying something since doing the actual shooting isn't simple point-and-shoot to begin with.
- In social situations there is a strategy involving using the Wingman, a friend that can give even the most skilled of Casanovas an added edge. Generally, they give a mutual benefit to each other by highlighting each others' strengths, as well as ensuring that neither are completely alone.
- The United States and Australia. The Boisterous Bruisers of the English-speaking world, priding themselves primarily on how Crazy Awesome they can be rather than how "civilized" they are. The Australia-US alliance is one of the strongest in the world—possibly stronger than even the US-Canada and US-Britain ones. Since World War I, the US and Australia have always fought beside each other (even if the US was late to the party the first two times, one implies the other). See Vitriolic Best Buds for details.
- ...But that still doesn't mean you should shake a stick at the US-UK Special Relationship. After the two stopped fighting, they instantly agreed to bury the hatchet and become pals, and now either side can be guaranteed to back the other up. Some conflicts aside, the two will always be found together, pulling the other's butt out of the oven once shit hits the fan. There's always some guaranteed Ho Yay between the two leaders of the respective countries.
- The Anglosphere is built around this, military-wise. Each of the above-mentioned countries can and have engaged in some truly impressive feats during countless battles through numerous wars. The US and Canada had bi-national special forces units during World War II, Canada and Great Britain fought together in the trenches to great success during World War I. Australia and New Zealand (and Newfoundland) fought heroically at Gallipoli (though that ended tragically, they earned the respect and admiration of the Turks). America and Great Britain, as mentioned above, have numerous conflicts in which they did this, as have America and Australia. Australia and Canada also did this at Kapyong during The Korean War, proving how Crazy Awesome they could truly be. It helps that the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have numerous military (and non-military) treaties and agreements that help to enable this trope. On top of NATO and The Commonwealth of Nations, there is the UKUSA Agreement, AUSCANZUKUS, Five Eyes, ABCA Armies, Combined Communications Electronics Board, just to name a few. All of this adds up to make these nations a terrifying Bash Family.
- Put best by the Michael Joseph Savage, Prime Minister of New Zealand: "It is with gratitude in the past, and with confidence in the future, that we range ourselves without fear beside Britain, where she goes, we go! Where she stands, we stand!"
- Sweden and Finland from about the 13th to the early 19th century.