"There is no greater bore than perfection."Some talented characters like to use their skills to drift through life as effortlessly as possible. Well, This Is Not That Trope, but the exact opposite. Usually driven and ambitious, this character aims to constantly hone his skills by tackling challenges that push his abilities to the limit, and enjoys every minute of it. The harder the challenge, the better; they may even become bored with easy tasks or disappointed if something turns out to be easier than they expected. Often a Determinator, because the more they get beat down, the more excited and fired up they get. May overlap with Hot-Blooded. Likely to Jump at the Call. Such characters often come across The Ace and find out there's Always Someone Better, but rather than create a bitter rivalry, they tend to be much more friendly about it, which may lead to Foe Yay. Sister Trope of Spirited Competitor, but this type of character doesn't necessarily need a Worthy Opponent to compete against. It's more about the game/sport than who they play against, although they will usually be happy to have a worthy friendly rival who can challenge them and test their skills. Shōnen anime protagonists in particular tend to exhibit this trope, especially those who "wanna be the very best." Compare the Blood Knight, for those who specifically like a good fight. Truth in Television - the Challenge Gamer is this in Real Life applied to video games. Many, though not all, fans of competitive activities like sports are like this too. It can be fun to train and practice and challenge like minded people as you improve your skills.
— Zaroff, The Most Dangerous Game
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Anime & Manga
- Bleach: Kenpachi Zaraki, of the Crazy Awesome Blood Knight variety.
- In her backstory, Retsu Unohana was an infamous criminal because she attacked (and, if she was victorious, killed) anyone she thought would give her an entertaining fight. Eventually, she became skilled enough at combat that even it no longer interested her...until she met a child stronger than her and accidentally caused him to seal his power away. The guilt of this shocked her so badly that she dedicated herself to learning healing magic so she could someday reverse the seal. Present-day Unohana almost never fights; she feels unworthy of fighting Zaraki (the child she weakened), her other opponents are so weak as to be boring, and she needs to stay alive so she can atone.
- Dragon Ball:
- This is one of Goku's defining features. He even rejects sensible solutions for tackling enemies (e.g. shutting down the androids) in favor of taking on strong opponents face-to-face. He goes so far as to (politely) challenge the God of Destruction to a fight, which Beerus notes is the first time in his extremely long life anyone has had the guts to issue such a challenge.
- Saiyans in general tend to be this and Vegeta is just as bad if not worse than Goku in this aspect. He allowed 17 and 18 to be re-activated because he found the fight with Androids 19 and 20 to be boring and he also allowed Cell to reach perfection because he was bored by how easily he was beating Cell's semi-perfect form.
- Then there's Cell himself, who deliberately spares the protagonists and sets up the Cell Games tournament just because he wants to have fun by testing his powers. He admits its probably due to the Saiyan DNA within him.
- This is Deconstructed with Goku & Vegeta; they seek a good challenge above any and all else, even the protection of their family and friends most of the time. One glaring example is the movie Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’. Frieza returns stronger than ever to challenge Goku for revenge. Goku & Vegeta, for their part, are mostly concerned with the challenge of fighting him one on one and absolutely refuse to do the sensible thing of teaming up against. Frieza nearly kills Goku through a sneak attack, and successfully blows up the Earth because Vegeta wasted too much time in finishing him off. If not for a Deus ex Machina, it would have been a pretty depressing ending.
- Inazuma Eleven: Endou. On more than one occasion, he actually got excited from seeing the opposing team score a goal on him or otherwise getting his butt kicked, because it meant he had a chance to play against amazing opponents. Hiroto also shows bits of this mixed with Spirited Competitor when he seeks out Raimon (and Endou in particular) for a match.
- Lady Jewelpet: ace Petit Lady Lillian is more interested in testing her skills against worthy fellow Petit Ladies than to win the top title. Since her Mentor, Luea, wants the latter very badly, they sometimes have disagreements.
- One Piece: Roronoa Zoro, who wants to be the world's greatest swordsman, basically duels everyone holding a sword to prove that he's the best and improve himself.
- One-Punch Man: The driving motivation for the main character. The protagonist Saitama is a superhero who wants nothing more then to meet an opponent worthy of a good fight. The problem is... anyone and anything he delivers a single punch to is a One-Hit Kill.
- Pokémon: A lot of the stronger characters. Cynthia in particular is now at the point where she automatically identifies determined-looking ten-year-olds as godly powerful, which for her is reason enough to single them out for a challenge.
- The World God Only Knows: main character Katsuragi Keima. He plays multiple games at once to mostly save time, but partly to challenge himself.
- Averted with Yami Yugi — we never see him go actively looking for opponents, and plays and has magical duels only when challenged or as a means of defending others.
- Played straight with Kaiba and Joey — the former wants to beat Yami Yugi and sets up a tournament so he can win all the Gods cards and prove himself the best, and the latter is initially hot headed and challenges Kaiba to a duel at one point despite having incredibly little experience.
- In Marvel Comics, the Champion of the Universe goes around to various worlds looking for a good boxing match. His first defeat ever comes from The Thing, who refuses to stay down. He can beat the Thing but he can't defeat him, so the Champion concedes.
The Champion: No, my friend... I could never beat you! I know that now! I could crush your bones and break your body... but I would never conquer your spirit!
- The Grandmaster from Marvel:
The Grandmaster has spent his extraordinary long life in pursuit of amusement through the playing of games. He has traveled throughout the known universe studying many civilizations' forms of games and play to the point of mastering them. He then began to devise his own types of tournaments and contests, challenging various opponents to games of skill and chance for high stakes.
- Darius Walker from Honorable Hogwarts has shown a strong tendency toward this. He's fine using his wand against lesser opponents (or just poisoning them and sparing himself the tedium of a quick and easy fight), but when he heard what a good swordsman Jason was he came after him with a blade instead, to test his skills against the best.
- Thunder Flicker from Ace Combat: The Equestrian War always likes a good challenge, especially when he competes with Quick Chaser.
Films — Live-Action
- In Tin Cup, Roy destroyed his chance at becoming a pro golfer when he was younger because he had a tendency to forego safe shots in critical moments for impossible ones just because he prided himself on taking risks that others won't. He also can play golf with unconventional clubs (like shovels and pool cues) and loves to show off his skill at trick shots.
- Dangerous Liaisons: Valmont does this as The Casanova.
- The Most Dangerous Game: Zaroff, who says this is the reason why he started Hunting the Most Dangerous Game.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe: The Mandalorians build much of their culture and morality around this. They seek a good fight and worthy challenges, wanting to test themselves against the toughest opponents in the galaxy, whether it be hunting dangerous criminals for bounties, building their homes in a predator-infested jungle, or declaring war on the biggest, toughest faction they can find. This often means that they're fighting against the Jedi and the Republic, but it's because the Mandalorians consider them honorable, Worthy Opponents and the best the galaxy offers, which is a Stealth Insult on their part against the Empire and the Sith.
- Sherlock Holmes, in all his various forms. Holmes despises being idle, resulting in all manner of quirky behaviors like indoor pistol practice, conducting arcane experiments, or just getting wasted on whatever substance he can find (in the Guy Ritchie movie from 2009, Watson catches Holmes ingesting embalming fluid). Furthermore Holmes often rejects cases that don't tease his intellect enough and, conversely, accepts cases that do purely for the sport of it, often turning down material or monetary compensations in the process. Some adaptations suggest this nature is due to his Power Incontinence that often manifests itself as hyper-senstivity to his surroundings (his infamous Sherlock Scan can never be shut off, causing him to be constantly distracted by the world around him unless he can focus himself on a mystery and put his ability to notice and derive meaning from the mundane towards a goal).
- Soap: Jessica's attorney E. Ronald Mallu takes her case (she's on trial for Peter Campbell's murder) because it's so difficult. If he loses, it won't harm his reputation because nobody expects him to win, and if he wins it'll be a feather in his cap. Another attorney had said that he couldn't get Jessica acquitted with a mute prosecutor, her husband as the judge, and her family as the jury.
- Wulfrik the Wanderer of Warhammer once drunkenly boasted that he could defeat any foe in this world or any other. When he awoke the next morning, he found himself able to speak any language and cursed to hunt down all possible challengers (the gift of tongues was so that he could issue a challenge they could not refuse). He's greatly enjoyed himself ever since.
- Despite having ulterior goals, Augustus from Last Scenario treats his striving for power like a game. He hates the people who are born into power but do nothing with it, but respects those who claw their way to it, such as the fallen hero, Felgorn.
Augustus: I proved my superiority. I have already won. I regret nothing.
- Minamoto no Hiromasa from Onmyōji is this in spades. When he's first introduced, he instantly challenges the protagonist to a duel thinking him a Worthy Opponent before he even knows his name. Since then, Hiromasa has always displayed a desire to fight powerful enemies, at one point even severely injuring himself.
- Vyse fits certainly the bill. In Skies of Arcadia, he repeatedly tackles challenges others deem impossible: such as escaping the Grand Fortress and crossing the Dark Rift. He even has a special ability called "challenge lover" in Valkyria Chronicles. Vyse is not only made of this Trope, he eats it for breakfast.
Vyse: [to Marco] "Impossible" is a word people use as an excuse when they want to give up. Whenever someone says something's impossible, it makes me want to prove them wrong.
- Othello, from Unreal Tournament III. From his backstory:
Othello was born into a family of means, and never had to work to support himself. Instead, he challenged himself with the most deadly jobs and in adrenaline-fueling adventures around the galaxy - climbing the ice floes of Mt. Karanish, participation in the Liandri Grand Tournament, even mercenary work in against-all-odds military conflicts.
- Zer0 of Borderlands 2 seeks a challenge above all else, with his personal ECHO entry telling one of his targets to make him work for it. He becomes a Vault Hunter because he sees it as the ultimate challenge. Unfortunately, he sometimes takes this a bit too far as he'll assume that the "challenge" of shutting up an idiot means that he can chop someone's head off. Axton and Salvador have similar motivations, though they also really want the fame and loot (respectively).
"This is intriguing. / The Vault, my masterpiece? / Challenge accepted."
- Levi the Slasher in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable : The Gears of Destiny. Being the Material of Power, she loves nothing more than having strong enemies to test her mettle against. At the end of the game, we see her drooling at the chance of going to Eltria after she learns that it's essentially a Death World filled with powerful monsters to fight and mysterious dungeons to explore. She then proceeds to unintentionally save a lot of villages in Eltria, as she spends her time stopping several monsters threats for her own enjoyment.
- One of the reasons that Sly Cooper and his gang steal from criminals is that they believe that stealing from ordinary people is boring and the true challenge comes from beating criminals at their own game.
- Carmen Sandiego is this to the core. She originally worked to catch criminals, but eventually decided that becoming one herself would be more challenging, and thus the world's greatest thief was born.
- Sonic the Hedgehog. Part of the reason he fights Dr. Eggman is that he's always seeking thrills and challenges.
- The Dial M for Monkey episode "Rasslor". The title character comes to Earth and challenges its superheroes to wrestle him. He says, "For eons I have scoured the cosmos searching for the one adversary who could provide me with suitable sport." If none of the heroes can defeat him, he will destroy the planet. All of the superheroes go down to defeat except Monkey, who refuses to give up even after Rasslor beats him up. It is, of course, a Shout-Out to the Champion from Marvel Comics listed above, and Rasslor's praise for Monkey is almost word for word what The Champion said to The Thing.
Rasslor: I could crush your body, I could smash your bones, but I could never break your spirit. You are a marvel, little monkey! Any world that could spawn one as noble as you is truly blessed. I spare your Earth!
- Stinkoman from Homestar Runner. "Are you asking for a CHALLEEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGEEEEEEEEEEEEE?!!!"
- Sixshot, the "Solo Transformer Assault Group" of Transformers: Generation 1 sees the Great War as little more than an opportunity to test himself against other powerful warriors.
- Scrooge McDuck, from ''DuckTales, and possibly even moreso in its update, who earned his fortune being "Smarter than the smarties and tougher than the toughies", is always up for a bit of globe-trotting adventure. Don't let the big mansion and bin full of money fool you. Scrooge is never happier than when he's getting his hands dirty on his latest death-defying adventure.
- Formula One driver Michael Schumacher, who believes "not being easy makes it [Formula 1 racing] fun."