Most fights either have the combatants forgoing conversation to focus on kicking ass, or engaging in Trash Talk
, either as psychological warfare to psych out their opponent or just for the lulz.
However, sometimes one of the fighters will be genuinely complimentary to the other. Not in a sarcastic "Nice punch!" kind of way, but sincerely praising their opponent
. It might be a disguised form of gloating ("You're awesome, and since I'm kicking your ass that makes me even more awesome") but the point is that they mean it.
Most common from the guy who is winning, since coming from the loser it might sound like they're making excuses for being beat. The praise will often stop when the tide turns, but some characters will keep it up all the way to their defeat. Such genuine cases may be motivated by Sympathy for the Devil
or Sympathy for the Hero
When someone takes delight in the amount of destruction a fighter causes, that's In Love with Your Carnage
. This is usually intended as a compliment but the object of the affection may or may not take it that way. Crosses over with Baddie Flattery
when the fighter doing the compliment is also a villain. For an even more
polite assailant, see Apologetic Attacker
Contrast You Fight Like a Cow
, where the characters battle is as much verbal as physical (though it may still be somewhat friendly).
Anime and Manga
- Samurai 7: When Kambei was fighting Kyuzo, he said "I'm in love...with your fighting style," or something like that.
- Lyrical Nanoha:
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's: The rematch of Fate and Signum had both fighters pausing momentarily after a flurry of blows so that they can compliment the other's skills and the power of their Device. Humorously, it's the Devices that give thanks, not the fighters themselves.
Signum: "Testarossa, you got really strong, you and Bardiche."
Fate: "You're strong, too, Laevatine and Signum."
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS: "You're young, but you're a good knight" were Zest's words to Vita when she was handily stopping him from achieving his goal. Agito promptly complained to Zest about how he shouldn't be wasting his time praising his opponent.
- Dragon Ball GT: When Goku fights Uub. His entire purpose in the fight is to gauge Uub's strength, and he is pleasantly surprised.
- Dragon Ball Super:
- Despite losing godhood, Goku is still able to battle Beerus as a normal Super Saiyan. This makes Beerus give his respect to Goku, and even says that he somewhat regrets looking for the Super Saiyan God.
- Frieza actually gives a bow of respect when he hears that Goku has become a god among the Saiyans.
- After disseminating Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Vegeta, Hit notes that Vegeta was the first to take so many blows to his vitals.
- Although Goku didn't speak these words out loud, he praises the entire U6 team for giving such fantastic battles. He even muses that he gets to fight the strongest of them in Hit. When Future Trunks returns, he praises him for reaching Super Saiyan 2 and becoming so powerful.
- Trunks is left speechless for several seconds when he sees Super Saiyan 3 Goku. He also compliments Goku for becoming so strong since the last time he saw him.
- Vegeta gives Future Trunks a mock grade for almost hitting him by tricking him into charging blindly since Trunks was using the obsolete Ultra Super Saiyan form, which is known for being extremely slow.
- While he looks down on all mortals, Goku Black has real respect towards Goku. During their first bout, he calls Goku the strongest of the proud warrior race and compliments Goku's on his strength. When he sees Vegeta turns into Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan, he claps, saying how magnificent it is to see the warrior race clad in godly garbs.
- Dragon Ball Z
- In the first part of Goku's fight with Frieza, they compliment each other several times when they pull a fast one on each other or when they demonstrate their power. This quickly drops after Frieza uses half of his power and plummets Goku.
- Cell compliments Goku several times during their fight, saying that he's everything he expected. He was designed to kill him.
- Goku praise Kid Buu for being so powerful, even when he's about to kill him.
- As far back as a kid, Goku always compliments his opponents for being strong, whether he's winning or losing.
- A very rare compliment came from Vegeta to Goku. During their second match, Vegeta says that Goku has become much stronger, more than he expected.
- Claymore: Clare is fighting Rigaldo, who had previously dismissed her as a weakling unworthy of his time and is instead focusing on killing her (allegedly) far more powerful allies. This is a mistake; Clare taps into her Superpowered Evil Side in a very specific manner, allowing her to gain speed that he can't match. His final word as she tears him apart? Superb. *
- One Piece
- After surviving being impaled, buried alive, and dehydrated, Crocodile compliments Luffy's tenacity before he takes out his poison hook, deciding to fight Luffy as a true pirate.
- Lucci, when he isn't being a Smug Super, does compliments his opponents when they do especially well. When he learns Franky took out one of the CP9 agents, he praise him for being super human. He also compliments Luffy's leadership skills and praise the crew when he learns that they beat all of his comrades.
- Blackbeard is not shy to compliment anyone he sees as worthy including his old commander Ace, Luffy, and even Whitebeard just before he tries to murder him.
- Iron Man: In the climactic fight, Stark's opponent is constantly praising Tony's technical genius and tactical cunning.
- The Princess Bride:
- In the famous duel both the Man in Black and Inigo Montoya treat the whole thing like a game and are free with their compliments of each other's skills.
- There are also some good-natured compliments between the Man in Black and Fezzik during their battle.
- And between the Man in Black and Vizzini. "You've beaten my giant; you must be very strong."
- The Empire Strikes Back: At the end, Vader does it to Luke to try and encourage him to unleash his dark side, and then the Emperor does the same at the end of Return of the Jedi.
"Impressive. Most impressive. Obi-Wan has taught you well."
- Serenity: The Operative compliments his opponent's accomplishments, but also declares their "sin".
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: Jack Sparrow complimenting Will's form during their first duel.
Jack: You know what you're doing, I'll give you that. But how's your footwork? If I step here... *swash swash buckle buckle*... Very good!
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: General Chang appreciates Kirk as a fellow warrior.
- The Mask of Zorro: When Captain Love was fighting Alejandro (Zorro), he compliments him by saying "you're doing well, your brother would've shot himself by now."
- Strange Magic: The Bog King is increasingly impressed by Marianne's skill with a sword throughout their duel- and says so. On her part, she's having fun taunting him but later tells him she enjoyed their fight.
- In Twig, the viewpoint protagonist Sylvester, while undercover at a preparatory school, meets a clone of a student named Mary, who successfully manipulates the other students into getting him alone with her before pulling a gun on him in order to interrogate him. He expresses sincere admiration for her cunning, and continues to do so over their next several confrontations, leading her to betray her creator when she comes to the conclusion that he left her to die in order to delay Sylvester.
- As mentioned above under 'Film', The Princess Bride features the duel between the Man in Black and Inigo Montoya where the two compliment each other on their prowess.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: In the episode "Sokka's Master", Sokka receives several compliments about using his environment and superior agility during an intense sword fight. (With an Old Master who's teaching him, mind you.)
- Kim Possible: When Kim first wears her new Postscript Season mission garb, Shego admits that it looks pretty good (this after mercilessly — even by her standards — mocking the various outfits she'd worn earlier in the episode).
- Wakfu: Qilby the Traitor compliments Adamai twice during their fight. He is impressed by Adamai and Grougal's tag-team attack and admits that they almost had him. When Adamai later goes One-Winged Angel in a fit of rage after Qilby knocks out Grougal, Qilby expresses admiration for Adamai's fighting spirit, calling him the pride of the Eliatrope race.