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).
Examples:Anime and Manga
- Samurai 7: When Kambei was fighting Kyuzo, he said "I'm in love...with your fighting style," or something like that.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: 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."Bardiche: "Thank you."Fate: "You're strong, too, Laevatine and Signum."Laevatine: "Danke."
- 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 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 is quickly drop 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 design 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 CP 9 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 Jedi.
"Impressive. Most impressive. Obi-Wan has taught you well."
- Serenity: The Operative compliments his opponents 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 her. 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.
- Metal Gear is full of this. The bosses in the game often compliment Snake's ability. The most pronounced is probably Snake and Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid 3 — at the beginning, Snake defeats Ocelot but compliments his ricochet shots and in later battles, Ocelot compliments Snake for good shots.
- All of the fighters at the Dojo in the first Paper Mario.
- It's common courtesy in First-Person Shooters to compliment an opponent on a particularly good kill. Even/especially if the one killed was you.
- In Mega Man 8, Sword Man's death quote is simply "Nice Shot."
- Sengoku Basara:
- Tokugawa Ieyasu praises his opponents in a friendly, chatty way as he punches the crap out of them and their mooks. Makes sense, since he's actually trying to recruit some of them into his army and dissuade others from the path they've chosen... through punching.
- Ashikaga Yoshiteru's taunt actually involves applauding his opponent and declaring how much he's enjoying himself.
- StarCraft: In the multiplayer community, "gg" (Good Game) is the courteous way to surrender before leaving a match. "gg wp" (Good Game, Well Played) is a variant showing respect for your opponent's skill, said by the winner or loser. Several other online communities have since adopted the same shorthand.
- Whenever you destroy powerful enemies in Razing Storm, or play well in general. "Alpha 1! Awesome!" "Crazy skills, Alpha 1!"
- Gunnerkrigg Court: Jeanne compliments Parley on a "fine strike" while trying to kill her. She's right: Parley was unarmed and still reeling from an Emotion Bomb, but still managed to dodge Jeanne's rapier and land a kick. It's especially notable in that Jeanne is a homicidal ghost empowered by centuries of distilled rage and pain and was still vocally impressed.
- Destroy The Godmodder: Doc Scratch does this very frequently.
- 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.