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Friendly Enemy

[Aziraphale was] The Enemy, of course. But an enemy for six thousand years now, which made him a sort of friend.
Crowley, Good Omens

Antagonists have many potential on-screen relationships — white-hot hatred, deep-seated desire for revenge, well-concealed sexual attraction, or bitter contempt — but one of the rarest and most satisfying is not hostility at all, but... friendship. Essentially, a platonic Foe Romance Subtext.

Over the years, a Hero and his nemesis will share trials, failures, and successes at each other's hands, each becoming enormously important in the other's life and more intimate (not that kinda intimate! ...Well, sometimes) than many best friends. Over the course of a series' many Story Arcs, the two will develop a grudging respect for them as a Worthy Opponent. It can sometimes grow to the point that the villain will refrain from killing the hero in a "cheap" or dishonorable way, and even start to concoct bizarre excuses to avoid doing so entirely, spare his life, or even saving him. In these cases, the hero and villain are very likely to become Strange Bedfellows to beat a new villain who doesn't play by the rules, which may lead to Fire Forged Friendship. Sometimes, the villain will decide to admit to the friendship and perform a full Heel-Face Turn. If another villain kills the hero, this one may make sure that the hero doesn't die alone, and the hero will do the same for him.

Even if the villain doesn't switch sides, it's not impossible for both to be friends "off the clock", or take time out of their latest fracas to Go Karting, or share a meal, or run errands together.

Other times, the opposite happens. A Genre Savvy villain will notice that this is weakening him against the hero, and he'll promptly jump off the slope that they've been slowly climbing and undoing seasons worth of Villain Decay by doing something truly vile, like stuffing the hero's girlfriend in a fridge, or just plain pulling out new and lethal tactics when the hero is expecting the same old Harmless Villain.

In these relationships, the hero rarely stops trying to catch the villain, while simultaneously making his capture a personal quest or mission. Needless to say, humanizing a person whose capture you've objectified can complicate your priorities.

Related to Worthy Opponent. Compare Affably Evil. Contrast It's Not You, It's My Enemies, Big Bad Friend, and With Friends Like These.... See also Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?. See Dating Catwoman for the (explicitly) romantic version. Often goes well with Antagonist in Mourning. Frequently the target of Foe Yay. Not at all to do with attacking your team mates.


Examples:

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     Anime and Manga 
  • Dominion Tank Police and the sequel series New Dominion Tank Police feature the Puma Twins, a lovable, troublemaking pair of catgirls who have several run-ins with the title squad. Even though they are criminals, their relationship with the Tank Police is more one of friendly mischief than anything.
    • In the first series, they are sidekicks to another example of this trope: the cyborg thief Buaku, an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain who befriends Tank Police officer Leona.
  • The Fukuyama siblings from Girls Bravo. Though, they tend to get a little "too friendly" at times.
  • Death Note's Light and L. There is room for debate on how genuine the relationship was, but this is not the place for it.
  • Saiyuki has this sort of relationship between the heroes and the opposing side. This ismostly because the Quirky Miniboss Squad is headed by a literal Noble Demon and one of the members of the opposing side is Gojyo's brother.
  • Krillin in the early part of Dragon Ball, and Piccolo and, later, Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z. Most of Goku's friends went through this stage at some point, though often not for long before the next Big Bad pushed them into a full Heel-Face Turn.
    • One interesting case was the android trio of 16, 17, and 18. After 17 and 18 killed Dr. Gero, which actually went hand in hand with Future Trunks's prophecy about their terror, they only went after Goku because it was in 16's programming to do so and the twins needed some entertainment. When 17 and 18 curbstomped the Z Fighters on a mountain road somewhere, they didn't kill them, but instead actually left Krillin standing (as he was too scared to jump in), told him to use the holy beans to heal the others, and offered to fight them again anytime they wanted. 16 actually didn't take part in this fight at all, as he would rather embrace his newfound love for nature rather than fight anyone not named Goku…until Cell showed up to absorb the twins. Then, they each had a gradual Heel-Face Turn, 16's being the most pronounced.
  • In Haruhi Suzumiya, Nagato and Asakura. Nagato kills Asakura in the series, but in the Disappearance Movie, Asakura takes care of Nagato and cooks for her. While Nagato was reborn without her memories, Asakura does remember everything, as seen in the 7th novel. This might fall in both Foe Yay and LesYay.
  • Andrew Waltfeld in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. Initially presented by the local Desert Dawn rebels as an oppressive and ruthless dictator, the Desert Tiger turns out to be a likeable and friendly guy with a penchant for coffee. By the penultimate episode of the desert arc, he's already become friends with Kira, despite knowing he pilots the Strike, and openly regrets having to fight him to the death in the next episode.
    • The two protagonists of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray, Lowe Gear and Gai Murakamo, have this sort of relationship. They met as enemies, fought each other to a draw, and since then have demonstrated a profound respect for the other, both in fighting skills and in character. Though they occasionally wind up on opposite sides of a conflict (Gai being a mercenary means he doesn't really have a permanent "side"), they nearly always end up helping each other or finding some way to ensure that they both get what they want from the situation, and are willing to vouch for each other when asked.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE: That is the case of Asemu Asuno and his archenemy/best friend Zeheart Galette. Even after Zeheart is exposed as a Vagan spy, they cooperated in several occasions, with Zeheart saving his life a couple of times the last time, even Asemu gives him the killing blow. An OVA focused solely on them is to be released in 2013.
  • Interestingly, most of the Rivalries in Eyeshield 21 seem to be of this nature. While always competing very aggressively with one another, the rival characters typically hold good feelings for each other.
    • Sena had this kind of relationship played up with Shin, Riku, Yamato, and Panther.
    • The moment that Gaoh seriously considered Kurita his rival, he had nothing but respect for him. In fact, AFTER being defeated by said rival, he openly declared Kurita to be a friend on the basis of his strength and honor.
    • Hiruma and Kid were even seen at a bar playing darts (getting a perfect bulls-eyes every time...both of them), discussing what to do with Hakushuu.
  • In the Lupin III franchise, the titular Villain Protagonist treats Inspector Zenigata more as an affectionate rival than a threat. If a severe threat to world peace appears, they team up to take them down. Both are sad if the other appears to die, and Zenigata typically goes into a fit of grief. Also, any time he's taken off the Lupin case or when Lupin appears TRULY dead, one of his first reactions is usually to go visit the gang. (Lupin and his gang returned the favor at least once, showing up at Zenigata's funeral to mourn - from a distance - when he was believed dead.)
  • Extreme case: in Spiral, Ayumu and Hizumi immediately hit it off, despite (or perhaps because of) everyone constantly assuring them that Kiyotaka set it up so that one of them will have to kill the other. They go from strangers to Heterosexual Life-Partners almost instantly; literally living, going to school, and hanging out together. They even share the housework.
  • Vagabond: Despite the fact that, historically speaking, Musashi will kill Kojiro in their final duel, the two have nothing but admiration for one another. Musashi even thinks of Kojiro whilst dueling with another (inferior) opponent, and Kojiro, whilst practicing calligraphy, constantly draws the character for Musashi.
  • Thorkell likes to think that he and Thorfinn have this relationship in Vinland Saga. Thorfinn thinks otherwise.
  • Gunnm
    • Desty Nova and Alita in are just as often on the same side of a conflict as they are at odds with each other from destroying the berserk Zapan in their first meeting to trying to reach Ladder in Gunnm: Last Order. This partially has to do with Nova's Mad Scientist nature, as he considers Alita a valuable experimental subject and/or variable in his continuing study of Karmatron Dynamics, and tends to consider her much more valuable alive than dead. This doesn't, of course, stop him from antagonizing her allies or dropping the occasional mind screw on her to see her reactions. Alita's on-and-off alliance with Nova is purely out of necessity, but they did share a critical moment of empathy when Nova trapped her in the Ouroboros program and he let his emotional guard down. Unfortunately, the next back-up was right before that moment of empathy.
    • Similarly, Sechs, one of the rogue Tuned replicas of Alita, attempted to destroy Alita to prove her superiority when they first met. They soon became allies in the Z.O.E. tournament, but Sechs' desire for a final "proving" battle remains obvious.
  • Tentai Senshi Sunred: Despite being the classic archetypes of masked hero and monstrous evil general, Sunred and Vamp are the best of pals in everyday life, even if Sunred is a bit too uptight to admit it sometimes. Vamp's even helped Sunred move into his new house.
  • Through most of Peacemaker Kurogane's prequel, Suzu and Tetsunosuke have this sort of relationship. Until Suzu goes insane and becomes obsessed with Tetsunosuke...
  • In Code Geass, Lelouch and Suzaku: it is only thanks to their antagonizing that the Eleven's situation and self-esteem improved progressively over the course of the series, culminating twice in a Japan Administration Zone. Too bad that the first time was Diabolus Ex Machinized, which left the second time without credibility. At one point, they realize this and work together. More impressive still, over the course of two seasons, they each go Jumping Off the Slippery Slope, betraying each other and swearing to kill each other, then somehow met up at the bottom of said slippery slope. They join up again and dig their way back to the top.
  • Pokémon
    • Team Rocket partake in this occasionally, such as in one episode where everyone enters an orienteering contest, including the Rocket trio in disguise. James wins.
    • Gary is this as of the D/P arc. Whenever he makes a rare appearance, it's usually to help Ash and the gang out with the problem of the week.
    • Most of Ash's rivals are this. The most notable subversions of this trope are Paul and Trip, until Ash earns their respect.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • While he kidnapped Yugi's grandpa in the first episode of the anime (and flat out tried to kill Yugi and his friends in the manga), Seto Kaiba generally ended up helping Yugi and his True Companions frequently.
      • The same could be said of Pharaoh Atemu and Priest Seto, whom Kaiba is the reincarnation of.
    • In the movie, Pegasus saved everyone with a helicopter.
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Professor Chronos evolved from a villain to a more-or-less good guy, but was this in-between, and he wasn't always happy with it. (At one point, when he tried to help the students and they started cheering for him, he was a little annoyed by it; as he said in the dub version, "I think I liked it better when they hated me...")
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZeXal
    • III Arclight from with Yuma Tsukumo. Up until the point that Tron used a ritual that made him Ax-Crazy and sociopathic, that is; but he got better.
    • Gauche was also this towards Yuma in Season One, so much that he tended to help Yuma as much as he opposed him. (Gauche really wasn't truly bad anyway.)
    • In Season 2, Alit is this towards Yuma (at least to his own point of view). The friendly attitude ended for a while after Don Thousand woke up, however. He returns to this status eventually.
  • One Piece,
    • Gold Roger and Vice Admiral Garp are shown to have become good friends after all of their encounters and fights, resulting in Roger asking Garp to look after his child for him and hide him from the government after he dies, and Garp accepting. Despite the fact that Garp is committing a severe crime against the World Government he serves by doing so. Only his status as the World Government's greatest hero keeps him safe from punishment, as acknowledging his actions would have severely embarrassed the Government.
    • The same goes for Whitebeard and Roger, to the point where they were seen drinking together in a Flashback shortly before Roger's death when Roger told Whitebeard the truth about the Will of D.
    • Mihawk towards the Straw Hat crew in general. Specifically, he keeps tabs on Luffy and Zoro's growth as pirates, gives a mental apology to Shanks before attacking Luffy at Marineford, and agrees to train Zoro during the time skip so the latter can protect his crewmates.
    • Trafalgar Law has shades of this toward Luffy and the Straw Hats as well (his switching around of some of their hearts and minds notwithstanding). For one thing, he's directed Luffy and company as to where they need to go on the Punk Hazard island, even as Luffy acknowledges that they'll be enemies as long as they're both searching for One Piece. Law also acknowledges his role in saving Luffy's life during the Marineford arc, though he claims that that was something he did on a whim, thinking it would be a lame way for such an interesting rival to die.
    • Smoker has shades of this towards the Straw Hats as well, particularly towards Luffy. Sure, he still wants to capture them, but after the events in Alabasta and Punk Hazard, it's clear that he has respect towards them that no other pirate has ever earned from him, and Luffy returns it…though he's just a little too friendly by comparison.
      • Smoker's protégé Tashigi is the same way, though mostly in regards to Zoro.
  • Ranma and Ryoga are this trope to a tee. When Ryoga is first introduced, he tried to kill Ranma in his sleep. By the end of the series, they've saved each other's lives repeatedly, helped each other unlock more true potential, and defeated near-demigods together. And then there was the whole koi fishing rod story, in which Takahashi herself spoofed the "Friendly" part of the equation by having Ryoga accidentally cause Ranma to fall madly in love with him.
  • In Dorohedoro, Shin and Noi are quite friendly to Cayman's crew (they're not to Cayman himself, however, at least so far). With the Grey and Gray Morality, however, the issue is a bit shady.
  • In one episode of Sands of Destruction, the World Destruction Committee and World Salvation Committee work together to escape from a sand submersible. The otherwise adversarial Lia goes dere dere over Kyrie. When the ordeal is over, Naja opts to part ways with a gentleman's agreement rather than attempt to arrest the Destruction Committee, and Kyrie and Toppi suggest in a joking yet not-so-joking manner that it would be nice if they weren't at odds with one another.
  • Hand Maid May has Kotaro Nanbara, who proclaims himself Kazuya Saotome's "best friend and worst enemy".
  • Most of the cast of Black Lagoon. Eda and Revy have a Mexican Standoff one day, and share drinks in a bar the next. Shenhua is an ally in a mission against terrorists, an enemy in a Carnival of Killers, and a hired muscle for a later mission. This trope reached its ultimate in absurdity when Sawyer shows up to "clean" a hotel room for Greenback Jane. Everyone else, having met her off the clock, just greets her and lets her do her business. Jane freaks out, since the last time she saw Sawyer, she was part of the aforementioned Carnival of Killers, and Jane was the target!
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, Yamamoto acts like a very friendly enemy towards Squalo, who can't stand him.
  • If they weren't swinging sharp objects at each other all the time, it'd be pretty hard to tell that the characters of Sengoku Basara were enemies. Yukimura and Masamune have a friendly rivalry that borders on Ho Yay, Shingen and Kenshin never seem to have an ill word to speak about each other, Sasuke and Kasuga have some definite Foe Yay, and Keiji...well, he wants to be friends with pretty much everyone.
  • Seth, of AR∀GO: City of London Police's Special Crimes Investigator. He's made it absolutely clear that he's just helping Arago so he can wait for the right time to take Arago's power for himself.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena
    • Utena and Touga, strongly give off this vibe in their final duel - Utena wonders how often they've dueled, and comments that it feels like it's been dozens of times more than it has, while Touga swears to protect her. More evident in the manga, where he isn't as manipulative and later makes a complete Heel-Face Turn away from Akio's influence.
    • A straighter example is Utena and Miki, the only member of the student council (and more or less the only duelist in general, other than Mitsuru) who doesn't actively antagonize Utena and Anthy, and doesn't harbor any ill will toward either of them, even during his duels with Utena.
  • Naruto
    • Naruto and Sasuke though they're more rivals than enemies. They constantly bicker and fight and attempt to outdo one another, but do have times when they get along fairly well. Later on in Shippuden they become the opposite—functional enemies who Naruto won't acknowledge aren't still friends. In recent chapters, Sasuke seems to have regained his long-lost sanity, and things have come full circle.
    • The dead raised by Edo Tensei are good guys made to fight other good guys. It reaches extreme levels during the Fourth Shinobi World War when summoned "enemies" happily warn the good guys of what moves they're about to be forced to perform and generally doing their dead level best to lose to former students and family despite their lack of free will.
  • Alucard and Father Anderson in Hellsing. It's clear that they enjoy fighting each other far more than anyone else, they take any excuse to go into open combat (even when ordered not to by their superiors, to whom they are ordinarily absolutely obedient), they often pass up opportunities to finish one another off for contrived reasons (though it's unclear at first whether either of them is capable of killing the other), etc. This is because they both really enjoy combat, but are so powerful that anyone else is a boring Curb-Stomp Battle. Alucard is absolutely crushed when Anderson uses an ancient "holy" artifact that destroys his mind and turns him into a monster in order to become more powerful in the final battle.
  • Kaitou Kid, like Lupin III above, has this relationship with his favorite pursuers, especially Conan/Shinichi. In his Detective Conan appearances, he has more meta-motive and opportunity, given that only 28 chapters of Magic Kaito exist.
    • Lupin herself (and Jigen) has this relationship with Conan in the crossover movie.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple:
    • Agaard Jum Sai, the resident Muay Tai master of the YAMI group's One Shadow Nine Fists. Although his disciple, Tirawat Koukin, is a mostly cold bastard, Agaard himself is quite friendly, has great respect for his rival Apachai even before and after the two fight each other, and freely and openly acknowledges Kenichi's growth as a martial artist under Apachai's tutelage. He also gives Kenichi pointers for defending himself against a YAMI weapons master even while he himself is unable to assist directly due to temporary paralysis from his fight with Apachai.
    • Fellow Nine Fists member Akira Hongo could also count as an example, coming in second place to Agaard in spite of his cool and aloof nature. While he and his rival Sakaki Shio aren't exactly on friendly terms due to their shared past, Hongo does acknowledge Kenichi as a worthy disciple of Sakaki, appreciates the bond that should exist between a martial arts master and his disciples and encourages Sakaki to stay close to Kenichi and offer the boy support while Hongo himself takes the burden of fighting Silcardo Junazard.
    • Miu's father Furinji Saiga the leader of the Nine Fists, is pretty friendly to Kenichi after revealing "John" was him in disguise all along. He thanks him for helping Miu, and gives his parental approval for their developing relationship.
    • It would be easier to list the enemies that aren't friendly, given how rare Complete Monsters are in this series. If they aren't friendly at the start, they usually become friendly after a fight or two.
  • YuYu Hakusho played this trope several times with numerous opponents of the Urameshi team during the Dark Tournament arc. Any character who wasn't killed or didn't show signs of being a total heartless bastard generally wound up making reappearances in the series as an ally. In fact, some characters, such as Chu and Jin, actually managed to get along fine with Yusuke during their actual fights. A particularly good example is Yomi. Considering how Hot-Blooded he was in his youth, 1000 later, Yomi is civil even to one of the people he'd been in a 500+ year stand off with, even if he does plan to destroy them.
  • This is the relationship most Wolves in Ben-To have with one another.
  • Mei, a goat, and Gabu, a wolf, end up becoming the best of friends in Arashi No Yoru Ni. Needless to say, neither party is happy about this.
  • In Kill la Kill, Ira Gamagoori goes out of his way for his Student Disciplinary Committee Chair responsibilities to help Ryuko and Mako out when he drives by the two hitch-hiking. As the three are driving back, they trade some friendly banter as if they weren't about to fight the very next day.

     Comic Books 
  • Batman has a hostile friendly rivalry with both Ra's Al-Ghul and The Joker (usually, in both cases, with the friendly part strictly one-sided on the villain's part). Neither will stop trying to kill Batman, though their attempts are worthy of him and their history.
    • Half the time, Ra's al-Ghul doesn't want Batman dead; he wants him to marry his daughter and become his heir.
    • The Joker is an interesting inversion because, from his point of view, this is their friendship. He commits all sorts of horrific and violent acts not because he's trying to cross the Moral Event Horizon but because he views this almost as a game he and Batman play, and it's sometimes portrayed as the only thing he lives for.
    • The The Killing Joke is the defining example: after the Joker commits probably his most evil act in a long career full of them, the graphic novel ends with the Joker finishing a joke that makes Batman laugh, and the two of them laughing together as the police sirens draw closer with Batman possibly strangling the Joker...
    • One interesting Batman: Black and White (the first volume) story had The Joker and Batman as arch enemies...but only because it's their job to be so; after the climactic comic book scene (which is treated as a movie-style shoot), they're completely cool with stopping by the local cafe to pick up lunch. In fact they even talk about their family lives!
      In a Menacing Face-off style Pose, staring each other down:
      Batman: How are the kids?
      Joker: Just fine, yours?
    • A non-Batman (the person) example: in one issue of Robin, the Joker claims that he took a liking to Jason Todd's rougher, more streetwise style...which was why the latter had to die.
    • The Two-Face story ended with Two-Face waiting for Batman to come take him away after committing a murder. Harvey Dent is one of Bruce's close friends, and one of the few relationships where the Bruce-centric version of their relationship seems more important than the Batman-centric version of the relationship to him.
    • Batman's relationship with Catwoman has always been inherently less hostile than with the other villains, primarily because she makes him hot under the cowl, and it's more justifiable here as her crimes are usually simple, for-profit theft (often stolen from jerkasses to boot) and very rarely involve directly hurting people.
    • There's also The Riddler, who considers his rivalry with Batman a game and who, like Catwoman, is generally not harmful enough to warrant being treated as a serious villain. He eventually takes this to its logical conclusion, by going straight and becoming a detective competing with Batman rather than against him - he still gets the buzz of the rivalry, but Batman isn't allowed to punch him anymore.
    • The Penguin can also be considered this, since he's one of the few sane villains Batman comes across. When he's not committing some sort of crime, he runs a semi-innocent nightclub in Gotham. Batman will occasionally turn to him for information such as rumors flying about the criminal underworld, and The Penguin will ususally treat them as a business deal.
  • Superman:
    • In All-Star Superman, Luthor gives Clark Kent a backhanded compliment and derides Superman in the same sentence.
    • A lot of lower-level criminals (including Hitman) have this sort of relationship with Superman; it's been repeatedly noted that since Superman is so damn friendly and nice to everyone as long as they don't try to hurt or kill other people, very few non-super criminals dislike him. In one annual collection of short stories, it's made into a gag where a member of a gang of bank robbers' opening question "Why Metropolis?" (of all cities to rob a bank in), is answered, after a long discussion about those assholes in Star City, Keystone City, and Gotham, when Superman catches them and politely hands them over to the police while recommending the Metropolis reform program to get their lives back together: "Because when he catches you, he's not a jerk about it."
    • Pre Crisis Superman had this relationship with Bizarro and Ambush Bug (Bizarro was more an Anti-Villain, and Ambush Bug later became even more annoying to Supes by going straight.) In the Post-Crisis days, Mr. Mxyzptlk is his main "friendly enemy."
  • Professor X and Magneto from X-Men. It's rare when either actively seeks to harm the other, and when they do it's a really big deal. They've been compared to Malcolm X (Magneto) and Dr. King (Xavier) because they both want what's best for mutants as a whole, but disagree on what this is and the methods for getting there. Another Real Life analogy for these two would be Eric Raymond (Xavier) and Richard Stallman (Magneto), the two ideological leaders of the Free/Open Source Software movement; in terms of Raymond seeking reconciliation with the corporate world, and Stallman insisting that compromise is impossible. X-Men shows them playing chess. However there are exceptions to this.
    • Their Ultimate incarnations, where, for the first few issues, Magneto is willing to kill Xavier if he could get the chance. Xavier is opposed to killing in general - not to killing Magneto per se. Their relationship ended in Ultimatum... where Magneto broke the Professor's neck with his bare hand.
    • In the How It Should Have Ended episode for X-Men: First Class, Batman calls them "mortal frenemies" after Xavier says he and Magneto are old friends who are also occasionally mortal enemies. The short ends with Xavier expressing exasperation and disbelief that he and Magneto have been having the same argument for fifty years.
  • Fantastic Four: Doctor Doom and Reed Richards vary between this and blind, relentless hatred, depending on the day of the week. Another example is Reed Richards and Namor the Sub-Mariner, mostly because Reed's wife is the love of both of their lives. In the 2008 What If? one-shot "What if this was the Fantastic Four?", the Fantastic Four had been killed (or possibly disappeared) and the unlikely foursome of Spider-Man, Hulk, Wolverine, and Ghost Rider took over the title to uphold the legacy (as they had briefly done in the eighties). They fight a massively powerful enemy who nearly kills them all, when...Doctor Doom steps in to take out the enemy, proclaiming that "None may kill the Fantastic Four... save Doom." That's right, he'll save their bacon simply because they're upholding his enemies' name; because he won't let that name be tarnished by being defeated by an unworthy opponent (that is, anyone but Doom).
    • On a less serious note, Doom has no problem with Squirrel Girl entering his sanctum and doing whatever she pleases. Either he respects her, or he's just afraid she'll beat him up again if he protests.
  • In New Teen Titans, Deathstroke the Terminator and Changeling (now Beast Boy) developed a relationship like this in the '80s. Changeling was about to fight him to the death when Deathstroke appealed to his humanity by showing up without his mask, stating that it was the faceless mask that he wanted to kill, not the person behind it. They later talked things over in a diner.
  • The Comedian and Moloch of Watchmen. He specifically comments that Moloch is the closest thing he has to a friend. He's known him for decades. He then immediately comments on how sad and pathetic that is. It's not a one-sided friendship either. Moloch is one of the only people who visits the Comedian's grave.
  • The Sandman has a less venomous relationship with Spider-Man than the wallcrawler's other adversaries, even when he's not playing the good guy. He has been known to form an uneasy alliance with Venom occasionally.
  • The Sonic X comic book portrays Sonic's and Eggman's relationship as exactly this. When Eggman's not launching an Evil Plan, the two are practically friends. They have civilized conversations, face off in (mostly) friendly competitions...Sonic even helps Dr. Eggman get his secret lair back in control so he can get back to launching his evil plans again. When Eggman shows up for a party, no one bats an eye, either. Eggman's just the friendly neighborhood supervillain.
    • The Archie comics: While in the games, Sonic and Knuckles have been friendly rivals ever since Sonic & Knuckles, these comics typically presented Knuckles as "Sonic's friendly nemesis" instead due to their relationship being more antagonistic than in the games. Eventually, Knuckles got enough character development for the "Enemy" part to be dropped.
  • The Flash's Rogues Gallery can be kind like this, with such gems as Flash going to a party the Rogues threw for Captain Cold when the latter was released on parole. He crashed at Cold's house once, and one of his best buddies, the Pied Piper, was still kind of playing the Rogue, if for a good cause.
    • The first Icicle (Joar Mahkent) liked Jay Garrick and Barry Allen enough (and disliked his relatives enough) that he left half of his fortune to whoever was the Flash at the time.
  • When Eric Masterson served as replacement Thor for a while, he developed a friendship/rivalry with the villain, the Absorbing Man. When Masterson died, Absorbing Man visited his grave and openly admitted to Thor that they were friends.
  • Captain America has Batroc the Leaper. They both enjoy squaring off and are generally on good terms. He has even teamed up with Cap to defeat another villain on a number of occasions.
  • Played with in Damage Control. In the first issue, John Porter helps the villain Thunderball cut through Damage Control's Lost & Found department. Later, when several employees are trapped with the Wrecking Crew, Thunderball recognizes John among them; he instructs the Wrecking Crew to leave them alone and claims that John has superpowers.
  • In the Transformers Generation 1 comic books, Optimus Prime and Scorponok (who was the Decepticon leader for most of the second half of the book's run) become this through a series of Enemy Mines.
  • In Red Hood and the Outlaws, there is a friendship between sidekick Arsenal (Roy Harper) and criminal Killer Croc (Waylon Jones) after the former hit Rock Bottom and tried to commit suicide while fighting Killer Croc. Luckily Killer Croc wisened up to the scheme and called him out on it. In issue #4 Roy mentions Waylon sponsoring him in the Alcoholic Anonymous program.
  • Starman: The Shade and Jack Knight started out like this; Shade made a full Heel-Face Turn later.
  • Corto Maltese and Rasputin have this exact relationship. "I'll kill you one day, Corto. (...) You're missing out on a lot by not being my friend".
  • Entombed from a Polish series Wilq Superbohater (Wilq the Superhero) is categorized as a villain. However, he is also the protagonist's best buddy and most stories involve both of them solving the problem at hand as a team. The same applies to Alc-Man, who shares a similar relationship with Wilq and is also technically a villain. Neither of these two villains do much villainy, in contrast to Wilq's real enemies.
  • In Gothtopia, Batgirl's best friend and ally, Daybreak, is actually her archnemesis, Knightfall. They have no memories of their previous confrontations and think they've first met rescuing a couple.

    Fan Fic 
  • In The Vinyl And Octavia Series, Stumblefeather is quite friendly to Vinyl and Octavia. During the climax of Vinyl and Octavia Machete Their Way Through the Jungle, he stops fighting Vinyl to sit down and friendlily explain to her why he works with Baron von Darkhoof.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog fanfiction Prison Island Break, just like in the game series, the author has Shadow and Sonic gradually evolve from flat-out enemies, into friends who refuse to admit they're friends and fight each other a lot.

    Films — Animated 
  • Megamind: Megamind and Metroman are an interesting example, although they appear to dislike each other at the start, it's later revealed that Metroman likes Megamind, calling him "little buddy", and Megamind loses all motivation when he thinks Metroman's dead. This is because there's no indication that Metroman has a Secret Identity or life outside his heroics, and Megamind spends all his time in prison planning to destroy Metroman, or in his lair trying to do so. Add to that the film's Lois Lane Expy never dated Metroman and it all falls into place, they have no life or meaningful relationships apart from each other; they're friends by default.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) and Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains) in Casablanca are a textbook example until the closing scene, when, impressed by Rick's heroic sacrifice, Renault does a Heel-Face Turn. Rick famously declares, "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
  • Catch Me If You Can: Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks). This is based on real life. While Hanratty was a compilation of the men that chased Abagnale throughout his criminal career, he remained friends with several of them after he went straight.
  • Heat: Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) and Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) . The two men are both dedicated to their professions (one is a cop, the other a criminal), but they understand each other very deeply.
  • All the main characters are this at various points in Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • Subverted in The Watcher between David Allen Griffin (Keanu Reeves) and Joel Campbell (James Spader). David thinks that this is what their relationship has become, but Joel does not agree.
  • In Robin and Marian: Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham have grown into this. Just before their Duel to the Death, the two old enemies kneel in prayer, side by side. Robin then helps the Sheriff to his feet, and the Sheriff tells him: "God be with us, Robin."
  • French Kiss has one between Jean Reno's Inspector Cardon and Kevin Kline's thief, Luc. Luc once saved Cardon's life, and Cardon believes that Luc will go straight if he has a chance, despite having stolen a $100,000 necklace. Fortunately, he's right.
  • Early on in Casino, mobster Nicky Santoro sends his son to a little league team coached by a Las Vegas city detective; the two are seen chatting pleasantly about his son's progress. This is when Nicky newly arrived in Vegas and before his increasingly Ax-Crazy antics made him public enemy number one.
  • The detective, played by John Candy, in The Blues Brothers. He never seems anything other than amused at the brothers' antics, and insists on watching their show before arresting them.
  • In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Peter Bretter tries his best to hate Aldous, who has cuckolded him for over a year. However, Aldous' cheerful personality and lack of malice makes this so difficult that he eventually gives up.
  • In American Gangster, although drug baron Frank Lucas and cop Richie Roberts don't meet until the final 20 minutes of the film, Lucas immediately displays a grudging respect for Roberts when the latter turns down his offer of a bribe. The closing montage shows the amicable relationship evolving as the two work together to bring down NYPD's corrupt officers.
  • Pulp Fiction: Marsellus Wallace seems to be the film's Big Bad, but he is the employer and friend of the characters in the first and third story, and even in the second story, where he is the main enemy, greater antagonism comes from the minor character, Zed.
  • In Reservoir Dogs Joe Cabot is friends with Mr. White, but Mr. Blonde is definitely far more evil than Joe, and Mr. Orange, who is the policeman among them is an enemy of Joe and Blonde.
  • General Gogol, head of Russian Intelligence in a number of Roger Moore-era James Bond movies, is very much this character. He convinced M to have Bond and Anya work together in The Spy Who Loved Me, treated Bond as a Worthy Opponent in For Your Eyes Only, and later appeared as a Reasonable Authority Figure in Octopussy, in contrast with the main villain Orlov.
  • Gods and Generals has a rather touching scene of a Union soldier and Confederate soldier standing sentry duty on Christmas and commiserating across a river (including about how General Burnside is a General Failure). They then each walk out to the middle of the river and trade a few puffs on a pipe for a mug of coffee.
  • Magneto to Charles Xavier in the X-Men films.

    Literature 
  • Theseus Spencer and Oberon Navarro are later portrayed this way in Alterien. They gradually go from enemies to friendly rivals who are able to easily sit down with each other for a civil conversation.
  • Fate/Zero
    • Servant Saber ("King" Arthur) and Servant Lancer (Diarmuid ua Duibhne). Both are knights hailing from Britain and masters of combat, and each regard the other with great respect and consider their duels as honorable fights between two knights.
    • Rider as well, although his concept of "friend" baffles even the other Servants.
  • Aziraphale and Crowley (an angel and a demon, respectively) in Good Omens. This developed in their backstory, centuries before the timeframe of the novel, and by the time we meet them, they are best friends (despite still technically working for heaven and hell, respectively).
  • As we learn in Krondor: The Betrayal, this is common enough among the moredhel (dark elves).
    Gorath: A friend can betray you, but with an old enemy, you always know where you stand.
  • Discworld
    • Two examples of this in Vimes' relationship with the Assassins' Guild and the traditional interactions of wizards. In the former case, the Assassins frequently try to kill Vimes and he invariably foils their plans. When he becomes so prominent in the governance of the city that his name is taken off of their open list of targets, he expresses some disappointment, and some members of the Guild are shown admiring Vimes' cleverness. However, Vimes is not exactly a big fan of the Assassins' Guild. He considers the big price on his head as a mark of status, because "it showed he was annoying people who ought to be annoyed."
    • On the other hand, Vimes is on friendly terms with Mr Boggis, the head of the Thieves Guild. Boggis even serves in the citizens' militia that the City Watch organizes. Although licensed thievery is not an area that Vimes, as Commander of the Watch, is charged with stopping, the friendly and willing interaction of a policeman and thief still fits because Boggis is as much a crime-fighter as Vimes. The Thieves Guild spends much of its time combating unlicensed thefts (Viciously - instead of a stylish weathervane like that nice Assassins' Guild over there, they have the body of an unlicensed thief turning slowly in the breeze)
      • Vimes is also slightly friendly towards Chrysoprase a trolling gang-leader, who though a criminal, is a politic one, who knows when not to rock the boat.
    • The wizards of Discworld are traditionally friendly enemies to one another, constantly trying to kill their rivals, and Pratchett characterizes their outlook in Sourcery similarly to the Watchmen quote on the Antagonist in Mourning page. This changes when they appoint a head wizard that no one can kill. This failing has led to a more relaxed state as the entire faculty becomes more permanent and friendly despite retaining elements of the old relationship. Now you get Ridcully promoting people at random when he thinks people aren't showing wizards enough respect, rather than wizards promoting themselves through a cunningly placed dagger.
      • In Unseen Academicals, the relationship between Ridcully and the former Dean becomes this. Ridcully at first considers him a traitor for leaving the university, but by the end, they are more like friendly rivals. It helps that at the end of the book, Dean's university has a nasty and embarrassing accident with chickens due to improper and careless use of magic, so Ridcully and crew can swoop in like Big Damn Heroes and show Dean up. Nothing better for the ol' ego.
      • It's been said several times throughout the series that the more contempt a wizard (or witch) has for another, the more Dangerously Polite he will become. Granny Weatherwax and Mrs Earwig are described as being like duchesses.
    • Another example is the relationship between the old Count Magpyr and the villagers of Escrow in Carpe Jugulum. When the new Count was faced with the angry mob and tried to point at the old Count as a monster, all that happened was the villagers and the old Count having a jolly trip down memory lane about how this family's grandmother had such a striking figure in a nightie and how that family's ancestor was a damn good shot for killing him (the old Count) with a stake at twenty paces seventy-five years ago as a lot of the villagers beamed with family pride while they respectfully referred to the old Count as "yer honour" and other similar titles.
    • The Ridcully brothers, Mustrum the Archchancellor of Unseen University and Hughnon the High Priest of Blind Io, insult each other in public because wizards and priests are supposed to dislike each other, but the two get on quite well.
  • Anton Zilwicki and Victor Cachat from Honor Harrington are technically enemies, as their respective governments are still lobbing salvos at each other but it's hard to find a time when the guys didn't work together. They're just like two buddy cops, and they pop CMOAs like...popcorn.The defining factor here is that even though they are technically spies for two warring factions, what they're actually up to is a separate shadow war against a third, mutual enemy. On the otherside of the fourth wall it's an Author Collaboration where one is a naval historian with libertarian leanings and the other is a former mining union organizer with socialist leanings. They're Author Avatars who Fight Crime.
    • Honor Harrington and Warner Caslet (the latter aiding the former in taking down pirates in Silesia and then later helping her escape from State Sec), an opposing Havenite officer.
    • Harrington and Lester Tourville and Shannon Foraker (the latter two covering up her survival in said escape). Honor has quite a few of these from the Republic of Haven, actually, all of whom wind up on her side when Haven and Manticore wise up to the fact that they've been manipulated into going to war with each other. President Eloise Pritchart and Queen Elizabeth III, the star nations' respective leaders, are less than amused by this turn of events, and proceed to join up in a military alliance so badass it causes the Alignment to wet its collective drawers (alas, not literally).
    • Then there's Harrington and Klaus Hauptmann, originally ready to professionally destroy each other but who became friends and business partners.
  • In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Lu Kang of Wu and Yang Hu of Wei have this relationship. Locked in a cold war where each is too sure of the other's abilities to make the first move, they treat each other respectfully. For instance, when each army called a hunt, the borders were strictly seen to. After the hunt, Yang Hu had all the animals inspected. Any animals shot by arrows of the opposing side were sent over to Wu. Later, they would exchange gifts of wine and even medicine, despite the risk of being poisoned. Their relationship can even be considered An Aesop on tolerating these relationships. Yang Hu is well trusted by the Sima family despite his familiarity to Lu Kang. Lu Kang, by contrast, is removed once news of the relationship reaches the Wu court. This is good news to Yang Hu, who only refrained from invading because he respected Lu Kang's ability as a general.
  • Haplo and Alfred have this relationship in The Death Gate Cycle, specifically starting in book 3, when they are forced to work together by the extreme environs and the attempt of a corrupt ruler to kill them.
    • Haplo's status as a frenemy is further developed in Serpent Mage, when, instead of causing chaos, he tries to help the lesser races cooperate with each other so that they can avoid being frozen to their island homes. This is meant to demonstrate Halpo's incipient Heel-Face Turn, since the entire reason he was traveling to the various worlds in the first place was to create as much chaos as possible, so that his master could eventually sweep in and conquer the lesser races.
  • Artemis Fowl with Holly Short and the other fairies. For the first several books was either the villain or the lesser of two evils in the eyes of The People. They engage in Snark-to-Snark Combat while fighting bigger threats and never directly threaten each other again.
  • In the X-Wing Series, both the New Republic and the Empire have task forces working to hunt down Warlord Zsinj; at some point, The Leader of the Imperial task force sends a message to the New Republic one, wanting to meet with someone with authority. They send Face Loran; he and the Imperial admiral banter with each other and decide to share information on Zsinj, although this would count as treason if word got out. Eventually, the admiral lends a rare Interdictor cruiser (which has the valuable ability to prevent jumps to hyperspace) to the Republic task force for the book's final battle, with himself as captain.
  • In the Don Camillo series, Don Camillo, the priest in a small Italian town on the river Po, has an interesting relationship with the Communist mayor, Peppone. While both are, in theory, in conflict with each other, and do work against each other constantly, they consider each other worthy opponents. Peppone especially (because his Communist beliefs urge him into more extreme actions) has a tendency to make grand plots against Camillo, then do everything in his power to make things right again. When the chips really are down - or someone from outside tries something against one of them - it becomes clear that they will do anything for each other.
  • Sparhawk and Martel in David Eddings' The Elenium. In their final battle, they make comments on each others style and equipment, and agree that their trainer would berate them for how sloppy they have become. When Martel loses, Sparhawk waits for him to pass on before leaving. They have overtones of Not So Different, as they were originally best friends and were trained by the same people, until Martel made his Face-Heel Turn. Throughout the series, Martel has made it somewhat clear that he still likes Sparhawk and his former teachers, in spite of his willingness to kill them if necessary to accomplish his ends. A number of things he says are clearly wistful (in a "I wish things could have been different" sort of way), and he clearly likes and respects Sparhawk and company far more than he does his own allies. Hence the second-last sentence Martel ever speaks in his life: "I get to die in the presence of the only two people I ever really loved."
  • Silk and Yarblek in The Belgariad. They're intelligence agents for countries which are about to go to war, and are implied to have directly gone up against each other in the past, but their default interaction is a snarky sort of friendship. After Torak's death and the cessation of hostilities they drop the pretense and go into partnership and proceed to build the largest business empire in the world and become obscenely rich.
  • The Hollows series by Kim Harrison has the protagonist, Rachel Morgan, and Trent Kalamack cooperating. Despite Trent's crimes, Rachel saves his life on more than one occasion, and eventually, Trent undergoes a Morality Adjustment.
  • Atlan and Rhodan in Perry Rhodan. The first couple of times they meet, they try to kill each other, but both refrain from exploiting the obvious opportunities. After the second duel, they become friends and allies for the next 3,000 years.
  • In A Darkling Plain, from the Mortal Engines Quadrilogy, the Kriegsmarshal of Marnau fondly recalls how, after a Green Storm sniper injured him, the Green Storm General, Naga, sent him a bulletproof vest as a get well soon present, inscribed with the words 'sorry we missed you'. He also states that he finds Naga more likable than some of his allies in the Traktionstadtsgesellschaft.
  • Harry Potter
    • Harry himself and Cedric Diggory were this during Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire, whether they were competing with each other in Quidditch or the Triwizard Tournament. They gave each other tips and never went at each others' throats, despite the fact that the school was torn in two between the pro-Harry Gryffindors and the pro-Cedric everyone else.
    • The same could be said about Fleur Delacour and Victor Krum in Goblet of Fire during the Triwizard Tournament. None of the four competitors showed any real dislike for any of the other three. Note that one could say "perfectly normal, this is what sportsmanship is about" and it was a sport competition, not a war. However, Harry refused an easy victory over Cedric 'even as Cedric was now a romantic rival for Harry. Also, there are hints that the mentor of each competitor DOES try to cheat and, whenever it's possible, harm the other kids.
  • Jiaan and Patrius in the Farsala Trilogy. Though on opposing sides of a war, they become good friends and make a habit of capturing, sitting down and talking with, and then releasing each other by the time the war comes to an end.
  • In the Codex Alera novels, this is what the Canim term gadara means, coupled with Worthy Opponent. To the Canim, a gadara is more trustworthy than an ally, as while an ally can betray you, a gadara is still an enemy and thus one can expect violence from them. Generally, to be acknowledged as a gadara, the two who declare themselves as such exchange swords in front of witnesses. Prior to the events of Captain's Fury, no Canim had ever had an Aleran (human) gadara, until Tavi became one of these with both Nasaug and Varg.
  • Magic: The Gathering's Kamigawa novels have Toshiro Umezawa and Hidetsugu, two characters who formed a "truce" on their first meeting that they'd work together as far as they could while knowing that their ultimate mutually exclusive goals would demand one of them kill the other. They spend most of the trilogy sharing relatively friendly conversations and helping each other out and, when the time comes, they pause a moment to look sorrowfully at each other before promptly trying to murder one another.
  • Tortall Universe
    • In the Immortals quartet, Rikash Moonsword and Daine. They are at odds because Rikash is a Stormwing; an immortal being that lives to defile battlefield corpses while Daine is a Nature Hero and so can't stand this disrespect. After discovering that he is a Noble Demon, they form a tolerance for each other.
    • In Daughter of the Lioness the spymaster of the Copper Isles and the spymaster of Tortall are on great terms and only work against each other because their jobs demand it. Justified as They are family; daughter and father respectively.
    • In the Provost's Dog books, the Dogs (guardsmen and women, that world's version of police officers) often have friendships with criminals. The main character even shares a lodging-house with a bunch of them.
  • Spartacus acts like this towards Julius Caesar in Emperor: The Death of Kings. They first meet when Crixus and Brutus independently have the idea of looking over the other camp by climbing to the top of a big rock, and while the other three constantly look for an opportunity to off the others, Spartacus enjoys a pleasant chat.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Harry Dresden and Lara Raith generally respect each other for the other's skills at manipulation, deceit, and fighting prowess, and have worked together in the past, even though she really wants to eat him or convince him to be her partner in crime or her sex slave. Every now and then the "Friendly" part goes away when Lara does something that reminds Harry that she is a monster who preys on humans.
    • In Small Favor, Harry is hunted by The Billy Goats Gruff, for a previous wrong committed against the Fairy Summer Court. The Gruffs have nothing against Harry, and some of them like him and say so, but their duty is their duty.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: Cordelia and Aral during the Escobar invasion. In this case they were not merely "friendly" but soon to be married.
  • In Michael Flynn's The January Dancer, the opposing sides of the civil war, in peace time, gather in pubs to drink together and sing songs of the exploits of the war, in perfectly indifference to which side was being glorified.
  • In the several sequels of The Three Musketeers, the four musketeers often find themselves on different sides of political intrigues. At one point, they capture one another in battle. Still, they remain as close as brothers until they die, help each other escape even when ordered to arrest one another, and consider Athos' son "a son to us all."
  • In the Amelia Peabody Series, from the third book until sometime late in the series, Amelia Peabody-Emerson and the Master Criminal a.k.a Sethos, were enemies, mainly because the Emerson family were Egyptologists and the Master Criminal was, well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin. mainly dealing in forging antiquities. Though there were bitter enemies, they had mutual respect for one another, to the point where Sethos often rescued Amelia or any member of the family from danger from any of the book's main antagonists. It wasn't until the book, He Shall Thunder in the Sky, that it is discovered by Amelia's son Ramses, who was working as a spy for British Intelligence in World War I that Sethos was related to the Emerson family because he was the illegitimate brother of Amelia's husband Radcliffe Emerson, more commonly known as Emerson.
  • Umasi and Zyid from Truancy are friendly and generally respect the other's wishes, despite one being a pacifist and the other leading a rebellion.
  • In the Alexandria Quartet novels, the crossdressing, rough-trade-seeking Scobie is regularly busted by the Egyptian vice squad. The policemen are all hugely fond of him, though, and are later seen bawling their eyes out at his funeral.
  • Jack Aubrey and Captain Christy-Palličre from the Aubrey-Maturin novels. Christy-Palličre captures Jack (who is vastly outgunned) and they become friends on opposing sides of the war for many years.
  • This is a major theme in the Shaara Civil War trilogy (Gods and Generals, The Killer Angels, and The Last Full Measure). The protagonists all have close friends on the other side, Hancock (Union) and Armistead (Confederate) and Grant (Union) and Longstreet (Confederate) standing out in particular.
  • In The Dollmaker, Stephen and Brian are best friends, though the relationship rots as they both change into something not quite human.
  • Thomas Cromwell and Eustace Chapuys are portrayed as this in Wolf Hall. Politically they're enemies, but they seem to have genuine respect for each other and invite each other to dinner quite a bit.

     Live Action TV 
  • Doctor Who
    • The Doctor and The Master, though how friendly they are has varied during the (long) run of the series. He once introduced the Master as "my best enemy" in a clear parallel to the concept of best friends.
    • The Doctor has also had a chat or two with Davros. Davros enjoys talking with the Doctor to an extent, because of his intelligence; there are points, however, when the Doctor feels he's taking it too far.
    The Doctor: We are not friends, Davros.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    • Gul Dukat considered Sisko a friend for most of the series but it was not reciprocated. It bordered on Genre Savvy at times, with Dukat acting as if Sisko was just pretending to hate him to keep up appearances, although it was clear that he was genuine (what with Dukat being a mass-murderer).
    • A more straightforward example would be Quark and Odo.
      Zayra: "I can't believe you're defending him, Quark. You're his worst enemy."
      Quark: "I guess that's the closest thing he has in this world to a friend."
    • On Star Trek: The Next Generation, it's implied that this is the standard state of affairs with Klingons, at least as long as they are fighting their fellow Klingons, even openly drinking with the warriors on the other side during the Klingon Civil War during the "Redemption" two-parter.
    • The omnipotent being Q genuinely likes and respects Captain Picard. Don't be mistaken, he'll put the Enterprise in grave danger just for kicks and he still thinks humanity is a "grievously savage child race", but at the same time he's been shown to admire Picard and has it's been hinted that he's saved Picard life once or twice.
    • To go back even to Star Trek: The Original Series, Kirk and Khan remained on good terms, even though Khan tried to kill Kirk and his crew. Kirk admired Khan to the point that he essentially allowed Khan go by marooning him and his crew on a nearby uninhabited planet. Which in hindsight turned out to be not such a good idea - although even in that movie, Khan kept referring to Kirk as "my friend", usually while trying to kill him.
  • In Juken Sentai Gekiranger, Rio and Mele pull the Rangers' asses out of the fire so many times that it doesn't surprises anyone when they turn good in the end.
  • In Kamen Rider Ryuki, Kitaoka Shuuichi (Zolda) is out for himself, but he also fraternizes with Shinji and the others throughout the series. Basically, it's a There Can Be Only One situation and he's willing to save Shinji and Ren for last. Shinji and Ren, the two main Riders, are this as well, technically. The Riders in this series are all fighting to the death to be the one who gets one wish (anything, Reality Warper style.) The friendlier ones don't hate you, but know you knew the rules when you signed up, and aren't gonna not heal their terminal illness in Kitoaka's case or save their loved one in Ren's case because you're having second thoughts. Or, in Shinji's case, weren't the one the Advent Deck was meant for and didn't know the rules when you signed up.
  • In Smallville, Clark Kent's best friend is Lex Luthor. This isn't quite the standard trope since they have not yet become enemies. It's a Dramatic Irony thing for the audience to see them as buddies when they will later be arch enemies.
  • Yes, Minister: although Humphrey and Hacker usually act at cross purposes, they are always polite towards one another and sometimes genuinely enjoy each other's company; on the occasions they are forced to work together for a common goal, they are an efficient and effective team, and the first time Humphrey suggests this, Hacker appears flattered that Humphrey wants his help. Humphrey once mentioned to a group of other senior civil servants that he and Hacker frequently enjoyed the perks of their jobs, as well as gifts of and parties held by powerful lobbying groups, together. They even laugh at each other's jokes. This may be because the two of them are Not So Different, in that, while Humphrey claims to serve the good of the country, and Hacker started out intending to reform the country and serve a greater morality, by the end, they are equally self-serving and morally corrupt, and are in it purely for their own self interest and the good of the Civil Service/Party.
    • On one occasion, they're having one of their typical arguments on this case over the EEC, only for it to morph into this:
      Hacker "The problem with Brussels isn't the internationalism, it's too much bureaucracy."
      Humphrey "But the bureaucracy is a consequence of the internationalism, whey else would you have an English Commissioner, with a French Director General immediately below him and an Italian reporting to the Frenchman and so on down the line"
      Hacker "Oh I agree."
      Humphrey "It's like the Tower of Babel."
      Hacker "Oh I agree."
      Humphrey "No, it's even worse, it's like the United Nations."
      Hacker "I agree."
      Bernard "Perhaps, if I may interject, you are in fact, in agreement."
      Hacker and Humphrey "No we're not!"
  • Sylar and Peter on Heroes. In the fourth episode of season three, Peter has been brought four years into the future and visits Sylar, who gives him a hug and offers to make him waffles. This is also when Peter learns that the two of them are brothers. Once they realized that it's another Company scheme, they're back to punching each other's lights out.
  • Jacob and "the man in black" in LOST hang out with each other on the island and talk regularly, despite the fact that they are archenemies. It turns out that they're twin brothers.
  • iCarly: Sam and Freddie become this in Season 2, wherein the first season, they were forced to work together out of their mutual interest in Carly.
  • Despite being a challenger five times on Iron Chef, and leading two factions to take the Iron Chefs down, Toshiro Kandagawa was on good terms with them, and even sent flowers to Iron Chef Rokusaburo Michiba when he was hospitalized for exhaustion.
  • In the second season premier of Dollhouse, Topher explicitly refers to ex-Agent Ballard as a "frenemy". Their relationship is like a season-long Enemy Mine-cum-Heel-Face Turn.
  • F Troop: This occurs between the settlers and the Native Americans. Ostensibly, Fort Courage's mission is to "keep the peace" against the Hekawi Indians. In reality, the Hekawis are pacifists and the two factions tend to leave each other alone, except for the Hekawi's business deals...
  • Max and Siegfried on Get Smart. The former refers to the later as "my old friend and bitter enemy".
  • The various mads and their experiment subjects often behave this way on Mystery Science Theater 3000. TV's Frank, in particular, is overheard wishing that he could hang out with the bots. In Time Chasers, Mike goes over to visit Pearl for a cup of coffee in the opening and closing segments. In "Manos" The Hands of Fate, Forrester and Frank famously apologize to Joel and the bots for the movie.
  • Angel and Lindsey from Angel occasionally team up with each other if they aren't busy killing/mutilating/beating the crap out of each other; same with Lilah. You could also count the team's relationship with Harmony.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Londo and G'Kar pass through this stage somewhere in the season 4 on the way to becoming Fire-Forged Friends.
      G'Kar: [In response to Londo's proposition to sign an agreement to incite other races to do the same] "Issue the statement. I will sign my name. ...But not on the same page, do you understand that?"
    • Like so many aspects in this show, this gives the long running foreshadowing of them killing each other (as in Londo's vision) a different meaning. G'Kar doesn't kills Londo out of hate, as hinted in the reason for the vision, but because Londo is under the control of a Puppeteer Parasite. Londo can't kill himself, even pumped full with alcohol to dull the parasite, and will resist if someone tries to mercy kill him. G'Kar sacrifices himself to free Londo from being a puppet.
  • Glee
    • As of the season 1 finale, Sue and Will; or rather, Sue seems to think this while Will is convinced that Sue is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. This is combined with a healthy dash of The Only One Allowed to Defeat You. Sue genuinely hates the Glee Club, but will often put it aside for truly important issues.
    • Kurt and Rachel, beginning in season two, as they realize that they have a great deal in common.
    Rachel: (Teasingly) You were my only real competition!
    • In the third season, they start out much more friendly, sharing common dreams, but then the very commonality of those dreams and that they have to pursue competitive (and occasionally mutually exclusive) goals drives a wedge between them again.
    • Shelby and Will's working relationship in the third season. The kids of the two glee clubs are very unhappy with one another, as both teachers admit, but they're collegial and friendly together and hope to channel their kids' energy to something positive.
  • Todd of Stargate Atlantis was not only prone to temporary alliances with Atlantis, but never openly opposed them. Had he not been a Wraith, he would have become a trusted ally. The whole "needing to eat people" thing makes trust a lot harder.
  • Ba'al from Stargate SG-1 had some shades of this as time went on, compared to the more 'traditional' Goa'uld who considered the humans of earth as inferior life, no matter how badly said humans kicked their butts.
  • A popular approach in Law & Order. Prosecution and defense spend all day battering each other to death in court, then end up sharing a table at an expensive steakhouse, chuckling about the absurdities of their clients.
    • Ally McBeal had Renee Raddick, a district attorney who often spoke against the clients of Cage and Fish, the law firm that the titular character worked for. She roomed with Ally, was her rock when Ally needed one, and was close friends with the attorneys at Cage and Fish, even singing for John at his birthday.
    • The Practice: The first seasons had Helen (the ADA) & Lindsay (a member of the firm) as room-mates sharing an apartment. When Lindsay got married to Bobby, she had Eleanor (another member of the firm) move in with Helen.
    • This is common on other Law Procedurals like L.A. Law & JAG and Truth in Television; see Real Life section.
  • Burn Notice has a one-sided version: Larry Sizemore wants to work with Michael again, while Michael has a serious problem with his Psycho for Hire ways. Unfortunately, Larry has a bit of trouble taking no for an answer, even when "no" is delivered via a sniper rifle. (It has been so delivered twice.)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • After Spike reveals his crush on her, Buffy remarks that he was "So much easier to talk to when he just wanted to kill me."
    • In season seven, a new vampire says delightedly, "I was afraid to talk to you in high school, and now we're, like, mortal enemies. Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we became nemeses?" – And a bit later: "I'm sorry if I overstepped my bounds. I'm just new to this whole mortal enemy stuff."
  • Red Dwarf: Hogey the Rogey is constantly challenging the Dwarfers to duels across time and space. They've gotten bored of it which is counterproductive because the reason they were doing this in the first place was because they were bored.
  • Teen Wolf
    • Chris Argent is starting to become this with at least some of the werewolves. Especially since they are fighting the same foes on multiple occasions.
    • Peter Hale, as of late season two. Does not mean anyone really trusts him.
    • Ethan, who seems to regret what he is involved in, possibly because he is not really a bad person or possibly because he has fallen in love with Danny.
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century:
    • Princess Ardala and Buck.
    • Kane and Tigerman also have a healthy deal of respect for Buck noting his honesty and insistence on fighting fair.
    • In Flight of the War Witch, Earth and the Draconians even join forces to fight the Zadds. It's implied that after their victory, Draconia and Earth do become allies. Somewhat fitting as that was the last episode of the first season (before the totally reformatted second season) and thus the last appearance or mention of the Draconians on the show.
  • Hogan's Heroes: Although Col. Klink is duty-bound to remind Col. Hogan that he is a prisoner of war at every turn, the two develop a relationship that can only be described as friendship, with the two actually protecting one another from time to time, as Klink is clearly depicted as a "lesser evil" and not part of the Gestapo breed of soldier (indeed his disdain for the Nazi regime is unambiguous to the extent that speculation is possible that he is fully aware of Hogan using his camp as a base for secret operations, but allows it to go on). Similarly, Hogan and his men treat Sgt. Schultz as a friend, to the extent that Schultz deliberately ignores their indiscretions. Although one of the most criticized aspects of this series, the day-to-day relationship between Hogan and his men and his German captors (none of whom are depicted as front-line soldiers anyway) actually comes closer to Truth in Television than you might think; see Real Life, below.
  • Salem: Alden and Mather pretty much hate each other, but they make a rather effective team when it comes to hunting down witches.
  • An episode of NCIS has Gibbs being asked by his father to go with him to meet an old friend of his who saved his life during World War II. Gibbs's father was a pilot in the European theater, whose fighter was damaged. Without working instruments, he couldn't tell which way the American base was. Another fighter pulled up alongside and pointed him in the right direction (the opposite of where he was flying). Later, Gibbs's father remembers that the other pilot was German. Not only did the German pilot show him where the American base was, but he risked his own life to guide Gibbs's father to safety (he could've been shot down by the base defenders). When Gibbs is bewildered why an enemy pilot would help his father, his father explains that, up there, in the lonely sky, all flyers are brothers.

    Music 
  • The song "Snoopy's Christmas" depicts Snoopy and his archnemesis The Red Baron sharing a holiday toast after a fierce dogfight. Moved by the distant sound of Christmas bells, the Baron could not bring himself to deliver the final shot, even though he had gained the upper hand. The song is set during World War 1 and is based on the Real Life "Christmas Truce" of 1914—indeed, just like in Real Life, it is Germany who extends the olive branch first.

     Professional Wrestling 

     Tabletop Games  
  • Warhammer 40,000's Orks have no concept of "friend," but they do have a word for "favorite enemy." During the Second War for Armageddon, Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka found himself a proper nemesis in Commissar Yarrick, and when Ghazghkull captured him in a subsequent campaign he let Yarrick go (after the requisite amount of torture) so the planned Third War for Armageddon would be more entertaining. Ghazghkull considers Yarrick the one humie who knows how to fight, and has been known to kill any lackey who insults the commissar. After all, "good enemies iz 'ard ta find, an Orks need good enemies ta fight like they need meat ta eat an' grog ta drink." Note that this is entirely one-sided: Yarrick despises Ghazghkull and has vowed to pursue him to the ends of the galaxy to avenge the billions killed for his amusement.

    Theater 
  • Cyrano de Bergerac: Cyrano and De Guiche: De Guiche wants to humiliate Cyrano and even prepares a Last Stand for him. Cyrano doesn't waste any chance to humiliate De Guiche. Meanwhile, they have civilized conversations, they treat each other with the utmost respect; they both have read Don Quixote and discuss it, and De Guiche is the only one who really comprehends Cyrano's motives. At the end, De Guiche even expresses envy for Cyrano's independence and tries to pass a warning to him of a coming assassination attempt. It doesn't help.
  • Fiddler on the Roof: the constable and Tevye. Despite one being a Cossack and the other being a Jew, they both show respect to the other and treat each other well, having a friendly chat every once in a while. When the constable receives orders to perform a pogrom in the village, he is obviously uncomfortable with the idea and warns Tevye in advance out of respect for their friendship.

     Video Games 
  • In the Tekken series, King I and Armor King had a relationship like this, and so did King II and Craig Marduk.
  • Big Boss and Ocelot in the Metal Gear series. Big Boss, at the beginning, decides not to kill Ocelot because of his youth, and slowly starts pseudo-mentoring him with each subsequent fight, while Ocelot comes to hero worship Big Boss by MGS3's conclusion. This culminates when Ocelot joins Big Boss as a member of Foxhound and having an invitation for Big Boss to join the Patriots be his condition for joining himself.
    • Gray Fox and Snake in Metal Gear Solid fit this, being that they're often adversaries for ideological reasons, but still regard each other as comrades. To quote Snake himself:
    Naomi: But… didn’t you try to kill each other?
    Snake: That’s true. We did. In Zanzibar. But it was nothing personal. We were just professionals on opposite sides, that’s all.
    Naomi: And you still call yourselves friends?
    Snake: Hard to believe? War is no reason to end a friendship.
  • Senator Armstrong in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. It's a universal fact that the guy is bat-shit insane, but be damned if he doesn't play like the politician that he is. While he has no qualms about killing Raiden, he'd much rather have him on his side. When he thought that he finally got through to Raiden with his Breaking Speech, he helps him up, dusts him off and shakes his hand with a big smile. Raiden doesn't reciprocate.
  • Almost all of the characters you get in the Fire Emblem games used to be enemies. In dialogues before entering battles, you'll usually see a single character with a face and a name, saying "I can't possibly fight against these people!", and you can recruit him or her by talking to them.
  • Harman Smith and Kun Lan are frequently seen playing chess in Killer7. Harman makes the nature of their relationship clear when he says to Kun, "You're a good friend, but unfortunately, our interest is not mutual." It kind of helps that both of them are impossible to kill. Maybe...
  • Kirby and the Affably Evil Anti-Villain, King Dedede. Outside of fighting each other over random stuff (most of which is either a misunderstanding, Dedede being possessed, or Dedede just being a greedy asshole in some of the older games), they enjoy racing and competing against each other in friendly competitions. He's outright playable in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, Kirbys Return To Dreamland, and Kirby Triple Deluxe, and in Kirby Triple Deluxe, he picks up the Distress Ball and the game actually consists of rescuing him! Also, in the adventure mode of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, King Dedede glomps Kirby! After he (that is, Dedede) saves the day.
  • Super Mario Bros. Mario and Bowser became like this after the original games. They've reluctantly teamed up on a few occasions, Bowser regularly opens up his castle for Mario's go-kart races...
  • Gilgamesh is a reoccurring character in Final Fantasy and usually as this trope:
    • Final Fantasy V treats your party this way after the first couple of encounters, saying that he's glad to see you again and asking how everyone has been. He's genuinely upset when he learns about Galuf's death. It gets even more bizarre the last time you encounter him, as he delivers a pep talk to each of the heroes and uses a Suicide Attack to destroy both himself and the boss you were fighting. The last couple of encounters could be explained by the fact that Gil had been tossed into the Interdimensional Rift for failing one too many times. Exdeath was a dick, the heroes weren't, so he was very much on their side when he found out that they were in the Rift too.
    • In Final Fantasy XII he falls under this during the fight(s) with him. When you meet him later (during a side quest) he calls the party "My friends", helps out, and then says goodbye.
    • He's in the Colisium during Final Fantasy XIII-2 as one of the contestants. If you defeat him there he will help you for the rest of the game.
  • Final Fantasy IX: Zidane and Kuja have a moment of this after Kuja saves the team from the collapsing Memoria and Iifa Tree and Zidane decides to stay to save Kuja from the depths of the Iifa Tree. Then again, they are brothers and this brief moment of friendliness doesn't continue in their appearances in Dissidia: Final Fantasy. Though that can be explained as having most of their memories wiped.
  • The Amarr and Minmatar roleplaying communities on EVE Online are like this. In character, they are bitter enemies, but they recognize that the other side tends to play by the rules (as opposed to genuine pirates). Out of character, they have the utmost respect for one another. If a roleplaying reason could be found for the two communities to work together, they would be a very effective alliance.
  • God Hand: Gene and Elvis, despite being enemies, have some friendly banter. After he kills Elvis, Gene goes into a bit of Antagonist in Mourning and is more than a little pissed off at Shannon for badmouthing him.
  • Tales of the Abyss has Van Grants, along with several of his Dragons. Most of them have a history with the protagonists, and both sides acknowledge that the other is trying to save the world in their own way. In fact, the Big Bad himself constantly states that he has no desire to kill the heroes and would happily let them join him. Before, during, and AFTER the final battle, both sides only express their respect for one another.
    • Tales of Vesperia has Duke, who actually helps Yuri and the gang a few times in their quests. After the final battle, they persuade him that humanity can change, and he helps them destroy the Adephagos using Dein Nomos.
    • Tales of Xillia pulls this so frequently and to such an intense degree between Milla and Jude and Gaius as to practically qualify as Ship Tease. Scarcely an encounter between the three goes by without one or both sides praising the other's determination and purity of heart, especially when they find themselves in a temporary Enemy Mine against the forces of Elympios and Muzet.
  • Sonic and Dr. Eggman are like this sometimes.
  • In the leadup to the "War!" update for Team Fortress 2, it was revealed that the RED Demoman and the BLU Soldier met at a gun convention and became friends. The person pulling the strings for both teams decided to sabotage this friendship by pitting the Soldier and Demoman against each other for new weapons.
  • In Mass Effect, Wrex mentions an old Asari commando friend of his named Aleena that he was contracted to kill. They agreed to fight it out in an abandoned space station filled with mercs and pirates. After days of hunting down one another and killing off all other mooks, Wrex managed to trap her while she's healing. However, the base was about to explode, forcing him to leave. He decided that No One Could Survive That only to get a message from her. At that point, Wrex decided that anyone who survived all of that deserves to live a bit longer and let her go. Mass Effect 2 hints that Aleena is Aria T'Loak, ruler of Omega.
    • Aria T'Loak tends to have this with most people, but especially Shepard and her former lover, Nyreen.
    • The Illusive Man's interaction with Shepard. Even after their Faustian Rebellion at the end of the second game, he repeatedly tries to convince Shepard to join his side, which Shepard responds with by countering with the same offer.
  • Cate Archer and Magnus Armstrong in No One Lives Forever. Armstrong spares Archer's life several times despite his criminal peers' insistence that she be executed; partially out of camaraderie (they're both Scottish) and partially out of respect for her abilities.
    • In the sequel Magnus leaves H.A.R.M. and helps out Cate.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories: Axel towards Sora, but it's mostly to manipulate him. It may also have to do with Axel's relationship with Roxas.
  • Despite the high-stakes nature of Pokémon League challenges, the League Champion in all generations after the first displays impeccable grace and sportsmanship, even when defeated.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic IV: Emilia Nighthaven (the Academy campaign's main protagonist) & Solmyr ibn Wali Barad (a genie who is honor-bound to serve the campaign's Big Bad).
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny: Stern and Levi's first interaction with Nanoha and Fate immediately show that, while they're technically on opposing sides, they really like each other and treat one another like old friends. Levi cheers Fate up after the latter had just gone through a traumatizing fight against a copy of her dead Evil Matriarch. Unsurprisingly, Stern and Levi were quick to suggest that they team up with the good guys once a bigger threat appeared, and were quicker to oppose the wishes of their leader, Lord Dearche, when she suggested that they should kill everyone in Nanoha's group.
  • In No More Heroes, Travis can be like this with some of the assassins he fights, sometimes one sided. Death Metal offers advice before Travis finishes him, he honestly respected Holly Summers a great deal and Speed Buster was impressed with him. He also spared Shinobu after realizing how she isn't like the other assassins and this comes back with Shinobu saving his life and eventually becoming a crazed fangirl. Henry becomes pretty friendly with Travis in the sequel (even if Travis doesn't care), while there are a few more he ends up liking. He tries letting Ryoji live for his warrior spirit, lets the broken Captain Vladimir enjoy a happy death and freaks out over Alice Moonlight, who he only killed because she wanted him to. There's also Kimmy Howell, although he's more freaked out by her since she's a stalker fangirl of terrifying levels.
  • If you behave the right way in Mount & Blade, lords from rival nations will often come to regard you as a friend, greeting you respectfully but still being obliged to battle you if your nations have gone to war.
  • Dragon Age II gives us the Friendship/Rivalry system, which allows Hawke to either support his comrades in their endeavors or become their allies by necessity. Then, of course, there is Fenris and Anders. The former is a mage-hating ex-slave whilst the latter is a pro-magic radical. Most of their side conversations revolve around spitting fire at each other, and gaining friendship with one tends to create rivalry with the other. Ironically, the prejudice of both sides originates from either character being severely oppressed.

     Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night
    • Lancer is a pretty decent guy once you get to know him. He generally finds it distasteful to stab noncombatants to death and allows Shirou the chance to defend himself while trying to silence him, and considers 'once tried to kill you' (or even 'once killed you' in Shirou's case) to be a perfectly natural way to be acquainted with someone; no hard feelings attached. This is in-story Values Dissonance because, in his time, enemies could also be drinking buddies the night before a battle, at which they would slaughter each other mercilessly. He gets annoyed when Tohsaka explains that it doesn't work like that anymore.
    • Assassin is also a good example of this trope, being perfectly polite and courteous to Saber even as he's trying to separate her head from her body, and complimenting her swordsmanship when she kills him at the end of Unlimited Blade Works.
    • In Heaven's Feel, this is the only way to describe Kirei Kotomine's relationship with Shirou.
    Shirou: I see. I'm sorry I troubled you... um, I'm glad you were awake.
    Kotomine: You're thanking me? Are you sick? I will listen if something is worrying you
  • The Ace Attorney series has both Phoenix/Edgeworth and Apollo/Klavier. They are technically "enemies" (prosecution vs defense) but both have worked together in search for the truth.

     Web Comics  
  • Yuki and Sonya of Ménage ŕ 3, sort of and perhaps increasingly. Their acquaintance started with a fight over a man, they can't stand each other, physical violence is not unknown — but they play together in the same band, and if anyone insults the woman they both love (but who they don't, oddly, get to fight over much), they'll snap into a casually sexy embrace like a shot, and make their priorities clear.
  • Wonderella and Hitlerella from The Non-Adventures of Wonderella. So much so that, in the "Death of Wonderella" strip (which parodies both the Death of Captain America and The Death of Superman, Hitlerella attempts to take up the Wonderella mantle. Both had to work to patch up their Friendly Enemy status after going through a rough patch where Hitlerella felt that her enemy didn't care anymore, and Wonderella was bereft to find her fighting other heroes. Hitlerella challenged Wonderella to "Make me wish I'd killed you years ago."
    • Wonderella even goes so far as to say in her Video Will that she makes in another strip that Hitlerella is most likely the one who killed her, adding, "Congratulations, Hitlerella, now you have nothing to live for."
    • There's also Wonderella and Doctor Shark. The two get along great, they hang out together, he shows her inventions (and offers to do her cosmetic surgery in one strip). But he's also a diabolical supervillian.
    Wonderella: Oh Dr. Shark! Sometimes I forget you're occasionally a supervillain.
    Dr. Shark: So do I, Wonderella. So do I.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Minister Malack of the Empire of Blood is genuinely friendly with Durkon, despite only having just met him. The two enjoy a conversation about theology over tea (Malack insisting that death gods, his patron god Nergal included, have a bad reputation), and Malack even helps Durkon with his Mass Death Ward spell. When Tarquin "convinces" him to join the Linear Guild, Malack insists that he alone face Durkon and is furious when Nale disregards this request. Then it's revealed that Malack is a vampire and is looking to sire some new "children", and that, his own plans for the continent and Durkon's hatred of the undead destroy their friendship.

    Web Original 
  • Homestar Runner
    • Homestar Runner and Strong Bad evolved from generic enemies to this trope, and finally to Vitriolic Best Buds. Strong Bad is also this in relation to Strong Sad and The Cheat. He's a bit harsher on Strong Sad, and quite a bit friendlier to The Cheat, but all of the relationships have a bit of friend and a bit of enemy in them (usually on Strong Bad's part).
    • There was also the time Blue Laser invited the Cheat Commandos over for Thanksgiving dinner (except the overzealous Gunhaver).
  • Caboose from Red vs. Blue is generally a very nice guy, even to the Reds when they attempt to kill him. The reason for this is because he's an idiot. The Reds themselves don't capitalize on this, though it's debatable whether this is due to them being friendly, or stupid themselves.
    Caboose: Hey Simmons. Um, are you guys coming to attack me? Um, because I'm kinda busy right now. Do you think you could attack me later maybe, like, uh, like next week?
    Simmons: We're not attacking you, I'm just coming over to spy on you.
    Caboose: Oh, awesome!
    • Eventually all of them become Friendly Enemies when its revealed that Blood Gulch is just a training ground for the Freelancers, and they weren't really at war. Except for Sarge; he's Red, they are Blue, and that's all he needs to know.
  • In one episode of Epic Rap Battles of History, this is Subverted. Martin Luther King Jr. is depicted as a Nice Guy who openly admires his rap rival Mahatma Gandhi, and his raps are mostly just light-hearted teasing and Badass Boasts. However, Gandhi prefers personal attacks and comes across as a bit of a Jerkass.
    Martin Luther King Jr.: *hugs Gandhi* "Nigga, we got more beef between us than one of your sacred cows but I'm about to forgive you so hard right now!"
    Gandhi: "I am passively resisting the fact that you suck. I am celibate because I don't give a fuck!"
    • Another episode pitting Bill Gates and Steve Jobs plays it straight. They take shots at each other, but compared to other episodes these two had the least animosity between them in their raps (more of each one's raps was building themselves up rather than tearing the other one down). Jobs would Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence; Gates outright admits he considers him a friend, and the rest of his verse implies that without a brilliant mind like Jobs' to challenge him Gates falls into Pride and megalomania…leading to the creation of HAL-9000.

     Western Animation 
  • Many a Popeye cartoons started out with Popeye and Bluto being the best of chums— until Olive Oyl appears and they start fighting over her. Even this isn't the case when Minute Maid is involved.
  • Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?: Carmen Sandiego and the Acme Detectives were often friendly rivals helping each other at times within the scope of their roles. It helps that she only became a criminal to experience more of a challenge and she quickly relinquishes any of her loot when it is found. One episode showed that she's a Trickster Mentor training them to be her replacements in ACME.
  • Kim Possible
    • Shego and Kim exchange pleasantries and fashion tips during their fights, albeit with a lot of sarcasm and snark. She saves Kim from imminent death a couple of times (though she claims that's because she's The Only One Allowed to Defeat You), and they team up to save the day from a bigger threat. When Shego was temporarily turned good by a Mirror Morality Machine, she and Kim quickly became the best of friends, and Kim said that it was like having a big sister. That's how their relationship is normally, except they keep beating each other up and trying to put the other in jail or in a grave.
    • True also for Kim and Dr. Drakken, her Arch-Enemy and Shego's employer. He threw a Christmas party for everyone, once (albeit with the promise that everything will be "back to normal" after the holidays). He did an Enemy Mine in the last episode, which led to Drakken getting an award from the UN for saving the world.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Captain Stickybeard to Numbah 5. Due to their mutual love of candy, they've helped each other out on several occasions, and Numbah 5 often calls him by the oddly Affectionate Nickname of "Stickybuns".
  • The Venture Bros.
    • In the third season, Dr. Venture's new archenemy is Sergeant Hatred, who is much friendlier and sociable than one would expect from a guy with "HATRED" tattooed down the front of his body. In fact, it was his intention to be Dr. Venture's arch and then be as nice to him as possible to get back at The Monarch for stealing tech from him. However, he does seem to have some pedophilic tendencies. In the fourth season, he makes a full Heel-Face Turn, replacing Brock (who's got business to take care of) as the Venture Bodyguard.
    • Dr. Venture and Dr. Girlfriend Mrs. The Monarch. Girlfriend believes that Rusty is Not So Different from The Monarch and is usually not hostile towards the Ventures compared to her husband. By season 4, they're quite amicable towards each other when they have time to talk.
  • The words Friendly Enemy occur in the Theme Song to the British Kids' show Cloppa Castle. The villains, the Hasbeens, are punch clock villains who sit down for a friendly cup of tea with the good guys, the Bygones, at the end of each day's non-lethal battle.
  • David Xanatos and the Gargoyles had a pretty rocky, ally-again/enemy-again relationship until the former finally performed a final Heel-Face Turn after the latter helped save his baby from a superpowerful fairy. Because you just can't stay mad at anyone who helps save your baby from superpowerful fairies. Xanatos sees Goliath in particular as a Worthy Opponent; he asked Goliath to be the best man at his wedding!
  • In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Asajj Ventress frequently exchange pleasantries and compliments while battling each other, and holding back from killing each other when one has the advantage in spite of their mutual animosity. In later seasons they became allies-of-sorts when they teamed up against Darth Maul and Savage Opress.
  • Danny Phantom:
    • By the end of the series, Danny was frenemies with most of the recurring ghost characters. When dealing with a problem bigger than he could handle on his own, he'd often turn to one of the ghosts for help. The fact that he was able to convince nearly the entire population of the ghost zone to help save Earth cemented that status.
    • Vlad in particular implied that his relationship with Danny is like this, stating "I'm sorry, but funny, joke-around Vlad isn't here today" before attacking him. This is a relationship Vlad often saw with Danny during most of the series' run on account of the villain's desire to have Danny as his surrogate son; his role as an Unwitting Pawn notwithstanding.
    • Played with in the Alternate Timeline in "The Ultimate Enemy." Danny seeks Vlad's help when his friends and family are killed, and Vlad is genuinely sympathetic when Danny arrives at his door.
  • The Flash and The Trickster are like this in Justice League Unlimited, with the latter being more delusional than villainous.
    Flash: James, you're off your meds again, aren't you?
  • The Sushi Pack have this kind of relationship with various members of The Legion of Low Tide from time to time.
  • In Xiaolin Showdown, there seems to be a bit of this from time to time between Jack Spicer and the title heroes. One episode in particular, seems to showcase this a lot between Omi and Jack. Omi himself also seems to have this relationship a bit with Season 2 Villain, Chase Young. Despite being on opposite sides, Omi and Chase both do have a genuine respect for each other and both have lamented how unfortunate it is the other is on "the wrong side".
  • Phineas and Ferb
    • Dr. Doofenshmirtz and Perry the Platypus take this unusually far; in one episode, Doofenshmirtz refers to Perry as his best friend (right before Perry punches him in the face). Perry has also saved Doofenshmirtz's life several times and helped him set up his daughter's birthday party. It's such a friendly arrangement that Doofenschmirtz has given Perry the keys to his lair, so he doesn't kick the door down on his way in. In "This Is Your Backstory", after a lifetime of being abused by his parents, shown up by his brother, rejected by women, and repeatedly blown up, the two things which prevent him from going completely insane are the heartwarming moments he's had with his daughter and the good times he and Perry have had together.
    • Buford and Baljeet. Officially, they're a bully and a nerd, but like Doof and Perry, they're more likely to spend the day together than fighting. In "Lotsa Latkes", they even get a musical number about it!
      Cause we're frenemies
      We like disliking one-another
      Cause we're frenemies
      He's like my least favourite brother!
  • Several Looney Tunes cartoons starred a pair called Sam the Sheepdog and Ralph the Wolf (the latter looks curiously like Wile E. Coyote). They'd talk amicably, punch the clock, and share lunch together. However, when they were on the clock, it was Ralph's job to try and steal sheep and Sam's job to stop him at all costs. While it got comically brutal (this was Looney Tunes, after all), the characters recognize that it was just business.
    • Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird could also be this. In the "Holly-Daze" Christmas CD recorded by Mel Blanc, Bugs is surprised to catch them going Christmas shopping together, although they're plotting to buy each other presents that will sabotage their respective plans.
      Bugs: Dat's friendship if I ever heard it!
    • Bugs Bunny himself often acts as one to his foes due to his trademark easy going persona. While perfectly willing to defend himself against their schemes, he has matter of fact and sometimes outright sympathetic exchanges to them, and gets on rather amicably with them until they draw the first blow. This is particularly evident with Daffy Duck, who he hangs out with and frequently rescues, despite the latter's constant backstabbery and occasionally murderous envy.
  • On The Fairly OddParents, Dark Laser seems to have this relationship with Timmy by letting him borrow the Death Ball for a party and willing to tell him about his irritable bowels.
  • Duck Dodgers and the Martian Commander. In one episode, convinced that they're both about to die, the Martian admits that Dodgers is his best friend. Dodgers, of course, responds "Ha! What a loser!"
  • Skipper and Julien from The Penguins of Madagascar. They spend most of their shared screentime arguing and generally being annoyed by the other, but Skipper will go out of his way to help Julien, and Julien has gone to Skipper to have his problems fixed. It was to the point that they were mistaken as 'BFF's by Skipper's Arch-Nemesis Dr. Blowhole... and the other penguins agreed with him.
    Julien: So I face danger and the adventure of a lifetime and nobody will ever know about it?!
    Skipper: Welcome to my world. That makes you an honorary penguin.
    Julien: Does that mean I am your BFF?
    Skipper: Eehh... we'll keep that code on the QT.
  • Dudley Do-Right and Snidely Whiplash on Rocky and Bullwinkle. In The Movie, Snidely is talking with Dudley and calls him "my good friend and worthy foe".
  • Wordgirl is often humorously polite to the villains.
    Chuck The Evil Sandwich Making Guy: I HATE Wordgirl!!... No... hate is a strong word... I don't like Wordgirl AT ALL!!!
  • Teen Titans
    • Red X and Robin don't do anything but the frenemy routine. Red X appears in only two episodesnote , but both times, he and Robin end up on the same side. In "X", despite having battled each other for most of the episode, Red X tracks Robin down to the villain's lair, saves his life, and proceeds to help Robin save the city — he even averts the I Was Just Passing Through excuse.
      Robin: I thought you didn't like to play the hero.
      Red X: Doesn't mean I don't know how.
  • In the 1990s X-Men animated series:
    • This dynamic is played up with Professor X and Magneto. They spend the entire second season working together to escape from the Savage Land. In the finale, Magneto describes the Professor as "my greatest enemy... and perhaps my only friend."
    • Also in the season finale, when Jean asks Magneto if he loves Charles, he's insulted that she even feels the need to ask. It's not even that she asked if he loved him, but how much.
  • On Invader Zim
    • one interpretation of Zim and Dib's relationship is this given the unfinished episode where they were both miserable without each other. This trope is at its most overt in the Pilot where Dib cheerfully compliments Zim's plan and Zim graciously thanks him for it, though shades of it sometime show up throughout the rest of the series (such as Zim prefacing the explanation of his brilliant, evil plan to Dib in "A Room With a Moose" by saying that Dib is the only one smart enough to really appreciate it).
    • Another example could be the episode "Hamstergeddon", where a giant hamster (altered by Zim) is destroying the town. Zim fights his mutated creature since it does not obey him, and Dib is pleasantly surprised. But Zim crashes his ship, and Dib is conflicted on whether to capture him or let him continue protecting the humans. Zim wakes up before Dib's decision, where Dib then thanks Zim for the good he's doing. Zim denies helping anyone but they have a temporary truce.
    • A third example is the cancelled episode "Mopiness of Doom", in which Dib drops his rivalry with Zim out of frustration and goes on to pursue "real science" like his father. He eventually finds it to be incredibly dull, and Zim becomes listless with depression over the loss of his own personal arch-enemy. The last few minutes of the episode are almost like a happy reunion, in which Zim and Dib gleefully exchange death threats and laser blasts in a way that is almost affectionate.
  • Numerous relationships on Total Drama are like this, since friends/Love Interests are often put on opposite teams. The usual "good/evil" version of this is also present in Heather's friendships with Harold, Leshawna, and Cody. (Though the writers seem to have forgotten about those first two.)
  • In Family Guy, while Peter and Ernie the Giant Chicken are fighting for the third time in "No Chris Left Behind", Peter interrupts the fight by wondering what they were even fighting about. They apologize to each other, and, to make up, the chicken invites him to dinner. After the meal, they argue over who pays the bill and become enemies again, continuing the fight at the restaurant.
  • On The Simpsons,
    • Bart and Mrs. Krabappel have this in a few episodes when he goes out of his way to help her with something. The same goes for Principal Skinner.
      • The late Marcia Wallace (Mrs. K's voice actress) once went on record saying she felt Edna was incredibly fond of Bart, and that their mutual antagonism was a "game" that both were playing to amuse themselves (and one another).
    • Class bully Nelson Muntz and teacher's pet Martin Prince also gradually developed a dynamic similar to that between Buford and Baljeet.
  • On Adventure Time:
    • This is how the Ice King thinks of his relationship to Finn (and Jake). In reality, not so much though they are willing to help him out sometimes, such as when he tries to learn how to be happy. It's eventually revealed that the reason he thinks of them as friends is because they stop him from hurting those around him; his last request before going completely insane.
    • Finn (and Jake) and Marceline count because she's dropped the "enemy" part entirely. Her relationship with Princess Bubblegum has also been characterized as a "friendly rivalry", according to Word of God.
  • Tom and Jerry have this dynamic Depending on the Writer. In "The Lonesome Mouse", Jerry gets Tom kicked out of the house, but finds that he misses being chased and schemes with the cat to get him back in. In "Springtime for Thomas", Jerry gets jealous when Tom spends all of his time with a girl cat, and introduces Butch to break the two up.
    • Tom and Jerry will also come to the others' aid when one of their lives is in danger. One example is in "Just Ducky," in which Jerry not only saves Tom from drowning, but also nurses him back to health, wrapped him in a blanket, and and fed him soup when the cat caught a bad cold. They also wave good-bye to the duck happily at the end of the cartoon.
  • In The Batman this is one-sided from The Joker to Batman. At one point the Joker says totally happily to Batman "I miss your company Batman!" and Batman shoves the Joker away in disgust.
  • Spildit is this to the Urpneys in The Dreamstone. While it comes partially out of childish obliviousness, she is shown to feel sorry for Blob's men on occasions and makes friendly banter with them, at one point even helping them back to Viltheed after they get stranded in the Land of Dreams. Not so much with the other heroes, who wouldn't trust an Urpney if their life depended on it, and usually mistake Spildit's friendly meetings with the Urpneys as kidnap attempts.
  • The Duke of Detroit is this to the Burners in Motorcity, part of his Heel-Face Revolving Door.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants is pretty friendly with Plankton when he's off the clock. In several episodes, Spongebob is the one who helps Plankton get through whatever he's going through at the moment, such as repairing his marriage with Karen several times and tries to befriend him in F.U.N when Spongebob thinks that Plankton is evil because he has no friends.
    • It should be noted that Plankton was trying to take advantage of SpongeBob's naiveté both times.
  • Lucius Heinous VII of Jimmy Two-Shoes' relationship with Jimmy is similar to that of Plankton. However, this is entirely one-sided, as Lucius has nothing but contempt for Jimmy.

     Real Life 
  • Greek leader of the Macedonian empire, Alexander the Great, had a very long and very violent war with Persian king of the Achaemenid Empire, Darius III. After years of trying to kill each other, their rivalry came to an end when Alexander fatally wounded Darius. During the finals moments of Darius' life, Alexander sat with his long-time foe, and had his men bring Darius water.
  • During the English Civil War, several battles were fought between parliamentary general Sir William Waller and royalist general Ralph Hopton. The two were close friends, and at one point, Hopton asked for a meeting, hoping to persuade Waller to change sides. Waller declined, but wrote in his letter, "...Certainly my affections to you are so unchangeable, that hostility itself cannot violate my friendship to your person, but I must be true to the cause wherein I serve... That great God, which is the searcher of my heart, knows with what a sad sense I go upon this service, and with what a perfect hatred I detest this war without an enemy, but I look upon it as an Opus Domini, which is enough to silence all passion in me... We are both upon the stage and must act those parts assigned to us in this tragedy. Let us do it in a way of honour, and without personal animosities, whatsoever the issue be. I shall never willingly relinquish the dear title of Your most affectionate friend..."
  • It's said that, despite being truly bloodthirsty against each other's armies during the Crusades, Richard the Lionhearted and Saladin often exchanged gifts and had great respect for one another insofar as their roles allowed.
    • Saladin supposedly offered his physician when Richard fell ill, for instance.
    • Amusingly, when Richard's army was dying of heat stroke on the march to Jerusalem, Saladin allegedly had snow sent to them.
    • For a brief period they talked of their joining their families through the marriage of their children, with Jerusalem as the dowry.
    • For the most part, they had similar ideals of honor and understood that they were both fighting for their religions. They even had the same taste in music and were patrons of the arts and sciences. It's possible that each saw the other as a Worthy Opponent, and were hoping to eventually end the war so that they could get along and possibly convert the other to their own religion. In other words, a Real Life version of The Song of Roland when the poem speaks of the mightiest of the Moorish champions: "O! If only he were Christian."
  • Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin were two rival samurai in the Sengoku Jidai. Shingen's territory didn't have any salt, and he usually bought it from the Hojo clan. When they cut him off, Uesugi Kenshin secretly sent salt to Takeda Shingen. Later, Takeda Shingen was killed facing Oda Nobunaga's allies, and a very angry Uesugi Kenshin fought a (winning) battle against Oda Nobunaga as a result.
    • While stories suggest that the two were firm friends when not on the battlefield, some historical records suggest that Kenshin hated Shingen and that providing Shingen with salt was more a matter of honour-Kenshin believed that warriors should fight with swords, not salt.
  • Seth MacFarlane has a number of these:
    • Matt Groening. While it is implied on both of their shows that they hate each other, they are pretty good friends.
    • Seth MacFarlane and Rush Limbaugh are good friends despite being polar opposites on the political spectrum. They see their own highly-politically-charged works as chiefly a matter of entertainment. Rush has even guest voiced on Family Guy more than once, occasionally parodying himself.
    • Mike Judge too; Judge appeared as Hank Hill in an episode of Family Guy. This one's surprising as many King of the Hill fans (unfairly) blame MacFarlane for the show's cancellation, due to the advent of The Cleveland Show.
  • The so-called Christmas Truce between the British, the French and the German soldiers during World War I. Men left the trenches and started playing football (soccer) with each other on No Man's land (the war scarred area between the opposing trenches) and generally having a good time. That's right, in the middle of a war they played a sport in a dead zone. Understandably, the higher ups thought this might hinder the war effort, as humanizing the people you're supposed to kill often does. More about it at the Other Wiki.
    • Reportedly, there were many such instances between Union and Confederate forces during The American Civil War-brother against brother and all that. Northern and Southern troops were eager to get together for pragmatic reasons, too: the Confederates had all the good tobacco, and the Union soldiers had all the good coffee. Informal trading went on whenever possible.
  • There are many cases of British and American prisoners of war being treated with respect in German prisoner of war camps, to the extent that friendships made between enemies persisted after the war ended. Ironically, one of the most criticized aspects of the sitcom Hogan's Heroes is the depiction of a friendly relationship between Allied soldiers and the German camp commander and some of his soldiers, even though, to an extent, it's actually close to Truth in Television.
  • During the Bangladeshi War of Independence, the Pakistani commander (occupying Bangladesh) and the Indian commander (invading in support of the independence movement) were personal friends who had studied together at Sandhurst military college.
  • Athletes on rival sporting teams often form friendships while their fans are pummeling each other in the stands.
    • Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre practically threw himself under Michael Strahan of New York so that the latter would break the sack record.
    • When Alan Smith broke his leg playing for Manchester United against Liverpool, the Liverpool physio was first on the scene to do what he could to help.
    • North of the England-Scotland border, Kevin Thomson and Scott Brown were inseparable when they came through the youth ranks together at Edinburgh side Hibs, but are now opponents as the midfield enforcers of beyond-fierce Glasgow rivals Rangers and Celtic respectively. Despite this, they've remained friends - when Brown was sent off in a match between the teams, it was Thomson rather than any of his teammates who calmed him down.
    • It is a common occurrence in the NBA.
      • Rival centers Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell spent thanksgivings together, talking about model trains.
      • Larry Bird and Magic Johnson developed a friendship after shooting a commercial together in the early 1980's and have remained close friends since. They also worked with each other on a book released in 2009.
      • Rival point guards Chris Paul and Deron Williams play poker together and exchange texts.
      • LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony once embraced one another after a game in the 2012 playoffs.
    • Formula One drivers Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were bitter rivals on the track, even going as far as sabotaging each other when they were teammates, but both had a mutual respect for one another that became evident after Senna's fatal crash in 1994.
    • Most of the Indy Car drivers consider each other this. (Let's just say sleepovers aren't uncommon.) It was apparently a huge shock to Rubens Barrichello when he switched from Formula One to Indy Car one year.
  • Most of the Founding Fathers fell into this kind of dynamic.
    • John Adams and Thomas Jefferson could write this trope. During the Revolution, they supported each other in the Continental Congress, and later, as ambassadors to the European courts; Abigail Adams treated Jefferson's daughters as her own. Later, they were political rivals on the opposite sides of many issues, especially federalism versus states' rights. The early elections rules caused Jefferson to be Adams's vice president because he came in second. The following election, Jefferson's revolution of 1800, was the source of what seemed to be the final bitter dispute between them. Despite a quarter century of political bickering, they were convinced to reconcile and wrote letters to each other after they retired from public life, including Adams' vow "While I live, I will be your friend." John Adams' last words, when he died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, were: "Thomas Jefferson still survives." Ironically, Thomas Jefferson had died earlier that day.
    • During a battle in the Revolutionary War, the English general's pet dog wandered into the Americans' camp. Washington had his aide return the dog to the British camp with a friendly note, and the English general expressed his admiration for Washington's gentlemanly conduct.
  • General Lewis Armistead was a commander of the Confederacy. Winfield Hancock was a general in the Union Army. Both men went to school at West Point and became closer than brothers. Both would not meet again until at the Battle of Gettysburg. Sadly, General Armistead died on the battlefield.
    • A more impromptu case: Nathan Bedford Forrest once rode up to the Union lines, having mistaken them for the Confederates. The Union soldiers, rather than taking a shot at him, told him where he was and suggested that he return to his camp. Forrest saluted them and rode off.
  • Disney and Warner Bros.. Their relationship is said to be the most cordial of all the major Hollywood studios.
    • The comic book publishers that these companies acquired (Marvel and DC) have regularly slipped into this trope. Their bosses used to play golf together. Also, Bob Kane (creator of Batman) and Stan Lee (creator of most of the more well-known Marvel superheroes) were friends.
    • Greg Weisman noted in one of his "Ask Greg" posts that when he was on staff at DC, there was a gentleman's agreement in place that saw Marvel and DC supplying complimentary copies of all their books to each other's employees.
  • Many American politicians have friendly relationships despite differing views.
    • Senators Orrin Hatch and Ted Kennedy were supposedly very good friends, despite their wildly differing political ideologies.
    • John McCain and Morris Udall were a similar case. McCain also has a long-standing friendship with John Kerry. Rumor has it that Kerry asked McCain to serve as his running mate in 2004.
    • This is fairly common in the federal judiciary. Judges have to try to be above politics as part of their job, and the fact that federal judges tend to be intellectual types gives them something to talk about besides the law-and gives them a healthy respect for differing opinions when they do. A few noted conservative/libertarian judges of the Circuit Courts of Appeals have a reputation for getting along well with their liberal colleagues (particularly Judge Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit and to a lesser extent Judge Posner of the Seventh Circuit).
    • Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill went fishing. They were enemies only from nine to five and made it an in-joke between the two of them.
    • Senators Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Ted Stevens (R-AK), until the latter's death in a plane crash. It helped that they had served for over forty years together-as both Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to the Union in 1959, they were only the second Senators to hold their seats-and were among the last World War II veterans in the Senate.note 
    • Barack Obama and Tom Coburn (a very conservative Republican Senator from Oklahoma); they bonded over fiscal policy of all things. Nerds everywhere...).
  • Long after the infamous Hatfield-McCoy conflict ended, the two families have-and often still do-consider each other this way, sometimes making light of the whole situation at times. In fact, in 1979, representatives of the two families competed against each other on a week-long celebrity tournament of the game show Family Feud. Final score: the McCoys won three games to the Hatfields' two, but the Hatfields won a greater sum of winnings, $11,272 to the McCoys' $8,459. The decision was made to augment the McCoy family's winnings to $11,273.
  • James Carville helped run Bill Clinton's 1992 Presidential campaign. Mary Matalin helped run George H.W. Bush's 1992 re-election campaign. They had previously dueled in lower-level campaigns, and called each other archenemies. They have been Happily Married since 1993 and have two daughters.
    • For that matter, Bill Clinton has been friends with the whole Bush family for a long time, and has started to regard the elder Bush as something of a father figure (seeing as Clinton's own father died when he was a child, it makes more sense than it sounds.)
  • A Trans Atlantic Equivalent to the previous example: Denis Healey and Geoffrey Howe. Though being literally on opposite sides of the aisle for over a decade, they are really good friends and get on really well. This is especially poignant when you consider that British politics involves the two parties shouting ad hominem at each other and Healey stating that hearing Howe give a report was like "being savaged by a dead sheep", yet they have been and still remain to this day good friends.
  • On the one occasion that Oliver Cromwell and Charles I met after the English Civil War, during which Cromwell essentially threw Charles off the throne, they reportedly got on well. One (probably apocryphal) story has Cromwell visit the grave of Charles in secret after the king was beheaded for treason and mutter "Cruel necessity" to himself.
  • Prince and Michael Jackson, though it's reported that they never really got along (mostly due to sales rivalry and philosophical differences over music rather than any real nastiness), they respected each other's work and made it a point to never say anything negative about each other in public. Fun fact: Michael's hit single "Bad" was originally envisioned as a duet with Prince and the only reason Prince declined was because he felt that the song was good enough without him.
  • Picasso and Matisse would send each other paintings as challenges. While each expressed disdain for the other's style, when Matisse died, Picasso was devastated.
  • In 1484, at the field of Badh na Fola, John of the Isles was supported by, among others, the Macleans and the Macleods, and met Angus Og to decide the title of Lord of the Isles according to the Good Old Ways of Bonnie Scotland. Angus prevailed and sent around a man to eliminate the more prestigious of the prisoners, including a Maclean titled the Chief of Ardgour. However, one of Angus' followers, Macdonald of Moidart, an old rival of the Chief's, intervened, saying, "If Maclean were gone, who should I have to bicker with?"
  • This trope even exists in nature. Baboons and Chimpanzees often compete for food, yet they have been known to play together.
  • In the realm of Catholic Theology, Hans Kung and Joseph Ratzinger (later Benedict XVI) have conflicting views on the Church and the future. Despite this they're personally friendly with each other's company. It helped that they were also friends in the seminary back in the day.
  • According to Harry Blackstone, Jr., his father and Harry Houdini were both "Friendly Enemies". Both respected each other's talents, though both mocked each other at times.
  • This is how many diplomatic analysts describe the relationship between the United States and China. Not only are both strong economic trading partners and strongly economically dependent on each other, but both are willing to work together to stop worldwide terrorism, nuclear proliferation and maintaining world peace. On the other hand, both China and the United States are suspicious towards each other politically and militarily. In addition, certain political issues like human rights, Taiwan, and Tibet are usually the hotbed topics between China and the United States. The relationship is further complicated by the small cyber-warfare they are engaged in. Thus, any fiction that depicts a hypothetical military war between China and the United States usually falls under Artistic License - Economics. No two leading countries have been quite so economically intertwined as the US and China. Washington, Beijing, New York, and Shanghai all have the others by the short ones; nobody's fighting anybody anytime soon. In fact, it would be mostly in each country's interest to help the other one in the event a truly serious situation came up.
  • Japan's diplomatic relationship with China and their former occupied Asian states during the Imperial Japanese era is also like this. The only major difference is that the enemy part is relating to Japan's own denial of their war crimes during World War II (and in the case with China, the Rape of Nanking). Perhaps the most sour relationship regarding this trope is with South Korea; see No Koreans In Japan for more details on this note .
    • This is progressively avoided with Chinese-South Korean relations: being a partner of North Korea, China's relations with South Korea were strained, though not vitriolic. In the years after the civil war, the two countries started cooperating economically and decided that they liked the arrangement and the tension between the two fizzled out. The most amazing sign of that came with Wikileaks, when the Chinese indicated that they would be cool with a South Korea-led unification so long as Seoul can ensure that the Chinese-Korean border will not have a US base. It helps that both countries have mutual memories of the Japanese occupation.
  • Bill Maher and Ann Coulter are good friends, frequently hanging out with each other. Coulter was also friends with John F. Kennedy, Jr. and has always expressed gratitude for Kennedy's offering her a column in George Magazine during her early days as a writer.
  • While there is a strong competitive and economic rivalry between Apple and Microsoft, their respective CEOs and founders, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, were good friends. This relationship is more noticeable in the biographical film Pirates of Silicon Valley. This makes Steve Jobs' death a Tear Jerker on many levels. You can guarantee that the iconic head of Microsoft cried at the news of the death of the iconic head of Apple.
    • Whenever Mozilla releases a new major version of Firefox, the Microsoft Internet Explorer team sends them a cake. After Mozilla began updating Firefox in increments every six weeks instead of releasing new versions once or twice a year, the Internet Explorer team switched to cupcakes every few months.
  • Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa had been friends since high school. Although the two often and publicly clashed with the other, they collaborated frequently and Beefheart was one of the first artists Zappa signed when he got his own label. They drifted apart in acrimony during the tour for their collaborative album Bongo Fury in 1975, but repaired their friendship in the early 1990s after Zappa was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer.
  • G. K. Chesterton and George Bernard Shaw. Chesterton was a staunch Catholic and one of the great Christian apologists of the 20th century. Shaw was an atheist and a leader of the socialist movement. Despite their total disagreement about philosophy and politics, they were great friends and had enormous respect for each other.
  • Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski, as lampshaded in Mein liebster Feind ("My best enemy", translated as My Best Fiend).
  • Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avigdor Liebermann, who has a very right-wing view of security and nationality (the most dominant aspects of Israeli political discourse up until the protests started on July 14th), was reported to be close friends with Yosi Sarid, former Minister of Education and a die-hard leftist. Despite this, Liebermann declared, back when both were in parliament, that his party would not be in the same coalition as Sarid’s.
  • Stephen Hawking and Leonard Susskind have long been good friends, despite opposing each other diametrically over the black hole information paradox and having a friendly scientific "war" with each other until they can find a way to prove one of them wrong. They're both on the same side: the side of science. They want for people to know what the heck's really going on.
  • Lawyers are like basketball players. Despite being on opposite sides in court, they often get along quite well with each other. It is not uncommon to see lawyers joking with each other and sharing hearty laughs while walking to the courtroom and both lawyers and the judge cracking the occasional joke during a trial. If you think about it, it makes sense: you work for your client for a few months or years. You'll be seeing your opposing counsel for the rest of your career unless you work in a crowded market where you can afford to burn bridges. Staying on good terms is just common sense, and both sides know that their "enmity" is just professional duty to their clients anyway.
  • Pornographer Larry Flynt and Reverend Jerry Falwell once argued all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and later became friends. They remained so up to Falwell's death, though they never came close to an agreement on what they were selling. They capitalized on their friendship through a series of debates.
  • Stephen Harper, leader of the Canadian Conservative Party, mentioned missing his recently-departed friend Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party. He said during an exceedingly tedious session he walked across the parliament floor and sat next to him, talking about music (both being musicians) and family for a few minutes.
  • During the battle for Gallipoli in 1915, there were times when the opposing armies' trenches were only a few yards apart. There are records of Turks and Australians tossing food to one another, and of a Turkish soldier carrying a wounded Allied soldier back to the Allied side...mid-battle. After the war, Kemal Attaturk, the founder of modern-day Turkey, stated that the mothers of the Australian soldiers that died should know that their sons "now rest in the soil of a friendly country." The Turks had a great respect for the Australians' bravery there.
  • Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of MythBusters fame. The two have repeatedly stated in the media that they are NOT friends and do NOT hang out, and seem to really irritate each other on the show at times. However, they have strong respect for one another and occasionally share a joke off-camera. They also have a prank détente, as Adam puts it-a practical joke with a bucket of water could easily lead to Adam taping up Jamie's house and filling it with water.
  • ESPN sports commenters Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith; while they have their firm opinions and always disagree in the show, it's clear that they both respect each other.
  • On screen, Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly couldn't be more different, and take pot-shots at each other's shows every once and a while. However, the two are on friendly terms off-screen and even did a debate where the proceeds went to charitable causes.
    • Stewart used to have a similar friendship with John McCain, but McCain hasn't been on The Daily Show since the 2008 election. Nobody has said whether it's because of some sort of falling out or just because of the logistics that happen sometimes with a busy entertainer and a busy senator. Either way, Stewart seems to miss him.
  • John Wayne and Kirk Douglas, despite both being known as tough guy actors, were political opposites (Wayne an arch-conservative, Douglas an active liberal) and headstrong personalities who sparred while working together. Wayne also tried to boycott Douglas's film Spartacus as "Marxist propaganda" in protest of blacklistee Dalton Trumbo writing the screenplay. Nonetheless, the two men made three films together and held each other in high regard. Wayne said Douglas was one of only three actors he had genuine onscreen chemistry with (the others being Robert Mitchum and Dean Martin), while Douglas praised Wayne for keeping promises made to his fellow actors. Douglas was particularly grateful to Wayne for helping him land Cast a Giant Shadow.
  • Ted Olson and David Boies, on opposite ends of the spectrum with Bush vs. Gore, became great friends and later worked together on Perry v. Schwarzenegger.
  • English theater critics considered John Osborne's subversive plays (e.g. Look Back in Anger, The Entertainer) a rebuke to the respectable work of traditional playwrights like Terence Rattigan and Noel Coward, framing their approaches as antithetical and Osborne as somehow attacking the latter writers. Yet Osborne evinced the greatest respect for Rattigan and Coward and (more surprisingly, given his prickly personality) was on friendly terms with both.
  • Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, two US Supreme Court Justices are are about as far apart ideologically as possible without either of them committing high treason, have been friends for 40 years and like to go to the opera together.
  • Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev actually considered each other genuine friends despite their commitment to destroy each other's countries. Reagan in particular was famously aggressive about eliminating communism from the world and many people today credit him with doing just that. Gorbachev was still grief stricken when Reagan died and even said "Goodbye my, friend" at the funeral. The Reagan Presidential Museum includes a statue of the two seated together discussing.
  • Former Australian Prime Ministers Malcolm Fraser and Gough Whitlam. The two were antagonists in the notorious 1975 constitutional crisis, where legislative gridlock and government scandals led to Whitlam's sacking by Governor-General Sir John Kerr. Yet over the years, Fraser and Whitlam patched things up and have even campaigned together on issues like immigration reform and republicanism.


Friend Versus LoverFrenemy TropesFriendly Rivalry
Extended GreetingsA Polite IndexFriendly Rivalry
Anti-VillainSliding Scale of Antagonist VilenessNecessarily Evil
Forced Into EvilAnti-VillainGentleman Thief
Four Eyes, Zero SoulVillainsFrom Nobody to Nightmare
Friend on the ForceCharacters as DeviceFriendly Rivalry
Enemy to All Living ThingsImageSource/Web ComicsGrenade Tag

alternative title(s): Friendly Enemies; Frenemy
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