There are clues a creator can apply to a pair of characters to indicate that that they are opposites in some way. One of those is to give the characters opposite handedness, making them more than just metaphorically mirror images.
Expect to see tropes like Evil Counterpart
, Evil Knockoff
, Cain and Abel
, Polar Opposite Twins
, The Lancer
, or The Rival
and Rival Turned Evil
. Also expect to see a lot of parallels in their respective characters and stories - they are as much alike as they are opposites. Commonly, they will represent what the other could have become, had they made different choices or had slightly different luck.
Note that in Real Life
, 20% of twins (including identical twins) have opposite handedness, which may be part of the origins of this trope.
Most often, the character with the left hand will be the evil one
, or at least less of a hero than the right-handed character.
See The Southpaw
for when being left-handed is advantageous. Often overlaps with A Sinister Clue
, in which left-handedness is visual shorthand for being evil.
Compare Hair Contrast Duo
, where another physical characteristic is used to symbolize the contrast between characters.
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Anime and Manga
- Fate Testarossa from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is this on two levels: firstly, she is a right-handed Dark Magical Girl to the left-handed title character. Secondly, she is an imperfect clone of her creator's late left-handed daughter; in fact, Fate's handedness was one of the things that made Presea realize that she is not Alicia and reject her.
- Subaru Nakajima and her left-handed older sister, Ginga, have each one of the two Revolver Knuckles from their late mother, Quint. Additionally, a Revolver Knuckle can change its color to fit the color scheme of the holder, resulting that Subaru's right Revolver Knuckle is black while Ginga's left Revolver Knuckle is white.
- Rosario + Vampire has a variation in Hokuto Kaneshiro, acting as a sort of mirror to main character Tsukune Aono. Both are humans come to this school for monsters by sheer luck (or lack thereof; neither is really sure), both are given monster blood to survive, and both end up with out-of-control monstrous powers. Tsukune Aono's monster blood is sealed by a Holy Lock on the wrist of his right hand, and he has an honest determination to make alliances between humans and monsters. Hokuto Kaneshiro's mosnter blood is sealed by a Holy Lock on the wrist of his left hand, and he goes absolutely monstrel-shit crazy and tries to send monsters and humans into an utter and complete bloodfest.
- Played with in The Prisoner TOS episode "The Schizoid Man". Number 2 creates an exact double of Number Six and uses him to confuse Number Six into thinking that he's the double. The Villagers use aversion therapy on Number Six to turn him from right-handed to left-handed. The double is right handed, which he uses to claim that he's the real Number Six.
- In Orphan Black, Helena, the only left-handed clone, is a serial killer brainwashed into thinking she's the original. The "mirror" part comes into play when we learn that she's Sarah's twin.
- Vocaloid brings this out with Len and Rin Kagamine, opposite-gender mirrors of each other or Half-Identical Twins (depending on who you ask). Their genderswaps even look a lot similar to the twin. This trope is most evident in Fanon works involving these two, as their official characterizations are virtually nonexistent.
Myth, Legend, and Oral Tradition
- An Iroquios legend states that the world was created by a pair of twins. The right-handed twin made the landscapes, plants, and animals. The left-handed twin created snakes, thorns, and storms.
- Luciana and Aegiana of Yggdra Union who, despite being identical twins, have opposite handedness. Red Oni, Blue Oni is in full effect for these two.
- The Final Fantasy series is quite fond of this trope:
- Final Fantasy II: the very first battle (that hopeless random encounter at the start of the game? Yeah, that) has the three core characters along with old friend Leon. He is the only lefty in the whole party of right-handed characters. Aside from laterality, he is armed identically to Firion (Broadsword in the dominant hand, Buckler in the indominant one) and is at the other end of the party. One of them ends up a Brainwashed and Crazy Dark Knight working for The Emperor Out Of Hell. The other is kinda sorta The Hero. No points for guessing which is which.
- Final Fantasy IV:
- Kain, who is in many ways a "what could have been" for right-handed hero Cecil. Both share a very similar backstory, and both vow to fight against Baron, but Kain ends up Brainwashed and Crazy and fighting for Golbez, while Cecil narrowly avoids that fate and becomes a Paladin.
- Cecil's unknown brother Golbez from the same game is left-handed, and only through luck did Cecil not end up in Golbez's villainous role.
- Twins Palom and Porom, who are Polar Opposite Twins in both personality and powers, with one being a Black Magician Boy and the other being a White Magician Girl. Palom is the left-handed twin, and far less nice than Porom, although he is by no means a villain.
- Similarly, in Final Fantasy VII and Crisis Core, Sephiroth is left-handed while both Cloud and Zack are right-handed. They are in many, many ways warped mirror images of each other.
- In Final Fantasy Dimensions, Nacht and Sol are both orphans chosen by the Crystal. Right-handed Sol is the leader of the Warriors of the Light, and is an Idiot Hero Genki Boy, with blond hair, and a name that means sun. Left-handed Nacht is the leader of the Warriors of the Dark (although Dark Is Not Evil in this game), and is The Stoic, with dark teal hair, and a name that means night.
- An interesting variation occurs in the Kingdom Hearts series. Protagonists Terra and Riku have many, many parallels, including sharing the same role in a Two Guys and a Girl trio, complete with same Theme Naming. They both are destined keyblade wielders, both are misled and manipulated by Maleficent and Xehanort, and both succumb to the Darkness in their hearts. But while Terra is lost to his inner Darkness and becomes a Xehanort host, Riku conquers his inner Darkness and uses it to defend the Light, thus escaping Terra's fate. The variation occurs in that both characters are actually right-handed, but nearly all Terra's powers of Darkness manifest through his left hand, while Riku's manifest through his right.
- In Tales of the Abyss, Asch wields his sword with his right arm and Luke wields his with his left. In a twist, however, Luke is the Left-Handed Mirror to Asch rather than the other way around. In another twist, Asch is actually also left-handed - he just taught himself to fight right-handed to differentiate himself from Luke, whom he despises.
- Similarly, in Tales of Vesperia Yuri wields left-handed by default (though he can and does occasionally switch to his right), while Flynn is right-handed. Fittingly, Yuri is much more of an Anti-Hero than Flynn is, and has a more creative combat style. Vesperia also gives us twin assassins Gauche and Droite, whose names literally mean 'left' and 'right' in French.
- Happens logically in Glover, where the protagonist is an enchanted magician's glove. The bad guy, naturally, is the other glove.
- A prime example is the original The Legend of Zelda games. A bit twisted around though because Link is the left-handed hero and Ganondorf is the right-handed villain.
- Siegfried Schtauffen and his Superpowered Evil Side, Nightmare, from the Soul Series are ambidextrous. While Siegfried prefers to wield his sword in his right hand, Nightmare prefers to wield it in his left hand.