"I came home from these regular monthly drinks that we have in London and grabbed one of the nice hardback comics next to the bed—and in this case it was [Frank Miller's] 300. I picked it up, flipped through it, really not very much paying any attention to it. And one of the speeches about 'The only free men the world has ever known,' and literally had a moment of incandescent rage and shouted at the book,
You hunted slaves! And at that second the entire plot of
Three downloaded, including the twist, the structure, everything."
The Spiritual Successor
's Evil Twinnote
, the Spiritual Antithesis
is referencing an earlier work by using similar characters and themes, but going in a completely different direction. Often set at the opposite end of Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism
. May serve as a Deconstruction
if the original work was a deconstruction itself) or Stealth Parody
of the original work.
Often seen as a Take That
against the original work, and closely related to Satire
. May involve Whole Plot Reference
Of course, nothing prevents a work from being the Spiritual Antithesis of one work and the Spiritual Successor
of another at the same time, which may often result in said work being X Meets Y
or This Is Your Premise On Drugs
Genres that play this role to each other:
Anime and Manga
- Tiger & Bunny might be this for Darker Than Black - both are takes on Super Hero genre that have superhumans glowing blue while using their powers, but former has much more idealistic take than latter, which is much more cynical and prefers Not Wearing Tights and antiheroic variety. Neither works go into extremes - just like Darker Than Black stays on the cynical side but acknowledges existence of idealism, Tiger & Bunny is very optimistic, but has few shades of cynicism on it.
- Code Geass and Gundam 00 are this towards Gundam SEED and Gundam SEED Destiny - directors of both didn't liked how SEED and Destiny turned out and dedicated their series to deconstruct several elements that annoyed them.
- Yoshiyuki Tomino likes to follow up his dark and depressing series with their opposites - Zambot3 was followed by Daitarn3, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam by Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, and Space Runaway Ideon by Combat Mecha Xabungle.
- Gurren Lagann was this to Neon Genesis Evangelion (bonus points for being made by the same people) and its own Spiritual Predecessor Space Runaway Ideon.
- FLCL is another Spiritual Antithesis to Evangelion, also created by the same people - according to rumors, many people who just finished working on End of Evangelion felt down and wanted to create something crazy and optimistic to cheer themselves up.
- You may also say that GaoGaiGar, first reconstruction of Super Robot genre after Evangelion was another one of these for it - it celebrated and embraced the same tropes Evangelion criticized or outright rejected.
- Makoto Shinkai's last two works have strong contrasts with his two previous works.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha versus Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Listing their antithetical components will take all day long, but the former is about power and idealism while the latter is about helplessness and shattered dreams.
- Someone described the Alan Moore version of Marvelman as "Superman told as a horror story". Or, perhaps more accurately, the original Marvelman done as a horror story.
- And you could say his run on Supreme is the opposite to his Marvelman - in both cases Moore takes character of Flying Brick based on Superman, who was also epithome of age during which he was created, with all it's flaws, and molds him into complete opposite, while making him more complex and interesting than he was before. The difference lies in tone - while Moore turns Marvelman towards Darker and Edgier waters, while breaking apart many tradional tropes of Silver Age, Supreme under his guidance took path towards Lighter and Softer territory and paid tribute to the same tropes Marvelman tore apart.
- Switchblade Honey is this to Star Trek - it shows a future where the exploration of space is handled by a bunch of insane egomaniacs, which leads to a war with a much more powerful enemy, which humanity is losing. Heroic idealists, who would become great heroes of Starfleet in Star Trek, here end up in prison for opposing the corrupted system.
- Warren Ellis in the afterword of Black Summer contrasted it with Civil War, saying that Mark Millar's event shows watered down version of superheroes coming in conflict with the goverment, while he wanted to show in Black Summer what he thinks would really happen.
- Warren Ellis must love this trope - when Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross created Marvels, deconstructing but still idealistic portrayal of Marvel Universe, Ellis wrote Ruins - depressing Alternate Universe where everything that could go wrong, worse that you can imagine - that is generally seen as Marvels' Evil Twin. When Busiek made sequel to Marvels, Ellis respond with Ghost Boxes - compilation of alternate Universes where X-Men failed to stop the threat from his Astonishing X-Men series, each more depressing that previous one.
- Kieron Gillen is currently working on book Three, which is basically tailor made to be this for Frank Miller's 300. 300 has heroic Spartans fighting for freedom against irredeemable, evil Persian Empire and played with the actual history. Three is going to have less clear conflict with Spartans as slave-hunting antagonist from which titular three former slaves are running away, and Gillen is consulting actual history major to keep the story accurate.
- His Dark Materials is this to Narnia. Pullman isn't trying to hide his hate for Lewis' series, so it was probably intentional.
- Lord of the Flies is this towards the children's book Coral Island. Coral Island has young boys living on an island after their ship's catastrophe and working together to fight "the savages". Golding, having an issue with racist undertones and savagery being presented as an outside threat and not something that lies in human nature, wrote a book in which young boys end up abandoning their civilized ways and trying to kill each other. Oddly enough, another writer, Robert A. Heinlein, took issue with that portrayal and wrote Tunnel In The Sky, which served as an opposite to Lord of the Flies: Boys end up on an alien world and work together for their survival. Some try to go the same way as characters from Golding's book, but end up quickly killed. Mira Lobe's Insu-Pu is another spiritual opposite to Lord of the Flies.
- Chinua Achebe wrote Things Fall Apart in response to the old classic, Heart of Darkness. He found the latter to be one of the most racist things he'd ever read and wanted to show that native Africans were not, as previously believed, total savages.
- Friedrich Nietzsche wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None as an opposite philosophical story to the New Testament.
- The Black Company by Glen Cook is this for High Fantasy genre - if one assumes that typical works of High Fantasy are propaganda of the winners, then this is closer to how those events really looked like.
- Starship Troopers gets this treatment a lot, especially in the 1970s and 80s, with works like Haldeman's The Forever War and Steakley's Armor being the two most blatant. Even Drake's Hammers Slammers could probably be listed.
- John Sladek's satirical Roderick series features a robot who views a corrupt world through innocent eyes. Sladek then turned the idea on its head in the novel Tik-Tok: the world is just as corrupt, so its robot Anti-Hero decides to exploit it by being even more corrupt.
- Richard K. Morgan intends A Land Fit For Heroes to be this to The Lord of the Rings.
- Warhammer40000 is this for the idealistic Space Opera genre as a whole, especially Star Trek, following the principle that Humans Are Special and showing them living peacefully with other races and defeating various space evils. In contrast, The Empire of Man is utterly racist, and its position at the galactic power table was paid for with the blood of millions of humans.
- Paranoia is this for the more common type of game in which the PCs are generally expected to work together toward common goals.
- I Wanna Be The Guy is a Platform Hell game with loads of Fake Difficulty. It's about a kid who's a Cosmic Plaything trying to find The Guy and kill him, so he can become the next Guy. The world will not let him. Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril is similar, but takes out the Fake Difficulty. It's about a Determinator with a Screw Destiny philosophy going up against impossible odds for the good of the world. The world won't let him accomplish his goal either, but it will let him try. Both are equally Nintendo Hard, but in complete opposite ways. Fights dirty and hits you where it hurts, the other fights honorably and gives you a fair chance.
- The Iranian students who made Rescue Nuke Scientist (in which the player controls Iranian soldiers rescuing captured nuclear engineers from Israel) said it was meant as a response to Assault On Iran (in which the player controls American soldiers attacking an Iranian nuclear weapons facility). The makers of Assault On Iran responded to that with Payback In Iraq, which even includes characters and events from Rescue. And said they hoped the makers of Rescue Nuke Scientist would respond again.
- Gears of War and Call of Duty are different ways of taking the shooter genre (Gears being about taking cover and COD making both sides weak to bullets), seemingly as a counterpart to the radical influence of Halo.
- Asura may seem like an Expy of Kratos at first glance, given that both fight other gods and have issues with anger, but it becomes apparent that Asura actually contrasts heavily with Kratos, especially as he values the lives of innocents unlike Kratos' lack of regard for them.
- Knights of the Old Republic II serves as this to the original KOTOR while also being its sequel. The original was a classic "good vs. evil" story about a larger than life Jedi hero and set to tell a tale in the vein of the original movies. The sequel, on the other hand, was a deconstruction of the Star Wars universe with the main focus being about an exiled and effectively nameless Jedi in the darkest hour of the galaxy (which had become a Crapsack World), all while tearing apart the black-and-white concept of the galaxy as well as the entire concept of The Force itself.
- Valkyria Chronicles I: war elevates brave men and women into heights of glory! Valkyria Chronicles III: war crushes idealism and destroys the dignity of humankind!
- Chrono Trigger: the heroes save the world by changing time...except that, in Chrono Cross, we find that they inadvertently caused horrible, horrible things to happen by doing so.
- Dragon Age: Origins: the Big Bad is a classically evil Eldritch Abomination, and the idea that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few is a recurring theme. Dragon Age II: there's no clear Big Bad, just a lot of misguided people (some people have ended up believing that your Player Character was the big bad) and the game shows what terrible things happen when the rights of a minority are trampled for the common good.
- Umineko No Naku Koro Ni can easily be seen as this towards Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni. While both series share similar themes and structure (Psychological horror mystery with a Ground Hog Day function) Umineko is much more cynical and deconstructs several of the tropes in Higurashi.
- Mega Man to Mega Man Zero. The former is a quirky series about a boy android who shoots up cartoony, googly-eyed robots and copies their powers with obvious Cartoon Physics. His creator, Dr. Light, and his nemesis, Dr. Wily, are also pretty comical in their own ways. Each game ends with the eponymous character saving the day once again. Mega Man Zero is much more anime-like, is about a teenage-looking android fighting a war alongside a group of freedom fighters, and has very little to speak of in the way of humor. Victories always come at a cost.
- Sonic Satam and the comics to other cartoons and most of the games. In most continuities, Sonic is just in for a thrill, and Dr. Robotnik/Eggman is pretty incompetent. In Sat AM, Robotnik is extremely menacing, has already conquered most of the world, and Sonic is one of the few people who stand between him and total world domination.