When you are creating a work in which two clearly distinct entities are in conflict or compete against each other, a common way to name your work is to identify the two entities and insert a word or symbol indicating the conflict.
These most frequently take the form of X Versus Y
(or X vs Y
). Titles of this form were particularly common for older B Movies
, and is now something of a Dead Horse Trope
within that field, though often used straight in homages. They continue to be frequently used in names of episodes of Western Animations
and Live-Action TV shows
Another variant, replacing "Versus" with a simple X, as in Alice X Bob
, is particularly common in Video Games
developed in Japan. Where it is a crossover, it may take the form of X Meets Y
, although these are relatively rare.
May involve an Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny
or Cool Versus Awesome
. Where both entities are antagonists, this may be an Antagonist Title
. Similar to The Noun and the Noun
and Name and Name
. Often mirrors Character Name and the Noun Phrase
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Anime and Manga
- Many of the Abbott and Costello's later movies had titles of the form Abbott and Costello Meet (something else from Universal).
- Alien vs. Predator.
- A variation occurs in the case of Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever. The movie is actually about Ecks and Sever teaming up.
- Billy the Kid vs. Dracula.
- Boa Versus Python.
- Bonnie and Clyde vs. Dracula
- Bruce Campbell vs. Army of Darkness.
- Dahmer vs. Gacy and its sequel Dahmer vs. Gacy 2: In Space.
- Dracula Versus Frankenstein.
- Dinocroc Versus Supergator.
- Eagle vs Shark.
- Earth vs. The Flying Saucers.
- Earth vs. The Spider.
- Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man.
- Freddy vs. Jason.
- Gladiators vs. Werewolves: Edge of Empire
- The American titles given to Godzilla movies followed this pattern: Godzilla vs. (Destoroyah, Gigan, The Sea Monster, The Smog Monster, Mechagodzilla etc.). King Kong vs. Godzilla came before any of these, and has some mild Early Installment Weirdness due to the name of Godzilla's opponent coming first. Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla follows the same principle despite using a separate synonym.
- Hulk vs. Wolverine and Hulk vs. Thor.
- Humans Versus Zombies.
- Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter.
- Joe Versus The Volcano.
- Karl the Butcher vs. Axe
- Komodo Versus Cobra.
- Kramer Vs Kramer (also the original book, on which the film was based).
- Mega Python Versus Gatoroid.
- Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus, and it's sequel Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus.
- Monsters vs. Aliens.
- The People Vs Larry Flynt, based on a Real Life court case which was actually named Hustler Magazine v. Falwell.
- Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys.
- The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
- Strippers vs. Zombies.
- The crossover movies for the Super Sentai series, such as Tensou Sentai Goseiger Vs Shinkenger Epic On Ginmaku.
- The Navy vs. The Night Monsters.
- Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil.
- Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl.
- Wife vs. Secretary, based on a novel of the same title.
- Versus. That's it, that's the whole title.
- Vampires vs. Leprechauns.
Live Action TV
- All in the Family episodes "Edith Versus the Bank" and "Edith Versus the Energy Crisis".
- Buffalo Bill episode "Buffalo Bill Versus the Kremlin".
- Chuck uses this as its Idiosyncratic Episode Naming.
- CSI episode "Grissom Versus the Volcano".
- Curb Your Enthusiasm episode "Larry vs. Michael J. Fox"
- Deadliest Warrior uses this as its Idiosyncratic Episode Naming.
- Good Vs Evil (originally known as G vs E).
- Reality Show Hogan Knows Best episode "Hogan Versus City Hall".
- Leave It to Beaver episode "The State Versus Beaver".
- Mama's Family episode "Harper Versus Harper".
- Man v. Food.
- Man vs. Wild.
- Melissa And Joey episode "Joe Versus the Reunion".
- Parenthood episode "Man Versus Possum".
- Private Benjamin episode "Ross Versus the Robot".
- Smart Guy episode "T.J. versus the Machine".
- Common in Toei's Toku crossover film series:
- The Super Sentai "Vs. Series" featuring two teams together. However, it's rare for the "vs." to actually mean that the teams end up fighting each other; more often they become allies immediately.
- Kamen Rider's Movie Wars series always start their titles with "Kamen Rider X Kamen Rider [X] & [Y]", though like with its Sentai counterpart Kamen Rider [X] and Kamen Rider [Y] tend to work together rather than fight each other.
- And then there's the multi-franchise Superhero Taisen series, which like with Movie Wars starts its titles with a form of "[X] X [Y]": the first was "Kamen Rider X Super Sentai", the second was "Kamen Rider X Super Sentai X Space Sheriff", and the third is "Heisei Rider X Showa Rider" (referring to the two subdivisions of the Kamen Rider franchise). In these cases, though, the various sides do fight each other.
- Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites (twice), Heroes vs. Villains and Blood vs. Water.
- The Beverly Hillbillies episode "Granny Versus the Weather Bureau".
- The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis episode "Dobie Versus the Machine".
- Zorro (1957) episode "Zorro Versus Cupid".
- After OLN (Outdoor Life Network) and before NBC Sports Network, it was Versus. (See NetworkDecay.Total Abandonment for more.)
- Wizards of Waverly Place: Alex vs. Alex
- Dantai Taikosen LLPW vs. AJW
- UWFi vs. WAR: Super Summer Wars
- AWS Sonjay Dutt vs Super Dragon
- WMF IWC vs WMF Confrontation ~ Super Hardcore Night
- FWA Academy vs. WAW Academy - Academy Warfare
- WWE vs ECW: Head To Head
- ChickFight VII: The UK vs The USA
- CWA Pro Skirts vs. Fins
- EVOLVE 1: Richards vs. Ibushi
- Chikara vs Osaka Pro
- Invacion de I.W.A Vs W.W.C
- PWE Elite vs. Phenomenal
- WSU vs Beyond
- XICW 158: Rhino vs. Williams III
- ROH vs NJPW: Global Wars
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode "Hulk Versus the World".
- The Batman vs. Dracula.
- Dan Vs. is an interesting case, where the Episode Finishes the Title, such as the first episode, New Mexico, intended to be read as Dan Vs. New Mexico.
- Eek! The Cat episode "Eek vs. the Flying Saucers" (a play on Earth vs. the Flying Saucers).
- Samurai Jack episodes "Jack Versus Demongo, the Soul Collector", "Jack Versus Mad Jack", "Samurai Versus Ninja", "Samurai Versus Samurai", "Jack Versus Aku", and "Robo-Samurai Versus Mondo Bot".
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 episode "Raphael Versus the Volcano".
- The Simpsons has a number of episodes like this, such as:
- "Bart vs. Australia"
- "Bart vs. Lisa vs. the Third Grade"
- "Bart vs. Thanksgiving"
- "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson"
- "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy"
- "Homer vs. Dignity"
- "Homer vs. Lisa and the Eighth Commandment"
- "Homer vs. Patty and Selma"
- "Homer vs. the 18th Amendment"
- "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy"
- "Marge vs. the Monorail"
- "Marge vs. Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens, and Gays" (also known as "Marge vs. Everyone")
- The Tick uses this as its Idiosyncratic Episode Naming.
- Voltron: Defender of the Universe episode "Voltron Versus Voltron"
- Star vs. the Forces of Evil
- It is standard in civil court cases in many western countries to be named in the form Plaintiff v. Defendant.
- Do keep in mind when both sides of the v. are the same (such as a family feud), it's not a Mirror Match. (Well, usually not. There have indeed been cases where people have sued themselves, e.g. Lodi v. Lodi (1985) 173 Cal.App.3d 628.)
- Partially averted in Commonwealth countries, where the v. is read as and.
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