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: Crime Scene Investigation 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
- 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"
- 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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