Playing With / The Rival

Basic Trope: An antagonistic character who has a personal struggle against the protagonist, but is not the Big Bad.
  • Straight: Bob is a jerkass who opposes Alice. The two have a mutual enmity and often face off against each other in battle.
  • Exaggerated: Bob is so much of a threat to Alice that he's even worse than the Big Bad.
  • Downplayed:
    • Bob and Alice dislike each other, but are able to get along when needed.
    • Bob and Alice have a Friendly Rivalry, but in the end, there's only one champion and they both want the title.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted: Alice is the protagonist, but she acts as a snotty Ice Queen to Bob, a Hot-Blooded Idiot Hero, instead of the other way around.
  • Subverted:
    • The first time Bob appears, he jumps out of nowhere and challenges Alice to a duel to settle which of them is superior. Then they both laugh it off, revealing that Bob is actually Alice's friend and this is a running joke between them.
    • Bob and Alice turn out to be Friendly Rivals.
  • Double Subverted:
    • But then a quarrel between them turns Bob into Alice's rival.
    • But Bob reveals that he never was Alice's friend and always hated her, making him a straight up rival.
  • Parodied: Bob exists solely to be mean to Alice and act as her opponent. When she's not around, he just disappears in a poof of dust and doesn't pop up until she appears.
  • Zig-Zagged: Bob seems like Alice's rival and certainly acts like one. Then Alice beats him in a fight, causing him to become nicer to her, and the two seem to be about to become friends. But then Alice provokes Bob in an argument, causing Bob to become her rival again and eventually a Rival Turned Evil as well...
  • Averted: Alice has no rival at all.
  • Enforced: "We need someone to oppose Alice to spice the plot up. Let's create someone who's her very antithesis!"
  • Lampshaded: "You really like going out of your way to try and beat me, don't you, Bob?"
  • Invoked: Bob sets himself up as Alice's rival to get her to notice him.
  • Exploited: Bob deliberately acts mean in order to become Alice's rival, therefore earning him more screen-time and a spot as a prominent character.
  • Defied: "I'm not opposing her, I'll just lose in the end."
  • Discussed:
    Alice: "Why are you always so mean to me?"
    Bob: "Because I'm your rival and that's what rivals do."
  • Conversed: "Gee, that guy in Random Shonen Anime really likes beating on the main character." "That's because he's the rival, and every main character needs one."
  • Deconstructed:
  • Reconstructed: Alice survived the fight with Bob. Bob is forced to swallow his pride and admit he needs Alice's help and together they defeat Evulz. Afterwards, their rivalry develops into a grudging respect.

Back to The Rival, so we can have a rematch, you loser for a protagonist!