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  • Adventure Time: The Lich is very much the exact opposite of Finn. The Lich was born from the Green Catalyst Comet that struck Earth and killed off the dinosaurs and seems to represent Mass Extinction while Finn is the Reincarnation of the Blue Catalyst Comet, which incarnated as a butterfly (a symbol of rebirth). While the Lich is pure evil, relishes in his cruelty and wants to exterminate life, Finn has a pure heart and is more than willing to fight against the bad guys.
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  • Hank and Dean Venture of The Venture Bros. are an interesting example - they started out with identical personalities (parodies of eager Hardy-Boys type characters who were forever looking for mysteries to solve while having little to no real world experience), before becoming basically the complete opposite in every way. Where Dean is sensitive, Hank is masculine; where Dean is shy and afraid of girls (thus failing to win their affections), Hank is overeager and thinks of himself as a ladies man (while failing to win their affections); and most importantly, where Dean just wants to be normal, Hank just wants to be badass.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Aang and Zuko are both kindhearted kids that got thrust in a difficult situation. Aang ran away from the life of being the Avatar because of the enormous pressure while Zuko was banished devoted his life in chasing the Avatar. Both believed their respective missions will redeem their failings, however when Aang was trekking his path, growing strong and gaining friends, Zuko was losing what little he had and spent the majority of the series being confused and in emotional turmoil. This gets better when he finally got over his issues and joins Aang's team.
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    • In a far more complex way, Zuko and his sister Azula. Zuko was regarded as a failure by their father Ozai because he wasn't as talented as his sister while Azula was adored because she's a firebending prodigy and similar to their father in ruthlessness. This led to their mother Ursa (and Uncle Iroh) devoting more love and attention to Zuko while Azula was doted by Ozai. When Zuko envied Azula for their father's favor, Azula also envied Zuko for their mother's love. When Zuko was banished, lost his status as crown prince, and lived like a peasant Azula was doing impressive feats and even conquered the last stronghold of the Earth Kingdom. As the series finale Zuko has peace of mind, love, friendship when he gave up his allegiance to Fire Lord Ozai. On the other hand, even if Azula has always been their father's favorite and she cemented her status as the heiress she ended up being betrayed, unloved, alone and losing her sanity. In the comics following the series, the two blur the lines at the same time, as Zuko remains a protagonist but frequently slips into more negative behavior, while Azula remains an antagonist but is slowly making positive developments for herself. Only time will tell if they can both find balance in the end, although Zuko certainly seems to have achieved it by The Legend of Korra.
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    • Not as noteworthy but still present are Katara & Toph, Sokka and Zuko, & Katara and Azula. The latter two is generally a result of the foil between two families: one from the diminishing Southern Water Tribe and the other from the glorious Fire Nation. Both lost mothers and the little sister was more talented than the older brother. Sokka and Katara loved each other unconditionally and their father Hakoda are proud of both of them while Zuko and Azula were fighting and hating each other most of the time. The fire siblings' father Ozai is a cruel, unloving figure that favored one over the other.
    • In Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Rift, we have Aang and Toph. Aang's father figure Monk Gyatso believed that allowing him to be a kid was important, and he has great regard for tradition and staying in touch with his Air Nomad past. Toph's parents, however, were very strict, but said very little about why they were, causing her to resent tradition. It's summed up in this exchange.
    Toph: Don't you think you're trying a little too hard to hold onto your past?
    Aang: Maybe. But don't you think you're trying a little too hard to run away from it?
    Toph: Not everyone's past is like yours, Aang. Some of us have to run away just to... just to live.
    • The Legend of Korra gives us Korra and Asami. Both girls are involved in the resistance against Amon and the Equalists and both are extremely badass. Korra, as the Avatar, has spent her entire life being trained to master the four elements and is pretty much the embodiment of all bending. She also is a buff Action Girl who doesn't show a ton of interest in feminine pursuits. Asami is a nonbender and, though unknowingly, the daughter of a guy heavily supporting the Equalists who fights using stolen Equalist technology and spent her life indulging in various hobbies such as racing and watching Pro-Bending. She also is very elegant, dressing fashionably and enjoying classy things.
    • Korra and Tahno as well. They're set up as rivals right from the start, being waterbenders on opposing teams. They both see their bending as a huge part of their identity. Ultimately, both have their bending taken by Amon and become depressed over it.
    • In Book 2:Spirits we have brothers Tonraq (Korra' father) and Unalaq. Tonraq is big, strong and a fighter while Unalaq is barely intimidating with his lean frame, soft voice and his spiritual methods. Unalaq turned out to be very ambitious and jealous of his older brother's birthright that he devised a plan to banish him while Tonraq accepts his eventual fate with grace and just wanted a simple life for his family. Both men also lied and tried to control Korra in one way or another Tonraq thought it was the best for Korra to be locked up in the South for her own protection while Unalaq manipulated Korra by promising her agency and freedom. Ultimately Tonraq had good intentions and realized his mistake while Unalaq was serving himself.
    • Korra and the first Avatar Wan, separated by 10,000 years, are both present in the recurring Harmonic Convergence. Both have been tricked to do the bidding of the enemy and determined to fix their failure. While Wan is much like Aang - good with spirits and traveled the world to learn- Korra is not talented with spiritual matters and was secluded and controlled almost all her life. There's also the fact that Wan was initially a firebender (having lived on a Fire Lion Turtle) while Korra is a Water Tribe native. Their differences and similarities are also highlighted by the eras they live in- Wan lived in a time where humans and spirits live together and people rely on nature, Korra lives in a time where spirituality is decaying and technology is advancing. At the end of the Book Korra defeats Vaatu without the aid of past lives just like Wan did in the past but instead of closing the spirit portals she has kept them open. Korra also ended Wan's Avatar cycle and started another one, redefining the role of the Avatar in the process.
  • The Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon has a few of these:
  • In The Boondocks, Huey and Riley Freeman take Sibling Yin-Yang to new heights. Huey is a quiet and responsible big brother, while Riley is a loud and obnoxious little brother.
  • The cast of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has a surprisingly complex dynamic, with all of the Mane 6 characters having the contrasting and similar traits to be foils to each other.
    • Among the six main characters, there are two girly ponies (Rarity and Fluttershy), two tomboy ponies (Applejack and Rainbow Dash), and two in between (Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie). Each pair are foils for each other: Twilight (The Smart Guy) and Pinkie (the Cloud Cuckoo Lander) make up a basic Adventure Duo; Applejack (the level-headed, reliable farm girl) and Rainbow Dash (the Hot-Blooded but lazy stunt-flier) are All Work vs. All Play with a major Friendly Rivalry; Rarity (glamorous drama-queen) and Fluttershy (Shrinking Violet Moe Quiet One) are a Light Feminine and Dark Feminine Odd Couple.
    • Applejack and Rarity are a Tomboy and Girly Girl pair, and Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy are occasionally paired similarly.
    • Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie share a strong friendship thanks to their mutual hedonistic, sometimes-mischievous natures despite the fact that Rainbow is more liable than perhaps any of the other characters to be annoyed by Pinkie's behavior.
    • Twilight and Pinkie can act as foils for (or be foiled by) any of the other characters because they're both "outsiders" - Twilight because she's the main character who serves as the lone, sane commentator to everything that happens, and Pinkie Pie because she's just inscrutably crazy.
    • It is also seen within the girls of the same race. The unicorn duo is the socially awkward hero and the cultured lady, the pegasus duo is the wall flower and the braggart, and the earth pony duo are the cloud cuckoo lander and the down to earth pony.
    • Most of the ponies have pets that act as be foils to them.
      • Introverted Fluttershy's aggressive Angel Bunny often pushes her beyond her (very small) comfort zone.
      • Ladylike Rarity owns an evil cat named Opalescence. (If you had a name like that, you'd have a bad attitude, too.)
      • The hyperactive and easily-excitable Pinkie Pie has Gummy, a baby alligator whose sole personality trait is to pay no heed to anything happening around him. Pinkie, oblivious, has been known to project her own concerns onto Gummy and hold serious conversations with him.
      • Twilight's owl, Owloysius/Owlowicious, is not a foil for her, but rather for Spike, who is himself a foil for Twilight.
      • As of Season 2, the high-flying speedster Rainbow Dash has acquired a pet tortoise (not turtle) named Tank.
      • The level-headed Applejack has Winona, a dog who, well, acts like your typical hyperactive dog.
    • Finally, you notice it in a few of the oneshot rivals and such that have appeared.
      • Twilight, who is afraid of others perceiving her as arrogant due to her magical prowess, inadvertently found a rival in Trixie, who likes to outshine everyone despite being an entirely average practitioner of magic.
      • The under-confident Fluttershy found hers in her one-time mentor Iron Will, an overly aggressive minotaur.
      • Rainbow Dash, the very Element of Loyalty, had a foil in Lightning Dust, who tends to be self-serving and doesn't care who she hurts. The contrast is only highlighted in that other than this, they're nearly identical. Gilda the griffon is a milder version of the same theme, an arrogant flier with much more jerk and less heart of gold than Dash.
      • The honest Applejack and her family, who value quality over quantity and have a strong sense of integrity, found foils in the conniving, selfish, cheating Flim-Flam brothers.
      • For the duration of the "This Day Aria" in "A Canterlot Wedding", the real and fake Princess Cadance are made foils for each other, getting some ironically similar but opposite lines, contrasting the former's urgent despair and genuine love for the groom with the latter's smug triumph and callous intent to use him.
      • On the one hand, we have Rarity, the Element of Generosity, who sometimes frets over the possibility that she might actually be better off being not quite so generous. On the other, we have Suri Polomare, who has absolutely no problem taking credit for someone else’s work or taking others for granted.
      • Twilight Sparkle gains a foil in the Season 5 premiere "The Cutie Map" in Starlight Glimmer. Both are Super OCD leaders of their respective towns and powerful magic users, but Twilight mostly leaves everyday life and affairs to the older and wiser Mayor of Ponyville, stepping in when there's a major catastrophe, and her OCD is limited and (mostly) controlled to her personal life, while Starlight's OCD is extreme and controls every single aspect of her town's life. Twilight is the Princess of Friendship and understands that differences (both talent-wise and personality-wise) between ponies can bring them together and even the best of friends have arguments, while Starlight is a dictator over her small town that believes that everypony needs to be equal and happy all the time and eventually turns out to be a hypocrite as she had kept her cutie mark. Twilight rules out of love, respect, and dedication, and has strong friendships with those who truly love her in return, while Starlight rules out of fear, brainwashing, and imitation and loses the support of her followers once her hypocrisy is revealed.
      • The "antagonist" of "Amending Fences" is Moondancer — not malevolent but opposing all efforts to befriend her, so she ends up in a similar position. She's like Twilight Sparkle if Twilight had stayed where she was and become even more of a grump dedicated only to studying instead of learning the value of friendship. In flashbacks before they diverted, she's mostly a Palette Swap of Twilight, but at the time of the episode, she's subverted the inherent style of the design with uncouth nerdiness.
    • Cheerful, hyperactive Pinkie Pie and her calm and less-than-expressive sister Maud are the page image for Sibling Yin-Yang, and for good reason.
    • In a case of a villain being a foil to another villain, Daybreaker — Celestia's hypothetical Evil Counterpart — is Nightmare Moon's opposite in every villainous sense. Besides a day-versus-night/light-versus-dark visual contrast, they have diametrically opposite motivations for their evil acts: Luna was twisted into Nightmare Moon by feelings of neglect, jealousy and lack of appreciation, whereas Daybreaker is motivated entirely by an overblown sense of self-satisfaction: in essence, Nightmare Moon fell from grace for having too little self-esteem and being overreliant on others for validation, whereas Daybreaker's theoretical fall came from having, if anything, too much self-esteem and choosing to rely on no-one. Their attitudes in their duel in Starlight's nightmare are also in stark contrast: Nightmare Moon is constantly scowling and angry, while Daybreaker's emotive range seems fixed on mockery, evil laughs and manic grins.
  • In Teen Titans, Raven and Starfire's differences are highlighted in the episode Teen Titans S1 E7 "Switched", where they switch bodies and must learn to use the other's powers. Raven's power relies on her being composed about her emotions, while Starfire's rely on the feelings themselves to function
  • Shego in Kim Possible highlights Dr. Drakken's ineptitude and Kim's earnestness with her sarcastic commentary.
  • SpongeBob and Squidward Tentacles in SpongeBob SquarePants. SpongeBob is described as perpetually optimistic, and happy, cares for others, and loves his job whereas Squidward is unhappy, self-absorbent, hates his job, and is a Perpetual Frowner. This is perhaps the reason why Squidward was appointed as the manager over SpongeBob in The Movie, since he was more mature for the job while SpongeBob acts childish despite being an adult.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot: Brad to Jenny. While Jenny is super-powerful, but extremely self-conscious and would rather be a normal teenager, Brad is an ordinary guy who is extremely self-assured and desperately wants to be anything but a normal teenager.

Samurai Jack:

  • The Scotsman. Like Jack, he is a frighteningly skilled wandering warrior with no name, an enchanted sword, and is talented in a plethora of fighting techniques. However in contrast he is rude, boisterously loud, shows little respect to his enemies, and could really use a shower and a toothbrush. They're both good guys and become allies after a 24-hour battle and a quick fight with some bounty hunters.
    • The Scotsman also becomes this to the High Priestess of Aku by Season 5. They both concieve many daughters and raise them to be Action Girls, but the High Priestess has no love or kindness for her children and raises them to become murderous Social Darwinists devoid of any of those traits; the Scotsman on the other hand clearly put a lot of love and loyalty into all his daughters, and they're much psychologically healthier as a result.
  • Aku is very much the exact opposite of Jack. While Jack seeks to do good wherever possible, even at risk to his well being and goal of returning to the past, Aku always seeks out any action where he makes life miserable for others — even if it would be to his disadvantage in the long run. Their colors and designs likewise contrast as well - Jack is a humble prince in all-white robes who is selfless, empathetic, dutiful and the epitome of an honorable man, while Aku is an all-black demon-sorcerer who is selfish, callous, treats the world as his toybox and the epitome of pure evil. Likewise, they also have opposing meaning in their titles — Jack's is "Samurai", which is generally associated with a humble and honorable warrior, while one of Aku's titles has him call himself a "Shogun", which is more in line with a ruler and supreme commander of an army.
    • Season 5 in particular highlights their different reactions to their stalemate: while Jack forces himself to keep moving and fighting for mankind, Aku completely gives up on beating Jack and retreats from the public. Notably, Jack's hallucinations damn Jack for his inaction, while Aku begins talking to himself to try and feel better about his failure.
  • Dipper and Mabel Pines from Gravity Falls. Dipper has a tendency to be serious and even a bit cynical, while Mabel is an extremely perky optimist. Unlike some pairs of foils, however, they are very attached to one another; they work together very well when it comes to dealing with all the supernatural forces they encounter, and have even taken to calling themselves "the Mystery Twins".
    • On the surface it seems that Stan and Ford acts similar to Mabel and Dipper, the former being considered the dumber twin and often tends to goof around a lot while the latter as the smarter twin where they love the supernatural and is dedicated to researching the mysteries of Gravity Falls. However Stan, like Dipper, often tends to get picked on by other people which resulted in his Inferiority Superiority Complex. He also treasures any family relationships he has like with kids Dipper and Mabel, and even goes so far as to sacrifice 30 years of his life just to try to bring his brother back. Ford on the other hand, like Mabel, has a problem with selfishness and is often Innocently Insensitive.
  • Over the Garden Wall:
    • Wirt and Greg. The former is older, nerdy and anxious about everything; the latter is younger, silly and perpetually cheerful. As things grow grimmer for the two, Wirt becomes moody and falls under the Beast's power, while Greg keeps moving forward, albeit in a way that almost proves just as disastrous.
    • Also Wirt and Jason Funderberker, his romantic rival. Although initially implied to be The Ace, he turns out to be even more awkward than Wirt, but less self-conscious about it. Somewhat like Greg, he acts when Wirt is prone to equivocate, and thus Wirt thinks of him as superior.
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • Arnold's best friend Gerald is this to him. Arnold is much more serious than he is, while Gerald is more immature. Arnold is also very optimistic, while Gerald is more cynical. Furthermore, Arnold dresses in blue and is a blonde while Gerald dresses in red and is a brunette.
    • Lila is a foil to Helga in almost every way. Lila is a poor country girl, Helga is a middle class city girl. Lila is pretty, Helga could be generously described as Ugly Cute. Lila is liked by everyone while Helga is disliked by everyone. Helga has a crush on Arnold, but acts as a Loving Bully to him, while Arnold has a crush on Lila, but she shoots him down gently. And according to the show's creator, Lila had a repressed dark side. So in addition, while Lila was sweet and innocent on the outside, but emotionally disturbed on the inside, Helga was mean and crazy on the outside, but kind and sophisticated on the inside. Lila represses her negative qualities and Helga represses her positive qualities for the exact same reason: they feel that showing them would be detrimental, when in fact doing so would be healthier for the both of them.
    • Helga is also this to Arnold. Both are the blonde-haired stars of the show with an Improbable Hairstyle and Iconic Item that adorns their head (Arnold's little blue baseball cap, Helga's giant pink bow), and are probably the smartest among their peers. Arnold is a sweet and friendly person who rarely gets angry who grew up in an "atypical" family but was given love, respect, and attention. Helga is a mean and anti-social girl who does have a kind side she keeps hidden and grew up in a "typical" family but was emotionally neglected by her parents in favor for her older sister. Then there's their love lives: Arnold has many crushes over the course of the series and they never work out, while Helga only has eyes for Arnold and according to Word of God, they end up together in the future.
  • The Hollow: The other kids act as this to Kai, Adam and Mira.
    • Vanessa and Mira are both the only female in their respective team, have dyed hair and become Kai's love interest for a short amount of time. But while Mira is a legitimately nice person who always tries to look for a peaceful solution first, Vanessa is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing and a Dark Action Girl who has no problems with hurting or even potentially killing others, if it gets her what she wants.
    • Reeve and Adam are both dark-skinned boys who act as The Muscle for their respective group and have powers that primarily focus on offense. However, while Adam is kind, good-natured and only attacks when he feels his friends are being threatened, Reeve is a genuine Sadist who gets a kick out of abusing his power and seemingly has little to no empathy for others.
    • Kai and Skeetz both act as the seemingly harmless comedic relief in their groups, with both of them not really coming off as the sharpest tool in the shed upon first glance. But while Kai is actually extremely skilled in mechanics and gets over his cowardice later on, Skeetz really is as dumb as he looks and flat-out abandons his team when it seems like the odds are against them.

  • The Simpsons: Hugh Parkfield from "Lisa's Wedding" is this to Mr. Bergstrom from "Lisa's Substitute". At first glance, they're both everything Lisa wants from a companion: witty, intelligent, cultured, sensitive, putting her at odds with her seemingly oblivious father Homer. But while Mr. Bergstrom helps Lisa understand that Homer does love her, Hugh tries to cut him out of her life, which makes Lisa realize that Hugh doesn't really care about her.
    • Homer himself eventually got a foil in the form of Frank Grimes.
    • Played for laughs with the mafia gangsters Johnny Tightlips and Frankie the Squealer.
  • In Gargoyles, one episode highlights the relationships between Elisa and her mother and Goliath and Angela.
    • Diane smothers Elisa (at least, in Elisa's opinion). Goliath keeps Angela at a distance (since it is gargoyle custom to not favor one child over another, even if one is his own biological child)
    • Elisa is tired of Diane's constant attention and involvement. Meanwhile, all Angela craves is for her father's recognition.
  • Scrooge and any of the other CEOs on Ducktales 2017:
    • To Glomgold; while Scrooge believes in making his money fair and square, simple plans, and working smarter rather than harder, Glomgold made his fortune through cheating and stealing, has a Complexity Addiction, and prefers to work harder rather than smarter. Also, Scrooge is actually Scottish, while Glomgold is South African but pretending to be Scottish.
    • To Mark Beaks; Scrooge is "tougher than the toughies, smarter than the smarties, and sharper than the sharpies" and made his money fair and square, while Beaks is Brilliant, but Lazy and committed fraud in order to make it to the billionaire mark.
    • Zan Owlson, a businesswoman who took over Glomgold's company temporarily in season 2, is this to all the male CEOs in the series, being the only one of them who doesn't let petty grudges occupy her time and her company's resources.
  • Star Wars Rebels has Maul as an Evil Mentor foil to Kanan, Ezra's Jedi mentor. They both genuinely care about him, have lost their families and cultures, and struggle with their place in the universe, but Maul's affection is twisted and manipulative while Kanan's is honest and true. To underscore this, certain heartwarming shots of Kanan and Ezra working together are often repeated with Maul substituting for Kanan and with a more sinister tone.
    • Ezra himself acts as a foil for Anakin Skywalker. He was also picked up later in life than most Jedi from a rough background, experimented with the Dark Side to try and save his loved ones, and has many of Anakin's flaws like anger, impulsiveness, and possessiveness. Unlike Anakin, he has a strong support system in his adopted family, who help guide him towards the right decisions and keep him grounded. It culminates in the finale with Palpatine himself appearing to try and corrupt Ezra using the same offer he gave Anakin (the power to save his family) if Ezra helps him. It almost works, but Ezra ultimately chooses to let them go.


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