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Optimus Prime: After eons of conflict, I finally see the truth of your words, Megatron.
Megatron: And what might that be, Optimus?
Optimus Prime: This universe, no matter how vast, will never be big enough for you and I to coexist!

An Arch-Enemy, archfoe, archnemesis or simply nemesis is some character's designated and most important enemy.

The Arch-Enemy can be the Big Bad, The Dragon, The Rival, an Evil Counterpart, or even a Harmless Villain. The essential element is that, with them, It's Personal. Most typically, the Arch-Enemy is a foil of some sort, usually a mirror foil. For example, the Arch-Enemy of the physically strong could be very smart. If there is a Greater-Scope Villain, his Arch-Enemy commonly is the Greater-Scope Paragon.

The Arch-Enemy will stand out from the Super Hero's Rogues Gallery — there will be one opponent where the relationship to the hero and the motivations for battling them are more potent. These feelings may be one-sided, felt more by the villain than the hero, or occasionally vice-versa.


A hero's Arch-Enemy is not necessarily the biggest threat to them. Lex Luthor is considered Superman's Arch-Enemy; Brainiac is smarter, and both Brainiac and Darkseid are vastly more powerful and dangerous, but for Lex — and, to a lesser extent, for Superman — it's personal between them. Additionally, although Superman has battled many foes of great power and strength, Luthor is still seen as his Arch-Enemy because to a general audience, he's viewed as the most iconic and recognizable of all of Superman's rogues.

Sometimes, the hero could have made the same choices as the Arch-Enemy: the Arch-Enemy is showing us what he could have become, as in the case of Batman and the Joker.

A hero may possess more than one Arch-Enemy if more than one villain from his Rogues Gallery stand out, or if a former Arch-Enemy dies and new one comes in to the picture. As an example, consider Spider-Man: the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, and Venom have all established themselves as recurring and iconic foes of Spider-Man, each of whom has been considered the wallcrawler's Arch-Enemy at different points in time.


Lastly, remember that this generally refers to the enemy the hero considers to be his Arch-Enemy, and ideally, it should be personal on both sides (though there are plenty of good "But for Me, It Was Tuesday"-type Arch Foes out there). Especially in the case of a Rogues Gallery, the hero is usually considered an Arch-Enemy to all of his villains, but he doesn't treat all of them as such. Electro, Rhino, Scorpion, and others all consider Spider-Man their most hated foe, but compared to the Goblin, Venom, or Doc Ock, Spidey regards these guys more like superpowered nuisances. Also, remember that being the Big Bad does not automatically make a villain the hero's Arch-Enemy. For instance, it could be that the hero's enmity with The Dragon is far more personal than the one they have with their master; see It's Personal with the Dragon. Sometimes, a villain becomes the Arch-Enemy of the hero when the villain does something that makes the hero realize that they are Beyond Redemption.

Beware of letting an Arch-Enemy fall victim to Villain Decay.

See also Breakout Villain, for those instances when a run-of-the-mill villain ascends to Arch-Enemy status.

Not to be confused with various works known as Nemesis. Also not to be confused with the Swedish melodic death metal band. Technically, the word "nemesis" originally referred to an agent of divine justice or retribution for egotistical thinking; thus Batman could be described as Joker's nemesis, but not vice versa.

The Arch-Enemy is more prone to certain tropes than the common villain:

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Asian Animation 
  • Krishna Aur Kans: Krishna has King Kans, his Evil Uncle who imprisoned his parents, killed his older siblings as infants, and has been sending demons after him to prevent their Final Battle which will doom the latter.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Wolffy and Weslie are constantly fighting due to the former wanting to eat the latter and his friends.

    Comic Strips 
  • Buck Rogers had Killer Kane.
  • Dick Tracy had Flattop. Flattop was Killed Off for Real decades ago, but he was so popular that Legacy Characters kept popping up afterward.
  • Flash Gordon has Ming the Merciless.
  • Garfield has a weird example: Mondays. While usually shown to be just a worst day of the week for Garfield, they also had at least two different personifications, one looked like a bunch of generic monsters and one like Frankenstein's Monster. It's definitely mutual, as Mondays manage to have any kind of problem for Garfield, sometimes exceeding the limits of reality outright.
    • In his "Caped Avenger" persona he had proclaimed Odie as his archenemy, but considering that Odie is usually a frenemy and they does not necessarily share the mutual enmity, Mondays are a more real deal. Moreover, "Caped Avenger" later proclaimed Odie as his sidekick as well.
  • The old melodrama spoof Hairbreadth Harry had the title character fighting a Dastardly Whiplash named Rudolph Rassendale — although Rudy was the real star of the strip.
  • Mandrake the Magician has Cobra.
  • From Peanuts:
    • Charlie Brown and the Kite-Eating Tree.
    • Snoopy and the Red Baron.
  • Annie Mae the sea anenome to Pig in Pearls Before Swine.
  • Prince Valiant had Sligon, the tyrant who usurped his father's throne.

    Fan Works 
  • Trope Pantheons: Many of the canon duos, like Batman and Joker, fulfill this role in the Pantheon as well. There are a couple of unaffiliated gods who hit it off less than pleasantly on top of that, for instance: Madoka and Lucifer, or Gwyn and Allant.
  • Team LVDR:
    • Blaze, Zoe, and August are this to Lila. Their torture of her in the past, and Lila’s imprisonment of them has resulted in both groups having equal animosity towards one another.
    • Indus to Verde, Danielle, and Rosa. His murder of previous team leader, Lavender, cements him as this.
  • Transformers Meta
    • Hound and Barricade are this.
    • So are Jazz and Starscream, but that's more one-sided.
  • The Jackie Chan Adventures fic Queen of All Oni:
    • Jade feels that Tohru is hers, based on her jealousy that HE became Uncle's apprentice and not her.
    • Drago and Karasu have shades of this as well.
    • Right, one of Jade's Co-Dragons, becomes one to Viper.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: The Series:
    • Dr. Brainstorm sees Calvin as his - not so much the other way around, though.
    • Also discussed in "Camping Trip Part 1":
      Calvin: Hobbes, we have lots of mortal enemies! If this club only had one mortal enemy, then where would we be? Where would Superman be if he only had one super villain trying to take over the world every other day? Where would Spider-Man be if there was only one weirdo out there who managed to find enough time in his day to moonlight as an evil lunatic? Where would Batman be if all he had to do is defeat one highly unrealistic villain in order to save... whatever it is he aims on saving? I mean, come on!
  • The Immortal Game has Sir Unimpressive and the Cadet. There's also an inverted case of Unknown Rival in play as well, as the Cadet states that they were fierce rivals even before the war, something Unimpressive was unaware of.
  • In the Pony POV Series, Shining Armor gains one in the form of General-Admiral Makarov (aka the Shadow of Chernobull), the Big Bad of his side story.
  • While Rose is certainly the main character of Eyes Without a Face, she finds herself embroiled in a personal war between Twilight Sparkle and the Pie sisters.
  • Equestrylvania gives us Aeon and the Chronomage.
    • By the end of the first book, this status is also bestowed upon Twilight Sparkle and Actrise.
  • Renamon Who? gives us Valmont as one to Rika Nonaka.
  • In The Lion King Adventures, the evil wizard Hago serves as one to Simba.
  • In Boys und Sensha-do!, Shiho Nishizumi and the Sakai family despise each other due to ideological conflicts, including the Sakais trying to get more people, including boys, involved in sensha-do. The dislike the Sakais have for Shiho only intensifies after she disowns Miho, who is getting closer to Akio.
  • A large number of these can be found in Diaries of a Madman, but particularly mention has to go to the relationship between Discord and the protagonist, Nav.
  • Code Geass Megiddo has Lelouch and Suzaku. Suzaku still hates Lelouch for killing Euphemia and tarnishing her good name, but suppressed it for eight years after the Black Rebellion when Lelouch had his memories suppressed. Lelouch in turn resents Suzaku for betraying him and their friendship by giving him up to the Emperor, the father that abandoned him and Nunnally in a war zone, and suppressing pivotal memories to make him a loyal general for the empire, including making him believe Nunnally was killed alongside their mother. Needless to say, after Lelouch regains his memories, their next meeting has a gigantic blowout that devolves into a Duel to the Death.
    • Several characters commenting on the relationship acknowledge that regardless of their former friendship, Suzaku truly is Lelouch's greatest enemy, even more so than his father. In fact, the narrative and the wiki suggest that they were destined to be enemies. It's to the point that many believe that if Lelouch does care about Suzaku, he may have to kill him in order to save him from himself.
  • The Neomorphs series has a few examples:
  • A number of examples in Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox.
    • Naruto and Gaara have this dynamic since they gave each other their respective scars—Gaara got his "love" kanji-mark when Naruto smashed his forehead against a drinking glass; and seconds later Naruto got his familiar whisker-marks when Gaara slashed him across the face with his fingernails. This happened during Naruto's attempt to stop Gaara's wide-scale murder plot against the government, which then led into the 365 days.
    • Rokusho Aoi is arguably Ino's arch-enemy, as she holds him in contempt for his bullying ways from when he was head of Konoha High School's Hall Monitors Guild, and he in turn hates her for openly opposing him. It comes to a head when Aoi breaks into Ino's house, knocks her parents unconscious, and then tries to rape her; fortunately, Sai puts him in his place.
    • In the fanfic's in-universe Shadow Fox comic, Ghost Wolf is this to the titular heroine, as he was involved in a drive-by shooting that led to the death of her younger brother, which in turn prompted her to become a masked vigilante.
  • Transformers Animated: Cybertronian Genesis has, of course, Optimus Prime and Megatron, who have developed their relationship into this following the events of the last season, mirroring the rest of the Transformers mythos. One of the main focal points of the narrative is their enmity, and how it forces Optimus to grow into the leader he's meant to be, and how his constant defiance drives Megatron closer to the depths of insanity.
  • In New Tamaran, Scarecrow decides to become one for Raven.
  • A Shadow of the Titans plays this for laughs, as Jade declares Beast Boy her archenemy after he manages to hurt her with an onion; Beast Boy is thrilled at this, as he feels that having an archenemy makes him cooler.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, the Stardroids are this to Duo, who defeated them long ago.
  • Child of the Storm has Lucius Malfoy and Nick Fury, whose personal rivalry stretches back to the days of Voldemort's first reign when they were respectively the spymasters of the Death Eaters and the Order of the Phoenix, and who utterly despise each other. Lucius personally murdered two of Fury's mentors and blasted out his eye, and Fury broke Lucius' wand, did something that left him with a permanent limp, burned his house down with him inside it, and, it is implied, did something else to Lucius, though it's never stated exactly what.
  • Banette and Mewtwo in Total Pokemon Island. Banette always messes with Mewtwo, and Mewtwo sabotages him in turn in challenges. This continues until World Tour, where Mewtwo rescues Banette from Giratina from the Distortion World. After that, they become friendly rivals.
  • Soul Chess has Aizen Sosuke and Lamperouge Lelouch, as explicitly stated by both the narrative and the characters themselves. Lelouch despised Aizen after the man engineered the deaths of his captain (who was like a mother to him), her successor/lover (who Lelouch was in love with) and the exile of several friends of his (Urahara, Yoruichi, Soifon, Tessai, and the Visored). Meanwhile, like in canon, Aizen sought a rival. Instead of Ichigo (who, while still of interest to Aizen because of his potential strength, was designated as the "back-up hero"), he chose Lelouch. While not as naturally talented in combat like Aizen and Ichigo, Lelouch's vast intellect rivaled if not surpassed that of both Aizen and Urahara Kisuke (both of whom Lelouch has defeated in chess several times). That being said, Aizen did not truly come to hate Lelouch until after the man had stopped his initial plan cold by Geassing him to commit suicide. Then, when he returned from hell to exact revenge only to be stopped again by his rival, Lelouch refuses to acknowledge him. This leaves Aizen enraged, and by the time the final arc rolls around it's fairly obvious Aizen's main priority (after attaining enough power to kill the Soul King) is to screw over Lelouch in any way he can. Rather fittingly, the final battle is a one-on-one Duel to the Death between them after Lelouch merges with the Hogyoku and is finally able to fight Aizen as an equal.
  • Forum of Thrones:
    • Maron Mullendore is this to many characters actually. Lucas considers him his arch-enemy, as do Leonard and Harpy. He himself considers neither a worthy arch-enemy, even if his opinion on Harpy changed after she came very close to killing him.
    • Rayden is this to Clayton. They have been partners before, working together, but ultimately getting into a fight, which ended with Clayton losing an eye and Rayden receiving a gruesome scar over his chest. When Rayden reappears, he quickly starts to antagonize Clayton, even mocking him over his missing eye.
    • In general, the Burned Man and Butterfly are arch-enemies and their fight is a constant source of conflict in Oldtown.
    • Historically, the Dornish are this to the Kingdom of the Stormlands. At the time of the story, they are still openly at war, although their battles are nothing more but small skirmishes in the Dornish Marches.
  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim keeps the canonical rivalry between Zim and Dib, though Tak's presence as a major character opposed to both makes it somewhat of a trifecta.
    • Viera becomes Gaz's arch enemy, as the two cannot stand each other.
    • That said, it could be argued that Gaz has another arch enemy in the form of Iggins, though he only shows up once.
    • Shortly after being introduced in Season 2, Nyx becomes this to Tenn. As the former is a Bomb Throwing Anarchist revolutionary and the latter is a Consummate Professional imperial loyalist, it's only natural.
  • In Total Drama fanfic series Monster Chronicles Cedric isn't particularly well-liked by anyone in the cast, but there are two contestants he has a particularly bad relationship with:
    • Duncan has every reason to both fear and hate Cedric for nearly having killed him in juvie, but their relationship only got worse once Cedric got involved in the game. After Duncan recognizes him, Cedric proceeds to blackmail Duncan into keeping his involvement a secret, before terrorizing him and constantly humiliating for shits and giggles. When Duncan finally stands up to him and presses his Berserk Button, Cedric tries to kill Duncan again, only being stopped by Courtney and Gwen spotting him. Afterward, he brutalizes his ex-girlfriend Courtney and tries to kill his current one Gwen out of spite, before getting the latter eliminated. This all culminates in Duncan providing the final blow towards Cedric in New Orleans.
    • Cody is the only contestant that Cedric legitimately hates and considers more than a plaything, and the feeling is very mutual on Cody's part. Finding Cedric in his attic when he was twelve, Cody was tricked into letting Cedric possess him without knowing he was a demon. Upon learning that Cedric had been committing murder with his body, Cody turned against him and sealed him away in his mind by accident. Once Cedric awakened six years later, he was furious that Cody had interfered with his plans and responded by sealing Cody's soul into a potato battery before manipulating his friend Tyler to help him in his plans using Cody's appearance. However, Cody still managed to manipulate the events of the game against Cedric by leaving a hidden message for the other contestants which Duncan would later find and use to help Cody get his body back. This all culminates in the final challenge where Cody leads Cedric into a trap with the help of Tyler and Duncan which ends in Cedric's defeat.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fic Loved and Lost, Commander Hildread seems to regard Shining Armor as her nemesis. In her very first appearance, she makes her hatred of him crystal clear. Though sadistic anyway, she takes special pleasure from torturing and taunting the disgraced captain who expelled her from the Royal Guard because she believed too much in using extreme brutality in the name of security. She also confesses during the climax that she has always hated him and considered him too soft to be a competent captain of the Royal Guard. Though she feels uneasy about her master's decision to mass murder all the inhabitants of Ponyville, she refuses to admit being wrong when Shining Armor calls her out and tries to kill him.
  • In Locked In Digital, Izuku's archenemy is Akihiko Sugoh, the Mad Scientist who put him through hell before he attended U.A. - one of his main hopes is to find him and kill him with his bare hands.
  • The Weaver Option: During her (very long) life in the Imperium of Man, Taylor "Weaver" Hebert accrues eight of them, collectively known as the Endbringers.
    • The First is the C'tan Iash'uddra, the Endless Swarm, whom she first fights in one of Wuhan's hives and defeats thanks to Trazyn the Infinite Collector.
    • The Second is Ka'Bandha, the Angel's Bane, a Greater Demon of Khorne she fights and defeats at the climax of the Battle of the Death Star, prompting her ascension as a Living Saint in the process.
    • The Third is Lelith Hesperax, the Queen of Blades, the last living Aeldari from the age of the War of Heaven. Their first fight takes place during the Imperial raid on Commorragh, and it ends in a tie after Lelith deems her an acceptable opponent.
    • The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth are so far unknown beyond some minor clues, but one of them has already showed up: Malicia, The Destiny Unwritten, an unknown female Parahuman that has become a Tzeentchian sorceress.
  • Total Drama: Unfinished Business: Dave and Sky to each other: Dave entered the competition for the sole purpose of defeating her for making a fool of him back in Pahkitew, and Sky's sick of Dave's anger over it and wants him eliminated.
  • In Ultimate Sleepwalker: The New Dreams, Sleepwalker's archnemesis is Cobweb, the demon that trapped him in the mind of the human Rick Sheridan. A (dis)honorable mention goes to Psyko, Sleepwalker's Evil Counterpart and likely the most dangerous enemy in Sleepwalker's Rogues Gallery.
  • In Ultimate Spider-Woman: Change With The Light, Spider-Woman's worst enemy is Jack O' Lantern, one of the only members of her Rogues Gallery that truly frightens her. A close second is probably her Evil Counterpart Tendril due to his extremely disturbing obsession with her.
  • Author BroadwayCutie16 creates one for Adrien Agreste in her Miraculous Ladybug fanfiction “Jerk In Sheep’s Clothing”. Henri LeRoi arrives to the class and immediately makes a play for Marinette. Soon after they start dating, he starts telling her lies about Adrien to turn her against him. He even threatens and physically attacks Adrien in the bathroom to stay out of his way.
  • The Flash Sentry Chronicles:
    • Shade is Springer's personal arch-enemy as he is determined to destroy him and everything he loves.
    • The ancient Mystic Shadow Dragon Malafear absolutely hates Silverbolt, since over a thousand years ago Silverbolt interfered with his plan to steal elemental powers from other dragons, and sealed him away. When Malafear returns after Flicker accidentally disturbs the seal and sets him free, Silverbolt is long dead, but Malafear still finds himself with an arch-enemy in the form of Silverbolt's son Spike, who steps up and manages to reseal him just like his father did.
    • Flash has made many enemies himself throughout the series, but the one that truly stands above the others as Flash's one true arch-enemy is Shadow Corrupter. The two of them are exact opposites of each other in nearly everyway, with Shadow serving as Flash's Evil Counterpart. Flash went from Zero To Hero, starting as just an orphan living on the streets until he eventually became a Royal Knight and hero across Equestria, Shadow Used to Be a Sweet Kid until he found out he was raised to be used as part of a sacrificial ritual, with the trauma turning him into the narcissistic villain and murderer he is today. While Flash helps others become the best version of themselves by helping them overcome their trauma, Shadow only recruits others into his cult if they can be of use to him and keeps them at their lowest point so they have no choice but to serve him to achieve their goals. Even their powers are the exact opposite, with Flash using the Sacred Light while Shadow uses the Corrupted Shadow. Shadow also holds the biggest grudge against Flash for what he did to him out of all his enemies, seeking revenge against him for his defeat at the Lost City of Faust. By the end of The Movie, he fully blames Flash for everything he has lost in his life since meeting him, and for him and his friends always getting in his way, and declares his eternal hatred for him that will last long after his own death, swearing that even if it is not by his own hooves directly, his hatred will be the ultimate reason for Flash's death.
  • one day at a time:
    • The Joker to the entire Bat-Family, but especially to Jason. After dealing with six Jokers, each of whom gave him a specific reason to hate them, it's safe to say that Jason hates the Joker even more than Bruce does.
    • Ra's al Ghul is also this to Jason. He's the one person Jason never regretted killing. In fact, the only thing Jason ever regretted about Ra's' death is that he didn't dismantle the League of Assassins right afterward. In return, Jason is the one member of Bruce's family Ra's never approved of, because he knew Jason would kill him if given the chance, which he eventually did. Twice.
    • Lady Shiva, to both Cassandra Cain and Richard Dragon. In the previous timeline, Shiva never gave up trying to force Cass into killing her, going as far as to challenge Jason and try to kill him to enrage Cass into finally giving her what she wanted.
    • Deathstroke to Dick Grayson and his daughter Rose. In the original timeline, he murdered Rose's boyfriend for a job, which was the last straw that finally drove her into killing him in return.
    • The Court of Owls to the Bat-Family, but especially to Dick. It was during Dick's tenure that they were finally removed from Gotham permanently.
    • Future Tim to Dick. And to Damian, but mostly to Dick. Future Tim came to hate Dick so much that he went back in time specifically to murder him, even though his Dick had already died trying to contain the chaos in Gotham after Blight's meltdown.
    • Mara al Ghul to her cousin Damian Wayne. Mara was the one who arranged the circumstances that eventually led to Damian's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Halloween: Sins of a Father: Michael Myers and Tommy Doyle; since this fanfic combines the original Halloween timeline (the one that ended with Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers) and the Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later timeline (where Laurie Strode was killed by Michael in Halloween: Resurrection), Tommy has picked up the slack as Steven Lloyd's guardian and the foremost person who knows how to counter Michael. On Michael's end, he shows more malice and hatred towards Tommy than he does toward anyone else, such as going into a killing rage thanks to flashbacks of Tommy beating him in Curse or throwing a tantrum when Steven refers to Tommy as his father.
  • This Bites!: The Straw Hat Pirates and the World Government. Thanks to the SBS, Cross is able to directly antagonize the government via his more seditious broadcasts. This culminates in the Enies Lobby arc, where the Straw Hats went on their Roaring Rampage of Revenge at the Judicial Island, which was subsequently aired live to the entire world. This sparked a massive crime spree all across the Grand Line, which was only compounded by Cross finding CP9's blackbook and reading it, airing a metric ton of the WG's dirty laundry and permanently tarnishing their reputation. This precipitated civil unrest on a global scale, where over fifteen percent of the WG's membership defected and went Revolutionary. Every major broadcast since then has been equally as damaging, to the point that by Sabaody, the WG tried to lure the Straw Hats to Marineford so they could broadcast the complete destruction of the crew.
    • On a smaller scale, Cross also has the Unluckies. They utterly despise him for beating them in several fights during the Alabasta Arc and having Soundbite put them through a Cool and Unusual Punishment after Baroque Works' defeat. It's gotten to the point that unlike the other agents, they've decided to put off retirement until such time that they've killed him, hunting him across the Grand Line so that they can achieve this. However, a deleted scene from the Sabaody Revolution arc reveals that they eventually decided to abandon this grudge out of respect for how strong a fighter Cross has become since Alabasta, making it clear to him that from now on any conflict between them will be Nothing Personal.
  • Code Prime has quite a few rivalries:
    • Megatron has a knack for acquiring these throughout the story:
      • First, there's his classic rivalry with Optimus Prime, due to having very different views on leadership, and the fact that Megatron has crossed so many lines to gain power. Certain events in the story not only give Megatron more enemies, but it also furthers the enmity between himself and Optimus.
      • Lelouch ends up regarding Megatron has his greatest enemy, due to the Decepticon leader regularly ruining his plans, manipulating Suzaku to join the Decepticons, having a hand in Britannia's atrocities, and encouraging the other Decepticons to indulge in savagery against mankind. Using a Pretender imitating Euphemia to trigger the SAZ Massacre cements this status. Megatron also becomes a very personal enemy of Lelouch's when he uses Marianne's own corpse to power a Knightmare called the Dark Queen.
      • The SAZ Massacre, alongside Megatron torturing and abusing him for reasons ranging from discipline to amusement, along with blackmailing him by threatening Lelouch and Nunnally, solidifies his role as one of Suzaku's foes.
    • R2 has Jetfire and Starscream. The two used to be friends and worked on an Energon station, but after Starscream joined the Decepticons, the two have been enemies ever since.
    • Like in canon, Breakdown is this for Bulkhead, due to the two of them being the muscle of their respective factions. He also develops a grudge against Rai, who is Bulkhead's partner, is the one to take out Breakdown's left eye, and is also the one who kills Breakdown during the Black Rebellion.
    • Airachnid has just as many enemies in this story as Megatron, if not more:
      • First, there's Arcee as per canon, for torturing her and killing Tailgate.
      • She becomes this for Kallen, due to the latter being Arcee's partner. She's gone out of her way to try and kill the red-head both for fun, and for revenge for the many times she's been shown up by Kallen.
      • She later becomes one for Suzaku due to her slaughtering people in the ghettos for fun, insulting his ideals, and kidnapping and nearly killing Euphemia. The grudge has become so deep and personal, that Suzaku, who believes in Thou Shalt Not Kill, admits that he would enjoy nothing more than to snuff out Airachnid's spark.
      • Being close to Suzaku and Euphemia, Dreadwing comes to despise Airachnid greatly as well. The end of R1 has Dreadwing commit a Heroic Sacrifice, detonating an Energon mine that Airachnid is in. Even though she survives, she loses the right side of her face, along with her right arm.
      • She ends up being this for Euphemia and Cornelia as well. She hates Euphemia's idealism, and takes great pleasure in making her watch the SAZ Massacre and the destruction of Pendragon while having Euphemia as a captive. Predictably, Cornelia, who is very protective of her younger sister, ends up despising Airachnid with a passion. After Airachnid is seriously injured in Dreadwing's sacrifice while the latter rescued Cornelia and Euphie with Suzaku, her hatred for the sisters skyrockets, and she still scours the globe for them after six months. She even kills their mother Victoria as a result of this grudge. Like Suzaku, Euphemia, who's a kind person that usually hates violence and killing, hates Airachnid so much that she wouldn't mind if the Spider-Con was snuffed out for good.
    • V.V. becomes this for Rai, who was given a Geass by the immortal to protect his family, only to lose control of it and kill the family he wanted to protect, and was then put in a Thought Elevator for seven years by V.V. Rai hates V.V. so much for this, that anyone who so much as reminds him of V.V. is enough to enrage him. When Rai and V.V. face off in R2, the former flies into a rage. Because of V.V.'s actions toward Rai, Bulkhead, Rai's partner in the Wreckers, and Nonette, Rai's sister-figure and former knight, end up hating V.V. as well. All three of them enjoy killing the immortal boy repeatedly in Spark of Darkness.
    • When Grimlock makes his debut in R2, Shockwave is immediately established as the Dinobot's most personal enemy, as the Decepticon scientist experimented on him and his team back on Cybertron, subjecting them to much pain and suffering.
  • In The Ghost of Ochs, Monica and her Evil Counterpart Kronya are mutual arch-enemies. Kronya and her henchmen kidnapped Monica and subjected her to months of isolation and torture. The fact that Monica eventually broke free angers Kronya greatly because most of her other captives were too scared and/or weak to fight back. Monica, after her recovery and reinstatement to the Officers Academy, dedicates her time outside of studying to protecting innocent civilians from Kronya and people like her.

    Multiple Media 
  • Star Wars
    • Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's Arch Enemy; meanwhile, Vader probably counted Obi-Wan as his.
    • Palpatine to Yoda. By The Empire Strikes Back, he also considers Luke Skywalker to be his biggest threat. As the Chosen One, Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker is destined to defeat Palpatine and bring balance to the force, and he eventually succeeds.
    • Han Solo and Chewbacca have Boba Fett and Jabba the Hutt. Jabba put a large bounty on Han and Chewbacca's heads for dumping valuable cargo that belonged to Jabba, and Han lived in fear of Jabba's wrath for many years. Boba Fett turned Solo's friends over to the Empire and personally delivered Solo to Jabba as a prisoner.
    • Count Dooku was this for Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi throughout the Clone Wars. Dooku battled the duo multiple times, and once even severed Anakin's arm. He is also this to his former master, Yoda.
    • Darth Maul became a personal foe for Obi-Wan Kenobi after he killed Obi-Wan's master, Qui-Gon Jinn. After Obi-Wan bisected Maul in retaliation, the feeling between them was mutual. Before he died, Qui-Gon Jinn himself was determined to confront Maul so he could prove to the Jedi Council that the Sith still existed.
    • General Grievous considered himself to be this for Obi-Wan Kenobi, who was ultimately the one who killed him.
    • Viceroy Nute Gunray and Padme Amidala.
    • Din Djarin has Moff Gideon.
    • Kylo Ren had many bitter enemies. He is trying to become The Corrupter for Rey, is the Antagonistic Offspring of Han and Leia, and is the Evil Nephew of Luke. He also has a rivalry going on with General Hux that eventually grows so intense that Hux turns to spying on him for the Rebellion, willfully sabotaging his own cause just to eliminate Ren.
    • Director Orson Krennic to Galen Erso in Rogue One, because Galen used to think they were friends back when both were working for the Empire as scientists, before Galen realised that the Empire was evil and that his research was being used to build the Death Star; Krennic ultimately was indirectly responsible for Galens wife dying after he forced Galen to come back, and held the life of his missing daughter Jyn Erso over his head to keep him in line, culminating in Galen sabotaging the Death Star by making it easier to blow up- evidence of his treachery also leads to Krennic ordering all of Galens scientist colleagues executed and accidentally leads to Galens death, though not before Krennic rubs it in his face that the Death Star has been used on a city. Ultimately, Jyn Erso avenges her parents by getting the Death Star plans to the Rebellion, but otherwise the two barely interact and Krennic doesn't even recognise her, so Galen is a better fit as arch-enemy since It's Personal between the two and Jyn was following Galen's direction anyway.
      • Tarkin and Krennic are also this, having a rivalry that eventually ends with Tarkin killing Krennic.
    • The two native species of the planet Mon Cala are the Mon Calamari and Quarren, who tend to see each other as this, having an age-old rivalry over who controls their planet.
    • Kazuda Xiono has Jace Rucklin.
    • Garazeb Orrelios, one of only a few survivors of the massacre of Lasan, has ISB Agent Kallus, who claims to have ordered the use of starship disruptors in the massacre, and also took a Lasat bo-rifle from the body of a High Honour Guardsman as a Battle Trophy. It winds up subverted, however, in the Rebels episode "The Honourable Ones", where, while stranded on an icy moon with Zeb, Kallus reveals he was lying about giving the order to use the disruptors, and that he was given his bo-rifle by an Honour Guardsman he defeated in single combat — which is in keeping with Boosahn Keeraw, the Lasat warrior code. By the end of the episode, Zeb and Kallus could almost be considered friends — in fact, the events lead directly to him having a Heel–Face Turn and defecting from the Empire.
    • Finn has Captain Phasma.
    • Hera Syndulla has Grand Admiral Thrawn.
    • Ahsoka Tano has her former Jedi Master, Darth Vader himself.
    • Ezra Bridger and Kanan Jarrus had the Grand Inquisitor in Season 1 of Rebels, followed by the Seventh Sister and the Fifth Brother in Season 2.
    • Iden Versio and Del Meeko have Gideon Hask.
    • Tam Ryvora has Agent Tierney, who spends the entirety of her time on Resistance manipulating and trying to corrupt the former.

    Mythology & Religion 

  • The Executive from Fallout Is Dragons fits this trope for Powder Keg, as he forced the young unicorn to shoot his own brother for no reason other than his own amusement.
  • Welcome to Night Vale: Cecil could be said to have one in the form of Steve Carlsberg, although it's quite one-sided and falls into Sitcom Arch-Nemesis territory. He eventually gains a true example when Kevin comes along.

    Tabletop Games 
  • This is actually a game mechanic in Adventure. The "Nemesis" background allows the player to create an arch-foe for their hero, and the hero gets certain advantages when facing their hated enemy. How many ranks you take in the background determines the level of their enmity.
  • Dungeons & Dragons often uses this in its various subsettings.
    • One of the more traditional and well-known examples is the three-way hatefest between Demogorgon, Orcus and Graz'zt; Demogorgon is the current Prince of Demons, and both Orcus and Graz'zt are the most likely challengers to his title.
    • Another Evil Versus Evil case is the demon princes Baphomet (patron god of minotaurs) and Yeenoghu (patron god of gnolls). There's no real reason behind this hostility, they just loathe each other — although, in the World Axis cosmology, it's believed that Yeenoghu once betrayed Baphomet at a critical battle and almost cost the other demon prince his life, which Baphomet has never forgiven.
    • The draconic gods Bahamut (god of the good-aligned Metallic dragons) and Tiamat (goddess of the evil-aligned Chromatic dragons) absolutely detest each other, whichever setting you go to. Taken to new heights in the Nentir Vale setting, where they are literally the manifest good and evil halves of a slain deity called Io, and the Dragonlance setting, where under the new names Paladine and Takhisis they are the Supreme Gods of Good and Evil, respectively, and the setting's entire history is basically an ongoing battle between them for supremacy.
    • Corellon (god of elves) and Gruumsh (god of orcs) hate each other, a rivalry that was only cemented when Corellon cut out one of Gruumsh's eyes in a duel. Whilst some settings offer possible explanations for this rivalry, the default seems to be that they are inherently opposed to each other's very existence.
    • Gruumsh also has an Evil Versus Evil arch-enemy in the form of Maglubiyet, god of goblinoids.
    • Laduguer, the god of the evil dwarves known as duergar, hates his counterpart Moradin, the patron god of dwarves.
    • The derro, the other evil dwarf subrace, have two patron gods; twin brothers called Diirinka and Diinkarazan. Diirinka attained godhood by abandoning his brother to the wrath of the illithid god Ilsensine when it caught them stealing some of its divine power; it promptly imprisoned Diinkarazan in a magical prison designed to afflict him with constant pain and raving insanity. Not surprisingly, the only thing really left in Diinkarazan's mind is how much he hates Diirinka, and Diirinka makes himself very scarce during the once-a-century time when Ilsensine lets Diinkarazan out of his prison to seek revenge on his prother.
    • In the gnomish pantheon, Urdlen, the original gnomish God of Evil, hates... well, all of the other gnome gods, but he especially despises Garl Glittergold, the head of the pantheon. In 3rd edition, the evil gnome god Gelf Darkhearth was added, whose entire thing is that he's Garl's Evil Twin and exists only to destroy Garl and everything Garl holds dear. As in, he doesn't even really dislike the gnomes themselves, but Garl loves them, so he feels obligated to kill them all to hurt Garl.
    • In the Forgotten Realms, the evil gods Bane (god of tyranny) and Cyric (god of murder) detest each other above all other gods.
    • In the Nentir Vale, many members of the pantheon have these kinds of rivalries. Avandra (goddess of freedom, luck and heroism) detests Zehir (god of assassins, murder and slavery), whilst Moradin (god of community) hates Asmodeus (god of tyranny and corruption). Additionally, the Raven Queen, as goddess of the dead, is in an eternal struggle with Orcus, who as demon prince of the undead wants to take her job.
    • Eberron: The three main ancient or arcane conspiracies generally have an opposed faction to keep them in check. The Gatekeeper druids exist to fight daelkyr and their aberrant creations, the Dreaming Dark and the kalashtar of the Path of Light struggle over the future of Dal Quor, and the dragons of the Chamber have been fighting the Lords of Dust since before humanity existed.
  • In Nomine: Several pairs of archangels and demon princes are bitter enemies, some because they share the same concept or are otherwise metaphysically opposed and others because of specific incidents.
    • Blandine, Archangel of Dreams, opposes is Beleth, the Princess of Nightmares and her former lover. They fight a constant battle over the minds and dreams of mortals, where Blandine seeks to inspire them to greater heights and Beleth attempts to drown them in fear and horror, and have ever since Beleth betrayed her lover during the Fall.
    • Christopher, Archangel of Children, has never forgiven Kobal, Prince of Dark Humor, for the Children's Crusade.
    • Eli, Archangel of Creation, has a particularly bitter enmity with Andrealphus, Prince of Lust. Once, very long ago, when Andrealphus was the Archangel of Love, the two were close allies. In the modern day, they furiously oppose everything the other stands for. Eli embraces love as a spiritual and physical sacrament, a selfless sharing of joy, and a means of creating new life; Andrealphus' lust stimulates the body while neglecting mind and soul, and is for the benefit of nothing and nobody but the individual. Each views what the other champions as a repulsive heresy, and both particularly value the chance to turn each other's agents to their side.
    • Gabriel and Belial, Archangel and Demon Prince of Fire. The two struggle constantly for control of their Word in an enmity that has become legendary among Celestials, and this conflict is credit as a major reason for Gabriel's poor mental state.
    • Jean, Archangel of Lightning, struggles constantly against Vapula, the Prince of Technology. While Jean seeks to carefully manage technological progress, Vapula wants for it to spiral out of control and for humanity to gain powerful, destructive devices before it's ready to properly manage them.
    • Litheroy, Archangel of Revelation, opposes Alaemon, Prince of Secrets and — probably — Litheroy's own former servitor. As Litheroy works to reveal the world and make truth available to all, Alaemon seeks to make the world a place of ignorance, obfuscation, and selfish hoarding of knowledge.
    • Marc, Archangel of Trade, has a cold, intellectual loathing for Mammon, Prince of Greed, seeing him as the embodiment of profit over principle. Mammon, on the other hand, sees Marc as a fellow profiteer.
    • Michael, Archangel of War, and Baal, Demon Prince of the War. The two were once peers, before the Fall. Nowdays, the look forward to nothing so much as their prophesied duel on the plains of Ha-Megiddo, where one shall strike the other down and prove himself the greatest warrior in Heaven, Earth, or Hell.
    • Yves, Archangel of Destiny, and Kronos, Prince of Fate. They share a unique connection to the Symphony and represent a higher class of beings than common celestials, but have diametrically opposite natures — they embody nothing less than the bright Destiny and dark Fate of God and the Symphony, and struggle endlessly for control of the world's final end. Where Yves seeks to bring it towards a grand finale and completion, Kronos would see it all dragged into the Pit.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Urza and Yawgmoth is the best known Archenemy pairing, although there are dozens of individual hatreds. They've even released a variant named Arch Enemy, although that's dedicated more to a dynamic of Big Bad vs. Enemy Mine.
    • The dark mage Mairsil considered the archmage Jodah to be his greatest foe, as Jodah was responsible for ending Mairsil's reign over the Conclave of Mages and for his physical death as well. Most of Mairsil's activities after he became trapped inside his ring were intended to bring about Jodah's downfall and death.
  • Antagonist, an available bad trait in Rocket Age can either give you a minor enemy or a full blown antagonist, depending on the level of the trait.
  • As it is heavily influenced by comic books, Sentinels of the Multiverse uses Arch Enemies quite a bit. Every playable hero character has a Villain nemesis (though there are some cards in villain and environment decks that have nemesis icons). Damage one deals to their nemesis is increased by one. For some pairs, this is one sided, such as the Argent Adept, a support hero who has few attacking powers, and his nemesis Akash'Bhuta, who has several ways to deal damage though her Limbs.
    • The Villain Team-Up expansions take this a bit further. The five main villains of Vengeance and ten of Villains of the Multiverse have several targets in their decks that gain special effects that specifically weaken their nemesis if their nemesis is active. Calypso (a nemesis of Ra) reduces fire damage if Ra is active, which is the only damage type Ra deals. Hilariously, Fanatic's mini-nemesis in Vengeance, the Seer, can actually work in your favour because he prevents heroes from inflicting damage to themselves: while this is a problem for Fanatic (who has a number of "damage yourself for a benefit" effects and likes to put her HP at risk), it becomes hilarious if you have Sky-Scraper on the same team, because Sky-Scraper's Large form has an awful lot of effects that deal splash damage recklessly.
    • Usually, the nemesis icon comes from the hero: the various Baron Blades, for example, have Legacy's lantern symbol, while Deadline has the Naturalist's star iconography. The one exception is OblivAeon; as the Final Boss of the entire timeline, and a character who forced multiple villains to pull a Heel–Face Turn or at least an Enemy Mine with the heroes, his record-setting seven archnemesesnote  have his symbol on them, rather than the other way around.
    • Notably, nemesis icons provide their damage boost no matter what side the target is on. In the case of heroes who share a symbol (usually this will happen in cases like the OblivAeon ex-villain characters), this can be a detriment; for example, if Stuntman's mine goes off and hits other ex-villains it will deal bonus damage to all of them. Other times, such as if you have ways to get villain cards to hit each other, it's hilarious.
  • The nemesis relationship is a gameplay element in Villainous. "Hero" cards act as obstacles to players and often need to be defeated to regain their abilities. For some players, like Captain Hook, their victory condition is to defeat their arch-enemy character.
  • Warhammer 40,000: While everyone will gladly fight everyone else, there are some special rivalries and hatreds. The Imperium of Man is the staunchest enemies of the Forces of Chaos, the Eldar fought the Necrons once before and have taken it upon themselves to take them down now they have re-awoken, the Tau view the Tyranids as the single greatest threat to their survival (and they may not be far off from the truth), the Space Wolves and the Thousand Suns and the Ultramarines and the Word Bearers Space Marine chapters have intense rivalries stretching back millennia, the Chaos Gods Khorne and Slaanesh battle constantly to one-up each other, and the Orks are constantly this to everyone including themselves.
    • As an illustration of how deeply the Ultramarines vs Word Bearers hatred runs: in the Horus Heresy novels, it is revealed that the Ultramarines keep a precise count of time since the beginning of a battle - known as the Mark. The Mark of Calth, for the battle in which the Word Bearers first attacked the Ultramarines, will be left running until every Word Bearer is dead. Meaning that an Ultramarine can give you a precise count of how long it is they have wanted the Word Bearers to die, even ten thousand years after the original battle. Now that is enmity.
    • On a smaller, more individual basis, there's Commissar Yarrick and Warboss Ghazkull Mag Uruk Thraka; Ghazkull thinks Yarrick is the greatest enemy he has ever fought and takes great enjoyment out of battling him, and Yarrick thinks Ghazkull is a hideous abomination and has vowed to kill him personally. They're still fighting to the death.
    • The Eldar and Slaanesh have a very deep and personal enmity. The Eldar actually created Slaanesh through centuries of murderous hedonistic depravity. The birth of Slaanesh and its rampant slaughter of the Eldar pantheon is the entire reason the Eldar are a Dying Race. Slaanesh also claims any unprotected Eldar soul as its plaything after death. The various cultures of the remaining Eldar revolve entirely around finding ways to prevent She Who Thirsts from getting its disgusting appendages on their souls. The Eldar hate and fear Slaanesh more than anything else. Slaanesh for its part considers Eldar to be particularly amusing playthings.
    • Ahzek Ahriman seems to be becoming more and more of one to the Eldar Harlequins due to his obsession with the Black Library they guard. He's killed a lot of Eldar during his mad quest to unlock the Library's secrets.
    • The Emperor of Mankind to the Chaos Gods and vice versa. The Emperor tried to create a galaxy wide Flat-Earth Atheist empire for the sole purpose of killing the gods by depriving them of worship. While this probably wouldn't have worked since the Chaos Gods are sustained by emotion itself, the Chaos Gods still feared the Emperor of Mankind enough to directly interfere in the physical realm as opposed to acting indirectly through daemons and cultists just to throw a wrench in his plans. They notably haven't done anything like that again since the Emperor was placed on the Golden Throne. The Emperor was also the only being who actually hurt the Chaos Gods directly when he blasted their host Horus with psychic power.
    • The Iron Warriors utterly hate the Imperial Fists for sharing their specialty — siege warfare — but getting a lot more honour and praise for it. It began one-sided, with Perturabo nursing a grudge over Rogal Dorn offhandedly saying his Legion was better at it, but given the number of times the two have fought, it's become much less balanced now. The protagonist of the Iron Warriors novels, Honsou, has as his arch-enemy Uriel Ventris of the Ultramarines, because he's not motivated by the enmities of his Legion but by who's pissed him off specifically.
    • Generally, on the tabletop, enmity of this depth is handled with Hatred (Enemy Goes Here), which means that in the first round of any close combat, the hateful unit gets re-rolls to hit against their targets. Some rules, such as those in Traitor Legions, go beyond this into a sort of super-hatred that applies these re-rolls in all rounds of close combat: Word Bearers against Ultramarines, Iron Warriors against Imperial Fists, Thousand Sons against Space Wolves, and Black Legion, who aren't picky and get this against all Loyalist Space Marines. This would probably not have been necessary had the Veterans of the Long War upgrade, which is mandatory and generally free to all Legions using these rules, not given them ordinary Hatred of loyalist Marines already — gaining Hatred (Imperial Fists) isn't super-impressive when you already benefit from Hatred of the Imperial Fists, and also the Ultramarines, Salamanders, Black Templars, Grey Knights and basically everyone else into the bargain.
    • 8th edition has Chaos Marines losing Hatred specifically, but gaining a new rule called "Death to the False Emperor": whenever a Chaos Marine unit rolls a 6 to hit in melee against an Imperial unit, they immediately get another attack. Get enough Chaos melee troops into close proximity with an Imperial unit and watch the mayhem. Some, like the Thousand Sons, can use strategems to make these additional hits happen more often with specific targets of their ire (for the Sons, it would be the Space Wolves).
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, this seems to be the case between D.D. Warrior Lady and Warrior Dai Grepher. They are seen fighting on several Spell and Trap Cards in a feud that started when she was Warrior Lady of the Wasteland and continued when he became Dark Lucious. The first one was Simultaneous Loss, but there were several others.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Arch Nemesis, Arch Enemies, Arch Nemeses


Godzilla vs King Ghidorah

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