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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. 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 Darkseid is vastly more powerful and dangerous, but for Lex - and, to a lesser extent, for Superman — it's personal between them.


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.


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:

    open/close all folders 

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Strips 
  • Flash Gordon has Ming the Merciless.
  • Mandrake the Magician has Cobra.
  • Dick Tracy had Flattop. Flattop was Killed Off for Real decades ago, but he was so popular that Legacy Characters kept popping up afterward.
  • Prince Valiant had Sligon, the tyrant who usurped his father's throne.
  • Buck Rogers had Killer Kane.
  • 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.
  • Annie Mae the sea anenome to Pig in Pearls Before Swine.
  • Charlie Brown and the Kite-Eating Tree.
  • ''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.

    Fan Works 
  • 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 be, and how his constant defiance drives Megatron closer to the depths of insanity.
  • 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.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Loki and Heimdall in Norse Mythology. Fittingly enough, they kill each other in Ragnarok. There's also Thor and Jormungandr who do the same.
  • Older Than Dirt Egyptian Mythology examples:
    • Re/Ra and Apophis/Apep.
    • Osiris and Set. Also Horus and Set.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Urza and Yawgmoth is the best known Arch Enemy 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.
  • While everyone in Warhammer 40,000 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 Mag Uruk Thraka; Thraka thinks Yarrick is the greatest enemy he has ever fought and takes great enjoyment out of battling him, and Yarrick thinks Thraka 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.
  • Eric and the Dread Gazebo.
  • Dungeons & Dragons fourth edition setting, the Nentir Vale, has a sourcebook detailing the realms of the gods, called The Plane Above. In it it mentions certain gods who have a special, personal hatred for one another, giving the examples as Bahamut vs Tiamat, Avandra vs Zehir, and Moradin vs Asmodeus. With the exception of Bahamut and Tiamat, these examples are kind of out of the blue. Other examples include Gruumsh vs Corellon (which is taken from their Forgotten Realms counterparts), as well as The Raven Queen and Orcus, though Orcus is generally traditionally seen as the arch enemy of Demogorgon.
    • Speaking of Dungeons & Dragons, Bane and Cyric. They hate each other worse than they hate any of the good gods.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Real Life - Individuals 
  • Temujin, better known as Genghis Khan, and Jamukha: best friends turned deadly rivals and enemies. Both knew each other since they were children, hunted and played together, and declared themselves blood brothers at least three times. But they began to drift apart as each man became a tribal leader, or Khan. The aristocratic Jamukha was more of a traditionalist and found his allies amongst the more powerful and segregated conservative Mongols. Meanwhile, Temujin came from a lower class background, finding his followers amongst the poorer and less noble ones, as he spearheaded radical and more egalitarian policies and developed something of a personality cult around himself. Each man was extremely ruthless in battle and both lead vicious nomadic tribes that survived by looting, pillaging and raiding, so their wars were bloody and brutal. It got bad enough that Temujin's powerful ally and patron Ong Khan, nominal leader of all Mongols and a father figure to both men, eventually sided with Jamukha as Temujin grew too powerful, only to be killed after a battle. Temujin defeating Ong Khan and later Jamukha is what allowed him to cement his role as the new leader of all Mongols and lead a conquest across all of Asia, and a disgraced and hiding Jamukha was eventually found, captured and granted an honorable execution by his once blood-brother.
  • Keith Baker is the Arch Enemy of Rich Burlew, creator of The Order of the Stick, due to his Eberron setting being chosen over Rich's creation as the new campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons. When Keith wrote an article for Rich's site, it was lampshaded twice, and there have been numerous jokes at Eberron's expense within the comic.
    Durkon: "Meh. It could be worse, ye know."
    Vaarsuvius: "Oh?"
    Durkon: "They could have magic trains."
    Vaarsuvius: "Point taken."
    • And Baker also turns up in Start of Darkness (the trope namer, that is) as one of Xykon's rivals for the position of second-in-command to the Unholy Master early on in the book.
  • Bobby Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson hated, hated each other with a passion. Bobby felt Johnson was a devious coward, Johnson thought Bobby was a foul tempered "little shit." Intensified tenfold after JFK's assassination.
    • Also, Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense and a close personal friend of Bobby's who only got closer to him after Jack's assassination, got caught in the crossfire. This may have influenced some of Johnson's decisions in The Vietnam War.
    • Bobby Kennedy had another Archenemy in the form of union leader Jimmy Hoffa. Kennedy aide Pierre Salinger referred to the relationship as a "blood feud".
  • Mark Gottlieb, the rules manager of Magic: The Gathering, is the Arch Enemy of Mark Rosewater, the game's head designer. That's according to MaRo, at least, but he's nuttier than a bag of squirrels.
  • Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope were two of the major pioneers in the field of paleontology and between them identified over 142 new species of dinosaurs. Unfortunately, they hated each other with a passion and each became obsessed with defeating the other and proving himself the better scientist. Their frenzied race, known as the Bone Wars, extended over fifteen years and ended in a virtual stalemate, and both men were nearly bankrupted by the effort. In the end, they both made enormous contributions to the study of dinosaurs, committed any number of shady deeds to undermine each other, and ended up in the poorhouse. Not So Different, indeed.
  • John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the second and third presidents respectively, were this; though originally good friends, after George Washington left the office when their political ideologies started to diverge, their relationship fell apart and they formed political parties that bitterly opposed each other. Ironically, due to how voting worked at the time, Jefferson wound up as vice president to Adams when he entered office, making things even worse than they were before. After both of their terms as president were over, however, they patched things up.
    • Then there was Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, a political and personal rivalry that actually ended with Burr (then Vice-President of the United States) killing Hamilton in a duel.
    • More on 19th Century American politics - Andrew Jackson vs. Henry Clay; a rivalry that started for political reasons when Clay allegedly cheated Jackson out of the presidency in 1824 by making a "corrupt bargain" with John Quincy Adams and which later turned personal in 1828 when Clay organized and carried out the slander campaign which led to the death of Jackson's wife, Rachel. The blood feud lasted for over twenty years!
  • In the related area of American campaign strategizing and punditry, James "the Ragin' Cajun" Carville and Mary Matalin, respectively Democratic and Republican campaign strategists and pundits extraordinaire, have called themselves arch-enemies on several occasions. They're quite right: they repeatedly found themselves fighting campaigns for opposing candidates in The '80s all the way up to 1992, when they were high-ranking members of the Clinton and Bush campaign staffs, respectively. Then they got married in 1993. Opposites Attract, one supposes... (They still appear opposite each other from time to time on CNN and other networks to bash each other's political heads in. One wonders what their daughters—around whom they do not talk about politics—think of all this.)
  • Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos have had a very bitter feud going at least over a year. Both former youthful editors at Breitbart, things came to conflict with Donald Trump's Presidential run. Shapiro resigned from Breibart, and the two have been in an excessive feud ever since, with Milo tweeting a picture of a black baby on the day of Shapiro's son birth, implying that his wife had been sleeping with another person due to being a cuck. Shapiro blames Milo for empowering the Alt-Right and damaging the conservative movement in the name of trolling. Both rarely hesitate to go after one another when the other is mentioned.
  • Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz fought for years over who invented calculus.
    • Newton also hated Robert Hooke with a passion. It's widely believed that his famous statement "If I have seen far, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants" was a swipe at Hooke, who was notably short.
  • Sheryl Leach and Caroll Spinney have each gone on record criticizing the other's show.
  • Liberal William Lyon Mackenzie King and Conservative Arthur Meighen were bitter rivals in university, and the bad blood between them carried over when they both went into politics. Both men would serve as prime minister of Canada and led their parties against each other.
  • Half a century earlier, a much more balanced version of this played out in Britain between William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli. Gladstone was a vaguely anti-imperialist Liberal (until he took office, whereupon the empire actually nearly grew twice as much as it had under Disraeli), a devout Christian very involved in social causes, and very much a man of ideas. Disraeli was a raw politician (though not without principles), ethnically Jewish, not a particularly serious Anglican, something of a hedonist, and a Conservative imperialist extraordinaire (he was responsible for making Queen Victoria Empress of India). For her part, the Queen loved Disraeli (and not just for making her an Empress) and hated Gladstone ("He always speaks to me as though I were a public meeting."); she made Disraeli an Earl but didn't even give Gladstone the courtesy of recommending a successor when he retired (and picked his least favourite candidate out of spite). Gladstone was frugal and very good with money (becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer four times, including twice as his own Chancellor); Disraeli was a bit of a spendthrift and kept having to write Romance Novels and other penny-dreadfuls to stay solvent. They led their parties against each other in several elections in the late 19th century, more or less taking turns governing the country and trading insults: Disraeli mocked Gladstone's nickname, GOM (the "Grand Old Man"), as really meaning "God's Only Mistake." For his part, Gladstone called Disraeli shallow even in death. These two men hated each others' guts with a passion not seen since in British politics.
    • While not to the same level as the two mentioned above, the rivalry between Labour leader Harold Wilson and Conservative leader Edward Heath dominated British politics for a decade.
  • Marius and Sulla, Caesar and Cato, Crassus and Pompey, Antony and Cicero, Antony and Octavian.
  • Hunter S. Thompson, author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, hated Richard Nixon almost more than words can adequately describe. When he told Nixon this, Nixon said "Don't worry. I, too, am a family man, and we feel the same way about you." To give you an idea of just how much Thompson hated him, observe this article, written just a few days after Nixon's death.
    If the right people had been in charge of Nixon's funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin.
  • Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison
  • Albanian lord Skanderbeg had the Ottoman sultans Murad II and his son Mehmed the Conqueror. The former waged a 25-year long war against them to defend his people and nation, and the latters saw him as the biggest obstacle to their advance on Europe. To add insult to injury, Skanderbeg was an Jannisary in their service that betrayed them. When Skanderbeg finally died of natural causes, Mehmed is said to have cried out "At last, Europe and Asia are mine. Woe to Christendom! For it has lost its sword and shield!".
  • Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who saw themselves as the protectors of their respective faiths and battled one another for control of the Mediterranean for their entire lives. Their chief admirals, Andrea Doria and Khizr Barbarossa became archenemies by association.
    • Francis I of France has also been seen as Charles' arch-enemy, and to a lesser extent, Francis and Charles also both had considerable personal rivalries with Henry VIII of England.
  • Czar Peter the Great of Russia and King Charles XII (Carolus Rex to Sabaton fans) of Sweden, who spent all of Charles' adult life at war with each other. It was noted that as long as Charles ran Sweden and Peter ran Russia there would be no chance of peace, so much did they hate each other.
  • Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, 1st Marquis of Pombal and Prime Minister of Portugal, was the arch-enemy to the Jesuits. Even though he was a Roman Catholic himself just like the order, he was an absolutist who sought to reform the state to make it less dependent on the Church and viewed them as too autonomous to operate outside the monarchy authority and being strongly allied with a foreign entity like the Pope. He began a smear campaign against them painting them as power-hungry which culminated in Catholic states and ultimately the Pope himself to suppress the order.
  • Reinhard Heydrich, Deputy Leader of the SS and founder and head of its insidious intelligence branch, the SD, was The Rival and archenemy of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, the head of German Military Intelligence (the Abwehr). Heydrich was a Deceptive Disciple to Canaris; Heydrich had a lifelong hatred of naval officers (due to being fired by the navy for dishonourable conduct- namely, falsely promising a woman he'd marry her to get her in bed; said woman was the daughter of an admiral) but he made an exception for Canaris, who became his friend, mentor and his neighbour. Canaris in turn liked and respected the intelligent, ambitious, and multi-talent Heydrich- until the mid-to-late 30's, when he gradually realized that Heydrich was also a murderous psychopath indifferent to terror and mass murder of innocent people, which went hand-in-hand with his growing contempt for Nazi Germany as a whole and led to Canaris becoming a leader of La Résistance (though, like most conservative enemies of the regime, he hoped to make Germany a large nation at the expense of some neighbours before getting rid of it). Heydrich seemed to regard Canaris as a Friendly Enemy- he liked him, but as a ruthless careerist he had zero qualms about plotting his downfall and death; he knew full well of his anti-Nazi activities and was building a case against him at the time of his assassination. Canaris may have had a hand in Heydrich's death, and the eventual arrest and execution of Canaris was built in large part on evidence collected by Heydrich.
  • Ken Livingstone and Margaret Thatcher truly hated one another. Even after her death he has nothing good to say about her.
  • James Randi and Sylvia Browne. The two almost seemed destined to become enemies, with Browne being a notoriously inaccurate and yet somehow successful professional psychic who also was (or rather claimed to be) a devout Christian; whereas Randi is a famous paranormal debunker with a 100% success rate, and an unapologetic atheist. They had a feud since Randi offered her the chance to prove her powers under laboratory conditions in The '80s and she refused, on the basis that as an atheist he was not qualified to judge her. Since Randi has outlived her, he seems to have won. Especially since she died more than ten years earlier than she had predicted.
  • Stephen King and Dean Koontz do not think much of each other. The fact they are on the opposite sides of the political spectrum probably plays a part in this.
  • The Duke of Wellington is normally seen as Napoleon Bonaparte's archenemy, but a better case could probably be made for Prussian Field Marshal Blucher. Opposing Napoleon in many of his major battles, Blucher developed a passionate hatred for the French Emperor, ultimately defying the peace treaty between Prussia and France and leading an uprising against him. Napoleon for his part consistently mocked Blucher, at one point demanding to know "when will that old man finally die". For both of them, things had clearly become personal.
  • Hunkpapa Sioux war leader Gall and half-Arikara, half-Sioux scout Bloody Knife. As children, Gall relentlessly bullied Bloody Knife for being half-Arikara, to the point where Bloody Knife eventually had to leave the Sioux to live with the Arikara. As adults, Bloody Knife, now a US Cavalry scout tracked down Gall and tried to murder him, only for Gall to survive and go onto be one of the key leaders of the Sioux resistance. At the Little Bighorn it may have been Bloody Knife who killed Gall's wives and children before being shot by one of the latter's men.
  • Christopher Hitchens had too many enemies to list, although his biggest ones were Bill and Hillary Clinton, Mother Teresa (!), and Henry Kissinger.
  • Donald Trump and John Mc Cain hated each other so much when Mc Cain was alive, that Trump wasn't invited to McCain funeral and the USS McCain in Japan was asked by the White House to covered up its name and the crew not to come in for work during his visit to Japan. Yes, that last part was real.

    Real Life - Countries and Institutions 
  • England and France have historically been enemies that never got along and warred constantly. Nowadays they're kinda like Vitriolic Best Buds instead, but still take every opportunity to kick the hell out of each other in sporting contests - the England-France rugby match is known as 'Le Crunch' - and love making fun of each other. However, prior evidence has also shown that attacking one is a sufficient Berserk Button to bring down the unholy wrath of the other on the perpetrator - for instance, after the 2015 Paris gun attacks by members of IS, the previously reluctant British Parliament, which had previously firmly rejected such a measure, promptly voted overwhelmingly to launch a bombing campaign against IS.
    • Similar with France and Germany, though now they get along better than England and France ever could.
    • Sweden and Denmark also have this. Just look at the way they treat each other! They've apparently fought more wars than any two countries in history.
    • Norway and either Sweden or Denmark, whoever Norway was not in an alliance with.
    • Sweden is this to the rest of the Nordics (Except Iceland, its either Denmark or the US).
    • More seriously, Russia is this to Sweden and Finland both.
  • Ancient Athens and Sparta, even as there were some times that they helped one another.
  • The U.S. and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Became more like rivals during Detente in the late '60s and '70s, but escalated back into archenemies during the '80s until the Soviet Union's fall in 1991. Since then, the relations were on the backburner, cordial and less ideological but it flares up about issues of NATO expansion eastward (which unites the right and left of Russia) and it became worse during the Putin-Obama years over issues of Euromaidan and Crimea.
    • The US-Soviet rivalry is odd in that the recent rise of China as an economic superpower seems to have made some Americans nostalgic over the Soviet Union. The recent Russian spy scandal was rife with jokes about how the FBI and CIA were ecstatic about a return to the good old days.
    • Ironically, the United States had good relations with Tsarist Russia. Russia was officially neutral during the American Revolution, but nevertheless indirectly helped it by supplying arms to France and Spain, both of whom were allied with the colonists. Russia was also the only European country to declare support for the Union during the American Civil War (because they thought an intact America would stand a better chance of counterbalancing the power of The British Empire), although they didn't actually intervene. The Russians also sold Alaska to the U.S. in 1867, and boy are the Americans glad that the Russians didn't have that land during the Cold War. Even with the Soviet Union, the fact is that aside from some limited assistance during the Russian Civil War, and proxy skirmishes during the Korean War, the two sides never officially fought a war with each other. The rivalry was largely ideological, rhetorical and diplomatic and it played out in proxy wars and the only significant military conflict in their histories, World War II had them as allies.
  • Argentina and Great Britain over the Falkland Islands.
  • The Roman and Persian Empires battled each other for centuries, even after the original combatants declined and successor states in the Byzantine and Sassanids rose to take their place, but Rome's traditional Arch Enemy was Carthage, as per The Aeneid. The Germanic tribes also had claim to his position.
  • Poland and Germany have long detested one another. Luckily, this seems to be winding down what with the end of the two big wars. Germany had already invaded several countries, but it was their invasion of Poland that specifically started World War II. They hated them so much a sixth of the Polish residents were wiped out, the highest percentage of any country in the war.
  • Greece and the Ottoman Empire. Greece and Turkey note . China and Japan. Japan and South Korea, Israel and Palestine. Armenia and Azerbaijan. Really, it could go on and on...
    • Let's see, North Korea and South Korea. North Korea and Japan. North Korea and United States. North Korea and Israel. North Korea and anyone in the EU who is not Switzerland or Sweden.
    • And now North Korea and China, considering North Korea's recent actions.
  • The Ottoman Empire was considered Europe's biggest threat between The Fall of Constantinople and the Siege of Vienna, with too many Christians like Greeks, Serbs, Poles, Albanians, Spaniards and Portuguese waging war against them separately. Ironically, the Ottomans' most hated rivals were the Persians because even though they were Muslims, the Ottomans followed Sunni Islam while the Persians adhered to Shia Islam and the two despised each other. It's believed by some scholars that part of the reason Ottoman advance into Europe halted was because they were too busy fighting against the Persians. After the Siege of Vienna, Tsarist Russia became the biggest threat to the Ottoman Turks.
  • The United States Republican and Democratic parties in general and their presidential nominees every four years.
    • For that matter, the North and the South of America. Some don't really care, but attitudes for both range from Southerners viewing Northerners as obnoxious "left wing loonies," and Northerners viewing Southerners as ignorant rednecks. There are also some individuals in the South who still are bitter about losing The American Civil War, and will react quite angrily if questioned on this point. Likewise, some Northerners have never gotten over the incident.
  • The three political parties of the UK are an interesting example- they all (outside the occasional coalition) constantly oppose each other, hate each other and, unlike the American parties, don't even pretend to regard each other as Worthy Opponents. However, in the UK, the Queen, not the Prime Minister is the head of state. The Queen is not a member of any political party and is not even able to vote, but every MP up to the Prime Minister himself is officially her servant, the party in power is "Her Majesty's Government", those not in power are "Her Majesty's Opposition". So, they might be enemies, but they're all technically on the same side, because they all work for the same person.
  • India and Pakistan. Three major wars and one minor conflict and several close calls and both sides have nukes? Archenemies.
    • India and Japan are petitioning for permanent security council seats, while Pakistan and Korea are in committee to vote them down. This would strangely make Mexico a burgeoning rival for Brazil.
  • Australia and New Zealand - but only in the sporting arena, elsewhere we're Vitriolic Best Buds at worst, best friends when having to be part of The Squad at best...
    • Technically, Australia has a higher number of sports rivalries with the UK, though it's very close.
  • In any duopoly, the two dominant companies could be considered this.
  • Disney, being a multi-media conglomerate, has different arch-enemies in different fields
  • Nvidia and AMD
  • Back when traveling by ocean liner was the most efficient way to get across the Atlantic, the two biggest companies were White Star Line and Cunard. Cunard ships were faster and White Star focused more on comfort. After the sinking of RMS Titanic, White Star slowly faded away until it was merged with Cunard; both companies are effectively owned by the Carnival Cruise Corporation now, who had their own legendary sinking with the Concordia for the Titanic's 100th anniversary.
  • Fox News Channel (Conservative) vs Al Jazeera English (Liberal). Originally, it was Fox News Channel vs MSNBC/NBC News, which is also liberal.
  • On a more regional level, Al Jazeera (Qatar) vs Press TV (Iran).
  • The African countries of Ethiopia and Somalia have had more than their share of spats over the centuries.
  • Adolf Hitler (and by extension Nazi Germany) saw the Jews as his archenemy. By the time he died, the feeling was definitely mutual.
  • Armenia and Azerbaijan, or Armenia and Turkey. The former is India and Pakistan on a small (and not world-ending) stage.
  • Egypt and Israel apparently have the lowest approval ratings of each other than any other pair of countries. Ironically, this feud has roots in the story of Moses and the Exodus in the Bible.
  • Given their long shared history, everybody in South-East Asia is each other's archenemies. Malaysia and Indonesia fought a confrontation over the formation of the former, Singapore has at best Teeth-Clenched Teamwork with Malaysia, Malaysia butts heads with Thailand and the Philippines over Islamic insurgencies along their borders, Vietnam and Cambodia still aren't on good terms after the Vietnam-Cambodia war, Vietnam jockeys with Indonesia in ASEAN over who's the regional power, everyone fights over the Spratly Islands, North and South Korea need no introduction, and nobody cares about Myanmar or Laos.
  • The Ku Klux Klan is this to the Black Panthers, and the black community itself; much like Nazis and Jews (mentioned above).
  • The rivalry between China and Japan has only got worse by the time of World War II so much that the war in China was a war in its own merit (see Second Sino-Japanese War), much like the Eastern Front between Russia and Germany, and the second bloodiest conflict in human history after said eastern front. War-related issues such as Japanese denial of war crimes are still a source of endless debating, along with colliding interests in the area they share and the recent growth of the China's economy, who was able to surpass even Japan. The result is one of the strongest rivalries in the world.
  • Australia and Indonesia. While Australia supported Indonesia's independence from the Netherlands, they've since conflicted over many things, such as an invasion of Malaysia, maritime disputes, illegal immigration (not from one to another, but Australia repelling migrants from elsewhere into Indonesian waters), East Timor and potentially West Papua. The fact that the both of them are considered rising powers doesn't help.
  • Myanmar and the United States, who imposed economic sanction on Myanmar over accusation of violating democracy and religious persecution. It took two decades and all of the talents of Hillary Clinton to get the two countries on good term.
  • Brief teamup in The Vietnam War aside, China and Vietnam. Brought about by the size difference between the countries, Vietnam's possession of natural resources, and the latter's strategic location in the South China Sea (or East Sea, if you're talking to a Vietnamese person). This resulted in attempted invasions once a dynasty note  and successful assimilation of Vietnam as a Chinese province twice (referred to as the "Thousand Years of Northern Domination"). And after the teamup, the countries promptly resumed their regularly scheduled programming of shooting at each other with the Sino-Vietnamese War in 1979, a mere 4 years after the Fall of Saigon.
  • China's reputation in South East Asia has always been on the bad side but this was taken to a whole new level when they claim the entire South China Sea and build military bases there. Obviously, this does NOT bode well with the ASEAN countries and also pisses off the United States.
  • China (the People's Republic) and Taiwan (Republic of China), who each consider themselves the "Real China" and deny the other's claim.note  Made complicated by the fact that many Taiwanese do not want to be associated with China, and some want outright independence but to bring that up is Serious Business and may lead to a visit from the Chinese with Chopper Support...
  • The smallpox virus. More or less humanity's Arch Enemy, from time immemorial to 1979.
  • The infamous East Coast-West Coast rivalry of the 1990's pitted hip-hop artists associated with New York-based Bad Boy Records (most notably The Notorious B.I.G.) against those associated with the Los Angeles-based Death Row Records (most notably Tupac Shakur). Further complicating things were both record labels' respective close ties with the rival Crips and Bloods street gangs, which escalated the hip-hop rivalry into actual violent levels, including the murders of both Biggie and Tupac.
  • The Westboro Baptist Church and gay people, although specifically it's irrelevant as they claim God hates literally everyone on Earth. They seem to be most known for picketing the funeral of Matthew Shephard.

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


Example of: