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Arrogant God vs. Raging Monster

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"Rock giants crumble under the blow of the mighty Mjolnir. I fear this brute won't be as obliging..."

A recurring rivalry where an almost unbeatable warrior who has many years of battle experience up their sleeve is pitted against a contender who is probably too angry to know who they are dealing with, yet possesses enough power to give the former a run for their money.

The main characteristic of this type of matchup is the contrast between these two opponents. The warrior often has an aura of nobility around them, and has earned the respect and fear of both enemies and friends alike. They easily surpass all others on the setting of the work — they are often compared to a Physical God if they aren't already one — using not just their own strength, but also their intelligence and wit to gain the upper hand in a fight. The warrior knows this, and can often be quite smug about their skills. If in spite of their power they are shown to be humble, expect them to be a virtuous and exemplary heroic figure, that simply talks down to their enemies because they don't want to hurt them.

On the other hand, the berserker is practically considered a force of nature, not truly aligned to any faction. A raging juggernaut with an often monstrous appearance, that can plow through everything and everyone, earning such a fearsome reputation that anyone in their right mind would prefer to stay the hell out of their way. They either aren't very intelligent, or are too blinded by rage to think properly, but may also show an unexpected degree of cunning given their behavior. Even so, their greatest assets are their monstrous brute strength, sheer force of will, and a knack for shrugging off nearly everything you can throw at them, as well as making everyone tear their hair out and scream "JUST DIE ALREADY!!!"

Usually, when these two confront each other, the first has a greater variety of powers that would normally allow them to flatten any other opponent, yet the berserker is capable of catching their rival off guard by taking hits head-on and keeping the warrior on their toes with their sheer durability or velocity, or showing a level of grace and battle skill that no one would expect of a practically mindless beast. As the fight drags on, the arrogant warrior cannot fathom how such a lowly animal can be a match for them, and the berserker will get increasingly angrier at the fact that they can't just simply squish this particular nuisance like all others. At this point, they will be more of a danger to their surroundings than to each other, because the more they both let loose, the less aware of the world around they will become, and the more apocalyptic the landscape will look.

You can expect these two to fight each other several times throughout the story, because either are too powerful as to be permanently put down by the other, or one is needed to keep the other in check and maintain the narrative balance.

It should be noted that in the story of The Epic of Gilgamesh, the proud demigod king Gilgamesh found a Worthy Opponent and eventual friend in the beastman Enkidu by brawling with him, making this dynamic Older Than Dirt. Some things just never change.

Compare and contrast with Force and Finesse, Weak, but Skilled, and Unskilled, but Strong; in this case, the warrior is the weaker one that relies on trickery and skill, while the berserker is the stronger one that relies purely on brute force. See also Soldier vs. Warrior, Technician vs. Performer, Tiger Versus Dragon, and Chevalier vs. Rogue for other martial matchups that use the same theme. A lot of times, many Fur Against Fang rivalries end up becoming this.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Dragon Ball Super: Broly, this happens to Goku with Broly. Goku has trained for years, becoming one of the most powerful beings in the universe, testing his mettle against gods and other mighty mortals. Meanwhile, Broly's power comes naturally (in a sense given how he's basically an unusually strong saiyan, a mutant of sorts) and when he powers up, it's done in a similar fashion to the Oozaru, so he becomes overwhelmed by emotions and rage. So at the time of confronting each other, the skilled and powerful Goku can't completely believe how Broly is giving him such a beating so easily. It takes Goku and Vegeta fusing to become Gogeta and going to Super Saiyan Blue to beat Broly hard enough to calm him down. Goku gives Broly nicer living conditions for him and his friends and has developed a bond enough to call himself Kakarot to Broly.
  • In Fate/Zero, Gilgamesh is by far the most powerful of the Servants invoked, and in general, of the whole Fate universe. Still, even if not capable of beating him, the anger-crazed Berserker is one of the few able to not only keep up with him, but anger Gilgamesh enough to make him lose his cool, forcing him to open the Gate of Babylon almost entirely. Arriving to a point where Gilgamesh has to struggle to even land a hit on him, while Berserker struggles to even get near Gilgamesh.
  • In My Hero Academia, All Might is renowned as the most powerful and charismatic hero in Japan, if not the world, to the point that everyone is absolutely convinced that things will be alright with him around. Even as his power wanes from his injury and giving One For All to Midoriya, virtually nothing can truly stop him aside from his time limit. The first thing shown in the story to actually give him a challenge is the mindless Nomu, a monstrous being engineered to fight him through a combination of Super Strength and Super Speed to match him blow-for-blow as well as a Healing Factor and shock absorption to No-Sell his attacks. Even then, All Might manages to win a hard-fought brawl that ends with the Nomu being punted out of a massive training facility the size of an amusement park.
  • Naruto:
    • Early into Shippuden, Orochimaru — a powerful Kage-level ninja and former member of the legendary Senin — gleefully antagonizes Naruto until he lapses into his four-tailed Version 2 Jinchūriki state. Taken over by Kurama, Naruto is reduced to a rampaging monster who devastates the battlefield and overpowers Orochimaru before attacking his allies.
    • Pain, the ostensible leader of the Akatsuki, has a nihilistic god-complex and the power to back it up courtesy of his Rinnegan. After levelling Konoha, he deliberately pushes Naruto past the breaking point by impaling Hinata in front of him. Thinking Hinata has been killed, Naruto is so enraged that he enters into his six-tailed Version 2 form and almost fully unleashes Kurama to get revenge.
  • Almost an Enforced Trope in High School D×D. Divine Dividing is the "Arrogant God", capable of stealing half the opponent's power to fuel the wielder's technical skills. Boosted Gear is the "Raging Monster", doubling the holder's power every ten seconds to obvious effect. It's further reinforced in the current generation, where Divine Dividing is held by Vali Lucifer, a Born Winner with enough Devil-power to fuel usually suicidal abilities with no drawback and plenty of experience as a Spirited Competitor/Blood Knight. Meanwhile Boosted Gear belongs to Issei Hyoudou, a completely unremarkable human who couldn't even manifest his Sacred Gear until after his First-Episode Resurrection. Their fights make Issei realize that having Success Through Insanity is only going to get him out alive so many times, and as soon as he's trained enough brute strength to avoid a Heroic RRoD the first thing he does is start including more technique in his regimen. This makes him exactly as dangerous as it sounds.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • Superman has a mild example as Superman is not divine, nor is he usually arrogant. Still, the Man of Steel has met many enemies who are brute strength and no brains. But only the mindless Doomsday, famous for clearing entire planets of all life, has given him such a fight that was not only able to "kill" Superman, but making him fear the idea of battling the monster again. When you can scare a guy capable of punching through planets and has many more powers than you, and then keep getting up immune to whatever of those powers he used to kill you last time, you know you are destined to fight each other quite a few times.
    • Doomsday had a similar bout with Darkseid, handing the nigh-invincible New God one of the few one-on-one losses in his long existence. Darkseid is consistently depicted as being even stronger than Superman, yet Doomsday tanked his Omega Beams and cold-clocked Darkseid before he could use them at point-blank range.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • The Incredible Hulk:
      • Every fight between the Hulk and The Mighty Thor is basically this. While most of them end inconclusively, and the question of who is strongest is left unanswered on purpose, the sometimes arrogant Thor can't stand how the child-brained Hulk keeps on proclaiming himself to be the strongest, and neither can the Hulk stand the idea of not being able to lift Thor's hammer. While it is true Thor possesses a greater variety of powers, the Hulk's ever increasing strength through rage keeps proving to make him more than a match for Thor.
      • The Hulk also gets this subverted with Zeus, Top God of the Greek pantheon (and thus a literal arrogant god). Despite warnings from Hercules, Hulk decides to mouth off to Zeus and give him an ultimatum: help his suffering family, or else. Zeus is so enraged by the insult that he converts his massive cosmic power into raw muscle just to humiliate the Hulk with brute force. The result is a Curb-Stomp Battle that leaves the Hulk broken, bloody and completely beaten.
      • Subverted depending on what version of the Hulk is fighting. As Bruce Banner has DDI and many alters, each Hulk has different traits. Joe Fixit is Weak, but Skilled compared to the other hulk as he's a cunning and dirty fighter, The Professor is a Jack of All Stats while retaining Bruce's intellect, World Breaker Hulk is easily strong enough to best most gods but his power tends to be uncontrollable and dangerous to everyone around him, of course then there's... The Devil/Immortal Hulk. The Immortal Hulk is more like a god or a demon in that he has explicitly mystical qualities, has resurrective immortality, can be dismembered and still move his bits and pieces which will rejoin if free and close together, can see into souls and smell the lies on people, and is so strong he can crack Thor's skull and beat him with one punch. Then again it may not be a Subverted Trope in the immortal Hulk's case as he is very intelligent and enjoys Break Them by Talking along with being a Soft-Spoken Sadist to his enemies.
    • Wolverine's rivalry with telepathic Serial Killer "Mr. X". X is a master martial artist that has been practically undefeated due to his skills and low level telepathic powers, that allows for him to predict anyone's moves. Wolverine is also a great martial artist, but is more famous for his attacks of rage, while also possessing a superior healing factor, and a high tolerance to pain and damage. In their first fight, X beats Wolverine easily. But in their second Wolverine is berserking and X can't adequately read his mind to predict his actions. In their third, Wolverine figures it out halfway through and intentionally goes berserk.
  • Godzilla: Rage Across Time has a literal example. Godzilla appears in ancient Greece and has already decimated Poseidon, Ares, The Hydra and almost the entire pantheon. The fact that the gods are weakened by a lack of prayer doesn't help. Only the arrogant Zeus remains to take down the Kaiju. Zeus barely wins by channeling all his power in one lightning strike, but this leaves him depowered and brought down to human level. However, Godzilla isn't dead yet. Years later, Godzilla kills Zeus when he comes exploding out of Mount Vesuvius when the depowered Zeus was in Pompeii.
    • Godzilla in Hell is another example, with each issue being Godzilla using his raw power or occasional animal cunning to subvert the esoteric challenges and malign nature of Hell itself.

    Fan Works 
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku is Kryptonian with all the associated powers, quickly establishing him as The Ace of Class 1-A as he effortlessly destroys every single physical test handed to him. As such, he's the only person in 1-A powerful enough to keep the raging Nomu at bay long enough for All Might to arrive. Unfortunately for Izuku, he's the one whose attacks are shrugged off and he's subsequently beaten broken and bloody by the time All Might makes it to USJ.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: The "Thor vs. Hulk" example shows up twice:
    • First is in The Avengers:
      • Loki causes Hulk to go on a rampage on board the Helicarrier, and Thor is the only one around who can fight him. It is left undetermined who would have won since Hulk's attention is eventually drawn toward a fighter jet, and he leaps out of the Helicarrier. Later, while the Avengers fight off the Chitauri invasion, Hulk can't resist to give Thor one final punch.
      • Whilst Thor's brother Loki doesn't fit the martial warrior part of the trope, the dialogue when he meets Hulk during the Chitauri invasion sums up the trope perfectly. Loki starts a speech with the words "Enough! You are, all of you, beneath me! I am a god, you dull creature! And I will not be bullied–", only to be interrupted by Hulk repeatedly smashing him against the floor saying "Puny god."
    • Second is in Thor: Ragnarok, when Hulk and Thor are both stranded on The Grandmaster's world and forced to participate in his gladiator games. Thor doesn't have his hammer this time, and tries to avoid the fight, but Hulk is too eager for a rematch to listen. Thor actually manages to get the upper hand, but the Grandmaster interferes before Thor can win.
  • In Rocky, Rocky Balboa is the story's Raging Monster: he expects to lose to the undisputed champion Apollo Creed, but decides to give it his all. Creed, as the Arrogant God, arranged the fight as a lark—he virtually ignores Balboa until the match starts. Big mistake: the amateurish but steely challenger gives him the fight of his life... he even hands Creed his first knockdown.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh: Unbuilt Trope, Shamhat was specifically sicced on Enkidu to prevent this from happening but when the man-monster is civilized he fights the tyrant Gilgamesh anyway because it is the right thing to do.

  • Worm: The arrogant superhero Armsmaster helps in the fight against the Endbringer Leviathan and seems to be beating him singlehandedly despite his great power, bragging all the while about how the Endbringer is too dumb to be able to fight back against Armsmaster's strategy. However Leviathan turns out to be smarter than he seems and turns the fight around.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Kroot creation myth described in the Liber Xenologis sets up this dynamic between the Kroot creator-goddess, Vawk the Huntress, and her enemy, Gmork the Destroyer. The two began battling as soon as they met, as Gmork replied to Vawk's offer of friendship with a savage attack, but neither could best the other: Gmork was ferocious, strong, and steadfast, while Vawk was cunning, agile and fast. They battled in a perfect standstill for ages, as their strengths and weaknesses precisely countered one another, until Vawk chanced to bite her foe and consume some of his strength alongside his blood, breaking the balance and allow her to defeat him.

    Video Games 
  • Asura's Wrath is one instance of this trope after another, with the titular Asura, a god himself, opposing the Seven Deities and their armies of lesser deities armed with nothing but his sheer, unyielding rage. Even killing him isn't enough to put him down, his wrath is so great that he just breaks out of hell to continue his rampage on no less than three separate occasions.
  • BlazBlue: The third game introduces Azrael, a fighter with such phenomenal strength, endurance, and battle-lust that he can fight without any semblance of technique and still knock down virtually anyone who faces him — and that's with his Power Limiter active so that he wouldn't knock his foes out too quickly. Hakumen, a strong and skilled legendary warrior himself, chooses to not engage him in a fight. Later, Azrael runs to Kagura, an ace fighter and Colonel of the NOL; when the two fight, Kagura can get around him with his skill, but Azrael can blow through Kagura's defenses with his strength. Kagura only defeats him by exploiting the fact that Azrael is under a geas that stops him from hurting anyone who isn't attacking him, allowing Kokonoe to teleport him into her special prison. In the fourth game, Azrael frees himself and he and Kagura face each other again; this time the latter puts a better showing, forcing Azrael to unlock more of his limiters. Thankfully Jin comes and freezes him with his sword before he can go further.
  • Mega Man X4 reveals that Sigma and Zero fought before the former went mad and became the series Big Bad and the latter became a Maverick Hunter. Before X1, Sigma was the noble commander of the Maverick Hunters and the most powerful Reploid built at the time. Once he learned of a "Red Maverick" wrecking havoc and killing Reploids, he voluntarily set out to take care of him on his own to prevent more lives from being lost. Zero, the Red Maverick who was built by Dr. Wily a century prior, had a program error in his brain that made him violently attack anything that moved, thus he showed no fear or hesitation as he charged at the more experienced Sigma in a blind rage. Sigma, instead of finishing Zero off from the start with his Laser Blade, chose to fight hand to hand, waiting until Zero had an improvised weapon before drawing his own. For a while, they were evenly matched, with Sigma having a slight edge, until Zero gained the upper hand and savagely beat Sigma until his arm was ripped off, and half his was torn. Had the Wily symbol, which acted as a fail-safe, not caused Zero enough pain to make him stop, Sigma would have lost his life. Though he won the fight by knocking him out, this event led to Sigma being infected by the Maverick Virus due to being in close proximity to Zero.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Fate/stay night, Gilgamesh makes a return appearance from Fate Zero (his first appearance, franchise-chronology speaking) and in Unlimited Blade Works gets in a climactic battle where he is once again the arrogant god to another Berserker, this time fellow demi-god Heracles. Gilgamesh wins handily this time around, due to being the perfect counter to Heracles' Adaptive Ability, directly targeting Ilya to force Heracles to defend her, and having a tool on hand to immobilize divine beings that would not have affected the Black Knight from Zero. Berserker still comes within inches of a Mutual Kill due to Gilgamesh's arrogance and Heracles being too angry to die when he should have.

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick: This trope describes the rivalry between main hero and leader of the titular Order, Roy, and his evil half-orc counterpart from the Linear Guild, Thog. Roy is an extremely skillful and intelligent warrior, having trained at "Fighter College" for years and also being an experienced and savvy adventurer. He is designed as a subversion of the typical Dumb Muscle fighter Player Character which has Min Maxed all brute strength and no Intelligence while Thog is the embodiment of that stereotype. Roy despises Thog for this as well for being a monstrous individual who kills when bored. Thog meanwhile is really too dumb to hate Roy, calling him "talky man." During a colosseum match between the two, Roy brags about having Intelligence on his side and Thog runs down the list of the potential advantages Roy could gain from Intelligence, but doesn't (prestige class, damage rolls, armor class, saving rolls)note  before chiding him that Thog is smarter for the simplicity of his approach. Additionally, after Roy breaks his tusk, Thog enters into an Unstoppable Rage that he beats Roy almost motionless and only continues to beat him for "talking" when Roy tries to surrender. If not for the intervention of his teammates, Roy would have been killed. Fortunately for him, however, the battle spills into the lower levels of the Colosseum, where Roy uses his intelligence to trick Thog into damaging the pillars supporting the ceiling, which then crumble and crush Thog. Exhausted and bruised, but victorious, Roy screams at his fallen adversary: "THAT'S how I use my Intelligence score in combat, DUMBASS!"

    Western Animation 
  • The Transformers:
    • The Dinobots have this rivalry with the Constructicons. The Constructicon gestalt Devastator is one of the few intelligent behemoths either faction has, and the Autobots are rightly terrified whenever he steps onto the battlefield. By comparison, the Dinobots are crude, primitive and barely tolerate being given direction from Optimus Prime. But their brute strength and resilience is what allows them to fight Devastator to a draw or beat him time and again.
    • The Autobot Combiner Computron has this going on with his rival, the Decepticon Combiner Abominus. Computron is the smartest of all Combiners since the Autobots who make him up, the Technobots, are five of the smartest Autobots and they combine their intelligence when they merge. Abominus, on the other hand, is a being of such mindless fury that he can't even be given orders simple enough for him to understand- the Terrorcons point themselves at something they want to destroy then combine to form him. Unfortunately, Computron is a deconstruction of the Genius Bruiser- he has to analyze a situation before he can react, which means that he's almost always unable to effectively fight against Abominus's unthinking rampages.


All Might vs Nomu

Nomu is a mindless monstrosity designed to defeat the most powerful superhero All Might.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / ArrogantGodVsRagingMonster

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