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Challenge Seeker

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"There is no greater bore than perfection."

Some talented characters like to use their skills to drift through life as effortlessly as possible. Well, This Is Not That Trope. It's the exact opposite.

Usually driven and ambitious, this character aims to constantly hone his skills by tackling challenges that push his abilities to the limit, and enjoys every minute of it. The harder the challenge, the better; they may even become bored with easy tasks or disappointed if something turns out to be easier than they expected.

Often a Determinator, because the more they get beat down, the more excited and fired up they get. May overlap with Hot-Blooded. Likely to Jump at the Call. Such characters often come across The Ace and find out there's Always Someone Better, but rather than create a bitter rivalry, they tend to be much more friendly about it, which may lead to Foe Romance Subtext.

Sister Trope of Spirited Competitor, but this type of character doesn't necessarily need a Worthy Opponent to compete against. It's more about the game/sport than who they play against, although they will usually be happy to have a worthy friendly rival who can challenge them and test their skills. Shōnen anime protagonists in particular tend to exhibit this trope, especially those who "wanna be the very best."

Compare the Blood Knight, for those who specifically like a good fight.

Truth in Television — the Challenge Gamer is this in Real Life applied to video games. Many, though not all, fans of competitive activities like sports are like this too. It can be fun to train and practice and challenge like minded people as you improve your skills.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: Kenpachi Zaraki, of the Blood Knight variety.
    • In her backstory, Retsu Unohana was an infamous criminal because she attacked (and, if she was victorious, killed) anyone she thought would give her an entertaining fight. Eventually, she became skilled enough at combat that even it no longer interested her...until she met a child stronger than her and accidentally caused him to seal his power away. The guilt of this shocked her so badly that she dedicated herself to learning healing magic so she could someday reverse the seal. Present-day Unohana almost never fights; she feels unworthy of fighting Zaraki (the child she weakened), her other opponents are so weak as to be boring, and she needs to stay alive so she can atone.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • This is one of Goku's defining features. He even rejects sensible solutions for tackling enemies (e.g. shutting down the androids) in favor of taking on strong opponents face-to-face. He goes so far as to (politely) challenge the God of Destruction to a fight, which Beerus notes is the first time in his extremely long life anyone has had the guts to issue such a challenge.
    • Saiyans in general tend to be this and Vegeta is just as bad if not worse than Goku in this aspect. He allowed 17 and 18 to be re-activated because he found the fight with Androids 19 and 20 to be boring and he also allowed Cell to reach perfection because he was bored by how easily he was beating Cell's semi-perfect form.
    • Then there's Cell himself, who deliberately spares the protagonists and sets up the Cell Games tournament just because he wants to have fun by testing his powers. He admits it's probably due to the Saiyan DNA within him.
    • This is Deconstructed with Goku & Vegeta; they seek a good challenge above any and all else, even the protection of their family and friends most of the time. One glaring example is the movie Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F'. Frieza returns stronger than ever to challenge Goku for revenge. Goku & Vegeta, for their part, are mostly concerned with the challenge of fighting him one on one and absolutely refuse to do the sensible thing of teaming up against. Frieza nearly kills Goku through a sneak attack, and successfully blows up the Earth because Vegeta wasted too much time in finishing him off. If not for a Deus ex Machina, it would have been a pretty depressing ending.
    • Piccolo banks on Super Buu being one of these to buy some time for Gotenks to be ready for battle. It doesn't work.
  • Inazuma Eleven: Endou. On more than one occasion, he actually got excited from seeing the opposing team score a goal on him or otherwise getting his butt kicked, because it meant he had a chance to play against amazing opponents. Hiroto also shows bits of this mixed with Spirited Competitor when he seeks out Raimon (and Endou in particular) for a match.
  • Lady Jewelpet: ace Petit Lady Lillian is more interested in testing her skills against worthy fellow Petit Ladies than to win the top title. Since her Mentor, Luea, wants the latter very badly, they sometimes have disagreements.
  • According to Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, this is the reason why Lupin III got into the habit of warning his victims before robbing them: if they weren't ready for him when he arrived, then the theft would be too easy. It's also why he so ardently pursues Fujiko: he chases her not despite the fact that he could get practically any other pretty woman in the world into his bed with less effort, but because of it.
  • Mars (1996): When it comes to motorbike racing, there is no challenge too hard for Rei to try to take on, even if it comes at the expense of his body. In both of the races depicted it shows Rei pushing himself and his bike to their limits in order to beat his competitors and to possibly race a track record. He even spins out of control, flying off his bike, and when people rush over to see if he's okay, he's moaning about how close he was to beating the track record.
  • Moriarty the Patriot: Sherlock gets bored with simple mysteries very easily and delights when given difficult ones. In fact, he seeks out the difficult ones (He's Sherlock Holmes, after all).
  • One Piece: Roronoa Zoro, who wants to be the world's greatest swordsman, basically duels everyone holding a sword to prove that he's the best and improve himself.
  • One-Punch Man: The driving motivation for the main character. The protagonist Saitama is a superhero who wants nothing more then to meet an opponent worthy of a good fight. The problem is... anyone and anything he delivers a single punch to is a One-Hit Kill.
    • The antagonist space pirate Boros, leader of the Dark Matter Thieves, travelled across the universe because a seer told him that he'd find a worthy opponent. He did.
  • Pokémon: The Series: A lot of the stronger characters. Cynthia in particular is now at the point where she automatically identifies determined-looking 10-year-olds as godly powerful, which for her is reason enough to single them out for a challenge.
  • Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun: The titular Iruma's demonic classmates develop from wayward teens to a collation of young demons who will work to seemingly impossible goals both for the end result and the path they need to achieve it.
    • Wicked Phase Iruma gives them a Dare to Be Badass speech which leads them to trying to take the Royal One Classroomnote  for their own domain. While arduous and difficult for some, each one of them gives it their all in doing what is needed to gain faculty and staff support for their endeavor.
    • When Soi is revealed to be the magnificent musician only known as "Pixie", he promises his help to the Class in the Music Festival but only on two conditions. The first is he isn't to be the main spotlight, only accompanying them as a hidden musician. The second condition is he is not to be revealed by them as the musician at all. While Soi is concerned with how these might tie their hands, his classmates just smile. The rest of the class get excited by the prospect of these conditions. Soi even lampshades this tendency of theirs.
      Lied: Well, I mean if you give us conditions like that, we can't help taking it as a challenge, you know?
      Soi: (thinking): Oh right ... these guys ...
      Jazz: Get promoted without being seen ... Is that all Purson?
      Soi: (thinking): They laugh in the face of hardships.
      Jazz: When all the Misfits stand together nothing is impossible. Wouldn't you agree?
  • The World God Only Knows: main character Katsuragi Keima. He plays multiple games at once to mostly save time, but partly to challenge himself.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Averted with Yami Yugi — we never see him go actively looking for opponents, and plays and has magical duels only when challenged or as a means of defending others.
    • Played straight with Kaiba and Joey — the former wants to beat Yami Yugi and sets up a tournament so he can win all the Gods cards and prove himself the best, and the latter is initially hot headed and challenges Kaiba to a duel at one point despite having incredibly little experience.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Comics:
    • The Champion of the Universe goes around to various worlds looking for a good boxing match. His first defeat ever comes from The Thing, who refuses to stay down. He can beat the Thing but he can't defeat him, so the Champion concedes.
      The Champion: No, my friend... I could never beat you! I know that now! I could crush your bones and break your body... but I would never conquer your spirit!
    • The Grandmaster from Marvel:
      The Grandmaster has spent his extraordinary long life in pursuit of amusement through the playing of games. He has traveled throughout the known universe studying many civilizations' forms of games and play to the point of mastering them. He then began to devise his own types of tournaments and contests, challenging various opponents to games of skill and chance for high stakes.
    • Edge of Spider-Verse (2022): Felicia Hardy from Earth-194 was a Classy Cat-Burglar who stole a magic idol that gifted her with the same powers as Spider-Man. Adopting the moniker Night-Spider, she went on a crime spree that ended when she realized that stealing had stopped being fun for her because her new powers made it too easy. She gets so bored that she actually tries turning herself in to the police just to see whether breaking out of prison might prove to be more of a challenge. When Aranã from the mainstream Marvel universe visits Earth-194 to try and recruit Night-Spider's aid in saving The Multiverse, Felicia eagerly Jumps At The Call the second she hears Aranã describes their odds of winning as "completely hopeless".

    Fan Works 
  • Thunder Flicker from Ace Combat: The Equestrian War always likes a good challenge, especially when he competes with Quick Chaser.
  • In the Supergirl (2015) AU fic “All will be well, as long as you stay by my side", Alex acknowledges that while she doesn’t like challenging relationships, with her recent dates all being disasters because they just weren’t compatible, she enjoys a challenging work environment, willing to move to a new country to follow Kara’s new relationship because she’s already overcome the challenges of her current work as a detective and is interested at the idea of a fresh start.
  • Darius Walker from Honorable Hogwarts has shown a strong tendency toward this. He's fine using his wand against lesser opponents (or just poisoning them and sparing himself the tedium of a quick and easy fight), but when he heard what a good swordsman Jason was he came after him with a blade instead, to test his skills against the best.
  • Many characters in The Infinite Loops have become one of these over time. The primary reason is that, the longer someone is around, the more powerful they get. Finding ways to challenge themselves are the best way for a looper to relive boredom.
  • Leviathan in Manehattan's Lone Guardian is one of these. While she claims to hate violence for violence's sake, her enjoyment of combat is passed off as part of her desire to match herself against someone capable of fighting on her level.
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: At the end of the first chapter, the Wolf demands that Westeros prepare for war against him. He's somewhat miffed when he returns and it turns out they had more important things to deal with (several battles and regime changes, the Night King, the war between Cersei and Daenerys...). He joins Daenerys for a while, though he's seen to be manipulating both sides, and though he goes missing after Daenerys sics Drogon on him, he reappears to make his challenge again, specifically demanding that Grey Worm join the fight instead of sailing for Naath, revealing he's been holding Missandei hostage since Dragonstone.
  • The Weaver Option: Lelith Hesperax is constantly seeking any opponent which can give her a good fight, which is difficult to find even when she's holding back immensely.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Dangerous Liaisons: Valmont does this as The Casanova.
  • The Most Dangerous Game: Zaroff, who says this is the reason why he started Hunting the Most Dangerous Game.
  • In A House Inside Out by Penelope Lively, the life's mission of the woodlice who live in the waste pipe of the bath is to climb up the side of the bath. All must try hard, and fail magnificently.
    Nat: Please sir, why do we have to climb up the side of the bath?
    Chief woodlouse: BECAUSE IT'S THERE!
  • Sherlock Holmes, in all his various forms. Holmes despises being idle, resulting in all manner of quirky behaviors like indoor pistol practice, conducting arcane experiments, or just getting wasted on whatever substance he can find (in the Guy Ritchie movie from 2009, Watson catches Holmes ingesting embalming fluid). Furthermore Holmes often rejects cases that don't tease his intellect enough and, conversely, accepts cases that do purely for the sport of it, often turning down material or monetary compensations in the process. Some adaptations suggest this nature is due to his Power Incontinence that often manifests itself as hyper-sensitivity to his surroundings (his infamous Sherlock Scan can never be shut off, causing him to be constantly distracted by the world around him unless he can focus himself on a mystery and put his ability to notice and derive meaning from the mundane towards a goal).
  • Star Wars Legends: The Mandalorians build much of their culture and morality around this. They seek a good fight and worthy challenges, wanting to test themselves against the toughest opponents in the galaxy, whether it be hunting dangerous criminals for bounties, building their homes in a predator-infested jungle, or declaring war on the biggest, toughest faction they can find. This often means that they're fighting against the Jedi and the Republic, but it's because the Mandalorians consider them honorable, Worthy Opponents and the best the galaxy offers, which is a Stealth Insult on their part against the Empire and the Sith.
  • The Witch of Knightcharm: Chosovi Naha indicates that she's this, saying that she joined her evil Wizarding School because she'd already beaten every challenge back home — from video games to extreme sports — and wanted a new one. She also acts like this in class, demanding that a teacher give her the hardest assignment possible just so she can have a challenge.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played with in "Money" in the second series of Blackadder, when the idiotic Lord Percy intends to discover the secret of turning base things into gold.
    Blackadder: The fact that this secret has eluded the most intelligent people since the dawn of time doesn't dampen your spirits?
    Percy: Oh no, I like a challenge.
  • In House, the titular Dr. House is a brilliant doctor who finds standard clinic duty to be mind-numbingly boring, and prefers to eschew it in favor of the Patient of the Week that presents an interesting diagnostic puzzle to solve.
  • Soap: Jessica's attorney E. Ronald Mallu takes her case (she's on trial for Peter Campbell's murder) because it's so difficult. If he loses, it won't harm his reputation because nobody expects him to win, and if he wins it'll be a feather in his cap. Another attorney had said that he couldn't get Jessica acquitted with a mute prosecutor, her husband as the judge, and her family as the jury.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer:
    • Wulfrik the Wanderer once drunkenly boasted that he could defeat any foe in this world or any other. When he awoke the next morning, he found himself able to speak any language and cursed to hunt down all possible challengers (the gift of tongues was so that he could issue a challenge they could not refuse). He's greatly enjoyed himself ever since.
    • Duke Bohemond Beastslayer of Bastonne greatly enjoys fighting skilled and dangerous opponents, and ranges widely in order to find challenging foes to test himself against. He outright refuses to fight weaker enemies, simply stunning them if they persist in opposing him so that he can turn his attention to worthier fights.
    • The Blood Dragon vampires devote their undeaths to becoming the greatest paragons of martial skill they can, and constantly test themselves against powerful foes. They will gladly slaughter peasants or travelers to test a new blade, practice a strike or feed, but they seek mighty champions and fearsome monsters above all else in order to push themselves further and further along their path.

    Video Games 
  • Borderlands: The various playable characters have their reasons for being Vault Hunters, a common one being to seek out a worthwhile challenge:
    • Amara left her planet primarily because her crimefighting exploits meant that no bad guys would fight her and decided that Pandora was bound to have something that wouldn't run from her.
    • Borderlands 2: Zer0 seeks a challenge above all else, with his personal ECHO entry telling one of his targets to make him work for it. He becomes a Vault Hunter because he sees it as the ultimate challenge. Unfortunately, he sometimes takes this a bit too far as he'll assume that the "challenge" of shutting up an idiot means that he can chop someone's head off. Axton and Salvador have similar motivations, though they also really want the fame and loot (respectively).
      "This is intriguing. / The Vault, my masterpiece? / Challenge accepted."
  • Carmen Sandiego: Carmen is this to the core. She originally worked to catch criminals, but eventually decided that becoming one herself would be more challenging, and thus the world's greatest thief was born.
  • In Dicey Dungeons, the Warrior enters the dungeons because he loves a good challenge, with the prize of a monster truck an afterthought. After beating the game, he comes back to the dungeon because it's a great workout.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Giant Fist: Both Figma of the Magarda tribe and fighter Wolf are challenge-seekers, Wolf in particular. Figma is supposed to serve Magma-O as a shrine maiden but happily jumps into every opportunity to test her strength as a fire spirit summoner against visitors. Wolf is a hot-blooded fighter who has honed his fighting technique and believes that trading fists is the best way to communicate. He gets especially excited to test his strength against Zophy, who he idolizes so much that even Flora calls him a Zophy geek.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has Zenos yae Galvus introduced in the Stormblood expansion as the Viceroy of Ala Mhigo and Doma who's bored with victory who only goes down to put down the rebellion in Ala Mhigo to nip it in the bud, only to get a hiccup in the Warrior of Light, but turns it into a Curbstomp Battle. The second time they fight in Yanxia is slightly better, but still ends up the same way, but now he sees the Warrior as worthy prey to the point he wants them to get stronger so he can relish in killing them. By the end of the main expansion, even after going One-Winged Angel by using his new Resonant powers to possess the Primal Shinryu, he's defeated by the Warrior of Light and commits suicide....only to come back to life. The stinger of Shadowbringers has him get back to his main body and kill his father, Emperor Varis, so he can't use the Black Rose to spoil his hunt for his first and only "friend," the Warrior of Light, uncaring that he's damning Garlemald into a new civil war.
  • Last Scenario: Despite having ulterior goals, Augustus treats his striving for power like a game. He hates the people who are born into power but do nothing with it, but respects those who claw their way to it, such as the fallen hero, Felgorn.
    Augustus: I proved my superiority. I have already won. I regret nothing.
  • League of Legends:
    • Jax, a master warrior who's been around for centuries, wants to meet and challenge the greatest warriors in Runeterra, hoping to find those worthy of defending the world from the terrors of the Void.
    • The unyielding optimist Nilah travels the world in search of the biggest and baddest adversaries to fight, hoping that her triumphs will become the stuff of legends in the future.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom: Demon King Ganondorf hungers for challenge in his bid for world domination. He deliberately makes as many enemies as possible (including his own people) so he can flaunt his power as he inevitably overwhelms them. When told of a prophecy that a legendary swordsman named Link will stop him for good, Ganondorf expresses his excitement to fight him one day.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: Levi the Slasher in The Gears of Destiny. Being the Material of Power, she loves nothing more than having strong enemies to test her mettle against. At the end of the game, we see her drooling at the chance of going to Eltria after she learns that it's essentially a Death World filled with powerful monsters to fight and mysterious dungeons to explore. She then proceeds to unintentionally save a lot of villages in Eltria, as she spends her time stopping monstrous threats for her own enjoyment.
  • Onmyōji (2016): Minamoto no Hiromasa is this in spades. When he's first introduced, he instantly challenges the protagonist to a duel thinking him a Worthy Opponent before he even knows his name. Since then, Hiromasa has always displayed a desire to fight powerful enemies, at one point even severely injuring himself.
  • Skies of Arcadia: Vyse repeatedly tackles challenges others deem impossible: such as escaping the Grand Fortress and crossing the Dark Rift. He even has a special ability called "challenge lover" in Valkyria Chronicles. Vyse is not only made of this Trope, he eats it for breakfast.
    Vyse: [to Marco] "Impossible" is a word people use as an excuse when they want to give up. Whenever someone says something's impossible, it makes me want to prove them wrong.
  • Sly Cooper: One of the reasons that Sly and his gang steal from criminals is that they believe that stealing from ordinary people is boring and the true challenge comes from beating criminals at their own game.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog. Part of the reason he fights Dr. Eggman is that he's always seeking thrills and challenges. When asked in Sonic Generations why he and his past self don't team up and work together to save the day, he replies that it would make things too easy.
  • Unreal Tournament III: Othello, having been born into wealth and never needing to work for a living, challenges himself with deadly jobs and adrenaline-fueling adventures around the galaxy such as ice-climbing, competitive sports and mercenary work.

    Visual Novels 

  • Seongmok from Weak Hero. Unlike his partner Dongha, who'll pick a fight the second he gets bored, Seongmok only gets worked up when he knows that his opponent is strong enough to present a challenge. It's because of this that he's fixated on Ben Park.

    Western Animation 
  • Dexter's Laboratory: In the Dial M for Monkey episode "Rasslor", the title character comes to Earth and challenges its superheroes to wrestle him. He says, "For eons I have scoured the cosmos searching for the one adversary who could provide me with suitable sport." If none of the heroes can defeat him, he will destroy the planet. All of the superheroes go down to defeat except Monkey, who refuses to give up even after Rasslor beats him up. It is, of course, a Shout-Out to the Champion from Marvel Comics listed above, and Rasslor's praise for Monkey is almost word for word what The Champion said to The Thing.
    Rasslor: I could crush your body, I could smash your bones, but I could never break your spirit. You are a marvel, little monkey! Any world that could spawn one as noble as you is truly blessed. I spare your Earth!
  • DuckTales (1987): Scrooge McDuck, and possibly even moreso in the reboot, who earned his fortune being "Smarter than the smarties and tougher than the toughies", is always up for a bit of globe-trotting adventure. Don't let the big mansion and bin full of money fool you. Scrooge is never happier than when he's getting his hands dirty on his latest death-defying adventure.
  • In the Fairly OddParents episode "Power Mad", Timmy gets tired of the sanitised video games his fairies wish up for him and wishes for "a video game that's challenging, a game that you can't wish yourself out of". The resulting video game is so Nintendo Hard that an unprepared Timmy loses a life on Level 1, but he manages to beat it regardless.
  • Sonic Boom: Deconstructed in "Aim Low"; Eggman falls into a depression after losing to Sonic and friends too many times, and Sonic starts interfering with his friends' hobbies because he has nothing to do with all the free time he's built up.
  • Transformers: Generation 1: Sixshot, the "Solo Transformer Assault Group", sees the Great War as little more than an opportunity to test himself against other powerful warriors.

    Real Life 
  • Formula One driver Michael Schumacher, who believes "not being easy makes it [Formula 1 racing] fun."
  • Mountaineer George Mallory supposedly responded to the question of why he wanted to climb Mount Everest with: "Because it's there".


Video Example(s):


The Adversary Wants To Fight

The Adversary explains how she wants nothing more than to fight an equal in deadly combat for eternity.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / BloodKnight

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