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Counterpart Artifacts

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Two (or more, in this case usually elemental) artifacts, each of which is a counterpart of the other. Typically they are either identical but distinguished by their users and names, or Yin and Yang-like different.

One common plot element is the Hero having to acquire one of these to allow him to defend against and/or defeat the Villain, who has the counterpart, making each item a Nemesis Weapon to the other. It's also common to distribute them among siblings, partners or a group of True Companions.

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There may be a Set Bonus by having all of them. They may also benefit from Like Cannot Cut Like.

They might be in some way morally aligned; in this case, they're the object equivalent of Good Counterpart/Evil Counterpart.

If each piece of a set of corresponding objects is elementally attuned, each of their wielders will usually have Personality Powers corresponding with the object's element.

Compare Holy Hand Grenade and Unholy Nuke, which are (usually) two spells that oppose like this. See also Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object, Empathic Weapon and Evil Weapon. Often combined with Stock Weapon Names. Only the Chosen May Wield is also common. Often Colour-Coded for Your Convenience.

Not to Be Confused with Sword Counterpart/Gun Counterpart.

Sometimes you Gotta Catch Them All to enter a place or learn a special technique; compare All Your Powers Combined and Dismantled MacGuffin.

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Examples

Anime and Manga

  • InuYasha. The title character bears the sword Tessaiga which can kill 100 demons/yokai at a time. His brother Sesshomaru uses the sword Tenseiga, which can't harm living beings (but can kill underworld creatures) and can bring creatures back to life. Each sword was created from one of the fangs of their demon father.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light has the villain Anubis wielding the Pyramid of Light, the eighth Millennium Item created in the image of Yami Yugi's Millennium Puzzle and as such appears as an inverted white version of it.
  • Transformers Armada: the Star Saber, Skyboom Shield, and Requiem Blaster.

Comics

  • The Legend of the Chaos God is a Disney multi-'verse crossover comic centering on an ancient monster kept imprisoned after it was sealed into a ruby crystal with a gold setting. As long as the crystal and setting remained seperate, the monster couldn't escape. But someone stole the two and wanted to revive it. The consciousness in the crystal influenced characters as it tried to get itself reunited with the setting.
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Film

  • In The Mummy Trilogy the black Book of the Dead awakens Imhotep and grants him immortality, while the gold Book of Amun-Ra makes him vulnerable.

Literature

  • Each set of rings in The Lord of the Rings, except for the supreme (and evil) One Ring, which has no counterparts.
  • Harry Potter: The wands of Harry and Voldemort.
  • Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone stories. The twin swords Stormbringer and Mournblade, one possessed by Elric and the other by Elric's cousin (and enemy) Yyrkoon.
  • In David Eddings' Malloreon series, it turns out that the Orb of Aldur has an evil counterpart, the Sardion.
  • The Choeden Kal from The Wheel of Time: two incredibly powerful Amplifier Artifacts, one each for the male and female halves of the One Power.
  • Maybe parodied in Journey to the West: After stealing the dreaded Crinsom Gourd (capable of sucking inside and melting people called by name in front of it) and putting a fake in its place, Monkey challenges the owner Silver Horned King to a duel, claiming that he possess the "male" counterpart of his gourd. He does an identical trick later, this time claiming that he possessed the "female" counterparts of a trio of deadly bells.
  • In the second Dinotopia book, 'The World Beneath', Arthur searches for the other half of an old key that opens a door in the World Beneath. Its owner, Oriana, ends up going with him on the expedition.

Live-Action TV

  • Angel had an episode involving the title character needing to find the parts of a key that would open a portal and allow him to find a young man being held prisoner in another dimension. He was being pressured into via Cordelia being tormented by a Wolfram and Hart guy who'd hacked her visions.
  • Power Rangers morphing devices.

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Dungeons & Dragons starting at least with AD&D 1.0 quickly became full of these, thanks to the signed alignment system; good/evil equivalents of artifacts and spells just suggest themselves. For example, the Regalia of Might: It has Good, Neutral and Evil sets — each including a crown, orb and scepter.
    • A non-alignment based example would be elemental summoning items: bowl commanding water elementals, brazier commanding fire elementals, censer controlling air elementals, stone controlling earth elemental.
    • Modules UK2 The Sentinel and UK3 The Gauntlet. The Gauntlet was a magic item designed to destroy the Keep of Adlerweg. The Sentinel was created to oppose and eventually destroy the Gauntlet.
  • The Mightstone and Weakstone from Magic: The Gathering (and its associated novels) are two halves of a Thran powerstone that was used to open a portal to Phyrexia on Dominaria. They later became Urza's eyes when his planeswalker spark ignited.

Toys

  • BIONICLE: the Mask of Light and the Mask of Shadows. They were combined once in The Movie.

Video Games

  • Final Fantasy: A recurring theme related to the series's themes of Dark Is Not Evil and balance between light and darkness is that the four Elemental Crystals have counterpart Dark Crystals. They pop up in I, III, and IV. V has no Dark Crystals, but does have a counterpart quartet of Crystals in the second world.
    • The Ultima Weapons from Final Fantasy VI are mentioned to be this, even though only one of them is a piece of equipment (namely a sword), while the other one is a monster.
    • Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth seeks the Black Materia that can call Meteor. Aerith in turn has the White Materia that can call Holy, which can destroy Meteor.
    • Final Fantasy XII has the Dawn Shard, Dusk Shard, and Midlight Shard, three pieces of Nethicite originally wielded by the Dynast-King, Raithwall. All three shards were carved from a much larger crystal, the Sun-Cryst. Much of the early plot is centered on trying to find one or more of them while keeping them out of the hands of The Empire. They are both powerful political/historical symbols, signifying being the heir to the Dynast-King, and potent magic weapons in the hands of the Empire's Mad Scientist.
      • A more straightforward example from the same game is the sword the Dynast-King used to carve the shards off the Sun-Cryst and the new sword given the Ashe by the local Powers That Be to signify her as his successor. The older sword could be used to destroy the Sun-Cryst (freeing Humanity from the Gods' tyranny), while the newer one could be used to harvest shards of divine Nethicite in order to forge an empire of her own (and take revenge on those who killed her family and enslaved her kingdom). When the party goes in search of the Sun-Cryst, even she isn't sure which one she intends to use when they find it...
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, there's the Ayuvuir Red and Ayuvuir Blue, originally dual-wielded by the Hero Gaol.
  • Suikoden:
    • The Bright Shield and Dark Sword runes in Suikoden II.
    • Suikoden V has the Dawn and Twilight runes; they're opposites to each other, but not opposed, as they both work to keep the Sun rune in check.
  • Seraphim, the sword of Exit Fate protagonist Daniel Vinyard, and its counterpart Cherubim.
  • The White Chronicle and the Black Chronicle in Radiant Historia.
  • The Soul Series has Soul Edge and Soul Calibur which represent chaos and order (Calibur was made from a purified shard of Edge, so it's still kind of evil). Both get stronger when Soul Edge absorbs souls.
  • Kingdom Hearts has a million and one Keyblades, and with several Keyblade wielders, it's no surprise that this trope is pulled every so often.
    • Sora and Riku: in the first game, Riku gets an evil keyblade of evil to unlock peoples' hearts rather than, more harmlessly, doors.
    • Sora and Mickey: both have the standard 'Kingdom Key' weapon, except Mickey's is gold. It shows they're one and the same, but Mickey is higher-status.
  • The Legend of Zelda, the iconic Triforce began as this, Zelda having the Triforce of Wisdom and Ganon the Triforce of Power. It wasn't until the second game that the Triforce of Courage was introduced.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the Goddess/Master Sword and the Demon King's sword, Ghirahim. Also, among the collectibles you can find are Amber Relics (pretty much anywhere); their counterpart, the Dusk Relics, can also be found pretty much anywhere but only during the Silent Realm trials.
  • Fire Emblem Tellius has the two blessed swords formerly wielded by the heroine Altina, the golden Ragnell and the silver Alondite.
  • Fate/stay night has Archer's chinese swords, Kanshou and Bakuya, that have a yin-yang theme going on and magnetically attract each other.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has a set of five elemental clubs for the Seal Clubber, which are smithed from a Bad-ass club and an item obtained from an Infernal Seal, and a high-tier chefstaff for each element, all of which are made of a staff associated with the respective elements and elemental feathers, noodle dishes, mushroom wine and wads.
  • These pop up a lot in the Pokémon games, usually tied to legendary Pokémon in some way.
    • Ho-oh and Lugia, mascots of Pokémon Gold and Silver and their remakes, get not one but two sets. The Rainbow Wing and Silver Wing are their respective feathers, while the Clear Bell and Tidal Bell are simply associated with them; both sets can be used to summon the respective birds.
    • Groudon and Kyogre, mascots of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire and their remakes, get the Red Orb and Blue Orb, which are used to control the two titans in some way. Normally, the Red Orb is linked to Groudon while the Blue Orb is tied to Kyogre, but the anime switched it around for some reason. As of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, the Orbs also allow Groudon and Kyogre to undergo Primal Reversion. Heart Gold and Soul Silver added a third Jade Orb for Rayquaza, but it hasn't been seen since.
    • Dialga and Palkia, mascots of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, get the Adamant Orb and Lustrous Orb respectively, which boost their same-type attack bonus when held. Platinum adds a third counterpart, the Griseous Orb, for its mascot Giratina, which has the additional effect of transforming Giratina into its Origin Forme.
    • Arceus, special snowflake that it is, gets an entire set to itself: the 16 (later 17) Plates, each of which represents a different elemental type. While any Pokémon can hold a Plate to boost the power of moves of the respective type, Arceus can use them to change its own type and the type of its signature move, Judgment.
    • Reshiram and Zekrom, mascots of Pokémon Black and White, get the Light Stone and Dark Stone; unlike most of the other Pokémon examples, these ones actually are the legendaries in question, being the remnants of the dragons' bodies after their clash in the backstory. Interestingly, fans have discovered a third counterpart called the God Stone in the games' code, but it was apparently Dummied Out; the common assumption is that it would have been linked to Kyurem or the original dragon.
    • Genesect gets a set of four Drives, special cassettes that change the type of its signature move Techno Blast when held, as part of its upgrade by Team Plasma.
    • Solgaleo and Lunala, mascots of Pokémon Sun and Moon, get the Sun Flute and Moon Flute, which were created to offer prayers to the aforementioned legendaries and can be used to summon them. Interestingly enough, both flutes must be used together to have any effect; it's the location that determines which of the two legendaries gets invoked.
    • Silvally was an attempt to recreate Arceus and its power, so it's no surprise that it got its own equivalent of the Plates, special disks called Memories, which alter its type and the type of its signature move Multi-Attack.
  • The Atlantean Scion from the original Tomb Raider. Three pieces, one for each ruler of Atlantis.
  • Kingdoms Of Camelot on Facebook has four elemental Guardians: Wood, Ore, Stone and Water, each of which raises production of that resource (water actually raises Food, there is no 'water' resource) and adds to attack or defense stats in battle. Set Bonus applies here.
  • Dragon Age: Origins had the twin rings Dusk and Dawn, while the expansion had Dumat's Spine and Dumat's Claw, a sword and a dagger created from the bones of the first Archdemon.
  • Wild ARMs 3 has a pair of gemstones that act as counterparts with one another. Unfortunately, they react like matter and antimatter when they come in contact with each other.
  • Egoboo: The Sporks of Yore. They serve as a Dismantled MacGuffin, and each of them is attuned to a different virtue.

Western Animation

  • In Blackstar, the Powersword and the Starsword were created by a fission of the Powerstar. Johnny Blackstar wields the Starsword against the Overlord, who covets it.
  • In Filmation's re-imagining of the Blackstar concept, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), He-Man and Skeletor each wield half of the Power Sword.
  • In the 1980s version of ThunderCats (1985), the Sword of Omens had an evil counterpart in the Sword of Plundarr.
    • The relationship is inverted in the reboot series: the Sword of Omens was created as a good counterpart to the Sword of Plundarr, forged from the metal slag that was left over after its creation.

Real Life

  • Shoes, socks, and gloves.
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