In an action series based around an endless series of one-on-one fights, defeating a Worthy Opponent or The Rival will sometimes convert them to the hero's side, if not always to their cause. Furthermore, no matter how much trouble the Worthy Opponent has caused for the heroes or other people as soon as they show remorse or go out of their way to help others they will be welcomed into the hero's circle of True Companions with open arms.
It helps if the story is idealistic enough for the hero to forgive the villain after they are safely defeated. Correspondingly, the villain in this kind of story is so surprised and moved that the hero would be big-hearted enough to do that, that they have a change of heart.
From the writers' standpoint, this trope is a way to keep characters around longer. If it's a show about fighting, and if The Protagonist is always getting stronger, what's the use of a defeated enemy? If said enemy is well developed, has a sizeable fanbase and/or a sympathetic motive or backstory; then killing them might risk pissing off the fans. We want to see them fight some more, but they can't fight the hero again because that would be repetitive and we all know that they would lose. So instead, they become an ally and get to assist the hero. Thus, this is a standard way for most Sixth Rangers to be added into the cast.
In video games, this may simply be an instance where the designers wanted to include more Boss Battles; this is more obvious in several cases where a character is already an ideological ally but wants to "duel" or "practice" against you anyway, or needs to "test your strength" before they'll join up. (Summons love to do this, as do Mons and warrior tribes.) This may be repetitive but more Boss Battles are usually what the player wants so there are rarely complaints.
Compare Kill Me Now, or Forever Stay Your Hand for when the hero refuses to kill their enemy which may lead into this trope depending on the story. Let's You and Him Fight for where two characters are already on the same side but don't know it and fight because one or both of them think the other is an enemy. Defeat Means Respect where a defeated enemy respects the victor instead of becoming friends and Fire-Forged Friends, where enemies forced to fight on the same side become friends.
- In ElfQuest, after centuries of festering rivalry (and Rayek abducting Cutter's family so that he has to be lonely for a couple hundred years!), Cutter and Rayek decide to settle their differences by beating the crap out of each other. Once the fight is over they don't exactly become friends, but they're at least willing to cooperate with each other.
- The Wolfriders tend to treat all internal conflicts this way, which makes sense given that their society is modeled on the wolf pack.
- In the original Little Nemo newspaper comics from the early 1900s, self-centered prankster Flip torments Nemo endlessly, even getting him exiled from Slumberland and hindering his attempts to return, until Nemo insists they settle their dispute in a boxing match. Upon being soundly trounced, Flip immediately declares himself to be Nemo's loyal friend and companion, and remains so until the Reset Button years later.
- In the first Rogue Squadron there is an Expy/Distaff Counterpart of Fel in Kasan Moor, a very good pilot who is part of a very good Imperial squadron. She gets captured by being shot with a Y-wing's ion cannon, and transmits not only her surrender, but her willingness to defect and provide useful intelligence. Sure enough, the next several missions involve targets she's chosen, and she's flying in an X-Wing with the Rogues, musing that now she knows what it's like to be on their side of these little raids. Why she defects is never really elaborated on, but none of the Rogue Squadron games are famous for plot.
- In Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man, after their mandatory first meeting/fight, which Superman wins, Superman and Spider-Man agree to work together in the same case and they quickly become friends.
- In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics, Casey Jones spent most of his first appearance having a knock-down-drag-out brawl with Raphael over Casey's overly violent street vigilantism. Raphael ultimately won, and Casey thereupon became one of the turtles' closest allies and Raphael's best friend. The 2003 cartoon had a similar sequence.
- A Wrong Genre Savvy character in Birds of Prey that later becomes Misfit assumes this is the reason Oracle ends up attacking her when she breaks into the clocktower.
- This trope is how Popeye befriends Toar, the immortal caveman. After Toar admits defeat ("You hit too hard, no fight crazy fool like you!"), Popeye offers him a friendship and Toar accepts.
- In Empowered both the heroine's boyfriend and best friend are people who defeated then befriended her. And if you include the Caged Demonwolf on her coffee table is one of the enemies who SHE defeated, and befriended (however begrudgingly.)
- Lampshaded in the final issue of Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat! after Patsy lets a pair of would-be teen supervillains off with a warning.
Jubilee: How many bad guys have you actually sent to jail in the last year or so?Patsy: Not...many?Jubilee: You've got to quit befriending your villains.Patsy: I like people, that's all!
- Sheriff Bronson and Ma Sewell of Copperhead are brawling within a minute of their first meeting. Bronson manages to handcuff Ma and tosses her in the jail cell overnight. When she releases Ma after the investigation, they've warmed to each other enough that Ma starts babysitting Zeke Bronson.
- Amazing Agent Luna has Luna offering her protection to the evil clone she had just defeated.
- Wonder Woman:
- Paula von Gunther didn't really like working for the Nazis but also hated Wonder Woman during their first few encounters. After her final defeat at Wonder Woman's hands, and Wonder Woman's rescue of her daughter, Paula became one of Diana's most loyal friends and allies throughout the Golden and Silver Ages of comics.
- Several versions of the Cheetah have become friends with Diana after their defeat. This generally doesn't last past any shakeups in the creative team as new writers want to have Wondy face off against her iconic villain once more.
- Wonder Woman (1987): Ectreba started out as a cruel opponent on Hope's End before Diana gained her respect by defeating her, which led to a strong if contentious friendship.
- The final issue of El Cazador ends with Lady Sin offering her defeated foe Redhand Harry an alliance (possibly conditional on his knowing Latin). While his reply was not actually given, under the circumstances it was almost certainly a "yes".
- Hogyoku ex Machina lampshades this when Ishida asks, "Kurosaki, is there anyone you've fought that you haven't become best friends with?"
- The vermin who join up with Urthblood's army in The Crimson Badger, a Redwall fanfic.
- Two examples in With Strings Attached, though in both cases the defeats were pretty mild:
- As'taris, dying to take the newly revealed Kansael from John, threatens to cut it out of his chest. Ringo telekinetically shoves him away, takes his sword, and threatens to drop him in the ocean if he tries it again. As'taris is so impressed that Ringo actually fought back that he immediately drops his main objection to the four (that they were noncombatants) and thereafter views them as peersmore or less.
- The four defeat the Hunter (and by proxy Jeft) simply by being themselves; their obvious love for one another makes him long for an alternative to his friendless, loveless life of adventure and murder. He becomes the best friend they make in the entire book.
- In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, Theecat the tech rogue becomes rather fond of the four after John buries him (and his companions) neck-deep in mud. He starts out sucking up to them like mad so they won't steal all his stuff, but ends up genuinely liking them. They aren't quite so enamored of him, but conclude they might as well consider him a friend because he's one of the very few people on C'hou they don't actively hate.
- Legend Of Zelda Rings Of Dualty subverts it with the main characters, Link and Samba, because their battle came to a draw. Played pretty straight with the Leviathans of Material.
- In Clash of the Elements most heroes manage to form a bond of friendship with their respective Genesis Samurai opponents, save for Geno, who was already acquainted with them long ago, and Luigi, who was knocked unconscious after his battle before he could form one with his.
- Parodied (like everything else) in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series.
(Pegasus walks onto the stage)
Yugi: Oh hey Grandpa, it's that guy who kidnapped your soul and then tried to kill me. But now he's our friend.
- Goku thinks this is the way things work in Dragon Ball Z Abridged
Goku: Hey Vegeta, we're friends now. Right?
Vegeta:' F*** off
Goku: The best.
- In the One Piece fanfic Second Wind, as in canon, Luffy defeats the Kung Fu Dugongs, who subsequently subject themselves to him as disciples. The key difference here is that this time, he rejects all but one, who joins his crew at least for the time being.
- The villain Circus seems to think so in the Worm fanfic A Skittering Heart. After Circus tries and fails to steal Taylor's Keyblade they knockout Taylor. Her best friend Sabah then gets angry and defeats Circus. After talking out their problems Circus leaves but later comes back, jumping in to help Taylor and Sabah fight Lung and Oni Lee. Circus also gives them a new coffee table after breaking their original. Taylor and Sabah are less than effused by this.
- Thousand Shinji: Shinji challenged Asuka to a duel, won, and suggested that they work and fight together. From that point on, they started getting along, and eventually they got together.
- Invoked and averted in Quicken. After defeating super-villain Cricket, Emma knows that theyre NOT are going to become friends later on.
This wasn't some Saturday morning cartoon; we weren't going to come to some kind of mutual understanding, enter as enemies, leave as friends. She had given her best to see me dead. It was always going to come down to either me or her.
- In Undertale: Rebirth, Undyne and Samson are at each other's throats until she beats him in a wrestling match. By the time Alphys gets back from her lab, the two have become "buds".
- In This Bites!, Kaku tries to invoke this, asking if there's a vacancy in the Straw Hat crew after Zoro beats him, only to be told that they had Franky lined up to be their shipwright, though Zoro does still say that Luffy would let him join if he really wanted to.
- In My Huntsman Academia, Izuku's self-esteem issues and his longtime exposure to Katsuki Bakugou has drilled the idea that he has to prove that he's strong and worthy of standing alongside his peers to make friends. But after he loses his first spar as a Curb-Stomp Battle, all of his attempts to do this end up having the opposite effect he intended. Those who lost to him were considered weak instead of Izuku being considered strong. His overly pragmatic approach to his spar with Weiss humiliated her and did nothing to teach either of them anything. While he has earned the respect of many of the other Beacon Academy students for how ridiculously powerful his Semblance is, he has yet to earn friendship with any of them through combat. He got most of his new friends simply by being a Nice Guy.
- This is lampshaded and defied in Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness. Reimu understands that it's really a thing, though she doesn't get why past enemies keep gravitating towards her. On the other hand, Yuuka wants nothing to do with Coop after her defeat and vacates the area after the situation is straightened out.
- Downplayed in Ranma ½ and Touhou crossover Carried Off. Ranma and Suika's fight just leads to some mutual respect.
- In Peter Chimaera's Digimon 3: Predator vs. Digimon, this somehow ends up happening after the Predator is defeated by being "kicked in the invisible".
- In Kara of Rokyn, Kara begins to build a tentative friendship with her ex-rival wrestler Jara after defeating her for good.
- Final Stand of Death: Both Spice Girls and Hanson ended up as this as they didnt had much against others. After all, they were forced into Deathbowl 98.
- In the 2008 Horton Hears a Who!, Horton is triumphant getting his neighbours to believe the microscopic Whos exist and is hailed a hero of the ages. However, he can't help but notice the Sour Kangaroo is now alone, ashamed and hated for what she did to him and almost to the Whos. Fortunately, Horton has a heart as big as his ears and he immediately goes to offer his forgiveness to the Kangaroo. The Kangaroo, realizing how lucky she is to have a friend as noble as Horton, immediately offers to help him shelter the Whos for the trip to Mount Nool.
- Puss in Boots in Shrek 2 is hired by the king to assassinate Shrek. However, unlike his fairy tale counterpart, he does not try to trick the ogre into changing into a mouse, but instead makes a direct, frontal assault on Shrek, which works up until the feline gags on a hairball, spitting it up. Shrek and Donkey spare his life, and Puss proposes to the ogre he owes a life debt to him, in thanks. Although there is some tension/rivalry between Puss and Donkey (who seems nervous that Puss is taking his place as "annoying talking animal"), the three eventually become close friends and allies.
- At the end of Yellow Submarine, after the Blue Meanies are defeated, the Beatles invite them over for tea. Partying ensues.
- Happens to Lightning McQueen and Francesco Bernoulli at the end of Cars 2.
- My Little Pony:
- Sunset Shimmer in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls. The girls who defeat her are her only friends in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks as the rest of the school has not so easily forgiven her for attempting to brainwash the school.
- Repeated in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Friendship Games, where it is Sunset Shimmer doing the defeating and Human Twilight Sparkle being defeated, with her displaying the empathy of someone who used to be on the other side of the offer.
- Inverted in the first Equestria Girls movie with Rainbow Dash, who offers her help if Twilight can beat her at soccer. After a spectacularly one-sided match that leaves Twilight on the ground gasping for breath while Dash hasn't even broken a sweat, she reveals that it was a Secret Test of Character and (re)joins the team.
- Probably the most famous instance was Shane's barfight retribution of Calloway's earlier public humiliation. Shane wailed the tar out of his attacker and others in the bad guy Ryder's employ. Out of respect, Calloway quit Ryker and warned Shane of a bushwhacking plan using a hired killer.
- The Karate Kid movies:
- From The Karate Kid (1984): "You're all right, LaRusso!" While they didn't really become buddies after that, Johnny did stop his bullying and Daniel held no grudge toward him. The dynamic between them gets explored in much greater depth many years later.
- In The Karate Kid (2010), Cheng and his group of friends who had once bullied Dre respect him after he wins the tournament. In fact, Cheng, the main bully, is the one to present the trophy to him. This was significantly aided by their disgust with the lengths their coach pushed them to in an attempt to defeat Dre. This is even more evident in the alternate ending, where Li challenges Han to a fight after the tournament.
- It's a one fight thing, but when the documentary film, When We Were Kings, won its Oscar, Muhammad Ali and George Foreman went to the podium with the winners as a gesture to show they'd reconciled over the 1974 bout. (Particularly touching was Foreman's very gentle attempts to assist Ali up the steps). No such luck getting Smokin' Joe to forgive the Uncle Tom comments, though.
- The Disney Channel frequently invokes this trope. There's no actual fighting, but after the protagonist wins/beats their opponent/whatever, the antagonist suddenly becomes BFFs with them.
- Blazing Saddles. After Sheriff Bart blows up Mongo and captures him:
Mongo: Mongo stay with Sheriff Bart. Sheriff first man ever whip Mongo. Mongo impressed, have deep feelings for Sheriff Bart.Waco Kid: Uh oh, you better watch out, big fella. I think Mongo's taken a little fancy to you.Mongo: Aww, Mongo straight!
- In the Mixed Martial Arts-meets-The O.C. film Never Back Down, the hero and villain share a HoYayish smirk the day after their final brawl. Apparently there were no hard feelings about putting the hero's friend in the hospital.
- In Boorman's Excalibur:
- Lancelot is seeking to serve the man who can best him in combat. Arthur loses to Lancelot, then cheats by using Excalibur's power to knock Lancelot silly. Lancelot doesn't realize what happened when he wakes up and agrees to join Arthur. Things don't turn out so great in the end...
- The first knight Arthur bests in battle — Sir Uriens, who knights him — winds up being Arthur's lifelong ally, and the first to obey Arthur's order to find the Holy Grail. He ultimately dies on the quest to find it.
- When the mechanic mom finally accepts the evidence that her son was murdered, she still harbors a grudge against The Machine Girl, who she previously blamed for it. Before joining her on a vengeful warpath, she's determined to engage the one-armed girl in a fight that culminates in an arm-wrestling match. After she's defeated, the mother immediately makes friends with Machine Girl.
- When Matthias and Balthazar go at it in The Scorpion King we know how it's going to end. Call it a curious form of prehistoric male bonding. They engage in a spell of no holds barred combat - half wrecking the Free People's camp - before sitting down together to plan their assault on Gommorah.
- Rocky and Apollo from the Rocky films. For Apollo, the only way to get back at the man who reminded him of his worthlessness is by befriending the one who took it away.
- The King and the Clown: When Jaeng-sang and Gong-gil arrive in Seoul they crash the show of some local jesters and engage in a little showdown. Their double act clearly wins and that evening the Seoul clowns propose to join forces.
- In Avatar, the Na'vi knows which banshee is destined to be theirs because it will try to kill them. They also have to 'tame' it through violence.
- Ip Man 2.
- After Ip trashes Wong Leung the first time they meet, the latter up and leaves. He comes back with three friends to try to defeat Ip. It's only when this fails that Wong asks Ip to accept him as a student.
- Played straight from the first movie to the second: The leader of the ne'er-do-wells from the first movie gets defeated by Ip in it, and in the second movie comes to his aid. He even credits Ip for helping to turn his life around.
- In The Horror of Party Beach, shown on MST3K, at a beach party in the beginning the main hero fights with a leader of a biker gang and defeats him (with some help from some scrawny bystanders in speedos). The leader shakes his hand.
Mike: (in upperclass British accent): "You have defeated me sir! You and your noble band of choreographers!"
- After Jerry beats up his bully in Three O'Clock High, the bully shows up to return some money so that Jerry can get out of a theft charge. He even gives him the very faintest of smiles before walking off.
- At the end of Back to the Future, Biff is a friendly (if sycophantic) worker for George after George beats the crap out of him in the past.
- American Ninja has this. Jackson starts a fight with Joe, when Joe effortlessly kicks his ass, Jackson becomes his buddy, willing to risk court-martial for his new friend.
- In the Director's Cut of Legend (1985) The Gump is furious with Jack for allowing Lily to touch the unicorn, and then throws a massive tantrum when Jack solves his subsequent riddle - but once he's over it he forgives Jack immediately (as he promised) and joins his quest to save the unicorns (and Lily) from Darkness.
- The villains of the Spy Kids movies are often defeated this way.
- Swede, the violent and unruly marine from Heartbreak Ridge has been in and out of the brig on one charge or another until Recon Platoon recruit him to remove Drill Sergeant Nasty Tom Highway. Highway himself has been on a great many charges for violent disorder and when Swede offers to turn himself in after losing, Highway instead orders him to get on parade. Later, Staff Sergeant Webster is trying to get evidence against Highway at the direction of the company CO, the entire platoon stands against him, but Swede seals the deal simply by standing over Webster and staring down at him. Way down. Webster wisely leaves.
- In Hong Kil Dong, Thuk Jae the bandit has sworn vengeance after Kil Dong killed his brother in a fight. But ahfter Kil Dong first defeats Thuk Jae, then spares his life, Thuk Jae has a HeelFace Turn and decides to serve Kil Dong. He becomes The Lancer to Kil Dong, and brings his bandit buddies along as Kil Dong's warriors as well.
- In the 2011 film Warrior: A classic example. Tommy can't set aside his resentment towards Brendan until Brendan reluctantly gives him a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Brendan only does it because Tommy's fighting despite a dislocated arm and needs to be subdued quickly or else risk more intense injury fighting. While choking him out, Brendan asks for forgiveness in anguish and tells Tommy he loves him (keeping in mind Tommy had just gleefully tried to punch the life out of Brendan), at which point Tommy finally taps out and they embrace as brothers.
- From Hatari!, Kurt only accepts Chips onto the team after Chips beats him at shooting and punches him in the face. Zigzagged in regards to both men vying for Brandy, as they both admit defeat after she chooses Pockets. By the end, they seem aware of this trope, as both go to Paris after the summer ends to fight over a girl they both know.
- Godzilla Raids Again, the second film overall and the first where the title character fights another monster, introduced Anguirus, an ankylosaur-like monster that duked it out with Godzilla through Osaka before ultimately being killed by a bite to the neck. Since then, subsequent appearances of Anguirus in future Godzilla films have presented him as a good friend and ally to Godzilla, ready to assist the big G in combating any threat that needs to be dealt with (though it hasn't been established whether or not this is the same Anguirus from Godzilla Raids Again, or a second one altogether that never engaged Godzilla in a fight).
- Mothra and Rodan both started out as some of Godzilla's toughest enemies before becoming allies against the Big Bad King Ghidorah. In the rebooted "Heisei" films, Mothra and Battra are initially set up as rivals but they end up working together to beat Godzilla.
- Prince Barin spends the middle third of Flash Gordon trying to kill Flash, then joins him when Flash defeats him in a "battle to the death" — and then saves him from a very, very long fall.
- End of Watch: After trading insults with a suspect, Zavala agrees to fight him. Zavala's victory, as well as his decision to only arrest the gangbanger on the original charge of disorderly conduct (when he could have added assault on a police officer), wins the gangbanger's respect.
- In The Grand Budapest Hotel, Gustave beats up a cellmate for questioning his virility, with the explicit purpose of gaining their respect. It works.
- In Jason and the Argonauts, Hylas is challenged by Hercules to a discus-throwing contest. Being The Smart Guy, Hylas manages to win by skimming his discus across the water. Hercules takes his loss well, and the two become buddies. Hercules is the most torn-up over Hylas' eventual death at the hands of Talos, and he leaves.
- In St. Vincent (2014), when Oliver finally gets fed up with his bully and beats him up, they bond in detention and end up becoming best friends.
- In Hussar Ballad, Vincento Salgari gets (off-screen) into a fight with Shura, nearly killing her, but she manages to take him prisoner. As he was freezing to death at the time, and Shura happily provided him with some warm clothes, he swears to be her friend forever, and later proves to be true to his word.
- In Bad Moms, after Amy defeats Alpha Bitch Gwendolyn in the PTA election, she finds Gwendolyn crying in her car. The two of them talk, and Gwendolyn admits that the reason she's been so obsessed with the PTA is that the rest of her life is a shambles and she's just as big a screwup as everyone else; her rich husband is actually a white collar criminal, etc. The next scene shows Gwendolyn inviting Amy and her friends onto a private jet.
- The Count of Monte Cristo (2002): When Edmond defeats Jacopo in their knife duel, the latter swears eternal loyalty after his defeat.
- In Girlfight, Diana and Adrian's relationship begins after Adrian beats Diana in the boxing ring. That he takes her out to dinner afterwards probably helps.
- In Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, after Bill and Ted defeat The Grim Reaper in a great variety of games, he accompanies them on their further adventures and even joins their band.
- Older Than Dirt, coming from the oldest surviving written heroic epic (ca. 2700 BCE): In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh and Enkidu become friends after Gilgamesh defeats Enkidu in a fight.
- The Shahnameh: On his fifth Labor to save the Persian king and army, Rostam fights multiple Mazandarani warriors and captures their leader, Oolad. He makes Oolad his guide in Mazandaran and gets information about the White Demon from him. Oolad comes to admire and respect Rostam and Rostam in turn warms up to his captive for his help and promises him Mazandaran. When it is all over Rostam keeps his promise and makes Key Kavous appoint Oolad as the ruler of Mazandaran.
- Somewhere in between: Fionn mac Cumhaill and Goll mac Morna (in some versions).
- A likely inspiration for the trope's appearance in anime is the legend of Minamoto Yoshitsune's defeat of the monk Benkei on the Gojo Bridge in the 12th Century A.D. Minamoto spared Benkei's life, after which Benkei swore to serve him to the death. The story bears an uncanny resemblance to the story of Robin Hood's first meeting with Little John, but they could simply be examples of parallel invention.
- Robin Hood gains many of his Merry Men this way, though often it's him that loses. His magnanimous behavior, rather than his skill at the contest, convince people to follow him. The most common example of this is Little John, who in many retellings starts off as another outlaw who tries to rob Robin, resulting in what is almost always depicted as a quarterstaff battle on a narrow bridge over a river.
- In Tales of MU, Sooni's belief in this trope is central to her Wrong Genre Savvy. She believes herself to be in a Shojo anime, with herself as The Hero and Mack as the evil, demonic, Schoolgirl Lesbian Rival who needs to be defeated to become her friend. When Mack continues to refuse to admit defeat and cede the election to her, she flies into a homicidal rage and begins attacking her, to the extent that the almost-invulnerable Mack ends up in the hospital (granted, this was mostly because Mack was using more magic than she should have been, but still). Sooni later visits Mack and happily tells her that she has defeated Mack, and therefore they can be friends now. Mack is naturally furious, but then the story heads for a Double Subversion when Mack agrees out of exasperation, pity... and Foe Yay. Blatant Foe Yay:
"Subtext!" Sooni said, practically dancing with joy. "See? We have subtext now!"
"I'm not sure that qualifies as sub anything."
- In Christopher Stasheff's The Warlock in Spite of Himself, a goon named Big Tom picks a fight with the hero, Rod Gallowglass; when Rod proves he can best him, Tom asks humbly to be Rod's man. Subverted in that Tom is a canny agent of Rod's enemies, taking advantage of this trope to get close to him.
- A rare pre-emptive example occurs in the Malloreon, when Emperor Zakath finally dawns to the awareness that the Alorn religious myths are real, and Belgarion isn't just a rival overlord but also the designated custodian of cosmic power. Zakath takes one look at the odds and decides to just skip the "defeat" and get right to the "friendship", although it's implied that it's not Belgarion's power that is Zakath's reason, it's the fact Belgarion's so humble and so unwilling to use or abuse such power that makes Zakath realise that the only reason they're enemies is because he was looking to fight someone who didn't want to fight him.
Belgarion: Oh yes. [The Orb] has no conception of the word "impossible". If I really wanted it to, it could probably spell out my name in stars. * Orb twitches* Stop that! That was just an example, not a request. * Belgarion grins sheepishly* Wouldn't that look grotesque? 'Belgarion' running from horizon to horizon across the night sky?Zakath: You know something, Garion? I've always believed that someday you and I would go to war with each other. Would you be terribly disappointed if I decided not to show up?
- In The Dresden Files novel Turn Coat, Harry calls up the very foreboding spirit of an island and challenges it to a contest of strength and will. By winning, he forges a magical bond with it. He later explains it in terms of this trope: see the quotes page. It turns out the island is a prison and the fight was more of a job interview for the position of warden, as Dresden certainly couldn't have beat the spirit if it was fighting back in earnest.
- While the Great Skeeve normally plays this straight during his Myth Adventures, he subverts it in the sixth book, Little Myth Marker. After thwarting the Ax, a "character assassin" hired to ruin his reputation, Skeeve flatly refuses a request to join his group, which the Ax had grown fond of. His reason is that, while he doesn't hold a personal grudge against the assassin, because Skeeve's team often succeeds on The Power of Friendship the fact that the Ax makes money by betrayal leaves a bad taste in his mouth.
- Happens rather regularly in Stackpole's X-Wing Series books. All right, so the Rogues kill or drive off most of their enemies, and the retreating ones are still enemies. But when they, for example, shoot down the freighter ship that is the only way the TIE fighters could get out of the system, the TIEs tend to surrender, and Rogue Squadron accepts readily. Once this happened near a station that the Rogues had just captured, and the highest-ranked TIE pilot who had just surrendered warned the leader of Rogue Squadron that the station master was wily. It's a little different in Aaron Allston's parts of the series.
- Justified group example in There Will Be Dragons by John Ringo. The inhabitants of a town are rather irritated with the legionnaires stationed nearby. The farmers and craftsmen all work hard for their living, while the soldiers are just lazing around in the woods, and coming to town with lots of unearned money and making trouble. Tension is high and there are fights between townspeople and soldiers. To solve the situation, the legionnaires challenge the town militia to a mock battle, and proceed to beat them soundly. The townspeople realize that the soldiers are not just lazing around, but are training hard to be able to defend the town if needed. And all are friends again.
- Dave Barry Slept Here outright parodies this, repeatedly using the term "befriend" to describe Gunboat Diplomacy.
- Aliens try this on an interspecies scale in Larry Niven's Footfall—they figure humanity will either submit to their armies, or accept the submission of their armies, and either way it'll lead to good relations in the long term. They're quite surprised when humanity responds with total war.
- In War Horse, the two horses Joey and Topthorn start out as rivals, but after Joey (Captain Nicholls astride him) defeats Topthorn during a practice run race, they become friends.
- Light And Dark The Awakening Of The Mageknight: Rigil has no respect for newbs, including Danny. Then Danny defeats Rigil in a duel and thus proves himself a Worthy Opponent. From then on Rigil calls him 'friend' and 'newb'.
- In Greek Ninja, Sasha and Daichi came close to defeating each other. Later on, Daichi joins her and her team on their quest.
- In Michael Flynn's Spiral Arm novel On The Razor's Edge, when Gidula pitches Donovan against Eglay Portion, in an official combat that Donovan suspects may be used to cripple him against the rules, Donovan with some cunning timing defeats him in the first moments. Eglay appraises him, asks him how to do it, and is his man thereafter.
- In Protector of the Small, this happens a couple of times with Kel, although more in the vein of "newfound respect" than outright friendship. In Squire she's defeated in a joust by a conservativenote knight, but he's impressed by her considerable skill and apologizes for misjudging and making assumptions about her. In Lady Knight, she meets one of the bandits she rallied her fellow trainees to defeat back in Page, as a convict soldier. He's quite happy to meet her again and glad to serve under her; he even proudly relates the story to all the refugees.
- Happens from time to time in A Song of Ice and Fire.
- It's most notably a trait of Robert Baratheon, who turned bitter Targaryen loyalist enemies into staunch supporters with clemency, generosity, and plain old charisma after his (successful) rebellion. He only does this with those he considers Worthy Opponents, though; he kills Rhaegar just as dead as he can after Rhaegar kidnaps maybe his fiancee, and has no mercy for any Targaryen survivors, even children who were babies during the war. Tywin also instructs his grandson Joffrey that rebels must be shown mercy and welcomed back into the fold upon surrender, or else they will have no incentive to surrender and will fight to the bitter end instead. (The lesson is a bit lost on Joff.)
- Deconstructed by House Bolton. The Boltons were bitter rivals of the Starks, and were the most powerful and last of the Northern petty kings to be conquered back in the Age of Heroes. Since then they have rebelled multiple times, secretly defied many of the Starks' laws and eventually wiped them out in the Red Wedding
- Tarzan has an example in Tarzan and the City of Gold. Lord Greystoke finds himself battling "the strongest man in Cathne," Phobeg, in a gladiatorial combat for the pleasure of Queen Nemone and the crowd. Tarzan quickly turns it into a Curbstomp Battle, but refuses to Finish Him!! Later, Phobeg tells the Lord of the Jungle, after having (twice) proven his friendship, "Because I owe my life to you," replied the warrior, "and because I know a man when I see one. If a man can pick Phobeg up and toss him around as though he were a baby, Phobeg is willing to be his slave."
- Occurs on both the individual and national levels throughout the Safehold series:
- Four of the five nations whose navies were conscripted to attack Charis in the first book are now part of the Empire of Charis. Two of those nations were outright enemies of Charis, and a third had betrayed an alliance before coming back. In the cases of the two enemies, the nations were conquered and their rulers surrendered, but have since become integral parts of the Empire.
- Among the individual leaders, Sharleyan had never wanted to take part in the attack to start with and becomes one half of Charis's Ruling Couple. Cayleb himself is surprised later to find that he actually likes ex-enemy Prince Narhmahn once he got to know him. Corisande's prince would've been an Enemy Mine (at best), but his successors become very close to Cayleb and Sharleyan. King Gorjah, the betrayer, finds his principles again and is forgiven, if not welcomed, back into the fold.
- In many versions of the Arthurian mythos, Arthur's first major challenge as High King is to defeat the rebellious King Pellinore. In their first fight, Pellinore beats him rather soundly, but in the rematch, Arthur has Excalibur and, more importantly, Excalibur's sheath, which magically protects its wearer from ever being cut. With it, Arthur (barely) defeats Pellinore, who then joins the Round Table and becomes one of Arthur's strongest supporters and closest friends.
- Please Don't Tell My Parents I've Got Henchmen: Cassie latches onto Penny like a limpet after losing to her, especially when Penny promised that she can choose whether she wants to be a hero or a villain.
- Journey to Chaos: A reconstruction; the result of Tiza and Hailey's brawl only means that they can't consider the other to be weak anymore. It's in the talk after the fight where they discover how much they have in common (as well as their shared concern for Nolien) that leads to the friendship.
- Subverted in Dorothy Dunnett's King Hereafter. Thorfinn tries this repeatedly on Rognvald, who always behaves for a while and then reverts to form. Eventually, Thorfinn's foster-father Thorkel loses patience, which is Truth in Television.
- Magic wands in Harry Potter appear to operate like this, functioning as Loyal Phlebotinum for their specific owners but switching allegiance via You Kill It, You Bought It. For some especially fickle wands like the legendarily powerful Elder Wand, you don't even need to kill anyone; beating the owner in a Wizard Duel can work just as well even if nobody dies. Granted, acquiring the Elder Wand in particular tends to entail murdering the owner outside the context of a duel, since beating it in a fair fight is nigh impossible, the only known instance being when Albus Dumbledore defeated Gellert Grindelwald (even then, we don't know the exact details on how it happened). But you can also apparently wrest control of the wand by disarming its owner before a fight can even begin. The Elder Wand can even shift loyalty by proxy if the owner loses a duel while using a different wand. That's how fickle the Elder Wand is, people.
- In The Mental State, Officer Reed and Officer Jeff are both police officers who do amoral things. Reed infringes on prisoner rights by spying on inmates, and Jeff is extorted into helping a devious psychopath in his plans to strengthen his hold over a vast criminal network. Zack State's machinations have dire consequences for both of them. However, Reed gradually comes to realise during his time in Zack's service that the two of thema re not so different, and Jeff actually thanks Zack for concocting a way to save his daughter from the psychopath's influence. Ultimately, they both end up on very good terms with Zack and one of them even ends up becoming his replacement as prisoner representative once Zack is finally released.
- Star Risk, Ltd.: Riss and Freddy meet in the Action Prologue when she executes a hostage rescue where he's one of the guards. Shortly after, he invites her to be his business partner.
- Warrior Cats: A fight between Graypaw and then-housecat Rusty marks the beginning of their long-lasting friendship (and Rusty's invitation to join ThunderClan) when Rusty defeats the better-trained Graypaw.
- An interesting case happens in Babylon 5 between Neroon and Marcus. When Neroon is rebuffed by Delenn upon his demand to lead the Rangers instead of her, he vows to stop her appointment "by any means necessary". While on his way to do the deed, he is confronted by Marcus who invokes Denn-shah (combat to the death). While Marcus is a highly competent fighter himself, Neroon on the other hand is a legendary and merciless warrior who claims to have killed more than 50,000 humans in the Earth/Minbari war. In the Curb-Stomp Battle that ensues, Marcus refuses to yield even when soundly beaten, and braces himself for the killing blow. It never comes, and Neroon concedes to Delenn she is more worthy of leading the Rangers, because they would not hesitate to die for her while they would for him. He respectfully visits Marcus in the infirmary later, and confesses, "one warrior to another", that the victory belonged to Marcus, not to him.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Anya's first two appearances have her as the (or one of the) villains of the episode.
- Andrew was originally one of the Big Bads for Season 6, was a hostage for a bit after killing long-time minor character Johnathan and then became one of the Scoobies.
- And on Angel, the Big Bad of the first four seasons, Wolfram and Hart, becomes an ally (or the employer) for the fifth, after the defeat (murder) of its representative, Lila Morgan, and the defeat of their 4-season-long master plan. (They at least set things in motion by bringing Darla back, having Drusilla re-vamp her, and so on). It's an example of the trope where the corporation is the character and one that changes the very structure of the show, since the nemesis from the first episode onward is transformed into the ally. Very Wheedonesque.
- Burn Notice:
- Invoked when Michael has to gain the trust of an enforcer for the Russian Mob that he has captured. He pretends to be another member, locked in the same cell. They fight, and, typical on this show, Michael narrates the action by describing the importance of learning Russian martial arts if you're going to pretend to be Russian.
- Another example is Sugar, the drug dealer from downstairs. He gets himself a quick curbstomping during the pilot, but years later shows up again as one of Michael's biggest fans and a useful contact in the narcotics community.
- Daredevil (2015): Matt Murdock's friendship with Melvin Potter begins with them having a physical fight, due to Melvin being in Fisk's employ at the time Matt learns about him. After their fight, and Melvin revealing Fisk's leverage over him, Matt convinces Melvin to build armor for him, and this continues well into season 2.
- Game of Thrones:
- Greatjon Umber laughs off losing two fingers and then being humiliated by Grey Wind because Robb's forbearance and willingness to stand up to him are impressive. He later becomes one of Robb's staunchest supporters.
- Osha is remarkably friendly to Bran in "The Pointy End" and becomes his most protective caretaker after her companions tried to rob and murder him in her previous appearance. This attempted robbery fails as Robb bests her in combat and makes her prisoner. She explains later that it was Nothing Personal and she was treated far more reasonably than she ever imagined.
- Stannis states in the Histories and Lore segments that this was Robert's greatest gift and allowed his to cement his rule and defeat the Greyjoy Rebellion. This rebellion led him to bring his former opponents to fight against an external threat; and Robert, bored of the monotony of peacetime, was secretly grateful to get the old fire back to bring the best out of him once again.
- Subverted by Balon Greyjoy, who spent a decade brooding on his defeat until he could rebel again, this time motivated by revenge.
- This is one of the ways Mance Rayder rose to become King Beyond the Wall. One by one he defeated anyone who stood against him, earning the loyalty of chieftains and warlords like Tormund Giantsbane and Styr.
- Qhono and Daenerys, in a sense. Daenerys wipes out all the Khals in a raging inferno and then walks off, unscathed. This is awe-inspiring enough that Qhono (and many others) kneel and pledge fealty to her. Qhono, for his part, is shown to be very loyal.
- A fair number of Kamen Rider shows have this be involved in the process of turning an initially-antagonistic secondary Rider into an ally, but Kamen Rider Fourze is the only one to do this to virtually everyone he fights. Even the final boss.
- On Leverage, Nate chased all of the team members when he was previously an insurance investigator. One flashback reveals that Nate and Sophie even shot at each other when he was chasing her.
- On Disney's Davy Crockett mini-series, Mike Fink becomes friends with Davy and Georgie after the beat him in a riverboat race.
- Rumpole of the Bailey: In "Rumpole and the Married Lady", Horace Rumpole by an underhand trick makes neophyte barrister Phillida Trant (acting for the prosecution against him) quote legal precedent to such an extent that it antagonizes the judge and she loses the case. It turns out to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
- Discussed and then defied in Garrow's Law by Garrow after his duel with Silvester.
- On the short-lived Brooklyn South, an arc had two cops becoming more and more antagonistic to each other until they finally had a knockdown brawling fight, to the point of minor injuries—after which they respected each other and cooperated.
- In Star Trek, this is the major theme between the Federation and the Klingon Empire following years of bitter enmity. After Praxis exploded and would've otherwise doomed the Klingons, the Federation stepped in and helped them get back on their feet, even saving the Klingon homeworld. Within an eighty year period, they become Vitriolic Best Buds and stood side by side to oppose the Dominion when it invaded the Alpha Quadrant. It also helped (in a big way) that the Enterprise-C performed a Heroic Sacrifice while defending a Klingon outpost. An Alternate Reality Episode shows what would have happened otherwise, and it's not pretty (Klingons on the brink of defeating the Federation).
- InThe Stormlight Archive Dalinar applies this strategy during a flashback in Oathbringer. An enemy archer hits him multiple times from roughly 400 yards away. Dalinar and his elites run him down, only for Dalinar to demand he makes another such shot to prove he can duplicate the feat. He then informs the archer that he is now one of his Elites: See Quotes page.
- The West Wing:
- The last season largely focuses on the presidential election between republican Arnold Vinick and democrat Matthew Santos. The winner ends up offering his competitor the job of secretary of state.
- Ainsley Hayes, for example, got offered a job as Deputy White House Counsel after wiping the floor with Sam on a Crossfire-esque debate show. Granted, it took some time for the senior staff to take her seriously (especially Sam), but President Bartlet's first reaction was to hire her, and Leo agreed pretty quickly (even though Ainsley had written an op-ed saying that Leo should resign after his past addictions became public).
- Happens a lot in Professional Wrestling, as well; for example, this was the impetus for AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels to form a Tag Team and go after the NWA Tag Team Championship. Usually comes with a HeelFace Turn for the heel side of the previous rivalry, though the opposite happens occasionally. This happened again with Chris Jericho after coming to WWE, and he learned to sacrifice for the team.
- Subverted at WrestleMania XIX - after losing to Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho seemed to be going in for the big weepy face-turning hug... and instead boots HBK full force in the crotch.
- After CM Punk successfully defended the Ring of Honor tag team titles against Dixie and Hydro by himself at Survival Of The Fittest, Hydro challenged Punk to a one on one rematch to redeem himself...and shook Punk's hand when accepted, a sign of the code Hydro's stable, Special K, were otherwise against.
- Invoked by Kimberly at SHINE. In her effort to turn around her losing streak, she attempted to team up with every wrestler who defeated her. Leva Bates was the only one who accepted though.
- Traveller: During the Interstellar Wars a number of Vilani defected and took the Terrans side. This was especially the case with the Khimashargur who were Space Cossacks that had fled from the vilani mainstream because of philosophical differences, and held a resentment against the Vilani government.
- From Magic: The Gathering: Meet Surrak Dragonclaw, khan of the Temur, infamous for punching out a bear who later aided him and his clan in a skirmish at the cost of the bear's life. Full story here.
- In the Fate route of Fate/stay night, after defeating Illya, All-Loving Hero Shirou adopts her into his home, much against the wishes of the more pragmatic Rin and Saber.
- In Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!, Yamato gets Chris to come around to his way of doing things by defeating her with such tactics.
- Ace Attorney:
- Miles Edgeworth. A bit more like Defeat Renews Friendship, and also fuels his Character Development.
- Simon Blackquill and Nahyuta Sahdmadhi from Dual Destinies and Spirit of Justice: both come to respect the members of the Wright Anything Agency for their aptitude in the courtroom and personally come to the WAA and the Justice Law Offices with defense requests.
- In Little Busters!, this is how Masato and Kyousuke first met and became friends and so is how Riki and Masato renewed their friendship in Refrain. Masato also insists they do this to get Kengo back into the Little Busters, insisting that 'when two men cross fists, a spontaneous friendship will be formed.'
- Rosof Tions of Drowtales ends up becoming Quain'tana's most loyal follower after she defeats the leader of his minor clan and defeats him in single combat. His advice and actions led to Quain'tana's clan becoming one of the most powerful clans in their entire kingdom and he harbors an unrequited love for her.
- Played with in Misfile while most of Ash's races are nothing more than just races (some friendly, some less so), when Ash gets defeated by Kamikaze Kate it is Kate that declares Ash not only to be her friend, but surrogate "little sister".
- Played straight in Erfworld with Ansom, although this is largely due to a MacGuffin whose entire purpose is to have this result. When it raises you from the dead. Though everyone at least suspects that mind control is involved, with most people believing it completely.
- El Goonish Shive clearly wants to subvert it at the climax of Sister II, even using the title "Not Quite BFFs", but no one actually expected it in the first place.
- Our Little Adventure:
- A rather extreme example in Fite! — once Lucco takes the upper hand while fighting Guz, Guz suddenly puts down his sword and gives Lucco a big ol' hug.
- Karin-dou 4koma: Seren killed an ancient dragon after an epic battle, but they came to a Worthy Opponent-like understanding by the end. The dragon's reincarnation is now Seren's adopted daughter, Tamaryu, and they get along quite well.
- Mal and the giant flesh-eating ceiling squid in Cthulhu Slippers become this after Mal sets out to see if jiujitsu works on giant carnivorous cephalopods (answer: no). The squid even protects Mal from knife-wielding cultists.
- The squid joins Mal to fend off Cthulhu himself after a reality reset reverts Cthulhu to an uncivilized Great Old One.
- This◊ Polandball strip about Britain's and France's long history together.
Britain: "From the frozen wastelands of North America to the jungles of Africa I have fought you. Yet together, we have accomplished some amazing things. As the world changes, there is one thing that will always remain constant: the future does not seem so dark if I face it with you...my old enemy...my rival...my neighbour...my ally..."France:"...my friend."
- To a lesser extent, Rome takes a paternal interest in the Celtics (who would later become England and France) and both Celtics have fond memories of Rome as a stern but loving teacher and credit him with their future successes.
- Wyn from the web fiction serial Dimension Heroes makes a deal with Rob: if he can defeat him in battle, he'll join them in their fight against the Dark Overlord Clonar. And maybe become their friend, as well, but that might be pushing it.
- On The Guild, Codex manages to defeat Fawkes, leader of the Axis of Anarchy. He invites her to drinks, and she wakes up next to him in the morning.
- In Misfiled Dreams, Jenny loses everything she has/is to Ash. Emily and Ash eventually bring Jenny through a HeelFace Turn.
- Played straight in The Leet World with Cortez and the Domination Guy, who is hired by Cortez's insane brother Mendoza to kill him. However, Cortez earns his respect when he beats him in single combat. While the Domination Guy doesn't join Cortez's side, he does return later in the series to save Cortez's life during the final confrontation with Ahmad.
- Appropriately enough, given Stinkoman's clichéd shonen personality, in the Homestar Runner cartoon "20X6 vs. 1936", Stinkoman befriends The 1936 Homestar Runner soon after being defeated with a pea shooter.
- The gas mask wearing man in One Hundred Yard Stare becomes friends with the heroines in this manner after a short altercation.
- This is brought up by the Game Grumps during their Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) play-through.
- Chaper 3 of the Book of Villainy of Acts of Gord recounts how a thief was caught for shoplifting, and Gord allowed him to pay (the exorbitantly marked up thief-bait price) for the game he stole, rather than press charges, and the Thief, impressed by Gord's mercy, evidently, became a regular (and proper) customer.
- Parodied in Girl Chan In Paradise, where Kenstar just skips the "defeat" part and asks Yusuke (after his revelation as The Mole) to rejoin the team after about a minute's worth of building up to a fight that never happens, to which Yusuke agrees for no real reason.
- Many enemies of Team Avolition, such as the Doridian server, have since reconciled with them and become friends.
- The second part of The Salvation War after their defeat and conquest in the first has demons fighting alongside humans against Heaven, with human weapons. Some of them are also thriving in human society, having for example bankrupted Fed Ex.
- There is no GATE; we did not fight there: In the interlude *Meet the Neighbors*, Kytheus befriends Cardin Brutus, an heir to one of the neighboring provinces, by beating him thoroughly in a spar.
- RWBY: During the Tournament Arc in Season 3, Weiss and Yang face off against a pair of students from another academy, one of whom has a personal grudge against Weiss's familynote while the other spends most of the fight using childish insults to rile up Yang (which works). The girls still manage to win thanks to Weiss pulling a non-fatal Heroic Sacrifice; at first it looks like the roller girl is going to throw a tantrum, but instead she starts gushing about how awesome they were, while Weiss's opponent shows genuine respect for her act.
- Garfield and Friends: in the first episode with the singing ants, Garfield joins their ranks at the end after they ruin his picnic.
- Dinobot, of Transformers: Beast Wars, joins the Maximals after a heated swordfight with Optimus Primal (which they didn't finish since the Predacons interfered and tried killing them both), impressed by the Maximal leader's honor. (Initially the plan was to kill Optimus and take over. That he thought the other Maximals would fall in line after that says a lot about the Predacons.) Early in the second season, it is this honor and respect that brings Dinobot back from the verge of betrayal when he thinks the Predacons are on the cusp of ultimate victory.
- Lockdown in Transformers Animated was both surprised and pleased that Prowl was able to "get the drop on him", and immediately set about trying to get him as a bounty hunting partner. And possibly some other kind of partner.
- Subverted and played straight in Ben 10, where Ben, feeling some sympathy for Kevin 11 due to his Freudian Excuse, offered him this after defeating him. Kevin appeared to consider the offer, but only used the opportunity to attempt to backstab Ben. In a later episode, they did have an Enemy Mine following their capture in Gladiator Games, but Kevin attempted once again to kill Ben at the first opportunity. The trope eventually is played straight in the sequel Ben 10: Alien Force, where Kevin is once again forced to team up with Ben for a longer time, leading them to actually befriend each other, but it took a 5-year Time Skip for such a thing to happen, and later episodes reveal Kevin had to recover from his psychosis during those five years.
- Gwen says she knows this can now be true of her and her nemesis Charmcaster at the end of their final episode in Ben 10: Omniverse, since Charmcaster's now powerless and trapped in Gwen's custody, able to recover from her psychosis. Given the similarities between Ben and Kevin's rivalry plus the additional Magical Girl / Dark Magical Girl elements here, Gwen's probably right on the money (Word of God later confirmed that yes, she was.◊)
- Happens a lot in The Backyardigans everytime there's a villain. Since it's a kid's show, nobody gets killed off or arrested, so this is the only way.
- Also likely because they are using their imaginations and are all friends anyway.
- In Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, Monterey Jack only joins the team after a fight with the titular chipmunks.
- In a Popeye short, Popeye gets roped into being a matador despite his belief that bullfighting is cruel and barbaric, and finds himself facing a typical raging bull. After some cartoon hijinks and the devouring of spinach, Popeye manages to defeat the bull but refuses to kill it, earning the bull's respect, and it carries him and Olive Oyl off as Popeye sings about how he doesn't like bullfighting.
- A very rare Space Ghost example in the episode "The Time Machine". After Space Ghost defeats him, the 12th Century Viking Tarko invites him back to his lodge as his guest.
- Jonny Quest TOS episode "Calcutta Adventure". When Jonny and Hadji first meet, Jonny thinks Hadji is threatening Dr. Quest (he actually just saved Dr. Quest's life). Jonny attacks Hadji, but Hadji uses a judo move to throw Jonny away and Jonny lands in a heap. After the misunderstanding is explained, Jonny praises Hadji's judo skill and they become friends.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Nightmare Moon is defeated and purified by the Elements of Harmony.
- Discord is defeated the same way as Nightmare Moon—he even dares the Mane Six to "Friend me" just before the attack—but the Elements deem him to be undeserving (or incapable) of redemption and instead stick him right back in the Fate Worse than Death he crawled out of. Word of God states that the reason behind the different effect is that Nightmare Moon was under the influence of The Corruption, while Discord was himself a corrupting force. In "Keep Calm and Flutter On," Discord returns and the trope is inverted. Fluttershy becomes the first friend he's had in untold years, and Discord is surprised to realize how much he values her friendship. When Fluttershy finally puts her hoof down and tells Discord that he'll lose her friendship if he keeps being a dick, Discord concedes and undergoes a HeelFace Turn. Thus, Friendship Equals Defeat.
- Happens to Trixie in "Magic Duel". In this case, Twilight Sparkle defeats her by tricking her into removing the Alicorn Amulet which had boosted her powers. When Trixie realizes how much the Amulet had been corrupting her mind, she lets go of her prior grudge against Twilight and asks for forgiveness.
- Happens quite literally in "The Cutie Remark", as Season 5 Big Bad Starlight Glimmer accepts defeat and becomes Twilight Sparkle's student in the study of friendship, becoming a new addition to the Mane Six.
- Denied in "To Where And Back Again" with Chrysalis. Starlight offers her the chance to be good like Twilight did with her, but Chrysalis instead declares that she'll exact her revenge on Starlight, the aesop being that some people are beyond redemption.
- In an episode of The Simpsons, Groundskeeper Willie defends the school from a savage wolf, fighting the beast with his bare hands. A later scene shows the two of them battered and bruised and sharing a drink.
- In Kung Fu Panda: Secret of the Furious Five, a short feature that explores the backstory of Kung Fu Panda, we learn that Monkey was once a mischievous trickster, and only become good after being defeated by Oogway.
- This usually is how Lilo and Stitch tame Jumba's other experiments. Stitch fights them and, once they're subdued, Lilo finds their "one true place". Some of them, like Splodyhead (Experiment 619), even help Stitch befriend other cousins.
- Played with on Adventure Time: Finn doesn't defeat Marceline in her One-Winged Angel form, but he does wound her, which impresses her enough that she calls off their fight and returns the house that she had taken from him and Jake. The next episode has him outwit her plans to prank him, and after that they become increasingly friendly.
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Yukon Cornelius reforms a Bumble.
- The Adventures of Puss in Boots: After defeating the Sphinx, who wasn't too fond of her job guarding a magical hourglass to begin with, Puss offers her a more rewarding job as the guardian of San Lorenzo.
- After the Gems in Steven Universe finally caught Peridot, she began warming up to Steven.
Lapis: Wow, fast turnaround.
- In The Movie, a trio of Steven's enemies-turned-friends joke about it when they meet the newest addition.
Peridot: No kidding. It took me months to stop trying to kill Steven.
Bismuth: Took me like a day? Day and a half?
Lapis: I'm still on the fence.
- After Jim defeats Draal in combat in Trollhunters, but refuses to kill him, Draal becomes disgraced and unable to show his face in Trollmarket (up until the second half of the season). He decides to live with Jim as his bodyguard instead, and the two form a friendship.
- While their fight was a draw, Samurai Jack and the Scotsman become good friends after fighting one another and then teaming up to fight off some bounty hunters that had been chasing them. The Scotsman goes on to become one of Jack's dearest allies, not only saving Jack's life on one occasion but also being instrumental in the final battle against Aku.
- Kaeloo: In Episode 148, Stumpy starts to hate Eugly (who until this point was merely an acquaintance) due to a Friend Versus Lover situation, so she asks to play video games with him. When she beats him, he decides that she's cool and wants to befriend her, which she gladly accepts.