Follow TV Tropes



Go To

"I’ll be your foil, Laertes. In mine ignorance
Your skill shall, like a star i' th' darkest night,
Stick fiery off indeed."
Hamlet, Act V, scene ii

Jewelers often put shiny metal foil underneath a gem to make the stone shine brighter. A literary foil serves a similar purpose. This character highlights someone else's trait, usually by contrast.

Sidekicks often serve as foils to the hero by being something the hero himself is not. A calm and pragmatic sidekick when the hero is hotheaded, for example. In the classic good-guy versus bad guy scenario, both the hero and villain can each be considered the other's foil, in that each acts to show how the other behaves in certain situations.

These are far from the only possible pairings, however, as virtually any story with multiple characters can contrast the characters to show greater depths to them, regardless of what side they are on in the good versus evil equation. Good versus evil doesn't have to come into the picture at all.

Sometimes a foil is a flat or Bit Character, a secondary character that comes on stage, sparks a response, then fades from the story. More often, though, the foil is a recurring character that has a personality, or an opinion of things, that is different from another recurring character. This character can be the opposite of the character in many ways — or perhaps very, very, very similar, except for a crucial difference.

Many intentional foils are depicted as physical contrasts to the main character. Thin vs. fat and tall vs. short are among the most common ways of setting up a contrast. Similarly, when the heroine's hair is blonde or white, the villain tends to have dark or red hair; when the villain is blond or white haired, the hero tends to be dark or red haired. Opposing genders and races are common even in modern media, but often tend to be handled more delicately due to these types of differences being an Unfortunate Implications minefield.

As implied earlier, virtually any two characters or character types can serve as foils to each other if they're put together properly and a little good writing goes into them. However, there is a surprisingly large number of character types that exist primarily for the purpose of being a foil, usually to the main character, or in the case of a set of characters, to each other.

If you're feeling a little poetic and look around at your surroundings enough, you'll probably discover that this trope is a bit of Truth in Television.

Nothing to do with fencing or the preferred headgear of (or preferred insult against) a Conspiracy Theorist. See also Duo Tropes.

    Common Foils 

Standalone Characters who foil others:

Pairs of Foils:

Feeling & Thought foils:

Gender foils:

Situations that can arise from pitting foils against each other:

Compare Shadowland, which applies to settings, and Spiritual Antithesis, which applies to works.

Examples Subpages:

Other Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • In Watchmen, Dr. Manhattan acts as the Foil to both Rorschach and Ozymandias. Watchmen is full of these. Rorschach and Ozymandias are very obviously foils, since their lifestyles, methods and ideologies are the exact opposite (Rorschach is apathetic while Ozymandias is empathetic, Rorschach is ugly while Ozymandias is handsome, Rorschach lives in squalor while Ozymandias is rich, Rorschach is Asexual while Ozymandias might be homosexual, etc). Another obvious pair is Nite Owl II and Manhattan, enhanced by Laurie having had a relationship with both of them (Dan is receptive while Jon is distant, Dan is out of shape and middle-aged while Jon is in perfect shape and eternally thirty, etc)
  • Batman and The Joker. The Joker is possibly the only villain who Batman cannot defeat through his M.O.s of reasoned deduction and intimidation. The two are also philosophical foils in The Killing Joke. The Joker is a Nietzsche Wannabe who believes life is one big joke and the only way to deal with that is by giving in to madness. Batman is an Anti Nihilist who also believes life is meaningless but decided to create his own purpose.
  • Batman and Deadshot is another example. Both come from affluent backgrounds, but while the former had to deal with the loss of their parents, the latter had to deal with the loss of his brother over the abuse of said parents. While Batman is an Anti-Hero who fights crime for the sake of justice, Deadshot is an Anti-Villain who often kills those worse than him for the sake of money. It's also exemplified by their fighting styles — Batman is a gadget/martial arts master who Doesn't Like Guns, while Deadshot is a Gunslinger with Improbable Aiming Skills.
  • Superman and Lex Luthor. They are the two most influential people in Metropolis by a long shot. Their differing attitudes (and forms of influence) towards their precious city are the reason why It's Personal between them.
  • Superman and Brainiac as well. The former is an alien who has allowed himself to become fully human. The latter is the very cold, remote, and incredibly dangerous alien that people like Luthor expect Superman to be.
  • Superman and General Zod as well. Superman is the ultimate immigrant, bringing the best of his homeland to his new world, and standing for the peaceful synthesis of culture through understanding. Zod is the reason why people fled the Old Country in the first place, and when he travels, it's only to head an invasion force.
  • Superman and Darkseid. Superman representing the idea that people are basically good, Darkseid believing that people cannot be trusted with their own free will. In short, Hope Bringer versus Hope Crusher.
  • For a more allied/friendly flavor, Batman and Superman are often this to each other in terms of Brains and Brawn, respectively.
  • Supergirl and Lobo in the Red Daughter of Krypton storyline. Says writer Tony Bedard: "Lobo is there as a sort of dark reflection of her. They're both super-powerful loners left over from dead planets. Lobo has channeled his power and rage into becoming the most dangerous bounty-hunter/assassin in the galaxy. Supergirl's still trying to figure out what to do with her power and her lot in life. Tangling with Lobo will show her one path she might go down. It's really a cautionary tale for her, and she'll come away knowing that she could easily end up like him if she doesn't get her act together."
  • X-Men and all anti-mutant organizations. Charles Xavier and Magneto, as well. Former friends with similar goals (acceptance for mutants), but vastly different philosophies and methodologies (helping humanity and proving their worth in the process vs. warring against humanity and overthrowing or exterminating them).
  • Captain America and Red Skull. One's a World War II hero and the symbol of the American Dream. The other is the ultimate Nazi.
  • Iron Man and Mandarin: Being opposites on the Tech vs Magic scale. Additionally, where Tony is the ultimate futurist and is firmly ensconced within capitalism, The Mandarin is a feudalist who longs for a return to the past.
  • The Incredible Hulk and The Leader. Also Hulk and Thunderbolt Ross.
  • The Mighty Thor and Loki - again, one is Flying Brick, the other is trickster.
  • Silver Surfer and Mephisto. One is pretty much the personification of the devil, and hates the other just because he's so damn good.
  • Fantastic Four: Reed Richards and Doctor Doom. They have very similar personalities (bossy, arrogant, brilliant, fascinated by science, prone to Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness), with jealousy being the culprit for Doom's Face–Heel Turn-inspiring hatred for Reed. The fundamental difference between them is exemplified by their divergent reactions to their respective Greatest Failures.
  • In The Avengers, Iron Man and Captain America can be seen as foils to each other, especially in Civil War. Cap is a Depression-era, strong-willed, virtuous Cape embodying the eternal resilience of The American Dream, and Iron Man is a rich, neurotic, alcoholic genius constantly scrambling to cope with the flaws of democracy, the possibilities of Police Brutality, American abuses of power, and Corrupt Corporate Executives.
  • In Hellblazer, John Constantine has his best mate and sidekick Chas Chandler as an example. Both these two are good friends, but often different in many ways. John is cynical, while Chas is an optimist. John is a lazy bum who is a addicted to adventure, while Chas is a hardworking taxi driver who wants nothing more than to keep himself in one piece. But these two are inseparable even in the hardest times of their friendship.
  • In Jeremiah, by Hermann: The protagonist's partner, Kurdy Malloy, is much more cynical, streetwise and childish than he is. Jeremiah is no fool by any means, and he is an action guy, but he is much nobler and more romantic than his friend, and puts more trust in others.
  • Corto Maltese, by Hugo Pratt: he does not have a permanent "sidekick", but many times he has adventure partners who are much crazier and more violent than him: Rasputin, an Ethiopian warrior, A Chinese Assassin girl. He also has had partners who are more of the "professor" type, which turns him into the guy who leads the action.
  • Astro City features The Cape, Samaritan, and his arch-enemy the Infidel. Samaritan comes from the distant future (having come back in time to avert a Bad Future), sees the good in everyone around him. Infidel comes from the distant past, sees everyone as small-minded and ignorant. Samaritan is a strict minimalist in the use of his powers, while Infidel uses them for every single task he's faced with. Both use Appropriated Appellation — Samaritan made his debut saving lives, while Infidel got his name from deliberately breaking every taboo he can think of.
  • Wolverine and Cyclops have always had a relationship like this, though it goes deeper than it might appear at first glance. Wolverine is a scruffy loner who wears his rage on his sleeve, Cyclops is a clean-cut leader known for his stoic personality and his deeply repressed self-doubt; Wolverine is a skilled hand-to-hand brawler with brute strength on his side, Cyclops is a cold strategist with a long-range laser cannon built into his eyes; Wolverine is a veteran soldier and former mercenary who was Walking the Earth for years before he met the X-Men, Cyclops grew up at the Xavier Institute through his awkward adolescent years; Wolverine remains aloof from the team, Cyclops sees them as his only true family; Wolverine turns out to have a surprisingly idealistic heart under his gruff exterior, Cyclops turns out to be surprisingly manipulative and calculating under his respectable exterior.
  • Reed Richards and Victor Van Damme from Ultimate Fantastic Four both share a similar backstory, suffering at the hands of abusive fathers, pouring all their energy into science at a young age. Unlike Victor, however, Reed had a loving mother and younger sister, as well as a best friend in the form of Ben Grimm, which kept his life from being a living hell. Ultimate Mystery and Ultimate Doom shows us that even a loving mother, sister and best friend isn't enough to keep Reed from going over the deep end to the point where the heroes are wondering if he's just Doom II.
  • Runaways and Young Avengers:
    • They were the two primary teenage teams of Marvel in the '00s. Outside the fact that they're both powered crimefighters in the teenage range filled with a wide assortment of power types and origins, they contrast each other greatly. The Runaways did not jump at the call, they were shoved, on the other hand, the Young Avengers all became superheroes with the full intent and desire to be. Runaways eschew many of the tropes associated with the genre, as in they don't have costumes or codenames (their attempts to adopt them fell flat). In contrast, the Young Avengers are a much more traditional superhero team complete with costumes and codenames. Runaways always had more females than males, while the Young Avengers (being the more traditional team) always had more males than females, adhering to Two Girls to a Team. Runaways have a villainous lineage involving their parents and trying to atone for their sins. For comparison, the Young Avengers take on heroic legacies. Runaways were based in Los Angeles, Young Avengers were based in New York City.
    • This is highlighted in the Civil War event, where the two crossed over for the first time. While both were opposed to the Superhuman Registration Act, they entered and ended the war in different ways. The Young Avengers, based in New York, were in the epicenter of the conflict and were acutely aware of the act from the beginning, and in fact were captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. while fighting against it, but rescued by Captain America and recruited into the Secret Avengers. Whereas the Runaways, based in Los Angeles, had comparatively few superhumans and were far away from the resistance, unable to make their presence felt, and it was only when S.H.I.E.L.D. were deployed to LA to capture west coast superhumans did they take action. Upon meeting each other, it was a rocky start as the Young Avengers wanted to help and recruit the other to the Anti-Reg side, but the Runaways distrusted them, leading to a clash of egos (the Runaways weren't exactly fond of the Young Avengers beforehand, either). In the end, they were able to work together and parted on amicable terms. However, the Runaways decided they wanted no part in the conflict afterwards and became neutral, whereas the Young Avengers stayed as part of the war until the very end.
  • Knights of the Old Republic has its hero Zayne and villain Haazen. Both were incompetent Padawans, routinely humiliated, but best friends with the most outstanding member of their class. But while Zayne accepts that he's going to flunk, Haazen expected to skate by on his friend's coattails. Zayne didn't blame anyone for his expected failure; Haazen blamed everyone in the Galaxy except himself. While Zayne was ready to find a new path, Haazen trailed after his friend and grew so bitter that he betrayed him to his death. Then Haazen spent the next decades trying to rot the man's legacy, while Zayne is so true to Jedi principles he outdoes most of the actual Jedi in the story.
  • Elorin to Praxton in White Sand. While Praxton is a Fantasy-Forbidding Father who attempts to bend rules to force Kenton to resign from his aspirations and resorts to ad persona to humiliate him, Elorin is more worried about Kenton's safety, yet ultimately states that it's Kenton's decision and enforces the rules to let him participate in the exam.
  • In Batman the multiple Robins have historically been used as foils for their mentor and surrogate father Bruce Wayne, as well as to each other. Since they're effectively his sons, each has a little bit of Bruce in him, and each gives us a bit of insight into the kind of man Bruce might have been if his life had turned out a little different.
    • Dick Grayson shows us how Bruce might have turned out if he'd been adopted by a loving family after his parents' murder instead of growing up in Wayne Manor with only his butler for company. Where Bruce is moody, brooding, suspisicous of others, somewhat emotionally stunted, and a bit of a loner, Dick is cheerful, upbeat, optimistic, a born showman, and one of the most trusted and well-liked men in the superhero community. And where Bruce is still continually haunted by his parents' murder, Dick has largely come to terms with his parents' death and learned to move forward. As the superhero Nightwing, he also wears a simple jumpsuit with an eye-catching bright blue motif, in contrast to Bruce's somber black cape and cowl. Among the Robins, he's known as "The Charming One".
    • Jason Todd shows us how Bruce might have turned out if he'd been born into poverty instead of the wealthiest family in Gotham. Where Bruce had the advantage of growing up in a safe home environment after his parents' death, Jason was forced to live on the streets, where theft and violence were a way of life. Even after Bruce takes him under his wing, he never quite lets go of the inherent anger of feeling forgotten by society, and grows into an impulsive young man with a noticeable propensity for violence. As the vigilante Red Hood, he outright rejects Bruce's refusal to kill criminals, choosing to deal out justice with a gun. Among the Robins, he's known as "The Brutal One".
    • Tim Drake shows us how Bruce might have turned out if he'd had a more stable childhood, and had gotten a chance to choose crime-fighting instead of being pushed into it by tragedy. Unlike Bruce and the previous Robins, he starts out as a generally normal middle-class kid with no special training or experience in combat, but he voluntarily offers himself up as Bruce's sidekick after using his natural detective skills to deduce his true identity. As the superhero Red Robin, he even becomes the only person besides Bruce to earn the moniker "Detective" from Ra's al-Ghul. Among the Robins, he's known as "The Clever One".
    • Damien Wayne shows us how Bruce might have turned out if he'd never gotten a chance to have a carefree childhood or loving parents before devoting himself to becoming the perfect warrior, and had simply been molded into a killing machine when he was still a child. As a Child Soldier born into the League of Assassins, he shows us Bruce's Training from Hell taken to its disturbing logical conclusion. Where Bruce at least had the luxury of choosing to put himself through years of physical and mental training when he decided to become a crime-fighter, Damien was pushed into it by the adults in his life, and essentially became a Living Weapon used in other people's conflicts. Where the other Robins learned to become better crime-fighters under Bruce's tutelage, Damien just had to learn how to have normal human relationships, and how to discern between crime-fighting and simple murder. Among the Robins, he's known as "The Deadly One".
  • DC Rebirth and it's stories have slowly built up a idealistic vs cynical conflict between two of DC's most iconic characters: Superman the alien with godlike powers who embraces humanity, and Doctor Manhattan, a human with godlike powers who has lost his humanity, the focus on this being the 2017 Doomsday Clock event.

    Fan Works 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Goku and Freeza. Freeza's cool and collected demeanor takes Goku's Idiot Hero personality Up to Eleven.
  • Sword Art Online Abridged likes to play characters off its take on Kirito:
    • Asuna is initially introduced as Kirito's opposite, a complete noob to video games who doesn't even know how to open SAO's menu, but with natural talent and months of work she manages to become a successful and high-ranking member of one of the game's top guilds. But as the series goes on and we learn more about her, it becomes apparent that Asuna might be even more messed-up than Kirito, she's just better at hiding it.
    • The series also manages to rebuild the Not So Different dynamic between Kirito and Kayaba. Both are Insufferable Geniuses who think they're Surrounded by Idiots, both feel like they're at their best when they've escaped into a virtual world, and they even get each others' movie references. But by the end of the first season, Kirito's gone through enough Character Development to be willing to fight to save his fellow players, even if he despises them, and even if it means giving up his heroic existence in SAO.
    • Season Two introduces Suguha, who in this treatment is a Little Sister Bully who revels in being able to thrash Kirito in kendo and constantly belittles him with sarcasm and insults. Which is to say that she behaves just like Kirito did in SAO at the start of the series, except in real life.
  • Ultra Fast Pony, "Hippocratic Oafs". In the source material, Trixie was already Twilight's Shadow Archetype. Here, the two of them are shown to be exactly the same — Trixie is even renamed Blue Twilight — in order to highlight the absurdity of Ponyville treating the two of them differently.
    Twilight: There's no such pony as Blue Twilight!
    Blue Twilight: Everyone look at my magical skills. I don't need friends!
    Twilight: Holy crap, it really is blue me!
  • In the Deliver Us From Evil Series, Inspector Patterson serves as a stark foil to Sherlock Holmes, though the two do not even meet in the first book. The people who know these men are unsettled by the similarities (right down to nearly-identical looks), but they also see the differences. Patterson is basically Sherlock Holmes Up to Eleven. Patterson works as a deconstruction of the popular image of Sherlock Holmes, both in-universe and in Real Life. The author has said, "I think that by Patterson living the image Holmes attempts to project, it makes Holmes that much more human."
  • In the Pony POV Series, Fluttercruel manages to be this to herself. More specifically, the Epilogue timeline version of her shows how much of a monster the main universe 'Cruel isn't, even prior to her Character Development and Heel–Face Turn. Word of God says the primary difference is that Epilogue!Fluttercruel was raised by Discord whereas POV!Fluttercruel was raised by Fluttershy.
  • In the Simpsons AU fic The Fourth Simpson Child, Lisa and Samantha serve as stark foils to each other. Lisa is cold, self-absorbed and cynical, and, as The Un-Favourite, motivated entirely by jealousy of her older sister. Samantha on the other hand is a friendly Wide-Eyed Idealist who is Homer and Marge's favourite. Samantha is legitimately talented, but ditzy and is kind to everyone she meets (as seen with the bullies, Fat Tony and eventually Sideshow Bob). Lisa is less talented, but is a Smug Snake Insufferable Genius, has virtually no contact with anyone except her family and she has no friends. Even their bedrooms play off of each other. Samantha's room has light blue cloud wallpaper, a "WELCOME" notice on the door, with pictures on the wall of herself and her friends, in which she is always smiling. Lisa's room has dark red wallpaper, has a "GO AWAY" notice on the door and has pictures of herself with a sour expression on her face.
  • In The Flynns Move To Springfield Isabella and Lisa are foils to each other. Isabella is a kind, friendly Naïve Newcomer. Lisa is a spoiled, vain Alpha Bitch who treats others like dirt. Lisa is initially an Affably Evil Villain with Good Publicity, whilst Isabella is largely unnoticed by classmates. However, when Isabella gets the lead role in the school play, their positions flip, with Isabella becoming more popular and Lisa becoming more pshycopathic as jealousy begins to take her over. Essentially, the higher one ascends, the lower the other falls.
    • Several more... benevolent examples occur in another crossover A Tale of Two Geniuses, in which most of the drama and humour comes from the similarities and differences of the leads.
    • Bart vs. Phineas: Both are quite clever (and have a healthy Friendly Rivalry), but have differing personalities, as Phineas is idealistic, sweet-natured and well-mannered, while Bart is cynical, sarcastic and rude.
    • Bart vs. Ferb: Both are sidekicks, with genuine respect for each other. They both have a dark side, but they have different personalities. Ferb is mild-tempered and quietly influential, preventing Phineas from going overboard, while Bart's flamboyance and irresponsibility are the tip of his self-destructive behaviour, leading to a Sibling Rivalry with his "genius" (Lisa).
    • Lisa vs. Isabella: Both are intelligent young girls. However, Isabella is a lot more calmer and friendlier than the socially awkward, short-tempered Lisa.
    • David Shapiro (the story's Big Bad) himself has traits that resonate or clash with each of the leads. He's an almost giftedly intelligent inventor (Phineas). He's quite theatrical and self-centred (Bart). He blatantly manipulates emotions (Ferb). He disregards human life and freedom (Lisa). He lacks any and all empathy (Isabella) and is coldly logical (again, Phineas).
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Dr. Light and Dr. Wily contrast in every way, from personality to backstory.
    • Kalinka and Tron Bonne; both have an attraction to Mega Man but only one is love. Also, Roll and Tron both care for their robot companions but are on opposite sides of the law.
    • Mega Man, Proto Man, and Bass all qualify too.
    • George Cochran is an honest politician who believes in equality for robots, but his son William is a fervent anti-robot racist.
  • In Ragnarok: Ragna Guardian, Reiko and Roku are quite opposite to each other. Reiko is sweet and Roku is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold for starters.
  • In Mega Man Reawakened, Megaman and Bass are both the doctors' grandsons, and humans who have been rebuilt as robots, but which side they're on is different.
    • Bass and Blues are driven by power, but while Bass is hotheaded, Blues is calm and rational.
  • In Necessary To Win, a Girls und Panzer and Saki crossover found here, there are a few cases.
    • Maho and Teru. The former is forced to keep distance from Miho as a result of having to be the Nishizumi heiress, which involves a cold and professional facade, but follows that role and fulfills her mother's expectations so that Miho will be able to live freely. The latter does not care whether her parents approve or disapprove of her doing tankery, and treats Saki coldly while putting on a cheerful face for the public.
    • Yukari and Nodoka's families. Yukari has not made many friends through tankery until recently, but while her parents don't understand tankery well, they are supportive of her interest in it. By contrast, Nodoka has made friends through tankery, but her parents disapprove of her doing it.
    • Also Hana's mother and Nodoka's father. Hana's mother is, in most cases, warm and caring to Hana, but also takes it personally when Hana goes into tankery against her wishes, since she is a traditional woman and wants Hana to inherit the Isuzu school of flower arranging. Nodoka's father is stern and emotionally distant, thinks tankery is a waste of time that distracts Nodoka from working toward a good job, but according to Nodoka, would not think as much of tradition and has a less specific goal for her, career-wise.
    • The Nishizumi and Atago families. The former is highly traditional and is determined to win at all costs, while the latter has been established more recently, and is more concerned with players improving themselves, including learning from defeat. Specific members also contrast with each other.
      • Shiho Nishizumi is cold, ruthless and distant from others. Masae Atago is warm, personable, and cares a great deal for her children and the rest of her family.
      • Their eldest daughters. Maho Nishizumi is outwardly cold, and reveals very little about herself, including how much she cares for her sister, to her subordinates. Hiroe Atago is hot tempered and somewhat brutally honest, while more openly caring for her younger sister.
      • Their younger daughters. Miho Nishizumi initially wanted to emulate her sister, but after realizing that Maho wanted her to find her own way of tankery, set out to find a way of tankery different from that of her family. Kinue Atago was initially uninterested in tankery, but once getting involved, is largely content to follow her sister's footsteps.
  • In the The Legend of Korra fanfic Book Five: Legends, Temuji is an obvious one for Korra. He and Fumiko also act as one for Mako and Bolin collectively, as a pair of bending siblings who’ve lost all family except for each other. Their (original) elements even match. Retroactively some elements of Temuji also match Asami’s story arc about missing a deceased parent, though whereas Asami came to terms with this, sadly Temuji did not.
  • Sanduleak serves as this to Betelgeuse in Say It Thrice. Both are poltergeists who were named for stars and have annoying limitations on their powers. However, Betelgeuse is more of an Anti-Hero, with his own dubious moral code and standards, and has a Morality Pet (Lydia) who keeps him from being too awful. Sanduleak, on the other hand, has all of Betelgeuse's flaws turned Up to Eleven without any of his virtues to provide counterbalance. Naturally, they despise one another.
  • In Sleeping Beetle, the Arc Villain Vasile is this for Beetlejuice. Their origin stories bear enough similarities that they started out the same way, but over time Vasile's bloodthirst and desire for revenge caused him to become a kind of vampire ghost known as a strigoi mort, making him literally bloodthirsty. Beetlejuice, on the other hand, was content to funnel his powers into annoying the hell out of others for his own amusement, and has mellowed over time instead of getting worse.
  • Metroid: Kamen Rider Generations:
    • Samus has some dynamics of this when it comes to two of her Kamen Rider companions, Mitsuzane Kureshima (Kamen Rider Ryugen) and Gou Shijima (Kamen Rider Mach)
      • Samus to Mitsuzane: Both have their own dark sides and different personalities. Samus is mostly unaffected by any traumatic experiences back in her world, while Mitsuzane is utterly an insecure man and can be interpreted as what Samus would be like if he keeps losing the people he's close to. Samus represents the idealism and morality that Micchy has since lost, while Micchy himself serves as a moral compass and Love Interest to Samus. On the positive side, they are motivated to protect humankind from any threat that no one has ever faced.
      • Samus to Gou: Both are incredibly athletic at a metaphysical level. Samus does not brag about her accomplishments as the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy as she lives to fight as her sole duty. Gou is outwardly loudmouthed, arrogant and showy, doesn't have any problem to make a dramatic entrance.
    • Gou and Mitsuzane are this to one another. Both are somewhat cynical and tend to rub each other the wrong way, making jokes at anyone's expense to hide their pain. Mitsuzane is mild-mannered and level-headed in contrast to the Motor Mouthed and hot-tempered Gou.
  • In Xenophobia Samus serves as this to Ripley given to their similar personalities and their combat experiences. Both have a parent-child bonds with Hector and Newt, respectively.
  • Sasuke becomes this to Obito in Growing Strong. Both are Uchiha boys who fell in love with a female teammate whose name starts by "Ri", who serves as their Morality Chain and whose death awakens the Mangekyo Sharingan for their suitors. However, while Obito was unable to save Rin and decided to destroy reality for replacing it with an eternal dream, Sasuke did succeed to bring Riko back from the dead. Oh, and it costs him one Sharingan, which is another similarity with Obito.
  • When Dumbledore compares a young Tom Riddle and Artemis Fowl in King of Serpents: Game of Shadows, he reflects that both of them are brilliant, deceptive and curious handsome youths. However, while Riddle is able to associate with people without truly connecting with them, Artemis utterly fails to bond with people he doesn't actually like. Also, Artemis has no interest in ruling the world, because he refuses to deal with human stupidity.
  • Ash and Red are constantly compared to one another in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines. Ash is an energetic, friendly trainer whose strategy focuses on flexible and unorthodox tactics, while Red is less emoting and friendly and is more focused on power and traditional tactics. Ash trains a Pokemon to individual strengths while Red will train it to it's species traits. Both possess abilities that can help them win battles: Ash chooses to not use his because he sees it as cheating while Red sees his as a natural talent that if he didn't use would be the equivalent of a fast person not running as fast as he could. One could see the two as foils between Anime trainers and Game trainers, just minus I.V and E.V considerations.
  • Akane in Ranma: Happenstance Gone Right serves as a foil to Ukyou and Shampoo to highlight why they're better fiances for Ranma. Ukyou and Shampoo are both extremely skilled cooks whereas Akane is a Lethal Chef. Akane claims to be a serious martial artist despite rarely training and treating martial arts as a hobby while Ukyou and Shampoo train constantly in their free time. Both girls are openly affectionate with Ranma whereas Akane is a world class Tsundere. And finally, while Akane is freaked out by Ranma's girl form, neither Ukyou nor Shampoo have a problem with it.
  • In The Spectrum Game, Histo foils Inigo in many ways. They are both abrasive people who are relatively disliked in school, but otherwise they couldn't be any more different than night and day:
  • In Reluctant Hero, Pakku and Yugato are highly skilled Masters in their elements, chosen amongst the White Lotus to teach the Avatar. While Pakku is brutal verging on sadistic with his student, gaining Zuko's hatred and mistrust, Yugato does his best to help the youth to open and comfort him. It can be linked to their respective opinions about the new Avatar: Pakku sees a willful teen whose pride needs to be broken, Yugato sees a confused boy struggling with his newfound destiny and the duties coming with it.
    • Also, the Water and Fire princesses, Yue and Azula, couldn't be different if they tried. Yue is the ultimate Nice Girl who's ready to help a boy from another nation, while Azula is so callous she hopes her own brother died to let her gain the throne.
  • Fateblack Reflection: Saber and Ichigo are polar opposites of one another. Saber is a stoic knight with a golden sword who wears predominantly white and blue, whereas Ichigo is an emotional samurai with a jet black blade whose bankai outfit incorporates black and red. Saber's Excalibur is a beam of holy light, while Ichigo's Getsuga Tensho is a ray of spiritual darkness. Even their motivations are opposite: Saber desperately wants the Holy Grail whereas Ichigo has no interest in it at all and is just participating in the war to keep the Grail out of the hands of anyone who might misuse it for something horrible.
  • Sauron and Fankil, the two main antagonists of The Heart Trilogy. They're both ancient evil entities and former lieutenants of the first Dark Lord Morgoth. Sauron, Morgoth's second-in-command, is a corrupted Maia who has lost his physical form, while Fankil, Morgoth's son, is a demon with a physical form. After Morgoth was cast into the void, Sauron took the title of the Dark Lord for himself and aspires to conquer Middle-Earth for himself. Fankil in turn regards Morgoth as the true Dark Lord for whom the world belongs to, and his goal is to free Morgoth and serve him as he rules the world. While the more far-reaching yet bodiless Sauron commands vast armies, Fankil works alone with his disfigured yet powerful body. Due to reasons related to their goals, Sauron targets Smaug while Fankil pursues the dragon's love interest Kathryn.

     Film — Animated 
  • Brent and Flint in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, especially in the first two acts of the film. At first, Brent is everything Flint is not: famous and well-liked by the whole town, if not the smartest fish in the school. But once Flint's invention gets going, their positions flip, with Flint being cheered by the crowds and Brent largely forgotten.
  • Gru and Vector in Despicable Me. Gru was motivated by his "Well Done, Son!" Guy from his mother and became a Jerkass with a Heart of Gold because of his desire to become an astronaut and go to the moon. Vector on the other hand isn't shown being motivated by anything and is a spoiled rich kid thanks to his father Mr Perkins. Gru struggled to get where he is and is legitimately talented and likes making friends (as seen with the Minions, Dr Nefario and eventually the girls). Vector doesn't have any real talent presumably getting all his technology from his dad, has a no non-aggressive contract with anyone except his father and no one is invited to his house. Even their houses play off of each other. Gru's house is normal, though slightly large and foreboding, with a secret underground lair and is between other houses. Vector's house just screams look at me! look at me! and is all alone.
  • For Beauty and the Beast, Disney gave the story an antagonist in the form of Gaston to contrast with the Beast, with the Beast being ugly (well, by human standards, and that was before Furry Fandom exploded) but having a heart of gold and Gaston being handsome (somewhat) but having the heart of a pig. The earlier French film adaptation did something similar with Avenant, further driving the comparison home in the ending where Avenant turns into the Beast and the Beast turns into a handsome prince who looks suspiciously similar to Avenant.
  • Quite a few foils appear in Wreck-It Ralph:
    • First off, Ralph and Felix. The former is giant and destroys things while the latter is short and fixes things. Not to mention Felix is universally loved by everyone while Ralph isn't.
    • There is also the cheerful, Adorkable Felix with the cynical, rough Calhoun.
    • Ralph's Gentle Giant nature is contrasted with Vanellope's initial Bratty Half-Pint behavior, though they eventually get along and bond over their desire for acceptance.
    • The most major one would be Ralph and King Candy/Turbo, who is a dark reflection of what Ralph's dissatification could have led to. Both leave their game in order to take what they think is due but whereas Ralph is ultimately good-hearted and makes up for his mistakes, Turbo cares for no one except himself and never learned from his mistakes in attempting to take control of other games. Also, Ralph was the antagonist of his game but becomes a hero where Turbo started as the hero of his game but becomes a villain.
  • Ronin the seasoned warrior, to Nod, the rookie warrior in Epic.
  • Waternoose and Dean Hardscrabble from Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University respectively are excellent foils to each other. Both are people in a high position and rooted in the old ways of scaring. Dean Hardscrabble's cold, harsh personality and her demonic design contrasts Waternoose's grandfatherly, warm personality and his relatively harmless appearance. More about them is revealed throughout the films and Waternoose would go to extreme lengths (including kidnapping children) to support his company, while Dean Hardscrabble learned from her errors of prejudice. In the end, the kindly old man becomes hard and villainous, hindering the heroes but the strict headmistress becomes kinder, wishing Mike and Sulley good luck.
    • Mike and Sulley, especially in Monsters University. Mike is very knowledgeable and skilled in scare tactics and theory but lacks the physical appearance and instinct of a true scarer. Sulley is gifted at scaring, having the build and natural abilities but lacks the technical aspect. Not to mention how people react to them. Mike is mostly ignored or seen as a nuisance whereas Sulley attracts attention and others admire him.
    • The Scare Floor scene in the first film highlights how different Sulley and Randall are when it comes to their job. Sulley is clearly enjoying what he does, remains energetic even to the end and has great teamwork with his assistant/coach Mike. Randall on the other hand is obsessed with outdoing Sulley, seen being tired halfway into the job and shouting abuse at his assistant.
  • Kristoff and Hans are foils to each other in Frozen. Hans is a sensitive, gentleman prince who experiences Love at First Sight with Anna. Kristoff is a rugged ice harvester who's a bit of a grump and chastises Anna for getting engaged to someone she just met. When Hans is revealed as the true villain, the foils are switched around; Kristoff actually has a Hidden Heart of Gold and has genuine feelings for Anna while Hans was manipulating her to think he loved her the whole time.
    • Hans manages to be a Foil for almost every major character in the film as he is shown as an Evil Counterpart to several of them, such as Elsa, Olaf, and even the Duke, Sven, and Anna herself.
    • Anna and Elsa, as a Sibling Yin-Yang.
    • In A Frozen Heart, it's shown that Hans' family, especially his father and brothers, can be considered as polar opposites of Agnarr and Idunn. While Agnarr and Idunn loved their children and each other, King Westergaard only favored sons who were most loyal and useful to him, while apathetically treating his youngest son as a nuisance, is at best indifferent to his wife, and encouraged his sons to torment Hans out of contempt and cruelty. And while both are responsible for a child developing depression, Agnarr only wanted to keep Elsa and Anna safe, but Hans' father is unfeeling towards Hans.
      • On another note, the Southern Isles is the complete opposite of Arendelle. While Arendelle seems to be a democratic monarchy whose queen and princess are open and friendly towards their people, the Southern Isles is a totalitarian Police State run by a violent man whose wrath knows no bounds, and treats his subjects like trash and his sons as his sycophantic enforcers.
      • Sibling relations. While Anna got along with her sister and wanted to reconcile with Elsa, and vice versa, Hans and his 12 older brothers do not get along with each other, as their father deliberately encouraged violence within his large family.
  • Hiccup and the Big Bad Drago in How to Train Your Dragon 2. Both grew up fearing dragons before overcoming that fear and realizing that dragons could work with humans. They even both have artificial limbs; by contrast, Hiccup uses a gentle touch and Drago uses a harsh boot. But whereas Hiccup is curious and compassionate with working together with dragons, Drago seeks to rule over them through fear, brute force and intimidation. Hiccup works as a team with his dragon while Drago commands and orders his dragon.
  • The Book of Life:
    • Manolo and Joaquin. Both are skilled in their respective talents; however, Manolo is a Humble Hero, and Joaquin veers into The Fighting Narcissist. The two worry about living up to their fathers' expectations, except Manolo refuses to do so if it means killing the bull, but Joaquin will do anything, even using the Medal of Everlasting Life to do so.
    • Manolo and Xibalba. Both are Determinators concerned with gaining the favor of the women they love, but Xibalba is much shadier and willing to hurt others to achieve his goals, a sharp contrast to Nice Guy Manolo.
    • A rare marriage example with La Muerte and Xibalba. They are both Gods, but that's about the only thing they have in common. Xibalba thinks humans are selfish and unnecessary creatures; he is made out of everything icky and slimy in the world, and therefore hated and/or feared by all. On the other hand, La Muerte believes that mankind is good. She is a colorful character made out of everything good and sweet in the world, and therefore beloved by all.
  • In Big Hero 6, Professor Callaghan and Krei are explicitly set up as foils at the expo, with Krei wanting to profit off of Hiro's invention while Callaghan wants Hiro to use his talents for something more.
    • Hiro and Yokai/Callaghan. Both are genius inventors who lost a loved one and most of their actions in the film were driven by their grief and need for revenge. However, whereas Hiro learned to see the error in his actions and accept his loss, Callaghan was too mad by their grief to change and refused to let go of their bitterness. Also, Hiro was surrounded by friends and family who supported and helped him get through his depression while Callaghan kept their pain private and didn't tell anyone.
  • In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Vitani and Nuka are foils. Both grew up with an abusive, neglectful mother, and both were embittered by the experience. But Vitani takes the first opportunity she can to leave her mother, and grows up to be a respected member of the Outlander pride. Nuka never breaks away from his mother's beliefs and seeks validation through bullying others (eventually dying in an attempt to murder Simba).
  • Po and Lord Shen in Kung Fu Panda 2. Both are the victims of traumatic pasts, Po witnessing the deaths of his mother and most of his species, and Shen being banished by his parents for causing it. But while Po eventually comes to grips with his past and moves on, Shen is consumed by his past and refuses to let go which ultimately gets him killed.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games emphasizes this, introducing the Shadowbolts who are introduced with Versus Character Splash. Of particular note is Human Twilight Sparkle contrasting to Sunset Shimmer. Besides being a Shrinking Violet loner contrast to Sunset Shimmer's tight circle of friends, she's a major contrast to Sunset's own path to villainy. Sunset was an Alpha Bitch who sought to use magic to dominate and was stopped by Pony Twilight Sparkle. Human Twilight Sparkle was driven to villainy by peer pressure and sought to understand magic.
  • Zootopia: Judy looks like a By-the-Book Cop, but is willing to be a Cowboy Cop in pursuit of justice and defy her species role, while Nick is a conman who deliberately lives up to the stereotypes about foxes while following the law to the letter. note  Both faced prejudice, but while Judy became a determined optimist (who can also be manipulative), Nick became a manipulative cynic (who's gradually becomes more of an optimist).
  • Cars 3:
    • Jackson Storm is one to Lightning Mc Queen. He is a rude, arrogant, hotshot rookie racer, which is exactly how Lightning was in the first film. Lightning in the meanwhile has become an older racing legend.
    • Lightning himself has become one to Doc Hudson and the King, needing to choose between retiring with dignity, being forced into retirement, or trying to Take a Third Option.
    • Jackson Storm and Cruz Ramirez. Jackson was practically built to win races while Cruz was always discouraged from trying. Jackson is a black car and Cruz is a bright yellow car. Jackson and Cruz have completely different attitudes in regards to Lightning. Jackson sees him as someone to beat, while Cruz truly admires him. Jackson trains heavily on the simulator while Cruz has learned both from and alongside Lightning to deal with the unexpected on the track which helps her beat him.
  • Clayton is a foil to Tarzan. This example is quite similar to Gaston and the Beast. Despite Clayton growing up in civilization and Tarzan growing up thinking he was a wild animal, it is the former who acts more like a wild animal and the latter who is more civilized.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The heart of much of the humor and drama in The Avengers is the similarities and differences of the leads.
      • Steve Rogers vs. Tony Stark: Both are tied to Howard Stark and motivated by a sense of American patriotism and to bring peace. But where Steve is idealistic, sweet-natured, well-mannered and uses his intelligence to defeat his enemies, Tony is cynical, snarkish, rude and rushes in to fight.
      • Bruce Banner vs. Tony Stark: Both are genius scientists with genuine respect for each other. They both have a dark side, but they have different personalities. Bruce is mild and cautious to control his id while Tony's flamboyance and irresponsibility are the tip of his self-destructive behavior.
      • Steve Rogers vs. Thor: Both are old-fashioned in ideals and aesthetics, initially unease on modern Earth and are driven with a sense of duty for their homeland.
      • Doctor Stephen Strange vs Tony Stark: Both start out as being self-centered, reckless men who care about pleasure and success until a life-changing accident brings them down a few pegs. The difference is Tony (as Iron Man) uses technology while Strange uses Magic. Additionally, Stark gets the chance to stroke his own ego for good by becoming a beloved superhero, while Strange learns humility by fighting battles kept away from the public eye.
      • Loki himself has traits that resonate or clash with each of the Avengers. He's from Asgard and of royalty (Thor). He's clever and loves theatrics (Tony). He manipulates emotions (Bruce). He blatantly disregards human life and freedom (Steve). He lacks empathy (Black Widow) and disregards free will (Hawkeye).
    • In Guardians of the Galaxy, Yondu Udonta serves as a foil to Thanos on a personal level. Both have a fearsome reputation, and "adopt" alien children and raise them to serve their own agendas (Peter as a Ravager and Gamora/Nebula as Thanos's personal muscle) and eventually their adopted kids betray both of them. However, Yondu genuinely cares about Peter and helps him out in the end, while Thanos tortured and abused Gamora and Nebula.
    • In Ant-Man, Scott and Hank. Hank is a respected scientist, an experienced hero, and a widower with a poor relationship with his daughter. Scott is a rookie hero, has a criminal record, and is a divorced man but has an excellent relationship with his daughter.
    • In Captain America: Civil War, both Peter Parker and T'Challa are independent superheroes who side with Tony Stark in apprehending Steve and Bucky. However, Peter regularly makes quips, wears a red and blue costume, worships the Avengers, comes from a relatively poor background, and joins Tony out of a desire for adventure. In contrast, T'Challa hardly expresses himself, wears a black and silver suit, has a cynical view on the Avengers, was born into a wealthy royal family, and joins Tony to avenge the death of his father.
    • Black Panther (2018)
      • Nakia and Killmonger. Both make the argument that Wakanda should use its power and resources to improve the lives of black people everywhere. However, Nakia actually believes it, while Killmonger is the Big Bad because he's mostly using his stated agenda as an excuse to grab power and get some payback on the world that hurt him.
      • Nakia and Okoye. Both are Action Girls who accompany T'Challa and offer advice on Wakanda's role for the future. However, Nakia is a spy who wants to open up Wakanda to help oppressed black people around the world while Okoye is a bodyguard who believes Wakanda should look after its traditions and people first and foremost. They even have different fighting styles with Nakia using guns, ring blades, her high heels, and anything she can her hands on, while Okoye prefers using only the traditional Vibranium spear.
  • In The Hobbit, Radagast the Brown provides a Foil to the kind of wizard Saruman would become in The Lord of the Rings. Radagast is a gentle and humble Druid-like fellow who lives alone in the woods in a ramshackle cabin which appears to have been torn down and rebuilt multiple times to accomodate the growing tree in the centre of it. Saruman meanwhile operates from his Evil Tower of Ominousness and only sees trees and nature as resources to be ruthlessly plundered for fuelling his industry, an approach that eventually bites him in the ass massively.
  • James Bond:
    • Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Bond's biggest Arch-Enemy, serves as an Evil Counterpart to both M and Bond.
      • Both Blofeld and M are the head of a secret organization and give orders directly to their subordinates, but do it in different ways. While M has the respect of those working for him, but Blofeld is a Bad Boss and and kills his mooks if they failed to please him.
      • And while both are equals in regards to wit, intelligence, and lethality, Blofeld contrasts Bond by being from a humble background and rising to a position of power in contrast to Bond. And while 007 may have True Companions, allies and friends such as M and Q who help him even in dire situations, Blofeld keeps his own Mooks in line via threats and outright violence for minor reasons.
    • The World Is Not Enough: Elektra King and M are powerful women who have very different ways of exercising control within a patriarchal system. Elektra overuses her femininity to manipulate the men around her, whereas M suppresses her femininity to maintain her authority over her employees (especially male chauvinists like Bond); when handling Elektra's kidnapping, M even explicitly states that she went against her instincts as a mother.
    • Skyfall: Raoul Silva has elements that make him similar to Bond, Q and even M. He was an MI-6 agent who uses multiple gadgets like Bond. He's an expert hacker like Q. He makes very dark decisions and leads his organization like M.
  • Juice: Highlighted in an argument between Bishop and Q. While Bishop wants to gain respect through fear so that no one will mess with him, Q wants to earn respect legitimately (presumably through other passions like DJing).
  • In the Jurassic Park franchise, Owen Grady is basically a Good Counterpart to Robert Muldoon. Both are park employees hired to work with the raptors. The difference is Muldoon is a grim Kenyan Great White Hunter who views the Velociraptors as Worthy Opponents and wants them all exterminated, while Owen is a cheerful Fluffy Tamer who imprints on his Velociraptors and has a special relationship with them based on mutual respect.
  • In Pacific Rim, Mako and Chuck are both young and exceptionally talented pilots with varying issues with their fathers. Mako initially made a rude comment about Raleigh when she first meets him. Chuck was initially friendly with Raleigh (or as friendly Chuck could be) but when he found out Raleigh worked on the Kaiju Wall, he became rude and condescending to Raleigh. Whereas Mako immediately learned from her mistakes and treated Raleigh much nicer, it took Chuck a little longer to respect Raleigh.
  • The young, muscular, stupid and aggressive Daniel Lugo is hunted by the old, frail, cunning and even-tempered Ed Du Bois in Pain and Gain.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
  • Reservoir Dogs
  • Rocky uses Paulie and Rocky as foils to each other over the entire franchise, with Rocky certainly seeming like a better man when next to Paulie.
    • Rocky exemplifies Dumb Is Good. Additionally, he is physically fit, generally well-meaning, learns from every encounter, optimistic, idealistic, and forgiving (especially of Paulie). Rocky has no envy and is genuinely welcoming to everyone. He earns success despite his limitations through very hard work and grit. He also shows off good ol' salt-of-the-earth working-class values. He treats Adrian with affection and rarely speaks ill of anyone.
    • Paulie is a lower-class scumbag. He is overweight and aging, violent, frequently drunk, jealous of Rocky and others, judgmental, racially intolerant, and prone to falling for get-rich-quick schemes. Paulie never learns no matter how often he is proven to be wrong. He frequently feels entitled despite showing no real merit and never being shown to work hard for what he wants. He lashes out often at Rocky despite riding Rocky's coat-tails to a better life. He is terrible to Adrian. Paulie also has a hell of a mouth, often taunting professional boxers face-to-face. Paulie is so scuzzy he makes it easier to forget that in the first movie, Rocky was a leg-breaker for a loan shark or bookie, and Paulie's conflict with Rocky was that Paulie wanted to be a leg-breaker while Rocky wanted out.
  • Star Wars
    • Luke Skywalker and Han Solo in A New Hope. The former is a young naive hero who trusts the Force, while the other is the older, cynical, streetwise anti-hero who prefers to trust his gut and some cold hard steel.
    • Anakin Skywalker (a.k.a. Darth Vader) is also one to Luke. Both grew up on the same desolate desert planet before being taken away to train as Jedi Knights under Obi-Wan Kenobi. However, while Anakin came to desire power and succumbed to the Dark Side in an attempt to save his loved-ones, Luke had little interest in power beyond what he needed to protect his friends and family. Ultimately, Anakin's lingering love for his son wins out when he kills Emperor Palpatine.
    • Kylo Ren to Rey in The Force Awakens. Aside from being the Villain to her Hero, they contrast each other in many ways. Rey was abandoned by her family, and waited over a decade with the promise that they would return. Ren came from a Heroic Lineage, but his seduction to the Dark Side culminated with him betraying his family and slaughtering his fellow apprentices. Throughout the film, Rey comes to view Han Solo as a father figure, while Ren, Han's biological son, makes a desperate attempt to sever all ties to him by killing him. Furthermore, it is heavily implied that Rey will take the role of student to Luke Skywalker, Ren's former master and uncle.
    • Krennic in Rogue One wears a flashy white tunic and a cape, and is a intel administrator Non-Action Guy. Contrast with Vader, who is a frontline enforcer for the Emperor and wears practical black armor (with a cape). He fights alongside white-clad Stormtrooper grunts, while Krennic likes to hand things over to his elite black-clad Death Troopers (but isn't actually lacking in bravery himself). Vader is motivated by anger and self-loathing, while Krennic is motivated by pride, vanity, and ambition. Vader uses an old-fashioned lightsaber, Krennic uses an old-fashioned blaster. Krennic also has better people skills, and he's good at data analysis, while Vader is a good mechanic.
      • He's also a contrast to Thrawn, who also wears white. They share similar intelligence and skills at analysis, but Thrawn is coldly pragmatic, while Krennic is somewhat flashy and dramatic. Krennic is human, while Thrawn isn't. Thrawn would never execute subordinates just for failure, while Krennic murders some of his staff members out of sheer spite.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: First Class:
      • Shaw serves as one to Xavier. Both are doctors of genetics who are interested in maximizing Lehnsherr's potential, but whereas Sebastian uses torture to uncover his raw power, Charles utilizes emotional intimacy to give Erik greater control. Erik grows to love Charles as a brother, but vehemently opposes the latter's peaceful approach to human-mutant relations. Magneto wholly embraces Shaw's mutant supremacist views, but loathes the man for murdering his mother.
      • Charles and Erik are juxtaposed in their respective Oxford pub and Argentinian bar scenes. The inebriated Xavier is the life of a party when he and his fellow graduate students celebrate the successful defense of his PhD thesis, and he later tries to flirt with Agent MacTaggert. The sober Lehnsherr is all business when he's hunting down Nazis, and he murders three men (including the bartender) in cold blood after taunting his prey.
        Bryan Singer: Ultimately, they come from different places. Erik Lehnsherr is a victim of the Holocaust, he probably left the war with nothing, and is very much a solitary man, while Xavier had a life of privilege, became a professor at Oxford, was surrounded by peers, has an intimate relationship with Mystique since childhood, so he's quite loved, and therefore quite idealistic, less embittered, and just has a very different view from Lehnsherr.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • Both past and future Magneto contrast each other in the film. 1973 Magneto continues to move forward with mutant supremacy by attacking Xavier and his group, while 2023 Magneto is fighting to protect both mankind and mutants while lamenting his pointless struggles with Charles in their younger years. Past Erik is very much on his own, but his elderly counterpart is a valuable team member.
      • Past Magneto and Past Xavier were both inactive and isolated in between 1963 and 1973 (the former due to imprisonment, the latter due to depression). Erik shows signs of wanting to repair some of their previous friendship, but a bitter Charles isn't interested for the most part. Magneto tries to kill Mystique while Xavier tries to protect her. Hank remains unwaveringly devoted to Charles, but Erik loses Mystique's loyalty after the murder attempt. In X-Men: First Class, Erik personified "rage" while Charles embodied "serenity," but their roles are reversed in 1973. Xavier is now the one who is full of pain and anger, and therefore has great trouble wielding his telepathy, whereas Magneto is (relatively) calm and controlled, still possessing great mastery over his power despite being deprived of metal for a decade. (We even see Erik adopt a meditation pose in his prison cell, which makes him appear almost Zen-like.)
      • Wolverine and the younger Magneto are violent individuals who love Xavier, but whereas Jerk with a Heart of Gold Logan possesses Undying Loyalty towards Charles, Jerk with a Heart of Jerk Erik is quick to betray him.
    • Deadpool:
      • Deadpool to Ajax, in terms of powers. Whereas Deadpool has a Healing Factor that is capable of regenerating severed hands, he is capable of feeling the pain of every blow he takes. Ajax, on the other hand, Feels No Pain, and can take as many hits as Deadpool, but these injuries heal at an average pace, and will eventually burn out his body.
      • Colossus to Deadpool. Chaste-mouthed, paragon-like, gentle giant, boy scout X-Man contrasted to Deadpool's foul-mouthed, sardonic, violent, psychotic freelancer.
        Colossus: We can't allow this, Deadpool. Please... come quietly.
        Deadpool: You big, chrome cock-gobbler!
        Colossus: ...That's not nice.
  • Trumbo: Dalton Trumbo (Happily Married, wealthy, healthy, eventually gets his reputation back) vs. Arlen (divorced, poor, dies of cancer; a composite character symbolizing all the blacklisted creators who weren't as lucky as Dalton); Dalton (committed Communist) vs. Edward G. Robinson ( betrays the others to save his career and lifestyle)
  • The Jungle Book (2016):
    • Bagheera to Shere Khan. They are both big and fiercely determined felines well-known in the jungle and tied to Mowgli's life. While Shere Khan is feared because of his savage nature and utter disregard of the laws of the jungle, Bagheera respects those laws to the point of near dogmatism and is respected as a result. They both have a certain amount of alienation towards humanity, but while Shere Khan is openly hostile towards the mankind and adamantly wants Mowgli dead, Bagheera would rather keep the jungle and the things related to the Man separated, resulting in him forbidding Mowgli from utilizing his human ability in making tools.
    • Bagheera to Baloo. Whereas Bagheera is rule-abiding, reserved and easily irritated, Baloo is easy-going, more charming and has little qualms (at the beginning at least) to use Mowgli - and previous to him other animals - to get honey for him. The bear also encourages Mowgli to use his tricks and be himself, while Bagheera forbids him the use of his tools and wants Mowgli to behave more like a wolf.
    • Baloo to King Louie. During Mowgli's journey to the Man-Village, both take an initial interests in Mowgli's abilities for selfish reasons: Baloo for a easier way to get access to food and Louie in hopes of learning the secret to create fire. They both put on an affable facade in order to win over Mowgli's trust. And they both also happen to be some of the largest animals in the jungle. The difference is that Baloo gets legitimately attached to Mowgli and even shows him the way to the Man-Village if he really wants to leave. Louie more-or-less holds Mowgli hostage, stating that he'll offer him protection in exchange for learning how to make fire.
    • Baloo to Shere Khan to a lesser extent. While Baloo often speaks against the Jungle Law, referring to it as "propaganda" and stating that it was made to be "bent and reinterpreted", he still follows it, and is the first to recite it in the climax. However, while Shere Khan speaks of the law, for example pointing out that man is forbidden in the jungle, he truly holds little regard for it and violates it whenever it suits him.
  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, there's Batman and Superman, a dark Badass Normal vigilante who relies on fear and terror contrasted with a superpowered alien who tries to bring light and hope. There's as much foils as Bruce and Clark, a billionaire whose only family is a surrogate father figure in Alfred, contrasted with a reporter who lives in a fairly small apartment with his girlfriend, and whose family is his adoptive mother. Even there personas are foils - the "Bruce Wayne" that the world sees is false, he's really himself when he's Batman, whereas while the Superman persona isn't completely false, Clark is much more himself when he's just Clark, putting on a more authoriative and confident persona as Superman.
  • Unbreakable: Explored as a concept. David is nearly invulnerable, while Elijah is exceptionally weak. It turns out that this is because they're really each other's Arch-Enemy.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • A recipe for many a tag team. Either there is very little to differentiate the two, sometimes not even that much or there is some immediate difference everyone with sight can see.
  • Jacqueline served to show how reserved Ivory had become in Right To Censor, how much more of the boys she was with the Kat, who was a Girly Girl and how much more fun she was to be around compared to snobbish tease Traci Brooks. In the latter case, James Storm and Bobby Roode were also foils as Slobs Vs Snobs, only they worked together as "Beer Money".
  • In Ring of Honor, The Carnage Crew were given the rich, disrespectful burnouts Special K to feud with, in order to better get the blue collar audience to identify with them. This backfired as the ROHbots hated both groups.
  • This trope was basically the angle of the Wrestlemania XXV match between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. The Heartbreak Kid cast himself as the "Light" that is fated to defeat the "Darkness" embodied by the evil Deadman, and consequently end the latter's legendary winning streak.
  • Matt Sydal to ANX, The All Nights Kenny King and Rhett Titus. All three entered Ring Of Honor as cocky upstarts but while Sydal matured into a wise veteran who imparted his knowledge to other cocky upstarts like KUSHIDA and ACH, King and Titus became bitter veterans out to hold new wrestlers to ROH down.
  • As ANX expanded into The Cabinet their foils became Search And Destroy. Both groups have similar beliefs and goals, wanting to take things back to way they used to be, when times were better, but their philosophy and methodology are completely different. The former taunt and shout at those the supposed brainwashed masses about while the latter wait for down time and breakdown their view points in respectful manners. As The Cabinet frustrations changed them into The Riot, out to destroy all contrary to themselves with reckless abandoned, Search And Destroy are lead by social Darwinists who believe their core approach is right but continually analyze their opposition in order to adapt their strategies, especially after setbacks.

  • The Phantom of the Opera: Erik portrays dark and passion, Raoul light and clear thinking.
  • In Wicked, Galinda and Elphaba. Galinda acts like a stereotypical blonde, pretty, popular, and not much going on in her head. Elphaba is (viewed as) ugly and a bookworm. Elphaba is also much more responsible and mature, and when faced with a discovery that turns their world upside-down, one spreads the word, reputation be damned, and one uses it to her advantage.
  • William Shakespeare has many, many foils in his plays (appropriate since he's going for dramatic effect):
    • In Hamlet, Fortinbras, the Prince of Norway is a foil to Hamlet, having none of the latter's introspection when it comes to avenging his father's death. Another classic example of Hamlet's foil is his friend, Horatio, whose level-headedness clearly serves as foil to Hamlet's rash nature.
    • Several other characters serve as a foil to Hamlet as well. Before they engage in the climactic swordfight, Hamlet describes himself as a foil to Laertes ("I'll be your foil, Laertes: in mine ignorance your skill shall, like a star i' the darkest night,stick fiery off indeed."). Of course, it is in fact the other way around, and Laertes can tell that Hamlet is mocking him. This passage may be the Trope Namer.
    • Hamlet is also making a play on words, since "foil" is the term for the flexible sword-like weapons used in fencing practice.
    • Macbeth has Macbeth and Macduff, and (more obviously) Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff.
    • Falstaff is the foil to either Prince Hal's father, Henry IV, in the King Henry plays. And oh, what a foil he is.
    • In Henry IV, Part 1 Hal has a foil in the form of Henry Hotspur, who's everything Hal's supposed to be but isn't.
    • Mercutio is Romeo's foil: he's brash, upbeat and joking while Romeo is always moping and mooning around.
    • Arguably, Caliban and Ariel are foils for each other, or they're both foils for different sides of Prospero (id and superego, respectively). Caliban is ugly, crude, hated by Prospero, not too smart, and an unwilling slave; Ariel is airy, graceful, beloved by Prospero, and serves with his best efforts (at least until his contract is up).
  • In Antony and Cleopatra, the two nations of Rome and Egypt play foil to each other, with Rome with a superego, duty before self set of ideals while Egypt is far more hedonistic and leans towards the id.
  • In Sweeney Todd, Anthony Hope is clearly meant as a foil to Todd.. Also, to a lesser degree, Johanna and Mrs. Lovett. Both are madwomen, but have entirely different ways of expressing their issues.
  • In Dorothy L. Sayers' The Emperor Constantine, Helena awaits the arrival of the ex-husband who divorced her for a political match, and then took her son away when he was eleven, with calm and dignity, while her elderly servant fumes over the indignities she was subjected to. (Thus also making clear what it takes for her to be calm and dignified.)
  • Ariel and Tupolski from The Pillowman are constantly at odds. Even when Tupolski starts getting aggressive with executing Katurian, it's immediately after Katurian is revealed to have never murdered any children. Ariel, originally being depicted as ready to kill Katurian at the word, backs down completely at that point.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Tau Empire of Warhammer 40,000 serves as one to the Imperium of Man. While the Imperium is ancient, impossibly vast and slowly decaying, the Tau Empire is comparatively young, small and on a meteoric rise. They also serve as a foil to every other established race to a lesser extent: while other races use traditional, Fantasy Counterpart Culture inspired weapons and tactics, the Tau use modern military tactics and futuristic weapons in modern ways; they have Mini-Mecha with jump-packs and foot soldiers with plasma rifles, rather than, say, guys with chainsaw-swords and Powered Armor, or massive bayonet charges supported with artillery fire. Most notably, though, is that they inject a sense of hope and optimism in the otherwise deeply cynical Black And Gray Crapsack World that is the setting.
    • According to Word of God, the Kroot were conceptualised as a standalone army before being integrated into the Tau as auxiliaries. Their "savage" tribal appearance and up-close fighting style along with their healthy scepticism of the Greater Good ideology contrasts with the high-tech, mechanistic appearance and modern combat doctrine of the Tau.
    • The Orks and the Eldar are also this to each other, as the wise and cultured but hugely xenophobic and elitist Eldar with their sleek and shiny Magitek weapons and vehicles contrast sharply with the thuggish and universally-violent-to-just-about-everyone Orks with their low-tech firearms and wagons cobbled together from scrap.
    • The Ultramarines and the Alpha Legion were vicious rivals during the Great Crusade and eventually the Horus Heresy because they used doctrines which were similar but also antagonised each other. The Ultramarines' creed was "Information is victory", the idea that no matter how daunting the foe seemed, you could beat them if you knew everything about them. The Alpha Legion went one further and said "Why only focus on the intel you have? An enemy that knows nothing about you, or better still only has carefully-crafted disinformation about you that you allowed them to have, is doomed to defeat." They both were different takes on the Super Soldier, highly elite Jack of All Trades with different approaches: the Ultramarines used a rigid and centralised command structure, the Alpha Legion was decentralised and preferred relying on personal initiative; the Ultramarines followed a highly complex Codex to dictate their actions, the Alpha Legion relied on simple tricks and plans with multiple contingencies, all well-executed; the Ultramarines avoided collateral, while the Alpha Legion actively sought it to sow chaos.
  • The Zefra archetype in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG is a foil to the Qliphort. Both archetypes are named after concepts from Judaism and focus on Pendulum Monsters. However, the Qliphort uses Pendulum Summon alongside Tribute summon while the Zefra uses it with Ritual, Fusion, Synchro, and Xyz summon.

    Web Animation 
  • Camp Camp:
    • The two councilors, David and Gwen, act as foils for one another: Gwen is pretty down to earth, can be very pessimistic, and "likes" being at Camp Campbell about as much as most of the campers, while David has his head in the clouds, is optimistic to the point of annoying the other characters, and loves the camp with a passion.
    • Among the main trio, we have Max and Nikki who are both kids with neglectful parents (though unlike Max's parents, Nikki's parents at least haven't abandoned her outright) and often display Troubling Unchildlike Behavior. But that's where their similarities end; Max is one of, if not the biggest jerk in the camp,note , as well as the most savvy and one of the more intelligent campers, a complete cynic, and is undoubtedly the person that despises the camp more than anyone else. Nikki meanwhile, is the nicest member of the main trio (if only because the bar was set so low), as well as the most naive and air-headed of the trio, is generally optimistic, and is the only member of the trio that actually enjoys the camp.
    • Neil and Nikki also serve as one to each other, where Neil is generally shy, dweebish, and hates ruffing it in the outdoors, but is prone to pretty severe Breaking Speeches when he gets his dander up and is undoubtedly the most intelligent of the main trio, if not the whole camp, while Nikki is boisterous, loves life at the camp more than anyone other than David, and wears her heart on her sleeve, but has some hinted at familial and social issues due to her personality and outlook on life.
      • Also of note, Neil's father Carl annoys his son with his constant affection and nonstop attempts to bond with his child, while Nikki's mother Candy mostly ignores and brushes off her daughters attempts at getting her attention.
    • Among the other campers, we have Nerris, a wizard wannabe without any real magic and Harrison, a stage magician, who is heavily implied to have real magical powers (Albeit, ones he hasn't fully learned to control.).
  • Most battles in Death Battle are between two characters with contrasting motives and history, but share at least some similarities:
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • The titular Red and Blue of Blood Gulch (The Blood Gulch Crew) are this to the agents in Project Freelancer. Where as the Freelancers were the best of the best, battle hardened soldiers, and some of the most elite fighters in the UNSC, the BGC were low level recruits selected to just help the Freelancers test their equipment. The Freelancers were trained to work as a unit, and have each others backs, whereas the Reds and Blues were specifically created to be at odds with one another. However, at the end of the day, the Freelancers succumbed to infighting and corruption, with many of their number turning and even killing one another for personal gain, whereas the BGC have managed to overcome their animosity, putting aside their differences for a common goal, and doing good on almost a galactic scale.
    • Grif and Simmons, specifically, Simmons is a insecure suck-up who is constantly working, thrives on rigid organization, and takes great pains to appear to be a genius when he really isn't as smart as he likes to think he is; Grif is a Lazy Bum who constantly avoids work, has no respect for authority, and is implied to be considerably smarter than he lets on.
    • Freelancer Agents York and Wyoming. They are both Deadpan Snarkers with some of the most healthy relationships with their A.I and they both have a friendly exterior. However, York is a close range Nice Guy who prefers to do things himself, while Wyoming's a long range Faux Affably Evil Jerkass who has a tendency to trick others into doing his work. York's disdain of Wyoming is made clear more than once.
    • In the Chorus Trilogy, we have Felix and Locus, two mercenaries on different sides of the war and former comrades, the former a friendly and talkative Jerk with a Heart of Gold, the latter a stoic and emotionless killer. Or so it seems on the surface, but in reality, Felix is a sadistic Manipulative Bastard, putting on a phony friendly appearance, while Locus is secretly a very conflicted man, putting on the mask of an emotionless killer, to avoid having to face his guilt over the many atrocities he took part in during and after the war. Also, while Locus prefers to be quick and efficient with most his kills, Felix enjoys toying with his victims.
      • Felix is also this towards Tucker. Both of them initially are only fighting in the war for personal gain, Felix wants to be paid and Tucked just wants to find his friends and leave. They are both cynical and sarcastic and the two of them are arguably the most skilled members of the New Republic. However, towards the end of Season 12, Felix is still fighting for his own gain, disregarding the lives of the inhabitants on Chorus and enjoying the violence. Tucker however, grows to care a great deal about the people on Chorus, to the point where he selflessly risked his own life to save them. Tucker is also shown to dislike violence and war, only getting his hands dirty when he has to, and preferring to knock out or capture his opponents, where Felix enjoys killing them. Tucker also values his friends and teammates in the Blood Gulch crew, whereas Felix merely manipulated them for his own interests. Felix is also this to Agent Washington to an extent, as they both began a trilogy as new allies to the Reds and Blue, (albeit, Felix was just manipulating them) but turn on them around the end of the second part. The difference is, Wash eventually redeemed himself and solidified his status as one of their True Companions by the end third part, where as Felix remained an enemy till the moment he died.
      • Locus is also this to Agent Washington, as they're both talented professional soldiers, who had to do some really bad things in the line of duty, but the difference is, Wash is trying to be a better person, while Locus has chosen to become a completely cold hearted killer. Locus's confusion as to why Wash didn't become just like him, is also what sets him on the road to redemption.
    • The Chorus Trilogy also gives us Generals Vanessa Kimball and Donald Doyle of the New Republic and the Federal Army of Chorus respectively, who were both forced to step up, after multiple other leaders were killed. The former is a brave and competent leader, in charge of an undisciplined ragtag army, while the latter is an incompetent coward in charge of a (relatively speaking) professional army, but at the end of the day, they are both Reasonable Authority Figures who just want what's best for their planet.
    • Again from the Chorus Trilogy, we have Doctor Emily Grey who could be seen as both this and a Distaff Counterpart to Medical Officer Frank "Doc" Du Fresne, as they are both cheerful medical officers garbed in purple with a few screws loose that tag along with the Reds and Blues after initially being from an outside party. But unlike Doc, who is utterly incompetent at his job and pacifistic to point of refusing to make gun sounds, at least till O'Mally got a hold of him, Grey is a confident doctor and a Torture Technician.
    • Agent Carolina and Sharkface. They fought each other during the war between Project Freelancer and The Insurrection, really Charon Industries, who both saw their teams as a sort of surrogate family, only to lose them and go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge in response. The difference is, Carolina learned to let go of the past and move on, eventually finding a new surrogate family, while Sharkface let his lust revenge consume him completely and refused Carolina's offer of a Last-Second Chance leading to him being unceremoniously gun downed by her and Agent Washington, after declaring he'll never stop coming after them.
    • Agent Carolina and her A.I. partner Church/Epsilon and The Meta, the two former are a team who genuinely care about and want to protect each other, while The Meta is the result of the A.I. Sigma turning its human host Agent Main into an Empty Shell of his former self, so Sigma can use him as part of his plan to "become human".
  • RWBY:
    • Blake and Sun. Both are Faunus, but Blake hides her race to because she's afraid of what people will think of her, while Sun revels in his race and doesn't seem to care how people view him. Blake is ex-White Fang who believes in the need to fight for Faunus rights, while Sun views the White Fang as a cult who appointed themselves as Faunus representatives without say-so from other Faunus. Blake's Semblance produces shadow-based clones that are used for defence (deception, dodging and escaping), whereas Sun's Semblance produces light-based clones that are used offensively to attack the opponent directly. Sun helps Blake to loosen up while Blake helps Sun to show at least a little restraint.
    • Jaune and Pyrrha. Pyrrha is a very intelligent and competent warrior who has garnered in-universe fame for her personal exploits. Jaune is a naïve, unassuming young man who has zero combat training but who has a famous ancestry. Her character arc is about learning from Jaune what it means to be a normal teenager with normal friends and relationships, while his character arc is about learning from Pyrrha what it means to be a true warrior. Both have self-esteem issues, with Jaune being the first person who ever treated her like a normal human being and Pyrrha being the first person who ever had genuine faith in his ability to become a warrior.
    • James and Qrow. While both serve under Ozpin, James is uptight, formal and likes getting straight to the point, while Qrow is drunk, grumpy and enjoys winding people up. James prefers approaching problems with open, physical and excessive displays of force, while Qrow prefers intelligence gathering, working from the shadows and playing his cards close to his chest. Both men are aggressive, but James focuses on macho, physical aggression that's backed up by verbal arguments, while Qrow prefers sarcastic, verbal attacks that's backed up by physical actions. Putting the two men in a room together is a recipe for fireworks; they both want the same thing, but their personalities clash on how best to achieve it.
    • Ghira and Jacques, the fathers of Blake and Weiss. Ghira will always have time for his daughter, while Jacques is cold and distant to Weiss unless she is doing something that is directly useful or harmful to him. Physically, they're exact opposites, with Ghira having a massive build, thick beard, and a dark color scheme with tribal elements to his clothing, compared with Jacques' thin physique, white hair and mustache, and refined suits. Where Jacques treats Weiss as a possession, punishing her for disobeying him and trying to live her own life, Ghira expresses support for Blake and her decisions. Ghira is honest and a bit awkward, while Jacques is domineering and erudite. This even extends to their homes: Ghira's study being large, open, built of rich wood and with earth tones throughout, while Jacques' study is smaller, more cramped, with a lot of white and icy-blue stonework.
    • Volume 5 puts a great of emphasis on the contrasts between Cinder Fall and Raven Branwen; Both are ruthless women and involved the Secret War, but while Cinder gleefully threw herself in for the prestige and power she'll gain, Raven came to see the conflict as hopeless and did everything she could to get out of it. Cinder delights and relishes the pain her acts cause others, while Raven tries to assert her actions as a Necessary Evil to survive and with sufficient prodding, shows remorse on what she chose to do. Both women are Maidens, one of four women with power over the elements, but where Cinder flaunts her powers to the point of apparently changing her name to fit her mantle, Raven hid her abilities to the point of having a decoy.

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The following quote comes from this strip, featuring Jirix and the Anti-Villain Redcloak talking about their Card-Carrying Villain partner Xykon. Coincidentally, this strip occurs just after several in which the paladin O-Chul and Redcloak had served as different but excellent foils for each other.
    Jirix: But... aren't we all on the same side?
    Redcloak: That is a complicated question... Our alliance with Xykon is one of the most powerful tools we have, and we cannot afford to screw that up. That does NOT mean we should trust him. I know he seems funny and charming, but believe me, when you see for yourself the depths to which he'll sink, you will never sleep well again.
    • Similarly, Idiot Hero / Manchild Elan to Genius Bruiser / The Leader Roy.
    • By a similar token, Dumb Muscle / Psychopathic Manchild Thog to Evil Genius / Complexity Addict Nale.
    • Elan and Nale; polar opposites in Character Alignment, both have a flair for the dramatic, similar class abilities (though Nale's Complexity Addiction means he took a more roundabout way of getting them), similar relationships with their respective love interests (who are also foils), and a tendency toward being dumb (though Nale will vehemently deny he is anything but a genius).
    • Elan and his father Tarquin, who are complete opposites when it comes to alignment and intelligence.
    • Roy and Thog. Both are melee fighters carrying heavy weapons and both like to talk, but while Thog is a Dumb Muscle and a munchkin-build, Roy is a balanced character: he is pretty smart for a fighter and is a charismatic leader.
  • Com'c: Block and Krixwell are contrasts to each others. For example, while Block has yet to even smile in the comic (although he does have a slight smile or three in the December 2013 calendar), Krixwell has yet to say something without smiling.note 
  • Gunnerkrigg Court:
    • Zimmy and Gamma, "two strange girls", work as a pair of foils to the main characters Annie and Kat, the other "strange girls". Jack is Kat's own foil: both are technical-minded, curious and slightly mischievous people who have a dramatic meeting with the supernatural world. Kat is baffled but eager to understand it, while Jack becomes suspicious and frustrated after a traumatic experience with psychic powers.
    • James Eglamore's close female friends Surma Stibnite and (miss) Jones: Surma was a literal Fiery Red Head while Jones has compared herself to a stone because she claims to feel has no emotions she's also existed since the earth was a ball of lava and cannot be harmed much less killed while Surma died young. Hilariously James cannot fathom why his ex Surma liked, let alone married Anthony Carver while he's perfectly happy being friends with Jones.
    • Reynardine the fox and Ysengrin the wolf: Rey is trapped in a plush wolf, likes humans, and has become friends with his "master" Annie; Ysengrin willingly asked his master Coyote, who is constantly insulting him and eating his memories for a humanoid exo-skeleton so he can be stronger (ironically Ysengrin hates most humans and his dependance on the armor appears to be atrophying his real body).
    • Reynardine and Hetty, who despises her "master" and wants to kill him to be free Hetty's "master" is a young boy who has no idea Hetty exists and it's implied Hetty killed his sister, her original master. Rey's real form is a land-dwelling mammal (fox) while Hetty's appears to be a water-dwelling crustacean (shrimp).
    • Smitty and Parley: She's tall, physical, and can randomly teleport; he's short, intellectual, and can manipulate probability to "make things boring".
  • In The Indefensible Positions we have Foil (no pun intended) and Frank. It's revealed that Foil was Frank's imaginary friend. After they split up, without him Frank's personality was changed to completely opposite of Foil's.
  • In Agents of the Realm, Norah and Adele. While the former is antisocial and a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, the latter is outgoing, friendly and cheerful once she's past her homesickness.
  • Shadowgirls: On one side we have Becka McKay - dark hair, rock-style clothes, Chain of Command and Cool Loser with golden heart. On the other side there's Misty Snow - blonde and very popular girl, typical combination of Spoiled Brat and the Alpha Bitch. Similarly with their mothers - Charon McKay and Christmas Snow. Two Eldritch Abominations that lives inside them, Shadowchild and Mother Hydra.
  • Lightbringer, a superhero who believes in an objective morality and bent on doing the right thing; and Darkbringer, a supervillain who believes in an objective morality and finds Lightbringer to have misplaced what is right and wrong.
  • In The Dreamer, there are several foils: Alexander and Alan, Alan, and Nathan, Beatrice, and Alan, Yvette and Liz, Beatrice and Yvette, Beatrice and Liz, and Ben and Alan.
  • In Girl Genius, Gil and Tarvek are increasingly making foils of themselves. Tarvek is a well-bred, thoughtful, mannerly aristocrat; Gil is an energetic, sometimes rash, son of a self-risen dictator. They both are in love with Agatha, they're both powerful sparks, and they both want to "ally with" the last Heterodyne and bring peace to Europa — but in different ways. They were also friends at school and now they apparently hate each other.
  • Squid Row: Randie has an organized goal-setting friend who tries to persuade her out of her lack of planning.
  • Tedd and Susan of El Goonish Shive were foils for each other early on; Tedd emphasizing Susan's Straw Feminism and Susan emphasizing Tedd's perversion. Gradually due to Character Development they became more like Vitriolic Best Buds instead.
  • In Bobwhite, Ivy goes to the library at Redding University (rival to Bobwhite University) and gets annoyed by three guys. Marlene and Cleo realized that these guys are the evil reverse-gender doppelgangers of themselves (though Ivy interjects that her supposed counterpart really looks nothing like her). Which makes things kind of weird when Ivy later starts dating one of these guys (the one who's pretty much a male version of Marlene).
  • Many, many possible constructions in Homestuck, given the enormous character roster.
    • The concept of moirallegiance (a friendly relationship characterised by complementing or pacifying the other member's extremes) seems to lend itself to this relationship. No wonder the symbol for it is a diamond.
    • Feferi, the highest in the caste system, is friendly and just wants to help everyone and barely manages to keep Eridan's genocidal urges in check.
    • John, Terezi, Kanaya and Jade manage to bring out the sensitivity behind Karkat's apoplectic rage.
    • John's unassuming trust and friendliness to Vriska's casual sociopathy; it actually has quite the effect on her and makes her reconsider her ways.
    • Rose's shrewdly analytic mind in cutting through Dave's coolkid persona.
    • Rose and Kanaya's different brands of "snarky horseshit."
    • Dave is a stoic Deadpan Snarker, while Terezi laughs at everything and is cheerfully weird, and where Dave is cynical but honest, Terezi is a Magnificent Bastard Guile Hero.
    • Kankri was intended to represent the worst of social justice bloggers (being overly obsessed with details, giving sermons instead of having conversations, being generally arrogant and consescending) and Porrim the best (articulating her point clearly and concisely, sorting through bullshit and real problems, and generally having a life outside social justice).
    • John and Rose have foils in Tavros and Vriska, who could be described as "John and Rose if they grew up on a dystopian Death World." John and Tavros are both Breath heroes with similarly sweet, naive, trusting, and amiable personalities; Rose and Vriska are both Light heroes who exhibit questionable morality and get played by Doc Scratch even while they're trying to play him.
    • Jade has Kanaya (both Space players, both had highly unusual guardians, woke up early on Prospit, and have similar theme colors).
    • Dave and Karkat serve as foils to each other, both being mouthy smart-alecs (in totally different ways) who use snark to cover for their raging inferiority complexes. They're both Knights, have red as their color motif, and even have similar taste in girls (Terezi, Jade).
    • The B2 kids serve as foils to the B1 kids, especially Dirk/Dave and Roxy/Rose, and the A1 dancestors do the same for the A2 trolls, especially Kankri/Karkat, Latula/Terezi, Aranea/Vriska, and Rufioh/Tavros.
    • Expanded upon a bit with the B2 kids, who later act like the B1 kids post-Character Development. Roxy is initially a Foil to Rose, though later becomes one to Dave, with Dirk foiling Rose. Jane mostly foils against John - their love of pranks, living up to their past generations, and their happy-go-lucky personalities - with Jake foiling Jade, mostly in their upbringing and whimsical, detached hammy personalities.
  • There are three main foil types in the main adventuring group in Our Little Adventure. Angelika and Rocky are one, Julie and Lenny are another, and Julie and Angelika make the third.
  • Sinfest's Percy and Pooch: arrogant, bored, and cynical vs. humble and excitable.
  • Kerri and Terri are foils for each other in Misguided Light. Kerri is the friendly ditz, and Terri is the grouchy one with a brain.
  • Plume:
    • Corrick and Vesper are the most straightforward. One's a Really 700 Years Old badass with supernatural powers, a realistic, if not cynical outlook of life and disdain for his job. The other is an Action Survivor young girl who's slowly growing into a Blood Knight.
    • Corrick and Azeel: while both are Aurans changed by magic, the former dislikes his gift and aims to protect, while the latter enjoys himself while sowing destruction.
  • Manly Guys Doing Manly Things: Commander Badass and Tank are foils to each other. Both are burly, blonde and highly masculine super-soldiers, but where the Commander's masculinity is confident and positive, Tank's is insecure and toxic.

    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe: roommmates and teammates Chaka and Fey are definitely foils for each other. One's black while the other's white, one's hyper and the other's calm, one's human and the other one's mostly Sidhe. Also, Solange is a foil to Phase, since Solange is the Rich Bitch that Phase could have easily been.
  • In We Are Our Avatars, Selim Bradley the Homunculus of Pride from Fullmetal Alchemist and Selim Bradley from the 2003 anime version are polar opposites; the two have bad chemistry together.
  • In The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, both Mr Collins and Darcy are initially disliked by Lizzie due to certain personality traits but eventually make their peace with her. Whereas Darcy knows what to say but not how to say it, Collins talks a lot but says very little.
  • The War Comms have several examples of this:
    • Lucy Bennet and Shannon Blake. Both are starry-eyed teenage girls prone to crushing on fictional characters and writing self-insert fanfiction. But where Lucy is immature, oversensitive and delusional, Shannon is mature, sensible and well-grounded in reality.
    • Trisha Grant and Candy are both preps. Trisha is a classic Alpha Bitch, while Candy is kind and helpful to others.
    • Raye Lynn and Cassie Ironbachs, the former with a strong anti-hero preference and the latter preferring side characters to mains. However, while Cassie bashes mains every chance she gets Raye Lynn prefers to focus her energy on loving her favorites.
    • Heather Foreman and Molly Nevins are a combination of this and Shadow Archetype, both being insecure redheads who get picked on a lot. Molly Apologizes a Lot and genuinely feels responsible for her plights, causing others to want to look out for her even if she deems it unnecessary. But Heather is very vocal in feeling persecuted and unloved, blaming her problems on mean girls at school and her mother, which causes people to be stingier with their sympathy for her.
    • Heather also has another foil in Shannon. Both focus heavily on crushes and characters who have them, but while Heather believes the object of someone's affections is required to return them, Shannon sees crushes becoming true love as pure wish fulfillment (and only supports it when those feelings don't cause someone to do horrible things).
    • Cousins Patrick and James Wells are both slight, brown-haired gay teenagers who favor yaoi. James is a fragile Ill Boy who needs constant care, but hates feeling like a burden and tries to take on as much as he can by himself. Patrick is physically healthy but mentally unstable, tries to appear more delicate than he is for sympathy points.
    • Esmeralda Iceworth and Lily Haverlock. Both are old-fashioned and mainly ship traditional couples, but while Lily is polite about her preferences and a classic Proper Lady, Esmeralda is bossy, entitled and actually a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
    • Mark Keller is also this to Esmeralda, both shipping the traditional couples and favoring happy endings. But while Mark actively seeks out and writes what he wants to see and avoids what he doesn't, Esmeralda will read things she dislikes just to complain about them.
    • Marion LeRoy and Josephine Thompson are mothers who will go to great lengths to protect their children. But while Marion does it via smacking down assholes who deserve it, Josephine does it via trying to shut down anything above a G rating.