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Heroic Rematch

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Ah, this will do. It's just you, and me. TIME TO RAISE SOME HELL! Now that I think of it, the last time we fought like this, you were still my pupil. You were wild, unfocused, and had the eyes of a beast! Even then, I knew you would become the opponent I've been waiting for! I HOPE YOU DON'T DISAPPOINT!
Augus, Asura's Wrath, pre battle speech before the boss fight against him.

A trope for the inevitable rematch on The Hero page. A villain can't get rid of the hero until the hero wins, either because they're stopped before they can kill the hero early, or because he needs the hero to be stronger for some purpose, etc.

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Nobody likes a Downer Ending where The Bad Guy Wins, but except in the case of the Invincible Hero, the hero of the story won't win every little battle along the way. A common tactic is to make the hero their own worf in The Worf Effect at the very beginning, then have him come back stronger and win. The hero might have undergone Training from Hell for this, and show off their fruits of said training during their rematch, while the Villain Forgot to Level Grind (though villains usually hide nasty surprises on their own). The lost battle at the beginning and the won one at the end, in this trope, are always against the same major adversary, usually either the Big Bad (see also Final Boss Preview) or The Rival.

If there are more than one rematch with the same opponent, said opponent overlaps with Recurring Boss.

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Examples

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    Anime And Manga 
  • Bleach:
    • Ichigo Kurosaki vs Byakuya Kuchiki is a classic case; Ichigo fought him three times. The first time was a Curb-Stomp Battle combined with a Single-Stroke Battle. The second was a draw (that Ichigo would have ultimately lost if Yoruichi hadn't bailed him out) and the final one ended in Ichigo's victory because of Bankai.
    • Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez has a similar pattern. The first was a Curb-Stomp Battle, with Grimmjow literally pummeling Ichigo in the face as the highlight; Ichigo's Hollow tried to intervene and Tosen stopped Grimmjow from continuing. The second had Ichigo with the upper hand due to his Super Mode, but when its time limit is reached, Grimmjow proceeded to eradicate Ichigo. Their final fight ended with Ichigo battling Grimmjow in a back and forth duel before the latter finally falls (although Ichigo was so worn out that he couldn't handle his next opponent that well).
    • Ulquiorra Cifer - who, being Espada #4, pulls Worf Effect out on some of the other Espada. Who were, until that point, enduring Worf Effect from the heroes. That's right; he Worfs people who Worf the heroes. He faces Ichigo once, and of course, it was a Curb-Stomp Battle (although he had some trouble in the beginning due to Ichigo using an enormous Getsuga Tensho at him). In the second... no, it still was a Curb-Stomp Battle, leaving Ulquiorra seriously at a loss as to why Ichigo persists in fighting. Both times, Ulquiorra succeeds in (temporarily) killing Ichigo, but in the second time, Ulquiorra gets taken out by a COMBINATION of 11th-Hour Superpower and Superpowered Evil Side.
  • YuYu Hakusho
    • Yusuke vs Gouki: Yusuke first bout against a demon had him at a severe disadvantage as he had already used his Spirit Gun earlier in the day before confronting the demon and his regular attacks don't work. He's beaten down and only saved thanks to Botan tricking Gouki into thinking that a mob was searching for him causing him to flee. The next round, Yusuke's fully rested and recharges, Gokui still gives him trouble even with Botan helping, but Yusuke wins by propping Gouki's mouth open with a branch and firing his spirit gun into his mouth.
    • Yusuke vs Toguro: A sorta example, when the two first meet Toguro pounds him and Kuwabara into the ground, only managing to win against him via teamwork. But it turns out Toguro had taken a fall at the request of his employer (and wasn't even at full power to boot) to con some money out of businessman who had bet on their fight. Togoro later confronts Yusuke and "invites" (read: forces) him to participate in the Dark Tournament along with Hiei, Kurama and Kurabura (along with Genkai) to fight as a team. After a lot of grueling matches, they make it to the finals and, naturally, it's Yusuke vs Toguro at the end. Yusuke has to push himself to extremes but ultimately manages to win.
    • Yusuke vs Sensui: The only fight that takes three tries. Sensui soundly trounces Yusuke in their first two fights due to having much more experience as well as multiple personalities with varying degrees of power. So much so Sensui even kills Yusuke in the second fight. The only reason Yusuke wins is due to Raizen having taken over his body and utterly dominates Sensui in the third battle. Yusuke is completely displeased by this as he doesn't feel he won on his own merits.
  • One Piece:
    • Luffy vs Crocodile: Three times, Luffy lost the first time due to Crocodile being a Logia user and couldn't really hurt him as attacks went right through Crocodile thanks to his sand powers. Croc only wins as he takes advantage of Luffy's distress to impale him on his hook. Second time, Luffy found out his weakness to water and came prepared with a water barrel making it a more even fight until Croc reveals his moisture sucking ability catching Luffy off guard and nearly drying him out. Luffy survives due to water shot he tried to hit Croc with falling back on him and reviving him. By round three, Luffy resorts to using his blood from his wounds, meaning he can directly hit Croc now without worrying about a handicap. Since this is a more even fight and Croc can't rely fully on his powers now, Luffy dominates and ultimately wins
    • Luffy vs Eneru: Luffy was actually winning the first match due to his rubber ability canceling out Eneru's lighting logia powers. But Eneru knocks him off his flying ship by grafting a gold ball around his arm and rolling it and him off the ship. Thanks to his crew and allies, he manages to get back up to the air to continue the fight and even uses said ball to knock Eneru out.
    • vs Rob Lucci: On first confrontation, Lucci effortlessly knocks Luffy and Zoro out of the building they're in. But Nami notes later the two were distracted by Robin supposedly leaving them and "had hesitation in their hearts" to be focused. When they meet the CP9 agents again and Luffy fight Lucci once more, he not only has some new tricks with his new Gear moves but is solely dedicated to taking Lucci out so he won't go after his crew. After an extremely long and brutal bout, he squeezes out a win.
    • Vs Gekko Moriah: Notable in that their first encounter had Moriah soundly defeating Luffy while just sitting there. Well if you can call it that, it's more Moriah used his shadow to keep Luffy at bay then tricked him by running away and switching places with his shadow. He doesn't physically beat Luffy one on one in either match. Played straight with the crew fighting Oars though. Moriah and the zombie giant (powered by Luffy's shadow) initially down the crew. But Luffy returns being powered by his shadows implemented in him to make him stronger and turns the fight around. The crew recover and go for round two, downing the giant in the rematch with their teamwork with Luffy finishing Moriah off in a brief one-on-one (unsurprisingly he's the better fighter since Moriah let himself get lazy and was out of practice).
    • VS Shiki in 10th movie One Piece Film: Strong World: Luffy along with Zoro, Sanji, Chopper and Usopp on the first bout. They get some hits off, but Shiki then uses his floating powers to swamp the boys and defeat them. Round two is Luffy vs Shiki, an even fight but again Shiki gets the better of Luffy using his power on a nearby waterfall to cover Luffy in water and drown him. He makes the mistake of trying to slice Luffy in half which he survives. Luffy takes him down in one shot by enlarging his leg and having lighting supercharge it (helped that Shiki was too arrogant to actually dodge it.)
    • The latter half of the Punk Hazard arc had Luffy wanting to wallop Caesar Clown after Caesar used his Gas-Gas Fruit, right when Luffy was about to win, to remove all of the oxygen out of the air to suffocate Luffy to near-death. Ironically the next two bouts are solely in Luffy's favor as Luffy learned to stay out of Caesar's range and hit him from afar. He's only prevented from winning the second time due to Monet's interference. By the third time she's out of the picture and it a complete one on one...where it's not even a contest. Luffy easily kicks Caesar's butt despite the latter trying to power himself up with the poison gas he created.
    • There are many examples on this list—this didn't escape the notice of Donquixote Doflamingo, who, hoping to defy this trope, always attempts to land a lethal blow onto Luffy any time they meet, knowing that letting him live will simply make Luffy keep trying until he wins. This time, though, not only does Luffy get more allies to help bail him out if things go pear-shaped, but later on, Doflamingo shifts his attention from Luffy to Usopp due to the latter accidentally unraveling all of Doflamingo's plans for the past decade, giving Luffy the opportunity he needs to prevail.
    • Shortly after making landfall on Wano, Luffy directly challenges Kaido and is defeated in one hit. Kaido is apparently not as wise as Doflamingo though, because not only does he let Luffy live, he has Luffy thrown into the same dungeon cell as Eustass Kid, the previous person to challenge Kaido in this way and Luffy's equal in combat and Hot Bloodedness. They do fight again one on one but Luffy runs out of steam mid-battle and falls off Onigashima into the ocean. He's saved by Law's crew and get back up to the island to continue the fight.
  • Fist of the North Star has Kenshiro vs Souther and Kenshiro vs Raoh.
  • Averted in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, when "Mophead" challenges Kenichi to a rematch. When he wins, instead of sticking around for the rematch, he takes off so he can always remain stronger.
  • Nanoha vs Fate in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. The entire first season was Nanoha getting rematch after rematch against Fate until Nanoha finally grew strong enough to win and befriend her.
  • Maka and Soul get to fight Crona second time in Soul Eater. Maka disobeyed Stein's orders specifically to get this revenge match.
    • Also happens with Black*Star and Mifune. Although Black*Star wins the first match, Mifune destroyed him in their second fight which Black*Star could never forgive, thus resulting in their final match to settle the score.
  • Natsu attempts this is Fairy Tail after a defeat by one of the mooks-with one hand tied behind his back just to prove that the last loss was just good luck on his opponent's part. However, he's convinced to go after the big bad instead.
  • Common in Fullmetal Alchemist, especially with the homunculi, due to the fact that they aren't allowed to kill “sacrifices.” Subverted in the first anime when Ed loses against Envy, though Ed was fighting with one hand tied behind his back since he was avoiding the use of alchemy near Al.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Yugi's first duel with Pegasus end in Pegasus' victory, although Yugi was an instant away from victory when the timer ran out. This kicks off the Duelist Kingdom story arc, which end in a rematch, where Yugi is victorious.
    • Yami Yugi gets curb-stomped by Rafael the first time, then wins the rematch after a long and arduous duel.
  • Happens in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Juudai vs. Edo. Juudai won their first duel, Edo comes back a while later and tromps him into the ground. Lost at sea, a cosmic phenomenon sends Juudai to Neo-Space, returns with the Neo-Spacians after winning against an alien of light, and teaches Edo some lessons.
  • Dragon Ball Z
    • Inverted, where it is the villain (Vegeta) who wants a rematch with hero Goku. When the rematch occurs, it's postponed indefinitely due to Buu's revival.
    • Goku vs. Tao Pai Pai in the original. He nearly kills Goku. The boy then climbs up Korin's Tower to train for a rematch.
    • The same with King Piccolo, who easily curbstomped Goku in their first fight to the point he was believed dead. Goku went back to Korin's Tower, got his hidden powers unlocked, and went to challenge Piccolo to one final match.
  • Inverted in Psyren where a villain (Dholaki) gets a rematch with the hero who nearly killed him the last time they fought (Ageha). Dholaki wins thanks to a Deadly Upgrade and would have killed Ageha if not for an unexpected Big Damn Heroes.
  • Duel Masters has an unusual take on it. First time Shrodu fights the Dark Is Evil rival, he gets curbstomped and said rival breaks his spirit was some psychology and pseudo magic skills. With the help of his friends and mentor, Shrodu recovers and improves, and fights him again, doing a whole lot better, but still losing. However when said rival tries his mind shot again the camera shows Shrodu looking at the ground, seemingly in depression, only to spring up laughing, congratulating his opponent on a fine match, showing his progression as a duelist. The 3rd time he actually manages to win, after a long and difficult fight.
  • Naruto: Naruto's first battle with Sasuke at the Valley of the End ends with both of them colliding their attacks and Sasuke knocking Naruto unconscious and escaping. Fast forward to the end of Part II, they meet again at the same place for the rematch. This time, their attacks end up destroying Sasuke's left arm and Naruto's right arm. It's technically a draw, but Sasuke concedes victory to Naruto.
  • In Pokémon: The Series, this is played straight when Ash faces a number of opponents, but usually his rivals: Gary, Paul, Trip, and Gladion all had at least one major win against him before their final clash. Alain subverted it by narrowly winning in the Kalos finals; though admitting Ash was the true victor when morals are concerned.

    Comic Books 
  • Vampirella:
    • Nyx kills Vampirella in the conclusion of the original Vengeance of Vampirella series. They have a rematch in the "Hell On Earth" arc of Vampirella: The New Monthly where Vampirella kills Nyx.
    • Vengeance of Vampirella (2019): The series is a retelling of the aftermath of the original Vengeance series. Like before, Vampirella has a rematch with Nyx and kills her, this time thanks to the power of the angel Abaddon.

    Fan Works 
  • A Growing Affection: The first time Naruto fought shinobi!Reaper, she defeated him quite thoroughly. Then he got a weapon to match hers, and learned a technique to overcome her trump card move, and won the rematch.
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    Film 
  • In Black Panther, T'Challa is challenged for the throne of Wakanda by his cousin, Eric "Killmonger" Stevens. The fight is to Death or Yield. At the end, Killmonger throws T'Challa off the cliffside where they were fighting, but T'Challa survives the fall and is nursed to health in the Mountain Tribe's domain. Later, he returns to challenge Killmonger, since he "never yielded the fight and is obviously not dead."
  • Star Wars
  • Happens in all Spider-Man Trilogy films (though two don't have the hero defeated: Spidey wins the first over Green Goblin, and Sandman escapes the fight).
  • The X-Men Film Series have Storm/Callisto in X-Men: The Last Stand, and Wolverine/Sabretooth in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
  • Wong Fei-Hung vs Yan Ti San in Drunken Master.
  • In My Bodyguard, Moody bullies Clifford Peach with impunity... until to his own surprise Clifford gets his climactic Heroic Rematch at the end.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Scott replays the confrontation and battle with Gideon Graves after being brought back via extra life.
  • Happens twice in the Rocky series. In the first film, Rocky goes the distance but loses to Apollo Creed, leading to a rematch in the sequel that Rocky wins. In Rocky III, Rocky's newfound cockiness leads to newcomer Clubber Lang beating him; the rest of the movie consists of Rocky getting his head back into the game to win the rematch, with Apollo as his trainer. At the end, Apollo and Rocky face off for one last, friendly fight to see who's really the best. Creed reveals that Apollo won.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, after being broken and thrown into The Pit by Bane, Batman rises up to reclaim Gotham from him.
  • In Fast & Furious 6, we have a rematch between Riley and Letty. Due to Riley turning out to be The Mole and Letty pulling a Heel–Face Turn, Letty goes two for two.
  • In Aquaman (2018), Arthur loses against Orm in ritualistic combat, mostly due to being underwater and Arthur was not accustomed to fight in that element. But after claiming King Atlan's trident and bringing Orm to the surface he wins against him.

    Literature 
  • Legacy of the Dragokin: Lydia does a lot better in her second fight against Abyss.
  • In the Warrior Cats spinoff Ravenpaw's Path, Ravenpaw faces off against Willie in Shattered Peace and gets completely crushed. They fight again in The Heart of a Warrior, and this time it is Ravenpaw who is victorious.

    Live Action TV 

    Video Games 
  • Chrono Trigger: As part of the main storyline you face the final boss Lavos at the Ocean Palace well before the actual end of the game, at which point it outright kills Crono, though you can undo his death. Only later can you face Lavos for real and win. To make sure you lose like you're supposed to, Lavos is stronger here than at any other point in the game, though still defeatable.
  • Dark Souls: In the first game of Dark Souls franchise, you will face Seath the Scaleless, but he is immortal, in the first encounter with him the only option to proceed is dying, you can't even inflict damage. Afterwards you will be able to defeat him in a proper boss fight.
  • Numerous examples in the Final Fantasy series:
    • Villainous example: Final Fantasy's final boss is the first one.
    • Final Fantasy V has the heroes confront Exdeath in his castle after only barely surviving the previous encounter due to Galuf's Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Final Fantasy VI has the team face Kefka at the end, who during their last meeting destroyed the world, destroyed their airship, and scattered the party.
    • Final Fantasy IX: Double subverted in the rematch with Trance Kuja, which, after an epic boss fight, ends exactly the same way as the first fight. The third fight does not.
    • Final Fantasy X has the rematch with Sin after the spectacularly failed attempt to stop it en route to Kilika. Counts for the Al Bhed as well in the final fight, after their machina failed during Operation: Mi'hen.
  • Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, you're forced to lose to Gades as soon as you land a hit on his core. After you've gained some companions and levels, you rematch him in an epic battle.
    • Gades loves this trope. In every main game, he will beat you up badly when you first meet him (unless you grind) then you have to defeat him at the very end of the game, if not any time before the other big bads shows up.
  • Agarest Senki, the Black Knight kills Leonhardt, but the man's saved by making a pact with a devil girl. The Black Knight ends up as a Disc-One Final Boss.
  • Mario vs Bowser in the original Paper Mario. Mario loses the first fight with Bowser and his Star Rod granted invincibility right at the start, then returns seven chapters later, beats Bowser and saves the world. Possibly also in some other games like Super Mario Galaxy, although Mario technically only attempts to initially stop Bowser before he's sent flying.
  • Monster Hunter Tri: you against the Lagiacrus after swimming away from it in pure terror (or attempting to kill it and failing miserably), then repelling it, then finally a full-length showdown.
  • Metroid:
    • Super Metroid begins with Samus fighting Ridley, who has stolen the last Metroid hatchling, on the Ceres station and losing (or possibly doing enough damage to make him briefly drop the Metroid, but in either case he flies off to Zebes). Samus spends most of the rest of the game going deeper and deeper into Zebes until she refights Ridley in the depths of Norfair.
    • Half-story example in Metroid Dread between Samus and Raven Beak, with only the rematch being playable. Samus first runs into him at the start of her mission, and though she does NOT go down like she-dog, he easily overpowers her and almost kills her before her Metroid DNA awakens inside her, causing him to be intrigued enough to spare her, prompting him to instead raid her Bag Of Holding and distribute six of them to those E.M.M.I. robots still intact and the rest are placed on Chozo Statues for Samus to re-obtain as she proceeds through Planet ZDR.
  • The first Mega Man X has this with Vile, who is unbeatable when X confronts him in the first stage. Later when Zero sacrifices himself to destroy his Ride Armor, X is capable of beating him.
    • In the third game, this becomes a possible Villainous Rematch: if you fail to destroy Bit and Byte with their weaknesses, they'll reappear together (or individually if you killed one but not both) at the end of the first final stage with upgrades to fight you again. The same happens if you fail to kill Vile in a Sidequest: he'll show up at the end of the second final stage with prototype ride armor and a few new moves.
  • Mega Man Zero 3: Omega is fought as the intro boss. Due to his regenerative systems, Zero can't do a decisive blow onto him; the fight is interrupted by the incoming Copy X, as well as Omega's boss Dr. Weil. Much later, after Omega gets strengthened, he becomes the Final Boss, and Zero beats him after a grueling 3-phase battle - and also with the help of the Four Guardians at the end.
  • Bayonetta vs Loptr in Bayonetta 2.
  • In Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido, Musashi fights General Tiburon but is ultimately rendered unable to move when Tiburon starts using Sushido techniques. The next three chapters of the game focus on Musashi looking for a way to counter Sushido for a rematch.
  • Two in Bravely Default 2: The first is against Big Bad Adam, who devastates the party and steals the wind crystal. The second is against Shieldmaster Galahad; while he doesn't defeat the heroes outright, his defenses are so impenetrable they realize the fight with him is going nowhere and retreat. In both cases, they are fought again later as proper battles to be won, and in both cases winning the first time is possible...though pointless in the case of Galahad and ill-advised in the case of Adam.

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    Western Animation 

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