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"In all my years of conquest... violence... slaughter... it was never personal. But I'll tell you now, what I'm about to do to your stubborn, annoying little planet? I'm going to enjoy it. Very, very much."
Thanos, Avengers: Endgame
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Protagonists and antagonists are always fighting each other. It's generally accepted that there could be a few deaths, injuries, psychological trauma, and physical destruction over the course of their struggles in a story. However, sometimes motives can run deeper than simply the other person having opposing goals, and "struggles" can hit far closer to home and heart than is comfortable.

Family members (or even entire races, countries, and cultures) may have been decimated, either as part of a character's backstory or during the story itself. Homes may have been burned down, and lifelong dreams may have been crushed. However you put it, though, somebody's embarrassed, saddened, angry, or let down, and they believe somebody (most times they know who they want to exact retribution from, by the way) has to pay for it.

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In short, this is where a character (or characters) has a very close, emotional investment in the story's conflict.

The Stuffed into the Fridge and Friendly Target tropes are invariably a setup for this.

Usually eventually leads to Not So Different. For a more specific form of this, see You Killed My Father. Often enough, This Means War!. If this is the impetus for the hero going on the journey to begin with, it's because The Call Knows Where You Live. When done to their home or base, the hero will usually take a moment to Watch Troy Burn. If the one for whom It's Personal finally gets to stare down the one who made it personal, expect an And This Is for... beatdown.

The Disposable Woman is a character who exists only to make It's Personal happen. When it gets personal, characters insist they must work alone.

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One common variant is to order/trick allies aside to set up a one-on-one duel without interference. This can be risky, but the avenger wouldn't risk anyone else getting hurt—or someone stealing his precious right to do that particular kill himself!

If a character has this as his primary motivation rather than as part of another quest, then he's Not in This for Your Revolution.

Has nothing to do with "It" Is Dehumanizing.

It's Personal with the Dragon is a specific subtrope. Contrast when it's Nothing Personal, or at least the character(s) claim it's not.

The invocation of this trope in Real Life on the internet is almost the moment when any given Flame War or bout of Ship-to-Ship Combat becomes Serious Business, leading to behaviors such as cyberbullying and real-life harassment, because belief/feeling that an issue is a personal affront to someone or their "in-group" is often "justification" for engaging in such behavior.


Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry; as if her beloved older brother killing her whole school didn't already give Sara Werec this complex, he goes and offs Carris too, just after exposing her true identity. True, he did have a bit of a suicide wish...
  • The final arc of Rurouni Kenshin has Kenshin fighting Enishi Yukishiro, his brother-in-law because Kenshin accidentally killed Tomoe Yukishiro, Enishi's sister, and Kenshin's first wife. Enishi makes it clear that this is personal, by sending Kenshin into a "living hell" by defeating him and killing Kenshin's lover Kaoru, though he actually only kidnaps her.
  • Gundam
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: Amuro Ray and Char Aznable become mortal enemies after the tragic death of Lalah, who has been so dear to both of them.
    • Mobile Fighter G Gundam has Domon Kasshu, who is really pissed at his brother Kyoji for getting their mother killed and father imprisoned. Which turns out to be a frame-up by the Japanese government; when he learns the truth, Domon switches targets accordingly. He's also out to get Master Asia after learning he's in cahoots with the Devil Gundam. On a smaller scale, there's Andrew Graham of Neo-Canada who is totally uninterested in fighting anyone but Argo Gulskii, as he blames Argo for his wife's death.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, Shinn Asuka wants Kira Yamato dead after Kira kills Shinn's love, Stella, only to save the mass from further tragedies she is causing.
      • Kira himself meanwhile opposes Zaft after they supposedly send assassins after Lacus (and further attempts on their life prove him correct) despite them looking like the good guys in the war at first. At the end of the series he personally goes to confront the chairman at gunpoint over this and his attempts to destroy Orb. He also starts viewing Shinn as a serious threat after his first defeat of him, although he doesn't hold a grudge when the war is over.
    • This seems to run a lot in Mobile Suit Gundam 00. Dark Action Girl in training Louise Halevy wants a piece of the Celestial Being for what she thought to be massacring her whole family and crippling her. Meanwhile, many people want a piece of Ali Al-Saachez for several reasons:
      • Setsuna F. Seiei wants him dead for manipulating him to kill his own parents and becoming a purposeless child soldier.
      • Lockon Stratos wants him dead for being responsible for the death of his entire family save his twin brother. He fails, unfortunatley, which sets the motivation for the next guy.
      • Tieria Erde wants him dead for killing Lockon, his partner and first love.
      • Nena Trinity wants him dead for killing her brothers. Ironically, she's the one who actually killed Louise's family.
      • And Ali's eventual killer? Lyle Dylandy, the twin brother of the original Lockon Stratos who now took his name. In an aversion of this trope, he didn't exactly kill Ali because he killed his brother. In fact, he offered him one last chance at redemption, which Ali promptly refused.
    • In Gundam AGE, one of Grodek Ainoa's reasons for hijacking the battleship Diva is to avenge the death of his wife and daughter, who have been murdered by the Ax-Crazy Unknown Enemies.
      • Flit has it in for Decil thanks to Yurin's death at the end of the first generation, and Decil towards Flit for beating him. Interestingly, Flit is rather a Combat Pragmatist who's perfectly willing to gang up on Decil or fight him with the Diva itself rather than insisting on a duel... which makes Decil flip out even worse.
      • There's also Asemu and Zeheart, but in Asemu's case it's less about vengeance or anger and more about proving he can fight him equally despite not having psychic powers. He also starts hating on Desil (everyone hates this guy). When he kills Woolf. But unlike Flit who clashed with Desil for years, Asemu promptly killed him almost immediately, meaning it was personal for about 5 minutes.
    • In Iron Blooded Orphans, after Biscuit's death, Mikazuki Augus declared whoever blocks his way is his enemy and he will crush every last one of them. When he finally get to meet Carta Issue, the one who killed Biscuit, he prompted to go for a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and immediately shredded every last one of them within a minute without even bothering to speak. Unlike most examples, it remained ambiguous whether Mika took Biscuit's death very personally, or he just doesn't want to waste any time on his enemies and simply kill them in his everyday "whatever" mood.
      • Gaelio is a much more stricter and tamer example compared to Mika, he has a legitimate grudge against Tekkadan for them being responsible to his friends' maim and deaths, especially Mika brutally killing Carta in the most undignified way as possible.
      • Ein Dalton makes the other two look tame in comparison, ever since the death of Lieutenant Crank, one of the only two Gjallarhorn officers who even cared about him in his entire life, he has been plotting to exact his revenge to the "sinful children" who killed Crank. When he got the chance to exact his revenge, he blamed everyone in Tekkadan for Crank's death, brutalized both Azee and Lafter, and even going after Kudelia, a politician who has nothing to do with Crank's death.
  • Dragon Ball Z
    • Vegeta's deep hatred for Frieza is almost unparalleled in a series full of personal conflicts. And that's BEFORE he finds out Frieza was the one who blew up Planet Vegeta and wiped out most of the Saiyan race.
    • Goku had a lot of friends die throughout the series, but it was Frieza's cold-blooded murder of his best friend Krillin that triggers his ascension to Super Saiyan.
    • Before then, it was King Piccolo who killed Krillin and Master Roshi. By the final fight Goku isn't interested in the state of the world so much as making Piccolo pay for taking those dear to him.
    • The entire Android/Cell Saga could be seen as a big 'It's Personal' towards Goku since Dr. Gero built the androids specifically to kill Goku as vengeance for destroying the Red Ribbon Army. Yes, at least two futures were completely ruined and another almost blown apart because of one man's personal vendetta.
    • In Dragonball Super, Goku Black ends up generating personal vendettas against him from Future Trunks, Vegeta, and eventually, Goku himself. Future Trunks despises him for completely devastating his world which had already experienced so much destruction from the Androids, with his mom being one of the recent victims. Going off that Vegeta also hates him for killing Future Bulma and making Future Trunks's life miserable. And Goku explodes with absolute rage when he learns that Black stole his body in another timeline, murdered him with it in front of Chi-Chi and Goten, and then went after them too. Having three major characters out for his blood to this extent is probably a record for Dragonball villains and really says something about how horrible he is.
  • In Mazinger Z, Dr. Hell got Kouji's grandfather assassinated. After his grandfather died, Kouji swore he WOULD find those responsible and WOULD make them pay. That is one of his motivations to piloting Mazinger-Z and fighting Hell. Moreover he has stated he does not want nobody else loses his/her families cause the ambition of Hell.
    • In the sequel, Great Mazinger, fighting the Mykene became personal to Tetsuya after Professor Kabuto, his adoptive father died to save him.. And in the Gosaku Ota manga version, he wanted Marquiss Yanus dead after she tore Misato in half to his face.
    • And in the OTHER sequel, UFO Robo Grendizer, the version manga of Duke Fleed hated Commander Barendos after he dropped his little siblings from a height from three kilometers in front of him. The sole sight or mention of him press HARD Duke's Berserk Button.
  • Naruto:
    • Orochimaru seems to make it his life's work to earn the hatred of a significant portion of the cast, from Anko Mitarashi and Hiruzen Sarutobi, to Jiraiya and Tsunade, and is probably this to the Leaf as a whole given his goal is to wipe it from the face of the Earth and that he topped its Most Wanted List. Naruto probably feels this way about him too, since even though Oro hasn't done that much to him personally, he doesn't forgive him for murdering the Third or corrupting Sasuke.
    • Naruto hates Kabuto Yakushi for betraying the Hidden Leaf Village and defecting to Orochimaru.
    • Despite already hunting him for the nine-tailed fox, Pain happened to make things very personal for Naruto when he killed Jiraiya, forced Kakashi into a Heroic Sacrifice, and destroyed the Leaf Village. After injuring and potentially killing Naruto's toad allies, his stabbing Hinata after she told Naruto she loved him is enough to force Naruto into his six-tailed, and then his eight-tailed, states.
      • Earlier on, there's also Naruto's fight against Neji in the Chunin Exams finals. Neji tries to talk Naruto into giving up by telling him that he has Nothing Personal against him, to which Naruto answers that he does have a lot against Neji, particularly for how he nearly killed Hinata in the preliminaries.
    • The reason Sasuke Jumped Off The Slippery Slope. Itachi killed the Uchiha clan and traumatized him with Tsukuyomi. Then after killing Itachi he turned his attention to Konoha because they ordered Itachi to massacre the clan and that led to his Revenge Before Reason mindset.
    • Averted by Tobi/Obito Uchiha. While Rin's death was Obito's Start of Darkness, and Obito (knowing Kakashi feels guilty about being unable to protect her) plays with Kakashi's feelings for a bit ("Because you let Rin die"), he is well-aware that Kakashi was forced into that situation and admits that it's not Kakashi's fault that he became what he did, but rather the world's fault.
      • Obito is the mastermind of the Nine-Tails attack, the murderer of Naruto Uzumaki's parents, and is the reason Naruto became a jinchūriki shunned by most of Konoha (save for a very few number of people who were always nice to him). Obito and his Akatsuki subordinates, including the aforementioned Pain, have relentlessly hunted for Naruto and killed many of his allies. Naruto and Hinata consider it very personal when Obito kills Neji, who died protecting the two of them.
    • Madara never forgot about how Tobirama killed his brother and when they're both revived in the Fourth Shinobi War, he gets to act on his grudge.
  • Science Ninja Team Gatchaman: Unlike his teammates, Joe "The Condor" Asakura has a very personal reason to fight the Galactor organization, since they took his parents' lives and almost took his.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, Toguro capitalizes on this trope in order to get Yusuke to fight him at his full strength. He does this by first killing Genkai before the finals, and then during his fight with Yusuke, seemingly kills Kuwabara, but he had only pretended to. Ironically, 50 years ago, a demon named Kairen had killed all his students and forced him to come to the Dark Tournament, which precipitated his Start of Darkness.
  • In Monster, Eva is only linked to Johan by her connection to Tenma. But when Martin dies, Eva decides she's going to go after him herself.
  • In Sonic X, seeing his friends attacked, injured and imprisoned by the Metarex in the episode Testing Time gives us Dark Sonic. And also show's us a side of Sonic that we've really never seen in full swing before - namely the part of him that you do not, under any circumstances, piss off.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Do NOT mess with Yugi (or Tea, for that matter). Yami WILL kill you. For that matter, don't screw with Mokuba. it's a great way to get Kaiba pissed off.
  • The Demon Arc in Mahou Sensei Negima! turned out to be very personal indeed for Negi when Wilhelm revealed to him that he was the demon that petrified his hometown. Cue Negi blindly charging, and having to be pulled out of the line of fire by Kotaro.
    • Also, Fate Averruncus. Initially, to Negi, it was just a really powerful evil guy that had to go down, but it was personal for Fate because Negi managed to hit him. Subsequent encounters made it personal for Negi as well.
    • Happened again with Negi to Governor General Kurt Godell after learning Godell was one of many responsible for the destruction of his hometown. It gets pretty intense after Negi literally turns into a demon. Even got to the point that Shrinking Violet Nodoka couldn't use her mind reading book to tell what was going on inside Negi's head save for three sentences "Make them atone. Don't Forgive. Kill them all."
    • In chapter 301, Dynamis breaks out of his Stoic facade. He laments the fall of the organization's power from boasting an army of thousands to relying on a few relatively weak little girls and that they were forced to play dead to survive. Dynamis blames this Villain Decay on Takamichi and Godel, and really really really wants to make them pay.
  • Terrorist group in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers that threatens the safety of The Multiverse? Pretty bad, but saving worlds and stopping such threats are part of Nanoha's job description. Terrorist group that kidnapped and tortured the Mysterious Waif that Nanoha had taken in as her daughter? Okay, now it's personal.
    • Subverted in A's. Chrono does request that he be put in charge of the Book of Darkness Case since it was responsible for his father's death, but he doesn't view it differently than any other dangerous Lost Logia and he never shows the Wolkenritter any personal animosity.
  • Bleach
    • Though outclassed in depravity by villains such as Szayel-Aporro and Aizen, the Grand Fisher happens to be one of Ichigo's most personal roles for killing his mother and of course for attacking his two sisters so that he could consume their souls as well. Ultimately, it is Isshin Kurosaki who cuts him down.
    • Zommari Rureaux, on the verge of defeat against Byakuya, rants about Soul Reapers persecuting Hollows and declaring that they have no right to judge them merely for eating humans. Byakuya then cuts him down, replying that his actions had nothing to do with Soul Reaper duties, but for Zommari's trying to kill his sister Rukia.
    • Aizen made it very personal for Hitsugaya after brutally stabbing Momo Hinamori, Aizen's previous lieutenant and Hitsugaya's friend, when the former defected from the Soul Society. Then Aizen tricked Hitsugaya into impaling Hinamori in chapter 392 and suddenly this trope was cranked Up to Eleven.
    • Aizen thinks Ichigo needs this trope to win a fight. He's wrong.
    • The Visoreds had a personal grudge against Aizen for forcing hollowfication on them. Then Gin sliced Hiyori in half, and cranked this trope up for Shinji, who directed his ire at Aizen, not Gin: Gin was just the subordinate doing Aizen's dirty work, so Aizen was the real threat.
    • Ishida's battle with Mayuri is one of the most epic cases of this trope in the series, second only to...
    • ...Yamamoto's truly incredible explosion of rage in Chapters 503-505.
  • In Full Metal Panic!, it's revealed that Gauron and Sousuke initially had nothing against each other. And then Gauron decided to attack the Guerilla village Sousuke had been living in, mass slaughtering all the citizens while Sousuke and Kalinin were out. Not to mention how, after that, he decided to accept a job from the KGB to go after Sousuke and Kalinin and kill them. After all that... it became personal.
  • In Knights, Mist is especially driven to stop the Corrupt Church and their witch-hunts after seeing his own mother burned at the stake, and at his father's hands.
  • Anti-Villain example: In Eureka Seven, Ray and Charles Beams fight against Gekkostate not merely because the military pays them to (though that is a factor), but also because of a grudge against Eureka, whom they believe is to blame for Ray's infertility.
  • Fang of the Sun Dougram has a minor plotline about two Humongous Mecha pilots going AWOL to avenge the deaths of their comrades. When command orders them to retreat, the older one cuts off the radio saying that this is personal.
  • The very first episode of A Certain Scientific Railgun has Saten trying to be Badass Normal by stopping an escaping bank robber. Unfortunately for her, she's just a teenage girl while her target is an adult man. Mikoto witnesses the bad guy kicking into Saten. Cue Mikoto showing why is her nickname "the Railgun" despite the fact that as a Badass Bystander, she has no real reason to join the fray.
  • "Stiyl, I'm gonna go punch Fiamma. While I'm gone, you take care of Index."
  • A lot of major characters in Inuyasha have it in for Big Bad Naraku, who has a huge list of wrongdoings including, but not limited to: tricking Inuyasha and Kikyo into thinking they had betrayed one another after he kills Kikyo; cursing Miroku's family; murdering Sango's family and destroying her village (and framing Inuyasha for it) and brainwashing her younger brother; using Sesshomaru several times to kill Inuyasha before trying to absorb him and kidnapping Rin (but it's Kagura's death that was the last straw and he starts going after Naraku in order to avenge her); and killing Koga's pack (which he once again frames Inuyasha for).
  • In one episode of Detective Conan, the murder takes place at a reunion of Kogoro's old high school Judo club, with both the victim and killer being members (and therefore longtime friends). Kogoro's anger over the situation and resolve to see it through to the end convinces Conan to let him have this one, though he does help out by subtly nudging Kogoro in the right direction.
    • Also, did the killer of the week target Ran? Conan will take that very, very personally.
    • Really, as a general rule, if you have any plans at all of getting away with your murder/other crime, you should definitely not run afoul of this trope with Kogoro. The bumbling drunk routine will go out the window, he will find you and he will make sure you face justice, probably with some expert-level Judo moves thrown in.
  • This was Tubby's attitude in Episode 6 of the Little Lulu anime, after Lulu had gotten him into trouble, leading to him to invoke this line in the English version;
    Tubby: Lulu's played her last dirty trick on me! This time, I'm just really fed up! This time, the worm is gonna turn!
  • One Piece
    • This is Crocodile's main motivation throughout the Whitebeard War.
    • This is usually the main reason the Straw Hats choose to get involved conflicts. They typically don't care about the politics of the islands they visit and don't go out of their way to try to be heroes, but if you mess with a member of the crew (or someone they've befriended), it's ON. Arlong Park? Nami was crying. Alabasta war? Princess Vivi befriended them. Declaring war on the World Government? Robin tried to pull a Heroic Sacrifice for them. Breaking into The Alcatraz and then the Marines' HQ? They were trying to kill his brother.
    • Let's just say that Smoker didn't take Vergo's betrayal of the Marines very well and leave it at that. Then Vergo went and attacked his subordinates. Ultimately, Smoker realizes that he can't beat Vergo, so he steals the handicap that was preventing the nearby Trafalgar Law, who had an even bigger instance of this trope towards him, from winning. The end result is Vergo being chopped to pieces and blown up. That's right: a One Piece villain, in canon, was Killed Off for Real.
    • In One Piece Film: Z, this was the Straw Hats' main motivation for going after Z. He attacked them after they went out of their way to heal him, had one of his subordinates rejuvenate Nami, Robin, Chopper and Brook and finally, taking Luffy's hat.
    • Law's plan and alliance with the Straw Hats was not to go after Kaido, as he initially claimed. In truth, it was to screw over Donquixote Doflamingo for murdering his father figure Corazon thirteen years ago. Law himself is prepared to fight Doflamingo one-on-one and, even if he dies in the ensuing battle, the destruction of the SMILEs factory on Punk Hazard he orchestrated will ensure that Doflamingo will die anyway at the hands of Kaido. Since Law intentionally pissed off Doflamingo with the entire plan and the killing of two loyal subordinates, the conflict is personal on both ends.
    • By the end of the Whole Cake Island arc, Luffy has gained the personal ire of two of the Four Emperors, Big Mom and Kaido. Kaido's grudge comes from Luffy's role in the destruction of the SMILE factory and his defeat of Doflamingo, effectively halting his plans to create an army of Devil Fruit users. As for Big Mom, what began as Luffy infiltrating her territory to get one of his crew back from her ended in massive collateral damage to her kingdom, the defeat of two of her top soldiers, who are also her sons, and the papers playing up the entire thing as Luffy's victory despite the fact they barely escaped. Chapter 907 opens with Big Mom and Kaido arguing with one another over an open, unencrypted line about which of them will claim Luffy's head and threatening the other against it.
  • Holyland: Masaki originally did not want to lead the rest of the street fighters against King, but when Yagi tried to kidnap Mai, he changed his mind.
  • In Saki, during the individual tournament, Momo makes it her goal to defeat the eponymous main character, since Saki faced Momo's friend and senpai Yumi in her match, defeating her and eliminating Momo and Yumi's school from the tournament; Momo notices that in spite of Yumi taking her loss gracefully, she was still quite disappointed. Momo doesn't succeed, though.
  • Fairy Tail
    • This is the Tartarus guild member Silver's history with Gray, as he makes no secret that he absolutely loathes him. Which actually makes sense, when you realize he's actually Deliora, the demon who destroyed Gray's hometown and forced his beloved mentor and surrogate mother to sacrifice her life to stop. He never forgave her or any of her students. For those same reasons, and considering he's also currently using Gray's father, Silver's, corpse as a vessel, this trope is in full swing by Gray to him as well. Subverted when it turns out that he isn't really Deliora, he's actually the reanimated body of Silver Fullbuster, and he was just saying all that to Grey to make him angry enough to kill him so as to avenge him and defeat Tartarus.
    • Zeref's desire to die is so great that he deliberately tries to invoke this with protagonist Natsu Dragneel, who, as both his younger brother and the demon E.N.D., is the only being capable of killing him. He hopes that if Natsu is driven by rage, it'll empower him enough to kill Zeref.
  • Durarara!!:
  • Rosario + Vampire: Kurumu promptly develops this mindset against Security Committee member Keito calls her a "dumb, slutty airhead" to her face.
  • In Attack on Titan, Eren when he sees the abnormal Titan who ate Thomas while in Titan form. He suddenly gains the strength to overpower the numerous Titans pinning him and charges the abnormal one uncaring of the fact that his arms are being torn off in the process. He then proceeds to bite the Titan's weakspot and throws him at the other Titans while simultaneously decapitating the one he was biting.
    • Eren's feelings towards the Colossal and Armored Titans who destroyed his hometown. It's the same as his feelings towards all Titans, but turned Up to Eleven.
    Eren: I'll do everything in my power to make your deaths as excruciating as possible.
  • Bon from Blue Exorcist is someone who takes this trope too far as a character flaw. He tends to take everything personally, from Rin hiding that he's the son of Satan, to Shima serving as a Double Reverse Quadruple Agent between the Order and the Illuminati. He feels betrayed that Rin wouldn't confide in him his true heritage, even though he never stopped talking about how much he hates everything Satan related (and indeed, he and everyone else started ignoring Rin after the truth came out for a while) and can't understand that the latter example has nothing to do with him. It's not until Shima calls him out for acting like a spoiled brat who thinks the world revolves around him that Bon starts to get over this behavior.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, Rohan Kishibe's motivation to join the hunt for Yoshikage Kira is this trope. Kira's first victim was Rohan's Cool Big Sis Reimi, and she died protecting him.
  • In Hunter × Hunter:
    • This is the core of Kurapika's motivation for almost everything he does: He is the Last of His Kind among the Kurta Clan, which the Phantom Troupe had wiped out many years ago—Kurta eyes glow red when under distress, and sell for very high prices on the black market. From that point on, Kurapika has dedicated his life to seeking out and killing off every member of the Phantom Troupe.
    • The Phantom Troupe itself, meanwhile, plays with this trope. Uvogin has no personal stake in anyone he kills, and in fact is so remorseless that he feels nothing when killing people. However, he is absolutely thrilled to kill people who have developed personal grudges against him, and goes from indifference to elation when Kurapika fights him one-on-one and Uvogin learns Kurapika's motivations. When Kurapika actually manages to kill off Uvogin, this kicks off this trope in Nobunaga, as Uvogin and Nobunaga were friends, and Nobunaga swears revenge on Kurapika. Meanwhile, Nobunaga attempts to nominate Idiot Hero Gon into the Phantom Troupe, and while it fails, for some reason, this enrages Troupe member Feitan so much that he makes it a personal goal of his to kill Gon, though it's a low priority and he doesn't actively seek Gon out.

    Comic Books 
  • The presence of this trope is what distinguishes a superhero's Arch-Enemy from his or her most dangerous enemy. The two are rarely one and the same.
  • Batman:
    • In "The Origin of Batman", Batman learns that the villain of the week is none other than Joe Chill, the two-bit hood who killed his parents outside the theater. Upon this realization, Batman becomes determined to collar Chill, asking Robin not to get involved, and even going as far as unmasking himself on the gamble that doing so will scare Chill into making a mistake. And it does.
    • Death of the Family: Barbara Gordon had been left paralyzed by The Joker in The Killing Joke and Jason Todd had been murdered by him in A Death in the Family. Now that Joker is after both of them, Barbara and Jason have some scores to settle with him. Made worse with the poisoning of Jason's girlfriend, Joker's poisoning of Commissioner Gordon, and his kidnap and mutilation of Barbara's mother. This goes both ways, as in Red Hood and the Outlaws, The Joker is really, really irritated that Jason went off-script and basically ruined one of the best jokes he pulled on Batman by coming back to life. So he prepares a little surprise for Jason as an aside from Death of the Family and booby-traps one of Jason's helmets, causing him to receive a face-full of acid.note 
  • The Punisher: Almost any recurring villain has this in one form or another, and sometimes the feeling is mutual.
    • Ma Gnucci provides the page image up top. The fact that a battle with the Punisher renders her a quadriplegic doesn't improve her disposition. It gets to the point that once she's killed, her will states that her last remaining family member won't inherit until the Punisher is dead. Punisher's feelings towards her get a lot uglier after she has one of his friends tortured while trying to find him.
    • Most versions of Jigsaw have his status as Frank's Arch-Enemy trace back to how one of his first encounters with the Punisher left his face horribly disfigured.
    • Rosalie Carbone has it in for Punisher bad for 1) Killing her father, and 2) seducing her while undercover then telling her it didn't mean anything. His occasional attempts to kill her don't help.
  • The Punisher MAX series had one story arc that involved a vengeful mob boss trying to get revenge on Frank Castle — and he started by unearthing the bodies of Frank's deceased wife and children and urinating on their bones. Frank wasn't very happy about this. The arc ended with Frank dragging the man out into the woods and shooting him in the stomach, then leaving him to die a long, inevitable death.
    • Before this he kills fifty-eight mobsters in one night and vows to continue until the police bury his family, tortures the assassin said mobster hired, and is saved from a suicide strike on the mobster by a hot sex-crazed Punisher fan lady. On the plus side? Crime rate went down.
    • Which gets a "Fuck you Johnathan" as the mayor's reply, after another aide suggests they hope he just stops.
    • Another hot sex crazed Punisher fan lady shows up, going to far as to take his clothes and seek out revenge on those who wronged her, before beating one of them to death, naked, in front of Castle. Compared to Jenny, O'Brian is perfectly sane.
    • Said people who’d wronged that woman were going after Punisher for killing their husbands (and the sons of their leader as well).
    • During the ‘’Kitchen Irish’’ Arc one of the SAS soldiers Frank works With is the son of a soldier murdered by one of the IRA members their chasing.
    • When Barracuda kills one of Franks few friends and kidnaps his illegitimate daughter, Franks response rivals what he did to the man who dug up his families bodies, and involves hooking the mans testicles to a car battery for over an hour.
    • Two one-shots show Frank killing the murderers of his family, and the mafia group who terrorized his childhood neighborhood (and allowed the rape of his best friend).
  • At one point in Preacher, Allfather D'aronique explains to Jesse Custer why he changed his plans from exploiting the word to killing him:
    Allfather D'aronique: You killed her, Custer. You killed my Aunt Marie!
    Jesse: Grandma.
  • In Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, Mammoth Mogul told Sonic that he now understands he can never defeat Sonic. He is content to outlive Sonic and make sure that Sonic never knows peace until the day he dies.
  • The newest Spider-Woman comic series revolves around Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) coping with her new life after having been rescued from the Skrulls after two years in captivity while the Skrull Queen impersonated her, giving her an even worse reputation than she had before. Needless to say, she came to hate Skrulls, and when she found a Skrull posing as Spider-Man and trying to trick her again, she was displeased.
  • Johnny Alpha in Strontium Dog has a couple of these, notably against Nelson Kreelman in "Portrait of a Mutant"/"Wanted", and Max Bubba in "Rage".
  • Played for laughs in issue #4 of The Awesome Slapstick. When the Neutron Bum is rampaging through Manhattan, Steve Harmon flatly refuses to get involved (he was waiting in line for a concert). He leaps into action only after the Bum attacks the Tower Records building.
  • In Superman: Red Son, Lex Luthor was originally hired to kill Superman (here a champion of the Soviet Union) by the US Government and just saw it as another problem to solve with his genius intellect. But he decides to devote his entire life to the task shortly after Superman defeats a Bizarro duplicate he created. But he later reveals that wasn't the problem—the thing that drove him over the edge was that Bizarro managed to beat him at chess, implying that he, and by extension the original Superman, was more intelligent then Lex was.
  • Supergirl:
    • The Supergirl from Krypton: Superman goes after Darkseid when he kidnaps his beloved cousin. Barda joins the rescue team because she hates Darkseid and because her ex-teammates -the Female Furies- killed Harbinger and abducted Supergirl.
      Barda: From what you've told me, I'm willing to bet that it was the Female Furies who killed Harbinger... and made off with your cousin. That makes it personal for me too.
    • Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl:
    • In a classic story, Supergirl and her cousin fight Kryptonite Man, a villain who blames their race for Krypton's destruction and his own species' extinction. Superman tries to explain the truth to him, but K-Man refuses to listen.
    • In the New Krypton storyline, Post-Crisis Supergirl has a feud with Reactron after he kills her father. It doesn't end well, and he eventually blows up her mother and almost every surviving member of her race. She also takes her enmity with Doomsday this way, knowing that he once killed her cousin.
    • In the Red Daughter of Krypton arc, Supergirl explains that she hates the Worldkillers (sentient, genetically-engineered biological weapons) and the Diasporan alien race because they kill planets, and she's an orphan of a dead world. She's very committed to stop them all.
      Supergirl: How could anyone make it their mission in life to murder whole worlds? Can you imagine what an abomination that is to an orphan from a dead planet? [...] This world-killing stuff... it hits a nerve. It makes me furious, and the ring just fans the flame!
    • In Bizarrogirl, Supergirl dreams she's slugging Superwoman while shouting: "You destroyed our planet!"
  • Spider-Man has so many villains that fit this mold, he can sometimes seem as though he isn't actually doing any superhero work but is rather trying to survive the next villain who wants to get even:
    • The original Green Goblin, Norman Osborn, started off trying to take control of the New York underworld, but by his second appearance he was dedicated completely to killing Spider-Man. See quote for this trope. It's only been during the recent Dark Reign crossover that he has begun to do other villainous things besides messing with Peter Parker.
    • The same goes for the second Green Goblin, Norman's son Harry. He went into villainy just to kill Spider-Man as revenge for his father's "death". It doesn't help that he was always going through a Heel–Face Revolving Door so he never really wanted to do anything evil when he wasn't after Spidey's blood.
    • The first Venom was Eddie Brock, who was also only after Spider-Man and not only had no aspirations for further villainy, but he was something of a Sociopathic Hero. Once he agreed to a truce with Spider-Man, he became an Anti-Hero.
    • The Jackal was also mostly interested in Spider-Man and was the villain responsible for kick starting The Clone Saga... apparently For the Evulz.
    • Kraven the Hunter was hired to captured Spidey one time and failed, resulting in him becoming obsessed with Peter Parker to the point where he was Driven to Suicide.
      • Over the years, his wife and three children all took turns trying to kill Spidey in revenge.
    • The Mad Scientist Spencer Smythe was likewise hired to build spider-slayer robots. He was driven to insanity and financial ruin due to building wave after wave of robots designed to kill Spider-Man, only for them to be busted into pieces. Eventually, he died of old age.
      • His son then took up his mantle during a single story arc where he built an entire robot army of spider-slayers which, as expected, were destroyed by Spidey. He even turned himself into a cyborg in order to beat Spidey one-on-one. He lost.
    • During Spider-Verse, Spider-Girl, Miles Morales and Spider-Gwen all say one variation of this to the Inheritors after they end up doing something that really pissed them off: Killing Mayday's family, destroying Rio Morales' gravestone and forcing a Peter Parker Gwen was trying to save to sacrifice himself. For the last two, the Inheritor who brought this about just has no idea why.
  • Marvel supervillain Jackie Dio, aka Underworld, asserts that while the mutilation of one of his friends by Hammerhead may have been "just business," it was personal to him, and shoots Hammerhead for it.
  • The one thing that all Iron Man villains have in common is that they really, really, really hate Tony Stark. Or are psychotically obsessed with him.
  • X-23 is ordered by her mother to kill Rice and destroy the Facility to prevent them from making more clones of her. When Laura puts up her claws to beat Rice to death over the course of ten minutes while having Flashback Cuts to the severe physical abuse he subjected her to throughout her life it's pretty clear she's made it personal.
  • This is the core motivation of the Astro City story arc, "The Dark Ages," with Charles and Royal Williams spending years on a vendetta against the man who killed their parents twenty years ago.
  • The conflict at the heart of Civil War II is due to the death of War Machine as when a new character with precognive powers emerges, Captain Marvel, who was Rhodey's lover and present when he died, wants to use the character to make Precrime Arrests and Iron Man, who was Rhodey's best friend, still believes that punishment should come arrest the crime.
  • In the Eleventh Doctor Doctor Who (Titan) comics, Alice has this level of personal hatred of the Talent Scout after he impersonates her dead mother in an attempt to manipulate her.
  • Ultimate Galactus Trilogy: Captain America will not shy away from saving the world, but taking down a cult of aliens that pervert the idea of God... that's something else.

    Fan Works 
  • Clash of the Elements: In Part 2, Gemini has this with Smithy, Luigi with Dimentio, and Alpha with Cackletta
  • In Ace Combat: The Equestrian War, Firefly has a grudge against Black Star and it's one of the reasons she returns to Equestria.
  • A Crown of Stars: Shinji and Asuka want to topple Jinnai because he is a blood-thirsty dictator and warlord who has taken control of the UN government and has a stockpile of nukes, but they have very important personal reasons to want to destroy him, too: after the end of the world, Jinnai and his former boss forced Shinji and Asuka to work for them. They abused them, mistreated them and turned Asuka into their plaything for four years.
  • Power Girl story A Force of Four provides several examples:
    • Badra wanted to keep Wonder Woman alive to force her to witness the Earth's destruction before killing her.
    • As far as Fury was concerned, Badra was just another loony whom her mother Wonder Woman had defeated before her time. Then Badra bashed her mother's face, and Fury promised to tear Badra's face off.
  • Intrepid: Anne blames the ABB for her family breaking. So now she has powers, she wants to break them.
    "The ABB broke my family. I wanted to break them. I will break them. I want the ABB dismantled and gone."
  • The Immortal Game: General Esteem being Rarity's father naturally evokes this between them. However, it's Twilight who ends up having a personal vendetta against him, as he's the one who turned her into Nihilus.
  • Mare of Steel: Both Zod and Brainiac end up with this with Rainbow Dash/Supermare. Especially Brainiac, who nearly kills her mother.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Roll has a personal vendetta against Wily for killing Doc.
    • Mr. Black has one against Wily for killing his wife, Tonya.
    • As of episode 11, Wily has one against Dr. Light running even deeper than before.
  • Hardboiled Detective Fakir Romeiras in An Uncommon Witness dedicates his life in the purse of the Corvo family because they murdered his parents. Still, as a detective working with the police, he needs to keep it secret to avoid getting out of the investigation.
  • Magical Pony Lyrical Twilight:
  • In I Against I, Me Against You, Rainbow Dash seems to have decided this in regards to the Meta After it kills Derpy
  • In Advice and Trust, Misato wants to destroy the Angels because she blames them for her father's death.
  • Thousand Shinji:
    • Before deploying the Evas to destroy Sahaquiel, Misato reveals Shinji and Asuka that she hates the Angels because her father died when Second Impac happened.
    • Asuka wanted to chop Matarael into pieces because it hurt Shinji.
      Screw thinking like that. This Angel made it personal by hurting Shinji; it’s the one in for a world of hurt.
  • In Children of an Elder God, Misato wants to kill Cthulhu and co to avenge her father.
  • In chapter 17 of Once More with Feeling, Misato risked Asuka’s life during a mission. Later on, she apologized and explained the younger girl that she was obsessed with destroying the Angels because her father died during Second Impact, and she wants to avenge him.
  • Lampshaded in Infinity when Lindy fights Precia. While she is arresting them for their crimes, it's more because they hurt her children.
    Lindy: At this point, I suppose I should be telling you something appropriately neutral and law enforcement-esque. But I've already used 'you're under arrest', and frankly speaking I'm not neutral towards you at all.
  • In This Bites!, unlike the rest of Baroque Works' agents who hold no real grudge against the Straw Hats, the Unluckies have made it clear they will only retire after they've brutally killed Cross and Soundbite.
  • The main conflict in Soul Chess is between main protagonist Lelouch Lamperouge and main villain Sosuke Aizen. The two outright despise each other with every fiber of their being. Lelouch hates Aizen for killing his mother-figure Mari Akari and her lieutenant Yuna Homura (who Lelouch was in love with) along with engineering the exile of several of his comrades and friends. In turn, Aizen resents him for constantly foiling his plans and having the audacity to doubt his superiority. The latter bothers him so much that he goes into a Villainous Breakdown when Lelouch refuses to acknowledge him at the end of their second confrontation.
  • In the Discworld fanfic Clowning is a Serious Business by A.A. Pessimal, Miss Alice Band becomes this when her girlfriend is stabbed and left for dead in the doorway of the Assassins' Guild. Other Assassins are expressly warned off the retributory contract as it is clearly understood this one has Alice's name on it. She is even warned not to let anger dictate her actions when she signs the contract. She then goes on to slay two of her lover's attackers with something verging on Extreme Prejudice, but is explicitly advised that one needs to be kept alive for just long enough to be interrogated as to who employed them and what their motives are. She reluctantly complies, accepting that his interrogation will be very unpleasant indeed. But is allowed to complete the contract afterwards - in cold blood, this time.
    • And in the tale Hyperemesis Gravidarum, it is the turn of Fiery Redhead Assassin Johanna Smith-Rhodes. A gang with a reason to hate the Smith-Rhodes family is at large in Ankh-Morpork. In quick sucession they murder a Wizard believing him to be her husband; wound her uncle; attempt to murder her cousin, poison her pet dogs; and wound her sister. Believing her sister dead, Johanna, although over eight months pregnant note  goes for the ringleader. Who discovers a pregnant Assassin with a personal reason to see him dead - is dangerous. note 
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supergirl crossover The Vampire of Steel, Zol-Am hates Supergirl because her uncle discovered and designed his prison, and he looks forward to suck her dry.
    The blonde girl was there again, investigating. With Supergirl. He never suspected she had such connections. But that only made it more gratifying.
    Like all those who came from where he did, he had a grudge against the cursed El family. The only one they hated more than Supergirl was Superman. She’d be a fine appetizer, and the blonde would be a chaser.
  • Rivals Series: Initially, Yuuri's hatred of Viktor was thought to be a result of professional jealousy; Yuuri, like any other skater, wants to be the best, and Viktor was the nigh-insurmountable obstacle for that goal. However, as the years went on, most people (correctly) speculated that his grudge was actually this as Yuuri was kind and courteous to literally every competitor not named Viktor Nikiforov, even those who occasionally beat him, like Chris. Ironically, the only people who don't seem to see it are Viktor's coach and rinkmates, who are too blinded by their affections for Viktor and dismissive of fan speculation to acknowledge the possibility that Viktor might have actually done something to earn Yuuri's hatred — even Viktor realizes that Yuuri's grudge was something beyond mere jealousy, though he didn't know how deep the pain actually ran until Yuuri straight up told him about it.
  • In Nobody Dies, Misato really, really hates the Angels due to her father's death. She makes sure to explain it to ADAM before shooting him in the chest with the Positron Cannon while on foot.
    ADAM: I REMEMBER YOU.
    Misato: Good. Because I sure remember you too.
    ADAM: WHAT ARE YOU?
    Misato: My name is Misato Katsuragi. Lieutenant Colonel of NERV. Daughter of Shiro Katsuragi, the stupid son of a bitch who woke you up. I am the daughter of a murdered man and the only human being to look on you with their own eyes and live to tell about it. I am the right hand of retribution and the last human being you will ever see, you glow in the dark mother f_er. Now smile asshole. Because this... (throws the 'fire' switch on the positron cannon) is my seventeen years of f_ing payback!
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, fighting Darkseid became a personal matter rather than a matter or principle for Supergirl after the ruler of Apokolips attempted to kill and/or enslave her cousin, her lover and her friends several times over. Likewise, Berserker looks forward to kill Supergirl after she killed his mother in self-defense.
    Berserker: I will avenge my mother’s death. I will avenge your honor. I will make her pay for blocking the True Path. I WILL DESTROY THE SUPERGIRL.
  • Atonement has Amy Dallon, who makes sure that Crawler meets a gruesome end after he kills her father just as she was getting to understand him.
  • Son of the Sannin:
    • In this story, Sasuke Uchiha has it in big time for Obito, after learning that he was the one who instigated the Uchiha Insurrection, and later forcing him into a fight with Naruto almost getting them to kill one another. It later extends to Akatsuki as a whole when Itachi ends up in the hospital in the aftermath of a failed jinchuriki retrieval mission.
    • While Danzo has made pretty much everyone in and out of universe to hate his guts, in-story the one who probably has it the most against the man is Shisui Uchiha. Not only did Danzo forcibly steal his eye, preventing him from stopping the Uchihas' rebellion without bloodshed, but Danzo made the mistake of trying to kidnap his infant son and daughter to raise them as his personal puppet Root agents.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Epic, Mandrake really gives his all in defeating the Leafmen after one of them kills his son.
  • In Penguins of Madagascar, this is Dave's motive for revenge against cute animals, as he feels their cuteness stole his fans from the various zoos and parks where he performed in.
  • Scooby-Doo! in Where's My Mummy?: Fred considers it personal when the curse of Cleopatra (presumably) turns Velma to stone.
  • Averted in Tarzan when Tarzan fights with Sabor. He does not yet know that Sabor had killed his birth parents or Kerchek and Kala's son, so the fight between them has more meaning than he realizes.
  • In Toy Story 2, Woody fights Stinky Pete after seeing him punch Buzz Lightyear.
  • In Kung Fu Panda 2, Po slowly discovers that the Big Bad he's trying to stop happens to be responsible for massacring most of his species. Subverted in that he spends most of the movie trying to get answers about this, but ultimately lets it go and attains inner peace. In addition, every villain in the series, including the aforementioned one, has some kind of personal stake in their motives.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The popularity of the phrase possibly originates from Jaws: The Revenge's tagline: "This time...It's personal." Given that the film came out in 1987, the concept is probably substantially older.
    • It was the driving plot point in most, if not all of the action films of the 80s and early 90s. It was particularly egregious in martial arts films revolving around a tournament (Bloodsport, Kickboxer, The Karate Kid, Best of the Best). It's not enough motivation for the hero to just compete with honour in a competition. Nope, his main rival has to have killed his brother, molested his girlfriend and kicked his dog too. Cop movies were bad too—in every Lethal Weapon movie, the villains threaten Murtaugh's family, and in the second film we learn the villains have not only killed Riggs' current squeeze, but also killed his wife previous to the events of the first movie.
    • Parodied in Back to the Future Part II, when Marty sees an ad for Jaws 19 with the tagline "This time it's really really personal!" All Marty has to say is that the shark still looks very fake.
  • In King Arthur: Legend of the Sword even after finding out that Vortigern murdered his parents, tried to murder him, and that the throne is his birthright, Arthur still has no interest in being king, only wanting to return his life as a street-level gang lord. But then, as Arthur is being dragged off to be decapitated for being a threat to the kingdom, Vortigern kills Lucy, the prostitute that raised Arthur, the only mother Arthur's ever known Just. Because. He. Can. Then Arthur escapes his execution and the only thing on his mind is avenging Lucy's death.
  • In Robocop 1987 the titular character initially arrests Clarence Boddicker, the man responsible for wounding him so grievously that he was made a candidate for OCP's clandestine cyborg program, but the next time he encounters Boddicker, after he tried to ambush and kill RoboCop and messily gunned down his former partner, RoboCop ominous walks towards Boddicker- who seemingly is surrendering- with his gun out. He tells Boddicker 'I'm not arresting you, anymore'...
  • Batman films:
    • The 1989 Tim Burton Batman movie adds this to the relationship between Batman and the Joker — it is revealed that the Joker was the man responsible for murdering Bruce Wayne's parents.
    • Subverted in Batman Begins: Bruce plans to murder Joe Chill, the man who killed his parents, but is denied the chance when a crime boss' assassin kills him instead to prevent Chill from testifying against him. Ironically, being denied this chance for personal closure is partly what leads Bruce to the path that will result in his becoming Batman.
    • Invoked in The Dark Knight when Joker kills Rachel Dawes and drives Harvey Dent insane. Joker is trying to make Batman think It's Personal and act as such; trying to push him over the edge and kill him. More broadly, he is personal in symbolising everything that Batman is opposed to, and intentionally threatening the (mostly) crime-free city Batman has dedicated his life to.
    • Harvey Dent, now Two-Face, also hunts down members of the mob, Gordon, and Batman because he views them to be responsible for Rachel's death. So now It's Personal for the villain.
    • Same goes for Bane and Talia in The Dark Knight Rises. It's out of revenge for Bruce Wayne killing Ra's al Ghul: The attempted destruction of Gotham City's society is purely to make Bruce psychologically suffer as much as possible before killing him. Bane sets up a state-of-the-art TV system in the prison to make sure Bruce sees it happening.
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1 and even more so part 2, with Part 2 being mostly about redemption according to the screen writers. Redemption here means revenge among other topics. Katniss first wants revenge on president Snow for the death of the people in her home disctrict and later also for the brainwashing of her love Peeta. In the climax, Katniss also wants revenge for the death of her little sister.
  • James Bond
    • Diamonds Are Forever opens with Bond on a probable personal vendetta-driven assassination run against Ernst Stavro Blofeld for the murder of Bond's wife at the end of On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
    • Licence to Kill exemplifies this trope. The slimy villain, Franz Sanchez, throws Felix Leiter (Bond's best pal) to the sharks. Bond is naturally pissed, and subsequently blows up windows, laboratories and trailer trucks to get to Sanchez.
      • As bad as almost killing Felix by shark is, the real Moral Event Horizon was that the gang also raped and killed Felix's wife... on the night of their honeymoon!
    • Quantum of Solace has this at its heart. Cars crash, boats explode and planes fall as the two protagonists battle their way to get revenge.
    • Skyfall has Silva, a villain that doesn't want to destroy/take over the world. He just wants revenge on M for leaving him to be tortured to the point of insanity when Silva was an MI6 agent.
      • On a more amusing note, it wasn't until Silvia shoots up the iconic Aston Martin DB5 that Bond really gets pissed off.
      • Averted with Eve. While Bond enjoys snarking at her for accidentally shooting him, he is more angry at M for giving the order.
  • This is one reason why The Ring Two was less successful than the first: Samara's wrath was horrifying in the original precisely because it was impersonal. Not only was she out to kill people who had never done anything to her, she was out to kill anyone who watched the video, regardless of whether they had done anything wrong ever. In the sequel she targets Rachel and Aiden specifically, and the feeling of "it could happen to you," so powerful in the first film, was accordingly defenestrated.
  • Star Wars:
  • Star Trek (2009): Both Kirk and Spock have lost a parent to the Big Bad Nero. It's also personal on Nero's side, as he blames Spock for the destruction of his home planet. In reality, it was destroyed by a natural disaster while Spock was the only person who was actively trying to save it.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness: Things start to become personal for Kirk and Spock when Pike dies. And when Kirk dies in a Heroic Sacrifice...let's just say the result for Khan was NOT pretty.
  • The first lesson learned from the movie Taken is never travel out of the country. The second is never, ever, ever kidnap a retired federal agent's daughter, as he will proceed to mercilessly carve a bloody swath through your organization to get her back.
    Saint Clair: Please understand... it was all business. It wasn't personal.
    Bryan: It was all personal to me. [shoots him with every round in his pistol]
  • The whole reason Tom Sawyer wants to join the League in the film version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is because the Phantom killed his Secret Service partner, who was also his childhood friend. He never actually comes out and says this was Huckleberry Finn, but it's pretty well implied. Unfortunately, the scene in which Tom explains this to the League was cut from the film and only appears in the DVD extras. The novelization has him outright confirming that it was Huck Finn he was out to avenge.
  • When his wife is accidentally killed by a crooked cop firing off his Thompson in Legends of the Fall, Tristan and his father-in-law seek out retribution together. While Tristan kills the mobsters that had forced the confrontation, the older man waits with a powerful rifle on a hilltop near the police officer's patrol route. The first bullet doesn't kill him, nor, in all likelihood, was it meant to.
  • This was introduced in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, where what finally causes Aragorn to accept his destiny is Elrond telling him that his lover Arwen will die if Sauron is victorious.
  • Even Godzilla can take things personally:
    • The conflict in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah becomes personal after the latter brutally tortures Godzilla Junior to death, then attacks Godzilla while he is grieving.
    • Matches between Godzilla and his Archenemy King Ghidorah often come off this way; in Scott Ciencein's novelisation, Godzilla vs. The Space Monster this is made explicit, as Ghidorah's gleeful enjoyment of what he does, mockery of his opponents, and unprovoked attack on Monster Island really piss the big guy off. By the end of the novel (and the later films in the franchise), it's personal on Ghidorah's side as well, given the damage Godzilla has done to him.
  • In Sunset, it becomes personal for Wyatt Earp after Christina is murdered.
  • In Tombstone, another movie about Wyatt Earp, it becomes increasingly personal as the film goes on and the Cowboys keep killing people connected to him. This culminates in the death of Wyatt's brother, at which point he declares "I see a red sash, I kill the man wearin' it!"
  • In Die Hard, the first terrorist McClane manages to take out happens to be the little brother of The Dragon Karl. Karl does not take it well and spends the rest of the movie in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, being fully willing to put their entire plan at risk for the sake of putting a bullet in the head of his brother's killer.
    • Zigzagged in Die Hard with a Vengeance where Simon is apparently blowing up buildings as part of an elaborate scheme to screw with, and eventually kill, McClane as payback for killing his brother Hans (the Big Bad of the first film). Then it's revealed that was all a cover for Simon's scheme of robbing the Federal Reserve and that Simon didn't even like his brother. Then it's revealed that while Simon's in it for the money and he didn't like his brother, he still took the man's death personally:
    Simon: There's a difference between not liking one's brother and not caring when some dumb Irish flatfoot throws him out a window!
    • Nothing is personal in Live Free or Die Hard, at least not until the bad guys make the huge mistake of kidnapping McClane's daughter. Of course, this was in response to McClane killing the Big Bad's girlfriend Mai, after which Gabriel said "You want to make it personal? Fine. It's personal." Still, it was a very very bad idea on Gabriel's part, and he paid the price eventually. Don't fuck with McClane's family.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Iron Man Tony decides to go back to Afghanistan and take on the Ten Rings after seeing they've attacked Yinsen's hometown.
    • Loki in The Avengers; as Tony tells him, "YOU, big fella, you've managed to piss off every single one of them." He gives every single member of the Avengers a personal reason to take him down, and does so deliberately:
    • The elevator fight in Captain America: The Winter Soldier features Cap's buddy Rumlow claiming that "It isn't personal" as he attacks. Steve beats the hell out of him and snarls "It kind of feels personal" at his unconscious form.
    • And in Captain America: Civil War Rumlow returns and shows how “not personal” it all is when he tries to detonate a bomb that will also kill Captain America and the surrounding civilians.
      Rumlow: This is for dropping a building on my face.
    • Erik Killmonger has it out for the Wakandan Royal family in Black Panther because of how King T'Chaka killed his father Prince N'Jobu and left him to fend for himself in a crime ridden ghetto.
    • Half the characters of Avengers: Infinity War have personal reasons to want Thanos dead:
      • Both Nebula and Gamora want to kill him for the life time of abuse he put them through. While Drax wishes to see him die for the part his played in Ronan the Accuser killing his family. Star-Lord gets a reason to hate him after he kidnaps and later kills Gamora.
      • It becomes this for Tony after realizing Thanos was the one behind Loki's attack on New York, which caused him to suffer from PTSD.
      • Thor wants him dead for slaughtering half of what was left of his people including Heimdall and Loki.
      • After Vision and Scarlet Witch are attacked, the rest of the Avengers swear to stop him, no matter what.
    • As the current page quote indicates, Avengers: Endgame has the alternate timeline Thanos state that his previous genocides were always business. However Earth has been such an annoyance to him that the terror he's about to unleash is something he's going to enjoy.
  • Invoked by some of the posters for Rambo III:
    The First was for himself.
    Second for his country.
    This time...
    it's for his friend.
  • In The Expendables 2, the death of one of the team members turns a meager mission to retrieve weapons-grade plutonium into this trope.
  • In The Crossing, Washington is particularly eager to get back at the Hessians in Trenton because they killed his surrendering troops in Brooklyn.
  • The Wolfman (2010): Lawrence in relation to his own father, who is revealed to have killed his wife and oldest son and bit Lawrence, thus spreading the curse to him.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine:

      The only thing in the world Victor cares about is his baby brother. When said brother walks out on him, he doesn't take it well.

      This is also how Stryker gets Jimmy involved in the Weapon X program.

      When Logan gets bashed through a wall by Gambit, he sees Victor. When Gambit appears right behind him, intent on continuing their fight, Logan doesn't even spare him so much as a glance before elbowing him in the face and fighting Victor.
    • Erik wants revenge on Shaw/Schmidt for killing his mother. One of the reasons it feels like Erik is the hero of X-Men: First Class.
  • In Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, this is present in the film's tagline of "First he fought for the crown, now he's fighting for the family jewels!" While done in a more comedic sense, Austin's desire to take down Dr. Evil becomes personal in the second film when the villain orders the theft of Austin's mojo, the physical manifestation of his libido, rendering the International Man of Mystery impotent. Naturally, Dr. Evil's revenge plan hits below the belt literally and causes Austin to pursue him relentlessly to reclaim his mojo and cure his erectile dysfunction.
  • In You've Got Mail Kathleen Kelly is miffed about Joe Fox claiming putting her bookstore out of business was "nothing personal".
    Joe Fox: It wasn't... personal.
    Kathleen Kelly: What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn't personal to you. But it was personal to me. It's personal to a lot of people. And what's so wrong with being personal, anyway?
    Joe Fox: Uh, nothing.
    Kathleen Kelly: Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.
  • The Hidden: Lloyd Gallagher has been hunting the evil alien parasite ever since it killed his partner on the planet Altair, so he's a lot more reckless than the human officer he's paired up with.
  • Assassin's Creed (2016): Sophia hates Callum after he kills her father Alan at the end of the movie along with stealing the Apple. Before then, their interaction were just business and research.
  • I Shot Jesse James: Frank James comes after Robert Ford, as Ford killed Frank's younger brother Jesse.
  • War for the Planet of the Apes: Unlike in the first two films, Caesar is fighting selfishly in this film because his wife, Cornelia, and his eldest son, Blue Eyes, were killed.
  • Twice in Spotlight:
    • Reporter Mark Carroll (the father of two young children) discovers a "treatment center" for pedophilic priests is one block away from his house. He definitely gives off this vibe when the scandal is published and he personally goes to leave a first edition of the newspaper at the center's front door. Downplayed, however, in that he doesn't try to actually confront the priests, nor have his own children been victims.note 
    • Later, editor Walter "Robbie" Robinson discovers that one of the priests was the hockey coach at his high school, and he molested some of the players. It comes out in a very understated way during an interview with the school's principal, a fellow alum:
      Walter Robinson: I ran track, you played football. I guess we were just lucky.
  • Maverick. After Angel learns that Maverick tricked him into backing down from a fight, he's enraged and is determined to get his revenge. He says "Maverick is mine, anyway. But this time it's personal."
  • Unforgiven:
    William Munny: That's right. I've killed women and children. I've killed just about everything that walks or crawled at one time or another. And I'm here to kill you, Little Bill - for what you did to Ned.
  • Split Second: Stone has a personal vendetta with the monster, as it previously killed his partner, sending Stone over the edge and turning him into his current cynical and anti-social self, and is constantly leaving him messages to fuck with him.
  • Polar. Mr Blut sends a hit team led by his girlfriend Hilde to kill Duncan Vizla so he won't have to pay his multimillion dollar retirement pension. When Vizla kills Hilde and it's pointed out that it would be smarter just to pay the pension, Blut refuses because the situation has turned personal. Vivian can't conceal her astonishment at this Moral Myopia.
    Vivian: Stealing his pension, trying to kill him, twice, and kidnapping his cute little neighbor... that is personal.
  • In the Stargirl book, Hillari Kimble had no reason to hate Stargirl beyond being the Alpha Bitch of the school. The Stargirl movie makes her the older sister of Danny, a boy mentioned in the book who was mentioned to have gotten into a bike accident. Her dislike of Stargirl comes from her being Innocently Insensitive and fixing up and giving back her brother's bike when he can't use it again.

    Literature 
  • Older Than Feudalism: In The Bible, God promises to punish all who harmed and will harm his children.
    • An infamous and brutal example in Genesis 34. Shechem, prince of Shechem, rapes Jacob's daughter Dinah, and then has the audacity to ask for her hand in marriage. Dinah's brothers say sure, but first you and the entire male population of Shechem have to be circumcised in accordance with our tradition (keep in mind that at this time, the "kingdom" of Shechem was probably a small city-state with a few hundred people). Shechem and the males agree, and are circumcised. With the newly circumcised men too sore to do anything, two of Jacob's sons, Levi and Simeon (and probably a number of servants and retainers of Jacob's family, making it the size of a small tribe), enter Shechem and kill all the men, enslave the women and children, and loot the town.
  • A Brother's Price has this in spades. First, some bandits are stupid enough to wound and leave for dead a soldier of the crown on Whistler land, which means that the Whistler family is bound by law to help the soldier. Then, six years ago in time, but revealed later in the novel, there is the poisoning of the Prince Consort, and the bomb that kills half of the royal family. And then the villains who were behind all of the previous kidnap Jerin, who is at this point engaged to the princesses, which makes it very personal to all of the five adult princesses and their mothers, the very big Whistler family, and enrages every loyal subject of the Queens. Those villains do have chutzpah.
  • Discworld:
    • A dramatic literary subversion, from Terry Pratchett's novel Men at Arms:
      Samuel Vimes: He killed Angua. Doesn't that mean anything to you?
      Carrot Ironfoundersson: Yes. But personal isn't the same as important.
    • In a later book, Jingo, Carrot decides to go to have a nap while pursuing Angua's kidnappers by boat, on the basis that if he stayed awake fretting about her, he would be useless when they caught up to them.
    • Partially subverted in Thud!!. The baddies and the Summoning Dark try to get the main character Vimes to make it personal multiple times. Whether they succeed is subject to discussion (though it does seem so in the end).
  • The Shahnameh: Rostam has gone to war against the Turanians on many occasions, simply as a patriotic Persian defending his country. But when the Turanians kill the innocent Siavash (Rostam's surrogate son) he goes to war for the sole purpose of killing everyone responsible. Same can be said about king Key Khosro who was Siavash's son and the Persians in general.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry's conclusion of Dumbledore's reasoning for Harry's position as The Unchosen One. He doesn't really have to do it, but of course Voldemort killed his parents. And a whole mess of other people, and screwed up many more (Cedric and Neville's parents are two of the many, many examples that Harry thinks of when Dumbledore poses the question to him).
    • Bellatrix Lestrange also makes things personal for Harry as well when she murders his godfather, Sirius Black. She also makes things personal with Neville due to the fact that she tortured his parents into permanent insanity. However, neither of them are the ones that kill her in the end — what ultimately does her in is that she makes things personal for the wrong witch.
  • The Hunger Games, President Snow murdered Haymitch and Johanna's loved ones for petty reasons. They later join District 13 to put a stop to his reign.
  • In the Hurog duology, the king has the nasty habit of keeping his subjects under control by threatening their relatives. Needless to say, that results in a lot of situations that are this trope. Ward, the main character, is a very loyal friend, brother and cousin. There is also Oreg, some kind of family ghost, who was very protective of the family's daugther. An aunt who slapped her once "never visited again", the implication being that Oreg did worse to her than just make her needlework basket disappear.
  • Mr Standfast, the sequel to The Thirty-Nine Steps. In The Thirty-Nine Steps, it was just business for the villains and just survival for the hero, but the rematch is personal. It doesn't help that the hero and the lead villain both fall in love with the same woman.
  • Redwall: Many antagonists in the series make things personal for the heroes one way or another.
    • In Mossflower, Tsarmina Greeneyes destroys Martin's sword. He promises to slay her for this action.
    • In Mattimeo, Slagar The Cruel abducts Matthias's son Mattimeo, intending to sell him to Malkariss so that he will become a slave.
    • In Legend of Luke, Vilu Daskar murders Luke's wife, and massacres his clan as well.
    • In Lord Brocktree, Ungatt Trunn conquers Salmandastron, which results in the death of many heroes, and forces the title character's father into a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • In Outcast of Redwall, Swartt Sixclaw captures and abuses Sunflash The Mace for several seasons, who ends up maiming his paw when he escapes.
  • In Shadows of the Empire, crime lord Prince Xizor would hate Vader anyway, since they're more or less rivals for power under the Emperor. But Xizor has a special hatred for Vader and wants to kill his son, because there was a hazard lab on Xizor's homeworld, a flesh-eating bacteria escaped, and Vader had the site - and the city around it, including Xizor's family - "sterilized" (ie. incinerated) from orbit. Xizor erased all record of this, but Vader's spies find out about this near the end of the novel.
  • For the first eleven books of the Dresden Files series, Harry fought vampires, necromancers, werewolves, faeries and God knows what else because it was his job and because he helps the helpless. The twelfth book, Changes (whose very name is a change from the Idiosyncratic Episode Naming of the rest of the series), has the monsters bring the fight to Harry. The first line promises a rampage to end all rampages. And it was. It was spectacular. Fuck with Harry Dresden's family, and he will be willing to sell his soul to get back at you. Not that he does, but it's close:
    Harry Dresden: I answered the phone, and Susan Rodriguez said, "They've taken our daughter."
  • Subverted in The Acts of Caine. For the main bad guy (the Blind God) and his minions, everything is impersonal, and that anonymous hunger is their defining trait. There are lots of side characters (Raithe, Kierendal, Orbek, Avery Shanks) with personal grudges against the main character, since Caine has a tendency to ruin people's lives. But the protagonist himself doesn't count, despite the horrible things done to his family and friends, not because he doesn't take their vengeance personally, but because he takes every single fight personally. Something as trivial as getting drunk and shouting at him is enough to get your jaw broken, minimum.
  • Daine's Roaring Rampage of Revenge in The Immortals. She didn't like Ozorne very much before, but she wasn't gung-ho about doing what the Graveyard Hag wanted... until Ozorne had Numair (fake) killed. Daine promptly unleashes her new necromantic powers and awakens a horde of dinosaur fossils to storm through Ozorne's palace.
  • The 39 Clues: Amy and Dan don't just want to beat Isabel in the clue hunt, they want to do it because she murdered their parents.
  • Animorphs:
    • In the novel The Andalite Chronicles, Visser 32 (the future Visser Three), promises Elfangor that he will kill Elfangor for all of the crap Elfangor has put him through, and that he would make it personal. Very personal. Visser Three kept his word in the first book of the main series when he turned into a horrible monster and ate Elfangor alive.
    • Marco and Jake when the Yeerks went after their families. Marco, in particular, battled his way through half the Yeerk Pool with the rest of the group helping him, to save his mother. He also took on several hork-bajir and human controllers singlehandedly to save his father, although Rachel showed up for backup partway through.
    • Don't forget David and Rachel. After two books with no interaction, Rachel swears to kill David after he almost kills Tobias. David in turn makes Rachel his number one target after she jams a fork into his ear and threatens to kill his parents.
    • Rachel also almost killed Taylor after she tortured Tobias, and only Tobias's pleas stopped her. Tobias got one of his own when his mother was being targeted by the Yeerks.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: The first 7 books have almost all the members of the Vigilantes wronged in some way. Naturally, it is quite personal for them. Some of the books after that have the Vigilantes taking action, because one of their friends or loved ones is in trouble.
  • In the Dale Brown novel Shadows of Steel, being told that Hal Briggs is with the group he is being asked to help convinces Pat to come out of "early retirement" where more nebulous appeals fail.
  • In When Gravity Fails, the killer leaves a message, written in the blood of his last victim, next to the corpse, saying, "Audran, you're next." Up until that point, Audran didn't even know the guy knew he existed. Suddenly, matters become much more urgent.
  • It pops up with a vengeance, complete with Disposable Woman, in the second Amber novel. A minor character murders one of Corwin's casual flings. It's not a good idea to cross Corwin.
    Corwin: I spoke not a word when I unhorsed him, nor afterward, and I did not use my blade, though he drew his own. I hurled his broken body into a high oak tree, and when I looked back it was dark with birds.
  • In Michelle Paver's "The Chroniclesof Ancient Darkness:Oathbreaker," Torak swears he will avenge his cousin Bale and kill Soul-Eater Thiazzi. However, when he finds Thiazzi (staying in the tree Torak was born in, no less), he has to break his oath in order to save Renn, who is trapped inside with a fire and who is quickly running out of breath.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • In The Hobbit, the goblins of Goblintown who discover Thorin's company and believe they are spies who want to destroy them (even though the dwarves didn't really want anything to do with them), especially after the Great Goblin discovers Thorin's "Orc-cleaver" and orders them destroyed. But when Gandalf murders the Great Goblin attempting to save the dwarves (and Bilbo), the Goblins pursue them after they escape to avenge their ruler. They even believe the dwarves (and the elves and men) are a greater threat with the dead Smaug's treasure, prompting the Battle of Five Armies (when the Eagles join with the dwarves, elves and men).
    • In The Fellowship of the Ring, the surviving goblins turned out to have massacred Moria, including Balin, as revenge for the Battle of Five Armies. They were probably satisfied when the Balrog took the Great Goblin's "murderer" down with him, though they didn't seem to give up until after the Lothlórien elves saved the eight then-surviving members of the Fellowship. And unbeknownst to the Moria goblins, that "murderer" was resurrected later.
    • To take this a little further, the same band of mountain orcs passed Lothlórien completely and followed the fellowship downriver, and joined forces with the Uruk-Hai at Emyn Muil, lampshading the trope by stating they were after revenge. They finally perished at the brink of the Fangorn Forest, when the Rohirrim defeated them.
  • Many of the Forskaken in The Wheel of Time had extremely personal enmity with Lews Therin Telamon, carrying over wholesale to his reincarnation Rand. Ishamael, Lanfear, Sammael, and Be'lal were all noted for this, but Demandred hated him most of all; it's said that nobody ever hated anything more than Demandred hated Lews Therin. Deconstructed when Demandred squanders the most overwhelming military force on the planet tantruming for Rand to come out and fight him, and gets himself killed before he ever accepts that Rand was off taking care of more important business at the time.
  • Honor Harrington:
    • The titular heroine is quite willing to make peace with the people she's fought for most of her career in a sometimes very vicious and brutal war that has cost her many friends, because they were only doing exactly what she would have done in their place. The sneak attack on Manticore that kills most of her extended family (as well as several million other civilians) by the Mesan Alignment, on the other hand — that has her out for blood.
    • Queen Elizabeth III had it out for Haven because their agents assassinated her father. She's since discovered that the Alignment, ultimately, was the reason for Haven's expansionism which led to her father's death, and is not at all pleased. The Havenites aren't too happy about the revelation either; the Alignment's manipulation re-started military hostilities and resulted in the death of the President of Haven's lover and de facto husband. And when Eloise Pritchart carries a grudge against someone, that someone is going to die. Painfully. The only thing that can make the Alignment's situation worse is having Manticore and Haven join up in a military and political alliance — which they do.
    • After discovering all of the above, the Alignment does the only thing it can do: get the hell out of Dodge. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like they'll be able to get out fast enough...
  • In the Rainbow Magic series, Rachel takes it personally when Jack Frost threatens to ruin her mom's birthday.
  • In Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain, one of the things that keeps the superhero/supervillain fights nonlethal and relatively harmless is that everyone goes to a great deal of effort to keep things from getting personal. Villains who prey on kids or heroes who try too hard to discover supervillain secret identities tend to get "accidentally" killed.
  • In Shock and Awe, Carla hates Arabs because her brother was killed in 9/11.
  • In Coiling Dragon, when Linley discovers that the Radiant Church killed his mother, he makes it his life's goal to destroy them (and, along the way, gathers a group of followers that want to do the same).
  • In The Falconer the protagonist kills faeries because they killed her mother.
  • Debt of Honor:
    • It's revealed at the beginning of the novel that Yamata's reason for starting a war with the United States was because he was orphaned during World War II when his family chose to commit suicide during the invasion of Saipan rather than be captured by the Marines.
    • Ron Jones says this of his motivation for fighting against Japan, as the son of his mentor when he was a sonarman aboard USS Dallas was aboard USS Asheville when it was sunk.
  • Yerrininae from Companions Codex didn't take the death of his beloved at the hands of Dahlia well. The only thing stopping him from cruelly killing her are the plans of Lolth and first priestess Berrelip for Dahlia to become Matron of the next incarnation of House Do'Urden. They don't stop him from having a good time hitting Entreri sensless multiple times a day, though.
  • In The Southern Reach Trilogy, The psychologist/director used to live in the place that became Area X and her mother disappeared together with everyone else within it when the border came down, which later motived her to work for the Southern Reach no matter the cost.
  • Villains by Necessity:
    • Sam starts the book under the belief that the Assassin's Guild, the closest thing he has to a family, are all abandoning their trade because it's a much less stable business as evil is being wiped out of the world. After finding out exactly what whitewashing actually entails, he realizes they were forced against their will into leaving their old lives behind, and vows to kill Mizzamir for it.
    • Cited as the reason behind Blackmail's final break with the Six Heroes. When his brother turned evil, he had asked Mizzamir to be merciful... and Mizzamir turned his brother into a warhorse. It's implied that this is the same warhorse he rode and lovingly cared for until Fenwick's men killed it.
    • Valeriana's grudge against Sir Fenwick - the Verdant Company hunted her race to near total extinction, including her husband, daughter, and unborn son.
  • In Dreadnought!, when Piper's friend Merete reveals herself as The Mole for Rittenhouse, she explains that the motivation for both her and one of the captains most loyal to Rittenhouse to join him was from when Orion pirates attacked a passenger ship that both her family and the captain's son were on. The Orions butchered everyone except Merete, who was a child and able to hide from them. Their grief and anger has simmered ever since then, making them both easy to bring to Rittenhouse's side although Merete genuinely likes Piper and the book's events have shaken her trust in Rittenhouse, and Piper is gradually able to make her see that she doesn't matter to him and bring her around.

    Podcasts 
  • Episode four of Mystery Show has Starlee solving a mystery for herself (and her friend Miranda).

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Hulk Hogan has been involved in numerous examples of the trope, with perhaps the most important being André the Giant ripping off his crucifix during a Piper's Pit segment, as part of the lead-up to WrestleMania III. The feud continued to become more and more personal as Hogan felt that Andre, who had sided with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan in a Face–Heel Turn out of nowhere after being out of the ring for some time, had betrayed him by doing so.
  • Kane entered the WWF (now WWE) in 1997 with the purpose of destroying The Undertaker, who he believed had murdered their parents.
  • Shawn Michaels and Triple H's feud circa 2002-2004. The sheer hatred and blood shed between the former best friends over the course of those three years was immeasurable. They went through every single match in the book (barring an "I Quit" match), including one of the bloodiest Hell in a Cell matches in the history, and didn't make up until mid-2006 in order to reform DX.
  • Matt Hardy and Edge's infamous feud in 2005 stems from Edge having a short, real life affair with Hardy's then-girlfriend Lita.
  • Partially subverted in the feud between Randy Orton and John Cena. Orton made things personal with Cena when he attacked Cena's father note  on multiple occasions. Cena returned the favor in later years as he constantly got in Orton's way and drove the character to a near-obsession with getting Cena out of his life, and just when it seemed he was going to do so at Bragging Rights, Kofi Kingston prevented Orton from getting the victory. Which then caused a feud between Randy and Kofi.
    • It had become so personal, that during the match Orton tried to blow Cena up with pyrotechnics. Cena barely rolled out of the way.
  • When Josie and Lexi Lane were given a match at Southern All-Stars Wrestling, neither was particularly interested in wrestling the other, both preferring to play games with the fans. When the match got started however, it ended up being so personal they both waited until everyone else had left the SAW Arena, then contacted a PGWA referee and cameraman for another match without distraction.
  • While Wesna Busic vs Cheerleader Melissa had been an ongoing rivalry, Cheerleader Melissa's personal feud was with Busic's manager, Annie Social. Social had interjected herself into the rivalry to ensure Melissa never won a title in SHIMMER.
  • Chris Jericho's feud with CM Punk over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 28 is one of the more notable ones in recent years after the whole Cena/Orton debacle. Both were arguing over who was the best wrestler in the world, and that should have been enough — but Jericho proceeded to make it personal by bringing up the history of alcohol and substance abuse of Punk's family, which caused him to go absolutely postal. Became even more personal after 'Mania when Jericho proceeded to dump beer all over Punk's prone body after a match with Mark Henry, leading into a Chicago Street Fight at Extreme Rules for the title.
    • Punk's feud with his former best friend Paul Heyman was similar in a way. It was one thing when Heyman cost him another Money in the Bank briefcase and therefore another chance at the WWE title, but then Paul brought up Punk's family, or lack of. While Punk was stuck battling the many wrestlers under Heyman's management (including Brock Lesnar), it was clear to everyone that he couldn't care less about them — all he wanted was to get his hands on Heyman, which he eventually did.
  • Vendetta Pro Wrestling owner, and champion, Billy Blade personally assaulted Reby Sky and made sure to let everyone know it was because of her association with Matt Hardy by ending with a twist of fate. Before this, Hardy had only been trying to add another title to his collection and was completely professional about it, afterwards he was more concerned with just beating Blade, which means he neglected to put the belt on the line even though he won at Terror Rising 2012 and shaved Blade bald.
  • AJ Styles took a personal issue with Adam Cole attacking after his successful defense of the NJPW IWGP Heavyweight Title at War Of The Worlds. AJ intimated how much it bugged him that he had never been Ring of Honor's World Champion, even though he really should have been, but said even if Adam Cole lost the title to Michael Elgin, he'd put off pursuing the belt to get back at Cole, which he did.
  • After Seth Rollins backstabbed the rest of The Shield, it seems Dean Ambrose's only goal in life is to beat the shit out of him. Every other feud Ambrose has had over the last year since then is at most is minor distractions — Ambrose makes it very clear that once said distractions are gone, Rollins is his next target. Even his desire to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Seth is more like another way to stick it to his rival, with the added boon of winning the most prized championship in sports entertainment.
  • WWE NXT has had a fair number of these kinds of rivalries, but the absolute most personal one had to be between Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. Originally the popular tag team #DIY, Ciampa turned on Gargano after they lost a ladder match for the NXT Tag Team Championships against the Authors of Pain, a match in which Ciampa tore his ACL. Undeterred, Ciampa spent months tormenting Gargano on numerous social media sites, while Gargano was traumatized by the incident and entered a bit of rut in regards to his singles career. Just when he turned it around, Ciampa re-entered his life, almost completely healed, attacking Gargano after his five star classic against then-NXT Champion Andrade "Cien" Almas. Gargano still couldn't quite face Ciampa, so he focused on the NXT Championship, putting his career on the line for the sake of a title shot; and just as he was about to win the title, Ciampa attacked him again, costing him both the title and his career. Thoroughly pissed, Gargano was done evading his former best friend, stalking him throughout the weeks since the incident and attacking him on NXT, culminating in an unsanctionednote  grudge match at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans, where, if Gargano won, he would be reinstated to NXT.
  • Samoa Joe and AJ Styles' 2018 feud became personal when Joe repeatedly mocked AJ and accused him of being an inattentive husband and father. Joe would then threaten AJ's wife and daughter when they were in the audience and claim that once he destroyed AJ, he would be their new daddy.

    Roleplay 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, every shapechanger hates vampires to one level or another. However for the Silent Strider tribe of werewolves, their history includes an ancient ungodly powerful vampire who placed a curse on them, banishing them from their homeland of Egypt. Since that time, they've nurtured a burning hatred of all things bloodsucking.

    Theatre 
  • In the musical 1776, Lewis Morris of New York always abstained (courteously!) because the New York legislature never gave him instructions about what to do or how to vote or even whether the colony was pro or anti independence. Then toward the end, as they're ratifying and signing the Declaration of Independence, Morris finds out from George Washington that the British army had destroyed his home, his wife and most of his children fled to Connecticut, and his oldest sons were now in the Continental Army fighting the British.
    Morris: To hell with New York! I'll sign [the Declaration of Independence] anyway!
  • Rock of Ages: The villainous Moral Guardian wants rock-and-roll music banned because she was dumped by a rockstar years ago.
  • In Wicked, Boq, or the Tin Man, states outright in "March of the Witch Hunters" that he's part of the group hunting the Wicked Witch (Elphaba) because he has a score to settle.
    Tin Man: And this is more than just a service to the Wizard. I have a personal score to settle with El... with The Witch! It's due to her I'm made of tin / Her spell made this occur / So for once I'm glad I'm heartless / I'll be heartless killing her!

    Visual Novels 
  • Spirit Hunter: NG:
    • While she was already dedicated to saving Ami, Kaoru holds a personal grudge against the Urashima Woman for cancelling her concert, and then killing one of her fans.
    • Ban's reasoning for investigating spirits turn out to be much more personal than for the money - his son was killed by one, and in hunting down the killer he realized his desire to expose all the dark secrets that spirits possess.
    • The reason Ooe's so rash during the Killer Peach case is that her family were killed in the fire covered up by Killer Peach's victims.
  • In Virtue's Last Reward, while Akane engineered the events of the game to ostensibly save humanity from Radical-6, she's also out for revenge against Brother.
    • The same goes for the prequel, Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. The reason for the murders during the game is because Akane wanted to manipulate the man responsible for killing her in another timeline into murdering his accomplices. Wow, Akane Kurashiki can be really vindictive...

    Web Animation 
  • Death Battle:
    • In Ghost Rider vs Lobo, Johnny had come for the Main Man on business. It's only once he had been crushed into a building, eaten alive, then dogpiled on by several Lobo clones that he allowed Zarathos loose who took it VERY personally.
    Zarathos: YOU WILL ALL DIE SCREAMING!
  • RWBY:
    • Cinder appears to have formed an intense hatred for Ruby due to being defeated and crippled by her silver eye powers, and makes sure to add during Salem's meeting that something must be done about her. When training during the Volume 4 finale, she has Emerald summon an illusion of a defenseless Ruby on the floor begging for mercy, before she burns it with her Fall Maiden powers in a manner more concentrated than when she was testing her powers on some Grimm.
    • When a terrorist coup topples Ghira, the peaceful White Fang leader and Blake's father, Blake initially sides with the coup leaders, especially Adam. The new, violent direction eventually causes her to defect to Beacon Academy to become an honourable Huntress. She remains obsessed with trying to uncover the White Fang's end-game until Beacon is attacked, where Adam vows to destroy everything she loves. Blake flees and only stops running once she's reunited with her parents and worked through her guilt over the injuries Yang and Sun receive just for trying to help her. Learning that Haven Academy is Adam's next target is the final straw, whereupon she vows to take back control of the White Fang from Adam.

    Webcomics 
  • Subverted in The Order of the Stick. Roy pursues Xykon due to an oath of revenge, but not for his sake. His father swore the oath after his mentor was killed by Xykon, but was too lazy to pursue it and handed it to Roy who tries to fulfill it out of duty — but after he dies and spends some time in heaven with his father Roy begins to actively hate his father. He keeps pursuing Xykon, though, because he feels that saving the world is a lot more important than spitefully trying to anger his father.
  • In Looking for Group we learn that if you failed to kill the target personally, the next best thing is to resurrect him so you can kill him personally one second later. Bonus Kick the Dog points if you claim intention to do it over and over!
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja:
    • It comes admixed with a Badass Boast.
      Doc: Rayner, you killed my mentor, and you kidnapped my sidekick. I met Death himself last night, and he's going to follow me all the way to your house. You made it personal.
    • Played with later when the Doc is facing down Rayner and tries to remember the cool thing he said about meeting Death earlier, but can't get the phrasing right, so he just gets down to kicking his ass instead.
  • Subverted in Sluggy Freelance. Torg is all set to kill Lord Horribus for killing Alt-Zoe. But, at the last second, he decides saving the world is more important, and settles for knocking Horribus down a steep hill instead. And it's revealed he wasn't exactly trying to "make him pay" — he wanted to make up for failing to keep her safe as he had promised.
  • In The Dreamland Chronicles, Nicodemus to Alex, for the scar
  • In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures, Kria points out that Dan's rivalry with Dark Pegasus is not that personal, but that his hatred for Regina definitely is.
  • Homestuck:
    • Even though the trope isn't played straight by any means, it's said in these pages we get one from Doc Scratch after Spades Slick breaks Vriska's God Tier clock, leaving it stuck on 'Just':
      Doc Scratch: Slick, I can tolerate many things from a guest. Curt manners. Egregious womanizing. Murdering the help. Casual arson. Even atrocious candy bowl etiquette. But it is the desecration of a priceless timepiece where I must draw the line. I'm afraid I must now insist that you take your beating quite personally.
    • Later actually played straight when John has a rematch with Bec Noir in the dream bubbles, ostensibly because he's just remembered, through the dream bubble's projection, the scene of the murders of Dad, Mom, and Rose, as well as his own second death.
  • Pranger's Bangers during the "Resident Mad Scientist" arc in Schlock Mercenary. Kevyn describes them as having "a grudge and a contract"...which overlap. The problem is eventually solved with a spot of Time Travel (incidental to solving a completely different problem).

    Web Original 
  • Fetus and Acrylic's motivations for taking down Mega-Corp in Next Breed of Thief. The former's parents were killed and harvested for biological materials; the latter was basically a guinea pig for cyborg enhancements.

    Web Videos 
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Doctor Horrible's rivalry with Captain Hammer is more or less a fact of life for the both of them, with the Doctor trying to take down Hammer with nonlethal means, and getting thoroughly pounded on every time by the Captain. When Hammer announces to Horrible that he's going to sleep with Penny "just because you want her," it gets personal. The normally pacifistic Doctor upgrades his Stun Ray to a Death Ray, and makes his intentions quite clear with his next song:
    It's a brand new day, and the sun is high
    All the birds are singing that you're gonna die!
  • Noob:
    • The webseries version has Gaea, usually a Dirty Coward, temporarily refuses Ivy and Couette's help in fighting Master Zen in Season 3 finale, because the latter broke into her appartment in real life and framed her the previous Wham Episode events.
    • The novel version has Coalition defector Töne Förk want to kill the Coalition Tyrant Takes the Helm Lorth Kordigän because the latter's men killed his parents.
  • The Nostalgia Critic openly admits that, while the show Doug is "pretty lame", the reason he openly and unabashedly hates it is because it came out when he, having the same first name, was in school and he took flak for it from other students. Of course, it's largely Played for Laughs.

    Western Animation 
  • While the Queen of the Crowns is a very big threat to Earth in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, making a Slaverlord of Zach's wife pushed it into this territory. Fanon will state that the feeling is very much mutual - Zach's been an equal pain in her side, and the only sentient being to have escaped her Psychocrypt.
  • Combustion Man from Avatar: The Last Airbender, after letting the Gaang narrowly escape, and later defeat him in "Ember Island" and "The Runaway", essentially does this (though unspoken) in "The Western Air Temple". He persists in going after the Avatar, despite his employer having a Heel–Face Turn and even offering to double his pay to cancel the hit.
    • For most of Season One Admiral Zhao thought Zuko was little more than an annoyance. Once he learns that Zuko was the one who rescued Aang from his clutches (via the Blue Spirit disguise) he's immediately out for blood.
  • Bane's introductory episode in Batman: The Animated Series has him show how much of a threat he is by smashing up the Batmobile with his bare hands. Batman takes this particularly badly:
    Batman: He trashed my car, Alfred. Between two guys? That's real personal.
  • Subverted in Batman Beyond. Terry believes his relationship with Season One Big Bad Blight is personal. Blight is ignorant of this.
    Blight: [being stalked from the shadows by Batman] Who are you?!
    Batman: [unseen, pauses] You really want to know?
    Blight: Yes!
    Batman: [enters] You Killed My Father.
    [slight pause]
    Blight: Do you have the slightest idea how little that narrows it down?
    Batman: Sorry, that's all you get.
Then again, Blight was turned into a "walking meltdown" thanks to a fight with Batman, and Batman kept foiling his various Evil Plans, to the point where Blight visibly lost his temper at even the mention of Batman's name. So in a way it is personal for Blight too... just for completely different reasons.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door:
    • Spoofed in the episode "Operation: D.O.D.G.E.B.A.L.L.", where the self-proclaimed "Dodgeball Wizard" lures Numbuh Four into a dodgeball match by kidnapping his family. After finding the ransom note, Numbuh Four dramatically declares "This time, it's personal!". When Numbuh Two points out neither of them have ever met this Dodgeball Wizard, Numbuh Four responds he just wanted to use that line.
    • Kinda used straight in "Operation: F.O.U.N.T.A.I.N." when it's revealed that Numbuh Five always pursues the Delightful Children, because she can never forgive them for what happened the last time she didn't: making Numbuh One bald.
    • A much more serious example crosses this with Broken Pedestal: the fight between Chad (a.k.a. Numbuh 274) and Nigel (a.k.a. Numbuh One) in "Operation: T.R.E.A.T.Y.", stems from the underlying resentment over Chad's betrayal of the KND. Nigel has idolized Chad, and the betrayal stung him deeply, while Chad resents Nigel for being considered the best KND operative on Earth, still believing himself to be the best. The fight however, proves him wrong, showing that Nigel has indeed surpassed him.
  • Futurama:
    • Parodied when giant alien brains are trying to gather all knowledge in the universe.
      Fry: So they're trying to learn things? The bastards!
      Nibblonians: Yes. Then, once it has collected all data in the universe it will open its protective shell, so as to scan itself.
      Fry: I'm as mad as I've ever been!
      Nibblonians: Then, it will destroy the universe, so no new information can come about.
      Fry: Now it's personal.
    • Also spoofed in "Möbius Dick": "It's not personal, that whale ate my delivery. This time, it's business!"
  • G.I. Joe: Renegades:
    • Storm Shadow has made it his life's goal to kill Snake Eyes, because he believes SE betrayed the clan and killed his uncle, the Hard Master.
    • Earlier in the series, after Major Bludd loses an eye, he makes it clear to Baroness that the next time she needs him for the Joes he'll handle them for free.
  • Kim Possible:
    • In the episode "Car Alarm", the tweebs supe up Kim's Cool Car after Motor Ed blows outruns them. Emphasized by the shifty camera angle and the fact that they actually say "This time its personal!"
    • Kim herself claims that it's way personal when Ron is kidnapped. And after everything that happens to her in So the Drama, can you blame her for whaling on Drakken and damn near cold bloodedly killing Shego?
  • Megas XLR:
    • Coop often lists several offenses (or perceived offenses) as to why he's going to kick the badguy(s)'s ass(s), usually ending with a personal grievance. So, for Coop, nearly every fight is personal. Heaven forbid someone should spill his slushy or scratch his paint...
    • The leader of the Glorft also takes their defeats personally and often vows revenge on Coop, even to the point of resigning himself and his crew to being trapped in the past by ordering the destruction of MEGAS (and thus, also its time drive).
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Discord does this by breaking apart the mane cast's friendship, breaking and Mind-Raping them, driving everyone they care about insane, and turning their homeland into a World Gone Mad. By the end, they're reasonably ticked off at him. This is most clear with Fluttershy, who furiously calls him "THAT...BIG...DUMB...MEANIE!!!" at one point. For Fluttershy, that's pretty much the meanest thing she's ever (willingly) said about anyone at the time.
    • In "Twilight's Kingdom – Part 2", while Tirek did plenty of evil, horrific things throughout his time as Big Bad, destroying Twilight's home makes her go berserk and attack him with everything she has. She doesn't seem to feel any remorse about sending him back to Tartarus either.
    • In "To Where and Back Again – Part 1", Discord is indifferent to Queen Chrysalis kidnapping the most important figures of Equestria, but when he learns Fluttershy was one of them, Discord gets pissed and decides to come with Starlight, Thorax and Trixie just to save his one friend that cares about (and is cared about by) him.
  • The fighting that goes on between The Powerpuff Girls and Mojo Jojo is taken to a new level when it revealed early on (and mentioned several times afterward) that Mojo could actually be considered the girls' true father, since he was directly responsible for their creation.
  • The Simpsons:
    • An episode has recurring character Sideshow Bob attempting to rig the election for Mayor of Springfield by including the names of dead people and animals as those who voted for him. When Lisa's cat Snowball appears on the list, she angrily declares that "now it's personal!" Bart points out, with some irritation, that "he did try to kill me, you know."
    • Another episode has Alec Baldwin use this line (in reference to Homer). When Kim Basinger and Ron Howard just look at him, Alec says, "What? He has our underwear!"
    • Another episode subverts with little subtlety — in an episode of Police Chief Wiggum becoming determined to be a good cop (for the episode, of course), he realizes evidence for a case which involves a food. He tells the other cops that they're going to the Kwik-E-Mart. Lou says with exasperation "Chief, you already sent us there two times today.", to which Wiggum answers "Yeah, but this time, it's not personal."
    • Plus, another episode parodies this. Marge and Homer invite Apu and his wife to come to dinner, but Apu responds "No no, you hosted our wedding! We will have YOU over for dinner. Yes.... it is payback time, and this time It is Personal." (dramatic music)
  • The Smurfs: While he never really stops trying to get enough Smurfs to make the Philosopher's Stone and with it the ability to make gold, Gargamel at one point admits that he's grown to genuinely hate the Smurfs after losing to them so many times and cares less about the gold than about getting payback.
  • This was how the South Park episode "Mecha-Streisand" came to be. In real-life, Barbra Streisand insulted the people of Colorado when the state passed a law that prevented homosexuals from being considered a protected minority; native Coloradans Trey Parker and Matt Stone did not take it well, and they decided to make an episode where they tried to make as many cheap shots at her as they could.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • "ARC Troopers": When it turns out the Separatists are planning to attack Kamino, Cody and Rex are quick to point out to Obi-Wan and Anakin that this is personal for not only them, but the entire Clone Army, since it's their homeworld and they have a lot of younger brothers there.
    • "A Distant Echo": It is abundantly obvious to everyone else on the mission that Rex takes finding and rescuing Echo, a friend of his that he thought died a long time ago, extremely personally. Both Anakin and Crosshair suggest that Rex is letting his emotions guide his judgement on this.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The longstanding feud between the Hamato Clan/the TMNT and the Foot. The enmity between the TMNT and the Shredder is the one thing consistent among all adaptations — the Utrom Shredder came to hate his turtles so much that in Turtles Forever, he was willing to destroy the entire Multiverse to get rid of every Turtle in existence, even at the cost of both his life and his daughter Karai's.
  • Raven from Teen Titans lampshades it to friend-turned-villain Terra in that subtle, elegant way only she can:
    Starfire: You attempted to annihilate us!
    Raven: Did you think we wouldn't take it personally?
  • Transformers: Prime:
    • Arcee's rivalry with Airachnid is personal since Airachnid had tortured Arcee and killed her partner Tailgate to get her to speak.
    • Later, Arcee and Starscream after she finds out that Starscream killed Cliffjumper.
    • Wheeljack has a grudge against Dreadwing for killing his friend Seaspray.
    • Miko specifically lists this as a reason in "Nemesis Prime" for Agent Fowler to go after Silas after the latter had tried to kill Fowler earlier in the episode.

    Real Life 
  • Happens a lot in siege warfare. Sieges can get really brutal, especially if they drag on for long periods of time, and a lot of it has to do with the knowledge that all your friends who were injured or killed are't the fault of some generic foe, but of this, specific, unit.

 
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DBZ - You Mean Kuririn!?

Goku's reaction after Freeza mocks Kuririn's death shows how close the two were.

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