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Light-Hearted Rematch

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"No TV, no newspapers. Just you and me."
Apollo Creed to Rocky Balboa, Rocky III

For one reason or another, two heroes are at odds with each other with high stakes for whoever wins. But then the Big Bad reappears, and the two heroes have to team up to fight the evil, save the day, yada yada.

And now that that's off their plate, they turn, smile, and have a rematch for fun's sake.

Related to Ironic Echo in that the first fight or competition is always serious — in deadly earnest, even — and the last fight is more lighthearted, with practically no stakes involved. It is almost always the ending to the Evasive Fight-Thread Episode. As such, the outcome is rarely ever actually shown — both to save from having to film/draw/animate the fight, and to show that whoever wins this particular fight no longer matters between them.

See also Fire-Forged Friends and Let's You and Him Fight, which can be precursors.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Yugi and Joey in Yu-Gi-Oh! at the end of the Marik saga. We only see the beginning, not the outcome. But considering Joey has his Red-Eyes Black Dragon back in the following arc, it stands to reason that Joey won.
    • The Abridged Series plays this for laughs, noting how Joey actually managed to beat the king of games in a duel but no one ever brings it up again.
  • Negi and Kotaro of Negima! Magister Negi Magi become training partners after beating the bad guys. As of yet, they still haven't figured out who is stronger. Later still, after Negi's Tournament Arc fight with Jack Rakan, Rakan declares him the winner and they have a friendly slugfest to end the match.
  • Duel Masters
    • This is the cause of Hakuoh's Heel–Face Turn. After Shobu defeats him, he congratulates him on a good match and offers to play him again later. This stands in stark contrast to Hakuoh's previous belief that once a player lost a game, he was no longer worthy to compete.
    • Shobu tries the same tactic on Kokujo shortly afterward. It doesn't work.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Fate and Signum at the end of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's. After the entire incident was resolved, Signum mentions that they still hadn't settled their duel, and Fate agrees, they'll definitely settle it fair and square... as many times as they want. The Sound Stage set after the second season mentioned that Signum won the majority of these lighthearted rematches, though Fate might have finally caught up after the Time Skip.
    • Fate and Nanoha had a rematch in the supplemental materials as well. After the first season, it seems Fate won when she's going all out, rather than fighting half heartedly.
    • And that friendly match that escalated to a full team on team battle between the Wolkenritter and our heroines in the manga after A's. It did enough damage to burst the containment barrier, demolish the room, knock everyone out and caused the entire interdimensional TSAB base to shake.
    • Then Nanoha and Signum go at it at the end of the StrikerS manga.
    • Inverted with Subaru and her older sister Ginga in StrikerS. They have a mock battle in Episode 15 that Subaru seems to enjoy, but loses despite putting up a good effort. In the final battle, Subaru faces Ginga, who has been captured and brainwashed, in a life-or-death battle in order to bring her to her senses. She ultimately manages to defeat Ginga this time.
    • The training match near the beginning of Reflection is Nanoha and Fate's first onscreen fight since they became friends. In fact, it takes place in the exact same simulated flooded city as their climatic final battle at the end of the first movie. It ends in a draw.
  • Pokémon: The Series: The writers of Pokémon love to do this all the time. It was especially common in Johto and Hoenn. The way it generally would work is that Ash or one of his friends would meet a one or a group of One Shot Characters that would have to battle seriously, be it for pride or some sort of wager. But then after the episode's conflict is resolved, they are able to have a less tense rematch with no strings attached. A good example is the episode Go Go Ludicolo. In the episode, Corphish is extremely jealous of Ash's Grovyle and demands to fight Ludicolo to redeem itself. The battle over Brock's sandwiches, and Corphish loses due to being too impatient. But after Corphish saves Ludicolo and its trainer from Team Rocket, Ash agrees to have a rematch with the guy but with his Torkoal. While the battle is ultimately an Evasive Fight-Thread Episode, it's heavily implied that Ash won.
  • s-CRY-ed subverts this - the two heroes fight it out but it's anything but lighthearted - they do more damage to each other than the villains ever did. It also takes up an entire episode - and was the Grand Finale to boot!
    • And considering that the two fought nearly every damn chance they got and the score was tied, we are not told who wins but the hand shown just before the ending credits leads people to think it was Kazuma.
    • Foreshadowed when Kazuma was under the influence of Mad Sprict. As the conclusion to its "script", Kazuma and Ryuho fought one another in a mundane sparring match before Ryuho acknowledged Kazuma as an equal and friends. Kazuma broke out of the Sprict when he refused this, as neither he nor Ryuho would accept anything less than absolute victory in a rematch.
  • At the end of season one of Higurashi: When They Cry, Keiichi manages to turn a deadly serious fight with Ax-Crazy Rena into this after she's been infected with a Hate Plague. As a result, when Rena disarms and defeats Keiichi, instead of delivering a killing blow as she initially intended, she breaks down and cries at the realization of what she's done.
  • In Waq Waq, Shio has a rematch with Leo that is played less seriously than their initial battle, as it ends with Leo on the ground, arguing with Shio over whether he held back, and the two promising to have a rematch one day.
  • Kazuki and Papillon end up having one of these in the final episode of Buso Renkin, after Papillon saves Kazuki's life for the purpose of having such a rematch. In return, Kazuki spares Papillon's life.
  • Neji and Hinata in Naruto at the final episode before the Time Skip.
  • Medaka Box has the very last chapter, where at their 10-year reunion, Zenkichi challenges Medaka to one last fight (which, given that everyone seems to have lost their superhuman abilities upon growing up, may actually be a fair fight). We don't see the end, but given that each of them said "If I win, you have to marry me!", we don't need to.
  • The final arc of the original Dragon Ball Z had Goku facing off against the reincarnation of Majin Buu in a lighthearted rematch.
    • While Vegeta made peace with being Always Second Best to Goku at the end of Z, Dragon Ball Super frequently has the two Saiyans sparring during their downtime, with both of them simply wanting to keep their skills sharp. Most of the spars get interrupted for one reason or another, though the one in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero has Vegeta finally besting Goku for once.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman and various Flashes have raced no less than seven times in the comics, almost always ending ambiguously, or on a tie, with the promise of a future rematch. Flash won both the clear ones: in the first, Flash (Barry Allen) won by a couple feet, after they crawled across the desert without the use of their legs. It's implied that Superman is less used to running as compared to flying, while running is what the Scarlet Speedster does all the time. In the second, Flash (Wally West) won by mere inches, and Superman confirmed that Wally was The Fastest Man Alive.
    • It is implied during The Flash: Rebirth that in an all out race, Superman doesn't actually stand a chance, at least against Barry, and that the only reason it always ends in a draw or one of them winning by inches is that Barry allows Superman to keep up since they're usually for charity.
    • Wally has explicitly mentioned that Superman cannot beat him unless he allows it because Wally totally controls speed itself.

    Fan Works 
  • In Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness's post-ending scenes, it's suggested that Coop and Suika have one of these later, this time taking place in an unknown location and refereed by Yukari.
  • The premise of Cadet Scrap is Kate Kane and Sophie Moore having one of these in private after their earlier fight for an academy boxing championship in Well-Matched.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Magic Blade: The second movie has this occurring in the rematch between Fu Hong-hsueh and Lu Xiao-jia, two master martial artists, after Fu won the first duel and allowed Lu to live. However, they ultimately ends up working together to defeat a far more powerful villain which is their common enemy, and after all is said and done, they decide their Duel to the Death to be changed... to a contest where they try removing each other's pants with their swords instead.
  • In Rocky and Rocky II, Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed fight in high-profile boxing matches with the world heavyweight championship at stake, each winning one. Apollo does a Heel–Face Turn in Rocky III (although he was never really villainous), taking over as Rocky's trainer after Mickey dies, in exchange for a favor. That favor turns out to be a friendly rematch in an empty gym, just to settle it once and for all. Rocky and Apollo exchange friendly quips before throwing a punch; fade to credits.
    • This received a Call-Back in Creed, where Apollo's son Adonis asks Rocky who won their legendary secret rematch. According to Rocky, Apollo did (though without a formal judge present, Rocky's probably just being kind to Apollo's memory).
  • Dragonball Evolution: Goku knocks Chi-Chi out in a fight because he mistook her for the bad guy. At the end, after the day has been saved, Goku returns to apologize for hurting her. Her response is to insist she let him hit her. They playfully argue about it before running at each other to decide which of them is the better fighter.
  • A major fight scene in Justice League (2017) has Superman proving capable of moving in Bullet Time, tracking and intercepting the Flash, which no one else has been able to do. At the end of the movie, the two agree to a footrace to see who's faster. The stakes are a simple bet: if Flash wins, he gets to tell everyone he's faster than Superman; if Superman wins, Flash has to take everyone to brunch.

  • A more dramatic example at the end of volume 2 (anime episode 7) of The Asterisk War. Kirin Toudou, the #1 rank at Seidoukan Academy, challenged protagonist Ayato Amagiri to an informal duel at her Drill Sergeant Nasty uncle's behest at the beginning of the volume (episode 5) and defeated him. At the end, to show her Character Development she challenges him again on her own initiative, and this time Ayato wins, taking her #1 spot.

    Live-Action TV 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Given the limited nature of most rosters and the comparative frequency of the Heel–Face Turn and Face–Heel Turn, most, if not all, bitter rivals will eventually find themselves competing without malice at some point. This arrangement is often temporary, however, and normally results in the original feud being rekindled with the original good/bad alignments reversed.
    • Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect had a heated rivalry going into SummerSlam 1991, which saw Hart win Perfect's Intercontinental Title despite rampant foul play from the latter. The two met again at King of the Ring 1993, but due to a Heel–Face Turn Mr. Perfect refrained from cheating flagrantly. Hart won again.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Andy vs Eagle in the bonus battle in Advance Wars. The mission is appropriately named "Rivals".
  • "Free Match" mode in all Inazuma Eleven games. After you beat opponent teams during the main game in a Serious Business sense, you can play exhibition matches with them just for fun and ranks.
  • The Pokepark Wii series is all about befriending Pokémon, and some of them can only be convinced after an all-out battle. Afterward, the majority of them will be willing to challenge you again whenever you feel like it, though in much nicer terms. The sequel even lets you do this with the main villain, Darkrai, after you revive him in the postgame. Leading to the odd sight of a nightmare Pokémon growing to giant size and smashing down the walls during a battle that he thanks you for afterward.
  • Sonic Generations using this for an interesting spin on some of the boss battles - both Silver and Shadow are pulled out of time from the present, not the points in the past where they were antagonistic, so they mainly just fight Sonic out of confusion. Afterwards, when challenged again, both of them indicate they're only fighting Sonic this time for the fun of it - especially Silver, who frames the whole thing as a friendly spar.
  • In Tales of Vesperia, Yuri and Flynn clash several times over their Vigilante Man vs Internal Reformist approaches, but the final Duel Boss battle between them occurs after The Heavy is defeated and the two can finally work together. It's a friendly sparring match with no malice involved, just like old times, and the music is appropriately upbeat. This doesn't mean it's an easy fight though: Flynn throws everything at you up to his Mystic Arte.


    Web Original 
  • Noob inverts this. Episodes happening in training grounds always have Gaea and Omega Zell use the sparring sessions as an excuse act on their respective urges to beat the pulp out of each other. The second-to-last episode of Season 4 ends with Gaea asking to have a real duel with Omega Zell, and the ensuing fight is treated much more seriously than their training ground skirmishes by both of them.

    Western Animation 
  • The DC Animated Universe is quite fond of this one:
    • Superman: The Animated Series has a Superman and Flash race for charity that they stop to protect the world from the Weather Wizard. At the end, they race again just for the fun of it. An exhibit at the Flash Museum in Justice League Unlimited seems to suggest The Flash won (hey, it's his episode).
    • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Grudge Match," Huntress notices that Black Canary, who often engages in Teeth-Clenched Teamwork with her, has been exhausted lately and tails her one night. She discovers that Black Canary has been mind-controlled by the villainous Roulette into taking part in grudge matches against other hypnotized female members of the Justice League. After a pitched battle, Huntress manages to undo the mind control, and she and Black Canary lead the charge to free their fellow heroes. They bond over the experience, and the episode ends with the two women deciding to have one last brawl against one another, this time as friends.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold gives us Bronze Tiger taking all comers in the ring. He even warns Batman that he never loses. But Batman says if he wins, Tiger helps him protect the temple. Batman cheats to win the fight, and after the temple is safe, Tiger says "you owe me a rematch". Smiling, they rush at each other to begin fighting.
  • It took at least five years, but Ben and Kevin have one in Ben 10: Alien Force episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of".
  • Family Guy sends up the Rocky III ending with a friendly boxing match between Cleveland and Quagmire... after Quagmire slept with Cleveland's wife and ended their marriage. (Long story short, his wife started it after getting tired of Cleveland, who then tried to kill Quagmire in a chase, and is probably giving Quagmire a chance to fight back.)
  • While in a fighting ring in one episode of The Simpsons Bart and Lisa decide to have what is apparently one of these, complete with a Freeze-Frame Ending. Until the credits roll and Lisa downs Bart with one punch.