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Nemesis Weapon

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The red blade belongs to the villain.
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It's common for The Hero to have an Arch-Enemy; moreover, if the hero has a suitably powerful weapon or Iconic Item, it may be that said weapon or tool will also have an antithesis, which is similar in appearance and powers but is used to opposite ends.

The hero's iconic weapon and its nemesis tend to share a common origin. Probably they were both Forged by the Gods or at least by the Ultimate Blacksmith. In this case, they are much like Evil Twins. Alternatively, the nemesis may have been made as an Evil Knockoff of the original, and specifically designed to defeat it. Creating a good weapon to defeat an evil one is more rare. Depending on their relationship, the nemesis weapon may have powers that are the same as those used by the hero, or they may be the exact opposite; indeed, if the hero's is an Empathic Weapon, the other will probably be an Evil Weapon.

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The nemesis weapon is likely to be used by the Big Bad, but might also go to The Rival, The Dragon or another lesser enemy. It can also change hands as these are defeated, being acquired by more powerful foes. Similarly, the 'good' weapon may be wielded by The Lancer or some other secondary heroic character.

The weapon may signify its wielder as an Evil Counterpart to the hero, or otherwise hint that they are Foils in some regard. It also serves to amplify the hero's challenge, by negating the advantage their weapon gives and forcing them to rely on their inherent skills, virtues, or greater number of allies to win. Because of this, the nemesis weapon is more likely to appear near the end of the story.

See also Counterpart Artifacts, Evil Counterpart and Reforged into a Minion, two similar tropes that occur to characters.

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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Akame ga Kill! loves its counterparts, even extending to the characters' weapons, which are called Teigu.
    • Akame and her sister Kurome both wield swords whose special abilities deal specifically with death. Akame's Teigu Murasame is guaranteed to kill whoever gets cut by it, however small the cut, while Kurome's Teigu Yatsufusa raises its victims from the dead and enslaves them.
    • Tatsumi's Teigu Incursio is contrasted by Wave's Teigu Grand Chariot. Both weapons are Powered Armor of opposite colors, white/red and black/blue respectively, though Grand Chariot is considered a superior model. However Wave, being one of the nicest characters, isn't Tatsumi's Evil Counterpart, despite fighting for the opposite side.
    • Less prominent but still worth noting: Lubbock's Cross Tail and Dr. Stylish's Perfector are gloves that require genius levels of creativity from their users; Leone's Lionelle and Run's Mastema give them animalistic traits, feline and avian respectively; Najenda's Susanoo and Seryu's Koko are organic Teigu, meaning they have the traits of living beings.
  • In Fafner in the Azure: Dead Aggressor, the hero pilots the white Mark Sein (German for "to be"), while the Big Bad pilots the black Mark Nicht (German for "not").
  • Inuyasha: An inversion of the alignments. Protagonist Inuyasha's Tessaiga is a sword of destruction. His rival and evil brother Sesshoumaru wields the Tenseiga which is the sword of life. Both were forged from their father's fangs, and the swords were chosen for each brother so that they would be unable to fight each other. A good portion of Sesshoumaru's early motivation was to steal the Tessaiga for himself. Later he commissioned a third blade, Tokijin, from an evil smith specifically to counter Tessaiga.
  • Kill la Kill: Ryuko Matoi's weapon and Kamui both have an counterpart.
    • Her Weapon of Choice is one half of a giant pair of scissors created by her father to cut life fibers. The other half is wielded by the insane Nui Harime, the woman who murdered her father while stealing said weapon. Eventually, Ryuko steals it back, and it's alternately used by Ryuko or Satsuki.
    • Her Kamui (clothing made completely of life fibers and capable of unparalleled power) is a black school uniform named Senketsu. Her main rival, student council president Satsuki Kiryuin, wears a Kamui named Junketsu, which is a white school uniform. These two are the only ones capable of wearing Kamui apart from their mother Ragyo. Toward the end of the series, Ryuko and Satsuki are forced to battle while wearing the other's Kamui. Because Junketsu was created with pure Life Fibers, it tries to take over whoever wears it unless the wearer is in line with Junketsu's goals (Ragyo) or sufficiently strong-willed to bend it to her will (Satsuki). Senketsu, conversely, was created by Ryuko's father with modified Life Fibers that do not have this tendency.
  • Naruto:
    • Naruto and Sasuke in at least two different ways.
      • Sasuke's signature move Chidori is a hand thrust charged with electricity. Naruto's Rasengan is a similarly used hand-held ball of pure energy. It turns out that Chidori was failed attempt at a Lightning Release Rasengan . After learning this, Naruto is able to create a proper Wind Release Rasengan.
      • In the final arc, the two are revealed to be reincarnations of the Sage of Sixth Paths sons, and are granted their predecessors' powers by their father. Once they receive this power, Sasuke gets the symbol of the moon on his hand, while Naruto gets the sun.
    • Kakashi and Tobi also have the same dimensional ability Kamui. This is because Kamui is a Mangekyo Sharingan ability. Tobi is actually Obito, Kakashi's childhood friend who gave him his one Sharingan eye in the first place. They literally have the same eyes.
  • Gene Starwind of Outlaw Star uses a "caster", essentially a gun that shoots spells. The type of weapon is not unique but very rare and considered antiquated despite its considerable power. His rival Ronald MacDougal starts using a staff caster near the end of the series. The two casters completely cancel out.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt has angel Panty dispose of demons with pristine white bullets fired from her divine handgun. Her Evil Counterpart is Scanty, whose firearms discharge matte black bullets. As seen in the episode "Les Diaboliques," the diametric projectiles seek each other out mid-flight, resulting in mutual annihilation. Similarly, Stocking's twin katanas can slice through anything, including an entire tractor-trailer, but are blunted against Kneesock's twin scythes.
  • As shown in a flashback in the anime adaptation of Trigun, after wrecking a fleet of Colony Ships, Big Bad Knives uses some of the ships' remains to make a pair of pistols which, if used by one of his race, can transform into weapons of mass destruction called "Angel Arms". He gives one of the guns to Vash, still thinking he can bring his good twin around. It becomes Vash's weapon of choice, with its twin only appearing in the finale.
  • In Rave Master, King and Lucia wield Decalogue, a sword with the same transforming abilities as Haru's Ten Powers, but powered by a Dark Bring instead of by Rave.
  • Zoids: Chaotic Century: At the outset Van had an white organoid named Zeke who would power up his abilities, and was coveted by many thieves. Later in season one his rival Raven showed up with black organoid named Shadow who could do the same for him. In season two, two more antagonists showed up with red and blue organoids. One of them pulled a Heel–Face Turn but the other was the final Big Bad of the show.

    Comic Books 
  • Green Lantern
    • The renegade Lantern Sinestro originally wielded a ring that was composed entirely of the "yellow impurity" in the standard-issue GL rings. In more modern continuity, Sinestro and his Sinestro Corps wield rings that tap into fear, the antithesis of the willpower the modern Green Lantern rings tap into. Further, under Geoff Johns's tenure, this was expanded into six other Lantern corps that tapped into other emotions, some of which were Nemesis Weapons to one another, including Black Hand and the Black Lantern Corps, whose rings drive them to consume emotion on the grounds that the blackness of death is the absence of emotion.
    • And in the old days, Hal Jordan also contended with Evil Star, whose weapon contrasted Hal's ring by making its wielder evil and insane while Hal's ring reflected Hal's supposed fearlessness.
  • Iron Man's enemy the Titanium Man wears a suit of armor like Tony Stark's, but one that's much bulkier and contains nothing but offensive weaponry, as opposed to the more versatile toolset in the Iron Man armors.
  • The Mighty Thor has had a lot of villains with Nemesis weapons. The brutish Absorbing Man and Wrecker, for example, were empowered by Asgardian magic, but where Thor wields Mjölnir, they wield thuggish instruments like a ball-and-chain or a crowbar, respectively. Their weapons tap the same sort of Asgardian magic as Thor's hammer, but are much cruder, mortal instruments. Similarly, the signature weapon of Ulik the troll is a set of "pounders" — brass knuckles, essentially - made of the same magic metal as Thor's hammer.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Star Wars, both the heroic Jedi and the evil Sith wield the iconic lightsaber. A lightsaber can only be constructed precisely enough to function with the aid of The Force, and in the hands of a Force-user it's the ultimate personal weapon. The core element is the focusing crystal; Jedi usually use natural crystals of various kinds, producing a variety of different colors and blade forms. Sith, depending on which version you're reading, use a synthetic crystal made using The Dark Side, or take a normal crystal and then pour all their negative emotions into it until it "bleeds".

    Literature 
  • Within The Belgariad, the Orb of Aldur is a Cosmic Keystone and Cthrag Sardius is its antithesis; however, they function differently in the plot. The Orb is temperamental and allows only certain chosen people to touch it, and even fewer to wield it, whereas the Sardion is even more antisocial and will destroy anyone who hasn't already mastered the Orb and used it to keep the Sardion's will at bay. Then there's the Sword of the Rivan King, forged from Thunderbolt Iron and imbued with the power of the Orb; it's countered by Cthrek Goru, the sword of darkness that is first wielded by the evil god Torak and later by the demon lord Mordja in the final showdown.
  • In Bimbos of the Death Sun, Jay Omega's celebrity Dungeons & Dragons campaign includes a Nemesis Weapon to Tratyn Runewind's own sword, named "Runeslayer", which snaps Runewind's sword in two before it's used to kill him. All done to provoke the Runewind fanboy, who Jay (rightly) suspected of murder.
  • Michael Moorcock's The Elric Saga has two examples. Elric's signature weapon is the magical sword Stormbringer. One of his opponents is his Evil Counterpart cousin Yyrkoon, who wields Stormbringer's "brother" sword Mournblade. Later, in The Revenge of the Rose, Gaynor the Damned (an in-universe identified Chaotic Evil Evil Counterpart not just to Elric, but to all versions of the Eternal Champion) wields a "leach blade" which drains the power from magical weapons, including Stormbringer.
  • Harry Potter's wand is one of two which share cores from the same phoenix. Whereas Harry's is made of holly, a wood well-suited to his dangerous life, its brother, which went to Voldemort, is made of yew, a supreme material for Black Magic. The connection between the wands makes them almost unable to defeat each other, and every showdown between Harry and Voldemort using them ends in a draw. Voldemort catches on to this late in the series and starts looking for a more powerful wand.
  • Dragon Riders in The Inheritance Cycle all use unique swords made from an incredibly rare metal, and Eragon originaly uses the crimson sword Zar'roc (meaning Misery) which originaly belonged to the evil dragon rider Morzan, but after it gets stolen by Murtagh, Morzan's son, at the climax of the second book, Eragon has to find a replacement. It takes him until the half-way through the third book, but he finaly gets his own sword, colored bright blue. Eragon even considers naming it "Hope" because hope counteracts misery, but Saphira shoots it down. He instead goes with Brisingr meaning fire.
  • In the Percy Jackson series, Luke creates a special sword called Backbiter, which has one blade made of Celestial bronze (which can harm monsters and immortals, but can't harm heroes and mortals) and one blade made out of tempered steel (which can't harm monsters and immortals, but can harm heroes and mortals). This serves as an antithesis to all heroic weapons, which are only forged out of celestial bronze as heroes are never supposed to harm heroes, but more specifically it works as an antithesis to Percy's Riptide.
  • Star Wars Legends: In Shatterpoint, Mace Windu notes that the razor-edged vibroshields used by Kar Vastor and his acolytes are a twisted mirror of the Jedi lightsaber; he uses his sword as a shield, while they use their shields as swords.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Battlefield", Mordred boasts that his sword is "brother to Excalibur".
    • The Doctor's iconic sonic screwdriver is almost universally used to productive means, although it could easily be turned into a weapon if they were so inclined; so naturally The Master makes his own "laser screwdriver", first seen in "The Sound of Drums", which can do all the same things but also zap people.
      The Master: Laser screwdriver; who'd have sonic?

    Video Games 
  • Devil May Cry: Dante's sword Rebellion and Vergil's katana Yamato used to belong to their father, Sparda. The two twins are bitter enemies.
  • Final Fantasy VIII: Seifer, the rival to our protagonist Squall, also wields a gunblade like him. The weapon is said to be hard to master with only 2 have been shown as its practitioners, and there's also a prophecy that a hero wielding a gunblade will save the day; Seifer jumps at the opportunity while Squall takes it in stride.
  • Invoked in Fire Emblem Tellius. The Black Knight has the two blessed swords dual wielded by the legendary warrior Altina, and which are named Alondite and Ragnell. When he confronts Greil looking for a duel he only uses Alondite and actually gives Ragnell to his opponent so it can be an even fight. Greil refuses and ultimately loses. In the aftermath his son, The Hero, Ike takes up Ragnell and duels the Black Knight with it several times to get revenge for Greil's death.
  • God Hand: Gene, wielder of the titular God Hand, later meets one of the bosses, Azel, who wields the other God Hand (the left to Gene's right). Mirror Boss ensues.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • The first game has Sora's Kingdom Key contrasting with the Keyblade of People Hearts wielded by Riku while under Ansem's control. Sora's Keyblade has the power to unlock doors and seal the worlds to protect them from the darkness. Riku's has the power to remove a heart form a person, creating a Heartless, which Sora later uses to free Kairi's heart form his own.
    • After Riku returns to the side of Light, he eventually gains the Way to the Dawn, a keyblade that includes the Heartless' Emblem as its keychain (sans X); Word of God is that it's an "evolved" form of his Soul Eater from the first game. He also fights Sora's Nobody, Roxas in the time between I and II using Oblivion while Roxas wields Oathkeeper.
    • Averted with Two Become One, the Keyblade that Sora earns in the Final Mix version of II (and that Roxas himself can wield in 358/2 Days). While it's clearly associated with Roxas (it's obtained in II after fighting Roxas, and it has a Nobody motif like the other Organization member's weapons, complete with a Nobody symbol on the hilt), Roxas himself never wields it canonically.
    • Birth by Sleep has another example. Ventus's Keyblade, Wayward Wind, and Vantias' keyblade the Void Gear, Ventus is part of an elemental theme with his peers and friends, Terra and Aqua, while Vanitas' Keyblade represents emptiness. Given that they both were once the same being and Ventus' belief in The Power of Friendship, there is a definite connection there.
  • Pokémon. The player and the rival will take starters from the same lab who are usually their most powerful and reliable Pokemon. Starters are not found in the wild, have above average abilities overall, as well as access to a few unique powerful moves. Some adaptations make a plot point that both The Hero and The Rival's 'mon of choice were raised together as friends before the two kids pit them against each other. That and the rival always takes the one that has a natural advantage over yours.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the final boss Demise wields a sword that looks like a bigger and spikier version of Link's iconic Master Sword. Moreover, both swords are inhabited by spirits that serve the ends of the swords' masters. Whereas the Master Sword's spirit, Fi, mostly just gives advice, Demise's sword spirit actually serves as his Dragon.
  • Namco × Capcom: Protagonist Reiji wields a weapon rack consisting of 2 elemental swords, a Sawed-Off Shotgun and a revolver. His Arch-Enemy, Saya, also wields a weapon rack of 3 elemental swords and a Grenade Launcher. Saya is also the one who killed Reiji's father.
  • From the Soul Series, Soul Edge is the original Evil Weapon, born from a normal sword that had killed countless people. Algol, its owner, fearing its power, breaks the sword, and then uses some shards of the sword to forge a new one, while using his sacrificed soul to purify it, creating Soul Calibur. Soul Edge, however, would later regenerate itself over years.
  • World of Warcraft: This is inverted in the Icecrown Citadel questlines as one of them involves creating an antithesis to the Lich King's weapon, Shadowmourne: a giant axe forged from the hammer that Arthas himself discarded when he took Frostmourne for the first time, imbued with the souls of his servants and the power that once imprisoned the Lich King, all to create a weapon specifically intended to end Arthas' reign of undeath.

    Webcomics 
  • Sanyiel of Hero In Training (basically half-demon-half-angel, all magically unstable) kept himself from undergoing Super-Power Meltdown by forging part of himself into two opposite swords, one angelic and the other demonic.

    Western Animation 
  • Filmation's 1981 cartoon series Blackstar has The Hero John Blackstar wield the Star Sword in the cause of liberty, while The Villain the Overlord wields the Power Sword, bent on conquest and tyranny. The two swords were once one whole weapon called the Power-Star, which was split in two during a revolt against the Overlord's iron rule.
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, He-Man and his nemesis Skeletor each own one half of the Sword of Power.
  • Transformers Prime: The Star Saber and the Dark Star Saber, used by Optimus Prime and Megatron respectively. The Star Saber is a legendary weapon while the Dark Star Saber is a Evil Knockoff made by Megatron using an artifact forge.
  • In a rare case of a good guy copying a bad guy's weapon, the Sword of Omens in ThunderCats (2011) was made by Lion-O's ancestor to counter a sword Mumm-Ra had recently forged. They even used the metal that was left over.


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