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Spirited Competitor

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"These fellas won't ever get it. Winning's never been the real reason I fight him."
Kazuma Kuwabara, YuYu Hakusho

If you tell this character to Bring It, they'll say, "Can't wait!" You tell them you're stronger than them, and they'll say, "Then this should be a good fight!" If you beat them, they'll say, "I guess I need to train more and face you again when I'm stronger!" If you lose to them, they'll say "That was fun! Train hard for next time. I can't wait to fight you again!" This is a character who lives for a challenge. It doesn't matter where they are or what lies at stake, what they really love is the battle, the challenge of going against someone who is a Worthy Opponent, no matter what the venue or the game is. Usually they hold no grudges, and have no one they'd consider their enemy (though they take rivalries very seriously). Instead, they have those whom they relish challenging again and again, so that they can enjoy themselves. The win or the loss doesn't matter to them so much as the chance to test themselves and face a challenge. If they lose, they're usually a Graceful Loser and even if they win they never engage in Unsportsmanlike Gloating but rather encourage their opponent to get better so they can have a rematch.

These characters are mostly heroes, but, if they are antagonists, they are usually Punch Clock Villains and, even without that, they are almost always Friendly Enemies. They certainly make the best rivals.

These characters' main motivations are usually to find the ultimate challenge, the one who can truly match their skills, and sometimes, taking that to the extreme, their motivation is to find someone who can finally defeat them. Sometimes, they have no motivation other than to fight/have a challenge. In any case, they certainly don't mind losing.

Any series where the main focus is a form of competition, from martial arts to chess, has at least one of these.

If this character is really in it for the brutality and/or rush of a physical fight (and who will thus rush into any fight, big or small, just to get their jollies, and never back down from a fight), not the challenge, then they're a Blood Knight, not a Spirited Competitor (a Spirited Competitor will probably avoid a conflict that wouldn't challenge them or doesn't involve someone they feel is worth it). If they're in it for sadistic pleasure, then you've got a Psycho for Hire (or a Combat Sadomasochist, if he also gets off on receiving injuries). If the character wishes to face challenges while striving to be the best, then they want To Be a Master (usually such characters become these after a while). If the character is completely laid-back or carefree about the challenges, or even nonchalant about them to the point of cockiness, then they're a Cavalier Competitor. If they're so obsessed with competition that they want to win all the time, they're a Competition Freak. See Opponent Instruction.

Subtrope of In Harm's Way.


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     Anime and Manga  
  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You:
    • As the practicing athletes among the harem, baseball player Iku and kendo captain Kishika are often ready to make or accept any physical challenge. Kishika's entry into Rentarou's family has Iku asking Kishika for a bout, and Kishika ups the ante by taking on all of the (at this point) 16 girls of the family simultaneously. When Capoeira practitioner Eira joins the family, both challenge her to a bout as well.
    • In chapter 130, Iku, Mimimi, and Kishika happen to meet up while jogging. Iku and Kishika decide to race but Mimimi, who runs solely for the sake of her health and beauty, declines. Iku and Kishika are both utterly perplexed and wonder why Mimimi even runs.
  • Bleach:
    • Captain Kenpachi is one of the strongest people around, but loves fighting so much that he deliberately weakens himself in order to have a more even match. He does this even against an opponent that is trying seriously to kill him. His techniques include an eyepatch that drains his energy, bells that make it harder for him to do a sneak attack, and deliberately wielding his two-handed sword with one hand.
    • Aizen, after absorbing the Hougyoku and achieving godlike power, takes his time setting about the end of the world in case someone comes along who can present a decent challenge. He intentionally destroys the Cleaner in the Precipice World, knowing that Ichigo can then use the Precipice World's Year Inside, Hour Outside effect for some last-minute training to unlock his strongest technique. In this case, Aizen probably wasn't looking for a real challenge, just someone to test his power on who wouldn't die instantly.
  • Ikusabe from Buso Renkin is one of these. When his likes are listed as "winning battles, losing battles," you know the guy loves fighting.
  • Captain Tsubasa: Tsubasa Ozora, the titular protagonist, is pretty much this trope incarnate. There's nothing that makes him happier than facing the strongest rivals on the soccer field. Most of his rivals are this to an extent, and if they aren't when they first appear, chances are they'll be after they fall to Defeat Means Friendship.
  • Light from Death Note is like this. While he'll bang on about how he's going to be a god, and how the world will be far newer under his divine guidance, what really drives him is the challenge from people who can match him. Watch and see.
    • But he takes losing horribly, and reacts in the most pathetic way possible. On top of that, when he manages to kill L, he isn't exactly a graceful winner either.
    • Light started off as a bored genius. He appreciates being able to engage his full intellect on a problem, and comes to admire L on that level, but actually threaten his position as Kira and he'll kill you as soon as possible.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The quintessential example is Goku, which started all the way back in his first Tenkaichi Budokai to see how well he can do against the world's best fighters. Most of the other characters love to fight, but not the way Goku does. He's the only cast member who would spare the most evil adversaries he's ever known in order to fight them again later (letting Piccolo Jr. and Vegeta escape, calling off the fight with Frieza, and wishing for Pure Boo to be reincarnated as a good person), and in one case he let his opponent heal back to full health in order to provide the best fight for his own son! This trait is one of the primary differences between the original Japanese Goku and the 90s Funimation dub of Goku in Dragon Ball Z: While in the dub Goku fights Frieza because his opponent is evil and he is heroic, in the original script it's because he can't wait to see how he stacks up, with the fight escalating as Frieza shows Goku just how ruthless he is.
    • Gohan on the other hand is the opposite of this trope and would prefer to be a scholar than a warrior, in direct contrast to his father. Gohan's narrative tends to swing between his peacetime studying and his storyline fighting, and after the Cell Arc he forms a habit of slipping backwards in fighting prowess. The lack of this driving trope is likely why Akira Toriyama found Gohan to be a poor fit to be the main character post-Cell despite years of build-up, resulting in Goku returning as the protagonist for the rest of the Boo Arc.
    • On the other hand, Cell, after gaining his Perfect Form, constantly states that he is one of these, and wishes to find something that will finally challenge his power. After encountering such power, he immediately becomes a sore loser and desperately tries to find ways that he won't lose, including blowing himself up to spare a defeat and turn it into a draw.
    • Majin Buu in his Fat and subsequent Good Incarnation is a prime example of a spirited competitor. He enjoys fighting almost as much as Goku himself, and even goes so far as to say that Goku is a strong fighter, and that he is having a fun time, and actually wants to continue their fight long after Goku runs out of time. Even when he becomes the incredibly evil Super Buu he still waits for Gotenks to show up instead of blowing up the planet. Though he does kill nearly every human on Earth with a single attack to kill time.
    • His evil form, on the other hand, is much like Cell. Claims to be looking for a challenge from a strong fighter, but upon getting overpowered immediately freaks out and becomes a sore loser. In his case "strong fighter" apparently means someone he could beat up on for a while without dying instantly, rather than someone that actually had a chance of defeating him.
  • Gao from Eyeshield 21 could easily be considered a football expy of Kenpachi. Although violent and merciless, his true objective is simply to find a worthy opponent, god help any person who gets in the way of that. In fact, he's actually quite honorable, freely praising and admiring those he considers strong and brave even after he defeats them.
    • He'll also viciously attack ANYONE who insults his fallen opponents, whom he'll consider comrades. Apparently, challenging the strong is Gao's way of making friends.
    • Not to mention, the thought of possibly being killed by Kurita makes him SMILE, much to his teammate's horror.
    • Though he describes being defeated by Mr. Don as being humiliating and swears revenge. However, unlike other opponents, Mr. Don WAS a racist jerkass so it's understandable why Gao treated his battle with Mr. Don with equal parts spite and excitement.
    • Yamato Takeru of Teikoku is very competitive, loves 1 on 1 battles, and will go at anyone with his full strength, regardless of how strong they are.
    • Basically, most featured players are like this, especially Sena's rivals with notable exception of Agon. Considering this is a manga about football, it's kinda expected.
  • Gundam Build Fighters and its sequel Gundam Build Fighters Try have a lot of these for two main reasons: Gunpla Battle attracts people with similar personalities (and who already have a shared love of the Gundam franchise to bond over), and the battles' stakes are relatively low. The only characters who don't really qualify as this trope are those who take the game way too seriously like the Renato Brothers in the first series (who act like they're participating in an actual war) and their spiritual descendants the Toritsu Academy team from Try (who gleefully discuss how to take advantage of the fact that Sekai suffers sympathetic damage from his Gundam.
  • Hajime no Ippo: David 'Golden' Eagle is a good example of this as well, his main motivation in his fight with Takamura was to fight someone fun. He was also looking forward to fighting Bryan Hawk for the same reason. After losing he grinned and shook Takamura's hand, overjoyed he'd finally fought someone stronger than him. He is also fits the anti-villain mold of typical Spirited Competitors in that even though the series usually has the enemy boxers be non-villainous, Eagle stands out as being so honourable and likeable he actually got considerable support in Japan.
  • Many characters in Hikaru no Go, but the strongest example would be Sai, who has been a ghost for centuries, striving to play the greatest game of Go ever ("the Hand of God", as he puts it).
  • Salsa from Lapis Re:LiGHTs is a werewolf and an avid sports fanatic. Despite her numerous physical advantages because of her demi-human nature, she's an extremely polite and kind competitor, wishing her opponents luck and thanking them for fun, challenging games, win or lose. The only thing she doesn't tolerate is underhanded tactics.
  • Signum of Lyrical Nanoha, though as a knight, she doesn't let it get too much in the way of her duty. When she found out that the enemy she had soundly trounced before had gotten a Bigger Stick and can match her blow per blow, she reacted with sheer joy, and more than a twinge of regret that she can't let her heart out to play in the battle since she had a goal to achieve.
    • Nanoha is also this, as she greatly enjoys practice matches and mock battles. She and Signum even had two matches that both ended in a draw because both of them got a bit too into the battle.
    • Nanoha's adopted daughter Vivio also loves fighting (her main hobby is competitive martial arts), though she lacks her mother's Blood Knight aspects.
  • Junk Dog and Yuri from Megalo Box both love boxing. They're both really good boxers in their respective worlds (Junk Dog being an unlicensed underground boxer who is forced to throw fights for money, and Yuri the champion of the official Megalo Boxing tournament) and the anime's events are set into motion when Junk Dog, annoyed at the whole sport because he's never able to fight anyone worth his time in his own ring, ends up inadvertently picking a fight with Yuri.
  • William and Sherlock of Moriarty the Patriot are both Challenge Seekers who enjoy nothing more than facing off against each other. Sherlock loves a good mystery that's nearly impossible to solve, and William loves making puzzles that are nearly impossible to solve. Even when they lose to each other, they're pretty much always ready to bounce back and try again with a smile on their face—or, well, maybe a smirk.
  • Kotarou of Negima! Magister Negi Magi. His reaction when he learned that The Rival who had beaten him before could now do martial arts and match him in melee too?
    Kotarou: Ahahaha... Chinese Martial Arts? That's nice!!
  • Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Only exception is that she does mind losing.
  • One Piece: Roronoa Zoro is definitely of the Spirited Competitor mold, always on the watch for worthy opponents, and seemingly bored when not fighting and/or drinking. His ultimate goal is to become the world's strongest swordsman, and he plans to beat every single opponent that challenges him.
  • Pokémon: The Series: Ash Ketchum is a prime example, travelling anywhere and battling anyone on his quest To Be a Master.
  • Deconstructed in Ramen Fighter Miki, a hiliarious deconstruction of the Fighting Series: Miki is a Kanban Musume, a delivery girl for her mother's ramen restaurant, who never manages to deliver the food on time because she's always picking fights, especially on those opponents who are worthy. So, she fights with an Angry Guard Dog for hours just to make a delivery, despite the owners telling her that she could yell their names and they'd go out, just for the chance to fight it.
    Miki's mother: Well, what's your excuse this time? For only a delivery, you have taken a long time.
    Miki: Yes, I did take a long time... but that's because I had the determination not to lose. To trade work hours for my victory, it was worth it.
    Miki's mother: Shut up!
  • Sasaki Kojiro from Record of Ragnarok. He spent his life learning to use the sword, but until his final duel with Miyamoto Musashi, he never had any intention to use it; learning swordsmanship was an end unto itself. He would routinely challenge any sword master he could find for the sole purpose of using conceptual training to defeat them in his mind, after which he would move on to find another swordsman to test himself against.
  • Musubi from Sekirei loves to fight, whether a serious life-or-death battle or a friendly sparring session. The Sekirei are essentially a Proud Warrior Race, with quite a few enjoying facing a strong opponent and forging unlikely friendships through facing each other in battle. Musubi serves as a Morality Pet to Blood Knight Karasuba, with their friendship centered around their promise to become the strongest Sekirei and one day face each other in the final battle of the Sekirei Plan.
  • Defied in Slam Dunk by the coach of Kainan. Having deduced that The Hero gains his strength from playing against the best, he intentionally marks him with a player with a less imposing disposition. Feeling he's being mocked by a seemingly inferior player being assigned to him, The Hero loses focus and his game becomes sloppy.
  • Evil Organization Florsheim from Tentai Senshi Sunred take pride in their Arch-Enemy Sunred and constantly challenge him to fights to the 'death' in order to defeat him and Take Over the World (which they obviously can't do without defeating Sunred first). They never give up on this lofty goal despite being a) hilariously outgunned by the hero and having no plausible way to ever defeat him, and b) being Harmless Villains who are, if anything, much nicer people than Sunred. This means that while Sunred finds their constant challenges annoying, doing anything about it beyond defeating their Monster of the Week and letting them escape to plan next week's fight to the 'death' would be Disproportionate Retribution.
  • Variable Geo: Yuka Takeuchi has been a practitioner of Kyokushin Karate since childhood and firmly believes that bonds can be formed through competition with strong opponents. Her fighting style has even evolved to center around this concept, by quite literally allowing her to empathize with her opponents through combat and purge them of any negative emotions with her ultimate attack: Kyuukyo Kikou Dan.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Joey/Jounouchi is much like this, especially later in the show. After losing the unofficial duel for third place against Kaiba in Battle City he is exuberant about the challenge Kaiba gave him, and when Kaiba derides this attitude in contempt, he asks, mystified, why the hell Kaiba even duels if not for fun.
    • Yugi and his grandfather Solomon also qualify. Both of them love games, Duel Monsters in particular. It was Solomon's desire to find the greatest game in the world to play that led to him finding the Millennium Puzzle. Meanwhile, Yugi frequently talks about his passion for Duel Monsters and states in a Filler arc that he would rather duel for fun than to save the world.
    • Part of Mai's development is going from a cheater who views dueling as a way to get ahead in life to coming to truly respect the game. This is shown in her finalist duel against Yugi during the Duelist Kingdom arc.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Kaiser Ryo and Judai are both like this, but in different ways. While Judai duels mostly for fun, Ryo is more serious-minded in his approach while still respecting his opponents and the game.
    • This ends up getting deconstructed later on, as even they have limits about constant high-stakes duels. Ryo gets on a losing streak and snaps, turning into a Jerkass Blood Knight and alienates all of his friends. Judai, on the other hand, endures a Trauma Conga Line in season 3 and gets much more aloof about dueling; he only regains his passion for it at the end of season 4.
  • Many characters from YuYu Hakusho, especially Yusuke and Kuwabara. The number of such characters goes way up in the Dark Tournament Saga, where each team has at least one (for example, Chu, Jin/Gin, and Younger Toguro, who doubles as a Death Seeker).
    • The last saga, which deals with Demon World Tournament, has a ton of these. Both Raizen's old sparring partners and Yusuke's old enemies share this love of a challenge, the latter thanks in no small part to Yusuke's influence. In fact, this mindset is the subject of an entire episode in the anime, and it's inferred that such an attitude could actually bring in an era of honor and sportsmanship among demons, replacing bloodlust with a love of a challenge.

     Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • The Riddler is a partial example; he lives for the mental challenge of his and Batman's battle of wits, but he also hates to lose. The Joker is a better example, and is one of the few examples of this kind of character who is also actively cruel.
    • Paul Dini's character Roxy Rocket is one as well, really only liking the thrill of flying around on a rocket, stealing, and challenging guys whom she flirts with even as they are arresting her.
    • Cassandra Cain, the second Batgirl. She loves martial arts but isn't a sadist or a Blood Knight. While she loves to test her skills she is not a murderer.
  • ElfQuest: At one point in The Rebels spin-off, the main characters, still on the run from military agents due to their desertion and stolen spacecraft, drop by their home world of Abode to get some rest-and-relaxation. Scorch ends up participating in a major televised car race, and the Spirited Competitor here is the nephew of the Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist on their tails, who ends up helping Scorch out in multiple ways because he wants more than a mere race: He wants to beat the very best name in the sport.
  • When she isn't being written as a Blood Knight, Wonder Woman is this trope. She is often shown enjoying sparring with friends like Black Canary or Big Barda.

     Fan Works  


  • God of War: Chains of the Heart (God of War and Kingdom Hearts): Sora loves competing in tournaments to test and improve his skills. In Chapter 30, when discussing the upcoming tournament to celebrate everyone's survival of Ragnarök, Sora suggests that the Grande prize be the chance to fight Kratos in single combat. Kratos and Týr are quick to see that he just wants to fight Kratos, to which it's pointed out that he could simply ask for a spar. Sora notes that he could, but he really wants to compete in a tournament.
    Týr: Sora, if you want to fight Kratos, all you have to do is ask.
    Sora (embarrassed): Yeah, but...tournaments.


  • Hyphen: As a wild Pokémon herself, Astra is not at all fond of fights where defeat and death are synonymous, which were the only ones she knew before she left home. But from the first battle she witnesses between humans, she's loved the challenge and enjoyment of the test of strength.
  • Platinum Pirate: Lucas is one, given his homeworld's culture. He and his Pokémon are eager to spar and test themselves against everyone they meet, from Smoker and Tashigi to Vice-Admiral Gion, from the Revolutionaries to Admiral Aokiji. In fact, challenging Aokiji to a battle is one of his conditions to accepting the World Government's offer of a Warlord position, leaving everyone else amazed that he is challenging one of the world's strongest men for fun.
    Lucas: Where I come from, battling is as casual a greeting as shaking hands.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: Maturing didn't make Ash any less competitive. A side story reveals that he was this even before his consciousness from the past timeline merged with his current self.
  • Traveler: Ash pretty much embodies this idea. The only times he's ever shown to be upset or irritated after a battle (barring those against Team Rocket) is if he wins too easily. After earning all eight badges in Kanto, Ash tours the region again to face each Gym Leader's real team, and all of them except Erika give Ash a standing invitation to return for a rematch any time. Most notably, in Chapter 45, Ash considers information that might one day save his life to be far less important than being challenged to a battle by Cynthia.


  • Son of the Sannin: Temari gets annoyed when Shikamaru forfeits during their match in the Chunin Exam preliminaries and spent the next three years pestering him for a proper rematch every time they saw each other (which is a lot more than you'd think since they were dating for about a third of that time) until he finally relented.

  • The Beast in Kung Fu Hustle fits this trope, partially, but whenever he finds the challenge he says he's looking for, he resorts to cheating to win instead of losing gracefully, as most examples of this trope would. Interestingly, when he tries to cheat in the climactic fight, and Sing thwarts him, he immediately bows down and calls him master, apparently with complete sincerity. It seems that The Beast considers cheating to be a valid combat tactic, rather than, well, cheating.
  • Ryan from Never Back Down was a mixture of this and Blood Knight, possibly with a touch of Psycho for Hire. Although Ryan was looking for a worthy opponent, he would happily beat anyone within an inch of their lives. At one point he nearly killed the main character's best friend in a fight just to intimidate him into fighting.
  • Predator: The Predator is a creature that travels the galaxy looking for the best of the best to fight and kill. It lives off combat and is steeped in a code of honor so great that it would rather die than cheat or dishonor itself.
  • Jean Girard from Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is this. He is simply looking for a Worthy Opponent.

  • Beware of Chicken: Rou Tigu in a nutshell. Perhaps best showcased by her actions at the Dueling Peaks Tournament, where she offers advice to her outmatched opponents in the early rounds, fights her way through the monsters of the Hill of Torment without even bothering to collect the treasures they guard, and after a major bout with Liu Xianghua offers Xianghua some Spirit Herbs to help her grow strong enough to be an even worthier opponent. She has a minor Heroic BSoD when the Shrouded Mountain Sect kidnaps her and cripples two of her new friends in front of her, forcing her to confront the dark side of cultivation for the first time.
  • The vast majority of the players in Blade Skill Online, especially the main character, get into fights with monsters and other players, just for the thrill of the challenge, win or lose. The devs of the game, who are all cowardly morons that never play their own game, just can't understand the appeal, and are gobsmacked that every time they try and ramp up the game difficulty on Yuri, trying to make him Rage Quit, only succeed in raising his fighting spirt even more.
  • High School D×D has several examples:
    • Vali Lucifer is the most overt, being the "craves a strong opponent" type. In his first fight with Issei, he takes time out to threaten his friends and family despite having no actual ill will to them just to try and get him to fight harder. He ends up joining the heroes because his alliances were fluid anyway, and the side he was on keeps pulling out better and better opponents (making for an amusing inversion of I Fight for the Strongest Side!).
    • Surprisingly for the main heroine, Rias Gremory is this, although she has no love for life-and-death combat. It's Ratings Games, essentially a non-lethal Blood Sport Devil Kings use to sort out their pecking order. It's stated that one of her long-term goals in the series is resolving the main conflict so she can clean out the corruption and start enjoying Games as the combat sport they were meant to be.
  • Saintess Summons Skeletons: Mornn emerges from an intense duel, where she lost both arms and then her head, shouting her excitement about what a great fight it was.
    Mornn: Woooooooooh! Yeaaaah shorty! That's what I've been waiting for! That's what it's all about!
  • Sherlock Holmes. When he doesn't have a problem to solve to occupy his mind (or even better, an antagonist to match wits with) he becomes lethargic and turns to drugs. Some adaptations play up this aspect by suggesting Holmes is amoral, uninterested in justice and only caring about crime as an intellectual exercise — which was not the case in the original. Well, particularly the Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce version.
  • Zangulus from Slayers, one of the mercenaries and bounty hunters who tried to capture the party. After the first encounter with Gourry he flatly stated that for him it's about the challenge and his fee and his employer's orders don't matter much. He just wanted a duel to see who's the best swordsman out here, that's all, and reappeared as a Worthy Opponent until he got his final fight. Also, once he was persuaded to join the party just by mentioning that there's a strong opponent for him. Naturally, in such circumstances he didn't use underhanded tactics.
  • Song at Dawn: Dragonetz hates fighting but he loves competing. Whether it's his Number Two or a visiting viking prince he has to face them and defeat them. The prize, if there is one, doesn't matter. Most likely he won't want it.
  • In This Immortal, Hasan enjoys competing and challenges, and it has the added bonus of keeping him fit for his job. He lugs a Vegan-made wrestling robot with him on the trip and wrestles it daily, and when challenged to a duel, he chooses slingshots because it's more of a competition than just gunning each other down.
  • The superpowered mercenary Lord of Loss behaves as a spirited competitor in his fights with protagonist Antares in Ward, saluting her when she gets a good hit in and generally acting like he's having a great time. She doesn't appreciate this at all, as she takes her heroism very seriously and there are lives in the balance every time they fight. When she finally beats him she barely manages to hold herself back from administering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.

     Live Action TV 
  • Friends: Monica is an intense competitor and wants to win, no matter how small or petty the challenge is. This applies to everything from sports to board games.
  • Schitt's Creek: Patrick has a competitive nature, which leads to him talking his Camp Gay boyfriend David into playing a game of baseball. To Patrick's delight and David's surprise, it's David who becomes the game's MVP.
  • Ted Lasso: Dani Rojas is a positive example of this in that he couldn't care less how much money or accolades he gets as a professional soccer player. He just loves the sport and relishes in getting to play it for a living.
    Dani: "Fútbol is life!"

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Booker T, the Five time WCW Champion. He enjoys a good, fair contest and is always looking for another. There were some periods where this wasn't true, such as in WWE when he thought he was too good for the Smackdown brand, but even that came to an end when he decided the WWE Championship was a worthy title to pursue.
  • Ron Killings, provided he doesn't perceive some injustice being done against him, is more than happy to find the biggest, scariest looking dude on any given roster and offer them a match.
  • Low Ki is never completely content with his victories. He's always looking for something new to do, someone new to wrestle, some new challenge to conquer, someone's respect to earn...
  • Mercedes Martinez behaves this way on a good day, actively seeking out new people to wrestle. (On a bad day, well, she isn't spirited about competition because she believes there is no one worthy to compete against)
  • Quote Hailey Hatred:
    "...its a nice rush to get kicked in the face. I love me some Lady Victoria."
  • As much of a girly girl Melina is, she equally lives for a fight. In a less positive example, she invites threats and dares opponents to do their worst just so she will have more motivation to beat them.
  • The World's Greatest Tag Team had this attitude toward Ring of Honor, wanting to fight every tag team there available in the belief they were all great. This attitude changed somewhat after the Briscoe Brothers went on an anti WWE rant though.

     Video Games  

  • Advanced V.G. has several among its main cast, with Yuka Takeuchi being the primary example:
    • Yuka is often considered to be Ryu's Distaff Counterpart. She has the same mentality - caring only for testing herself against worthy opponents in order to learn more about herself as a martial artist. Which has rubbed off on several of her friends.
    • Satomi grew up together with Yuka and trained alongside her at the Kyokushin Dojo, so she's been sparring with her since childhood. Though lately, she hasn't had the time, due to having to support herself and her brother.
    • Tamao Mitsurugi is a huge fan of Yuka's and sees her as a role model. Therefore, she's chosen to emulate her; including Yuka's fighting style and refers to her as "senpai" (or "Yuka-senpai"). So she entered the tournament, not to win, but to finally meet her heroine.
    • Jun Kubota is a former Olympic wrestler, who's also become close friends with Yuka and moreso with Erina Goldsmith. They've competed directly with each other in nearly every game, which is even seen briefly during the intro for Advanced V.G. II.
  • In Double Homework, the protagonist and Rachel are this for each other in their rivalry for an Olympic spot. The protagonist isn’t even upset when Rachel edges him out.
  • This is Wolfgang Krauser's motivation for hosting the second, international King of Fighters tournament in Fatal Fury 2; he'd become bored after beating so many challengers that he finally decided it was time to fight the best in the world. Rugal Bernstein also hosts the tournament in '94 for the same reasons, but unlike Krauser (who is brutal in the ring but a nice guy otherwise) he just wanted to stroke his ego and maybe add a few more statues to his...collection.
  • Fate/stay night: Helllloooo Lancer! He intentionally gimps himself down to match his target instead of killing them just to make the fight last longer. When questioned about fighting Assassin, though, he gets somewhat irritated because while Assassin is very good and would be an excellent challenge normally, he's just not the sort of opponent that Lancer is suited to fight. He recommends sniping him instead. Boooooring.
    • Assassin himself. He wants to challenge Saber to a swordplay duel, and takes winning and losing in equally calm measure. Simply 'fighting' anyone else doesn't seem to get his interest in the same way.
  • This trait is the trademark of Gilgamesh in the Final Fantasy series, where he's always ready for a brawl with a Worthy Opponent. In Final Fantasy XII even after beating him twice and sending him running, he refers to the party members as his friends, and laments he doesn't have time for a third round. In Dissidia Final Fantasy he's on the lookout for The Rival Bartz, and makes mention in a few of his battle quotes that he likes the idea of a challenging opponent.
  • Fire Emblem Fates has the Child Prodigy Hayato, an Insufferable Genius spellcaster from the Wind Tribe. While most of the time he pretends to be unaffected and stoic in order to seem mature, he reveals a more excitable and competitive side occasionally; in his supports with Orochi, he becomes obsessed with proving himself the better herbalist, and ends up taunting and teasing her when he wins. He seems determined to not be outshone on the battlefield as well, as his personal combat skill, "Pride", allows him to deal extra damage to units that are higher-leveled than him.
  • Alexandra Beaufort in Growing Up loves making everything a competition, even schoolwork when the Player Character motivates her with a bet.
  • Shizune Hakamichi of Katawa Shoujo likes to take everything from schoolwork, to recruiting people for the Student Council, to carrying a box up a hill or deciding what to do with a piece of veal cutlet bread a contest or a game.
    • This is ultimately deconstructed, as this part of her personality drives away the rest of the student council, including her own cousin Lilly. In the bad ending, Shizune believes that this part of her is why Hisao and Misha are avoiding her, and breaks up with Hisao, but in the good ending, she recognizes the error of her ways.
  • Morrigan is portrayed like this occasionally, especially in the Marvel vs. Capcom games, where her dialog is loaded with many a Double Entendre and other suggestions that she likes fighting an awful lot. This makes even more sense if you factor in her original canon, which not only establishes her as powerful enough to curbstomp the Final Boss if she cared to, but also states that it's the intensity of physical sensations that feeds succubi, not necessarily their nature. For her, a good fight is just as satisfying as a good fu- seduction.
  • Mortal Kombat 11: Some of Liu Kang's intro dialogues characterize him as a man who seeks to better himself through battle while also trying to help others. He is perhaps the only character in the franchise who would qualify for this trope as everyone else is either a Blood Knight or fighting for a cause other than the joy of competition.
  • Persona 3:
    • Akihiko Sanada embraces every dangerous new challenge as an opportunity to push himself to become stronger. At least three characters call him out on not taking the dangers of the Shadows seriously enough and not caring what secrets are being kept from the heroes as long as he gets to fight; it's a mark of newfound maturity when he starts taking the team's battles more seriously, although he's still resolved to meet all challenges — up to and including The End of the World as We Know It — head-on.
    • A slightly less extreme example is Mamoru, the Star Social Link — a star athlete who really just likes to test himself. His Social Link concerns how to maintain this in the face of ever-growing family troubles.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog loves to race others to prove that he's the fastest. This is also the given reason why he’s driving a car in games like Team Sonic Racing: if he was running, he’d take everyone to the cleaners.
  • Ryu, Ken, and Akuma from Street Fighter. Akuma, in particular, is a prime example of the Anti-Villain version. Other examples of such characters from Street Fighter include E. Honda, Alex, Sakura, and Makoto.

  • The Jäger Generals in Girl Genius. They even argue with each other over which kills "count". And request Combat by Champion as an alternative to surrender.
    General Goomblast: (to half a dozen of Wulfenbach's spec-ops with poisoned dirks) Feh. Diz hardly seems fair...
    Wulfenbach Commander: C'est la guerre, General.
    (dying screams)
    General Goomblast: Hy dun mean for me.
  • Misfile: Kate is like this with racing. So is Ash.

     Web Original  
  • This trope is part of what makes Johnny Lawrence sympathetic in Cobra Kai, and a Noble Demon rather than an outright Villain Protagonist. Exemplified when he savages his own students for winning a tournament by extremely underhanded tactics. Although Johnny wholeheartedly embraces the Combat Pragmatist trope, he considers the win meaningless.
    Johnny: Cobra Kai is about being badass. And the baddest badass is the one who beats their opponent when they are at their strongest!
  • Stinkoman from the 20X6 Alternate Universe of Homestar Runner is a parody of this kind of Battle Junkie character. His main (and only?) hobby seems to be going around looking for "A challenge!"
  • Played with in the case of SCP-076 who, as stated in Mobile Task Force Omega 7 Incident Log, seems to hold a wary respect for those it acknowledges as its superior. During said incident SCP-076-2 was actively seeking to fight a certain agent, who previously had a large amount of experience with them and managed to significantly deter their rampages. Upon learning about said agent's fate (collateral casualty) SCP-076-2 lost their mood and ceased their rampage.
    Dr. ██████: Why does his death bother you? You've killed many humans before, why is he so- (Is cut off by SCP-076-2)
    SCP-076-2: Different? Because, unlike you [Sumerian word, untranslated], he was a challenge, a real enemy. Do you know, he managed to shoot me in the head over ██ times? A man like that deserves to die in combat, so close to his opponent he can feel his breath. Not in some [Sumerian words, untranslated] destruction ordered by cowardly kings and princes safe in their palaces. The rest of you . . . you disgust me. I don't even have the urge to strike you down.
  • Chaka, in the Whateley Universe. She's always looking for anyone who can give her a good fight and stretch her abilities. She mostly keeps it to her martial arts classes.

     Western Animation  
  • Rainbow Dash is like this about racing in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. She's so competitive, she even decides that holding a race competition is the best way to choose a pet. Other characters like this include Applejack (their friendship starts out as a rivalry and maintains a friendly-rivals dynamic throughout), Scootaloo, and on the antagonistic side, the Flim Flam brothers and Trixie.


Video Example(s):


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Goku refuses to give up in his fight against Hit because even though he's outmatched, it wouldn't be fair to give up before he has given everything he has, no matter how risky. Hit, meanwhile, allows Goku to power up in defiance of his superior exactly because he sees an opportunity for improvement in Goku. Both are instances of this trope.

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Main / SpiritedCompetitor

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