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Spiritual Antithesis

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One heroine goes Down the Rabbit Hole to find whimsy, the other finds horror.

"I came home from these regular monthly drinks that we have in London and grabbed one of the nice hardback comics next to the bed—and in this case it was [Frank Miller's] 300. I picked it up, flipped through it, really not very much paying any attention to it. And one of the speeches about 'The only free men the world has ever known', and literally had a moment of incandescent rage and shouted at the book, ‘You hunted slaves!’ And at that second the entire plot of Three downloaded, including the twist, the structure, everything."

A polar opposite of the Spiritual Successor, the Spiritual Antithesis is (intentionally or not) referencing or invoking an earlier work by using similar characters and themes, but going in a completely different direction. Often set at the opposite end of Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. May serve as a Deconstruction, Reconstruction (if the original work was a deconstruction itself) or Stealth Parody of the original work. The trope is also popular and commonly applied in case of titles that came out around the same time and share a lot of similarities but accomplish different outcomes, be them Dueling Works or works in different medium altogether, especially in case of those that run for long enough to have divergent evolution.

It can best be described as the concept of foils applied to works instead of characters. Often seen as a Take That! against the original work (though it may simply be meant as commentary or as a What If? scenario, and is occasionally even made by the same people), and closely related to Satire. May involve Whole-Plot Reference. Sometimes is actually a sequel to the original work, in which it usually serves as an Internal Deconstruction. The Moral Substitute is a related trope, where the work is meant to be the antithesis of what its creators see as moral failings within another work or genre.

Of course, nothing prevents a work from being the Spiritual Antithesis of one work and the Spiritual Successor of another at the same time, which may often result in said work being X Meets Y or This Is Your Premise on Drugs.

Genres that play this role to each other:


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    Films — Animation 
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas can be considered one to How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. Both feature the Villain Protagonist dressing up as Santa Claus before realizing how wrong their actions were. But whereas the Grinch dressed up as Santa in order to steal gifts from the Whos, Jack did it because he wanted to spice up his life and add a new spin to the holiday. The Grinch's malevolent intentions end up not really harming anyone, while Jack's benevolent intentions end up causing mass mayhem.
  • Both Pixar and the Disney Animated Canon have contrasting takes on the Superhero genre: The Incredibles and Big Hero 6: The Incredibles stars a Caucasian, Badass Nuclear Family (and a Token Black Friend) with innate superpowers facing a tech-based villain, his gun-wielding mooks and his robot. Their setting is retro fifties-flavored suburbia, and while they don't deliberately kill the villains, if they die while attacking the heroes no one's upset. Big Hero 6, on the other hand, features a Five-Token Band of friends united by an orphan as science heroes with their powers derived from technology and individual expertise — with a robot among their ranks — while the villain is definitely a solo act equipped with a swarm of Nanomachines. Their setting is neon, skyscrapers and advanced cybernetics, Thou Shalt Not Kill is in play, and high technology is central to all elements of the plot.
  • The Book of Life and Coco are both films set in Mexico about young men, conveniently with names that start with an "M", who aspire to become musicians and travel into the world of the dead. But that's where the similarities ends. The first is about a Love Triangle, the second is about learning the mystery behind a family secret. In the former, Manolo is an aspiring musician who is forbidden to follow his dream because his father wants him to be a bullfighter like his ancestors. In the latter, Miguel is an aspiring musician who is forbidden to follow his dream because his great-great-grandfather supposedly abandoned the family to become a musician (It turns out that while Hector did try a musical career, he decided to return but was murdered before he could do so, and his wife and daughter never found this out), so his shoe-making family banned music from their household so no other Rivera would go through that heartbreak. Manolo willfully allows himself to die by snake poison when he believed the woman he loved died; Miguel steals the guitar of the man he thinks is said ancestor and is cursed by being sent into the Land of the Dead. Manolo gains aid from his ancestors as he seeks to earn his life back from deities when he realizes he was tricked; Miguel avoids his ancestors as he wants to earn the blessing of his musician relative so that he can follow his dream. The primary villain of The Book of Life is Xibalba, a Dark Is Evil deity who interfered with Manolo's life so that the woman Manolo loved would marry another to win a bet, though he gets a Heel–Face Turn. The primary villain in Coco is Ernesto De La Cruz, a Light Is Not Good singer who Miguel believes is his ancestor but is really the man who murdered him to achieve fame and is so obsessed with his fame and ego that he doesn't reform. Manolo proves his musical worth by playing a song to earn forgiveness from the spirits of the bulls his family killed; Miguel does so by playing the real version of "Remember Me" to his great-grandmother Coco, proving her father didn't abandon their family and lifting the ban. While both movies deal with themes of Be Yourself and the importance of family, The Book of Life leans more to the former while Coco leans to the latter.
  • The second story of The House (2022) “Then lost is truth that can't be won” is this to the fifth story of Creepshow "They're Creeping Up on You!" Both are about the main character living in a fancy house while trying to keep it clean for the sake of their work. Both the Developer and Upson Pratt constantly call individuals who grow annoyed at their behavior. Both environments get swarmed by bugs and roaches, from the inside of the walls to the technology installed across the buildings. Even the side characters (The Odd Couple and Mr. White) are symbolically seen as giant bugs. The difference is Mr. Pratt is a rich man living up in a fancy condo, looking down at what he sees as the poor people, while the Developer is a poor rat living in a basement, looking up at the buyers who are his only chance at getting out of his financial problems. And in the end Mr. Pratt dies from his obsession to rid his home of the bugs, while the Developer accepts the vermin and becomes one of them himself.
  • ParaNorman and Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost. Both works belong to the same genre (family/horror/comedy/mystery), share the same setting (Salem-esque, Massachusetts), and subject manner (how a town's witch-related legends and past affects them in the present). However, ParaNorman inverts the order of the films' shared plot points to create significantly contrasting themes. In The Witch's Ghost, the witch is presented as an innocent and unjustly executed Hero with Bad Publicity by her descendant and the twist is that she was evil and her ghost enacts a curse upon the town in the third act. In ParaNorman, the inciting incident is that the curse of an executed witch is coming into effect over a Massachusetts town and the third act twist is that the "witch"'s descendant discovers the "witch" was innocent and unjustly executed, and the curse is her restless ghost lashing out from the trauma of being murdered by her community. ParaNorman can easily read as a brutally honest update on Scooby Doo and the Witch's Ghost, considering ParaNorman focuses heavily on the cruelty that was committed onto its "witch" during the Trials and how society has perpetuated the narrative of the victims being villains to make history more palatable, in direct contrast to The Witch's Ghost, which leans into the narratives behind the executions by not only portraying its witch as truly evil and implicitly justifying her execution but also casting her surviving descendant's attempts to clear her name in the historical record as a villainous plot to trick people. It's likely that the dialogue between the two films is deliberate, because while he never specifically addresses The Witch's Ghost, Scooby Doo is referred to by director Chris Butler as being a "defining influence" on ParaNorman. The two films even have similar (and similarly inverted) book-finding subplots; in The Witch's Ghost, the cast are seeking the witch's allegedly mundane book, which turns out at the end of the second act to be a spellbook that is eventually used against her to return her to the grave. In ParaNorman, Norman begins the second act trying to retrieve a book he believes can help him magically return the witch to her grave, but it turns out to be an ordinary book only significant because of its sentimental value to the "witch."
  • The Road to El Dorado and The Emperor's New Groove. Both are fantasy films about a pair of mismatched buddies on a difficult journey through the jungles of pre-Columbian South America, and both of them feature an emperor's duplicitous court magician as the main antagonist. But The Road to El Dorado is a mostly serious adventure film (though not without its humorous moments) about a pair of lowly con men who end up being worshipped as gods by the Maya, while The Emperor's New Groove is a wacky Looney Tunes-esque comedy (though not without its dramatic moments) about a mighty Inca emperor who's forced to seek help from a lowly peasant after being turned into a llama. note 
  • Meet the Robinsons and Encanto. Both star large families full of quirky characters, only one has a sci-fi theme while the other is more magical. The Robinsons are a clan of quirky inventors and the like who are all eccentric and goofy. But they have no pretenses of being the perfect family. They don't treat inventing as a mandatory obligation to help the community. Quite the contrary, they encourage the concept that it's okay to make mistakes, and they invent because it's what they love to do, the praise they get from the people of the world coming second. Because of this, they are happy and tight knit, even with their various quirks. Meanwhile, you have the Madrigals who come off as magical, mysterious and wondrous. However, under the surface, this seemingly perfect family is strained by the high expectations they've had for years, never allowing themselves to make mistakes or do what they want with their gifts since Alma forces them to put their gifts to use in the town, leading to varying members of the family having resentment for each other.
    • The film that takes place after Encanto, Strange World, also served as a S.A. Both of them star a generation of the main family at each conflict with each other, though it’s different in both cases (for Encanto, it’s the 3rd generation opposing the 1st in terms of magic and the ones at conflict are females. For Strange World, it’s the 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation opposing each other in terms of adventure and the ones at conflict are males.)
  • Cars 3 and Onward are Pixar movies with similar endings, but based on opposite circumstances: Cruz was too scared to try to become a race car, so Lightning is willing to give up the last chance at his career to give her another first chance. Barley was too scared to say goodbye to his father, so Ian willing gives up his first chance to meet him to give him another last chance.
  • The Princess and the Frog and Wish. Both are about wishing in a star (one of the themes at Disney) with a young person-of-color female as the main heroine but are very much different. The Princess And The Frog takes place in 1920s America, the main villain is a lowly witch doctor who dresses in darkness, is mostly romance and the star is treated like an unseeable deity in the sky while Wish takes place in a medieval setting, the main villain is a king who dresses in light, is sort of a serious drama and the star becomes an actual living being.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • The Hebrew Bible has more explicit criticisms of Canaanite Mythology, but there are many more subtle contrasts as well. One example of (most likey intentional) contrast is in Psalm 29 (28) using imagery from the Ba'al Cycle to describe Yahweh. This is also done with the creation account of Genesis having parallels to Mesopotamian Mythology. All of this parallelizing isn't done to "steal" ideas, but instead to convey monotheism in a way ancient people would understand.

    Newspaper Comics 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • As EMLL and CSP developed into two different versions of the World Wrestling Council, WWC became a spiritual antithesis of CMLL. Two out of three falls became the standard in EMLL and pretty much a must in championship matches, while one fall became the default in CSP. Perhaps not by coincidence, CMLL title belts became known for how difficult they were to win, while WWC's belts became known for how difficult they were to hold on to. WWC was also a pioneer in many of the gimmick matches CMLL would become known for shunning, a contrast that became more apparent as CMLL featured less and less bloodshed over the years. In the beginning EMLL was content to be a regional promotion while CSP has always had universal ambitions, but in a bit of irony, CMLL would become the more international of the two while WWC would end up fairly isolated.
  • The difference between the northeastern and southern styles of wrestling can be summed up with the title hunts. NWA and later WCW favored fan-favorites chasing heel champions, WWF/E preferred face champions taking on heel challengers. This was also behind Hulk Hogan leaving the American Wrestling Association, as he liked being a champion more than chasing one.
  • Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling's intent was to be an antithesis to the "Japanese mainstream", namely All Japan Pro Wrestling's "realistic" presentation of the sport and New Japan Pro-Wrestling's "strong style" of wrestling, adopting an "anything goes" approach where the referee existed mostly to declare winners.
  • ECW was this to WCW to the point of bitter rivalry. Though both were offshoots of the NWA, World Championship Wrestling had the support of a major media company and their tradition established as an NWA member to determine their direction of their production (at least until Hogan came along). Extreme Championship Wrestling had a far more contentious break with NWA, had a roster full of castoffs, a small budget and a do-it-yourself attitude that forsook the traditions of pro wrestling to present something far darker. Most notably, both were the antithesis of the then-cartoony World Wrestling Federation, which had to become the antithesis of its past self to compete with WCW and the nWo.
  • Ring of Honor is the spiritual antithesis of CZW, created by RF Video after it couldn't get CZW to agree to a deal. They have employed some of the same wrestlers over the course of their existences, the key differences being in how long and how they use them, ROH not being nearly so relaxed as far as rules and conduct go, and a much stronger focus on the 'wrestling' aspect of the product, as opposed to the "ultra violence".
  • After witnessing the decline and failure of Universal Wrestling Federation, a company based on 'shoot wrestling' and mixed martial arts, in the face of comparatively traditional pro wrestling promotions, Nobuhiko Takada tried again with Fighting Opera HUSTLE, which aimed less for realism and plausibility and more for flash and dramatic overacting.
  • WSU for SHIMMER. Both were the first two major all-women's promotions on the American independent circuit. SHIMMER had a family-friendly product centred more around pure wrestling. WSU was a Darker and Edgier product (the U standing for 'Uncensored') with lots more cursing and brutality. SHIMMER would usually bring in a wider variety of international talent while WSU would focus mainly on American and Canadian talent.
  • Celtic Championship Wrestling and Over The Top Wrestling — the two biggest promotions in Ireland, who both run monthly shows. OTT is an exclusively over-18's show with emphasis on larger than life gimmicks, extreme rules matches and general drunken fun. CCW is family friendly with a lot more focus on wrestling. They do the occasional over-18's show themselves, however.
  • WWE and New Japan Pro-Wrestling, as regards to their world champions. WWE has never been a meritocracy, so the top guy in the promotion tends to be the one who sells the most merchandise. New Japan unapologetically puts their top titles on their best workers.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons was this to the tabletop war-game Chainmail. In Chainmail, each player commanded an army against another player's army. But with Dungeons & Dragons, each player was controlling a single character, and was instead teaming up with other players and their own characters in a series of cooperative dungeon raids. Plus, Chainmail was more geared towards combat and competition, while Dungeons & Dragons was, instead, primarily a storytelling and adventure game.
  • Eberron was consciously created to be this to more traditional D&D worlds by creating a fantasy world without clear lines between good and evil, and with more focus on practical applications for magic...oh, and Orcs saved the world at least once. Needless to say, there's a Fandom Rivalry.
  • Paranoia is this for the more common type of game in which the PCs are generally expected to work together toward common goals, and death being a big deal (even running out of clones is more or less expected).
  • Warhammer 40,000 is this for the idealistic Space Opera genre as a whole, especially Star Trek. Your average Space Opera follows the principle that Humans Are Special and shows them living peacefully with other races and defeating various space evils. In contrast, The Imperium of Man is utterly racist, a behavior learned from their alien neighbors, and its position at the galactic power table was paid for with the blood of millions of humans. Examine the Rogue Traders specifically: Brave and intrepid captains who go out on long missions to find and contact new worlds and new civilizations, with the mandate to exploit the heck out of them, or even wipe the natives off the face of their worlds outright in order to take what's left. Slightly different than the prime directive.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay can be seen as contrast to Dungeons & Dragons, where the players will be run-of-the-mill people trying to survive in bleak fantasy world instead of above-average adventurers out to save the day.
  • Adventure Board Games and Euro Games; the former features, well, adventure scenarios, light role playing, and a greater consideration of production values. The latter are focused more on mechanics, and feature far more mundane tasks like running a farm or a power plant.
  • Clue vs. Kill Dr. Lucky. Clue is about solving a murder with no winesses; KDL is about commiting one.
  • Houses of the Blooded was explicitly designed to be the antithesis of Dungeons & Dragons. Whereas D&D is about adventurers going on epic journeys to slay monsters and obtain wealth with the politics of the nobility being in the background, Houses of the Blooded focuses on the nobility and their backstabbing each other for power.

  • August Wilson's Fences to Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. They're both frequently cited as the definitive American plays about the complications of pursuing The American Dream, but they examine it from completely opposite perspectives. Death of a Salesman is about about a middle-class white family in the New York suburbs, and the protagonist Willy Loman is a frustrated salesman who tries to push his sons to follow in his footsteps. Fences, meanwhile, is about a working-class African-American family in the Philadelphia suburbs, and the protagonist Troy Maxson is a frustrated garbage collector who tries to squash any hopes and dreams his son might have for himself. Willy's treatment of Biff and Happy is presented as the result of painful naiveté, and the story ends with him dying prematurely after being laid off. Troy's treatment of Cory is presented as well-intentioned Tough Love, and the story ends with him dying at a ripe age after managing to improve his station by a tiny margin. Perhaps most notably, one of Willy's defining traits is that he cares way too much about being "well-liked" by others, but doesn't care nearly enough about responsibility or work ethic; one of Troy's defining traits is that he doesn't care at all about whether people like him, and he drives away most of his loved ones in his search for money and respect.
    Willy: (to Biff and Happy) That’s why I thank Almighty God you’re both built like Adonises. Because the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked, and you will never want!
    Troy: (to Cory) I gave you your life! Me and your mama worked that out between us. And liking your black ass wasn't part of the bargain. Don't you try and go through life worrying about if somebody like you or not. You best be making sure they doing right by you.
  • Heathers: The Musical exists in the rare Starship Troopers-esque category of being this trope towards its own source material, the 1988 film Heathers. While both are Black Comedies focused around analyzing teenage angst during high school and taking a look at what creates school shooters, the film is more focused on being a cynical Deconstructive Parody of classic teen comedies from The '80s and is more overt with and focused on its dark humor. Meanwhile, the musical is comparatively more nuanced in how it examines what exactly drives someone into becoming a Spree Killer, and also emphasizes both the importance of human empathy and keeping to one's idealism in a hellish world. It's also likely not a coincidence that both the film and musical are on the exact opposite respect sides of the Nature vs. Nurture argument, which is perhaps best shown in how each work depicts J.D. in wildly differing manners. While the film mocks and revels in J.D.'s Misanthrope Supreme ideals and views him as having always been a pathetic, Ax-Crazy loser and mass-murdering lunatic in the making, the musical sympathizes with him to an extent and portrays him as more of a delusional Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds that became the man he is due to society having "given up" on him.
  • And in turn, Heathers: The Musical received its own antithesis in Dear Evan Hansen. Jenny Nicholson, when discussing the film adaptation of the latter, brought up the former as a counterpoint to it in how both musicals tackled stories about teen suicide, with them even sharing the plot point of forged letters that are used for personal gain, such that she called Heathers "a shadow of Dear Evan Hansen". Heathers is a Black Comedy that gets extremely dark and twisted as a key part of its satire of how the media and pop culture romanticize teen suicide, one in which the "suicide" at the center of the story is actually a murder that had been covered up by the main characters, who are portrayed as near-Villain Protagonists (and, in the case of J.D., ultimately a straightforward villain). Dear Evan Hansen, meanwhile, is a sentimental drama that focuses on the feelings of loss and grief that result from the suicide of a teenager, and which sets out to portray its eponymous protagonist as a flawed yet fundamentally decent person whose well-intentioned lie slowly spins out of control. Also, while Heathers is a late '80s Period Piece told from the perspective of a teenage girl, Dear Evan Hansen is set in the present day and is told from the perspective of a teenage boy.
  • In Ancient Greek theatre, "New Comedy", as popularized by Menander, is the antithesis of the more-recognizable "Old Comedy", by the likes of Aristophanes. While Old Comedies were often political Satires (though not called that yet) with lots of Toilet Humor, supernatural elements and frequent dissing of contemporary figures, New Comedies were more like Slice of Life affairs, comparatively realistic and tame, providing light-hearted, escapist wackiness.
  • Angels in America and RENT are both stage plays about the AIDS epidemic centered around a cast of LGBT characters in New York, and they're widely considered two of the definitive stage plays of the 1990s for their frank portrayal of LGBT issues; interestingly enough, both also feature an "Angel" in the cast. But RENT, despite its weighty themes, is ultimately a fairly simple Slice of Life story about a close-knit group of laid-back bohemians who just want to find love and happiness while pursuing their art and struggling with poverty; the only character who could really be described as a "villain" is Benny, a Jerkass yuppie landlord who just wants the characters to pay their rent. Angels in America, on the other hand, is a sprawling epic that takes multiple shots at the American institutions that failed to prevent the AIDS epidemic, and it famously dips into High Fantasy—with the protagonist ultimately journeying to Heaven to confront God himself. It also features a clear and unambiguous villain in Roy Cohn (a Historical Domain Character), who serves as a deadly serious embodiment of corruption and the abuse of power.

    Theme Parks 
  • As the world's two biggest rivals in the theme park business, Disney and Universal Studios have long framed themselves as contrasting foils of one another. Disney parks have traditionally drawn most of their inspiration from Disney's animated films, and they're famous for their commitment to building immersive experiences that encourage guests to lose themselves in elaborate fantasies; as a whole, the parks often celebrate the innocence of childhood, with "magic" being a frequent buzzword. note  By contrast, Universal Studios parks have traditionally been a gleeful smorgasbord of American pop culture from multiple companies and mediums, and they opt for the look and feel of a movie backlot, often celebrating the illusory nature of pop culture instead of trying to convince the audience to believe it; they're also much less shy about dipping into properties that don't necessarily target kids, with occasional moments of violence and horror to balance out the frivolity.

    Note that this has started to be downplayed in recent years, as the parks have gradually started learning from each other in certain areas. Case in point: Universal Studios now has The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is the sort of painstakingly detailed immersive attraction that Disney is better known for; and with the unveiling of Pandora – The World of Avatar and the upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, Disney Parks have shown a new willingness to embrace properties outside Disney's traditional oeuvre.note 

    Web Comics 
  • DM of the Rings and Darths & Droids, the two codifiers of the Campaign Comic. DM Of The Rings involves a fantasy campaign where the DM is a domineering, Railroading jerkass and the group hate each other more with each passing page. Darths And Droids involves a Sci-Fi campaign where the DM is a laidback Nice Guy who functions well Off the Rails and the group develop into True Companions over time.
  • In-Universe; in one Dork Tower strip, Carson makes a strong argument for The X-Files being the antithesis of Scooby-Doo. Namely, the former features characters who are never convinced that paranormal entities are real, while the latter features characters convinced of the exact opposite — and no matter what evidence they find to the contrary, they remain strong in their beliefs.
  • Lore Olympus and Punderworld. Both are retellings of the Taking of Persephone myth with ample amounts of Adaptational Nice Guy and Politically Correct History. However, Lore Olympus is modern revision of the myth, where the Greek pantheon have a 21st century aesthetic and the story plays it fast and loose with their characterizations. Punderworld is more Truer to the Text, keeping the Olympians' traditional, antiquated aesthetics and keeping the traits of the pantheon relatively closer to their original depictions. The personality of Persephone is also vastly different in both works. In Lore Olympus she starts out as a sheltered Fragile Flower who becomes more independent over time while the Persephone in Punderworld is mature and strong willed from the get go.
  • Tawawa on Monday is this to Kiseki Himura's older KanColle illustration series Ushio the Enchantress. Both dealt with the blue-tinted daily lives of girls with larger-than-life breasts and their problems, but Ushio's D-Cup Distress comes from being a rarity in her world, with all the unwanted attention, body consciousness, and sexual harassment that comes with it. Tawawa on the other hand is full of busty girls, and while they still may have some of the same problems, there are plenty of women around to understand and sympathize; the men in the Tawawaverse are also nowhere near as bad as Ushio's superiors, give or take a few perversions. The contrast is most apparent in the leads of both series — I-chan is a schoolgirl just like Ushio, but her relationship with an older man is presented as healthy, consensual, and mutually satisfying rather than the emotionally scarring abuse of power Ushio's admiral puts her through.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-1048: Builder Bear was created as a response to multiple cute, harmles but still anomalous SCP creatures being allowed to roam the containment site freely, that was started by SCP-999: The Tickle Monster. 1048 effectively fools the foundation into thinking of it as another such case and then uses its freedom to horriffying results.
    • 1048 has ever since received its own antithesis, SCP-2295: The Bear With a Heart of Patchwork. They're both teddy bears with similiar abilities of putting people to sleep, creating functioning objects from materials that should never work and somehow perform an equivalent of a non-invasive surgery on a human being without them noticing for a while. However, 1048 uses these abilities for malicious intent, making copies of itself from human body parts and not only is always active, but clearly much more intelligent than it appears, whereas 2295 seems inactive unless coming in contact with a wounded person, at which point it comes to life and does everything it can to heal that person.
    • SCP-7034: Æ is for Aerials is this for SCP-3008: An Infinite IKEA and SCP-5322: And The Road Streches On
      • Both 3008 and 7034 explore people being trapped in an infinitely streched version of a mundane location - an IKEA store and a traffic jam, respectively. But whereas in 3008 people are capable of grouping together for survival, in 7034 such efforts fail miserably and the prolonged experience makes them adopt an increasingly paranoid "every man for himself" mentality.
      • Both 5322 and 7034 deal with a Foundation agent trapped on an endless road, forced to drive without end. But whereas 5322 deals with calm tranquil of just driving ahead on an empty highway, with people being able to get off and settle whenever they want, 7034 explores the living hell of being trapped in an endless highway traffic with no way out. Wherea's 5322 protagonist is an experienced field agent, laid-back and professional, often going on tangents about what this experience makes him think and manages to build positive relationships with people he meets, 7034's protagonist is an office worker without field experience, who desperatelly tries to come back to his family on Christmas, is bad at dealing with people and fails to form lasting positive relationships, due to fury-inducing nature of the SCP.

    Web Video 

  • The Onion and Clickhole are run by the same creative teams, but their respective styles of humor are so fundamentally different that they may as well call Clickhole "The Anti-Onion". The Onion is a parody of traditional newspaper and television journalism that, like the best satires, uses self-aware humor to force its audience to think about the inherently absurd aspects of society. Even at its goofiest, it's usually making some intellectual point about politics or modern culture. Clickhole, on the other hand, is a parody of new media in The New '10s, and it discards satire in favor of absurdism and Surreal Humor; most of its humor comes from how it deliberately refuses to make a coherent point about anything. The Onion has its share of Anvilicious moments related to hot-button social issues, while Clickhole is infamous for its occasional Crosses the Line Twice moments that treat those same issues in as blasé a manner as possible. Case in point: The Onion attempting to discuss racism, vs. Clickhole attempting to discuss it.
  • Citizendium was created by Larry Sanger, one of the co-founders of Wikipedia, in 2006 as an alternative wiki that corrected what he felt to be that site's problems with allowing poorly-sourced misinformation to flow unchecked. Whereas Wikipedia allows anybody to edit, Sanger's plan for Citizendium was to recruit experts in their respective fields to curate articles and hold final approval over the editing process. For various reasons, including the site's bureaucratic structure and top-down leadership, Sanger's biases as to what should be considered notable or accurate information, and credentialism allowing assorted cranks (most notably alternative medicine promoters, industry flacks, and people who faked their credentials and expertise) to gain control of articles that pertained to their pet hobby-horses, Citizendium never took off despite media hype, and by 2011 it was mostly moribund.

    Multiple media 
  • As the world's biggest name in media, the Walt Disney Company has ammassed a number of industry rivals that, in their own ways, serve as a collorary to Disney's emphasis on childlike innocence and wonder:
    • The first would be Warner Bros., most notably through Looney Tunes & Merry Melodies. Originally transparent imitations of Classic Disney Shorts, Merry Melodies and Looney Tunes underwent Derivative Differentiation and developed a more irreverent, punchy, and contemporary style that more directly satired and drew influence from American pop culture.
      • Kingdom Hearts and Space Jam. Crossovers involving Disney and Warner Bros.' classic animation characters being meshed together with something no one ever expected (Final Fantasy and the NBA respectively), and in different mediums; Space Jam being a feature-length film, and Kingdom Hearts being a video game series. Space Jam also doesn't take itself too seriously, while Kingdom Hearts takes itself way too seriously sometimes to the point of Narm (or Narm Charm). And then came Space Jam: A New Legacy, which involves all of Warner Bros.' franchises, whereas Kingdom Hearts still mostly limits itself to animated features from Disney and Pixar.
    • Disney's most intriguing contrast comes from a studio under their own umbrella: Pixar, as explained by Big Joel. Disney Animated Canon films are usually about someone desiring a better position in life, and ultimately achieving it, whereas Pixar films are often about someone who has an idealized status quo or past ideal jeopardized, and ends up coming to terms with this change. In essence, both studios embody two halves of the saying "Change what you can't accept and accept what you can't change."
    • Then comes DreamWorks Animation, which CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg note , described the studio as appealing to childhood's inner adult rather than adulthood's inner child. As such, DreamWorks is more infamous for utilizing that irreverent, dry-witted, pop culture-laden approach to its movies (with a much larger emphasis on adult humour), even as they dip their toes into darker, in-depth storytelling.
  • An unintentional example on the Sliding Scale of Realistic vs. Fantastic - Genshin Impact can be seen as one to the Pinoy drama Kambal, Karibal if you consider that both works have two sentient twins being separated from each other early on for some reason, one of them later being forced to side with an antagonist somehowspoilers. With everything else in both works' plotlinesnote  taken into account, however, it becomes apparent that while Genshin Impact is set in a universe more on the upper end of Fantastic where the Traveler's sibling is still alive and well in the Abyss as their lost twin ventures the world of Teyvat, Kambal, Karibal is set in more of a real-world settingnote  where Crisanta's twin sister Criselda dies of a rare disease well before adulthoodspoilers.
  • People's Republic of Desire is one to Ralph Breaks the Internet due to the former's much more cynical take on online content creation. While People's Republic of Desire is a documentary and Ralph Breaks The Internet is a fictional story, they both follow characters entering the world of online content creation in order to make money to preserve their way of life. However, where Ralph stumbles into fame and succeeds in his original goal with the help of the platform and bows out when he's done, the streamers in People's Republic of Desire struggle against one another and are ultimately exploited by the platform they use with their attempts to maintain their fame failing as they're replaced by other streamers.
  • The Hex could be seen as the antithesis of Disney's Wreck-It Ralph. Both deal with sentient video game characters that become aware of their situation and travel through other games to escape their dreary lives and try to change their predetermined lives. However, where Ralph is able to accept his condition and find a new purpose in life, The Hex plays this for drama and horror in that, not only it shows how terrible it would be to live in a world full of glitches, or where modders change everything on a whim, or where everything has already been programmed from the start, but it also goes on to show that the developers, gamers, corporations, even we the players are all ultimately pawns in someone else's game.
  • Assassin's Creed III on the surface shares the same time period and plot as The Patriot (2000) with both works focusing on a protagonist who fights for the cause of independence during The American Revolution after a loved one was killed in a raid by British forces not to mention specific connections to the French and Indian War, the presence of George Washington and even a French officer that serves alongside the American Patriots. The two works however are polar opposites in terms of characters, setting, themes, morality and historical accuracy:
    • The main character of ACIII is Ratonhnhaké:ton otherwise known as Connor Kenway, a half-English/half-Mohawk Native American warrior who shapes the course of history by working with the Founding Fathers and other important figures of the Revolution such as playing an active role in the Boston Massacre or participating in the Battle of Lexington and Concord. The viewpoint character in The Patriot is Captain Benjamin Martin, a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant officer turned farmer who becomes an expert in guerilla warfare while fighting with a local militia in the Battles of Cowpens and Yorktown.
    • ACIII has a Warts and All depiction of the American Revolutionary War by showcasing both the good and bad aspects of the Patriots and Loyalists with a dash of Deliberate Values Dissonance thrown in since the protagonist is from a native tribe something that is otherwise rare to see in contemporary media set around this period whereas The Patriot is a glorification of the revolutionary cause that contains tons of Historical Hero and Historical Villain Upgrades for the Americans and especially the British complete with some Politically Correct History for the depiction of slavery. This also applies to the English antagonists of both works: Haytham Kenway is the Archnemesis Dad of Connor and a Well-Intentioned Extremist Anti-Villain with a sympathetic backstory of losing his loved ones and inner manipulation by a Templar while Colonel William Tavington is an Ax-Crazy Card-Carrying Villain who firmly crosses the Moral Event Horizon throughout the story from killing Benjamin's son to burning down an entire church full of people. Haytham's second-in-command Charles Lee on the other hand has a much closer resemblance to Tavington in terms of personality and his overall role in the raid on the hero's home. Overall, the former is very much a case of Gray-and-Grey Morality while the latter is full-on Black-and-White Morality.
    • While it isn't afraid to take some Artistic License for specific aspects of the conflict, ACIII tries to stay as accurate as possible to what happened in real life whereas The Patriot has a heavy dose of Anachronism Stew and deviation from the historical record which results in the film creating a Theme Park Version of the American Revolution.
    • Even the settings are quite different. The events of ACIII occur in the North specifically the states of New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania while The Patriot is firmly set in South Carolina and Virginia which are part of the South.
    • ACIII and its DLC The Tyranny of King Washington feature an array of Historical Domain Characters from big names such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson to highly obscure ones like Charles Lee and Benjamin Church. Outside of Charles Cornwallis and Washington himself, most of the characters in The Patriot are No Historical Figures Were Harmed versions of real life people.
  • Land of the Lustrous: Western (especially, American) readers consider it to be one to Steven Universe. Aside from the Eastern/Western cultural differences, the two went in vastly different directions; whereas the Crystal Gems live on a modern Earth teeming with humans and their presence playing an integral role in the plot, the Gems of Lustrous live on a Earth devoid of humans in the distant future, with their interactions with each other and the Lunarians being the main focus and were in fact evolved from humans. On a more physical level, while both are sexless, the Steven Universe Gems are Hard Light projections of their gemstones that use female pronouns, while the Land of the Lustrous Gems are composed of the minerals themselves and, in the original Japanese, default to male pronouns. "Shattering" a gem in the former will essentially kill them completely, while in the latter they can be repaired with other minerals and strengthened so long as enough pieces are found. Their closest equivalent to "shattering", however, is being ground into moon dust. Unlike Steven Universe, two given gems can't fuse; their memories might, but depending on the will of the gem their personality will swing toward the gem whose parts were augmented into them rather than take on a new personality.
  • Star Trek and Star Wars, the two great icons of late 20th century American Science Fiction. Both are about dashing heroes exploring the galaxy in a futuristic world of routine space travel, numerous alien species, interstellar empires, and technobabble, they both more or less fall on the idealistic end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism (though this may vary with some of the later installments and spinoffs), and even their names are very similar. However, their respective creators, Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas, imbued them each with a very different ethos.
    • The Star Trek universe is shown pretty definitively to be our own galaxy a few centuries into the future, with humanity leading The Federation from Earth and many storylines being sci-fi versions of real-world current events and social issues ranging from the Civil Rights Movement to the Cold War. Moreover, Roddenberry's vision of the future of humanity was a utopian one. Poverty, racism, and sexism are things of the past, the Prime Directive codifies non-interventionism into their foreign policy and dealings with non-spacefaring species, and while neither Roddenberry nor later writers stated definitively what the "New World Economy" of the United Federation of Planets actually was, it is strongly implied to be some measure of democratic socialist and post-scarcity. As such, Star Trek has lent itself frequently to left-wing readings over the years, such as with this video by Leon Thomas of Renegade Cut describing it as "the 'leftist' future" (albeit, as Thomas notes, a very militarized one).
    • Star Wars, on the other hand, looks back instead of forwards, being a Genre Throwback to early 20th century Space Opera. It's implied that the Star Wars universe is not our own, the series taking place as it does "A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...", and Lucas, in crafting this world, drew heavily from ancient mythology and Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces, one of the seminal texts on comparative mythology. It's a world of heroes and villains with supernatural powers that come through birthright and are derived less from science than they are from New Age-inflected '70s pop mysticism, most of the main characters prefer to wield a sci-fi version of swords ("an Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age") rather than guns, and the story of the original trilogy, about overthrowing a tyrannical wizard-king and restoring the noble order that the villains overturned, would be right at home in a fantasy novel. As a result, David Brin famously accused Star Wars of having an elitist, reactionary political and cultural stance, even engaging in a series of debates with Matthew Woodring Stover (who took the opposite view) that were collected in the book Star Wars on Trial. What's more, its great real-world cultural reference point is not a contemporary one, but a historical one in World War II and specifically the movies that had mythologized it in popular culture, from the use of Old-School Dogfighting in the space battles to the Galactic Empire's resemblance to the Nazis. (That said, Lucas later stated that he also drew from more modern inspirations, basing the Rebel Alliance off the Viet Cong and the Empire, by extension, off the '70s-era United States due to his opposition to The Vietnam War, a metaphor that he made explicit in the prequel trilogy.) In short, it is the Romanticism to Star Trek's Enlightenment.
  • It (2017) and Stranger Things. Both are horror stories set in The '80s and featuring casts composed predominantly of children that draw heavily on the audience's nostalgia for that time period and its pop culture, particularly the works of Stephen King (It is an adaptation of one of his novels) and kids' adventure films like The Goonies, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and The Monster Squad. Both works even have Finn Wolfhard. However, while Stranger Things leans fully into nostalgia, with many of the more unpalatable elements of the time either removed from the picture or given to the bad guys, It is more deconstructionist in its approach, combining the classic pop iconography of the '80s with the bullying, bigotry, and fear of crime that also permeated the culture.
    • Another one to Stranger Things can be found in Paper Girls, which, despite having similiar aesthetics, is deeply critical of the very concept of nostalgia itself, multiple times doing things bout to make people question this line of thinking. Also, while Stranger Things is Sci-Fi Horror with a lot of fantastical elements, a majority male cast, and a great deal of nostalgia for pop culture propeties, Paper Girls is a firmly a hard science-fiction story with all four main characters being female. It also doesn't shy of portraying things like homophobia, bullying, broken homes, underage smoking, and other negative aspects of 80's zeitgeist that Stranger Things tends to gloss over.
  • Aside from often parodying plot elements from the books, The Owl House is also built like an opposite of Harry Potter books.
    • Both stories feature the protagonist entering a world where everyone is using magic and learning to master it themselves. But Harry is a Famed In-Story Chosen One who is welcomed with open arms into a Magic School due to being born with magic powers and inherited immense wealth from his dead parents. Luz on the other hand has no innate magical ability and needs to learn an entirely new way to do magic, her desire to be a chosen one serves only to get her into trouble, she is initially accepted only by utter outcasts of society and needs to earn the acceptance of others, including her place at magic school.
    • Harry was raised by an abusive human family he has to come back on summer breaks and despite the books never excusing Dursley's behavior and Harry clearly tolerating them at best, they are still treated by the narrative as his true family with an outright magical bond of blood which protects him from Big Bad when he stays at their house. Camila and Luz clearly love each other and Camila is portrayed as a good parent who has her daughter's best interest at heart, but makes mistakes like any human would. Luz is also supposed to return home after summer break ends as well at least until she has to destroy her way home to stop it from falling into the hands of the Big Bad. Despite that, the show still presents a narrative theme that a found family that loves you is better than a biological family that hurts you.
    • The Wizarding World society is presented as overall good and any injustices, power abuses or manipulations of public opinions come from individuals who are either incompetent, acting in self-serving interest or outright evil, with main antagonists being a group of wizard supremacists seen as dangerous societal outcasts and terrorists even after they take over in the final book - upon their defeat the system returns back to normal. Boiling Isles slowly reveals itself as a Crapsaccharine World with "dog-eat-dog" mindset dominated by an extremely strict Coven System that benefits The Emperor at the top of it and his inner circle and have forcefully surpassed and destroyed the old traditions and then brainwash new generations with propaganda about how it was a good thing.
    • While they're both an Academy of Adventure, Hogwarts is presented as a place run by people who care for their students, and headmaster Dumbledore is seen as a Reasonable Authority Figure and Big Good of the series, while Hexside seems to exist first and foremost to reinforce the Coven System, with teachers who clearly don't care for the safety of their students beyond warding off attacks from outside forces and principal Bump varies from being a Bunny-Ears Lawyer to Ambiguously Evil, with rare moments of reason.
    • The first person of this world Harry meets is Hagrid, a Hogwarts dropout who was barred from using magic but is still a firm supporter of the status quo despite his expulsion from the school being a result of a frame-up and chief cheerleader of the setting's Big Good, whom eventually helps him reintegrate into the system. The first person Luz meets on Boiling Isles is Eda the Owl Lady, a Hexside dropout who is a rebel and wanted criminal for refusing to adhere to the Coven System the Big Bad wants her to join even before she learns it was a motivator behind events that ruined her life and forced her to drop out of school and by refusing to join it manages to be considered one of Isles most powerful witches. Hagrid quickly becomes a side character compared to other mentor figures in Harry's life, while Eda becomes the mentor and mother figure to Luz and the secondary protagonist of the whole series.
    • Among the first other kids Harry meets are Hermione, a Child Prodigy who is the best student of her age but faces opposition due to having human parents and Draco, a smug child of a rich and powerful wizard family, who becomes Harry's rival. The first other kids Luz meets are Willow - a young witch who is bullied and called a half-witch due to struggling with magic only to be revealed to have great magical skill but being misclassified by the system - and Amity, an Academic Alpha Bitch from a rich and powerful family, who initially starts as Luz' rival only to be with time revealed that the way she acts comes from cracking under immense pressure put on her by her parents and slowly developing a friendship with Luz. Moreover, despite the fanbase being very vocal about wanting a possibility of Harry/Draco romance, the books never consider this an option, while Luz and Amity go on to be the show's Official Couple.
    • Eda and her sister Lilith both contrast Severus Snape in different ways. Just like Snape, Eda's main tool of trade is potion-making but clearly possess skills beyond that. But while Snape is enjoying an overall acceptance among the society, despite being a horribly abusive teacher to his students and Harry in particular, any attempts to mend fences between them ultimately failing, and has been Easily Forgiven for being part of the abovementioned terrorists in the past, Eda is a wanted criminal simply because she refuses to adhere to Coven System and is good, if unorthodox, mentor to Luz as well as her Parental Substitute. Lilith meanwhile shares being a middle-aged Goth working within a powerful institution in the setting. But where Snape works for the Big Good, Lilith works for the Big Bad. Moreover: they both got this position by betrayal, but where Snape betrayed the Big Bad for killing a woman he loves yet never accepts his role in leading to that death, Lilith betrayed her own sister, cursing her to ensure she can get into Emperor's Coven and in the end learned she needs to take responsibility for her actions. They both deflect again, with Snape pulling a fake betrayal to work as The Mole and only finding redemption after being killed, while Lilith turning away from the Emperor upon realizing he won't cure Eda and having to live and earn forgiveness for what she has done. The books try to excuse Snape's actions with a sad backstory, while Lilith's backstory doesn't make excuses for her actions but shows they were motivated by shortsightedness and stupidity, rather than pure malice.
    • The Hogwarts Houses vs the Coven System. Hogwarts Houses are chosen for students, while Hexside kids can pick a Coven of their choice. While Houses aren't perfect as they breed rivalries, they aren't as oppressive as covens; Coven membership is mandatory and failure to join a coven is a high order criminal offense. When a witch joins a coven all of their magic is sealed off except the magic of their chosen coven. On the other hand, kids from different coven tracks get along well, unlike when Gryffindor and Slytherin kids mix. You can also only be in one house at Hogwarts; Luz eventually bucks the system and joins multiple coven tracks. The Coven system is also eventually abolished altogether by the end of the series, while Houses remained in place despite their obvious flaws.
  • It's pretty obvious Toy Story 4 and Child's Play (2019) count, especially considering they were released on the same day. The former is a G-rated animated movie about Living Toys while the latter is an R-rated movie about Living Toys. They were even both owned by kids named Andy! The Child's Play (2019) posters clearly play off of this, as it shows Chucky offscreen killing the Toy Story toys.
  • Sausage Party, like VeggieTales, is an animated story that uses Anthropomorphic Food to deliver a message about religion. However, while VeggieTales is a G-rated Christian animated series that retells Biblical stories and parables and is intended to teach children proper morals, Sausage Party is an atheistic film in which the protagonists discover that religion is a lie to cover up the fact that their "gods" are actually Eldritch Abominations who plan to eat them, and is an R-rated Animated Shock Comedy intended strictly for adults.
  • Padak can be seen as one towards Finding Nemo, as both of them contrast in tone and narrative themes: While Finding Nemo starts out in the ocean, Padak starts out in an Korean fish market. While the ocean is seen as a mysterious place of adventure in Finding Nemo, in Padak, the horrors of the aquarium-based aspects of it are more displayed in view. And even when both share similarities, the main difference is that Nemo gets all the fish in Dr. P. Sherman's tank to escape via uniting them together, in Padak the hierarchy of the animal kingdom is in full display, and neither of them unite at the end and only one manages to escape, and it isn't the titular character, who gets sliced up into sushi, it's her only friend (besides Spotty), the Master who is ultimately convinced to leave the aquarium after seeing Padak's fate.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse could be seen as one for Clone High, especially since the latter's creators, Phil Lord & Chris Miller, served as producers, and a co-writer in Lord's case, of the former. Clone High is a story of teenagers who are expected to carry the legacy of famous historical figures they are clones of, while also juggling all other expectations set for a typical American teenager. They tend to misunderstand what made their predecessors great (Cleo, JFK), get overwhelmed by fear of ending like them (Abe), or rebel, deciding they'll never fit these shoes (Joan, Gandhi). In Spider-Verse Miles faces a lot of the same issues, getting powers like Spider-Man right as the hero dies. But he ends up overcoming them and deciding he both can and wants to step up in the place of his predecessor.
  • Alice (1988) is this to Alice in Wonderland: Despite adapting the same book and being relatively faithful to the source material, their overall tone could not be any more different. While Disney's version is adventurous, colorful and lighthearted, Savnkmajer's movie is dark and ominous, being closer to a horror film rather than a whimsical fairy tale for kids. And while Disney's version is a musical, Savnkmajer's version displays a complete lack of background music for chilling effect.
  • The Good Place starts off as one to No Exit. Both stories center around a group of people with incompatible personalities who die and go to Hell, where they slowly realize that having to spend time with each other is part of the torture. In No Exit, the people involved are thoroughly unsympathetic and irredeemable, and having to spend time together turns out to really be just as torturous as it's supposed to be. It's implied that this is the standard way all people in Hell get tortured and that it works very effectively. In The Good Place, on the other hand, Michael's plan is shown to be inherently unstable because he failed to realize that the humans involved, while deeply flawed, were not fundamentally evil. Rather than simply being eternally tortured, all of the humans in the experiment find that being forced to be with such different people provides them with new opportunities to reflect on the flaws in their own way of life and work to better themselves.
  • At first glance, Godzilla and Astro Boy don't have much in common outside of being two of the most iconic and prolific characters to come from Japan, until one realizes that both are powered by nuclear energy, and were created not too long after the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Godzilla (or more accurately, Gojira) is a horrific reptilian monster inadvertently born from nuclear fallout, his rampage being a metaphor for the devastation of the bombings and the folly of mankind's hubris. Astro Boy, however, is a heroic, friendly Robot Kid built with an atomic power cell who embodies that even the most dangerous things can be used for good if used wisely. (Although some of Astro's stories certainly did not shy away from the dangers it possessed.) Another way the two mirror each other is their relationship with American media. For Astro Boy, it played a role in his creation, via the influx of American media post-World War II, particularly that of Disney, being some of Osamu Tezuka's greatest inspirations. For Godzilla, it played a role in his evolution, with the American cut distancing Godzilla from the Nuclear Weapons Taboo of his inception and laying the groundwork for the Big G to grow into an Anti-Hero and, ironically enough, an ambassador of Japanese tourism.
  • In its early years, The Simpsons was this to virtually all of the Dom Coms that had proliferated on American television since The '50s, such as Leave It to Beaver, The Brady Bunch, The Waltons, and The Cosby Show, offering a far more satirical take on the idealized nuclear family with (for the time) a lot of blue humor and outlandish behavior from the main characters. Many Moral Guardians, including US President George H. W. Bush, saw its subversion and parody of sitcom tropes as undermining family values, to which the writers of The Simpsons responded by carrying on a Friendly Rivalry with Bush and frequently making jokes about him throughout The '90s, culminating in an episode where Bush briefly moves to Springfield post-presidency.
  • HBO's 2019 Watchmen miniseries (a sequel to the original book) is an interesting example of a work that's effectively an antithesis to its own predecessor. The book and the miniseries are both adult-targeted character dramas that attempt to present a realistic view of life in an alternate version of America where superheroes are real—but while the book does this in the name of deconstructing superhero stories, the miniseries is closer to a reconstruction, suggesting that superheroes could be a positive force for social change if they really existed. To elaborate:
    • The book takes place in a grim alternate version of the 1980s where conservative values hold sway over American society, while the miniseries takes place in a far more positive (although not perfect) alternate version of the 2010s where progressive values are more predominant—leading to social changes like stricter regulations on the police's use of firearms, reparations for victims of racial violence, and a major law enforcement crackdown on a resurgent white supremacist movement.
    • The book famously ends with Adrian Veidt getting away with zero repercussions after murdering millions of innocent people, due to the other characters choosing not to reveal his crimes to the world. By contrast, the miniseries ends with the same character getting his long-overdue comeuppance after Laurie realizes that she was wrong to stay quiet about his crimes in the first place.
    • The book touches on the idea that fate is preordained, and it's impossible for anyone to affect their destiny. The miniseries somewhat challenges this idea, suggesting that people really are responsible for their own destiny.
    • The book and the miniseries both end with rather specific allusions to The Book of Revelation—but the book ends with a truly horrifying allusion to the Beast of Revelation (in the form of Ozymandias' creature), while the miniseries ends with a much more uplifting allusion to the Second Coming of Christ (in the form of Angela possibly inheriting the powers of the deceased Doctor Manhattan).
    • One of the most famous Arc Symbols in the book is a yellow smiley face spattered with blood, which is usually interpreted as a symbol of violence and ugliness intruding on the facade of a seemingly perfect world. The miniseries opts to use eggs as its recurring symbol, often using them as a hopeful symbol of rebirth and new beginnings.
    • Thematically, the book draws an implicit parallel between costumed vigilantes and racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan, who also acted outside the law and concealed their identities with masks. The miniseries' portrayal of them is closer to modern-day Antifa groups, with the story suggesting that extralegal vigilantism can be a positive tool for marginalized people who've been failed by the justice system. This is perhaps best exemplified by the revelation that the superhero "Hooded Justice" (who was rumored to be a racist Nazi sympathizer in the book) was actually an African American police officer who adopted his costumed alter ego to hunt down white supremacists who his colleagues refused to go after.
  • The video game Alice: Madness Returns is this to the film Sucker Punch, the two having come out around the same time and share several plot similarities. But Sucker Punch concerns itself with a spectacle so much it loses any chance to say anything meaningful and becomes outright exploitative, while Alice is more focused and never crosses that threshold. Many of the same problems are present in both, but in Alice they're much less apparent.
  • Beastars is often considered the antithesis to Zootopia. While Beastars has a similar premise to Zootopia (a World of Funny Animals where there's tension between predators and prey animals, and how the characters deal with it), thematically they are very different. In Zootopia, all the different species are truly civilized and an outbreak of predators going savage turns out to be a conspiracy causing predators to develop those urges via a Psycho Serum. In Beastars, different species really do have different urges, with predators having to either learn to control their predatory urges or otherwise indulge in them on the down low meaning every prey character in the city actually does have to fear for its life. In Zootopia, Nick has to prove that, as a fox, he is actually trustworthy and not a shifty, untrustworthy fox that society expects him to be. In Beastars, Legosi has to prove to himself and the world that he is more than his predator urges.
  • Inside Out could be considered this to Poison Berry in My Brain. Aside from the Western/Eastern cultural differences, whereas the outside protagonist for Inside Out is an 11-year-old girl in elementary school, the outside protagonist for Poison Berry is a freelance 30-year-old woman. The way the insides of their heads work may be similar, but are still remarkably different; while the controllers in Riley's zany-landscape head are made out of surreal shapes to represent well-known emotions, the board members in Ichiko's more sophisticated castle-landscape head are humans of different ages to represent the more psychological aspects of human outlooks and actions. Both Riley and Ichiko lose their senses of positivity near the end, but regain them through different manners: Riley aborts her running away mission and returns home to her genuinely loving and caring family, whereas Ichiko breaks up with and abandons the jealous Saotome in order to maintain her self-love.
  • WALL•E has been described as a Lighter and Softer Spiritual Adaptation of Mike Judge's film Idiocracy, both being comedies depicting futures in which consumerism and low-brow culture run amok have left humanity breathtakingly stupid and unable to manage things for themselves — complete with Earth being covered in the Trash of the Titans. A critical difference, however, is in the roads they take to get there, and where their societies ultimately ended up. Idiocracy's dystopia came about as the result of the stupid (coded as contemporary Lower Class Louts) outbreeding the smart (producing what some have criticized as a classist, or even eugenicist, subtext), causing society to decay to the point where, by the year 2505, the world is facing famine due to the decision to irrigate crops with electrolyte-filled energy drinks purely on the basis of marketing hype. WALL•E, on the other hand, has maintained an advanced, high-tech society — and in fact, this is precisely what destroyed them. By delegating all responsibility to the robots, humanity became a race of lazy, overweight, infantilized slobs who can't do anything for themselves and need their robotic assistants to cater to their every whim. In short, while the dystopia in Idiocracy is portrayed as the Logical Extreme of lower-class "trailer park" culture run amok, that of WALL•E is portrayed as the logical extreme of middle-class consumerism run amok.
  • The LEGO Movie and Ready Player One (2018). Both are The Hero's Journey narratives about the power of imagination, both feature a Framing Device involving a young everyman playing make-believe in an imaginary world, and both are notable for their huge volume of cameos from licensed pop culture characters. But Ready Player One is a celebration of 21st century new media (the internet and video games, in particular), it plays its central Quest narrative more-or-less straight, and its framing device is an epic science-fiction tale involving sinister megacorporations in a dystopian future. Conversely, The LEGO Movie celebrates more old-fashioned forms of entertainment, it's an affectionate send-up of quest stories where The Hero turns out to be just as ordinary as he appears, and its framing device turns out to be a simple family drama about a little boy with an overworked father.
  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is an antithesis to one of its inspirations, Adam Adamant Lives!. Both are suave superspies who were frozen for several decades before going back to action. But, Adam Adamant is a Gentleman Adventurer from the Edwardian era, who's a Fish out of Water among the liberated '60s swingers, despite being adored by his free-love enthusiast sidekick. Austin Powers is a Tuxedo and Martini-style '60s spy who is thawed out in The '90s, when the excesses of the '60s were replaced by a more conservative lifestyle, while his sidekick's not an average Bond Girl but a feminist who considers him a pathetic and unattractive has-been. This aspect was abandoned in the sequels, where Austin is again considered the ultimate stud, making it a closer parody of the former show.
  • The concept of Brian K. Vaughan's Saga is Star Wars told from the point of view of civilians trying to avoid the war rather than heroes or villains fighting in it.
  • Decades of Darkness, a story featured on, can read as this to two separate Alternate History works.
    • The first is S. M. Stirling's The Draka series, which was intentional on the writer's part. He found the series, which revolves around an evil South African slaver empire that takes over the world, to be wildly implausible from an allohistorical standpoint, so he wrote Decades of Darkness as basically "the Draka, but done right." Knowing that such an empire would eventually confront the juggernaut that is the United States, a massive land and sea power that's incredibly difficult to invade and which was built on the values of a liberal revolution, he engineered a scenario where it was the United States itself that became the Evil Empire as the liberal ideals it was founded on were subverted early in its history and replaced with a defense of aristocracy, slavery, and White supremacy.
    • The second is the mockumentary C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America, which probably wasn't intentional. Both CSA and DoD depict worlds in which the values of the Deep South's planter aristocrats took over the United States, the nation subjugating Latin America under an apartheid-like system while keeping Black people enslaved well into the 20th century, all while a less-powerful nation in the northern half of North America (Canada in CSA, an alliance of Canada and New England in DoD) fiercely opposes everything it stands for. The difference is in tone. CSA plays fast and loose with plausibility and is largely Played for Laughs as a Black Comedy satire of American race relations, the film's Confederacy ultimately portrayed as not that different from our world's America. Decades of Darkness, meanwhile, strives for plausibility, and is very much not played for laughs — by the end, its oppressive, dystopian society is so unrecognizable from our world's United States that readers have taken to calling it "the *US" with a conspicuous asterisk.
  • The Boys (2019) and Invincible (2021) are two adult superhero shows on Prime Video with an emphasis on graphic violence, Bloody Hilarious Black Comedy, and a Corrupted Character Copy of Superman as one of the main villains.
  • The Emperor of Nihon-Ja, 10th book of Ranger's Apprentice series, is an antithesis to The Last Samurai. Like in the film, we have an emperor of (Expy) Japan pushing for reforms, creating a modern army, and being opposed by Rebel Samuraj, while a foreign advisor is stuck in the middle. But here the Emperor is portrayed as fully in the right, the rebels as completely evil, and the new peasant army is a very formidable force — precisely because they are used to work together. And the foreign advisor, rather than switching sides, stays with the Emperor and aids him.
  • Donkey Hodie and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood are two spinoffs of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, but go about their plots and themes differently. Daniel Tiger takes place in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, is animated, slow-paced, and less conflict-driven. It uses music to convey its messages with short jingles being played throughout the episodes. Donkey Hodie takes place in Someplace Else, utilizes puppetry, and is more silly and comedic. This is meant to emphasize Fred Rogers' quirky side. While Donkey does feature songs, they're only played once in each episode. note  It also features more conflict, sitcom-esque plots, and is generally targeted for a slightly older audience than Daniel.
  • Bob Chipman described Free Guy as the "anti-Ready Player One" in its take on tech utopianism and gamer culture. Both are comedic Action-Adventure stories set largely in Wide-Open Sandbox virtual worlds powered by video game tropes and logic that are central to the main characters' lives, but whereas Ready Player One (especially in the original novel) idealized the OASIS and made it look like a realm of pure imagination where anything was possible, its creator James Halliday portrayed as a visionary for crafting it, Free Guy made its setting, the online multiplayer game Free City, look like a degenerate parody of the worst excesses of modern online gaming, its creators portrayed as a bunch of greedy techbros who serve as the film's villains.
  • The Simpsons was this to Married... with Children in terms of being the young Fox network's "anti-Cosby Show". Married... was a surprisingly cartoony live action show while The Simpsons is a realistic and grounded animated series. Al had an unpopular son and a Too Dumb to Live daughter, while Homer has a popular son and an overachiever daughter. Al's Sitcom Arch-Nemesis neighbor was a aggressive liberal woman, Homer's is a kind conservative man. Al worked in a dead-end retail job, Homer has an industry job even though he has been fired dozens of times and has also done episode-specific jobs. Al resented his wife, Homer adores his.
  • The creator of Squid Game would list Liar Game as one of its inspirations, though the two would turn out to be vastly different. Both are about the titular games in which players compete in often very childlike games with a large sum of money going to the winner and very serious consequences for the losers. The game is setup so that players are given the option to leave but their financial situations regularly force them to return despite knowing the risks. Where they differ is clear as early as the first episode. Liar Game is idealistic, though it shows the dangers of being too idealistic at the wrong time, contestants are drafted into the game with the consequences being absurdly large debt, the game is set up to allow players to save others using the funds they've won and winning often requires knowledge of game theory. Squid Game is highly cynical, contestants start in debt and are punished with death should they lose, working with other players never seems to go well and winning often requires knowledge of human behavior.
  • Grady Hendrix's novel My Best Friend's Exorcism is this to Jennifer's Body. Both are Horror Comedy stories about a teenage girl whose Demonic Possession manifests in her becoming an Alpha Bitch, and whose best friend, with whom she has a Pseudo-Romantic Friendship and a ton of Homoerotic Subtext, is the only one who can save the day. In Jennifer's Body, however, the Jennifer who Needy knew is dead after she was sacrificed to Satan, she was already an Alpha Bitch and extremely domineering over Needy even before she was possessed and merely became even worse after, she brutally kills multiple people over the course of the film, and the film ends with Needy killing Jennifer to stop her rampage after their friendship is well and truly destroyed. In My Best Friend's Exorcism, meanwhile, Gretchen was a fairly normal girl before her possession, she is still alive and thus can still be saved, and the film ends with Abby saving Gretchen and exorcising the demon by turning to The Power of Friendship, the epilogue revealing that they remained friends for decades after. Also, while Jennifer's Body is set squarely in the late '00s time period in which it was made, My Best Friend's Exorcism is a straightforward '80s Period Piece.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Doug, as the main protagonist of both series write in a journal to log current events in their lives. Both series are told from their point of view, along with many eccentric side characters. In addition, both series take place in the present day in which they were originally written (Doug in the 1990s, Diary of a Wimpy Kid in the mid to late 2000s.) However, while Doug Funnie has a more idealistic view on his life experiences, especially school, Greg Heffley is more cynical. Also, Doug is overly concerned with some events going wrong, but nothing entirely bad happens to him. Conversely, Greg wants his life to be like what he wants, only for life to bite him in the butt at the worst possible moments.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew is this to Parasite Eve, both centering around genetically empowered heroines who fight mutated animals. However, the former is much more cutesy and lighthearted, involving a team of five Magical Girls, and defeated Chimera Animae revert back to their original forms. The latter is straight-up horror centering around a lone police officer, and Neo Mitochondria Creatures have no means of returning to normal, requiring lethal force to neutralize.
  • The title of Joy Ride (2023) is a pun on Amy Tan's novel The Joy Luck Club, driven home further by its tagline of "Four friends. One trip. No luck."note  However, while both stories are about mother/daughter relationships and have as their protagonists four Chinese-American women who are close friends, The Joy Luck Club is a drama centered around elderly immigrant women trading stories about their upbringings in China and what life was like when they came to America, while Joy Ride is a ribald comedy centered around young women raised in America who are visiting China so that one of them can find her birth mother.
  • The Flash (2023) ended up being one to Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse that premiered soon before it. Both are superhero movies using The Multiverse as an excuse for a lot of fanservice in form of cameos and nods to rich history of superhero media, but have few fundamental differences.
    • Across is fundamentally a story of Miles, a young superhero, rejecting the idea that suffering and tragedy makes you a better hero and that sometimes you should just let bad things happen because they have to. In The Flash these are the very lessons Barry has to learn and his idea to fix problems at their source instead of dealing with the aftermath is seen as childish and not understanding complexity of the world.
    • In Across Miguel O'Hara is potrayed as a more experienced, serious and violent Anti-Hero who appears to serve as a Reasonable Authority Figure, but is revealed to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist with particular dislike of the protagonist, putting in negative light his philosophy that some tragedies have to happen to make Spider-Men better heroes. In The Flash Batman is a more experienced, serious and violent Anti-Hero, who is potrayed as a stern father figure to Barry and ultimatelly turns out to be right about how tragedies make heroes who they are and trying to remove them could break everything.
    • Across ends on Miles discovering a world where there was never a Spider-Man, his father is dead and he himself is both far more serious and mature and a supervillain the Prowler.. In the Flash main chunk of the story deals with Barry creating a world where his mother is alive but he was never the Flash and instead is an immature frat boy.
    • ATSV features variants of Spider-Man from across decades worth of comics and other adaptations including an early look at Marvel's Spider-Man 2 played by Miles' roommate Ganke and Donald Glover as the Prowler, while The Flash primarily focuses on the DCEU character variants; with the exceptions of Michael Keaton as Batman and Sasha Calle as Supergirl and George Clooney as Bruce in the denouement, with other past DC character variants in the final Chronobowl sequence.
  • Tiger & Bunny is one to The Boys and its 2019 Amazon Prime Video TV series adaptation - while both are set in worlds where superheroics have become heavily corporatized, and superheroes are expected to be full Slave to PR, in The Boys, every superhuman who hasn't defected to the titular group has nothing but private contempt for the public that holds them up, and that world's Superman Expy, Homelander, has barely repressed Ax-Crazy urges; whereas in Tiger & Bunny, the vast majority of superheroes are still well-intentioned even when they're extensions of a corporate entity, and heroic idealism and love for heroes aren't treated as disingenuous or willfully ignorant qualities.
  • The video game Red Dead Redemption 2 and tv drama Yellowstone, despite both being gritty Westerns, are the complete opposite thematically. While Undying Loyalty is one of Yellowstone's main themes, Red Dead Redemption 2 deconstructs how holding loyalty above all else is ultimately a toxic way to live, while the former plays it completely straight. As well, both the Duttons and Van der Linde Gang have cult-like aspects, but while the Duttons are played as anti-heroes for trying to defend their traditional way of life, the Van der Linde Gang crosses into villainy because of their refusal to change with the times, and constantly causing mayhem.

  • Part of the reason why the Afro is considered a culturally significant hairstyle is that it was conceived as an antithesis to the conk, which had previously been the most popular hairstyle among black men in the US from the 1920s through the '50s. Where the conk involved artificially straightening naturally "kinky" hair with corrosive chemicals (implicitly in an effort to adopt a more "white" hairstyle), the Afro grew directly out of the Black Power movement in the 1960s as a backlash, and it involved emphasizing the natural curl and volume of black people's hair. Even the Afro's name alludes to this: it's an abbreviation of "Afro-American", the label that many people involved in the Black Power movement adopted for themselves, wanting to express pride in their African roots.
  • The pinball designers Steve Ritchie and Pat Lawlor take opposite approaches to the machines they've designed. Most of Ritchie's tables are designed for the ball to travel quickly with little stopping or deceleration and are focused on ramps and loops. Lawlor's tables, on the other hand, have comparatively few ramps and are downplayed in favor of scoops, targets, magnets, and other mechanisms that stop the ball. Together, this means Ritchie's tables are focused around speed and action (not that they can't be slowed down either, but that's done deliberately by the player), whereas Lawlor's tables are about trapping the ball on a flipper and then taking careful aim. To pinball fans, whether a table is "flow" or "stop-and-go" is Serious Business and has long been easy Flame Bait material. In a sense, Steve Ritchie is also the antithesis to his brother Mark Ritchie in theme: Steve prefers high-concept themes where you fight an adversary, but all of Mark's tables have mundane themes about everyday life.
  • The Prairie School of architecture, most associated with Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan, was created as a backlash against the Greco-Roman neoclassicism prevalent in American architecture in the 19th century. Originating in the Midwest, especially Chicago after the city's 1893 World's Fair (which held a preponderance of neoclassical architecture), the Prairie School focused on open plans, horizontal lines, and minimal ornamentation, meant to evoke the feel of the open plains as a uniquely American, modern, and organic alternative to European styles that tended towards the grandiose and larger-than-life.
  • Many nostalgia cycles, at least as presented by popular culture, occur as backlashes against both their immediate predecessors and the time in which they emerge, often trying to craft a narrative of the decade as the antithesis of both (and oftentimes as an example of what society should be like) while ignoring things that would make the decade similar to what they're reacting to.