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The Rival

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Ash and Gary clashing like red and blue.

"How very fitting that Yugi is competing in the first duel of my tournament. It's only a matter of time before he and I face off against each other again. After all, he's my arch rival. The Sherlock Holmes to my Moriarty. The Kaneda to my Tetsuo. The Speed Racer to my Racer X. I could go on, but I won't."

The grim, volatile foe of the protagonist, who, through a series of inexplicable events up to and including attempted murder, gains grudging respect for said hero (and may even save them) going from intolerable ass to tolerable ass. Frequently a Foil for the hero, who's ultimately a Mirror Character. Often they show what the hero could have become if fate was just a little bit different.

If fate is unkind, they might turn evil. On the other hand, the rival might develop a genuine friendship with the hero and perform a Heel–Face Turn somewhere down the line. If they're ever forced to team up with the hero over a common threat, expect much awesomeness to ensue.

They may begin the series with a leg up on The Hero, which is often the catalyst for the hero's character development as their desire to best the rival inspires them to improve themselves. This may in turn inspire the rival to do the same once they finally meet someone who gives them a challenge — or worse, subjects them to an Embarrassing Rescue after surpassing them.

Even if they never perform a full Heel–Face Turn, they may develop into an Aloof Ally who is primarily concerned with being stronger than the hero, and since they see themselves as The Only One Allowed to Defeat You this means they will oppose other antagonists' attempts to kill the hero. Occasionally, a regular villain might go through a similar process and become a Friendly Enemy.

In the event that the rivalry is one sided they are the Unknown Rival.

Compare with the Arch-Enemy and Sitcom Arch-Nemesis, which may or may not overlap. The Lancer, is similar in personality but on the same side as The Hero, the rival may turn into The Lancer and vice versa through character development. Could be one of the Opposed Mentors. See also Fandom Rivalry. For a specific type of rival common to Shōnen series, see the Stock Shōnen Rival.

Contrast with Friendly Rivalry. For generation-gap rivals, see Intergenerational Rivalry.

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    Comic Strips 
  • Clay and Candide in Safe Havens are competitive with each other since right before birth-in fact, who could be born first was their first competition. (Candide claims victory, Clay maintains she only won cause she was four inches shorter than him.) As they've gotten older the rivalry has drifted into more friendly territory, and Clay is implied to have a crush on Candide. They would later capitalize on this rivalry by co-hosting a science show.

    Fan Works 
  • Advice and Trust: Since they met Asuka always regarded Shinji as her rival, a challenge to beat, the one who could best her. After getting together their rivalry becomes more friendly, but she still encourages him to push himself so that she keeps feeling challenged and driven to improve her piloting and fighting skills.
  • Blackened Skies gives Kaede two rivals: Celeste and Korekiyo. Of the pair, Celeste is far more overt in challenging Kaede's attempts to unite the students under her banner and collectively stand against Monokuma, treating her as a naïve, Wide-Eyed Idealist who also refuses to acknowledge her hypocrisies. Korekiyo, meanwhile, was involved in the same mutual killing game as Kaede, and is thus more aware of her complexities and contradictions than Celeste is, undermining her efforts in relatively more subtle ways.
  • crawlersout: Even though they haven't interacted in decades, Gellert Grindelwald still views his former best friend Albus Dumbledore as a rival, to such an extent that thought of Dumbledore beating him in anything angers him. It's decidedly a one-sided rivalry though, as after the death of his sister Dumbledore wanted absolutely nothing to do with Grindelwald. Then there's the fact that prior to that event, Dumbledore was madly in love with him.
  • Evangelion 303:
    • Shinji to Asuka. Several characters comment on it.
    • Later Mari becomes Asuka's rival. Word of God states that Asuka needs a rival because she is fiercely competitive.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Germany and Japan were each other's rivals over Italy. Their jealousy towards each other escalated to the point they got caught in a Cock Fight. Until Italy asked them both out.
  • HERZ: During the Angel War Asuka regarded Shinji like hers. She really wanted to beat him. In this story she thinks of Kurumi like a rival: she was a pretty woman who was after her husband, had deflowered him and whom Shinji owed his life. Asuka felt threatened by her, but Kurumi was a challenge and she did not run from challenges.
  • In Kara of Rokyn, the titular character and Jasmine to each other during the former's wrestling career. Jasmine wants to prove she's stronger and pay Kara back for her rejection. Kara wants to beat Jasmine so she can get on with her life and try a new job.
  • Sakura and Ino in Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox, naturally; they're rivals in everything from academics to school sports to street fighting to Sasuke.
  • The Night Unfurls: Kyril, being The Spock, gains a McCoy-esque rival in both versions of the story. He and his rival compete with each other at least once.
    • The original version has Claudia of the Dawn Templars, to Kyril Sutherland. The two fight each other via Trial by Combat due to the former wanting to punish the latter for leaving an Artifact of Doom in her liege lady's halls, which ended with Kyril winning. Furthermore, Claudia strongly disapproves of his tendency for brutality and leaving no prisoners, a grievance that only festers as Kyril uses gradually unscrupulous means to win the war against the Black Dogs. Whenever both people are present, they often come into blows due to differing ideologies. It is worth noting that Kyril is known as the "Bloody Left Hand of the Goddess", in contrast to Claudia being Celestine's second-in-command and Right Hand.
    • The remastered version seems to be setting up Alicia Arcturus as Kyril's primary rival, as the two interact a lot more in this version. A brooding, sinister foreigner who is indifferent to status and reputation, his behaviour earns the ire of the Hot-Blooded Knight of Iris, who sees it as an insult to her honour as a knight. Much to her dismay, she can only tolerate his demeanour because he can cut down orcs with ease, as well as him being the potential agent in Celestine's visions that could end the Forever War that has plagued the country for centuries. Later events, where he gains her cousin Prim's respect, kills Vault after the Assault of the Black Fortress, and is supported by The Rat only intensified her distrust towards him. Then comes Kyril's Trial by Combat, an event Alicia views as an opportunity to settle accounts, and she loses the match. She doesn't take her loss well.
  • In Once More with Feeling Asuka regards Shinji as her rival because he's the higher synch rate and has performed brilliantly in all of his engagements with the enemy.
  • Oni Ga Shiku Series: Izuku forces this trope on Katsuki. He is dying for a challenge and to alleviate his boredom, so he takes to try pissing off Katsuki so he picks a fight with him every chance he gets, for a year. When Katsuki finally asks him what's wrong with him, Izuku starts a speech about how he much he wants a consistent challenge and he picked Katsuki to be that and he'll take personal responsibility to make Katsuki a Worthy Opponent. Katsuki is horrified at the insanity, but he starts training in secret to surpass Izuku anyway; though his reason is that he gsts Flashback Nightmares of how Izuku was choking him during the above speech, and he doesn't want a repeat performance.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: From the get-go, this is inevitable. Interestingly, even though Ash is still traveling through Kanto, the story has given more focus to his rivalry with Paul, who is introduced earlier than in canon, while Gary Oak is acting more as a rival to Red, losing to him in every encounter they've had.
  • The Ponies of Olympus series:
    • Ran Biao to Rarity, out of jealousy of being Always Second Best. Though it turns out to be more complicated than that.
    • According to Atlas Strongest Tournament, Luna's bodyguard Argent Javelin has one in Tom the boulder. No, seriously.
    • Scootaloo invokes this in Somebody to Love, drafting Spike into the role for her training with Rainbow Dash.
  • In the Tamers Forever Series, after Takato takes a level in badass, Rika becomes determined to prove herself the better Tamer no matter the cost.
  • In Wonderful (Mazinja), Squealer and Bakuda are the chief Tinkers of their respective gangs. Squealer regards Bakuda as her rival, and built one of her tanks to fight her, specifically.
  • In the X-Men: Evolution fanfic XXY:Evolution, where most of the characters are genderbend, Emmett Frost (male Emma Frost) becomes this to John Grey (male Jean Grey), due to both being powerful telepaths and Emmett having an interest in Selena Summers (female Cyclops).

  • King Brian to Darby in Darby O'Gill and the Little People.
  • Doctor... Series:
    • Captain Beamish is to Captain Hogg in Doctor at Sea, to the point where Captain Hogg throws a ship's dance just to prove how much better the SS Lotus is to his ship.
    • Dr. Bingham is to Dr. Sparrow in Doctor at Large, with the two competing over the job of Senior House Surgeon.
    • Dr. Hinxman is to Dr. Hare in Doctor in Love, ordering him to be confined to complete bedrest so he can have Sally all to himself.
    • Basil is to Dr. Burke in Doctor in Trouble, who resents him for all of his fame and success.
  • Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow to each other in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
  • In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones has Rene Belloq, the French archaeologist who leads the Nazi expedition to find the Ark. The film evokes (and expanded universe materials confirm) a long-running enmity due to Belloq stealing Indy's archaeological finds. Reflecting this unscrupulous nature, the artifacts in Belloq's hands tend to be sold to whoever pays instead of ending up in a museum as Indy would prefer. The two of them do have a few things in common, though - an obsession with the knowledge and treasures of the past, an attraction to Marion Ravenwood, and, curiously, a shared contempt for the Nazis (Belloq is happy to take their money, but still considers them thugs and cretins).
  • Beginning in the Roger Moore years, James Bond and MI6 develop a friendly form of this relationship with the KGB in general and its director General Gogol in particular. The two sides are rarely actual enemies. They often work together to stop greater threats, having a shared interest in preventing spoilers on either side of the Iron Curtain (be it Western mad capitalists like Stromberg and Drax, or Soviet rogue generals like Orlov or Koskov) from overturning the world order for their own purposes. On the other hand, the two sides still compete for information and seek to gain advantage over each other, with one movie revolving around Gogol's attempts to obtain a lost device that would give the possessor access to Britain's nuclear submarine fleet. It's best summarized by KGB star agent Anya Amasova, who observes that she and Bond are "in the same business, but with rival companies."
  • In Kingsman: The Secret Service, Charlie serves as one to Eggsy during their time training to be the next Lancelot.
  • In Jurassic World, Vic Hoskins is this to Owen Grady, at least in his own mind. As the raptors' primary caretaker and imprinted alpha, Owen is the only person they won't kill on sight and has a great deal of say in what happens to them. He also respects that they're animals and have feelings, personalities, and control over their own actions. Hoskins, on the other hand, desperately wants to use the raptors as weapons of war and sees Owen as nothing more than an irritatingly soft-hearted obstacle that's keeping him from making this dream a reality.
  • Randall Boggs from Monsters, Inc. is not only the rival to James P. "Sulley" Sullivan, but is also The Dragon as well.
  • Orson Krennic and Wilhuff Tarkin are this in Rogue One at first, but this firmly escalates into Eviler than Thou territory when Tarkin fires the Death Star Superlaser onto Scarif, simply for the purpose of killing Krennic, and in the process also kills thousands of imperial personnel and destroying a small chunk of the planet.
  • Aubrey James should be this to Stroker Ace, but Stroker cares so little that Aubrey might as well be rival to a brick wall. It avoids Unknown Rival status since Stroker will occasionally acknowledge this thing with Aubrey and take potshots at him when he can remember at least Aubrey's number (remembering Aubrey's name is out of the question).
  • Iceman for Maverick in Top Gun, who doesn't like Maverick's habit of abandoning his wingmen. Ice wins the Top Gun trophy, but Mav eventually earns his respect in the Final Battle when he at last learns to never abandon his wingman thereby saving Iceman's ass.
  • Highway to Hell has a villainous example with Royce and his gang, who are rivals to Hellcop and agree to both turn over Rachel and let Charlie go in exchange for a favor from both parties.

  • Oberon and Theseus are this to each other in the Alterien series.
  • Angela Nicely:
    • Angela and Tiffany are often competing with each other and bothering each other.
    • Mrs. Nicely and Mrs. Nettles often butt heads when trying to win the gardening competition, as revealed in “Blooming Gardens!”.
  • Devlyn and Set are definitely rivals in the Astral Dawn series, even though they work with each other for common goals.
  • Cokie from The Baby-Sitters Club. Also, one book featured the girls facing off against a rival babysitting club.
  • In Aaron Allston's Galatea in 2-D, Kevin's attitude toward Roger and Donna.
  • In Girls Kingdom, Misaki's friend Kirara has a very one-sided rivalry with fellow student Sara. She works hard to surpass Sara as a maid and hates how critical Sara is of her work. Sara, for her part, doesn't really see her as a rival, but as a fellow maid-in-training, who happens to be in need of a lot more training.
  • Harry Potter: Draco Malfoy is this to Harry, going out of his way to antagonize him at least once per book (excluding the last one).
  • Hoshi and the Red City Circuit has Martin Ho, who worked with Hoshi as a codebreaker before she was granted autonomy. Hoshi was younger but was promoted past him thanks to her work ethic. Martin kept trying to spread malicious rumors and set up mistakes so Hoshi would get in trouble. Hoshi knew about it, thanks to a glitch in her navis that allows her to spy through sensorcams undetected, and was able to parry his increasingly unsubtle attempts. Finally Hoshi was granted autonomy, quit codebreaking, and became a private detective, and Martin got her post, but he still holds a lot of resentment for her.
  • Gabriel Lightwood presumably to Will Herondale in The Infernal Devices. They gradually learn to respect each other in The Clockwork Princess. Will doesn't have much of a choice, as his younger sister ends up marrying Gabriel.
  • Sandokan: Baronet William Rosenthal is this for Sandokan in The Pirates of Mompracem, kicking his ass in battle even before being introduced (it helped that his cruiser outgunned Sandokan's two prahos by a fair margin, but he had to fight it smart to avoid a boarding until it would be useless) and trying to seduce Marianna.
  • In Robert E. Howard's The Scarlet Citadel, Conan the Barbarian rescues Pelias, rival to Evil Sorcerer Tsotha-lanti.
  • In Space Marine Battles novels Fall of Damnos and Veil of Darkness, Captains Sicarius and Agemann are described as such. Both are renowed and accomplished captains and equal candidates for the next Chapter Master, but their understanding of the Big Book of War differ greatly (for Sicarius, it's tips and guidelines, but for Agemann, it's the Bible).
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Shadows of the Empire (and a few other books) give Darth Vader a rival in Prince Xizor, the most powerful corporate and criminal overlord in the galaxy (they're described as the Empire's number two and number three, respectively). On Vader's side, the rivalry is mostly professional - he sees Xizor as a political threat because of his too-great influence on the Emperor, and despises the man's preference for gaining power through political maneuvering and intrigue rather than open combat. Unknown to Vader, It's Personal to Xizor, whose entire family was wiped out as collateral damage in one of Vader's operations.
    • The X-Wing Series has quite a few. Bror Jace, Rogue Squadron pilot and scion of a major family in the Bacta Cartel, is actually a fairly minor character but is still a rival to two of the more important ones. Corran Horn, the main character, is a professional rival as the only member of the squadron whose piloting skills rival his own; Erisi Dlarit, another pilot, is a family rival who hails from the other major family in the Bacta Cartel. (The first rivalry is mostly good natured and fades with time; the second turns deadly when Erisi, who's actually an Imperial spy, nearly manages to have him killed). Erisi, meanwhile, finds a romantic rival in Mirax Terrik, a smuggler and frequent Rogue Squadron ally, who shares her attraction to Corran Horn and ultimately wins out (though it's not clear if Erisi's attraction was genuine or simply part of her schemes as an Imperial spy).
    • The Wraith Squadron trilogy, in the same series, gives us a much harsher rivalry between Han Solo, the commander of the New Republic task force the Wraiths are assigned to, and Warlord Zsinj, the target they're trying to capture. Appropriately, the two men are something of a mirror image to each other: Han is an outlaw who finally abandoned his life of crime to fight for the Rebel Alliance/New Republic, while Zsinj began as an Imperial officer but deserted as soon as the Emperor died and owes much of his power to the criminal empire he's carved out in the galactic underworld.
    • Probably the greatest rivalry in the series, however, is the one between Wedge Antilles and Baron Soontir Fel. It's both a professional rivalry (the two of them being the greatest pilots of the Rebel Alliance and the Empire, respectively), and personal (in that Wedge's sister, Syal, is also Fel's wife). Partly because of Syal, Fel's loyalties are complicated enough that the two men have gone back and forth from being opponents to comrades-in-arms several times over a couple of decades (continuing beyond the X-wing series itself).
    • The Thrawn Trilogy introduces Borsk Fey'lya, a Sleazy Politician on the New Republic's council who's the main political rival to Admiral Ackbar (even trying to unseat him as commander-in-chief of the armed forces). By the time of the New Jedi Order series, this rivalry has mostly been transferred to Leia, whom Fey'lya replaces as chief of state. He's never completely irredeemable, however, and the franchise does include a few examples of him setting aside his differences with both Ackbar and Leia to achieve an objective that they agree is in the New Republic's best interests.
    • Tenel Ka, one of the lead characters in Young Jedi Knights, has a rival in Tamith Kai for the first story arc in the series. Both of them are Dathomiri warriors, but the former is studying at Luke's academy to become a Jedi while the latter is an instructor at the dark side Shadow Academy. It's very much not a rivalry of equals, however, as Tamith Kai tends to come out the worst for wear from their encounters (culminating in Tenel Ka destroying her assault platform, and her along with it, in Jedi Under Siege).
    • The same series also features a much more short-lived rivalry between Zekk and Vilas, the two best students at the Shadow Academy. This being a school of the dark side, their rivalry is ultimately resolved in a Duel to the Death in a zero-G arena, which Zekk wins. It's also a rivalry-by-proxy between the instructors, as Zekk was the star student of the academy's headmaster, Brakiss, while Vilas was the star student of Vonnda Ra, one of the other senior instructors.
    • Amusingly averted in most of the media surrounding Boba Fett. A dizzying number of bounty hunters loathe him, believe themselves to be his rival, and think they can take his place as the galaxy's greatest bounty hunter by killing or defeating him. None of them are anywhere close to his level, however, and he himself views them as annoyances rather than actual threats (either to his job or his life).
  • In military science fiction Victoria, Leader von Braun's neo-Nazi state sort of becomes this to the Confederation. They are obviously enemies, but engage in a struggle more reminiscent of the Cold War than an open military conflict, and while the Nazi ideology is evil, the protagonists come to respect at least some of the individual enemy leaders, even as they resent and fear their state's Germanic Efficiency and growing strength.
  • In the Back Story of James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 Deus Encarmine, Rafen and Sachiel were rivals. Lends an edge to their clashes, and their Foil status.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • Sammael turned to the dark side because he was jealous of his rival (the former incarnation of the protagonist).
    • Demandred has essentially the same motivation, but much, much stronger- he was born (birth name Barid Bel Medar) one day after Lews Therin Telamon (aforementioned prior incarnation) and his life followed that pattern from there on, with him being second to Lews Therin in almost every way, including skill with magic, political success, good looks, and even height. They even both courted the same woman, but she preferred Lews Therin. Then the War of Power broke out, and Barid Bel found out he was better than Lews Therin at one thing- war. Unfortunately, the powers that be made Lews Therin their top general anyway, and that final straw snapped Barid Bel's mind completely so that he became obsessed with killing Lews Therin and joined the Shadow to better accomplish it, changing his name to Demandred in the process and quickly becoming its most feared general note . In the last book of the series, Rand (who now has memories of his life as Lews Therin back) reflects on how he encouraged this rivalry and expresses regret that he drove Demandred to madness and evil when he could have been one of the greatest heroes of the age — had he not been born at the same time as Lews Therin.
  • Iseult to her mother's other student in The Witchlands. The other girl is a perfect Truthwitch and Iseult can't catch up, causing her to dislike the student a lot more than she admits she should.

  • In Faeries' Landing, Miranda (Medea) hates Fanta and frequently tries to one-up her, but Fanta really doesn't care much. Also, Yuri sees Fanta as a rival for Ryang's affections.
  • Yeong In from Hot Blooded Woman.
  • Ah-ra towards Ma-ri for Jae-min's affections in Orange Marmalade.
  • Tower of God: Nobic sees himself as a rival of Khun's half-brother Ran, who in turn sees him as nuisance.
  • For Lotto, Aradon in Yureka.

  • In Full Throttle, the player's rival is the reigning World Champion, Francisco "The Scorpion" Valentino.

  • Each episode of The Magnus Archives takes the form of a character's statement to the Magnus Institute, a paranormal research organisation, usually read by Jonathan the archivist. The episode "Skintight" has Jonathan record a statement directly from its subject, the producer of an online Paranormal Investigation show, but it takes the two of them a while to get started as they scathingly argue about their respective organisations' methods and credibility.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • During the territorial era of USA pro wrestling, it was very common for a promoter to invite two long time enemies in another territory to act as a tag team in his own. While less common in later years, the practice never quite went away, WCW openly admitting that Air Paris and Air Styles were fierce adversaries before it put them together. Not only will the two know each other well, and thus have one step to cohesiveness down already, but it makes your territory seem really important when two enemies put aside their differences to find success in it. The partners tend to go right back to feuding upon return to their original area too (such as the Style and Paris in NWA Wildside).
  • This was not exclusive to the USA either. While Los Hermanos Shadow (Black Shadow and Blue Demon) were most famous for feuding with El Santo, they eventually performed heel face turns and teamed up with him, Black Shadow actually being on his team during the debut of Santo's other famed arch enemies, Los Misioneros de la Muerte.
  • Sinn Bodhi stated that he considered Techno Destructo to be his Arch-Enemy when asked to team with him in Vendetta Pro Wrestling, but agreed to do it anyway. This was just one example in a series that was openly acknowledged. Despite it's name, Vendetta Pro commonly turns long time enemies into tag teams.
  • Team Hell No. The only reason Daniel Bryan and Kane even ended up as a tag team is because their mutual former love interest, then-General Manager of RAW A.J. Lee, decided to send them to anger management together in spite of the fact they had been feuding for the last couple of months. It eventually culminated in them winning the tag team titles, and using their matches to one-up each other whenever given the chance.

  • A light-hearted comedy example can be found in the long-running "feud" between comedians Jack Benny and Fred Allen. The two would frequently appear on each others shows to harass one another and trade barbs, leading to a moment when Jack Benny, who had taken an assumed name to appear on Allen's new game show, finds out his "big prize" is to have his pants pressed — right then and there.
    Jack Benny: You haven't seen the end of me, Allen!
    Fred Allen: It won't be long now!
    • A little history to how it came about — in 1936, Allen had a child prodigy violinist on his program. Knowing that part of Benny's schtick was playing the violin "horribly", he made some good-natured ribs about Benny's playing. Benny and his writers decided to take up the gauntlet, and the two carried on the "feud" for the next few weeks, having a ball trading barbs back and forth, finally culminating with the two squaring off on the same stage. When they found that the public loved it and may even have thought that this was a real celebrity catfight going on live every week rather than an Overly Long Gag, they decided to make it a continuous part of both the characters. The "feud" didn't end until Allen's sudden death in 1954, after which Benny gave a very heartfelt eulogy for his friend.

  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, player character Hyeon has two rivals: Benedict, who clashes with him due to how fundamentally different they are (Hyeon being a rock-and-roll delinquent while Benedict is a haughty rich boy), and Jae, whom he dislikes for her smoking habits and her flimsy attempts at rebellion against her parents.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ars Magica: Believing that conflict is necessary for growth, the magi of House Tytalus have an institution of "Beloved Rivals", a lifelong commitment for two people to challenge and undermine each other at every turn. Though it can sometimes cause death, it stems from a genuine desire to bring out the best in each other, and a magus might well turn against a third-party enemy of their Rival. A relatively common choice of Beloved Rival is a magus' own former Master, given that House Tytalus also believes in Training from Hell.
  • This is an alternate title for Leonardo de Montreal, Nightmares' Angel, in Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine, to be used when he's focused more on his enmity with Chuubo than on his mad science.
  • Being a love letter to mecha anime, Beam Saber (a Forged in the Dark game) allows each player character to have a Rival, a recurring enemy NPC controlled by the Game Master who operates on special rules that bend the story around them whenever they appear and make them a particularly challenging opponent to defeat, let alone defeat permanently. The rulebook encourages Rivals to be portrayed as morally complex foils to the player character who don’t necessarily need to be killed to be removed as a threat, up to pulling a Heel–Face Turn if that seems narratively appropriate.
  • Warhammer 40,000: A big part of why the Horus Heresy happened was down to feuds between the primarchs. Most famously, Perturabo of the Iron Warriors, who despised Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists. Both legions were siege specialists, but the latter got the privilege of being asked to design the Emperor's Palace while Perturabo and his legion were pigeon-holed into digging trenches and garrisoning planets, with no glory and no thanks. When Horus turned traitor, Perturabo followed him, and took great delight in destroying what their rivals built.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:


    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney‘s prosecutors play this role to the defense attorneys:
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, we have Miles Edgeworth, who was a childhood friend of Phoenix, but is now his rival. He eventually becomes Phoenix's friend again — while remaining his rival in court. Phoenix himself says that one of his primary motivations for becoming a lawyer was so he could face Edgeworth in court.
    • Franziska von Karma steps up to the bench for the second game. She violently wants to defeat Phoenix because she wants to succeed where Edgeworth failed.
      • She also shares this position with Shi-Long Lang in Ace Attorney Investigations, specifically in the flashback case four, where she's a thirteen-year-old obsessed with beating Edgeworth in everything. Edgeworth mostly ignores it.
    • And for the third game we have Godot who really hates Phoenix's guts and won't explain why. He blames Phoenix for Mia's death.
    • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney we have Klavier Gavin, the brother of Apollo's ex-mentor. He is way more helpful than the other rivals though.
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies has Simon Blackquill, a rival to Athena Cykes, and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice has Nahyuta Sahdmadhi, another rival to Apollo.
    • The Great Ace Attorney duology has the so-called 'Grim Reaper of the Old Bailey,' Barok van Zieks, to Ryunosuke; so named because every defendant he prosecutes dies, even if they are acquitted.
  • Yanagi and Hiroki have this relationship in Canvas 2 after reconciling.
  • All three of the main visual novels of the Danganronpa series has one of these as part of the main Power Trio. Each of them are very useful in the investigations and trials, but have conflicting viewpoints with the rest of the cast, especially with their respective protagonists, and fill a similar role to Ace Attorney‘s prosecutors.
  • Battler has two through the course of Umineko: When They Cry. On the first four arcs his rival is most likely Beatrice; while Battler tries to prove that all the murders happened by human methods, Beatrice opposes him stating that all were made with Magic, and they fight for a last time at the Hidden Tea Party of the fourth episode, with Battler victorious over a resigning Beatrice who already got tired of the game. On the Chiru arcs his rival turns out to be Furudo Erika, a piece placed by Bernkastel to serve as the detective, effectively hijacking Battler's role. Both clash numerous times and their conflict finally ends in the famous chained closed room deathmatch.

  • Being a fighting Sprite Comic rivalries show up in Akuma's Comics. The longest running rivalry is between Kari and Akuma, with the former being determined to prove she's his better.
  • In Avania, the Black Lanners squadron's junior pilots Isla Moorsley and Una Pennrose have a rivalry when it comes to who is the better flyer, who can become an ace first, who is faster in a foot race, and pretty much anything else they can find to compete over.
  • Captain Gamer's nemesis (Czar Gamer) regularly swings from friendly rival to bitter enemy and back again.
  • Sixx and Butterfly, and to an extent Ginger and Laura in Collar 6.
  • Crystal Heart: Warrior princess/ Syn agent Muna has an archnemesis in the form of Contessa, and the rivalry is shared by both sides. Both went through training together, graduated at the same time, are currently team leaders of trios of Syn agents respectively. From having the tidiest room, to completing important missions as fast as possible, they absolutely want to on-up the other one. In the beginning, Contessa is presented as much more amoral and underhanded than Muna in reaching these goals, but she mellows out a bit when her motivation for her rivaling Muna is explored.
  • DICE: The Cube That Changes Everything:
    • Dongtae doesn't like Taebin out of jealousy for taking Eunju, and still doesn't like him becuase he's not being honest with her about being a Dicer. Dongtae's main motivation is to improve himself and overcome him, who knows a lot more about the Dice than anyone else. However, when it comes to the problem of Dice's spread, they are willing to work together, though Taebin doesn't take Dongtae seriously for being newbie.
    • After Eunju becomes a Dicer and Taebin slowly loses himself to Mooyoung, she becomes Dongtae's consistent problem. They agree on many things and don't fight each other, but it becomes a race of Dongtae trying to convince A-Rankers to join his side before Eunju takes them out.
  • Lance has a rival in Gold Coin Comics named Blake, who has traits from Seifer in FFVIII.
  • In Rascals, Jazmin and Reiko have a sisterly rivalry with their ninja skills.
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • Lord Horribus considered himself to be Torg's rival, though Torg didn't take this too seriously for much of the series. After Horribus killed Alt-Zoe, Torg still denied him the chance for a final showdown.
    • Bun-Bun also has a Rival in the form of Santa Claus, who tries to kill him each Christmas. An odd version of the trope, since Bun-Bun is a sociopath, and Santa is generally portrayed as a decent (if slightly obsessed) guy just trying to see that justice is done.
  • Langstrom for Schtein in String Theory (2009).
  • Dante in Uber Quest seems to have it in for Sesame, in her first appearance she steals a kill and loot drop from Sesame.

    Web Original 
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd and The Nostalgia Critic had a rivalry, that finally got resolved in the Channel Awesome video TGWTG Year One Brawl.
  • Dreamscape:
    • Vampire Lord and Izane become rivals later on. This is what gets them pumped for their match in 'An Unofficial Tournament'.
    • Soya and Vladmare. Their equal footing in combat skill, despite using very different tactics, is what makes them practically celebrities.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Alex and Seth, who even call one another 'rival' as a nickname. They are always making a competition of almost anything.
  • Mahu: From "Crownless Eagle" to "Second Chance", the Commonwealth and the British Empire slowly become bitter rivals.
  • Pokemon Pals: Just as in the series it is parodying, Gary Oak is the rival to Ash. Made worse when he starts dating Misty.
  • Team Four Star: Played around with in their Dragon Ball Xenoverse and Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 streams. While Xeno 1 clearly is trying to portray Mira as this to the player character, they headcanon that their character Dumplin just doesn't really regard him as one. In Xeno 2, while Mira is still portrayed as a rival to the player character, and it actually works much better, particularly since Mira and the player character Puddin are headcanoned as siblings, Puddin still regards both Future Trunks and Goku as more her rivals, Trunks for making her job as a Time Patroller harder, and Goku for his need to Kill Steal.
  • They Made Me Watch This and The FanFiction Critic are rivals in that when one sends on a crappy work to look at, the other retaliates in kind.
  • Discussed Trope in The Vergil Effect — How to Make a Good Rival, by The Digital Dream Club. The host discusses what makes a good rival character in videogames, with his preference for Vergil from Devil May Cry being obvious examples, but he offer his positive thoughts on Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Bayonetta and No More Heroes.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Rival


Aunt Dirt's Rival

Aunt Dirt is tagging along to New Fork is because she wants to get revenge on her former friend Hilda, who stole her story about finding a basketball in the woods in perfect condition and she keeps copying Dirt as a way to always one up her.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheRival

Media sources: