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Versus Character Splash

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A visual trope that usually only appears on a single panel or frame before an actual fight starts. It will features characters on two or more sides in static positions that can easily be reused for future splashes. They will be profile shots, usually of the upper body but sometimes showing the entire body instead.

Somewhere on this splash will be the word "vs." or "versus." Sometimes "and" will be used to indicate team-ups. While these are secondary to the actual image, the presence of these small words is still a hallmark of the trope. Sometimes, a voice will announce the confrontation as well, and if so, expect the announcer to be a Large Ham.

While serviceable and almost unnoticeable on its own (except on computers where elaborate splash screens may aggravate already lengthy stage loading times), this trope makes for great parody fodder and self-one-upsmanship in that viewers are trained to expect awesome fight scenes whenever they see one. Thus, overusing this trope can easily crank up the viewer's excitement in a short period of time.

A stock Battle Intro. Compare Juxtaposed Halves Shot (where half of two characters sides/faces are juxtaposed to or beside each other), Mirrored Confrontation Shot (a similar but conflict-exclusive trope), and Super Move Portrait Attack.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Used liberally in Eyeshield 21, most often during football matches, though they appear in other places for epic effect, most notably an early story that begins with with Sena AND Shin VS motorcycles. The motorcycles lose.
  • Played for Laughs in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War anime, where this is used for an arm wrestling tournament of all things.
  • Lucky Star borrows the one from Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike for a Sudden Videogame Moment in which Konata defeats Guile with a Hurricane Kick.
  • The teaser trailer for Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack does this for Amuro and Char just before the title reveal, actually predating Trope Codifier Street Fighter II by a few years.
  • My Hero Academia: This is displayed promptly during the training exercises between Class 1-A and Class 1-B.
  • One Piece: Parodied during the ''Longring Longland arc" (aka the Davy Back Fight arc) during the Combat portion. Just before Luffy and Foxy take the ring, the Foxy Pirate manage to use some cloud dials to darken the sky for a bit and send out some projections of Luffy and Foxy's bounty poster into the sky side by side to help hype up the event.
  • Pokémon: The Series introduced this in the XY series. Like the games (see below), these were limited to battles with a certain level of plot importance, typically Ash's challenges against a Gym Leader in order to mimic the mugshot poses of the source material.
  • In Tamagotchi! Yume Kira Dream Episode 19, the blimp at the tea robot competition displays "VS." splashes on its screen for the students competing against each other, with one showing Mametchi and Nandetchi and one depicting Himespetchi and Hoshigirltchi.
  • Featured in the third season of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds Naturally the English dub removed this feature.
  • The last episode of YuruYuri used this for the competition among the girls, complete with angry faces and everything. Until it gets to Ayano, who's all out of competition and is left standing opposite a question mark.

    Asian Animation 
  • One appears in Happy Heroes Season 8 Episode 33 when the Supermen are about to fight Huo Haha and his group of dark wizards in a civilized manner (read: pretend to use their violent attacks without inflicting actual pain on each other since it's Peace Day).
  • Used in Episode 21 of Pleasant Goat Fun Class: Sports are Fun. Weslie and Wolffy compete in a game of badminton and it briefly shows a splash screen with Weslie's team vs. Wolffy's team.
  • Tik Tak Tail:
    • In "Shooting Range", a "Tak and Tail vs. Tik" character splash appears before the characters start their shooting competition.
    • Another appears in "Cricket Crisis", this time with Tak and Tail vs. Tik and Jolly, before their cricket match.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Deadpool: The Wizard Mode opens with one of these, depicting Deadpool and Mister Sinister right before they fight.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Professional Wrestling usually introduces this with a "this is why they're fighting" montage. Also played completely straight when Darts and Snooker get this treatment, mainly used to introduce highlights of a match. Here are but two examples.
    • Posters announcing a wrestling event are often designed that way as well, with the main event taking up the biggest part of the page. Note that this is mostly done by smaller federations, as these days, big feds use more movie-style posters focusing on either one particular wrestler, or several who are't involved in the same matches.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: In the "Mysterious Console" DLC, this occurs once Noni is about to battle a dungeon boss.
  • Arc System Works:
    • BlazBlue has quite an elaborate one which begins with the character's sprites posing before zooming in to a more traditional versus splash with their insignia behind them.
    • The game's predecessor, Guilty Gear, did something similar in the XX series, but with closeups of the portraits instead of the posing sprites. The other games opt for a more traditional versus splash incorporating each fighter's in-game artwork.
    • Persona 4: Arena had a pretty nice one with the versus screen being made like a fight poster before the screen zooms in on the portraits of the selected fighter with a red hue before cutting to the fight proper.
  • A non-fighting game example, once you reach the stage boss in The Binding of Isaac, there is a versus shot of Isaac versus whatever the boss you'll be fighting.
  • Another non-fighting game example, Black★Rock Shooter has this while Rock has to fight bosses. It's quite unique in this medium, the game being an Action RPG-Turn-Based RPG hybrid.
  • Yet another non-fighting game example, Command & Conquer: Generals Zero Hour Generals Challenge mode has a this as you face the generals in that game mode.
  • Dota 2 shows one of these before every match starts as of patch 7.00, with the Radiant heroes along the top and the Dire heroes along the bottom... even though actual gameplay has the Radiant heroes at the south end of the map.
  • Guacamelee! precedes each boss fight with one of these, set up like Lucha Libre advertisement posters.
  • The fighting games associated with JoJo's Bizarre Adventure make sure to include this.
    • Heritage for the Future's screen does it with a simple display of both participants' heads with "VS" in between, immediately cutting to the fight.
    • All-Star Battle's screen displays both characters' in-game art inside manga-style panels, as well as displaying their names and fighting style. The "VS" stretches the height of the screen.
    • Eyes of Heaven's screen puts the characters' art inside cards instead, with one character in each Tag Team in front of the other. It also adds on which part each character is from, what the teams' Dual Heat Attacks are, and the jazziest loading screen music you've ever heard.
  • Early entries in The King of Fighters series have this, but only in the home console versions (more specifically the PlayStation versions). The only games that do this in the arcade version are KOF '99 and KOF 2001.
  • Legend of Success Joe, before the in-ring matches, shows the faces of Joe and his opponent next to each other on a screen that dissolves to show their names. Amazingly these are some of the worst graphics in the game: the faces are the small character portraits blown up and shifted to grayscale.
  • The Legend of Tian-ding throws in screens like these prior to each boss fight, accompanied by a gong in the background.
  • Mario Party: In Mario Party 9, Mario Party 10 and Mario Party: Island Tour, the boss battle mini-games are preceded by a screen showing the player characters opposing the upcoming boss character, with the players on the left and the boss on the right. Whichever character is currently Captain will be in front of the others.
  • Mike Shadow: I Paid for It!: Before each fight, the game displays "Mike Shadow VS. Vending Machine" on a screen like this.
  • Money Idol Exchanger has a bizarre double-vision pre-battle versus screen also used for character selection in two-player mode. The cropped and captioned Character Portraits, with "VS" popping up between them in rainbow letters, are positioned above sprites of the same girls that are also not the Super-Deformed ones players actually control.
  • Mortal Kombat. You can also enter Kombat Kodes during this screen to alter the fight in some way.
  • Pizza Tower does this for major bosses, complete with a more realistic, exaggerated depiction of the two participants which doesn't appear anywhere else in the game.
  • Happens often against tough opponents in the Pokémon series. It started out with Pokémon Stadium, then downshifted into the main series games, starting with the Elite Four and Champion in the third generation. It's now a common aspect of plot-significant fights, to the point where (beginning with Pokémon Platinum) certain sprites are now made specifically for such "versus" screenshots, usually in a mugshot pose such as this one (which features Sinnoh's first Gym Leader, Roark).
  • Rock of Ages has VS screens before every match.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, this appears before every boss fight.
  • Skullgirls doesn't have an elaborate display (due to budget limitations and loading issues), but on the loading screen before the match starts, concept art of each character in the match appears, in order from first to last, first player to second player.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic the Fighters has a one before each match, where the combatants are shown on both sides of the screen, player one on a black backdrop on the left, player two on a white backdrop on the right, with their characters' names underneath. The only exception to this is during the final boss of the game's arcade mode against Eggman during his Time-Limit Boss fight.
    • The final boss of Sonic Rush has a "Sonic vs. Dr. Eggman" and "Blaze vs. Eggman Nega" splash displayed on the spare screen.
    • In the Sonic Colors Ultimate Updated Re-release, players can engage in special race battles with Metal Sonic, with a special "Sonic vs. Metal Sonic" splash screen appears before each match.
  • Appears in every entry of the Soul Series starting from Soulcalibur II and Soulcalibur III, where pressing a button will even make a character say something (a feature which was removed beginning with Soulcalibur IV), which can get ridiculous in the GameCube version of the former with Link's Voice Grunting.
  • The Trope Codifier is Street Fighter II, where at the beginning of each match-up after stage selection, a screen would flare up with profile shots of the two battling characters before switching to the actual fight. The trope's use within the series predates that game, including use in the original Street Fighter.
  • Shows up in Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: Strong Badia the Free during the Maps and Minions mini-game.
  • The Super Smash Bros. series has this with a voiceover guy who says "Versus!" before each match in Classic Mode. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate features a proper versus screen when loading a match.
  • The first two games in the Tekken series only showed the names of the fighters in each match-up before a fight. Tekken 3 was the first in the series to show portraits of the fighters, and Tekken 4 was the first one to also include pre-battle taunts.
  • Violence Fight has a simple version of this using the normal character sprites.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation  
  • Appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold regularly, specifically setting up which two characters are teaming up for a certain adventure. Usually shows up twice an episode, once for the Batman Cold Open and the other for the regular story, though some have variations on the theme.
  • Used in an episode of Ben 10: Omniverse involving an underground tournament of aliens. They have a digital graphics screen, and a semi-monotone announcer, making this effect happen before each match-up of combatants.
  • Kaeloo: A versus character splash appears in Episode 54 depicting Bad Kaeloo and Quack Quack as they are about to fight each other.


Video Example(s):


Scorpion vs. Sub-Zero

The versus screen for Mortal Kombat: Armageddon features portraits of the two chosen characters getting ready to engage in battle.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / VersusCharacterSplash

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