Top 20 Anime rivalries
The most cliché thing in all genres of anime is rivalries. Typically in manga or anime, the main protagonist( or even side characters) has a rival. Someone they arent on friendly terms with but aren't enemies but yet they help each strive to be better than the other which in turn helps them get stronger.
Rivalries are a tradition in anime. Rivalries can also be the focal point of progressing a story in anime. Were going to go over the most iconic and eye-popping rivalries to accomplish this. We are going to look at rivalries from different genres. These genres will be shounen, action, sci-fi, and even non-mainstream anime. Which anime will take the crown of having the best rivalry of all time? Well, let's take a look, here are our top 20 rivalries in anime.
20. Sakura and Ino -Naruto
Surprised? You probably are. Naruto does have it’s a fair share of rivalries. Both Ino and sakura weren’t exactly the best of friends at the start as they were both in love with the same person, and their love interest was no other the call boy Sasuke. Over time they both matured, and their relationship had gotten better when they became chūnin.
19.Goten and Trunks -Dragon Ball
An appetizer before we get to the main(y’ all already know), let's look at the 3rd generation, and it doesn’t disappoint. Just like their fathers, Goten and trunks are friendly rivals( like father like son). Both of them had an intense battle in the World’s Martial Arts tournament with the involvement of their fathers which leads to them regularly compete with each other. Even though it’s not as intense as their father's rivalry, Goten’s and Trunk's rivalry is still one of the toughest.
19. Ash and Gary-Pokemon
Two legendary characters form a legendary anime. In the anime, both Ash and Gary grew up in Pallet Town. Ash dreamed while traveling around the world of being a pokemon master. It was easier said than done when he regularly played 2nd place to his rival and neighbor Gary. They both started their journey at the same time and continuously bumped into each other with the encounters. Gary was getting his badges before Ash, having more pokemon, and just belittling Ash from time to time. While Gary is continuing his journey of badges, Ash sharpens his skills to surpass(not the only reason). Ash and Gary fought a climactic fight in the Johto Region. They later found respect for each other. Shout out to Ash for winning the championship after 20 years run of never giving up.
17. Mugen and Jin-Samurai Champloo
If you haven't yet seen Samurai Champloo, then we recommend that you watch it. Samurai Champloo, is worth the watch with its mix of samurai aesthetic, hip-hop, and good humor. The story is based on two samurai named Mugen and Jin were assigned to aiding a woman named Fuu. Both are coming from different backgrounds and their opposite personalities; these two always clash. Despite their differences, they both respect one another; they still fight nevertheless.
16. Kiritsugu and Kirei -Fate/Zero
Like most Fate series Fate Zero is based on another Holy Grail War as a prequel to Fate/ Stay Night. A clash between summoners and their summoned historical figures for the #1 prize the wish-granting holy grail. The protagonist Kiritsugu Emiya wanted the holy grail to stop the pain in the world, but it wasn’t going to be easy with his unpredictable opponent Kirei Kotomine. Despite not being allies, they have mutual respect and rivalry between these two.
15.Zanji and Zoro-One Piece
Both members of the infamous Straw Hat crew from One Piece, Sanji and Zoro play an interesting dynamic in Luffy 's crew. They both have respect for each and even have frequent thoughts, but they still bicker and clash regularly. But like most rivals, they both push themselves to become stronger due to the rivalry.
14. Kenshin and Saito -Rurouni Kenshin
Ruroni Kenshi follows a swordsman called Kenshin Himura. Back in his earlier days, he had the nickname Battosai the Manslayer- which should give you a clue of how dangerous he is. Due to his traumatic past, Kenshin has repented wants to go on a path of atoning for his sins by not killing and protecting the weak. But during his atonement, he encounters enemies who contest his peaceful ways. One enemy and later became his ally Saito is one of the characters who test Kenshin’s sword-fighting abilities. Both being war veterans from 10 years, Saito wants to bring out Kenshin killer personality. They both teamed up against Shishio despite their different goals. This team-up created a relationship where they have to depend on each other.
13. Beerus and Champa-Dragon Ball
Two gods who are gods of destruction, their rivalry runs deep for eons. The fact of how there're brothers heightens the whole rivalry thing. Both close in terms and strength, both Champa and Beerus are competing whenever they have the chance. As most siblings are, they are incredibly competitive. Whenever they bicker they create the opportunity of the world their in to be destroyed like for example, earth when they were hosting a baseball. Out of all the rivalries, this one seems more down to earth and whenever they bicker its always entertaining.
12. Ichigo and Renji-Bleach
Two hotheads who bought that hot-headed competitive energy whenever they met. This rivalry formed during the soul reaper arc. They first started as enemies, but throughout the story, they eventually became friends and rivals.
11. Soma Yukihira and Takumi Alidini -Food Wars
Two characters from a great anime Food Wars a shounen but with a twist. Instead of physical fighting, the fighting displays as cook-offs which brought out a refreshing feel. Anyways all students compete and train their skills to be number 1 in Tōtski Academy, and you know this would form rivalries. The main rivalry in the show would be Soma and Takumi. Both aspiring young chefs Takumi always seems to want to challenge the protagonist Soma, trying to surpass him in cooking, an entertaining rivalry to watch.
10. Natsu and Gajeel-Fairy Tail
Fairy Tail has its share of rivalry, but Natsu and Gajeel are the most impressive. Natsu was raised by Igneel making him a fire-based dragon slayer. Gajeel was raised by the iron dragon Metalicnana making him an iron-based dragon slayer. Both of them grew up in similar circumstances and both having fiery stubborn personalities, and it would be a matter of time when these two became rivals.
9. Izuku Midoriya and Katsuki Bakugo-My Hero Academia
The main rivalry everyone has their eyes on, the rivalry of Izuku Midoriya and Katsuki Bakugo from the anime My Hero Academia. They both were childhood friends and then turned rivals when they enrolled in the hero academy( U.A academy). When Izuku surpassed Katsuki with his quirk and honed skills, the rivalry was fired up even more. As usual rivals, they continuously compete with each other.
8. Ichigo and Grimmjow-Bleach
Another rivalry we should look at in bleach is this one and my opinion it was the best. When they first met Ichigo was just utterly dominated by Grimmjow as Grimmjow was just too powerful for Ichigo. As Ichigo closes the gap with each encounter, this sparked a rivalry between the two. Even though they fought from the opposite side of the good vs. evil, both share a common trait, which is an honor.
7. Light and L -Death Note
Light and L are two sides of the same coin. The Light had intelligence and looks while L was dull but just as intelligent. When Light became Kira L quickly suspected him which caused L to want L dead immediately. Light needed to know L’s real name and joined the task force which L was in to do this creating an intense game of cat and mouse using their great minds and deception. In the end, Light won the battle but was later beaten by L’s successor.
6. Luffy and Ace -One Piece
Despite them not being actual brothers, Luffy’s and Ace’s from One Piece rivalry resembles a full sibling rivalry. Despite both being adopted they’ve been extremely close in their younger days filling in each other's emptiness. Despite them going their different ways, they still compete on who is the stronger as typical rivals do.
5. Inuyasha and Sesshōmaru -Inuyasha
Another sibling rivalry. Sesshōmaru is one of the plethoras of foes Inuyasha. Because Inuyasha is a half breed, his pure breed elder brother shows contempt, and thus multiple conflicts arise between the two. Sesshomaru is cooler and calm headed while his brother Inuyasha is more hot-headed, it equals out. Even though their personalities are vastly different, they form some respect for one another.
3. Yugi Moto and Seto Kaiba- Yu-Gi-Oh!
On to the top three on our list, first, up will be the rivalry between Yugi and Seto. They have dueled against each multiple times due to Kaiba being obsessed with surpassing Yugi because Yugi was Seto’s first loss. With that, the rivalry is honestly one-sided as Yugi doesn’t have that same mindset as Kaiba. Even though it’s a one-sided rivalry, they do have a friendly competition with each other do duel regularly.
2. Naruto and Sasuke-Naruto
These were going to have to a spot where on the list. Naruto’s and Sasuke rivalry is one of the most iconic rivalries in the anime world, and it can back it up. These became rivals early in the series even though it was one-sided at first due to Sasuke just being a better all-around ninja. However, Naruto was getting stronger; the competition grew more even, but it soon led to both them becoming enemies hen saksuke left the village to get stronger. They did fight on separate occasions later.
1.Goku and Vegeta -Dragon Ball
I mean, we all knew this was going to happen. Who could dethrone the most Iconic rivalry in anime? Goku and Vegeta were first as sworn enemies. Goku and the Z fighters defeated Vegeta, and this stated a never-ending rivalry. Vegeta wants to be stronger than the low-level clown who beat him. They both are great inspirations for each other to get stronger. Even though they are rivals, they are close friends who eventually spar with each other.