10 Greatest Heroic Rivalries in Anime

10 Greatest Heroic Rivalries in Anime

Anime rivalry has been a staple of the genre for decades. Fans can’t get enough of their favorite heroes and villains in heated battles. Still, not all anime conflicts are between heroes and villains. Sometimes the heroes start bitter competitions against each other.


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The heroes involved in these contests have many reasons to fight. Sometimes it involves extreme differences of opinion, while other conflicts are born of simple jealousy. Whatever the situation, these heroic anime rivalries are bitter disputes that remain semi-permanent fixtures of their respective franchises.

10/10 Makeru Yadano wants to defeat Shoko Komi

Komi cannot communicate

Shoko Komi beat Madera Yadano in a match from Komi Can't Communicate.

Shoko Komi is the incredibly shy but beautiful main character in Komi cannot communicate. Despite her demeanor, Komi is a naturally talented person – much to Makeru Yadano’s dismay. Like Komi, Yadano is a gifted individual who boasts a wide variety of skills. However, unlike Komi, Yadano is extremely competitive.

Unbeknownst to Komi, Yadano has made it his mission to defeat Komi in any real or perceived competition. Yadano even goes so far as to discover Komi’s medical records to compare them with her own. Although Yadano would have an easier time if she just talked to Komi, Yadano has become so invested in her vendetta that there is no going back.

9/10 Rin Matsuoka and Haruka Nanase want to swim together again

Free!

Rin Matsuoka and Haruka Nanase sit in the sun together in Free!.

Rin Matsuoka and Haruka Nanase started swimming at a young age in Free!. Although they enjoyed swimming together at their local swimming club, Rin eventually moved to Australia to swim competitively – leaving Haru behind. In Rin’s absence, Haru grew bitter towards his former friend, vowing to just “swim free.”

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Now in high school, the two boys are on rival teams and hope to prove to each other that they never lost their spark. With both boys fighting over each other, they end up forming a competitive rivalry based on their shared desire to swim together again.

8/10 Nagisa Shiota and Karma Akabane fight to be the best

Assassin’s Classroom

Karma Akabane and Nagisa Shiota look surprised in the Assassination Classroom.

Nagisa Shiota is not the most prominent character yet ONEsassination Classroom, but his academic drive and exceptional instincts make him one of the best students in Class 3-E. Similarly, Karma Akabane is a gifted scholar with a knack for cunning pranks. Although Karma is typically known for his ruthlessness, his world is shattered when Nagisa becomes the more cunning assassin.

Despite their different attitudes and philosophies of life, Karma and Nagisa find themselves competing to become better scholars and assassins. Both with a deep desire to prove themselves, Karma and Nagisa constantly battle for the top spot among the renegade students at Kunugigaoka Middle School.

7/10 Soma Yukihira is cooking for Erina Nakiri

Food warrior

Erina Nakiri and Soma Yukihira will face off in Food Wars.

When Soma Yukihira arrives at Totsuki Academy with nothing but dinner cooking experience, many current students scoff at his bravado. But when he meets the stern Godtongue, Erina Nakiri, Soma surprises her with bold tastes.

The two begin their heated rivalry as Soma hopes to prove that unorthodox techniques and humble ingredients can be as powerful as gourmet food. Meanwhile, Erina tries to prove that high-end food is the only food worth tasting. Although they eventually come to an understanding, their rivalry is at the heart of what Food Warrior! is about.

6/10 Naruto Uzumaki and Sasuke Uchiha have bad first impressions

Naruto

Naruto and Sasuke's first battle in the Valley of the End in Naruto.

Naruto Uzumaki and Sasuke Uchiha have disliked each other from the beginning. Naruto dislikes Sasuke’s arrogance and popularity, while Sasuke despises Naruto’s lack of skills and foolish antics. The two immediately start a competition to see who will become the best ninja faster – both constantly trying to beat the other in Naruto.

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While on the same team and eventually becoming allies, Naruto and Sasuke retain their competitive edge. In the end, though, they are both better fighters and ninjas thanks to their rivalry.

5/10 Yuki Sohma and Kyo Sohma fight over past indiscretions

Fruit basket

Kyo and Yuki Sohma point accusingly at each other in Fruits Basket

Since the beginning, the cat and the rat of the zodiac have been bitter enemies. The rat told the cat the wrong day for God’s feast, causing the cat to miss something and making it an outsider among the rest of the zodiac. Because of this, Yuki Sohma, the embodiment of the rat star, and Kyo Sohma, the embodiment of the cat, have become sworn rivals in Fruit basket.

Although Yuki couldn’t care less about the feud, Kyo is keen to demonstrate that he deserves to be a respected member of the Zodiac like the others. Their battles usually end in devastating destruction with Yuki the victor. Fortunately, Kyo conquers Yuki when he wins the heart of their mutual crush, Tohru Honda.

4/10 Izuku Midoriya and Katsuki Bakugo challenge each other

My Hero Academia

Deku and Bakugo fight Nine

Since childhood, Izuku Midoriya and Katsuki Bakugo have been at odds with each other. Bakugo was always incredibly talented, with Midoriya lagging behind. But now that Midoriya has a Quirk of his own, he and Bakugo have started an even more intense competition to see who will be as great as All Might.

The boys physically fight each other a few times in My Hero Academia, with Bakugo instigating most of them due to the jealousy and inferiority he feels towards Midoriya. However, now that Bakugo knows the truth about Midoriya’s Quirk, the two seem to have come to an understanding, but they still do everything they can to strengthen each other.

3/10 Ash Ketchum & Gary Oak are going to respect each other

Pokémon

Gary Oak taunts Ash Ketchum with a pokeball in Pokemon.

As soon as Ash Ketchum and Gary Oak began their quests to become Pokémon Masters, the two have been at odds with each other. Gary’s brash bravado pins Ash at every turn as he fights to one day surpass Gary.

Ash eventually achieves his goal, but he and Gary remain rivals. They may have each other’s respect now, but neither is willing to stop trying to become the greatest Pokémon champion in Pokémon.

2/10 Vegeta tried to destroy Goku’s home world

Dragon Ball Z

Super Saiyan Blue Goku and Vegeta in Dragon Ball Super: Broly

Although they used to be enemies, Vegeta and Goku have become two parts of one of the most iconic hero rivalries in anime. Their resistance began when Vegeta came to Earth to destroy it. Nevertheless, Goku was prepared to save his new home world, which led to the beginning of the enmity.

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Dragon Ball Z features many iconic battles between Goku and Vegeta. The pair eventually drift apart, and they even become allies. Even so, Goku and Vegeta’s head-to-head battles are still a sight to behold.

1/10 Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane love each other

Kaguya-Sama: Love is War

kaguya with miyuki

Despite having feelings for each other, Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane refuse to be the first to give in to their feelings. With both afraid of rejection, the two student council members actively try to provoke the other into a love letter.

With each failed attempt, Kaguya and Shirogane’s plans become increasingly convoluted. They sabotage each other so much that each of them comes to fear that they have driven the other away. While their relationship took a big step forward recently in Kaguya-sama: Love Is WarKaguya and Shirogane have yet to tell each other that they are in love.

NEXT: 10 Best One-Sided Rivals in Shonen Anime

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