You know, I know it, and manga and anime creators sure know it: there’s nothing better than a good rivalry.
Be it sports, shonen or virtually any genre, there’s few things that keep viewers watching than two equally-matched rivals fighting for the same prize, or just against each other.
Now our Japanese pollsters Charapedia have asked their readers to pick the best of the best, and we’ve translated the results for your approval.
20. Kenshiro vs. Raoh (Fist of the North Star)
19. Light Yagami vs. L (Death Note)
18. Eren Jaeger vs. Annie Leonhart (Attack on Titan)
17. Conan Edogawa vs. Kaitou Kid (Detective Conan)
16. Gintoki Sakata vs. Housen (Gintama)
15. Gintoki Sakata vs. Shinsuke Takasugi (Gintama)
14. Homura Akemi vs. Mami Tomoe (Madoka Magica)
13. Ryota Kise vs. Daiki Aomie (Kuroko’s Basketball)
12. Nanoha Takamachi vs. Fate Testarossa (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha)
11. Kiritsugu Emiya vs. Kirei Kotomine (Fate/ series)
10. Himura Kenshin vs. Makoto Shishio (Rurouni Kenshin)
9. Amuro Ray vs. Char Aznable (Gundam)
8. Izaya Orihara vs. Shizuo Heiwajima (Durarara!!)
7. Taiga Kagami vs. Daiki Aomie (Kuroko’s Basketball)
6. Son Goku vs. Vegeta (Dragon Ball)
5. Jotaro Kujo vs. Dio (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure)
4. Kirito vs. Heathcliff (Sword Art Online)
3. Son Goku vs. Frieza (Dragon Ball)
2. Toma Kamijo vs. Accelerator (A Certain… series)
1. Naruto Uzumaki vs. Sasuke Uchiha (Naruto)
Let’s put on our analyst’s cap and take a look at these results, shall we?
One interesting thing to note is series that have multiple listings. Dragon Ball comes up on the list twice, once in second place with Goku vs. Frieza, a rivalry that’s spanned decades, including the recent film Resurrection ‘F’, and in sixth place with Goku vs. Vegeta. No surprise here: even for a shonen series, Dragon Ball’s rivalries are legendary.
On the sports side of things, Kuroko’s Basketball also took both seventh and 13th place, and both matchups included Daiki Aomie, the series’ initial antagonist.
Finally, Gintama takes both 15th and 16th place, and the better half of both rivalries is protagonist, Gintoki Sakata. Busy guy.
In 19th place we’ve got Death Note’s Light Yamagi and L, but one wonders if they’d be even higher on the list if this survey were taken in a few weeks, when Death Note comes back in the form of a live-action TV series this weekend.
One final piece of analysis: while most of the matchups on the list are male-on-male, the girls can do it too, y’all: Homura vs. Mami from Madoka Magica and Nanoha vs. Fate Tessarossa make up the female-female rivalries, while Eren and Annie from Attack on Titan comprise the only mixed-gender rivalry on the list.
What matchups did Charapedia’s readers miss? What’s your favorite anime rivalry?