10 Greatest Anime Rivalries Of All Times

It’s generally understood if there’s no rivalry between two characters in a given anime, the show is hardly fun to watch. In fact, competitiveness is the reason why some anime shows became as legendary as they are today. The zeal to become better and leave behind a rival has a way of making a given anime character more memorable.

The best thing is that in anime, the rivalry is not always between the protagonists and antagonists of the show. Sometimes, two best friends or brothers who share a great bond get into a friendly competition, and in rare cases, even silent lovers become rivals. As a little thanks to all those great characters who always made our anime experience better with their vying to outdo one another, here’s the list of the greatest anime rivalries of all times.


10. Karma And Nagisa (Assassination Classroom)

When elite students like Karma And Nagisa are in the same class, their objectives are bound to clash. The two Assassination Classroom characters shared the same mission, eliminating Koro-Sensei, but it was always a question of who would do that first.

Karma is excellent with combat skills and the strongest one in class. On the other hand, Nagisa is weak, but his observational skills, stealth movements, and bloodlust make him a natural assassin. They had always been best buddies, but their battle in the final semester was one of the most epic moments in the series.

9. Guy And Kakashi (Naruto)

Guy appreciated Kakashi for his skills and always wanted to reach his level, and that’s what started a memorable anime rivalry between the two. They were known to be the best ninjas in the Konoha Village and shared a great friendship, but there was always competition between them.

It has always been a one-sided rivalry, as Kakashi remained stronger than Guy. Kakashi didn’t care much about competing with Guy because he was well aware of the massive power gap between them. Still, he always respected Guy for his willpower and dedication to perfecting Taijutsu. Guy, on the other hand, always craved an opportunity to defeat Kakashi.

8. Ash And Gary (Pokemon)

The Pokemon world is purely based on the competition among different Pokemon Masters around the world. But, among all those rivalries, the one between Ash and Gary shines out the most. Throughout the series, Gary always remained one step ahead of Ash and earned more badges.

Of course, Ash uses every defeat against Gary as a motivational factor to become better. Things changed in the Indigo League when, against all the odds, Ash finally won the match.

7. Midoriya And Bakugo (My Hero Academia)

Despite being best friends, Izuku Midoriya and Katsuki Bakugo are longtime rivals in My Hero Academia. The two started to share a bond of competitiveness at the time of UA Academy’s selections. Initially, Midoriya was a weak character with no quirks, so Bakugo found it hard to believe that a guy like Midoriya had become an apprentice of the world’s greatest superhero, All Might.

Both Midoriya and Bakugo desire to become the best, and in that pursuit they sometimes take their rivalries a bit too far. But, no matter how constantly they clash, deep down, they care for each other and always will.

6. Kaguya And Miyuki (Kaguya-sama: Love Is War)

The rivalry between Kaguya and Miyuki is one of the more unique selections on the list. Where the other characters compete to get more powerful, Kaguya and Miyuki want each other to confess their love, but each refuses to be the first one to disclose their feelings. They continuously put each other in situations where one has to confess their love or show concern for the other.

This sweet “love war” is what makes this rivalry so iconic, while also making Kaguya-sama: Love Is War the highest-rated anime on My Anime List.

5. Yuno And Asta (Black Clover)

Yuno and Asta are meant for each other. Yuno is Asta’s best friend, foster brother, and partner in crime, but they also share a sweet rivalry. What makes them great competitors is their shared desire to become the Wizard King. However, there’s nothing more terrifying than when the duo puts aside their rivalry and works together to fight their enemies.

The best example of their teamwork can be seen in Black Clover manga’s recent battle where the two backed each other and finally defeated the devil king Lucifero.

4. Alucard And Anderson (Hellsing Ultimate)

These two characters have very little in common, but that’s what spices up their feud in the series. Anderson is a priest who kills vampires, and Alucard is the evilest of all Vampires. Despite their differences, they have more than enough reasons for respecting each other.

Anime fans still worship Alucard and Anderson’s battle in the TV series. Although the fight was epic, it was still one-sided as Anderson never had any chance against Alucard. The one-sided and story-driven fight was sort of a conclusion to their long-running rivalry, making it one of the best experiences for anime fans.

3. Naruto And Sasuke (Naruto)

Here’s another excellent example of rivalry among friends. Naruto and Sasuke’s feud started when they were back in school. At that time, the competition was one-sided, as Sasuke used to be the strongest student. Although they both had massive respect for each other and shared a great friendship, there had been times when the two fought serious battles.

The Valley of the End battle was one of the most epic Naruto fights ever, serving as the point where Sasuke finally admitted that he was wrong. There wasn’t exactly a winner in that fight, as both Naruto and Sasuke were on the ground. Naruto loses an arm during that battle, and Sasuke finally lets go of his evil ambitions.

2. Goku And Vegeta (Dragon Ball Z)

They might not say it, but Goku and Vegeta care for each other like no other. It’s quite a surprise how they both met each other as enemies but later became best friends. With his defeat by the lower Saiyan race, Vegeta resolved to become more powerful than Goku.

In the Dragon Ball series, Vegeta and Goku train together and defeat their enemies by working as a team. But they never leave a chance to maneuver their strength and surpass each other. In fact, it’s their rivalry that made Vegeta realize the true potential of a Saiyan.

1. Light And L

At last, we have the greatest of all the anime rivalries — these two geniuses give everything they have to defeat one another. What made the silent battle between Light and L the finest was that their very lives were at stake. Deception, manipulation, and ruthless pragmatism; they both resolve to use all the dirty tricks in the book to win the game.

Throughout the series, both Light and L create different situations to corner each other, but in the end, Light wins the game by killing L in Episode 25. For that reason alone, it was one of the best episodes of the Death Note series. The final checkmate, however, comes from L’s side as his successors, Mello and Near, outsmart Light and expose Kira’s identity.

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