Anime  

29+ Best Anime Rivalries of All Time!

Updated November 19, 2022 by Ernie

ANIME AND RIVALRIES!! A perfect love story, right? Mangakas have it easy in my opinion. The plot is not that great? Just throw in a fiery rivalry between the main character and his best friend, and BOOM!!!

Before getting to the main topic, let me ask you a question. What are Rivals? A rival, in my opinion, is someone who motivates you to do better. He is your driving force and, in most cases, your BEST FRIEND because he understands you the best. However, this is not true of every rivalry.

On this list, well look at some of animes most famous and beloved rivalries. Well! In most cases, it is easy to predict that the MC will win, but it is still fascinating to watch two characters compete. Without further ado, let us begin the list.

EPIC RIVALRIES WE LOVE

30. Naruto and Sasuke (Naruto)

Title Naruto
Genre Action, Adventure
Type TV
Studio Pierrot
Premiered Fall 2002
Episode Count 220
Duration 23 min

Lets start this list with the most popular anime rivalry of all time. Naruto and Sasuke have known each other since they were kids. However, they were formally introduced after both of them became a part of team 10 under Kakashi Sensei. 

Sasuke was considered a prodigy, unlike Naruto who was a failure. Ever since the beginning, they were trying to overshadow each other. Well! Their motives were a bit different. Naruto wanted to impress Sakura (most of the time). And Sasuke wanted to get stronger to battle his brother. Their rivalry was a bit one-sided in the beginning as Sasuke thought of Naruto as a clown. 

There was a time in the series when they became enemies, with Sasuke trying to kill Naruto. They had multiple battles as well with Naruto overpowering Sasuke in each one of them. Well! Hes the main character, it makes sense. Despite all this, Naruto always considered Sasuke his FRIEND, even when everyone was against him.

29. Goten and Trunks (Dragon Ball Z)

Title Dragon Ball Z
Genre Action, Super Power
Type TV
Studio Toei Animations
Premiered Spring 1989
Episode Count 291
Duration 24 min

Next up on this list are Goten and Trunks. Well! Both of them are still kids but their craziness to surpass each other is next level. Trunks is a bit older than Goten and is always one step ahead of him. 

The fact that their fathers are also rivals makes this rivalry even crazier. Vegeta always wants his son to beat Kakarots son. Despite all this, both of them are close friends or you can just call them crime partners. Their rivalry is quite friendly, unlike Sasuke and Naruto who are always trying to kill each other lol! 

28. Kamina and Viral (Gurren Lagann)

Title Gurren Lagann
Genre Action, Adventure
Type TV
Studio Gainax
Premiered Spring 2007
Episode Count 28
Duration 24 min

Even though Kamina is not the protagonist, he still stole the show with his charisma and the way he motivated Simon. 

Kamina found himself a rival quite early in the series in the form of Viral. Viral was a Beastman Commander who encountered Kamina when he was out searching for resources. Kaminas first encounter with Viral wasnt that great. Viral, being an expert pilot,  just toyed with him and Simon. They had to run away to save themselves. 

This rivalry is really important as it led to the formation of Gurren Lagann. During their second encounter, Simon and Kamina managed to combine their Gunmen forming the Legendary GURREN LAGANN! 

Viral never forgot about Kamina even after his demise

27. Tai and Matt (Digimon)

Title Digimon
Genre Action, Comedy
Type TV
Studio Toei Animations
Premiered Spring 1999
Episode Count 291
Duration 54 min

Tai and Matt from Digimon are the next rivals to make this list. Well! Most peeps might think that Matt hates Tai as he is the leader not him. But, this is not the case. Its just that Matt is not a fan of his decision-making skills. Both of them have entirely different personalities and ideologies.

They somewhat sorted out their problems as the series progressed, but their mutual crush on Sora always disturbed the peace. Looks like their rivalry is ETERNAL!!

Check Out: Blue Lock Characters List! (WIKI)

26. Mugen and Jin (Samurai Champloo)

Title Samurai Champloo
Genre Adventure, Comedy
Type TV
Studio Manglobe
Premiered Spring 2004
Episode Count 26
Duration 24 min

If youre a fan of old-school anime, then you mustve heard about this show. In case you have been living under a rock and dont even know about this anime, then you should deffo give it a shot

Mugen and Jin are the protagonists of the show. Just like any other rivalry, their personalities and ideologies differ ALOT! They are always trying to surpass each other. A minor catalyst is needed to trigger a fight between them. Still, they respect each others skills. And this is whats keeping them going. They have a common goal as well. 

25. Sanji and Zoro (One Piece)

Title One Piece
Genre Shounen, Action, Fantasy
Type TV
Studio Toei Animation
Premiered 1999
Episode Count On-Going
Duration 24 min

Ahhhh! You just cant make a list of rivals without these two. Sanji and Zoro are one of the strongest characters in the entire series. Both of them are extremely loyal to Luffy and respect each other as well. 

Its just that they dont agree with each other on certain things. Their fights make up a HUGE part of One Pieces comedy. Not a single episode goes by when we dont see them fighting over a stupid thing. Despite all this, they push each other to get stronger. They are the perfect example of a PERFECT RIVALRY!

24. Gray Fullbuster and Lyon Vastia (FairyTail)

Title Fairy Tail
Genre Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Type TV
Studio A-1 Pictures
Premiered Fall 2009
Episode Count 175
Duration 24 min

Well! Some peeps might not agree with this rivalry, saying that Gray is Natsus rival. But, Gray and Lyons rivalry definitely deserves to make the list. The main thing about their rivalry is the LOVE TRIANGLE!! 

Lyon is madly in love with Juvia and is quite open about his love. Juvia, on the other hand, loves Gray and is creeped out by Lyons behavior.  However, this is not the only thing. Both of them were trained by the same Ice Teacher and have been competing against each other ever since they were little. Their rivalry is quite friendly and their interactions are always hilarious!

23. Spike and Vicious (Cowboy Bebop)

Title Cowboy Bebop
Genre Action, Sci-fi
Type TV
Studio Sunrise
Premiered Spring 1998
Episode Count 26
Duration 24 min

Spike and Vicious are the perfect examples of friends turned enemies. Both of them worked for the same organization named the Red Dragon Syndicate and were ideal partners. Their skills complemented each other perfectly. Now, the main question here is, where did things go wrong? 

Julia was the reason they left each other and became enemies. They had many clashes throughout the series and it all ended with Spike killing Vicious in their final battle. 

22. Light and L Lawliet (Death Note)

Title Death Note
Genre Supernatural, Suspense
Type TV
Studio Madhouse
Premiered Fall 2006
Episode Count 37
Duration 23 min

Not everything is about strength and love. Sometimes its all about BRAINS!! The same is the case with Light and L. L had always suspected Light of being the Kira, and Light had somehow managed to trick him every time. 

He even joined the police force to get closer to him and the investigations. It was a battle of wits between them and Light won in the end and L was killed. Honestly, this rivalry is my favorite. Their mind battles were just too damn OP!

21. Class 1-A and Class 1-B (My Hero Academia)

Title My Hero Academia
Genre Action, Shounen, Super Power
Type TV
Studio Bones
Premiered 2016
Episode Count 12
Duration 24 min

Rivalry between two classes is not new. All of us have experienced this in school and even in college. Classes and their head teachers are always in a battle to see which class scores more or if there are sports competitions, then this battle becomes even more intense

The same is the case with these two classes. Class 1-A got a bit too famous in the beginning because of the villains attack. People considered them stronger because they managed to survive a villain attack this early. This made Class 1-B a bit jealous. They are always looking for ways to downgrade Class 1-A and prove that they are superior

Related: Where To Start My Hero Academia Manga After The Anime?

20. Ash and Gary (Pokemon)

Title Pokemon
Genre Action, Adventure
Type TV
Studio OLM
Premiered Spring 1997
Episode Count 276
Duration 24 min

This rivalry is really something else. Gary is Professor Oaks grandson and imo, and he just spoiled him a little too much. He is quite arrogant and is always teasing Ash.

Their personalities are entirely different from each other. Ash is not arrogant and doesnt really like teasing others, so he wants to beat Gary in a Pokemon battle to show him whos the real boss

This rivalry is not just limited to anime, you can also witness it in Pokemon games. They have been battling since the very beginning and their fights are always INTENSE!

19. Beerus and Champa (Dragon Ball Super)

Title Dragon Ball Z
Genre Action, Adventure
Type TV
Studio Toei Animations
Premiered Summer 2015
Episode Count 131
Duration 23 min

Ahhhh! Sibling rivalries are just wayyyy tooooo common, and if youre from an Asian household, you mustve experienced this a lot. 

Beerus and Champa are the Gods of Destruction of Universe 7 and 6 respectively. Well! It is quite clear that Beerus is the stronger one of them. However, their rivalry is not just limited to their personal strength. They even fight over whose universe is stronger or which universe has better food LOL!

They even had a tournament arranged for this purpose. Their constant bickering whenever they see each other is just too hilarious. Its kinda weird seeing two GOD OF DESTRUCTIONS fight like they are kids. 

18. Inuyasha and Sesshomaru (Inuyasha)

Title Inuyasha
Genre Action, Adventure
Type TV
Studio Sunrise
Premiered Fall 2000
Episode Count 167
Duration 24 min

AND we have another sibling rivalry on this list. Inuyasha and his brother Sesshomaru have been fighting ever since their fathers demise. Why? Because he inherited his Holy Sword Tessiaga from Inuyasha and not Sesshomaru. 

Sesshomaru hated his brother for this and always treated him badly. This led to Inuyasha also hating Sesshomaru. Their hatred is mutual, but its not like theyd kill each other for this. They managed to sort out stuff and everything was well and good in the end!

Related: COMPLETE Inuyasha Watch Order! (OFFICIAL)

17. Soma Yukihira and Takumi Aldini (Food Wars)

Title Food Wars
Genre Gourmet, Ecchi
Type TV
Studio J.C. Staff
Premiered Spring 2015
Episode Count 24
Duration 25 min

Food Wars is one of my favorite anime as I love food, not cooking ofc. The plot of this anime is quite similar to other shounen anime, except that fighting is replaced with cooking. Our MC, Soma Yukihira, made a LOT of enemies after his open challenge.  

One of them is Takumi Aldini. Takumi is always challenging Soma to prove his superiority and to show him whos the real BOSS! Some, however, never complement his feelings and always turn him down. Their interactions are pretty hilarious tbh.

16. Sakura and Ino (Naruto)

Title Naruto
Genre Action, Adventure
Type TV
Studio Pierrot
Premiered Fall 2002
Episode Count 220
Duration 23 min

There are a LOT of rivalries in Naruto, but this one stands out. Sakura and Ino have known each other ever since they were little. Well! The main thing that triggered their rivalry is their mutual crush on Sasuke. And this is what most people think!

Sakura was bullied quite a lot when she was little and Ino always jumped in to rescue her. This made Sakura believe that she is in Inos debt and they are not equal. In other words, she got JEALOUS! Their crush on Sasuke was just a contributing factor that pacified this feeling

However, as the series progressed, Ino gave up on Sasuke and they became good friends once again.

15. Ace and Luffy (One Piece)

Title One Piece
Genre Shounen, Action, Fantasy
Type TV
Studio Toei Animation
Premiered 1999
Episode Count On-Going
Duration 24 min

Weve featured quite a lot of brothers on this list, havent we? Well! Ace and Luffy are not biological brothers, they considered themselves siblings. Still! They had a strong sense of rivalry ever since the beginning. 

Both of them wanted to become pirates and had similar dreams. They always fought each other to see who was stronger. Ace, being the elder brother, won most of the time. But, Luffy never gave up. Their relationship is really wholesome and I just love it! 

Both of them loved each other and their rivalry was quite friendly, unlike some others on this list. The fact that Luffy was ready to fight three Admirals to save his brother is something else 🙂

14. Meliodas and Ban (Seven Deadly Sins)

Title Seven Deadly Sins
Genre Action, Fantasy
Type TV
Studio A-1 Pictures
Premiered Fall 2014
Episode Count 24
Duration 24 min

Next up on this list, we have our favorite captain Meliodas and the immortal Ban. Their rivalry is pretty bloody if I have to say. As Ban is immortal, it doesnt really matter if you try to kill him, he wont die. Meliodas, on the other hand, have extreme endurance

Both of them are arguably the strongest characters in the entire series and they never hold back their strength against each other. Im sure you wont believe this, but they have arm-wrestled at least 700 TIMES!! Yess! You read that right, 700!  

Still, they are pretty close friends and are always looking out for each other. Their interactions are really fun to watch tbh.

Related: ALL Meliodas Forms and Power Levels Ranked (Seven Deadly Sin)

13. Yugi Moto And Seto Kaiba(Yu-gi-Oh!)

Title Yu-Gi-Oh!
Genre Action, Comedy
Type TV
Studio Toei Animation
Premiered Spring 1998
Episode Count 27
Duration 24 min

Heres a pretty unique rivalry, you wont see this type of rivalry a lot these days. This rivalry is between Yugi Moto and Seto Kaiba. They both have fought each other many times in battles. You can say that they have a one-sided rivalry.

Because when Kaiba was first defeated by Yugi, he wanted to surpass him at all costs, while Yugi showed no hostility or rivalry towards Kaiba. And yes! They are still pretty known rivals 

Nowadays. They have fought so many times that even I dont remember the amount of time they fought anymore lmao!

12. Asta and Yuno (Black Clover)

Title Black Clover
Genre Action, Comedy
Type TV
Studio Pierrot
Premiered Fall 2017
Episode Count 170
Duration 23 min

Next up on this list, we have Asta and Yuno from Black Clover. Being orphans, both of them were raised together in a Church. Asta was always the energetic one, saving Yuno from bullies and everything. However, one promise changed EVERYTHING!! 

They started competing to see wholl become the Wizard King. Well! This competition was not fair in the beginning as Asta was magicless and Yuno got blessed by the 4 Clover Grimoire. However, Asta getting the Anti-Magic Grimoire changed everything

Their rivalry is really friendly and they treat each other like brothers. You cannot bad mouth Asta in front of Yuno or Yuno in front of Asta. 

11. Yami and Jack the Ripper (Black Clover)

Title Black Clover
Genre Action, Comedy
Type TV
Studio Pierrot
Premiered Fall 2017
Episode Count 170
Duration 23 min

Another rivalry from Black Clover. Yami and Jack are the captains of the Black Bulls and the Green Praying Mentis respectively. Both of them have eccentric personalities. They are always fighting, trying to surpass each other. 

Tbh, it is quite clear that Yami is stronger than Jack, still, their interactions are pretty hilarious. And they make a really great team fighting together

10. Ichigo and Renji(Bleach)

Title Bleach
Genre Action, Adventure
Type TV
Studio Pierrot
Premiered Fall 2004
Episode Count 266
Duration 24 min

Another really good rivalry on this list, and this time its between Ichigo and Renji. In case youve been living under a rock, Bleach is part of the big three and is one of the most popular anime these days.

Back to our rivalry topic between Ichigo and Renji. Ichigo, being a shounen protagonist, is bound to have a rival and that is RENJI!!. Both of them are hot-headed and have weird hairstyles! 


Ichigo first fought Renji when he came to the human world to take Rukia back to Soul Society. They met as enemies but now, they are pretty close friends. But!!! It doesnt mean that their rivalry has ended.

They still fight each other a lot trying to surpass each other. 

9. Natsu and Gajeel(Fairy Tail)

Title Fairy Tail
Genre Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Type TV
Studio A-1 Pictures
Premiered Fall 2009
Episode Count 175
Duration 24

NATSU AND GAJEEL! This rivalry has been going on for a while now. This is probably one of my favourite rivalries of all time. Natsu and Gajeel first met as enemies when Natsus guild AKA Fairy Tail was up against Phantom Lord.

Phantom Lord and Fairy Tail were in a fight for many years until one day, Phantom Lord attacked Fairy Tail with full power but they were defeated. If you dont know, Gajeel is an Iron Dragon Slayer while Natsu is a Fire Dragon Slayer.

So basically a rivalry between two Dragon Slayers! Pretty cool! After phantom lord disbanded, Gajeel joined Fairy Tail and they both became pretty good friends they both try to do everything in their power to surpass the other.

8. Guy and Kakashi (Naruto)

Title Naruto
Genre Action, Adventure
Type TV
Studio Pierrot
Premiered Fall 2002
Episode Count 220
Duration 23 min

Ahhhh! This one is my personal favorite!!! Guy and Kakashis rivalry is just sooooo wholesome, you just cant hate them. Guy has considered Kakashi his rival ever since they were little. He is quite serious about it as well and is always forcing Kakashi to do weird stuff just to challenge him. 

Kakashi, on the other hand, just goes on with the flow and accepts his challenges. Both of them respect each other and would do anything to protect the other. 

7. Midoriya and Bakugu (My Hero Academia)

Title My Hero Academia
Genre Action, Shounen, Super Power
Type TV
Studio Bones
Premiered 2016
Episode Count 12
Duration 24 min

This rivalry was pretty one-sided in the beginning as Bakugou always looked down on Midoriya as he was quirkless. However, after he got admitted into the same institution as him, everything changed!

Bakugou was always an inspiration for Midoriya as he was exceptionally talented and had great skills. But, after Midoriya inherited One for All from All Might, it sparked something inside Bakugou. You can say that he got JEALOUS!! 

This marked the beginning of their rivalry. Midoriya still considers Bakugou his close friend. But, I dont think so the feeling is mutual lol!

6. Kaguya and Miyuki (Kaguya-Sama: Love is War)

Title Kaguya-sama Love is War
Genre School., Romance, Comedy
Type TV
Studio A-1 Pictures
Premiered 2019
Episode Count 12
Duration 25 min

Im pretty sure you werent expecting these two to be on this list, were you? The student council president Miyuki Shirogane and vice president Kaguya Shinomiya have had a crush on each other ever since the beginning. And the best thing here is that both of them are aware of this fact. 

But, they are not DATING!!! Why? Because they want the other person to confess first, otherwise theyll lose. Their daily life is a WAR as they are always conspiring against each other. 

If you havent watched this show just because it is a rom-com, you are missing out on a lot man!

Check Out: 33+ Best Reverse Harem Anime!

5. Hinata and Kageyama (Haikyuu!)

Title Haikyuu!
Genre School, Shounen, Sports
Type TV
Studio Production I.G
Premiered 2012
Episode Count 25
Duration 24 min

This is one of my personal favorite rivalries. I mean, who hasnt heard of this rivalry? Kageyama was the first person who acknowledged Hinatas talent and told him that he was wasting his potential. 

After getting admitted to the same institute, both of them decided to join the Volleyball Club, and this marked the beginning of their rivalry. Kageyama is recognized as a prodigy. Hinata, on the other hand, doesnt even know the basics. All he knows is JUMPING! 

Their rivalry is pretty interesting IMO. Kageyama is the only setter who can match Hinatas speed. They know each others strengths and weaknesses. In other words, they are a perfect MATCH!!

4. Shizou Heiwajima and Izaya Orihara (Durarara!)

Title Durarara!
Genre Mystery, Action, Supernatural
Type TV
Studio Brains Base
Premiered Winter 2010
Episode Count 24
Duration 24 min

Next characters to feature on this list are Shizou Heiwajima and Izaya Orihara. Heiwajima is quite a peculiar character In my opinion. You just cant comprehend what hes thinking. Despite being a human, he has superhuman strength. And the reason is that he has a weird habit of trying to lift heavy objects like cars when hes angry and ofc he has multiple broken bones duh!

His rivalry with Izaya is also pretty weird. There is no particular reason for it. He just believes that Izaya is his sworn enemy. Whenever you see them together on the screen, I bet youll see a mailbox or smth like that out of nowhere. 

3. Ryuko Matoi and Satsuki Kiryuin (Kill La Kill!)

Title Kill La Kill
Genre Action, Comedy, Ecchi
Type TV
Studio Trigger
Premiered Fall 2013
Episode Count 24
Duration 24 min

Ryuko lost his father at an early age. It was not easy for her and she wanted revenge. For her, the only place she could find some info on the killer was the Honnoji Academy. Satsuki Kiryuin was the Student Council President of this prestigious school

And ofc Ruko would go straight to Satsuki as she would have the most knowledge. But, Satsuki turned her down every time. This constant bickering turned into a fierce rivalry between the two with Ryuko trying to defeat Satsuki and show her whos the REAL BOSS!

As with every friendly rivalry, these two also started working together and eventually became good friends. 

2. Saitama and Sonic (One Punch Man)

Title One Punch Man
Genre Action, Comedy
Type TV
Studio Madhouse
Premiered Fall 2015
Episode Count 12
Duration 24 min

Well! This rivalry is pretty one-sided. Sonic considered himself the most powerful Ninja. However, after getting beaten hilariously by Saitama on multiple occasions, he started questioning his existence

He trained intensely just so he could get beaten by SERIOUS SIDEWAYS JUMPS! Saitama couldnt even remember his name, calling him weird names like Seed on the ground, Jack-o-Lantern Panic, and Lost and Found. Their interactions are freaking hilarious

1. Goku and Vegeta (Dragon Ball Z)

Title Dragon Ball Z
Genre Action, Super Power
Type TV
Studio Toei Animations
Premiered Spring 1989
Episode Count 291
Duration 24 min

Finallyyyy! Any anime rivalry list is incomplete without them. These two are the perfect example of sworn enemies turned rivals. Vegeta came to destroy Earth but was ultimately defeated by Goku. 

And after some years, we see him fighting villains like Cell and Majin Buu to save the very place he wanted to destroy. Goku has always been one step ahead of Vegeta. Even though he is the Almighty Prince of Saiyans, he still gets beaten by him. 

According to Vegeta, the only person whos worthy to kill Goku is him. No one on this list comes close to this rivalry. I dont care what you think hmphhhh!!!

Conclusion

Ooo, here is the list fellas. Hope you like it! Let me know if I missed your favorite rivalry in the comments. 

Sayonara! Peace!!

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