They might be bad guys, but they’re not baaad guys.
Rivals: you love to hate them and hate to love them. The relationship between two opposing characters can really raise the emotion and heart in stories. You feel not only for the protagonist, but also for the antagonist because they’re both just trying to accomplish their own goals, albeit in a different fashion. Sometimes your rival is a complete jerk, but that’s because they’re hiding all their pain. Other times your rival helps you because you push each other to be the best that you can be. Here are the Top 10 rivalries as chosen by Japanese pollsters. (Beware! Slight spoilers ahead!)
10. Jimmy Kudo vs. Harley Hartwell (Case Closed)
The first pair on the list are dueling detectives that rely on each other to push their analytical skills to the extreme. Two of the four great young detectives, Jimmy and Harley often find themselves investigating gruesome mysteries with unbelievable outcomes.
9. Kenshin Himura vs. Hajime Saito (Rurouni Kenshin)
While Kenshin was haunted by his past, Hajime reveled in it. Their rivalry began before the series officially started when Kenshin was the “manslayer” and Hajime was a member of the Shinsengumi. During the series, their epic battles almost forces Kenshin to become a killer again, but he never crosses that line.
8. Kenshiro vs. Raoh (Fist of the North Star)
This mighty rivalry began when Kenshiro was chosen as the successor to the Hokuto Shinken and Raoh broke 1,800 years of tradition and refused to give up his power. Killing their master, Ryuken, made sure that Kenshiro would fight with a vengeance when the truth was eventually revealed.
7. Naruto Uzumaki vs. Sasuke Uchiha (Naruto)
Naruto and Sasuke each had what the other unknowingly wanted resulting in an intense rivalry that drove most of the story. Their battles also led to an extremely powerful friendship.
6. Light Yagami vs. L (Death Note)
Light and L played so many mind games that it was hard to figure out who to cheer for, but their match of wits will forever be remembered by Death Note fans.
5. Jimmy Kudo vs. Phantom Thief Kid (Case Closed)
One’s a thief, and the other is a detective, so naturally they are at odds. However, no matter how much the Phantom Thief steals, you can’t help cheer for him as he constantly outwits the police, but rarely Kudo.
4. Amuro Ray vs. Char Aznable (Mobile Suit Gundam)
What begins simply as warrior pride turns into a back and forth that tries to answer the question of the meaning of war and violence. These two mech pilots do their best to give their answer on the battlefield.
3. Hanamichi Sakuragi vs. Kaede Rukawa (Slam Dunk)
Even though these two play for the same team, their rivalry is at the forefront of Slam Dunk. One is motivated to be better than the other, and one barely gives him the time of day. But without their passionate rivalry, their basketball, and the series, wouldn’t grow.
2. Goku vs. Vegeta (Dragon Ball Z)
The Prince of All Saiyans may have once tried to kill Goku and his friends, but since that time, they’ve had a spectacular rivalry that has kept Earth safe and ensured that the two of them were the strongest beings in the universe.
1. Lupin the Third vs. Koichi Zenigata (Lupin the Third)
The infamous thief needs a detective to chase after him. Much like Kudo and the Phantom Thief, Detective Zenigata spends most of his time trying to catch Lupin the Third. But as slippery as Lupin is, we highly doubt Zenigata will ever really be able to establish himself as Lupin’s equal.
Is your number one rivalry on the list? The original Japanese poll counted submissions in order to create a list of the Top 50 best rivalries. So if your favorite isn’t here, chances are it probably appears somewhere lower down. If you are interested, definitely check out the full list to see where your raging rivalry ranks.