Why Are the Rivals Cooler Than the Protagonists in Anime?

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Why Are the Rivals Cooler Than the Protagonists in Anime Tobio Kageyama

A protagonist and their rival are common in anime. The rival is usually the total opposite of the protagonist in terms of skills or personality. There are even some shows wherein the rival ends up on the antagonist's side because of their dark personalities. Despite that, why are anime rivals cooler than the protagonists?

To better illustrate what we mean, think of Sasuke from Naruto. He is a well-known rival of Naruto. Despite being timid and harsh, Sasuke is known to be cooler than the orange-haired protagonist.

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In fact, a lot of people like him more than Naruto. But how is that possible when Sasuke is supposed to be Naruto's rival?

What Is an Anime Rival?

What Is an Anime Rival Yugi and Kaiba

From the term itself, a rival is someone who's after the same objective as the protagonist which makes them compete for it.

Rivalries have been a pivotal aspect of most animes as they add entertainment to the show.

Some popular rivalries are those of Yugi and Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh! and Naegi and Byakuya from Danganronpa.

What Is an Anime Rival Kakashi and Guy
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There are also those who are in a one-sided rivalry, such as Kakashi and Guy from Naruto. This is because Guy consistently competes with Kakashi in terms of simple games and competitions.

A rival is also someone who pushes the protagonist to be better. He or she consistently challenges the protagonist, and in turn, the protagonist has no choice but to accept the challenge and win against the rival.

Why Are Anime Rivals Cool?

Why Are Anime Rivals Cool Sasuke and Naruto

To make the rival a challenging force, he or she must be skilled, smart, and cool. The rival must be intimidating for the protagonist to take on the challenge.

If the rival is weak or lame, then the protagonist won’t take the challenge posed by said rival seriously.

Thus, the rival has to push the protagonist to do better and surpass him or her.

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Who Are Some Popular Rivals in Anime?

Who Are Some Popular Rivals in Anime Kagayema and Hinata

An example of a rival being an intimidating character is Kageyama from Haikyuu!!.

Kageyama and Hinata started off as rivals who hate each other but they turned into rivals who genuinely care about each other.

Kagayema is a genius, which makes him intimidating to Hinata who has to start from scratch to become the best volleyball player.

Furthermore, Kageyama’s skills push Hinata to improve, making the former an effective rival.

Who Are Some Popular Rivals in Anime Goku and Vegeta
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There are also instances wherein the rival is made to be the complete opposite of the protagonist, which is the case with Goku and Vegeta in Dragon Ball.

Both characters are strong and powerful, and even if Goku mostly wins against Vegeta, the point of their relationship is how they complement each other because of their personalities.

Goku is kind and cheerful whereas Vegeta is known to be cold-hearted. But even if they have contrasting personalities, they match well.

Who Are Some Popular Rivals in Anime Goku and Vegeta

This might explain why rivals tend to have darker personalities as protagonists are usually bright and enthusiastic characters.

It can be said that rivals add color to the story. They are part of the reason the protagonist evolves and becomes the best version of themselves.

Their cool and intimidating personalities make them intriguing and interesting to watch, which also explains why they're so liked and adored by fans, despite being the protagonist's rival.

Who is your favorite anime rival? Follow us and let us know on Twitter @epicstreamanime!