5 passionate animated rivals (and 5 who keep their cool)
The anime world has many types of characters, from the standard shonen protagonist to the gritty antihero to healthy love interest, and much more. Another beloved type of character is the rival, someone who pushes the main character with intense competition to see who really is the best.
These rivalries vary as some are friendly and some are brutal. Some of the best rivalries are defined more by friendship than competition. Some of these anime rivals are also hotheads who might freak out when they fall behind, while others keep their cool and will humbly applaud the other rival for their accomplishments. Which anime characters are a good example of all of this?
ten HOTHEADED ANIME RIVAL: Katsuki Bakugo Has an Explosive Personality (My Hero Academia)
Katsuki Bakugo is one of the most popular anime rivals right now, being the fierce contender for the No.1 spot with Izuku Midoriya the star. Bakugo, unlike Izuku, was born with natural talent with his Quirk Blast, and he has a personality to match.
Bakugo can’t stand when anyone looks down on him, especially Izuku or even his idol All Might, and he often feels threatened by Izuku’s rapid progress. Bakugo and Izuku even came to grips with it, but since then their rivalry has grown a bit healthier. Yet Bakugo’s hot temper did not cool down at all.
9 COOL ANIME RIVAL: Killua Zoldyck looks more like Gon’s friend than his rival (Hunter X Hunter)
It’s a bit of a stretch to say that Killua Zoldyck is even Gon’s rival. The two boys are first and foremost friends, and we often see them training and fighting together as a cohesive team. Still, these two young heroes are eager to prove themselves to each other, and it’s always a race to see who can master the Nen first.
Killua comes from a brutal and reclusive family of assassins, and Gon is one of his first true friends to whom he is grateful. But that won’t stop him from working hard to practice Nen and show Gon who’s the best here. Gon reflects these feelings in their entirety as they train together.
8 HOTHEADED ANIME RIVAL: Takumi Aldini doesn’t take losses well (food wars!)
Takumi Aldini is half Italian, and this is reflected in his culinary style. Takumi and his brother Isami also have experience in running the family restaurant, which makes Takumi an ideal rival for the protagonist, Soma Yukihira himself.
Takumi won’t miss any chance to face Soma and prove himself to be the best leader, but he has a tendency to lose and he always has a fit until Isami trains him to calm down. Towards the end of Food wars!, however, Takumi cooled down a bit and grew up, and he was very respectful to Soma as a friend and rival.
7 COOL ANIME RIVAL: Sasuke Uchiwa is a quintessential cool genius (Naruto)
Sasuke Uchiha was designed to be an awesome and cool rival for fiery protagonist Naruto Uzumaki, and it worked. Sasuke was very talented and enjoyed Uchiha style training at home for a while, but Naruto started to catch up with Kurama’s hard work and chakra.
Sasuke accepted the rivalry, and for a while, it was a healthy relationship as Naruto and Sasuke strove to reach greater heights. Sasuke wasn’t easily shaken or angry during the good old days, establishing himself as a cool and rallying rival for Naruto to defeat. Of course, things took a dark turn afterwards.
6 HOTHEADED ANIME RIVAL: Uryu Ishida Is Surprisingly Horny (Bleach)
At first, Quincy Archer Uryu Ishida appears to be an awesome rival like Sasuke or Killua, but his emotions are searing and he is likely to lose his temper and snap when his Soul Reaper rival Ichigo Kurosaki is around. And Ichigo is likely to react right away, leading to some funny but fierce and petty arguments.
Uryu has a passionate heart that cares deeply for the Quincy tribe, their pride and certainly their friends, especially Orihime Inoue. He’s cool and serene when taking on bad guys on his own, but when he’s with his friends his intense passions pour out which helps him humanize him. And it was Uryu who recklessly challenged Ichigo to that Hollow Hunting Contest in Season 1.
5 COOL ANIME RIVAL: Yuki Sohma is tired of Kyo’s attitude (fruit basket)
Not all anime rivals have a rivalry with the main character. Sometimes they are in competition with a secondary character, and this is the case of Yuki Sohma, the rat spirit of the Chinese zodiac. Yuki has always quarreled with her passionate cousin Kyo, and their minds are natural enemies.
Yuki usually wins their physical fights, and he probably outshines Kyo in school too. But when the sweet Tohru Honda arrived, Yuki and Kyo called back a bit and got to get along better. However, they always want to outperform others in spur of the moment contests.
4 HOTHEADED ANIME RIVAL: Inosuke Hashibira wants to fight everyone (Demon Slayer)
Inosuke Hashibira is Tanjiro’s one-sided rival, and he’s fiercely determined to prove he’s the ultimate demon slayer. Inosuke is mostly interested in impressing Tanjiro, but he will also run up against anyone who competes against him in strength, like Water Hashira, Giyu Tomioka.
Inosuke has invented his own breathing style, the beast breathing, and this gives him unique advantages in combat, especially in the forests. Tanjiro appreciates Inosuke’s abilities, but he’s not really in the mood for a fierce rivalry like this. Still, Inosuke persists.
3 COOL ANIME RIVAL: Gray Fullbuster keeps his emotions under control (Fairy Tail)
Gray Fullbuster, the wizard of ice, can get a bit brash at times, but on his own, he’s a cool-headed, sane wizard who doesn’t let things get out of hand if he can help him. Gray’s Ice Cream is the perfect counterpart to Natsu’s Fire, and both boys have personalities to match them.
Gray also has Lyon Vastia as a rival of sorts, and Gray indeed stays cool as ice as the two go head-to-head to see who the # 1 Ice Magician is here. After all, they’ve both learned the magic of Ur’s ice-making, and only one of them can be the best dog.
2 HOTHEADED ANIME RIVAL: Arthur Boyle is the Proud Knight King (Fire Force)
Arthur Boyle is a fire soldier, and as a third generation pyrokinetics, he can use his ignition ability to conjure intense plasma flames on his sword hilt to form a kind of lightsaber. He and Shinra have been competing since their academy days, and their rivalry continues in Society 8.
Arthur and Shinra face each other regularly during training, but they can put their rivalry aside during combat and work together as professionals against the Infernals and the white-clad cult. In battle, Arthur wants to impress not only Shinra, but everyone, as the noble Knight-King Arthur of Camelot.
1 COOL ANIME RIVAL: Yumeko Jabami is Mary’s (Kakegurui) cool but unpredictable rival
It is true that during the climax of a bet, Yumeko Jabami will be hot-blooded and horny, and she quickly accepts challenges. Still, she has more of a cool head than her No.1 rival, Mary Saotome, who is a proud and aggressive player. When Mary lost to Yumeko in their first match, Mary vowed revenge.
Yumeko is passionate about gambling and risk taking, but otherwise she keeps her cool and is perfectly relaxed on a daily basis. She is also not easily provoked or upset – she prefers to play with her head than with her heart. For her, the game is like fencing, not a furious brawl.
NEXT: 5 Hot-Tempered Animated Love Interests (& 5 That Keep Their Cool)
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