Top 10 Best Anime Rival of 2016

Introduction:

Anime is ripe with rivalry. Rivals engage characters in numerous ways that force our main characters to grow and become stronger. Without a rival, whether it is in love or battle, many characters wouldn’t take the necessary step to move forward. This is because they create tension. They push the buttons of the main character and are generally dynamic enough to capture a lot of fan support. They show that there are other characters in this narrative that have their own story.

Rivals can act as the polar opposite of a character forcing that person to look deep within himself/herself to understand a key aspect of life. Sometimes it can even be to realize how similar the two are. Rivals can also be friends or have a connection that is akin to friendship. As such, you will see all the forms a rival can take in this updated list, which has the Top 10 Anime Rivals of 2015 listed below it.

10. Karasuno Koukou VS Shiratorizawa Gakuen Koukou (Haikyuu!!: Season 3)

  • Episodes: 10
  • Aired: Oct. 2016 – Dec. 2016

Following high school as they try to make their way into Nationals, Haikyuu!! is a thrilling look into the world of competitive volleyball. At the end of season 2, Karasuno had finally beat their rivals for two seasons, Aoba Jousai. Now, to get to Nationals they must defeat the reigning champs of their district, Shiratorizawa.

Though this entry makes a slight departure from the rest of the list, you cannot deny that the personal rivalries of the players hold a candle to the massive inferno of a rivalry that is felt when looking at the entirety of both teams. Both teams go beyond their limits as the game goes on, and each player is engaged in unique ways. Every single player feels some type of antagonism at some point and must find a way to overcome it. Whether it is internal or external, the players find a way to get past the issue and play on. This tension is felt from the very first episode and climaxes quite beautifully at the end.


9. Satou and Kei Nagai (Ajin Part 2: Shoutotsu)

  • Episodes: 1
  • Aired: May 2016

Ajin Part 2: Shoutotsu continues the story of Kei Nagai dealing with the fact that he is an Ajin. Being an Ajin in this world means that he is immortal. However, this really isn’t a good thing. Ajin are considered threats to the public safety of Japan and are hunted relentlessly.

Satou and Kei Nagai are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to how Ajin need to interact with society at large. Kei honestly wants to protect those who are closest to him and, though he would be happy not being an Ajin, will use his powers to protect his friends. Satou, on the other hand, wishes to set Ajin at the top of the social structure and basically oppress anyone who isn’t an Ajin. More honestly, he wants to put himself at top as he is willing to kill anyone, Ajin or not, who gets in his way.

The rivalry between the two has some nice complexities due to the fact that Satou does first present himself as a more idealistic and kind leader. This makes the betrayal and the ensuing antagonisms all the more powerful.


8. Sayaka Miyata and Rin Rokudou (Keijo!!!!!!!!)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Oct. 2016 – Dec. 2016

Keijo!!!!!!!! is one of those shows you just have to watch to understand. However, you don’t need to watch it to understand that fan service is given in heaps in this show that portrays the fictional sport of Keijo, where contestants may only use their butts and breasts to knock opponents out of the ring. The reasons for joining such a sport are various, but for our main protagonist, Nozomi, it is all about the money.

In this competitive sport, Sayaka Miyata and Rin Rokudou became a fan favorite rivalry. Despite only having one main battle, these two created quite the powerful scene. Sayaka gets in a little taunt at the beginning that goes against her usual timid nature and things get really intense really quickly from there.

Two things in particular make this rivalry special. First off, it’s a competition of speed, which both of them excel at. Second off, the two have extremely different personalities, which creates a very dynamic fight.


7. Angelo "Avilio Bruno" Lagusa and Nero Vanetti (91 Days)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Jul. 2016 – Oct. 2016

91 Days puts us into the world of the mafia. We are brought into the Vanetti family through Avilio Bruno, who is seeking revenge against the mob family that killed his own family. Well, the people he’s seeking revenge against is actually the mafia group that he has now joined. Setting these events with the 1920’s prohibition backdrop, 91 Days is an explosive journey.

Avilio and Nero make such good rivals for several reasons. First off, they both are incredibly determined people. Nero will give up everything to protect the family name, which includes his own family, while Avilio has been sitting patiently and planning his revenge for seven years. That’s a single-mindedness that you won’t see in many characters. They are both also extremely skilled fighters and capable of planning out devious schemes.

However, their rivalry becomes much greater when we actually learn more about their backstories and see them interact. You see, they actually become friends and, the more you learn about them, you come to see how difficult of a position each of them are in. This goes double for Avilio, who is conflicted between his friendship with Nero and his hate for the entire family.


6. Akutagawa Runosuke and Atsushi Nakajima (Bungou Stray Dogs)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Apr. 2016 – Jun. 2016

Bungou Stray Dogs takes us into the lives of the members of the Armed Detective Agency, who all have unique super powers and are tasked with protecting the city (mainly from the Port Mafia). The first season particularly follows Atsushi Nakajima, the newest member of the Armed Detective Agency, and the discovery of his abilities, which have actually put a price on his head.

The rivalry between Atsushi Nakajima and Akutagawa Runosuke is an intense one. First off, the actual fights between the two are really intense and have a lot of impact on the viewer. What makes their rivalry so powerful is the fact that where one excels the other fails. Akutagawa understands his power well and has learned to harness it in various ways, while Atsushi is just beginning to learn how to control his power. However, Atsushi has earned the kindness of Dazai, which is something Akutagawa was never able to receive.

The fact that Atsushi is still able to earn the praise of Dazai while being so weak pushes Akutagawa off the deep end. We see so much of his bitterness and personal desire when he challenges Atsushi. The fact that Akutagawa is so powerful also forces Atsushi to grow stronger at an extremely fast pace. These two basically hate each other and yet are yearning for the same thing and force each other to grow.


5. Petelgeuse Romanée-Conti and Subaru Natsuki (Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu)

  • Episodes: 25
  • Aired: Apr. 2016 – Sep. 2016

Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu came in 2016 and left everyone with their mouths opened. The show threw the hikikomori Subaru into an extremely dark fantasy world. In this world, he discovers that he has the ability to be reborn after dying. This ability is quickly realized as a curse as the young man finds himself unable to significantly the catastrophic events that generally cause him to die in the first place.

Petelgeuse is one of the leader’s of the Witch’s cult and quickly becomes Subaru’s number one rival or enemy. Petelgeuse, after all, tortures and kills Rem. This action burns itself into Subaru’s mind and he makes it his mission to take down Petelgeuse and his Unseen Hands. In fact, he teams up with Julius, who abused Subaru relentlessly, in order to face Petelgeuse. The fight between Subaru and Petelgeuse doesn’t quite end at that moment though. It continues and we further see Subaru’s growth/deterioration (depending on how you view his strength) when he finally takes Petelgeuse down.


4. Izaya Orihara and Shizuo Heiwajima (Durarara!!x2 Ketsu)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Jan. 2016 – Mar. 2016

Durarara!!x2 Ketsu brings us back to Ikebukuro. Mikado’s handling of the Dollars worries his friends, which essentially brings about the Yellow Scarves once more, and so we are given turf wars and a lot of conflict within the city. Oh and let’s not forget about the chess game that Kasane Kujiragi is playing with basically every other inhabitant of Ikebukuro.

It might not be the main conflict of the show, but the rivalry between Izaya Orihara and Shizuo Heiwajima is legendary. Having known each other since youth, the two have built up a strange relationship. Izaya finds nothing more entertaining than pissing off Shizuo and Shizuo consistently gives in to providing Izaya entertainment due to his short temper. At any given day these two can set off a chain of events that practically destroy the city. Their destructive force, awesome character designs, and consistent banter make them a joy to watch.


3. Akira Hayama and Souma Yukihira (Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara)

  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: Jul. 2016 – Sep. 2016

Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara isa presents an exciting and interesting second season to the series. We meet new students and new styles of cooking as Souma continues engaging in food wars at Tootsuki Culinary Academy.

Akira Hayama becomes quite the rival to Souma in this season of Shokugeki no Souma. There are a couple things that really set this rivalry into overdrive and make this season so delightful to watch. To begin, Akira has an extremely acute sense of smell that rivals the power of Erina’s God Tongue, which makes him a little bit more of a snob. At the beginning of this season, Souma happened to be one of those that Akira looked down upon, which set up a strong foundation for the rivalry to be built upon.

The second reason is just how close the matches are throughout the Autumn Election. Each food war is close and keeps you on the edge of your seat, which embellishes all the little moments of antagonism between Akira and Souma.


2. Katsuki "Kacchan" Bakugou and Izuku "Deku" Midoriya (Boku no Hero Academia)

  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: Apr. 2016 – Jun. 2016

Boku no Hero brings us into a world where everyone has a super power, otherwise known as a quirk in this world. Well, everyone but Izuku Midoriya, who has become the laughingstock of his school due to his powerless nature. However, on a chance circumstance he inherits the power of one of the greatest superheroes, and so begins his journey into the most elite and prestigious high school, Hero’s Academy.

One of the people Izuku Midoriya has known since childhood, and one of the people Midoriya is constantly bullied by, is Katsuki Bakugou. At first, his bullying is set up as a much more antagonistic force. Katsuki does burn Midoriya’s notes and calls his dream pointless.

Despite all of this Midoriya does greatly admire Kacchan’s abilities. In fact, some of his most detailed notes have been on Kacchan’s fighting style. Well, his respect for Katsuki and Katsuki’s disdain for him clash together once Midoriya gains the power of All Might. Katsuki feels that he has been made a fool, which ignites his fiery temper at Midoriya, and Midoriya sees this as an opportunity to test his own courage against someone he both fears and respects. This cooperation of great admiration and hate work well in creating a complex rivalry/relationship between the two.


1. Yuuri Katsuki and Yuri Plisetsky (YURI!!! on ICE)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: Oct. 2016 – Dec. 2016

YURI!!! on ICE carefully followed the intense and complex competitive world of figure skating. In particular it followed Yuuri Katsuki after he completely fell apart on the world stage. His rebirth in the figure skating world occurs when his idol Viktor Nikiforov, the five-time world champion, decides to quit competitive skating and become a coach. Not only does Yuuri have to learn to deal with the eccentricities of his idol/coach but also the hate of the world that now blames him for stealing Viktor.

Yuuri Katsuki and Yuri Plisetsky are at each other’s throat from the beginning. Their rivalry is quite earnestly engaged the moment Yuri P. kicks open the bathroom stall to tell Yuuri K. that there should only be one “Yuri”. This rivalry is continued throughout the entirety of the show. It grows considerably ass the two compete head-to-head to see who Viktor will coach, and become more intimate with each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They even become friends during this time.

Nonetheless, their friendship is only more fuel to the fire. Both want to prove how far they have come since their initial interaction. This leads to quite the epic finale as each performs to a degree that is beyond the imagination.


Conclusion:

A rival is an extremely important part of anime, or any story really. Without rivals, our main characters wouldn’t really have as much conflict in their lives. They wouldn’t have that extra push to really change the way they approach life. That’s why rivals are important and why the list here and the one below actually contain some of the most unique characters in anime. These are the pairs of people who really define the flow and feel of an anime.

Yoko Dev

Writer

Author: Yoko Dev

Hello, my anime peers. I’m from the states, but have taken an indefinite leave to travel while freelancing. Outside of a deep admiration for anime that started long ago, I love to read, write, and play video games. The main issue of traveling so far has been not having a console.

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