Perhaps the greatest of all enemies is one that’s seems to be the most personal for you. Reasons can vary from familial relationships to being the harbinger for important and tragic events. One thing that still remains is the fact that not only are two people the worst of enemies against one another, but also ones that know the most about each other and are arguably just as important as the most powerful foe and the greatest of allies.
Keep in mind this is “Arch-Enemies”, not “Rivals”. While both terms are similar, there are some notable differences. A rivalry is more akin to two individuals who could be friends or individuals who have a personal relationship with one another, but compete with one another regardless. Arch-enemies normally don’t have any positive feelings for one another, and due to their personal relationship, their enmity is a lot stronger.
Guts and Griffith
The differences and parallels between Guts and Griffith are so stark, listing them down would be an essay in itself.
Guts is a lone warrior who wields a gigantic sword, is feared, has little social skills and fights for his life all the time. Griffith leads an army, wields an elegant sword, is seen as a Messiah, is incredibly charismatic and has dreams for ruling a kingdom. Despite this image, their personal character is a sharp contrast; Guts is remorseful, has a goal of protecting his love Casca and leading his own band of travelers and actually is capable of caring and loving someone. Griffith is a sociopath who only cares about himself and his end goals and is more than willing to sacrifice anyone if it means attaining something of his advantage. Post-Eclipse, it gets even more personal and there’s more contrasts; Guts has new goals via slaying the Godhand and forming new bonds with people whereas Griffith is just fixated on his childhood dream. Guts despises rape while …more – CrimsonShark
Batman and The Joker
Batman and The Joker’s relationship is an incredibly deep one in regards to the worst of enemies. Furthermore, their appearances and motives directly contrast one another, and yet, they both share a tragic backstory, with The Joker stating that he and Batman aren’t too different at times. Both have become a symbol of fear, but Batman also represents justice, whereas The Joker is associated madness and chaos. – CrimsonShark
Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty
One of the defining examples of an arch-nemesis. Sherlock Holmles is a “consulting detective”, James Moriarty is a “consulting criminal”. Sherlock, despite his aloof and cold attitude, is still a good man willing to help others, whereas Moriarty is a rotten man to the core. – CrimsonShark
Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul
Darth Maul killed Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan’s master. Maul himself would be cut in half by Obi-Wan moments later, and would spend years in total insanity and madness. After regaining his composure, he killed Obi-Wan’s love interest out of revenge, and the two would constantly duel with one another during the Clone Wars. Both also face tragedy after the Clone Wars due to Chancellor Palpatine; Obi-Wan lost his apprentice, Anakin Skywalker to the Dark Side and the Jedi Republic was all but almost extinct via Order 66, whereas Maul lost his younger brother Savage Oppress, his mother and any attempts to overthrow Palpatine, hence both were forced into hiding. – CrimsonShark
Samus Aran and Ridley
Ridley killed Samus’s parents, destroyed her home planet, and attacked her adopted family years later. In doing so, he created his own worst enemy. Samus hates Ridley for obvious reasons, whereas Ridley returns the favor due to her constantly overpowering and humiliating him in every battle they’re pitted against each other with. – CrimsonShark
Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort
Harry Potter and Tom Riddle are pretty similar when given a though. Both had terrible childhoods, are gifted in magic and were regarded highly by Albus Dumbledore. They also lost their parents in their childhood and were not content outside the Wizarding World.
However, for all their similar pasts, the two are exactly the polar opposites in their moral agency. Harry was able to love, inspire and nurture, all qualities which Riddle was unable to comprehend. Harry was a great leader who was looked up to by many, whereas Riddle was insecure and killed his followers if things didn’t get his way. Harry was also unfazed by his past and kept to his morals, whereas Riddle rejected his Muggle heritage, renaming himself Lord Voldemort and becomes a massive hypocrite when he wants to commit genocide on anyone related to muggles despite being one himself. The final contrast is Harry being willing to accept death, whereas Riddle is afraid of it, to the point of having his own dead body as …more – CrimsonShark
Spider-Man and Norman Osborne
While Venom is a worthy contender, he sometimes works with Spider-Man in dire circumstances, and the two are more akin to intense rivalry instead.
Norman Osborne is definitely Peter Parker’s most personal enemy, given their history with one another. Norman is the father of Peter’s best friend Harry, he killed Gwen Stacy, was responsible for the Clone Saga (As crap as that was) and makes it his personal mission to demoralize Spider-Man as much as he can, to the point where he’d even go against other supervillians for simply trying to go against the web-slinger. Furthermore, he tries to kill Mary Jane in the same way he killed Gwen. There’s also the massive contrast in Peter being an ordinary teenager while Norman is a wealthy businessman. Both have an established legacy, Peter as Spider-Man and Norman as the Green Goblin. Lastly, Peter is beloved, a paragon and a symbol of hope and inspiration. Norman is abusive, monstrous and morally disgusting, even by supervillain standards. – CrimsonShark
The Flash (Barry Allen) and Reverse Flash (Eobard Thawne)
Barry Allen is one of the most incredible, inspirational and loved heroes ever.
Eobard Thawne is lunacy, depravity and selfishness taken to new levels.
The Flash and the Reverse Flash are essentially polar opposites in regards to their morality. It gets more personal when Thawne was originally a Flash fanboy, before becoming the worst antithesis one could imagine. And Thawne decides to time travel and make Barry suffer solely for his own satisfaction; killing his mother, making him trip over, lose a baseball match, kill his pet dog, frame his father for his wife’s murder, the list goes on. – CrimsonShark
Goku/Vegeta and Frieza
Frieza was responsible for the extinction of the Saiyan alien race, which also includes Vegeta’s father, the king. Frieza would also later adopt Vegeta and treat him as an underling during his time as a member of the Frieza force.
On a different note, Frieza brutally killed Goku’s best friend Krillin, killed a peaceful alien race partially in an attempt to achieve immortality and partially to satiate his own sadism and threatened to kill Goku’s son, Gohan. The end result was Goku achieving a transformation which Frieza was deathly afraid of.
In an overall note, both Goku and Vegeta utterly despise Frieza, with the latter having a rather racist opinion on the Saiyans himself, instead calling them “monkeys”. There’s also the fact that Goku is a peaceful, loving and humble person at heart and Vegeta would progressively mellow out and become a better individual overtime, a stark contrast to Frieza still remaining a callous, genocidal and elitist monster at his core. – CrimsonShark
Hashirama Senju and Madara Uchiha
Madara Uchiha and Hashirama Senju started out as friends who lived in a war-torn land. They shared a similar goal of world peace, but ultimately became enemies once the two realized each other’s respective clans. Both also lost their families to one another, but in the end, Hashirama remained hopeful, whereas Madara fell into cynicism and nihilism, eventually giving into the Curse of Hatred. Despite the two establishing a village, Hashirama would inspire a new generation of shinobi, whereas Madara would become detested, and would rather corrupt others into his cause, as with the case of Obito Uchiha. – CrimsonShark