The flagship rivalry of the Naruto series is undoubtedly that of Naruto and Sasuke, the eponymous Uzumaki clan ninja and the brooding, vengeance-seeking Uchiha. The two start as antagonistic rivals who eventually become best friends, a point which the brooding Sasuke admits to Naruto during one of their fights.
However, this same fight sees Sasuke try to kill Naruto for being his best friend so that the Uchiha clan ninja can activate a biological power of his clan. It’s a troubled relationship, and there’s undoubtedly no friendliness here.
Zoro and Sanji, 4 other rivalries healthier than Naruto and Sasuke
1) Shoyo Hinata and Tobio Kageyama (Haikyu!!)
This is one of the most innocent and lovable rivalries in all of anime, that of Haikyu!!’s Tobio Kageyama and Shoyo Hinata. The two first met as enemies on the volleyball court before going to the same high school and learning how to play together as teammates.
However, this doesn’t stop them from always trying to be the better player in their relationship. The two are always looking to one-up each other and explain why they’re the more important part of their combination offensive. If that wasn’t enough to prove their rivalry was healthier than Naruto and Sasuke’s, then the final nail in the coffin is that these two never try to kill each other.
2) Allen Walker and Yu Kanda (D.Gray-man)
On a similar note, while D.Gray-man’s Allen Walker and Yu Kanda may always talk a big game about killing or hurting one another, it’s all bark and no bite. The two have demonstrated their friendly compassion for one another several times throughout the series and always have each other's backs when needed most.
While the two still have their problems, they’re nowhere near as troubled a rivalry as Naruto and Sasuke are. Allen and Yu may say the exact words as those two, but sitting beneath their sentences have entirely different meanings and intentions.
3) Zoro and Sanji (One Piece)
Speaking of troubled rivalries which are still healthier than Naruto and Sasuke’s, the Zoro and Sanji relationship as seen in One Piece embodies this perfectly. The two are often seen at odds with one another, calling each other names and tearing each other’s philosophies and ways of life down.
However, the two have been shown to very clearly care about one another throughout the series, with one iconic moment emphasizing this. The scene comes in Thriller Bark when the two decide who will throw their lives down to save Luffy and Sanji shows true concern for Zoro throughout the entire scene and aftermath. It’s a touching moment that solidifies the two as caring for one another.
4) Kakashi Hatake and Might Guy (Naruto)
Coming back to truly healthy rivalries is one which occupies the same series as Naruto and Sasuke’s, that being the rivalry of Kakashi Hatake and Might Guy. Throughout the entire series, the two were the best of friends, a relationship that the anime implies began at a young childhood age.
They’re never seen even arguing with one another, let alone on opposite sides of the battlefield from each other. Furthermore, their main contest of skills seems harmless races with distance or objective-based goals. It’s an incredibly innocent rivalry that is healthier than Naruto and Sasuke's.
5) Inuyasha and Sesshomaru (Inuyasha)
Finally, the brotherly love of Inuyasha and Sesshomaru, as seen in the Inuyasha series, is a much healthier relationship than Naruto and Sasuke’s rivalry. The two began the series at odds with one another but eventually reached mutually begrudging respect for the other after their misadventures.
By the end of the series, the two were even working together and seen visibly caring for one another. Despite their general conversation being far from friendly, Inuyasha and Sesshomaru’s rivalry is healthier than those above.
Ichigo and Grimmjow, four other rivalries as troubled as Naruto and Sasuke
1) Light Yagami and L (Death Note)
One rivalry that is just as troubling as that of Naruto and Sasuke comes from the contest between Death Note’s Light Yagami. The enigmatic L. Light and L are essentially racing one another to a finish line, where the first to achieve their goal wins the game between them. However, the loser of this race faces certain death.
While the two admitted to enjoying their game of cat and mouse several times throughout the series, it was a troubling rivalry. After all, the two are trying to kill each other, and even if they do enjoy the journey, it leads to the same destination as Naruto and Sasuke’s rivalry. As a result, the two are just as troubled as one another.
2) Meliodas and Ban (Seven Deadly Sins)
Similarly, although different, Meliodas and Ban's rivalry from Seven Deadly Sins is a troubling rivalry. The two are the most powerful combatants on their eponymous squad of fighters and typically greet each other by taking turns hitting one another. While each is essentially unkillable by the other for different reasons, it’s still a troubled relationship.
The two’s use of combat to greet one another also mirrors Naruto and Sasuke’s rivalry perfectly. A majority of the second half of the Naruto series saw the two fighting one another nearly every time they met, with the latter intending to kill his opponent.
3) Ichigo Kurosaki and Grimmjow Jaegerjaguez (Bleach)
Bleach’s Ichigo Kurosaki and Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez have an incredibly similar rivalry to Naruto and Sasuke. Like the latter pair, the former pair are both kindred spirits, having a clear friendship and rapport with one another despite their opposing one. The two even admitted to this during their final fight of the Invasion of Hueco Mundo arc
However, their being enemies and their resultant true desires to kill one another make the rivalry just as troubling as Naruto and Sasuke. Considering their similar personalities, the two would likely have been the best of friends in another life. However, their being enemies solidifies their rivalry as being just as troubled as the aforementioned one.
4) Izuku Midoriya and Katsuki Bakugou (My Hero Academia)
My Hero Academia’s Izuku Midoriya and Katsuki Bakugou had an interesting relationship during the My Hero Academia series. While the two are on the same side, Bakugou still acts maliciously towards Midoriya for most of the series. Although he does become more friendly eventually, it’s still done in a somewhat menacing way.
The two never truly become best friends, which isn’t necessary for their interactions. Bakugou will still casually throw death threats at Midoriya for incredibly mundane and unnecessary reasons. As a result, their rivalry is just as troubled as that of Naruto and Sasuke.
5) Ryuko Matoi and Satsuki Kiryuin (Kill la Kill)
The rivalry between Ryuko Matoi and Satsuki Kiryuin from the Kill la Kill series is a troubling one. The two are at odds for 90% of the series, only joining forces in the final portion of the final act once they learn they’re sisters. Up to that point, however, the two are constantly fighting with the intent to kill.
Ryuko is somewhat less under this goal than Satsuki, but the animosity's essence remains for both regardless. Their rivalry is undoubtedly as troubled as that of Naruto and Sasuke, despite their eventual truce in the final portion of the series.
Disclaimer: This article reflects the opinions of the writer.
This article was modified on Friday, July 21, at 10:19 pm.
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