History Main / MagicAIsMagicA

28th Feb '17 3:35:18 PM margdean56
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** In the first series of her Tortal universe, SongOfTheLioness, we find that classical 'psuedo-medieval fantasy magic' is around. Some people are born with it and are called Gifted, but they are under no particular obligation to become Mages. Some people have enough innate power to level a building, some people with the Gift can just about light a candle and little else.
** In the next series, ''The Immortals'' we discover a Magic B: Wild Magic. This seems bounded up with the natural world and the gods, inherent in all living things but only available as usable magic to a few (also born with the talent innately).

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** In the first series of her Tortal Tortall universe, SongOfTheLioness, we find that classical 'psuedo-medieval 'pseudo-medieval fantasy magic' is around. Some people are born with it and are called Gifted, but they are under no particular obligation to become Mages. Some people have enough innate power to level a building, some people with the Gift can just about light a candle and little else.
** In the next series, ''The Immortals'' we discover a Magic B: Wild Magic. This seems bounded bound up with the natural world and the gods, inherent in all living things but only available as usable magic to a few (also born with the talent innately).



*** Interestingly for this trope, the 'rulesiness' of Ambient Magic makes it maligned in-universe: Academic Mages are often contemptuous of what they see as limited, folksy magics bound in the superstitions of the temple-folk who teach it. Unlike the Torall-verse there doesn't seem to be any conformation of magics beyond these human ones: whereas in Tortall we meet the gods and see their god-magics, there's no conformation of any god's existence in the Emelan-verse; there are no magical creatures (e.g. dragons, unicorns etc).

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*** Interestingly for this trope, the 'rulesiness' of Ambient Magic makes it maligned in-universe: Academic Mages are often contemptuous of what they see as limited, folksy magics bound in the superstitions of the temple-folk who teach it. Unlike the Torall-verse Tortall-verse there doesn't seem to be any conformation of magics beyond these human ones: whereas in Tortall we meet the gods and see their god-magics, there's no conformation of any god's existence in the Emelan-verse; there are no magical creatures (e.g. dragons, unicorns etc).



* ''Literature/JourneyToChaos'': Magic is a consistent and learnable skill in this verse and [[Literature/AMagespower Eric spends the first book doing just that.]] ''Introduction to Magecraft'' was written two thousand years ago and it is ''still'' the most popular reference guide for beginners because regardless of time or practioner, the basic rules of magic don't change. The Three Laws of Magecraft are as immutable as the Three Laws of Motion

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* ''Literature/JourneyToChaos'': Magic is a consistent and learnable skill in this verse and [[Literature/AMagespower Eric spends the first book doing just that.]] ''Introduction to Magecraft'' was written two thousand years ago and it is ''still'' the most popular reference guide for beginners because regardless of time or practioner, the basic rules of magic don't change. The Three Laws of Magecraft are as immutable as the Three Laws of MotionMotion.



* In ''Literature/TheIronTeeth'' web serial magic done by growing crystals using alchemy. Each crystal can then be used up by a mage to produce some effect.

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* In ''Literature/TheIronTeeth'' web serial serial, magic is done by growing crystals using alchemy. Each crystal can then be used up by a mage to produce some effect.
28th Feb '17 3:28:13 PM margdean56
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* The Rules of Magic (or how it works) are seldom explained in Creator/JRRTolkien's ''Literature/LordOfTheRings'' - the lore and magical words are well outside the ken of the hobbits. Even people who ought to know (such as Elrond) express some ambivalence on the potential effects of, say, destroying the Ring. Still, this doesn't stop fans from getting into debates about whether the Nazgûl wore their Rings or if Sauron had them on his person.

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* The Rules of Magic (or how it works) are seldom explained in Creator/JRRTolkien's ''Literature/LordOfTheRings'' - -- the lore and magical words are well outside the ken of the hobbits. Even people who ought to know (such as Elrond) express some ambivalence on the potential effects of, say, destroying the Ring. Still, this doesn't stop fans from getting into debates about whether the Nazgûl wore their Rings or if Sauron had them on his person.



--->'I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves. 'They are fair garments, and the web is good, for it was made in this land. They are elvish robes certainly, if that is what you mean." ("Farewell to Lórien", ''The Fellowship of the Ring''.)

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--->'I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves. 'They are fair garments, and the web is good, for it was made in this land. They are elvish robes certainly, if that is what you mean." '" ("Farewell to Lórien", ''The Fellowship of the Ring''.)



** Avrupan (European) magic is mostly FunctionalMagic. It's very individualistic, and to achieve the really large spells, multiple mages will each cast a part of the spell, which can then be fitted together. It's the best style for everyday stuff, but is usually weaker greater you go.

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** Avrupan (European) magic is mostly FunctionalMagic. It's very individualistic, and to achieve the really large spells, multiple mages will each cast a part of the spell, which can then be fitted together. It's the best style for everyday stuff, but is usually weaker the greater you go.



* A rather interesting case in ''Literature/ShadowsOfTheApt''- humans all possess the Art, giving them powers and abilities based on the particular insect-archetype. This is all inherited- if you have Beetle parents, you're a Beetle yourself and you get Beetle Art. There's also Aptitude- either you're Apt, and can use- and learn to create- technology, or you're Inapt and can't even open a door with a spring-latch. However, the Inapt can learn magic- another interesting part being that if you ''see'' Art, you ''know'' it's Art not magic.

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* A rather interesting case in ''Literature/ShadowsOfTheApt''- humans ''Literature/ShadowsOfTheApt''--humans all possess the Art, giving them powers and abilities based on the particular insect-archetype. This is all inherited- if inherited--if you have Beetle parents, you're a Beetle yourself and you get Beetle Art. There's also Aptitude- either Aptitude--either you're Apt, and can use- and use--and learn to create- technology, create--technology, or you're Inapt and can't even open a door with a spring-latch. However, the Inapt can learn magic- another magic--another interesting part being that if you ''see'' Art, you ''know'' it's Art not magic.



** There has to be "the Will and the Word" - you gather your Will and focus it with a Word. This uses the same amount of energy as doing it any other way, but means you can pull in energy from your surroundings and apply it with more flexibility. The exact nature of the word isn't important (though Belgarath chides Garion several times for choosing insufficiently impressive words,) but there does need to be a word.
** The one thing magic ''cannot'' do is "unmake" anything. It can kill and destroy, for that just changes live people to dead people or whole objects to broken ones, but it cannot erase anything from existence. Doing so causes the universe to take ''massive'' offense, protect the targeted object, and annihilate the sorcerer. (As a corollary, this means that there is one object any sorcerer can freely unmake - ''themselves''. Several characters have either attempted or committed suicide this way.)
** It is theorized that many mages who never had any practical training accidentally killed themselves by trying to annihilate objects. When the group meets a two-hundred year old scholar whose work was ignored because all of his apprentices mysteriously vanished, they find that he is a really nice guy and the worst thing he ever did was teleport an assailant out to sea.

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** There has to be "the Will and the Word" - -- you gather your Will and focus it with a Word. This uses the same amount of energy as doing it any other way, but means you can pull in energy from your surroundings and apply it with more flexibility. The exact nature of the word isn't important (though Belgarath chides Garion several times for choosing insufficiently impressive words,) words), but there does need to be a word.
** The one thing magic ''cannot'' do is "unmake" anything. It can kill and destroy, for that just changes live people to dead people or whole objects to broken ones, but it cannot erase anything from existence. Doing so causes the universe to take ''massive'' offense, protect the targeted object, and annihilate the sorcerer. (As a corollary, this means that there is one object any sorcerer can freely unmake - -- ''themselves''. Several characters have either attempted or committed suicide this way.)
** It is theorized that many mages who never had any practical training accidentally killed themselves by trying to annihilate objects. When the group meets a two-hundred year old two-hundred-year-old scholar whose work was ignored because all of his apprentices mysteriously vanished, they find that he is a really nice guy and the worst thing he ever did was teleport an assailant out to sea.



** There is also the warning that just because something can be theoretically done, it doesn't mean it ''should'' be attempted. There are many things that no experienced sorcerer is stupid or crazy enough to attempt under normal circumstances, such as bringing the dead to back to life. This comes from the fact that for it to work, the sorcerer has to be completely ''committed'' to making it work, and that the smallest bit of doubt can cause it to fail.
** There are also other forms of magic, such as wizardry - demon summoning, witchcraft - some sort of natural magic, and various others such as seers and necromancers who get even less explanation. Even if the rules of one form of magic prevent you from doing something, there's probably another type with different rules that would allow you to do it.

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** There is also the warning that just because something can be theoretically done, it doesn't mean it ''should'' be attempted. There are many things that no experienced sorcerer is stupid or crazy enough to attempt under normal circumstances, such as bringing the dead to back to life. This comes from the fact that for it to work, the sorcerer has to be completely ''committed'' to making it work, and that the smallest bit of doubt can cause it to fail.
** There are also other forms of magic, such as wizardry - -- demon summoning, witchcraft - -- some sort of natural magic, and various others such as seers and necromancers who get even less explanation. Even if the rules of one form of magic prevent you from doing something, there's probably another type with different rules that would allow you to do it.
28th Feb '17 3:08:43 PM margdean56
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* The "magic" in Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's ''Literature/TheDeathGateCycle'' ''is'' (pseudo)science, complete with a {{Technobabble}}--filled appendix describing how all of it works.

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* The "magic" in Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's ''Literature/TheDeathGateCycle'' ''is'' (pseudo)science, complete with a {{Technobabble}}--filled {{Technobabble}}-filled appendix describing how all of it works.



** Finally, the source of magic in the series is uniform for all: A person's True Name, the name they are born with, provides it. Knowing your True Name gives Godlike power, anyone else knowing it makes you a slave to their commands. It's protected with your Given Name, the name your parents give you, but power can be exerted on you through it's use (you're more likely to answer someone if they call you by name). The Given Name is protected by the Taken Name, a name the person gives themselves. Sometimes, it's something quirky but still normal, like Deacon Maybury. Most of the time, it's completely out-there, going from those who use at least one normal name (eg. Philomena Random, Gracious O'Callahan) to those who's names would probably be rejected by the birth register (eg. the titular Skulduggery Pleasant, China Sorrows, The Torment, Neferian Serpine).

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** Finally, the source of magic in the series is uniform for all: A person's True Name, the name they are born with, provides it. Knowing your True Name gives Godlike power, anyone else knowing it makes you a slave to their commands. It's protected with your Given Name, the name your parents give you, but power can be exerted on you through it's its use (you're more likely to answer someone if they call you by name). The Given Name is protected by the Taken Name, a name the person gives themselves. Sometimes, it's something quirky but still normal, like Deacon Maybury. Most of the time, it's completely out-there, going from those who use at least one normal name (eg. (e.g. Philomena Random, Gracious O'Callahan) to those who's whose names would probably be rejected by the birth register (eg.(e.g. the titular Skulduggery Pleasant, China Sorrows, The Torment, Neferian Serpine).



** Because this is Terry Pratchett, the lack of consistency in the magic systems isn't authorial oversight, it's intentional. Magic's tropes are lampshaded, discussed and played with a lot over the course of the books, both in the narrator's voice and by various characters who take issue with magic's messiness. Rincewind - at least at first - was depicted as being so bad at magic partly because he didn't really believe in it despite it patently existing. He thinks the world ought to make more sense than that. Discworld's magic is bounded by one important rule, which is: Don't Do Magic. Books from the series that particularly explore the different iterations, applications and limitations of magic on the Disc include Equal Rites, Sourcery and the Tiffany Aching books.

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** Because this is Terry Pratchett, the lack of consistency in the magic systems isn't authorial oversight, it's intentional. Magic's tropes are lampshaded, discussed and played with a lot over the course of the books, both in the narrator's voice and by various characters who take issue with magic's messiness. Rincewind - -- at least at first - -- was depicted as being so bad at magic partly because he didn't really believe in it despite it patently existing. He thinks the world ought to make more sense than that. Discworld's magic is bounded by one important rule, which is: Don't Do Magic. Books from the series that particularly explore the different iterations, applications and limitations of magic on the Disc include Equal Rites, Sourcery and the Tiffany Aching books.



** Using magic physically tires out the spellcaster. Throwing around magic wears one out like doing any other act of physical exertion; dropping lots of energy can make one black out if used too quickly or too hard. And just like doing a lot of physical activity builds up muscle, casting a lot of spells builds up your ability to cast them - Harry has gotten a larger and larger "reservoir" to draw from as the series has gone on, while he was pretty much out of juice after only one or two big spells in the first few books.
** Magic can be targeted using connections between objects, i.e. a spell can be targeted against a person by using a sample of hair, skin, or blood, or an object can be tracked by using a small piece of it. This is used throughout the series to do everything from tracking down lost items to eavesdropping on conversations to launching heart-exploding spells at targets. Harry takes this to a rather impressive extent by taking tiny samples from every building, tree, and street in Chicago and making a precise scale-model replica of the city that allows him to work tracking and eavesdropping spells across the entire city. However, this magic can only used so long as the two objects have a direct connection- hair clippings, for example, could not be used to find someone who'd shaved his head at some point after the clippings were taken because the clippings no longer matched up with any of the hairs on his head.

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** Using magic physically tires out the spellcaster. Throwing around magic wears one out like doing any other act of physical exertion; dropping lots of energy can make one black out if used too quickly or too hard. And just like doing a lot of physical activity builds up muscle, casting a lot of spells builds up your ability to cast them - -- Harry has gotten a larger and larger "reservoir" to draw from as the series has gone on, while he was pretty much out of juice after only one or two big spells in the first few books.
** Magic can be targeted using connections between objects, i.e. a spell can be targeted against a person by using a sample of hair, skin, or blood, or an object can be tracked by using a small piece of it. This is used throughout the series to do everything from tracking down lost items to eavesdropping on conversations to launching heart-exploding spells at targets. Harry takes this to a rather impressive extent by taking tiny samples from every building, tree, and street in Chicago and making a precise scale-model replica of the city that allows him to work tracking and eavesdropping spells across the entire city. However, this magic can only be used so long as the two objects have a direct connection- hair connection--hair clippings, for example, could not be used to find someone who'd shaved his head at some point after the clippings were taken because the clippings no longer matched up with any of the hairs on his head.



** Physical contact between magically-sensitive mortals generates a detectable field. Making eye contact with a person with strong magical ability triggers a "soulgaze" that shows both participants the true nature of the other. Anyone with sufficient talent at magic can initiate the "Sight" which allows them to see reality as it "truly" is - letting them see magical auras and determine the true nature of creatures and locations - with the downside that the person who uses the Sight will retain that knowledge with perfect clarity (so if you look upon a victim of a psychic mauling or an EldritchAbomination, time will not dull the edges of the memory).
** Another very important aspect of the magic is that in order to use magic you have to believe that what you are doing is right, which is why killing someone with magic is such a terrible thing- you have to believe that you have the right to kill them. This creates a psychological effect on anyone who uses magic to kill or tamper with the free will of another human, which inevitably leads to JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope and becoming a raving psychopath. This is the basis for most of the Laws of Magic enforced by the White Council.

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** Physical contact between magically-sensitive mortals generates a detectable field. Making eye contact with a person with strong magical ability triggers a "soulgaze" that shows both participants the true nature of the other. Anyone with sufficient talent at magic can initiate the "Sight" which allows them to see reality as it "truly" is - -- letting them see magical auras and determine the true nature of creatures and locations - -- with the downside that the person who uses the Sight will retain that knowledge with perfect clarity (so if you look upon a victim of a psychic mauling or an EldritchAbomination, time will not dull the edges of the memory).
** Another very important aspect of the magic is that in order to use magic you have to believe that what you are doing is right, which is why killing someone with magic is such a terrible thing- you thing--you have to believe that you have the right to kill them. This creates a psychological effect on anyone who uses magic to kill or tamper with the free will of another human, which inevitably leads to JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope and becoming a raving psychopath. This is the basis for most of the Laws of Magic enforced by the White Council.
28th Feb '17 3:00:05 PM margdean56
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** There are five specific things that cannot be created by magic (food, love, life, information, and money). Only the first is enumerated in the series, and only in the last book. The other four are via WordOfGod, though it's implicit from the lack of those things being created by magic (although prophecy are arguably creating informations). They do explain that there are imitations that can be made (such making objects take on the appearance of life) and there are "cheats" that might be mistaken for breaking the rule (such as summoning already prepared food from one location to another).

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** There are five specific things that cannot be created by magic (food, love, life, information, and money). Only the first is enumerated in the series, and only in the last book. The other four are via WordOfGod, though it's implicit from the lack of those things being created by magic (although prophecy prophecies are arguably creating informations).information). They do explain that there are imitations that can be made (such making objects take on the appearance of life) and there are "cheats" that might be mistaken for breaking the rule (such as summoning already prepared food from one location to another).



** Rogue's Occlumancy's lesson is a good example of the trope and even points out that Harry doesn't care enough about nuances to really grasp it. Legilimancy isn't exactly mind reading but the ability to synch emotions and thoughts with someone else, space and time does play an important role in magic and some magic links are still unknown. This might also explains why every wizards can use a wand but few can perfectly understand how it works, every type of spell is a field of study by itself.

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** Rogue's Occlumancy's Occlumency lesson is a good example of the trope and even points out that Harry doesn't care enough about nuances to really grasp it. Legilimancy Legilimency isn't exactly mind reading but the ability to synch emotions and thoughts with someone else, space and time does play an important role in magic and some magic links are still unknown. This might also explains explain why every wizards wizard can use a wand but few can perfectly understand how it works, every type of spell is a field of study by itself.
17th Feb '17 3:46:33 PM margdean56
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* ''ComicBook/{{Fables}}'' is a bit confusing. AllMythsAreTrue, and exist in another universe. However, Nick Slick (apparently the devil) and the Frankenstein monster seems to have always existed in the real world, and even mundane world wolves appear to have a complex language and even a religion, implying that they're far more intelligent that real-world wolves. It's partially resolved in that over the course of the series it becomes apparent that it is not our world. Jack of Fables makes it much more noticeable as it shows superpowered abstract entities already exist in the Fables universe.

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* ''ComicBook/{{Fables}}'' is a bit confusing. AllMythsAreTrue, and exist in another universe. However, Nick Slick (apparently the devil) and the Frankenstein monster seems to have always existed in the real world, and even mundane world wolves appear to have a complex language and even a religion, implying that they're far more intelligent that than real-world wolves. It's partially resolved in that over the course of the series it becomes apparent that it is not our world. Jack of Fables makes it much more noticeable as it shows superpowered abstract entities already exist in the Fables universe.



** With the former, he is considered utterly unpredictable because of his artistic imagination, making figures like mecha or MagicalGirls to fight. With the latter, John Stewart actually takes times in applying his architectural knowhow when constructing items, so they have a lot more 'solidness' to them.

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** With the former, he is considered utterly unpredictable because of his artistic imagination, making figures like mecha or MagicalGirls to fight. With the latter, John Stewart actually takes times in applying time to apply his architectural knowhow when constructing items, so they have a lot more 'solidness' to them.
8th Feb '17 4:24:10 PM BURGINABC
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This is such a fundamental part of an audience's perception of a story that if you establish a fictional "rule" that isn't quite like reality, and then later break this law to make things act the way they actually would in RealLife, [[RealityIsUnrealistic people will likely be distraught]]. Whether it's realistic doesn't matter. Even whether it's ''explained at all'' doesn't matter: depending on your audience, even [[HandWave "it's]] [[AWizardDidIt magic!"]] can be a satisfactory explanation, as long as the magic behaves consistently.

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This is such a fundamental part of an audience's perception of a story that if you establish a fictional "rule" that isn't quite like reality, and then later break this law to make things act the way they actually would in RealLife, [[RealityIsUnrealistic people will likely be distraught]]. Whether it's realistic doesn't matter. Even whether it's ''explained at all'' doesn't matter: depending on your audience, even [[HandWave "it's]] [[AWizardDidIt "it's magic!"]] can be a satisfactory explanation, as long as the magic behaves consistently.
6th Feb '17 12:20:10 PM IndustriousArc
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Added DiffLines:

* ''FanFic/ABrighterDark'': It's not quite explained ''how'' magic works, much like its [[VideoGame/FireEmblem original source material,]] however it does establish that there are certain things that can't be changed, at least in regards to healing magic. Healing magic can accelerate the body's natural healing abilities, nothing more, and thus can't do anything about things that wouldn't naturally heal or would otherwise heal incorrectly like [[ScarsAreForever scars,]] [[AnArmAndALeg amputations, crippling injuries,]] and [[AllDeathsFinal death.]]
19th Jan '17 1:23:54 PM Rhodes7
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Added DiffLines:

* ''Literature/MagicExLibris'' involves libriomancy, the magic of pulling items from a book with the powers they're described as having. This leads to [[ReferenceOverdosed many references]] but a few hard limits are laid out too. No necromancy, no time-travel, no wishes. Minor exceptions occur, but these are clearly marginal examples of these things happening in a far more limited form.
8th Jan '17 7:26:42 PM Ryulong
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** The later series ''Series/SamuraiSentaiShinkenger'' has magic called Mojikara invoked by writing the appropriate kanji character in the air using their magical paintbrush/cellphone transformation device. Writing the kanji for "rock" (石) will cause a rock to materialize, and writing the kanji for "horse" (馬) will also cause a horse to appear. The kanji also has to be written properly, a fact Chiaki learns early on when his terrible penmanship prevents him from using Mojikara because he never learned how to write the kanji for "grass" (草) with the proper stroke order. Genta, who does not have the paintbrush/cellphone, instead uses a text-messaging interface on his cellphone transformation device.

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** The later series ''Series/SamuraiSentaiShinkenger'' has magic called Mojikara (literally "symbol power") invoked by writing the appropriate kanji character in the air using their magical paintbrush/cellphone transformation device. Writing the kanji for "rock" (石) will cause a rock to materialize, and writing the kanji for "horse" (馬) will also cause a horse to appear. Each of them has their own transformation kanji, which itself represents their own elemental power affinity. The kanji also has to be written properly, a fact Chiaki learns early on when his properly; Chiaki's terrible penmanship prevents him from using Mojikara because he never learned how early in the series, demonstrated by his inability to summon plantlife after failing to use the proper stroke order to write the kanji for "grass" (草) with the proper stroke order. (草). Genta, who does not have the paintbrush/cellphone, instead uses a text-messaging interface on his sushi-themed cellphone transformation device.
14th Dec '16 3:48:34 AM Vir
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** The titular Dragon Balls have their own rules that govern how often they can be used and what wishes they can grant. Earth's dragon, Shenron, notably cannot effect people whose power exceeds his creator, cannot revive the same person twice, and and can be used to bring back multiple people under one wish as long as they died within the last year. Porunga is similar, but offers three wishes, can revive the same person any number of times, and originally cannot revive multiple people with a single wish. Later, both sets of Dragon Balls are upgraded to be similar in power.

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** The titular Dragon Balls have their own rules that govern how often they can be used and what wishes they can grant. Earth's dragon, Shenron, notably cannot effect affect people whose power exceeds his creator, cannot revive the same person twice, and and can be used to bring back multiple people under one wish as long as they died within the last year. Porunga is similar, but offers three wishes, can revive the same person any number of times, and originally cannot revive multiple people with a single wish. Later, both sets of Dragon Balls are upgraded to be similar in power.
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