Created By: Mystyc on January 17, 2008
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Awesomeness By Analysis

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Most skills take a certain measure of practice to master...unless you are insanely smart. Need to make a million-to-one shot to stop the Doomsday Device from exploding the world, but have never even fired a gun? Just run off some mental calculations about your gun's firing speed, friction, gravity, and the slightly off-kilter scope, and it's a done deal.

It's like a Xanatos Roulette with physics...and usually pulled off by the same Magnificent Bastard. In general, though, it's any situation where calculation takes the place of practice.

Example: In the Disc World novel Jingo, Lord Vetinari pulls off a juggling act despite never having attempted it before.
Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • January 17, 2008
    Air of Mystery
    Yes, but that's because Lord Vetinari is a reclusive mastermind who can do anything the plot demands he need to do and mocks everything while he does it. (No, I'm not angry at him.)
  • January 18, 2008
    JethroQWalrustitty
    Also, he's a trained assassin.
  • January 18, 2008
    Air of Mystery
    Oh yes, add that to the bloody list. Anyway, we'll need more examples if this is to be a trope.
  • January 18, 2008
    BlackDragon
    Well, Artemis Fowl pulled this off in 'The Arctic Incident' - performing an acrobatic slide across the ice-slick roof of a moving train by calculating momentum, angles and friction. He probably also does it a couple of other times in the series, but that's the one that springs to mind.
  • January 18, 2008
    SchrodingersDuck
    Edd from Ed Edd N Eddy does this a fair bit - despite being by far the most feeble of the trio, he can often perform amazing feats with just a few calculations and some Bamboo Technology.
  • January 18, 2008
    OfScience
    Some of the kids from Foxtrot do this.

    There's one incredibly smart student in Great Teacher Onizuka who does the whole "physics-calculations-in-her-head" bit before making a perfect throw.
  • January 18, 2008
    BlackDragon
    One particular common example at this involves a brainy character beating the 'Cool guy pool-shark' by calculating all the angles. I know that Beast from the X-Men have done this at least once, when playing with Hawk-Eye of all people...
  • January 18, 2008
    SchrodingersDuck
    Pool hustling with science is how the Vulcans were able to survive on Earth with no money in the Star Trek Enterprise episode "Carbon Creek".
  • January 18, 2008
    Vulpy
    Does Antonio Banderas in the movie The Thirteenth Warrior learning a language count? Or are we solely hands-on here?
  • January 18, 2008
    Mystyc
    It doesn't have to be physical, but it should be something that requires a lot of practice, so a language could fit. Say, if you were to listen to a few sentences, then suddenly know the entire tongue, idiomatically perfect, based on the degree of variation from its ancestor language, common syllables that are probably shared among words, etc, etc...

    (I haven't seen the movie, so someone else will have to judge.)
  • January 18, 2008
    VampireBuddha
    Saati in AI Love You does this regularly, with occasionally humourous results.
  • January 18, 2008
    John17Martin
    In the Doctor Who serial "The Androids of Tara", the fourth Doctor ends up in a sword fight with the villain. The Doctor learns how to sword fight quickly enough to win.
  • January 18, 2008
    Air of Mystery
    Ahmad (Banderas' character) listens to the Norsemen's language over a long period of time, and he's meant to be a diplomat so it's a little more justified.
  • January 19, 2008
    fleb
    There's a short The Speechless bespectacled chicken Looney Tunes character (Foghorn Leghorn's -- whose name is *not* memorable; I just knew him as 'the rooster guy' until five seconds ago -- nephew, or something) who uses calculations to do impossible things.
  • January 19, 2008
    Jordan
    In one of the "Thinking Machine" detective stories by Jacques Futrelle (I think the first) which were written during the Gay Nineties, the titular detective defeats a chess master by pure logic, even though he had never played the game previously.
  • January 19, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Idea for the page quote (heavily paraphrased - I may get the exact quote later)

    "Calculating trajectories...pinpointing enemy positions...got it! This is so easy!"

    Sonja, from Advance Wars 2.
  • January 19, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Cho,, the "world's six smartest person" from Marvel Comics. He's usually seen making math in his head before jumping behind the hulk or destroying an helicopter. It's never stated that he has a mutant power, however.
  • January 19, 2008
    Fanra
    For fleb:

    The Looney Tunes Foghorn Leghorn attempts to woo the widowed hen Miss Prissy. Her son is the bookish Egghead Jr. Foghorn often babysits him to gain favor with her. Egghead Jr. then shows the ability to do impossible things just by calculating them.

    This is very close to this trope, however, it might not apply since it isn't really a case of where calculation takes the place of practice but where calculation takes the place of reality. For example, Foghorn Leghorn might challenge Egghead to a foot race. Foghorn starts running while Egghead just stands there. We see Foghorn go over the hill and approach the finish line. When he arrives, Egghead is already there. When Foghorn comments that Egghead didn't even run and never passed him, Egghead just shows off a blackboard with calculations and Foghorn just gives up.
  • January 19, 2008
    EponymousKid
    Mugen, after seeing it used exactly once, was able to replicate the effects of a devastating chi blast (also exactly once) in Samurai Champloo
  • January 20, 2008
    BlackDragon
    I think the Clock King - or whatever his name is - from Batman: The Animated Series counts too. He's a skinny geek, but he's able to go hand-to-hand with fuckin' BATMAN, just because he's got good timing and studied hard.
  • January 20, 2008
    Mystyc
    Ok, I think it's launch time. I'm new to this, though, so any editing will be much appreciated.
  • January 20, 2008
    Po8
    I can't think of the several actual titles offhand, but there's a sub-trope where the hero can do almost anything, due to being a librarian and/or bookworm and having read about it once.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=1w23ue18&trope=AwesomenessByAnalysis