Created By: pcw2727 on April 16, 2013 Last Edited By: pcw2727 on May 7, 2013

The Least Powerful

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Trope
Exactly What It Says on the Tin, Do We Have This One? they're the member of the team that just isn't as strong as the rest. They're not useless by any means, in fact they frequently have skills that are completely indispensable. Still they can easily be picked out as the least powerful member of the group. This position is often occupied by New Meat that has not yet Taken A Level In Badass. Other times it involves a Badass Normal among a group of Super Heroes. To truly fit the trope a character must be a clear part of the ensemble and be objectively worse at whatever the group's MO is. If they mostly fight, they have to be the worst fighter, if they mostly hack computers, they have to be the worst hacker. If he serves in a non-combat support role, he's a Non-Action Guy. If he's the least powerful because his abilities are rarely useful, it's What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S, Teana thinks she is this among the Riot Force 6 frontline fighters, because her raw Power Levels are not on par with every other member. By the end of the season, however, she proves that brains make her a much more dangerous opponent than raw power--just like her mentor expected her to be from the onset. Basically, she is to RF6 what Batman is to the Justice League.
  • Usopp from One Piece, the author has stated that he's (and he'll ever be) the weakest member of the crew, but that hasn't stopped him from being helpful and even saving the lives of his stronger comrades.
  • If you count Lucratzia Noin as one of the group then she is certainly Gundam Wing's version of this trope. The Gundam pilots think so little of her skills that in one occasion they directly order her not to join them in combat.
  • Myōjin Yahiko is the least formidable fighter in Ruroni Kenshin's group. Understandable since he's the youngest and has the least training.
  • In DragonBall:
    • Yamcha, Chaotzu and Yajirobe to the Z-Warriors.
    • Raditz to Vegeta and Nappa.
    • Guldo to the Ginyu Force.
    • Pui Pui to the rest of Babidi's minions.
  • In Bleach:
    • Orihime to the main cast (Ichigo, Uryu, Rukia and Chad) for most of the series. Her attack power was the weakest of all of them.
    • Squad 4 to the rest of the Gotei 13 (except its Captain). They're all trained as healers, not fighters.
    • D-Roy to Grimmjow's Fraccion. He was killed by Rukia Kuchiki, who wasn't even a seated officer, in a single attack (using her shikai) without any trouble.
    • Aaroniero to the Espada. Also killed by Rukia Kuchiki.
    • Tousen to Aizen's defector faction. He was killed by a single attack by Lieutenant Shūhei Hisagi.
  • In Naruto:
    • Sakura to Team 7.
    • Hinata to Team 8.
    • Ino to Team 10.
    • Tenten to Team Guy.
    • Jirobo to Sound Four.
    • Tobi to the Akatsuki. (Subverted. He's the Big Bad, and the most dangerous of all.)

Comic Books
  • Kitty Pryde in X-Men, at least when she first joined the team. This is because her power mainly works defensively.

  • In the Watchmen Silk Specter II is the weakest lacking the ferocious fighting skills of Rorschach and the technological arsenal of Night Owl.

  • New Mutants. Cypher (Doug Ramsey)'s mutant power was being able to translate languages and codes, so when he first joined he was basically the weakest fighter in the group.

Film
  • Charles Darwin in The Fall. He has a weapon and fights occasionally but pales in comparison to the others. He also dies first.
  • Chico from The Magnificent Seven is the youngest and most inexperienced gunman.

Literature

Live-Action TV
  • Thanks to a missing leg, Hershel now occupies this slot in Series:The Walking Dead as he has almost no zombie fighting ability.

Video Games
  • Malchiah in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. Of the six vampires raised by Kain to serve him as lieutenants, he was the youngest and as such, the one who received the smallest fragment of Kain's power. Whereas his brothers are truly immortal, Malchiah's body is afflicted with decay, and he must constantly graft the skins of his victims onto his body to maintain it.

Western Animation
  • In Justice League Batman occupies this slot in terms of raw power however his intellect makes him one of the most indispensable members of the team. In Justice League Unlimited it's "The Atom" who's declared the weakest by Lex Luthor.
  • Jubilee is the youngest and least powerful in the X-Men animated series.
  • Clover of Totally Spies!. Along with arguably being the most flawed member, her lack of a unique contribution to the team is outright lampshaded obliviously by Jerry on one occasion.

Community Feedback Replies: 26
  • April 18, 2013
    McKathlin
    If he serves in a non-combat support role, he's a Non Action Guy. If he's the least powerful because his abilities are rarely useful, it's What Kind Of Lame Power Is Heart Anyway.
  • April 18, 2013
    Astaroth
    Quite a few of these are Zero Context Examples and could do with fleshing out.

    • Malchiah in Legacy Of Kain: Soul Reaver. Of the six vampires raised by Kain to serve him as lieutenants, he was the youngest and as such, the one who received the smallest fragment of Kain's power. Whereas his brothers are truly immortal, Malchiah's body is afflicted with decay, and he must constantly graft the skins of his victims onto his body to maintain it.
  • April 18, 2013
    Stratadrake
    Gave your formatting a polish, OP. Not perfect by a long shot, but better.
  • April 18, 2013
    Psi001
    • Clover of Totally Spies. Along with arguably being the most flawed member, her lack of a unique contribution to the team is outright lampshaded obliviously by Jerry on one occasion.
    • Ironically Buttercup in The Powerpuff Girls. Despite her moniker as "the toughest fighter" she lacks any abilities her sisters can't match outside rolling her tongue and is the only of the girls not to have a specific moment of strength the others couldn't match. Her tough guy reputation seems to come mostly from just being more aggressive than the other girls, which was more likely to be a hindrance than a strength.
  • April 18, 2013
    CosmeF
  • April 18, 2013
    randomsurfer
  • April 19, 2013
    KingZeal
    There's always one in the Quirky Miniboss Squad.

    • In DragonBall:
      • Yamcha, Chaotzu and Yajirobe to the Z-Warriors.
      • Raditz to Vegeta and Nappa.
      • Guldo to the Ginyu Force.
      • Pui Pui to the rest of Babidi's minions.
    • In Bleach:
      • Orihime to the main cast.
      • Squad 4 to the rest of the Gotei 13 (except its Captain).
      • D-Roy to Grimmjow's Fraccion.
      • Aaroniero to the Espada.
      • Tousen to Aizen's defector faction.
    • In Naruto:
      • Sakura to Team 7.
      • Hinata to Team 8.
      • Ino to Team 10.
      • Tenten to Team Guy.
      • Jirobo to Sound Four.
      • Tobi to the Akatsuki. (Subverted. He's the Big Bad, and the most dangerous of all.)
  • April 19, 2013
    pcw2727
    I think the power puff example is debatable.
  • April 20, 2013
    1810072342
  • April 20, 2013
    Psi001
    The Powerpuff Girls example was to some extent lampshaded in universe, a whole episode revolved around Buttercup finding her personal strength, but each feat she tried the others could match or better. Her one defining talent that they couldn't do was rolling her tongue, which is even pointed out as being a completely lame and pointless discovery compared to Bubble's animal speak and Blossom's ice breath (which have both been vital in certain situations).
  • April 20, 2013
    StarSword
    Literature:
  • April 20, 2013
    pcw2727
    ^^ Yes but that's one episode. The show didn't make this a running part of the cannon. In another episode they're shown to all have a unique and useful power. Also this would at best make Buttercup equal to Bubbles because talking to squirrels isn't useful in combat which is the Powerpuff Girl's MO.

    Buttercup is the show's Worf. She's intended to be physically strongest but constantly gets taken out first to show a bad guy is toughest making her weaker. I really don't see it.
  • April 20, 2013
    StarSword
    Wraith Squadron goes under Literature, not comic books. (I know the namespace says Comic Book, but the X-Wing Series comprises both graphic novels and regular novels, and this is the latter.)
  • April 21, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Did some formatting.
  • April 21, 2013
    captainpat
    Again, There's a lot of zero context examples. Explain How these characters compare with the rest of the members of their group.
  • April 21, 2013
    pcw2727
    Only the anime ones are zero context right now and it isn't necessary to elaborate on how they compare to others. Simply saying "x because he's the worst fighter in a group of fighters" is context.
  • April 22, 2013
    Arivne
    I added some context to the Bleach examples.

    One common element to these characters is a desire to prove themselves as being as good as their teammates. They will often concentrate on self-improvement.

    Comic Books
    • New Mutants. Cypher (Doug Ramsey)'s mutant power was being able to translate languages and codes, so when he first joined he was basically the weakest fighter in the group.
  • April 22, 2013
    Lyendith
  • April 23, 2013
    Arivne

  • April 23, 2013
    Larkmarn
    I feel like just being the least powerful member isn't a trope, because there's going to be someone not as powerful as the rest of their group. There needs to be significance assigned to it to make it a trope... which turns it into Overshadowed By Awesome or What Kind Of Lame Power Is Heart Anyway.
  • April 23, 2013
    KingZeal
    Context for Naruto:

    • Sakura herself states that all she does is get in the way and rely on her teammates. She goes through nowhere near the same level of growth of power than Naruto, Sasuke, or Sai do.
    • Hinata is considered too gentle and sweet of a person to be a very dangerous ninja. Kiba is the team's bruiser, and Shino is The Smart Guy, but they both have overall greater power than Hinata does.
    • Team 10 is unique in that none of their abilities are especially powerful on their own and require teamwork to be effective. At first. Come the latter part of Part II, Choji becomes far and away the most powerful member of the group, with Shikamaru and being a dangerous Combat Pragmatist. Ino, by comparison, is still has the weakest outright combat potential of the three.
    • Tenten is vastly outshined by her peers Lee and Neji. Neji is considered a combat genius and Lee is a taijitsu master with a devastating Super Mode. Tenten can use lots of weapons...and that's it.
    • Jirobo is flat out stated to be the physically strongest, but overall weakest member of the Sound Four.
  • April 23, 2013
    pcw2727
    ^^ That's not true at all. Many groups won't have a specific least powerful member. Sometimes multiple people will be tied for last, other times who's weakest won't really come up, in some cases the whole group will be pretty much equal.

    The Power Puff disagreement we had is a prime example of how the trope doesn't always apply. While there was one episode about a member lacking a special power the series as a whole mostly depicts the girls as different but equal. In this trope someone has to be indisputably least powerful. It doesn't matter if fans can come up with an analysis to determine exactly who's the worst. It matters if one person is clearly worst whether through an explicit statement or common sense.

    Some other examples of teams that don't have a clear least powerful member:

    South Park's "the four ninjas". They have a most powerful, but not least.

    The Ironman Animated Series' made no attempt to put Force Works into any sort of hierarchy.

    In the Justice League Animated Series there is no established member of the Injustice League who's weakest. Luthor would have been the first to call them out.

    In TheAvengers Black Widow and Hawkeye are pretty much equals, especially when you factor in equipment. Neither is the indisputable least powerful.

    The soldiers in Platoon have plenty of people tied for last.

    The Minutemen in Watchmen don't have an established least powerful member. One might say original Silk Specter however we don't know how she measures up to several other team members, we just know she's a much worse fighter then comedian. In the Watchmen however Silk Specter II is the weakest lacking the ferocious fighting skills of Rorschach and the technological arsenal of Night Owl.
  • April 23, 2013
    Astaroth
  • April 24, 2013
    Koveras
  • April 24, 2013
    pcw2727
    ^^ Hmm, should we include the weakest team in a group of teams? Or maybe that should be another trope "The Crapsack Group".
  • May 2, 2013
    pcw2727
    Anything else to ad?
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