Exempt From Physics YKTTW Discussion

Exempt From Physics
A character's actions do not conform to the physics of their world
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(permanent link) added: 2012-12-07 13:19:14 sponsor: TheNerdyNinja edited by: MorningStar1337 (last reply: 2015-05-30 22:20:53)

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One of the nice things about fiction is that a creator need not feel bound to realism. This is the reason tropes like Made of Iron and Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress exist in the first place. However, in a sort of Magic A Is Magic A way, worlds have their own rules. Wile E. Coyote from Looney Tunes can blow himself up multiple times per episode and still survive, while Avatar: The Last Airbender, while still obviously fantasy, would never have that quite that same level of Cartoon Physics.

However, there are, on occasion, characters who move like they're in a different show altogether. They break the world's established rules of physics. These characters are Exempt from Physics. Most often, the physics-defying nature of these characters is justified by Rule of Funny.

This is not a trope referencing characters who are the only person in a world to have a certain power. These are characters who are more like a type of Reality Warper, though it's more like reality warps around them. Flight is also not a case of this if it is a superpower or magic based.

While Newtonian Physics is common in some fiction with deviations from it being unusual, sometimes The Verse runs on Toon Physics instead making anything more realistic outside the norm. Both are cases of this trope because a character bends the metaphysical rules of the verse.

Weirdness Coupon has an overlap with this, but this trope deals with people doing thing that should be impossible by the physics of the setting. Weirdness Coupon is basically excusing a character for erratic behavior because that behavior is typical of them.

Compare Wrong Context Magic, Weirdness Coupon and Weirdness Magnet, see also Beyond the Impossible. Sub-Trope of Artistic License Physics. Eldritch Abominations are this by their extra-physical nature, but played for horror and drama.


     Anime and Manga 
  • FLCL's physics seem fairly grounded in reality—except for anything caused by Haruko.
  • Old Coco-jii in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann shows up in the strangest of places in ways that seem impossible even by the loose physics of that setting.

     Comic Books 

  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Toons act like this when they leave Toon Town, as they still run on Cartoon Physics while objects and people around them behave more realistically. It's both Played for Laughs and Played for Drama: dropping a piano on a man is a hilarious gag in a cartoon, but in Real Life it's deadly. When Eddie goes to Toontown he is affected by the Cartoon Physics of that area, the opposite of the Toons who leave Toontown but take Toontown physics with them.
  • All the 'toon characters in Space Jam adhere to Toon Physics because they're 'toons. Michael Jordan, however, as a recruit from the Real World, plays on Bugs Bunny's TuneSquad team using only his awesome athletic skills. It's not until Bugs Bunny points out that he can do anything in Looney Tune Land as long as he believes that he can does Jordan find a way to score the game-winning points, by exempting himself from normal physics.

  • In The Last Continent, Rincewind acquires a horse (Snowy) that's able to ascend sheer surfaces, perch on the underside of rocky overhangs, and trot uncaringly atop a falling avalanche.

     Web Original 
  • Homsar from Homestar Runner. While all the characters have wildly different designs, the world maintains a fairly consistent use of Invisible Anatomy. However, Homsar moves differently from most others, hovering around, and warping reality around him to a minor extent.
  • Captain SNES: This happens when Crono is transported to the Final Fantasy verse. In Final Fantasy, battle takes place on a separate screen, but Chrono Trigger's happen on the movement screen, meaning Crono can, and does, fire his ultimate spell at them without them even able to fight back.

     Western Animation 
  • Pinkie Pie, of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. She seemingly warps from place to place, has taken items from Hammer Space several times and even Twilight Sparkle is baffled by certain aspects of her (namely, her Pinkie Sense). "Party of One" also demonstrates the physics she defies relative to others (As her mane goes from Quirky Curls to a plain straight hairstyle, then poofs back up at the end of the episode, she has beaten Rainbow Dash to several places). Do note that magic is in this setting, and all three pony types have it, but only the unicorns can actually use magic. The magic of Earth Ponies and Pegasi is more passive in nature.
  • Mikey Simons from Kappa Mikey. Interestingly, instead of acting more animated than the rest of the world, he's actually less animated, being animated in the Western cartoon style as opposed to his Animeesque cast mates, who frequently make use of many anime Art Shifts.
  • Kenny from South Park can die over and over again, with everyone forgetting that he did die and him reintegrating the plot like nothing happened.
  • The Basehead in Black Dynamite, who is able to do Offscreen Teleportation at will, not because he's a Magical Negro but because he's a Basehead.
  • In The Proud Family certain members of the Proud Family, especially Oscar, exhibit "toon" characteristics that don't apply to the rest of the cast. While Oscar, and sometimes Penny, can stretch and come back, everyone else has a more "realistic" threshold of movement and pain.
  • In The Lion King, Zazu is an Iron Butt Monkey who survives getting trampled by a herd of animals with a few scratches during "I Just Can't Wait To Be King". However, when Mufasa gets trampled by a herd of animals, the results are much more realistic.
  • All characters in Disney's Treasure Planet are affected by gravity, either natural or artificial, except Ridiculously Cute Critter Morph, who usually floats about head-high off the ground / deck. Being also a Blob Monster, Morph's body can be separated into many small pieces without injury; the pieces can act in concert with Morph's consciousness, and Morph can easily reform into a whole creature at will.
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