Variant Power Copying is the practice of duplicating powers or abilities in a different way than the original ability worked. In other words, they copy a variation of the ability and not the original one. This trope applies to works where "powers" are associated with a character or group, and are rare to see other people have. In works with martial arts, this can refer to techniques or abilities unique to a school or clan. However, due to differences in the learner's personality, innate gifts, field of expertise, etc., they learn to use the ability slightly differently. Or, because they lack access to the original source of the power, they have to find another way to achieve a similar effect. For example, if a Beast Man has a Healing Factor, the duplicator gets the same powers using Nanotechnology, sometimes based on data gotten from the original character. Or someone with Shock and Awe powers who got their abilities through some sort of accident or mutation, which inspires some sort of mage or witch to come up with their own electric spells. This is a Sub-Trope of both Awesomeness by Analysis (doing something awesome by learning how it works) and Power Copying. It can also overlap with Sufficiently Analyzed Magic, if one method of using the ability is magical and the other is mundane. See also Doing In the Wizard or Doing In the Scientist, for when science or magic replace each other as explanations for the powers or abilities.
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Anime and Manga
- Early on in the story, neither Sasuke nor Naruto can do Rock Lee's Front Lotus attack combination, so they make new versions. The Front Lotus kicks an opponent in the air and then uses an Izuna Drop to smash an opponent on the head. Sasuke's variation is the Lion Barrage, which copies the initial kick but instead kicks them all the way down. Naruto's variation is the Naruto Uzumaki Barrage, which uses clones to perform the multiple attacks and falling attacks, since he lacks the skill to do it normally.
- Naruto's signature move, the Rasengan, was created by the Fourth Hokage to copy a Tailed Beast Ball. Later in the story, Naruto also learns to combine the attacks together since they're so similar.
- This is actually the default way of "copying" other mages' spells in Lyrical Nanoha: instead of taking spell formulas over verbatim, a mage usually adapts one of their own spells to emulate the effects of the one they want to learn. Two of Nanoha's students, for instance, have "inherited" her signature spells, but Subaru's Divine Buster is an extremely close range version of the original (long-ranged) spell, while Teana's Starlight Breaker is essentially her own Crossfire Shoot boosted with Nanoha's mana-gathering technique.
- One Piece
- In Thriller Bark arc, by virtue of merging the gigantic zombie Oars' shadow with his own, Gekko Moria the shadow-man can manipulate Oars' shadow to shape-shift his body (think shadow puppets, but in reverse), including copying the moves of Luffy, the Rubber Man.
- In Fishman Island arc, Luffy, with his Haki and Gear Second, can emulate his brother Ace's signature Fire Fist attack (called Gomu Gomu no Red Hawk) even though Ace is a flame user and Luffy isn't.
- Ragnarok, a cyborg clone of Thor, uses electronics to simulate Thor's Shock and Awe and Weather Manipulation powers. His copy of Mjolnir also uses remote control signals to fly around and return to him.
- Iron Man's suits usually have this ability, such as being able to copy Captain America's fighting moves by replicating them and then performing the motions, or copying Magneto's abilities using orbital satellites that can absorb electro-magnetic energy, or copying Venom's symbiote by using nanomachines that approximate the symbiote's biological abilities.
- Rosenkreuz Stilette Freudenstachel: Freudia, the protagonist, primarily is An Ice Person. She can't copy actual abilities like her friend Spiritia does, but she can emulate the powers of the fellow Magus she defeated using his ice powers. For example, her Weissteufel technique is her creating a field of cold air that slows down enemies, taken from Sichte Meister, the Time Master magus.
- Street Fighter:
- This is how Divergent Character Evolution and Shoto Clones work in the series. Ryu, Ken, Gouken, Akuma, Dan, Sean and Sakura all have the same basic moves (Shoryuken, Hadouken and Hurricane Kick), but all of them do the moves differently from each other. Even Sagat learned his Tiger Uppercut by copying elements of Ryu's Dragon Punch.
- Zangief developed his Spinning Piledriver by watching Mike Haggar perform his Spinning Lariat, and he also copied the Lariat as well. Then, Mike Haggar got him right back by stealing the piledriver, but that was more or less regular copying instead.
- In Street Fighter V, Karin Kanzuki's Story Mode has her suddenly master one of the Kanzuki-ryu school's greatest arts, which allows her to repel enemies using nothing but her Battle Aura. This trope is Played for Laughs when Zangief sees her do this and (because Zangief's style is based entirely on his muscles) he learns how to vibrate his body at just the right rhythm to achieve the same ability. Karin's steward, Shibasaki, is awestruck by Karin's achievement, but dumbstruck that Zangief can do it in such a crude manner, too.
- In Grrl Power Varia gets powers that are similar, but not identical to those whom she touches. For instance, Harem allows her to teleport alongside her, while Jiggawatt has lightning abilities but gives Varia magnetic control instead.
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