One Hero, Hold the Weaksauce
In a World
where superpowers are commonplace,
or at least common enough to be common knowledge
, it tends to be the case that these powers come with certain drawbacks.
Maybe there's a price that has to be paid
, or a ritual that must be performed, or some other caveat that can make having these powers a pain,
or using them annoyingly cumbersome.
And then you have this protagonist. Born under the right stars or to the right combination of parents
with the protection of a supernatural entity
, armed with certain unique talents or just plain lucky: he happens to be the only one in the whole world (or one of a small minority
) who is exempt from this ironclad rule. A wizard who can cast magic without a wand, for instance, or a superhuman immune to the local flavor of Kryptonite
. A more "fair" treatment may make holding the sauce a trade-off for reduced powers such as with the Dhampyr
or other Half-Human Hybrid
characters. Ultimately this is not required though and all the trope concerns are heroes who are special because they can flout the rules
that all other metanormals in the setting are chained by.
The name is a play on a phrase commonly used for making a special order at a restaurant: "Hold the X" means "This dish normally includes X, but I would like it without X." This is a pun because "hero" is also a kind of sandwich, so it's like you're ordering a Hero sandwich, but without the Weaksauce Weakness
of Conditional Powers
and Wrong Context Magic
. Often a Unique Protagonist Asset
. Can easily lead to a Mary Sue
. Normal supers can invoke this trope with a Kryptonite-Proof Suit
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Anime and Manga
- Edward Elric of Fullmetal Alchemist is, unlike most other Alchemists, able to do alchemy without using a circle. This, of course, came with its own problems. Several other alchemists can also do this, though they paid their price as well. The more Genre Savvy alchemists without this power have circles on their clothing or tattooed on their body, making it even easier for them to use their powers than for Edward who still needs to clap his hands together, but most alchemists who carry their transmutation circles around with them are powerless if those circles get disturbed and can only do specialized alchemy—Mustang can only create fire, Kimblee can only blow stuff up, etc. Alchemy without an array is far more versatile, to the point that Ed can actually cancel out others' alchemic reactions. His alchemy is only limited by his knowledge and creativity, which means that he and other alchemists who have seen the Truth have a massive advantage even over alchemists with array tattoos.
- Darker Than Black's Hei doesn't appear to have a Remuneration. It's explained some Contractors can lose their Renumeration but retain their powers, specifically if they lose their original bodies (such as the case with Mao). This turns out to be the reason for Hei's lack of renumeration as well — since they're technically his sister's powers obtained via Fusion Dance, he's not obliged to fulfill the renumeration. He does, however, have one HELL of an appetite to fulfill because of it since he's basically eating for two.
- In Medaka Box, the protagonist is the only Abnormal who isn't psychopathic by default.
- Clare, the protagonist of Claymore, seems to be completely immune to Awakening (even when she is deliberately trying to!), which threatens every other Claymore. The main reason for that is believed to be Jean's sacrifice to bring her back from the brink of Awakening before, which left Clare with a psychological block that prevents her from transforming, though this may also have something to do with her being only quarter-yoma.
- In addition to physical deformities, the other Borners in the anime Canaan have to take regular shots of medication to avoid death from their virus-originated superpowers. The eponymous protagonist has neither of these problems (though her hair did go white because of them). For comparison, another character who received an internal and therefore invisible physical mutation, in her case two appendixes. Not exactly super-powered synthesia. It does bring up the question of if she'd still have to take the medication if she got them removed, too...
- Shakugan no Shana's Yuji Sakai isn't doomed to vanish from existence like other Torches thanks to a special artifact that periodically replenishes his energy.
- Rosario + Vampire: After a series of near-death instances, Tsukune gains vampire powers from various blood transfusions. Unlike the female lead Moka, this comes without the Weaksauce Weakness. He effectively has no weaknesses (well, other than the potential to go berserk and Crucifixes), which gives him an advantage.
- Heroes summoned as the The Berserker in the Holy Grail War normally lose their skills in exchange for raw power, but Berserker of Fate/Zero aka Lancelot, has an ability called eternal arms mastership that allows him to retain his combat abilities even in the grip of madness. It makes him incredibly overpowered.
- In Bleach, mastering the Bankai can take a Shinigami as long as ten years. This is because, even though the Bankai is essentially only a bigger version of the Shikai, the amount of power can be 5 to 10 times greater and thus much more difficult to control. Enter The Hero, Ichigo, whose Bankai actually compresses his spiritual power giving him more speed and control.
- Kill la Kill: Ryuko's Kamui Senketsu turns out to be the only non-malevolent life fiber.
- Depending on the year/dimension/day-of-the-week: Power Girl is a kryptonian who is immune/resistant to kryptonite because she's really an alternate universe kryptonian. This is because Kryptonians are only susceptible to kryptonite from their own universe, and Power Girl (usually) isn't from the main story Krypton.
- Superman of Earth-22 is not only immune to New Earth kryptonite but also his own due to a lifetime spent soaking up sunlight. All-Star Superman develops this immunity for basically the same reason but it leaves him with a progressive fatal condition. During the Bronze Age even the mainstream Superman got in on the act for a little while.
- While most Kryptonians are susceptible to magic, Superboy-Prime ended up being altered just enough that being slugged by a lightning-infused Black Adam did zilch to him.
- "Imaginary" stories depicting Kryptonian-human offspring tend to depict them as being half as powerful as their kryptonian parents but also half as weak to kryptonite.
- Blade (the "Day Walker") is a half-vampire with "all of their strengths, and none of their weaknesses." The slogan is actually fibbing: he feels blood hunger but can ignore it, and he ages normally.
- Sonja Blue is the heroine of a daywalker vampire hunter series.
- Jane from The Iron Dragon's Daughter has this nice passive skill of being immune to regular defensive in-world charms, since they are helpless against human blood.
- Bella doesn't suffer from the typical uncontrollable vampire hunger in Breaking Dawn.
- The intentional creation of one of these by eugenic planning is the goal of the Bene Gesserit order in Dune: the Kwisatz Haderach, a man possessing the normally Gender Restricted Abilities of a Bene Gesserit sister, while also capable of accessing parts of the mind a woman could not.
- Most of the human population in Codex Alera can use one or two types of elemental fury, which invariably leaves them vulnerable to other types. The exception are powerful noble families, particularly the High Lords, which generally have access to all six types of furies, making them incredibly powerful and without obvious weaknesses.
- This is most prominent with Watercrafters, compared to Watercrafter-Metalcrafters. Watercrafting has a constant disadvantage (an empathic sense that cannot be shut off) and not just deficiencies in the furycrafting that can be exploited. Metalcrafting can compensate for that by artificially repressing the wielder's emotions.
- In The Dresden Files, Outsiders, being literal alien demons, are so heavily resistant to magic which means that only the oldest, most experienced wizards have a chance of defeating them. The protagonist, despite being a relatively young wizard(the youngest on the White Council, the UN of magicians that makes up only the top 2%), can bypass this resistance instinctively to attack them effectively. This is because of a ritual his mother performed at his birth, making him a Starborn. It doesn't do him much good though, because 99% of the creatures he fights are from his own universe, and Outsiders are extremely difficult to fight even with this ability.
- Eli Monpress in The Spirit Thief has the ability to simply talk to spirits and convince them to do his bidding, as opposed to the other wizards in the world who need to make pacts with spirits in order to access their power.
- In the Magister Trilogy, all human magic is Cast from Lifespan. While this means that most witches must be very careful with their magic, because they have a very strictly finite amount, there exist a handful of men known as Magisters who deliberately burn up their own lifespan and latch onto someone else's. This makes them effectively immortal and thus grants near-infinite power. A Magister can only be killed if you catch them by surprise and kill them before they can defend or heal themselves with magic, or if you catch them during Transition, the few seconds between when one consort dies and when they bond another.
- Downplayed in Planescape: Torment: The Nameless One is the only character capable of changing classes, meaning he can become a Fighter, Mage or Thief as the needs require, but unlike some of his companions cannot play a hybrid class, meaning his stats grow slower.
- Alucard of the Castlevania series reaps many benefits from his status as a Dhampyr, such as resistance to sunlight and holy symbols along with the ability to survive without feeding on blood. However, he does play more fair than many other examples by logically being only half as powerful as a full-blooded vampire. Not that this stops him from inheriting his father's magic...
- The main characters of Persona 3 and 4 are both special cases who can have multiple Personas, avoiding the set weaknesses of every other Persona user. In 4, while everyone else has to own up to their own darker thoughts, the main character doesn't have a hidden dark side to face.
- In the Fable series, the main character's bloodline is unique in that it results in heroes that can access all three disciplines (Strength, Skill, and Will), while most heroes are only able to access one.
- In The World Ends with You, Neku is one of the few players who has access to multiple powers/pins (most of his partners just have one ability that they make use of, e.g. Shiki's ability to animate her stuffed animal).
- In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Adam Jenson turns out not to need the anti-rejection drug other cyborgs do (thus allowing him to avoid the side effects, as well as have fairly extensive upgrades). In a sidequest you can discover this was a result of experiments he was a part of as a child. His girlfriend reverse-engineering this trait is the breakthrough discovery she was about to announce to the world at the start of the game as well as what leads to the creation of JC and his brother in the original Deus Ex.
- The power of the Thu'um in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is normally reserved for (a) Dragons or (b) those willing to devote years of training to "the Way of the Voice". Not so for the prophesied "Dragonborn", who can use any Thu'um after merely seeing the word written down, provided s/he's consumed a healthy breakfast of dragon souls.
- Generator Rex: In a world where every living thing is infected with nanomachines, Rex is one of the few people able to control them.
- He still has to deal with Laser-Guided Amnesia and the occasional Body Horror, but that's miniscule compared to what the average EVO is subjected to.
- Bobo Haha. All the nanites did to him was make him smarter. This might not count, since he lacks any Lovecraftian Superpower that is typically dished out, but the monkey dodged all the downsides of being an EVO.
- In the universe of Avatar: The Last Airbender benders (people who can potentially manipulate fire, wind, water, or earth) are born with the ability to be control a single element meaning, an earthbender can never learn waterbending (for example). Except the Avatar, who can learn to use all four elements. This is enhanced even further by the Avatar State in which the Avatar can access the knowledge of all his/her past lives, resulting in powers akin to a Physical God. A fully realised Avatar is quite literally a nigh-unstoppable force of nature. This is helped by something Iroh demonstrated, since while normal benders are locked into one element they can learn the styles of other bendersnote so they can learn different applications of their native element with benders of different elements. Which is yet another reason why the Avatar is so powerful given his or her collective knowledge can be used across all four elements.
- Gimble is the only gadgeteer in the ASH universe to whom The Spark of Genius does not apply; her creations can be used by anyone and everyone, even Anchors.
- In Worm, Contessa is one of two Thinkers on the planet whose powers aren't disrupted by other Thinkers, and the specific nature of her Combat Clairvoyance means that without this weakness she's essentially unbeatable. Unfortunately, the other is the Simurgh, who is immune to all precog and the apparent Big Bad.
- Weld, as a parahuman made of living metal, is in the unique position of being immune both to powers that only work on metal and powers that only work on flesh.
- Things like breeding, genetic engineering, medicine, and eventually Transhumanism are about stripping the Weaksauce from either ourselves or other living things we interact with.
- Evolution is nature's way of countering or mitigating the weaknesses of lifeforms. However, it is undirected and settles for adequacy, which may cause weaknesses that can become far more crippling in future conditions. It's also REALLY slow for us multicellular organisms.
- The advent of sexual reproduction was an important milestone in directing and accelerating this process for several reasons, since it allowed for a great variance of gene combinations from the parents that made a successful random mutation being spread more likely.