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Power Limiter
A device of some kind used to restrict a character's power level or super power.

These can lighten the load on the Sorting Algorithm of Evil or give new characters a chance to shine. Releasing these limiters in time of need may be difficult:

The reasons for this can be because their powers are too dangerous or too uncontrollable to be let loose at their fullest. Often times, the justification is that the person may willingly be wearing a Power Limiter as a form of training, as training with their power suppressed helps increase their power. Weighted clothing is often used in this fashion, in fiction and Real Life.

The upgraded version is the Power Nullifier, which outright removes superhuman abilities

See also Restraining Bolt, Weaksauce Weakness, Cover-Blowing Superpower, I Am Not Left-Handed and Holding Back the Phlebotinum.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The weighted training clothes that Son Goku and Piccolo (Jr.) wear are used to this effect in the Piccolo Jr. Saga and Saiyan Saga of Dragon Ball/Z. However, the ever-increasing power threshold of the show quickly leads to the effect becoming meaningless and replaced with super modes and fusing. Goku never takes his off (intentionally) and Piccolo only removes his for dramatic effect.
    • Majin Buu has his good half, Fat Buu. At the expense of use of a large portion of his power, fat Buu provides Super Buu with some much needed sanity and the idea of self-preservation.
    • Freeza claims that his transformations serve this purpose. The last form we see is actually the "real" him, and the others are there to stop him losing control. When he finally powers up to 100%, we see why - it burns him out so fast Goku just calls it a day. It can't have helped that Namek was the first time in his entire life he'd fought an equal opponent.
  • The first two seasons of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha featured 10-year-old girls with Power Levels exceeding the power meter of 1,000,000 points, and then introduced many other characters able to match them. When the series proved popular enough to go on to a third season, government-required power limiters were introduced to knock them down several ranks, with them only able to use full power when authorized by a high-ranking Bureau member.
    • The new recruits have power limiters of their own; after getting their devices, they have a four-stage limiter set on them, which restricts how much power and what abilities they can use. One stage typically gets removed just before every major battle, so they can more easily get accustomed to their devices.
    • In the aftermath of StrikerS Lutecia and Agito are also given limiters, reducing them to mage rank D for the duration of their probation.
  • The Evangelions have these in Neon Genesis Evangelion in the form of their armor, which doesn't serve to protect the Eva and its pilot as much as it serves to limit the Evangelions' power and allow humans to control the Eva. If an Eva goes really berserk, it can actually break the armor from the inside, but this requires a strength of mind that pretty much exceeds any human's ability, and if the human pilot becomes so synchronised with the Eva that this can happen (this requires the human to have a 400% synch ratio), that pilot's probably not coming back.
    • Unit-02 in Rebuild of Evangelion is shown to not only possess armor, but actual limiters implanted into its back which release once Mari unlocks the Eva's beast mode.
  • Used by the goddesses in Ah! My Goddess in the form of jewelry. Releasing them without permission is a big no-no, but Kami seems to be a bit flexible about this depending on situation and especially the personality of the goddess; Urd is often the Butt Monkey of this compared to her more foward-thinking but much more (dangerously) powerful sister Belldandy. When Urd's mother Hild comes to Earth for a visit, she admits her excessive amount of gaudy jewelry (a total of twenty pieces, each one a separate power limiter comparable to the one that Belldandy wears) is mostly to keep her arrival from leaving their home a smoking crater. In fact, if Hild were to remove all her limiters while on Earth, she'd be a danger to the planet simply by existing.
    • Belldandy isn't more powerful than Urd. It's directly stated by Belldandy that Urd is more powerful than her, and Belldandy Cannot Tell a Lie. It's just that as a Goddess First Class she's able to access far more of her power than Urd. When Urd took the exam for promotion to First Class, we got a glimpse of her true power. Which overwhelmed Peorth, a Goddess First Class who's supposed to be a close match to Belldandy in power.
    • Shortly after Urd arrives, she explains to Keiichi that she needs to 'upload his DNA to the computers' since he's bonded with Belldandy. (She just thought the reason Keiichi needed some 'tutoring' and that was why he hadn't slept with Belldandy yet. When Belldandy interrupts this, she explains that Urd's lying, among other things, are why Urd is a goddess second-class. She says nothing about Urd being less powerful then her.
  • Alucard from Hellsing uses the "Control Art Restriction System", which divides his powers into levels. Considering how ridiculously overpowered he is, enemies tend not to be worthy enough to have him unlock any levels. When he reaches Level Zero, run kill yourself.
    • Fortunately, he can't go full-power on his own accord - full release requires approval from Integra Hellsing. Mostly.
    • Also of note, his state of dress also indicates what power level he is at.
  • A-Ko, from the parody series Project A-Ko, wears Wonder Woman-like bracers to keep her from crushing everything she picks up. This is because she is implied with as much subtlety as a brick to the nuts to be the daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman.
    • To be fair, while asleep and without her bracers she throws a pillow to silence her alarm clock and nothing gets broken.
  • Weights in clothing are a popular method to use for this in Shōnen manga and anime series.
    • Many characters in Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, including Goku and Piccolo. However, they *usually* wear them more for training purposes more than anything else, in order to get a better workout. In Dragon Ball Z, there's also a machine where Goku sets gravity to 100 times as intense as normal in order to train.
      • Most notably in Dragon Ball Z, Broly of the movies wears a technological device created by his father designed to keep him from using too much of his power and going berserk. It causes the "Super Saiyan" trademark gold hair to take on a turquoise hue instead. By the time he becomes angry enough, his power overloads the device and he achieves his maximum power, growing almost three times his normal size in muscle mass yet sacrificing none of his speed. It becomes quite obvious why his father was so adamant about keeping him under control...
      • Freeza has an interesting variation: his transformations. His final and most powerful form is his natural state: all of his weaker forms are deliberately designed to keep his power in check. It's obvious why: when he finally does go all-out against Goku, he starts strong, almost evenly matched, but quickly burns out and loses power at a drastic rate.
    • Rock Lee from Naruto. He jumps on top of a structure and reveals leg weights, then undoes them, prompting those watching to remark on the futility of casting off a few leg weights. He then tosses them aside, where they gently fall to the ground... and land with a thunderous ground-cracking slam while Rock Lee takes off, showing that he has more than doubled his already-unique fighting speed.
    • Bui, an enemy from the Dark Tournament arc of YuYu Hakusho, wears heavy armor over every inch of his body and wields a gigantic axe. Everyone thinks this is to protect him from attack, but it turns out that the armor was actually a Power Limiter, and once it's removed, he shows off an impenetrable Battle Aura that lets him defeat Hiei's Wave Motion Gun, the Dragon of the Darkness Flame.
      • Similarly enough, Hiei himself wears 2 limiters. His headband suppresses his Jagan's demon energy, while the bandages suppress the Dragon of the Darkness Flame, with very good reason; without said limit, Hiei's demon energy was so powerful, if his aura were to clash with Bui's, the resulting reaction was said by Kurama to be powerful enough to destroy the entire stadium.
      • It was revealed in the Dark Tournament arc that Yusuke was given "spirit cuffs" by Genkai because his constant effort to overcome it would buff up his spirit energy.
    • In what is probably a Shout-Out to Rock Lee, MegaMan and ProtoMan both have 'limiter programs' that are essentially giant weights that they drop off in their last battle in the bonus chapter of the final Mega Man NT Warrior manga. The battle ends in a tie.
    • In The Prince of Tennis, wrist/leg weights are used in a regular basis during training to develop more focus and leg strength. Masaharu Niou from Rikkaidai also uses additional wristbands to tap his own potential, and utterly refuses to take them off.
      • It turns out that this is what Shiraishi's bandages cover. Underneath them he wears a heavy arm band; when it's removed, the speed of his left arm sky-rockets.
  • Kakashi from Naruto will keep his eye patch for most fights, because without his Eyepatch of Power his power is always on and will cost him all his energy too quickly. He also has a limit on his Mangekyou Sharingan (which punch unavoidable holes into reality taking body parts of his enemies apart) - twice in one fight! That power could end any threat real quick if not for the 3 limits... the holes in reality take a long while to get started, 2 weeks of recovering in bed for doing them, and not being able to train this dangerous power means he can't aim holes in reality well... yet.
    • The seals containing the bijuu tend to act as limiters, restricting the flow of the bijuu's chakra until their host activates it when in need.
  • Bleach has several examples. Shinigami aren't allowed to release their swords into either shikai or bankai without permission. This applies to both Soul Society and the living world. The damage they can wreak is too much to contemplate without power limiters. As a result, they also have a further limit on their power. To protect humans in the living world, shinigami of captain and vice-captain ranks have to wear a limiter that reduces their power by 80% in the form of a tattoo of their division's symbolic flower. They again can't release this without express permission.
    • Kenpachi normally wears a parasitic eyepatch that was specially designed to guzzle some of his energy. This limits the amount of energy he can use in battle to prevent him from dispatching his opponents too fast. He wears it on purpose in order to make his fights more challenging.
    • When Ichigo first encounters the true form of Senbonzakura, Senkei, he realises that being surrounded on all sides by thousands of swords puts him in a very bad position. Byakuya guesses what he's thinking and tells him not to be concerned. Apparently Byakuya once made a vow to only ever use Senkei on someone he intended to kill with his own two hands. As a result, he can't maximise the potential of his bankai's thousands of swords because he can only wield the blades one or two at a time from the palms of his hands.
    • Ikkaku possesses bankai but hides it. Even when he finally enters bankai, he doesn't power straight into its full form the way other bankai-wielding shinigami do. He first has to re-engage the fight with the active, but weakly powered, bankai until he makes a first cut. Once his bankai has made a cut in the opponent, the bankai begins to wake up. Once the dragon crest on the highest blade turns fully red, Ikkaku is finally allowed access to the proper power level of a bankai.
    • Findor Carias' mask. He becomes more powerful the more he chips it away, and can apparently match his power to that of certain Shinigami ranks, although Hisagi points out that he underestimate's a captain's strength.
    • When Yumichika releases his sword it rather uselessly splits from one to four blades. Then it's revealed this is a fake shikai and even name. He deliberately calls his sword by a loathesome nickname to hide his true abilities without anyone noticing; this works because the fake name pisses his sword off, thus, it actively refuses to help him until he calls the sword by its proper name. His real release is a snaking mass of unbreakable flower vines that drains an opponent to death. His fake shikai gives him no abilities, forcing him to fight against enemy special abilities with only base skill and resolve. However, his real shikai is so powerful that he's achieved a single-strike victory every time he's used it. The reason he won't use it is because it breaks his division's code of conduct for him to even possess the power let alone actually use it.
    • Ichigo himself is actually under two, both acquired around the same time.
      • His substitute badge actually decreases the power he can draw out thanks to Soul Society remembering the last time a bankai wielding substitute ran around freely.
      • In the Thousand Year Blood War arc he learns that Old Man Zangetsu has been a limiter all along, or at least since the end of Soul Society. He represents Ichigo's quincy powers and is supposed to kill him if he uses any other form of ability, but doesn't want to. Instead, he fakes Soul Reaper powers and limits Ichigo's real ones, which interferes with his abilities and causes instability in his power. On the other hand, it's not all bad: since as a quincy it means he can use defensive abilities like Blut, which actually saved him a few times.
  • Crossbone Gundam X3 has two variations on this trope. Its built-in I-field generators have a cool-down period longer than their operational period (which finally gets fixed in Steel Seven by simply adding two more generators). And its Muramasa Blaster initially has a safety Tobia doesn't know about - which isn't a huge problem, as that just makes it a club rather than a beam saber.
  • In Saiyuki the "good" youkai of Shangri-La generally wear jewelry-like power-limiters to keep them human-shaped and closer to human-strength when in mixed company. After the Minus Wave, very few youkai are sane enough to even think about wearing limiters. Two of the protagonists wear limiters nearly all the time: Goku's diadem and Hakkai's ear cuffs. (Goku's is many, many times stronger than a standard youkai limiter due to his Super-Powered Evil Side.) Hakkai at full youkai strength scares the shit out of even his friends and he's more susceptible to Minus Wave influence without the ear cuffs. Goku's unlimited form is strong enough to be a direct threat to Heaven and Sanzo's the only non-god who can put the diadem back on. In both cases, if and when the limiters come off, you'd best run and not look back.
    • Once, when Sanzo got hurt, Goku was so upset his power overloaded his limiter... The quartet's 'patron goddess' had to put it back on. Total beatdown on the bad guys that time, though, Super-Powered Evil Side style.
  • Moka's rosary in Rosario + Vampire serves to keep her power in check among other things. It can only be removed by Tsukune in times of extreme need.
    • There's also Tsukune's Holy Lock, which keeps Moka's blood in his veins from turning him into a mindless massacre machine.
    • And Moka's older half-sister Kahlua, who wears a pair of cross earrings. Removing the right earring transforms her right arm into razor-sharp wings. It remains to be seen what removing the other earring would do.
    • And Sun Otonashi's notebook. At first it seems to merely be a way for the "mute" girl to use Talking with Signs, but it's later revealed that she's a powerful Siren who uses the notebook to help keep her lethal voice under control.
  • Kyo of Fruits Basket has a power limiter in the form of a bracelet; if it comes off he transforms into his monstrous "true form."
  • Abel Nightroad in Trinity Blood is the only Crusnik who can release his powers in three stages (40%, 80%, and 100%). These restrictions are self-imposed, following a My God, What Have I Done? moment long before the series' begin.
    • His Evil Twin Cain long before had permanently locked himself into 100% power, with results that demonstrate why Abel's Power Limiter is a really good idea. Their younger sister Seth seems to vary only between not activating the power at all and using it at 100%.
  • Peacemakers in Scrapped Princess have four "modes": compressed (when they look and behave like ordinary little kids), normal (adult mages of tremendous powers), limited battle form (levitating monstrosities that level entire cities within minutes), and fully released form (clearly Over Nine Thousand and forbidden to use inside the atmosphere).
  • Power Limiters are essential in Zettai Karen Children, as the girls' powers at their max can wreck an entire city block. At first, they were in the form of chokers, but Minamoto's persuasion changed them to a bracelet, earring and ring - much more stylish and less degrading. However, the limiter can only be deactivated when the emergency levels are at their highest.
  • Evangeline of Mahou Sensei Negima! is an enormously powerful vampire sorceress who's spread havoc and destruction on a colossal scale, ravaging Europe for many hundreds of years. In her heydays at least. After her defeat by Nagi Springfield the Thousand Master, she's been constrained to remain as student in Mahora Academy for the last fifteen years. The curse he placed on her seals away most of her ability while the school's Magitek barrier weakens her significantly. Considering that the one time we see her without the power limiters, she takes out a demon god in one shot it's probably good that she isn't perpetually at full power. That doesn't go to say she doesn't have some tricks up her sleeve. Hundreds of years of life will do that. In times of dire need, the headmaster is willing to release her curse temporarily for a good Deus ex Machina.
  • The Youma suppression pills in Claymore were designed to dampen a Claymore's power and let her act covertly. Later on they were used to allow seven warriors to survive a suicide mission by faking their deaths.
  • In Gakuen Alice, there are power-limiting masks and earrings.
  • In Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, Fay's phoenix tattoo (which covers his entire back) restrains his huge innate magical powers. When he trades it to Yuuko for a place in the traveling party, he swears off using his magic for fear of what might happen without the limit in place. Although, it turns out he's MORE dangerous with it than without, due to being cursed to kill the first person he meets whose magic exceeds his own. Suppressing his magic only makes it more likely he'll run across someone stronger.
    • Just as a reminder, without that limiter, Fay's magic can destroy an entire world/dimension/at least country when he has a Super Power Meltdown.
  • Sergeant Keroro wears a power limiter during the monsoon season to prevent him from turning into "Keroro From Back Then". (Although I've only seen it in Volume 9 of the manga)
  • The titular character from Hell Teacher Nube wears a black glove to keep his Oni Hand hidden away, and so it looks and functions as a regular human hand. When the glove comes off, the hand becomes monstrous in size and appearance, but he still keeps limits on his power with his own spiritual abilities and the help of his mentor's spirit.
    • A more direct application lies in the Oni-Sealing Bracelets which En no Gyōja left scattered throughout Japan (usually to seal something else, which Nube then has to contend with after taking the bracelet.) When he wears these on his Oni Hand, he can consciously allow a specific percentage of the Oni's power to manifest itself, while remaining in full control.
  • Aki Izayoi (Akiza Izinski)'s hairband in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's supposedly holds back her psychic powers, although whether or not it's really a Magic Feather remains to be seen. When it falls out of her hair while fighting against Yusei, her psychic powers seem to really hit home, but that may be psychological.
  • Miyanaga Saki from Saki takes off her shoes to get a power up in mahjong.
  • Parodied twice in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. In one instance, Harumi's glasses are revealed to have a tremendous weight and prevent her from exercising her full athletic potential (and she's an amazing athlete with the glasses on). The terminology used to describe them is a Shout-Out to the Restraining Bolt for mecha in Neon Genesis Evangelion. On another occasion, Nozomu is challenged by Lee Nakanao who is a parody of the stock Rival/ Worthy Opponent of shounen fighting anime. Lee is a white haired Bishōnen with an Eyepatch of Power, and when providing stats on him, the manga indicates that the eyepatch restrains his full power and he'd go berserk if he removed it.
  • Yuki Nagato from Haruhi Suzumiya requests permission from her boss to use her powers, and later adds a second layer of restriction in the form of Kyon.
  • The mail-order Power Suit that Gosunkugi buys in Ranma 1/2. All things considered, it's extremely powerful tech: it can withstand Ranma's full-power punches without even a dent (and injuring Ranma's knuckles in return,) provides its wearer the speed to deliver Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs on par with Ranma, and, naturally, also provides Super Strength. What prevents misuse and abuse by any common crook? Three basic rules: a) it's unbelievably heavy, so once assembled, it effectively locks into place and the user cannot budge one inch until his rival is in range, at which point it automatically latches onto them with a retractable handcuff and powers up; b) once latched onto the rival, the armor will deactivate and fall apart by itself as soon as the user successfully strikes the enemy; and c) the user has a time limit to accomplish this, otherwise the armor will self-destruct.
  • In DieBuster, all of the Topless wear a small sticker on their foreheads that keeps their powers in check. Given that without it, they're low-level, localized Reality Warpers, this is understandable.
  • Given to Mewtwo in Pokémon: The First Movie. When he meets with Giovanni for the first time, he barely has control of his psychic abilities and is given the armor to slowly focus his power.
  • Used in the background of the Macross franchise, in which their Variable Fighters have by the time of Macross Plus achieved a performance level which exceeds all practicality, capable of applying G-forces which would kill the pilot, and a top speed in an atmosphere such that friction with the air would cause the plane itself to burn up. Other limiters mention maximum safe thrust in a vacuum due to heat buildup. By Macross Frontier, new technology has allowed some of these limits to be pushed out. Most mentions now are just a Continuity Nod to Macross Plus, where it served as a plot device to further demonstrate Guld's sacrifice, as he disables his limiters in order to get the performance he needed to destroy the X-9 Ghost, at the cost of his own life.
  • We see a couple of instances of this in Kamisama Kiss. The first is Tomoe who had one placed on him when he became a familiar. Next we find out that the reason Kurama's powers in the human world are very weak is because a tengu's powers are derived from the mountain they were born on and the further away they are they are, and the longer they are away, the weaker those powers get.
  • In Toriko, Mansam limits his strength with Knocking. Without the Knocking, he's a rampaging near-unstoppable berserker.
  • Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters Leaping Through Time has Gumdramon, who has a golden band on his tail. The band was put there to keep him from using his abilities selfishly and becomes an Amplifier Artifact when exposed to The Power of Friendship.

    Comic Books 
  • In X-Men: The Last Stand, not to mention in the original comics it was based on, we learn that Professor Xavier placed a mental block in Jean Grey as a child, to keep her more extreme powers from manifesting.
    • Also, in the original Phoenix storyline in the comics, Jean unconsciously put blocks on her vast cosmic power to keep it at a level she could handle. Then, Mastermind started removing them. BAD move.
    • Also, Cyclops' goggles, which keep his uncontrollable Eye Beams under wraps. If he takes his glasses off completely and opens his eyes fully he can hold off even the Juggernaut (for a little while, anyway) and once atomized a Sentinel. The bad news is that it means destroying everything else in the area too, so he doesn't do it often.
    • Cable's Psychic Powers are canonically Phoenix-class-or-higher, but the majority of his power is constantly occupied, holding back the techno-organic virus that threatens to consume him. As such, he typically relies on BFGs and the occasional nowhere-near-Phoenix-class telekinetic feat.
  • Similar to Jean Grey, in the post-Zero Hour Legion of Super-Heroes, blocks were put on the higher levels of Saturn Girl's telepathy when she was a child. When the blocks came off years later, she started using her powers without realizing it.
  • Albert Cranston in PS238 is implied, early on, to have one of these around his head. Apparently they limit his (apparent) telekinetic abilities to a level where he is barely able to press a keyboard button with his mind, and it seems that he is keeping the fact that he is even able to do this a secret from the remaining staff, implying it was meant to be a Power Nullifier.
    • That's exactly what it's for. Governmentally-enforced, no less.
  • During the recent Christopher Kent storyline in Superman, Superman had him wear a watch much of the time that emitted red sunlight to keep him normal as he hadn't learned to control his powers yet. He could take it off any time he wanted but kept it on most of the time out of respect for Superman.
    • In Superman & Batman: Generations, Kara Kent wore a red sunlight pendant during early childhood when her powers started manifesting. Lois had previously worn the same pendant when she was pregnant with Kara to keep the Kryptonian infant from damaging her.
  • The Spectre's power is severely limited when sealed in a mortal host. The Spectre still has near-omnipotent power but can only use it to punish murderers (and not every murderer at that). During the Day of Vengeance event the Spectre was between hosts and fell prey to Eclipso's manipulations and decided that magic was an affront to the Presence's will and had to be destroyed. The Spectre declared war on all magic in the universe. And pretty much won. Without anything holding him back, the Spectre turned Phantom Stranger into a mouse, forced Blaze and Satanus to flee for their lives, kicked a souped up Captain Marvel's ass, killed Shazam in the place where he was strongest, and killed all of the Lords of Order and Chaos. Unfortunately for the Spectre that last one was the final straw for the Presence. The Presence promptly demonstrated the difference between near-omnipotent and omnipotent power by sealing the Spectre into his new host.
  • The newest version of Steel (a member of the Justice Society not to be confused with John Henry Irons) wears a solid metal skin with no joints in order to resist his strength enough for him to function. It has draw backs like not being able to feel pretty much anything.
  • Five of the six Infinity Gems act as control rods for the sixth, the Reality gem, which cannot be used alone (unlike the other five). Trying to do so will result in Reality Is Out to Lunch (as Thanos painfully found out).
  • Jamie Madrox, a.k.a. Multiple Man of X-Factor, has to wear one sometimes. His mutant power is Me's a Crowd, making copies of himself. The problem is Power Incontinence. The duplicates are triggered by physical impact, like getting punched or stamping his foot. Sometimes, though, his power is so sensitive that just a casual bump would make one appear, so he usually has to wear soft armor so that he can make duplicates voluntarily but not by accident.
  • Beta Ray Bill's cyborg body was built with one of these, releasing it more than triples his power for a short time, but runs the risk of burning out his power.
  • The Green Lantern Corps were given various restrictions on the power of their rings by the Guardians of the Universe, such as the inability to directly kill someone with them. The Guardians later released these restrictions.
  • A future version of Franklin Richards known as Psi-Lord wears a specialized power armor designed to drain his immense psychic abilities. Without it, he was able to release power equivalent to the Big Bang.

    Fairy Tales 
  • The Runner from the fairy tale The Six Who Went Far in the World wore a single weighted boot, so he wasn't running around at full speed all the time.

    Films — Animated 
  • Jafar is defeated in the first Aladdin movie by the limits of being a genie. "Phenomenal cosmic powers... itty-bitty living space."
  • Elsa from Frozen has near-constant Power Incontinence, causing her to freeze everything she touches and accidentally create snow and/or ice whenever she moves her hands too quickly. To counteract this, her father makes her wear gloves. It's shown to work... unless she's particularly distressed, for example when her mother and father suddenly die, she's shown to have coated a large area around her in ice, despite the gloves.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Fan Works 
  • In the Poké Wars series it is revealed that Pokemon and humans possess natural power limiters that keep their attacks to a non-lethal level and reduce their bloodlust and aggressiveness. The series revolves around what happens after those limiters are suddenly released and the Pokemon are psychically commanded to kill all humans.
  • What kicks off the plot in Escape from the Hokage's Hat. During the Sasuke retrieval mission, Naruto managed to win his fight against Sasuke but almost died. He aimed for Sasuke's wing which took Sasuke down but threw the aim off the Chidori from his heart to most of his right side and his whole right arm while Naruto was suffering from charka exhaustion to boost. While in surgery Tsunade finds multiple limiters on Naruto ranging from intelligence dampening to massively suppressing his hormones and libido and his motor functions. The reason she isn't on Jiraiya's (resident seal master) case for not notifying her of the seals is because they were blood seals made from Naruto's own blood so they wouldn't be seen by a regular medical scan. While Jiraiya says removing them would give him a major permanent boost (the seals held a large chunk of Naruto's power), there is a downside to it due to the seals being so ingrained into Naruto's body. Naruto would generally have the motor functions of a 5 month year old, Kage level reserves with zero control and a brain that's just started working at normal capacity.
  • The admins in The Infinite Loops originally designed subspace pockets to drain power away from Loopers in order to keep them from accidentally collapsing a universe. The fact that the pockets also serve as Hammer Space and carry things between loops is just an added bonus.

    Literature 
  • Done by choice in the Taltos novels of the Dragaera series, where Sethra Lavode is revealed to be one and the same with Kiera the Thief, and in this persona achieved success with hard work and minimal use of magic, refusing to use any resource or knowledge she didn't gain as Kiera, even though in her true form she is an equal to the gods. Her explanation was simply that she got bored.
  • In the Fingerprints series, Rae's Psychic Powers initially drive her into a mental institution. In later books, she starts putting wax on her fingertips as a sort of improvised Power Limiter to keep other peoples' thoughts out of her head, since she can't turn her ability off.
  • Merlin Athrawes is actually a machine posing as one of the planet Safeholds legendary seijin. This lets him perform above and beyond your average human, but he still keeps a Power Limiter active to avoid being too above and beyond, and only removes them in extreme circumstances.
  • In Mistborn Vin's earring acts like this since it's really a Hemalurgic spike that blocks her from absorbing the mist and becoming Preservation. If you're fighting her and she loses that earring somehow, get ready to have your ass handed to you on a tray.
  • In Ravenor vs. Eisenhorn, the cuffs.
    • Also a choice made by those who choose to summon Daemonhosts; the more of the Daemon's power is permitted to escape, the less control is possible. Cherubael is weaker working for Eisenhorn because Eisenhorn wants to keep him under control.
  • Employed by the government in Harrison Bergeron to make sure that nobody ever excels at anything, ostensibly to make everyone equal.
  • In Harry Potter, part of Neville Longbottom's problem performing magic is the fact that he is using his father's wand for the first 5 books. Once he gets one that is specifically made for him, his abilities improve dramatically.
  • In the Discworld series, a Wizard's natural instinct is to build a magic tower, and then obliterate every other wizard standing (it's noted that the plural of 'wizard' used to be 'war'). The Unseen University with its associated lifestyle of multiple rich meals a day, bureaucracy, and general work-avoidance, acts as a Power Limiter helping keep those instincts in check, and when the system is temporarily upended in Sourcery, things go very bad, very fast.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Magic: The Gathering, a few creatures have some way to become more powerful if certain conditions are met, and many of these are implied to be removal of a power limiter of some kind.
  • Imperial Guard Sanctioned Psykers from Warhammer 40,000 have augmetic dampers implanted to reduce the potency of their powers.
    • Similarly, Wystan Frauka, Ravenor's Blank, has a power limiter which can turn off his psychic blanking effect. Which is handy, when the hero is a powerful psychic...

    Video Games 
  • The Slayer class in Dungeon Fighter Online is a swordsman with a red, demon-possessed arm that constantly tries to take over the rest of his body. Right from the start, he's got a Power Limiter in the form of mystical shackles attached to the arm. One of his class advancements, the Blade Master, receives a more-powerful version called a Regulator, which allows him to focus nearly entirely on his swordplay and supresses the demon so strongly his arm turns white and glows. His alternate class advancements are much less positive, with two in particular involving striking a bargain with the demon to trade his eyes for power or just completely giving in to the madness.
  • Potemkin in Guilty Gear wears a restraint system designed to keep him under control during the years he was a slave; it had a bomb wired into it. He worked so hard to overcome it that he gained incredible muscle mass. Even now, having gained freedom, he still wears it to keep his strength in check. In his Instant Kill, he briefly removes it, and then kills the opponent with one punch.
    • As well, Sol Badguy, from the same series, wears a pseudo-magical headband which suppresses his true nature as a Super Prototype Gear, a race of magical living weapons of mass destruction, and allows him to retain his sanity. However, this comes at a cost of somewhere in the vicinity of 90% of his power. Given his already amazing battle skill, and his ability to destroy commander-level Gears with minimal effort, his true potental can be rather frightening to consider.
    • Still, That Man seems to casually fight him after Sol removes his limiter. Even at the end of the battle, barely any damage was done to That Man. Makes one wonder how powerful That Man really is.
  • Xenogears has the surface dwellers' and Solarians' powers limited by a nanomachine device literally called a Limiter. You get to destroy this Limiter later and unlock awesome new techs for your character.
    • Limiters are used in a lot of ways, not just to ensure that surfacers and Solarians can't attain their full power. Fei also gets a Limiter that keeps his Superpowered Evil Side under control, with a system that allows him to release his Id powers in a controlled fashion. It breaks later.
    • Later on, the heroes remove the Limiters on everyone. It turns out that removing the Limiters of nameless NPCs is a bad idea.
  • Xenoblade Shulk ponders early on that the there must be a reason why the Monado can't cut people and faced Mechon. Later it turns out the Monado's is "in shackles" in it's current form. Once Zanza unlocks it into the Monado II, those restrictions no longer apply. And it turns out that even that form is still limiting it's power when the Monado III is revealed.
  • In Romancing Sa Ga 2 if you kill Rockbouquet before Noel, he will not allow you to make peace with him and will attack at full power; it is even worse if he is the only remaining hero since he will be the Penultimate Boss in the final dungeon; he will be in his second form and without the limiter, meaning he will use every technique at his disposal.
  • K' in The King of Fighters is forced to wear a special gauntlet, lest his flame control powers run wild. Normally, flame-users in KOF have perfect control, but since K' got his powers through an imperfect process, he has no control over them.
    • As of 2003 and XIII, it's implied he doesn't need it anymore but now wears it out of habit.
    • Both K9999 and Nameless have this too. It simplied that Nameless's glvoe is the reincarnation of his long dead lover or something.
    • Rugal Bernstein and Krizalid have first forms wherein they wear a tuxedo for Rugal or a huge coat for Kriz. Once they come off...well, don't say we didn't warn you. Rugal's tux is probably worn by Rugal for laughs, where as Kriz's coat is unexplained but could be this. Rugal flings his off, and Krizalid burns his, BTW.
  • Street Fighter III's Oro willingly wears one of his arms in a sling while fighting as to use both would run the risk of killing his opponent due to his sheer power. During one of his Super Arts, however, he removes the arm and beats the crap out of the opponent.
  • In StarCraft, the Terran Ghosts go through brutal training to suppress their innate abilities and allow their superiors to keep better control over them. It can be reversed, though; Infested Kerrigan raids a Terran ship to find out how to do it, unlocking the Psionic Storm attack.
  • The gold rings on Shadow the Hedgehog's wrists act as a limiter. It was barely implied in the games, however in Sonic X he takes them off in certain desperate situations. In the comic he takes them off to fight Enerjak, warning the people of New Mobotropolis to "clear the area" and giving Nicole difficulty in maintaining the city.
    • It's canon in the games as of Sonic 2006. When Mephiles surrounds Shadow by duplicating himself several hundred times, Shadow removes the rings from his wrists and proceeds to curbstomp the entire clone army. He immediately puts them back on afterward.
  • Used twice on the same character in Tales of the Abyss. A piece of Applied Phlebotinum is used to bring Jade down 30 levels so he wouldn't be spectacularly overleveled for most of the game. Later, through a sidequest or two, you learn that Jade's eyes are where his ability to use fonic artes is most concentrated, and his glasses prevent all the fonic energy from going out of control and destroying him and whatever he happens to be standing by. (The glasses do come off for the final battle against the Big Bad, however...)
  • In Super Robot Wars, pretty much every Super Robot used by the Shadow-Mirrors is able to deactivate its power limiter by reciting a code word or phrase, i.e. "Code: Kirin". This is never used as a plot point, however, just an implied powerup during the characters' strongest attacks.
  • In God Hand, Gene wears the Deistic brace on his god hand so that he can keep control over the awesome power it contains. The braces, along with Gene's other arm, are removed for the final fight.
  • Certain held items in Pokémon act as simultaneous Power Limiters and Power at a Price. The various "Power ________" items sacrifice Speed to increase another stat's development speed. The Iron Ball cuts Speed and removes the Flying-type immunity to Ground moves, but gives the strongest possible base power for the move Fling. Certain abilities, like Truant and Slow Start act as Power Limiters.
    • Machoke's belt is also an example, preventing it from expending all its power at once.
    • Diamond and Pearl show that the Poké Balls themselves serve as Power Limiters on particularly powerful mons, driving Cyrus to seek alternative methods to enslave the local gods of time and space.
    • The chest seals on Golett and Golurk keep their power at a manageable level.
    • Espurr and Meowstic keep their ears folded to hold back the immense, uncontrollable psychic power that they produce. They are even classified as the "Restraint Pokémon" and "Constraint Pokémon" respectively.
  • Star Ocean: The Second Story'a final boss Indalecio used his daughter Filia as a limiter on his power. If, after reaching the final level of Fienal, the player decides to trek all the way back to Central City, do a private action and encounter Filia again, Indalecio will find her and kill her, removing his limiter. With limiter off, he's almost unstoppable.
  • In God of War 3, Hercules starts out as a Mighty Glacier, but when Kratos pulls off his armor and weapons, he becomes much faster, turning into a Lightning Bruiser.
  • Fate/stay night's Heaven's Feel scenario has Shirou losing an arm and having Archer's arm (and Magic Circuits) grafted on (supposed to be impossible, but...), which would kill him if he used it much at all, thus forcing him to utilize a magical shroud to block it off. HF also reveals that Rider has been under a power limiter the whole time as well. If not for the limiter, the ability they block might accidentally kill everyone around her. With it off, she gains increased abilities as well.
    • Rider's Self-Sealing Dark Temple functions similarly to Shiki's glasses in Tsukihime. In fact, Touko also creates a pair of glasses for Rider for everyday purposes.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, Alilat served as one of these. While now Metatron can siphon a bit of his power back, it means now Demiurge's power lines just got unclogged...
  • In Phantasy Star Online there's actually an item named Limiter. Once you get 20,000 kills with it equipped, it can become an Adept.
  • Deathwing from World of Warcraft Cataclysm has massive elementium plates welded onto his body to keep his own power from tearing him apart. He's still noticably "leaking" power despite them, and is in constant agony.
    • When the final battle comes, you tear off the plates to defeat him only for his body to transform into an Eldritch Abomination capable of single-handedly killing any of the other Aspects and ending the world in a minute flat.
  • In the Diablo series, the first humans of Sanctuary (and Sanctuary itself) were Angel-Demon hybrids called the Nephalem. They possessed power beyond any angel or demon and more significantly were Immune to Fate. The Angels feared their power and created the Worldstone to limit their power. Then Tyrael was forced to destroy the Worldstone after Baal corrupted it in Throne of Destruction. Cue the sequel, and the first of the new Nephalem become powerful enough to slay the reincarnated God of Evil.
  • In Asura's Wrath, Deus's cape is shown to be weighted, as evidenced in episode 15.5.
  • Inhibitors in League of Legends limit the enemy's nexus into summoning weaker minions instead of the mighty super minions. However, this is mainly to Hand Wave why destroying such structures grants your team super minions.
    • It was stated in the lore once, but possibly retconned out later, that the Nexus and summoning spell that calls the Champions onto the Fields of Justice regulate power as well, to ensure an even playing field. This is more or less a necessity when the champions range from a anthropomorphic hamster with a blowgun to minor deities.
    • There is also a lore-only example in Xerath, a mage who turned himself into what seems to be a being of pure magical energy, but was then sealed in a metal sarchophagus. An unspecified amount of centuries later, the sarchophagus is broken into pieces, allowing him to move about and cast some spells, but they're still attached to him and limiting his power, though he is trying to remedy the situation.
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has an interesting example. Raiden's new cyborg body has all the bells and whistles, including systems to allow him to fight on while injured/damaged. It turns out these are also keeping "Jack" in check. When an attempt to break Raiden by talking works a little too well, he demands Doktor turn off his supposedly-helpful pain inhibitors, allowing his Combat Sadomasochist Superpowered Evil Side to let rip.
  • In BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, Hazama explained that Noel's Nox Nyctores Bolverk actually functions as a limiter to sustain her emotions, thus when Bolverk broke, Noel unlocked her true form - Mu-12. This only happens because he was riling her up at the time, however. When Rachel takes Bolverk from her in an alternate timeline, she instead loses all self-confidence and dissolves into tears.
  • The coat worn by the T-103 Tyrant in Resident Evil 2, according to supplementary materials, is specifically designed to prevent him from mutating. Once it's burned off he grows to twice his size, sprouts big claws, and becomes far more aggressive and faster.
  • It is revealed near the end of Bioshock Infinite that the Siphon actually limits Elizabeth's powers at the request of Comstock to better manage and keep her under control. By destroying the Siphon Tower using Songbird, Elizabeth gains the full potential of her powers which allowed her to see through the multi universe of the world and its truth.

    Webcomics 
  • Agatha's brooch in Girl Genius inhibits her "spark" of Mad Science genius and later prevents her from being taken over by her mother.
  • Kili's tattoos in The Dragon Doctors limit her shaman powers and protect her from insanity through dead people. Note that she's still the best shaman in the world, and her tattoos would completely negate the powers of a normal shaman.
  • Eclair from Dragon Mango is always seen wearing armor, which fits her concept as she is a swordfighter. But it's also made of iron, which hurts and weakens an elf (which she is) by its mere touch! She is also a graduate of swordfighting style with an insanely dangerous training method (most students either flee, die or go insane long before completing training) focused on enduring the touch of iron. When she goes up against an extremely powerful enemy, she drops the armor to unleash her full potential.
  • Black Mage from 8-Bit Theater has a huge amount of untapped potential power that is indicated to be enough to bring about at least one of the X-clases on the Apocalypse How scale. How does the universe stop this Omnicidal Maniac from destroying all reality? His physical body limits the amount of power he can access. As a result, after he died the first time (and a large hoard of terrified demons and the villains of the comic stuck him back into his physical form), the universe has been very careful to make sure he doesn't die.
  • Kin in Goblins, as part of her enslavement to Dellyn, has been fitted with a magical leash that supresses her magic abilities and prevents her from harming anyone else if the leash is being held.
  • In Rescuing Dara, like in Pokémon, Chivais' Everstone prevents her from evolving, which would make her an even more powerful fighter than she already is.
  • Dominic Deegan's younger brother Gregory learned White Magic while afflicted with blight of the undead, already fairly powerful when the blight got ripped out he released a burst of white fire that healed the gaping wounds in himself and everyone around him. Similarly their mother Miranda the archmage discovered that her power had been limited by a geas from her predecessor and when it was removed her strength was so great as to be unmanageable, a simple energy bolt spell causing a huge explosion.
  • Karin-dou 4koma: Seren has to wear one (in the form of bunny/cat ears!) to contain her immense power and allow her to use it for trivial things. Without it, focusing even a little bit of magical energy would make it become a high class magic.
  • In Knights Of Buena Vista, Adriana's Player Character has a 90% chance of accidentally casting magic thanks to Min-Maxing. To reduce this, she uses special gloves, and a meditation ability.

    Web Original 
  • The Hawthorne Cottage resident Olympia, from the Whateley Universe. She's an enormously strong brick with energy powers, and she's insane. The school has her wearing a golden 'power armor suit' that she thinks increases her strength. It's a Power Limiter. Everyone's hoping she doesn't figure this out.
  • The villain, Wolf from The Descendants has an 'inhibitor' that let's him control his were-wolf like transformations. Unlimited, he turns into a large wolf but is much dumber.
  • This was the intended purpose the SCP Foundation had for convincing SCP-239 that she was a witch, thus limiting her power to a few "spells" that she needed a book and wand to do. It worked for a while, but then Incident 239-B happened and they just opted to put her in a coma.

    Western Animation 
  • Hexadecimal's mask is this, though you wouldn't know it until it comes off. It prevents her nearly unlimited power from overloading her body and exploding.

    Real Life 
  • The good old human body. Although those stories about a mother lifting a car to save her child are mostly urban legend; scientists estimate that the amount you can lift consciously (say in the gym) is about 2/3 your absolute maximum (before things tear and break) because of built-in limitations. At a lower level things start to hurt, persuading you to stop if carrying on isn't important, a long time before any damage is done.
  • Ever put a bell on your cat so you'll always know where they are? Well, the things they hunt can tell too, effectively removing their stealthiness.
  • Several real life training methods involve limiting ones power. While most people will think of weighted clothes (vest, ankles, gloves), there is also running underwater, sled dragging, or even practicing certain things at night when your eyes are not as useful.
  • Many forms automobile racing use restrictors plates to limit the air intake, and thus the maximum power output of an engine. This is either to ensure parity or competitiveness between different cars (Le Mans Prototypes, GT racecars), or to reduce speeds that could lead to serious accidents (NASCAR superspeedways)
  • When you install custom firmware on your router, you can set the transmit power to anything you want.
    • It's worth noting that setting the power too high will result in the router quickly frying itself. For example, setting a router to 8 times its manufactured limit is quite likely to result in you having a brick in just 6 months time.
  • Boring ordinary example would probably be Speed Limits. Most vehicles on the road can likely go faster than the legal limit.
    • This is actually deliberate for two (plausible) reasons:
      • After 65MPH/105KM/H, the air resistance imposed on all but the most aerodynamically designed cars ramps up dramatically, thus increasing your fuel consumption by a huge amount. For those who haul large loads with trucks, monitor and note your fuel consumption at 55MPH and 75MPH. Allegedly in the 70s during the fuel crisis, the US imposed a national 55MPH speed limit so people wouldn't eat up as much gas.
      • If cars were designed with a top speed just above the speed limit, the engines would run near red line all the time. Redlining an engine is a great way to kill it faster.
    • Really fancy cars have speed limits, such as the Bugatti Veyron, have this limit due to safety and because your tires will not last long at those speeds. Ever wonder why race cars change tires so often during a single race? Now you know.
    • Motorcycle manufacturers agreed in 2000 to build motorcycles that can't go any faster than 300 km/h for safety reasons. However, they're limited by way of their ECUs, not by design.
    • Often times there's a rev limiter to prevent redlining or the ECU has imposed limits so it doesn't let you use the full potential of a car... until you unlock it. We could say this is the original jailbreaking/rooting.
  • Many modern cars these days are also receiving power limiters related to other aspects of performance, notably traction control, which does exactly what it says on the tin. These will either limit power by restricting the throttle when it detects traction giving, or may apply the brakes automatically on select wheels. Others have a limp mode where if the ECU detects a potentially major engine problem it will severely restrict engine performance to protect it and put on the Service Engine light. In some manual transmission cars you can induce this behavior by putting the car into too low a gear for your speed and releasing the clutch, forcing the engine to an RPM beyond its redline limiter, which happened on Top Gear. Don't Try This at Home, if you don't know what you're doing you really will destroy your engine. Watching an engine rod shoot through the hood is not a pleasant sight.
    • Some tuned cars take this one step further. One such Mercedes featured on Top Gear needs its traction control on to floor the gas, otherwise it would just make the tires explode. At a standing start.
  • The M1A1 Abrams MBT has a "rev limiter" since it's jet engine doesnt have a max speed and the thing will catastrophically fail, that is very bad.
  • Military fighters have had limiters of various forms in them for a while, some of which are removed when necessary.
    • Alpha limiters are commonly found on modern fighter planes, which restrict the rate at which a plane can pitch. Why? Because if you didn't have them they'd pitch so fast that the air flow will no longer be passing through the wings, but rather against the wings and control surfaces, resulting in a stall. Incidentally this performance characteristic is what enables Pugachev's Cobra and the Kulbit, but can be dangerous in any plane without thrust vectoring, as they lose virtually all control during a stall. It can also lead to undesirable situations, such as if a pilot wants a maximum performance turn to avoid an enemy attack, he may accidentally turn too fast, resulting in a loss of control, and likely a swift death by enemy fire.
    • More common are soft power limiters on engine thrust, which go all the way back to World War 2. Pilots are often restricted with how much power they are permitted to draw from their engines during normal operating, and can only call upon maximum power (sometimes called Wartime Emergency Power) in an emergency, such as being engaged by enemy forces. This is because using the engine at full power results in significantly more maintenance when the plane lands, so don't try to do this just because you think no one's looking, the maintenance crew will figure it out pretty quick when you land, and even if they don't, you have to break a physical wire seal on the throttle to access it anyhow, and if you don't have a damn good reason for it expect a very thorough chewing out at the very least.
  • Lawn mowers can jump from about 2 MPH to 60+ MPH by removing the limiter. People race them.
    • And they use the Le Mans start (drivers start outside of their cars at one side of the road, cars at the other side, when flagman waves the green, the drivers run across the track to their cars, hop in, and get them started; this formation was used from the first running in 1924 to 1969). A classic, almost regal starting formation used to start lawnmower races. Nothing else needs to be said.
  • When a top of the line CPU or GPU comes back defective, often times the manufacturer puts the settings lower by default or disables sections of the chip that aren't working and sells it as a cheaper model. Some people have found ways to "unlock" unused portions of the chip for more performance. The most famous case of this was with AMD's tri-core processors, which were quad-cores with a defective core. Unfortunately this is a rare thing now, as the section will be completely neutered of its communications. note 
    • Intel sells "unlocked" processors, which allows for more overclocking headroom than "locked" processors. The locked part is the frequency multiplier.
    • Graphics cards from AMD come with different official BIOS/firmware configurations. The default one tries to keeps the card a reasonable temperature and noise levels when running something. The "uber" versions just let the GPU run as fast as it wants within thermal tolerances (i.e., not frying itself).
    • Cooling systems themselves can be thought as power limiters. Since the only way to increase performance of a part once its in the consumer's hands is overclocking, you can only overclock as much as the cooling system can keep the chip cool (among other factors, but this is the biggest one).


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Power NullifierThis Index Has Magic PropertiesProtective Charm
Power IncontinenceMagic and PowersThe Power of Blood

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