Power Strain Blackout

It can be hard to show all the aspects of a fictional ability since such a thing does not have any Real Life context to which the audience can relate. So when a creator wants to show that using a special power takes a toll on a character, he will often have the character faint afterward.

This is especially true when the character uses a power for the first time. Presumably, the strain of using it is too much for him, causing his mind to shut down in self defense.

Frequently used for powers that aren't very flashy in order to make them seem more dramatic, such as telepathy and other Psychic Powers.

If the fainting is a symptom of a more serious health problem, it's also a case of Heroic RROD. When it happens the first time a power is used, it's related to How Do I Shot Web?. Can be a form of Blessed with Suck.

If the collapse is after a dramatic win, especially a battle, and is used to skip the boring aftermath, it's Post-Victory Collapse.

Compare to Fainting Seer, which may overlap for Seers. May overlap with Cast from Lifespan.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Metal Fight Beyblade, Madoka faints after using her bey to save Kyoya's Leon. It's explained as her "not being used to blading."
  • In Card Captor Sakura, Sakura sometimes collapses after transforming Clow Cards into Star Cards. She knows that doing so will build her power, so she rushes it.
  • In Digimon Adventure, little Kari emits a light so powerful that her Digimon allies digivolve on contact. However, she has trouble walking, and near the end of the episode, she keels over. Fortunately, by that point, her brother, Tai, is there to pick her up.
  • In Yugioh, Yugi is strained while dueling in a Shadow Game with Pegasus. Yugi faints, and Yami is forced to take over.
  • Bleach: Jakuho Raikoben severely drains Soi Fon's reiatsu, enough that it usually takes her three days to recover before she can safely use it again.
  • Vision of Escaflowne: Hitomi's ability to see into the future, via Tarot Cards, often has this effect on her afterwards. It's eventually revealed that both the duration and the severity of her fainting spells is determined by her emotional state. Meaning, the greater her anxiety, the greater its toll on her following her vision; not to mention the part about her anxiety making those visions come true!
  • In Soul Eater, Sid collapses after using his power to get the main characters and Stein outside of the trap set for the whole school. In fairness to him, he had just nearly been blown up then rushed all the way back to Death City.
  • Dragon Ball Z: When Gohan first goes SSJ2 he triggers it for only a second and then passes out. This was seen in one of Goku's flashbacks of their training in the time chamber and was the moment that convinced him that Gohan could beat Cell if he could sustain that power, which he did.
  • Sailor Moon usually faints or at least collapses and loses her Super form after using her Rainbow Moon Heartache attack in the S series, although that restriction on her Super form doesn't apply during SuperS, probably because she's using a power source other than the Holy Grail in that series. She also has this problem in the first few episodes of Stars, when she first tries to become Eternal Sailor Moon, and like with SuperS, the problem disappears once that becomes her default form when the Animamates start appearing.
  • In Slayers, the Giga Slave spell has this effect on Lina (as well as turning her hair white for a few days).
  • In Megaman NT Warrior Axess, after repelling the Villain of the Week SavageMan, Lan faints after exiting Cross Fusion with MegaMan.
  • In Hunter Hunter, Kurapika does this if he spends too long with the Scarlet Eyes activated.
  • Luffy of One Piece falls into this after some of his fights. Usually it's the result of blood loss or poison, though after Enies Lobby and Thriller Bark he passes out from the strain of his Gear 2 technique, which is basically increasing the speed of his blood flow- if it wasn't his rubbery body, the stress on his heart would kill him.
  • At the end of penultimate episode of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Hayate faints after she uses her powers as the Queen of the Night Sky for the first time to help defeat an Eldritch Abomination.
  • "Blackout Syndrome" appears in the climatic end of Future GPX Cyber Formula. The tremendous g-force generated from driving a formula car over 580km/h around the roller-coaster downhill corner causes a driver to go blind for a few seconds. Hayato, who pushes beyond 600km/h, almost collapses in the final lap.

    Comic Books 
  • U Go Girl from the short-lived Mike Allred X-Force. Her power would literally drain her energy and she'd more than occasionally pass out after using her whirly teleportation.
  • In early issues of Runaways, Molly would black out from exhaustion after a throwing a single punch. As she got more used to it she wouldn't pass out, but would still need a nap after using her powers.
  • Many telepaths of the various X-Men incarnations do this at least once in almost all of their adaptations.
  • Starfire, in her very first appearance in the Teen Titans, faints after using her powers.
  • Rogue in X-Men faints after some time if she absorbs the powers of a sufficiently strong superpowered person, such as Magneto.
    • Storm in X-Men passed out in mid-air after powering down a planet-threatening supercell of her own creation (Dr. Doom had trapped her as a statue and creating the supercell was her hysterical claustrophobic reaction to being trapped thus).
  • At the beginning of Ultimate X-men Storm had a tendency to faint, not from the use of power itself but from the mental effort required to reduce collateral damage - since she had no experience with aiming her lightning.
  • Happens to Doctor Strange on occasion, since magical exertion takes a toll on the body. Once he muttered, "I never used to black out. Now it seems it's all I do."


    Film - Animated 
  • The Secret of NIMH: Also happens to Mrs. Brisby, immediately after the film's climax, wherein she uses The Stone for the first and only time to move her home. She collapses as its power subsides, then passes out.
  • The Incredibles: Violet suffers this for a few seconds when her force-field is put under extreme pressure.

    Film - Live Action 
  • The Matrix Reloaded: At the conclusion, in the real world, Neo and the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar escapes a bomb that destroys their ship, only to find themselves about to be ripped apart by Sentinels. However, Neo can now somehow sense and communicate with real-world machinery. He hacks the five Sentinels, causing them to short and deactivate. The process causes Neo to fall unconscious and inadvertently jack himself, without hardware, into a Matrix-connected construct world, temporarily imprisoning himself.

  • In Eragon, Eragon's first attempt at casting combat magic caused him to lose consciousness because it took a large amount of energy out of him at once.
  • Alaric Morgan is apt to do this, since he's a bit of an overachiever and Deryni powers are physically taxing to use. In High Deryni, Morgan tries to contact Derry mentally (sending a Call) during the reconciliation service for himself and Duncan and faints from the effort; Duncan makes the excuse that his cousin isn't used to fasting. He also collapses from overextending himself to Call on campaign in The King's Justice, and Kelson scolds him for pushing himself too hard.
  • Physical exhaustion is the main symptom of overchanneling in The Wheel of Time, even to the point of unconsciousness. In extreme cases it can also cause a permanent loss of one's powers.
  • In the Dresden Files books, wizards feel fatigue when they use a lot of magic. Pushed too far, it certainly can cause a blackout.
  • Happens frequently to seers and to the royals in Tales of the Branion Realm — when you've literally just exploded into flames, it takes a lot out of you. Leads to Post-Victory Collapse in some cases.
  • After practising her telekinetic powers by suspending a cigar in mid-air, Matilda is so exhausted she goes straight to sleep.
  • In The Left Hand of Darkness Estraven — the native of the planet Winter — has been trained to enter a state of "dothe" greatly increasing his strength and endurance. But the period of great strength is followed by a longer period of "dark sleep". Once he dragged the Earthling protagonist to safety and let himself relax, he slept 2 days straight, woke to eat, then slept some more.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Willow, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, often collapsed after over-exerting herself during spellcasting. She also sometimes experienced a Psychic Nosebleed
  • Smallville: When Chloe first uses her healing power, she collapses so completely doctors think she's dead. She actually takes on the person's injury, but didn't know that, and Lois had apparently been killed. It looked as she had traded her life for Lois's, but thankfully, she got better. She used her power to that degree once more, and stayed apparently dead for 18 hours.
  • Kamen Rider Blade: The title character passes out after all his early uses of King form. So does anyone standing close enough to actually witness him using his final attack on a Monster of the Week. King Form is one of KR's 'so powerful it may be too much of a good thing' modes, such as were seen back in Kamen Rider Kuuga.
  • Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger sometimes has Jasmine overtax her psychometry powers and become a Fainting Seer.
  • In The Peacekeeper Wars, the miniseries sequel to Farscape, Crichton collapses and is rendered catatonic after shutting down the wormhole he created to force peace between the Scarrans and Peacekeepers. The sequence is somewhat unclear whether this is a result of the process of the mechanism itself, (which appears to involve some form of mental interface) or the alien "Einstein" removing wormhole weapon knowledge from his mind at the same time.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Champions. Normally, Endurance is used to fuel a character's power use. If a character runs out of Endurance, he can use Stun instead. If his Stun runs out, he falls unconscious.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia (1980). If the Norse god Odin uses his powers to heal anyone, he falls asleep for 1 to 10 days.
  • In the Dresden Files RPG, as in the books, spellcasting causes physical strain on the caster in two ways: firstly, calling up any magic at all (well, any evocation, and any ritual magic over a certain threshold of power) damages the character's mental stress by a small amount. Worse, if they call up more power than they can use (either in desperation or because they screwed up a roll), they have to take the excess as either backlash, which is this, or fallout, which is worse.
  • In GURPS, strenuous activities, some power uses, and spell-casting, all cost Fatigue Points (FP); powerful spells and some powers may be defined to cost a lot of them. Running really low on FP can cause a character to suffer penalties to movement and other actions. If necessary, after running out completely, the character can go on to spend Hit Points (HP) in place of FP, and running out of those can eventually cause some kind of total collapse.

    Video Games 
  • In Star Ocean 3, Fayt faints after activating his genetic Symbology ability Destruction for the first time. He also suffers some temporary memory loss from the event, indicating that it was especially psychologically traumatic.
    • A flashback shows Maria passing out the first time she used her power of Alteration. It's heavily implied she also lost her memory of the event.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, Wynne's plot power Vessel of the Spirit leaves her stunned and disoriented after every time she uses it. This effect is only alleviated after completing her personal side-quest.
  • Suikoden IV presents another rare male variant, which has Lazlo faint after each use of the Rune of Punishment, due to it draining its host's lifeforce with each use... until it finally kills them. This can be averted by successfully recruiting all 108 Stars of Destiny.
  • Persona 3: the MC falls unconscious for a few days after summoning his Persona for the first time.
  • Happens a few times to Vincent Valentine in Dirge of Cerberus. When his most powerful demon, Chaos, emerges he passes out afterwards the first time this happens in the game. Later uses of this ability sometimes just cut back to him lying on the floor and resting for a time.

    Web original 
  • PONY.MOV: In SWAG.MOV, Rainbow Dash turns into a huge anthropomorphic pony to battle Discord. After finally killing him, she shrinks and faints.

  • When Raezinus from Deverish Also demonstrates the portal spell and it becomes important to keep it open for a while, he eventually passes out from the strain of keeping the spell going for so long.
  • In The Cyantian Chronicles, the first time Darrik's energy manipulation abilities activate, he tosses a horse. It uses so much of he energy that he is left nearly unconscious.
  • In Spacetrawler, Eebs (or humans like Yuri with Eeb brain implants) will black out if they strain their telekinesis by moving objects that are too massive. Too much of this strain can outright kill them. It's later revealed that this limitation is a result of brain-clamping—we've yet to see an upper limit on how much matter an unclamped Eeb can move telekinetically.
  • In Drowtales, it's possible to blackout from overuse of mana. It actually happened to a weaker student in chapter 2. In later chapters Ariel and Chirinide exert themselves enough to become woozy after battle. Those who are more proficient in the mana arts are capable of killing themselves through exertion.
  • In El Goonish Shive, this happens to Grace after she uses her telekinesis for the first time to disarm a mugger.

    Western Animation 
  • This happens to Danny all the time in Danny Phantom.
  • In the Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes episode "Doomsday", Reed experiences this after stretching far enough to close the Negative Zone portal. Unfortunately, he's high in the air when it happens.
  • In the 1990s animated series, Jean does this after using her powers on Juggernaut to give him Laser-Guided Amnesia.
    • She does so again in a later episode, after showing Candra the truth of the Assassin's betrayal.
  • In Wolverine and the X-Men, Christy faints after using her earth powers to protect herself, her father, Wolverine, and Mystique from an explosion.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: The first time Aang enters the Avatar State in the pilot episode and several times in the first season before he gets used to it, he is visibly exhausted afterward. By Season Two, he's typically okay even if emotionally distressed.
  • The Legend of Korra; in the Origins Episode, Wan's first attempt at merging with Raava and using all four elements burns though his energy rather quickly and causes him to pass out. Once he fully fuses with her and becomes the Avatar, he doesn't have this problem any more.
  • Niko of Galaxy Rangers will occasionally overtax herself, draining her implant and her natural abilities and end up knocked out or barely conscious for a while. The upside is that if it gets to that point, she's probably just saved everyone's ass with it.

    Real Life