Follow TV Tropes


Awesome But Impractical / Fan Works

Go To

"A flashy feature that has limited usability for victory."


  • To Hell and Back (Arrowverse): The Mirakuru derivative serum, which gives the recipient all the abilities of the original Mirakuru serum and none of the side effects (particularly the hallucinations). The snag is that the recipient has to have the Mirakuru in them to work, and that has a nine-in-ten chance of killing whoever is injected with it. This was A.R.G.U.S.'s most successful attempt at perfecting the Mirakuru serum; rather understandably, Amanda cut off all research after that.


  • In Fractured, a Mass Effect/Star Wars crossover, the Trans-Galactic Republic's large Star Dreadnaughts are viewed this way due to using huge amounts of energy to operate, leaving them short-ranged and requiring massive supply lines.
  • A Third Path to the Future (Harry Potter & Marvel Comics): Despite her desire to install such devices in every room, Jean Grey quickly realizes she'll have to only install hard light projectors in a few important locations in her universe's equivalent of Hogwarts. While Harry Potter got the land for free, hard light projectors require technology so prohibitively expensive that six of them drained nearly the entirety of his vast fortune. If not for Death rewarding him with the fortune of an immortal he'd killed, Harry would've gone broke very quickly.
  • With Sprinkles: When Jayne indirectly suggests using a Terminator as a Sexbot, Xander points out that they can't get pregnant (or get an STD) but it'd be comparable to buying a ship because you needed somewhere to store your camping gear.

Doctor Who

  • At the conclusion of Dangerous Tenant, the Doctor admits to Donna that he could have used the TARDIS to disperse the D-Virus rather than use Wesker’s equipment, but that would have required him to drag the TARDIS through Earth’s atmosphere to basically turn it into a meteor, which would have melted more snow to act as a distribution medium for the virus but also created a tidal wave that would have allegedly drowned Scotland.


  • In Guiding Light (AuroraRose2081), Mirabel addresses the "rerouting the river" task that Luisa is given as this.
    Mirabel: You don't reroute a river[. N]ature is horrible. It does what it wants, whether you change it to be a certain way or not...don't uh, don’t tell Señora Pepa I said that...
    Luisa: But if someone asked...?
    Mirabel: Uh, figure out why, I guess? If it was for something silly like it being in their way, I'd build a bridge. If it was flooding their crops I'd build a flood wall. If the river couldn't reach their fields, I'd dig irrigation channels.

Fire Emblem

  • Fire Emblem Fates: Aftermath: Corrin's crown is ornately decorated, but it's also pretty heavy. He elects to have a more practical crown made to be worn on a daily basis, delegating the fancy crown to only be used for special occasions where it would be appropriate.

Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire


Harry Potter

  • The Unforgivables are seen this way by Harry's group in For Love of Magic, given that while they can't be magically blocked, they're all single target only so they lose their power upon hitting absolutely anything (such as a butterfly in the cloud of them conjured to block spells). Compounding the matter is the fact that two of them (Imperius and Cruciatus) require the caster maintain the spell and the third has an unnecessarily long incantation.
    • A spell Harry develops called the "Crown of Glory" causes him and his girls (Tonks, Fleur, and Luna) to temporarily gain an aura of power and righteousness that basically magnifies anything someone else finds impressive about them while diminishing anything they dislike. Unfortunately, said spell massively inflates their ego as well, meaning the other three are required to keep each one in check and after even a couple hours of use results in each of them having to go their separate ways afterwards to blow off steam lest they kill and/or rape each othernote . Harry and Fleur each find someone to sexually dominate for several hours while Tonks absolutely destroys a punching bag with her bare hands before going flying to blow off steam. Luna, as the least affected, simply goes for a long walk in the woods. Regardless, while it's a powerful tool to control others, the drawbacks are far too great for anything but sporadic short-term usage.
    • Harry develops spells that mess with the space-time continuum, such as a spell that momentarily implodes an area. While massively powerful, it takes roughly half a minute to cast and is easily sensed by anyone with any ability to detect magic. Besides one time where he lulled some Death Eaters into standing still long enough, Harry admits the spells are completely worthless in combat.
  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality: The Lightsaber Spell is implied to be this — it allows the caster to play Tennis Boss with spells and curses, but the drawbacks of it include a very long casting sequence, huge energy consumption and distance closing. Justified, since it was originally designed for elite one-on-one dueling with the idea of sportsmanship rather than for more life-or-death melee combat.
  • In Princess of the Blacks, Jennifer (A Gender Flip of Harry) uses a form of invisibility that's undetectable to Moody's magic eye. However, since it works by bending light away from a person, they're likewise blind for its duration. The only reason Jennifer uses it is because she's already blind (though on a potion regimen to regain her sight).
  • In Weasley Girl, Mad-Eye Moody gives Potter's Gang danger-detecting amulets called Warning Fangs; animal fangs to be worn around the neck, which grow hot whenever danger or potential danger gets too close. The Warning Fangs turn out to be very reliable when it comes to warning against danger — Problem is, the Warning Fangs don't give the wearer any clue as to what the danger is, or how serious it is; they'll grow just as hot for annoying pranksters as they will for murderous monsters.
    • The same fic also introduces the Animal Talk Charm, which allows you to communicate effortlessly with any animal of your choice. But while you're under the charm, you can only speak the language of that animal, even losing the ability to talk in any human languages, until someone lifts the Charm off you.
  • In When Fate Intervened a crazy wandmaker comes up with a nearly two-foot monstrosity which only works for Harry. Its spells are six or seven times more powerful than usual - at the cost of thirty times the magical effort. And this is just for an extremely basic Lumos spell.

Marvel Cinematic Universe

  • Facing Reality: Tony Stark developed a flexible and lightweight material that's more effective than a kevlar vest even when thin enough to serve as a Spy Catsuit. It's also prohibitively expensive, costing roughly twenty thousand dollars for a square yard. One of the few people to use the material in their super hero costume could only afford it because Tony paid for it in exchange for a magical amulet she made.

My Little Pony

  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic, The Dusk Guard: Rise resident Wrench Wench Sky Bolt has several ideas for things like fast and powerful airships and protective armor, but acknowledges that her designs are both too expensive and material-heavy for mass production and general use. For a six-pony Elite Army such as the Dusk Guard however, they're absolutely perfect. In fact, it is the ability to pursue these ideas and create them at all that Steel Song uses to entice Sky Bolt into the eponymous unit.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

  • In Aeon Natum Engel the Military views the Evangelions as unnecessary large Engel-prototype relics from the past. In the latter this view is somewhat extended to the conventional mecha, at least by the tank crews.

One Piece

  • In Supernova (One Piece) Nami learns to use Soru as early as the fight with Captain Kuro. Unfortunately she's isn't in good enough shape to use it properly so each use leaves her legs in agony.
  • In This Bites!, Soundbite quickly realizes that with his new transceiver, he can call every Transponder Snail in the world or none of them, no in-between.
    • Somewhat averted in the latest chapters when he realizes that he can both call people like a regular transponder snail, and also that he can create a 'dead zone' the size of say Enies Lobby where they are unable to receive the SBS broadcast and thus unable to preempt the attack.


  • A Rabbit Among Wolves: The massive battle robot Jaune received can't actually be piloted as no one there knows how, and using it would only give away his location.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Star Wars

  • A notorious fanmade ship design was that of a Star Destroyer-type ship that was 260 kilometers in length. (For comparison, this would make it a little bit smaller than Switzerland.) A response to it was the commander of the ship reporting on its maiden flight, and apologetically explaining all the incidents that resulted from the ship's size: cases of vertigo from looking out the three-kilometer bridge window, its six-million man crew causing massive outbreaks of dysentery and warring with one another, and a case where the ship, while taking two hours to turn around, accidentally bumped into a nearby fleet and annihilated it in the process.


  • Aurora Falls: Selkirk notes that the Vortex torpedo launcher module for his Seamoth is powerful, but space concerns for reloads (and the fact he has to actually leave the vehicle to reload) makes him decide it's not worth it.


  • Multiple cards and/or decks in Jaden's Harem: Return of the Supreme King are shown to be nearly useless compared to more basic cards and well-rounded decks. Dimitri manages to summon Black Luster Solder - Envoy Of The Beginning during his duel with Jaden and immediately loses it due to a trap card returning it to his hand. Zana's deck is built entirely around summoning Cyber End Dragon with Power Bond so when Power Bond is removed from play early in a duel, her deck is crippled.


  • In the Uplifted series, The Tiger tank prototype, as Hoch and Hanala find out when trying to take one deep behind enemy lines in Libya. It's clunky, over engineered, and unreliable in the conditions they face.
  • In Aeon Entelechy Evangelion the Military views the Evangelions as unnecessary large Engel-prototype relics from the past. In the latter this view is somewhat extended to the conventional mecha, at least by the tank crews.
  • BlackMegaGargomon from the Tamers Forever Series has an unbelievably powerful technique known as the Black Moon Flare, which causes unfathomable amounts of devastation within a vast radius. Unfortuneatly, the technique happens to be a little too powerful, and D.C is only ever able to manage one use of it. And that ends up being a Worf Barrage

  • In Calvin at Camp, Calvin, Jason, and Marcus try to attack Kevin with medieval weapons, but find out the hard way that although the weapons look cool, for young boys they are impossible to lift.
  • In Shadow Snark, the titular character's wings are made of solid iron, which though badass doesn't give him the ability to fly. A very crippling handicap for a pegasus.
  • In Bleach/Naruto crossover True Warriors Never Die, Naruto is the jinchuuriki of the Juubi which (in addition to having 2000 years to hone his skills) gives him destructive power comparable to Yamamato. The downside is that he has to fight the Juubi roughly every 1000 years to insure it doesn't try to destroy the world again. As he recently found out, the more he uses its power, the faster the Juubi recovers. In fact, despite using his jinchuuriki mode only a few times, the Juubi is already stirring, 900 years early.
  • In Imaginary Seas, it's noted that while Percy is a ludicrously strong Servant, his strength and arsenal of skills and Noble Phantasms make his upkeep absolutely ruinous. Because of this, he'd be virtually impossible to utilize in a Holy Grail War without the aid of an external power source. The only reason he's able to operate at all is the fact that the Lostbelt is rich with mana due to the Age of Gods never ending on top of being supercharged with the Klironomia of several Greek gods to compensate for his energy costs. If he hadn't gotten those nanomachines, he would have faded away before he even finished his first fight.
  • The killing curse and other magical means of murder are this in Broken Souls. They're guaranteed to get the job done, but are often seen by others in the area because they're so flashy. This is why a group of Soviet assassins were able to get away with so many hits; they would apparate near the victim, slash their throat, and leave without any flashy spells.
  • In Getting Too Old For This Harry Potter can modify firearms to be so powerful, they can be fired at a ship in orbit and still "ruin someone's day". However, he's the only person in the galaxy who can make said modifications. And it takes him at least thirty hours for a single gun, and if he makes a single mistake it could result in a nuclear explosion. Thankfully, those are the only drawbacks; once a gun is completed, it's just as safe and reliable as any gun like it.
  • In George Orwell's 1984, it's implied that the Forever War going on between the three superstates is a sham, and all the weapons they build are deliberately designed to be as flashy and intimidating as possible and waste resources as much as possible. They're not actually built for fighting and winning wars. This really bites them in the ass in America's Stepbrother, America's Enemy V2.0, where the real life United States of 2012 is planted into the world of 1984 by a spatial anomaly and Oceania decides to invade it. Up against far more advanced and practical American weaponry, the Oceanian military completely gets its ass kicked.
  • Johnny and Yosaku's ultimate techniques during the Alabasta arc in Shinobi of the High Seas leaves their legs and hands useless respectively.
  • In Butterflied, Xander is (due to the actions of a Sith) The Ageless and automatically copies the form, skills, and memories of anyone he comes in contact with. The problem is it's automatic so he cannot prevent his body from doing it if he makes skin contact, and doing so knocks him out for several hours afterwards. The Sith who made him that way intended to make him her new host body but realized the shapeshifting was rather useless for infiltration.
  • In The Black Emperor, Lelouch and Milly designed several prototype Knightmare Frames but had to can each of them for various reasons. One designed for long range artillery support was too heavy to move faster than a crawl; another that changed into a plane was exceedingly fragile and couldn't fly for long due to fuel constraints.
    • Lelouch views the Knightmare lances this way. While they can inflict a great deal of damage, they also require you charge straight at your opponent; otherwise they're just less efficient tonfas.
  • In Power Rangers Mythos, when the displaced Rangers learn about the medical nanobots of the future, Flynn suggests using the nanobots to cure the Grid of Avanth's poisoning, but Fae explains that such an idea wouldn't work as it would require far more nanobots than she can acquire.
  • In Forum of Thrones, Bear's knife gloves are terrifying, but practically useless in a real fight, since he can barely parry with them. He mostly uses them to intimidate, or when he gets into a brawl, but the moment he meets a real opponent, he has to waste precious time with drawing his sword.
    • Sasha is fighting with a dothraki arakh. While the weapon itself is certainly awesome and practical on top when in Essos, it loses a lot of the latter attribute in Westeros, where more heavy armour is common. It still gives her an advantage against enemies who wear only light armour though.
    • The Targaryen dragons, of all things, while very much essential for the war, can get into situations in which they are very impractical, namely in a battle. Their main weapon, breathing fire on their opponents, is kind of hard to use without causing massive casualties to their own troops, through literal Friendly Fire.
  • Star Wars: Paranormalities
    • Grein's cross-guard lightsaber makes Kylo Ren's lightsaber look safe by comparison, as her cross-guard is made up of four blades instead of two and seemingly lacks the finger guards. She's only able to use it safely because she has had enough practice wielding it and she is capable of re-assimilating her severed arms if she does so.
    • The Valkoran Shadow Troopers wield mass-produced lightsaber imitations, derisively named "mocksabers" by Jedi. However, in a galaxy that mostly uses blasters, the weapon is severely out-matched (the lightsaber's famed ability to deflect blaster shots comes from the user's Force connection, and Shadow Troopers aren't usually Force sensitive). Even worse, they are not as stably built as a real lightsaber, as the "blade" is really just a high-powered laser sandwiched between an emitter and a receiver separated by an extendable but fragile metal rod (essentially a laser hacksaw sword, similar to the first few beam katanas in No More Heroes). As demonstrated on Taris, when Zolph severs the rod on one trooper's blade, the laser shoots through the trooper's head, and Zolph's response is to destroy the hilt to prevent more collateral damage.
    • The Gigantoise-class Mobile Fortress, better known as the Valkoran Fortress Tank, is a quadrupedal walker roughly the size of a space frigate that can function as a mobile base and planetary defense cannon. It's built like a turtle, allowing for better stability than the Galactic Empire's walkers and has point-defense systems distributed across its body to deal with threats too small for the hypervelocity gun on its back. The problems with this vehicle are that it needs a large crew to operate and secure, its size makes it virtually impossible to transport off planet without disassembly, and the interior requires inertial dampeners and self-contained artificial gravity to keep the crew from constantly being thrown off balance by it stomping the ground. All this combined with the Valkoran Empire being a much smaller government than the Galactic Empire was and yet trying to work around its inherent design flaws make it so expensive and time-consuming to produce for a land vehicle (ships of similar size are typically built in orbital or underwater shipyards, where the manufacturers don't have to deal with gravity) that only less than ten of them were built before the end of the Valkoran War and only saw action in defensive roles. Even the tanks' original designer thought they were a stupid idea and a waste of resources (and probably only built them because Emperor Valkor wanted an intimidating weapon), so much that the remaining Fortress Tanks in the Seferite Order's possession were stripped down for material or paying off war fines and lawsuits from Kuat Drive Yards.
    • Subverted with the Valkoran gravity control ship. When it's sent to Christophsis and activates the controller, it ends up crushing itself due to its own gravity shields being sabotaged. However, Machinus, its designer, reveals that it wasn't even intended to be a superweapon (it was designed to supplement the Valkoran forces fighting on worlds with unusual gravity) and was only launched by Valkor as a decoy for his real superweapon, which leads into...
    • Double Subverted with Mortaqa, a Force user capable of selectively killing an infinite number of targets over the range of an entire planet without collateral damage. Logistically and Mortaqa's mortality as a person aside, she sounds like the most practical superweapon in a galaxy where they usually end up being resource sinks. Unfortunately for Valkor, his sadism gets the better of him and he still suffers the political and ethical problems that are inherent with superweapons' mere existence; namely that he has access to a weapon that can kill almost anyone within planetary range at any time, and him willingly ordering the death of almost all life on an entire planet just to break one person ends up making him look like a psychopath and undermining the faith of half of his subjects (and that's without mentioning Mortaqa's origins, which is another ethical can of worms).
  • In Founding the Junior Avengers, Princess Shuri suggests improving the strength of Peter's webbing by adding powdered vibranium. Peter immediately shoots the idea down, citing that he goes through a ridiculous amount of webbing and it's not reusable. Tony even jokes at the idea of someone who can go through a fortune even faster than he can.
  • Kagero in A Brighter Dark describes assassinations in general as this. While they can be massive problem solvers if used and executed correctly, there are a lot of risks involved. Mainly in how any plan can be ruined by the slightest change in the target's behavior for no real logical reason at all. She prefers at least a month's time to prepare and even then it's risky.
  • Redaction of the Golden Witch: While summoning demons and all manner of magical creations en masse may look awesome, it turns out to have a considerable drawback: the resulting contracts aren't as strong as they could have been. This creates a weakness that their enemy is able to exploit.
  • The Infinite Loops: Starkiller Base (see film) gets a pot-shot taken at it in one snippet, where a proposal for it is presented several years early to Vader and Sidious. Vader incredulously questions the point of something that overpowered - turns out the designer just thinks there's too many stars, and wants to get rid of them.
  • one day at a time: Wayne Hall, the Wayne Family's personal party venue. Modeled after the Acropolis of Athens, it's almost the size of a football field, has its own parking lot, supports a massive underground industrial kitchen along with a large storage area and a lounge for employees, has an in-built concert stage, stained glass windows, and a gigantic hanging crystal chandelier that puts even the one in the Manor to shame (for comparison, that chandelier was able to support a sleeping eight year old Dick Grayson without collapsing). It's also extremely expensive to maintain and thus rarely ever ventured in outside of an annual spring cleaning. Prior to Jason's return gala (which also celebrated the adoption of Cass and the arrival of Damian), the last time an event was held there was Bruce Wayne's own return to Gotham after his five-year training trip — thirteen years ago.
  • In the first chapter of Quantity of Quirks, Izuku's Quirk turns him into a massive Chinese dragon so large that his smaller teeth are bigger than any of his classmates. He also admits that it's pretty much useless for almost every test of the Quirk Assessment. Unstated is that he'd be unable to target anything smaller than a good sized building.
  • Subverted in The Secret Return of Alex Mack with the SR-71 Blackbird. It can travel at up to Mach 3.5, but is horrendously expensive to run, which is why they've almost all been decommissioned. The thing is, it still makes economic sense to use one to ferry Terawatt around, because getting her to the target quickly can save truly colossal amounts of property damage and untold lives.
    Jack: And you don’t want to know what it costs to send you somewhere in an SR-71. But you know what? It would absolutely be worth it even if you cost us something crazy like a hundred million dollars a month, because you’ve saved a few billion lives already, and tens of trillions of dollars of people’s stuff. You’re the most cost-effective line item in the national budget.
  • In My Iron Giant, Izuku's giant robot body is one of the most powerful Quirks in history. He also cannot leave UA because he would destroy everything in his path from his weight and size. It also limits his thinking to a more simple and machine like state when he is "awake".