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Disability Superpower

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Anything your arms can do, her water arms can do better.
"Daredevil's 'power' is that he's not quite blind."

A character is born with or acquires some handicap that prevents them from functioning normally. However, due to phlebotinum exposure or training, never mind Disability Immunity, they develop something that not only makes up for what's missing, but goes beyond it.

Blindness seems to be a popular one for this. Indeed, the entire trope seems to be based around the idea that blind people's other senses become more acute to compensate. This does happen in real life but to a far weaker degree than the trope, simply because blind people get more exercise with paying close attention to their other senses, and the brain is capable of re-purposing unused spaces in the sensory and motor cortices. Some studies have indicated that people born deaf have better peripheral vision, as well.

A realistic twist is for the power to have Logical Weaknesses, depending on the limitations of what the character uses to compensate for their disability. In less realistic examples, Disability Superpowers are so powerful that they negate the original disability entirely and/or so prevalent that no disabled people in the world are actually disabled. When Played for Drama, the character will still face Sense Loss Sadness over their disability despite any compensating. If lacking one or more familiar sensory modes in favor of something more exotic is the norm for a species, rather than an anomaly or the result of injury, that's Bizarre Alien Senses. If the power or ability the character gets is useful but doesn't quite make up for having a disability (usually the power/ability is a bit more mundane), that's Handy Shortcoming.

Compare Keeping the Handicap for when a character decides that they'd rather stay disabled than become abled.


Can be a specific form of Cursed with Awesome. Relates to Good Prosthetic, Evil Prosthetic and Useless Without Powers. Compare with the more mundane Inspirationally Disadvantaged.


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  • Barq's root beer had a series of "Barq's has bite" commercials. One of them had a blind person parody the trope by faking a panicked "super taste" reaction to the root beer.
  • At the 2010 Super Bowl, Volkswagen ran an ad riffing on the long-standing "Punch Buggy" game (where you punch someone every time a VW Beetle goes by and shout out the color.) The ad finishes with Stevie Wonder of all fucking people pulling this on Tracey Morgan. However, they messed it up by having the people in the commercial do it for any Volkswagon, and not just the Beetle.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Basilisk:
    • After Chikuma Koshirou (Dragon to Yakushiji Tenzen) becomes blinded to protect his lady of liege Oboro, he soon learns to compensate his lack of sight by using his senses of hearing and touch as replacement. Too bad he gets killed when Femme Fatale Kagerou and Master of Disguise Saemon use that to their advantage and fool him, with Saemon imitating Akeginu's voice to distract him and Kagerou using that to kill Koushirou with her Kiss of Death.
    • Muroga Hyouma, Gennosuke's mentor and uncle, has been already doing that for years. Since his powers are permanently activated through his eyes, he must keep them perpetually closed, but his hearing is so acute after so long that it's impossible to try ganging up on him. On the other hand, it took a blind fighter like Koshirou to defeat him, since Hyouma's tricks didn't work on him.
    • Hyouma and Koshirou are nothing compared to Jimushi Juubei. He has no arms and legs but can slither on his belly as fast as any other ninja can run. He wields a dagger with his long tongue, and this attack is so fast and deadly that no opponent has ever lived to tell the tale when Juubei unleashed it.
  • Berserk: The main character Guts loses an arm in the Eclipse, but it is replaced by a metal hand with a cannon in it.
  • Black Butler has a downplayed example in Mey-Rin. By her own admission, she is terribly, terribly far-sighted, to the point of Making a Spectacle of Herself with a pair of large, round glasses. As a maid in a manor with narrow halls and a lot of statues, she's a total klutz who can't set a table without breaking a thousand pieces of fine china. As a sniper, she doesn't need a scope to shoot you down from across Phantomhive property.
    Sebastian, chapter 5: Word has it that the public adores silly maids, but I do not think I will ever understand it.
    Peter, chapter 33: No way I can get close like this! 'Ow many are there? ...One!? Just one!?
  • Black Clover: Probably the one good thing Asta can make out of his lack of magic is the fact that he completely lacks a magical signature. As a result, if the opponent can't see or hear him, his attacks are practically invisible to any wizard unaware of this. This is exploited in the battles against Lotus Whomalt and Licht. It's later revealed that his Anti-Magic weapons drain mana upon contact, making it extremely dangerous for anyone else to wield them. And then it's revealed that because Asta was born without magic, he is a perfect vessel for Anti Magic, which originates from the devil sealed within the five-leaf grimoire. The Witch Queen puts it best:
    Witch Queen: A sudden mutation kept mana from dwelling in you. You're merely defective. But because of that, you are able to wield that sword. You aren't special. Not in the slightest. But that's exactly what makes you special. In your presence, all magic is meaningless.
  • Bleach:
    • Tousen's blindness grants him immunity to the Big Bad's special power. As a result, Aizen made Tousen an ally so he wouldn't need to use his power to control him.
      • When Tousen later gains a Hollow form that has functional eyes, he ends up being dealt a mortal wound by his former Lieutenant, Hisagi... who notes that Tousen would've "seen" the sneak attack coming a mile away if he were still blind.
    • And then there's Wonderweiss, who is the only Arrancar that's been modified by the Hogyouku. In exchange for his mind and emotions, he became powerful enough to trash a Vizard and extinguish Head Captain Yamamoto's zanpakutou's flames.
    • Taking the crown though is Yhwach, who was born blind, deaf, mute, and paralyzed. However, he had the ability to impart pieces of his soul to those who touched him, healing them. When they died, these fragments would return to him, along with the sum of the soul healed by it, letting him grow and develop by absorbing the souls of those who touch him. He later developed the ability to imprint particular abilities onto people's souls, setting them up to return to him even more powerful.
  • Claymore had Galatea blind herself, allowing her to conceal her silver eyes and go into hiding. This increases her already impressive ability to sense Yoki (demon) energy from great distances to near untold levels.
  • Cross Ange: It's no secret (except to those Locked Out of the Loop) that life sucks as a Norma: you can't use or interact with mana, a special kind of information/energy/etc. power, and to rub it in, you're forced into a Penal Colony and used as Cannon Fodder against dragons from another dimension. Later on, the inability to use mana out to be a blessing: Embryo, the Big Bad and creator of the whole system in place, can remotely control any mana user anywhere like a puppet and communicate through them. While the Norma and dragon users have been able to break Embryo's control and rebel against Embryo and for their own destinies, the Mana users are largely unable to think for themselves as a result, and once the mana system is cut off by Embryo, they begin flailing around in panic.
  • Darker than Black: Yin is blind, but through her observer apparitions she's able to see, as long as both she and what she's observing is close to water. There appears to be little, if any, limit to the range of these apparitions.
  • Elfen Lied: Nana's new prosthetic limbs turn out to be even more useful than her original natural ones. After all, a diclonius becomes that much more dangerous when she can throw her own arms at you. She also becomes mostly immune to Lucy's most devastating attacks. You can't rip off a detachable limb.
  • El-Hazard: The Magnificent World: Mr. Fujisawa has Superman levels of overall physical capability but his powers only work only when he's sober. Considering the character is a raging drunk, he considers this a grave disability, but he's willing to endure being sober as the situation demands. It is eventually revealed in the 2nd OVA of the 1st/OG continuity/universe that he becomes even more powerful when he doesn't smoke as well. His full power level is reached in a Moment of Awesome when, finally fully free of the effects of either liquor and/or cigarettes for the first time ever since arriving in Rostaria, he singlehandedly defeats the entire Bugrom army with simple attacks executed at god-tier levels of sheer physical power, even after they have already all literally physically combined into a Godzilla-size superbugrom kaiju.
  • Fairy Tail: Erza loses an eye to torture as a child. We never get to see the damage, thankfully, since it scares her closest friend who just proved that, in spite of this flashback being before he lost it, he was perfectly capable of murder. She gets a fake eye in its place which makes her completely immune to illusion magic and lessens the effects of another spell that requires eye contact.
  • Fist of the North Star: Souther has a birth defect that causes his heart to be on the opposite side of his body (which is a real condition). As a result, his Pressure Points are the inverse of where they would be on anyone else, making him immune to Hokuto Shinken's attacks that target them.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Edward's automail arm saves his life a lot, and he transmutes it into various blades for fighting. While fans want Al to regain his body, many don't want Edward to regain his limbs.
    • Al. Being a giant, hollow suit of armor probably allowed him to survive some of the things he's been through, no matter how much he wants his body back. Losing their arm/leg/organs/entire body is the reason why Ed, Izumi, and eventually Al are able to transmute without a circle.
      • Later, another major character, Roy Mustang, is forced through the Gate (he doesn't commit human transmutation and can then transmute without a circle, and becomes blind and seemingly downgraded into The Load. But his alchemy apparently becomes bounds more powerful. He just needs someone else to help out with his aim now.
      • Mustang doesn't actually become more powerful, per se, but loses the ability to limit his alchemy because he needs to be able to see what he's doing in order to limit the power of the blasts. Riza, who is helping him aim, tells him not to worry about it since the target is the Big Bad.
    • In the end, Ed got his arm back essentially by accident, and he kept his leg, so clearly he doesn't entirely disagree that having them isn't such a bad thing. Many have speculated that the reason Ed always talked about "getting our bodies back" was so Al would feel like he wasn't alone, rather than because he truly wanted his human limbs back.
      • This is even lampshaded by Winry who states that she doesn't want Ed to get his limbs back because she notices just how useful the automail is to Ed (and by extension her, since she's his mechanic).
  • Helen ESP: Helen is blind, deaf, and mute, but possesses some amount of Psychic Powers, such as communicating telepathically with dogs, most notably her Canine Companion and best friend, Victor.
  • Hunter × Hunter: There is a trio of these. One in a Super Wheelchair, one missing an arm but can create invisible limbs made of energy, and one who lost his legs but carries kinetically-charged tops and can spin like one too. The three of them are friends and bully fighters without superpowers.
    • Later on, there is Shoot, a man who lost his left arm. To compensate for this, he has the ability to conjure up a swarm of floating hands, usually used to rapidly punch opponents with, and can also cause other people to lose their limbs.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders: The assassin N'Doul is blind, but he has mastered his hearing ability and developed a stand that can accurately dispatch his target for a long range. He turns out to be a very effective magical sniper of sorts.
  • The Last Saiyuki: Koharu uses her psychic abilities to move her prosthetic limbs to move around.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: Daryl Lorenz of Zeon's "Living Dead Division" starts out as just a double amputee, having lost his legs. However, a combination of an encounter with Io Fleming's Full Armor Gundam and the need for a pilot for the powerful High Mobility Zaku II (Reuse "P" Device) leads him to become a quadruple amputee. However, the way the Reuse "P" Device works requires the pilot to be this way. That "P"? Stands for "Psyco", or "Psycommu", meaning that by being said quadruple amputee, the pilot can plug into the mobile suit and control it with his mind.
  • My Hero Academia: A recurring trait among Quirk users.
    • Izuku Midoriya's inherited Quirk is "One For All", a Quirk designed to stock-pile power, granting him super strength unmatched by all other Quirk users. The catch to having this power is that due to his lack of skill and a frail body, whatever body part he uses this power with is broken instantly, requiring Recovery Girl's repairing (but also stamina draining) kiss to heal him. Because Recovery Girl’s power simply speeds up the healing process and doesn't grant regeneration, Midoriya's continued use of his Quirk would eventually make him lose all function in his hands. To compensate, he now primarily attacks with his feet when using his Quirk (having learned more control over his powers).
    • Denki Kaminari's Quirk "Electrification" allows him to generate and conduct electricity. Overexceeding his wattage limit, on the other hand short, circuits his brain, leaving him brainless for an hour.
    • Yuga Aoyama has a physical disorder that prevents him from properly using his Navel Laser — it can leak out if he doesn't wear his special belt and using it too much causes problems ranging from stomachaches to incontinence.
  • Naruto:
    • The Taijutsu specialist Rock Lee, who can't do any of the normal "jutsu" techniques (some unspecified flaw in his chakra network renders him physically incapable of performing any Ninjutsu or Genjutsu), but is so good at Taijutsu (martial arts), he's able to best the uber-talented Sasuke early in the series. His determination is practically a superpower in and of itself.
      • Qualified by dint of several long and painful rehab sessions after injuries, but as a baseline, he has all regular human capabilities, which in a 'verse where most have superpowers makes you a Badass Normal.
      • Lee's biggest compensation for his lack of the usual ninja abilities is that he trained himself to be very, very fast. In his aforementioned defeat of Sasuke, Lee mocked him for relying on his Sharingan, saying that it didn't matter if his eyes could follow his movements if his body was too slow to keep up.
    • Kakashi would also qualify for this — his left eye was replaced almost immediately after losing it, but now he's stuck with one eye, except for emergencies (since the Sharingan cannot be turned off).
  • Rurouni Kenshin:
    • Shishio was covered in oil and set on fire. He did not die, but the fire destroyed all the sweat glands in his skin, meaning his body heat is constantly above normal. This apparently acts as a fuel to give him more strength but also leads to his own demise from Spontaneous Human Combustion.
    • Usui was blinded by Shishio and learned how to see with his ears and spiritual senses.
  • Saint Seiya: Both Gemini Saga and Virgo Shaka have attacks that allow them to strip their foes out of their five senses, leaving them as little more than living corpses. There's however a risk: if the victim's willpower to fight is strong enough, they can awaken the Seventh Sense, giving them power capable of matching and even surpassing that of a Gold Saint. This is what leads to their defeats at the hands of Seiya and Ikki respectively.
  • Samurai Deeper Kyo: Akira deliberately destroyed his sight in order to match up with "born fighters".
  • Shigurui: The two protagonists. Irako Seigen, a blind Samurai, and Fujiki Gennosuke, a one-armed Samurai.
  • Vagabond: Sasaki Kojiro is born deaf. A character muses on the possibility that only being able to listen his "interior voice" is what gives Kojiro his remarkable ability in swordsmanship. Kojiro also develops a preternatural ability to sense people sneaking up behind him, much to the surprise of many a would-be attacker. Sasaki is very different from the basis for the manga (Eiji Yoshikawa's Musashi) in that he's deaf, with multiple character interactions and fights riding on this. Two separate characters even theorize that his swordsmanship has improved because of his deafness: one hypothesizing that his eyesight improved to compensate, while another thought that without sound to distract him he could better listen to his own body which already knew the techniques. Subverted by Kanemaki Jisai, who tried to dissuade him from a life of swordsmanship by repeatedly taking advantage of Kojirou's deafness to defeat him multiple times over the years.
  • Vandread: A planet is encountered where the inhabitants use telepathy to exclusively communicate. This ability mysteriously developed after the villain faction of the series "harvested" the people's vocal cords. There is no explanation for why the muted folk didn't develop something practical, like sign language. There is just the implication that it has to do with their strong spirituality that may have a connection to the other enigmas driving the story.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Yomi, after he was blinded by his old thieving partner Yoko Kurama, has grown two more sets of ears, which allow him to sense things a long distance away.

    Comic Books 
  • 52: During the series, Adam Strange lost his eyes in a freak teleportatiby accident However, he quickly compensated by connecting his ship's sensor array to his visual cortex, allowing him sight as long as he was piloting.
  • Batgirl:
    • Cassandra Cain was raised in a modified language deprivation experiment, the intent being for her brain to orient itself to interpreting body movement as a first language. As a result, she's functionally illiterate and barely able to communicate verbally. However, as a trade-off, she's able to accurately predict the thought process of an opponent based on subtle body language and predict their strategies and individual moves before they make them.
    • Barbara Gordon had some skill with computers when she was Batgirl, but when the Joker put her in a wheelchair she focused on her detective and computer skills and became a great hacker/information gatherer.
  • Batman: By the time of Kingdom Come, Bruce Wayne/Batman has taken so many beatings that his body has essentially said "so long" and given up, and he needs an exoskeleton to be able to stand up. Of course, it wasn't a huge step to cover the exoskeleton in armor and add enough gadgets to go full Iron Man.
  • Daredevil: Matt Murdock, from the Marvel Universe, was hit in the face by a radioactive canister and went blind. His other senses became super-powerful, and he acquired a "radar sense" that let him "see" objects, much like echolocation. (Frank Miller's influential run took him closer to this trope, partially explaining the radar sense as a Charles Atlas Superpower resulting from training with his enhanced senses.) He can also read normal books by feeling the ink because his touch is so sensitive.
    • Interestingly, late in Miller's run, Daredevil's mentor tells him that EVERY human has the potential to experience sense the way he does, it's just an ability that's become dormant. The radiation didn't give him his powers, it just unlocked them. Sadly, Stick is killed soon afterward, and this plot point was never brought up again.
      • Even more interestingly, there are real-life blind people who have learned to use echolocation to find their way around, with nothing more than superbly trained hearing.
    • Mark Waid's run on the character plays around with the limitations of his "vision." While his sense can allow him to perceive shapes around him, it's still nearly impossible for him to perceive color or other visual details (for instance, someone holding up a tablet with the image of the Jester's public identity, he can make out the shape of the tablet, but can't see what's on the screen.) In another issue, while pursuing the Mole Man into Subterrania, he moves through what he perceives to be an empty tunnel. The first panel shows his surroundings through the eyes of his radar sense. The next panel shows what his surroundings as normal where the bumpy-looking walls are actually hundreds of gigantic creatures remaining perfectly still, watching Matt pass.note  Thankfully, none of them attack him. He also has had trouble fighting undead opponents, as their body temperatures are typically low enough that he can't sense their body heat and they lack a heartbeat for him to hear. Matt also gets in serious trouble when he encounters Ikari, an assassin who has the same powerset as him sans blindness.
    • Daredevil's Femme Fatale ex-girlfriend (he's had quite a few of those) Echo is deaf but possesses perfect photographic memory (whether or not she's a mutant has never been made clear). She has gone on to be an effective entertainer and member of the Avengers. Her condition is played more realistically than DD, however. She relies entirely on visual cues and is at a disadvantage if she can't see her opponent. She also has trouble speaking to heroes like Iron Man or Spider-Man, whose costumes cover their mouths, making their lips unreadable.
  • Doom Patrol: Cliff Steele gains his powers from the fact that he's just a brain installed in a robot body. Later versions of Doom Patrol played up this "super disability" concept and included Crazy Jane, whose 64 multiple personalities each have a unique superpower, and Dorothy, whose overactive imagination conjures up creatures from her subconscious. Averted by the Doom Patrol's Chief, who is paralyzed from the waist down. And that's it. The entire Doom Patrol is made up of people whose powers don't make up for their disabilities at all.
  • Empowered: Mindf**k is a Blind Seer. Mind████'s brother tried to invoke this intentionally, when he did things described simply as horrifying to his sibling. More specifically, he cut out her eyes and tongue, so she has to piggyback on another person's senses to see and taste things.
  • Fantastic Four: The Mole Man's low light vision allows him to see in the dark, after he was nearly blinded by a shining cavern of diamonds. He wears special dark glasses to get by in daylight.
  • The Flash: Pied Piper, an enemy and later friend of the Flash. He was born deaf, but his rich family had a scientist (Dr. Will Magnus, the same guy who made the Metal Men) implant a cybernetic hearing aid in his head. It worked a little too well, as his hearing became so sensitive that he was able to design sonic weapons that could control the minds and actions of others, but won't affect him.
  • Generation X: When introduced, the mutant Chamber had actually lost his entire lower jaw and part of his chest as a result of his powers' explosive manifestation. However, the same powers seem to remove his need to eat or breathe, and he can "talk" telepathically.
    • Didn't go so well for him after Decimation occurred...
  • Green Arrow: Count Vertigo has Ménière's disease that constantly disorients him and confuses his senses, and that requires him to wear a device that sets his senses right, but is specifically made so that he can project that confusion onto others.
  • Green Lantern: His abilities don't come from being unable to see, but it's worth mentioning Rot Lop Fan, a Green Lantern from a species that never evolved sight at all (and thus no conception of color or light... or lanterns, for that matter). His Green Lantern Oath goes:
    In loudest din or hush profound
    My ears catch evil's slightest sound
    Let those who toll out evil's knell
    Beware my power, the F-Sharp Bell!
  • Hawkeye: Ever since an incident with a villain using sound-based mind control and one of his own ultrasonic arrowheads, Clint Barton needs a hearing aid. This doesn't come up often, but occasionally it protects him against the subtler sonic attacks as a plot point. (Perhaps less plausibly, once he's also shown unmasking an android as such by, apparently, turning his hearing aid all the way up and hearing the imposter's internal mechanisms.)
    • The reason it doesn't turn up anymore is that his hearing was restored after Heroes Reborn.
    • Though in Old Man Logan, Hawkeye is blind... yet still manages to be the world's greatest archer simply by listening more. The mini-series Old Man Hawkeye revealed in the end that he was trained by a surviving Daredevil.
  • Iron Man: The original Iron Man armor was, in a sense, a glorified pacemaker, designed to counteract a potentially fatal heart injury. As long as you're going to be wearing a humanoid life support capsule, it might as well be superhumanly strong and armed to the teeth, right?
    • In the movie it was only the power source that kept him alive and the suit was something he made later. By The Avengers he considers it as much a part of himself as his heart.
    • The Iron Man of Ultimate Marvel, on the other hand, wears his suit for much the same reason Mr. Sensitive below does: his sense of touch is so powerful he lives in constant agony even with it on.
  • Justice Society of America: The Golden Age Doctor Mid-Nite was blinded by a grenade. However, when he took the bandages off in total darkness, he could see perfectly.
  • Kick-Ass: Dave Lizewski's high pain threshold is due to nerve damage.
  • Robin: King Snake frequently used his blindness as an asset, ambushing people in the dark, knocking out sources of light, and using disorienting flashes or other visual stimuli. Interestingly, he becomes less dangerous in one instance where his sight is restored by a Lazarus Pit. Robin fights him and is surprised that he's holding his own before he realizes that King Snake was so used to fighting blind that suddenly having sight was a distraction that he couldn't compensate for. King Snake ends up blind again by the end of the issue.
  • Nävis, heroine of the French comic Sillage (a.k.a. Wake) is one of the few sentient beings in the universe with no telepathic abilities. The upside is that her mind can't be read or controlled, which makes her a agent.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): Bunnie Rabbot has this in a reverse perspective. She isn't seen anywhere without the roboticized and weaponized limbs that, according to the setting, cause her to not be "flesh and blood". She gets so used to having super power she ends up totally helpless when she is accidentally "healed" by Naugus.
  • Spider-Woman: The Shroud. Blind, but with mystic vision.
  • Superman: One story revolved around a skeptical blind girl who did not believe in Superman's abilities and dismissed all his demonstrations of them as tricks. At one point he showed off his super-hearing by reciting the conversation going on in the next room. This didn't impress her, because she herself was able to hear it; Superman noted that blind people often develop an acute sense of hearing, and surmised that the girl had done so without being aware of it.
  • Teen Titans:
    • Cyborg had all his limbs and half his face burned off in a lab accident, and replaced with aesthetically unpleasing yet superhuman prosthetics.
    • Beast Boy got his animorphism powers from a disease that also made him immune to all other diseases; but that's a fairly recent development.
  • Transformers:
    • The Transformers (Marvel): Josie Beller, with all but one hand paralyzed after becoming collateral damage from marauding giant robots, used that hand to build herself an outer skinsuit with electronics that could transmit the neural signals her own nervous system could no longer carry. Oh, and it also let her fly and barbecue Transformers as an act of revenge, on top of it.
    • Megatron, in The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, briefly had his body turned into a living space-bridge, an event that riddled his internal mechanisms with miniature portals. This physically weakens and pains him, and makes him difficult to repair, but it also makes him a difficult opponent in a fistfight; hit him in the wrong spot and you'll find your hand on another planet.
  • Vampirella: Conrad van Helsing is blind but has a psychic vision that can warn him about evil and his hearing is good enough for him to aim a gun with.
  • X-Statix: The character Mr. Sensitive/the Orphan, first introduced in X-Force, had an interesting variation on this: all of his senses were enhanced, to the degree that he had to wear a special suit to block out most of what he felt, or else he'd go nuts from the sensory overload; he can't even take a normal shower and has to use a specially made misting nozzle. He could hear people's heartbeats through walls, but even a light breeze on his exposed skin could cause him incredible pain. At one point, his powers were even used against him: a villain (who knew about his powers) tortured him simply by making a shallow cut on his skin with a Swiss army knife. The pain from this relatively minor wound almost caused him to black out.
    • He once had a fight with Iron Man wherein they both lost their armor. The battle then became a test to see whose disability was worse, Iron Man's weak heart or Mr. Sensitive's hypersensitivity. Mr. Sensitive won, but just barely.
  • X-Men:
    • While many wheelchair-bound people have Psychic Powers or their wheelchair is a Cool Car/Powered Armor hybrid, the uber-example is Charles Xavier a.k.a. Professor X, a man contained in a wheelchair who is also one of the most powerful telepaths in the whole Marvel Universe.
    • Cyclops must always wear a special visor or pair of glasses to contain his optic blasts. When these devices are removed, he keeps his eyes shut, rendering him blind. Due to an important instance of this, he has since learned how to fight blind by using his hearing to pinpoint opponents and simply always scrutinizing his surroundings to know the lay of the land. One side story shows that he also counts his steps and memorizes which way he turns so that he can retrace his path and find his eyewear.
      • Even with the visor/glasses, he's still colorblind, only able to see in shades of red. It's possible he shouldn't be able to pilot an aircraft such as the Blackbird, but there are custom control panels that have indicators based on number of lights, rather than color. Presumably, the Blackbird has one of them.
      • Bonus points for the reason he can't control his optic blasts: at a young age he was in an accident and suffered severe head trauma, but fortunately there wasn't any damage to any "important" parts of the brain. This was before he developed the ability to obliterate everything in sight... Sadly, this actually plausible explanation (a rare sight in comic books) has been re-explained or outright removed several times, with many writers defaulting to "he just can't control it because that's how it is."

    Fan Works 
  • In Binding the Galaxy Together, Camilla Sharro was born blind, but her proficiency with the Force allows her to see. (Think Daredevil's Radar Sense.)
  • Invoked in the Dangerverse after Ron Weasley is blinded by a curse from a Death Eater. Because the curse was cast with powerful Dark magic, Ron's sight cannot be restored even through Healing magic. But Aletha is able to instead give Ron the ability to "see" in the infrared spectrum, though he still can't see colors and can only read with the help of a specialized spell that heats up the text on the page enough for him to pick it out.
  • The Legend of Genji: Songtai is an airbender who was born hard of hearing, but was taught by his mother how to amplify his hearing through soundbending. Despite this, he still prefers communicating through sign language in his everyday interactions.
  • In The Tainted Grimoire, there is Auggie, who was born blind, but through experimenting, is capable of seeing Mist, no matter how small the concentration. It doesn't fully substitute for proper sight though.
  • In the Harry Potter fic Towards the Light, after being blinded by his uncle, Harry discovered that he could sense the presence and nature of magic - which was no good for dealing with non-magic objects, animals, or people.
  • In Naruto and the Overpowered Academy Three, Rock Lee is perfectly suited for sneaking past enemy ninja because he has so little chakra, anyone relying on chakra sensing (including trained sensors) mistakes him for a small animal like a rat.
  • With his quirk, Midoriya from Waiting is worth it is able to float around without needing his wheelchair. Thankfully, he has the proper permit so that he could do this in public without getting arrested due to quirk regulations.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Barbie Fairytopia, the wingless Elina is able to jump very high and has great endurance on foot compared to the other fairies, since she did not have a chance to become overly reliant on flying and had to find a way to adapt to her surroundings flightless.
  • In The LEGO Movie, Emmet had no problem seeing a vision of The Man Upstairs because, unlike other Master Builders who have to train to empty their mind, his mind is already empty. To quote Vitruvius:
    Vitruvius: Master Builders spend years training themselves to clear their minds enough to have even a fleeting glimpse of The Man Upstairs, and yet your mind is already so prodigiously empty that there is nothing in it to clear away in the first place. You could be a great Master Builder.
  • In Quest for Camelot, Garrett is blind but is able to navigate the forest and fight in combat better than most of his seeing peers. This is partly due to training from Kayley's father, but it is also implied that his blindness enhanced his senses of hearing and touch, making him more attuned to his natural surroundings.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, Vanellope is at first thought to be a glitch, but this gives her the ability to Flash Step across short distances when she gains control over it near the end of the movie.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • A number of films have featured blind protagonists who turn the tables on murderous villains by dousing all the lights; they still aren't superpowered, but the blind folks gain an advantage because they're used to not being able to see their surroundings and, since it usually happens in their own homes, they know their surroundings vastly better.
    • In Wait Until Dark, the main character forgets to smash the light in the fridge. D'oh!
    • Also, this trope was inverted in A Maiden's Grave by Jeffery Deaver, in a scene where the villain gets the drop on a deaf character by turning out the lights.
  • In Blind Fury, Rutger Hauer plays a blind Vietnam vet who is a Shout-Out to Zatoichi. After getting blinded by a grenade, he stumbles across a Vietnamese tribe that, for some reason, decides to teach him how to use his other senses to become a master with a katana. Years later, he returns to America with a sword hidden in his walking stick and uses his moves to protect a bratty kid from drug dealers.
  • In Blindness, by being an ordinary blind man prior to the outbreak of contagious blindness, The Accountant is fully capable of functioning normally, and so he quickly gains the upper hand over everyone else in the facility.
  • Ray Charles in The Blues Brothers is apparently a crack shot with a pistol and uses this ability to scare off shoplifters who try and take advantage of his blindness.
  • In The Book of Eli, Eli is revealed to be blind, though his amazing ability to kick ass is implied to be divine favor.
  • The title character in The Boy Who Could Fly uses the Power of Autism to... well, the title says it all. Really.
  • In the Thai movie Chocolate, the main character is autistic, with the attendant social difficulties and learning disabilities. However, this enables her to naturally absorb martial arts from Bruce Lee and Tony Jaa movies on television. She then progresses through the entire movie, beating up trained fighters and men twice her size. The only warrior who challenges her has Tourette syndrome, which allows him to make unusual moves, but she's able to adopt his style as well and defeat him.
  • The Quasi-Dead from The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) take this trope to its logical conclusion. As the name suggests, they are practically dead. This near-death state, however, gives them amazing psychic powers.
  • Indirectly invoked in Darkman: After Peyton Westlake is horribly burned all over his body, the doctors cut off his sense of touch to block the constant pain. The side-effect is that his body ends up overproducing adrenaline, and the adrenal overload makes him super-strong, hyper-agile, impervious to pain... and prone to unstable mood swings.
  • Eternals has the deaf speedster Makkari. While her deafness prevents her from hearing, it also protects her from the sonic boom she creates when she breaks the sound barrier while running at super speed, allowing her to utilize her power to the fullest.
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once: In one of the alternate universes, Evelyn was blinded at an early age and ended up becoming an opera singer, which not only made her more aware of her surroundings but also enabled her to hold her breath for longer. While these are not superpowers by themselves, the main-universe Evelyn combines these with kung-fu and juggling skills from her other counterparts (taken from universes where she is a martial arts film star and a sign walker, respectively), and effectively turns into a superpowered fighter.
  • In House of Flying Daggers, the blind Mei is capable of insane and technically physically impossible combat feats despite her disability. Except... not really. It's all a ruse — she's impersonating the old revolutionary leader's blind daughter, who doesn't know martial arts — and she actually can see.
  • The titular superhero of Kick-Ass, due to getting, well, his ass kicked and hit by a car on his first attempt at heroics, leaving him with severely damaged nerve endings, giving him an increased tolerance to pain.
  • In Kingsman: The Secret Service, Gazelle's had both feet amputated (why is never stated), but compensates with weaponized prosthetics that make her kicks deadly.
  • The Lookout has the protagonist rendered psychologically scarred and has trouble remembering things. Not too much of a superpower, but he uses a technique that he learned from his blind friend of "Start from the end" which enables him to plan which eliminates the Big Bad and The Dragon. Though, this is more to the point that the aforementioned villains fail to recognize the protagonist as a true threat.
  • Near the end of The Matrix Revolutions Neo is blinded by Bane, a human who has been taken over by Neo's rival Agent Smith. However, he still manages to overpower and kill him due to his powers as the One: he can see data and machinery as glowing yellow light. This appears to also include humans who have been possessed by programs. It also happens only in the real world; while in the Matrix, Neo's body still possesses normal eyes and vision.
  • Leonard, the amnesiac from the 2000 film Memento is described by another character as the perfect assassin — since he can't remember ever having killed anyone, he doesn't act like his targets expect an assassin to act and feels no guilt afterwards. His partner keeps setting him up to kill people and they never see him coming.
  • The Muppet version of Blind Pew in Muppet Treasure Island parodies this trope; Pew is a comically handicapped blind man for the majority of his scenes, but when Billy Bones cocks a pistol to shoot him, Pew flies across the room directly at him and knocks it out of his hands. (After the plot has been sufficiently advanced, he's back to tripping over chairs and walking into walls. Maybe it's an act? Or just the Rule of Funny.)
  • In My Name is Khan, the titular character is an autistic savant with a talent for fixing things that borders on Machine Empathy. This comes in handy many times throughout the film.
  • In Once Upon a Time in Mexico Agent Sands becomes a badass blind gunfighter after getting his eyes gouged out by the sick Dr. Guevara. He'd only been blinded for about half an hour and had to have a kid assist him in taking on several of the cartel by telling him where to shoot. But his final shootout had him taking down two guys all by himself, using sound in order to pinpoint their location and kill them.
  • The Predator: Autism is treated as a miraculous condition that gives genius-level intellect. Casey outright calls the condition the next step in human evolution. Chiefly, autism gives an otherwise ordinary boy the ability to read the Predator language and understand their technology, and even the Predators themselves are fascinated by the potential.
  • Rain Man features Dustin Hoffman's autistic character having amazing calculation skills, being able to count a scattering of spilled toothpicks at a glance.
    • The autistic Simon Lynch in Mercury Rising is able to crack a government code that was secretly published in one of his puzzle books by the creators to see if anyone can crack it.
  • Parodied by the blind character Blinkin in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. In one scene he snatches an arrow right out of the air, remarking "'Eard it comin' a mile away" to the shocked Merry Men. Immediately afterwards, Robin compliments him, to which he responds, "Who said that?"
    • An earlier scene has him standing in a lookout tower. Robin asks what he's doing up there, and he replies, "Guessing? I guess nobody's coming?"
    • The Prince's men are very lucky Blinkin is blind. After all, look what he did to that wood pillar; if he could see, he'd probably have liberated England by himself.
  • RoboCop. Most of his damaged body is replaced by cybernetics, even parts that didn't need to be removed. This leaves him incredibly strong and Immune to Bullets, if slow.
  • Rogue One: Chirrut is blind, but his connection to the Force lets him be a martial artist and dead shot despite this.
  • Not quite a superpower, but the title character of Rookie of the Year breaks his arm, and it heals in such a way as to make him a super-fast baseball pitcher.
    • Truth in television, for very rare cases. Mordecai Brown pretty much destroyed his hand through several accidents and became a baseball pitcher afterwards. His new hand allowed him to throw a devastating curve ball.
  • Serenity: Besides River Tam, who has telepathy amplified by brain surgery at the hands of Alliance scientists that also left her with a form of schizophrenia, at the climax Malcolm Reynolds turns out to be immune to the Operative's Pressure Point paralysis because of an old injury: the nerve cluster the Operative targets was destroyed by shrapnel during the Unification War.
  • In Sneakers, the blind character Whistler overhears his own name spoken in conversational tones — thirty feet away, on the other side of thick plate glass. Later he listens through a powerful microphone aimed at a distant building and deduces what rooms are which behind sealed windows — even identifying one as an emergency exit ("I can hear the emergency floodlight batteries recharging"). He also deduces what road Robert Redford's character was driven on, while tied up in the trunk, based solely on what he heard. The character is based on a Real Life hacker who could actually communicate with modems at low speeds sans device due to his ability to recognize and replicate the signals.
    • Also, Whistler is the one who figures out that a certain black box on a desk is important. The others (who could see it) quickly discarded it as just an answering machine. This case is not completely Disability Superpower (The important clue is in the audio) but partly "only seeing people can be fooled by the optical illusion".
  • In Thunderpants, Patrick has the disability of excessive farting. It is later discovered however that this can be used to power a rocket into space because his twin stomachs resemble the rocket's engine.
  • Jimmy in The Wizard is stricken with grief over the death of his twin sister, but his mental state also grants him amazing abilities with video games.
  • Yellowbeard: Harold "Blind" Pew, is keen-sensed sightless informant who also conceals a deadly surprise in his walking stick. (Harold is a parody of and a Shout-Out to Zatoichi.)
  • Zatoichi, the blind masseur from the eponymous Japanese film series, who possesses a skill with a sword equal to the greatest samurai.
    • In his first film, he tosses a candle into the air and slices it vertically, from a sitting position, in a single iaido draw.
    • In the 2003 version by Beat Takeshi, Zatoichi defeats a sword-bearing mook by slicing between his hands. The mook is left standing with two portions of a useless (and worthless) sword. His rival in plans to strike him down by exploiting the usual way Zatoichi draws his sword, but Zatoichi hears him change his stance and adjusts his grip accordingly.
    • Zato-Ino of Usagi Yojimbo, a blind pig who uses his nose to compensate.
    • Yet another Zatoichi Shout-Out comes from Zato-One (ichi = one) from Guilty Gear. He was blinded when he accepted a demon named Eddie. As a trade-off, he is now extremely powerful and can control shadows. It's never explained how exactly Zato sees, though ostensibly Eddie sees for him.

  • Akata Witch: Among magical people, a deformity or condition usually comes with an innate knack for some sort of juju. Sunny has albinism and the ability to enter the Spirit World; Sugar Cream has severe scoliosis and can transform into a snake; Orlu has dyslexia and is excellent at unraveling juju; and so on.
  • Invoked in Animorphs. When the team decides to increase their numbers, they specifically choose disabled teens. Since no Yeerk would infest a disabled body when plenty of healthy ones are available, it guarantees that disabled teens are safe to receive the morphing ability. A few get better thanks to morphing, but most stay disabled while human.
  • Thomas from The Bad Place has Down Syndrome but possesses mysterious telepathic powers.
  • Glen Cook's The Black Company series has I Know Your True Name in full effect. Any wizard can be instantly and permanently stripped of his powers by someone invoking his True Name. As a result, one of the requirements of a wizard rising to significant power is a willingness to ruthlessly destroy anyone who knows his True Name, including friends and family (lest they be tortured into revealing it to a rival). The only powerful wizard in the series who isn't an Evil Sorceror was born under unusual circumstances and was never given a real name, only a temporary nickname that stuck far longer than intended. He complains about his lack of a real name in the final book, apparently unaware of the unique status it gives him.
  • In Jose Saramago's Blindness, all of humanity becomes blind with the exception of one person. People who were previously blind are accustomed to their condition and have enough of an advantage that at least one becomes a gang leader of sorts.
  • The Blood Guard: Patch Steiner is blind, but can rob other people of their senses and see through his acolytes.
  • In Bounders, the titular Designer Babies have been engineered to have conditions such as autism and ADHD that mean their brains don't filter out as much information as usual, making them better able to use the bounding gloves. Mira Matheson, a nonverbal autistic girl who is so disabled that Jasper wonders why she was allowed into the program, turns out to be far better at using the gloves than anyone else in Jasper's pod.
  • Montolio in R.A. Salvatore's The Dark Elf Trilogy is a blind ranger who is sufficiently badass at hand-to-hand combat to scare off a whole dungeon's worth of orcs. His familiarity with his surroundings helps, though.
    • He also uses his owl to target his enemies with his bow. The owl flies over an enemy's head and hoots, and he shoots just under where he heard it.
  • Istvan in Dead Space: Catalyst has heard voices all his life, sees patterns everywhere, can get violent if approached in the wrong way, and does not sync with reality very well. While this normally causes problems for him, when he comes in contact with the Red Marker (which causes people to hear voices, draw patterns on everything, get violent, and go crazy), he is able to communicate it with it to some degree.
  • Discworld
    • At least two witches are described to have developed some combination of blindness or deafness due to old age but use their magic to compensate — Miss Treason from Wintersmith sees and hears through her animal companions, and Desiderata Hollow from Witches Abroad has trained her second sight to work in the present.
    • In Small Gods, the blind philosopher Didactylos says that the whole "blind people's other senses are superhuman" thing was made up by sighted people so they can feel better. While deducing that Brutha is upset from the noise his clothes make...
  • In Dr. Bloodmoney by Philip K. Dick, Hoppy Harrington was born without limbs but has powerful telekinetic abilities.
  • Fairies in Disney Fairies cannot swim due to their wings. Rani sacrificed her wings and thus is the only fairy able to.
  • Dive (2003): Being color blind makes it difficult for Dante to take underwater photos at the right lighting, but it also keeps him from being distracted by how coral encased manmade objects are the same color as real coral and lets him notice when the texture is different from surrounding objects.
  • Everland: Mole is a twelve-year-old Lost Boy who is blind but has a sense of smell so keen he's practically a bloodhound.
  • In Generation Dead, arguably every single zombie in the entire book falls under this trope, since they're not only legally dead, but get seemingly superhuman strength, endurance, speed, and toughness; all while not needing to eat, sleep or drink and being practically unkillable without being either set on fire or bashed in the head... but on the other hand? Most of their organs no longer function; they can't heal themselves if injured; and their brain is generally much slower-functioning, to the point where they're almost all slow-moving klutzes even if they were dancers or athletes before they died, and a previously brilliant teen gets stuffed into remedial classes. Then there's also the thing where they tend to have all or most senses (taste, touch, you name it) dulled, assuming they work at all. Not Quite Dead? You betcha! Better off? Er... good question.
  • In the Rachel Peng Novels (which take place in the A Girl and Her Fed universe), Rachel goes blind after staring at the sun for two days straight. (She was... not in a good mental place.) However, she discovers that the implant that allows her to talk to machines also allows her to perceive electromagnetic waves, giving her the ability to "see" not just frequencies of visible light, but a massive array of other types of radiation as well, meaning she can see through walls just fine. Oh, and she can also see emotions. Somehow.
  • Astrid's little brother, Little Pete, in Gone is autistic. He's also the most powerful person in the FAYZ, other than maybe the Gaiaphage. He has the ability to make things appear out of thin air, teleport him and Astrid to anywhere he wants, and he caused the FAYZ.
  • The Harry Potter series has Mad-Eye Moody, who lost his eye and got a magical replacement that allows him to see in all directions and through solid objects. Peter "Wormtail" Pettigrew, who lost his hand and got a magical, super-strong silver prosthetic hand, may also count.
  • N. K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy: Due to being a demon, Oree Shoth has powerful innate magic and unique eyes that can only perceive magic. Jemisin later admitted that it was a mistake to make Oree's blindness a Mark of the Supernatural, as it frames an ordinary, already stigmatized trait as something abnormal and remarkable.
  • Jack McClure from the series of the same name by Eric Van Lustbader is severely dyslexic but has an excellent sense of space and a photographic memory, not to mention the ability to learn foreign languages extremely quickly. He uses these abilities to become a top agent in the ATF before eventually becoming a trusted adviser to the President. Despite this he still has all the difficulty reading associated with dyslexia and needs help deciphering a map.
  • Rehhaile from Kane Series was ripped out of her dying mother's womb when The Plague struck her homeland Demornte. As a result, she is blind but she can get into other people's minds to see through her eyes. In addition, she can see their feelings and emotions, and sometimes she can even influence them. The problem is, very few people survived the plague and they are all depressed and despondent, so there's nothing interesting in their minds.
  • Larry Niven's Known Space character Gilbert Gilgamesh Hamilton (Gil the Arm) develops a telekinetic replacement arm when his original is lost in an asteroid mining accident. It's very weak (barely able to lift a full shot glass in Earth gravity) and due to Gil's lack of imagination is restricted to the range of the original... however, he manages to keep it when the meat arm is finally replaced, it has its own sense of touch which can feel inside things (including people), and he can reach through a videophone screen in two ways — to touch the electronics inside, or to touch the person on the other end of the call...
  • Many mages in Kroniki Drugiego Kręgu. Severity of the disability tends to be proportional to mage's power.
  • Enchantress Hiresha from Lady of Gems is one of the most accomplished enchantresses in the Lands of Loam not despite her uncontrollable sleeping but because of it.
  • Dinah Bellman from Stephen King's novella The Langoliers is a young blind girl that displays a grab-bag of psychic powers and enhanced senses. In the tv movie, she is able to see Craig Toomey's paranoid delusion by looking at him, communicate telepathically, seems to have a degree of precognition, acts as a human lie detector and hears the approaching monsters with her superhuman hearing. Furthermore, in the film's climax, she begins to astral project to Craig Toomey and apparently alters his paranoid delusions to show him exactly what he wanted to see.
  • In The Legend of Sun Knight, Grisia loses his eyesight as a consequence of raising the dead. He makes up for it by honing his elemental-detection skills, which let him see through walls and detect things all around him. It has the drawbacks of making him unable to see color, preventing him from making aesthetic judgements such as whether someone is beautiful or whether a disguise is adequate, and reverting him to helpless blindness whenever he is unable to use his powers.
  • The Locked Tomb: According to Dulcinea, terminally ill people make incredible Necromancers because they generate a huge store of death energy; the trick is to be incurable, but not too physically weak to use the power. Her House actually cultivates bloodlines with fatal genetic conditions for that reason.
  • Rowan from Lords of the Sky is physically blind, but can still see her surroundings due to her innate magic abilities. Not only is she an accomplished sorceress, but she's also a Dragon Master, meaning she has a very special affinity to Dragons.
  • In T.A. Barron's series The Lost Years of Merlin, Merlin is blinded in the first book, but then develops "second sight," which seems to be a kind of magical version that doesn't use his physical eyes. It also means that he can occasionally see things that normal sight cannot.
  • The Man Who Got Off the Ghost Train: Danny "Magic Fingers" Myles was born blind, but has extremely keen hearing and the ability to intuit things about whatever he touches.
  • Heroine of the Mapmakers Trilogy, Sophia Tims, lacks an internal clock. Put simply, she loses track of time really easily. After seeing this as a disadvantage all her life, she learns to utilize it, such as doing hours of thinking in seconds and making hours of aimless wandering feel like minutes.
  • An unusual example is seen in My Name Is Red. The artists often go blind due to overwork, but sometimes welcome this, as it allows them to draw from an idealized memory instead of a world they think is growing ever more corrupt.
  • NeuroTribes, a book about the history and present of the autism spectrum and the people in it, points out that numerous autism researchers, including Hans Asperger himself, came to the conclusion that autism was a mixture of disability and intelligence that were directly connected.
  • The whole idea behind the half-bloods having ADHD and dyslexia in Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The ADHD actually doubles as battle reflexes, and the dyslexia is explained as their minds being hardwired for Latin or Ancient Greek, rather than English.
  • In Pigs Might Fly by Dick King-Smith, the main character of Daggie Dogfoot has a plausible, pig-specific one; born the runt of his mother's latest piglets, his malformed front feet resemble paws, enabling him to swim without the risk of basically cutting his own throat with sharp trotters.
  • Professor Mmaa's Lecture is about termites, who are almost completely blind — not that they need sight inside their mound. They all have a very acute sense of smell which gives them an equivalent of sight. Their language even reflects this ("unforesmelled"), and their "disguises" and "masks" involve solely altering one's smell.
  • Zephyr the oracle from Silverwing is albino and, due to his old age, also blind, and so has developed a sense of hearing so acute he can hear the echoes of anything, anywhere. He can also see into the future and past using his ears (or something).
  • Ng in Snow Crash lost all of his limbs in Viet Nam and has the ultimate Cool Car of a wheelchair: a heavily-customized and heavily-armed airport firetruck. Given the heavily-commercialized nature of the world, he can get anything he needs via drive-thru. Not only is he permanently jacked into The Metaverse, where his Digital Avatar has limbs, but his body is suspended in a gel that gives him force feedback, making him the only known character in the story to be able to actually feel massages given to his Digital Avatar.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • Bran Stark gets crippled from a fall and lapses into a coma. When he awakens, he gains prophetic "green dreams" and the ability to consciously take control of living things. These abilities qualify him to become a powerful sorcerer called a greenseer.
    • In A Dance with Dragons Arya learns to see through the eyes of a cat to compensate for having been blinded by the priests of the Many Faced God. It's implied that this is a latent power in all the Stark children just waiting for some trigger to be expressed. Ironically, the purpose of the blindness was to force her to develop the disability superpower of heightened senses. Using the supernatural shortcut might have caused her to miss out on some of that training.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe
    • The Miraluka are a race of beings who evolved the ability to "see" through the Force, but at the same time lost use of their eyes, then lost their eyes entirely. Kreia from Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords displays a similar ability, which the main character of that game can learn.
    • A character in the Expanded Universe, a Wookiee named Ralrra, has a "speech impediment" — which removes enough of his "accent" for Leia to understand him perfectly. Therefore he has a job in the Kashyyyk embassy, as his speech impediment makes him easier for aliens to understand.
    • The Yuuzhan Vong were cut off from the Force when their sentient homeworld was destroyed by their constant warfare. This caused them so much pain that they came up with a Combat Sadomasochist culture to cope. Being cut off from the Force also meant that the Vong couldn't be directly affected by Force powers, giving them a huge advantage against Force-wielders.
  • The title character of the children's picture book series Toto The Ninja Cat by Dermot O'Leary and Nick East is a nearly-blind cat who becomes a ninja, in part thanks to her other senses being enhanced.
  • An inversion happens in Tough Magic, where the main character successfully becomes a skilled and powerful wizard, despite being unable to easily cast spells. The inversion part comes from the fact that it doesn't happen because overcoming his handicap makes him better than he'd otherwise be; but rather, he becomes a strong wizard despite being handicapped.
  • Peter Reidinger I of the Tower and the Hive series (specifically the Pegasus sub-series), who becomes paralyzed from the neck down in adolescence due to a wall collapsing on top of him. However, it is soon discovered that he is the most powerful psychic Talent in the world: he proves so adept at telekinesis that he actually fakes normal movement by levitating his body (it's not perfect: he has a difficult time making complex movements with his fingers, and occasionally forgets to keep his feet on the ground).
  • Inverted in Vampire Academy: Rose has the ability to see through Lissa's eyes, but doing so makes her blind to what is going on around her.
  • Warhammer 40,000
    • Dan Abnett's Inquisitor Gideon Ravenor, main character of the eponymous series of Warhammer 40,000 novels. A Chaos-engineered disaster during an Imperial triumphal procession nearly killed him and left his body entirely broken, confining him permanently to a mobile life support chamber. On the other hand, it gave him considerable time to further develop his innate Psychic Powers. The life-support pod is fitted with armour comparable to that of a Leman Russ Main Battle Tank, contains powerful psychic amplifiers (partially accounting for Ravenor's power increase), and has mounted upon it two fully automatic, rocket-propelled grenade launchers loaded with daemon-killing Depleted Phlebotinum Shells.
    • Colonel 'Iron-hand' Straken, who has a much stronger replacement arm thanks to the original being bitten off by a Miral Land Shark.
    • Commissar Yarrick has a bionic eye with a laser built in and a robot arm made from the very Ork Battle Klaw that removed the original.
    • Lord Militant Commander Drang has a replacement bionic eye that lets him spot an enemy warship up to half a light-year away.
    • Astropaths get a power boost from hooking their soul to the God-Emperor, at the cost of serious damage to (if not the destruction of) their eyes and optic nerves.
    • Dreadnoughts are Humongous Mecha piloted by crippled Astartes heroes, for whom they also act as life-support machines (much like Ravenor, in fact).
  • Jayfeather from Warrior Cats is born blind, but learns he has the ability to read minds. As well, he can creep into dreams, in which he gains perfect vision.
  • The title character in A Wizard Alone, the sixth Young Wizards book, is an autistic kid who happens to be one of the "Pillars of Creation", through which a lot of positive energy is dumped into the universe. By the end, he's no longer autistic, but he's still a Pillar.
  • World War Z:
    • An old gardener who'd been blinded in the bombing of Nagasaki during World War II becomes a zombie-killing Zatoichi reference, using precise study and memorization of the landscape and his hearing to track the zombies by their moans, and his gardening spade to kill them.
    • Another interview has a man in an ordinary wheelchair man taking up zombie defence patrols— crawling zombies trying to attack him from behind get the chair instead of his legs.
  • In The Zero Enigma series, Caitlynn Aguirre is a Zero, one of the incredibly rare people with absolutely no ability to sense or use magic. She is mocked and belittled for this, until she discovers that only a Zero can forge Objects of Power (even the tiniest amount of innate magic will destabilize the rune-magic used for making Objects of Power and cause it to fail).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied in 30 Rock by the show Who Nose? about a detective who is constantly underestimated for his lack of smell.
  • This is how powers work in Alphas. Every person with a power is actually someone with some type of birth defect, from relatively tame ones like Bill's Super-Strength (which also gives him anger issues), to Gary's ability to see into the electromagnetic spectrum (which also makes him autistic). Therefore, not only does every Alpha have a specific "downside" related to their power, it's also not uncommon to see random background Alphas who are blind, paralyzed, or otherwise crippled and disabled in ways not related to their ability. In fact, one of the earliest conflicts is a group of Alphas fighting to keep medicine that would cure birth defects off the shelves. They see it as a direct attack on their kind, but it's not clear if the company making the medicine even knew Alphas existed.
  • In an episode of Angel, "Blind Date", Angel comes up against one of the most skilled human assassins he has encountered, and she happens to be blind. She blinded herself, then learned to see outside the spectrum of normal human sight — effectively seeing the move you make before you make it. However, he can actually move faster than her, and ultimately overcomes her by moving in lightning-fast spurts; if he doesn't move, she can't see him, because vampires don't breathe or have a heartbeat.
  • In earlier seasons of The Big Bang Theory, Raj tended to be far more successful with women compared to the rest of the cast so long as he had a drink beforehand to be able to speak to them (because in his mind, alcohol was a temporary cure to his selective mutism). Once he was cured for real, he's lost that "power" and is now by far the worst with women.
  • Parodied in a sketch in A Bit of Fry and Laurie where Hugh Laurie reveals to Stephen Fry that his deafness has caused him to develop his eyesight, whilst his blindness has caused his hearing to improve to compensate. "So in other words, you can hear and see perfectly?". "Yes, that's right"
  • The Boys (2019): Deconstructed when Homelander is introduced to a proposed recruit to his superhero team: Blindspot, whose blindness is compensated for by his super-hearing. In one of his nastier moments, Homelander casually asks, "What happens if I do this?" and slams his hands over Blindspot's ears, reducing him to a helpless screaming mess on the floor.
  • An episode of CSI: Miami has Natalia, wearing a hearing aid as the result of an injury suffered earlier in the season, discovered a device being used by jewelry store robbers to screw up the security camera system when it caused painfully loud static in said hearing aid.
  • Parodied in an episode of Father Ted when Ted confronts a person who he thought had been throwing paper balls at his head, only to find that the man is blind.
    Ted: [extremely embarrassed] Right, well, I suppose your other senses make up for it. I hear that with blind people their other senses become more alert, heh heh, so to speak, I suppose you can smell things from ten miles away and hear things before they happen, heh heheh.
    Blind Priest: No.
    Ted: No sixth sense of any kind? Or I suppose in your case it would be a fifth sense, seeing as you've only got the four. Unless you've got another one missing that I don't know about? How's your sense of touch? [begins slapping at the man's arms and shoulder and laughing]
    Blind Priest: Could you go away now please?
  • River Tam from Firefly (and its follow-up movie, Serenity) winds up with eerie Psychic Powers — mind-reading abilities that apparently extend from emotions to actual thoughts (both of which are shown surprisingly clearly in the episode "Objects in Space") — and some surprising Waif-Fu abilities, which combined with her "extraordinary grace" (ostensibly from years of studying dance), essentially turn her into a psychic ninja ballerina. At one point she picks up a gun as if it's a toy, closes her eyes, fires three shots, and kills three bad guys. All of which would be awful nice, if they didn't almost all seem to result from brutal experiments that cut out a chunk of her brain (leaving her unable to filter her own emotions) and left her psychotic.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Bran begins having prophetic dreams and entering the mind of his direwolf after being crippled.
    • The time Arya spent blind has really made her a deadly fighter in darkness. When wounded and pursued by the Waif, who otherwise would have no trouble killing her, Arya gains the advantage needed to defeat and kill her by luring her into a tunnel and destroying the candles illuminating it with Needle.
    • Jojen Reed. Apparently, having repeated visions causes seizures. In the books, Jojen does not suffer seizures, but his knowledge of the future has caused him to have a weary, depressive demeanor.
  • In The Good Doctor, Shaun's Autism grants him several benefits over neurotypical surgeons. He can spot a millisecond of altered heart activity so subtle that not even the monitors can pick up. He can project a Vein-o-Vision on a patient and judge the best vein/artery to use at a glance. He can also, perhaps most impressively of all, recall any page of every single medical textbook he has ever read, automatically conjuring up the relevant information for the situation and allowing him to make technically perfect medical decisions. His bedside manner however is much less impressive.
  • An episode of Grimm has Nick blinded by a fly-like Wesen. He suddenly realizes that his hearing has become amplified. Not only can he hear the Monster of the Week's buzzing (which no one else can), but he can also clearly hear whispered conversations in another room and both sides of a phone call. After stumbling a bit, he confronts the Wesen and ends up handily beating him, despite still being blind. After his eyesight is restored, he resolves to practice fighting blindfolded with Monroe throwing various fruits and vegetables in the air, and Nick attempting to hit them with a stick. Nick doesn't miss once. Later, Nick is temporarily zombified by the puffer fish-like Baron Samedi. After coming to his senses, he finds out that his metabolism control is much greater than before (e.g. he can go for a vigorous jog and not even break a sweat).
  • Guiding Light did something similar when deaf Abby decided to have a cochlear implant (coinciding with the actress' Real Life decision to do the same). Her heightened sense of hearing allowed her to hear the ticking of an explosive device that had been planted and she was able to warn everyone before it went off.
  • Heroes:
    • Isaac's clairvoyance-painting seems (at first) to only work when he's high on heroin. Later, though, he learns to do it without the drugs.
    • There's also Niki Sanders, whose power appears to be "being insane". Oh, and super strong. Technically, yes, but in nicer terms, she would be a dissociative identity disorder sufferer with a superhuman alter-ego, not unlike The Hulk, Thorn, or Typhoid Mary. She is, however, able to use the super-strength on the "Niki" side now that she's learning to control "Jessica". Unfortunately, there's more than just Niki and Jessica in there.
    • Played straight with fourth season character Emma, who is deaf and has the ability to see sound as bright waves of light. Her ability becomes an important part of the season's arc.
    • Daphne is an odd variant. Normally, she has cerebral palsy, but her Super-Speed overcomes it.
  • Master Po (and to a lesser extent Serenity Johnson) from Kung Fu (1972).
  • Comically subverted in the "Blind Kung-Fu Master" sketches from MADtv (1995). The title character of the sketch is blind, but his years of martial arts training do absolutely nothing to compensate. Hilarity Ensues.
  • The show M.A.N.T.I.S. had the main character create an exoskeleton so that he could walk again. It just happened the prototype suit was entirely bulletproof. Which he didn't find out until after being shot in the first episode.
  • Hawkeye in M*A*S*H temporarily received a boost to his other senses — including hearing that rivalled Radar's ability to detect incoming helicopters — when he was blinded by an exploding heater. It has been suggested that Radar's super-hearing is compensation for his incredibly poor eyesight but it's a weak precognitive ability. He's also been known to comply with requests before they're made and answer questions before they're asked. (Some of which could be guessed by experience, some not). Hence his nickname.
  • Monk's title character has, among other mental problems, a serious case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder — which allows him to perceive details of crime scenes and other clues, making him a champion sleuth.
    • In an episode when he was blinded, he also realized that it solved a lot of his OCD-related phobias since he couldn't see the chaos around himself, plus his tendency to put everything back in the same place and count his steps, gave him a great head start compared to other blind people.
  • NCIS, "See No Evil": Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) plays a blind child with brilliant pianism ability. She also has such a good ear for pitch that you could replace the sonar computer on a Los Angeles class submarine with her. She and her mother get kidnapped. The girl gets released. Guess how the mother is found...
  • In an episode of Painkiller Jane, one of the team member's former partners was paralyzed from the neck down after an accident. He then becomes a "neuro" with telekinesis. He then goes on a rampage, killing all his former team members who he blames for his condition. He is killed at the end of the episode, which is probably more merciful than "chipping" him and turning him back into a helpless quadriplegic.
  • Perception (2012) has Dr. Daniel Pierce, a paranoid schizophrenic neuroscientist who aids the FBI if there is a case that involves the brain in some way. His schizophrenia actually helps him on cases by giving him clues about what his mind unconsciously sees but he doesn't through hallucinations of people that are somehow related to the theme of the case.
  • The character played by Michael J. Fox in Scrubs has such encyclopedic medical knowledge because his OCD lead him to reading the medical books over and over again.
  • Smallville:
    • In "Whisper", Clark is temporarily blinded by his own heat vision bouncing off Kryptonite. Luckily, his super-hearing develops at the same time to compensate.
    • Lex Luthor was left permanently bald at nine but gained an enhanced immune system, that saves him from death more than once.
    • In another episode, an artist whose hand was crippled develops telekinesis to compensate for the loss.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • Geordi la Forge was born blind, but given synaptic implants that allow a device he wears to translate large portions of the EM spectrum into visual impressions, allowing him at various points to detect by sight things that normally require scanners or tricorders to detect. These impressions are often cited as not being sufficiently "real" when the writers want to play up the disability aspect, though they certainly don't seem to be lacking in detail. In one episode the audience and his crewmates even get to see a visual-frequency representation of what he sees, and it's a psychedelic jumble of colors and lights. No wonder he gets a headache. Geordi's vision has also been subject to the occasional Phlebotinum Breakdown or Dropped Glasses moment. The later movies acknowledged that Science Marches On by giving him bionic eyes.
    • In "Loud As A Whisper", Riva, who's deaf, is also telepathic. This is apparently a trait of his family and possibly linked to their deafness (both are hereditary among them).
    • Defied in "The Loss" when Counselor Troi loses her empathic powers. She attempts to leave Starfleet on the grounds that she is now disabled. Picard tries to convince her otherwise, invoking this trope. Troi answers that there is no scientific evidence that losing one sense strengthens others and that the myth was likely created by non-disabled people in order to make themselves feel more comfortable around the disabled.
  • Star Trek: Discovery reveals that Spock has dyslexia. His efforts to overcome this (with his mother's help) allow him to perceive the presence of the Red Angel.
  • Kirsten of Stitchers has temporal dysplasia, a neurological condition that prevents her from experiencing the passage of time and seemingly limits her ability to experience emotions. These impairments make her a prime candidate for the Stitchers program, which allows her consciousness to be inserted into a deceased person's memories.
  • Eleven from Stranger Things has severe socialization difficulties from being raised in a lab, but she also has psychic powers.
  • Ricky from Trailer Park Boys has rotted so many brain cells from years of weed consumption and drinking that his brain actually requires less oxygen than a regular person. This saves his life when he dies from a heart attack and is able to be resuscitated after being dead for a length of time that would leave a normal person brain dead.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
  • UFO (1970): In the episode "The Man Who Came Back", a blind man senses that there's something wrong with a SHADO operative who's had his personality removed and is being remote-operated by the aliens.
  • War of the Worlds (2019): Emily is able to see again at times and hear things no one else can as a result of the alien signal affecting her brain somehow. This appears to be a result of her blindness (or the condition behind it), since no one else can do these things.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess was blinded for one episode, but considering who we're talking about here, she picked up a staff and went right on with the ass-kicking. She even managed to catch her chakram based solely on hearing, millimeters from an ally's face.

  • At the age of 17, Tony Iommi lost two fingertips in an accident while working at a sheet-metal factory. Having been encouraged by his boss not to give up his side job as guitarist in a pub band, he had to tune down his guitar strings in order not to hurt his cut-off fingertips even more. Thus, the signature sound of Black Sabbath (and Heavy Metal) was born.
  • The Who's Pinball Wizard, Tommy, is a "deaf, dumb and blind kid...(who) sure plays a mean pinball." He can feel the table's features and plays by sense of smell.
    • His pinball ability is also attributed to the fact that he "ain't got no distractions, can't hear no buzzers and bells." Also because he "can't see no lights a flashin'." His lack of sight and hearing actually helps him stay focused, apparently.
    • Justified because Tommy has psychogenic deafness and blindness, so he can actually see and hear but doesn't realize he can. People with these conditions have the same automatic reactions as a sighted or hearing person, so if they didn't think about what they were doing, they could play pinball. Still pretty impressive, though.
  • Def Leppard's drummer Rick Allen has only one arm. That's right, the man who plays the instrument requiring the most coordination and skill, does it and rocks the house with one arm. His most amazing drumming is done with his feet!
  • Django Reinhardt lost the use of two of his fingers in a caravan fire, and still went on to be one of the most fluid and dexterous guitarists of all time.
  • "Scatman John" Larkin "[turned his] biggest problem into [his] biggest asset" by channeling his stuttering into a fusion of scat singing and dance music. His most famous song "The Scatman" enforces this trope by singing that you should never let disabilities hold you back:
    Everybody stutters one way or the other
    So check out my message to you
    As a matter of fact, don't let nothin' hold you back
    If the Scatman can do it, brother, so can you
  • Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles, anyone?
  • Andrea Bocelli. Despite losing his sight in a soccer accident as a young boy, he went on to become one of the greatest tenors of his time. He also has a law degree and regularly engages in such pursuits as horseback riding and sky-diving. Now that's impressive.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven composed many of his best works after going deaf.
  • Obscure Country Music singer Billy Hoffman learned to play guitar at an early age to gain dexterity after he was born with underdeveloped hands. He also learned how to sing despite being 97% deaf.
  • Indonesian virtuoso guitarist, Yana Mulyana, is born with imperfect hands. This does not, in any way, impede his amazing ability to play guitar. See for yourself.
  • A boy castrated before puberty will sustain a beautiful, ethereal soprano singing voice called castrato. Castrato singers have been documented since the days of the Byzantine Empire, but they really hit it big in Baroque Music. Eventually, people realized that maiming a kid just so he could sing pretty was kind of a dick move, but Italy only banned the practice after unification in 1861. The Vatican only stopped hiring new castrati in 1878, and they still had a few of them ticking around from before the ban; they stopped using castrati altogether in 1903. If you're wondering what castrati sounded like, the last Sistine castrato singer (Alessandro Moreschi) actually did audio recordings; you can find 'em on YouTube. Modern castrato voices can be found in men who for whatever reason never hit puberty; these men include Jimmy Scott, Radu Marian, and Michael Maniaci (all of whom can also be found on YouTube). Hell, according to this theory (also detailed by the good folks at Cracked), Michael Jackson kept his high voice throughout his life due to an anti-acne treatment that prevented him from hitting puberty.
  • One of the most famous violinists, Niccolò Paganini, is said to have Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder affecting connective tissue. Despite the many negatives this syndrome provides, the afflicted person is gifted with exceptionally long, flexible fingers. It is possible that the Russian composer and virtuoso pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff had the same disorder. He, too, had pretty damn big hands.
  • Kanye West invokes this trope almost by name in his song "Yikes", ranting about how his Bipolar Disorder isn't a disability but that it's his superpower. This might not make sense unless you know that the disorder has a strong link to creativity and many musicians and other kinds of artists have had it.
  • Chris Poland severed a tendon in the index finger of his fretting hand when he accidentally put his hand through a plate glass window in his teen years. When it healed, Poland found himself unable to play certain chords but also found himself able to extend it unnaturally far, which helped him create his Signature Style of lengthy legato runs and extremely wide bends that are notoriously difficult for most players to replicate.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ars Magica: Leper magi have learned how to manipulate their Life Energy through their leprosy. They can suffer fatigue or physical harm to add power to their spellcasting, and can even generate vis, a precious form of solidified magical power, from their bodies. Naturally, they lose those powers if their leprosy is cured.
  • In the fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the "blind" keyword actually has nothing but benefits. Blind creatures are immune to gaze attacks, and every blind creature in the game has "blindsight," which works exactly like sight except that it's black and white, functions in total darkness, and has a somewhat more limited range.
    • Blinding a player character still confers drawbacks, but even a character who's been blinded and deafened can still pinpoint enemies with Perception checks if their skill is high enough.
  • Role Playing Games where players build characters on a point system that assigns negative point values for physical disadvantages (effectively freeing up extra points to buy additional abilities) invite the use (and abuse) of this trope.
    • GURPS, for instance. The "Blindness" disadvantage (just as an example), while giving characters a distinct penalty to combat skills, makes it less than that suffered by people who have been suddenly blinded (thus, a person with Blindness has an advantage over a sighted person when the lights go out). No specific bonus to other senses is given. It is, however, stressed that vision-based abilities are not available to someone with this disability (yes, some people do need to be told).
      • GURPS Supers notes that you can give Blindness and Microscopic Vision to a hero who can only see tiny nearby things, playing this straighter.
    • Mutants & Masterminds notes the trend and devotes a paragraph to explaining that, for example, if a character takes Blindness as a flaw and Tremorsense as a super-ability, they should only get one point for the Blindness flaw since it's mostly covered, apart from things like you can't legally drive, for example. Deafness and telepathy will let you have communications, but if you're attacked by a robot in a dark room you're hosed. That kind of thing.
    • A concept introduced in Champions: The Super Roleplaying Game (aka the Hero System) two decades before M & M came into existence. The rules for Disadvantages note that you can't get any points for a disadvantage that is directly negated by a special ability (gamemaster judgment calls may be required — for instance, sonar vision doesn't truly "negate" blindness because you can't read, see colors, etc.).
    • Big Eyes, Small Mouth's Defect system is ripe for the abuse of this trope; all of the "impairment" defects are Major ones, and can give back enough points to buy up abilities that render the impairments moot in addition to game-breakingly powerful secondary attributes. That does assume that you're okay with playing a flying, psychic paraplegic.
    • The Unofficial Hollow Knight RPG encourages this, as players who choose the Blindness trait can also grab the Scent or Tremorsense trait without having them count against their character's maximum number of traits. Of course, since your character is a bug whose exact species is up to the player, this might instead be a case of them simply being a member of a species that naturally uses these senses instead of sight, rather than them actually being disabled.
  • In Dark Alleys: One the PC options in this urban horror game are Cannibals. A Gnostic sect that rejects the illusion of the physical world and their own flesh, going so far as to remove their own body parts over time. But through meditation, they can force their souls to act as invisible replacements. These phantom limbs are more powerful than the original and grant supernatural abilities. Removing an eye allows them to see the invisible, etc.
  • Pathfinder:
    • The Oracle class in First Edition includes this in its game mechanics. All oracles are cursed in some mildly disabling way, but gain extra abilities related to the area of their curse - for instance, oracles with clouded vision lose the ability to see more than sixty feet away but gain the ability to see in the dark and sense invisible creatures.
    • The Oracle's Second Edition version downplays this by reframing the oracle's curse as a Superpower Disability side effect of their mystery, a curse which under normal circumstances only involves mildly inconvenient flavor text but which becomes mechanically punishing when the oracle uses revelation spells that draw on that curse. The Disability Superpower aspect returns when an oracle draws on their curse to at least Moderate levels, however: at that point and beyond the curse grants benefits of its own, such as winds around you that blow away enemy arrows, the ability to Recall Knowledge as a free action once per turn, or floating above the ground to the point you can walk on liquids as if they were solid.
  • In Starfinder, a third of the vlaka species are deaf and another third are blind. Both overcompensate by training their sense of smell; blind vlakas additionally train their hearing to Daredevil levels.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, Pariahs are emotionless and soulless, which means they never find love or happiness, but they are immune to magic and demonic possession.
    • Not immune to magic as so much as they suppress around them. Though they are immune to demonic possession because they have no souls. They also have the disability of being attractive targets for conversion into a kind of elite necron fighter or an elite Imperial assassin.
    • The tau also have similar if less extreme characteristics. Which has led to some interesting Epileptic Trees.
    • Orks also are highly resistant to demonic possession, partly because they have unbreakable will power, and partly because of how stupid they are. Most demons who try to possess them find themselves stuck in an idiot mind, resulting in Orks that talk to themselves a lot.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: The equip spell Flint is an annoying equip spell that weakens the host monster and prevents it from attacking. However, the monster Flint Lock is designed to be immune completely to the negative effects of Flint and even benefits from extra powers while equipped with Flint, such as being indestructible by battle. Cherry on top, it can even manipulate Flint to contaminate other monsters or relieve a monster from it to use its protection. This double counts as Crippling the Competition and Disability Immunity.

    Urban Legends 
  • The One-Armed Judo Competitor, a motivational story commonly told in martial arts schools, tells of a one-armed boy learning from an old master who only ever teaches him one move. He does very well at his first tournament, breezing through his first few matches, struggles in his next few, but ultimately manages to win and become champion even when apparently outmatched. When he asks how he managed to win with only one move, the master knowingly tells him that the move he mastered, which happens to be one of the most difficult throws in Judo, has only one known defense against it: grab your opponent by the left arm.

    Video Games 
  • While Kit loses her vision at the start of Another Sight, she finds herself able to see colored outlines based on sound and can also detect the presence of the Node and some of the things it creates. She also develops an unexplained connection to Hodge, who can provide more detail by running around and meowing.
  • Hayden Tenno of darkSector is a sufferer of congenital analgesia (it's not clear whether he's fully insensitive to pain or simply indifferent, especially since sloppy story editing means it's only mentioned in previews). He's a fairly unrealistic depiction even when ignoring the inconsistency since he's managed to get up to adult age and become a black operative for the Not-CIA without having hideously damaged himself (e.g. breaking a bone in a way that obviously doesn't look right once it's healed), though regardless his condition turns out to be exactly what allows him to be infected by The Virus and only gain the cool superpowers without the debilitating madness all other infectees suffer from since they all go insane from extreme pain brought about by the infection (probably what you'd expect when a virus turns your skin into metal) that Hayden can't feel.
  • Adam Jensen in Deus Ex: Human Revolution is seriously injured in the prologue. His employer takes this opportunity to augment Adam above and beyond what was needed to save his life (he probably didn't really need the prototype ball-bearing bomb implanted in his chest for one thing), essentially turning him into a cyborg Super-Soldier.
  • Dicey Dungeons: In the Jester's Parallel Universe and Bonus Round episodes, one of the possible booster packs contains Infestation and Manic Laugh. Infestation inflicts Curse on both you and your enemy, but Manic Laugh's power will be quadrupled if you're Cursed. There's still the risk that the attack will miss, or in the Parallel Universe, you'll inflict the quad damage on yourself.
  • Final Fantasy XV has Ignis lose his eyesight during the fight in Altissia. Eventually, he gets better. A lot better.
  • In First Encounter Assault Recon, Alma's incredible mental powers came at a rather nasty cost: extreme sensitivity to negative emotions, particularly those relating to her father, which often resulted in her being rendered catatonic with empathic terror when he was angry. On top of that, she suffered hallucinations, debilitating nightmares, and the occasional bout of pyrokinesis, as well as inadvertently mindraping anyone who spent too much time around her.
  • Wu Zi Mu from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas embodies this to the point where he's a respected street racer, good enough to aim and fire a submachinegun and beat CJ at video games, all despite his complete blindness. There are limits to his abilities. His henchmen manipulate some of his pastimes (like golf) so that he wins. When they are not around, he is not always infallible, such as in this exchange during the 'You've Had Your Chips' mission: he's playing blackjack with CJ. Going for a five-card hand...
    CJ: What'cha got?
    Wu Zi Mu: How would I know? You tell me.
    CJ: Not good. You got... uh, 47.
    Wu Zi Mu: Damn it! You're bad luck! When I play with my men, I always win!
    • Later on...
      Mook: Boss! Take a look at these two chips.
      Wu Zi Mu: One's a fake.
      CJ: That's amazing, you didn't even touch them.
      Wu Zi Mu: I took a guess. Why else would he come in with two chips and sound so worried? You take a look.
    • His henchman also notes that he's profoundly lucky, which may be why he's in the situation that he's in; whether that's referring to his ability to not die in the amazingly dangerous things he sets his mind to doing, or his ability to endear himself to practically everyone around him, is up for debate.
  • In Guild Wars, the members of the ritualist profession blind themselves to better sense spirits. (Hence their hats) One character (Aeson) even was born blind and became a ritualist for partially this reason. This is either making themselves blind or wearing a hat that covers their eyes so they can be deprived of senses. Two ritualist NPCs (Togo and Yijo Tahn) actually don't wear hats covering their eyes.
  • Guilty Gear has Bedman, who is stuck in a nigh-perpetual coma and as such he remains bedridden all the time... so, what's the catch? Well, while asleep he has the ability to enter and leave the world of his dreams at will, letting him both summon nightmarish creatures from them or take his enemies into nightmarish worlds of his own creation to get rid of them. The fact that the bed he's confined to also doubles as a Mini-Mecha doesn't hurt.
  • Senua of Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is a downplayed or perhaps subverted example. While Dillion and the narration imply that her condition makes her a better warrior, able to 'see patterns others miss,' and she successfully detects plague in the water of her new village, the many drawbacks of her condition are explored in horrifying detail. However, it's not clear how much of the pain caused by her condition is unavoidable and how much can be traced back to her father's abuse.
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic III and IV, troglodytes are eyeless—and therefore are immune to any form of blinding.
    • One troglodyte warlock, Geon, is blind but has the ability to 'see' magic and read the minds of enemy spellcasters. In game-mechanics terms, this gives him a bonus to his Eagle Eye skill, making it easier for him to learn new spells.
  • Killer7
    • Harman Smith, leader of Smith Syndicate, is an old man in a wheelchair who wields a high-powered rifle and may be some kind of god...
    • Con, a blind teenage boy who can still fire Guns Akimbo and has great perception.
  • League of Legends:
    • Lee Sin is blind, but he makes up for it with his Supernatural Martial Arts and generally heightened senses. One of his signature abilities is to shout out a "Sonic Wave" that locates and marks an enemy, which he can then follow up on with a homing divekick.
    • Cassiopeia is a rather deliberate invoking of this in a mechanical sense: being half-snake below the waist, she has a passive condition where she gains movement speed per level, but she cannot buy boots (an otherwise mandatory series of items for other champions as their source of movespeed). This means she's strictly reliant on her level curve for speed and cannot gain any second benefits of upgraded boots, but by the late game, she gets to move as fast as other champions with upgraded boots, and not having to reserve an item slot for boots allows her to build six full items instead of the five (plus boots) of everyone else in the game, making her terrifyingly powerful. This dynamic is especially noticeable since the game is overwise fairly lax with disabilities and their relation to mechanics (Lee Sin can still be "blinded", legless characters like Nami and Vel'Koz can still buy boots, etc.).
  • Vitruvius from The LEGO Movie Videogame has the "Blind Courage" ability, which lets him navigate treacherously narrow and unsafe ledges above certain death that no other character is brave enough to do, simply because he's blind and can't see the danger. Like everything this is gleefully lampshaded:
    Vitruvius: (While walking a ledge above flames) I'll just walk this perfectly safe ledge. It's not like I'm above a wall of flames or anything like that.
    Batman: Does anyone else think he can actually see?
  • A minor one appears in Metroid Fusion. Samus loses most of her Power Suit's outer shell due to emergency surgery to save her from an X Parasite infection in the game's opening. Consequently, she loses most of her powers and takes ludicrous amounts of damage compared to series standard, but since the Suit is so much lighter she is able to catch ledges and pull herself up without the Power Grip ability she needed in Metroid: Zero Mission.
  • Check the "Comic Book" section's part on Daredevil, then apply the same to Kenshi from Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, as he was also blinded and improved his other senses as a result. Interestingly, the games Deadly Alliance, Deception, and Armageddon use this to defy Gameplay and Story Segregation, as Sonya and Kira's Kiss of Death moves won't affect him (sadly, he's just as vulnerable as anyone else in 9).
  • Mother 3: Duster walks with a limp due to having a clubbed foot, but he is very good at swinging it around.
  • All the orcs from Orc Attack: Flatulent Rebellion were cursed with uncontrollable gas after their land was polluted by the humans. It wasn't long before they decided to use their gas against the humans.
  • Monster Hunter has several subspecies of its nominate megafauna that became stronger after being crippled in some way.
    • Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate: Soulseer Mizutsune, the Deviant version of Mizutsune, is a very old Mizutsune who's gone blind either from a battle or from old age. However, it can "see" prey through its bubbles...and when it does, boy does it get pissed. It can also fire explosive bubbles due to its diet of a combustible species of fish called a Bomb Arowana.
    • Rajang is a Primate Fanged Beast who can enter a Golden Super Mode via its tail when enraged (which is why it becomes much weaker once you break it.) However, the Furious variant (which debuted in Monster Hunter Freedom Unite) had its tail cut off as a juvenile. The result? It's now permanently in that powered-up state, and now gets a second and then third enraged state on top of that.
  • Pokémon plays this fairly straight. Pokémon with the Guts, Tangled Feet, Steadfast, and other similar abilities all gain boosts to their stats when affected by a special condition or effect (Burn, Frozen, Poisoned, Paralyzed, Confused, Flinching). Likewise, the stat-cutting downside of Burn (attack) and Paralysis (speed) are ignored for the stat being raised. On top of that, it's not a direct "boost" like Swords Dance, meaning that their stats can still go up. Now THAT is a superpower!
    • The attack Facade doubles in power if the user is afflicted with a status condition. It's the signature attack of Norman in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire.
    • The ability Hustle reduces Accuracy and increases Attack. In the case of Deino and Zweilous, it represents their blindness and mad ferocity. A Deino with Hustle-boosted Outrage can be unstoppable in the un-evolved tiers of the metagame.
    • Shedinja is an interesting example. It's the only Pokémon in the entire series with a fixed stat that doesn't change no matter what you do — an HP stat of 1. This means that literally any damage of any kind will instantly knock it out, even if it's level 100 against a level 1 Pidgey. However, to make up for this, its unique Wonder Guard ability makes it completely immune to any attack that doesn't have a type advantage against it. Competitive players sometimes lose to it because they have nothing that can pierce its Wonder Guard.
    • The ability Klutz makes the user incapable of receiving any in-battle effects from held items outside of Mega Stones, Z-Crystals, and items that affect growth. This includes both positive and negative effects, allowing them to use an otherwise self-harming item such as a Flame Orb or Iron Ball in combination with Trick or Switcheroo to hamper their opponent or to punish opponents using Trick, Switcheroo, Thief, Covet, or the ability Magician. They were also previously able to pair it with Fling before Black and White made Klutz users incapable of using it.
  • In Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy Jov Leonov was blinded during childhood by an accident. However, in exchange for his sight, he ended up with formidable Mind Control powers that he used in a successful career as a KGB agent, and then as the Movement's Master of Mind Control and the man behind the Meat Puppet project.
  • The MMORPG Ragnarok Online plays rather brutally with this trope, by means of the Star Knight/Taekwon Master class. Their skill, 'Demon of the Sun, Moon, and Stars' (or 'Solar, Lunar, and Stellar Shadow'), grants its owner a + 30% bonus to Attack Speed - this bonus is insanely large. In exchange? The character's sight. This isn't like the 'Blind' status effect, where a character takes a hit to their accuracy - accuracy is just fine. However, the player's screen becomes black the moment this skill is learned, with a lighted area surrounding their character. As the skill is levelled up, and the attack speed bonus moves closer to + 30%, the lighted area shrinks, until at level 10 and + 30% ASPD, the tiles immediately surrounding a character can just be made out. These effects are permanent and utterly irrevocable.
  • Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves has Bentley in a wheelchair (due to the events of Sly 2: Band of Thieves). Being a genius, he tricks out the wheelchair quite well. He still has moments of envy, but apparently has settled with the fact he's in the chair. A rocket-assisted, explosive-armed, tranquilizer-dart-firing wheelchair. Which proceeds to get even cooler in Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, with extra robot hands to help him do his business.
  • In South Park: The Fractured but Whole, Scott Malkinson's superhero alias Captain Diabetes is able to summon Super-Strength and Super-Toughness by consuming sugar, making him angry and sending himself into diabetic shock. However, he also needs to use insulin afterwards or else he'll die. You eventually find another way to make him angry enough to use his Super-Strength by farting in his face, which lets him use his Super-Strength without actually needing to endanger his life.
  • In Spore, it is entirely possible to create something with no eyes. Funnily enough, this only barely affects your ability to actually see (the top third of the screen is blacked out and the rest is monochrome) and gives you a few extra evolution points to boot.
  • Visas Marr and the miraluka in the Star Wars universe. Kreia, ironically enough, does roughly the exact same thing, "seeing with the Force." In her case she did it backwards, relying on the ability so much that her eyes atrophied.
  • In the Submachine series, Murtaugh apparentlynote  lost his arm in an accident, but found out he had a "karma arm" which allows him to open portals.
  • In Tactics Ogre, despite having been blinded for his crimes (which actually weren't his fault!), Haborym is potentially one of the best swordmasters in the game, and he still has the highest dexterity of all characters.
  • Though not actually a disability, Regal Bryant of Tales of Symphonia learned to fight with his feet extremely well after his oath to keep his hands bound.
    • In comparison to his normal combat skills, this is a massive disability. The only time he uses his hands he easily blasts through a wall using a Hand Blast. The difficulty of using his weapon of choice is also shown in his Difficult, but Awesome gameplay. His attacks are difficult to pick up, but when mastered he is the second strongest character, being able to chain devastating (and stylish) combos, and is one of the few characters capable of healing.
  • Koishi Komeiji from the Touhou Project series ended up sealing away her ability to read minds due to the fear it inspired in other people. This left her with the ability to read and manipulate people's subconscious, a much more powerful ability that places her as the extra stage boss, compared to her stage 4 boss sister.
  • In Warcraft 3, Demon Hunters blind themselves to better see demons. They have their eyes burnt out, then the eye sockets are used to contain the essence of a demon, which gives them more power and abilities, such as the ability to better see magic in their surroundings, which includes demons. The demon's essence they seal in their eye sockets look like color-tinted flames, so they often wear blindfolds over their eyes to keep from creeping out those around them.
  • Xenosaga has Abel, an autistic boy in the care of Juli Mizrahi and the SCOCE, who just happens to be the physical incarnation of "God".
  • In The Elder Scrolls Online, the player character is a Soul-Shriven, meaning that their soul has been stolen from them by Molag Bal. Under normal circumstances, this would turn them into a mindless husk as their body continuously decays, but due to a quirk with the metaphysical properties of the player character's soulnote  this instead grants them a form of Resurrective Immortality.

    Visual Novels 
  • ef - a fairy tale of the two. has Chihiro, whose inability to keep her memories of the day forced her to develop her ability to precisely convey her feelings through words, making her a great writer. Other characters even used the blind-hearing analogy for it.
  • In Hatoful Boyfriend's "Bad Boys Love" route, Anghel Higure has powerful hallucinations. Virtually everything seems to be of gravest importance to him. He once becomes hysterical because he can't decide which New Years charm to buy and then is profoundly grateful when the protagonist takes the "Burden of Decision" from him (just picks out a traffic safety amulet and buys it for him). He screams and writhes around when his real name is used and has great difficulty using normal terms for a lot of things. But his insane hallucinations also cause him to notice (and exaggerate, in warped fantasy metaphors) threats and plot points sooner than anybirdy else. Once the others get him to use "the names of the ignorant many" for things, he's an excellent lookout and able to figure out how to beat The Dragon and find the Big Bad, when no one else had had an idea.
    • During the second game it's seen once again that he has trouble functioning in the real world. He can't tell when he's being exploited even though he's blacking out every time he meets with somebirdie. However, when a Death Ray is fired he's able to suck his willing friends along into a delusion that they are all Magical Girls, which lets them use those magic powers first in defense, then in attack.
  • Emi in Katawa Shoujo runs track and hardly appears to miss her feet - in fact, her synthetic legs actually give her an advantage due to their shape and composition. Meanwhile, it is repeatedly stated and shown that the blind Lilly has an insanely good sense of hearing (she mentions listening to people whispering in the next room over, although the walls are thin) and the deaf Shizune is a master strategist since she doesn't let outside influences distract her.
    • Hanako, on the other hand, averts this. She has severe emotional scarring to go along with the burn scars covering most of the right half of her body, being painfully, painfully shy towards anyone except Lilly.

  • In Ansem Retort, Riku's original gimmick was that he was so depressed it gave him an emo-powered Super Mode. He's later revealed to be a Time Lord with a regeneration impairment, meaning he keeps his face when he regenerates and apparently can do so indefinitely.
  • In Bibliography, Pages of the Occular Codex give up regular eyesight in return for their magical eyesight. It could be disputed whether this really is a disability, though.
  • Kili of The Dragon Doctors has a magical disability; her ability to see spirits is so strong that were it not for her tattoos she'd go insane, and did go insane as a child, complete with hair going white. Growing up, Kili was able to hone this ability to become a powerful shaman.
  • This gets deconstructed in Dr. Frost. While Frost's Lack of Empathy makes him more objective, able to solve cases with more accuracy, and arguably a better psychologist, the downsides of his condition are shown far more than the positives. His lack of social skills alienates him from people, and it causes a lot of miscommunication that complicates cases or makes people less willing to open up to him. Even people who genuinely care about him get discouraged.
  • Inverted in Gunnerkrigg Court. Ysengrin was given magical, wooden Powered Armor by Coyote, which gave him powerful shapeshifting arms, control over plants, and let him walk bipedal. But due to a mistake by Coyote, the armor is not only arthritic, but Ysengrin's over-reliance on it has ravaged his body to the point where he can barely walk and eat without it. It's strongly implied that this is driving him insane.
  • Homestuck: After Terezi Pyrope was blinded, her guardian dragon taught her to smell and taste colors. Her increased field of view and detection of minute details makes her a sharper investigator, and she's not bad with her canes, either. Terezi actually prefers her current condition over being able to see—because she's embraced her blindness, her dream self can't see either, in contrast with other disabled trolls (namely Tavros and Vriska), whose dream selves lack their physical disabilities.
    • When she gradually loses her powers after being healed, Terezi alchemizes a red Scarf of Asskicking to replace the damage and get them back.
    • Parodied with her Ancestor, Latula, who lost her sense of smell and apparently approximates it through other senses. Karkat questions how not being able to smell even counts as a disability.
  • One pair of recurring antagonists in Keychain of Creation includes "Resonance Ben", who traded in his eyes for The Power of Rock and advanced echolocation. Their first defeat was turned into a total loss by this — due to a loud noise, Ben's ears were ringing, rendering him unable to either make out what his partner was saying or defend himself, forcing said partner to just grab him and run.
    • The author's accompanying comment: "There are a lot of heroes and villains with disabilities, and sometimes people seem to forget that they are still disabilities."
    • There's also the hilarious time when Ben captured a Solar and tied him to a chair in the dark, trying (and mostly succeeding) to invoke Nothing Is Scarier... except Misho is one of the Chosen of the Sun, and summoning light is only slightly more trouble for him than reflexively knowing the current position of the sun in the sky (IE: so easy he barely has to think it). This reveals Ben in his boxers, laughing maniacally since he didn't notice.
  • Parodied in one Knights of the Dinner Table strip, in which the Knights are playing a superhero game, and Brian and Sara both take minor disabilities in order to enhance their powers. Dave and Bob (who had missed that part of the rules) then ask for a moment to redesign their characters and dramatically jack up their powers at the cost of being severely incapacitated in other respects.
  • Last Res0rt codifies this in canon with the Light Children, who are born with just a little more or less soul than normal, but weren't born to Celeste parents. Since they often go undetected and lack the training that Celeste children receive for their extrasensory powers, this usually leads to them being diagnosed with various mental illnesses instead as these same extrasensory powers are often mistaken for hallucinations and other bad behavior. The most common power is resistance to the Celeste's Compelling Voice but they can develop other abilities. For instance, Daisy is autistic and can teleport short distances. While White Noise is schizophrenic (supposedly) but shows no special traits other than seemingly complete immunity to Tone, possibly because he joined that universe's Church of Happyology seeking a cure but he did father said Church's so-called messiah, who now wants to destroy that scam of a religion.
  • In The Order of the Stick, the Holy Word deafens all the evil people on the opposing team, and Belkar. This leaves Belkar immune to suggestion.
    Roy: It's not a bug, it's a feature.
  • In Pacificators, one of the main characters, Taffe Torbern is deaf. People don't know because she uses her power to amplify sounds. She uses it to her advantage twice against Gincoi.
  • Queen Kit Darling of Poppy O'Possum was born under a Lucky Star giving her the ability to see matter interacting on an atomic level. This makes her an incredibly talented chemist and alchemist, but the ability overrides her natural sight and Power Incontinence keeps her from turning it off at will, which has rendered her functionally blind from roughly the age of four. The exception to this are opossums, who are Anti-Magic incarnate and thus the only things Kit can see clearly.
  • Mobster Kingpin in Problem Sleuth draws his special abilities from diabetes. He can only be harmed when his blood sugar is high, and he can summon the ghost of Wilford Brimley.
  • PvP mocked the concept in this strip.
  • In Questionable Content Hannelore has such severe OCD that she was virtually incapable of human contact and held major hygiene issues that stifled her social life, up until a short while ago in the comic (she's still dealing with the hygiene a little bit). She also loves to count and became a skilled drummer hours after she first began playing because drumming to her is "counting with your whole body." She's made a career out of being able and willing to count anything.
  • Schlock comes from a species which is, without the aid of eyes that grow on trees, blind. His own senses are VERY acute, once identifying a man's dietary habits just by smelling him.
  • Parodied in this Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Being quadriplegic but still able to move like an able-bodied person is not a very impressive superpower.
  • Sparklecare (2018): Barry ate a glowstick when he was little, which caused him to lose his sense of taste and smell. Since the taste of food doesn't matter anymore, he chooses to eat healthy food. This has given him great physical strength; enough so that he can break a window just by punching it.
  • In Spinnerette, Mecha Maid is completely paralysed due to ALS. To get around this, she built and uses a robotic suit that amplifies her nerves and allows for her to move normally, but only for use as a superhero. It is revealed later that she uses parts of her suit while in civilian clothing because even breathing is becoming increasingly difficult for her.

    Web Original 
  • Cracked has mentioned a few:
  • Looming Gaia: Satyrs often struggle with magic due to casting spells requiring concentration, which is hard for them because their heightened senses make them hyper-aware of their surroundings and constantly distracted. This isn't a problem for Cinnamon due to her being partially blind and deaf, and she's noted to be adept at telepathy despite her young age.
  • SF Debris, a former teacher and someone who has worked with the mentally disabled, has remarked that he dislikes this trope, as it undermines the achievements of mentally disabled people by suggesting that their disorders are the source of their brilliance, rather than them being smart, hard-working people living with a condition that actually hinders their ability to succeed in life.
  • Razikale of To Rule was born without wings. In return, he had larger magic reserves.
  • The Whateley Universe is loaded with examples and subversions among the mutants at Whateley Academy:
    • She-Bot was born without limbs but developed an uncanny natural ability to interface with machinery that allowed her to use cybernetic limbs of her own devising.
    • Jericho, another deviser, went blind but developed 360-degree psychic vision instead. But since he doesn't actually perceive light, he can only distinguish the shapes of objects, has no color vision, and can't read print or video displays. It also doesn't penetrate solid objects so he can't see through windows.
    • Subverted by a bunch of other students whose "superpowers" are effectively disabilities either because they can't turn them off (like Screech, whose voice can burn steel or melt glass) or because of a lack of Required Secondary Powers, like Frostbite who generates cold but isn't immune to it.
  • Skitter in Worm briefly goes through this after a bomb leaves her blind. She can still sense her surroundings with her bugs but runs into the problem of not being able to see facial expressions or computer screens. A more permanent example is Genesis, who uses a wheelchair.

    Western Animation 
  • Toph from Avatar: The Last Airbender. She's a great Earthbender, both because of natural talent and because she's blind: She learned how to use earthbending to sense her surroundings by registering vibrations in earth from the giant badgermoles she played with when she was young. She's so skilled with it that she can even act as a Living Lie Detector by monitoring people's pulse like a polygraph. She also pioneered the art of metalbending, as metal was previously thought to be too refined to be affected by earthbenders. She does have some logical limitations, however: she hates flying and boating, sand makes everything "blurry," and since there's no braille in this world, she Never Learned to Read. But when conditions are ideal for her, her power is so effective it frequently makes her friends forget she's blind.
    Toph: (on being shown a wanted poster with her face on it) It sounds like a sheet of paper but I guess you're referring to what's on the sheet of paper.
    (later, when Katara learns about the poster)
    Katara: What's this?
    Toph: I don't know! I mean, seriously, what's with you people?! I'm blind!
    • In an unusual take, this power isn't limited to her and it doesn't require blindness, as she eventually taught it to the fully-sighted Aang. It proved a decisive factor in helping beat Ozai. She also spread her teachings as an adult: there are 'truth seers' who have learned her ability to act as a Living Lie Detector, metalbending is regularly practiced by the police and military, and both of Toph's daughters have inherited her skills. The secret to Toph's talent is most likely that she's earthbending 24/7, causing her to delve deeper into different aspects of the power than most others. She's definitely not one of the usual Inspirationally Disadvantaged cases where being blind is magic.
    • Hilariously, it is revealed in "The Ember Island Players" that the Fire Nation attributes her sight to echolocation (which is how some real blind people get a sense of their surroundings). The fact that Toph is also loud and rather mouthy probably helped to contribute such a notion. While everyone else is complaining or angsting about their representation, Toph loves hers.
      Actor portraying Toph: HOAAAAAAAARGH!!!! (Beat) There. I just got a pretty good look at you.
    • In The Legend of Korra, we have the Red Lotus waterbender Ming-Hua. Though she has no arms (according to Word of God, it's a birth defect), she has the ability to create arms/tendrils made out of water with her bending, which she can control pretty much psychically. And she isn't limited to two, either. She was put in a Tailor-Made Prison designed just for her for a reason, she's one of the most dangerous benders alive. And, just like, Toph, her powerful abilities have an Achilles' Heel: as dangerous as her water limbs are, connecting them to herself leaves her vulnerable to an electrical current — Mako kills her by shooting lightning at them.
  • Defied in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Blind as a Bat". Bruce is blinded by an attack helicopter attack by the Penguin and, to compensate, develops a special helmet to let him see like his namesake. When a dogfight leads to him accidentally damaging the helmet, he's left helpless as its battery runs out and only succeeds in defeating the Penguin through luck and a leaky pipe.
  • Subverted in The Boondocks, in which Huey wisely assumes that the blind Stinkmeaner was able to beat down Granddad thanks to super-human senses. He then trains Granddad on how to combat such an opponent, with one exercise involving watching old Zatoichi movies. It isn't until the rematch is well underway that Huey comes to realize that while Stinkmeaner had heightened senses, they were far from superhuman and he had just gotten lucky the first time. Before Huey can relay this to Granddad, Stinkmeaner's already lying dead on the ground.
  • In one episode of Darkwing Duck, DW was temporarily blinded by Megavolt. Despite briefly believing that his crimefighting career was over, he bounced back in perfect "Let's Get Dangerous!" fashion when Megavolt threatened Gosalyn and Launchpad, beating his opponent handily by allowing his other senses to compensate for his lost sight.
  • Dinosaur Train: During the "What's at the Center of the Earth?" special, the Pteranodon family meet a group of cave-dwelling arthropods called troglobites. They're all blind because there's no light where they live, but they compensate by having other excellent senses such as touch or hearing.
  • When Peter opens a fast food restaurant in an episode of Family Guy and institutes a No Legs No Service policy, Joe and an army of paraplegics join together and form a robot called Crippletron that destroys it.
    • In another episode, Peter's Deaf Jam, after losing his hearing, Peter asks his deaf coworker, Stella, if she has something like this (heightened senses, to be more specific), to which she tells him, "No, that's a myth. You'll probably get hit by a bus for the first three months."
  • Thanks to Fry from Futurama having a *ahem* 'special' mind, he is immune to all psi attacks. His lacking the Delta Brain Wave, which all animals, robots, and even some plants have, means the Brain Spawn can't afflict him with their "Stupifaction Ray" that renders its victims even more stupid than Fry. A later episode even shows that, so long as he avoids thinking too hard (by his standards), the Brain Spawn can't even see him. He also fell victim to a Brain Slug once, a Puppeteer Parasite that controls and feeds off of the brain of its victims: while it could control him it couldn't feed off of him and quickly starved to death. Finally, not even The Dark One was to read his mind, allowing Fry to once again save the universe from it. Anybody can be an idiot, but not everybody is his own grandfather...
  • Gargoyles: After the events of the episode "The Price," Owen's left hand has been turned to stone in the shape of a clenched fist; naturally, a fist made of stone hurts more than a fist made of flesh and blood. Xanatos even remarks that he's "making good use of his handicap."
  • In the Invader Zim episode "Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy", Zim invents a machine that lets him substitute anything he wants (in this case, a toy pig) for any single object in the past. He uses this not to screw up the world history, but instead to mess up Dib's life out of petty revenge. As the episode goes on, Dib gets gradually more and more disabled by the injuries sustained by piggies being inserted into important points in his life, until he's dead. Until his Mad Scientist dad puts him in a life-sustaining, amazingly powerful robot suit, and he shows up on Zim's doorstep to tear his place apart. To Zim's horror, the more rubber piggies Zim throws into the machine, the more heavily-armed Dib becomes, presumably because Dib's father becomes increasingly worried about his son's well-being and installs more weaponry onto the robot suit.
  • In one episode of Jackie Chan Adventures, Daolong Wong rendered Jackie mute, Jade deaf, and Tohru blind. Uncle suggested improving the other senses to make up for the lost ones and mentioned, as an example, that he started improving his hearing when his sight became less than perfect, only to be told his hearing wasn't all that either.
  • Felix from Kim Possible, who thanks to his Cool Chair added with a collection of All Up to You, Compressed Vice, An Aesop became the most competent hero of two episodes.
  • Resident Cloudcuckoolander Mort in The Penguins of Madagascar is proven in the episode "Sting Operation" to be too stupid to feel pain.
  • In the episode "Reksio terapeuta" ("Reksio the Therapist") of the Polish animated series Reksio, a cockerel using a toy car as a wheelchair develops strong wings (from pushing it) and learns to fly. He saves his brother from a hawk.
  • Parodied in Robot Chicken, where Daredevil comes across other crimefighters who share his exact backstory and came out with a disability and an enhanced sense, ranging from a guy who lost his sense of taste and gained an enhanced sense of smell, a deaf woman with an enhanced sense of taste and culminating in a woman who lost her sense of humor and has enhanced urgency. Daredevil himself points out that the latter makes absolutely no sense.
  • In ThunderCats (2011), One-Scene Wonder the blind Catfolk soldier Lynx-O displays these when he detects the scent of an invading Lizard army that's out of sight of his fellow sentries.
  • The Venture Bros.:
    • Phantom Limb was born with withered arms and legs. A laboratory accident replaced these with fully-developed but invisible ones, with which he can kill by touch.
    • Subverted, however, with the Impossible family, a parody of the Fantastic Four. Other than the Reed Richards expy, they got the sucky aspects of the Four's superpowers without any of the benefits. Sally has to concentrate at all times or else her skin (and only her skin) will turn invisible, Cody bursts into flames whenever he is exposed to oxygen (and feels the same way any of us would if we were on fire), and Ned is a walking callus.

    Real Life 
  • There are three general categories of real-life disability "superpowers". The first category consists of people who lack some ability, and as a result, hone some other ability either to make up for it or simply because they have nothing better to do. These sorts of abilities are accessible to everyone who spends enough time working at it. The second category is a physical defect which in some ways can be an advantage, such as gigantism giving the advantage of extreme height in some sports (despite the health problems it causes), or not "wasting" blood on things you don't need (like legs in pilots; without legs, blood has less space to rush into during high-g maneuvers; a similar principle is used in flight suit design to prevent blood from rushing out of the head). The third category is when something artificial actually provides some advantages over the natural version (for example, some runners get a small advantage from artificial legs that can be modified specifically for running, some wheelchair users can go further distances given navigable territory than pedestrians on foot before tiring, and men without natural external sex organs who find that prostheses and toys actually provide more pleasure for lovers/flexibility and variation).
  • Mental disorders are frequently believed (though opinions vary) to provide some benefit to sufferers, whether increased creativity or awareness. There is quite a bit of debate over where disability ends and normal neurodiversity begins.
  • On a cellular level, nearly all the genes of so-called "super-bugs" that make them resistant to antibiotics are actually defects that tend to make them inefficient and less competitive outside an otherwise sterile hospital environment; for instance, loss of certain apertures that pump nutrients through the cell membrane also render a bacterium incapable of pumping the antibiotic that would kill it through those apertures, making it immune, yet also render it incapable of ingesting much nourishment. Research into various ways of "crowding out" these resistant strains of malevolent bacteria with other more benevolent bacteria is beginning to show some promise. But since most such resistance is carried on plasmids, which bacteria can rid themselves of at any time, calling it a 'disability' may be inappropriate — more of a temporary trade-off.
  • Believe it or not, castration can produce some positive effects. In addition to the vocal abilities mentioned in the Music section above, castrated men tend to live longer (since testosterone can weaken the immune system and increase risk of heart disease), grow taller (if castrated before they stop growing), and not go bald (if castrated before they start losing their hair).
  • Color blind people were once highly sought after in the military, as camouflage is built around the perception of normal people but sticks out like a sore thumb to people with colorblindness.
  • Similarily people who have undergone eye lens surgery due to cataract, having their lenses replaced by artificial ones can see a part of the ultraviolet wavelength, since human retina is able to perceive it but the natural lens filters it while the artificial doesn't. During World War II the OSA recruited some elderly people with this disabilty to recieve morse messages from their spies using ultraviolet lamps. Nobody else could see them.
  • Because Braille has only 64 characters including the space, languages with complex writing systems in print, like Chinese and Japanese, have to render the language phonetically when writing in Braille. Braille readers learning these languages don't need to master those complex writing systems in order to be literate in those languages. Additionally, print alphabets that look very different from Latin, such as Arabic, use Braille systems that look very similar to Latin, so Arabic ر and Russian р, which both represent the /r/ sound, are both rendered in Braille as ⠗, which is the Latin letter R.
  • High G turns are dangerous because the centrifugal force acting on the blood pulls it out of the head, starving the brain of oxygen and can cause pilots to temporarily lose their vision or even black out. The blood that is centrifuged away from the brain instead tends to pool in the legs. A WWII pilot named Doug Bader, who had lost his legs in a previous accident, found that he could withstand much tighter turns than his wingmates, likely due to the fact that he had no legs to act as reservoirs for his blood to pool in. This may have contributed to his success as a pilot in the RAF, where he made ace against the Luftwaffe.
  • Most birds have little to no sense of smell; owls in particular rely on their highly developed hearing and sight to hunt. This allows great horned owls to be the only predators that habitually target skunks. The white stripes meant to warn predators of the skunk's musk make them walking targets for a big enough owl. The remains of fifty-seven striped skunks were found in one great horned owl nest, and great horned owls brought into rehabilitation clinics often smell like skunk.
  • Animator Robert McKimson was in a near-fatal car accident in 1931. Afterward, he found he could visualize things far better and was able to animate over 100,000 frames of animation each day. He would produce for everyone at Termite Terrace, but eventually was overwhelmed, and would later become the head animator for Bob Clampett's unit.
  • People with certain types of strabismus, specifically those who still have vision in both eyes, may be able to see two different things at once.
  • Daniel Kish has been totally blind since the age of 13 months after having his eyes removed due to eye cancer. Undaunted, he developed the ability to be fully aware of his surroundings through echolocation by making simple clicking sounds with his palate. He has refined this sense so much that he is able to ride a mountain bike, hike down trails, and play ball games without traditional aids.


Toph's seismic sense

Toph explains how she "sees".

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