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Explaining Your Power to the Enemy
aka: Explaining Your Powers To The Enemy

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It's only fair, right?

Baron von Helsingard: I see not only through the senses built into my own armor, but those of my every soldier.
Atomic Robo: You know what I've always liked about you, Helsie? You keep telling me how to beat you!
Atomic Robo and the Fightin' Scientists of Tesladyne
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It's no surprise that villains love to gloat, but this gloating isn't necessarily limited to villains, or even explaining secret plans — sometimes a character (usually one with special powers) will take a time-out during combat to explain for their opponent's (and the audience's) benefit exactly how their powers work, even if leaving said abilities a mystery would give them a strategic or tactical advantage in the fight.

Sometimes this Info Dump is because the character is confident that their opponent doesn't actually pose a threat, so they can afford to spend time chatting about what they're going to do next. Sometimes it's a way to psych out the enemy, letting them know how utterly screwed they are. Or maybe they don't realize they're being Genre Blind (or they do, but don't care).

In less serious examples, the explanation may extend from merely how their powers work to exactly what can counteract and defeat them.

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This is sometimes related to Viewers Are Morons, and can also be used as an Exposition for a character the viewer has never seen before. It is very commonly found in shonen titles, where it is not uncommon for the character to explain their powers repeatedly, even after it's been established how those powers work.

Also a subtrope of Inaction Sequence, with the extra bonus that the character is making a glaring mistake. Additionally, a close cousin to Luckily, My Powers Will Protect Me, but the person explaining their powers is doing it to the absolute LAST person they should be.

See also Evil Gloating, Trash Talk, Saying Too Much, Talking Is a Free Action, Bond Villain Stupidity, and Calling Your Attacks.

Contrast Power Misidentification, which can be made deliberate by the power user lying about their powers.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Rave Master, this happens quite a bit in the manga, mostly when new moves are introduced to the audience. Possibly deconstructed during the fight with Doryu when Ruby, explaining to the heroes how innate magical alignments work, accidentally reveals the alignments of the heroes to the bad guy. His saving grace was that he changed their alignment to Dark earlier, making the information rather useless.
  • In Berserk, Guts is fighting a regenerating demon whose wounds heal as fast as they're inflicted. The demon taunts him by saying that it can regenerate endlessly as long as its head is intact. Guts immediately chops the demon's head in half and thanks it for telling him.
  • Bleach. A manga that models its fights on old-fashioned fighting styles where the verbal warfare in a fight was even more important than the physical aspect absolutely revels in this trope as characters vie for a balance between cowing an opponent with the mere thought of confronting the power they possess and revealing so much the game is up before it's even started. Sometimes, characters fail spectacularly to get the balance right. At other times, they make this trope look good.
    • First, because most of the series revolves around this, is Aizen. His power is unbreakable, near absolute hypnosis and sense controlnote  that can be used against anyone who has seen him release his sword. Everyone in the series has seen his release except for the humans (and only Ichigo matters anyway). He lied about his ability to even reach that point, saying its power was to cause enemies to attack each other, by using water and fog, or some crap. All of this could be faked by his actual ability. Before he made his Villain: Exit, Stage Left, he told his enemies his ability. He had no intention of killing them, and was pretty much just gloating.
    • Tousen, who explained the mechanics of his Bankai in his first major fight to his opponent. Said Bankai has the property of robbing all senses except touch. He's explaining it to a deaf person.
    • Hirako Shinji, whose powers reverse his opponents' senses and movements (left=right, up=down, and all that), explains exactly how he does so, though he later revealed that he was leaving some vital information outnote  in an attempt to throw his opponent off the track. It doesn't work.
      • It's even worse than that. Shinji basically said that not even Aizen could possibly invert his whole visual-spacial perception on the fly. It's borderline hilarious when Aizen does just that with almost no effort.
      • Later, Shinji explains the basics of his powers again, when fighting Bambietta Basterbine. Bambietta doesn't gain any particular advantage from this since her next move would've worked just as well without any info about his powers. She points out that it doesn't matter if she doesn't know where her opponent really is, because she can just blow up everything.
    • Gin tries the same thing — explain one aspect of the powers, but neglect to mention another aspect so it'll catch the opponent completely by surprise. It fails even more completely, as his opponent almost immediately realizes that Gin was leaving something out, and then almost immediately figures out what that was.
      • Although later, it's revealed that he was actually keeping another ability secret... for use against Aizen. Of course, we all know how this is going to go...
      • Gin didn't keep an ability secret, he flat out lied about what his Zanpakutou's ability is. In fact, this worked as perfectly as he planned it to, and even Aizen, who was on the receiving end of Gin's savvy, thought the attack was going to kill him. It didn't, because the Hougyoku had more power than either of them thought.
    • Largely averted by Kyouraku, Ukitake, and Starrk. When Starrk wonders how Ukitake seems to fire a Cero at him he's told to work it out for himself. Neither Stark nor Kyouraku bother—at that stage—to explicitly state what their skills are either, only to make observations and assumptions about each other. Naturally, some of this backfires on both parties.
      • All Kyoraku tells Starrk is how to play the colour games, and that may be justified if he is bound by the "rules" to let Starrk have his turn, and also perhaps because he was trying to give Starrk a chance without actually giving him too much of an advantage. After all, it's very clear he intends to kill the Espada from the word go, he just doesn't necessarily want to.
    • Zommari spends all of his fight with Byakuya explaining how his powers work. In very long-winded speeches. This is lampshaded by Byakuya himself: "You should be ashamed. Before my eyes, without wasting any time, you revealed your entire hand to me." What a pity Zommari didn't pay attention—but then again, he was also supposed to represent the curse of intoxication, and he was intoxicated by both Aizen's and his own power.
    • Every time Izuru Kira fights an enemy, he feels the need to explain Wabisuke's ability to double the weight of his target every time he hits. Every. single. time. Not that he gets many fights to begin with...
      • Kira usually doesn't explain it until he's already affected them. However, the only canon fights in which he's used this sword were against Rangiku, who was immune once she released her own sword, and Avirama Redder, who was designed to be susceptible as he was a bird who attacked and defended with his wings.
      • To be fair, the second explanation ended with him explaining WHY he explained as well as why his sword was shaped so oddly.
    • Averted with Yumichika as well. Yumichika never even introduces his name to anyone he fights, let alone his real power. He once admitted he had a kido-based secret before unleashing his power but didn't describe the power itself. The second time he used it, he didn't offer any explanation at all until his flowers were already budding and by then, there was only just enough time for him to explain his power before his opponent died.
    • Sui-Feng always explains that her weapon kills in two strikes. Lampshaded when Ggio Vega dodges her attacks and calls her a fool for warning him. It turns out to be an example of psyching out the enemy, as she was only testing him to see what an arrancar's power was like. Once she'd seen enough, she promptly revealed she'd hidden certain aspects of her shikai, such as the requirement for two hits not being limited to striking the same place outside the body as long the two stabs were able to cross each other inside the body, creating a two-hit strike internally instead of externally.
    • Ulquiorra gets a prize for explaining his Regeneration, a basic skill in anime, and none of the other, more important abilities. And he explains his regeneration to a monster that possibly doesn't even know what he's saying! This stands out simply because he chooses to explain how he can recover eyes and limbs, and yet he never explains how he gained his second form, if his lances are unstable, and how he hid this form for X amount of years.
    • Parodied in the Vandenreich arc, where one of the Stern Ritter, Berenice Gabrielli, was killed (offscreen) because she kept talking about her powers instead of defending herself. While fighting Kenpachi Zaraki. Who was deaf at the time. Hence we don't even know what her power was. Parodied again when another Stern Ritter, Shaz Domino, starts to brag about his powers, but Ichigo blasts him with a Getsuga Tensho and moves on before he could say anything about it.
    • Yamamoto explains what his bankai does, but in his case, he can afford to because there's really nothing an opponent can do to counter a 15-million-degree Flaming Sword and Battle Aura except Run or Die. He also doesn't say anything about how it actually works or of any potential weaknesses.
    • Hitsugaya creates a wall of ice that Bazz-B can't melt with his fire powers, shocking him. Instead of attacking him while he's confused, Hitsugaya and Rangiku explain in great detail how they combined Hitsugaya's ice powers with Rangiku's ash powers to create a multilayered wall of vacuum-sealed ice.
    • Rose has a moment right up there with Shinji. Rose's Bankai, Kinshara Butōdan, has the ability to generate illusions through sound that the mind makes real. While he's doing this, he completely outlines what his power is to Mask de Masculine, ensuring the man renders himself deaf, and leaving Rose dying on the ground. Well done, Rose, well done.
    • Äs Nödt is left incredulous when Rukia is unaffected by his "Fear" power. She explains that she unlocked Sode no Shirayuki's true power and froze herself into a state of waking cryostasis, and can't feel fear in that state because she's technically not alive. She also adds that once she reaches absolute zero, she can only stay in this form for four seconds safely. Telling him this doesn't stop her from curb-stomping him.
    • Guenael Lee constantly explains his ability, The Vanishing Point. In his case, he can afford to because The Vanishing Point makes him literally invisible and constantly erases his opponents' memories, so they forget all about him even while exchanging blows. Though it does raise the question of why you would explain to people your power of being able to make them completely forget your explanation. He's also not even real, but a product of Gremmy's imagination.
      • Gremmy Thoumeax (the real V of the Quincy) explains how his power works with each attack, explaining that he "imagines" something and it becomes true. This comes off as extremely smug, as he waits until after he's used his ability to explain why his victim's attack failed or why their bones are now made of cookies. Presummably, he does it in order to help him keep pictures in his head. The habit ends up backfiring when he No Sells an attack by Kenpachi and explains that he imagined his body was harder than steel. He's cut off mid-sentence when Kenpachi adjusts his attack's strength so he can cut through steel, slicing Gremmy.
    • Nianzol Weizol explains that his Space Master abilities can distort enemy attacks. Shutara has some mooks attack him from behind, but he distorts them and further explains that he doesn't have to see the attack, he just has to be aware of it. Shutara thanks him for clearing that up and impales him with an attack he was not aware of.
    • Ichibei Hyōsube explains his powers of knowing, erasing, and altering true names and of darkness to Yhwach while smacking him around. When Ichibei attempts to finish him off, Yhwach reveals he becomes able to counter people's powers once he understands them.
    • After managing to incapacitate Aizen of all people, NaNaNa Najahkoop smugly explains his ability to target people's weak points after analyzing them.
    • Averted by Pernida Parnkgjas, the Left Arm of the Soul King, who never explains any of his powers even when his enemies figure out what's going on. Most of his victories result in his enemies having no idea what the hell hit them, and even Mayuri Kurotsuchi, the scientist who is essentially ten steps ahead of his enemies and mocking them about it, can't quickly figure out his powers until after they're in effect, resulting in multiple Oh Craps as his predictions blow up in his face.
    • After Kyoraku explains the rules of the game that his powers force Lille Barro and himself to play, he asks Lille to explain his powers to make it even. Lille calls him a fool, but then decides knowing what his power is won't help Kyoraku that much, so he tells him about his Unblockable Attack.
    • Lampshaded during a conversation between Kenpachi and Gerard Valkyrie. This trope was brought up when Kenpachi called Gerard a "bad villain cliché". It is Justified because there is nothing any ordinary person could do to stop Gerard from killing anyone. However, Kenpachi is not ordinary. Unfortunately for him, Gerard is still capable of beating his ass into the ground.
  • In Darker Than Black, Hei encounters a contractor who uses his own blood as a medium to destroy his opponents. Despite this contractor having every reason to suspect that Hei is also a very dangerous contractor, he quickly explains how his powers work before getting into a fight.
    • Though this particular character is a Psycho for Hire who loves fighting for fighting's sake, and as such might have explained as a combination Badass Boast and way to make the battle more entertaining. Still seriously Underestimating Badassery, though.
    • Inverted with most other Contractors: They don't explain their powers, but they do explain their remunerations. Oddly, Contractors are surprisingly compassionate regarding each other's remunerations, so this is usually a good idea. Telling your captors you need a cigarette nets you a cigarette.
      • This is usually a case of Pragmatic Villainy, however, as contractors who don't get their remuneration suffer Power Incontinence and become dangerous to everyone (and The Masquerade) very quickly. Contractors who really have it in for each other have no shame in exploiting the other's remuneration to catch them off-guard.
  • Dragon Ball Z
    • Gohan has proven that Cell is no match for him as a Super Saiyan 2. After a brutal beatdown in which Cell loses his perfect form, Cell decides it is best to cut his losses and self-destruct and take the planet with him. The process takes about 60 seconds, in which time Cell explains exactly what he is doing and helpfully adds that attacking him will make him explode faster. This gives Goku enough time to figure out what to do with Cell and even say a few goodbyes before teleporting Cell and himself off planet.
    • Cell has a really bad habit of this. After thinking he has Piccolo at his mercy since he disabled his arm, he goes into detail about who he is, how he has the ability of several past characters, and his end goal. Piccolo promptly thanks him for the information before regrowing his arm and proceeding to stomp him.
    • Gohan himself gets into this during the fight with Cell. He doesn't like to fight, let alone kill, and reveals his hidden power and how it only comes out when he's angry. While Gohan told Cell this in the hopes that it would get him to back down, it does the exact opposite; now that Cell knows about Gohan's hidden power, he, being a big-time Blood Knight, is determined to see it for himself.
    • Vegeta goes into detail about how Saiyans can become Great Apes at the sight of a full moon and how certain elite Saiyans like himself have been trained to create artificial moons if the natural one is missing. In Vegeta's case, he assumes Goku knows most of this information since he's a Saiyan himself.
    • While fighting Super Buu, Gotenks ends up revealing that the Fusion Dance only lasts for half an hour, and Trunks and Goten have to wait an hour after it ends to fuse again. After being curb-stomped by Ultimate Gohan, Super Buu uses this to his advantage by self-destructing and laying low for an hour before coming forward and baiting the two into fusing again so he can absorb Gotenks and turn the tables on Gohan.
    • For the most part, this practice is generally avoided. Most of the explaining happens with the side characters if they have knowledge of the technique being used or by the character themselves when they're talking to their friends after the battle. However, most techniques are demonstrated by some unlucky bastard being hit or nearly hit by it, like Tenshinhan's Taiyouken, Kuririn's Kienzan, Dabra's Super Spit, Boo's candy ray, and Gotenks's Kamikaze Ghost Attack.
    • It's parodied in Super, where Dr. Rota tries to do this, but he gets interrupted both times.
    Vegeta (firing Galick Gun at Rota): Nobody cares!
  • The fourth episode of Katanagatari was basically one long string of this, with four characters involved in the fight.
    • Though in Nanami's case, it's justified in that she's basically invulnerable and has absolutely nothing to lose by taunting her opponents with her powers. Also, she's a Death Seeker on top of that, though those opponents aren't even remotely capable of killing her.
  • Naruto has some of this as well (such as Sakon and Ukon explaining their powers to Kiba) as well as some subversions (like Kakashi lying to Zabuza about how the Sharingan works). Most of the time though, it's subverted: though there is an awful lot of exposition about how various powers and attacks work, its usually done inside someone's head as they study an opponent's attacks and strategies or as dialogue between teammates sharing info on an enemy's technique.
    • Averted during the battle between Rock Lee and Gaara. Naruto, who eventually goes on to fight Gaara, asks Gaara's teammate Kankuro if Gaara's armor has any weaknesses. Kankuro refuses to admit that it does, but thinks to himself that as it takes a considerable amount of chakra and weighs Gaara down, Gaara must be desperate if he has resorted to using it.
    • Most of Akatsuki averts this, too, and most of the time it becomes a plot point where the good guys have to figure out what their powers are and how to beat them. It's usually played straight after the good guys have guessed the villain's powers right, and then the villain commonly has an exposition including any details they left out.
    • Pain, in particular, didn't say a goddamn thing about how his powers worked and Konoha had to figure it all out on their own. Tobi, as much as he likes to talk about his plans, was also pretty mum on how exactly his powers work.
    • An interesting variation occurred in the Sasuke vs. Danzo battle, where Sasuke, after a few minutes of fighting, exposited the weaknesses of Danzo's technique, the reality warping Izanagi. Danzo replies with "So you figured it out", to which Sasuke, in turn, responds that, yes, now that Danzo has confirmed that Sasuke's guess was correct, he has figured it out.
    • Kabuto, however, explained the Impure World Resurrection technique in detail to Tobi. Of course, Kabuto's generally pretty savvy, so his explanation might be wildly inaccurate; at the very least he almost certainly left out a few critical details. Kabuto didn't really volunteer the information, either; Tobi threatened not to meet his end of the bargain if Kabuto refused to tell him how the technique worked.
      • Kabuto didn't have a problem with explaining it to Tobi, because there was nothing Tobi could do with the knowledge. Even killing Kabuto on the spot wouldn't stop the technique; the zombies would keep carrying out the last order they'd been given, or acting independently if they'd been allowed to do so. The only way to stop it was to know the specific deactivation sequence.
    • Justified when some of the reanimated ninja, their personalities still active, describe their abilities to their enemies, as they want their enemies to win. Unfortunately, due to a combination of being unable to control their actions and being too awesome, it doesn't quite work.
      • The most hilarious example is Gengetsu Houzuki, the second Mizukage. His explanation of how his power works and how it can be stopped is too confusing to the shinobi he's fighting. And in the end, he figures out that he's too strong to be beaten by regular guys.
  • One Piece characters will either have this, a sideline character, or a handy-dandy side panel to explain new Devil Fruit abilities.
    • Even parodied in-series with Kalifa and Nami. Kalifa brags that she is keeping her Devil Fruit name a secret... only for Nami to guess it right away. Played straight later in the battle (and very necessarily, because that was one weird power): to wash away others' powers, curves, and other distinguishing features, such as fingers for holding weapons.
    • One minor Baroque Works member tries to explain her "Kilo Kilo" weight-altering ability and how she uses it in combat, but no one pays her any attention.
    • Crocodile was confident enough to explain his sand powers to Luffy, adding that he's spent years refining his abilities and figuring out the creative uses for it. Justified as he was fighting Luffy in the desert, where Luffy had zero chance of winning, and he has mastered his abilities to the point he can "dry" anything with his left hand, causing almost immediate death and is capable of creating another desert. Luffy was lucky to have lived long enough to figure out his weakness, much less beat him.
    • Another fight against Crocodile has a character explain to Vivi the Deadly Upgrade Crocodile's opponents used... within Crocodile's earshot, leading to a humiliating death for them.
    • The 'handy-dandy side panel' sees heavy use in Impel Down, which sees characters that hadn't been seen for a long time return, to provide quick refreshers on their powers.
    • When Luffy fights Blueno for the second time, Blueno is all too eager to explain his Devil Fruit powers.
    • One Piece is also a less egregious example than most, as Devil Fruit powers provide one-of-a-kind and/or incredibly unusual powers, and it's unlikely than a person will know about any given fruit's powers without either having it themselves or knowing of the person who does already. Also, such characters tend to explain their powers by stating the vague concept behind those powers (Kuma's power "To push anything" being a good example), but don't explain the various creative applications they've figured out to weaponize that vague concept until the enemy has already gotten a good taste of them.
      • The only time this didn't pan out so well was when Sanji, who researched an invisibility-granting fruit extensively in hopes of gaining its power to use for perverted reasons someday, had to fight Absalom, who got it (for the same reasons) first.
    • Luffy and Chopper will sometimes ask the enemy to explain their powers, and the enemy will often oblige.
    • Parodied in Luffy's fight with God Eneru: Eneru's in a bit of a pickle because of Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors against a substance he's never even come across (rubber), much less met a Rubber Man. Being Eneru, after regaining his composure, he immediately figures out that Luffy is a Paramecia-type fruit user, unlike his Logia-type. So he reforms his staff into a trident and pierces his skin. He then boasts that he's worked out that Luffy still has physical weaknesses like being stabbed, to which Luffy replies, "Yeah". Nami gets annoyed that he told him this, and couldn't be bothered to bluff.
    • Averted with Trafalgar Law. Having quite possibly the strangest power in the series, it, of course, needs to be explained to the audience, but Law isn't the type to adhere to this trope. Fortunately, Vice-Admiral Smoker figures it out and explains it to his troops, and by extension, us.
    • One Piece has finally started to stray away from the trope since shortly before the Time Skip. The more serious-minded or dangerous villains, like Magellan, Monet and Doflamingo, have their powers explained by other characters, not by themselves. There's also Akainu who is so much of a No-Nonsense Nemesis that he would never waste time on explaining his power, and people around him probably don't have time for it either, as they are either being killed by him or struck by fear. Due to this, Oda completely forgot to mention his Devil Fruit's name in the actual manga and only revealed when a fan asked him in the question corner.
    • Nami's battle against Miss Doublefinger justifies it, since Nami had never used the Clima Tact (a Weather-Control Machine that Usopp invented for her previously) before, and spends half the fight dodging attacks and the other half reading the manual to figure out how it works.
    • Cracker, in his first confrontation with Luffy shows him his power to make extra arms. This turned out to be a lie, when Luffy breaks his body in half, revealing the real Cracker inside. And then he proceeds to explain, that he has the power to create and control biscuits, and his armors are made of them and designed to look like real humans, down to using jam to imitate Blood from the Mouth; all this as a way of outlining how fucked Luffy is, since he can just keep making these ultra-powerful biscuit warriors endlessly. Naturally this comes back to bite him, when Nami realizes that water can make biscuits softer. Then it bites him again, literally, when Luffy, a Big Eater, starts eating all of the biscuit mass he creates, forcing Cracker to fight directly.
  • In Soul Hunter:
    • Youzen at one point explain in detail how his shapeshifting powers work and how they allow him to use nigh-perfect Power Copying. He isn't doing this to give an advantage to the enemy, just to explain to him how broken this ability is and why his opponent has no chance of winning.
    • Much Like Youzen, Fuugen Shinjin explain during his fight against Entenkun how his powers allow him to manipulate atoms. In this case he is doing it to warn the enemy while politely asking him to stop fighting, as he does'nt like conflicts. Entenkun refuse to stop, cue the CurbStomping
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pegasus explains the abilities of his "Millennium Eye" to Yugi, including the ability to read minds. This gives Yugi the chance to come up with a counter stratagem.
    • Let's just say this series uses this trope all the time when it comes to card effects and stop there.
      • This is actually a reversal from the real card game, in which you must allow your opponent to look at your in-play cards if they ask to do so, and you cannot prevent your opponent from looking in your graveyard either should they ask. Cards in your hand, deck, and face down are exceptions to this, however. A number of the villains' gambits count on the hero not knowing how the cards work.
      • This actually turned out to be rather helpful in the dub version, as instead of re-editing each scene involving cards to change the Japanese words into whatever language it's being dubbed in, the editors simply erased everything on the card and have the characters themselves explain what it does. (This was done because US law prohibits a TV show from directly advertising its own merchandise. Since the same cards seen on the show are also sold in real-life stores, they can only be shown in altered form). While it does provoke some Fridge Logic, it does make some of the character's surprises more genuine (since they literally do not know what cards outside of their deck do).
  • Yu Yu Hakusho
    • In the anime, Yusuke is forced to fight someone in complete darkness. His opponent has a helmet-type device that allows him to perceive and alter the flow of energy around and inside him, letting him A) see in the dark (which Yusuke has no way of doing) and B) strengthen parts of his body temporarily. He explains all of this during the fight. The viewer is left screaming at the television for the opponent to just beat the shit out of Yusuke, which he can do with impunity thanks to the Night Vision Helmet.
    • Elder Toguro explains his powers several times during his fight with Kuwabara, despite being able to win near-instantly if he wanted to. Justified in that Elder Toguro (A) knew how easily he could win and (B) is one of the most unhinged characters in the series.
    Sakyo: Your brother is something of a fool.
    Younger Toguro: Yes, it's a bad habit of his.
    • Subverted in the Chapter Black arc when Yusuke keeps insisting that, had he known of Kido's powers, he could have taken him out easily. Genkai berates him for this, telling him that not all of his enemies will be stupid enough to hand over valuable information like that.
    • For the most part, this is actually an averted trope. Explaining Your Powers to the Enemy, while it makes utterly no sense in-universe, is mainly used so the reader/viewer can understand the ability being used. In the anime, the narrator explains the abilities or items characters are using most of the time, and thus this trope stays averted for the most part.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure largely averts this; 99% of the time, when we learn how someone's powers work, it's either because their opponent just figured it out or the user is thinking about how to use their powers. The page picture is a rare exception, where both sides are honorable men who want a fair fight. Other exceptions include Ringo Roadagain (who insists that both sides know each other's Stand ability before the duel begins) and Steely Dan (whose Stand ability forces Synchronization on the target, making it a perfect tool for trapping the target's allies, and therefore works best when the opponent knows exactly what it does).
    • Subverted at one point in Stardust Crusaders by J. Geil, who lies about how his powers work: he claims his Mirror Monster stand inhabits a "mirror world", while it actually moves from one reflection to another.
    • Deconstructed by most of the events of Stardust Crusaders, insofar as it wasn't even really an established trope at the time. Constantly showing off their abilities puts the Crusaders at a massive disadvantage against the various villains of the week who show up prepared and ready for everything thrown at them. In DIO's case in particular, the majority of the final fight is a mad scramble to work out what the hell his power even is.
    • Diavolo in Vento Aureo, much like Kaname from Bleach above, makes the dumb mistake of explaining his powers to enemies who by definition cannot possibly be listening to his explanation. His power makes every person besides himself skip 10 seconds in time without experiencing them, as such, he's really just talking to hear himself talk. (And to troll people.)
    • Double Subverted in the case of Kenzo from Stone Ocean. While Kenzo gives a detailed explanation on how he makes people drown in their own bodily fluids, he tries to keep the powers of his Stand, Dragon's Dream, a secret. However, Dragon's Dream is a sapient Stand, and it has the personality of a fair and neutral arbiter; as a result, it explains its own powers to the enemy to keep things fair, much to Kenzo's annoyance. In this case, powers explain themselves.
  • The Law of Ueki loves this, either by Calling Your Attacks or just by plain showoff. But that's only for very powerful or very minor enemies. Figuring everybody else's powers and limitations often becomes a minor plot point. It certainly helps that Ueki is very good at figuring out their opponents' powers, and that equals victory.
  • In Hunter × Hunter, people can make techniques with self-imposed restrictions on them (for example, only being usable at certain times or against certain people). The more harsh the restriction, the more powerful the technique becomes. The Mad Bomber (Genthru) in the Greed Island arc made his restriction be that he'd have to explain how his ability worked before using it.
    • His explanation had to include that he had to tell his opponent the explanation for the technique to work, which he did at the very end of his speech. A brilliant case of Lampshade Hanging, since at first it looked like a major mistake, as the information was even more useful to defend against the technique than usual.
      • It also helps that he can plant the bombs first without explaining. The first time he's shown using it, by the time he started explaining his powers, it was already too late to avoid it.
    • This series generally averts it: Unless they're just allies sparring (and even in those cases sometimes), characters will try their hardest not to explain their powers, including purposely using them in misleading ways or using only a narrow selection of their moves. Knowledge of someone else's powers is a frequent key to winning battles and can be used as *bargaining tools outside of combat.
  • In Shaman King the X-Laws go to great lengths, sacrificing many of their number, to figure out what medium Hao is using to channel the Great Spirit of Fire so that they can destroy it. When Hao realises what they're after he says they could have just asked - he's using the oxygen in the air around him (since "a fire needs air to burn"). At which point the Crazy-Prepared X-Laws trap him in a barrier and detonate a grenade to use up all the oxygen in the enclosed space, suffocating the Spirit of Fire. It doesn't work, as the Spirit of Fire changes into Water.
  • Played with in NEEDLESS villains who do this usually get their asses kicked in a hurry. It actually takes the heroes quite a while to figure out how Saten's power works, even to the point where Blade can't use it after he memorizes it. On the other hand, Uten outright lies about his powers but is still defeated in the span of an episode.
  • Powers are generally only explained in Mahou Sensei Negima! after they have successfully kicked the opponent's ass, or by spectators. It was also once turned on its head when Negi's opponent Jack Rakan takes time out to explain the exact mechanics of Negi's new lightning form. Negi, of course, already knew all of this; Rakan was just showing off his analysis skills. He also mentions that because he's explained how it works on national TV, plenty of potential opponents also know how to counter it now.
  • Rosario + Vampire has just about every big bad of the week explain their own powers. This also applies to most of the Main Characters.
  • During the Finals in Mobile Fighter G Gundam, George de Sand and Chibodee Crockett demonstrate their new Finishing Moves to Domon before their official match, which lets him figure out how to counter them, including his developing three new attacksnote  expressly intended to counter those moves. In this case, the Alliance is a team of Fire-Forged Friends (and Domon's their leader), so to them giving him a fair chance is the right thing to do even if it means they lose. It also helps that being defeated by Domon doesn't eliminate them from the tournament. The exceptions are Sai Saici (also the only member of the band who fought Domon to a draw instead of losing to him in the Preliminaries), who keeps his ultimate technique a secret until their match, and Argo, who didn't go out of his way to show Domon (Domon instead saw him using it in a different match before their own).
  • Kenshiro of Fist of the North Star is quite prone to this, though unlike his successors, he'll usually wait until after he's hit them with whatever technique he's used to explain to them what the technique will do to them, as they are already dead at this point.
  • In Gamaran this trope is played but only for the sake of the audience: usually it works like this: character performs a seemingly pointless or very fast attack and, a small explanation of the technique is given. Other variations include the user "mentally explaining the attack" and the witnesses commenting on it.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • This is frequently subverted. While many people will happily explain how their power works, this is usually either unhelpful (Espers explain how they're doing something, but this rarely reveals what they can't do) or deliberately false (as magicians can have their spells countered if the source of their magic is revealed).
    • Spoofed with the 7th Level 5, Gunha Sogiita. He often tries to explain how his powers work, only for someone nearby to say "That's completely wrong!", prompting him to respond "Well, then what the hell did I just do?" He actually has no idea how his powers work... and neither does anyone else (which frustrates the scientists studying him to no end).
    • Played straight by Fiamma of the Right, who will happily explain the powers of his Holy Right to his opponents. In his case, it's because he's absolutely confident they can't do a damn thing about it and considering what its power is (anything involving the right hand, up to and including divine miracles), he's pretty well justified.
  • One-Punch Man:
    • Sent up by the Ancient Lizard King when he encounters Tatsumaki. He brags that only a meteor falling from space would have the power to kill him. Tatsumaki replies, "Okay, I'll do that, then." and uses her psychic powers to drop a meteor on him. One-Hit KO.
    • Boros does this a lot against Saitama. Mostly he's just bragging about his strength because he's excited that he's finally got someone powerful enough to use said strength against without instantly winning. Of course, Saitama really doesn't care, at one point telling Boros to shut up and start fighting already.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Generally avoided in this series, as the character's Quirks are typically relayed to the audience by the narration rather than the characters themselves. If a character gives a detailed explanation of just how their powers work, it's usually to other characters that they're about to be working alongside as teammates (such as Tsuyu Asui in USJ and Hitoshi Shinso in the Joint Training Arc).
    • Characters from rival classes and schools actively make a point of avoiding this, deliberately keeping their Quirks hidden until they have an opportunity to blindside the main characters with them. However, in the Provisional Hero Licence exam, Aizawa points out that this seemingly Genre Savvy tactic is thinking a bit short-term in the My Hero Academia universe. After all, any reasonably successful hero is going to have their Quirk publicly known sooner or later, so anyone who relies on opponents not knowing what their powers are is only going to get so far.
    • When Tomura Shigaraki first shows up, he constantly expounds on Nomu's many powers and how he was specifically designed to counter All Might. It's only after that All Might realizes Shigaraki didn't say a word about his own abilities; the whole thing ended up looking like a kid bragging about his cool new pet.
    • The Eightfold Cleansers include someone with a Quirk called "Confession," forcing them to answer his questions fully and honestly. He uses it in combat to get the full details on their Quirks, robbing them of any ability to take the Cleansers by surprise.

    Comic Books 
  • As the page quote indicates, Atomic Robo's nemesis Lord Helsingard has a tendency to do this. In the first issue, Robo meets Baron von Helsingard right after Helsingard uses the Vril Organ to become an Energy Being. After effortlessly regenerating an arm, Helsingard brags while pointing to the organ implanted in his chest. As Robo puts it, he should change his name to "Baron von Blabs About His Only Weakness." (Notably, though, the scene with the page quote wasn't entirely a straight example... Helsingard gave Robo just enough information to goad Robo into a trap.)
  • So you have a cosmic gadget that has a singular Weaksauce Weakness. Okay, no big deal, just avoid those situations. Oh crap, something's come up that just happens to match... Okay so since you're going to have to think something up anyway, at least make that you're just improvising, not that - Oh no! My ring is useless against the color yellow! Hal, you idiot... Although it's not like the rest of the Corps are any better, you'd think that as a group of "interstellar super cops" they wouldn't go around telling everyone what color to paint their bullets.
  • Justice Society of America member Hourman does this with his very name. His power comes from a Super Serum that gives him Super Strength and Speed for a limited amount of time. Guess how long that time limit is?
  • Robin Series: Blue Devil lampshades this tendency in villains when Cenotaph loudly explains the source of his powers while trying to choke him.
  • Superboy (Kon-El version) was originally very prone to explaining how his tactile telekinesis worked because it had no visible effects that showed what it was and the writers wanted to emphasize that his powers weren't just a carbon copy of Superman's. Unusually for this trope, this didn't cause him many defeats, but it did cause his Young Justice teammates to make fun of him a lot.
  • Empowered tells Thugboy how her suit works (NOT!) when they meet first.
  • In one of the infamous Hostess Cakes ads (shown here), where Asgard gets attacked by space hillbillies, two of them explain aloud how their invulnerability powers work, and helpfully inform Thor how exactly can he defeat them (by distracting them. With delicious Hostess cakes, of course).
  • In Transformers: Devastation, Sixshot taunts the Autobots by telling them about the upgrades that make him Nigh-Invulnerable. His boasts don’t impress Hardhead and Optimus Prime, who prove strong enough to damage him regardless.

    Comic Strips 
  • Here's an example that's not about powers, but still fits the trope. In the Dick Tracy story "Crewy Lou", crime boss "The King" hides records of his activities in a watertight compartment under a filled water tank. Tracy susses this out when he finds photographs of the King standing by his tank with the water drained out. Now, why exactly did he take those photos?

    Fan Works 
  • Justified in Split Second. By explaining her power, Twilight gives Sunset a small advantage, which further empowers the Conditional Magic of her warhammer.
  • This gets mercilessly mocked in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, poking fun at how every character feels the need to explain their cards, especially if the card has an extremely obvious effect based on its name. Seto and Yugi especially call out their opponents for this, since they made a fortune with the game and King of Games respectively, and therefore know what most of these cards do already.
  • In contrast to the original manga, Rubber Soul tells Jotaro how his powers work in Vaguely Recalling JoJo because he's a narcissist.
  • Super Power Beat Down, "Batman vs. Deadpool": Before they fight, Deadpool boasts about his inability to die and even demonstrates by shooting himself in the head. Naturally, this backfires because this means Batman doesn't have to hold back.
  • Fate/Long Night: Illya waits until after Brandon Stark and Arturia are already getting pummeled to explain that Robert Baratheon's strength gets multiplied by the number of opponents he is fighting. She does it mostly to make Rin and Shirou squirm.
  • My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic: It's probably easier to count the villains that don't tell the heroes everything about their own powers. As expected, this often leads to the heroes coming up with ways to beat them based on their exposition. And even then, it still takes some time for Starfleet to realize how to defeat the bad guy.
  • Fate Genesis: Caster shows off Rule Breaker to Shirou after stealing Saber from him, completely confident he can't do jack shit to her thanks to her power and the Chaos Emerald in her possession boosting her powers even further. Shirou later Traces it to break Caster's mind control on Taiga, and then uses it directly on Caster herself to take Saber back.
  • RWBY: Epic of Remnant: During a Bar Brawl, Lancelot uses improvised weapons and his Knight of Owner ability transforms them into Noble Phantasms. When a shocked Yang, Melanie, and Miltia ask what is happening, he gladly explains how Knight of Owner turns anything he holds into super durable weapons.
  • The Red Dragon's Saber:
    • While fighting the Fallen Angels, Artoria Pendragon asks if they can survive without their wings. They gloat and explain that their wings hold a great percentage of their power, they cannot be damaged by ordinary weapons, and they eventually grow back. This in part because of their ego and because of Artoria's Charisma skill persuading them. This explanation proves to be their undoing as Artoria has Excalibur, a weapon far from ordinary, and she chops off their wings, incapacitating them.
    • In the same fight, the Fallen Angels repeatedly ask Artoria to explain her origins and abilities, but she does not say anything.
  • Fate/Harem Antics:
    • Saber and Avenger fight each other and Avenger gets the advantage. Avenger decides to gloat and explains that her Dragon Witch ability is weakening Saber because Saber is part dragon.
    • When Ruler and Berserker fight, Illya gloats to everyone about Berserker's Mystery Slayer ability.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • X-Men Film Series
    • In X2: X-Men United, Pyro explains how his powers work to Magneto. That's right, tell the guy who controls magnetism that you're useless without your metal lighter. He does switch sides later on, but it still is pretty stupid to tell anyone how your powers work.
    • In X-Men: First Class, Shaw's nice enough to explain his energy-absorbing powers to Colonel Hendry (and the audience), even noting how they make him ageless, before promptly using them to turn Hendry into a human firecracker.
  • In The Mask, Stanley (under duress) explains how the mask works to Dorian: "You just... put it on!"
  • In Man of Steel, when Superman's fighting General Zod in Smallville. Supes knocks Zod's helmet off which causes him to be overwhelmed by his enhanced senses. Superman then tells Zod how to overcome this while they are still fighting.
  • In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Dorian Gray plans to betray the titular League. During a private conversation with Mina Harker, he mentions his one weakness in an unguarded moment. After his treachery is revealed, Mina eventually kills him by exploiting the fact that he cannot look upon the portrait that grants him immortality, or he will die.
  • In the live-action Kim Possible film, Drakken gloats after capturing his foes in an array of energy beams:
    Drakken: That forcefield is one hundred percent inescapable. Why? Because the off switch is all the way up there! (He indicates a Big Red Button mounted high on the wall)
    Shego: (annoyed) Don't tell them where it is!

    Literature 
  • Goosebumps: Played with in Attack of the Mutant. In the climax, main protagonist Skipper Matthews is facing villain "The Masked Mutant", but then claims that he's not a normal human - he's actually a superhero, the "Colossal Elastic Boy", and quite happily explains the only thing that can destroy him - sulfuric acid. The Masked Mutant quickly thanks him for revealing this, and prepares to kill him. The catch? Skipper was lying, or so he thinks. His real motive was to take advantage of a weakness in the Masked Mutant's own powers - the Mutant can rearrange his molecules and become anything solid. Skipper changed him into becoming a liquid, which he can't turn back from.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Ron suggests that the reason the Elder Wand has such an air of intrigue about it is that at least two masters of it haven't been able to shut up about having it. The original maker of the wand, Antioch Peverell, had his throat slit in his sleep because he bragged about it. Gregorovitch, the continental European wandmaker, got it taken from him by Grindelwald after he went around blabbing about trying to copy its power. The fact that Dumbledore himself was its master for over fifty years (the longest anyone knows of) without anyone knowing adds credence to Ron's theory.
  • Worm:
    • Armsmaster, a major superhero, has a habit of telling his opponents about the combat style simulator in his helmet as a component of his Trash Talk.
    • Tattletale, on the other hand, lies about how her abilities work, telling people she's a psychic. This can greatly intimidate and confuse people because the only real psychic in the setting is a nigh-invulnerable monster responsible for millions of deaths.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: In the Grand Finale, Angel is getting smacked around by Marcus Hamilton, an Artificial Human created by the Senior Partners with massive Super Strength. Hamilton takes the opportunity to gloat that his blood is filled with the Partners' ancient power, and Angel can't beat him. As you may expect, gloating that his blood is imbued with their power to a vampire of all beings wasn't exactly a smart move; Angel even lampshades it before biting Hamilton and drinking his blood, getting a supercharge that lets him overpower and kill Hamilton.
    Angel: Can you pick out the one word there you probably shouldn't have said?

    Myths & Religion 
  • Samson and Delilah: Samson has Super Strength because of his hair; but Delilah is a really hot Philistine chick. She asks him what his weakness is. He lies to her and she immediately tells her family who try this on him and it doesn't work. Then she pouts and tells him that she's upset he lied, and he lies again. She again tells her family who tries this and it doesn't work. She makes doe-eyes at him a third time, failing again. She keeps complaining about his dishonesty, and with such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it and tells her the truth, she tells her family and they weaken him and capture him. Samson wasn't very bright....
    • To be more specific, his hair wasn't the source of his power, it was his having taken Nazarite vows (seen here), one of which was 'don't cut your hair'. By that point, Samson had broken every other vow he'd had, so the hair was the last straw and God depowered him.
  • Norse Mythology: Baldr's mother, Frigg, had everything except mistletoe promise not to hurt him. Then, she told Loki (in disguise) about this weakness. After this, Loki had the blind god Höðr throw a mistletoe arrow at Baldr, killing him.

    Video Games 
  • In Kao The Kangaroo: Round 2, an octopus boss begins the battle by describing the exact method in which to defeat her, step by step, and only at the end does she go "How stupid of me - why am I telling you that?!".
  • In Portal 2, the Final Boss goes on an extensive rant near the beginning of the fight explaining precisely how he will not repeat the mistakes made by his predecessor, along with his new brilliant plan to defeat you. When you Wronski Feint him into breaking the tube of Conversion Gel, negating one of his advantages, he proceeds to explain how he tricked you into thinking that that was part of his plan, and then lampshades this trope by noting that he just made a mistake by telling you part of his plan. He proceeds to verbally backpedal several more times, tying himself in knots before finally giving up on the whole explanation business. There is also a subversion of the trope because his plan has a fifth part that he doesn't tell you. It's also justified by the fact that the defining feature of the final boss' character is that he's dumber than a box of hammers.
  • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, the Black Knight tells Ike of both the source of his Nigh-Invulnerability and of a sword, conveniently already in Ike's possession, that can get around it. Earlier, he'd offered that same sword to Ike's father Greil for use in their duel, though Greil declined to use it. In this case, the Black Knight has no practical reason for doing so, he's just a Blood Knight who likes to have interesting fights against people he judges to be Worthy Opponents.
  • In Crash Twinsanity, when you fight Cortex before the Enemy Mine starts up, it's played as a joke birthday party where the presents are bombs and missiles. When he gets to the attack that must be reflected to defeat him, he goes so far as to tell you "Here's one gift you can return!"
  • A variation occurs in Kid Icarus: Uprising: Viridi doesn't explain her own power, but that of one of her mooks:
    Viridi: That's a Jitterthug. Melee attacks won't hurt him at all when he's red. And when he's green, shooting him won't work! What are you gonna do now?
    Pit: Uh... I guess I'll just melee him when he's green and shoot him when he's red.
    Viridi: But... Oh, darn it!
    Palutena: Thanks for the advice!

    Visual Novels 
  • The Heroic Spirits from Fate/stay night (except Berserker) are all responsible for doing this in one way or another and posture about their powers or how they know what the enemy's powers are (even Archer is guilty of this), but Gilgamesh really takes the cake. He freely explains his name, origins, his powers and his magic weapons to his enemies, simply because he is so ridiculously overwhelmingly incomprehensibly overpowered that it does not even matter whether or not people know his abilities.
    • This gets turned around on him in the Unlimited Blade Works route when Shirou counters his Gate of Babylon with Unlimited Blade Works, forcing Gilgamesh to try to take him down with Ea, the one weapon Shirou cannot Trace. Unfortunately for Gil, Shirou gets to him before he can draw the weapon and takes off his arm.

    Web Comics 
  • Axe Cop attempts to kill Evilfatsozon using psydrozon (a sword wielding robot). It fails, and Evilfatsozon explains he built psydrozon. Evilfatsozon begins to explain his weakness, "A uni—", but Axe Cop throws Uni-Man at Evilfatsozon, and defeats him before he can finish.
  • In an episode of Tempts Fate, the sub-comic of Goblins, a very ill-advised dwarf does this, explaining in detail the nature of his curse as he's introducing himself. It doesn't take long for Tempts Fate to exploit this weakness.
    Dwarf: I have spent my life mastering combat using household items! For if I were to don a single piece of armour or grasp a single weapon, my god's personal avatar would personally descend from the heavens and destroy me! Just as it is stated in my terrible curse!
    Tempts Fate: Catch. [throw him a weapon]
  • Invoked in Grrl Power, where Sydney decides that a battle royale is too confusing and calls "Silver Age rules," demanding that the villains announce their names and powers before attacking. The villains comply, while Harem notes that that's not actually a thing that happened excessively in the Silver Age; Sydney was just looking for an excuse.

    Web Original 
  • On The Red Panda Adventures, one of the cardinal rules of crime fighting is: Never explain your powers to the bad guys! Invoked and lampshaded in the episode "Stop the Presses"; when the Red Panda and his arch enemy The Mad Monkey, pushed into an Enemy Mine situation, discover that their respective mental powers can be combined for great effect, the hero begins monologuing about the normal limits of his abilities. This prompts The Mad Monkey to ask, “Are you explaining your powers to the bad guy?”
  • Superheroes and (especially) supervillains in the Whateley Universe generally avoid this trope, with huge amounts of effort put into misinforming your enemies about your abilities — which makes those who do fall into this trap stand out even more:
    • UltraMax has done this several times now, each time when the Cadet Crusaders have run into Jadis Diabolik and her crew. Each time, the person he's blabbed to had used this new-found knowledge to gain an edge in the fight. He's apparently so bad for this, he has (or had) a website with a listing of his powers and how he uses them. He might start to get better about this, as of Jadis' last trip to New York with Jobe.
    • A stupider example happened when two supervillain wannabies explained their power sets to the whole town while asking for directions to the drug store (which they state they intend to rob). This allowed the weakest member of a visiting group of students from nearby Whateley Academy to take them out.
  • Cell explains his abilities to Corla in the DSBT InsaniT episode 'Beach Brawl', although she had already partially figured it out.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • The Ice King should probably be more careful in fights.
      Ice King: FOOL! Your powers are no match for my magical crown!
      [Jake knocks off his crown]
      Ice King: My powers!
    • In "Jake vs. Me-Mow", Me-Mow boasts that she has injected Jake with enough poison to kill a dog fifty times his size. Which prompts Jake to use his size-shifting powers to grow his liver fifty-one times its normal size, allowing him to safely metabolize the poison.
  • Chaotic: Peyton plays it straight by explaining a key tactic mid battle and Eddy immediately uses it against him. He later subverts it, by explaining his own key tactics after the battle.
  • Gutierrez, from Freakazoid!, tries three items (kryptonite, the color yellow, and water) on the hero hoping each will be Freakazoid's weakness. None of them work, and when Gutierrez gets impatient and asks Freakazoid what his weakness is, prompting a cut to this:
    • For the record, Freakazoid's weakness is graphite bars charged with negative ions. And "poo gas". Then again, no-one likes "poo gas".
  • From time to time, the DCAU would get some of this to bring us up to speed on a character who is introduced without showing their origin. More and more as it went on, culminating in Justice League Unlimited.
  • In X-Men, after taking a few hits from Gambit's exploding cards, Bishop explains his mutant ability is to absorb energy from other mutants' attacks and transform it into energy bolts, which he then uses on Gambit.
  • Batfink: Once per Episode, he would tell his foes, "Your bullets can't harm me! My wings are like a shield of steel!"
  • In the "Menacing Family Affair" episode of the 1981 Shazam! animated series, an alien gives Dr. Thaddeus Bodog Sivana and his kids a jewel that gives them the same powers as Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family. While the heroes are reeling, Dr. Sivana brags about the "magic alien jewel", and from there the Marvels defeat the Sivanas in a few seconds by simply grabbing the jewel and throwing it away.
  • This is a recurring theme in The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. The Hooded Claw seems compelled (for some odd reason) to explain every little detail of each deathtrap to Penelope. This is probably the biggest reason they always fail; either the delay that the explanation causes or some information she gains from it helps her escape.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): In "Return to New York, Part 3," while the Turtles are fighting Baxter Stockman, they try to put down his cyborg armor by cutting its fuel lines... but Stockman thought ahead, and proceeds to gloat to the Turtles that every single component of his armor has its own internal backup power source. This leads Donatello to realize that the Arm Cannon they previously chopped off still works; Stockman has just enough time to go Oh, Crap! before Donnie blasts him out the window using the arm.

 
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Alternative Title(s): Explaining Your Powers To The Enemy

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Kuroto Dan

Explanation of your powers ends up landing Kuroto Dan in trouble. He is able to make use of the limited invincibility provided by the Hyper Muteki Gashat... but ends up wasting it gloating over how it works to Masamune. Cue the timer running out and Masamune flattening him with a Pause.

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