Follow TV Tropes


One Person, One Power

Go To

A setting where each of multiple characters has one, unique power. The power may occasionally have a name to refer to it (compare Differently Powered Individuals). May be tied to a Mass Super-Empowering Event in the backstory, or connected to a Meta Origin.

Some powers might more versatile than others, of course. These may include the power to copy or steal other powers, as long as that is the person's only designated power. Nobody gets Combo Platter Powers by default (which would mean that those who do are unnatural, and usually artificial, cases).


See also Everyone Has a Special Move, Signature Move, and Single-Power Superheroes. Compare One Super One Powerset and Theme Deck.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime And Manga 
  • In Alice & Zoroku, those who possess the "Dreams of Alice" are Reality Warpers whose power is themed around a certain "Card", allowing for varying versatility. One of a pair of twins creates a simple bow and arrow while her sister can create anything with a chain, ranging from actual chains to bicycles to wrecking balls.
  • In Bungo Stray Dogs, most of the cast has a power that base around the works of the writer they are named after for.
  • A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun
    • Espers always only have one power but the versatility of this power can vary. Electromasters control electromagnetism, which allows for Lightning Can Do Anything, but Meltdowner essentially creates plasma and is mainly only useful for destructive purposes. The absolute king of this is Accelerator, whose Vector Control can do literally anything that involves movement, from stopping bullets to slowing the planet's rotation by borrowing some of its kinetic energy for a Megaton Punch.
    • In-universe urban myths exist about Dual-Skill and Multi-Skill people, with a single (temporary) example of the latter appearing in Railgun.
    • Touma is a special case here, as his Imagine Breaker is actually sealing away another power that might or might not be of divine origin.
  • Anyone with the titular Geass from Code Geass has one ability that can be used in a variety of ways should the user get experimental, as series protagonist Lelouch demonstrates early on.
  • Darwin's Game has powers granted to people who play the titular smartphone game called Sigils. The abilities it can give are a living lie detector, controlling string-like object, short-term predictions of the future, invisibility, or teleportation.
  • Hunter × Hunter has their power that come from Nen, which is basically Ki Manipulation, but a user can create their own unique abilities based on their Nen category and personality along with the option to create rules and restrictions to make it more potent.
  • Iris Zero has the titular Iris, Magical Eye powers that 99% of people of the world have. The specific effects are unique per person, such as Living Lie Detector or seeing people's inner emotions.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, this applies to any human who can use Hamon or a Stand without being able to use the other. This isn't very likely in the first place since Hamon was only deadly to vampires, who were replaced by human Stand users as the main threats. The Stands, in particular, tend to work differently from each other, and each of them has unique names to refer to them. Of all Stand users, only one of them averts this by getting a second (or more) Stand: Enrico Pucci, the main villain of Part 6.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Virtually all people are born with only a single "Quirk", usually one of their parents' powers or a merger of bothnote .
    • It's mentioned that "superpower marriages" are a thing in this setting, with people specifically choosing their spouses for their powers in the hopes of siring super-strong children; Shoto Todoroki is the prime example of this: his mother has ice powers, and his father has fire powers. Todoroki's Quirk is a hybrid version that allows him to use both to great effect, though there is an element of Superpower Lottery with Shoto, as his three siblings inherited only one element.
    • Some characters, though, have powers that end up being multiple abilities by nature. For instance, Tsuyu Asui has the Quirk "Frog", which means she has the same physiology as a frog - that includes super-strong legs and jumping, changing skin color, a sticky tongue, wall-crawling, excellent swimming, secreting an extremely weak poison, and being able to inflate her stomach.
    • There are exceptions to this trope i.e. people who possess multiple Quirks. Many people can tolerate two Quirks at best, on the condition that they are physically fit. Very few people can endure more than two Quirks without turning into mindless living dolls. The most infamous among them is All For One whose original Quirk can steal numerous Quirks for personal use or transfer them to others. All For One's sidekick, Dr. Garaki can surgically transplant Quirks to create Nōmus/Artificial Humans. However, the brain functions of these creatures are affected by Quirk Overload. Villains like Number Six, Wolfram, Nine, Gigantomachia, and Tomura Shigaraki can endure multiple Quirks with their sense of self intact.
    • Izuku Midoriya is presently the only hero armed with multiple Quirks. This is because One For All has been storing the original Quirks of its previous users, and Midoriya is the first user who can wield all seven Quirks.
  • NEEDLESS: The Needless each have a power called Fragments, which originated from one human source before he disappeared, that can be shape-shifting, creating threads, manipulating gravity, and even copying other Fragments.
  • In One Piece, there appears to be only one of each Devil Fruit, and nobody can have two Devil Fruit powers (except Blackbeard). Trying to will result in the death of the person trying to obtain the second power. Averted with Haki, which can be learned by anyone and used in tandem with Devil Fruit powers or other abilities.
  • Tiger & Bunny's heroes all have different powers, and it's considered surprising when Barnaby is introduced with exactly the same power as Wild Tiger. However, another NEXT having the same or similar powers is a known phenomenon. Wild Tiger was inspired as a boy by a hero who had the same power he did and nobody makes anything of it when his daughter initially seems to develop the same power.
  • Taboo-Tattoo: Certain people within this series can gain special power from tattoos called Spell Crests that can only be activated with the use of certain substances and they range from bullets of compressed air, barriers, a hypnotic voice, and even telekinesis.

    Comic Books 
  • Power Pack had an alien with four powers divide them up between four siblings; however, in later stories they discovered that they can switch who has what ability, or for one person to take on multiple powers at once.
  • Harbinger: the titular Harbingers all have one psiot power each with the exception of Omega Harbingers who have every power.

  • Sky High (2005). While Nurse Specs mentions that its possible for the child of two superhumans to inherit both of their parents’ powers, the implication is that its damned rare, and everyone else's reactions to Will's not only being super-strong but being able to fly implies that most people only have one power.

  • Alcatraz Series: The Semdrys are a family with a Talent, which is an ability that a family member has. The main character's Talent is being able to break things.
  • The psychic children of the Gotterelektrongruppe in Ian Tregillis' Bitter Seeds and sequels thereof.
  • The eponymous Children of the Red King usually have only one 'endowment' each. A few characters have been shown to have two; only one person seems to have had more than that.
  • Most descendant powers work this way in The Descendants. There are exceptions, but they're rare enough that the fact that magic users don't conform to this rule is an immediate tip off that something is stranger than usual about them.
  • Digitesque: People are often gifted with the power of the warrior, the power of the hunter, or the power of the pathfinder. There are a few other powers that are more rare. Isavel gets resurrected with both the hunter and pathfinder powers, which should be impossible (besides the resurrection being impossible in the first place). She assumes the gods must have plans for her, but a priest thinks she made a Deal with the Devil.
  • Gone by Michael Grant features several superpowered kids with a single power each, with the eventual exceptions of Brittney, Drake, and Gaia.
  • Graceling: Graces are abilities some members of the population just happen to be born with, signified by their heterochromatic eyes. These graces enhance one's ability in a particular field- Main character Katsa, for example, has a killing grace (which turns out to actually be a survival grace), deuteragonist Po is graced with enhanced perception, and the main antagonist King Leck is graced with telling lies that people will believe.
  • The Magicals/Actives of Hard Magic all have one power each, albeit with Required Secondary Powers included.
  • Infinite Dendrogram: The titular VRMMORPG has players called Masters where a special ability called an Embryo. This is basically a skill that is based on a person's personality and their experiences within the world. Many types of Embryos but broad categories exist. Type: Arms are weapons that follow the form of swords, guns, staves, etc. Type: Guardner takes the form of a non-human being much like that of tamed monster. Type: Chariot are basically vehicles which would be a carriage or a mecha. Type: Castle is buildings which do not move but high defense. Type: Territory are abilities that work within an area rather than having a physical form.
  • Legend Of Nightfall, by Mickey Zucker Reichert: powered individuals each have a single "natal talent." Sorcerers can gain more than one by killing natals and taking their powers.
  • The supers in Those Who Walk in Darkness and What Fire Cannot Burn by John Ridley all have strictly one power each (flight is an exception that works strangely). This became a major plot point in the latter book.
  • Outliers subverts the trope; while the first generation of supers only got the one power (although they tended to be fairly broad to make for it), the second generation often get multiple, including some flying bricks.
  • In Shadow Ops, "Latents" (humans who develop magical powers) only develop within one specific "school" of magic. Some of these are limited, i.e. pyromancers can only create fire. Others are impressively diverse, such as terramancers, who can control earth, shape and grow plants, and mind-control animals.
  • Played With in Jack D. Ferraiolo's Sidekicks. There are three categories of power: strength, speed/agility and mentalnote ; people can have two (indeed, we don't meet any characters who have strength or speed/agility alone) but nobody has ever been known to have all three. Until the end of the novel, where we learn that the villain and the Love Interest do.
  • Pretty much true in Super Powereds, although telekinetics are invariably telepaths as well. It's thought that the two are really variations on the same ability. Some powers are more versatile than others. Most Supers are Shifters, requiring them to switch to their alt-mode in order to use their powers. That alt-mode can be anything. Some are lizards, some turn into themselves with metal skin, some are robots with missile launchers and flying capability. Extremely-powerful elementals are able to take on certain characteristics of their element (e.g. a Super's mastery of electricity also allows him to attain Super Speed). Some Supers don't have a power that is useful in combat, such as Nick, who can manipulate luck (most combat isn't based on luck). However, as shown in Year 1, at full power, even his ability can have devastating results (when using it to stop a truck on a highway, he manipulates the luck of the vehicle to simultaneously cause half a dozen improbable malfunctions that nearly rip the truck to shreds).
  • Downplayed in The Tale Of Magic. Every fairy can do numerous spells, but they have one “specialty.” A specialty comes so naturally, it can be uncontrollable.
  • By the time of Wax and Wayne, the magical bloodlines have diluted such that there are no more Mistborn or Feruchemists: nobody has more than one Allomantic and one Feruchemical power. Twinborn are those with one of each, and Compounders are Twinborn with matching powers—which, due to a quirk of the magic system, means that they can get more out of their Feruchemy than they put in, breaking the Equivalent Exchange and creating an infinite loop. The only Compounder in the first book is Miles Hundredlives, who uses gold to store health and get a Healing Factor that makes Wolverine look like a wimp.
  • The Xanth books fit this trope. Every person has a single magical talent, and no two people can ever have the same one. Talents range from 'essentially completely useless' to 'Reality Warper'.

     Live Action TV 
  • Each witch from Charmed possesses a unique "active power" in addition to their basic powers of spell-casting, potion-brewing and scrying. They can range from telekinesis, creating fire, super speed and even invisibility. The Charmed Ones are an exception as they all start with one power and naturally gain new ones as they advance.
  • Heroes has this for all the heroes. It's just that a couple of them have the single power of stealing/copying other people's powers.
  • Misfits subverts this. Although everyone seems to get one power, at least two people were given two powers in the storm, and Seth can give customers multiple powers with his ability.

    Video Games 
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt have people called Adepts with powers called Septima which range from electrokinesis (the titular "Azure Striker"), creating wormholes (called simply "Wormhole"), summon and create flies ("The Fly"), and necromancy ("Rebirth").
  • BlazBlue has the Drives, abilities that are derived from connecting one's soul towards the Azure. The Drives' effects are unique per person, such as Rachel's wind manipulation to Valkenhayn's werewolf transformation.
  • Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance has Overloads, which are special skills that only Overlords, those who have Overlord-class power have access to which is more powerful compared to average skills and magic.
  • Phantom Brave have certain abilities such as the main heroine which is called Chartreuse Gale which allows her to confine Phantoms to gain a physical form. The main hero seems to have an ability called Eccarlate, that seems to be the power of a water dragon. Another character has one called Psycho Burgundy which allows him to set anything on fire even his own soul. One character has the skill, Dark Eboreus, that allows the user to absorb another entity for power.
  • Suikoden series have special runes called True Runes, that represent certain aspects like beginning, fire, beasts, and change. They can either bring a curse or blessing depending on the rune. One could cause them to become vampiric, control dragons, connect worlds, or bring monsters into existence.
  • In Touhou Project, each character's profile state their ability alongside their name and title, giving the impression of this trope. It's actually a subversion, as the abilities are self-declared by the characters themselves, and they can include anything. They range from abilities actually unique to the character (e.g. Flandre's ability to destroy anything), species-wide abilities (e.g. Nitori's ability to control water which is shared with all other kappa, or Kagerou, a werewolf's, ability to transform into a wolf), to not actually their own (e.g. Seiga's ability to pass through walls is from a magical artifact she owns).
  • Under Night In-Birth has the EXS, a special power that every "In-Births"note  have. The effects of EXS ranges from Super Strength, to flame manipulation, to soul ripping.

  • The Gamer: Certain people can gain a power called a Natural Ability which is granted by the Earth itself. The main character is a Natural Ability User that is given the power of titular 'The Gamer', which allows him to live his life like an RPG game. There also others who gain their abilities through training and past knowledge called Acquired Abilites which range from Ki Manipulation using martial arts to magic.
  • Scoob and Shag: The cartoon characters we know and love are actually an alien race and each member is born with a unique power called a "Ballyhoo", born from the adoration of humans. Each one is named after TV or video recording terminology. For example, Courage's "On Demand" lets him turn into any kind of object at will, Kermit's "Product Placement" lets him summon branded objects for a variety of purposes, and Droopy's "Direct to Video" summons creepy paintings that he can see through.
  • In Sidekicks all supublics are born with a single superpower. Superheroes subvert this by gaining a second superpower thanks to their hero capes and the villains working with Metheos do so via the Third Prana.
  • Unordinary: People are strictly born with a single power, however their power may have multiple different yet linked applications (e.g. Isen with his power "Hunter").
    • Those classified as high-tiers and above gain hidden Passive-abilities that usually play into their ability providing them added benefits (e.g. Remi's Lightning allows her to sense electronics, or Arlo's Barrier makes his normal body hard as iron). These passive bonuses work even when their power is inactive.

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • In the universe of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, every pony, Unicorn, Pegasus, and Earth, has a "special talent" that is reflected in their cutie-mark. This can be fairly mundane, like a normal talent, or a legitimate superpower. Twilight Sparkle has a particularly versatile one, since her talent is being good at magic in general (as opposed to other unicorns, whose magic generally helps them in something more specific).


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: