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No Ontological Inertia / Anime & Manga

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No Ontological Inertia Anime & Manga Examples

  • Downplayed in Bleach. Gremmy Thoumeaux has a powerful Imagination-Based Superpower. Once he stops thinking about a subject he has affected it changes back to normal, but this doesn't include indirect effects of his powers. For example, if he imagined a person's bones turned into cookies and they broke their arm as a result, when he stops focusing on them their bones will go back to normal, but the broken arm is still broken.
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  • Mahou Sensei Negima! naturally plays this for comedy and Fanservice. Takane constantly suffers Clothing Damage to the point that it becomes a Running Gag, and attempts to combat it by creating a magical set of clothes. Turns out that the clothes can't be maintained while one is unconscious. She learned this the hard way, after getting knocked out by Negi during the Tournament Arc, in a stadium full of people. It's played seriously later, when Nagi defeats the Lifemaker, and the war seemingly ends the next day, causing Takamichi to comment on it. Something of a subversion, as the end of the chapter implies that the problems are not over. And they aren't. Not even close.
  • A possible example occurs in Code Geass, where one of the only cases of someone actually breaking geass (without use of Orange-kun's geass canceller) occurs after the death of the one who used it. Still, it is not made clear if Nunnally opening her eyes was due to a weakening of the geass or Heroic Willpower. Lelouch seems to think that Schneizel will remain loyal to Zero after his death., suggesting that some ontological inertia was in play.
    • Also, when Rolo assaulted the Geass Directorate, he killed children who have used Geass on one of Black Knights, which resulted in the man being released from the Geass., but is also possible that this particular ability requires constant concentration - as the affected was aware that his body was being manipulated by someone else, rather than changing his personality or mindset - so it won't have a permanent effect, like most others seen in the series.
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    • This both is, and is not, the premise behind the Zero Requiem. The idea is that when Charles dies, the malice and hatred caused by his reign will not vanish, as there is ontological inertia, so something needs to be done about it. The response is to be even more terrible, but equally to everybody, so when the scapegoat in question dies, a lack of ontological inertia takes effect. This conflict of concepts is the major issue with this plan.
  • Applied to the Digimon Taken for Granite in episode 17 of Digimon Adventure, even though the character was not even dead.
    • Though he was blasted a rather far way away, so it might still count.
    • The Dark Masters reconfigured the data of the Digital World into Spiral Mountain, each ruling a section of it. When the Dark Master controlling that section was killed, the data would instantly return to the Digital World proper. Justified, as their power was what was holding it together and without them, the section collapsed.
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    • In Digimon Frontier, the Transformation Trinkets will take 'extra' data from a defeated enemy such as whatever data he sucked up to gain power, and any spell placed on them by the major villains. Therefore, whacking the Monster of the Week hard enough lets you restore them to their former selves if they're under The Corruption, and fix anything they broke. Apparently, all the world's data knows who and what it's supposed to be, so it's a matter of weakening the enemy enough to make it capturable, and then releasing it. By the end of the series, the world has been reduced to crumbs to revive the Sealed Evil in a Can and the moons were shattered by the first battle with him. When he's defeated at long last, all goes back to normal.
  • Half of the tension and drama in the entire Dragon Ball series is based around the Dragon Balls becoming useless stones if their creator dies. For most of the series this is Piccolo/Kami, but Guru's remaining lifespan is a significant plot point in the Namek saga.note 
    • Bizarrely, Dragon Ball: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans did this with what appeared to be completely ordinary machines. A Tsufuru-jin scientist named Dr. Raichi tries to kill our heroes — and everyone else on the planet, as a side-effect — by planting several machines that spew out poison gas into the planet's atmosphere. When Dr. Raichi is killed, the last machine disappears with no explanation. Nobody seems to find this odd — perhaps the weird properties of the Dragon Balls have jaded them.
    • Later on in the Buu saga, Dabura turns Piccolo and Krillin to stone. However, when he is killed, his victims return to normal. Turns out the poor King of Demons didn't accomplish anything at all. Even the fact that Piccolo's stone form was broken into multiple pieces was irrelevant because Piccolo can regenerate.
    • Played with in Dragon Ball Super: When dealing with Goku Black, a villain from the future, Beerus eventually manages to find the culprit behind Black and destroy him in the present, saying that this should, in theory, destroy Black as well since the events that lead to his emergence now never happened. Unfortunately, it doesn't work: Black's Time Ring apparently shields him from changes in time, meaning he does have Ontological Inertia. Time travel in Dragon Ball also operates on multiverse theory anyway, with changes in time creating branching timelines instead of changing the past (see also the Cell Saga, where after killing the Androids and Cell in the present, Future Trunks still has to kill them again in his own time), so, really, Beerus should have known better.
  • Played with in Fairy Tail. Spells have been seen lasting long after a person's death, but this is usually considered an impressive feat.
  • This trope is critical to the plot of Fate/stay night. The seven Masters fight by commanding their Servants — magical beings so powerful and unpredictable that beating one is nearly impossible, even for another Servant. But if you kill a Master or otherwise eliminate his Command Spells, his Servant can only keep existing for a little while (and it's much weaker during that time). Thus the easiest way to win the Holy Grail War is to take the enemy Masters out of commission — and needless to say, only the good guys (Shirou and Rin) are particular as to how.
    • The Assassin-class Servants actually rely on this. Other classes could potentially win the Holy Grail War simply by beating the snot out of other Servants in direct combat and forcing the now-helpless Master to surrender. Assassins, however, tend to fare poorly in direct combat, and possess abilities that are more effective against normal humans than Servants. Thus, Masters of Assassins are usually supposed to target other Masters with their Servants than other Servants.
    • Another similar case is familiars. Generally, if the familiar's master dies, the familiar will also die shortly/immediately afterward. A familiar needs mana in order to live. Len is an exception as she has a partially demonic nature and is also a dream demon, meaning she can gather mana for herself in order to continue living. Possibly justified in this case as it's basically akin to eating/starvation and Len simply knows how to feed herself.
    • All Nasuverse examples avert this trope if you have any real familiarity with how that world works. Gaia, the will of the planet, exerts the force necessary to take anything of magical origin out of existence. In other words, magic has ontological inertia, but the planet destroys it constantly in the same way that it deals with normal inertia through the force of gravity.
    • In fact, the only case in which things of non-natural origin appear to have ontological inertia is in the case of the Crystal Valley, created by Type Mercury/ORT. The idea is that ORT's very existence overpowers Gaia and overwrites the natural laws of Earth with its own.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, whenever a limb or other body part of a homunculus is separated from the rest of the body (or, to be more specific, the Philosopher's Stone at the Homunculus's core), it decomposes into dust in seconds, only to be replaced as the homunculus regenerates. If they die their whole body turns to dust. Though, it is possible to reattach it if it's done instantly, as shown when Gluttony keeps himself from falling apart, so to speak.
    • This is a justified use, as it's clear the homunculi are continuously exerting alchemic energy to keep their bodies together, and physically they are comprised of simple materials. In addition to immediately dissolving upon death, there is an implication that it is agony to exist as a homunculus, alleviated slightly by ingesting red stone.
  • In GaoGaiGar, all remaining Zonder metal vanishes as soon as the Z-Master is destroyed. Taken further in FINAL, where killing Pisa Sol causes both the 11 Planetary Masters of Sol and their universe to fade into oblivion.
  • In Hellsing, all the ghouls (zombies created when a vampire bites a non-virgin human) die when you slay the vampire who created them in the first place (a common theme in vampire stories; see below). That is, unless it's an artificial vampire created by surprisingly resilient Nazis. Then, the ghouls persist even after the vampire is killed.
  • Discussed in second arc of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's: When all the little kids in the orphanage are depressed about how Martha and others have been taken by the Earthbound Gods, Yusei cheers them up by assuring them that when they defeat the villains, everyone will return and be all right. After the kids leave, his fellow main characters ask him how he knows that. They're furious when they find out, he doesn't — he just said that to make the kids feel better! It's only sheer luck that it turns out to be true.
  • Subverted in Hunter × Hunter, where the local form of spiritual power, Nen, can be used to materialize objects or impose 'rules' to people which don't disappear with the death of the caster; instead, they can even get STRONGER. A specific ability (Nen removal) must be used to get rid of this kind of things.
  • At the end of Jack and the Witch (1967), after the evil queen Auriana is destroyed the magic she used to turn children into harpies dissipates, causing the kids to return to normal.
  • A consistent rule in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is that, if a Stand's power affects the world around it, rendering its user unconscious or killing them (which disables the Stand) undoes its effects (such as Sethan's Fountain of Youth or Grateful Dead's Rapid Aging). The primary exceptions are effects that change objects on a physical level, like Crazy Diamond's healing or, on a simpler level, physical damage. Select Stands, such as Notorious B.I.G. and Chariot Requiem, are able to outlive or are even activated by the deaths of their users, which makes them much harder to destroy.
  • Subverted in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's where, upon hearing how Reinforce plans to delete herself to save Hayate, the Wolkenritter naturally assume that, being her Guardian Programs, they'd disappear with her. Not so, says Reinforce, as she'd transferred their links to her over to Hayate. They're slowly gaining independent existence, and are far more biological by Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers. Downside is they're easier to hurt, will die for real, and already heal more slowly.
    • Averted at the beginning of the season when Nanoha gets her Linker Core drained while charging Starlight Breaker and she still manages to fire the spell while Shamal's arm is still in her chest.
    • Played straight/invoked in Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force: Massive magical iceberg about to drop onto your ship? Shank the caster and the ice vanishes!
  • In Martian Successor Nadesico, this is apparently what destroying the Time Travel Black Box would have accomplished, averting the entire war and whatever else was accomplished through Boson Jumping. After some consideration and a couple childish shouting matches, though, the crew ends up deciding not to destroy the device and keeping the past, good and bad, intact. Fridge Brilliance indicates that not destroying it was probably a good idea regardless, as the device had actually been in use for millions of years.
  • Mawaru-Penguindrum:
    • Episode 12: when Himari collapses and then dies due to her possessor (the Princess of the Crystal) being unable to sustain her existence anymore, her Penguin (#3) passes out and later away as well. In episode 13, Sanetoshi revives Himari after making a Deal with the Devil with her brother Kanba: after this, #3 returns too and seems to be all right.
    • Takes place again much later, when Masako Natsume dies of the injuries she sustained in her Last Stand; her penguin companion, Esmeralda, disappears when she kicks it in exactly the same way #3 died. Once Masako is revived (also by Sanetoshi, to strengthen Kanba's Face–Heel Turn), Esmeralda comes back to life too. And when Himari has another seizure, #3 also starts fading away...
  • Medaka Box's Final Boss is a 5000-year-old Fallen Hero who's so powerful, the damage he inflicts doesn't heal; wounds stay open, bones stay broken, and no manner of medicine or healing powers can change that. After he's defeated, this goes away and people are allowed to heal up. Which is good, because he killed most of the heroes, including Medaka herself; the only reason the heroes won is because a Heel–Face Turn'd antagonist with the power to de-age people made Zenkichi's body two days younger, which "reset" him to before he was hurt in the first place, giving him one final chance to turn things around.
  • Jutsu in Naruto seem to be like this. The reason for this is that every jutsu is powered by a person's chakra which is generated by their body. When they die, their body ceases to produce chakra and anything dependent on their chakra to maintain its form breaks down.
    • When Team Gai fought the Kisame clone, the first thing he did was puke out a whole lake's worth of water and when he was defeated the water disappeared.
    • In the Sanbi Arc of Shippuden, Guren gives Yuukimaru a Camelia Flower encased in crystal via her Crystal style jutsu. She tells him that it will never wilt as long as she's alive. During one of her battles with the Sanbi, the crystal cracked when she was wounded.When she makes a Heroic Sacrifice near the end of the arc to protect Yuukimaru, it shatters inwardly, but stays intact, showing she was Not Quite Dead. She's later rescued by Gozu.
    • Danzo's men were able to tell he died when the seals he placed on their tongues to paralyze him if they tried to reveal information about him disappear.
    • Averted with Kimimaro's bones. Even after he died, the forest of bones he created remained intact. This is likely due to the fact that, while created with his chakra, the bones still had their own strength without the chakra.
    • Madara's black rods and Truth-Seeking Balls disintegrate once Black Zetsu/Kaguya take over him.
  • One Piece:
    • Originally averted in the Thriller Bark arc as the shadows Gecko Moriah stole would only return to their owners by his will alone. However, it became straight after Moriah absorbed them all to take on a One-Winged Angel form and his defeat by Luffy caused him to release the shadows.
    • It is implied that he released the shadows subsonciously. He was holding onto 1000 shadows and the amount of willpower to hold onto them is staggering. Combined with the intense beatdown, he most likely released subconsciously or rather his will became too weak to hold the shadows anymore.
    • This is one of the basic rules in the manga as a whole. Certain Devil Fruit users have their powers be of active usage or be activated so when they are knocked out or rendered unconscious, the effects of their Devil Fruit are nullified. Examples include Shiki, Foxy, Moria, Vander Decken IX, and Sugar, among others. Other Devil Fruit users have their powers provide more passive effects that are always on, such as Luffy's rubber body, Chopper's humanity and Brook's undead state. Others merely produce substances and so presumably the stuff that was already created would remain (such as Mr.3's wax and Aojiki's ice) though this only applies to substances not connected to the user (such as Donflamingo's strings).
  • Pokémon Adventures: In the Ruby/Sapphire arc, Celebi uses its Time Travel powers to fix all the problems that happened over the course of the arc, including bringing Norman and Steven back to life.
  • Princess Mononoke:
    • Played straight when the decapitation and, ultimately, death of the forest spirit transforms the entire ecology of the region.
    • Played even straighter with the flowers that bloom in the footsteps of the forest spirit, and which wither as soon as he lifts his foot back up.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • It seems that any active magical effect is destroyed when the Magical Girl causing it dies, most obvious with their outfits. The same thing happens to a witch's barrier when the witch is destroyed.
    • The Spin-Off Puella Magi Oriko Magica seems to avert this until we learn that there's a magical girl who is slowing down time — including the speed at which the magical effects disappear.
    • The other Spin-Off, Puella Magi Kazumi Magica, also uses this trope in an interesting fashion. The title character is an Amnesiac Hero. When she doesn't get her memories back after the death of the Knight of Cerebus she realizes that her amnesia must have come from something else. Similarly, the Evil Nuts that were supposedly created by the Knight of Cerebus don't vanish when she's killed — they either avert this trope, or someone else made them.
  • Relatively early on in Devil & Devil, after the time-sucking monster is defeated, the girls it had turned into babies are stated to return to their normal ages.
  • Time Travel subversion: At the end of the first season of Sailor Moon, Usagi seemed to turn back time/erase everyone's memories of the past year. However, her two friends who had become a couple during that time... still are. To be fair, this was an example of a premature Grand Finale retooled when the series continued.
    • On the other hand, this was usually played straight with Monster of the Week fights. In one episode, the MotW was conjured from a camera and could trap whoever she fired a beam at in a photograph (this included the VotW, Luna, Sailor Mercury and Sailor Mars); all of them were returned to normal as soon as Sailor Moon destroyed the monster.
    • Crystal Tokyo also counts. In the second season, it was a poisonous wasteland. But when Chibiusa returns after defeating the villains, it's a beautiful place.
  • Happens with locations in Saint Seiya: kill the enemy, the location implodes. It's played straight with temples of the OVA villains, that collapse as soon as the villain is killed (even if it's implied in the second one that it was actually collateral damage that caused the collapse), and with Hell, that self-destructs as soon as Hades dies, but it's subverted by Asgard (fully intact. Then again, Odin was not killed, so...) the Sanctuary (Athena's cosmo protected it from the ravages of time, but as it had been built and repaired by Man's work the collapse would take a lot of time, enough for Athena to return and fix it), Poseidon's kingdom (it was destroyed, but that's because the battle had destroyed the pillars that prevented the sea from falling down on it) and Hades's Earth castle (it's all but stated it was a self-destruct spell that destroyed it).
  • From an OVA of Slayers: a magic mirror is used to make clones of Lina and Naga, prompting the duo to smash the mirror on the assumption that it would destroy the embarrassingly pacifistic and modest (respectively) clones. Subversion: Not only did it not work, but the clones complained about Lina's over-reliance on violence as a result.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • The end used it to truly heartbreaking effect. The Anti-Spiral is defeated, the universe is saved from extinction, and now all forms of life are allowed to freely expand and explore throughout the stars. And best of all, Simon finally gets to marry his Love Interest Nia, as planned at the beginning of the second story arc. All is well, except that Nia is part Anti-Spiral (due to her being Lordgenome's child and thus having a dummy gene that turned her into their herald when activated by certain conditions, meaning that as soon as her and Simon, who fought so hard to rescue her in the end, share their Last Kiss, she began to disappear into nothingness, since the lack of the gene existing means Nia is fading from existence. Even during the final battle, as he held her in his arms, Simon noticed her flickering in and out of existence. She reassures him that he didn't come all this way for them to not do what had to be done, and in the end, after keeping herself in the physical realm for a week through sheer force of willpower (aka Spiral energy), she fades away smiling in his arms.
    • Notable, in Lagann-Hen, while writing a diary for Simon, Nia's arm briefly disappears, and she forces it back into reality through concentration. Makes you wonder if she really is gone forever...
  • A major issue in Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-. We don't find out until the very last chapter, but clones cease to exist when the creator dies. Even after Yuuko gave up centuries of her life to get the clones into the cycle of reincarnation, they still vanish once the Big Bad dies.
  • In the Yes! Pretty Cure 5 movie, when Cure Aqua kills Dark Aqua, the latter's sword (which had been knocked out of her hand) vanishes behind her. More significantly, the whole reason she's Cure Aqua in the first place is related to a case of this.


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