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What Kind Of Lame Power Is Heart Anyway / Anime & Manga

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Uselessly specific superpowers in anime and manga.

  • The comedy manga, Banana no Nana, takes place in a world where everyone has superpowers, which range from the typical but powerful, like water manipulation, to the situational but useful, like superhuman leg strength. The title character has the power to manipulate... bananas. If you look at Heart Is an Awesome Power, you'll see that her power is actually the most useful (especially since people with superpowers have to perform a Darker Than Black-style ritual to retain said superpowers. The water-manipulation person, for example? Has to sit in a bathtub for 20 hours a day, every day. The title character? Just has to eat a banana, peel included.)
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  • The Bleach filler villain Koga's power is to control the Zanpakuto of other Shinigami. Now, this in itself is an incredibly powerful ability. The problem is that Koga is a Shinigami himself, and is part of a larger Shinigami military force. Therefore, his ability would only be useful against his allies, and when fighting Hollows, he would be forced to rely solely on Kido and his own basic swordsmanship skills. On the flip side, this power came in very handy when he took part in a Shinigami civil war and later decided to rebel against the Shinigami himself. Why the Soul Society didn't recognize his utility and put him in one of its several special groups that suppress internal dissent (his rebellion is but one of many) is never explained.
  • In Canaan, Yunyun revealed that her superpower was having two appendices. In fairness, she is more of a comic-relief character.
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  • In A Certain Scientific Railgun, Kazari Uiharu is an esper like Mikoto and Kuroko, but her power is rather underwhelming: she can maintain an object's current temperature so long as she's touching it. However, she can only tolerate touching the usual range of temperatures a normal human can, and she doesn't seem to be able to affect her own body with it either. She usually uses her ability to keep takeout food warm or stop ice cream from melting.
  • Cyborg 009's female member, Francoise aka 003 had non-offensive, surveillance-oriented powers (though she could still use a laser gun). Her powers actually help a lot whenever the team needs to gather information, but it has no use in direct combat.
  • Da Capo: Junichi, grandson of a witch, has two powers: uncontrollably viewing others' dreams (which he emphasizes is incredibly boring in practice and only makes him lose sleep) and making Japanese sweets appear in his hands. On the plus side, though, the latter is useful with the little ladies, and he himself remarks that it is a good way to lose weight, since the required calories are drawn from his body. He can't read minds, shapeshift, talk to the dead, or warp reality, but whatever.
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  • Itzhak of Darker Than Black has the very specific power of being able to absorb the Observation Ghosts of Dolls. This makes him very difficult to track and let's him control the Dolls' minds (plus he has a very mild remuneration of just having to write poetry), but in a world full of people shooting lightning and melting peoples' internal organs with their eyes, it's not especially impressive.
  • Digimon Adventure:
    • Gomamon, whose rookie "attack" is to control fish and is only seen actually battling twice over the entire series. Yet this becomes an inversion when you realise that it works in other situations while the Rookie attacks are only effective one time in the entire series (and Gomamon was helping out for that one too, tripping the monster)
      • Not to mention Gomamon's fish-summoning power has no end of uses: saving the team from a plummet, functioning as a makeshift raft, pushing an island back to shore, distracting the enemy, saving the 'mons from a net. And it even works when Gomamon is in places like a gym, a swimming pool, or a colosseum in the middle of a freaking desert.
  • The Fantastic Adventures of Unico:
    • Averted, as The Power of Love enables Unico to turn into a full-grown unicorn and kill a 50-story tall demon by charging through its torso.
    • Unico's power to stop all wars is nothing to laugh at either. This power forces the gods to get rid of him because it seriously messes with their plans.
  • In Hunter × Hunter, Komugi has the ability to improve rapidly at gung-gi, a fictional board game, and is the only superpower thus shown in the series with no proven combat or support use. That being said, she does, albeit accidentally, put her gung-gi skills to use in such a way as to stir up some respect from the Big Bad of the arc she appears in. This newfound compassion causes him to shift his priorities in favor of the heroes and to hesitate in battle just long enough for Netero to inflict radiation poisoning on him.
  • Shippo in InuYasha: Although a skilled magician, he can only create harmless illusions. He can also transform himself into various other forms, but these transformations only last a limited amount of time. Because of this, his powers rarely have any real use in combat.
  • Some Stands in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure are not particularly impressive:
  • In Magical Girl Raising Project, every Magical Girl is given one special skill at random. Some get strong powers such as regeneration or sound manipulation. Others are far less lucky.
    • Nemurin has the ability to enter dreams, and is practically a god in the land of dreams. Unfortunately for her, she needs to be helping people in order to earn Magical Candies, and candies earned in dreams don't carry over to the real world. The most she can do is comfort people in their dreams and give them advice.
    • Ruler can give a command to anyone that must be followed, which should be a powerful ability. However, it comes with so many requirements (she must stand still, call the opponent by name, point her scepter at them, be within 5 meters of her target, and has to be understood) that it's difficult to use it practically.
    • Pechka can transform anything into delicious food after touching it for 5 minutes. The 5 minute factor makes it nearly useless in a fight, and she's trapped in a game world where she has to do a lot of fighting. At least everyone appreciates her food.
    • Detec Bell can create faces on buildings, allowing her to talk to them. It comes in handy for her job where she's a detective, but in the game world none of the buildings are willing to give her any information, making it rather useless.
    • Rionetta can control puppets in a humanoid shape, which is powerful under specific circumstances, but hard to use when she's trapped in a game world where most of her enemies are creatures that don't qualify as puppets. Subverted as she can also control dead people with her power, something she doesn't want to advertise.
    • Prism Cherry can change what is reflected in mirrors. She can create entire scenes and environments in them. Cute, but rather useless since it doesn't change anything in reality. She frequently lambasts how bad her ability is. It takes her awhile to realize that it is actually the manipulation of reflected light, which is a little more useful, though still not particularly powerful.
    • Kafuria can see who dies earliest. The person who will die next has a floating skull above their head that only she can see. It doesn't tell her when or how they will die, just that they're next. She can interfere and change their fate, but without knowing the details she can't do much. She is friends with other Magical Girls with useless powers: Negino (generate the smell of green onions), Kokuri-chan (move a single coin at the speed of a fast-walking human), and Auro (maintain a perfect afro).
    • Premium Sachiko can fuel a person's lifetime luck into one event when they sign her contract, making them guaranteed to get what they want, such as winning the lottery. But that uses up all their luck, and they will soon be met with extraordinary bad luck, such as being killed by a runaway train or a meteorite. It makes her unwilling to use her powers since she doesn't want to hurt anyone, and even if she wanted to she can't force anyone to sign her contract.
  • Yukino Kikukawa's CHILD in Mai-HiME, Diana, is a Magical Security Cam. In certain plots this is quite useful like the time she uses it to locate kidnapped or missing people and then tell the others where they are, like in the cases of Natsuki and Takumi, but given how everyone is expected to battle to the death, when it's time to fight this turns out to be useless.
  • In the setting of My Hero Academia, 80% of people have some sort of power, known as a "quirk". While a lucky few have abilities worthy of a Super Hero, or at least Heart Is an Awesome Power, most people didn't do so well in the Superpower Lottery.
    • The main character is a similar case to some members of the Legion of Substitute Heroes, such as Fire Lad or Polar Lad, below. His (newly-acquired) power is not useless at all, being a ridiculous level of Super Strength. However, as he has zero control over it, every time he uses it he cripples himself. As time goes by he finds ways to use it more effectively.
    • His mother, Inko, seems to be a pretty good indicator of what the "average person" has for a Quirk: she can telekinetically attract a small object to her if she waves her hand at it. Jean Grey, she is not — but as she's not a professional hero, she's content to just have a relatively normal life where she can pick up the remote without leaving the couch.
    • Katsuki Bakugou's Having a Blast power doesn't fall into this in any way, but the two Quirks that combined to make it definitely count — his father sweats nitric acid (the most he can do with it is cause a small explosion when he claps) and his mother can produce glycerin (so her skin is always in great condition). Katsuki got the best of both worlds — he can sweat nitroglycerin.
    • Mei Hatsume has telescopic vision, which is pretty useful in her work, but not so much in combat. Her real power comes from her Gadgeteer Genius nature, not her superpower.
    • The Spike Villain can summon blades out of his body... but only ones that are less than 10cm in length. He takes Trigger, an illegal quirk-enhancing drug, to allow them to grow past these limits.
    • Minor character Daikaku Miyagi's Quirk just gives him horns. It's actually a problem with his job (newscaster) since they obstruct camera views, so he cut one of them off.
    • In the movie, David Shield's Quirk is that his fingers are more flexible than normal. He uses this to reassure his daughter that it's not a bad thing that she's Quirklesshe has a Quirk and it's not like it does much.
    • There once existed a man with the Quirk of transferring his Quirk to another person... and no other abilities besides that, making it functionally useless. Combining it with another Quirk that stockpiled power led to the birth of the absurdly powerful Quirk "One For All", used by the #1 Hero in the world, All Might.
  • One Piece: Even though Heart Is an Awesome Power is frequently in play, this trope can come up now and again. Word of God is that there are joke powers out there;
    • "Iron Mace" Alvida ate the Slip-Slip Fruit, which made her body... slippery. So far, the only uses her powers have shown is causing shrapnel to slip off of her (Causing no damage) and turning her from a Gonk to Ms. Fanservice...oh yeah, and letting her slide across the ground while barefoot. However, this is useless against Smoker's Smoke-Smoke powers, and she can't slip out of Seastone nets, and because she's been Out of Focus for 17 years now, we have yet to see whether or not Heart Is an Awesome Power.
    • Filler character Apis ate a Devil Fruit that gave her the ability to telepathically talk to animals. While this does have its uses, it's probably the only Devil Fruit in the entire series that has absolutely no combat ability and does not fit into Paramecia, Logia or Zoan types. Her power is made especially useless when Luffy spontaneously gains the ability to do the exact same thing in that arc. The next member to join the crew, Chopper, also has this ability because he happens to be an animal and his Human Human Fruit ability enables him to speak human languages.
    • Newly introduced character Kinemon has the ability to disguise himself or anyone else any way that he chooses. Thus far, this has only been seen by materializing clothes from nothing, that will vanish when removed, meaning that his power has no clear combat potential. Good thing Kinemon is a bad-ass Samurai that can use fire attacks, so he doesn't need a Devil Fruit power to be effective in battle.
    • Subverted with Brook's Yomi Yomi no Mi that allowed him to come back to life...once. And his disembodied soul had to manually find his body, which took a year, meaning that his body had wasted away to being a skeleton by the time he found it. At first, it seems to be less combat-oriented than the other Devil Fruits, but then we see that he has a major Healing Factor from drinking milk, and as a skeleton, he's much lighter than everyone else allowing him to run on water and jump incredible heights, and that's saying nothing for his You Are Already Dead sword techniques.
    • There's also Gan Fall's steed Pierre, a giant bird who ate the Horse-Horse Fruit, allowing him to turn into a really goofy-looking pegasus, and has no real advantages since he was already a perfectly serviceable mount as a bird.
    • Flashback character Corazon ate the Nagi Nagi no Mi (Nagi, meaning "calm" in Japanese), which basically gives him the power to be a...soundless human. To be specific, he can create an invisible bubble around him from which no sound can escape- no one outside can hear him, and those inside the bubble can't hear the outside. He can also use it by touching his own body with his palm to make any of his actions soundless, or touching a thing or a person to make them soundless. While it's very good for stealth, it has no obvious combat applications. Trafalgar Law outright calls it lame. Subverted when Corazon does use it effectively for an action sequence where he effectively ambushes a pirate stronghold without making ANY sounds, including fire burning, glass breaking, gun firing or EXPLOSIONS.
    • Logias become this in the New World, as it's noted their users typically don't live very long there. See, Logias have the power to avoid attacks by reflexively converting their body to elemental form. The only way to hurt them in this form is to win Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors, or to have Armament Haki. While Haki is very rare in most of the seas, in the New World, it's commonplace. So most Logias get used to not being able to be hurt, and then get a rude and potentially fatal awakening once they enter the New World. A cautious Logia user can make it, however, and Monet demonstrates that Logia can still dodge easily by morphing their body so that the attack misses.
  • Essentially, whether or not a Devil Fruit power is useful comes from a combination of what the power is and who's using it. A 'good' power can be utterly wasted to the point of becoming this trope if its user is uncreative and doesn't come up with new ways of using it. Mr. 5 had the power to use any part of his body into a bomb (including his breath), but was ultimately more or less a joke as far as the Strawhats were concerned as he wasn't all that creative or skilled with it. In comparison, Mr. 3 is a master of his wax generating Devil Fruit power, meaning he was not only higher ranked, but nearly succeeds in killing the Strawhats and considers Mr. 5 'an idiot with a Devil Fruit.'
  • In Project ARMS, three of the four ARMS protagonists are fitted with incredible bionic limbs in either their arms or legs, letting them fight bad guys effortlessly. The fourth member is fitted with bionic eyes which lets her foresee events and analyze battles to figure out strategies, but is mostly useless in actual combat (a fact she laments). She is later revealed though to have the incredible power to kill all ARMS born of Alice (as well as Alice), including herself, though she is unable to go through with it).
  • Almost all of the Aasu sisters in Puni Puni Poemi are victims of this trope, which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't make up the entire team. "Super breakfall" (the power to never be injured if you're knocked off your feet), anyone? Lampshaded during a fight scene when they realize they can't fight the bad guy since none of them have offensive powers.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • In the third season, Sailor Chibi-Moon assumed the "useless member" role; as a Senshi-in-training her "Pink Sugar Heart Attack" was shown to be so weak and pointless that it mostly only annoyed the villain (it also occasionally just didn't do anything period, and on at least one occasion backfired on her). She got demoted even further in the fourth season, replacing that attack with one that summons the pegasus Helios to power up Sailor Moon for her final attack - in other words, she had no powers of her own, reduced to merely being able to call someone else to empower yet someone else. It was later revealed that she could still do her Pink Sugar Heart Attack with the bell for summoning Helios... for all the good that attack ever does.
    • This is averted in the manga, where the Pink Sugar Heart Attack is actually effective and can do real damage.
    • In Sailor Moon Crystal Sailor Moon herself basically laments that she doesn't have flashy elemental powers like the other Sailors, apparently not quite realizing The Power of Love is incredibly powerful in her genre.
  • Seikon No Qwaser: The title qwasars have the ability to control a single element - as in, elements of the periodic table, not the classical ones. The lucky ones get common, stable elements like iron. Joshua ended up with element number 111, roentgenium. Roentgenium is a synthetic element, with any naturally occurring atoms having decayed long ago, and labs can only create a few atoms at a time. If he somehow scraped together enough roentgenium to actually do something meaningful, it would quickly overreach critical mass and explode, before swiftly decaying into unusable, but still super radioactive, elements. And, as a parting gift, it would give everyone around nasty radiation poisoning. So his power is utterly useless, and in the extremely unlikely case he gets to do anything with it, he'll be shooting himself in the foot and giving himself cancer. Talk about losing the Superpower Lottery.
  • Shugo Chara!: First, Amu and Rima were the only ones in the group of the Guardians who could do Chara Transformations and it was always depicted as something amazing and powerful. When the remaining members of the Guardians finally access their own Chara-Naris, everyone of them gets a cool weapon, like Kairi's Katanas or Tadase's holy scepter of doom... Yaya gets Ducks.
  • Bossun's Concentrations Mode when he puts on his goggles in Sket Dance. While admittedly very useful in solving problems and aiding his aiming skills with the slingshot, it's often called out for not being very cool for the main hero.
  • In Slayers, there were many, many magic spells... from the earth-shattering Giga Slave, to the Ferious Breed, the spell that summons pigeons. But Lina did find a use for the pigeon-summoning spell twice: first time, to break a hole in a pocket universe, second time, to knock off Pocota, who is not much larger than a pigeon.
  • In the world of Tiger & Bunny where the focus is on corporate sponsorship and crowd-pleasing masked heroics, Origami Cyclone's ability to copy other people's appearances—which would be great for undercover police work or espionage— is unfortunately not very marketable and therefore almost useless to him. And he's still got it better than some of the other students at the Hero Academy, whose powers include being able to stretch their skin or sweat a lot.
  • In Unlimited Fafnir, Yuu is able to manifest a handgun from anti-matter. But according to several of the girls, they wonder how useful that is against a gigantic dragon. He later sees what kind of powers the girls have compared to what he summoned such as his sister with an Energy Bow.
  • From the Urusei Yatsura manga and anime, we have the alien girls Sugar, Ginger and Pepper. Sugar has the power to blend with the background like a chameleon; Ginger can feign death at will; Pepper can shed her whole skin (while still wearing a set of cloth underneath) to escape grapples. Said capabilities could sometimes be handy, but the trio has a much-inflated opinion of their usefulness. Especially compared to the powers of those they consider their "rivals": Lum (who can fly and shoot lightning bolts), Oyuki (an Ice Maiden) and Benten (a Super Strong Action Girl fond of BFGs). The fact that Sugar, Ginger and Pepper are morons doesn't help.
  • This is the premise of Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou: Koyomi can use a spell to make washbasins fall from the sky. She is very good at it, and Misa say that she does have some good potential in magic since sumoning a item out of nothing should normally be to difficult for a beginner, but this the ONLY thing she can do. Any spell she try to use, either complicated or simple will inexplicably turn into a bassin summoning spell. Then she realise that she can also turn a enemy spell into a bassin summoning spell
  • Zatch Bell! had the Majestic Twelve, an American team of superheroes who seemed to really have super powers, but were comically inept at using them (though that's only in the anime; the manga gives less than no indication that they are not as competent as they are portrayed to be). The only one who demonstrated any prowess in battle was Big Boing, whose powers are self-explanatory. Her greatest power was chopping her "boing" to distract the enemy.


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