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01/21/2020 02:59:36 •••

Maths > Everything Else

I've watched Death Battle since it debuted in 2010 (anyone else feel really old right now?) and stuck with it because it's mostly all that remains of ScrewAttack, a community that meant a lot to me. But I realised something while I was watching one of their newer episodes; it's been years since I've actually... liked an episode of Death Battle, for one reason. Their research methodology is just garbage.

I know that it's not a big deal to everyone, and there's a lot of positives like the animations and character run-downs and the amazing original music that gets made for battles now, but I am one of those whiny obsessive dorks who for some reason cares which fictional character would win in a fight - it was probably Death Battle that got me into that kind of thing - and what makes Death Battle so annoying is that it wasn't always bad, but that it's gotten much worse.

Look back at older episodes like Batman V Spider-Man, Terminator V Robocop, Iron Man V Lex Luthor, and watch how they determine the winner. They look at the characters' strengths and weaknesses and logically try to deduce who is more likely to win. Not one of those episodes features a trip to the 'Board of Wizdom', which started out as a fun look at some quirky facts and is now a mandatory Game Theory-esque maths wank in which Link is shown rolling to avoid a laser, and Wiz then determines that while this could easily be explained by lasers acting differently in video games, the truth is that Link is actually moving at 10% the speed of light, roughly 18,600 miles per hour. You can also tell when Death Battle have only recently found something out, because they start incorporating it into calculations immediately, like a while back when they kept bringing up that moving faster than the eye can see is more impressive than moving faster than gunfire, because... extremely well-trained eyes can see bullets? And most recently it's how whenever clouds dramatically appear in the sky, that's actually because the character brought them there, which requires gigatons of TNT and god damn it am I tired of hearing about measurements of TNT.

Relying entirely on maths also means that otherwise interesting fights that don't have obvious outcomes are reduced down to freeze-frames of animations that obviously weren't intended to be used to seriously measure a character's abilities, or power-scaling to similar but different characters and concluding "Well, Aquaman fought Wonder Woman, and Namor fought the Hulk, and Wonder Woman is stronger than the Hulk, so... Aquaman wins!" I'm not saying the result is wrong, but what happened to analyzing their weapons, armour and skills, like you say at the beginning of every episode? Tracer V Scout wasn't bad because I wanted the other character to win, it was bad because it was such an interesting fight and I got my hopes up, because one character has a huge advantage, but the other character has lots of smaller but significant advantages, and I'm really hyped to see how they - nope, never mind, they took one feat, put a really big number on it, and just called it a day. While the maths has gotten more complex, it feels like the actual effort going into deciding the winner has sunk to an all-time low.

And the over-reliance on maths wouldn't be so bad if Death Battle weren't so woefully inept at actually applying it. "Superman, Wonder Woman and Marvin the Martian once pulled the Earth around, so assuming Diana was pulling her fair share, that's one third of-" Wha- tch- didn't you previously establish that Superman is infinitely strong? Why should we assume she's pulling her fair share, then? "This character said that a city was destroyed 'instantly', meaning that it must have literally been destroyed in an instant, meaning that the missiles fired at the city must have been moving at 50% the speed of light (so, y'know, five times faster than Link doing a forward roll) which means that stopping the missiles took 27 gigatons of energy, as opposed to the pathetic 5 gigatons of energy someone else used to make it suddenly get cloudy. This is smart because I used maths."

None of this is to say that Death Battle is bad, it just isn't for me. And after a decade of watching, that's just a little bit sad. I'm sorry Death Battle, but I think we should see other people. The Rooster Teeth First Membership just doesn't feel worth it any more, and honestly, if I wanted to know who would win in a fight, I (don't say it) would just watch (c'mon, you're just being mean now) an episode of Cartoon Fight Club instead. Because at least that guy will have put some thought into the result.

01/13/2020 00:00:00

I know it\'s completely off-topic but there\'s no way this was under 3,000 characters.

I had this happen when I posted my other two recent reviews, I\'m used to previewing them and trimming them down and instead they just posted immediately and the character limit only kicked in when I edited them.

01/13/2020 00:00:00

That\'s also happened to me, partly because I\'m used to the system informing me when a review exceeds 3,000 characters (or in the past, 400 words) and telling me how much I\'d have to cut off to get it into compliance. I\'ve recently started using WordCounter to count the characters.

As for Death Battle, I haven\'t actually watched it, but I can understand that trying to say with absolutely certainty that Character A would win in a battle to the death with Character B(especially if said battle is out of character for one or both of the combatants) would be controversial, especially if the calculations of the fighters\' strength and other logic don\'t hold up to scrutiny.

01/13/2020 00:00:00

...I mean, they *do* come up with episodes that aren\'t just math homework sometimes. When the math homework is inconclusive, and they have to instead use logic. Like Ghost Rider vs. Lobo, or that one Killer Instinct boxer vs. the Street Fighter boxer.

I wonder if a lot of it is pressure from the community tho. Like, the success of Superman vs. Goku, which had *some* math involved, exploded outwards and swallowed everything else. Like, the \"my favorite character could beat up yours!\" crowd are pretty inherently childish and toxic, so maybe it was always doomed to be this way? Who knows.

01/13/2020 00:00:00

That\'s complete true Spectral, but even those episodes feel kind of... not to sound melodramatic, but tainted by the Maths virus. Ghost Rider\'s bike was faster than Mjolnir one time, and according to a single text box in a panel 50 years ago, Thor threw Mjolnir to the edge of the galaxy in 30 seconds, which wasn\'t seen and could easily have just been dramatic wordplay, but nope, let\'s just accept it as fact that Mjolnir is faster than The Flash.

That said, those episodes are otherwise some of the best. Ganondorf V Dracula would have been fantastic if it wasn\'t for the whole \'Link moving 10% the speed of light\' thing.

01/14/2020 00:00:00

Link is shown rolling to avoid a laser, and Wiz then determines that while this could easily be explained by lasers acting differently in video games, the truth is that Link is actually moving at 10% the speed of light, roughly 18,600 miles per hour.

Almost every issue of DB can be rooted back to this.

01/14/2020 00:00:00

I mean, Ghost Rider/Lobo didn\'t come down to stats. It came down to, Ghost Rider\'s immune to everything in Lobo\'s bag, and Lobo\'s immunities don\'t cover Ghost Rider\'s primary means of attack.

That\'s why, when I try to look at an episode, I ignore most of the math in favor of actual analysis. Unless it all comes down to math I guess.

01/14/2020 00:00:00

That's fair, and Ghost Rider/Lobo is definitely the closest I've come to liking an episode in a very long time. It's just that one 'The Hell-Cycle once outraced Mjolnir, meaning... implied lightspeed travel because of that one Thor panel ages ago!' bit that bugs me. Ghost Rider/Lobo was definitely the best they've done in a while.

I tried to ignore the maths in favour of analysis for the most part too but an increasing number of matches, especially between superheroes or anime characters, are nothing but math, and that's where the show loses me.

01/14/2020 00:00:00

I stopped watching DB ever since the "Link vs. Cloud" battle, which ScrewAttack admitted to nerfing Cloud and god moding Link so he'd win.

The outcomes of "Gara vs. Toph" and "Tifa vs. Yang" further convinced me that I made the right decision. I'm a huge Toph fan, but there's no way in hell she'd stand a chance against most shounen characters, given how OP (or outright broken) they usually are.

01/15/2020 00:00:00

it\'s even worse because their math isn\'t even that accurate.

also, for the 3000 character limit thing, if you post it directly it seems like it doesn\'t count the characters. If you preview or edit afterwards, then the character limit is enforced.

01/15/2020 00:00:00

I\'m a huge Toph fan, but there\'s no way in hell she\'d stand a chance against most shounen characters

That\'s something you hear a lot (me included). When the contestant you liked more won...but you feel like they shouldn\'t have.

01/21/2020 00:00:00

Honestly, I stopped considering these guys legitimate awhile ago. I would pop in from time to time, but the straw that broke the camels back was Ben 10 vs. Hal Jordon. No math or excuse can justify what they did. They even pointed out that the Omnitrix would do whatever it has to so Ben doesn\'t die, and that Alien X could recreate the universe with a thought... and yet Hal somehow beats him because \"The failsafe system doesn\'t have a defense for removing limbs\" ignoring that they said it reacts faster than the Big Bang, and \"Hal could kill Mandrakk meaning he can kill higher beings beyond Celestialsapiens\", and then writes off one of the creators saying Alien X can destroy a Universe in \"Six Thoughts\" as just a joke. Oh, and they say Alien X can lose because he failed to save the universe and that Celestialsapiens have lost before. Except that fight was against another Celestialsapien, and Ben didn\'t turn into Alien X until the universe was mostly destroyed thanks to the failsafe. Hell, they claim Hal can survive Cessation of Existence because \"Green Lanterns can survive an entire universe being erased\". Unless Hal specifically survived that or there is evidence to say all Green Lanterns can do this, I call bull.


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