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Topic: Power Levels and You  (Read 2516 times)

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Power Levels and You
« on: June 11, 2016, 02:49:18 PM »

    Offline Kiyza

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Alright, so today I'm going to try to do a necromantic ritual on this dead site, trigger @Nia's PTSD, and talk about something I've probably made it clear I hate in the past: POWAR LEVULZ. No, not literal power levels from Dragon Ball, but how strong characters are in an abstract sense.

See, I've discussed the issue with power and narrative before with friends, but the gears in my head started turning with respect to this particularly subject because over the last week I watched an anime played a game called Asura's Wrath. While I could ramble on for a bit about how much I loved it, I'm gonna cut straight to the chase. I feel like it didn't really sink in when I was actually playing it because I was too caught up in the game to notice or care half the time, but man, this game was ridiculous. I feel like the developers set out to make a game that would make Dragon Ball look underwhelming compared to the sheer spectacle of it, and if that actually was their goal, I think they succeeded.

By the endgame, there's more or less (I don't wanna start a Big Internet Fight™ over this, so let's not turn this into a "who's stronger" discussion) the same level of absurdity that we're seeing in Dragon Ball Super with stuff like the universe-punching and galaxy-dwarfing dragons, and other things I've probably said before drive me up the wall. Things I don't like because of their presentation. In the past I've talked with friends and we've kinda come to the conclusion that you need some sort of creative or broken powers that create a visual spectacle to make that level of strength "fun", but I had that notion challenged by what I played, and I don't think I really agree with that conclusion anymore, because the game didn't have any "broken" powers -- just a lot of punching.

My personal perspective when it comes to power levels has always been that the level of strength in the setting is just a backdrop for the plot. Certain plots and certain visual elements aren't possible if characters are below a certain threshold of strength, so going past a threshold of strength can open a series up to that. For instance, the trope where characters just "disappear" during fights wouldn't be possible if characters didn't have a significant degree of super speed, and the spectacle of the Death Star destroying Alderaan wouldn't be possible without a planet-destroying laser. I have some more to say on the subject, but I mostly want to see what other people have to say about the subject first.

Basically, I just want to get some thoughts here. Does a character's or characters' strength affect your enjoyment of a series, and how do you think strength affects -- or should affect -- the narrative of a series? When is something ridiculous fun and when is it just plain stupid?


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Power Levels and You
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2016, 04:15:54 PM »

    Offline Tofu

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Warning: This post contains spoilers for One Punch Man and Fairy Tail. Some are really slight, but some people care for that kinds of stuff.

I'm gonna try to say something meaningful. I just hope I understood the point of the thread. Bear with me if I didn't, long posts are my weak point when it comes to reading them. My brain just goes somewhere else mid-sentence.

You want to know if a character's strength matters for my enjoyment. I like to see him be weak at first and raise to be stronger than everyone, but it's not like I won't like anything that doesn't fill in with this criteria. Still, I don't think it's the most important factor, since many stuff can make the strength not matter at all. The only way that the strength of a character will actually affect my enjoyment, is if the main character is just too strong and he has no challenge to surpass.

Take One Punch Man, for example. He's just too freaking strong and no one can put up a fight through the whole anime so he has no challenge at all. He only uses one "Serious Punch" for crying out loud! He literally dreams with finding a real challenge and he never gets it. People love the anime... I just think it's a really bad idea that was worked around greatly, making it, at least somewhat enjoyable. I'll be right here, ready to get lynched.

It all depends on the viewer, of course. I might be the kind of guy that likes to see the main character improve through the show, while others like the main character to be plain strong and unbeatable, others like to see a main character with a hidden potencial or a demon that powers them up.

I'm gonna get back to where I was going before my OPM rant. I think a character's power matters a lot, but it's not the most important thing. I enjoy Fairy Tail way more than I should. Why? Because I think the plot is great and not because of the whole "power of friendship" thing. I find it dull when they use it to power-up in fights. In fact, the fights get boring at some point, because it's always the same pattern:

  • Fairy Tail member is confident and attacks his enemy. They're usually the first to attack.
  • He gets beat the crap out of him and is laying on the floor, powerless.
  • He stands back up with a determined look on his face and says stuff like "I can't afford to lose" or "You will pay for hurting my friends." The only one I don't get tired of is "You angered the only guild you don't want to mess with."
  • Plot armor! Now he's stronger than the other guy and beats him in a matter of seconds, even if he's officially
     considered one of the 5 strongest mages in the world.
  • Bonus: They even make strategies based on "We gotta trust he can win!" Although they fought a few episodes ago and the Fairy Tail member got his ass handed to him.

What I like about Fairy Tail is the plot. I can't even tell why, because it does have a lot of flaws and the"plot twists" are really easy to call but it hooks me like few other anime have in the past. I don't even care for how strong the characters are, I just want to see how the story unfolds and if the guild will make it out alright. Of course, they gotta be strong to beat the bad guys, but even with weak bad guys, if they manage to make it difficult for the main characters somehow, I'd still enjoy it.

I've actually talked with Shyruni about it. He says it's basically the same concept as One Piece, but with wizards instead of pirates... And probably more suited for all ages. He's never seen Fairy Tail and I've never seen One Piece, so maybe we're wrong. Whoever has seen both can tell us if they're really so similar.

I'm pretty sure most of the currently active forum members hate Fairy Tail, and if they didn't lynch me for ranting on OPM, they will lynch me for this, but I fear no one! Except for Nia's walls of text. They can be intimidating at times.

Did I do good Kiyza? Or did I spent like 20 minutes writing this for nothing?
MarineCorps
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Power Levels and You
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2016, 04:42:39 PM »

    Offline Nia

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UNIVERSE PUNCHING!? UNIVERSE PUNCHING!?
I'd deck an infant over that, but it'd probably destroy the universe because of bad writing...

What I like about Fairy Tail is the plot. I can't even tell why, because it does have a lot of flaws and the"plot twists" are really easy to call but it hooks me like few other anime have in the past.

Right... "plot." You mean the fanservice.
You ain't foolin' anyone, Tofu.


"I am the bone of my sword
 Steel is my body and fire is my blood
 I have created over a thousand blades
 Unknown to Death, Nor known to Life
 Have withstood pain to create many weapons
 Yet, those hands will never hold anything
 So as I pray, Unlimited Blade Works."

Power Levels and You
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2016, 05:31:07 PM »

    Offline Tofu

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Right... "plot." You mean the fanservice.
You ain't foolin' anyone, Tofu.

Honestly, the fanservice freaking bothers me in any story. I hate it when female characters have their clothes torn apart just perfectly so they can show everything but stuff they gotta censor.

Yes, the plot can be poor at times, I admit it, but it hooks me up more than most stuff and I really, really enjoy it. And I know you won't get it and maybe even throw some other "the plot sucks" comment, but I don't really care. :D
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Power Levels and You
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2016, 05:43:49 PM »

    Offline Luke[Dumke]

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Honestly, the fanservice freaking bothers me in any story. I hate it when female characters have their clothes torn apart just perfectly so they can show everything but stuff they gotta censor.

Yes, the plot can be poor at times, I admit it, but it hooks me up more than most stuff and I really, really enjoy it. And I know you won't get it and maybe even throw some other "the plot sucks" comment, but I don't really care. :D

TOO MUCH FANSERVICE KILLS GOOD ANIME
BUT SO DO DRILLS
WHY IS THAT EVEN A HAIR STYLE
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Power Levels and You
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2016, 09:13:37 PM »

    Offline Trender

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I love FT and im a fanboy of it ok

Power Levels and You
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2016, 02:53:00 AM »

    Offline Nia

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Honestly, the fanservice freaking bothers me in any story. I hate it when female characters have their clothes torn apart just perfectly so they can show everything but stuff they gotta censor.

Yes, the plot can be poor at times, I admit it, but it hooks me up more than most stuff and I really, really enjoy it. And I know you won't get it and maybe even throw some other "the plot sucks" comment, but I don't really care. :D

Dood, I was just being a smartass. I haven't read/seen enough of Fairy Tail to really judge it heavily (though what I've seen was pretty amusing, particularly from Erza trying to hug someone while wearing heavy armor, or headbutting people to get answers).

Plus, Hiro Mashima's (apologies if I mispelled his name) previous work, Rave Master (or Groove Adventure Rave in some places) was pretty amusing.


"I am the bone of my sword
 Steel is my body and fire is my blood
 I have created over a thousand blades
 Unknown to Death, Nor known to Life
 Have withstood pain to create many weapons
 Yet, those hands will never hold anything
 So as I pray, Unlimited Blade Works."

Power Levels and You
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2016, 02:27:41 PM »

    Offline Tofu

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Dood, I was just being a smartass. I haven't read/seen enough of Fairy Tail to really judge it heavily (though what I've seen was pretty amusing, particularly from Erza trying to hug someone while wearing heavy armor, or headbutting people to get answers).

Plus, Hiro Mashima's (apologies if I mispelled his name) previous work, Rave Master (or Groove Adventure Rave in some places) was pretty amusing.


I thought you had seen it. Anyways, it gets hated by a lot of people so I tried to defend it somehow. :P
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Power Levels and You
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2017, 05:52:56 PM »

    Offline Shyruni

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Alright, so today I'm going to try to do a necromantic ritual on this dead site, trigger @Nia's PTSD, and talk about something I've probably made it clear I hate in the past: POWAR LEVULZ. No, not literal power levels from Dragon Ball, but how strong characters are in an abstract sense.

See, I've discussed the issue with power and narrative before with friends, but the gears in my head started turning with respect to this particularly subject because over the last week I watched an anime played a game called Asura's Wrath. While I could ramble on for a bit about how much I loved it, I'm gonna cut straight to the chase. I feel like it didn't really sink in when I was actually playing it because I was too caught up in the game to notice or care half the time, but man, this game was ridiculous. I feel like the developers set out to make a game that would make Dragon Ball look underwhelming compared to the sheer spectacle of it, and if that actually was their goal, I think they succeeded.

By the endgame, there's more or less (I don't wanna start a Big Internet Fight™ over this, so let's not turn this into a "who's stronger" discussion) the same level of absurdity that we're seeing in Dragon Ball Super with stuff like the universe-punching and galaxy-dwarfing dragons, and other things I've probably said before drive me up the wall. Things I don't like because of their presentation. In the past I've talked with friends and we've kinda come to the conclusion that you need some sort of creative or broken powers that create a visual spectacle to make that level of strength "fun", but I had that notion challenged by what I played, and I don't think I really agree with that conclusion anymore, because the game didn't have any "broken" powers -- just a lot of punching.

My personal perspective when it comes to power levels has always been that the level of strength in the setting is just a backdrop for the plot. Certain plots and certain visual elements aren't possible if characters are below a certain threshold of strength, so going past a threshold of strength can open a series up to that. For instance, the trope where characters just "disappear" during fights wouldn't be possible if characters didn't have a significant degree of super speed, and the spectacle of the Death Star destroying Alderaan wouldn't be possible without a planet-destroying laser. I have some more to say on the subject, but I mostly want to see what other people have to say about the subject first.

Basically, I just want to get some thoughts here. Does a character's or characters' strength affect your enjoyment of a series, and how do you think strength affects -- or should affect -- the narrative of a series? When is something ridiculous fun and when is it just plain stupid?

For me, I pretty much agree with the whole background thing you mentioned.  Every series has certain degrees of power and capability for the majority of the world it exists in, what's considered "normal".   For example, Dragon Ball is a series about martial artists, which can just become "stronger" in all regards (except intellect) simply through training or other means.  Therefore, in comparison to something like Street Fighter, where technique is more of the focus and you have more standard bodily limits, any DBZ character would pretty much own more Street Fighter characters.  But you won't necessarily notice it in DBZ because the high power standards are so normal, because in their universe most of the main cast is overpowered.

Of course eventually you need to raise the bar of the "strongest", because that's how you make an intimidating villain.  If the main bad guy is just as strong as the main cast, is there really gonna be much fear?  You need to widen the gap, make this threat something intimidating. 

This is where things get tricky, because it's when you change the power limit that problems can occur.  The first is when you make the villain a bit TOO far ahead, using DBZ GT as an example.  When Baby was revealed as a villain, it was pretty obvious that his power was incredible...fact was, it was so incredible that according to the show's standards, there should have been no way for the main characters to win.  With his insane regeneration and possessionish powers, the fact that Goku was able to beat him at all, even with SSJ4, just felt so fake to me.  When a villain or threat goes too far beyond the bar in a way that the show is not capable of dealing with, what often happens is naughtyword writing and plotholes that are created to somehow explain how the heck the main heroes beat the threat. 

But this isn't just for threats, it can be a problem with the main cast as well.  In DBS, Goku and Vegeta have so far outclassed the rest of the main cast (outside of Beerus and Whis) as well as the world around them that it just seems dumb.   
We WILL Protect the Peace!