Why do people like OP characters in fiction?

Discussion in 'Movies and Television' started by TheWarPathGuy, Feb 24, 2020.

  1. TheWarPathGuy

    TheWarPathGuy As cool as the earth is blue!

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    I never liked OP characters.
    They never strategize or plan out methods. And their answer to everything is either "ONE PUNCH!" or throwing universes at people. My favorite characters have more down to earth methods of doing things, and even if they do have powers, they still have their limitations. They can't answer a question just by attacking it.
    I accept OP characters mainly as villains. Cause it makes the characters think around them or work together to take them down. Like Thanos in Infinity War. The Avengers came up with a plan, and worked together. Even if they lost, they still tried. Even Deadpool, a character built around regenerating lost body parts, still uses wit to defeat his opponents. Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe is a good example, as he exploits everyone's powers.
    Which is why I don't watch alot of anime.
    When I usually write, my protagonists usually lack powers. They get hit, they bleed, they fail. That only tells them to try harder, improve their methods, use teamwork. I am not the best writer ever, but hey I try.

    What do you think of OP characters in fiction? Do you like them or hate them?
     
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  2. Dolza_Khyron

    Dolza_Khyron Well-Known Member

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    Really, it all depends on how well the OP character, and their story is done. It doesn't matter how overpowered they are, if they are developed well. That, can be the story. How they deal with their powers and what not. How they live 'in a world of paper' where they fear hurting someone on they didn't mean to, on accident. Superman in the Justice League and 90's cartoons is a great example of how to make a character great. By focusing most of the character not on Superman himself, but on Clark Kent. Clark Kent is Superman, not the other way around. Clark Kent is the real person. Clark Kent is the reporter. Clark Kent is the guy working a regular job. Clark Kent is the focus of the majority of the 90's Superman episodes. Because, it is Clark Kent that makes Superman interesting. Not the other way around.

    There is Clark Kent way of making your characters. Where they live in a 'world of paper'. And, this is how they deal with living in this world. From there, you create character growth over time. Character growth isn't your character becomes stronger, but they become a better, maybe even a completely different person by the end of your story.

    Or, you can just have a lot of fun with it too. There is that option too. There is the Project A Ko way of making your characters overpowered. Which is just have fun with the concept. The Fleischer Superman cartoons had fun with the Superman concept. Having Superman fight a big Godzilla type monster, pulling a large train full of gold, beating up armies of robots. All while getting beat down, before getting right back up.

    Do I like overpowered characters? Yes, if they are done well. Overpowered characters aren't limited to having super powers. Batman is sometimes written in such away he is overpowered. Being prepared for everything, having billions of dollars worth of technology from his company, nobody ever questioning where he gets the gadgets, and what not. Batman, has definitely been written to be overpowered. Batman somehow gets to Gotham in the Dark Knight Rises, in time to prevent that nuke from going off, after all! And, they never cared to tell us how.

    Overpowered isn't limited to super powers, it can also be that they power through everything that gets in the way, as if it is easy. Perhaps, they are just that character who never misses, or beats everyone who comes their way. But, even that can be done well. With a good enough writer. Perhaps they power through everything, as like a gun fighter, or some sort of sword fighter or something. They plow through everything, until they hit a wall, and they are beaten. Now, they have to figure out what to do for now on. Or, how to beat the villain who beat them. Because they lost, and the villain won. Infinity War/End Game did this to some extent.

    It's all about character growth. If your character grows, and becomes a better person overtime, it doesn't matter how overpowered they are. Your character in episode 1, should be completely different from that same character in the last episode, like episode 52.
     
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  3. SaberPrime

    SaberPrime Banned

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    I can't speak for anyone else but the main reason I like OP characters in fiction is well this is kind of personal but I've already put it out there that I suffer from a mental illness caused by childhood trauma...

    I spent a lot of my childhood feeling powerless to stop or change the things that were happening to me and around me. That's a big part of why I got into super heroes in the first place. I wished that over powered characters like Superman really existed because I wanted a hero who could easily offer a solution to my problems without putting more people in harms way. It wouldn't matter what anyone did to him cause he's freaking bullet proof, no one can hurt him! Unless they have Kryptonite...

    That said... as I've become an adult and gained more control in my own life I have started to see the flaw in these types of characters. Like Superman's greatest enemy is just a normal human... a really intelligent human but still a human non the less... There's only so many times I can watch Lex Luthor toss a chunk of Krytonite at Superman and lose before it feels boring and repetitive. That's why I wish the movies would introduce other Superman villains like Bizzaro, Brainiac, Darkseid, Lobo, the Parasite, Metallo, ect. He has more villains than just Lex Luthor but that dude shows up in every single freaking Superman movie.

    It's just not entertaining to watch an over power character beat a character with no powers over and over again. So I can kinda of see both sides of this debate.

    Over powered heroes on the plus side, they oddly give hope to people that don't have any. On the negative side, it's incredibly difficult to tell interesting and compelling stories where the hero is significantly more powerful than the villain.

    Telling an interesting and compelling story where the villain is significantly more powerful than the hero on the other hand... because ultimately in fiction the hero always wins but it's much harder to make that happen when the odds of success are stacked against them. And this also can inspire some hope in a different way showing an underdog story of a nearly powerless hero overcoming overwhelming obstacles. Though the down side here is it often doesn't seem very realistic.

    I mean the Doctor wins most of the time because the enemy just stands there while s/he makes a big speech rather than simply shooting the Doctor. Some times their weapons conveniently malfunction which is a bit better but a lot of times they go around shooting away at extras who aren't important to the story and just stop for no reason as soon as they see the Doctor.

    Batman, yes he's highly intelligent but again... just a normal man... and he often goes up against foes far more powerful than he is. I think one of the reasons that the Joker is one of the most interesting Batman villains is because he's also just a normal guy with no super powers. Other villains however Batman usually defeats by exploiting some weakness but here's the thing... even if you know that for example, all you have to do to defeat Bane is sever the hose feeding him Venom so he won't have super strength anymore. Knowing that realistically wouldn't help you.

    Thanks to video games I've actually had a chance to play as Batman and fight Bane knowing and exploiting this one weakness... and that plays out a lot more like how you might think it would... Batman dies and you have to restart the level over again... except in real life you don't get multiple tries, if Batman doesn't succeed the first time he's dead, no more Batman.

    I think one of the reasons I like Bizzaro and Reverse Flash type characters so much is because they're more even level with the hero. It's not going to be an easy win for an over powered hero if the villain is just as over powered. It's not going to be an unrealistic win for the hero either where he or she essentially gets lucky against an over powered villain, it's an even match of good vs. evil and that I think avoids all those issues by having it so neither side has a clear advantage over the other.
     
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  4. Venixion

    Venixion Its always the middle of the night in Moonside

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    Because it calls all the way back to the hero archetype. The virtuous and kind one who will brave any danger to help others, who can out think and/or out muscle any opponent. To do the impossible that we normal folk can't. Its been going on since humanity learned how to tell stories and even then none of them are without flaws of some sort.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
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  5. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    Lots of reasons. As others have mentioned, the basic "power fantasy" is a cathartic outlet. It lets us imagine all of the bullies of the world getting an outsized dose of their own medicine. It allows us to imagine simple solutions to complex or unsolvable problems. As long as we recognize that it's a fantasy, that can be healthy.

    Characters who are intermittently overpowered, or who have had to work at becoming overpowered, make for great climaxes. After a long arc where the heroes play the underdog, there's a sense of euphoria when the tables are turned and the heroes don't just barely win, but completely smash the villains who have been oppressing them all this time. Son Goku from the Dragon Ball franchise is basically the poster boy for being OP, but each new arc sends him a villain he can't touch or a situation he can't resolve with force. This resets the power scale, and Goku is no longer OP until he does a lot of hard work to remove the obstacle or break his limits and become OP again. In Avatar: The Last Air Bender, Aang is usually nothing like overpowered. But when he enters the Avatar State, suddenly he is, and you know things are going to go down.

    OP characters can also be useful for scale. When an OP character isn't the protagonist, they can serve as an ideal for the hero to aspire to, or to create a reference for the scale of the protagonist's abilities. In My Hero Academia, All Might is extremely overpowered. Deku is starting from the very bottom, initially having no powers at all in a world where everyone else has at least a little superpower. The contrast shows us how far away his goal is at the start. Whenever Deku makes a breakthrough in the development of his abilities, he never seems overpowered because we still have All Might as a reference. Meanwhile, we can share Deku's admiration of his hero, which helps us to better understand Deku's goals and motivations. We can also have a protagonist like Guts from Berserk, who is extremely overpowered against normal enemies. We see this demonstrated enough that when he encounters an enemy or situation that leaves him powerless, the impact is pretty shocking.

    One Punch Man is a special case. He's the hero of an absurdist comedy that happens to spoof a lot of action tropes and heroes. He's like Japan's answer to The Tick. He's so stupidly overpowered-yet-clueless that it's comical. It's literally a joke.
     
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  6. QLRformer

    QLRformer Seeker

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    I'm okay with over-powered characters, and even enjoy them. But it always depends on how they're written.

    Overpowered characters who become villains sounds too easy to write, and often are just excuses for the hero to demonstrate his intelligence in defeating them. I find OP heroes more interesting IMO.

    With Superman, him being the most powerful being of his kind/world means he has to be extra careful not to endanger anyone. SUPERMAN VS THE ELITE gives a great demonstration of what would happen if he lost his moral ground.

    With the Incredible Hulk, he's a cursed monster who will never be accepted because he's just too much of a risk.

    With Goku, he's a comedic twist on the concept. One of the most powerful fighters ever written, and that power is in the body of a country-raised manchild.

    With the Genie from Aladdin, his comedic power comes at the cost of his freedom. You ain't never had a friend like him, for the duration of three wishes.


    In a sense, the idea of getting the power to be able to do what you want is more appealing to me. But if the OP favours cunning and strategem, he/she should check out Jojo's Bizarre Adventure.
     
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  7. Gaastra

    Gaastra Well-Known Member

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    Not all anime has op heroes. There are many that the hero is the weakest. With that said it's the same reason people watched chuck Norris 80s movies, Arnold 80s films and Rambo shoot 20 bad guys at once with one gun. People sometimes just want some fun action films with a hero who can beat armies by themselves.
     
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  8. TheWarPathGuy

    TheWarPathGuy As cool as the earth is blue!

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    Well. I don't hate all op characters. Like Superman, has to deal with not causing mass destruction. I don't think all animes have OP protagonists. I like Hulk, one of my faves.

    Just saying...
     
  9. Dolza_Khyron

    Dolza_Khyron Well-Known Member

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    Yes, definitely not all anime has overpowered heroes. There are quite a lot without powerful people at all. Or some, who are powerful, but are still learning the basics of their powers. Perhaps, they learn that they might be super fast, but they're mind isn't fast enough to dodge a bullet. There is an episode of Esper Mami, a series with a girl who has the ability to teleport when things are thrown at her. She thought she could teleport in time to save her life if she was about to be shot. So, she tried to take down an assassin trying to murder a politician. It wasn't until her friend convinced her that she wasn't fast enough to dodge a bullet she didn't know was coming. It is through that friend who she learns about the majority of her weaknesses from throughout the series. It is through that friend, who has no powers, but is aware she does, that she grows as a person. That she figures out the things she is able to do, and the limits of her powers.

    Even Superman has limits to his powers. He can't save everyone no matter how hard he tries. (Depending on the writer.) It is up to a writer to build a character around their powers. And, show, how being overpowered makes them a better person. Or, in some cases, a worse person.

    It's like any other storytelling element, it is all how it is used. Not that it exists.
     
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  10. SaberPrime

    SaberPrime Banned

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    I seem to recall there being a story with an OP character... I think Superman... fighting against an enemy. He was at first getting his ass kicked until he realized that the villain he was fighting wasn't actually human and then it was like... Oh that means I don't have to hold back to avoid killing you and suddenly he started winning the fight. That's a great way to write an OP hero because it shows just how much they hold back to avoid killing their enemies.
     
  11. Applejacktimus

    Applejacktimus Still see the Sunshine

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    I certainly don't. Not a fan of power fantasies. Much prefer "underdog" stories where the hero struggles, suffers, and sacrifices to earn their victory. A self-made character who grows beyond their failures, and uses skill, wit, and perseverance over unstoppable brute force and invincibility is way more admirable to me because you see them put their absolute greatest efforts toward their goal. Some OP characters work well, but they're a delicate archetype to write and all too many screw them up. Probably doesn't help that I'm not a fan of super-duper over-9000 power-level fiction anyway - my only exception being Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
     
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  12. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    download.jpg

    ;) 
     
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  13. John ofthe Dead

    John ofthe Dead Well-Known Member

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    This may be the one you're thinking of. Superman vs Darkseid at the end of Justice League Unlimited.

     
  14. SHINOBI03

    SHINOBI03 Well-Known Member

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    It's not about their powers, it's about their personality and how they use their powers.

    People often call Superman "boring" because he's the strongest, but that's not true. Sure, he got the powers, but what people like about him is his character. Despite being the most powerful superhero, he's also one of the most humble and selfless characters out there. He sees himself as human first before being an alien superhero. In this case his weakness is his love for earth and its people. He knows he's so powerful but he can't unleash it all because it'll cause more damage than good. So when he chooses to unleash his full powers then we know something is different about him.

    Another example is Saitama from One Punch Man. He's the most powerful superhero in his world but his weakness is he can't get to enjoy his powers because he destroys everything he hits with one punch. Plus he's not the most respected guy around and everyone treats him like a nobody next to the super stars. But what makes Saitama one of the greatest heroes is wisdom and what he thinks makes for a great hero. It's not about the powers, it's about being selfless, not doing it for fame and fortune, and respect everyone no matter how weak they appear like. And when he gets the chance to use his powers then it becomes a spectacle because it's something he doesn't often do and so, they tend to be some of the most memorable moments in the story.
     
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  15. lars573

    lars573 Well-Known Member

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    Not quite. Fleisher cartoons was golden age Superman. Who at the time operated at 50% of even modern Superman, let alone silver age Superman. He couldn't really fly (it was more super long and high jumping), no heat vision, broke a sweat pulling 5-7 train cars (360 tons rough estimate) up hill, and got chocked up by tear gas. Where as on Supergirl she broke a sweat lifting Fort Rozz (called specifically as being 1 million tons) into orbit. Golden age Superman was a class 3 or 4 character. Modern Kryptonians are class 5 everyday.

    That's more because Batman's super powers (brains and insane wealth) are real ones. They don't really register for most people. And a time edit plot hole is found in many a movie.

    Infinity war's outcome relied heavily on the MCU heroes not being able to work together. If they had been able to coordinate Hulk, Thor, and Captain Marvel's brawn with Ironman's brain, and Cap's organizational skills they'd have won. You'll note that in Endgame even with every fucking hero character coming in things don't seriously bend their way until Captain Marvel shows up.
     
  16. Applejacktimus

    Applejacktimus Still see the Sunshine

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  17. Gordon_4

    Gordon_4 The Big Engine

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    it’s a screenshot of Goku and Krillin in DragonBall, I think when they were training under Master Roshi. I confess I don’t get what it meant to mean contextually in relation to your statement however.
     
  18. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    It's one of the most OP characters ever, putting in the actual hard work to get that way. I'm just pointing out that power fantasy and underdog heroes who works their asses off to earn their victories aren't mutually exclusive. They're on a spectrum like most anything else.
     
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  19. Kamijou Touma

    Kamijou Touma ミサカ10032

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    I love OP characters it my anime. Kamijou Touma has OP power but spends time planning. Even though he ends up punching every one. He also bleeds and ends up in the hospital multiple times.
     
  20. Dolza_Khyron

    Dolza_Khyron Well-Known Member

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    I would put Superman being at 50% OP still being OP. Superman actually could fly in the Fleisher cartoons. It is where they created his ability to fly, as far as I know. Because the animators had problems with him doing the whole long jumping thing in the earlier episodes. He would just be flying in one direction, and have to turn around by kicking off into another direction. One could call it jumping, but it was an early attempt at making him fly, while explaining why he flew. I would still call this overpowered, because he is the only one in the shorts with these kinds of abilities. He is the only one who is able to do anything like these sorts of things. Because of that, he is overpowered by comparison to all the regular humans. But, with all that strength, they still found ways of blowing him back, and making him have to sweat. That is something I really like about this version of Superman. They actually have him appearing to be a really strong and fast person. By stretching Superman's powers to their limits. Making him really have to work to pull those 7 train cars. Choking up on tear gas, and being knocked back by lasers and what not. He occasionally got electrocuted too. This is what made me really like this version of Superman. He is shown to be a powerful character, the most powerful man on earth, yet he is still struggling to save people. Even with all his great powers. That is what makes Fleisher Superman my favorite version of Superman.

    As for Batman, yea, he is totally an overpowered character. In fact, he might actually be the most overpowered character of all time. A lot of his writing these days seem to be around making him the smartest, most capable person in the room, with all the unlimited funds to go around. This too, is overpowered.

    For the Infinity War thing, even Captain Marvel, with all her powers, got suckered punched by Thanos into the ground. Even Captain Marvel, with all her overpowered powers still found someone who was more powerful than she was. Now if Marvel was smart, they'd develop the character around the fact that she is no longer the most powerful person in the universe. As, there will always be another Thanos. And, now she will need to rely on the help of others. Because there are some people who she can not beat by herself.

    These characters are great, as long as they are written in such away that they can't just easily breeze through everything like it's on easy mode. Easy mode, with all the cheat codes on. Just because Superman isn't effected by bullets, doesn't mean he doesn't have to worry about where the bullet are bouncing off his chest. They are still deadly bullets, just not to him. Captain Marvel still needed the help of the other super heroes, she couldn't do everything alone by herself. She still needed help.

    With all Batman's 'super' human abilities, he still can't fly. He still needed Superman to save him before he splatted onto the ground. Because even with all his preparedness, there are still things even he can't do. And, what is the point of having all these characters work together, if they don't rely on each other? That is what these super teams are about, team work. As long as they are doing that, then they are great characters. But, if they are shown being able to easily breeze through everything, always right about everything, and know everything; as if they are in easy mode with all the cheats, then they are not great characters. That is what makes a story boring.

    Not the super powers, no matter how powerful they are. But, how they are used, and how the person with these super powers struggles along their journey. It is these struggles that make them grow as a person. Make them grow into a better, or some cases, worse person. That is what is important.
     
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