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Old 2011-07-04, 21:01   Link #21
Archon_Wing
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaos2Frozen View Post
I mean, guns were overpowered once upon a time, now it's the standard. If enough people has that level of strength, then it's not really overpowered anymore.
Yea... but obviously context matters. Otherwise we're just debating semantics.

I'm sure nukes would be underpowered in the future, but it's not relevant right now.

Although, that does explain why super saiyan turned out so shitty when everyone and their dog could do it.
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Old 2011-07-04, 21:16   Link #22
Chaos2Frozen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archon_Wing View Post
Yea... but obviously context matters. Otherwise we're just debating semantics.

I'm sure nukes would be underpowered in the future, but it's not relevant right now.

Although, that does explain why super saiyan turned out so shitty when everyone and their dog could do it.
Ahaha... I suppose I am arguing semantics...

The way I see it, when a character attains that 'overpowered' status, it means that he/she/it has few to no rivals in power, and have hardly any weakness (Achilles' Heels are optional). I mean, that's the point of calling it 'overpowered' right You know, unreasonably strong in the context of the story?

But at the same time, I think you can have an 'overpowered' ability, without having an 'overpowered' character... Meaning his weakest doesn't come from a loophole in his power, but from his character.
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Old 2011-07-04, 23:13   Link #23
RegalStar
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To me it's generally only uninteresting if said overpowered character is overshadowing everyone else with his/her power. I don't really have a good example of it, though.
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Old 2011-07-05, 00:46   Link #24
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
Well, StrikerS wasn't too far off.


Spoiler for StrikerS spoilers:
With the way StrikerS ended, it appeared that Nanoha is on her way "out" with regards to combat roles anyways. I don't remember what the epilogue said about Fate though.
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Old 2011-07-05, 15:26   Link #25
Gamer_2k4
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Overpowered characters don't have to be less interesting. Consider Simon in the final arc of Gurren Lagann. At that point, you can throw out his kid version and all his development and everything in the past. All that matters is that he's EXTREMELY AWESOME ALL THE TIME. And you know what? We love that. Is he overpowered? Is the pope Catholic? Simon pilots a mecha whose attack is throwing GALAXIES. There's never a minute where we worry that he'll lose. But that's what makes him the hero, and that's what makes the show memorable. He's overpowered, and it's okay.

It should be noted, though, as others have said, these things depend a lot on context. You know what else is overpowered? A Mary-Sue character in someone's fanfic. And you know what? We hate that. I think the issue is how the audience thinks of a character. Does the character deserve to be overpowered? If not, there will probably be a backlash.

You ask if overpowered characters are less interesting, and I think that question is flawed. Being overpowered isn't (or shouldn't be) some singular, defining trait of a character. If a character is interesting, it doesn't matter if they're overpowered. If they're not interesting, it also doesn't matter if they're overpowered. Consider either Yuki or Haruhi from the Haruhi Suzumiya series. Both have world-changing power, the latter to such an extent that the people around her are literally in fear for their existence. But because both are interesting regardless of their powers, being overpowered doesn't matter in either case.

Of course, that bring into question the definition of "overpowered." (Honestly, that should probably have been addressed before I made my points, but no matter.) Does "overpowered" simply refer to having more power than anyone else has or is able to cope with (the definition I used above)? Is it instead about having no setting between "POWER!!" and dead? Does something stop being overpowered if the effects of that power are avoided regularly or the power simply isn't used? All that needs to be cleared up before it can really be said whether or not being overpowered is mutually exclusive with being interesting.
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Old 2011-07-05, 15:50   Link #26
Jan-Poo
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I think in this context "overpowered" implies an hero who frequently fights enemies that never stand a chance. So the concept is relative.

Yuki is probably more powerful than any of your usual fighting hero since she can literally rewrite reality. However her "enemy", that single time she fought, was as powerful as her, and she only won by outwitting her.

Conversely you can have an overpowered character that can only break stuff with his bare hands and has no supernatural powers at all. In a setting where superpowers and magic do not exist, he can be overpowered simply by being ten time stronger than any enemy he econounters on his path.
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Old 2011-07-05, 17:27   Link #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gamer_2k4 View Post
Overpowered characters don't have to be less interesting. Consider Simon in the final arc of Gurren Lagann. At that point, you can throw out his kid version and all his development and everything in the past. All that matters is that he's EXTREMELY AWESOME ALL THE TIME. And you know what? We love that. Is he overpowered? Is the pope Catholic? Simon pilots a mecha whose attack is throwing GALAXIES.
The Anti-Spiral "mecha" never struck me as substantially less powerful then Simon's though.

When Simon's mecha faces the Anti-Spiral's "mecha", it felt to me like two fairly evenly matched Galactus-level beings having a cosmic-level battle.

So, to me, this isn't a case of being overpowered in a relative sense. In the sense of how the main protagonist compares to his primary foe(s).


Quote:

There's never a minute where we worry that he'll lose.
Of course not. Because he's the main protagonist in a hot-blooded GAR show that even Gainax wouldn't dare stick with a sad, or mostly bitter, ending.

That doesn't mean he never had to work extremely hard for his victory though. He did have to work for it. It was by no means an one-sided affair.


Quote:
But that's what makes him the hero, and that's what makes the show memorable.
For me, what makes Simon a hero, and what makes TTGL memorable, is watching him consistently overcome one seemingly impossible task after the next after the next, until he finally runs into the massive Anti-Spiral enemy.


Quote:

You ask if overpowered characters are less interesting, and I think that question is flawed. Being overpowered isn't (or shouldn't be) some singular, defining trait of a character.
It doesn't need to be a singular, defining trait in order to be a highly noticed one though.


Quote:
If a character is interesting, it doesn't matter if they're overpowered.
I somewhat disagree. For me, if they're overpowered or not matters if they are put into conflicts a lot (otherwise, I agree with you).

A character being interesting is not quite the same as a character's conflicts being interesting.

For me, a conflict is only interesting if both/all sides have a real chance at victory (whatever counts for "victory" given the context of the conflict), with one exception.

That exception is a "showcase" fight, where you set up some poor sap to get pwned by the character you're trying to showcase the powers of. That I'm fine with, since it's about showcasing powers, and not having dramatic conflict.

But "showcase" fights only hold my interest for awhile (at least within the same show, anyway).
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Old 2011-07-05, 17:32   Link #28
DonQuigleone
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TTGL is a poor example, as Simon is only overpowered at the very end. Prior to that he's always having to go "Beyond the impossible".

It's more pertinent to talk about when a character is overpowered for the majority of a show, or even from the start.
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Old 2011-07-05, 19:54   Link #29
Ichuki
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I think it depends if they are overpowered in the beginning to end then yes but if they like train in the beginning or w/e and becomes overpowered in the end then no
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Old 2011-07-06, 14:17   Link #30
4Tran
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I was tempted to say that it depends on the kind of story being told and what precisely being "overpowered" means, but it doesn't really matter. Whether a story with overpowered character can work is almost completely dependent on execution. No knight could defeat Lancelot, Sun Wukong was invincible from near the start of his story, Robin Hood was the best of archers, no man could outduel Cyrano de Bergerac, and Sinbad was blessed with insane luck. Throughout literature, there are vast numbers of examples of uniquely powerful characters, and they are literally immortalised as great characters.

Admittedly, it isn't always easy to write good stories for such characters. If a story is about fights and the character can breeze through them, then it's not very interesting. But a story that's about character can handle that with little problem. Lesson of the day: make stories about characters rather than fights.
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Old 2011-07-06, 21:09   Link #31
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It really depends.

Admittedly I don't think Alucard is a good example cause Hirano never wanted him to be flawed character to deal with conflict to make him human (save for like a FEW instances in teh manga, particularly at the end). He was there to be MOTHER FUCKING BADASS INCARNATE.

Now Son Goku?

Goku was defined by his gradual growth in strength. Basic shonen template now. What makes it work is how interesting the character is a personality (emotional investment) and what kind of environment he is in?

Key is the journey, HOW DID HE GET SO POWERFUL? Can the audience buy it? Does he actually have to face real struggles which provide relatively believable suspense?

(I do think there is an upper level limit, which is why John Byrne de-Supered DA SUPA in the 80s)

Is he a character that actually faces legitamite villans who can really give him an ass whooping? Dragonball was one thing, but DBZ really upped the ante in character foes and baddies to face which made Goku's ascention to Super Saiyan all the more lauded by the audience. Also, HE DID GET HIS ASS WHOOPED a few times, like by Raditz (dude died!) and then Vegeta.

It was after the Namek saga I could say the suspense was gone, but Toriyama wisely switched to Gohan.

As I said, this has become commonplace now, so you have to try not to think about it or you'll never like these shonen brawlers. Is Luffy overpowered? I'd say so, he's taken down a Merman, a Mafiso Autocrat, a Psuedo-God, Various high level govenment assassins. There is no suspense here, aside from a certain arc. However, comparatively we don't follow Luffy in the same maturization process from small boy to young man to father/demi-god, so the devil is in the details.

He can't loose otherwise well the fans loose.......the key is juuuuusssssssssst giving him enough of a battle to keep things from going stale. Otherwise it's old school Cowboys vs. Indians, you KNOW who's gonna win...just sit back and enjoy.
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Old 2011-07-06, 23:42   Link #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4Tran View Post
I was tempted to say that it depends on the kind of story being told and what precisely being "overpowered" means, but it doesn't really matter. Whether a story with overpowered character can work is almost completely dependent on execution. No knight could defeat Lancelot, Sun Wukong was invincible from near the start of his story, Robin Hood was the best of archers, no man could outduel Cyrano de Bergerac, and Sinbad was blessed with insane luck.
At least most of these are not literally invincible, though. They could conceivably be killed, and/or in some other fashion 'fail'. This makes their conflicts more interesting, in my opinion.


Quote:

Admittedly, it isn't always easy to write good stories for such characters. If a story is about fights and the character can breeze through them, then it's not very interesting. But a story that's about character can handle that with little problem. Lesson of the day: make stories about characters rather than fights.
What's wrong with making a story about fights, and simply not overpowering your main protagonist(s)?

As the popularity of shonen clearly demonstrates, lots of people love stories that are loaded with fights. It's a legitimate taste preference, in my view.
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Old 2011-07-07, 00:51   Link #33
4Tran
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
At least most of these are not literally invincible, though. They could conceivably be killed, and/or in some other fashion 'fail'. This makes their conflicts more interesting, in my opinion.
Conceivably, but they actually die fewer times that the Superman and Son Goku in the OP do (except for Cyrano of course). I don't think that this theoretical vulnerability has much bearing on whether they're overpowered or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
What's wrong with making a story about fights, and simply not overpowering your main protagonist(s)?

As the popularity of shonen clearly demonstrates, lots of people love stories that are loaded with fights. It's a legitimate taste preference, in my view.
Popularity != Quality. Character-based storytelling has a lot more flexibility in the kind of stories they can tell. And the kinds of emotions that they can draw on is much greater as well. Besides, it's not exactly difficult to have character-based stories with relatively even fights as well.
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Old 2011-07-07, 05:18   Link #34
yezhanquan
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It takes a good script to make overpowering characters interesting. I personally think Akabane Kurodou from GetBackers was a pretty well-written overpowered character.

Spoiler for manga...:
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Old 2011-07-07, 05:24   Link #35
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Yes, they are less interesting.

If it's an action film, super powers make the plot completely moot, since I will know from the first moment how it has to end: the hero winning, most probably by capturing the villain. Why capture? Because if he is superior in every way, he cannot justify a kill or a proper beating. You wouldn't beat up kids, would you? Or if you did, it would make the film disgusting and/or trivial.

Last edited by Ending; 2011-07-24 at 06:11.
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Old 2011-07-07, 07:23   Link #36
Endscape
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Like everything else, whether or not an overpowered character is interesting or not depends on how they are written.

Take Jack Rakan from Negima, he has literally been called a broken character, but he's interesting and well-liked, because he's JUST AWESOME.
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Old 2011-07-08, 20:54   Link #37
I_am_Kami
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Goku overpowered? Surely you joke. There are tons of characters stronger than him. No I can't name them all and they arent in the literal tons but Goku isnt much.
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Old 2011-07-08, 21:03   Link #38
Chaos2Frozen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Endscape View Post
Like everything else, whether or not an overpowered character is interesting or not depends on how they are written.

Take Jack Rakan from Negima, he has literally been called a broken character, but he's interesting and well-liked, because he's JUST AWESOME.
And it works because he's not a main character
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Old 2011-07-08, 21:42   Link #39
Kameruka
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I'm annoyed to see how 'overpowered' Haruhi Fujioka(Ouran) is. She never fall to Tamaki's charm while billions of other girls go "KYAAAAH" for him. However Renge can be explained for the same resistance because she's a tsundere. Mouth say no but heart say yes.
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Old 2011-07-08, 22:15   Link #40
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I hold the belief that "awesome" characters who can accomplish any feat effortlessly and have no flaws or weaknesses to account for are literally the most worthless pieces of crap to any form of literature, so I'd say yeah.
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