A good hero anime is a fine balancing act of character development and story progression. If a character is powerful from the start, then there’s no point in rooting for them because you know the hero is going to be all right no matter what. Watching the hero grow and overcoming impossible odds is what makes these shows exciting and you care for the character who started out weak and became strong through hard work and determination. And sometimes the hero can grow ridiculously strong to the point of absurdity that you may end up rooting for the villain instead (it happens). This state of being is simply called “overpowered.” But what makes someone overpowered and are there any types of an overpowered state outside of raw physical strength?
Honey’s Anime will try to shed some light on this with our topic “What is OP?” Strap in, folks and get your chakra, reiatsu, ki, and magic flowing!
What is OP and What Makes Someone OP?
Simply put, OP or overpowered is state or condition when a character reaches their peak in near omnipotence or god-like form with extraordinary feats like infinite stamina, planet-busting powers to reality-warping magic no villain can surpass. Sometimes some heroes will have a huge assortment of skills to make him overpowered that their opponent needs to be a legitimate god or an immortal to stand a chance against them.
There’s no real science to define being overpowered because the rules of each universe are vastly different. Kira Yamato from Gundam SEED Destiny is very overpowered with his Strike Freedom Gundam equipped with METEOR, but if you put him in the world of Dragon Ball Z, he would be beaten instantly by Goku… with his bare hands. Ultimately, being overpowered comes down with many factors like the origin of the hero, what kind of magic/power the universe uses and what rules does it follow, and ultimately how biased is the character through plot armor/writing.
Different Types of OP
Unparalleled strength isn’t the only thing that makes someone overpowered and as mentioned before it depends on the rules of each universe and it also depends on the type of character. Seriously, not every overpowered character is a muscle-bound oaf. Here’s a short list of OP states that make a character overpowered.
This is the most common type of OP usually possessed by male characters. In anime and video games, they’re usually the type characters who use physical power to defeat their enemies. Achieving this level of inhuman strength comes in different ways like the traditional physical training, converting your spiritual power or even magical power to physical forms, or passed down by omnipotent beings.
Saitama from One Punch Man
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2015-December 2015
It’s not fully clear how Saitama got his raw destructive power, but the last time we saw him do anything to achieve this was constant training. Whatever the case is, Saitama earned his title as the One Punch Man because he literally can one punch every monster and villain even when he’s not taking fights seriously. If he does take his fights seriously, he can devastate mountains and disrupt the Earth’s atmosphere with just one swing.
One Punch Man Trailer:
Also known as the power of the mind, this is also a common form of OP and is probably the most diverse covering, sorcerers, wizards, mages, witches, gods or simply people who are way too smart. The last bit may be stretching it, but think about it: A smart hacker can bring the world to its knees once they control the world’s weapons systems or someone like a phantom thief who is always one step away from their captors. In anime, the most popular type of OP using the power of the mind are reality benders and time manipulators who can reshape the universe or even destroy it simply by wishing it. If there’s someone who can beat Saitama, it’s probably a reality bender.
Yagami Light from Death Note
- Episodes: 37
- Aired: October 2006-June 2007
Light isn’t a powerful mage that can alter reality or anything, but he has the power to alter the destiny of someone by simply writing their name in a notebook. Wielding the Death Note is OP in itself, but Light is extremely cunning because he kept his identity of Kira a secret to everyone around him and killing anyone in creative ways. And if there’s someone has a lead on him, he hatches complex schemes to cover his tracks and at the same time kill his pursuers without even touching them. He did all of this when he’s still a teenager. Who would’ve thought the person beside you committed to hunting down this elusive murderer for years is the very same murderer.
Death Note Trailer:
Luck is a unique kind OP that you don’t need to be powerful in strength or intelligence. Just like in video games, Luck increases the chance of dealing more damage, higher chance of getting rare items, and so on. In anime, Luck is essentially plot armor and the story’s bias towards that character. The character survived an attack because it didn’t hit the vital organs, the hero beat the villain because the villain’s tools malfunctioned, or avoided a car accident because the character was distracted by something.
Miyanaga Saki from Saki
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2009-September 2009
Having high luck can turn the tides of battle like Miyanaga Saki from the mahjong anime Saki. Mahjong is a mainly a luck-based tile game and getting the right set of tiles can determine victory or defeat. Saki has the unique ability to manipulate her score that is impossible to achieve unless you have great luck on your side.
This is perhaps the most powerful form of OP and it further amplifies the power of someone who’s already powerful in strength or intelligence. The use of Emotion as an OP element in anime can be found predominantly in shounen anime where the main character gets a boost in power as revenge like seeing their loved one die at the hands of the villain, or they know their life is on the line like an adrenaline rush, or simply you got pissed someone just insulted your mom… sorry about that mom joke. It just fits here.
Urameshi Yusuke from Yuu☆Yuu☆Hakusho (Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files)
- Episodes: 112
- Aired: October 1992-January 1995
Or any shounen character, really. But the most notable is Urameshi Yusuke who gained more power after his nemesis Toguro targets Yusuke’s friends and killing his close friend Kuwabara. With his newfound power, Yusuke defeated Toguro and won the exhausting Dark Tournament. Later we found out that Toguro wanted to bring out the true potential of Yusuke and in order to achieve this, Yusuke must experience the loss of a loved one.
This form of power boost was later revisited in the later half of the series where Yusuke died in front of his friends Kuwabara, Kurama, and Hiei. Kuwabara’s Spirit Sword has evolved to the Dimension Sword with the ability to rip open the fabric of reality and destroyed the barrier separating the spirit and human realms. Kurama and Hiei regained their true forms and their powers have reached among the highest in the spirit realm.
Son Goku from Dragon Ball Z
- Episodes: 291
- Aired: April 1989-January 1996
The most iconic of all has got to be Son Goku achieving Super Saiyan. Goku was enraged after Frieza killed Krillin in front of him in the most gruesome of ways. This surge of emotion finally triggered Goku’s hidden potential and went Super Saiyan for the first time. In this form, Goku got a 50x boost in power and even Frieza in his 100% form was no match. Let’s not forget Frieza was the one who destroyed the planet of the Saiyans with one energy blast. Imagine what Super Saiyan Goku could do.
Dragon Ball Z Trailer:
Being overpowered, in general, is often seen as a negative trait because if you know the character is overpowered, then there’s no reason to root for them, or worry about them, or even relate because you’ll know they’ll pull through. But when used properly like the characters worked their way through character development, make them relatable, they can win the hearts of fans and their support as they try to overcome what’s ahead of them. It’s natural for us humans to root for the underdog because they’re like us, struggling to try to make a name for themselves in this society. And seeing them ascend to greatness is inspiring and a glimpse of hope that we too can ascend to our own form of greatness if we work hard enough.
This concludes our topic describing what is OP. Do you know any other type of OP and do you know a character that fits the description of strength, intelligence, luck, emotion or all of the above? Please share us your thoughts by leaving a comment below!