Anime characters come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and power levels. Some are so effortlessly strong that they practically destroy the world they live in, and some of these characters are invincible from start to finish. However, for one reason or another, in some of these overpowering individuals, their powers are limited in order to make them more vulnerable.
Sometimes it serves to increase the tension, sometimes it serves the progression of the plot, and sometimes the reason is inextricably linked with the characters themselves. There are many explanations for why some anime characters were so powerful that the series had to reduce their strength.
Sadao Maou (The Devil Is A Part-Timer)
Sadao Maou (or Satan Jacob for some) is the titular “devil” of The Devil is a part-time employee working for a fast food restaurant after fleeing his world to Moderna Japan during an intense struggle. Maou has lost most of his powers and spends most of his time on Earth living as a normal person, although he is thrilled to have a job at “Mgronald’s”, but when it comes to pushing, he can unleash his demonic power.
Admittedly, most of what the viewer sees of Maou’s power is weaker than a demon lord, since he is fully capable, but for the enemies facing him, this fraction of his true strength is enough.
Mob (Mob Psycho 100)
Shigeo Kageyama, also known as”Mob”, is the protagonist of Mob Psycho 100 and his most powerful Esper, bursting with immense psychic power. Whenever the crowd breaks loose, few have a chance to touch him, let alone hurt him. In this sense, mob is not weakened by tension or the like, but whenever he is below his “100% limit”, he stops himself at any cost.
Mob is a pacifist at heart, and due to his strict moral code and views on his own power, he tries his best not to use his powers against people, even if they want to harm him. Mob is annoyed not so much because of the plot, but in order not to hurt others.
Merlin (The Seven Deadly Sins)
Merlin of the Seven Deadly Sins is a powerful sorceress, corresponding to her legendary namesake. Although she appears at the end of the first season, her immense magical power is immediately felt. So, when the ten demonic commandments appeared, the anime decided to show its powers by having Merlin turned into stone before Galand’s”Commandment of Truth”.
Although this did not stop Merlin completely, it severely limited her abilities for most of the second season, otherwise Merlin would probably have been able to take care of other members of the commandments at an early stage, as she does later in the series.
All Might (My Hero Academia)
My Hero Academia begins with Izuku Midoriya, who meets his idol and number one hero, All Might. When he was at his best, All Might could live up to his name, quickly end fights and even change the mood with the power of his blows. However, due to an injury, All Might’s ability to be a hero was gradually limited.
In the early seasons of My Hero Academia, All Might, even if weakened, was able to deal with threats against U.A. and the city, but his time was up and he had to leave everything to his successor Izuku. Currently, he can not even switch to his muscular form for more than a few seconds.
Gohan (Dragon Ball Z)
Most Dragon Ball fans know that it is Goku’s journey, but some remember a time in the days of Dragon Ball Z, when it was also the story of his Gohan, who became the most powerful warrior in the world. It may have taken some time, but Gohan became one of the strongest Z-fighters and even surpassed Son Goku for a while. Unfortunately, Gohan did not stay at the top for long.
Like many other Dragon Ball supporting characters, Gohan slowly but surely moved away from future adventures in order to return the focus to Goku. While making some kind of comeback in Super Hero, Gohan relaxed training for a while to pursue his ambitions as a scholar and became much weaker than before.
Yuu Otosaka (Charlotte)
Charlotte’s protagonist Yuu Otosaka initially discovers that he has the ability to possess others, but as the anime progresses, Yuu discovers that he can also take on the special abilities of those he possesses. After that, the series finds ways to nerf him. One such example was when he acquired time travel skills, which he used several times to save others, but he lost them when he damaged his eye.
Yuu later embarks on a journey to rid the world of all special abilities and becomes even more powerful and unstable as he acquires so many abilities at the same time. Fortunately, he is able to do this, even if it is at the expense of his memories.
The world of Hellsing is full of violent creatures of the night and especially vampires, but Alucard stands above the rest as the strongest of all. As the main attack dog of the Hellsing organization, Alucard defeated other powerful vampires and destroyed entire armies of the undead – and for the most part he holds his own.
Despite his overwhelming power, Alucard did not prove to be invincible. Towards the end of Ultimate, Millennium manages to use Alucard’s abilities against him, resulting in him disappearing for decades and only returning after destroying all the souls he has absorbed. Otherwise, Alucard would probably have destroyed the Millennium alone.
Escanor (The Seven Deadly Sins)
Since a group like the Seven Deadly Sins has so many powerful individuals, some limits have been set for them to increase tension in battles, including nerfs. An example is the sin of pride, Escanor, a man who becomes super strong during the day, enough to destroy powerful demons with ease. However, he was also given a hard limit in order not to be too overwhelmed.
During the day, Escanor is as strong as possible, while at night he shrinks to a slimmer, weaker version of himself. Since its strength also depends on the sun, it also beats for a minute at noon and weakens a little with each passing moment until the sun goes down.
Naruto, like many other Shonen anime, ends with the fact that his titular main character becomes one of the strongest ninjas the world has ever seen, and after the great climate battle is won, he even fulfills his dream of becoming the Hokage. While this would normally be the ending, the story continues throughout Boruto and the spin-off regularly finds ways to make characters from the previous series sick or weakened.
Naruto, in particular, is undoubtedly treated the worst, as he is marginalized for one reason or another, and later his strength is greatly reduced with the loss of Kurama. All this served not to overshadow the next generation of Konoha.
Kirito (Sword Art Online)
If there’s one thing Sword Art Online is known for, it’s how overwhelmed its protagonist is. Kirito’s ability to traverse virtually any digital space he finds himself in, even breaking the game itself, has made many challenges that have arisen overall pretty easy. But even all this did not save Kirito from being temporarily annoyed for a while.
At the beginning of the Underworld War, Kirito’s Fluctlight was damaged, which caused him to be catatonic for much of the story arc. While he was finally recovering, the time Kirito spent in a coma made other characters like Asuna and Alice come into the spotlight.
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