“The Ball-cup Ball-cup Fruit is a Paramecia-Type Devil Fruit that is feared as one of the most powerful in the world. Not only does it enable the user to extend the reach of their head for offensive and defensive purposes, but it also grants them the ability to detach the heads of their opponents through touch. If the Ball-cup Ball-cup user manages to capture the opponent’s head in their cup, they can then absorb the victim’s power and goddammit, it’s another power-stealing ability, isn’t it?”

– Me, being prepared for the haters who think Ball-in-Cup is a useless power

What most excites me about stories with super powers is seeing how imaginative the writers get with coming up with original ideas for abilities or devising clever new applications for ones we’ve seen before. What I especially enjoy is when a power comes completely out of left field and can be easily brushed off as “useless,” but the writer is capable of showing the audience otherwise. Which is why I’m almost always disappointed whenever a Power Stealer/Copier character shows up – there’s no surprises when it comes to them, they just use the same powers we’ve seen from others, and usually in less creative ways. And it’s usually a villain who has this ability, and I immediately feel like the rest of their plot line becomes so much more predictable: “How are we supposed to fight a guy who has all our powers?” someone will inevitably comment. And the answer is, like, teamwork or some shit.

One Piece is one of the few stories I’ve seen that fully takes advantage of the endless possibilities a super power premise offers, even if (or rather, especially because) Eiichiro Oda employs full Looney Tunes logic to really stretch (Gum Gum puns, how fun) what these abilities enable the characters to do. My Hero Academia really feels like it’s capable of the imagination to use its powers in more unique ways, but I find it coming short a lot of times when Kōhei Horikoshi is constantly introducing, and dedicating screen time to, new characters at the expense of earlier characters who I think could use some more development (how the hell is most of Class 1A considered UA’s best prospects with such bland-to-useless quirks?). I’m disappointed in Deku especially, who was introduced as the clever tactician who could analyze all the potential applications and weaknesses of another’s powers to make up for his own lack of such – then he gets his own super powers and devolves into standard shonen “punch/kick them harder” tactics.

And don’t even get me started on Naruto – I can start on that on my own, actually. The Sharingan started off as the power to copy everyone else’s power, but that just wasn’t enough for it, by the end of the series its power was just “whatever the hell I want it to do.” Create fire that can burn anything? Yeah, OK. Summon a giant ghost shield? Sounds about right. Take over the fucking moon and mind control the entire Earth? I don’t see why not?

– James