Power Levels

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Nappa: Vegeta, what does the scouter say about his power level?
Vegeta: (crushes his scouter in a rage) It's over NINE THOUSAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND!

Nappa: WHAT?! NINE THOUSAND?! There's no way that could be right, COULD IIIT!?!

Some works can use Stat-O-Vision to record or sense the magnitude of a character's strength, to an exact number. Units are rarely included, though—it's senseless enough as it is. In any case, this is mildly useful for comparisons, until said levels start getting silly and are dropped altogether, never to be mentioned again.

Sometimes, power levels are mentioned only in supplemental materials since writers can't allow themselves to be bogged down by that sort of thing in the long run. A simpler system of ranks can suffer similar problems.

An advantage of Power Levels is that rating characters or other setting elements in real-world units inevitably falls foul of scientific-minded fans with too much time on their hands. Another is it gives an easy Distribution of Ninjutsu for the audience to compare characters. On the other hand, once they become popular for a certain show beyond said show's intent for its use, the reliance on Power Levels in arguments about characters can develop into Fan Dumb detrimental to its enjoyment.

See also Mana, and Super Weight for actual power-levels.

Also, it's over 9000.

Examples of Power Levels include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Yu Yu Hakusho has official power classification systems for all demons and powerful humans which span over all the story arcs, but are never referred to within the show or the manga until the final arc by Yomi's group (complete with break downs of individual stats that make up the levels).
    • More specifically, they're divided by classes: D class is the lowest mentioned level (probably beatable by a well-trained human with a weapon), then C (dangerous), then B (strong enough to flatten a block), then A (strong enough to wipe out a city), then the S class is for anyone who can punch out Cthulhu.
  • Zettai Karen Children has a pretty basic ESP ranking system, from Level 1 to Level 7. It's at about Level 5 and up that ESPers start to become dangerous, and there are only three known Japanese Level 7s in the show - the lead trio (and the non-Japanese ones are also few in number). The show's Big Bad is beyond the rankings.
    • To clarify, one character mentions that there are only 7 rankings because anything above level 7 is immeasurable.
  • The Pokémon anime has mentioned the numerical levels from the game in only two episodes. Most fans ignore those scenes and the show hasn't brought them up again since.
    • It should be noted that in their brief appearances in the anime, the numerical Power Levels are treated as petty, pedantic nonsense that a skilled trainer can overcome.
    • Pokémon Special is much better with this, as the main character's Pokémon's strengths don't fluctuate like the anime does. At various points, the main character's teams are listed with their stats and abilities, levels included, which gradually do increase as time goes on. However, the levels only indicate their strength; evolution and learning new moves have nothing to do with it.
      • The Pokémon Special Pokédex also has the ability to display levels. At one point, the bad guys make their own Pokédexes and laugh at Yellow for having weak Pokémon (levels ranging from 20-40). However, she uses her Super Empowering ability, and their eyes pop out when the Dex informs them that her Pokémon's levels suddenly rise to the mid-eighties. They wisely run for it.
  • Shaman King has furyoku levels - Horo Horo's is just under 10,000, while the Big Bad, Hao's is over 1.25 million. Even after taking numerous levels in badass, most of the main characters are hovering around a few hundred thousand. Hao gets comparatively stronger. The characters acknowledge just how broken this is, and the story becomes less a matter of beating Hao, but of waiting till Hao wins and then killing him before he becomes God.
  • The Trope Namers are probably the readings off of the ki-detecting scouters from Dragonball Z ("It's over nine thousaaaaand!"). Despite frequent breakage, they kept showing up until well into the Freeza Saga, at which point the numbers start exceeding 6 digits and the writers gave up. The highest number given in-series was Freeza, at over a million in his second form; both he and Goku exceeded that level with additional transformations, but all the scouters on the planet had already been destroyed by that point.[1] Characters could still sense power levels naturally, but their commentary never went beyond, "I've never felt such a strong Ki!"*
    • The disappearance of scouters post-Freeza is somewhat justified in that only those working for Freeza, none of whom can sense ki without a scouter, use them regularly. And thanks to the Z Fighters' ability to conceal their ki at will (or to skyrocket their ki in bursts of Unstoppable Rage, especially in the case of Gohan), those readings ended up being painfully mistaken more often than not. The last time we see them is when Freeza shows up on Earth at the beginning of the Androids/Cell Saga. The heroes can all sense ki naturally, so they never needed them.
    • Much later in the series, Goku's Super Saiyan level was counted by Babidi as 3,000 "kilis" as compared to his monster pet Yakon at a relatively measly 800 kilis. Apparently, according to Dabura, someone with at least 300 kilis can easily destroy the Earth.
    • Note: The level of 9,000 that has been bandied about in a peculiar fashion is an inaccurate translation. In the original Japanese, Vegeta's scounter finds Goku's power level to be over eight thousand. The Ocean Group apparently went with 'nine' because it matched the lip-sync better. The original Japanese dubbing also doesn't make Vegeta's anger level quite so loud at the revelation.
    • The Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT Trading Card Games uses "Power Stages" to determine various things such as attack damage and card cost. These are essentially various Power Levels of the characters' cards. Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta, the strongest character in the entire Dragon Ball universe, has a maximum Power Stage of over 20 million.
    • The Abridged Series measure the energy in Raditz, because he is weak enough to be the unit of Ki.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha's first season, Nanoha and Fate's average magical power were given to be 1.27 million and 1.43 million respectively, the only instance of power levels to be found in the anime. Later seasons would use mage rankings instead. Presumably this was done because when you start at over a million, the numbers are going to get so high they're more humorous than impressive if you keep using that standard.
  • Done quite frequently in Yu-Gi-Oh! and Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, justified somewhat by the way the game operates in both series.
    • And in the actual game, as well, though one has to wonder by what scale they're able to determine the Attack and Defense powers of the monsters... or their monster level, for that matter.
      • It's said somewhere that the "average" monster has 1500 attack and defense power. Yu-Gi-Oh doesn't use exponential power growth like DBZ, making 9000 mean a lot even late in the series.
  • In One Piece, pirate characters possess bounties. While these are actually measures of threat to the World Government rather than power ratings, fans and characters alike consider the difference to be academic, as they are typically a fairly good indicator of strength, though there are just as many exceptions as there are examples, with bounties both over-estimating and under-estimating the real threat of the character. Blackbeard, who might just turn out to be the Big Bad of the entire series, has a bounty of zero.
    • Additionally, some bad guy groups have group-specific Power Level-like ways of demonstrating their strength relative to one another such as CP9's Douriki or the serial numbers for Moria's zombies. The Douriki is pretty much a straight example, which was used during the CP9 arc to rank the members of that storyline's Quirky Miniboss Squad. For a scale comparison, the average soldier has a rating of 10, and anyone above 500 is essentially superhuman. CP9's strongest member, Rob Lucci, had a rating of 4000(nearly double that of the next two below him, Kaku and Jyabura who had 2200 and 2180 respectively). Afterward, Douriki was never mentioned again, on account of it being specific to CP9.
    • Other examples include the numbering system for Gecko Moria's zombies, who were numbered based on what category they fell into, and Baroque Works, whose top six agent pairs were ranked in overall power with 5 being weakest and zero being strongest. Also there were the percentage-based survival rates for the Upperyard Priests' ordeals during the Skypeia arc.
    • Dosun of the New Fishman Pirates has a particularly hilarious version: his Verbal Tic changes to indicate his power level.
  • Spoofed in the Mahou Sensei Negima manga, Jack Rakan puts a major villain's power in context with an oddball list that includes: a tank (200), a magic teacher (300), Negi (500) a dragon (650), an Aegis Battleship (1500), the current villain (3000), and the Kyoto Arc demon that Evangeline took out in one hit (8000). Chisame doesn't even know where to begin in pointing out all the problems with such an arbitrary list.

What an idiotic table... Where do I even begin? What's the basis for these numbers? The teachers are stronger than a tank?

    • List returns in a later chapter set, again made by Jack Rakan, showing Negi's growth and new ability. Negi is then listed at being 2200 with the right spells in mind. While Rakan himself is placed at 12000. However... due to various in plot activities by all involved... the list might not be all that off. As well as the long list of 'stupid things Rakan not only did but broke various laws of Physics to do'.
      • Rakan does note that the rankings aren't as important than they look, saying that with the way combat works Negi (500) could take down the Aegis Battleship (1500). Which makes sense: How is the battleship supposed to hit such a small target?
    • The fun part is the cat that is listed at half of a point. Negi has a mental image in his depression of 1001 cats ganging up and kicking his ass.
    • Kotaro makes his own list later, which has some curious implications if both lists use the same scale: Chizuru-neesan twice as strong as a tank?!
    • Come on, wouldn't you be scared out of your pants with Chizuru coming after you, dual-wielding Negi?
      • Kotaro's rating is less about physical combat ability (which is however one of the factors), than the impression they leave on him. Naturally, the Apron Matron-in-development who all but forcibly adopted him and uses a spring onion suppository as a Running Gag, leaves quite an impression on him.
  • In Claymore every main character is given a numerical rank, with one being the strongest. And come hell or high water, they will just NOT stop talking about what rank they are. Somewhat justified in that there are a LOT of claymores running around, and it's easier to just approximate off rank. Also provides Claire's status as the Almighty Janitor, she's dead last in rank, because she overspecialized to fight Awakened Beings. She gets better. Her replacement on the other hand, is.. less so.
    • How far a warrior taps into her dark yoma powers is also expressed with seemingly precise numbers, even if the scale in this case is a relative percent rather than an absolute measurement of power. According to the veteran number 1 Teresa, when a warrior releases 10% of her power, her eyes go yellow, followed by distortion of the face at 30% and distortion of the body at 50%, with 80% being the point of no return at which the transformation is permanent.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion measured its pilot-to-Eva synch rates by percentages. This gets slightly absurd at one point in the series where the rating exceeds 100%, although nobody ever says that it's a percentage of what's possible rather than a wonky way of reporting two statistics that combine to determine synchronization.
    • This is probably because Unit 1 has a habit of vastly surpassing its own operational parameters.
      • Of course, the issue of Synchronisation can be simplified by the fact it doesn't equate to "ass kicking levels" but how easily and quickly one can operate an Evangelion. Someone with 100% can move an Eva as easily as one's own body, and someone with less than 20% can't do anything. Past 100% the pilot begins to lose the connection with their own body as they become more and more in tune with the Eva's soul. At 400% synchronization the barriers between their souls break completely and the pilot's body dissolves into a primordial stew; they essentially become part of the Eva.
    • That's probably the least absurd number inflation in the series; success rates for insane and/or suicidal missions typically rank between 0.0000582958% and 1%. And they always manage to succeed.
    • Rebuild of Evangelion removes synchronization in favor of the previously less-used "plug depth" to the list of Techno Babble jargon. It can apparently reach negative numbers.
      • From a mechanical viewpoint, this is in fact understandable. The plug is inserted into the Eva's core to allow a connection between the pilot and Eva. Zero depth is not, however, entry into the core but the distance at which further movement into the core will risk "contamination", when feedback from the Eva begins to corrupt the pilot. Negative values are beyond that safety limit.
  • Compare the Eva pilots with the male lead from Dual!, whose synchronization rating was negative 200%. Of course, one possible reason for his mecha being able to move at all could be that it's his alternate self from another dimension.
    • Of course considering that every other pilot in the series has a positive rating one has to wonder exactly what a negative one is supposed to be. Or even how either side would have equipment that could measure a negative rating.
  • To an extent, the "World's Greatest Robot" arc of Astro Boy treats Horsepower as a kind of power level.
  • To Aru Majutsu no Index: ESPers are classified by levels 0 through 5. Level 0 means having no detectable ESPer ability and generally means being normal. Level 5 means the ability to manipulate the ESPer's chosen speciality unconsciously and at a molecular level, qualifying the person as a Person of Mass Destruction. The whole goal of the strongest esper, Accelerator, is to obtain a yet unreached Level 6, though considering how much his power dwarfs that of fellow Level 5 Mikoto, he might as well be one already.
    • This is justified because both, Accelerator and the Second Strongest ESPer, Kakine Teitoku, have powers ranked at a god-like level are the only ones abled to reach the Level 6, being so far absolutely more stronger than the other espers ranked below them. The second strongest states even if he fights against all the armies in the world, and even every esper in Academy City at the same time, he can emerge victorious and unharmed.
    • Ironically, Touma is classified as Level 0 because he registers as normal when scanned, even though his Imagine Breaker easily trumps everyone else's powers, even Accelerator's. This is due to his power nullifying the power scanners.
    • It has nothing to do with nullifying scanners, it's simply that his power can't be measured, to put it simply, if Mikoto throws a railgun at Touma and he nullifies it then it is "stronger than the railgun", but a railgun is already strong enough to kill a human so it's not a good idea to "throw stuff at Touma until he can no longer stop it" because by the time they discover something he can't nullify it will kill him, this example also works for Tsuchimikado who is also labeled as a level 0 but has a regeneration power.
      • Given that Touma's power nullifier can beat Accelerator's uber-broken vector powers (he's by far the strongest Level 5), it would seem that the To Aru world is lacking any stronger attacks to test against it.
      • Not anymore. In NT4, Magic God Othinus just cut off Touma's arm and disabled the Invisible Thing with virtually no effort. It's because the Majin's ability is to make anything happen at 50% probability.[2] And since Touma has little to no luck, Othinus will almost always win the luck checks against him, making it near-impossible for Touma to defeat her.
  • Akuma in D.Gray-man have extremely strictly-defined Power Levels, going so far as to completely define them by said levels. They can even level up by killing people; it's quite like a game for them. Level Ones are mindless killing machines and all look the same, Level Twos have personalities and very varied appearances, and Level Threes are astronomically stronger than the earlier levels and generally look somewhat like armored knights. Level Fours look like twisted cherubs and are powerful enough to take on all of the Generals at once.
  • Used in Kinnikuman initially to just show how powerful Buffaloman is. Prior to him, every one of the main characters had a Choujin Power around 1,000,000, almost all of them less than that. After that, well, we jump from the next arc's Big Bad, Akuma Shogun, who had a Choujin power of 15,000,000, to the five BigBads of the Throne arc, who all had powers of 100,000,000. However, these were mainly ignored for the purpose of storytelling, so by the end of the Throne arc, Robin Mask with his by-then measely 950,000 power beating the berserker Mammothman, Choujin power 78,000,000.
    • May be justified in that Choujin Power seems to only represent brute strength, with no regards to the actual skill of the combatants. Given the prevalence of submission holds in the series, it wouldn't be unheard of for a Weak but Skilled grappler to take down someone with much greater strength.
  • Some competitive games and sports have methods [1] [2] to calculate a player's relative level of ability. This extends into series based on those games. For instance, Hikaru no Go.
    • For plot related reasons Hikaru's rating drastically underestimates his true skill. In a later match a competitor thinks he has an easy match against a mere 1-dan, and ends up horribly curbstomped.
  • In the lesser-known (but completely insane) anime "Ai City", power levels are displayed literally right on the foreheads of the psychics. They all have some sort of sub-dermal implant to let us see how charged up any particular person is. The protagonist, K, is only able to go up to "5" and that basically just gives him enough mind over matter to be really good at kung fu, while his female rival K2 effortlessly goes up to 20-something and can fly. On a couple of occasions when K links his mind with Ai ("I") his power meter goes all the way up to an infinity symbol.
  • In The Legend of Koizumi, power levels are read as Adelhieds, which is how much power someone has when playing Mahjong. In a way, the physics work similar to Dragonball Z, power rises with anger and special abilities, as George W. Bush demonstrates when George H.W. Bush sacrifices himself to save his son, complete with W. Bush flying into a pissed-off rage and killing Otto Skorzeny.
    • Hell, even the Adelhied level reader is similar to a Saiyan Scouter!
  • Saint Seiya realistically measures fighting power in kilowatts; IIRC, however, Ki Attacks are not measured.
    • This was a gimmick used in the Galaxian Wars in order to give the audience a better understanding of the Saint's capabilities. They also measured exerts of strenght with kilograms and freezing techniques with Celsius.
  • In the Street Fighter II animated movie, Shadaloo's Monitor Cyborgs scout strong fighters by watching them fight and then measuring their fighting potential in cold, hard numbers. It is unknown how they calculate these figures, but apparently Ryu has the highest value.
  • In Bleach, two such systems exists:
    • The Gotei 13 ranking system - Seatless Shinigami -> Seated Officer --> Vice-Captain ---> Captain ----> Captain-Commander
    • Hollow classes - normal Hollow -> Gillian --> Adjuchas ---> Vasto Lordes

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • X-Men comics use Greek letters to mark their power levels—Delta-Epsilon (latent), Gamma (almost nonexistent), Beta (weak powers, or powers that only affect the mutant in question), Alpha (powers of moderate to great strength that can affect others), and Omega (depending on the writer, powers that might be "theoretically unlimited" or "can affect the world as a whole"). There are only a dozen or so Omega mutants in the world, but unsurprisingly most of those are part of the primary cast.
    • That's Depending on the Writer. Other times, it's a rating of how useful or convenient a power is. Alpha powers are useful and controllable. Beta powers are useful but with Power Incontinence. Gammas are weak, but controlable, and Epsilon-Delta are basically the Marauders.
  • While the original Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe tried to give exact, unit-specific measurements of strength and powers ("able to generate temperatures of 28,000 degrees Farenheit", "Able bench press ten tons") the newer supplemental material uses a system of levels that are not often consistent with observation and are maddeningly vague—level 3 strength means lifting "somewhere between 800 pounds and 25 tons". The original also went down the fairly mystifying road of saying everyone without strength based powers was average (or below or above) for someone of their age and size, without mentioning that an average obese man without any legs (like Box) can barely lift a coffee can.
    • Conversely, DC's Who's Who tends to take the deliberately vague, but understandable tack of putting everyone's strength levels (or at least the upper-tier powerhouses) as as strong, not as strong, or stronger than Superman.
  • In The Authority, Apollo is described several times as a "Majestic-Class" superhuman, people in the Wildstorm Universe apparently classifying superhumans by notable figures of about the same power (Mr. Majestic, Wildstorm's Superman analogue, in this case).
  • Powers, where ordinary detectives investigate superpowered crimes, has a rough and not very well defined set of power levels from 1-10 to identify how strong a Superhero or villain is.
    • The Superman Expy is ranked as a 10, but only because the entire world would be horrified to find out that they have no way of classifying the upper limit of his power. Especially when he has a mental breakdown.
  • In the Buck Godot universe, civilizations as well as individuals are assigned 'Power Classes', as an easy way to keep track of who should step carefully around who. This 'Class seems to be determined mostly by technological level, but also by numbers and ability. Humanity, as a whole, is classified as Class 12. The only known Class 1 Power is Lord Thezmothete, who appears to be a sentient tree of some sort (He does, however, seem to have several similarly vegetative underlings). Other noteables is The Teleporter, an extra-dimensional alien who exists in a state of continuous transmission, whose capabilities includes transporting entire PLANETS instantaneously across the galaxy - he's a Class 8 Power, all on his lonesome.
  • Top Ten has power levels for psychokinetics. The one the officers have to deal with in issue #6-- an escaped mental patient who thinks he's Santa Claus—has Class Two abilities, which allow him to levitate his stolen sleigh and reindeer, take control of Robyn's gadgets, and toss around Smax while making it snow all over the state. When Robyn wonders what a Class One can do, Smax tells her they can snuff and ignite suns.

Film[edit | hide]

  • In a suspected Jump the Shark moment, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace made Force talent measurable via "midichlorian count". (Can a sub-cellular organism be The Scrappy?) More generous and creative fans have suggested midichlorians may simply be an organelle or parasite which is attracted to high levels of the Force and thus is useful to measure, rather than actually producing it.
    • After measuring kid Anakin's Power Level, they are shocked by the fact how Over Nine Thousand it is (over twenty thousand, more than even Yoda).
    • Unfortunately some dialog in Revenge Of The Sith blows a rather big hole in that theory. Palpatine claims that Darth Plageus could manipulate the midichlorians to create life, which would suggest they have more than a passive role.
    • Even Qui-gon's explanation to Anakin states that the midichlorians "tell us the will of the Force".
    • Most fans (and the EU) view midichlorians are more as the "middle man" that connects them to the force (which Qui Gon said)
    • Since Yoda says that The Force "Binds us together", the theory that it attracts midichlorians rather than being produced by them probably isn't far off the mark. This does not make it any less controversial, though.
  • Used in Rocky IV. Ivan Drago's punching power is measured in PSI, and reaches ridiculous levels (2100, which would slam through iron if his arm didn't shatter first).
  • In X Men the Last Stand, Mutants were inexplicably given power levels that everyone was aware of from 1-5 with Professor X and Magneto as 4s and Jean Grey being the only known 5. Apparently, one "speedster" mutant near the beginning can specifically "sense" these power levels- again having no prior mention in the movies or anywhere else in the X-Men universe.
    • That was supposed to be Psylocke Calisto, with the mutant-identifying powers of fellow Morlock Caliban.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • One of the 'new witches' in Terry Pratchett's Lords and Ladies made the mistake of asking Granny Weatherwax what level she was. However, wizards in Terry's Discworld do have levels, unsurprisingly ending at eight.
    • Of course, the wizard's levels was not an indication of actual power, just a ranking system that you could climb through completely non-magical means (such as a snake hidden in someone's bedsheets). Then that whole idea was scrapped and now the wizards are just bickering old men.
      • More to the point, it was scrapped because at one point, the University got Mustrum Ridcully, a head wizard who a) came down hard on any silly buggers who tried You Kill It, You Bought It in his faculty and (more to the point) b) was bloody impossible to kill.[3]
  • The Night Watch 'verse has power levels for its magicians, but they count down instead of up. A level 4 magician can do little more than tricks, a level one can do amazing things - but they're all limited to learning incantations or using artifacts; only magicians Beyond Classification have true and instinctive access to magic.
    • It starts at level 7 and goes to 1 then beyond classification, and finally Absolute Zero. A Level 7 can visit the first level of twilight but just barely. They may have specific talents, but are quite weak. A Level 4 can influence large masses of people while a level 1 could rule a large nation or crush it. At Beyond Classification it becomes meaningless.
  • The Talents of Anne McCaffrey's Rowan series have a count-up system for measuring Psychic Powers, with "Primes" as the very best in their fields and usually in charge of their entire planet's psi-operations. Notably, this measurement is not fixed, as a number of lesser Talents have been upgraded to better levels as their powers develop. Consistent with the trope, Primes get consistently stronger as the series evolves, with Superpowerful Genetics ensuring that later generations greatly surpass their parents.
  • In David Farland's The Runelords series, people can use magic to bestow their strength, sight, intelligence and so forth onto others, thus giving the latter e.g. "the endurance of two men". The book starts with trained warriors and assassins having six to ten of such endowments, but quickly reaches ridiculous proportions with thousands of elite troops having hundred endowments each, and the main antagonist literally having thousands of endowments for each attribute. It is never explained why this man doesn't simply take over the world single-handedly.
    • Um, logistics? He needs people to take care of his dedicates and make sure they don't die or get killed while he isn't around, and he can only be in one place at a time. You may as well ask why Superman bothers with the Justice League and doesn't take care of all crime everywhere all the time all by himself.
  • Metapsychic power and power usage in Julian May's Saga of the Exiles series is occasionally measured on a (apparently logarithmic) scale.

"Your over-modulated hell-load must have finished Felice off. Probably the Little King as well. The PC [psychocreative] equivalent was in the seven hundreds, for Christ's sake."

  • Diana Wynne Jones's Chrestomanci novels seem to rank magical ability with names for levels, rather than numbers. Witches and warlocks are described as weakest, with power increasing as the rating system goes up to necromancers, wizards, sorcerers, magicians and enchanters. Enchanters are the strongest of all magic-users, and nine-lived enchanters are even stronger than normal enchanters. There are also side categories such as shamans and mages who are not described in detail. There are some vague differences in how each category of magic-user performs magic, but the stronger classes are able to perform all lower levels of magic.
  • The Heralds of Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey features a defined system for measuring the Power Level of mages. Apprentices are those with a bare minimum of talent or those just learning the art. Journeymen can manipulate their own Life Energy as well as power from their immediate surroundings. Masters are able to manipulate Ley Lines, and Adepts can manage nodes, the strongest energy sources. Somewhat confusingly, the same terms are used to describe both a mage's current rank and their maximum potential, so one could be a Journeyman who aspires to Adept or a Master who is incapable of progressing farther. It is implied that Psychic Powers operate on a similar scale but no formal measurements are ever introduced.
  • In the Wheel of Time series how much of Saidin or Saidar, two parts of the One Power a person can hold is apparently an inborn trait, but they still have to train to reach their potential. Rand Al'Thor, The Chosen One, can hold the highest amount of the One Power of anyone in the series. Ishamael, his Evil Counterpart, appears to be a match for him in strength; the strongest female channelers (Alivia and Lanfear) are not as strong (but Lanfear has more finesse).
  • In The Acts of Caine, Caine registers as a grade six weapon due to his Monastic training. This is only slightly higher than an armsman, so the Khryllians aren't particularly worried about it. After all, their Knights have divine-given Super Speed and Super Strength, they can deal with entire armies. Caine enjoys proving to them that their system is bunk.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Babylon 5 had P-levels for its telepaths.
    • Officially the rankings count range and power, with P0 or P1 being all but useless. P2-P5 become commercial telepaths, P6-10 work with the government, and P10-12 work in the corps with P12 being the rank of Psi-Cops. P13 is the maximum rank are quite rare and tend to be the object of experiments.
      • And then there is Lyta Alexander, whose P-level may actually have BEEN Over Nine Thousand.
        • And that guy that had multiple personality disorder, with like 4 personalities and a different P rating for each.
  • In Heroes, there's some online viral bonus material that lists the "power levels" of several of the show's characters, in the form of "case files" listing "control index" and "biological, cerebral, elemental, and temporal/spatial" levels . Most of the files are on characters from the on-line comics, but a few of the show's main characters are listed. I.E. Matt's stats are "25% control, 25/90/45/20", Ted's stats are "12% control, 45/55/95/5", and Sylar's stats are "76% control, 40/85/45/20".
  • Kamen Rider typically provides data for the abilities of each Rider, such as how hard they can punch and kick (measured in tons!), how fast their 100-meter dash is, how high they can jump, and other similar statistics.
    • The "tons" are "tonnes of TNT". Considering 1t does this, god only knows what the realistic damage of Kamen Rider Kiva's 10t Darkness Moon Break Rider Kick would do.
    • Kamen Rider Ryuki plays it a bit straighter by assigning AP (Attack Point) values to all the Riders' attacks, from their basic punches and kicks to their Final Vents.
    • Kamen Rider Blade takes it one step further - the Rider's weapons start with 5000 AP, and cards swiped through them have their AP values subtracted from this. Special cards that add AP appear late into the series.
      • For both of these, 1000 AP is still 1t.
  • The Whedonverse apparently has power levels for witches (and possibly mages in general)- in "Checkpoint", a Watcher asks Willow and Tara what their levels are, and if they'd registered under the names they provided.
  • Oprah

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Human psykers in Warhammer 40,000 are ranked by Greek letters, in a system known as "The Assignment". Normal human psychic potential is Rho/Pi, a Lambda level psyker can give you a mild headache, an Epsilon is pretty terrifying, and an Alpha-class can snap a titan in half with a gesture. Further through the Greek alphabet is various degrees of Anti-Magic, up to Omega (generally known as Pariahs or untouchables), which is such strong anti-magic it can harm the souls of people nearby.
    • Incidentally, the detachment from reality involved means that all psykers above Beta level are almost certainly insane by default. Obvious exceptions include The God-Emperor and the Primarchs.
      • Notably, while the Imperium is very interested in collecting and sanctioning psykers for various reasons (they're the only FTL-communication apart from sending a ship somewhere; they can defend the Imperium against psychic and daemonic foes; and uncontrolled, they'll likely fall prey to daemons and allow them to materialize), they generally don't even attempt to train Alpha levels - the usual response is a bullet in the head.
    • And there are some that don't actually fit in this - the scale is extended to Alpha-plus and Omega-Minus for those individuals for whom the 24 greek letters do not suffice. Older canon even covers higher plus/minus levels that double back through the alphabet, where you're really more talking about Eldritch Abominations than anything else. Or the Emperor.
      • It should be noted however, that the scale only ranks human psykers. Eldar Farseers don't have an Assignment equivalent, and Cosmic Entities like the Chaos Gods far exceed the scale.
    • It should also go without saying that being a tabletop game, models are also given a 'point' cost to field, with more powerful models costing more.
  • Very common in Role Playing Games such as Dungeons & Dragons, where monsters are rated on some sort of scale by how powerful they are or how much experience and treasure they impart. Very uncommon, however, is for this power level to be referenced at all in the game world (except in comedic, 4th wall breaking series), making it strictly a game mechanic.
    • Except when it's not. At the very least, the in-game characters know how powerful a magic weapon is in + values (quote from the 3.5 Magic Item Compendium's Armor section: "My armor? +3 adamantine light fortification full plate. I wouldn't leave home without it."), at least when the DM feels like it.
    • Power Levels for spells, however, do come up in-character from time to time. Well, it'd have to: either a spell is within your skills at a given point in your adventuring career, or it's not.
  • Mutants and Masterminds uses actual Power Levels to constrain characters to a roughly even playing field. All offensive and defensive powers must be at or under their character's PL. The only exception is that it is allowable to trade off on opposing traits like accuracy versus damage, or defense versus toughness. Powers like non-offensive teleportation and telekinesis lack such bounds except in house rulings. Like D&D, it's rare for this to come up in-character, however.
  • Your base Essence stat in Exalted tends to represent this...but it's only really a barely consistent measure of raw power between members of the same Exaltation. (Dragon-bloods, for example, tend to be significantly weaker than Solars or Abyssals, and Alchemicals veer up and down wildly depending on whether they've had time to optimise their Charm loadouts against you or not.)
  • The original Marvel Superheroes RPG ranked powers (and everything else in fact) in a scale from 1 to 100, broken into the following tiers: Feeble (1-2), Poor (3-4), Typical (5-6), Good (up to 10), Excellent (20), Remarkable (30), Incredible (40), Amazing (50), Monstrous (75) and Unearthly (100). Most Marvel characters had abilities between Excellent and Remarkable ranks, while the most powerful ones had some between Monstrous and Unearthly.
    • A letter expansion also added Shift Zero (0) for abilities ever lower than a 1, and Shift X (150), Shift Y (200), and Shift Z (500) for ones beyond Unearthly. Class 1000, Class 3000 and Class 5000 were added for the truly Cosmic Beings. The absolutely highest level was Beyond-Rank, that had no number (it was infinite.) Only one character had abilities of this caliber: the Beyonder from Secret Wars.
  • Supernaturals in the New World of Darkness generally have a "Power Stat" that represents raw supernatural power—Blood Potency for Vampires, Primal Urge for Werewolves, Gnosis for Mages, Azoth for Prometheans, Wyrd for Changelings, and Psyche for Sin-Eaters. Across the board, the power stat allows for increased Mana storage and expenditure, as well as an increased resistance against mind-affecting supernatural powers.
    • Before that, Vampire: The Masquerade had Generation, which reflected how distantly descended a vampire was from Caine. The fourteenth and fifteen generation Kindred were viewed by a large chunk of vampire society as aberrations and harbingers of the end of the world, whereas third generation vampires were basically regarded as dread gods made flesh (the second generation was destroyed long ago, and the first generation was... well, Caine).

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Levels in RPGs are a meta example of this, of course.
  • A Shout-Out is made in Fallout 3, with the Mysterious Stranger (a Shout-Out himself to Dirty Harry and cliched movie detectives) with his .44 Magnum Revolver, which has a damage level of Over Nine Thousand!
    • Sadly, the Mysterious Stranger's .44 Magnum actually only does exactly nine thousand.
      • The weapon itself has 9000 as its damage value, but with the Stranger's skill points in Small Guns, it does more than 9000 damage when he uses it.
  • Beings in Darkstalkers are ranked by letters. "D" being a monster with capabilities less than those of human beings, "C" being an average monster on par with a human (and humans themselves), "B" being a trained monster capable of wiping their butts with "C-Class" demons, "A" is exceptionally strong and are the rulers of the demon world, and "S" being essentially a Physical God. Most of the playable characters are As and Bs, with a few exceptions. Baby Bonnie Hood is the only known human with the slightest capability of damaging an S-Class demon thanks to her insanity, intense training, and impossibly large arsenal of hidden weapons.
  • As part of their being Genre Savvy and the game's Thin 4th Wall characters in the Disgaea series can sense each others' levels and reference them in conversation, such as when Rozalin asks where Adell's confidence comes from and ask if he's really level 10,000. (He isn't yet.)
    • Supplemental materials also discuss how at least one character class has power ranked at over 100 Polga. There are no clues as to what this might actually mean.
    • In the various Disgaea games, you can actually level your characters up beyond level 9000, but more importantly with enough grinding you can have the stats needed to to billions of damage easily, one-shotting the strongest bosses the games have to offer.
  • The first three games in the Mega Man X series had listings of the robot bosses at the end, just before the credits. In X3, the images were combined with ratings for strength and speed. Most of the bosses topped at about 10,000 for one or the other, Sigma made it up to 16,000 both, and Battle Body Sigma reached 25,600 for both (despite the fact that he was slower than dirt). Interestingly, X and Zero both had ratings of "?", which is confirmed in X4 when Cyber Peacock proclaims that X's potential is limitless (though he immediately tries to discredit his readings by claiming it's not possible).
  • D-Ratios in Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter: a 1/8192 is doomed to a life of grunt work, a 1/64 is a shoo-in for leadership, a 1/4 is close to being a Physical God.
    • The D-Ratios were a measurement of a person's chance - assumed to be genetic - of 'linking' with a dragon. 1/4: 25% of that person linking with, and effectively becoming an avatar of, a dragon. 1/8192: .012% of the link occurring. Looking this stuff up is definite Low-D work.
  • Before boss fights in MadWorld, a screen with a "Death Watch" rating will compare the main character to whoever he's fighting.
  • Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica, Replakia. Can be charged up to MILLIONS of percent. Here's an example.
  • Escape Velocity Nova has T-rankings for psionic powers. T-6 is human standard, T-5 is telepathy, T-4 is mild telekinesis. T-3 and downwards are telekinetics strong enough to make spaceships and beam weaponry out of their powers. T-1 and T-0 are capable of uniting the minds of many lesser talents to do crazy stuff.
  • Gear Score intends to measure this, but falls flat on so many levels that it has become prime Flame Bait. Most notably, it only counts the "Item Level" of equipment, not how useful that equipment is.
  • The Gohma from Asura's Wrath power level's are measured by impurity levels. The higher the level, the stronger the gohma. The leader of the gohma, Gohma Vlitra, has an impurity level that is IMMEASURABLE.

Visual Novels[edit | hide]

  • Justified in Fate Stay Night; a status screen a la Tabletop RPG is how Shirou is able to rank the abilities of each Servant. For each stat, (STR, END, AGI, MAG, LUK, Noble Phantasm) a letter from E to A is assigned, and a + marker is assigned for those stats which can be boosted depending on the circumstance. It is also noted that E-rank is already far beyond what a normal human could ever achieve. This same ranking system is also used for the Noble Phantasms. In addition, the Noble Phantasms are assigned a type depending on how much damage they can deal, from Anti-Personnel to Anti-World (in one case), or even Anti-God (in Fate/Apocrypha). This ranking system carries over to the rest of the Fate/ series works.
  • In True Remembrance, a Mnemonicide's power is ranked through Greek letters starting from Epsilon until Alpha. The rarest and most powerful ones are branded Omega, which indicates that they can completely erase a person's memory without any traces.
  • Spoofed in Episode 4 of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, where in a fantasy scene, Krauss fights one of the goat butlers. It involves a whole lot of power levels and death flags in a ridiculously cliche fashion reminiscent of old-style shounen fighters. Suffice to say, it must be seen to be believed.

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • In the Whateley Universe, most powers have defined levels, at least they're defined by the powers testing guys. And the authors even wrote a bunch of them up on the website. Still, they're all WAY below Marvel or DC levels.
    • Note that this possibly is one of the few times that this trope might actually be fully justified: Power levels are more for the purposes of classification, and are known to be really deceptive, as they're very much descriptive, rather than proscriptive.

Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Flipside has a three-level system, but it's inherent to the system of magic; there are three barriers, or "seals", in the mind that must be broken to reach each level. The first seal can be broken by training under a master, the others require a life-or-death ritual at a magical location.
    • The mage, Suspiria, broke all three seals at once. No one can figure out how she did it, Suspiria included. And the lack of practical experience shows. She doesn't let either fact stop her from considering herself a magical genius.
  • Undoubted Shout-Out in this strip.
  • Homestuck has two Shout Outs.

TT: Her boss supposedly had jacked her power level through the roof. I even heard, and don't quote me on this, that she may have been over 9000.
GT: Heavens to betsy.
GT: That figure is just absurd.

Do you realize this adventure is nearing 5000 panels? And now we have to watch you flounder around in a jail cell for god knows how long? Exactly how many panels do you want this to go on for? Over 9000? Nobody wants that. Nobody even wants to hear the phrase "over 9000."

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In The Real Ghostbusters, ghosts have "levels" which are measured by PKE meters; for anything above level 9, the proton packs and traps are totally ineffective, while level 1 is impossibly low. Certain ghosts who were victims of Ghost Dracula were ones and twos, and couldn't even fly and go through walls, being completely drained of ectoplasm).
  • In the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode Hurricane Fluttershy, the ability of a pegasus to displace air in flight is measured in Wing Power. Rainbow Dash, who is the only pony known to be able to break the sound barrier, comes in at an impressive 16.5 Wing Power, but Fluttershy, who is not a strong flyer, is individually measured no higher than 2.3. Despite the emphasis on training to raise one's individual power level, it takes a minimum of 800 cumulative Wing Power to create a tornado large enough to move water from the ground to the cloud factories in the sky, so doing work and breaking records is largely based on the number of pegasai involved.
  1. One of the Daizenshuu official guide books lists Freeza's maximum power level as 120,000,000, and Super Saiyan Goku's as 150,000,000.
  2. This means she can defeat the strongest opponents half the time, and yet she can still lose to the weakest opponents half the time.
  3. Note that he has gone five rounds boxing with a troll, swims in the frozen river that is so acidic it would dissolve the legs off wading birds, crashed through a barn on a speeding broomstick, and arm wrestled with the Librarian, an orangutan with the bad habit of unscrewing the heads of people that call him a monkey; he didn't win but he didn't lose an arm.