Trope Workshop:Average in One World, Powerful in Another

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People who live in a world much like ours where they are just average with nothing supernatural or extraordinary. While in another world, they have superpowers or certain items with powers, and when coming back to their world, their powers are usually inaccessible. The other world seems to have an empowering effect on individuals based on the nature of the world. The setting usually has two worlds that people can go from one to another, such as a portal, teleportation, a mystical artifact, or other means.

Heavyworlder is a subtrope more common in Sci-Fi. See also HAD to Be Sharp for adaptations or training forced by harsh environment (natural or unnatural) on its inhabitants.

A staple trope of the Portal Fantasy sub-genre.

Examples of Average in One World, Powerful in Another include:

Anime and Manga

  • Yumeria has a dreamworld called Moera where visitors gain different outfits, powers, and weapons. The main character can also give the others in Moera a boost in power.
  • Averted in Fairy Tail where the characters are brought to Edolas and can't use magic unless they use certain equipment. This is solved when they swallow a crystal which allows them to use magic normally.
  • Yumeji, from Dream Eater Merry, has an ability called Lucid Gear that can only be used in a Daydream. Later on, he then becomes able to use his power in reality until he has to face Dream Demons summoned by Rem in the real world.
  • Played with in the manga Isekai Ojisan: when the titular character was dragged to a fantasy world, he didn't have any special powers there, but he was able to learn the local magic. Then he is returned to the modern world 17 years later, he still has the knowledge and can use magic.
  • El-Hazard: The Magnificent World, one of the earlier Isekai licensed for release in North America, has four people gain powers when they are transported from Earth to El-Hazard. (Which powers they get depends on which continuity they are in.) At the end, at least one of the people returns to Earth.
  • There's no evidence that the main characters of Magic Knight Rayearth get to keep their new-found abilities when they return to Earth.
  • MÄR has people from Earth that are teleported to MÄR-Heaven due to it's lower gravity gain superhuman strength and better eyesight(which isn't explained).
  • In The Devil is a Part-timer, magic on Earth is limited and that other means are needed to use it. The magical world of Ente Isla has magic in abundance that can be used without any restriction. An example would be demons who need the negative emotions of humans to use their form of magic while also regaining their demonic forms.
  • In Log Horizon, gamers get spells and powers based on their in-game avatars. When in the real world, they're just typical normal humans. [context?]
  • Flip Flappers has the world of Pure Illusion where those who can synchronize with a crystal gain the power to Flip Flap. This process gives the Flip Flappers magical powers along with a different look.
  • Yuki Yuna is a Hero has the girls who use the Hero System go into another realm called the Jukai in order to defend the Shinju from the Vertex. When they are in this other reality, they gain superhuman strength, speed, stamina, eyesight, armor, and a Fairy. The Fairies support their heroes by giving them weapons and abilities to fight the Vertex.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya have Espers that cannot access their powers unless in a Closed Space or a similar dimension. The only powers they have in reality are sensing the Closed Spaces and entering them.
  • Corrector Yui have people called Correctors who use a ComCon to go into the ComNet without a VR unit. As a Corrector in the ComNet, they can use Element Suits that can be given by Corrector AIs.
  • An interesting example from Infinite Dendrogram where the players aren't playing a VRMMO but an actual world with living people where their avatars have actual powers.
  • Fairy Tale Battle Royale have people appear in fairy tale settings as the main characters of those stories. If their fairy tale character had some sort of power then they will be granted their ability. An example would be if their character is Peter Pan, the person would be able to fly.

Comic Books

  • The manfra, Dreamland, have people known as Traveler who gains access to the titular setting by facing their phobia and gaining a power related to it.
  • Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld in the original series featured Amy Winston, a normal teenage girl who travels to the magic-ruled Gemworld and transforms into Princess Amethyst. While on Earth, she's a normal girl without any powers, on Gemworld, she possesses the magical powers of the House of Amethyst.

Literature

  • In The Chronicles of Narnia, the Pevensies are just British kids living in the 1940s on Earth, but in Narnia, they're powerful kings and queens.
    • Also, to top it all off, their reputation in Narnia is similar to King Arthur's.
  • John Carter, in John Carter of Mars, gains superhuman strength and agility when he is teleported to Mars or Barsoom due to it's lower gravity. John uses a form of interstellar travel where his soul travels to another planet where he gets another body.
  • The colonists of the world Pyrrus in Harry Harrison's 1960 SF novel Deathworld. Pyrrus has a gravity twice that of Earth, making them Heavyworlders, but that's not where it stops. The entire planet is actively hostile to the human colonists and every single life form on it down to the plants is trying to kill them; the colonists are trained from the moment they're in diapers to kill or be killed, just to survive. Few ever leave Pyrrus, but those that do are unstoppable juggernauts.

Live-Action TV

  • In Denkou Choujin Gridman, Gridman fuses with Naoto in order to fight Kaiju in the Computer World that causes any chaos to it. He has access to help from Junk (a computer made from different junk computer parts) with Yuka and Ippa's assistance makes Assists Weapons that can help him fight the monsters.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

Tabletop Games

  • An inverted example from d20 Modern‍'‍s "Urban Arcana" setting: monsters from Dungeons & Dragons fall to Earth as "Shadowkind". Monsters that are large physical combatants aren't special on their home world, but pose the greatest danger in the "real" world due to the high density of civilians, weapon restrictions, and the lower power level of heroes (especially heroic magic users). This is especially true of anything with damage reduction that requires magic to bypass it -- in D&D one is expected to have a magic weapon by about level 4 and can find ways to have one temporarily from the first level, but in Urban Arcana any kind of magic weapon is exceptionally rare and likely archaic even if you find one.

Video Games

  • Tokyo Xanadu has the Eclipse, which is an overlap of reality with the Spirit World where certain people can use armaments called Soul Devices that can be used against creatures called Greed.
  • Subverted in Persona 4 and 5 where the characters can summon their Personas while in the TV World and Metaverse, respectively. The characters within the setting believe that they can only summon them in the alternate dimensions. They can still summon them, but they would need to under heavy duress or the use of an evoker.
  • The Longest Journey has the two worlds of Stark and Arcadia that each have science and magic, respectively. A shifter can go between the two and have access to magic while in Arcadia. Stark favors science and technology compared to the use of magic in the Arcadia.
  • In Viewtiful Joe, the V-Watch cannot be used in the Real World and only in Movieland. To circumvent this limitation is through the use of being filmed by a V-Cam to transform with it.
  • The Mario Bros. in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team are as strong as they normally are in the rest of the Mario & Luigi series. But in the Dream World, Mario gains a mild boost to his stats and his regular attacks are turned into crowd-clearing AoE moves.
  • The Holy Instruments, from Dual Hearts, can only take form and be used by Rumble while in the Dream World.
  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE has people called Mirage Masters who are people that bonds with a Mirage. They can enter the Idolasphere where Mirages reside and feast on people Peforma. Mirage Masters gains the power of a Mirage once they willing to share their Performa and gain their Carnage Form to use their MIrage's power in the Idolasphere.

Web Comics

  • In the Layers webtoon, certain teenagers can teleport to another world called Layer and have the powers such as telekinesis. Once someone becomes an adult, they lose the ability called Transfer that allows transportation to it.
  • Her Summon webtoon has a Summoner from another world summons Jin-Kyung from modern-day South Korea. While summoned, he gains magical powers through the use of objects brought with him. He uses these mundane items as a conduit for spells while the item gets used up as a battery would become dead and an insecticide gets emptied. When he is teleported back, he loses magic even when he tries a spell with an item that hasn't been used up.
  • Hardcore Leveling Warrior has the virtual reality game of Lucid Adventure, which turns out to be an actual world. It was created by using an object called God's Toy and is in a sub-space that is connected to players' consciouness through their dreams.

Western Animation

  • Midnight Patrol: Adventures in the Dream Zone has the group and children and their dog are normal until they each have special powers while in the Dream Zone
  • Twelve Forever has the three protagonists who can teleport themselves to Endless Island where each has a unique power. Twelve get superhuman strength, Esther can create whips of light and transport made out the same material, and Todd is a shapeshifter.
  • Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero has the three protagonists take over for the heroes in the dimension that may be a hero with superpowers depending on who they overshadow.
  • In Code Lyoko whenever a person gets Virtualized into Lyoko to gain a form and abilities that seem to be based on their personality.
  • Magic chalk from Chalk Zone is ordinary chalk while in the real world. It can open a portal to the titular zone and draw anything when in a person's hands. The chalk can only draw in the hands of a human artist and can't be used by the inhabitants of Chalk Zone.
  • Space Jam has any person who enters the Loony Tunes World has the same attributes of a cartoon character such a being inflated like a balloon to streaching their arm.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: Averted, in Orko's home dimension, he's a very good mage and enough to challenge the Istari. Whereas Eternia's magic environment crippled him so much that he comes across an inept.

Other Media