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Anime Superpowers Ranked Worst To Best

While the superhero genre has plenty of weird powers, DC and Marvel pale in comparison to some of the wacky abilities found in anime. Sure, Spider-Man can do everything that a spider can, but he can't fix something just by punching it really hard like the protagonist in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, so how useful can he really be? 

Anime superpowers are just on a different level when it comes to strangeness, and even the most straightforward shonen battle anime can showcase some bizarre powers and techniques. The question is, how helpful are they outside of the very specific context of anime? In other words, would you actually enjoy having these superpowers, or would you rather stick with your everyday life? Teleportation and flying seem great, but there are plenty more interesting and more appealing superpowers to be found. From the gross to the great, here are anime superpowers ranked from worst to best.

This superpower in My Hero Academia is just gross

In the world of My Hero Academia, superpowers are called Quirks, and there's a good reason for that. To put it simply, they're pretty quirky. Even the weirder superheroes and supervillains of DC and Marvel don't have much to compare to the Crawler, a hero who can slide across a surface as long as three of his limbs are touching it, or Muscular, a villain whose muscle fibers rip out of his skin when he gets too strong. There's obviously a pretty wide gulf of Quirk quality, is what we're saying.

However, Minoru Mineta's Pop Off power might be the grossest and least useful Quirk in the bunch. He can rip off the sticky balls that grow on his head to throw them out as sticky traps, but if he throws too many, his head starts to bleed. That's barely even a superpower. He's basically just throwing out big sticky scabs from his own head. Part of the appeal of superhero fiction is the fantasy of being able to perform the outlandish actions of the protagonists. If there's any wish fulfillment that comes from being able to throw giant sticky balls from your head, it's not one that we can understand. The only benefit we can see in this power is that Mineta probably saves a lot of money on shampoo and conditioner.

Telekinesis in Akira isn't worth the trade-off

Akira is one of the best anime of the '80s and one of the greatest Japanese movies ever made. It's a genuine masterclass in animation by every conceivable metric, but the one place that it doesn't excel is in showcasing a great superpower. Sure, telekinesis seems like a great deal at first, especially once we see how powerful Tetsuo and the other psychic children are when they use it. Who hasn't dreamed of tapping into your own inner power when you realize that you've left the television remote on the other side of the room right when you're at your most comfortable?

Unfortunately, that power comes with a pretty hefty price. In Tetsuo's case, he eventually becomes a warped mass of flesh and meat that's completely out of control and looks exceptionally gross. Being able to fly, teleport, and control things with your mind just isn't worth looking like a giant lump of hamburger and intestines. It seems far more preferable to be a regular, non-powered biker punk in Neo-Tokyo than mess around with psychic powers, especially since Kaneda doesn't need any superpowers to do incredibly cool moves.

Having the superpower in Kimetsu no Yaiba would probably stink

In Kimetsu no Yaiba, the lead character, Tanjiro, is blessed with an extraordinarily strong sense of smell, even by the often absurd standards of anime abilities. His nose is so powerful that he can sniff out demons from great distances, smell when people are lying, and even smell when the best opportunity to slice a demon's throat presents itself. We can't even fathom a guess for how that last ability would even work, but Tanjiro's keen sense of smell is clearly useful. 

So why does this superpower land on the low end of the list? Put simply, it seems like this would make your life stink. There are plenty of times in life when having a great sense of smell is actually a hindrance. At the zoo? Try not to breathe through your nose. Need to take a trip to the dump? Bring some clothespins. Get sprayed by a skunk? Well, at that point, your life becomes a living hell. As impressive as Tanjiro makes it seem, something just smells fishy about this ability.

What would you even use giant fists for?

The world of Bleach, which sees the human world intersecting with a realm of ghosts and demon-like entities called Hollows, features some pretty bizarre superpowers. Not all of them are really that useful, however. Many of the main characters have swords that can do everything, from turning into sharp flower petals to morphing into a giant bone dragon. In the context of those outlandish powers, Chad's ability is almost mundane. He's naturally very strong, and his spiritual power manifests by giving him stronger arms that look cool. Super strength is generally one of the more basic superpowers, and no matter how rad Chad's armored biceps might look, his abilities pale in comparison to his friends'. Orihime can heal any wound, Rukia can freeze people, and main character Ichigo can turn into a demon and dart around whenever he wants. Compared to all the outlandish possibilities, the power to be strong enough to punch holes in walls just seems boring.

Turning Super Saiyan doesn't sound all that super

Despite what battle manga seem to imply, there's more to life than getting into fights with progressively stronger opponents with the fate of the world at stake. At some point in even the most frenetic anime hero's life, there's bound to be some downtime where they can put their absurd powers to work in more productive and gratifying ways. At least, that seems possible when they actually possess superpowers that have value outside of fighting. 

In Dragon Ball Z, Goku and his Saiyan friends can become exponentially stronger by going "Super Saiyan," which turns their hair a different color depending on the level and lets them move quicker and punch harder. That's all well and good, but what use is that in the downtime between fights? Even the non-Saiyan characters in Dragon Ball Z can fly and shoot energy blasts, so it's not as if they're missing out on much. Turning Super Saiyan is basically the equivalent of downing a few energy drinks mid-fight, which doesn't sound all that enticing to us.

Morphing into an anime Titan doesn't seem worth it

You don't have to be Tom Hanks in Big to wish that you were a bit larger than you are now. Who among us can say that they haven't built sand towers on the beach and then pretended that they were Godzilla stomping through Tokyo? And in Attack on Titan, a select group of people have the ability to turn into giant, naked creatures more or less whenever they want, usually in order to fight less intelligent, giant, naked creatures. That seems like a fine deal, unless you're a never nude, but it comes with some serious catches. 

For one, you're sentenced to die seven years after you receive the power. For another, anyone can steal that power by eating you, which sounds less like a superhero fantasy and more like a horrible horror movie curse. Add in the fact that you're not actually indestructible while in your giant naked form, and it starts to seem like building a tiny town to stomp through on your time is a much better hobby to have. On the plus side, you can regenerate limbs like a lizard as long as you don't lose your head.

JoJo's Crazy Diamond is crazy useful

It's easier to break things in life than it is to fix things. Lose your temper around something fragile, and you might just end up with a pile of trash instead of the treasured possession that it once was. Luckily for Josuke Higashikata, the protagonist of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, that's not something he ever needs to worry about. In fact, his Stand's power is to basically heal and repair things by punching them. The capabilities of Crazy Diamond are almost limitless, as it's able to rebuild things that are broken even without having all the pieces in front of it. It can heal injuries, restore things to their base components, and it's super fast and super strong in case Josuke ever needs something or someone to be broken. Even in the world of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, with actual vampires and Stand powers that can warp time and refresh the body through delicious pasta, we're hard-pressed to think of a more useful superpower in everyday life than being able to fix or heal anyone or anything.

Alchemy in Fullmetal Alchemist seems amazing

So what's better than breaking anything or repairing anything? Making anything! In Fullmetal Alchemist, all it takes to reshape stuff into whatever you want it to be is a clap of the hands and a mental image. Well, you also need to attempt human transmutation and give up a central part of yourself to an otherworldly power/location called the Doors of Truth. Kind of like the saying "I'd give an arm and a leg to do that," the Doors of Truth literally make you trade something extremely valuable in order to do these very effective clapbacks. The price might be steep, but once you've paid it, it's smooth sailing from there. From building houses to reshaping the ground underneath your feet, anyone who can do alchemy on that level seems to basically have it made. Still, most superhero origin stories don't start with trying to bring your mother back from the dead through a forbidden series of scientific rituals, so maybe alchemy isn't exactly the perfect superpower.

This anime fruit is rubbery goodness

The Devil Fruits in One Piece seem to have pretty much no restriction when it comes to the physical world. There's a Munch-Munch Fruit that can let the user eat it and become anything, a Bloom-Bloom Fruit that can make a person's body parts appear out of any surface, and dozens of other weird ones. That's not even including the animal ones that seem to exist to make Zootopia fans' wildest dreams come true. 

Still, for our money, the main character's power in One Piece seems like the best. With the Gum-Gum Fruit, Luffy is immune to bludgeoning attacks and lightning, plus he's able to stretch any part of himself. It's a power that seems to be limited only by the user's imagination. Besides never getting to swim again (a weakness that all Devil Fruit users have regardless of their specific fruit's powers), there's pretty much no downsides to being a rubber man.

Genos in One-Punch Man is a work in progress

Everyone is a work in progress, metaphorically speaking, but that doesn't always mean that people are constantly improving. It's rare for a person to simply improve and get better in a linear fashion without some slip-ups or missteps along the way. But in Genos' case in One-Punch Man, that's not something he has to worry about. 

As an ultra-powerful cyborg, Genos is guaranteed a steady stream of improvements from his creator that seem to make him exponentially more powerful at every turn. Improving a skill and getting better on your own is hard work. Wouldn't it be easier if a friendly scientist just sent you upgrades whenever you felt depressed about your abilities? Of course, this has its own drawbacks. Depending on your relationship to posthumanist philosophy, you might balk at replacing all of your squishy, fleshy parts with metal and laser beams. Still, fortune favors the bold, and living life as an ultra-powerful flying cyborg seems like a sweet deal.

Knov in Hunter x Hunter has free rent

Even by the standards of anime superpowers, Nen in Hunter x Hunter is absurd. Every individual user basically decides, with seemingly no obvious limits, what they want their power to be, and voila, it's possible. Smoke control, power theft, spa packages, and even a complicated Nen-equivalent to unfair financial lending make an appearance. In that competitive environment, there are few powers that seem more useful than Knov's Hide and Seek. The ability lets Knov open and set portals on any flat surface that lead to a mansion in another dimension. Plus, it's a building with 21 unique rooms. Knov has full control over where each portal goes, how long it stays open, and he can enter and leave any portal he likes. That basically means that he pays nothing to live in a mansion that he never has to worry about getting robbed or destroyed. With his portals, he can travel anywhere, and he can even invite people over to his Nen house if he likes. Free rent and easy transportation? That's an ideal superpower.

There's no drawback to this Naruto superpower

Just about every superpower comes with a drawback. After all, how interesting would Superman be if there was no kryptonite? The flaws and weaknesses of a superpower are usually what make them intriguing. However, the shadow clone technique in Naruto has no downsides. Contrary to how it sounds, the technique doesn't make shadows. Instead, it replicates the user's body into a real, tangible clone that can interact with the physical world. Anything the clone learns is passed on to the original body after its dissolution, and the original body can disperse any clone that they feel like. Damage to the clone body isn't returned to the original, and the clones seem to obey the user's desires even while they're able to use their own brains in turn. Regardless of whether this power is used in mundane settings or the high-octane world of battle anime, there's no clear downside to this power. It simply makes life easier.