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  • Jack Loftus

Toon Force - Power Scaling's Greatest Enemy

For the uninitiated, Power Scaling compares characters in any form of media to theorize who is stronger or who would win in a battle. This usually extends to the abilities, powers, weapons, and armor a character is shown to use in their respective works. There are some problems that arise when specific shows use techniques that are stated to be effective only against their specific power system, like the chakra drain in Naruto, but for the most part, the comparison is pretty 1 to 1. However, there is one power a character can have that has the potential to upset a typically unassuming matchup: Toon Force.

Toon Force is named for the way that cartoon characters, such as Popeye, do things completely unrealistically, almost as if they have influence over how objects interact in the real world. A prime example is how Popeye can punch a fish mounted on a wall with a board into cans of sardines (yes, he does this).

This is why Toon Force is problematic when comparing strength of abilities. A character like Baki Hanma from the Baki series is shown to be a regular human who happens to be really physically strong and a great hand-to-hand fighter. When we compare him to Popeye, if we were to take both of them at face value, Baki would win easily. However, Popeye can seemingly warp how physics and reality around him interact thanks to his cartoon physics (Toon Force); even without using Spinach (which is an entirely different conversation), Popeye comes out on top. Popeye is meant to be a semi-regular person outside of his sailor background, but we see him capable of much greater things.

Another perfect example of cartoon physics being a wrench in the realm of power-scaling fictional characters is everyone’s favorite pineapple-dwelling sea creature, SpongeBob. This lovable yellow sponge has been seen multiple times interacting with beings he shouldn’t be able to, up to and including entities he shouldn’t even be aware of their existence. The first example is 'The Flying Dutchman.' SpongeBob has been shown fighting and hugging the ghostly pirate, even though he is a ghost and technically doesn’t have a physical form. SpongeBob can also interact with the NARRATOR OF HIS OWN STORY, as seen in the clip below.

The ability to interact and harm beings shouldn’t technically put him above standard “god-level” characters like Kratos from God of War or even some characters like Alien-X from Ben 10, who can also warp space and time. This is only one aspect of his realm of power. SpongeBob and other characters who also have Toon Force have regenerated from nothing survived in space, summoned objects at will, and even more!

While extremely brokenly overpowered, Toon Force is one of the funniest ways that simple children’s characters can overpower literal deities from other universes. Despite all of this, these characters still struggle with basic things now and again, which is oddly comforting in a way.


Disclaimer: All videos used in this post are used under U.S. Fair Use copyright law for the purpose of commentary and entertainment only. All clips are owned by their respective owners.


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