Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I am of split opinion on versus, by versus I mean character A versus character B. While I did, and still occasionally, go to a forum in which its reason for existence is versus, I am not sure that I like them. I particularly dislike ones that have polls since they are quite often just popularity contests, the better known more liked character will be given more credit than they necessarily deserve. I like them because sometimes they are damn interesting, the what if, how would they do versus one another part because sometimes those who participate come up with some really cool ideas. I dislike them because most of the time people really have no idea as to how fights work. I don't like versus in which people state that one character would definitely win, I prefer laying of odds and comparing feats (e.g. this character is stronger because of this example). Though I enjoy versus in stories, when properly executed, far more than I do those on forums.

There are many, many variables in fights, so while I in general would say that one character would win, it depends on too many things to say with certainty. Even if the one character is overwhelmingly more powerful than the other (chances maybe extremely minute but still a chance). A generic listing of who won the most fights is not of any real use and does not necessarily prove anything, too many things can affect the outcome of a battle for that to come even close to proving who is definitively better.

A probably incomplete list of variables in (small scale one on one) combat:
* Why are they fighting? The reason and goals matter, because depending on what they are they will effect how people fight. For example, is the goal to knock the opponent unconscious, test the person, get revenge, etc.
* Which version of the person is battling? Early version Batman would kill, maim, and use firearms current version would not. Male Ranma is more skilled (more familiar with the form and confident), stronger, tougher, taller, etc., than female form Ranma.
* Physical stats - Speed, Strength, Toughness, etc.
* Foreknowledge - Are the characters familiar with one another and each others abilities?
* Prep-time - Does one or both characters have time to prepare for the encounter, for example in the Ranma manga, Ranma when fighting Happosai would often prepare before hand in many ways; carrying around bras (which was particularly funny since the bystanders had said where did he get all of them), using magic (girl repellent), drugs (chloroform, alcohol) or pictures.
* CIS - Character induced stupidity - refers to any natural mental limitations that characters impose upon themselves and reduce their ability to use their own skills and powers effectively (may not be stupidity per say, moral limitations would count as well) Is this active? For example, Ranma's morals prevent him from hitting Nabiki, his limiting himself to his opponents styles, and his underestimating/playing with his opponents (like Kuno, took the time to write an insult in bruises) are all CIS.
* PIS - Plot induced stupidity - characters not using their abilities or skills to the fullest extent as shown before, even within their personality ranges, for the sake of the story plotline. Things like Ranma not using ki blasts, his full speed, or under handed maneuvers since it would have made some battles less dramatic/too short.
* Bloodlust - Is one or both characters bloodlusted (willing to do whatever it takes including maiming and killing to win)?
* Offensive/ Defensive battle - Is one person just completely attacking the other? It is harder to fight a defensive battle than it is to go for killing techniques and fight offensively (there is a reason the saying the best defense is a good offense exists). For example, Ryoga usually has this advantage in fights since he is usually on the offensive (attacking Ranma) and he (at least at the beginning of the manga) was perfectly willing to seriously hurt/kill Ranma whereas Ranma attempted to not seriously hurt Ryoga.
* Universe rules - If the characters are from different universes, which universes rules apply? This some times would make a difference since somethings might be possible in one universe but not in the other.
* Terrain - What is the terrain? This could matter a lot. One person maybe more used to the terrain or be better at using it to their advantage. For example, Taro using prep time was able to choose a terrain in which to fight Ranma that would give him a decided advantage, particularly since it also forced Ranma to be in his weaker form.
* Are the characters at their peak? Is one of the characters sick, injured, exhausted from staying up all night training, starving, distracted, worried, etc.
* Are weapons available and if so what? Depending on the weapon they could be used to add reach, hitting power, defense, etc. If both have the same weapons is one character more familiar with it than the other? Ranma versus Saffron, Saffron was more familiar with the abilities of the staffs than Ranma was.
* Luck - It matters. A person can win by accident.

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