What’s up with power scaling in shonen manga and anime? Seriously this stuff isn’t fair at all. In manga the main character is meant to be the strongest/best by the end of the story (usually) which is understandable because it’s the main character but the leaps that they make over the rest of the characters is very confusing.
It doesn’t mean to say that the power scaling system needs to change because it’s been working for years but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t bring about some questions.
The first thing that comes to mind (my mind anyway) is how the main character comes across their first rival who is better than them. Due to some twisted logic (that I respect a lot) the main character beats his/her rival but after that, the rival tends to become an afterthought and the weirdest part in all of this is that the first rival tends to stick around.
The rival does become stronger like the main character but the progress they make in comparison to the main character is laughable. If the rival is going to stick around shouldn’t they be continue to provide competition for the main character rather than constantly chasing them whilst new rivals take their place?
The case of the second rival brings about a similar question. Why do they become an afterthought after they lose to the main character? In fact, why does everybody become an afterthought after losing to the main character? Some people may not want to see the main character fight the same rival over and over again but at the same time doesn’t it get boring knowing that the main character is going to come across a new rival and inevitably win?
Looking at the way power scaling works in manga, it’s not hard to see where Vince McMahon got his blueprint for John Cena but moving on…
The point that this post is trying to make is that if power scaling was a bit more balanced and the rival actually stood a chance of beating the main character after losing, then it would probably open up new possibilities story wise as well as eliminating the need for new characters to satisfy the main character.
(Maybe I should have a go at this…)