My good friend Fujita on the naruto forums made this thread and I really liked it. I know calc are half and half over here but I think you should read this, guys, it makes really good points and I would like to see this used more here
What is this? Just some of my ramblings. This is me cobbling together arguments I've made and arguments I've seen others make about why calcs work, why we can use physics in the battledome, and just how the battledoming thing makes any sense in the first place.
So, let's begin.
Every battledome argument hinges on this assumption: We can compare different verses. Some probably think that you can't and that the whole idea is silly. You could try and argue this point, but why bother? We're here to debate which character would kick another's teeth in.
So, blowing up a building in one verse counts for as much as doing the same in another verse. This begs the question of what standard we're comparing everything to. It could be anything, but the real world works best. It's what we're used to, and it's the background setting for most stories. Few actually try and create a completely alien verse and then use it as their main setting. Even in a fantasy setting with lots of magic, we still have ground, sky, people, houses, air, and a lot of the basic trappings of our universe.
Now, does using physics in a fictional matchup make any sense? Why yes it does. Physics is, in essence, a bunch of equations that describe how the world works. If a fictional verse appears to work the same way that our universe does, then the same equations necessarily describe that aspect of the fictional verse.
We can use physics, then, so long as we take care to apply it only to objects or people that are behaving as they would in real life. Pretty much everything up to this point is necessary to even have our battles in the first place, but this "only as far as fiction corresponds to real life" is where we start to have meaningful disagreements. So here are the basic ideas (and some justifications for them) that underly the OBD's use of science:
(1) "Facts" don't have to be concrete fact. Manga is an information-poor medium. You can't get laboratory-grade measurements out of manga panels. It just doesn't happen. And this actually holds across the board for fiction in general. So, with that in mind, expecting an argument to have rigid scientific standards of evidence kills… well… powerscaling, speed scaling of any sort (see this thread), etc. So assumption one is that we need a little bit of leeway when analyzing fiction. A very high likelihood equates to "fact" in a battledome setting, just so that we can make some rather essential comparisons. This is also why we tend to invoke Occam's Razor.
(2) The default is that something follows physics unless shown otherwise. This assumption seems like it's not necessarily the case, since given the option of either following physics or not following physics, you'd technically have to prove whether it's doing one or the other. That's hard, given only a brief instance of, say, something falling from one panel to the other. We can't plug in tons of numbers to show that y = 1/2g*t^2 + vt. But on the other hand, we also can't plug in the numbers to show that the equation doesn't work. This ties back into point one, really. We need to simplify our basic standard of evidence.
So going with assumption (1), something not displaying deviant behavior on-panel means that we have evidence of something obeying physics (i.e. physics "works"), and we also have no evidence of it not obeying physics. And so "something follows physics unless shown otherwise" is a good working assumption, if not a logically airtight one.
It's also worth noting that the default here can't be that stuff doesn't follow physics, or we can't possibly hope to compare verses. Because, well, maybe bullets move slower in One Piece and the Narutoverse has really tiny shrimp instead of subatomic particles and everything's really squishy. Why? Because we can't prove that physics holds. If we get so suspicious that we end up with a jumbled pile of nothing, well, what have we even accomplished?
Now, this is absolutely garbage science. But, as much as we like to use science, and as much as we'd like to be reasonable and objective, this isn't science. Or, if it is, expecting real-life levels of scientific scrutiny here is much like a scientist in real life spending all of their time mired in debate about whether we're in the matrix.
(As a side note: Something not following physics is likewise given the benefit of our "lax" requirements for evidence. All you need to do is look at the massive striking power of some characters and the mass of people they hit to realize that F =/= ma in this instance and that conservation of momentum tends to work like shit for battle shounens and their ilk.)
Plenty of calculations follow fairly easily from the above, even if they've got *gasp* joules in them. Potential energy calculations, for example, follow directly from the assumptions that heavy things are harder to lift than lighter things, and that lacking some evidence to the contrary, the relationship between weight and how hard it is to lift is the same between verses. If we didn't make these assumptions, important concepts like character strength are completely worthless. Calculating destructive capacity directly from things getting destroyed (craters, explosions, water being vaporized, etc.) in general follows from similar vital assumptions that we need in order for anything to work at all.
Speed calcs work pretty much the same way as destruction. We make an assumption that some physical, real-life event is taking place; free fall, a bullet being shot, and the like, and use that to gauge time between panels (here's why "static medium" and "how can you get a time frame from a manga" are bad arguments), and compare that to a distance moved or something. Plenty of speed calcs are simpler, and come about from making some assumptions about characters moving a lot in a small amount of time. These are lazy approximations more than anything else, but they work well enough and avoid a lot of the physics bullshit.
(3) Pixel scaling works. Or at least, it works better than anything else. The author likely isn't anal enough to precisely scale everything, not even counting the many times in which drawing things to scale would prevent him/her from emphasizing what they'd like to emphasize. But unless you want to say you can't compare size at all from the visuals, you're tacitly admitting that even with inconsistencies there's some sort of reasonable size estimate you can make. Pixel scaling's not really a statement of fact, but a more accurate way of making a size estimate. Generally, people in the OBD do actually realize this, which leads us straight to
(4) Calculation is hardly an exact science. We make estimates everywhere. Every calc has a few fairly massive ones, unless it's literally just plugging in a distance and a time that the author gives us. Whether it's the scaling, the time frame, something free falling when it's been given an unquantifiable downward speed, taking some scaling liberties (so long as they're low-balling the actual value), and so on and so forth. Where we draw the line with this really varies. Peak human calculations for super humans were once accepted as low-balls, while nowadays it's deemed "hiding the outlier." This one's nearly all about community standards at any given time.
So, calcs are logical estimates that seem to work better than our other options.
A final objection to be made, I suppose, is that calcs aren't fun. If you're not up for debating whether one is correct or not (which, hey, I thought was fun the few times I've actually done it ), you're left with long lists of numbers and battle matches become by-the-book comparisons of character stats. *Yawn*
Well, I actually agree with this, if not for the reasons you might think. First off, looking up calcs is an extra step in gathering evidence, so that's more time you've got to spend. If that's time spent pouring over blogs with exhausting lists rather than re-reading a page of manga, well, that's a) artificial in that it's removed from the source material and b) so much more boring than the source material probably was (or why would you have read it in the first place).
As for calcs turning matches into stat comparisons, that I don't think is really fair. Stat comparisons exist without calcs, but the heavy use of calcs makes this really, really obvious (everything's in kilotons and mach numbers, rather difficult to miss it).
The real fun in debating fictional matches is the fantastic abilities involved, and trying to figure out how they'd work against other equally weird abilities. So, er, if you're upset that calcs are making everything boring, try making matches where more than just speed and strength determine the outcome. Or enter a meta debate about a particular ability (like Trafalgar Law's).
What I'm saying is… the problem is you
Read the thing you lazy piece of shit
Credits: I owe this article something of a debt. It's pretty good reading, and gives a thorough breakdown of how to look at fiction. Point (2) up there pretty much comes from this (and Mike reiterating it), with my own rationalization for it tacked on."
So, how do you guys take this? i tihnk it's a great and most accurate way for the battle forums to run. But I think most would consider this to mean that author statements aren't divine in origin; they're just another source of evidence
If they're plausible, they can stick, but if they're not, then no dice, just like with any other contradiction.