There’s nothing I love more than an OP main character. Seriously. The more broken and ridiculous the powers, the more I love them. The only thing I don’t like is when the characters have inconsistent power-ups, underutilized abilities, or some weird condition that is never a problem until it is, for unnecessary plot purposes. Unfortunately, that means I have a problem with most main characters.
I’ll just drop an obligatory spoiler alert here.
For example, Bongsoon from the kdrama Strong Woman. She has super strength with the condition that she can’t use her power for selfish reasons or to hurt innocent people. Honestly, her conditions make sense because her powers come from God, and we know the penalty is real. Her mom was stripped of her powers when she used them to cheat in weightlifting competitions.
Later in the show Bongsoon loses her power after throwing a guy across a parking lot. Therein lie the problem. All season, we saw her put several people in the hospital, both accidentally and on purpose. She hurts a lot of innocent people, including breaking her boss’ toe and cracking his assistant’s tailbone. But the one time she accidentally throws a person, who she thought was the serial killer that kidnapped her best friend, she loses her power. Why? So she can go through the trauma of the love of her life almost dying and her power returning in the nick of time. You see? Unnecessary plot purposes.
Or how about Aelin Galathynius (Celaena, if you prefer)? Throne of Glass is one of the bestselling YA novel series of our time and a personal favorite of mine. Aelin is praised all series long for have the strongest fire magic since Brannon, the consort of the sun goddess. We see this multiple times over the course of her adventures, not the least of which had her encircling an entire city in flames, burning people alive from the inside out, and incinerating hordes of demonic beasts.
In fact, she’s so powerful she can melt iron, an impossible feat according to the lore of the world. Magic shouldn’t be able to affect the impervious element. But Aelin has Starfire, fire the burns between stars. Do we ever see her use that power again after it’s introduced? No. Why would we? Not like it creates a huge plothole concerning her power or anything. But what does that matter when that scene was only needed to intimidate her future allies and reaffirm her aversion to her powers?
Even though she’s constantly hyped for having immense magic stores, her powers are rarely used for anything beyond burning things. Could she fly by heating the air around her? Could she cauterize wounds? Could she incorporate melting enemy weapons into her fighting style? Could magic-forged blades be stronger than existing swords or would it even matter? None of these get answered canonically and it breaks my heart. How could anyone create such an impossibly strong character just for minutia to weaken them?
Like I said, I love OP characters. I want to see them absolutely break the laws of the universe on a whim. I want to see the creative ways they beat opponents that underestimated them. I want to see them become living gods.
My favorite living god is none other than Demon Lord Rimuru Tempest.
For the uninitiated, Rimuru is the main character from “The Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime.” It’s an incredibly popular Japanese webnovel that had since had lightnovel, manga, and anime adaptations. And when I say Rimuru is OP, not even that can properly explain it. He literally has a god living in his brain, the lord of wisdom Raphael, and the power to absorb the powers of anything he eats. He has limitless potential. His skills number in the hundreds: fire manipulation, water manipulation, teleportation, supersonic speed, instant regeneration, telepathy, herculean strength, magic synthesis, and many more. There’s one that literally overwrites fate.
Not only him, but all of his followers could be main characters of their own series. Everyone who serves Rimuru received a name that connects them to his soul and a gift of power. In return, every skill they learn can be used by Rimuru. When you have an army of highly skilled, undying, and unshakably loyal followers, not even an army ten times their size is a viable threat. And I know this for a fact, since in the webnovel Rimuru’s country is attacked by the imperial army, 700,000 soldiers strong. The “war,” I use the term loosely, barely lasted a day. Rimuru stole their souls, reanimated their bodies, and made them swear fealty to him. Just a typical day in the life. That’s nothing compared to the time he massacred 20,000 people in order to awaken as a demon.
If you can’t tell, Rimuru is a merciful nonconfrontationalist. No really. He is.
This is what I mean when I said I love a good OP character. Rimuru can do anything he wants, anytime he wants to, and has enough power to destroy anyone who dares tell him he can’t. The only reason he hasn’t taken over the world is because he doesn’t want to, yet. He just wants to live peacefully in the forest.
That, for whatever reason, is my cup of tea. Maybe it’s just to spite my inner nihilist, or maybe I just really love cool powers, but an OPC will almost always win my heart.