For example, the end-of-season fights in Dragon Ball Z, the fights between the Eva and the Angels in Neon Genesis Evangelion. I've noticed it in far more things but these are the most recent in my memory.

When a fight is occurring, the more damage which is done to something, even if it is mechanical, the more powerful it (sometimes) becomes. That doesn't make any sense to me.

I would prefer an explanation which relates to Japanese culture, if such a thing exists (for example, the reason why anime has a lot of characters / machines with weapons attached to their arms is because the Japanese are of the view that weapons are an extension of the body, not something to be picked up and thrown away like a pistol in an American action movie - that kind of thing). However, any insight at all would be great!

2 Answers 2


Well in both cases you cited it relates to released energy that was somehow blocked because of the danger of its release. In Dragon Ball, I remember the scene near the end of the fight with Frieza where Goku tells Gohan something like this: "If the forces inside of me start unleashing, it will destroy this planet. You have to get out".

In Evangelion, we learn that the armor of the Evas are actually blockers to prevent them from going berserk, also hiding the true nature of the Evas, that they are composed more as a human would be, with skin, flesh and organs, than as a robot.

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So these two things are common: the released energy that comes from hard, critical situations, near death experiences, and the revealing of the true nature of something, the dark forces inside all of us. I think it could be symbolic of the awakening of the unconscious part of the self.

  • Brilliant answer! Particularly the reference to dark forces, that's exactly what I was looking for.
    – BenjaminJB
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 20:26
  • So i was thinking about this a bit. We're talking about dark forces and stuff but i think thats only half the picture. If you consider Goku and the super sayan he looks more like an angel, something bright and divine, like a solar deity. The process is still the same, of being hurt, damaged, emotionally distraugh, but results are different, you either get the bright golden divinity and the strengh to opposite evil and tyranny (goku vs frieza) or you embrace the darkness, the eva fight in the picture is absolutelly this, the eva eats the angel after beating him, he becomes darkness, devours it.
    – Amaro
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 23:30

In real life, when your muscles get worn and slightly torn up from use, after you rest and recover, they will have grown back stronger.

There's a word for the practice of purposefully wearing down your muscles to cause this phenomenon to happen. It's called "exercise".

What you're seeing(or at least in DBZ), is an exaggerated version of that.

  • Do you mean similar to adrenaline? Because the exaggeration (that of muscle growth) would be huge since the process you're talking about is slow. Actually, no, everything is a ridiculous exaggeration in DBZ, what am I saying :D
    – BenjaminJB
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 20:25
  • @BenjaminJB in DBZ, nobody became more powerful because of taking damage until after they had rested. Yes, they did become more powerful during battle after emotional stress(I.E. exaggerated adrenaline), which might have happened to occur after they had taken damage, but they never got a straight up power boost during battle from taking damage Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 20:37

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