Monday, 26 May 2008

Power Trip 3 - Space/time manipulation

Most viewer's favourite character Hiro Nakamura has a greta ability - the ability to manipulate the spac-time continuum to do many incredible feats - including freezing time and traveeling through it and teleporting to different locations. Part of the genius of the show is to hand to such a powerful ability to one of the most harmless characters. Hiro is loveable, shy, a little bumbling and veyr honourable and kindhearted and while awed at his part in the order of superheroes he is also reverent and respectful of the duty given by said power and never uses it for slefish or unjust causes. But Hiro is more than just the "good guy" he is the fun guy who is still trying to figure out his gift.

Hiro's ability to change the continuum means he can move about and change things in both time and space. Most superheroes are restricted to one or the other, able to time travel or teleport, but Hiro can change location and time as shown at the end of series 1 when he teleports form modern New York to ancient Japan. He also has the ability to freeze time, this is used well when the creators show him having to use his normal strength to move objects around while time is frozen. These, so far, have been the key manifestations of Hiro's power I'll examine them individually.

Time manipulation most commonly appears as time "freezing" ansd that's how it's most commonly used in the show. There have been other examples - Hiro "slows" time at one point and at the beginning of the show he sents time back by one second so he could presumable reverse the flow of time if he wanted though this has not happened so far that I've seen. Characters who can freeze time are common, such as classic Kids TV show "Bernard's Watch" where a stopwatch given to a boy had the ability to freeze time. Some characters do seem to possess it inherently, such as Professor X in X-Men 2, but the ability is most commonly granted by a gizmo or by magic.

The same is true of time travel. From it's earliest conception in H.G.Wells' The Time Machine - there are earlier stories where some one goes back in time, but Wells' book is the first to employ a gizmo and develop time travel proper. Since then a number of heroes have used various devices, both magical and technological to travel through time. One of the most popular is the Doctor, who can use his TARDIS to travel about in time, and also space, making him one step closer to Hiro. The Doctor also has teleportation technology so aside from freezing time, and let's face it he'll probably find a way, he does (through technology) possess much of the same maniulation capabilities and laos the benevolent nature Hiro. Time travel is almost always created by a device of some kind, but there are a few characters, such as Waverider, that posess the ability inherently or through mutation.

Teleports are common devices in science fiction tales and a popular subject such as in The Fly the popular tale of a man who teleports and gets crossed genetically with a fly stuck in the teleport device. It is also a common trait amongst superheroes, such as Nightcrawler from X-Men who possesses the ability to jump anywhere he can see. The novel and film "Jumper" are based around individuals who can jump to anywhere in the world. So in this ability Hiro has a long superhero heritage.

Individuals who possess more than one of these abilities are few and far between, which makes the innocent Hiro all the better for possessing them. Characters who do ahve such abilities are most often "Gods" or godlike characters such as Dr Manhattan of Watchmen who could interact with people in past and future at the same time and teleport himself to Mars at will.

I usually try to chuck in a Bible reference so I will do that here only to say that the desire for this ability is partly a reflection of God's complete perception over all time and control over destiny. We like the idea that we might be able to change time, see what will happen next and maybe change it. After his resurrection Jesus appears to his disciples despite the doors being locked - possible teleportation powers? Mere speculation on my part though!!!

Till sometime soon.

P.S. Sam if you want to do another follow on thingy you are more than welcome, the last one was pretty cool and I like finding out about more superheroes.

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