We’re in for a multiverse of madness when Doctor Strange steps back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When last we left the Sorcerer Supreme, he was patching holes in reality for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Now he’s got his magical hands full with characters from across the multiverse, under the direction of that fella Sam Raimi.
His abilities are super-impressive. But how do they stack up to some of anime’s toughest cookies? Here are a few characters with similar powers — though how they use them is another matter entirely.
Kuro’s (Sort of) Precognition
Much like the latest Doctor Strange movie, In/Spectre presents us with a whole world of inexplicable happenings. But in the case of this anime, it’s all ghostly strangeness. Our heroine, Kyoko Suiri, gave an eye and a leg in exchange for becoming a sort of paranormal problem-solver. Kuro, her boyfriend (whether he likes it or not), is no slouch, either. Like Strange, he can see possible futures. But his way of doing things is a little messier.
For one thing, the price of precognition is death. But Kuro is effectively immortal, so that’s cancelled out. Also, he can do more than just see all possible futures: he can comparison shop for which one he wants. That would’ve been a heck of a help in Infinity War and Endgame. Then again, Kuro is uniquely equipped to handle the high cost of changing fate.
Itachi’s (Sort of) Reality Bending
Let’s be real, just about everyone in Naruto is whipping around some Doctor Strange-level power sets. You’ve got time manipulation, psychic puppetry, bug control… That thing where you can pull out your spine and hit people with it… But out of all the scariness we encounter in the series, Itachi Uchiha’s Tsukuyomi ability is one of the freakiest.
We see a lot of reality-bending in Marvel movies. And while Itachi can’t actually bend New York City into fractals, he can sure make you believe he can. Tsukuyomi is a powerful genjutsu that traps the target in an illusion, subjecting them to time dilation. And, you know, whatever else he dreams up. It’s powerful enough to shred your spirit and render you comatose. Plus, it’s seamless enough that the victim has no reason to believe it’s anything but reality. Unless Itachi decides to monologue and tell you otherwise… though, even then, you’re still going through it.
In What If?…, we see Doctor Strange (among others) subjected to alternate storylines. In his case, the series speculates on what he would have become if, instead of his car accident destroying his hands, it took the life of Dr. Christine Palmer. The results were… a bit horrifying, and broke multiple rules on the old “Things I’ll never do if I become an evil overlord” list. But it also showed us just how out-of-control his powers could get if you poke at his emotions too hard. Kind of like that Mob fella.
The star of Mob Psycho 100 is an affable kid doing his best while trying to rein in his emotions. And that’s because those emotions unleash unchecked psychic powers. Fortunately, Mob’s story follows a much more hopeful route than that the one in What If?… Considering we have confirmation that the “sinister Strange” in the Multiverse of Madness trailers is not the return of the animated alter, that means there are multiple ways the Sorcerer Supreme could pop off.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens across the U.S. on May 6.