What's an action character without a signature move? Sometimes it's the most powerful technique they have, but often it's simply one they rely on the most. Though it might seem dangerous to rely on a single move, it's actually the opposite. Characters use techniques they're most comfortable with since winning the fight often means they'll never face that opponent again.
But not every signature move is Naruto's Rasengan or Goku's Kamehameha. Some characters have signature moves, but for whatever reason, the move isn't very effective. Some characters are comedy characters, while others are just weaker than their friends. Whatever the case, these moves often do little or no damage at all.
10 Boom Bubble Is A Burst Of Air From Patamon That Rarely Harms An Enemy (Digimon Adventure)
The key difference between Digimon and Pokémon was always that the kids get to keep their partner in a small, cute form most of the time. The Digidestined all rely on their partner's Rookie Form to keep them out of trouble, especially when their partner was low on energy. While none of them are particularly strong, Patamon was always the least useful among them.
Patamon's Boom Bubble attack was just a powerful burst of air. While it could potentially affect other Rookies, against Champion-level Digimon, it was always shrugged off. Though Patamon's attacks are weak, this is balanced by his evolution being stronger than the rest, as his Champion Form can battle Ultimates and his Ultimate Form can battle Mega Digimon.
9 Spirit Ball Shows Yamcha's Ultimate Control Over Ki (Dragon Ball Z)
After years of training, Yamcha developed a powerful new move that took advantage of his control over energy. A technique Yamcha could call his own, the Spirit Ball is a collection of energy Yamcha's gathered into a single concentrated ball.
Unlike the similarly-named Spirit Bomb, Yamcha can re-direct the Spirit Ball however he wants. He can even make it survive intact underground. Unfortunately, it's never gotten him a victory in battle. While Spirit Ball did successfully hit Kami during the last World Martial Arts Tournament in Dragon Ball, it didn't finish him off. Since then, it's accomplished almost nothing in every fight.
8 The King Engine Is Just A Sign Of King's Terror Facing An Enemy (One-Punch Man)
The King Engine is one more example of how One\-Punch Man subverts people's expectations. In a normal show, someone like King would be as he looks. But the gruff S-Class hero is actually a coward who's never been in a fight in his life.
Because King gets the credit for some of Saitama's actions, people believe he has incredible power. Supposedly, the King Engine is a rumbling engine that can shake the Earth itself. Only fans are aware the King Engine is King panicking from fear and anxiety. The rumbling is an indication that he's terrified.
7 Sekke's Magnum Cannonball Has Never Been Used In Battle (Black Clover)
Sekke Bronzazza thought he would become one of the most respected Magic Knights in the world after his Magic Knight Exam. He battled Asta thinking the magic-less boy would be an easy win, but Asta knocked him out and destroyed his special technique, the Magnum Cannonball.
The Magnum Cannonball is a sphere of green energy that covers Sekke. Stated to be his most powerful attack, Sekke believed he could knock out Asta in a single shot with it. Unfortunately, he never even got to use it on Asta. And since then, Sekke has only been an assistant to the real fighters within the Green Mantis guild.
6 Namida's Calling On Tears Requires Allies To Be Useful (Boruto: Naruto Next Generation)
The ninja of Boruto aren't exactly known for being tough guys by their fanbase. While there's some power creep at the top end of things in Boruto, the lower end of ninja appear to be weaker than ever. Namida is part of Team 15, and her special ability is crying.
When Namida gets really upset, she can let out a loud scream that can deafen enemies in the area while she's crying. This technique sounds powerful since it briefly stuns the enemy, but the stun barely lasts against dangerous foes and has to be used in conjunction with other abilities to be useful.
5 Sailor Chibi-Moon's Twinkle Yell Is Used To Summon Pegasus (Sailor Moon)
One change from manga to anime is that Sailor Chibi-Moon became a less effective fighter. Though she had her strongest appearances alongside her mother Sailor Moon, she was still a capable member of the team. The anime decided to go in a different direction, though.
In the anime, Chibi-Moon's best ability is relying on the Crystal Carillion's special move the Twinkle Yell to summon Pegasus. Pegasus grants Sailor Moon herself the power to defeat other enemies, but Chibi-Usa can only use it to briefly distract her foes.
4 Grape Rush Can Only Briefly Freeze Enemies In Place (My Hero Academia)
Most members of Class 1-A have powerful Quirks that simply need more time to develop, but Mineta might be an exception. Unless Mineta is going to experience some sort of drastic evolution, he's the weakest in the class. His Quirk Pop Off lets him pull the balls off his head, which can stick to any other surface.
For his special technique, Mineta uses his Pop Off Quirk by tossing as many of them at an opponent as he can all at once, freezing them in place because they're covered in the spheres. This technique helped him pass his First Term exam, but that was mostly the element of surprise working in his favor. Mineta's favorite move could only be a distraction against villains.
3 Metapod's Harden Increases Metapod's Defense (Pokémon)
During the original Pokémon, Ash caught a Caterpie. One of Ash's better Pokémon, Caterpie was even able to beat Team Rocket. Later in the series, Caterpie evolved into a Metapod. As any Pokémon fan is aware, Metapod has one new ability: Harden. A technique meant to raise Metapod's defense, this was one of the few things it could do in the series for several episodes.
Though used in a few running gags for a while, Ash stopped using Metapod for a time because it couldn't do much other than continue protecting itself. While defending against a Beedrill, Metapod got the experience it needed to evolve into a Butterfree, making it useful again.
2 Joey's Time Wizard Only Works With Certain Monsters (Yu-Gi-Oh!)
Time Wizard had to be one of the worst special moves in the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series. Time Wizard only worked in conjunction with specific cards for his deck. Its biggest use was with Baby Dragon, which was turned through the passage of time into Thousand Dragon.
But when used with any of Joey's other cards, it would age them into dust like it did the opponents. The one time Joey used this card offensively on purpose was against Yugi and his Dark Magician deck. Time Wizard just turned Dark Magician into Dark Sage, making it more powerful and sealing the duel for Yugi.
1 Toby Horhorta's Paralysis Claw Only Works If It Connects (Fairy Tail)
In Magnolia, Lamia Scale is one of the strongest guilds around. They've got powerful mages like Gray's longtime rival Lyon, and one of the Ten Great Wizard Saints Jura. But no guild is perfect, and Lamia Scale has a weak link in Toby. Though Toby seemed dangerous at first, he became less useful in each appearance until he was a joke character by the Grand Magic Games.
Toby's Paralysis Claw only works if they touch someone, and he's not fast enough to hit people. Natsu outsmarted him by having Toby scratch his own head to knock him out, and Natsu has no business outsmarting anyone.
NEXT: 10 Anime Liars Who Fooled Everyone (Except The Audience)