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Powerscaling Memes or Versus Memes are videos in which two people or fictional characters are compared against each other through a comparison of their abilities and stats, similar to fighting games and Who Would Win? memes. The trend was popularized on TikTok in early 2022, spreading to YouTube in the summer of 2022. Powerscaling Memes commonly use the song "Suffer With Me" by líue.
Powerscaling is the method of determining a character's power by comparing them to other characters.
While the exact origin of the trend is difficult to estimate, some of the first viral TikToks in which two people or characters were compared against each other through the juxtaposition of their characteristics were posted in late December 2021. For example, on December 27th that year, TikToker @krkarichgame (@versus_z_animals) posted two TikToks in which animals were powerscaled. The videos gained over 970,000 views and 39,000 likes and 896,000 views and 29,100 likes, respectively, in nine months (shown below, left and right).
The trend gained virality on TikTok in January 2022 with "Spin the Wheel" versions in which powerscaled characters were randomly selected from a pool. For example, on January 19th, TikToker @zenin.maki posted a Powerscaling TikTok comparing the anime characters Gon and Sasuke, which received over 500,000 views and 63,900 likes in eight months (shown below, left). On February 2nd, @zenin.maki then posted a video comparing Naruto and Jotaro Kujo, which received over 805,000 views and 86,900 likes in seven months (shown below, right).
In June 2022, the trend started spreading on YouTube as creators posted Powerscaling Shorts on the site, many of which subverted the trend in a humorous fashion. For example, on June 5th, 2022, YouTuber Sakiayuo posted a Powerscaling meme pitching Walter White against the fly from Breaking Bad. The video received over 2.5 million views in three months (shown below, left). On June 6th, Sakiayuo uploaded another Powerscaling meme with Breaking Bad characters that gained over 1.4 million views (shown below, right).
On July 6th, 2022, content creator Sive tweeted a Pitbull vs. Toddlers meme that received over 844,000 views, 6,200 retweets and 48,800 likes in two months and was widely recirculated (shown below).
— Sive 1️⃣ (@sivemorten) July 6, 2022
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