Rank Up YKTTW Discussion

Rank Up
(permanent link) added: 2011-01-24 07:36:39 sponsor: Aries (last reply: 2011-02-05 00:13:08)

Add Tag:
Needs More Examples

No matter what country your from, if you are in the military, there will be a ranking system.

Most of the time, military personel are required to be in a certain rank for X amount of months or years before you are even allowed to be promoted. This justifies the reason why you don't often see military promotions in television or movies.

But this trope is about when a character is promoted in show. During season one, you may have known him as a newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant Bob, but by the third season he becomes known as Captain Bob.

After this promotion expect the character, if he is not a protagonist, to go in one of two directions. Either his increase in responsibility makes him a more important character in the series, or his responsibility causes him to have to spend less time with his friends. The middle ground is rare.

Compare Took a Level in Badass, except this character's badassness has a title.

This is not simply a military trope. Large companies have a ranking system also, but these promotions have little impact on the story, unless the character is striving for it (in which most of the time they never get it).

Not related to Level Up, where taking a level in badass includes numbers and stats, not titles and authority.


  • Fullmetal Alchemist subverts this. Major Hughes is promoted two ranks to Brigadier General and stays a mostly important part of the story. However, he is promoted posthumously, and instead of being a major character he becomes a major plot point.
    • Colonel Mustang is also promoted to Brigadier General around the final parts of the first series.
    • Subverted in also in that even though Ed ranks up from a civilian to a major within the story, it happens on the instant when he signs the state alchemist contract.
  • Anakin Skywalker rises through the jedi ranks throughout the Star Wars series.
  • Almost all of the Konoha 12 ninja are promoted in between the Time Skip. Naruto himself averts this, being now possibly the most powerful ninja in the village but having one of the lowest ranks.
    • Gaara, however, takes this further by going from Geninto the Kazekage.
  • Jim Gordon ranks up to his comic book rank of Commissioner in The Dark Knight.
  • In Chuck, Major John Casey gets promoted to Colonel toward the end of Season Two.
  • In early seasons of M*A*S*H Lt. Colonel Flagg from Military Intelligence was a recurring character. In the fourth season he became Colonel Flagg. This paralleled the head of 4077th going from Lt. Col. Blake to Col. Potter, because Flagg couldn't be subordinate to the CO otherwise his orders could be easily countermanded.
    • Also, in the last season or so Klinger is promotoed from Corporal to Sergeant, and Father Mulcahey from 2nd Lt. to 1st.
  • NYPD Blue: Detective Martinez takes the Sergeant's exam and passes, so he can get Put on a Bus to another precinct. (Earlier he had been promoted from undercover cop to detective, but it was never shown or made a deal of.)
    • Bobby Simone gets promoted to Detective First Class (or whatever it's called) in a big ceremony.
    • New Guy John Clark is promoted to Detective for meritorious service; at the same time Sipowitz is promoted to Detective 1st class, which pisses off John Clark Sr.
    • Sipowitz takes the Sergeant exam; he passes and becomes the desk sergeant downstairs from the squad. In the final episode he gets promoted (ahead of others waiting) to be the squad commander, still as a Sgt. He promises that this will be his last job - he's not planning to try for another promotion or transfer.
  • Barney Miller: In the last episode Barney gets promoted to Inspector, and uniformed officer Levitt gets promoted to Detective.
  • Jack O'Neill of Stargate SG-1 gets a double treatment: promoted from colonel to brigadier general in season 8, and to head of Homeworld Security in season 9.
  • In Exosquad, Lt. J.T. Marsh is promoted to Wing Commander mid-second season. Appropriately, this coincides with him assuming command over two more mecha squadrons, while the former Chick Nara Burns becomes the official leader of the eponymous Able Squad. (In practice, however, the two new squadrons rarely appear and Marsh still commands the Able Squad whenever it is sent on a solo mission.)
  • Dark Heresy uses a system of ranks to represent the characters "leveling up" to a certain extent.
  • Benjamin Sisko in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine started off as a commander and was promoted to captain later.
  • In One Piece, Captain Smoker gets promoted by the Marines to Commodore. Commodore Smoker is not too happy about his promotion as he feels he didn't deserve it, but he does use his new leverage to operate wherever he wants.

Rolling Updates
Replies: 19