True story: A while back I was discussing anime powerups on the forums here, and the topic came up that often, powerups are unevenly distributed, so to speak. He mentioned Power Rangers and battlizers as an example, and since we have other tropes named by PR, I decided this would be my title (delete this passage when it gets launched, obviously). This is quite simply the tendency, in a series with a somewhat large main cast and in which characters get powered up, to restrict the handing out of powerups to one or two characters, usually The Hero and The Lancer, The Hero and The Rival, or The Hero and the Sixth Ranger. This serves to make this character or characters much more powerful than the others and, if done badly, can put the story in a place where the other characters seem useless. This character is also always male, which can result in Unfortunate Implications. Seems unusually common in Japanese media.
- The Trope Namer, Power Rangers, does this in basically every season starting with Space.
- Lightspeed Rescue is unique in that the Red, Blue, and Green Rangers all get powerups (Blue and Green actually coming before Red), but this trope is still evident. Note the second-to-last battle of the series, in which the girls actually have to grab BFGs off of the main guy's clunky armor to join in on blowing away The Dragon.
- This is especially noticeable in the otherwise-excellent Time Force because Pink Ranger Jen is The Hero this time; she's the leader and the one who It's Personal with the Big Bad. Who do the powerups go to? Lancer Wes (in Red) and Sixth Ranger Eric.
- Common in Digimon
- In Digimon Adventure, only The Hero's Digimon and The Lancer's reached Ultimate/Mega level (WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon). The rest had to wait until a (Japan-only) video game to get theirs.
- Digimon Adventure 02 had even fewer Digimon reach Mega, for a grand total of one in the series itself, though two more managed in The Movie... only to be pushed aside in seconds in favor of an even flashier powerup for The Hero and the movie-only Sixth Ranger.
- Digimon Tamers played with this one a bit. For the first time we had characters who are not main cast have Digimon, and few of those changed level all that noticeably, but also for the first time, the entire main cast reached Mega! It should still be noted, however, that only The Hero's Digimon, got to power up his Mega form even further.
- In Digimon Frontier, only The Hero and The Rival get Advance Hybrid, Zeta Hybrid, and Ultimate Hybrid forms. Fans generally consider this one downright insulting, as to use the Zeta and Ultimate Hybrid forms, the aforementioned Hero and Rival actually have to take away the powers of their friends!
- Averted in Digimon Savers. All four main characters get not only Mega, but powered-up Mega forms as well.
- In Digimon Xros Wars, it seems that Chick Nene gets left out of the big Xroses. Her largest Xros as of this writing had five Digimon (three of which were the same species), which is peanuts compared to what the boys do.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, all six main characters have special dragon monsters. Only two, however, get upgraded special dragon monsters, and only one gets the ultimate upgraded dragon in the final showdown with The Man Behind the Man.
- Both averted and played straight in One Piece. Averted in the sense that every character has gotten a powerup or at least a new special skill so far, and played straight in that only one of those (the main character's second) looks like it's going to be relevant to the Myth Arc.
- Zigzagged in Bleach. All the main characters get powerups... it's just that The Hero's render him so far above any of the others that by the time he defeats the Big Bad he could probably beat any of his friends with a flick of his finger if he wanted to. He eventually loses all of them so as not to break the story.
Hello, Unknown Troper. You'll need to get known to lend a hand here.