Created By: HamburgerTime on August 9, 2011 Last Edited By: HamburgerTime on July 2, 2012

Battlizers Are For Red Rangers Only

Only one character gets powerups

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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.
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • August 9, 2011
    There was a ykttw about this a while back. I thought it was launched but I can't find it anywhere.
  • August 9, 2011
    Title needs work, avoid naming it after a specific example.

    To The Leader Go The Spoils? We also have Distribution Of Ninjutsu.
  • August 10, 2011
    This sounds like Can't Catch Up, if I'm not mistaken.
  • August 10, 2011
    Don't think so. It may cause it, but not the same.
  • August 10, 2011
    Sounds more like focus of those upgrades then those who get left behind. They are related, but two different things. G Gundam I can think of another potential example. Share your thoughts:

    In G Gundam, Domon receives a new mecha before the start of the tournament while the remaining fights keep their old ones. However, they do receive a new super mode to keep up.
  • August 10, 2011
    Needs a rename, I had no idea what it was about after reading the name.

    Protagonist Power Up?
  • August 10, 2011
  • August 10, 2011
    BIONICLE: played with; in the 2010 arc, Tahu gets depowered into a Toa Mata so he can use the Golden Armor.
  • August 10, 2011
  • August 10, 2011
    Another Power Rangers example: In Power Rangers SPD, Jack (Red) lends Sky (Blue) his morpher so the latter could use the Battlizer to take out the mutant that killed his father.
  • August 11, 2011
    Though for G Gundam, Domon already knew that Super Mode (And in fact improved on it), so it's still a totally straight example.
  • August 11, 2011
    There was a previous YKTTW under the name of To The Leader Go The Spoils (about this exact same thing but with a better writeup -- and a Power Rangers image), but I can't seem to find it. Must've been discarded at some point.
  • August 11, 2011
    Doesn't Dragonball play with this a lot, especially in Dragonball Z when they introduced Super Saiyan mode?

    And I agree, definitely a rename. But not To The Leader Goes The Spoils - it sounds too much like it's a physical item the character is getting and not sharing, not abilities. Maybe To The Leader Goes The Power?
  • August 11, 2011
    I wonder if it's possible to snowclone from a Sorting Algorithm trope... but not enough to propose snowclones myself.
  • August 11, 2011
  • August 12, 2011
    Sorting Algorithm Of Upgrades? There, I said it.
  • August 13, 2011
  • August 13, 2011
    Huh, I swear there was a YKTTW called "To The Leader Go The Spoils" already and I posted some replies there...

    It is not just anime trope: it is also common in party-based computer/console RPGs to give the Player Character all the awesomeness while the NPCs have to manage without.

    • In Baldurs Gate, it's the Bhaalspawn who gets all the nifty Bhaal-induced powers, whereas NPC party members (including other children of Bhaal) are stuck with the standard abilities.
    • In the Mass Effect series, it's Commander Shepard who gets all the cutting-edge upgrades, weapons, and technologies while his squad is mostly restricted to perfecting their confined areas of expertise.
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, if upgrades (such as attribute bonuses) can only be picked up by a certain character, it's always the Warden.

    A notable aversion, perhaps, would be this:

    • Exosquad, consciously styled after the Japanese Real Robot Mecha Shows, nevertheless upgrades all of the The Squad's mechs simultaneously. While Lt. Marsh's mech is the best there is, it's because he started off with one, commander's bonus and all.
  • July 2, 2012