The FiveManBand has just found the SwordOfPlotAdvancement, a mythical blade said to bestow great power for justice on one who is deemed worthy. So who will claim it? TheLeader, of course! New story arc, the team is in search of five ancient crystals that can give them magical powers. Who do you think will find one first?

In works of media where the focus otherwise is on some sort of team, of any number of people, there will inevitably still be a tighter focus on TheHero, and thus the Hero will be the first to receive a special power or new weapon, and will usually end up having more powers or weapons than the rest of the group including a few they don't have equivalent versions of.

TheRival (sometimes overlapping either TheLancer or the SixthRanger) may get to share an otherwise exclusive power with the Hero that the other members of the group won't get. This way the two can stay on an relative equal level of power.


[[folder: Anime & Manga]]
* ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'', almost every season the Hero and the Lancer get to evolve further than the rest of the cast. It is also universally common (though not ''always'' the case, very often so) for the protagonist's partner Digimon to reach the next stage of evolution first, then perhaps the Lancer, and the rest of the team afterward.
** In ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'', Tai and Matt and their partners Agumon and Gabumon, are the only ones to reach Mega level, while everyone else stops at Ultimate. This makes Agumon and Gabumon the ones who do most of the work against the Mega-level Dark Masters, although Patamon's Ultimate-level form is treated as also being on their level and defeats the final Dark Master before the FinalBoss. A subsequent movie gave Tai and Matt the ability to fuse their partners into [[EleventhHourSuperpower Omegamon]], cementing them as ''two'' levels above everyone else. Followup video games, and over fifteen years later the anime itself in the form of ''Anime/DigimonAdventureTri'', would close the gap a little by giving everyone else access to Mega level versions of their partners, though they still have nothing to match Omegamon.
** In ''Anime/DigimonAdventure02'', V-Mon gets a third Armor form where everyone else only gets either one or two. Said form, [[GoldenSuperMode Magnamon]], is outrageously powerful compared to all of the others but disappears after its one usage. V-Mon and Wormmon get the first DNA Digivolution form, which everyone else eventually matches, but they're the only ones to evolve this composite form into a Mega-level form, once more leaving everyone else stuck at Ultimate.
*** In the film, Hikari and Takeru's partners do reach their Mega stages. ...Again, for the sole purpose of enabling TheHero and the movie's exclusive character to reach their then-strongest stages (the above mentioned golden mode) to do all the work.
** Zig-zagged in ''Anime/DigimonTamers'' where the PowerTrio and SixthRanger all go Mega ([[ThoseTwoGuys Kenta]] and his partner [=MarineAngemon=] as well, by different means). Protagonist/partner Takato/Guilmon's Mega level does not show until he's beaten to the stage by Impmon (now Beelzebumon), though they still reach this stage, and every stage except Champion, before the rest of the team. They are also the only ones to get a further mode ([[LawOfChromaticSuperiority Crimson Mode]]), with the aid of their "trusty steed".
** Worst in ''Anime/DigimonFrontier.'' Everyone but TheHero and TheLancer stop getting power a quarter of the way through the series (reaching the equivalent of Ultimate in other series), while those two get mode after mode after mode (surpassing Mega level). Their strongest forms are powered by borrowing the powers of the rest of the team, so everyone not named Takuya and Koji sees his or her role reduced to "transfer your powers to them and go hide behind something."
** In ''Anime/DigimonXrosWars'', Shoutmon is the base form of all the Digixros, being the consciousness in charge even when he Digixrosses with a more powerful Digimon. He and Greymon are also the only ones that can Digivolve, ''and'' when Shoutmon Digixrosses with Zeekgreymon he's the one in charge instead of sharing consciousness.
* In ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'', Judai creates Neos Fusion Monsters out of nowhere, unlocks his hidden power of the Supreme King, and he fuses with Yubel. Everybody else get their new cards in more traditional ways.
** Jaden's rivals also end up getting one or two boss monsters with evolutions/alternate forms (Chazz has Armed Dragon Lv 7 and Lv 10, and VWXYZ; Zane has Cyber End Dragon and Cyberdark Dragon, Aster has D-Hero Dogma and Plasma, and Jesse has Crystal Beast Rainbow Pegasus/Rainbow Dragon) while the rest of his supporting cast only has one boss monster or ''don't'' have one at all.
* ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds'', Yusei and Jack have no less than three alternate forms of their Signer Dragons, while only one other signer ([[spoiler:Rua/Leo]]) has one, and then only one. Yusei eventually uses the other five Signer Dragons to (Limit Over Accel) Synchro Summon "Shooting Quasar Dragon", an evolution of his own Signer Dragon.
* ''Anime/YuGiOhArcV'' has Yuya being the only one able to create Pendulum-hybrids with other monsters types, with TheRival Akaba Reiji only using his own Pendulum-hybrids in the last 2 episodes of the series. His [[spoiler:SuperpoweredEvilSide Zarc is also the only one that was able to create a Pendulum-Synchro-Fusion-Xyz hybrid.]]
* ''Manga/DragonBall'':
** Goku is usually the first to train at a new training ground. The rest of the heroes make it there next season, but by then Goku has [[SoLastSeason moved on to another one already]]. In sequence the Kame House first, then Korin's Tower, Kami's Lookout, King Kai's Planet, Gravity Chamber. The final two training grounds (Hyberbolic Time Chamber, and Beerus' Planet) Vegeta actually went in first, but Goku followed a little later in the same season, so essentially at the same time. He's the first to reach Super Saiyan and Super Saiyan 3 transformations, and he was also the one chosen to ascend to [[PhysicalGod Super Saiyan God]] in ''Anime/DragonBallZBattleOfGods'' which Vegeta [[LampshadeHanging called him out on.]] In the follow up movie, ''Anime/DragonBallZResurrectionF'' [[spoiler: Goku's Super Saiyan form is blue as a result of the god power up. Vegeta also has this same form, ''finally'' putting them on the same level of power.]]
** During his son Gohan's stint as protagonist, Gohan is the first one to achieve Super Saiyan 2 and is the only one to receive a power-up from Old Kai, which brought his latent abilities to the surface and made him stronger than the first three Super Saiyan forms.
** ''Anime/DragonBallSuper'' finally throws Vegeta a bone. While Goku is the first to ascend to Super Saiyan God status, he had to go through a ritual involving borrowing others' power to do so. Vegeta somehow manages to ascend to the same form ''entirely under his own power'', something which Goku was frustrated that he was unable to do.
* ''Anime/SailorMoon'' is the first to receive new {{Special Attack}}s and {{Super Mode}}s. In the anime she is also the only one to reach the Eternal Form.
* Ryo was the only one who got a powered up armor in ''Anime/RoninWarriors'', doing so by taking the powers of four of the eight remaining armors, usually meaning his friends.
* In ''Anime/ZoidsChaoticCentury'', Van is the only heroic character to ever fuse with an organoid, giving him unfair stat boosts from day 1. He could only be matched by [[TheRival Raven]] who also had an organoid. By time of season 2 he had mad a point of training without the organoid so he could be legitimately powerful, but still fused to face other organoid owners.
* ''Anime/MobileFighterGGundam'': Domon's Shining Gundam is the only one to have a hypermode for the first half of the series. When the other [[FiveManBand Shuffle Alliance]] members unlock theirs Domon gets the entirely new [[MidSeasonUpgrade God (Burning) Gundam]], and then proceeds to eliminate his teammates one by one during the TournamentArc with relative ease.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'': Naruto and Sasuke always unlock new levels of power around the same time. This was intentional on the creators part so neither would outdo the other. After the first arc in Shippudden however the rest of the cast got mostly shafted. Except for the Jonins who are [[NewPowersAsThePlotDemands still relevant by showing off more of their true powers]] even though [[TheWorfEffect they are consistently outdone]] by Naruto.
* In the ''Anime/PrettyCure'' movies, all pink Cures since ''Anime/YesPrettyCure5GoGo'' (with the exception of ''Anime/HeartcatchPrettyCure'') will get exclusive {{Super Mode}}s. However, the respective series finals will give all teammates the same {{Super Mode}}s, with some exceptions.
** ''Anime/DokiDokiPrettyCure'' takes this even further. Cure Heart gets her exclusive SuperMode in the movie, [[spoiler:but her teammates do not get that SuperMode. Instead, Cure Hearts gets ''another'' exclusive SuperMode and defeats the BiggerBad by her own]]
** In ''Anime/HappinessChargePrettyCure'' unlike most examples, Cure Lovely gets her own exclusive SuperMode in her home series [[spoiler: and defeats the BiggerBad.]]

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* Inverted in ''[[Film/StarTrek Star Trek]]/[[ComicBook/GreenLantern Green Lantern]]: The Spectrum War.'' Not only do none of the rings choose Kirk (instead going to Chekov (blue), Bones (indigo), Uhura (violet), [[Film/StarTrekVITheUndiscoveredCountry General Chang]] (yellow), [[Recap/StarTrekS1E14BalanceOfTerror Decius]] (orange) and a Gorn (red), with green already being taken by Hal Jordan), he doesn't even [[spoiler: use one of Scotty's knock-off versions like Sulu, and it's Spock who's essential to the AllYourColoursCombined scene at the climax.]] [[spoiler: The final pages even give the [[RedShirt oft-killed Security personnel]] ring-based phasers and personal force-fields, whilst the concept of Kirk as a ring-bearer never gets any further than idle speculation as to which one might have chosen him.]]

* ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda'' has Po learn the basics of Kung Fu in the first movie, being enough to keep up with the Furious Five, but in the next two he gains more powers with each film (first Inner Peace, then mastering his Chi), putting him far ahead of them in power.

[[folder: Live-Action TV]]
* This trope is incredibly common in Main/{{Tokusatsu}} shows. If such a show has more than one superhero character, you can expect TheHero to get at least one more Power Up compared to the other superhero(es).
* ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' / ''Franchise/SuperSentai'': Usually, the red ranger gains access to the more impressive weapons, mecha and/or power ups that the rest of the team won't get. If the red ranger gains an extra mecha, there is a high chance it can transform into a robot on its own without any other components and fights just as good, if not better than the team's initial combined mecha. \\\
''Power Rangers'' takes it a step further, as the Red Ranger usually has a "Battlizer" or some equivalent power-up that gives him armor and new abilities, and usually the other rangers will not get a similar power. Some ''Super Sentai'' series also follow this practice, giving only the red ranger a power up, but this is not as regular as in ''Power Rangers''. \\\
This trend seemingly started in ''Series/KyoryuSentaiZyuranger''. Just before the SixthRanger died, he transferred his powers and ownership over his mecha Dragon Ceasar over to the red ranger, enabling him to don golden chest armor and use the SixthRanger's weapon. ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'' did the same, except the SixthRanger didn't die.
* ''[[Franchise/KamenRider Kamen Rider]]''s starting with Agito follow this trend as well. The main Rider will often get access to [[MultiformBalance a number of starting forms specializing in different aspects]], at which point one or more secondary Riders will be introduced whose powers are typically better than all of these initial forms.\\
If the main Rider only has one main form, or the multiple forms are shared between multiple starting Riders, they'll usually be the JackOfAllStats. Regardless of the setup, the main Rider will proceed to get the majority of the powerups and associated toys, with most secondary Riders only getting one enhanced form that puts them somewhere between the main Rider's penultimate and final forms. In particularly severe cases [[CantCatchUp the secondary Rider can end up stranded with no powerups at all]].
** One of the biggest offenders in Kamen Rider is ''Series/KamenRiderOOO''. The titular rider is able to separately transform his head, torso and legs, allowing him to mix and match his transformations. This system would theocratically allow him to take on 128 transformations. SecondRider Birth on the other hand, doesn't have any transformations apart from his initial one, unless you count the Birthday form, which is him activating all of his weapons at the same time.
** An unintentionally mean example appears in ''Series/KamenRiderDrive''. SecondRider Mach does receive a SuperMode, but it is a hand me down from the titular Kamen Rider Drive after he received an even better SuperMode.
** The titular ''Series/KamenRiderGhost'' has more than ten transformations, three of which are {{Super Mode}}s. The other two Riders don't even reach five and Kamen Rider Necrom doesn't even have a SuperMode.
* Taken to ridiculous extents in ''Series/MadanSenkiRyukendo'', where the titular Ryukendo receives three transformations based on fire, water and lightning respectively, a MidSeasonUpgrade, improved versions of the aforementioned elemental transformations to go along with the MidSeasonUpgrade and, near the end of the show, a GoldenSuperMode. The other warriors, Ryugunoh and Ryujinoh get no such luck, with only Ryugunoh receiving a single MidSeasonUpgrade, while both of them temporarily get a GoldenSuperMode after Ryukendo shares some of his powers with them.
* In both ''Series/TomicaHeroRescueForce'' and ''Series/TomicaHeroRescueFire'' TheHero receives a SuperMode the rest of the team has no access to. The latter even gets his own humanoid HumongousMecha.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'', Squall has more weapons than any other party member, and his InfinityPlusOneSword can be acquired earliest.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'', Ashe is the one to receive the two [[SwordOfPlotAdvancement Swords of Plot Advancement]], and in the manga Belias, the first Esper, chooses her as its master. Vaan, usually considered a DecoyProtagonist, has since been associated with one of the mentioned Swords of Plot Advancement while Ashe uses the other, the two wielding them such a way in an end-game cutscene.
* Played with in ''VideoGame/LegacyOfKain''. Kain is the hero of the first game ''Blood Omen'', and in the introduction to the second game ''Soul Reaver'', it's mentioned Kain is always the first among him and his lieutenants to evolve a new ability. During said intro, Raziel, the protagonist of this game, becomes the first to beat him to it by growing wings, stealing the spotlight from Kain in a fourth-wall sort of way.
* A staple in Creator/BioWare [=RPGs=]:
** In ''Franchise/BaldursGate'', 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 (though the other child of Bhaal that still is a Bhaalspawn when she's part of the party actually was ''supposed'' to get nifty Bhaal-induced powers, two-and-a-half games after you got them. It just that the coding for the delay between triggering events is a bit iffy). Then again, some of the NPC party members start out with their own unique non-standard abilities -- for example, Minsc is a Ranger that can berserk, Mazzy is a Fighter with a couple of Paladin-like abilities (thus sidestepping the fact that in 2E, only humans can be Paladins).
** In the ''Franchise/MassEffect'' series, it's Commander Shepard who gets all the cutting-edge upgrades, weapons, and technologies while his/her squad is mostly restricted to perfecting their confined areas of expertise.
** In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', if upgrades (such as attribute bonuses) can only be picked up by a certain character, it's ''always'' the Warden.
** Likewise, in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'', the Inquisitor seems to be the person who gets all the special quest rewards, although this is offset a bit by the Amulets of Power, one-time boosts that give an extra skill point when equipped--but only to specific companions. There is only one Amulet of Power restricted to the Inquisitor in the entire game (plus, a certain Inquisition perk gives them an extra ability point).
* In ''VideoGame/AceCombatZeroTheBelkanWar'', only Cipher can purchase better planes (including superfighters) for himself, while his two wingmen are stuck with their starting planes for the entire game. This is in contrast to ''VideoGame/AceCombat5TheUnsungWar'' and ''VideoGame/AceCombat6FiresOfLiberation'', where you could equip wingmen with the same planes as yourself.
* Inverted and then played straight in ''VideoGame/FortuneSummoners''. The main character, [[BadassAdorable Arche]], can't use magic (because she hasn't learned any, her parents can't afford the {{Magitek}} needed to cast spells and because her [[{{BFS}} weapon]] makes casting spells harder). In the final level [[spoiler: you unlock the elemental stone you recover in the prologue and she gains a SuperMode]].
* In the ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' series, only the protagonists and [[TheLancer Lancers]] gain access the massively strong Ninja and Samurai classlines.
* In ''VideoGame/PokemonXAndY'', the protagonist is the only one of the FiveManBand aside from the BigBad, the FinalBoss, and the person who discovered it, to get the power to use [[SuperMode Mega Evolution]], even dueling TheRival to get it to boot. Justified since it is emphasized Mega Research has just been discovered and using it needs special technology that isn't in mass-production. [[spoiler:Your rival does get to use it in the post-game story, however.]]
* Originally averted in ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'', where all of the main characters at the time[[note]]Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles[[/note]] had a SuperMode that you could unlock after collecting all seven [[BonusStageCollectables Chaos Emeralds]] from the special stages(Although Sonic's was the only one that was [[GoldenSuperMode golden]]). The games then start to play it straight from ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'' onwards when Tails and Knuckles` super forms are retconned out of the series. Afterward, the only additional characters to get super forms were [[TheRival Shadow]], Blaze,[[note]]Blaze has her own set of emeralds[[/note]] and [[FutureBadass Silver.]] Despite that however, the latter three show up very infrequently and Sonic is the one who uses this power more than anyone else.
* In ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'', [[TheHero Mario's]] ability to flip between 3D and 2D is the most useful and prominent of the playable characters' secondary abilities. The ability is so useful that it was used as one of the game's main selling points despite being a character specific ability.
* In ''VideoGame/XenobladeChronicles'', the InfinityPlusOneSword, the [[spoiler:Monado III]], is something only the game's main protagonist Shulk can wield, especially within the NewGamePlus where it becomes readily available for use outside of the final boss fight.
** In its [[VideoGame/XenobladeChronicles2 direct sequel]], Rex is the only playable character to [[spoiler:be able to bond with any blade, along with having exclusive access to Pyra/Mythra and Nia's blade form]].
* In ''VideoGame/LegendOfDragoon'', [[TheHero Dart]] obtains the [[spoiler: [[SuperMode Divine Dragoon form]]]], meanwhile [[TheLancer Rose]] obtains the [[spoiler: [[InfinityPlusOneSword Dragon Buster]]]], just in time for the showdown with BigBad FinalBoss [[spoiler:Melbu Frahma]]
* The Dragonborn, the PlayerCharacter in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' is the only character in the game able to almost instantly learn to use the Dragon language, which is a LanguageOfMagic that allows the user to [[RealityWarper warp the reality around them]]. Regular people have to spend years to master even a single word of said language. This results in the PlayerCharacter gaining all kinds of fancy new abilities over time, while characters the player works with tend to stay the same in terms of fighting ability.
* For MMORPGs, the Main Tank in Guild Raids tend to get first pick of the loot dropped by the boss, or at least at a significant discount compared to other members. And for good reason: the better geared the Main Tank is, the less likely he is to die. And if the Main Tank dies, it doesn't matter how much dps you can put out, as usually the boss will inflict a TotalPartyKill shortly after.

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* In both ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' and ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' the Avatar is the only person able to learn controlling all four elements, as well as using spiritual powers, while other non-{{Muggle}} characters are limited to only one element. This results in the titular characters learning new powers and techniques at least once a season.