Iruka and Naruto pull off one each in the first chapter/episode.
Naruto does it again during Orochimaru's invasion of Konoha when Sasuke is fighting Gaara in the forest.
The sand siblings appear to save the Konoha genins who are about to be killed by the Sound Four.
Chapter 437 of Naruto has Hinata taking a deathblow for Naruto and her Disney Death led to Naruto going Six-Tails. This was handled differently in the anime, where she not only breaks a few Chakra rods, but manages to land a hit on Pain.
Chapter 562 has the five Kages coming to the rescue (sort of) to face the newly-resurrected Madara Uchiha.
And 611 has the entire united shinobi army showing up to help Naruto, Gai, Kakashi, and B take on the 10 tails! And failed to do anything of value whatsoever.
In 630 Minato shows up to save their collectively useless asses from a ten tails bijuu bomb. The other three Hokages probably aren't far behind
Roy gets one as well when he destroys all the Cyclops army in one page. Ed and Scar were having a lot of trouble with these same guys for the entire previous chapter. T'was awesome.
And again in chapter 101 when Mei and the Chimeras appear just in the nick of time to save Roy, Riza and Scar from the creepy doctor, and heal Riza's neck wound.
Mustang also gets one in The Movie based off of the 2003 anime series, Conqueror of Shamballa, which doubles as a He's Back moment, saving his men and Central from the invading Thule Society soldiers after having been away and moping up north.
What Mukuro and Fran did in the last chapter was this complete with extra-powerful illusions. A few chapters back, the Varia pulled one too, arriving just in time to save the day.
Akira Amano loves this trope. In the last part of TYL arc, you can expect to see this every 2 or 3 chapters.
Most recently, Kaoru of the Shimon Family, followed closely by Yamamoto himself, both of them against Arc Big Bad Daemon Spade.
Protagonists of shonenFighting Series tend to do this so many times in their respective anime that it becomes tired and clichéd after a while. Notorious perpetrators of this trope include Goku from Dragon Ball Z, Ichigo from Bleach, Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star, and Naruto. It has become more and more common to invert this by having the protagonist bailed out at some point (usually during the first fight with a stronger foe) by one of the supporting characters. Listing the complete list of times this happens in this type of show would be a page-eating exercise in pure madness.
In the Namek Arc, the Warrior-type Namekians, who are strongest amongst the Namekians, arrive to stop Freiza from getting one of the Namekian Dragon Balls in one of the villages only for them to be killed with great ease by Zarbon and Dodoria essentially making Frieza’s goal easier as the village is left defenceless. As expected Freiza gained the Dragon Ball from the elder Namekian of the village, but that didn't stop Freiza from killing one of his sons then having Dodoria kill the elder and nearly kill his second son if it weren't for a last minute rescue from Gohan and Kirllin.
In The Cell Arc, Android 16 came out nowhere also tried to play the role of hero. 16 carried a self-destruct device with a magnitude higher than a nuclear bomb that was presumably implanted by Gero for an attempt to kill Goku. 16 ultimately attempts to use this on Cell, but he ended up unable to go through with it because Bulma removed the device when doing repair work on 16. This gets even worse because Cell states that even if he had the bomb, since he was ridiculously powerful, it probably would not have been enough to kill him. Ironically, had he not been destroyed by Cell he wouldn't have been able to inspire Gohan to become stronger.
Averted when Gohan took on Super Buu, which was a fight that demonstrates what can happens when a Big Damn Heroes moment is turned on its head. The tables dramatically turning the way they did when Gohan took on Buu is prime example of what can happen if a fighter regresses in general technique and strategy, doesn't get the job done quickly and underestimates a villain. Super Buu could sense Gohan's immense power while he was fighting Gotenks and had already come up with a plan if that great power were to come to Earth and by not killing Super Buu quickly Gohan played right into Buu's plan and payed the price for his arrogance as the fight went on with Buu tricking Goten and Trunks into fusing and then absorbing Gotenks along with Piccolo and proceeding to own Gohan.
Subverted in Dragon Ball. When Goku decides to storm the Red Ribbon Army's base and his friends hear about it, they all panic and quickly gather everybody to go help him out. Apparently not even Muten Roshi thinks Goku can beat them all by himself. After a pretty intense race to the Red Ribbon hideout, everybody mentally prepares to go into battle...only to find that it isn't necessary. Contrary to their wildest expectations, Goku had already single-handedly destroyed the entire base.
Despite being the main character, Goku's record of successfully invoking this trope is mixed at best. He was successful in invoking this trope against Nappa, Recoome, Jeice and Burter. However, he was unsuccessful in invoking this trope against King Piccolo, Raditz, Cell, Frieza, Majin Buu and Beerus.
The last 30 minutes or so of the Martian Successor Nadesico movie is a long string of these moments crammed together. There's so many heroes showing up to foil the bad guys in various places that the narrative starts to fall apart at the end.
The last 5 or so minutes of the OVAGaoGaiGar FINAL is the ultimate Big Damn Heroes moment, after an episode leading up to it: after all of the Yuusha Corps members pull out all the stops to defeat their 'rivals', the bad guys revive. In droves. No, really. Droves. But then it is revealed that the battles themselves were merely a diversion for GGG to figure out just how the Sol 11 were regenerating themselves - the 'Sun'. So Genesic GaoGaiGar flies up and - in what has to be the most incredible attack sequence ever animated - combines with the 3 battleships waiting in orbit, themselves combined in hammer form. The show had its Goldion Hammer before, which crushed enemies with near-infinite mass - the Goldion 'Crusher' was designed to be used against Jupiter-sized enemies. So yeah, GGGG warps to the fake sun, and crushes it into light.
Most of the new character (and tool) introductions in that series actually qualify. Especially anything involving Symmetrical Docking. ChoRyuJin, being the only one who can operate the energy-dissipating Eraser Head "missile", gets multiple ones, including the crowning Big Damn Heroes moment in the third episode of FINAL.
Perhaps ChoRyuJin's Big Damn Heroes in the original GaoGaiGar when, after realising a second ubercharged railway cannon shell is coming moments after the first has been dissipated, detaches his Mirror Coating chestplate and stands firm, holding it up as a shield.
ChoRyuJin also gets a Big Damn Heroes moment when he flies into a gigantic asteroid on a collision course with Earth, preventing the collision but in the process becoming stranded with no way back. This also resulted in ChoRyuJin killing the dinosaurs by sending that asteroid back in time 65 million years, so...oops?
King J-Der gets one in Episode 31, launching out of a volcano and effortlessly blasting the first three Primevals, saving GaoGaiGar in the process.
The titular robot even gets one of these towards the end of the main series. Arm Primeval, fused with one of Jupiter's moons, is about to annihilate the entirety of the Gutsy Galaxy Guard in a single blow, and everyone believes they're completely and utterly screwed due to GaoGaiGar falling into the planet's gravitational pull...then, just before it hits? "PROTECT WALL!!"
Suzaku is an expert at pulling of Big Damn Heroes moments. Although, considering that he never once actually rescues the hero—seeing that he is the strongest enemy pilot and is rescuing enemy leaders—the definition is being used very loosely.
Well, once, right before Mao is killed by C.C. in season one, he saves the hero. But most of the time, he's performing Big Damn Heroes to save the antagonists.
The Earl of Pudding himself, Lloyd Asplund, and his assistant Cecille had one in the first season finale when they swooped onto the battle field and saved Suzaku and the student council from the gun happy Black Knight and Zero's self-proclaimed best friend, Tamaki.
Lloyd gets another one, alongside Suzaku and Euphie of all people, in the Nightmare of NunnallySpin-Off. And you can just tell from the way he's holding himself that he was thinking of this trope...
Episode 20: "The Battle for Kyushu". It looks like Suzaku's finally run out of energy, ready to be picked off....
Subverted when Sanzo, Goku and Hakkai show up to 'save' Gojyo from Kami-sama—only to spend several minutes kicking him into submission for making them go through the big damn trouble of backtracking several days to find him. (They do save Gojyo from imminent strangulation first.) Still moot, though, because Kami-sama proceeds to beat them all spectacularly. Ironically, Gojyo is the only one conscious in the end and mostly responsible for their escape.
Used again in the finale of Gunlock, when Goku, Hakkai, Gojyo, and Hakuryuu have gotten sick and tired of being attacked by assassins thinking they're still the Sanzo party after they split from the priest, so they decide to go kick his ass right as he's being shot repeatedly. Plenty of jeering, Sanzo gets shot some more...only after that does Goku get a chance to punch him, and then Sanzo punches Gojyo, Sanzo tells them they're pains in the ass, they agree wholeheartedly. All is right with the world.
In the manga version of that storyline, the group shows up just in time for Goku to yank a very badly battered Sanzo out of a black hole of Ret Gone...and accidentally throws him so hard he hurts him worse. Hakkai is nice enough to patch him up, though.
Invoked in the third movie by Rin who refuses to run from the Big Bad because she knows Sesshomaru will show up and save her, and sure enough, he appears at the last second.
An episode of the anime has Inuyasha and his gang see a girl being chased by a crowd of angry villagers. Being the protective girl she is, Sango steps in between them to fend them off. Thanks to wearing her non-battling kimono at the time, the crowd stopped chasing the girl when they take a look at Sango and see her beauty.
Lampshaded in Rurouni Kenshin, when Hiko saves Yahiko from the giant Fuji. The boy accuses the swordsman of timing his rescue perfectly to look cool, with the latter rebutting that he was merely lost because of his pupil's poor directions.
This became a trademark feat of Gundam SEED protagonist Kira Yamato after he acquired the Freedom Gundam, and its upgraded model in the sequel Destiny.
Athrun Zala and Mu La Flaga are also occasionally guilty of this trope.
Allelujah Haptism pulls two in the first season: first during the pilot episode and again in episode 5.
The Thrones' first appearance has them collectively whooping the asses of the combined Union, AEU and HRL force that captured the Gundams.
When Setsuna turns on the Thrones, he's having a tough time with them... until Tieria shows up to assist him. Still, Johann and Nena try to use their Combination AttackBFG... at which point Lockon joins the fray too. Taking away their numerical advantage proves to be enough to chase them away.
When Lockon tries to take Ali with him near the end of season 1, Setsuna tries this trope to save him... and fails.
Setsuna gets into a pinch at the beginning of season 2: his Gundam's arms are both cut off at the shoulder and his opponent is too fast for him to flee. Said opponent charges at him with a Boom Stick lance... then said lance is obliterated by Tieria's new Gundam Seravee with a long-range shot. Tieria promptly beamsabers the guy when it tries to attack him from behind.
Right in the following episode, Tieria is the one who's having a hard time against several mooks... then Setsuna returns the favor from earlier by commandeering the 00 Gundam and wiping the floor with their enemies.
Finally in episode 17 of season 2, everyone pulls a truly EPICEnemy Mine moment with this trope, trying to shoot down all the falling pieces of an orbital elevator. First it's only Celestial Being... then Katharon joins them... then the Federation Army follows suit... and finally A-LAWS joins in too. The result is a spectacular shootout involving hundreds, if not thousands, of mobile suits.
The Gundam 00 Movieruns with it so much. First Setsuna and Lockon rescues Marina and Shirin from terrorists. Then the duo then rescues the series' two prominent couples, with Setsuna saving Saji and Louise from a Ribbons-like ELS, and Lockon saving H/Allelujah and Marie/Soma from ELS-infected vehicles. Then Tieria rescues the rest of Celestial Being from the ELS accompanying the second Europa. Later, the Sol Braves rescue Celestial Being from the ELS. Then the Ptolemaios, Zabanya, and Harute come to the aid of the ESF forces in the final battle. Finally, Setsuna joins the fray in the 00 Qan[T], prompting a massive opening of whoop-ass cans on the ELS.
Then, there's Mobile Fighter G Gundam's big finale when virtually every Mobile Fighter in the series (as well as cameos from Gundams from other series along with other Tomino Super Robots) race to aid the Shuffle Alliance against Colony Devil Gundam.
Natsuki returns the favor in Episode 14 when the others are cornered by the Searrs army, shooting the soldiers' guns and blinding them with a flash cartridge to give Mai and Mikoto a chance to escape.
The beginning of the final episode when Yuuichi shows up out of nowhere swinging a sword around to save Mai from Reito.
The manga series Kamen Rider Spirits seems to be one Big Damn Heroes moment after another - only it's often just one such Hero against a small army of overpowered cyborgs. (The V3 version of this is the best - a seemingly untransformable Kazami Shiro versus the first half of his Monsters Of The Week, then transforms and beats them all down. While bleeding from the transformation. And then firekicks the Big Bad's body into little pieces of BLAM. On the moon.)
In Guyver, Guyver III tends to do this a lot to Guyver I, the protagonist. Occasionally, Guyver I will return the favor.
In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Simon and Viral leave Earth to save the day when Anti-Spirals are destroying the Arc-Gurren, a huge spaceship. They arrive in an epically awesome Big Damn Heroes moment. The shockwave of concentrated awesome destroys the whole Anti-Spiral fleet save for the mothership.
There's a string of these at the climax of the second movie, after the TTGL is defeated and ripped apart. Nia rescues Simon from the Anti-Spiral, then Viral turns up to save Nia, then Yoko steps in once Viral's swords break, then the twins jump in to catch a pair of galaxy shurikens headed for Yoko, then a bit later on Zoushi and Makken turn up to help Kidd and Ailac. And you gotta remember that they're ALL in Galaxy-sized mechs at least as big as the Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann.
There's also Episode 11, when Simon busts out of his Wangst at Kamina's death to kick Guame's ass.
In the Kyoto arc of Mahou Sensei Negima!, Evangeline, of all people, gets one when she shows up on the field trip to save Negi and co. from a giant demon.
Mana and Ku Fei doing the same for Asuna and Setsuna, and Kaede preceding hers with a giant shuriken, all earlier in the same arc.
A double BDH. Setsuna and Kaede show up to rescue Nodoka from bounty hunters, but the hunters planned ahead and they're suddenly caught in their magical lightning trap. Then Asuna appears, jumping in to rescue Setsuna & Kaede whilst Negi completes the first BDH and saves Nodoka all on his lonesome with his Dangerous Forbidden Technique. The series' transformation into Magical School Dragon Ball with added fanservice is now complete.
Once more in the latest arc, as Kotarou shows up to save the collective rears of Nodoka, Paru, and Chisame, entering the scene with a nonchalant "whoa there."
And again in chapter 269, when in a flashback Nagi and Ala Rubra show up in the nick of time to save Princess Arika from what would've been an extremely grisly execution.
Chapters 273 & 275 have more than can be believed. Chapter 273 has Kuu Fei bashing Kurt Godel with her artifact...through a wall. Followed by Takahata making his reappearance by smashing Godel in the face with a full-force blow. Chapter 275 has Takane & Mei, then Yue, and finally Mana all making their Big Damn Heroes moments. Mana's is particularly epic.
Chapter 280. Dynamis (Fate's ultra-powerful shadow user accomplice) has Nodoka by the head in front of the others and is threatening to snap her neck. Cue Setsuna dropping in out of nowhere, hacking off the guy's right hand in the process. Faced with Setsuna and Kaede, both wielding their biggestweapons and ready for blood, the previously-unstoppable Dynamis is forced to retreat.
And again in chapter 294 Ala Alba almost got through army of Airborne Mooks but their path got blocked by two GiantAirborne Mooks. Just as they are about to bring the ships down BAM! Negi comes back and one-shots Mooks by piercing them both with his Titanslayer spear.
Chapter 330 After getting thoroughly stomped by everyone who was ever in KE, Negi and Fate are both down and about to get finished off by Secundum, when in a glorious callback to chapter 51 Eva arrives and stops his attack
Macross Frontier episode 14: Sheryl is forced to pilot Skull-02 (Mikhail's Valkyrie) when he's knocked unconscious, but she's shot down less than a minute later and they're both ejected from the vehicle. Then Luca shields them both from the approaching Vajra, but his shots are ineffectual and his gun is knocked away. He's staring death in the face (the biggest Vajra is reflected on his visor) when Alto folds in at the last second, destroying all the approaching Vajra and letting loose a volley of micro missiles that demolishes several dozen more, all while performing a continuous axis roll that turns his Transforming Mecha into the missile equivalent of a Gatling gun. Then he does a fly-by as the others look on in awe.
Pulled on a grand scale in episode 25, as not only has Alto's VF-171EX been shot down, the Vajra are enjoying a Theme Music Power-Up thanks to Ranka, and to top it off, a Vajra gunship is charging up to fire right into the Battle Frontier's bridge. Cue the SMS Macross Quarter skewering the Vajra gunship with a shot from its Heavy Quantum Reaction cannon, while still inside the fold portal. Then, after explaining everything to the Frontier commanders, the Quarter and all its squadrons proceed to counterattack.
Rom Stoll in Machine Robo: Revenge of the Chronos practically lives by this trope. His favorite method is when there is trouble, he would suddenly appear out of nowhere and yell MATTE!!! (WAIT!!!), causing the said villain to be shocked and ask who's there. With arms crossed, Rom then proceeds to give out a long-winded speech of virtue and justice, frowning upon the said villain, and then the villain would respond with "Wha!? Who are you to talk to me like that!?" Rom's answer? "You don't deserve to know my name!". Cue ass-kicking.
Great Mazinger was a master of these kinds of moments, as even his debut was a major one. During the final episode (and its extended movie version) of Mazinger Z, a new enemy army appears and proceed to completely overwhelm Kouji. As the Mazinger barely holds itself even a tiny bit together, the Great Mazinger shows up just before the final blow is struck and proceeds to absolutely dominate the new foes. Also something he's fond of doing in remakes, often with a nice big THUNDER BREAK to blast any number of enemies ready to swarm his allies. Also some really nice descending from the clouds shots.
A good example of this can be seen in the final episode of Mazinkaiser. Kouji and Mazinkaiser are trapped in the reactivated Mt. Fuji, Boss Borot is destroyed, Venus Ace is a Mechanical Monster and the Photon Power Plant is lost. Just as the beast that took out Mazinkaiser is about to go after the rest, his wings are clipped by a red streak. The Japanese version pussyfoots around it, but the English dub goes straight to the point:
Professor Yumi: He's come back!
Cue the reappearance of Great Mazinger (who had been out since episode 2) and shows how powerful he is with a Double Thunder Break.
UFO Robo Grendizer was also fond of those moments. In the first episode, Duke pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment to save Kouji, deploying Grendizer for first time. In another episode, Hikaru Makiba (who had not been an Action Girl until that moment) pulls another to save Duke.
When Kyon was about to get killed by Ryoko Asakura, Yuki Nagato arrives to the rescue by breaking through the wall/into the space and catches the knife with her hands, shortly before taking Asakura down in one of the most awesome battles of the series.
In the 4th novel Disappearance, Yuki gets another Big Damn Heroes moment. Again, she catches Asakura's knife.
And then when Kyon himself mobilizes Mikuru, Yuki and the older Mikuru to save himself and shoot the changed Yuki with the program Yuki (non-changed one) gave him.
That's not all. In Boredom, the baseball game, Yuki hacks the baseball bat in the final inning, when the opponents have scored 10 points. The resulting 11 home-run streak is both hilarious and cool at the same time. And then the opponents ask Kyon after the game if they're willing to sell their supposed magical baseball bat.
Moving back, we have Melancholy, where Kyon prevents the end of the world by making out with Haruhi.
In Day of Sagittarius, Kyon insists that nobody cheats. The Genre Savvy readers might figure out that this isn't a good idea, but eh...When Yuki drops the bombshell that she isn't cheating, despite controlling 20 subfleets perfectly using text-based inputs, but their opponents are, Kyon reluctantly lets her hack the opponents' computer, rewrite the software on all 10 computers, and continue decimating her opponents all under the constraints of human technology.
In the 10th novel, Ryoko returns from the dead to protect Kyon from Kuyoh in a knife battle. She's still a Boxed Crook because she can only appear under special circumstances.
Played straight in episode 19. Zeruel, the Angel Of The Week, is about to obliterate Misato, Ritsuko, Fuyutsuki and the NERV commanding staff, and suddenly Unit One crashes through the wall and Shinji kicks arse!
And again in episode 10, "Magma Diver", where Asuka, having killed the Angel of the Week, begins to sink into the magma, sure to die of either starvation, overheating or suffocation. Shinji, without specialised armor or orders, dives headfirst into the magma and catches her.
During his fight with Ramiel in both the original series and Rebuild of Evangelion, it appears that Shinji is going to get well and royally screwed by the Angel's laser blast. Cue Rei jumping in at the last moment, blocking Ramiel's beam with a frickin' space shuttle! Okay, fine, the modified armor of a space shuttle, but still! Awesome.
It gets better than that. In the original once the shield is melted off Rei steps in the path herself. She also attempts to nuke an Angel, it doesn't work but it seems she likes this trope. See below.
In End of Evangelion, Shinji is being held at gunpoint by three JSSDF soldiers, one pressing a gun barrel directly on his head. Just before he pulls the trigger, Misato bursts in at the last minute, gunning down all the soldiers and saving Shinji in a manner most impressive. These are all trained, hardened soldiers, and Misato has likely never seen an actual battle her whole life, making it more awesome.
Horrifyingly subverted later, when Asuka appears and completely trashes the attacking army. The day looks saved, until the MP Evas show up and tear her to pieces.
Awesomely unsubverted in the manga adaptation, where the MP Evas are going to kill Asuka...and then Shinji shows up in Unit-01 and tears them apart.
And Double Subversion later on: Rei is the Apocalypse Maiden and can cause Instrumentality, but she tries to talk Shinji out of doing it. She can't, and SEELE causes it instead. Then she talks him round to reversing it.
Remington suddenly appearing to chase off Aion as he looms over a weakened Rosette and a badly injured Chrono
Satella who comes flying in on a summoned beast to save Chrono and Rosette from a long fall.
Berserk pulls a big one of these off in the manga when the Skull Knight saves the lives of Guts and Casca at the end of the Eclipse just as the two of them are about to be finished off by Griffith and the Godhand.
Tuxedo Mask does this all the time! He even once did it dressed up as Santa Claus!
Sailors Uranus and Neptune do this all the time in the first anime adaptation of Sailor Moon. Likewise, Sailor Pluto comes to their rescue at one point in Sailor Stars. In the movies, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are the de facto Reinforcements.
Sailor Venus in her debut gets in on this and saves the other four girls from dying of asphyxiation from a magically created shrinking dark barrier.
At one point in the manga of Flame of Recca, Recca suffers a serious Heroic BSOD. Apparently, not only that he found out that Mikagami picked up a Distress Ball and is now a hostage to the enemy, then he learns that Domon can't survive his Jumping Off The Cliff stunt way back, and Fuuko is currently getting drained of her personality. Who came to snap him out of it? DOMON, Not Quite Dead, instantly gives out a rallying speech that raises everyone's morale back. And you thought he's just a Dumb MuscleJoke Character...
First is towards the end of Minagoroshi-hen, with Keiichi, Rena, and the Sonozaki Twins saving Rika and Satoko from the Yamainu, only to be subverted by the main villain showing up and personally murdering them all.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei: Just when Keiichi has given up hope of escaping with his swimsuit from his friends, Tomitake, Oishi, and Irie (together with Keiichi, the "Heavenly Kings of Darkness") swoop in on surfboards in the middle of a pool scene to save him, each sprouting a grandiose line about not giving up. Oishi even ends up summoning a squad of fully-armed riot police to help, which storms in after their truck bursts through the pool fence.
In Hellsing, Alexander Anderson and his monk/nun army, of all people, shows up to save Integra from an horde of vampires.
Aya ends a 10-Minute Retirement with one of these in Weiß Kreuz. Yoji, Ken, and Omi are cornered, outnumbered, and out of ideas - until Aya arrives, standing on top of a speeding car and packing a machine gun.
He does it again in Weiß KreuzGluhen, arriving in the nick of time to save Sena from Sagiri and Suika.
In the Black Cat manga, Train goes and saves Rinslet just before Creed is about to kill Naizer, making this example slightly different in that the person whose life was in immediate danger wasn't the Damsel in Distress.
Train also does it the jerk-way when soldiers of the Apostle of Stars show up and corner Sven, Even, and Dr. Tearju; Train saves them with a newly acquired ability that forces the soldiers to retreat. Train later reveals that he had actually been watching for a while, and thought it would be funner if he showed up at the very last second. Sven comically punched him in the face for his trouble.
During the Seven Devils arc in Kinnikuman, Mr. Khamen is about to suck out Brocken Jr.'s blood through a straw when Mongolman saves him.
Subverted in Soul Eater: Near the end of the Kishin arc, Black Star and Death the Kid pull a Big Damn Heroes act on Eruka and Free about to awaken the Kishin, and a battle ensues. In a last-ditch effort, Black Star manages to slice in half the tool used to awaken the Kishin, seconds before Eruka can use it. As he is celebrating his victory, Black Star suddenly finds that the aura of madness that the Kishin is emitting caused him to hallucinate the whole thing — he'd really just attacked one of the room's statues, and the Kishin is revived before the heroes' eyes.
And played straight when Maka and Soul fight Crona. Spirit and Stein turning up when they did saved their lives.
GunBuster, Episode 4. The Exelion fleet is ambushed during a Fold jump by Alien Monsters. Almost all of the fleet is destroyed, the mecha squadrons are decimated, and everything looks at its worst . . . then Gunbuster Rises, Noriko at the controls, and destroys nearly entire alien fleet with one attack.
DieBuster manages to do its predecessor justice in episode 4: The Variable Gravity Well has gone berserk. Most of the Buster Machine pilots are dead, and Europa has been shot through several times. The two remaining resident Action Girls are next to dead, and their mechs are totaled. The Variable Gravity Well turns around, stares right at them, charges its Texas-sized attack when, suddenly, reality shatters like a pane of glass, and up out of the hole to nothing, having warped all the way from Pluto to Jupiter instantaneously, raises Nono, hair aflame and sporting new duds. She absorbs said giant fucking death ray, summons a legion of space monsters, then slices Europa in half, all while giving a motivational speech with the Buster Machine March playing.
She does it again in episode 6 when the Earth government has pooled its resources together to build a Buster Machine to propel Earth like a bomb to kill a blackhole, and just as it gets up to speed, reality shatters like a pane of glass, and up out of the hole to nothing, having warped all the way from outside the Solar System to Earth, raises the titular Earth sized fembot, "DIE! BUS! TER!"
Chrome Shelled Regios when Layton increases his kei in order to save Nina and win the match with the 16th platoon.
In Claymore, Awakened Being Agatha has Galetea pinned to the wall, and is about to kill Clarice and Miata. Her attack gets thrown off by one of her legs being destroyed. Cut to Clare and the rest of the Sexy Seven standing on top of a building in the rain and informing Agatha that as she is about to die, she doesn't need to know who they are.
The Sexy Seven (actually, the remaining Sexy Five—but with reinforcements) pull it off again, arriving in the nick of time to prevent their rogue captain Miria from Awakening in a desperate attempt to stop the most powerful Abyssal One of all times (Priscilla notwithstanding).
In the climax of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, Syaoran and Sakura, arriving minutes too late to save Syaoran and a few days too late to save Sakura, are freed from a decade of imprisonment just in time to save their son, Syaoran, and his girlfriend, Sakura. Everyone with the same name looks exactly alike. Yes, it is somewhat hard to keep track of.
Subverted in the first movie. In a tense climactic scene between Kirin and Akane, the door finally bursts open. But instead of Ranma coming to her rescue, it's Ryoga Hibiki and the rest of the motley crew. Ranma gets his own big damn moment a little while later.
Played straight rather sweetly earlier in the series, both anime and manga. When Ranma temporarily loses his strength to moxibustion, most of his enemies gang up and decide to give him the monumental collective ass-kicking they've been wanting to give him for some time. Ranma, on the ground, about to be completely flattened, closes his eyes, hears a strange noise and opens them again to find Ryoga Hibiki, who has appeared out of nowhere, defending him.
It's also played straight in the aforementioned movie. When the fishing rod-wielding Lucky God Ebiten has Ranma beaten, bleeding, and at his mercy, he winds up for the coup de grace...and suddenly a spinning bandanna comes flying and destroys his fishing rod. Cue Ryouga steamrolling over Ebiten on his way to Kirin's tower (closely followed by everyone else) while Ranma just blinks in bewilderment.
The same movie also gave an earlier one to Shampoo. Ranma has been ensnared by a Razor Floss using martial artist, who is going to cut him into pieces when Ranma's unwanted fiancée comes flying in from off-screen and cuts the wires before they can slice Ranma apart. She then tells him to go on and save Akane while she holds the line here.
Gintama has a lot of last-minute rescues. Gintoki especially rescues Shinpachi a lot.
Miaka gets handed the Distress Ball a lot, but the trade-off is that her warriors get to pull off some nice last-minute saves. Tamahome does this too many times to count, and in fact one of these is the start of their Rescue Romance.
Tasuki runs a close second: saving Nuriko, Hotohori and Miaka as they're about to be killed by zombies, showing up at the very last second to prevent Miaka from having her skull bashed in by brainwashed Tamahome, and finally showing up with Chichiri in the real world to take on Nakago.
The twins get their moments as well. Amiboshi saves Miaka after his Heel-Face Turn. As a result, Tomo corners both Amiboshi and Miaka with intent to kill them - at which point moral event horizon-crosserSuboshi unexpectedly shows up and murders Tomo on the spot for daring to threaten his beloved brother.
In Azumanga Daioh, Sakaki is saved by the gang of cats led by Kamineko by the Iriomote cat she befriended earlier. Said cat becomes her pet.
Great Teacher Onizuka does this all the damn time, sometimes with gunshot wounds. Ask any of his students. He even lampshades it once, where he apologizes for not arriving earlier, but then that wouldn't have been as dramatic.
Chapter 198/199, Vivi, after witnessing Crocodile single-handedly and effortlessly beating down Alabasta's strongest warriors, is dropped to her death, but who should appear from the sky to save her from her demise but Luffy (and Pell)? Add to the scene Vivi's lamentations that nobody can hear her, and Luffy confidently saying, "I can hear...your voice!"
In chapter 502/episode 396 after the Straw Hats lose their chance of rescuing their friend, Caimie, who going to be sold as a slave to the World Nobles, Luffy comes crashing through the auction house window with Zoro and punches out the World Noble. Camie gets rescued.
Silvers Rayleigh, Who gets one here when he makes everyone except the Supernovas in the room and Caimie black out, AND another one when he intercepts Kizaru before he can kill Zoro.
In Chapter 556, right in the middle of the ongoing war between Whitebeard's Pirates and the World Government, which is destined to end badly, Luffy and the Impel Down escapees throw themselves into the fray, right at what looks to be the tipping point of the battle!
There was another one, earlier — "The Hunter," anyone?
For those scratching their heads at the above, He means Sanji kicking Jayabura in the face.
But...Luffy loves this trope! In addition to the above mentioned rescues at Sabaody and Marineford, he's pulled it off at Little Garden, Alabasta (twice, depending on your interpretation), and Thriller Bark.
Trafalgar Law showing up in the middle of the battle at Marineford to rescue Luffy. Bet you didn't see that coming.
Red-Haired Shanks and his crew showing up at Marineford and ending the war.
In the Fishman Island arc, Luffy and his crew save King Neptune and his sons from imminent death at the hands of Hodi Jones.
There was one slightly before those in episode two: Luffy launches his rubber body in between Zoro (and Coby) and the Marines, rebounding their bullets back at them.
In chapter 698, when Donflamingo is about to kill Smoker and the rest of the Marines on Punk Hazard, Kuzan/Aokiji shows up, and asks Donflamingo to stop. When Donflamingo tries to go for Smoker anyways, Aokiji turns him into a popsicle.
Subverted for laughs in Eureka Seven's infamous football episode. When things aren't looking good for the Gekko team, Holland takes off his coat and declares that he's going in. Cut to the score of 34-0 against the Gekkostate.
Played straight in the final episode, with Renton blasting his way through thousands of Coralians to rescue Eureka, who is trapped in the scub coral command cluster and not expecting any rescue.
This happened often in the first two seasons of Pokémon, complete with some great background music.
In "Noodles: Roamin' Off", after Team Rocket has separated, James goes to catch a violent shiny Metagross, but gets in over his head (He tried to fight it with Psychic-type Mime Jr. and Grass-type Carnivine, neither of which are very strong against Psychic/Steel Metagross). Just when it looks like he's at its non-existent mercy, Yanmega and Seviper show up with Jessie to save him (not that that should've worked either).
Then a few minutes later, when Ash is nearly knocked off the same cliff a second time, his hand is grabbed at the last moment by Brock, who was last seen being on the wrong end of a Curb-Stomp Battle. Brock, Misty and Team Rocket then pull him to safety.
This happens a few more times after that, though him showing up when Ash was in Blackthorn was a coincidence and Ash can always call Riza if he needs his firepower (Johto League and his two Battle Frontier fights).
In a more recent ep, Ash's newly hatched Scraggy is about to be attacked by four Galvantula. As one of them close in, Ash's other Pokémon show up and kick some ass.
This happened about three times in the teamup movie, Pretty Cure All Stars. First, Cure Black and Cure White saved Milky Rose, Cure Mint, and Cure Aqua from an freakin' huge Zakenna aeroplane. Then Cure Bloom and Cure Egret saved Cure Dream, Cure Lemonade, and Cure Rouge from an falling Uzainaa. Then Cure Peach, Cure Berry, and Cure Pine, are saved by everyone else from the innards of the Big Bad!
The second Pretty Cure All Stars movie has a funny one: The Heartcatch and Fresh girls are evenly matched against the bad guys and it looks like the baddies are ready to cut loose. Cue the arrival of the Max Heart, Splash Star and Yes teams, who quickly join their Cure companions and defiantly tell them they aren't taking the MacGuffin! Cure Blossom suddenly starts flailing at their awesome moment while Cure Marine wonders where these people came from?!.
The fourth All Stars movie, New Stage has a whopping 23 Precure (everyone from the original series to Suite) saving a number of innocents from a fire blast by Fusion.
His masters also tend to show up when things really get bad.
"Too slow...my dinner is getting cold..."
Siegfried is made of this trope. In his most prominent example, he flies a small plane to a heavily defended island, jumps from the plane to get to the arena, dodges missiles on the way down, curb stomps his opponent, composes music on his body, and then passes out from forty three days of sleep deprivation. The best part? HE WAS SINGING THE WHOLE DAMN TIME.
In Full Metal Panic!, Sousuke tends to have awesome entrances like these to save the day. In fact, the amount of times he does this to his Arch-Enemy Gauron are so numerous, Gauron eventually lampshades it mockingly. In the finale of the first season, Gauron tackles Sousuke (while in their AS), and holds him down while he tries to self destruct, teasingly telling Sousuke: "Well well, how do you like this? It's such a disgrace like this, isn't it? You can't act like a big damn hero and save the day in a cool way." Guess what: He does it anyways.
In The Second Raid, Sosuke does this when it appears that Gates is going to wipe out his combat commander, and is even lampshaded by Kurz.
Both the first series and TSR opens with this. Plus the memorable moment where Gauron is about to shoot Sousuke point-blank when he gets scared off by Kurz descending on a parachute, firing a sniper rifle.
Sousuke in general tends to do this. There's a reason why Gauron eventually lampshades it - it happened so many times. The Behemoth Arc ended with a Big Damn Heroes moment with him rescuing everyone, the Helmajistan Arc had him popping up in front of Gauron and having a Big Damn Heroes moment, on the Tuatha de Dannan he had a Big Damn Heroes moment saving Tessa from Gauron just in the nick of time, and countless other examples.
Rachel also makes a habit of this, despite orders to the contrary.
Surprisingly, in Pokémon Special, Giovanni of all people saves Yellow from being blasted to smithereens by Lance. (He ran away afterwards, but it was cool at the moment.)
Kan, Kan, Kan, Maaya Kan of BioMeat, who has actually lampshaded the trope by stating that an entrance should be dramatic. Shingo has even called him out (accurately!) for hiding in wait for the perfect moment to appear.
Yusuke is dead...again. Sensui, the man who killed Yusuke, has just opened the door to Makai, blocked the strongest attack in the series, the Dragon of the Darkness Flame, without even raising a single hand, and forced Kuwabara to cut down the only barrier remaining between the two worlds to get at him. The remaining heroes have all gained power equivalent to A+ Class demons, the second highest power class, and yet when they try to exact their revenge, Sensui still makes complete fools of them without even using a tenth of his full power, and Kuwabara, Kurama, and Hiei are all on the ground, unable to continue fighting. Sensui is ready to kill the trio, when who shows up Back from the Dead and ready to kick ass? Yusuke, alive and well, and more powerful than ever thanks to his mysterious demonic ancestor. The fight that ensues is undeniably one of the biggest Awesome Moments in the entire series.
In the Dark Tournament arc, Yusuke's newfound demon allies Chu, Rinku, Jin, and Touya get not one but two such moments.
Yusuke, exhausted from his trial with absorbing Genkai's Spirit Orb, is sleeping on Keiko under a tree during the Semifinal matches against Team Uraotogi. Three lower-class demons show up and start perving all over Keiko, amping up their threats when they realise that she has Yusuke with her. Just as the biggest one of them is about to rip Keiko and Yusuke apart, a yo-yo (Rinku's signature weapon) comes flying out of nowhere and pastes him in the face. The two left standing are left with a resounding Oh, Crap moment when they see Rinku and Chu standing there, ready to defend the unconscious Yusuke. As they wet themselves in fear and turn to run the other way, a particular pair of Demon World ninjas appear and block their path. None of the four of them say a single word until after the lower-class demons have run away. What follows doubles as a CMoH.
Keiko: "Um, didn't Yusuke's team beat you guys? Why are you helping us?"
Chu:(kneels down in front of Yusuke and Keiko) "Nah, love, your boy did all right by me, and I don't forget."
After the tournament is over, Toguro is dead, Sakyo has detonated the stadium, and Yusuke just snapped Keiko out of her Heroic BSOD, the heroes are trying to find their way out of the stadium when they come to a dead end that's been completely blocked off by rubble. The heroes are drained, exhausted, and really probably shouldn't be standing. It seems like they're trapped, when all of a sudden the rubble cracks and then splinters into dust. When the dust clears, four of the most badass minor characters in the series are standing on the other side. The grins on Kurama and Yusuke's faces when they see just who saved their collective behinds are priceless.
Chu: "How goes it, mate?"
Two different non-typical examples occur in the team's match against Team Masho. In the first, Yusuke was disqualified from the last of the five fights on a technicality due to the opposing team's manager bribing the officials, Hiei and The Masked Fighter have been trapped behind a barrier throughout the entire match and, thus, are disqualified as well, and Kurama lost his (third) match thanks to the life-sucking plant growing in his bloodstream. The only option left to them seems to be Hiei's killing spree idea. They are saved from that by Kuwabara, who had previously let three Brainwashed and Crazy fighters beat him senseless to snap them back to normal, draging his broken and bloody body into the ring so that a trained fighter can make it more broken and bloody. The second example occurs during this fight. Kuwabara is rather predictably not doing well. Risho happily informs Kuwabara that his body is tapping into his spirit energy just to keep him moving, meaning he can't summon his spirit sword. Kuwabara takes this in stride and decides to use his own life energy to end the match with a double kill, which will count as a win for his side. He says goodbye to his friends, charges in screaming, and grapples Risho in mid-attack. Before Kuwabara can off himself, his love interest Yukina arrives. This give him the strength tobitch-slap Risho across the whole damn stadium.
Ouran High School Host Club manga Chapter 80 shows us that the cast of side characters is damn awesome. The main cast also demonstrated their awesomeness, too.
In the first episode of Yu Gi Oh ZEXAL's sixth arc, almost all of Yuma's friends and allies appear to fight the Barians when he is down.
Saint Seiya lives and breathes by this. Like whenever Andromeda Shun is faced with an opponent too dangerous to face (without unleashing his Dangerous Forbidden Technique) he will invariably end up face-down on the ground, his enemy gloating and about to deliver the killing blow...when out of nowhere a blast of flame and a flurry of razor-sharp metallic feathers will fall upon Shun's foe. With the loud cry of a bird of prey, witness the arrival of Phoenix Ikki, the strongest and most savage of the heroic Bronze Saints, and Shun's big brother. Oh, Crap.
In the 1st Digimon Adventure 02 movie (which is a Non-Serial Movie), Angemon and Angewomon (with accompaniment by TK and Kari) show up just in time to save the other Digimon from being eaten by the corrupted Cherubimon.
In the 5th movie, Battle of Adventurers, Rika, Henry, and their Digimon are delivered by Omnimon to help Takato, interrupting Mephistomon's "this is how I destroy the world" rant right after he succeeds in capturing what he wanted.
Another example from Digimon Tamers is when Kazu and Kenta rescue the other Tamers from being swallowed along with the Big Bad, which is even more impressive considering that Takato and Guilmon, the main characters of this series owe them their lives twice.
Another example fromDigimon Tamers includes Beelzemon swooping in to help Wargrowlmon, Gargomon, and Taomon fight one of the D-Reaper's agents, which had been kicking their asses. Without him it's very likely they would have lost and been deleted.
Touma of A Certain Magical Index does this with alarming frequency. Index, Aisa, Misaka both Mikoto and Imouto, Hyouka, Orsola and Kuroko. All have been saved by Touma, usually coming from absolutely no where.
Also, Acqua of the Back pulls these off constantly after Volume 16 and his Heel-Face Turn. He was even introduced with a Big Damn Heroes moment, albeit for the other side, saving Vento of the Front after her defeat by Touma.
.hack: This is Balmung's MO. He does it CONSTANTLY, in every installment of the series, in suitably epic fashion. In .hack//SIGN, Balmung rescues Subaru, Mimiru, and Bear from One of the Phases, which puts people into comas. In Legend of the Twilight Bracelet manga, Balmung swoops in and saves Rena from getting destroyed by a high level monster and teaches Shugo to use the Bracelet. It happens over a dozen times in the games, most notably the first time in Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground, before Kite has activated his Bracelet. This tendency of his is parodied in the GIFT bonus episode.
Captain Falcon gets a VERY badass one in episode 47 of the F-Zero anime.
The final episode of Dragon Crisis! has an intense one in which the protagonists arrive with a squadron of Society members to hijack an airplane and save the main character's love interest, Rose. This includes an ice dragon freezing the runway, a Society member crashing a helicopter into the cockpit, and another character falling onto the kidnaper, Onyx...WITH A CAR. All to the truly epic music "Run & Gun."
At the end of Volume 1 of Hyakujitsu No Bara, Klaus (a knight) brutally rapes his lover Taki (a colonel), to the point he requires medical attention. Shortly after The Medic Suguri kicks Klaus out of his room Klaus is arrested under suspicions of treason over some sensitive documents and is mercilessly tortured by Grand Chamberlain Hasebe while Taki is still unconscious and unaware. Failing to get anything out of him, Hasebe decides to just kill Klaus only to have his sword shattered mid-strike by none other than Taki, accompanied by his own katana, Badass Longcoat, backlighting, and much Dramatic Wind. He then orders Hasebe to stand down, covers for Klaus, and apologizes to him.
Life is a rather realistic, though exagerrated, Slice of Life series. However the scene where Ayumu and Hatori get saved from being gang-raped and left for dead in an abandoned series really seems unusual. It's full of buildings catching on fire, dramatic Clean Pretty Reliable, and overall may just be the most dramatic scene in the manga.
In Part 3, Mohammad Abdul was killed off fairly early in the story. Thanks to fan demand, he was revived, in time for a surprise (and explained as an ace in the hole) Big Damn Heroes moment.
The series in general is full of this trope. Usually with the trademark heroic (and fashionable) posing.
Bleach does this. A lot. Seriously, it would be easier to write down the times they didn't pull this, but that's near impossible since EVERYONE does it! Usually because the Main Characters are failing and someone swoops in to save them, but at least every Arrancar has pulled this. Examples? See There Was a Door and the tropes for the Bleach series.
One of the franchise's most iconic themes even has the name "On the precipice of defeat".
THE iDOLM@STER - On the "Live For You OVA". Iori sends a helicopter to pick the girls that are stranded somewhere in the middle of Japan, so they can make it in time for their live.
In Popcorn Avatar, Indra and her avatar's first appearance can be only described as this, complete with a dramatic lightning bolt.
In the final Uchuu Senkan Yamato/Star Blazers movie, we get a Big Damn Heros moment from an unlikely source. The planet Aquarius is on a collision course for Earth. To divert the planet, the Star Force has blocked the Wave Motion Gun and filled the Yamato with explosives. As the Yamato moves to intercept the planet, the aliens that are herding Aquarius towards its target surround the Yamato. If the Star Forces gets into a fight now, the Yamato will be surely be destroyed. As the alien commander gives the order to fire, one of his ships explodes - under fire from the Gamalon fleet. Former arch-nemesis Desslok now swoops in and saves the very race he tried to exterminate just a few years ago - and IT IS AWESOME!
She appears at the head of a group of reinforcements at Castle Utgard, coming out of nowhere to kill a Titan just before it grabs Christa.
A short time later, she leaps to Eren's defense just before Reiner tries to kidnap him, severing one of his arms and stabbing the other, as well as slicing into the nearby Berthold's neck and right hand
Levi arrives to save an exhausted Eren, Armin and Mikasa from two Titans effortlessly.
Corpse Party: Tortured Souls gets a bittersweet one of these in the third episode. Near the end it looks like Kishinuma permanently stayed in the real world and left Ayumi to go face the horrors of Heavenly Host by herself. Cut to poor Yuka being stabbed and tortured by the deranged Kizami. However, right before he can finish killing her...Kishinuma comes running in and knocks Kizami's head off with a pipe. Then, just to be even more of a badass, he starts fighting off the giant zombie Yoshikazu so that Ayumi has time to get Yuka out of the room. He then barricades the door with his own body and is brutally killed by Yoshikazu so Ayumi, Yuka and Satoshi can escape. It's bittersweet that Kishinuma dies but he goes out like a true big damn hero.
In their match against Saunders Academy, the Oarai girls have the Saunders flag tank on the run after having wrong-footed them, only to have the rest of Saunders' tanks come over the hill to the tune of "The Caissons Go Rolling Along."
Happens in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, during Bahamut Sin's attack on Edge as the other party members from Final Fantasy VII begin turning up one by one, starting with Cid arriving just in time to save Tifa (Who's shielding Denzel in attempt to protect him) from some monsters leaping to attack them, with the party immediately leaping into battle against Bahamut. Then Cloud turns up, as a building's about to collapse on Tifa & Denzel's about to be slaughtered by the afforementioned monsters, and throws one sword like a boomerang to kill the monsters before they get to Denzel before using another sword to cut through the building falling towards Tifa.
In Future GPX Cyber Formula, at the climactic end of the no-rule Fireball race, it looks like Hayato is heading towards defeat when the leading car trails behind him and tries to destroy Asurada with a device. Cue Kaga, who seems to be out of the race after a crash, appearing out of nowhere to crash his Proto-Jaguar head-first into the other car while injuring himself in the process. This allows Hayato to win the race.
Hyperdimension Neptunia, thanks to its half comedy half badass-magical girl story, gets a few of these:
In the shortened re-telling of mk2 when Nepgear, Uni, Rom, Ram, IF and Compa go to face off with Arfoire to save the CP Us. Magnified when the sisters transform into their HDD forms for the first time. Uni getting a special mention as she's the last one to transform, she does it while attacking Arfoire and doesn't even notice because she's just that badass.
Played for laughs, but the first time Plutia transforms she saves IF, Neptune and Nepgear by beating the living hell out of Arfoire without even trying.
In the final episode/OVA when Peashy arrives to save Neptune and Vert from a hoard of super monsters. Another one then happens when Neptune goes back to help and rescues Peashy without even being able to transform.