Big Budget Beef-Up
To fit a typical episode formula, the heroes may have to spend a certain amount of time fighting a single opponent. However, dramatic episodes may have the heroes fighting hordes of similar minions or critters. Characters with special abilities will suddenly seem much much stronger than before, and how this came to be is almost never explained. They'll be cutting through them like harvesters through hay, making you wonder why it wasn't so easy before. This often comes up in OVAs and Non Serial Movies, which have less time and more budget to impress the viewer, but occasionally it'll pop up in the show proper near the season finale. An Epic Tracking Shot is often a signal of this. Related to the Law Of Conservation of Ninjutsu. Contrast So Last Season. See also Special Effects Evolution.
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Anime and Manga
- Sailor Moon often did this near the end of its seasons with nondescript monsters. The usual sentai formula of fights also didn't apply to the movies, which often have individual characters mowing down hordes of monsters.
- Especially jarring in the movie, where a single plant demon (having fed on lifeforce) proves a challenge to the entire team. Then they destroy hundreds of them in a massive battle.
- The Live Action version, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, did as well, which is expected as it's a Toku series.
- Fighting Game Anime like Street Fighter and Fatal Fury are notorious for featuring Ki Attacks much more powerful than the games would suggest. (And in reverse, when Ranma ½ was turned into a Fighting Game, Ranma's extraordinarily powerful Ki Attacks were substantially weakened.)
- The Movie of the first season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha noticeably upped the power of the characters, to the point that Nanoha's Starlight Breaker levels a city.
- Bleach anime. In early seasons a single normal Hollow was a major threat. During the Hueco Mundo arc the Soul Reapers on the team (Ichigo, Rukia and Renji) were slicing through Menos Grande Gillians as though they were nothing, and other characters with lesser power destroyed hordes of regular Hollows without blinking.
- Godzilla Final Wars had this in spades. In the ultimate fanboy "Godzilla versus Everyone" film, Big G plows through almost all his classic opponents, easily dispatching monsters that formerly fought him for an entire movie. In fact, at one point he takes down three at once in a fight that lasts about a minute (ironically, those three monsters are the only ones Godzilla doesn't kill).
- The 2014 Godzilla reboot features Godzilla in his biggest incarnation yet, bigger than every other incarnation of the character in terms of both height and length.
- When Star Trek: The Next Generation made the jump from syndicated series to big budget movie Star Trek: Generations, The Bridge was upgraded with additional space specifically to fit in more Explosive Instrumentation to dramatically send more Red Shirts flying during the action sequences.
- Not only that, but the Enterprise-D was destroyed in the movie specifically so they could create a new ship and new sets that looked better on the big screen.
- The franchise makes occasional references to genetic augments, who were so powerful that they caused the Federation to outlaw the process. In the television shows, they've never come across as more than a fit human. Come Star Trek Into Darkness, and one of them finally lives up to the hype.
- While Mystery Science Theater 3000 had always had a pretty small budget, The Movie had a larger budget, thanks to being backed by Universal Studios. However, the only thing really different is that everything seemed bigger (including an incredibly expanded set showing other areas of the SOL).
- Terminator 2 - not only the then-record $100 million allowed for a Special Effects Evolution, but the story's scope is bigger and heroes fight more than just a Terminator (such as the police when they invade Cyberdyne).
- The second Gamera film Gamera vs. Barugon has noticeably scaled up, well, everything. Bigger sets, better monster suits, better music, better actors, and a more solid over directing style.
- Power Rangers occasionally had the bad guys animate a whole bunch of monsters at once, only for them to fall to this trope.
- The Movie has three main monsters and countless creatures springing from Ivan Ooze. It should be noted also that the rest of the budget was used for the Rangers' suits (they all get breastplates, while some of them gain special abilities) and the special effects, which step up from People in Rubber Suits to Conspicuous CGI.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 7 introduced the Turok-han or "Uber Vamps" that are sort of the vampire equivalent of a missing link. They're super hard to kill with chests as hard as concrete so staking is a problem. Buffy spends the first episode they're introduced fighting and killing one of them. The whole episode. Then in the finale the good guys face off against literally thousands of them in a free-for-all fight under the hellmouth and even the more inexperienced members of the team are dusting them left and right. Joss Whedon mentioned in interview that he was aware of how little sense this made but stood by the episode.
- Kamen Rider series tend to have one of the Monsters of the Week become a Mook near the end of the season, with multiple costumes made for bigger fight scenes. Their movies also tend to have better wirework, more complex action scenes, and more explosions.
- Doctor Who is this trope in spades. For example, the Daleks are galaxy spanning empires that can field thousands of units - and yet the most we ever saw were the same four or so Daleks costumes paraded around in a circle to make them seem more numerous... until the 2005 revival, where the climax of the series featured a Big Budget long shot with millions of Daleks all lusting for the destruction of the Doctor and the extermination of the human race. It made every fan weep tears of joy.
- Happened before that. The Peter Cushing Dalek movies really make a Dalek invasion look like one should, the first movie even being a remake of the Daleks' show debut, making the very same story seem much more epic. The movies are often reviled by fans for their deviation from canon (Cushing's First Doctor is apparently a human named Dr. Who, primarily) but at the time, it was amazing. They looked at least as good as the 1980s episodes, with a more 'summer blockbuster' feel, at a time when the TV show hadn't worked its way up to color, or having the matte paintings that were supposed to make the hallways look longer actually go all the way to the floor.
- The show's Dalek episodes benefitted from this film as well - the rainbow-colored Daleks don't look so garish in black and white, so suddenly the show had more props to work with.
- Serenity is basically a much more expensive, better-looking episode of the series it's spun off from. And it is awesome!
- Several TRPG have this trope supported by the mechanics. In Dungeons & Dragons (4th Edition), there are monsters classified as 'mooks', which go down when you deal as much as 1 point of damage to them. While these monsters have AC that match their level, players have powers (mostly once-per-day) that never miss.
- In Exalted, mooks like these are classified as Extras. A ton of powers have effects that basically says 'extras are fucked, only people with Essence-control may avoid'.
- American Dad! doesn't use any of the budget that one would expect for them to use buying the rights to flashback jokes. Instead, they save their budget to take brief indulgences in awesomely animated action-based episodes. Hell, for "Dungeons and Wagons", the amount of budget used for the RPG plot was literally described as "all of it". These episodes usually feature at least two separate hordes of something.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars had a major shift from the first season to the second season. Compare the Ryloth campaign from season one to the Geonosis Campaign of season two. And then compare THAT to the Kamino battle of season three, and then Umbara from season four.
- Despite being Nickelodeon's most popular and successful show, Spongebob Squarepants has always hid its modest budget with sparse movement made up of strong drawings. When it came time to make The Movie, the crew went all-out with John Kricfalusi-inspired animation, expansive use of mixed-media and a lush orchestral score in place of the series' library of stock music.
- Thomas and the Magic Railroad recreated the series' model train set at double the size on a Toronto sound stage. Still couldn't make the faces to move, though.