Dumbass No More
aka: Took A Level In Smartass
A cousin to Took a Level in Badass, only the major change is in the character's intelligence. Tired of being thrown around, said dumbass decides to do some "brain trainin'". He (or she) will drop out of the storyline for a while. If he's the main character, this will be used to develop the other characters. Contrast Took a Level in Dumbass.
Examples:Anime and Manga
- Naruto is an interesting case. Naruto went from last in ninja school to a shinobi that could think on his feet. Then, he went to trading ideological arguments with several human war machines as much as he traded blows with the same people. His allies still push him to think before he acts, though it most often turns out he already has several tactics in mind, leading the allies to say something like "he's not the same dumb kid we knew, after all...".
- At the end of School Rumble Tenma went through it.
- Hachi in One Piece. He's still not terribly bright but he's quite a bit smarter than the Dumb Muscle he used to be.
- Two-layer Dragon Ball example: Majin Buu is a short-witted villain. After transforming into Super Buu, he gains an intelligence boost to some degree, but is still prone to impulsive acts and is lacking in patience and human emotion or mannerisms. However, after getting thrashed by Gohan, he manages to come up with a plan and absorb Piccolo (one of the most intelligent characters in the series) and Gotenks (a character at least his equal in power) into his body. After that, he becomes a Genius Bruiser, starts playing mindgames and emotional torment on his opponents, having backup plans, and overall being a ruder version of Cell, boosted even further after absorbing Gohan himself. And then he inverts the trope, being forcibly downgraded into his Kid Buu form. His original form, he is like a very young child, unrestrained and his most dangerous form.
- Gourry Gabriev, in the Slayers anime series, is pretty much the resident Idiot Hero and seems to get stupider in each season. Evolution-R, the fifth season, starts portraying him more akin to his novel self (who is not an Idiot Hero but instead Obfuscating Stupidity for a number of reasons, including the fact he likes Lina explaining things to him/thinks she's cute when she's mad).
- Nao Kanzaki from Liar Game starts out as very naive, mostly having to rely on the more skeptical Akiyama to help her out of a jam. However, she learns to stop being naive and deceive her opponents in the Liar Game, even taking advantage of the fact that everyone sees her as the honest one to trick them into doing what she wants, such as convincing Yoyoka into staying in the Liar Game or delivering the Coup de Grace in the following Revival Round.
- Impulse from Teen Titans got sick of being the The Fool of the team (which was mostly on account of his extreme ADHD), so he used his super speed to read the contents of an entire library. Because he also has Photographic Memory he basically became a walking encyclopedia. Unfortunately, he's more a Genius Ditz given that he's got the knowledge but not the wisdom or common sense.
- This is the very end (which is also the beginning) of Invisible Man, with the title character "hibernating" and thinking over what he's done and how he could improve.
- Algorind the shiny-eyed paladin from Thornhold by Elaine Cunningham was less than bright lad raised in a monastery and then released into non-black-and-white world with a mission that wasn't what it seems. As such, he was a Butt Monkey who barely survived a completely deserved and mostly self-inflicted slapstick pinball, and ended up shrunk to the size of a mouse. In the sequel The Knights of Samular he got a clue enough to realize what's going on, spot a fallen paladin and deal with this problem, though still was easily manipulated by another party.
- The very point in Canada's Worst Driver. When you achieve this trope, you graduate. In Canada's Worst Driver Ever, Chris and Shirley (from Season 1 and Season 7, respectively) had enormously improved—Chris from simple experience, Shirley by dogged study and practice.
- A strange example of this trope exists within certain CRPG games like Fallout or Arcanum. Because it is possible to both start the game off as dumb (read: Int 1-3) and permanently increase stats without using bugs, some players may be playing a game "stupid" and then accidentally turn him back to standard dialogue choices as a "normal person."
- After the timeskip following the battle for the Sapphire gate, The Order of the Stick's Elan has gone from a total retard to... well, an idiot that still managed to make V look dumb by using illusion magic.
- He leveled his Int again in this strip, learning to use his Bard levels effectively. Neutralize Poison has already come in handy, though it's still not enough.
- Elan once again demonstrates that his INT score is higher than it seems, although he's still severely lacking in WIS, having failed to notice the "Evil" part of his father's Affably Evil manner.
- Caboose from Red vs. Blue quickly became a rather extreme form of The Ditz. Come Recreation, however, he's managed to regain much of his intelligence (and sanity), to the point that he is fully capable of rational thought and even managed to repair and awaken Epsilon-Church. He's still fairly ditzy though.
- On The Amazing World of Gumball, Gumball and Darwin went from Too Dumb to Live to a more normal level of intelligence after the first season. This was probably Characterization Marches On also as they were a mix of that, mischeivous, Only Sane Man or just naive. The Only Sane Man characterization seems to be becoming the dominant one.
- An episode of The Transformers (the 80's cartoon) has Grimlock become a genius temporarily, even starting each sentence with "I, Grimlock" as opposed to his usual "Me Grimlock".
- In the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode "Grounder the Genius", Dr. Robotnik invents a chip that's supposed to make him even smarter, but his dim-witted minion robot Grounder accidentally puts it into his own brain while trying to piece himself together, becoming a genius.
- Cinnamon Bun from Adventure Time has always been a dullard due to being literally half baked. In "Red Throne", he finally becomes fully baked, and as such is far more intelligent then he's ever been.
- Tokka and Rahzar, the two mutants from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze, were dumb as bricks in the movie; they made one appearance on the 1987 cartoon, however, where they were smart, and very articulate. (And not exactly evil either, portrayed as two Reluctant Monsters just trying to survive.
- Within a small number of episodes of The Dreamstone, Rufus became The Ditz and something of The Load to the hero side, usually failing at at missions if not the one that enabled the villains in the first place. The final season reverted him back to his pilot characterisation, making him more a Cloudcuckoolander who could be resourceful and capable by himself.