"Make the final effort! Shoot the star to defeat the final enemy!"
Many times, right as The Hero
is facing his Darkest Hour
before The Climax
and final battle, he's rewarded one final gift from fate that gives him the strength to see his quest
through. Exactly how such a thing manifests varies widely: Perhaps it was triggered by The Power of Love
or The Power of Friendship
(or at least some good old Heroic Resolve
In any case, he has just received the ultimate Heroic Second Wind
and resolution of the narrative can't be far off.
Note that where Video Games
are concerned, if the superpower is a new gameplay ability or Power-Up
for the character acquiring it, it is often Purposefully Overpowered
(i.e. if the player could acquire it earlier, it might prove a Game Breaker
) — but
the game may also regulate or limit its usage to ensure that the player can only use it at its designated time. For example, a plot-oriented Final Boss
may start out as a Hopeless Boss Fight
until the player uses the superpower, which cuts the boss down to size for the more-traditional pounding that follows.
Such a power should probably be given a hint of Foreshadowing
earlier on (and hopefully nothing too obvious
), otherwise it may feel like a cop-out
. Also, if the story does not
end soon after the power is introduced, it can turn into a Story-Breaker Power
though sometimes players may get access to the power-up after they have beaten the game making it a sort of Bragging Rights Reward
This type of power-up is most likely to fall prey to the Bag of Spilling
if a sequel is released, even if the character has access to the other abilities they learned in the previous game this one will be noticeably absent (sometimes with a justification like the power-up being temporary or the character losing access to the item needed for it) though they may be able to regain it again (after a lot of work).
See also the Sword of Plot Advancement
, which tends to be something more like an "Eighth Hour" superpower (if not earlier).
Contrast Second Hour Superpower
, which is a powerup, item, or skill obtained very early on (often after the first chapter or tutorial) and is a staple (if not keystone) of a character's repertoire.
Also contrast A Taste of Power
, which is basically a "First Hour Only
" Superpower, and is subsequently lost. A subtrope
is the Last Disc Magic
Since this article is obviously about something that happens at the end of the game, spoilers abound below.
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Anime and Manga
- In the climax of the Soul Eater animé, all three meister protagonists get one of these. First, Kid and Blackstar's, whose actually came from later chapters of the manga: Kid's stripes connecting and Blackstar becoming insanely more powerful after a pep talk with the Will of Nakatsukasa. Except he dies in this version, but whatever. He gets better. But notably, Maka, the last protagonist standing against Asura, who has somehow defeated the other six has one ability manifest that is not from the manga: she's a weapon. Whether this is because of her father being one or the Black Blood she got from Soul is not stated. It immediately turns a seemingly hopeless battle over, putting Asura on the defensive for the first and only time in the series.
- Tenchi Muyo!:
- In the final episode of the first Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki OVA, the titular character was able to summon the Light-Hawk Wings (something that normally couldn't be done except by divine trees) to defeat Kagato where no one else could. In a later episode of the extended OVA, he was able to do it once more to rescue two of the girls from a black hole.
- In the animé, Ayeka manages to tap Jurai Energy (an energy that only the royal family can access, but Ayeka never did) to shatter her bonds and send a death wave at Kagato. Unfortunately, Kagato is immune to Jurai Energy and sends the attack back. However, Tenchi then busts out Jurai Energy and combines it with Earth Energy to defeat Kagato with the power of trees, neither of which he had access to because he was still learning the nature of his power.
- In the first movie, when Tenchi's mother realizes who Tenchi is, and thus what she is, she instantly gains access to all of her latent powers and kicks the Big Bad's ass long enough for everybody to escape. Word of God states this attack weakened her, and it's why she died so young.
- In the second movie, when Tenchi is trapped in the dark world and unable to access his light-based powers. Ayeka uses a branch from her brother's tree-ship to project herself (and a source of light) into the dark world, granting Tenchi the ability to use his standard light-powered sword-based badassery. This functions as a double case as both Ayeka used a never-before seen power, and catapulted Tenchi to new levels of power.
- Right before the final battle in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Chrono receives the Durandal, a powerful Storage Device that was able to freeze a huge, bio-mechanical Eldritch Abomination along with a large chunk of the sea surrounding it.
- Digimon Adventure: Almost every Big Bad was defeated this way — Devimon through Takeru and Patamon learning to evolve at literally the last second, Etemon through Taichi and Agumon activating his crest for the first time, Vamdemon through Hikari and Tailmon finishing becoming Sixth Rangers and again through two of the protagonists learning to reach the Ultimate level, and Piemon through Takeru and Patamon (again) activating his crest for the first time; the last being the straightest example in that it took place at the climax of the third-last episode. This does tend to be something of a recurring tendency across the franchise as a whole in how new evolutions are obtained — at practically the last second when fighting a powerful enemy. As the series went by, when dealing with a Big Bad it only happened once or so per series and restricted themselves to dealing with the actual biggest Big Bad; these being Dukemon Crimson Mode, Susanoomon, ShineGreymon Burst Mode and Shoutmon X7 Superior Mode.
- The third part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure features Star Platinum, Kujo Jotaro's Stand, who has a very short range, so it should be very powerful... but he only seems to have an outstanding speed, great strength, and surprising sight and precision. On the last fight against Dio, the stand-using vampire who can stop time, it's revealed that the apparent super speed of Star Platinum was in fact its own ability to briefly stop time. Epic ensues.
- Dragon Ball Z: Super Saiyans, firstly done by Goku in order to beat Freeza, and the other is pulled by Gohan in order to beat Cell. Both involve the bad guys doing something to trigger the heroes' ultimate anger. Both of these incidents début real SSJ 1 and 2 into the main series. While the first level of the Super Saiyan transformation becomes invokable by will, the Saiyans are always striving for bigger and badder iterations.
- In the animé version of YuYu Hakusho, Yusuke, after recovering from a mid-battle Heroic BSOD against Yomi and regaining a purpose in life, temporarily achieves Sacred Energy, which provides enough of a power boost to fight one of the most powerful demons alive to a near draw, Yomi only winning by passing out mere seconds after Yusuke.
- The Miracle Lights in Pretty Cure All Stars act like this, granting the gathered teams their Super forms to flatten that movie's Big Bad.
- All of the Pretty Cure movies do this, actually. The Miracle Lights were mostly only for the two Yes! movies (though they somehow show up in Heartcatch's), but all movies use Audience Participation plus a random item to bring out super modes.
- Infinite Stratos:
- GaoGaiGar has THE POWER, a form of energy native to Jupiter with ill-defined properties. It's introduced a few episodes before, but the heroes use it during the final battle with the Primevals to defeat them for good. Unfortunately, one of the Primevals decided to do the same, and used the villainous equivalent of this trope and THE POWER to become the planet-sized Z-Master.
- During GaoGaiGar FINAL, the heroes bring out the Goldion Crusher, designed in the wake of the Z-Master to deal with enemies of that scale. They use it to crush Pisa Sol, an artificial evil sun that's been regenerating the other villains.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica deconstructs this trope. Following the arrival of Walpurgisnacht, Madoka's hand is forced and she agrees to become a Magical Girl in order to save the day. It's too bad this is All According to Plan and will lead to Madoka's destruction (and also the destruction of the entire world). Homura continues to turn back time until she can keep her friend from powering up in order to save her life (and the planet).
- Haruka of Kotoura-san reads the minds of everyone around her whether she wants to or not, but she can't transmit her own thoughts to people. Until episode 11, that is, when she manages to telepathically call for Manabe's help while the criminal who had been attacking high schoolers is trying to kill her.
- The Naruto movies are big fans of this trope, as Naruto combines his Rasengan with some other form of power through unexplained or convoluted means to create a brand new version of the Rasengan to defeat the film's Big Bad.
- Pokémon: The Diamond and Pearl series had a lot of these. During the Sinnoh League, not only did Ash's Infernape learn Flare Blitz in the episode before Ash's battle with Paul started, but several of his older Pokémon made return appearances with new moves. Ash's Gliscor also returned with Stone Edge now in its move set. Played with in the Unova League, since Best Wishes continued on after it, but a few of Ash's Pokémon had new moves for the league. In fact, Ash himself did this on purpose by teaching his Krookodile Aerial Ace right before his battle with Stefan to keep the element of surprise.
- In one of the last story arcs of Etrigan's title, Hell is being invaded by forces led by a powerful angel of war, who is tearing through Etrigan and his demons with ease. Etrigan eventually defeats him by finding a crown embodied with all the power of Hell and curbstomps him.
- In the DC Our Worlds At War event, Superman temporarily merges with Kismet, the living embodiment of the universe, to help defeat Imperiex. Later he gains enough power by flying into the sun to stop War World.
- During Marvel's Chaos War event, Thor is fighting an eldritch abomination named Glory, and losing, but manages to pull out the strength to win via a powerup from a woman who was praying to him.
- The Hulk's "Worldbreaker" form basically counts as this.
- In A Pony Out of Place, Flare Blitz, a Ponyta, evolves into a Rapidash during an important race, giving him a speed boost and access to unicorn magic, which comes in handy during his battle with Arceus.
- The entire cast of Latias Journey at the end of the last battle.
- Transcendence: Digital Curse. After spending most of the story cursed by the Chronodata and unable to digivolve, Agumon is finally able to use it to digivolve and fight off the unstoppably powerful Abyssgreymon in the climax.
- In addition to Mario getting his required Eleventh Hour Superpower (crossover with the Paper Mario series, after all), all of the non-Mario characters in the Paper Mario X series also gain Eleventh Hour Superpowers:
- Link gains the Master Sword, Malon and Zelda gain Light Arrows, and Ganondorf can turn into Ganon.
- Eggman's machine gets upgraded and everyone else turns Super.
- Kirby gains the Dragoon Rider and the Star Rod while Meta Knight gains Master.
- Samus can use her Zero Laser.
- Sonic turns into Super Sonic during the Final Boss fight of Sonic Generations: Friendship is Timeless, of course, but the Mane 6 also gain Super forms of their own.
- In Pokémon: The Great Adventure, before they awoke, As's latent Aura Powers had the habit to kick in and take him out of a tight spot ... such as being cornered by a pack of angry Mankey.
- In Revelations, Túrante gets a new power in chapter 29, just in time to save her allies. She uses the power to destroy some enemies and summon The Cavalry.
- The Pony POV Series has an example during the Final Battle of the Wedding Arc: during Cadence and Queen Cadenza/Alicorn!Chrysalis, Chrysalis lets slip that alicorns have the abilities of all the tribes of ponies, including changeling Voluntary Shapeshifting. As such, Cadence is able to tap into this, beginning a Shapeshifter Showdown.
- The Facing The Future Series gives us a new ghost form that gives Danny a massive power boost. However, it has two side effects as Danny not only loses control of his rage, but the energy generated by his new form could cause his form to burn out.
Films — Animated
- In Tangled, it's revealed at the climax that Rapunzel's tears share the same regenerative power as her hair.
- In The Incredibles, baby Jack-Jack is thought to not possess any superpowers, but when the Big Bad kidnaps him in the final climax, he is revealed to have many, including bursting into flame, becoming metal, turning into a super-strong demon, and more. The only foreshadowing is a series of increasingly panicked voicemails his mother gets from the babysitter (with context later provided in the short film Jack-Jack Attack).
- At the climax of Kung Fu Panda 2, Po finally attains inner peace, which somehow extends from being able to redirect water drops on leaves to being able to redirect cannonfire, allowing him to destroy the Big Bad's fleet.
Films — Live-Action
- In Kamen Rider Double Forever, Double is getting his butt kicked by Kamen Rider Eternal when the people of the city start calling out to him, imbuing his normal Super Mode with the power of their hopes, turning Double gold and giving him wings.
- In Space Jam, Michael Jordan, despite playing like a regular basketball player most of the movie, suddenly develops, ironically, a Looney Tunes style body at the final seconds of the Big Game. This is right after he witnesses his human friend Stan Podolak get flattened like a pancake and subsequently inflated like a balloon. A twist on the trope in that Michael could have done that at any time, he just didn't know that until the game was almost over.
- In Sky High, the protagonist Will Stronghold unlocks the ability to fly that he inherited from his mom, after getting thrown through the window by the Big Bad.
- The Deathly Hallows in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The hallows are a trio of relics that are not mentioned until halfway through the last book. The final battle hinges on their existence. However, this is still a downplayed example. Harry has possessed one of the three hallows since the first book: the cloak of invisibility. Meanwhile, the ring (another one of the Hallows) was revealed relatively early in the sixth book. And the power given by the Hallows ( the ability to accept death), while essential to Harry's triumph, is not used directly against Voldemort.
- In the last book of Galaxy of Fear, it is revealed that like his sister Tash, Zak is Force-Sensitive. Which is odd, because it's well established that for her entire life, Tash has been a little strange and psychic. She's been having her undeveloped Force senses go off often as the kids have been in danger, a Force-ghost seeing both of them said he could only be perceived by a Force-Sensitive, and she's explicitly able to tell if she meets someone who can use the Force. Zak's never been shown with any of that.
- Legacy of the Dragokin: In the final act of the climax, Benji awakens his latent dragokin powers.
Live Action TV
- The Grand Finale of Earth: Final Conflict has the heroes storming the Atavus ship that was recently discovered, which is full of thousands of Atavus warriors in stasis. Suddenly, Hubble Urick brings them a dozen energy Hand Cannons capable of killing an Atavus with one shot. Prior to that, only Renée's energy pistol could do that, and it took several shots, with normal guns having no effect. However, those are clearly prototypes, so they may not have been available before.
- Destroy The Godmodder: Several, near the end of several arcs, players gained extra powers, making them significantly stronger, notably in the final fight of the first game, where almost everyone got them, twinbuilder used his recently gained reality-warping Fez to great effect.
- Exalted during Return of the Scarlet Empress, the Five Maidens will unlock the highest tier of Sidereal Charms if things get dire enough. Considering that the Ebon Dragon is marching his army to Heaven, things are indeed dire enough.
- In El Goonish Shive, this happens three times. One had to be justified later, another is justified in previous development, and the last one was built up in more than two years so that it was bound to appear and could not be anything less than Summon "Oh, Crap".
- In MS Paint Adventures, pretty much everything that Problem Sleuth does after using Sepulchritude counts here, ending with him using a burst of righteous charisma to destroy all of DMK's health bars.
- In the middle of the third season of Transformers Animated, Prowl picks up the ability to use "processor over matter", which is basically telekinesis. In the finale, Prowl and Jazz use this to pull together scattered pieces of the Allspark and convert them to use against the Lugnut Supremes — and when that's not powerful enough, Prowl uses it to pull out his own spark.
- In the second seaon finale of Ben 10: Alien Force, Azmith grants Ben the ability to control and transform into ALL the aliens in known existence in the Omnitrix (and there are a LOT more than 10,000 btw). He was able to transform without having to manually slap the switch down, which helps them get out of a prison situation. The Omnitrix resets back to its original settings after Ben uses it to save the dying DNAliens with splicing their DNA with other aliens. It later comes to bite Ben in the ass when he and Kevin decide to hack it and get the same power in the upcoming fight with Vilgax in the new season... only to not only get the aliens rampant and rogue, but mutated Kevin with an array of metals and substances making up his body.
- The series finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender gives us energybending, which acts as a Power Nullifier.
- It came even earlier than that with the finale of Book One. After the moon is destroyed, Aang fuses with the ocean spirit, turning into an insanely powerful, kaiju-like being that annihilates the Fire Navy Armada.
- The first season finale of The Legend of Korra plays with this trope. In the last episode of the first season, Korra gains airbending, but only after she loses the ability to bend the other three elements. Later, she regains those bending abilities and gets access to the Avatar State... but this is after the Big Bad has been defeated. However, she also gains the ability to restore bending to anyone who lost it, which lets her help the Big Bad's victims.
- Kim Possible's battlesuit in So The Drama was originally supposed to be used only in one final showdown with Drakken and Shego. Then the series was Un-Cancelled and the writers had to find ways to keep things challenging. In the first Post Script Season episode, Professor Dementor hacks into the suit to remote-control it, providing a rationale for Kim to be cautious about using it.
- In that Christmas perennial How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, the Grinch gets super-strength from his doubly-undersized heart "Growing three sizes that day".
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In the episode "Hearth's Warming Eve", when Windigos are attracted by the hatred between the three pony tribe leaders and begin freezing everything, the new friendship between the tribe leaders' assistants manifests as a magical flame that shoots from Clover the Clever's horn, vanquishes the Windigos, and melts the ice along with the leaders' hearts.
- Towards the end of the two-part season finale "A Canterlot Wedding", when Queen Chrysalis and her Changeling army have taken over Canterlot and left Shining Armor too weak to recast his defensive shield, Princess Cadance casts her love spell on his horn, creating a barrier of love that expels the Changelings.
- In Twilight’s Kingdom Part 2, "Rainbow Power", the force that was locked inside the box, is unlocked after Twilight turns over all the alicorn magic she had been storing and proves to be the key to defeating Tirek. However the key to unlock the box is generated from Discord's artifact he received from Tirek and he's only released after the exchange to turn over the magic to Tirek occurs, meaning Tirek had literally won by the time the Rainbow Power box is unlocked (so it's really more of a "Twelfth Hour Superpower").
- The creation of the atomic bomb during the final days of World War II. The project to develop an atomic bomb did start in 1939, and the war might have ended much later than Summer 1945 if they hadn't been used, but to the general publicnote the bombs seemed to come out of nowhere and then suddenly, peace.note
- A close villainous example with Adolf Hitler. Soon after the landings in Normandy, he began to boast that Germany would soon possess incredible new "wonder weapons" which would completely destroy all the Allies. These included the Me 262 (the first operational jet fighter), the Type XXI submarine (the first true submarine, as it was built only for underwater use), and, most iconically, the V1 guided and V2 ballistic missiles. Up to the last days of the war, these were reported to be capable of turning the increasingly desperate tide. However, all were a case of Awesome but Impractical, consuming vast amounts of Germany's rapidly dwindling resources while having almost no tactical or strategic value. The V2 rockets, in particular, killed more people building them (through slave labor) than their actual use on London.