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.
Authors take note: Such a power should probably be given a hint of Foreshadowing
earlier on (and hopefully nothing too obvious
), otherwise it may feel like a Deus ex Machina
— a narrative cop-out arbitrarily pulled out of a hat
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 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.
- Tenchi is a fan of this. In the TV series, 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 teh 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 baddassery. 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 of the second season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, 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.
- Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch: KODOU (which in the second season was reduced to a practically first-level song) and Kibou no Kaneoto -Love goes on-.
- In Kamichama Karin, Micchi's mysterious transformation ring isn't activated until towards the end of the final battle.
- 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, its 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 attempt to beat Frieza, and the other is pulled by Gohan in attempt to beat Cell. Both involves the bad guys doing something to trigger the heroes' ultimate anger. Both persons debut 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 anime 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.
- Cosmo in Sonic X turned into a tree during the final battle with Dark Oak (granted this did ultimately cause her death and is supposed to be a general thing for her species - her growth spurt was just sped up a bit by a magical amulet).
- The Miracle Lights in Pretty Cure All Stars acts like this, granting the gathered teams their Super forms to flatten that movie's Big Bad.
- Infinite Stratos has both this and Second Hour Superpower. During his first battle, Ichika's Byakushiki achieves First Shift which essentially means the suit customized itself to him by reading his combat style. In the final episode, Ichika has Epiphany Therapy and the Byakushiki undergoes Second Shift, becoming Byakushiki Setsura just prior to entering the fray. Compared to its original form, the suit loses its Crippling Overspecialization for melee combat by supplementing Reiryaku Byakuya with a ranged attack and Deflector Shields.
- Similarly, Houki was the most combat-ineffective character in the show due to not having a personal IS... until three episodes from the end when she got the Aka Tsubaki. Tabane didn't lie when she said it was powerful - that suit is a textbook example of a Lightning Bruiser.
- In the anime GaoGaiGar, the organization GGG decides to finally activate its superweapon Goldion Crusher after all of their troops get beaten to a point just before death. This super weapon enables Genesic Gaogaigar to destroy the artificial sun, which was creating endless clones of the enemy Psycho Rangers. They actually had the weapon the entire time, but they were waiting to use it until the enemy sun made itself vulnerable by overextending its cloning abilities.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica deconstructs this trope (big surprise). 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).
- The first season of Gundam 00 features this in the form of the Trans-Am system, introduced in Episode 22. Even with this new-found power Celestial Being still suffers many losses in the following final three episodes of the season.
- 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.
- 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.
- The entire cast of Latias Journey at the end of the last battle.
- 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 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.
- 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 Tangled, it's revealed at the climax that Rapunzel's tears share the same power as her hair.
- In Space Jam, Michael Jordan, despite playing like a regular basketball player most of the movie, suddenly develops, ironicly, 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.
- Bit of a subversion 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.
- In Godzilla vs. Destoroyah Godzilla gains becomes a super monster in a new form officially called Burning Godzilla for the last film of the second Godzilla series which hasn't been seen in a film before or since. Unfortunately this is slowly killing him by breaking down his heart and could make his energy rise in temperature till it's hot enough to burn the planet's atmosphere even after he's already dead if not stopped so this also counts as Super Power Meltdown.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.