"You won't believe the things I can do now!"Occasionally, a character will either see fit to train, or, in some cases, be forced to train. This will take them away from their core group for a while, but they'll Take A Level In Badass and come back stronger than ever. Usually, during their absence, the core group will have to undertake a perilous journey or fight a group of enemies without Character X. One bad guy will give them trouble, and just when all hope seems lost, Character X will appear and brutally manhandle the foe. Character X likely went through Training from Hell to acquire this new strength, or had someone tell them Time to Unlock More True Potential. Compare Took a Level in Badass, which doesn't require leaving the core group, and Big Damn Heroes which doesn't require a training arc.
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Anime & Manga
- Yusuke from YuYu Hakusho goes away for six months between arcs to train with his new mentor Genkai, and returns with lots of nifty new techniques that he immediately has to use, since the second main story arc begins the same day he gets back.
Ichigo : I can see you now, Kuchiki Byakuya !
- Kurosaki Ichigo; first when he unveils his brand new bankai in battle against Kuchiki Byakuya, and then when he uses his hollow mask against Grimmjow for the first time.
- Ichigo has a second instance after training in Dangai where he then proceeds to curb-stomp One-Winged Angel Aizen.
- A third instance after completing his Fullbring and a fourth when he regains his Shinigami powers.
- This also happens with Ishida Uryu after he loses his powers, then gets them back some eighty episodes later, finally showing them off almost twenty episodes after that. Fortunately, it's a pretty badass return.
- Fullmetal Alchemist
- Lan Fan reappeared after losing her arm by making mincemeat of Gluttony with her new Automail, saving Ed and Lin/Greed.
- Scar with his newly-revealed ability to deconstruct AND RECONSTRUCT. WHAM!
- Mahou Sensei Negima!
- After learning Evangeline's Black Magic, Negi gets a chance to show off just how powerful he's become, ripping through a group of bounty hunters after Kaede and Setsuna.
- He does it again later after perfecting his Thousand Bolts spell, this time beating the crap out of Jack Rakan. In every chapter of the fight so far, barring the flashback-heavy ones, Negi pulls out one or two never-before-seen techniques. Somewhat subverted in that he still can't beat Rakan. They end up fighting to a draw.
- In the final segments of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Sound Stage X, which is set three years after the events of the third season, Teanna reveals Nanoha's parting gift to her which she had been working on since we've last seen her and helps Subaru escape from the burning Marine Garden by using every cartridge she has and uttering two words: Starlight. Breaker.
- In the Shaman King manga, it is said that a shaman can only increase his spiritual power after a close encounter with the spirit world (i.e. death and resurrection and/or near-death experience). The closer the shaman gets to death, the larger the factor of the ability increase. We still get examples of this trope through old-fashioned Training from Hell, such as when Yoh emerges from the Hole of Yomi.
- Naruto does it in the first episode/volume when he first busts out what will become his signature move, not to mention twice first when he shows up against a nigh-immortal opponent to backstab him with a newly-developed technique that seems to function like a blender crossed with an artillery shell, and second when he is summoned back to the village and starts wiping the floor with the seemingly-invincible Pain using his newly-learned "Sage Mode". Then later after taking control of Kyuubi's power he can among other things make Mini-Rasenshuriken and Beam Spam them, turning him into a One Man Badass Army.
- Soul Eater: Black Star's return in the Baba Yaga arc. He left after a series of defeats led him to find a different way to train and figure out the Nakatsukasa Purpose. He comes back knocking aside every Arachnaphobia mook unfortunate enough to be in his path (his presence enough that Kid can sense his soul from the middle of the castle), and arrives in time to fight Mifune with an impressive new set of techniques and lend a hand in taking down the pseudo-Kishin Arachne by, typically, sheer force of will.
- Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple combines this with My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours, but with an (anti-)villain instead of the hero. Tsuji Shinnosuke (a.k.a. "the crazy-haired one") of the Ragnarok gang, after being defeated by Kenichi, withdraws into wilderness and trains hard to become stronger. When he eventually returns, he is appalled when finding out that his former gang has been disbanded after their key members had all been defeated by Kenichi.
- Dragon Ball Z is a big fan of this trope:
- When Yamcha dies, and Krillin gets revenge by showing off his Scattered Shot to kill 3 enemies that, a year ago, would have been strong enough to threaten Goku and Piccolo together. He gained this after training with Kami to fight the Saiyans.
- When Goku came Back from the Dead and made a fool of Nappa.
- Vegeta showcased this as he took on minions of Frieza that had him pegged as much weaker, who would have killed him before his time on Earth.
- During the Ginyu Force arc, when Goku returned to the fray and mopped the floor with most of Ginyu's subordinates.
- After training with King Kai then merging with Nail, Piccolo does this to Frieza's Second Form.
- After Goku recovers from the Ginyu fight, his ability to threaten Frieza's Final Form is this, too. Even more so once he becomes a Super Saiyan and his power level increases 50 fold.
- When Goku comes back from Training IN SPACE! to demonstrate his "Instant Transmission".
- When Vegeta showed up after some training, revealed himself to have become a Super Saiyan, and destroyed Android 19.
- Android 20 was also surprised by the threat level increase of the rest of the Z-Warriors, but most especially with Piccolo, who was mopping the floor with him after spending 3 years training with Goku.
- Piccolo does it again after merging with Kami, first by forcing Cell to run away, then by nearly destroying Android 17, pulling off several new moves in the process. Slightly subverted in that 17 was more or less matching him blow for blow, and that by the time Cell finished absorbing a fraction of the planet's population, he was ready for the Nameless Namek.
- Vegeta, Future Trunks, Goku, and especially Gohan showcase this in each of their fights with Cell, with both villain and hero showing off new tricks against their opponent.
- Against Goku, Vegeta reveals gaining the same power level Gohan had when he defeated Cell. Goku reciprocates, both having been training to the detriment of all else during that time of peace.
- Goku showcasing Super Sayain 3 against Majin Buu is also an example, and makes Vegeta pissed at the previous example.
- In just a few days of seeing it, not only are Kid Trunks and Goten capable of mastering Fusion, but with the training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, are capable of going Super Saiyan 3 while fused.
- And finally, Gohan's Ultimate Power Up, after enduring the Elder Supreme Kai's training/ritual. He comes back and starts slaughtering Super Buu.
- Saiyans as a race are predisposed to this as an innate ability. They gain a Zenkei every time they approach death, which makes them even stronger than they were before, so harsh training or nearly being defeated makes them even more of a threat. This was actually weaponized, allowing Gohan and Vegeta to better stall against Frieza while he was going through his forms by healing them after they use up all their energy or get hurt.
- Code Geass
- Both Suzaku and Kallen get this when they get the final versions of their personal mecha. Kallen shows off the Guren SEITEN's energy wings and wired radiant wave arm in its debut battle, as well as effortlessly destroying a Knight of the Round and handing Suzaku his ass on a platter. The debut of the Lancelot Albion has Suzaku facing off against four Knights of the Round, killing two without breaking a sweat and performing a Diagonal Cut on his former boss Bismarck.
- Lelouch gets this with the debut of the Shinkirou, showing off its battleship-level Beehive Barrier and its scattering laser weapon at the climax of the Chinese Federation story arc.
- One Piece doesn't do this too often—especially considering its Long Runner status (Usually because the characters learn the new moves as they go), but it does have a few points to note:
- A few instances in the Water 7 arc, most notably Nami's Perfect Clima-Tact and Luffy's Gears.
- Coby, returning after taking a few levels in badass.
- The entire Fishman Island arc is this. The crew essentially one-shotted a group of Big Bads that seemed to be a perfectly logical next step in the series' Sorting Algorithm of Evil by showing off their new skills honed during the two-year Time Skip.
- Fairy Tail sees the strongest mages in the guild Put on a Bus over a seven-year-long Time Skip, and return to find that their minor-character friends have grown so strong, they can actually give the main character Natsu, one of the strongest members of the guild, a run for his money. Later on, Ultear gives a Power-Up to the main cast so they can have a fighting chance for an upcoming tournament, and they're suddenly able to do twice as much as they've been able—most prominent is Lucy, who is known to succumb to fatigue after summoning multiple spirits one at a time and one after the other, but can now summon two at once without breaking a sweat.
- The finals arc of Mobile Fighter G Gundam has this crossed with Honor Before Reason, when Chibodee and George show Domon the new techniques they developed during the Guyana Highlands arc (the Machinegun Punch and Roses Hurricane respectively). They do this right before their scheduled matches against Domon, allowing him to invent the God Shadow and God Slash Typhoon specifically to counter their new moves. Averted by Sai Saicinote and justified by Argonote .
- Allen Walker from D.Gray-Man does this after the Fallen One / Deletion Ark. He comes back in Japan and seems to fight nearly on par with The Millenium Earl. Perhaps arguable as the reason he left was because his Innocence was 'destroyed' and he had to fight to even get back to his former level (which he surpasses).
- Senki Zesshou Symphogear G basically has its first two episodes as one long extended version of this, with all of the girls showing off their new looks, each using at least one new move, and Hibiki demonstrating her increased control over her armor, culminating in S2CA Tri Burst.
- Deconstructed in Captain Tsubasa, Kojiro Hyuga runs off with ex-coach Kira to train up a way to match Tsubasa. He leaves the team without his own coach's permission, forcing Toho FC to go without an ace striker for the majority of the tournament. When he comes back with the killer Tiger Shot, Coach Kitazume gets enraged and benches him for damaging the team. Hyuga could have missed out the final match against Tsubasa entirely had he not desperately apologize for what he's done.
- In Inazuma Eleven, Gouenji/Axel was absent for a while because Alius Academy blackmailed him into leaving the team. When he make his comeback during a particularly difficult match against Epsylon, he proceed to show the result of his training and use his new technique to score the winning goal.
- Transformers who get upgraded make a habit of doing this, especially in Beast Wars.
- In an issue of the Marvel comics, this happens to Grimlock right before a fight breaks out, immobilizing him in a sort of chrysalis, and just as the good guys seem to be on the ropes, the new Action Master Grimlock breaks free of his cocoon and goes to town.
- All-Star Superman has a couple of these. When Superman is powered up by intense sun exposure in the first issue, he immediately extends a bioelectric aura around Quintum's sunship. Later he performs a number of super-feats employing newly acquired super-intelligence (although this is sort of a power that Superman has had on and off over the years.)
- In one Spider-Man arc, his old girlfriend Betty comes back after a long absence, now skilled in both martial arts and gun use (and wearing a Rambo-inspired outfit in the second part, shocking Peter) working for a government agency trying to apprehend the Foreigner. (The assassin who had her husband Ned killed.)
- After Excalibur disbanded, Kitty Pryde spent some brief time with the X-Men before leaving and spending six months in Genoshia. What she was doing there during the time is as-yet unknown ((although presumably connected to her father, who was living there at the time), but when she came back, she had clearly Taken a Level in Badass, able to fight more savagely than she ever had, often using a dagger made from one of Wolverine's broken bone claws. Her attitude changed too, clearly changing from the naïve girl she had been to a confident and independent young woman; she would later leave again and attend the University of Chicago/
Film — Animated
- Played straight in Kung Fu Panda: the Furious Five take on Tai Lung and are soundly trounced all while Po is off training to be a true master. After it appears that the Dragon Scroll is blank Shifu takes on his former pupil all alone. It doesn't work. Finally, Po shows up and demonstrates the wisdom he's gained from Shifu and the Scroll.
- This is pretty much the standard way to break up a Professional Wrestling tag team; one partner will turn on and injure the other, putting him out of action for several months. He'll then run rampant through the midcard until his former partner returns from injury out of nowhere and beat him.
- On the fifth of March in 2010, Eddie Edwards defeated Davey Richards in the finals to crown Ring of Honor's Television Champion. The next year, Davey Richards, after training with Dan The Beast Severn, defeated the Now Ring Of Honor World Champion Eddie Edwards at Best In The World, taking his championship and then successfully defending it against him at that year's Final Battle. This was mostly a straight example in that Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards remained friends and continued to team as The American Wolves.
- This also appeared in Final Fantasy IV. Golbez appears and wipes the floor with Cecil's group, until Rydia returns and effectively destroys Golbez's summon.
- It happened in Earthbound, when Poo returned from training and demonstrated his new power on a boss creature, obliterating it with PK Starstorm.
- In Project Justice, the sequel to Rival Schools, if you should lose as Batsu early in the Taiyo High storyline, he'll go away from his core team for a while, and then come back battle-scarred, but stronger than ever.
- In Super Robot Wars games where there are route splits with different major plot events that give a particular character/mecha a new ability or a character gets an entirely new mech, this trope is often invoked if you field the unit you just got back.
- The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III exists to let players know how awesome Class VII is now compared to the two previous games. Only one of them sticks with the players throughout the game and he's the Experienced Protagonist while everyone else are guest characters who pop in and out at times.
- After a few months of video upload hiatus and borrowing Mario Party 4, Clel of the Mario Party TV group returns to one of his weakest minigames, Revers-A-Bomb, and utterly dominates it.