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Anime & Manga
- Kenji from 20th Century Boys starts out as The Everyman, but by the end is a full-fledged rock and roll messiah.
- The original Sailor Moon anime is a clear-cut example: Usagi was initially The Chick, but became and was actually called the Messiah by the third season. Coupled with Minako's Flanderization, it caused them to swap roles, promoting Usagi to The Hero and reducing Minako to The Chick.
- Kira Yamato in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED essentially became one of these in the sequel series Destiny, earning the moniker "Jesus Yamato" in the process.
- Kei Kurono in Gantz does this starting out all the way from Jerkass Designated Hero. Although it's less drawing on the "kindness of their heart", and more tatooing "What would Kato do?" to the inside of his eyelids as part of his Character Development.
- Naruto starts as a lonely brat who most find annoying, but evolves into someone who can easily empathize with and win the support of anyone. This is somewhat lampshaded as he even refers to HIMSELF a "savior." Then it turned out that he was actually The Chosen One of prophecy destined to Save the World and the reincarnation of one of the two sons of the Sage of the Six Paths.
- Shibuya Yuuri of Kyo Kara Maoh! starts out an ordinary idiot who had super powers if he got really, really mad. Over the series he conquers racism, defeats the Sealed Evil in a Can, purifies a corrupted deity, and develops in a competent monarch, albeit one that is only still alive because of his loyal advisors.
- Through all of his massive, massive Character Development, it seems that Guts from Berserk is finally coming around to this. Slowly, but surely.
- Linebarrels of Iron starts out with a Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk protagonist who sticks to the good guys in the hopes of becoming a Destructive Savior. After dealing with the ramifications of being drunk on power and causing civilian casualties, he undergoes massive character development and ends up mostly in this trope. Lampshaded: "The people needed a hero, wanted him to become a hero, so he ended up becoming a hero."
- In Dragon Ball, despite Toriyama's claim that Goku can be a selfish person who will put a good fight ahead of everything, Goku experience this even in the original manga. As a child, he was selfish in that he would only protect those he personally bonded with and he had no problem causing great physical harm or killing his enemies if provoked. As he grew older, he becomes more protective of humanity in general, to the point that he goes out of his way to revive the Dragon Balls during the Cell Games after Cell murdered the world army. He's also more picky about who he kills to the point of trying to spare monsters like Frieza and tries to defeat his enemies with minimum force.
- According to Alex Ross, Superman started out in The Golden Age of Comic Books as a strongman akin to Samson. By the Silver Age Curt Swan era, he had come to be much more representative of a heavenly savior. And, of course, he died and came back in the '90s. In Kingdom Come, Superman also fulfills the Second Coming aspect.
- In Shinji And Warhammer 40 K, despite his best efforts, Shinji appears to be turning into the God-Emperor of Mankind.
- Fairly English Story: Considering who we're talking about, it makes sense, but the exploration of it in Minato's character development is very interesting to study, considering the changes his personality gradually makes over the course of the story.
- In My Life Is A Goddamn Mess, Minato slowly evolves from an Emo Teen with the story's title as a Catch-Phrase into Messianic Archetype.
- This seems to be happening to Jensen and co in Mass Effect Human Revolution. They may be the only ones with the ability who can bring at least momentary salvation to the galaxy. Either that or they'll die trying to fix the irredeemably broken.
Films — Live-Action
- Doc Savage is a really good doctor (creating antibiotics for plagues) who becomes a really good doctor (making the blind see, the lame walk, raising the dead from 3000 years ago) after just a decade's experience. Then he falls from grace by fracturing his skull and goes to Hell to fight the devil.
- The Space Trilogy: Dr. Elwin Ransom goes through this over the course of the series. In the first book, Ransom is a kind of Joe Everyman having very-personal but largely-inconsequential adventures on Mars. In the second book, he is tasked with saving the entire world of Perelandra from the influence of cosmic forces of evil. By the third book, he has become the Pendragon, leader of the new Round Table, suffers for the sins of the Earth, regains man's legendary authority over the animals, and leaves for another world, vowing to one day return at the end of the world to save humanity.
- Appears in universe in the Malazan Book of the Fallen, where Seerdomin slowly realizes that he's becoming a figure of salvation to the followers of the deity known as the Redeemer, because his daily visits to their god's barrow keep undesirables at bay. He is deeply conflicted about this, since while his deeds may seem heroic to outsiders, he is mainly in it for personal reasons.
- Heavily invoked in Babylon 5 with G'Kar. After a lifetime as a Narn resistance leader and soldier, filled with hate for the Centauri, he experiences a revelation that causes him to completely rethink his own beliefs and values. After the Shadow War, he becomes something of a teacher and philosopher to the Narn colonists on board; his private writings were even taken and published (entirely against his will) as a new holy book, which sweeps through the masses. More and more, to G'Kar's irritation, the Narns look to him for spiritual answers rather than seeking them out for themselves. He wants to teach them, but is very uncomfortable taking on a Messianic role where his every word is dissected for some deeper meaning. Eventually, he leaves the station to travel the galaxy, both to find those deeper answers for himself and to give his people the chance to do the same without his interference.
- Daniel Jackson in Stargate SG-1 starts as a TV Genius, naturally assumes the role of The Smart Guy when the title team SG-1 is assembled, but by season four, becomes The Messiah while the role of The Smart Guy is almost completely delegated to Samantha Carter. It certainly doesn't help that he later actually ascends. Well, for one season. And then does it again, but only for one episode.
- Doctor Who: The Doctor began as a selfish, irritable old man on the run from his own species. He did save people, but it was more because he happened to be around than because of any higher calling. Around the time of the Fourth Doctor's tenure, religious subtext began to appear, but it was very subtle and deployed with some actual weight behind it when it appeared, and he was still mostly an 'intergalactic bumbler'. By the time of the Tenth Doctor's tenure he's striking crucifix poses and being revived by the power of prayer. Though it needs to be said that the ending phase of Tenth's adventures involved deliberate deconstruction of his heroism creeping into the storylines. With the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctor, the deconstruction was in full swing - yes, the Doctor is still doing his best to be heroic, but the prideful implications of Chronic Hero Syndrome are increasingly examined. Companions and even random people call him out far more often on his vain or questionable moments. (When he claims in a fit of anger on two different occasions that he's "answerable to no one", his then companions look at him with instant distrust and outright tell him he's being arrogant and scary.) Plenty of people felt the more critical view of the character by the writers made him more interesting and believable again, rather than an Invincible Hero or Designated Hero with pretensions of grandeur.
- Community: Troy went from a surprisingly talented air conditioner repair student to "the Truest Repairman," the Chosen One foretold in ancient prophecy. The Vice-Dean helps Troy take down a dictatorial regime solely to get him into the school, and isolates him from his friends in order to teach him all the ancient ways of the secret order of Air Condition Repair Men. Troy, for his part, finds the cultish attitudes of the Air Conditioner Repair Annex to be weird and confusing, and repeatedly tells them to stop taking it so seriously, since it's just a two-year degree.
Troy: Yeah, I told the Air-Conditioning Repair School that they had to start acting like a normal school. I can do that, cuz I'm their Messiah.
- Stocke from Radiant Historia starts out cold and aloof from his subordinates, but becomes more wiling to form lasting emotional connections with other people over the course of the story. He remains somewhat stoic, but is completely dedicated to their well-being, and his desire to protect them eventually extends to the rest of Vainqueur's inhabitants as well. By the end of the game, he actually sacrifices himself in the Ritual in order to protect all the races from the continent's desertification.
- If the player does enough, the protagonist of any of the Persona games becomes the messiah by the end of the game.
- In Persona 4 the Main Character (named Yu in the anime) can solve everyone's problems and become everyone's best friend, be top of the class, become the best fisherman of all time, be The Leader of the group of meddling kids who save the world and even befriending Adachi, the murderer himself. Subverted if the player decides to seduce all the potential love interests (and break their hearts on Valentine's day in the vita remake) or gets either of the bad endings (either being party to the murder of an innocent man who was framed as the murderer, or outright becoming Adachi's accomplice).
- The trend continues in Persona 5 with the Phantom Thieves starting out as flawed characters seeking to change society for justice, revenge or fame using morally questionable means, and end up being treated as genuine heroes by saving the world from a controlling god born from the masses still using the same questionable methods.
- Sora, from Kingdom Hearts, was always a save-the-world kind of hero. But as the series went on, he went from being a kid who, through a mix of skill and coincidence, ended up saving the multiverse to a kid so heroic that he was saving people's lives minutes after being born and the only one who can bring back all of the sleeping doomed heroes of the games he doesn't appear in.
- Blazblue, from beginning to end, is the story of how a grumpy, anti-social wanted criminal who adopts the "Grim Reaper" as a moniker to frighten people eventually becomes the literal god of death and saves all mankind and reality itself from destruction.
- Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender begins as The Fool, evolves into a Messianic Archetype. This had been what he was originally supposed to do before running away and being frozen for a century.
- Flash from Justice League, though this is a slightly unusual example, since he's only one of seven equally main characters and therefore not technically the hero. At least, no more so than the other six. He starts out as the immature rookie of the group, with a leaning towards the idealistic approach and a tendency to hit on people. But this is followed by the implication that his influence is keeping the League out of Knight Templar territory and a recurring tendency to try helping everyone that eventually leads to marking him as a Messianic Archetype.
- At the start of Ben 10: Alien Force, the only thing Ben had in common with Sailor Moon was her Transformation Sequence. He's since adopted her ability to heal the villains' victims with the Empathic Weapon and Wide-Eyed Idealist hatred of sacrificing anyone.
- One could argue that Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic belongs in this category, now that she has become a princess. Perhaps a Down Played example, as her personality does not seem to have changed even if her role within Equestrian politics has. It has been noted that she is more open to socializeing, compared to her loner status in the pilot episode.