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- Usagi/Serena becomes Sailor Moon in the first episode of the 1990s anime after being given the power to do so by Luna, because The Call Knows Where You Live.
- Guilty Crown: Shu finds the object that gives him his powers (the Void Genome) halfway through the episode, but he doesnt get implanted with it until the last two or three minutes of episode one. When it does happen, there's a massive Animation Bump and a Theme Music Power-Up to boot. Did we mention that the music was composed by the wildly popular J-pop band, Supercell?
- Mazinger Z: In the first episode Kouji finds a Humongous Mecha in his grandfather's underground lab and is told it will be his power from that day on, and he can become a god or a devil with it.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: The first few episodes quickly have Shinji in an EVA confronting an angel. He gets his ass kicked around a bit, and then he enters his berserker mode for the first time...
- Zatch Bell!: They introduce the lightning shooting beforehand, but Kiyo only figures out how they work when they need it.
- Blue Dragon (the anime, anyway): Shu's village gets attacked by an evil army, and then, just as the nastiness is about to start, his shadow appears.
- Bleach does this with Ichigo gaining shinigami powers.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Simon finds a drill bit in the very first episode, then finds a not-so-humongous mecha to which the bit just happens to be the key. Oh, and he can pilot it.
- Pokémon: Pikachu proved it was much more powerful than it appeared even before Team Rocket ever made their appearance when it defended Ash from the Spearow flock.
- Flame of Recca
- Code Geass has Lelouch meet the Mysterious Waif about three-quarters of the way through the first episode, then receive his Geass and use it within the last couple of minutes.
- Mai Hime has a variation: Mai's HiME powers manifest for the first time in the first episode when she involuntarily creates a shield of flame to protect herself and Mikoto, but she only receives her Element in the second episode and her Child in the third.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: Similarly, while the main character first realizes her powers as a mage by activating Raising Heart's staff form and creating a full Barrier Jacket on the first episode, she only casts her first spell on the second episode, and unlocks her oft-used Shooting Mode on the third.
- For that matter, every single Magical Girl show in existance (except those with Cute Witches, since the heroines of those shows already had powers.)
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica, on the other hand, is one of the few exceptions to this rule. While a mahou shoujo does show up and clean house in the first episode, the main character doesn't gain her powers until the very last episode.
- Baccano! reveals its Immortality premise within the first third of the introductory episode when, after Firo's fingers are severed, the bloody digits slowly pick themselves off the ground and reattach to his hand. The effect is both unnerving and extremely cool.
- One Piece: Monkey D. Luffy ate his Devil Fruit in the first chapter.
- There were two pilot chapters even before that which showed Luffy with his rubber powers.
- Death Note: The title Death Note falls outside Light's school within the first five minutes/few pages of the series. Justice ensues.
- The first chapter of Yu-Gi-Oh! features Yugi Muto solving the millennium puzzle, and thus being introduced to his super powered alter ego.
- Kamichu! opens right off with Yurie saying that she woke up that morning as a god.
- Naruto discovers that he is the vessel for the Kyuubi and learns the Shadow Clone ability in the first episode.
- Just about any Digimon series so far has had the main characters get their partners in the first episode. Frontier is the exception, in that the humans became the Digimon after receiving their Digimon Spirits.
- Xros Wars has Taiki gain powers both in the beginning of the first story arc and the end of that same story arc (AKA episode 30). First he learns how to make Shoutmon DigiXros, then in the end he learns how to make Shoutmon Super-Digivolve, which is abused thoroughly in the next story arc, whenever the plot calls for it (that is, once in every battle against the Death Generals).
- In Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z, every episode is made up of two parts. The very first episode's first part is a story about the PPGZ defeating Mojo Jojo. The second part goes back to the beginning and shows how the girls got their powers. The next 2 or 3 episodes show how they came to meet up and form the titular Powerpuff Girls Z.
- ElfQuest: Redlance's tree-shaping powers. They don't appear at a critical moment, they just come in handy when he's doing a spot of gardening. They do help to save the day in later issues, though.
- In All Fall Down, this is Sophie. She's stolen every power on Earth, with no idea at first how to use them.
- Atonement: In the first episode Madison feels so guilty about Taylor's death that she triggers and gains the power to connect any two non-living objects and then pull them together or push them apart.
- Children of an Elder God: In the first chapter Shinji gets a giant robot and fights his first Robeast. When he kills Matarael, he feels something entering his body. That something was the power of the monster he had just slain.
- Gods Angels And Kings: In the first chapter Shinji bonds with an alien and becomes the super-hero Zone Fighter (Ultraman in the second version).
- Intrepid: When one of their pranks ends with Taylor in a comatose state, Emma and Madison feel guilty enough to trigger and develop powers. In the first episode Emma freezes time, and Madison absorbs objects and knowledge.
- Last Child of Krypton: In the redux, Shinji's Kryptonian powers start manifesting in the first episode.
- Pokémon Master: In the first chapter Ash and his Pikachu master the Shadow element.
- Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: In the first episode Asuka gains Super Strength, accidentally ripping off her giant robot's control yokes.
- In the first episode of Thousand Shinji, Shinji gets Psychic Powers, electrokinesis and a giant robot.
Live Action TV
- Heroes: Several characters discover their abilities in the first episode, including Nathan, Hiro, and Niki. Matt, who wasn't in the first episode, discovered his abilities in the second.
- Out of This World: in the first episode, Evie is introduced to her powers on her 13th birthday.
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch where she learns of her powers in the first episode.
- The 4400: Shawn and Maia (as well as the "freak of the week" played by Michael Moriarty) discover their new abilities in the first episode.
- Helena and Dinah both show off their metahuman powers in the first episode of Birds of Prey.
- Subversion: Lost put solid proof of the island's unnatural properties into the first episode (Locke's standing up and walking), but didn't actually reveal there was anything odd about it until a later episode ("Walkabout", where we learn he was wheelchair-bound).
- Power Rangers :
- When the characters have super powers in their civilian forms, they always showcase them using their powers just to show that they have them. The trope name is particularly apt here, since the out-of-costume powers tend to be used heavily in the first few episodes and then pretty much vanish thereafter.
- It probably doesn't help that in Super Sentai (what Power Rangers is based on; costumed fight sequences are frequently dubbed over), the main characters rarely have additional powers, leading to the civilian-superhero power divide.
- The pilot episode of Grimm is when protagonist Nick Burkhardt first becomes aware of The Masquerade, because he starts seeing people turn into monsters that no one else notices. As his aunt is dying of cancer, his abilities start to show up.
- Happens in the first 15 minutes of Misfits. Everyone but Nathan gets supernatural powers. It's revealed in the season finale that Nathan's power is being immortal.
- Alex gets hit with chemicals before long in The Secret World of Alex Mack.
- Charmed: The sisters all gain their magic powers on the night the youngest, Phoebe, returns home and finds the Book of Shadows. Averted when we learn in a later episode that they had them as children, but their grandmother bound them and they forgot as they grew up. Leads to several episodes' worth of How Do I Shot Web? for Prue and especially Piper.
- In the W.I.T.C.H. animated series, the Guardians receive their powers in the very first episode... save for Will, who, in a serious inversion, has to wait until episode 30 to receive hers.
- Danny Phantom: The first episode is mainly about Danny trying to keep his powers under control and figuring out how to use them and what they were for.
- Static Shock: The first episode shows Virgil and all of the various super powered cast getting their powers.
- Street Sharks: The four protagonists are turned into sharks in the pilot.
- In Trollz, Amethyst's powers manifest after her friends' already have, and the first episode has spells cast by a single Troll. In the second episode they cast their first spell together, turning Coal into ice and opening the rift to unleash the Big Bad.
- In Winx Club, Bloom accidentally discovers and uses her magic powers in the first episode.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic plays with this trope. The first episode has Twilight meet her new friends and their individual powers manifest alongside the Elements of Harmony which they use to take down Nightmare Moon, setting up a Magical Girl format for the show. However, the majority of episodes are a Slice of Life show about ponies, and things like flight and magic are commonplace and have mainly mundane uses.