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Powers in the First Episode
Unusual capabilities manifest in the pilot episode. This lets the audience know right away that the series is about unusually enabled characters. It is very hard to pull off the introduction later on in a series without throwing your viewers for a loop, unless you are a master of foreshadowing.

The plot of this introductory episode has a strong tendency to be one of the coping-with-new-powers or power-manifestation scenarios like How Do I Shot Web?, Die or Fly, or Falling into the Cockpit. May overlap with First Episode Spoiler if the powers are revealed toward the end of the episode. Compare / contrast Second Hour Superpower, In Medias Res.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime 
  • 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.
  • 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 Digi Xros, 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 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.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.

    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 form, they always showcase them using their powers just to show they thy 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.

    Western Animation 

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