Protagonist Power Up Privileges
The Five-Man Band
has just found the Sword of Plot Advancement
, a mythical blade said to bestow great power for justice on one who is deemed worthy. So who will claim it? The Leader
, of course! New story arc, the team is in search of five ancient crystals that can give them magical powers. Who do you think will find one first?
In works of media where the focus otherwise is on some sort of team, of any number of people, there will inevitably still be a tighter focus on The Hero
, and thus the Hero will be the first to receive a special power or new weapon, and will usually end up having more powers or weapons than the rest of the group including a few they don't have equivalent versions of.
If The Lancer
is lucky, he'll get to share an otherwise exclusive power with the Hero that the other members of the group won't get. Expect this especially if the Lancer is also a Foil
or The Rival
, so the two can stay on an equal level of power.
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- Digimon, almost every season the Hero and the Lancer get to evolve further than the rest of the cast. Played with in Tamers where the hero's super mode does not show until the very end and he's beaten to the stage by a Beelzemon. Averted in Savers, despite not having the ensemble of the previous seasons. Five characters evolve all the way to the end, getting Burst Mode power-ups.
- Worst in Digimon Frontier. Everyone but The Hero and The Lancer stop getting more power a quarter of the way through the series, as those two get mode after mode after mode. Their Mega-equivalent forms are powered by borrowing the powers of the rest of the team, so finally, everyone not Takuya and Koji sees his or her role reduced to "transfer your powers to them and go hide behind something."
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, Yusei and Jack have no less than three alternate forms of their Signer Dragons, while only one other signer (Rua/Leo) has one, and then only one. Yusei eventually fuses the other five Signer Dragons into "Shooting Quasar Dragon", an evolution of his own Signer Dragon.
- Dragon Ball, Goku is always the first to train at a new training ground, then moves on to a new one when the rest of the heroes make it there. He's also the first to reach Super Saiyan.
- Sailor Moon is the first to receive new Special Attacks and Super Modes. In the anime she is also the only one to reach the Eternal Form.
- Ryo was the only one who got a powered up armor in Ronin Warriors, doing so by taking the powers of four of the eight remaining armors, usually meaning his friends.
- In Zoids: Chaotic Century, Van was the only heroic character to ever fuse with an organoid, giving him unfair stat boosts from day 1. He could only be matched by Raven who also had an organoid.
- By time of season 2 he had mad a point of training without the organoid so he could be legitimately powerful, but still fused to face other organoid owners.
- G Gundam: Domon's Shining Gundam is the only one to have a hypermode for the first half of the series. When the other Shuffle Alliance members unlock theirs Domon gets the entirely new God (Burning) Gundam, and then proceeds to eliminate his teammates one by one during the Tournament Arc with relative ease.
- Naruto: Naruto and Sasuke always unlock new levels of power around the same time. This was intentional on the creators part so neither would outdo the other. After the first arc in Shippudden however the rest of the cast got mostly shafted. Except for the Jonins who are still relevant by showing off more of their true powers even though they are consistently outdone by Naruto.
- Power Rangers, the Red Ranger usually has a "Battlelizer" or some equivalent power-up that gives him armor and new abilities, and usually the other rangers will not get a similar power. This sort of goes back to the first season, with Tommy giving Jason the Dragon Dagger and power coin, and Jason receiving the gold shield on Tommy's uniform for his own.
- Final Fantasy VIII, Squall has more weapons than any other party member, and his Infinity+1 Sword can be acquired earliest.
- Final Fantasy XII, Ashe is the one to receive the two Swords of Plot Advancement, and in the manga Belias, the first Esper, chooses her as its master. Vaan, usually considered a Decoy Protagonist, has since been associated with one of the mentioned Swords of Plot Advancement while Ashe uses the other, the two wielding them such a way in an end-game cutscene.
- Played with in Legacy of Kain. Kain is the hero of the first game Blood Omen, and in the introduction to the second game Soul Reaver, it's mentioned Kain is always the first among him and his lieutenants to evolve a new ability. During said intro, Raziel, the protagonist of this game, becomes the first to beat him to it by growing wings, stealing the spotlight from Kain in a fourth-wall sort of way.
- A staple in BioWare RPGs:
- In Baldur's Gate, it's the Bhaalspawn who gets all the nifty Bhaal-induced powers, whereas NPC party members (including other children of Bhaal) are stuck with the standard abilities (though the other child of Bhaal that still is a Bhaalspawn when she's part of the party actually was supposed to get nifty Bhaal-induced powers, two-and-a-half games after you got them. It just that the coding for the delay between triggering events is a bit iffy).
- Then again, some of the NPC party members start out with their own unique non-standard abilities — for example, Minsc is a Ranger that can berserk, Mazzy is a Fighter with a couple of Paladin-like abilities (thus sidestepping the fact that in 2E, only humans can be Paladins).
- In the Mass Effect series, it's Commander Shepard who gets all the cutting-edge upgrades, weapons, and technologies while his/her squad is mostly restricted to perfecting their confined areas of expertise.
- In Dragon Age: Origins, if upgrades (such as attribute bonuses) can only be picked up by a certain character, it's always the Warden.
- In Ace Combat Zero, only Cipher can purchase better planes (including superfighters) for himself, while his two wingmen are stuck with their starting planes for the entire game. This is in contrast to Ace Combat 5 and Ace Combat 6, where you could equip wingmen with the same planes as yourself.
- Inverted and then played straight in Fortune Summoners. The main character, Arche, can't use magic (because she hasn't learned any, her parents can't afford the Magi Tech needed to cast spells and because her weapon makes casting spells harder). In the final level you unlock the elemental stone you recover in the prologue and she gains a Super Mode.