The FiveManBand has just found the SwordOfPlotAdvancement, a mythical blade said to bestow great power for justice on one who is deemed worthy. So who will claim it? TheLeader, 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 TheHero, 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 TheLancer 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 TheRival, so the two can stay on an equal level of power.


[[folder: Anime & Manga]]
* ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'', almost every season the Hero and the Lancer get to evolve further than the rest of the cast. It is also universally common (though not ''always'' the case, very often so) for the protagonist's partner Digimon to reach the next stage of evolution first, then perhaps the Lancer, and the rest of the team afterward.
** In ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'', Tai and Matt and their partners Agumon and Gabumon, are the only ones to reach Mega level, while everyone else stops at Ultimate. The strangest part is that they reach this level thanks to a prophecy that more directly concerns their younger siblings (Kari and TK), whose partners (Angewomon and Angemon) have significant [[GoodHurtsEvil type advantages]] over the villains. So of course theyre the ones taking out the Mega-level Dark Master and although AllYourColorsCombined destroy the final boss their Digimon destroy his physical form while the rest just take out his defenses.
*** In the games, all of the team reaches their canon Mega stage.
*** ''Anime/DigimonAdventureTri'' is also on its way towards averting this, as [[spoiler: Currently Joe and Mimi with their partners Gomamon and Palmon have currently reached their Mega stages. Previews for later movies hint at the other digimon also achieving the stage]]
** In ''Anime/DigimonAdventure02'', Wormmon lends its power to V-Mon so that the latter can reach the golden Magnamon form to defeat an out of control Ultimate, while none of the ''Adventure'' characters have the chance to beat it. The theme for the strongest stages is partnership, setting out to subvert this trope. Double subverted in that TheHero Daisuke and SixthRanger Ken's composite partner (made from Wormmon and V-Mon's evolved forms) is the only one to reach the Mega stage, and then gets a mode change and a Fighter Mode. However, the final big bad is beaten by [[spoiler: TalkingTheMonsterToDeath, and the simultaneous appearance of every form of every partner digimon that season]].
*** In the film, Hikari and Takeru's partners do reach their Mega stages. ...Again, for the sole purpose of enabling TheHero and the movie's exclusive character to reach their then-strongest stages (the above mentioned golden mode) to do all the work.
** Zig-zagged in ''Anime/DigimonTamers'' where the PowerTrio and SixthRanger all go Mega ([[ThoseTwoGuys Kenta]] and his partner [=MarineAngemon=] as well, by different means). Protagonist/partner Takato/Guilmon's Mega level does not show until he's beaten to the stage by Impmon (now Beelzebumon), though they still reach this stage, and every stage except Champion, before the rest of the team. They are also the only ones to get a further mode ([[LawOfChromaticSuperiority Crimson Mode]]), with the aid of their "trusty steed".
** Worst in ''Anime/DigimonFrontier.'' Everyone but TheHero and TheLancer stop getting power a quarter of the way through the series (reaching the equivalent of Ultimate in other series), while those two get mode after mode after mode (surpassing Mega level). Their strongest forms are powered by borrowing the powers of the rest of the team, so everyone not named Takuya and Koji sees his or her role reduced to "transfer your powers to them and go hide behind something."
** Averted in ''Anime/DigimonSavers'', despite not having the ensemble of the previous seasons. Four characters evolve all the way to the end, getting Burst Mode power-ups.
* In ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'', Judai creates Neos Fusion Monsters out of nowhere, unlocks his hidden power of the Supreme King, and he fuses with Yubel. Everybody else get their new cards in more traditional ways.
* ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds'', Yusei and Jack have no less than three alternate forms of their Signer Dragons, while only one other signer ([[spoiler:Rua/Leo]]) has one, and then only one. Yusei eventually uses the other five Signer Dragons to (Limit Over Accel) Synchro Summon "Shooting Quasar Dragon", an evolution of his own Signer Dragon.
* ''Anime/YuGiOhArcV'': Subverted with Yuya's Pendulum Summoning, where it is a plot point that he isn't the only one to have them, and he and everyone else are learning new summon techniques throughout the series. Played straight when he starts creating Pendulum Hybrid monsters that no one else has done yet. Also played straight with his Ace monster, Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon. Only one other duelist has shown an alternate form of their Dimension Dragon ([[spoiler:Yugo with Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon, an evolution of Clear Wing Synchro Dragon]]), while Yuya has three variants of his and many more in the real-life card game that haven't been in the anime yet.
* ''Manga/DragonBall'':
** Goku is usually the first to train at a new training ground. The rest of the heroes make it there next season, but by then Goku has [[SoLastSeason moved on to another one already]]. In sequence the Kame House first, then Korin's Tower, Kami's Lookout, King Kai's Planet, Gravity Chamber. The final two training grounds (Hyberbolic Time Chamber, and Beerus' Planet) Vegeta actually went in first, but Goku followed a little later in the same season, so essentially at the same time. He's the first to reach Super Saiyan and Super Saiyan 3 transformations, and he was also the one chosen to ascend to [[PhysicalGod Super Saiyan God]] in ''Anime/DragonBallZBattleOfGods'' which Vegeta [[LampshadeHanging called him out on.]] In the follow up movie, ''Anime/DragonBallZResurrectionF'' [[spoiler: Goku's Super Saiyan form is blue as a result of the god power up. Vegeta also has this same form, ''finally'' putting them on the same level of power.]]
** During his son Gohan's stint as protagonist, Gohan is the first one to achieve Super Saiyan 2 and is the only one to receive a power-up from Old Kai, which brought his latent abilities to the surface and made him stronger than the first three Super Saiyan forms.
** ''Anime/DragonBallSuper'' finally throws Vegeta a bone. While Goku is the first to ascend to Super Saiyan God status, he had to go through a ritual involving borrowing others' power to do so. Vegeta somehow manages to ascend to the same form ''entirely under his own power'', something which Goku was frustrated that he was unable to do.
* ''Anime/SailorMoon'' is the first to receive new {{Special Attack}}s and {{Super Mode}}s. 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 ''Anime/RoninWarriors'', doing so by taking the powers of four of the eight remaining armors, usually meaning his friends.
* In ''Anime/ZoidsChaoticCentury'', Van is the only heroic character to ever fuse with an organoid, giving him unfair stat boosts from day 1. He could only be matched by [[TheRival 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.
* ''Anime/MobileFighterGGundam'': Domon's Shining Gundam is the only one to have a hypermode for the first half of the series. When the other [[FiveManBand Shuffle Alliance]] members unlock theirs Domon gets the entirely new [[MidSeasonUpgrade God (Burning) Gundam]], and then proceeds to eliminate his teammates one by one during the TournamentArc with relative ease.
* ''Manga/{{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 [[NewPowersAsThePlotDemands still relevant by showing off more of their true powers]] even though [[TheWorfEffect they are consistently outdone]] by Naruto.
* In the ''Anime/PrettyCure'' movies, all pink Cures since ''Anime/YesPrettyCure5GoGo'' (with the exception of ''Anime/HeartcatchPrettyCure'') will get exclusive {{Super Mode}}s. However, the respective series finals will give all teammates the same {{Super Mode}}s, with some exceptions.
** ''Anime/DokiDokiPrettyCure'' takes this even further. Cure Heart gets her exclusive SuperMode in the movie, [[spoiler:but her teammates do not get that SuperMode. Instead, Cure Hearts gets ''another'' exclusive SuperMode and defeats the BiggerBad by her own]]
** In ''Anime/HappinessChargePrettyCure'' unlike most examples, Cure Lovely gets her own exclusive SuperMode in her home series [[spoiler: and defeats the BiggerBad.]]

* KungFuPanda has Po learn the basics of Kung Fu in the first movie, being enough to keep up with the Furious Five, but in the next two he gains more powers with each film (first Inner Peace, then mastering his Chi), putting him far ahead of them in power.

[[folder: Live-Action TV]]
* ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' / ''Franchise/SuperSentai''
** In ''Power Rangers'', the Red Ranger usually has a "Battlizer" 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.
** Not as prevalent in ''Franchise/SuperSentai'', but there are cases like [=AbareMax=] from ''Abaranger'' and [=KyoryuRed=] Carnival from ''Kyoryuger''. Other shows like ''Shinkenger, Tokkyuger'' and ''Ninninger'' avert this by having a SuperMode that any team member can use - although Red still very much has priority.
* ''[[Franchise/KamenRider Kamen Rider]]''s starting with Ryuki have followed this trend as well, when there are more than just [[TheHero the Hero]] and [[TheLancer the Second Rider]].

[[folder: Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'', Squall has more weapons than any other party member, and his InfinityPlusOneSword can be acquired earliest.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'', Ashe is the one to receive the two [[SwordOfPlotAdvancement Swords of Plot Advancement]], and in the manga Belias, the first Esper, chooses her as its master. Vaan, usually considered a DecoyProtagonist, 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 ''VideoGame/LegacyOfKain''. 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 Creator/BioWare [=RPGs=]:
** In ''Franchise/BaldursGate'', 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 ''Franchise/MassEffect'' 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 ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', if upgrades (such as attribute bonuses) can only be picked up by a certain character, it's ''always'' the Warden.
** Likewise, in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'', the Inquisitor seems to be the person who gets all the special quest rewards, although this is offset a bit by the Amulets of Power, one-time boosts that give an extra skill point when equipped--but only to specific companions. There is only one Amulet of Power restricted to the Inquisitor in the entire game (plus, a certain Inquisition perk gives them an extra ability point).
* In ''VideoGame/AceCombatZeroTheBelkanWar'', 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 ''VideoGame/AceCombat5TheUnsungWar'' and ''VideoGame/AceCombat6FiresOfLiberation'', where you could equip wingmen with the same planes as yourself.
* Inverted and then played straight in ''VideoGame/FortuneSummoners''. The main character, [[BadassAdorable Arche]], can't use magic (because she hasn't learned any, her parents can't afford the {{Magitek}} needed to cast spells and because her [[{{BFS}} weapon]] makes casting spells harder). In the final level [[spoiler: you unlock the elemental stone you recover in the prologue and she gains a SuperMode]].
* In ''VideoGame/PokemonXAndY'', the protagonist is the only one of the FiveManBand aside from the BigBad, the FinalBoss, and the person who discovered it, to get the power to use [[SuperMode Mega Evolution]], even dueling TheRival to get it to boot. Justified since it is emphasized Mega Research has just been discovered and using it needs special technology that isn't in mass-production. [[spoiler:Your rival does get to use it in the post-game story, however.]]
* Originally averted in ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'', where all of the main characters at the time[[note]]Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles[[/note]] had a SuperMode that you could unlock after collecting all seven [[BonusStageCollectables Chaos Emeralds]] from the special stages(Although Sonic's was the only one that was [[GoldenSuperMode golden]]). The games then start to play it straight from ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'' onwards when Tails and Knuckles` super forms are retconned out of the series. Afterward, the only additional characters to get super forms were [[TheRival Shadow]], [[BadassPrincess Blaze]],[[note]]Blaze has her own set of emeralds[[/note]] and [[FutureBadass Silver.]] Despite that however, the latter three show up very infrequently and Sonic is the one who uses this power more than anyone else.
* In ''VideoGame/XenobladeChronicles'', the InfinityPlusOneSword, the [[spoiler:Monado III]], is something only the game's main protagonist Shulk can wield, especially within the NewGamePlus where it becomes readily available for use outside of the final boss fight.
* In "VideoGame/LegendOfDragoon [[TheHero Dart]] obtains the [[spoiler: [[SuperMode Divine Dragoon form]]]], meanwhile [[TheLancer Rose]] obtains the [[spoiler: [[InfinityPlusOneSword Dragon Buster]]]], just in time for the showdown with BigBad FinalBoss [[spoiler:Melbu Frahma]]