The name of this trope comes from the Super Sentai/Power Rangers franchise, which has a yearly tradition of adding at least one new member to the initial roster of heroes during the course of each series. Specifically, it was started by Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger with the addition of Dragon Ranger, which was carried over by its adaptation Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, where the introduction of the Green Ranger grabbed a lot of attention for the show and he became a Breakout Character. Almost every show in both franchises since then has featured at least one extra member.
Hikari Sentai Maskman featured a sixth member for exactly one episode in the form of X1 Mask, a warrior in green who volunteered for the Maskman project before the actual team was formed. Other shows had guest heroes who would assist the team for two or three episodes at most, but none of them ever became recurring characters (most notably Choudenshi Bioman had a two-part storyline about a man who wanted to become the sixth member of Bioman, but ended up becoming a brainwashedvillain-of-the-week, while Choujin Sentai Jetman had a birdman warrior who fought alongside the Jetman team before he was killed off).
MMPR is also a key example of just how much Popularity Power a Sixth Ranger can have. The trope-naming character, Tommy Oliver, is a mainstay in the Power Rangers setting, and he (and his actor, Jason David Frank) has been a regular for five seasons (two and a half of Mighty Morphin, Zeo, half of Turbo, and Dino Thunder) where the cast is usually refreshed yearly. The only ones who even come close to such a record are Those Two Guys Bulk and Skull (all three seasons of Mighty Morphin, Zeo, Turbo, and in Space; plus Bulk's semiregular appearances in Lost Galaxy and Samurai).
Gekisou Sentai Carranger did not have an official sixth member; in fact, the show even parodied the concept with Radietta Fanbelt, a girl who dresses up as the White Racer, a self-appointed sixth member of the team. However, that did not stop Power Rangers Turbo from revamping the VRV Master, a supporting character in Carranger who appeared for a few episodes, into the Phantom Ranger. Because his Carranger counterpart was not a Ranger, there are those who also don't consider the Phantom Ranger a true Ranger despite his much-increased role and similarity to his predecessor the Gold Ranger, and feel that the sixth ranger role goes to the Blue Senturion (who was based on Signalman, the official extra hero in Carranger).
Invocation of this trope also created an interesting situation for the production staff of the Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue. They wanted to carry on the tradition of the sixth ranger, but there was none in Rescue Sentai Go Go Five, the corresponding Super Sentai show.note The closest equivalent to a sixth ranger in Gogo-V was Jūma Hunter Zeek, an extraterrestrial warrior who assisted the team in a straight-to-video movie. He dies and passes on his powers to Sho's (Go Green) friend Kyoko, allowing her to transform into Zeek-Jeanne. However, Zeek was a one-shot character and Kyoko, despite being a recurring character, never used the Zeektector armor in the show. As a result, the staff created the Titanium Ranger from whole cloth and assigned him a robot that didn't belong to any of the rangers in GoGoFive.
The trope sometimes gets played with when a character has all the trappings of a Sixth Ranger, but doesn't join the team. The Gold Ranger from Zeo and the aforementioned Phantom Ranger were Mysterious Protectors that only dropped in to give aid on occasion, while the Magna Defender and Quantum Ranger were each an Aloof Ally to their resident teams, actively clashing with the Rangers over their goals. Even these were open to a Double Subversion; both the Gold Ranger and Magna Defender passed on their powers to people who did join the respective teams.
Dekaranger, in fact, went even further. "Deka" is Japanese slang for 'detective,' but since the 'deca-' prefix means ten of something, they went ahead and had ten Rangers total with the aforementioned seven full-time teammates and three One Shot Characters: DekaSwan (Mission Control getting to suit up for once), DekaBright (a Distaff Counterpart to DekaBreak, one of the regulars), and DekaGold (a movie-exclusive character who barely gets to do an Ass Kicking Pose before being blasted). SPD carried over the first two as the Cat Ranger and Nova Ranger, respectively. Other series that drove their counts up past six with One-Shots, Eleventh Hour Rangers and the like include Magiranger/Mystic Force (six regulars plus two at the Eleventh Hour), Jungle Fury (five regulars plus three occasionally recurring, see below), Shinkenger/Samurai (six plus one at the Eleventh Hour), and Kyoryuger (six plus more recurring - at least three with two more suspected to come).
Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger had not only two additions (Abare Black and Abare Killer), but AbaRed also got a Super Mode called Abare Max. The writers of Power Rangers Dino Thunder, which was under production while Abaranger was starting to air in Japan, planned to turn Abare Max into an actual sixth ranger known as the the Triassic Ranger until Abare Max's debut episode revealed that it was just a different form of the Red Ranger.
Power Rangers Jungle Fury added the three Spirit Rangers to the original roster of Three Plus Two from Juken Sentai Gekiranger. The Spirit Rangers, created by Bandai of America specifically for the toyline, were based on the auxiliary zords that the team gets. At first they were The Psycho Rangers, three of the Pai Zhua Masters who'd been brainwashed, but naturally they get sprung and the bad guys have eight Rangers to deal with now. They're unique in that the Masters can project them at a distance; made from spiritual energy like the Zords of the series, the "pilot" need not be physically within, and the main three Rangers can even summon them the same way they can summon the Masters' zords. In the finale, the Masters fought alongside their own Ranger forms, awesomely. (There's no reason the main Rangers couldn't do this, theoretically, but... well, the masters are called masters for a reason.) Bandai created another team of auxiliary rangers for the Power Rangers RPM toyline based on the Paleozords, but unlike the ones in Jungle Fury, they were not featured on the show.
Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, keeping with its team's premise of transforming into any of the previous 34 Super Sentai teams, features a sixth member named Gokai Silver, who wields the Ranger Keys of fifteen previous "supplemental warriors." note Although he can use other Ranger Keys as well He has the ability to merge all of his Ranger Keys into the Gold Anchor Key, which allows him to transform into his "Gold Mode," where he wears a golden armor adorned with the faces of said warriors.
Super Sentai Battle Dice O makes turned this into a playing feature. Players assemble a team of five Rangers, one robot, and an EX Card that can either be a one-round addition to the team or a team-wide special move. On the other hand, sixth / extra characters can still be part of the main five.
Anime & Manga
In Sailor Moon, first Chibiusa, and later, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and Saturn, and still later, the addition of Chibichibimoon and the Starlights. Also, Jupiter and Venus in the first season, after Moon, Mars, and Mercury spent the first half as a Power Trio.
The Outer Senshi provide egregious examples. They are somewhat xenophobic but dissappear for vague reasons whenever it'd be tricky to have overpowered characters the next season around. Whether or not they become weaker is moot, since last season sees them as Cannon Fodder.
Mamoru is the basic Sixth Ranger, though he joins before any girl other than Usagi.
Pluto actually serves this role in the Manga before Chibi-Moon or mention of the other Outer Senshi is made. She first appears at the time gate and under the urging of Diana, breaks one of her rules and temporally abandons her post to help Sailor Moon. And performs a heroic sacrifice while doing so
Jokingly Deconstructed in Samurai Pizza Cats, where a set of proud Sixth Rangers is snidely narrated as the "B-team", who fight villains that main crew are too busy or can't be bothered to fight.
Done over and over in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch. Lucia, Hanon and Rina are a Power Trio throughout most of the series, but the plot of the first season is dedicated to finding the other four girls needed for a whole team... one of whom is a rogue fighting both the good and bad guys, while another is The Man Behind the Man (well, the woman behind... oh, whatever).
At least one every Digimon season, the first of which is always heavily hinted at in the twenty-first episode but introduced an arc later. But it comes as the result of a Heel Face Turn every time.
Digimon Xros Wars: Nene/Sparrowmon and Monitamon. (Joining Xros Heart)note In Episode 21. And expect more.
If you take it loosely, Hayate from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. Actually, since Defeat Means Friendship, everyone in the show except Nanoha herself and Yuuno might count, with the good guys going from 2 people to a whole army (Hayate's Lesbian Army, to be precise). Although he's the main character of Force, Touma would probably count as this to the Section Six group, given his unique powers... assuming he ever gets around to joining them.
Heartcatch Pretty Cure added a third ranger of its own, Cure Sunshine, as well as a later fourth ranger, Cure Moonlight.
Suite Pretty Cure ♪ introduced Cure Muse early on, although she doesn't join the team, let alone reveal her identity until much later in the series, where she does both. Later, it followed Fresh's example and added a reformed Dark Magical Girl of its own: Cure Beat.
Wedding Peach, originally featured a Power Trio consisting of Wedding Peach, Angel Daisy, and Angel Lily. But in the second season, a "Sixth Ranger" is added in the form of Angel Salvia, a mysterious character with a modified costume who wields a sword, is much more mature and powerful, and frequently acts independently of the main trio.
Ghost Hunt has two examples of this. The first is Lin Koujo, who was injured in the first episode and then left out to heal until the end of episode three. The second is Yasuhara Osamu, who shows up in episode 14. These two characters also follow the 'power is inversely proportional to the number of episodes in' rule mentioned at the top of this page: Lin is easily the strongest character in the series excluding The Hero Shibuya Kazuya, but he doesn't show his power until the final episode, while Yasuhara has absolutely no power whatsoever and does all of the research for the group.
In The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Tsuruya, for the Five-Man BandSOS-Brigade is very involved in their activities, but for some reason isn't recruited. That is, despite being a natural co-conspirator of Haruhi, since they are so similar. She also appears to know that the SOS-Brigade isn't "normal", telling them to work on their masquerade more. She actually states that she prefers looking from outside, though other people on the outside sometimes considers her part of the group.
Schwarz Bruder and Allenby Beardsley from G Gundam.
Zechs from Gundam Wing is the Sixth Ranger when he's on the Gundam Pilots' side and The Rival when he's not. Appropriately enough, his name is derived from the German word for "six", fitting in with the series' Theme Naming.
Wing is an odd example because, while Zechs fits the usual trappings of a Sixth Ranger, he doesn't permanently join the heroes until The Movie. In the meantime his Love Interest Noin joins the Gundam Pilots much earlier. The Gundam Pilots don't really form into a traditional Five-Man Band until the final arc of the show...
Ironically by the time Zechs does join them for good, one of the regular 5 pilots, Wufei had turned against them.
Shitenhouji: Chitose Senri transferred to the school late (in fact, he was never supposed to even be part of the team, but the author changed this to accomodate the story, and in so doing pushed the team's vice-captain into almost complete irrelevancy), and in many ways remains a loner
Hyoutei: Hiyoshi Wakashi is a loner, initially held as a reserve. He would like to change the status quo but is not able to do so. In some way he is the Token Evil Teammate
Rikkai: Kirihara Akaya is the lone second year among a team of third years. From the start he does aim to shake the status quo. He's actually simply assimilated.
Seigaku: Echizen Ryoma starts out as a Sixth Ranger and becomes Designated Hero
Soldat J and King J-Der from GaoGaiGar fit pretty well. In his first appearance, he shows up out of nowhere and massacres the three Primevals that had just annihilated the hero's main base and, it appeared at the time, the entire main cast aside from the hero himself. While Soldat J never truly joined the heroes, coinciding goals caused him to fight alongside them all the way to the end of the series and OVA. Interestingly, while the main protagonists did somewhat catch up to him, he was still more powerful than any other major character in the series except for the main character himself.
Voltron has two that could be considered sixth rangers : Either Princess Fala/Allura or Sven/The Shirogane Brothers. In the twenty episode second season of Voltron, made not from Go Lion but new animation, Sven actually gets one last chance to pilot Blue Lion before the second finale.
The Slayers TV series loves this trope almost as much as sentai shows do.
At the beginning of the series, Lina and Gourry form a duo and Zelgadis is an enemy, then later fighting against both sides, and finally settles in as an ally.
By the beginning of the second season, they've established themselves as a standard four-man RPG team, but Martina keeps pursuing them and trying to curse Lina, before finally more-or-less joining them near Katahto.
Borderline example: Filia attacks the team at the beginning of the third season, but she's joined by the second episode.
If you count only his third-season appearances, Xellos starts out pranking them, then joins them to fight the apparent villain, then switches sides a half-dozen times before finally joining them for the last couple of episodes.
In the Hourglass of Falces manga, the main four from the anime are also joined by Luke and Milina, who serve as Zelgadis and Amelia's replacements in the second half of the novels. Luke acts as Lina's Lancer in this story, thus the snarky, well-rounded fighter Milina fits this trope.
Well Chopper could count as the Team Pet and Franky has more The Big Guy traits than Sanji. Brook and Robin are straight Sixth Rangers.
Most of Goku's allies in Dragon Ball started off as adversaries. Yamcha was a desert bandit that fought with him over the Dragonballs, and Tenshinhan, Piccolo, Vegeta, Android 18, and Mr. Buu were all trying to kill Goku at some point.
Mari plays this trope straight in Rebuild Of Evangelion: she scores a solo kill in her debut battle and actually survives. Later on, she hijacks Unit 02 and goes up against Zeruel, putting on a futile but otherwise awesome fight. Kaworu also appears to head into this territory: he appears when there are only two angels left and his first act is oneshottingUnit 01 with a lance. Unit 01 has just turned intoa GOD. And Kaworu incapacitates it within seconds.
Also Fe-chan, Weboshi, and Mihoshi. The first two were present in the background, but didn't become recurring characters until about halfway though the series' run, while Mihoshi doesn't even show up until episode 18. Like Nano, the three girls were added to the opening credits right around the time they joined the cast.
Lucky Star had a whole slew of sixth rangers that joined the cast about halfway through the show's 24-episode run. Misao and Ayano start off as Living Props before eventually becoming recurring characters, while Yutaka, Minami, Patty, and Hiyori don't show up until the new school year starts. Humorously, Misao Lampshades this by pointing out that she and Ayano had been there from the beginning, but were simply Out of Focus.
Taki of Eyeshield 21, who becomes the tight end for the Devil Bats. He joins during the middle of the Death March through America and is eventually Flanderized into becoming a huge idiot and an extra person to make short passes to. Only on one instance was he a winning factor for the team.
Musashi even more so. His existence has been alluded to since chapter 1, first appeared in volume 5 as a nameless contractor, and had his identity revealed in volume 7. He appears to be a jerkass at first, but it's soon revealed to be a facade and he's actually a really good guy. He doesn't join the team till volume 18, and his importance to the team only being hyped up during his first two match. Afterward, we rarely even get to see his kicks and his role in the story significantly decreases.
The "useless once he joins the heroes" part is later subverted in the Christmas Bowl when he makes the game winning kick.
Poor Canada, to the point that no one ever notices him or mistakens him for America.
Mew Berry from Tokyo Mew Mew was very much like this... except most fans like to pretend she never existed.
Ikki from Saint Seiya is the quintessential Sixth Ranger... despite being the fifth member of the core team.
Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds had Crow become the Fifth Signer, while Rua became the Sixth Signer with about a dozen episodes left to the end of the series, making the latter more of an Eleventh Hour Ranger.
Martian Successor Nadesico had Loads and Loads of Characters as it was, but continued to pick up more as the series progressed. First was the three spare Aestivalis pilots, Ryoko, Izumi, and Hikaru. After they returned to Earth, they reluctantly allowed military-appointed leader Admiral Munatake, the company chairman's secretary Erina, and fifth pilot Akatsuke Nagare the chairman himself. Finally after the exiled crew's hijacking of the Nadesico, the Jovian pilot Shiratori briefly joined.
Hana in the 4th season of Ojamajo Doremi. She transformed from her baby form to her human form to become the same age as the girls.
Before that, Onpu was the Sixth Ranger to the original Power Trio, though she was fully integrated into the team in -Sharp.
Lupin III started out with the main cast being just Lupin's friend Jigen and the stranger Fujiko. The samurai Goemon was added later on because the creator thought there should be a clearly Japanese character. True to the trope's usual form, he was a bad guy at first - an assassin sent to kill Lupin - but they soon became allies instead.
Cyber Team In Akihabara started with Hibari, Suzume, and Tsugumi as a Power Trio. About halfway in, Kamome shows up and acts antagonistic, but forces her way into the team somewhat awkwardly. In the second half, Tsubame is introduced as a villain and eventually Heel Face Turns close to the end of the series.
Bakura in Yu-Gi-Oh!, moreso in the manga than the anime, who joins the core four of Yugi, Jonouchi, Honda, and Anzu. He notably has this role for most of the manga, while in the anime it only really lasts for the Duelist Kingdom arc. If anything, for the majority of the anime, Kaiba actually somewhat fills the role moreso than anyone else. Otogi and Mai arguably fit as additional "rangers" as well.
Despite having been there from the start, Pharaoh Atem himself is this to an extent; he and Yugi only really identify as entirely separate characters to each other. Ishizu and all the major antagonists (except Pegasus) act as if there is only Atem, while everyone else acts as if there is only Yugi.
Back when the X-Men were a Five-Man Band, Mimic was the first new student at Xavier's (also the first non-mutant X-Man). He's been a low-level criminal since leaving the team (a waste of potential after seeing his Exiles counterpart in action).
When the original X-Men "graduate" to make room for the All-New, All-Different team, the lineup remains fairly constant...Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Cyclops, with Banshee or Phoenix rounding out the squad on occasions...until after the Dark Phoenix Saga, when the team picks up Tagalong Kid Kitty "Sprite" Pryde. In an interesting inversion, she started off without much combat effectiveness, and took several levels in badass as her time with the team progressed.
About a fourth of the the way into its run, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, the Archie-published book based on the first animated series introduced Ninjara, a ninja foxwoman, as an antagonist. A few issues later, she joins the turtles and becomes a series regular, appearing in every story since.
In the original Mirage series (and most of the adaptations) this role is usually filled by Casey Jones who first met the Turtles after getting into a fight with Raphael when the latter stopped him from almost beating some street hoods to death.
The Fantastic Four have had a few extras over the years—Johnny's ex-wife Lyja, Ben's girlfriend Sharon Ventura, the time displaced teenage version of Valeria Richards, and others; not counting substitute members who have filled in temporary vacancies in the team like Crystal, Luke Cage, She-Hulk, and the Black Panther.
Recent promo images seem to be implying that Spider-Man will be this with the Human Torch being revived.
In the British Anthology ComicThe Beano in the Super School Strip Bananagirl joined the original four super powered school children after the strip had already been running for a few weeks.
Perhaps the most famous example of a Sixth Ranger in comics has to be Captain America, who joined The Avengers in the fourth issue of the series, and ended up becoming The Hero of the team.
Tsuruya was officially recruited into the SOS Brigade in Kyon: Big Damn Hero, as well as the unnamed girl from Dissociation.
Trixie serves this role in the Pony POV Series, being a second Element of Magic and performing a Heel Face Turn when Twilight saved her from her Discording and an Enemy Within named Loneliness, joining the group afterwards. She proves to be a powerful ally, not only sharing Twilight's Power Copying ability, but by being a cunning Guile Heroine who makes good use of her weather generating abilities.
Though one can argue that she's more of a Guest Star Party Member, given that she was Put on a Bus following the Gaia arc and only recently had another appearance in a special episode.
Fluttercruel also ends up joining the team, after she pulls a Heel Face Turn, nearly performs a Heroic Sacrifice to defeat Nightmare Whisper, is discovered to be a second Element of Kindness, and she and Fluttershy are given the ability to swap control of their body by Celestia.
Also in Dark World, there's a villainous example, as Discord's sisterRancor joins up with the villains just as the Elements of Harmony start their campaign to liberate Equestria from Discord. Becomes a Sixth Ranger Traitor, as it turns out she was only bidding her time until she could steal Destruction's power from Discord for herself.
Rainbow Dash gets demoted to this — unlike the other Mane Six, she goes into a Deep Sleep after her redemption in order to recover spiritually from the trauma of everything Discord put her through. As such, she doesn't join in the fight against Discord's forces until she shows up in time to save the others from Odyne!Cruelty.
Likewise Pinkie Pie, who isn't redeemed until close to the end of the arc and dies soon after anyway.
Shining Armor's side story has a rather literal example — Cadence has Private Garnet reassigned to Misfit Actual (Shining's unit) not just for her medical skills, but because regulations dictate that units need to have six members.
Rainbooms And Royalty: Zecora joins the Mane Six and guides them through the Everfree forest to find the Elements of Harmony. Ditzy Doo, after being freed from Nightmare Moon's mind control, likewise joins during the Final Battle.
Zecora seems set up to take the role again in Hot Heads, Cold Hearts, Nerves of Steel.
Star Wars' Lando Calrissian. He double-crosses the heroes in The Empire Strikes Back, and Chewbacca nearly strangles him to death. However, he was just trying to protect Cloud City, and he eventually pulls a Heel Face Turn to join the Rebellion.
Captain Barbossa of Pirates of the Caribbean, who becomes a good guy in At World's End (until the end, when he steals the Black Pearl from Jack...again). A more minor example might be Jack Sparrow, who joins up with Will Turner after them being quite at odds.
Stagecoach' - The Ringo Kid. John Wayne's character in the classic western is introduced after the other characters and joins them later in the story. With the characters opposed to each other, he acts as a catalyst to bring the other characters into reconciliation.
The Ghost Busters where originally a Power Trio in formation, then Winson Zeddmore joins immediately after the Montage. In the sequel he also oddly appears in only 1 Pre-montage scene.
Kung Fu Panda - After Po proves himself as the true Dragon Warrior in the first film, he regularly fights with the Furious Five. However, considering he is still unsure of himself to a certain degree, he defers to Tigress as leader and is content to keep the relationship known as "The Furious Five and the Dragon Warrior."
Transformers: Dark Of The Moon - After the Autobots learn of an Autobot starship hidden on the moon's dark side, they go up to retrieve its captain, Sentinel Prime. Sentinel then joins the Autobots at NEST, before revealing himself to be a traitor. Unknown to the others, he had struck a deal with Megatron near the war's end to work together rebuilding Cybertron. He then murders Ironhide, before taking the Space Bridge pillars and meeting up with Megatron, with the intention of bringing Cybertron close to Earth, and using humanity to rebuild Cybertron as a slave labor force.
In The Magnificent Seven there is a bit of this going on in two ways. The character Chico is viewed as this by the other characters, although the character Lee, played by Robert Vaughn, unlike the others, does not have a counterpart in the Seven Samurai and was created specifically for the film, making him also a Sixth Ranger.
David from Animorphs is the straight example, identified on book covers as the "Sixth Animorph", though he is actually a Sixth Ranger Traitor. Ax is the more commonly accepted Sixth Ranger: he and the original five initially consider themselves "five kids and an Andalite," but by the final book, Ax refers to the group as "We, the Animorphs," when speaking to Jake.
Starting in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Neville, Luna, and Ginny (all of whom but Luna had been recurring characters before) began to function as a sort of auxiliary trio to the main characters.
In Books 4 and 5, the role is largely filled by Sirius.
Thomas from Malevil. He's the one member of the World War III survivors that wasn't part of the group from their youth. He's also college educated, don't speak the local patois, and an atheist without a religious upbringing.
Mighty Moshin' Emo Rangers, a UK fan-made series (that made its way to MTV) which parodies both the Power Rangers and "emo" culture, did this in its first season with the addition of Fai, the Purple Fashioncore Ranger. Production on a second season has been delayed for over a year, but it is rumoured to feature a seventh team member.
The second season is now out, and does not feature a seventh team member, but John (the Green Chronic Stoner Ranger) gets an upgrade to become the Blue Straight Edge Ranger.
This may be a direct parody of MMPR season two, during which the Green Ranger from season one was upgraded to the White Ranger.
And ends up good, so Faith is not only Inverted, but also a true Sixth Ranger, two different times.
And in season 4, when it's Buffy herself who becomes the Sixth Ranger to The Initiative, the newly-introduced organization staffed by red shirts guest-stars.
During season 5, the Knights of Byzantium start off as possibly ally or enemy (attack Buffy, but also beat up Glory's Mooks) before becoming full-on enemies due to their unwillingess to show mercy.
Spike Started off as a Big Bad in Season 2, later performed a Heel Face Turn and did indeed end up as the protagonist's boyfriend.
Anya starts out bad, but performs a prolonged Heel Face Turn, and ends up part of the group.
And finally Andrew, who spent most of season 6 fighting against Buffy, only to end up becoming one of the Scoobies the following season.
Charles Gunn fits this trope in the Buffy spinoff Angel. He shows up right before the Season 1 finale fighting Angel for most of the episode, then joins the team officially in Season 2.
Subverted with Fred ... she becomes a sixth ranger after she becomes Illyria.
Averted with Lorne. He gets added onto the cast (he didn't even have a name before, just 'The Host') But he's a lover not a fighter, babycakes.
Daniel Shaw from season 3 of NBC's Chuck. He occasionally joins the Power Trio of Chuck, Sarah, and Casey on missions but only those concerning his area of expertise, the evil organization known as the Ring.
However, it's kind of subverted now as he betrayed everyone and went over to The Ring. He was then shot and killed by Chuck in the same episode.
Kamen Rider takes the cake for reducing this trope to a Second Rider phenomenon, beginning from the original 1971 series, when Takeshi Hongo (Kamen Rider 1) is joined by Hayato Ichimonji (Kamen Rider 2). In this case Rider 2 was created out of necessity to serve as a temporary replacement for Rider 1 when the actor who played Hongo had to take a break after shattering his leg during a stunt gone wrong. After Rider 1 returned to become the main character again, Rider 2 would return for a few guest appearances serving as a sidekick to Rider 1. In subsequent shows we have:
Oddly, Iron Chef has a one of these: Kobe in the original series fits the trope almost perfectly (as he even has his own customised entrance).
Kylie Minogue was once designated as the pink Wiggle.
Richard Grieco's character, Dennis Booker, on the crime drama, Twenty One Jump Street. His character was then given his own short-lived spinoff.
Nasir silently joins the Merry Men at the end of the pilot episode of Robin of Sherwood after being set up as a minion of the bad guys. Yes, that's one episode in, but it's also a brand new Robin Hood character after about 600 years...
Supernatural has seen several attempts at adding a Sixth Ranger to the Winchester brothers, with varying degrees of success. Ruby turned out to be a Sixth Ranger Traitor, but Castiel and Bobby seem to have well and truly worked their way into Team Free Will.
Mike Hannigan, Phoebe's boyfriend (and later husband), from Friends.
Double The Fist Gives us Tina T, The Chick who replaced Mephisto after he was taken over by an Aztec Demigod. In Series Two we got Tara, a shapeshifting cyborg assassin who was on par with Steve in combat. Comically, she was mostly used for paperwork. Blue Womp would also technically count.
Series/Torchwood - For the first half of Season 1 or so, this is Ianto, but by the end of the season he's just as much a part of the gang as the others. Season 2 has Martha and Season 3 has Lois.
Season 4 is more complex. It could be argued that Rex, Esther and Vera are all this, but the more obvious Sixth Ranger is Oswald Danes.
Rhys is the recurring Sixth Ranger from the middle of Season 2 onwards.
On Glee, later additions to the club have included Rachel's boyfriend Jesse from a rival glee club in the first season, new student Sam and Deadpan Snarker Lauren in the second, and Irish exchange student Rory and spoiled rich girl Sugar in the third.
Vala Mal Doran in Stargate SG-1. In mid-season eight, she unsuccessfully hijacks the Prometheus. In Season nine, she gradually moves from minor villain to anti-hero, being partially responsible for bringing the Ori to the Milky Way among other things. In season nine, she becomes a full SG-1 member, though not after losing her memory once.
Gunther and Tinka Hessenheffer in Shake It Up, despite the latter being billed as a recurring character.
In the second season of Community Chang attempts to join the study group.
Some of the shows in the Ultra Series have featured secondary Ultrabeings that help out the main hero in times of need, although most of them were just guest characters that appeared for a few episodes or heroes from previous shows. It wasn't until Ultraman Gaia that the show featured two regular Ultra Heroes, the titutar Gaia and his rival Ultraman Agul.
Done multiple times on Babylon 5. Most of the time, it was to replace a departing character (Sheridan for Sinclair, Lochley for Ivanova), but Marcus Cole, introduced in the third season, is a straight example.
Kat of Alphas was introduced in the second season and spent the majority of the following episodes trying to officially join the team, which she eventually succeeded in doing.
In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Frank appears and joins as the fifth member of "The Gang," which had previously consisted only of Dennis, Dee, Charlie and Mac. Frank has become a staple of the show.
Hawkes in CSI NY, who joined the team as a field investigator in season 2. He was coroner before.
Jerome from House of Anubis who technically joins Sibuna for protection from his "boss" Rufus Zeno. Joins up with Sibuna again in Season 2 So they could rescue Trudy who had been kidnapped by Rufus.
Joy also counts as she was important to the mystery in the first season and was added into Sibuna by the end of season 2 after helping to rescue Nina from under the Senet board. In season 3 she is a full member of the team, but she quits after Fabian breaks her heart.
Rare Real Life example: Iron Maiden had five men line-ups since 1980. Then when Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith decided to return to the band, Janick Gers served as a Sixth Ranger to a reunion of the golden years Maiden.
The Black Eyed Peas were originally a trio (the three guys), before Fergie joined.
Keyboard player Billy Preston joined The Beatles for their Let It Be album/movie in 1969, was the only musician after 1963 to be co-credited on a Beatles single. and was commonly called the "Fifth Beatle". George Harrison, who brought Preston into the studio in the first place, unsuccessfully tried to convince the band to make him an official member, noticing the positive effects Preston's presence had on the band on the band musically and personally.
Other candidates for the role of "Fifth Beatle" include ex-drummer Pete Best, ex-bassist Stuart Sutcliffe (who quit the band to get married before they made it big, then died of an undiagnosed aneurysm a year later), and Eric Clapton (he played on several of their tracks and was seriously considered for membership in the band at one point).
Takanuva, the Toaof Light, in BIONICLE is a partial example. While he has several trappings of a Sixth Ranger to the Toa Nuva (wearing similar armor and fitting in with their Elemental Powers theme) and was even hyped as "the Seventh Toa" at his introduction, he's actually more just a friend and ally; working with the Toa Nuva only occasionally rather than being a member of the team.
When more Toa were introduced into the storyline, the Toa Nuva were bumped up and no longer considered a team, but rather a whole new species (Toa specifically transformed by Energized Protodermis into new forms). This meant that Takanuva, who was still just a normal "Toa" (since that, while he did fall in the Protodermis, it did not change him. Although ironically this makes Takutanuva an actual Toa Nuva) can never truly be part of them. He's also further segregated because he's the sole Toa of Light in existence.
Chrono Trigger - Magus (optionally) joins the party very late into the game, significantly less powerful than he is when you fight him (either at the halfway point of the game * or* if you chose to fight and kill him there instead of have him join you.) He very much has an 'odd man out' feel to him in other ways as well (he has no 2-person combination attacks and very few three-person combination attacks, the initial six characters have 3 2-person combination attacks for each of the five other characters among them, and there is one 3-man combo attack for each mix of Chrono + 2 of the other first six.)
The 'odd man out' feel might also have something to do with the fact that, although everyone else in the party becomes good friends, Magus doesn't really care if you or anyone else in the party lives or dies.
Most JRPGs have a section where the party is exactly 3 (or 4, or 5, whatever the max party size) is members.. with characters leaving and being conspicuously replaced, until suddenly you get a 4th (or 5th, or 6th) ranger, and every point after that you can pick your own party (often having the other characters who left earlier come back)
A few games buck the trend in an unexpected way by never actually giving you a permanently set last member. Final Fantasy II continues shifting out the 4th party member without the player's control straight up until the final dungeon, at which point one of the main villains joins your team.
Meanwhile, some other games (such as Final Fantasy XII and Tactics) have a party slot dedicated to whatever NPC you'll be dragging around until you hit the next plot point, and leave you a man down the rest of the time.
Golden Sun: The Lost Age has an interesting variant - the heroes from the first game will join the party as Fifth through Eighth Rangers after a certain point in the story.
Iori Yagami in The King of Fighters, who was initially introduced as Kyo's rival (to the point that Iori was trying to kill him most of the time), and then became his reluctant ally when Orochi showed up.
Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VI have a few secret characters each that don't contribute to the plot at all, but are so well known and easy to obtain that they're normally regarded as sixth ranger-esque members of the main cast.
FFVII specifically has Cait Sith, who is recruited into the party after the majority of the main cast (although he is actually the 6th party member after Cloud, Tifa, Barret, Red XIII and Aerith not counting players who recruit Yuffie 'early') but does almost nothing untill he is revealed to actually be a bad guy who then turns to the good guys side for real later on
Vincent and Yuffie are completely optional characters, though Vincent does provide some nice plot fill-ins and Yuffie is, well ... kinda entertaining.
In Super Robot Wars W, the Golion team actually asks Guy of GaoGaiGar, an old friend of theirs from the space academy, if he wants to be their Sixth Ranger. Although he politely declines, he occasionally ends up playing the role anyway, especially considering that in this game, both Ghaleon and Golion have the same origins. The game actually references the Sixth Ranger trope a bit; when Guy points out that Ghaleon can't combine with Golion, Kogane comments that the sixth member of such teams typically has a special Humongous Mecha that tends to overshadow the other five in terms of power.
The GoLion team helps out Guy, too. During the battle between Guy's GaoFighGar and an enemy repli-GaoGaiGar in the FINAL storyline, another Replijin of GaoGaiGar's own Sixth Ranger, King J-Der, shows up to make things worse... at which point the Hundred Beasts King appears to even the odds.
In the Original Generation series, the crew of the Kurogane is a team of Sixth Rangers. In the first two games, it was made up of reformed AntiVillains and Stealth Mentors, and they consider it their duty to operate independently until it's time to join the main cast halfway through the latest game's plot. The leaders of the crew, Sanger and Elzam, could also each be traited as a Sixth Ranger in his own right to one of the protagonists' sub-teams (Sanger to the ATX team, Elzam to the SRX team).
In Tales Of The Abyss, Asch fits this role perfectly: he's a powerful antihero with ambiguous motives who joins the party for a while (and is much more powerful than the person he replaces). Later you get a second chance to recruit him into the party, only this time he's way behind the power curve, due to being stuck with the same equipment he had twenty levels ago. This is Lampshaded with the Abyss Rangers costumes you can acquire: Asch becomes "Abyss Silver", a typical Sixth Ranger colour in Super Sentai.
In Lunar 2: Eternal Blue, the party is in flux for most of the early part of the game, gradually picking up additional characters, eventually stabilizing on 5 members (not including Lucia, who is not always player-controlable, and is occasionally abducted and must be rescued by the party). One of the antagonists, Leo, joins then leaves the party several times as a Sixth Ranger, both as himself, and as his blatantly obvious alter-ego "Mystere" (the absurdity of his disguise is lampshaded by the other characters).
Depending on how you played the game, you probably went through the majority of Devil Survivor with only 3-5 party members. Cue the final day when the rest of the supporting cast get tired of being NPCs. Depending on the decisions you've made throughout the game, it is entirely possible for your party roster to double in size.
In Persona4, Naoto is the last character to join. Given that Naoto is also an actual Detective rather than an Amateur Sleuth like the rest of the Investigation Team, it also marks the point where they are finally able to make some headway into the murder cases.
In Sonic Adventure 2, on the Last Story, every villain and hero teamed together to get to the cannon to stop it from blowing Earth to smithereens. Except Shadow. Amy finds him in a room where he's just staring at the Earth, not even wanting to help. She eventually convinces him (along with a memory of his long dead and possibly only best/sisterly loved friend Maria), and he goes out to help just because of Maria. While everyone had a level designed to their characteristics, Shadow doesn't get anything to do until the end, when Knuckles and Sonic are ready to shut down the cannon by using the Master Emerald to put the other emeralds in control to stop the laser. The thing in their way? A gigantic, prototype lizard. Shadow finally shows up, and, in what's considered a Crowning Moment Of Awesome, starts a boss fight. Shadow is the 6th person on the team. Sonic, Knuckles, Tails, Eggman, Rouge, and finally Shadow at the end.
Originally Knuckles started out as Sonic's enemy only to eventually team up with him and Tails to form a Power Trio.
Most veteran players in Pokemon will have one 'mon in their six slot party learn nothing but Hidden Machine moves, which are needed to get through various environmental obstacles. The reason why these moves are given to one Pokémon is because they cannot be replaced by newly learned moves, and typically range from mediocre to useless in battles. As a result, trainers will end up with a Five Mon Band for matches and a utility knife who will never see the next level-up. In such cases, the player will usually pull out and raise a brand new replacement 'mon for the HM slave (usually a late-game catch, such as a plot Legendary or the Red Gyarados) so as to have a full team for the Elite Four and Champion. This is an interesting case, as it was the player, not the plot, that added the Sixth Ranger to the team.
Vandal Hearts has what feels like several of these, as the party eventually numbers out at thirteen members. Ash, Clint, Diego, Huxley, Eleni, Zoha'ar, Kira, Grog and Dolan all get their own plotlines, if not development. On the other hand, Sara and Amon just join with Dolan and contribute nothing to the plot though most egregious is Darius, who joins a little before the half way mark because he was in the same cell, tags along with the party for a reason that's never even given and only has one him-centric scene after he joins where he's revealed to have been from Huxley's village and and doesn't like him. After that he only gets the odd line that anyone could give.
Later on in Dragon Age: Origins it's possible to recruit Loghain into your group. However in doing so your Lancer Alistair will leave you for allowing the man who let countless people, including the King and his father figure Duncan to die into the Grey Warden. Few people get along with him, particularly Wynne, who insists on calling him out for his former actions whenever possible.
Dragon Age II has DLC character Sebastian Vael. His earliest appearance is in the first act along with everyone else, but he doesn't become playable until Act II. If you download the mission in Act III of a playthrough, he's more of an Eleventh Hour Ranger.
Serena Corsair in Guardian Heroes. Although technically she joins forces with Han and his friends at the very beginning of the game, she doesn't become a playable character until the player completes the game once on Normal.
In Final Fantasy XIII you have Oerba Yun Fang, who joins the party during their encounter at Palumpolum. She first appeared in Chapter 3 when she captured Snow for being an L'Cie, but later helps Snow escape and they both catch up with Lightning and Hope. This could have been rather well done and unexpected, if Squeenix hadn't given it away within a week of first announcing the character.
Mass Effect 3 has DLC squad-mate Javik. He's not necessarily the last guy to join you, depending on when you do his mission, but everyone else in your team is a returning character except James, who's with you from the start of 3 and fits The Big Guy better anyway.
SPARTAN-B312, aka Noble Six from Halo: Reach, is the newest addition to Noble Team and completely fits the trope, up to and including surpassing the rest of the group.
Carter: Six! That AI chose you. She made the right choice.
The recently released Pink Knight in Castle Crashers exclusive to the PS3 version is this.
World of Warcraft has an entire character class being introduced like this: the Death Knight. They were the first new class introduced to the game since launch, start the game at level 55 with equipment that surpasses just about anything that any other character may have by this point, are former minions of the villainous Lich King, tend to act explicitly antisocial (as both non-player characters and death knight roleplayers in-character) and, in a meta example, were considered the overpowered new kid on the block before ultimately being accepted.
In the final route of Duel Savior Destiny Princess Crea takes up a more prominent role, turning what was originally a harem route into one that is still technically a harem route in the end, but one that is centered around her. She even gets to follow the group to the final battle area despite having no combat ability and the scenes not really being written to include her.
El Goonish Shive started with a Comic Trio and now has an eight-person main cast. Justin and Nanase aren't really Sixth Rangers, but Grace qualifies if Layla (below) does. Susan and Ellen are definitely better examples, though: Susan started out disgusted with Elliot and Tedd before befriending them through Sarah, and Ellen began her life as Elliot's self-proclaimed Evil Twin.
And now we have Catalina added as a Sixth Ranger. She's a buddy of Susan's from the feminist club whose main purpose was to have an unrequited love for Susan.
Aylee starts off as your standard Alien parody trying to eat our heroes, but after accidentally returning to their dimension, makes peace with them and becomes Torg's secretary, and eventually a full-fledged True Companion.
Riff's girlfriend Sasha became one of these shortly after being introduced. She was a versatile character, able to get along with the Mad Scientist Riff just as well as the Only Sane Woman Zoë. However, she stuck around after Zoë moved away, but left at the same time Zoë returned. Sasha returned seven years later, to round out the main cast after a couple vacancies opened up.
Aaron/Jackson from Samand Fuzzy. Although most characters besides the titular duo are confined to one particular story arc (outside of cameos), Aaron managed to join with them at the end of the third story arc and has stayed a major character since.
Alexander from The Dreamer counts, as he first appears in issue #8.
Earthsong: Willow is an interesting version of this: the story starts around her, so we don't see much of the Five-Man Band before she showed up, but part of the background is that it has been there a good, long time.
Pella from Looking for Group joined the party during their time-travel adventure. Adding the Dwarven Bard was part of the writers' initiative to distance themselves from the World of Warcraft parody they started as.
Bayn from True Villains joins the group after dealing with Xaneth and surpassing the Big Bad in terms of power. Xaneth turns him into a kid to take away his powerful magic.
French amateur Super Sentai parody France Five starts out with the introduction of the Sixth Ranger ("Silver Mousquetaire") to the Five-Man Band, but still faithfully follows the trope since the episode is supposed to be in the middle of a hypothetical TV series.
Most team members of That Guy with the Glasses qualify, if you consider the main "team" to be the Nostalgia Critic, Linkara, the Nostalgia Chick, Suede and Marzgurl. Spoony could even be said to follow this Trope full circle- he became immensely popular and then left (Due to business deals in 2012- Spoony still appears in some videos on TGWTG).
Season 1 started with a core cast of 5 engines(although James was only named a few episodes into the season). About halfway through, Percy was introduced. Poetically, like the Trope Namer pictured above, he's both green, and the 6th member of the team.
This also applied to Duncan and Rusty from the narrow gauge railway. Also, Emily is considered a sixth ranger to the main cast, from season 8 onwards.
Aisha of the Winx Club (introduced in the 2nd season premiere), although she's on the good fairies' side from the start, and the biggest misgiving anyone has is Layla feeling left out when Stella mentions "the five of us" in one episode. Helia joins the Specialists in season 2, while Nabu joins them at the end of season 3. Roxy is notable in that she seemed to be set up as one in season 4 since she was the focus of that season, but come season 5 and she's been Demoted to Extra.
Zuko joins the group as the more archetypal Sixth Ranger shortly after his Heel Face Turn, with much suspicion and distrust and at least one death threat from Katara, though he quickly manages to earn their trust.
The gang invited William to join the team in "Double Trouble", only for him to get turned evil half-way into the next episode, "Final Round", and not be freed until the end of Season 4, by which time the Warriors were about to destroy XANA for good.
As of Season 5, Code Lyoko Evolution, where it is revealed that XANA barely managed to survive, William plays the trope straight, albeit after a struggle to earn the position back.
Notably, after the episode where he almost becomes a Sixth Ranger, he becomes an outright parody Sixth Ranger tropes. He dresses in a ridiculous cape and fedora, attempts to make dramatic entries, tries to be mysterious (when everybody is well aware he's the Annoying Younger Sibling of The Smart Guy) and refers to himself as "The Tommy."
Actually the Sixth Ranger was the baby skunk, sector V named him the honorary Numbuh 6.
Terra in the animated version of Teen Titans(until it was revealed she was a spy for Slade).
Danny Phantom: The Power Trio group is composed of Danny, Sam, and Tucker, then upgrades to include a fourth member in their Team Phantom with Jazz a little ways into Season 2, though she played Secret Secret Keeper for almost the entire series before that.
X-Men: Evolution: Rogue pulls a Heel Face Turn and joins the X-Men after she realizes Mystique tricked her into joining the Brotherhood and thinking the X-Men wanted to kill her.
Blinky Bill - Shifty Dingo in the second season after the dingo family performed their Heel Face Turn. He also qualifies as The Smart Guy of the team, probably due to being the weakest and most timid of the males.
Transformers Animated has two sixth rangers. The first and more conventional one is Jazz, who joins at the end of the episode before the finale, and the second is Sari, who is upgraded from Tagalong Kid. Gets weapons and armor installed and everything.
In the dinosaur-flavoured Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-style cartoon Extreme Dinosaurs, the team originally consists of four dinosaurs - T-Bone the t-rex, Spike the triceratops, Bullzeye the pterodactyl, and Stegz the...yeah. In the later half of the series, they are sent to an alternate dimension and bring back the ankylosaur Hardrock to become their fifth ranger. Except he's barely mentioned or acknowledged even after then. Hmmm.
The 1980s Jonny Quest added two extra members to the initial five character ensemble; Hardrock, an ancient stone man who became the team's second bodyguard; and Jesse Bradshaw, a Distaff Counterpart to Jonny. Hardrock joined the group during an early episode and was featured prominently for more than half of the series, but Jessie only appeared in one episode before the series was canceled. Jessie would later appear as a regular character in future incarnations of the franchise, where she would be retconned into "Jessie Bannon" (Race's daughter), but Hardrock never returned following the 80s version.
Drawn Together has two subversions: Sid from "Drawn Together Babies" and Excludie from "Lost In Parking Space" (the first part) are both presented as ninth housemates (and Remember the New Guy characters at that), but Sid sleeps on his stomach and got sudden infant death syndrome, and Excludie was excluded from everything, even the episodes prior to his only appearance.
South Park: Butters He's been around as a background character since the show's beginning, but ascended to protagonist status during Season Six. Unlike other instances of this trope, all five leads are rarely seen together, but Butters has almost had as many character-centric episodes as Stan, and Kyle by this point in the series, and will oftentimes pair off with one of the boys for an adventure ("My Future Self 'n Me," "Super Fun Time," "Sexual Healing," etc.).
Galaxy Rangers: Though he was technically an Ambassador, Zozo was in a surprising amount of episodes, often acting as an auxiliary, non-powered Ranger. He was even addressed as "Ranger Zozo" several times, implying he was at least an honorary, if not full, Ranger in his own right. His fellow ambassador, Waldo, was in fewer episodes, and more a Non-Action Guy - but was still capable of self defense. The show tried to make Buzzwang into a "fifth Ranger," but he wound up being The Scrappy instead.
In Futurama Kiff Kroaker is the team's Sixth Ranger, having come lately to the main Planet Express ensemble by means of dating The Chick, Amy.
Later, Cubert also fills the role.
The Land Before Time TV Series had two, Chomper, the baby Sharptooth from the second film, and Ruby, a 'Fast Runner' who was intrusted with Chomper's safety by his parents. Both came to live in the valley to escape the series Big Bad Red Claw.
Happened in universe on the AnimaniacsPinky Andthe Brain segment "Puppet Rulers", when on the Treckle and Meaney show, two new characters called "Big Ears" (Pinky) and "Noodle Noggin" (Brain) joined the show.
Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated jumps around with this. When Daphne temporarily leaves the group, Hot Dog Water/Marcie acts as this until she's kicked out when Daphne returns. For a little while, Nova sticks around with the group, but this also doesn't last.
The Iroquois Confederacy (originally the Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga, and Cayuga nations) became known as the "Six Nations" after the Tuscarora joined.
Sioux dialects: There are four. In Teton, in some places one uses an L, hence Lakota. However, in Santee and Yankton, one uses a D. While the N-using Assiniboine were the enemies of the Sioux, making for one more, the true sixth, well, fifth ranger, is Stoney, much farther to the northwest, which also uses an N. This wouldn't be so bad, except that their word for "ally" is Lakota. No version uses an R, though.
The United States has a law, though not a constitutional one, regarding how states join, so technically, 37 states qualify. Good for America, since Thirteen Is Unlucky. Others regard Alaska and Hawaii as this, for not being contiguous with the United States. Still others would say Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
The Five Nations rugby union tournament later added a sixth team, Italy, to the existing five of England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France. It was renamed the Six Nations. France is actually a Sixth Ranger too, as the tournament used to be called the Home Nations, a name referring to the four countries of the United Kingdom.
Penn State became an Eleventh Ranger to the Big Ten; they redesigned their logo to hide an "11" in there without having to change their name. When Nebraska joined, the logo changed (no more hidden numbers) but the name didn't.
Whenever you have a functional team of your coworkers and a new person is hired without anyone leaving, they become this.
Many examples in international politics and warfare. A fairly famous example being the United States in both World War I (war began in 1914, US joined in 1917) and World War II (Britain and France declaring war on Germany in 1939, the US joined at the end of 1941), leading to a bit of a joke between Europeans and Americans; the former insist that the US is always Late to the Party, while the latter complain that they're the ones who have to do all the work. It's all in good fun, though (usually).
In Major League Baseball after the All Star Break teams with no hope of making the playoffs will often trade their most expensive talent to teams that are still in contention. Money Ball popularized the term "Rent A Star", but they serve the same role as Sixth Rangers.