Some series start out with a particular type of ensemble
, with a certain number of characters and a defined role for each
: a Power Trio
, for example, or a Five-Man Band
. Then, mid-season, a mysterious new character appears, fighting the protagonists and antagonists alike! After many misunderstandings, the new character is revealed to be a good guy, and joins the team.
Any new character that joins an established ensemble and knocks it out of one of the traditional categories (and possibly into another) is a Sixth Ranger. There may be more than one per team, with either several joining in succession, or pre-established pairs coming in at once. In a Magical Girl
show, it is not uncommon for the Sixth Ranger to be the lead character's boyfriend
Their power and coolness is inversely proportional to the number of episodes since their début, since Good Is Dumb
. Expect them to be single-handedly defeating enemies
that the main team struggled against during their first appearance, falling in line as they become integrated into the group, then finally getting overtaken
by the original heroes. In fact, they almost invariably tend to become a magnet for The Worf Effect
as soon as the latest new Big Bad
In some of the more extreme cases, a former Big Bad
, or Wild Card
villain can take on this role after they have been defeated
or performed an independent Heel-Face Turn
, and may or may not act as a secondary Lancer
If the show doesn't look like it's going to change its status quo
, expect the Sixth Ranger to actually be the Sixth Ranger Traitor
. Since most Sixth Rangers used to be loners
, they may serve as the Token Evil Teammate
. If a Sixth Ranger candidate does join the Ensemble, but the series is nearly over, the candidate is an Eleventh Hour Ranger
. When the team started as a Power Trio
and gets two
Sixth Rangers to make a Five-Man Band
, they make Three Plus Two
Compare Hitchhiker Heroes
and Magnetic Hero
, where adding characters is the team's normal state. Sailor Earth
is a Fan Work
subtrope where the Sixth Ranger
is an Original Character
. Also see One Extra Member
, especially when the team's name indicates the number of members
and the Sixth Ranger
doesn't force a change in the team's name.
Named for the introduction of the Green Ranger in the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
A common method for Merchandise-Driven
works to add new characters to the cast—and the toy line.
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- 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, the tradition was started by Kyōryū 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.
- Two Sentai shows prior to Zyuranger also had their own additional members before it became a regular thing. J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai started out with a four-man team until the introduction of their new commander Big One (Sokichi Bamba), while the team in Choujuu Sentai Liveman originally consisted of three members before the addition of Black Bison and Green Sai.
- 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 brainwashed villain-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 now 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). Big One is similarly popular after he completely stole the show in JAKQ, becoming one of the three possible candidates for being the Big Good of every Sentai team in existence.
- 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 GoGoFive, the corresponding Super Sentai show.note 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, the Quantum Ranger, and Robo Knight 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, while the Quantum Ranger and Robo Knight eventually become a genuine allies.
- The concept really took hold when Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger and Power Rangers Ninja Storm reintroduced the Three Plus Two format last seen in Liveman, allowing for the addition of more new members than in previous shows. The Gouraigers/Thunder Rangers were added first to fill out a five-man team before the introduction of an actual sixth member in the form of Shurikenger/the Samurai Ranger. Many subsequent seasons followed suit with more than one addition - Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger/Power Rangers S.P.D. and Engine Sentai Go-onger/Power Rangers RPM even went up to seven full-time members each; Dekaranger/SPD with two single additions to a team of five and Go-onger/RPM starting off with three heroes and then adding two sets of two.
- 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 total number of heroes up past six with One-Shots, Eleventh Hour Rangers and the like include Mahou Sentai Magiranger/Power Rangers Mystic Force (six regulars plus two at the Eleventh Hour), Power Rangers Jungle Fury (five regulars plus three recurring, see below), Samurai Sentai Shinkenger/Power Rangers Samurai (six plus one at the Eleventh Hour), and Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger (six plus three recurring and one at the Eleventh Hour).
- 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 team member known as the Triassic Ranger until Abare Max's debut episode revealed that it was just a powerup for the Red Ranger.
- Power Rangers Jungle Fury added the three Spirit Rangers to the original roster of Three Plus Two from Juken Sentai Gekiranger. Gekiranger already had three mentor characters who had weapons and mecha associated with them, so Jungle Fury eventually gave them Ranger suits as well in order to create action figures of them. They're unique in that either the Rangers or the mentors can project them at a distance; made from spiritual energy like the Zords of the series, nobody even needs to be physically wearing the suits. The Rangers often summoned the Spirit Rangers from their own power to fight without the mentors needing to be present, and in the finale the mentors fought alongside their own Ranger forms, awesomely.
- Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger/Power Rangers Super Megaforce, keeping with its team's premise of transforming into any of the previous Sentai or Ranger teams, features a sixth Silver Ranger, who wields the Ranger Keys of fifteen previous "supplemental warriors." note 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 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.
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. Another example is Mamoru, as he joins before any girl other than Usagi.
- 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.
- 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, namely).
- Pretty Cure
- Hikari in Futari Wa Pretty Cure Max Heart attaches herself to the existing Odd Couple.
- Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GO!GO! brings out Milky Rose as the "mysterious" sixth member. Unusually for the trope, she keeps her power level throughout the series, still defeating the Monster of the Week on her own after the Five-Man Band has resorted to using the Combined Energy Attack every week.
- Fresh Pretty Cure! added a Fourth Ranger to the original Power Trio: Cure Passion, a reformed villainess.
- HeartCatch Pretty Cure! added a Third Ranger of its own, Cure Sunshine, as well as a later fourth ranger, Cure Moonlight (although Moonlight was a Cure from the first episode who temporarily lost her powers then got better).
- 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, who joins the team before Cure Muse.
- Doki Doki Pretty Cure added a Fifth Ranger to the original quartet: Cure Ace, a completely new character who acts as The Mentor.
- Happiness Charge Pretty Cure has Third Ranger Cure Honey and Fourth Ranger Cure Fortune. Like Moonlight and Muse, Fortune appears early in the series but doesn't join until later.
- 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 Haruhi Suzumiya, Tsuruya, for the Five-Man Band SOS-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.
- Gundam series:
- The Prince of Tennis:
- 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 features frequently this trope:
- 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.
- Guyver, being an homage to Kamen Rider and Kikaider, has Guyver III in the role of the Second Rider (to those who don't know, Guyver II was the Evil Counterpart).
- One Piece essentially works this way, even though Luffy didn't have a Five-Man Band established since the beginning. However, by the time he went through Reverse Mountain, he had The Hero, The Lancer, The Big Guy, The Smart Guy and The Chick. Vivi joined after this, and for a while was the Sixth Ranger until she left again. You could say all the True Companions that joined him after that are Sixth Rangers, though, including her.
- Kagura from Azumanga Daioh. She starts out as a rival in another class, but joins the group in the second year, as part of a plan by Yukari to win the Athletics Festival. Kaorin to an extent, too.
- Nano is a major character from the start of the series, but never interacts with the other leads. It isn't until halfway through the series that she actually starts attending school and joins the group. Accordingly, the credits change to reflect this.
- 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.
- Eyeshield 21:
- Taki, 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.
- Axis Powers Hetalia has Canada, to the point that few ever notices him with the ones that do mistaking him for America.
- The Blue Knight / Masaya Aoyama was this to the Mews in Tokyo Mew Mew. Mew Berry from the sequel was also very much like this.
- Definitely Kotaro from Mahou Sensei Negima!, who started out as an enemy, but thanks to Defeat Means Friendship, turned into The Rival and eventually this. Though in a series where Loads and Loads of Characters are constantly being added to the main cast, several more can fit this.
- 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/Leo 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.
- Crona from Soul Eater could be considered this, after his/her Heel-Face Turn.
- 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.
- Fairy Tail has Gajeel, who started off as an Evil Counterpart to Natsu until he joined the guild, whereupon he became The Rival, and is still not trusted by some members of the guild. He is, however, a Double Agent for Makarov and takes on the tough job of spying on Raven Tail for him. There's also Wendy Marvel and her sidekick Carla, who fills the temporary 6th character spot in their intro arc, but proceeded to become a permanent addition to both the guild, and the usual focused team of Natsu/Lucy/Gray/Erza/Happy.
- Bakura, 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.
- 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.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion will introduce a new Magical Girl named Nagisa Momoe, who is clearly meant to evoke this trope. But they don't exactly play it straight. For one thing, she spends most of the film as Team Pet "Bebe", which is a slightly altered version of Nagisa's witch form Charlotte.
- The online RPG game places this situation on Homura in regards to the pre-existing Magical Girl team of Madoka, Mami, Sayaka, Kyoko, and the Player Character. The combination of Homura's newness to the rest of the group (beyond just her New Transfer Student status), her unsocialbility and aloofness, and her choice of firearms and explosives presenting an ever-present risk of Unfriendly Fire on melee-fighters Sayaka and Kyoko make her integration into the group difficult - the later chapters of the main storyline place more focus on this.
- Renji Abarai is the most obvious example in Bleach, becoming committed to fighting alongside sworn enemy Ichigo and his close pals after getting defeated by him in the Soul Society, and succeeding in rescuing Rukia together. Renji's still an abrasive guy but likes chilling around with Ichigo whenever nearby, especially in the anime's numerous filler arcs.
- Pokémon has a whole horde of recurring secondary characters, including pokemon, who join the main party for specific episodes or arcs. Sometimes, they will be counterparts to characters from the games, but they're just as often Canon Foreigners. Misty, May and Dawn also act somewhat like Sixth Rangers in their return appearances.
- Berserk: Post-Eclipse, Guts forms a loose Five-Man Band with Schierke, Serpico, Farnese, and Isidro, with the elves as Team Pets and Casca as a rather tragic example of The Load. Then their journey takes them out to sea, and Farnese turns out to have a fiancée with a Cool Ship. Enter Rodrick, the Sixth Ranger.
- An aversion is enforced in Magic: The Gathering: There will be no purple. Ever. Most players still regard multicolor or colorless as a "sixth color", though these are not colors.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction, Espa Roba, Mai, Bonz, Weevil, Rex and Mako will protect Domino City against the Neo Ghouls if you help them. Also, you get their signature cards after winning against them in the rematches.
- 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.
- Victor Mancha of Runaways, as well as Xavin and Klara Prast.
- 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.
- In Mafalda both Miguelito (who turned the Four-Temperament Ensemble into a Five-Man Band) and Libertad would count, but the latter is a better example.
- 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.
- Green Arrow was the first new recruit to join the Justice League back in the 60's. As a Mythology Gag, his son Connor Hawke was the first new recruit to join the reformed League during Grant Morrison's run.
- In the British Anthology Comic The 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.
- Captain America, who joined The Avengers in the fourth issue of the series, and ended up becoming The Hero of the team.
- The Legendaires got two sixth rangers so far:
- Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog has had a number of Sixth Rangers since it's inception: Bunnie Rabbot (who wasn't part of the team here), Dulcy the Dragon, Tails and Amy Rose. The Continuity Reboot altered things so that Big the Cat and Cream and Cheese are now Freedom Fighters.
- Evangelion 303: Mari Makinami and her weapons officer Kelly joined the "Evangelion" squad at the end of the Part 2, and during her debut onscreen fight Mari matched skills with Asuka, the top pilot of the squad.
- Tsuruya was officially recruited into the SOS Brigade in Kyon Big Damn Hero, as well as the unnamed girl from Dissociation.
- Pony POV Series:
- Trixie serves this role, 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.
- 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.
- In the Dark World arc, Ditzy Doo/Derpy Hooves, Apple Pie, and Spike join the redeemed members of the Mane Cast as the new Elements of Loyalty, Laughter, and Generosity, respectfully.
- Also in Dark World, there's a villainous example, as Discord's sister Rancor 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.
- Silver Spoon ends up joining the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and is rather determined to make former friend Diamond Tiara join them too.
- On the subject of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanworks, its pretty common to depict background filly Dinky (who is usually depicted as the daughter of Memetic Bystander Derpy Hooves) as the Fourth Cutie Mark Crusader. Similarly, it's also quite common to have Trixie ultimately become a seventh member of the Mane Six.
- In the Tamers Forever Series Takeru Takaishi becomes this during Silent Sorrow.
- 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.
- Fate Revelation Online: Shirou is explicitly nicknamed this, due to his rampant heroism in the early days of SAO. He even gets an appropriate white jumpsuit and mask made for him.
- The MTM from the Calvinverse was with Calvin from the start, but (as of the Calvin and Hobbes: The Series episode "An MTM Episode") gained speech and started becoming more of his own character, making him this.
- Many Danny Phantom fics, such as the Facing The Future Series, has Danielle as this for Team Phantom.
- Breeze Rider from Dusk's Dawn is generally comic relief throughout the episode.
- Equestrias First Human: When Connor permanently ends up in Equestria, he is reincarnated as a pony, and joins the Mane Cast in it and the rest of the sequels. While the sequels are written from his perspective, they take place during canon events of the show which tend to focus on the Mane 6, and thus he qualifies.
- Copy Cat in The End of Ends, though in the sense of him being a Guest Star Party Member. He gets promoted to a more permanent position after Beast Boy kicks it.
- Star Wars: Luke, Han, and Leia form a Power Trio in the first film, with Chewbacca as a Satellite Character attached to Han and Obi-Wan to Luke as The Mentor, and the droids as Plucky Comic Relief. In The Empire Strikes Back, Lando Calrissian joins as the Sixth Ranger. He double-crosses the heroes 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 GhostBusters where originally a Power Trio in formation, then Winston 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.
- Agent Clint Barton/Hawkeye in The Avengers. He's absent for a good chunk of the film due to being mind-controlled by Loki, but joins up just in time to help the heroes kick ass in the climax. Appropriately, he's a dark and brooding type, with incredible Improbable Aiming Skills.
- Storm Shadow from G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
- Emma Frost to Magneto's original Brotherhood in X-Men: First Class.
- 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.
- The Madrigals in the The 39 Clues.
- Amanda in Kingdom Keepers.
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe occasionally does this. Most obvious is Zekk from Young Jedi Knights. Zekk even looks like Tommy in the art.
- 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.
- Trapped on Draconica: Taurok joins the heroes in time for the climax.
- The Baby-Sitters Club has Dawn, Mallory, Jessi and Abby.
- The Good The Bad And The Mediochre has Danny, who may also count as The Team Benefactor and The Driver since he only turns up when the heroes need someone with a van and an above-average knowledge of the Scottish road system. He leaves the group once they arrive at their destination, but turns up again in time to perform a You Shall Not Pass moment, disappear for a while and eventually turn out to have been a Sixth Ranger Traitor all along.
- In The Heroes of Olympus Nico di Angelo acts as the Sixth Ranger to the the Seven during The House of Hades.
- There are some borderline examples in the first Dinoverse in Loki and Beanie. Loki never really joins so much as he comes and goes, mostly overseeing Janine. Beanie shows up late and sticks right to Bertram's side. There is a much clearer example in the second set in Green Knight/GK, who in his first appearance tries to eat Zane. (It should be noted that GK is a predatory dinosaur.) GK's love for Patience is strong enough that he follows her around and refrains from eating her friends, and in fact tries to save one of them in the climax.
- In Trainspotting Second Prize accompanies the main four (Renton, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie) at the end of the novel as they go down to London for a drug deal, and is also subsequently one of the people Renton rips off, which makes his absence in the film adaption more noticeable.
Live Action TV
- 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.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- In season 4, Buffy herself becomes the Sixth Ranger to The Initiative, the newly-introduced organization staffed by 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 unwillingness 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.
- Inverted during Season 3. Faith starts out good and ends up good, so she is not only Inverted, but also a true Sixth Ranger, two different times. Three times if you include her short stint in the fourth season of Angel. Faith serves as a sort of wild card for either show when the dynamic needs a good shaking.
- Lorne fits this trope in the Buffy spinoff Angel. While he debuts in season 2 as a neutral contact when the team has 4 members (Angel, Cordy, Wes, Gunn), he moves in with them and becomes far more involved with them in season 3 when they have 5 members (the previously mentioned, plus Fred) then joins the team officially in Season 4. But during season 3, while he is considered an ally, he isn't considered a core member. After Cordy departs, and Lorne makes up the fifth member, it could be said that Spike becomes the new sixth ranger.
- 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.
- Derek Reese in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, who showed up late in the first season.
- Jesse joins the Burn Notice Power Trio in Season Four. However, tensions are a bit high, given that he's yet to find out that he's the spy Michael (accidentally) got burned.
- Koichi Shiranami/Ryujinou in Ryukendo.
- Charmed has Leo, Cole, Chris, Billie, and Coop all acting as sixth rangers to varying degrees.
- Sherlock gives us Mary Morstan (who then becomes Mary Watson) in Series 3. Seems to be inverted/subverted in that she comes across as one of the good guys from the beginning; then it seems like she's secretly evil when we find out that she was formerly an assassin. Ultimately double-subverted, as she turns out to be an ultimately good woman with a dark past who truly loves John.
- Reno 911! gave us Deputy Kimball in season 3.
- Kamen Rider takes the cake for reducing this trope to a Second Rider phenomenon. The original 1971 series is thought to do this when Takeshi Hongo (Kamen Rider 1) is joined by Hayato Ichimonji (Kamen Rider 2), but the way it happens is a bit different: 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. Rider 1 returned to help out Rider 2, went away again for a while, then returned to become the main character, and it was Rider 2 Commuting on a Bus. In other words, Hayato Ichimonji is the second primary rider, not the first secondary rider, and the legendary duo of the Double Riders doesn't become the way we most often see the two until the last few episodes, and following teamup appearances.
- The secondary rider phenomenon as it works in the modern era is first seen in the second series Kamen Rider V3, where after soloing for most of the series, he is joined by a renegade Destron scientist who replaces the arm his rival ruined with a robotic arm with different combat attachments. Enter: Riderman!
- Kamen Rider Stronger and Tackle are another variant: she's with him from the outset, but she's a sidekick whose combat skills are limited to an "electro-wave throw" that can send a grunt or two flying but is beneath the notice of the Monster of the Week. Time to go rescue her, again!
- Kamen Rider Agito and Gills
- Kamen Rider Ryuki and Knight become a Double Riders scenario, though with Ryuki as The Cape and Knight as The Cowl, we know who The Hero is (that and of course it's Ryuki's name in the title.) Knight actually has been operating for some time before Ryuki. Making their duo a Power Trio midseason is Kamen Rider Raia. He eventually dies Taking the Bullet for Ryuki.
- The Kamen Rider Dragon Knight version has a similar setup (in terms of when Riders appear.) Dragon Knight becomes The Hero, already-active warrior Wing Knight eventually softens to him and tells him what's going on, and way down the line they're joined by Sting. And then Sting is "vented" Taking the Bullet for Wing Knight, not Dragon Knight. However, later still, Siren takes up the role of the third member of the Power Trio.
- Kamen Rider Blade starts with a duo that becomes a Power Trio: Chalice is there from the start but takes a while to go from Aloof Ally to... still-not-quite-friendly ally. The Sixth Ranger position goes to the fourth, Leangle, after starting out as a bad guy.
- Kamen Rider Hibiki has many Riders, no one fitting the mold.
- Kamen Rider Kabuto has fewer Riders than Hibiki, but still a decent number. Gatack is the one the showrunners consider to hold this position if his addition to the opening is any indication. There are a lot of other Riders in this series, but all just out for themselves.
- Kamen Rider Den-O and Zeronos.
- Kamen Rider Kiva and IXA, Saga and Dark Kiva, though the latter two have a case of Heel-Face Revolving Door.
- Kamen Rider Decade and Diend (who's technically a Third Rider, what with an Alternate Universe incarnation of Kamen Rider Kuuga playing sidekick to Decade. However, Butt Monkey alternate Kuuga is in practice a Tackle-type sidekick who slowly grows into being more like the original Kuuga over the course of the series, after almost never transforming for quite some time for no discernible reason.)
- Kamen Rider Double and Accel.
- Kamen Rider OOO and Birth.
- Kamen Rider Fourze and Meteor.
- Kamen Rider Wizard and Beast.
- Kamen Rider Gaim is another series like Kabuto in terms of many Riders, and Ryuki in terms of even more Riders who are bad/purely selfish. The roster of those who are actually trying to Save The World is ever-changing, with Heel Face Turns, Face Heel Turns, and characters in the Heel-Face Revolving Door. No one neatly fits the "Main Rider is joined 1/4 of the way through by the secondary Rider" mold. However, Baron is the second to get his powers. The last few scenes of the opening rather deceptively make Gaim (The Hero), Baron ( Heel-Face Revolving Door king), Ryugen ( Good, then bad), and Zangetsu ( The Big Bad, then good!) look like a team, with the promotional materials making a minor character appear to be the one who will make it a Five-Man Band.
- Kamen Rider Drive and Mach, though technically there was Proto-Drive before them, thus making the main hero the second rider.
- 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, 21 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.
- Pavel Chekov in Star Trek: The Original Series.
- Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager.
- Worf and/or Ezri Dax from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine could count as this.
- Heroes - Sylar, by the season four finale. Doesn't look good for him though. Made worse in that he already tried it once a season before, and that didn't work out so well. The writers kept flip-flopping on what side they wanted him on, so he'd realize that being a good guy is more meaningful, and then realize that Evil Feels Good, over and over. He happened to be on the good side of the Heel-Face Revolving Door when the show was cancelled, but that doesn't mean he's a good guy.
- In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation, a fifth, female turtle named Venus was introduced to the previously all-male quartet. (She could be a sixth ranger if you count Splinter, though.)
- Prince Garrett in The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nóg.
- 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.
- Friends: Charlie Wheeler, who happened to be a Twofer Token Minority. Also Richard and Pete, two of Monica's early boyfriends that got their own arcs. Other examples include Mike Hannigan, who marries Phoebe in the end; Fun Bobby, Marcel the Monkey, and Gunther who appeared in the most episodes after the main six.
- Double The Fist has 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.
- Doctor Who
- Jack Harkness fits this trope in the 2000's series, temporarily changing the Doctor and Rose's The Hero / Side Kick duo to a Power Trio (once he stops trying to con them).
- Series 5 has Rory to Eleven and Amy. He's a bit character when he first appears, but eventually becomes a companion midway through it. And then he dies and is blinked out of existence a few episodes later, only to return for the finale. And then by Series 6 he becomes a full-time companion for the rest of Amy's tenure.
- Now that we're down to the duo of 12 and Clara, fellow teacher Danny and snarky student Courtney have each looked like they were about to become this, but it hasn't happened yet.
- 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.
- 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, spoiled rich girl Sugar, Christian dreadlocked hippie Joe, and Kurt's boyfriend Blaine in the third. The fourth (after Rachel, Finn, Kurt, Mercedes, Puck, Quinn and Santana graduated) brings us Unique, Finn and Rachel clones Ryder and Marley, Puck's brother Jake, and Alpha Bitch Kitty. As of the midway point of the fifth season, all original members have graduated, but the Glee club was disbanded, although it will presumably return in Season 6
- 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 ten, she becomes a full SG-1 member, though not after losing her memory once.
- Played with on episode 2.4, which introduces a guy named Ollie with all the traits of a sixth ranger: he joins the community service with the main gang, starts to get along with them and even has a superpower like them... but he's killed ten minutes into the episode. Ironically, Ollie's heart is transplanted to Ill Girl Nikki, who eventually becomes the sixth ranger for the rest of Season 2.
- Seth becomes the sixth ranger in Season 3.
- Disney Channel does this in some of their shows:
- 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 eponymous Gaia and his rival Ultraman Agul.
- The then-love interests of anyone of the Five-Man Band sans Lily and Marshall fill the role on How I Met Your Mother. If the actual mother counts, she did so very late in the game, i.e. 11:58 pm.
- 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.
- Bob Fossil of The Mighty Boosh is a sort-of Fifth Ranger to the main group of Howard, Vince, Bollo and Naboo. He was in the radio show and tv show from the beginning, but as antagonist with not much focus. After series one ended, he vanished from the show, as the main characters no longer worked for him. He had a single cameo in series two, then in series three he appeared in a neutral role in a few episodes, though the other characters still don't like him. In the live shows, however, he's updated to full group status, fights on the side of the heroes, and seems to be at least somewhat friendly with Vince and Howard.
- Tina, Rob, Hector and Casey from Ghostwriter.
- Played straight in many series of BIONICLE. Beginning in 2003 (and ending in 2009), Lego sold an extra basic-sized figure (usually referred to as a "Seventh Toa") packed in with a vehicle and sold at a higher price point, and usually joined the main team of heroes in-universe later in the story, though almost every year deviated from this in some way;
- 2003 - Takanuva was a new member who joined the team just before the finale of the first movie (and stayed with them afterwards) and was packed with the Ussanui (which existed for about 30 seconds before being destroyed in the movie) and is considered the basis for the seventh toa in the rest of the franchise.
- 2004 - Toa Lhikan was packed in with a Kikanalo, though in-universe, he existed before the main heroes and is the one who gave Toa Metru their powers.
- 2005 - The only year without a true Seventh Toa, though the special edition "Toa Norik" and Toa Iruni were sold on the side and fill the seventh toa slot (though both were sold at the same pricepoint at the regular figures, neither had a vehicle, and were completely disconnected from the main story in-universe).
- 2006 - Vezon filled the seventh toa slot but was a villain instead of a hero. Vezon was packed with the mechanical spider Fenrakk, and (in-universe) was a clone of the Piraka Vezok (Vezon is even the Matoran word for "Double") and fought both the Piraka and the Toa Inika.
- 2007 - Lesovikk filled the seventh toa role toy-wise (being packed with a "Sea Sled"), but never met the main heroes (the Toa Mahri) in-universe.
- 2008 - Toa Ignika, packed with a "Skyboard" was, in-universe, the Mask of Life given a physical body who joined and fought beside the team after initially being questioned.
- Ironically, the original Seventh Toa, Takanuva, also made an appearance (though in a much larger, Titian-sized form).
- It should be noted that there was another villain, Murtan, who was also a basic figure and was packed with another smaller figure (Vican) and was sold as an exclusive, though Ignika more closely follows the Seventh Toa formula.
- 2009 - It could be argued that Fero falls into the seventh toa slot as he was a basic figure (though he was matoran sized, not toa-sized) and was packed with a large reptilian steed, Skirmix.
- 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.)
- 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:
- 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.
- In Final Fantasy IV, Baigan invites himself into the party at a time when the party limit is five characters, and Baigan joining brings the line-up to six. In a subtle case of Lampshade Hanging, Palom and Porom note that something is suspicious about this. Baigan then reveals himself as a monster and attacks.
- Final Fantasy VI: Of the non-optional characters, Strago and Relm are the last to join and do so after you feel "done" recruiting. They are both naturally powerful mages who have the misfortune of joining after your existing magic specialists, Terra and Celes, are likely already trained up with Magicite and shortly before the party is scattered in the World of Ruin, meaning they can easily suffer a fate of Can't Catch Up if you don't go out of your way to develop them.
- Final Fantasy VII 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.
- Towards the end of disc 3 of Final Fantasy VIII, you get Edea, who has just been freed from being Brainwashed and Crazy as a party member. She stays with the party until you go into space.
- 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.
- Chitose and Natsume in Galaxy Angel, especially the games.
- 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).
- Sheena, in Tales of Symphonia; her joining the party (formerly a Five-Man Band) marks the point at which the plot begins to twist. The Sixth Ranger added to the earlier PSX remake of Tales of Phantasia was Fujibayashi Sheena's possible descendant, Fujibayashi Suzu.
- 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 Persona 4, 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.
- Originally Knuckles started out as Sonic the Hedgehog's enemy only to eventually team up with him and Tails to form a Power Trio.
- Flora in the Professor Layton series of games.
- Most veteran players in Pokémon 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.
- In terms of Pokémon Power Trios, in Pokémon Black and White , Keldeo is the D'Artagnan to Cobalon, Terrakion, and Virizion's Three Musketeers.
- Ho-oh and Lugia round out the bird trio, providing fourth and fifth rangers in Gen II.
- Many legendary trios have a Fourth Ranger; in addition to the above cases,note the Golem Trio has Regigigas, and the Creation Trio has Arceus.
- Also, the Eeveelutions; we began with Normal, Water, Electric, and Fire, added Psychic and Dark in Gen II, added Grass and Ice in Gen IV, and then a Fairy-Type in Gen VI.
- 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.
- Thane Krios and Samara of Mass Effect 2 are amongst the last of the recruited members of the team. Tali might also count, though she fits more into The Smart Guy. Legion would also count as an Eleventh Hour Ranger.
- 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 Pink Knight in Castle Crashers exclusive to the PS3 version is this.
- In Saints Row: The Third, Viola Dewynter joins the Saints shortly after Killbane kills her sister Kiki.
- World of Warcraft:
- The game 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.
- The Forsaken (and later even the Blood Elf race) faction joining the Horde can be seen as this taking into account that the original Horde races share a history in previous Warcraft games and settle close together whereas the Forsaken not only reside on a different continent, they also start with the lowest reputation toward their allied races in the game.
- 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.
- Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals has an interesting case with Dekar, who firsts joins as the fifth member but rejoins as the Sixth Ranger after he returns from his apparent Heroic Sacrifice.
- Shion from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, then Hanyuu.
- Jay from Lovely Little Thieves, who is a newcomer to the main character's group of friends, of, quite fittingly, five people. The only who knows Jay is Danielle, as he is her lab-partner in college, and even she brought him along to get to know him better.
- 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. There's also 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.
- Sluggy Freelance:
- 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 Sam and 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.
- Emily the wizard joins Julie's group in 'Book 2' of Our Little Adventure. Later, Jordie also joins the team and officially takes her place when Emily is exposed as a Manchurian Agent Sixth Ranger Traitor.
- 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.
- Shining Armor helps out his sister and her friends during Act I of Three Apples. While temporary, it underscores Applejack's growing insecurity, as he effectively replaces her as The Big Guy during their travels together.
- 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. Also, he doesn't actually join the band before his Heroic Sacrifice, Taking the Bullet for his de-brainwashed cousine.
- 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). In Suburban Knights, Todd in the Shadows Luke Mochrie and Lupa are this, as they were added to the specials after the Brawl and Kickassia had basically the same major cast both times.
- To Boldly Flee adds JesuOtaku, CR and Sad Panda to the team.
- The titular guild from Noob gets a few additions over the course of the series: Ivy and Couette joined at the same time, giving the guild a Gadgeteer Genius and a second healer. Ystos eventually joined via a second character, but was almost one beforehand between his somewhat Big Brother Mentor status and his takeovers of Sparadrap's avatar.(Those who think Golgotha is missing from the list please check Honorary True Companion.)
- Lewis Brindley to Sips for the Trouble In Terrorist Town playthrough, and eventually many other Garry's Mod-themed videos. Initially, the series had involved Sips, Hat Films and Turpster playing various Garry's Mod gametypes, but adding Lewis to it shook up the dynamic, adding a sixth member to the videos. On top of that, Lewis only appeared in TTT and not in other gametypes until September 2014, where he eventually joined Murder and Prop Hunt as well. Prop Hunt on Sips' channel eventually adds both Lewis and PyrionFlax, and then Sjin joined up with Sips and company for a new series of TTT, bringing the total number of players to seven. Strippin then joined up for Murder and Prop Hunt in November 2014, staying for one series. After this, the lineup changed for some videos altogether, with Lewis and Sips returning and newcomers Hannah Rutherford, Simon Lane, Kim Richards and Duncan Jones replacing everyone else.
- Eugene, Matt Santoro's clone. Matt, Big Shine, Lorrenzo, and Hugo had already been introduced as characters, but Matt didn't bring him on board until his video Star Wars in 3-D!!!. Matt is quick to explain to the audience who he is.
- Dinobot fills this role in Beast Wars
- Rugrats started out with a main cast of Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, and Angelica, with occasional appearances by Susie. About halfway through the show, Tommy gained a little brother, Dil, and Chuckie later got a stepsister, Kimi. Both were introduced in one of the movies: The Rugrats Movie and Rugrats in Paris respectively.
- Thomas the Tank Engine
- 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.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Toph turned the protagonist's team from ˇThree Amigos! into a Five-Man Band when she filled the empty The Big Guy spot as a Cute Bruiser. After a few episodes, she fits in pretty well despite the occasional argument with Katara.
- 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.
- Then three episodes later, Suki joins the group.
- Code Lyoko
- 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.
- Season 5 also introduces Laura, a Techno Wizard at least as skilled as Jeremie and Aelita, who forces her way into the team after sabotaging their Reset Button so that her Laser-Guided Amnesia wouldn't be complete. She doesn't appear regularly, but proves helpful on occasion. Aelita, however, doesn't take it kindly to have a second "Mrs. Einstein" in the picture, and the conflict between those two never goes away. It finally ends with Laura turning into a Sixth Ranger Traitor, but it only lasts for the duration of a single episode, after which her memory is permanently erased of all things related to Lyoko.
- Codename: Kids Next Door subverted the Sixth Ranger without creating a Sixth Ranger Traitor with Tommy Gilligan. 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."
- 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.
- Young Justice has several examples:
- First comes Artemis, the sixth member of the team, who joins in the sixth episode.
- Then Zatanna joins in the seventeenth episode after being a Recurring Character.
- Finally, Rocket joins the group just in time for the season finale.
- Bumblebee, Mal Duncan, Wonder Girl, Lagoon Boy, Beast Boy, Robin III, Batgirl, Blue Beetle, Impulse, and Arsenal all join the team during the second season.
- There's a whole slew of Sixth Rangers in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Black Panther and Hawkeye don't join until several episodes into the first season, and then Ms. Marvel and The Vision join the group in the second season.
- ReBoot had Mouse as a Sixth Ranger, especially with how she didn't get along with Dot. After a few appearances her skills became invaluable to the team, and she filled in The Smart Guy role. In the fourth season, a much more traditional Sixth Ranger joins: former villain Hexadecimal.
- Subverted in a episode of Chaotic, when a character joins the main characters possessing all the traditional fifth ranger qualities,note but later leaves after gaining fame from becoming the first person to scan a M'arrillian.
- 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.
- Street Sharks, featured Moby Lick, a whale.
- 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 first few episodes of Sixteen, Caitlin tries to earn her way into the group, but later fits right in.
- 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.
- 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. 'Steve from Long Island' acts like this as well, only appearing in two episodes seemingly only to balance out what ever bizarre faction split the contestants had created at the time.
- South Park: Butters. He's been around as a background character since the show's beginning, and gradually increased in prominence, but ascended to protagonist status during Season Six. Unlike other instances of this trope, all five leads are rarely seen together since the boys are not a genuine Five-Man Band, but Butters has had almost as many character-centric A-Plots 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," "Going Native", etc.) as their foil.
- The boys even had an audition to see who would be Kenny's replacement after he was Killed Off for Real; Tweak was the initial winner but the writers found Butters' innocence an endearing foil to the rougher boys, and that he had more potential for Character Development.
- Adventures of the 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 Kif Kroker 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. As does Scruffy, the janitor.
- The Land Before Time TV Series had two, Chomper, the baby Sharptooth from the second film, and Ruby, a 'Fast Runner' who was entrusted with Chomper's safety by his parents. Both came to live in the valley to escape the series Big Bad Red Claw.
- John Thunder and Rex Charger from Centurions.
- Spiral Zone had four Sixth Rangers, two each for the heroic Zone Riders (Ned Tucker and Ben Davis) and the evil Black Widows (Crook and Rawmeat).
- Rambo: The Force of Freedom added two new heroes (Chief and T.D. Jackson) and three new villains (Dr. Hyde, X-Ray and Snake Bite) in later episodes.
- Gus became the sixth ranger to the other main five characters, and a rare example by joining in the second episode.note
- Cornchip Girl later on became an unofficial seventh ranger to the main gang in the later seasons.
- Mike and Penny's Popples on Popples might count. They came in halfway through the series, and seemed to hang out with them most of the time.
- In Season 2 of Shirt Tales, Kip Kangaroo is introduced as the sixth member.
- Garfield and Friends: Aloysius Pig is this according to Mark Evanier. He was even supposed to show up in a fourth episode, but it was later canned due to the shoq being Screwed by the Network.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the Cutie Mark Crusaders induct Babs Seed as their fourth member, though she doesn't stay, instead beginning the Manehatten Branch of the Cutie Mark Crusaders back home. She also fits the 'started out as a bad enemy, then became their ally' type, as she started off as an exceptionally cruel bully before she had a Heel Realization.
- In the Equestria Girls movie, Twilight has Sunset Shimmer join her group of human friends after she returns home. Bonus points in that she is actually the sixth to join. In the sequel, she and DJ PON-3 play important roles in defeating the Dazzlings.
- Happened in universe on the Animaniacs Pinky 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.
- Pumyra in Thundercats 2011.
- 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.
- In the second season of Sonic the Hedgehog, Dulcy the Dragon becomes part of the Freedom Fighters at the very start of the season, though we're not show how exactly. A more straighter example comes from Tails, who joins in at the tail end of the series.
- Normally, the Phineas and Ferb gang consists of the title characters, Isabella, Buford, and Baljeet. Irving is introduced in the second season as the president of the Phineas and Ferb fan club and is sometimes accepted as the sixth ranger.
- The series based on Dora's Explorer Girls, Dora and Friends: Into The City, includes a new male character named Pablo.
- 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, DC and Puerto Rico (they are not states - the former is a district and the later is an unincorporated territory - but they are frequently included in statistical reports released by the federal government and treated as though they were).
- 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). The Soviet Union can be considered a Sixth Ranger in the latter as well, due to them also joining in '41 (earlier than the U.S. by way of Mistreatment-Induced Betrayalnote ). Unfortunately, they're barred from the jokenote due to disputes about the spoils and... other matters.
- 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.
- New York City has five boroughs. New Jersey sometimes gets called the Sixth Borough, given how much of it falls within its sphere of influence. Occasionally, the moniker is limited to just Hudson County, which is right across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan.
- In Australian Rules Football, the Victorian Football League began in 1897 with eight teams (Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Fitzroy, Geelong, Melbourne, South Melbourne and St Kilda). The Australian Football League (which it evolved into) currently has eighteen:
- Richmond and University joined in 1908 (although University only lasted until 1915)
- Footscray (now the Western Bulldogs), Hawthorn and North Melbourne joined in 1925, and the league remained at 12 teams for over 50 years (with South Melbourne relocating to Sydney in 1982)
- Brisbane and the West Coast Eagles joined in 1987
- Adelaide joined in 1991
- Fremantle joined in 1995
- Port Adelaide joined in 1997
- Gold Coast joined in 2011
- Greater Western Sydney joined in 2012
- Expansion teams in closed-shop sports leagues (i.e., those in North America that don't practice promotion and relegation), whether granted and created from scratch or imported from the merging of a rival league.
- Basketball subverts this with the "Sixth Man", which is the title of a team's primary substitute.note Such subs are on the court just about as much as any of the starters, and so the chemistry between the Sixth Man and the starters is just as important as the chemistry between the starters themselves.
- Ireland is considered to be this to the rest of the "Anglosphere" note