aka: Novelty Decay
In many series, something or someone is first introduced as special
- new, awe-inspiring, mysterious, utterly unique, unparalleled, or some combination of those things. Sometimes, either later in the series or in related works in shared universes, that specialness seems to fade without much explanation or get outright retconned away
. The unique example becomes just one of many, the mystery somehow gets thoroughly documented, the new arrival turns out to have a long history in the area, the unparalleled turns out to be a footnote, and the awe becomes...ehn
This is a form of Continuity Drift
, perhaps sometimes due to They Just Didn't Care
or careless research on Long Runners
. But Tropes Are Not Bad
, it can be justified if enough time passes and the once unique aspect is spread due to analysis/teaching/reverse engineering. In a way, it adds fuel to the fandom who like making their own Sailor Earth
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Anime and Manga
- The Dragon Balls of Dragon Ball start out as the awesome Holy Grail of all mystical artifacts and an arc-long quest. By Dragon Ball Z, the cast usually collects them all over the course of a single episode when they need to. Dragon Ball GT actually had consequences for this in the last arc.
- In the first season of Code Geass the Hadron Cannon was an experimental weapon capable of destroying a small army, and only the Knightmare Frame Gawain had it; at the same time, it was one of only three Knightmares with the ability to fly. By the second season there had been a one year Time Skip, however, and suddenly a bunch of Knightmares had Hadron Cannons equipped, and by the end there were barely any Knightmares that couldn't fly.
- Takes a turn for the bizarre in the finale, when one of the Knightmares flying around is clearly a Portman (a dedicated Knightmare submarine).
- Stands in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure started as the psychic manifestation of a very strong willed person, but when the Bow and Arrow are introduced, everyone and their mother, no matter how pitiful a person, could have one, though people without sufficient mental strength would die from this method, still keeping it limited how many that could actually use it.
- Gurren Lagann: You stole a giant robot, making you the most dangerous humans on the planet? Good idea; now we've all done the same in imitation! What, now you've learned to combine them and wield superhuman power? We'll all start doing that too!
- In Digimon Adventure, the 8 Chosen Children were the only people with Digivices and Digimon partners. It appears now that, in Digimon Adventure 02, there are hundreds, or maybe thousands of chosen children all over the world, each with a Digivice and a Digimon partner. Of course, in the end, everyone in the world has a Digimon partner.
- In the franchise as a whole, a certain mon will be introduced as having developed under special circumstances. They'll be a regular part of the universe in other, unrelated series, though. For example, Armor Digivolving in Digimon Adventure 02 is an ancient method that the new Big Bad, Ken, can't shut down with his Control Spires because, well, a virus made to take out a computer using Windows 8 probably wouldn't work on a TRS-80. The only Armor Digimon are the armor forms of our heroes. Not so the later series, where Armors are everywhere. In Digimon Tamers, Guilmon was created from scratch by Takato. No others exist and his Digimon Analyzer sequence basically amounts to "huh? What do you mean, 'no data?'" Digimon Frontier has forms of Guilmon as Digimon elementary school students and even his Mega form as a shopkeeper.
- Also, Mons of the main ones' races are rare within their series but not outside of it. Unlike Armors or Guilmon, there's no in-universe reason why we don't see any other Gomamon in the series where one is a main character... but we don't. However, there's a whole tribe of them in Frontier.
- Then there's Mega Digimon in general. In Adventure, the stage before Mega is considered fully evolved. Megas always happened through special circumstances; Venom Myotismon had a prophecy going for him (and having his bats eat the data of all his minions and infuse him with it helped.) Metal Etemon had fallen into and absorbed the entirety of the Dark Network, Saber Leomon had been exposed to a metric buttload of Digivice energy. Then there's the Big Bad quartet that's the Evil Counterpart of The Four Gods, the heroes' Digivice-induced Mega forms, and The Four Gods themselves. Your average joe will probably never be a Mega; Ultimate is fully evolved and Mega happens through either help or basically being a god or anti-god. But outside the Adventure-verse, civilian Megas are quite common, and all the heroes getting to go Mega is expected.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, the show starts with only fivenote GN Drives in the whole world; later on, three new Gundams pop-up with imperfect Drives, and later still each of the three global superpowers is handed 10 such Drives. After a four-year Time Skip, The Federation is mass-producing the imperfect Drives, while the heroes still have the five they started with and any support machines have to piggy-back off of them by using particle storage tanks. At the end of The Movie, we see that 50 years later, mankind will be able to produce the true GN Drives.
- Bankai in Bleach. Initially it's described as an incredible power that barely pops up once a generation even among the Shinigami nobility. It doesn't take long for it to become considerably less powerful and somewhat more common.
- In One Piece we have the Nigh Invulnerable logia-type devil fruits. In the first half of the Grand Line ("Paradise") and any of the Blue Seas, a logia user would be highly feared and dangerous. In the second half of the Grand Line ("The New World"), logia users have infinitely shorter lifespans because many of them don't seem to get that everybody can hit you there thanks to haki. It's notable that of the strongest logia users in the series (Smoker, Crocodile, the Admirals, Eneru), none of them rely entirely on their devil fruit.
- Pokémon: Early seasons Legendaries could not be truly caught and controlled by anyone and they appeared only in important episodes and movies. Later seasons have Legendaries appear in filler and tamed.
- The Sailor Senshi in Sailor Moon. The last season reveals that there are Senshi all over the galaxy.
- Superman was supposed to be the last of his kind, and kryptonite, the radioactive fragments of a planet that blew up lightyears away that didn't burn up in our atmosphere, was a rare commodity almost nobody had heard of. Throughout the Silver Age, a veritable rainbow of different sorts of kryptonite showed up, as did first Supergirl, then other survivors of Krypton. After the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot, Superman was once again the last Kryptonian and kryptonite one troublesome and very rare material. ...And then, after a few years, the other Kryptonians started showing up again, along with the wacky varieties of kryptonite. It has been joked by this point that the only Kryptonian to actually die was Jor-El. (Of course, an AI version of him exists.)
- Matt Murdock's radar sense was original a super power, the freak result of the accident that blinded him. Later, Frank Miller introduced a mentor character and revealed that anyone could learn to "see" without their eyes the way that Matt does.
- In the original run, the Green Lantern Ring was a big deal. Just having it made an Earthling one of the most powerful beings in-continuity. Then Continuity Drift happened, and there were hundreds of Green Lanterns, and calling the human who had one "The Green Lantern" seemed rather silly. Then, there were several humans who had one, at the same time, in direct conflict with the established distribution method. Then we found out that there were other Lantern Corps of various colors. Slowly, the Green Lantern Ring was necessary to be even marginally effective in related conflicts, and some characters who have them still can't hold their own.
- A common complaint about the Darker and Edgier treatment of previously lighthearted characters: Batman is cool, but that doesn't mean every character should be Batman.
- The Iron Man series includes a number of knock-off Iron Man suits, including Stane's giant version in the first film and Vanko's various suits in the second film. In the third film, Stark himself has a virtual army of his own Iron Man suits zipping around without his direct control.
- The plot of Rio hinges on Blu being the last male blue Spix's Macaw. By the end of the movie, he has managed to mate with Jewel and produce three offspring, with Tiago being male. Then the sequel comes along, revealing that there is a lost flock of macaws hidden in the Amazon rainforest, with Jewel's father Eduardo among them.
- Star Wars:
- The rancor beast from Return of the Jedi was originally described in the novelization as a mysterious, possibly mutated creature: "The size of an elephant, it was somehow reptilian, somehow as unformed as a nightmare. Its huge screeching mouth was asymmetrical in its head, its fangs and claws set all out of proportion. It was clearly a mutant, and wild as all unreason." Nevertheless, due to rancors being awesome, they quickly proliferated through the Expanded Universe. Later the novel 1994 novel The Courtship of Princess Leia introduced the previously undiscovered planet of Dathomir, to which the rancors are native. Dathomir itself then propagated in the EU, to the point that the 2004 novel Ruins of Dantooine included Dathomirian beasts, a common biologist with detailed knowledge of Dathomir's ecosystem, and other characters who'd apparently been to the planet ... 8 in-universe years before the planet became known beyond a small circle of individuals.
- Grand Admiral Thrawn was initially presented as a member of an unknown species, established after 8 years OOU and 10 IU timeline years as the heretofore reclusive Chiss species from the Unknown Regions. After this, of course, Chiss proliferated in the EU, most recently and egregiously in the novel Darth Bane: Path of Destruction a full 1000 years before the species was supposed to have been known to the galaxy at large. In The Old Republic, the Chiss are running around over 3,500 years before they're officially supposed to be known.
- Obi-wan Kenobi and Yoda were intended to be the last surviving Jedi from the old Jedi Order, period. Of course, it didn't take long for the Expanded Universe authors to start creating their own survivors who went into hiding or were mysteriously overlooked. Not to mention the hundreds of Sith all over the place.
- Force Lightning. At first, it was a very rare power only the most veteran and skilled Sith had, which was a testament of their power. In the EU, either be books, comics or (especially) videogames, every Sith (or just a darksider) can use Force Lightning, and thus becoming so common that it replaced the Force Choke as the signature ability of the Dark Side.
- Taken to a ridiculous degree in some works where Jedi can use it was well. Luke himself uses a variant of it in New Jedi Order that is instantly lethal. This could mean that Force Lightning is something that any sufficiently powerful Force-user could wield, but the Jedi generally refuse to because it's basically made only to cause extreme pain.
- Throughout the third Harry Potter book, Harry is told the difficulty of performing the Patronus Charm and it is implied only powerful/very skilled wizards can use the advanced spirit animal form. Yet many characters are shown with them, and by the end of the fifth book Harry has taught it to a bunch of his classmates.
- In The Wheel of Time, Rand is the only character on the side of good who can Travel (create gateways to travel to other places instantly) during the fifth book. After he explains it to Egwene in the sixth book, she discovers the female version and teaches the Aes Sedai at Salidar. He also shows it to Mazrim Taim, who teaches the weave to the Asha'man.
- Lifemating (the full-on Mindlink Mates type) is supposedly a rare thing to happen in the Liaden Universe, but roughly half the adult characters in Clan Korval have ended up with one by now.
Live Action TV
- The Borg's first appearance was on Star Trek: The Next Generation as a mysterious, frighteningly advanced and implacable species from beyond known space. Then Voyager's premise is to travel through their quadrant to return home, frequently defeating them and even allowing an individualised one onto the USS Voyager's ranks.
- In the early years of Doctor Who, we knew almost nothing about his people - it was six years before we learned the name "Time Lords". From the Tom Baker serial The Deadly Assassin onwards, we began to learn more and actually visited Gallifrey. Over the next decade or so, more stories featuring the corrupt, self-interested and machiavellian Time Lords were made, to the point where many fans complained that too much was being explained and the mystery had gone. One of the objectives of the so-called "Cartmell Master-plan" was to Retcon some of this and reintroduce the mysterynote .
- The new series managed to bring this back a bit, by having them all supposedly killed off. This means that for modern fans, any slight suggestion that there might be another one out there is incredibly exciting.
- Supernatural used this with the introduction of the Devil's Trap at the end of Season One. Apparently Sam and Dean, two of the most experienced hunters out there, not to mention their father, didn't know about a magic chalk circle which could trap demons. As soon as Bobby uses it, suddenly everyone with even basic awareness of demons can make one, and it starts appearing everywhere as a primary security measure.
- This also happened with demon-killing weapons. In the first couple seasons, the only thing known to be able to kill a demon was an enchanted Colt Revolver made by Samuel Colt under very special circumstances (it's mentioned that, among other things, it was crafted during the battle of the Alamo, and while Halley's Comet was overhead). It had only 13 bullets, 8 of which had already been used by the time the heroes got their hands on it, and once all the bullets were used the gun would be worthless. However, in season 3 the heroes figured out a way to make new bullets for the Colt, and also came into possession of a demon-killing knife. Then season 4 introduced angels, who can kill most demons just by touching them, as well as allowing Sam to kill them with his Psychic Powers. By season 8, it had been revealed the blades carried by angels could also kill demons, even when wielded by non-angelic beings. Cue just about every major character obtaining an angel blade offscreen.
- The Stargate is a wondrous piece of technology on which the fate of humanity rests when it is first found, only to become increasingly trivial as time goes on; by the end of SG-1, Earth has had at least 3 stargates.
- Stargate is full of this trope. Amazing and unique devices that wowed and shocked us three episodes ago are now commonplace. One of a kind cloaking devices? Now comes standard on every model. Fast hyperspace travel? Every little podunk space ship has got one. The list could go on. This is mostly justified in universe as Humans Are Special, or more specifically, the Tau'ri are special and every other culture is static, and that the whole point of the SG teams going out into the universe is to acquire tech, which, sort of somehow ends up in the hands of everyone... This is good in the sense that Earth develops technologically over time, becoming something of a superpower, thereby avoiding the Reset Button plaguing many science fiction universes. On the other hand, it leads to massive power creep.
- Stargate Universe has its own little odd twist: the Icarus base required the power of a planet with a ultra-super rare one of a kind naquadria core. They've found at least 2 more compatible planets already.
- Ra was introduced in the movie as the Last of His Kind. Stargate SG-1 put the lie to this in the first episode.
- Early on in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, there was only one thing that could kill a god; the blood of the Golden Hind. By the time both series ended, there seemed to be a new way to kill a god every week.
- One of them was an axe to the back thrown by a mortal woman.
- In Volume 3 of Heroes, there was a Bad Future where a Super Serum had been industrialized and everyone has superpowers... even the terrorists.
- "One girl in all the world, a Chosen One. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness." Halfway through the second season a second slayer shows up; and then, in the finale, they cast a spell that allows thousands of girls across the world to become Slayers at once.
- Angel being the vampire with a soul also becomes less unique when Spike gets his soul back too.
- Technical abilities displayed by musicians have gotten increasingly advanced in recent years, making formerly advanced musicians less impressive by comparison. The technical skills of Jimi Hendrix are within the expected reach of intermediate-advanced guitarists compared to modern guitarists like Tosin Abasi or Muhammed Suicmez. Similarly, previously high-speed drummers from a few decades ago are dwarfed by modern players, with extreme metal drummers like George Kolias or Jon Rice frequently utilizing eighths and sixteenths in excess of 240bpm.
- In Greek Mythology, Zeus tried to prevent this by keeping the secret of fire exclusive to the gods. Prometheus stole it and spread the gift of fire to the entire human race.
- High-level magic in most Tabletop RPGs could qualify. By the time your D&D character learns Power Word Kill, (s)he's already fighting enemies who are powerful enough to know it too.
- Every high-level Magic: The Gathering constructed tournament has approximately three decks (anything else is generally looked upon as a "rogue" deck):
- The deck with the super-powerful card of the moment;
- The deck designed to combat the super-powerful card of the moment; and
- the deck designed to beat that deck, banking on the numbers game to try and avoid deck 1.
- Almost always, said super-powerful card of the moment will be a four of in all the decks that have it, despite costing a lot of money to procure one of them (either ripping open packs, or buying them on the secondary market).
- This appears frequently BIONICLE, often overlapping heavily with the Doing in the Wizard tendencies it develops near the storyline's end. Almost every detail has to have a subversive explanation behind it. As the writer described to the fans, tease all the plot threads you want, but you have to deliver the explanations sometime.
- The original six Toa were introduced as borderline-mythical, ultra-powerful warriors. The Toa. When the Seventh Toa appeared, it was some truly major thing that heavily affected the plot. Then came the revelation at the beginning of the Metru Nui saga: "You are not the first Toa!" During that arc, one scene had a total of 300 Toa appearing at once. Since then, Toa have became as "standard" as the Jedi in their respective universe, and the original six had to be re-branded as Toa Mata.
- Likewise, the Makuta, nowadays known as Teridax. The most mysterious and powerful, nearly untouchable evil might, the Master of Shadows and the ultimate foe the Toa have to face. Subversion: no, he's just one of the original 100 Makuta. Double Subversion: Makuta in general and Teridax in specific is still a tough bastard to beat, and what he lost in novelty, he makes up for with his schemes. But Makuta, as a species, are nothing special now.
- Silver colored pieces. To a lesser degree, also gold. When the Toa upgraded into Toa Nuva, they received silver armor and weapons to reflect that they're "more" than mere Toa. The Bohrok-Kal came along, sporting silver as their secondary color to showcase their eliteness compared to regular Bohrok. After these, silver parts became a standard for absolutely every character, and colored weapons became such a rarity in fact, that when the 2009 first wave sets re-introduced element-specific colorings, there was much happiness... that lasted 'till the second wave, which went back to giving silver weapons to about half its sets.
Gold went through an easier course. While beginning from 2004, many sets had it as their secondary or tertiary color, there were always figures (often special edition ones) that gave it some uniqueness. And in 2010, a former gold-wearing character had to be recolored silver just to make that year's "Golden Bionicle" promotion all the more special. But this didn't make all the other, non-special golden characters nonexistent.
- The Chaos emeralds from Sonic the Hedgehog originally inverted the trope before playing it straight. Their original purpose was just to unlock the Good ending, but from the second game onwards became Plot Coupons that unlocked the protagonist's Super Mode. In the 3D era, they were finding the things near everywhere to the point they would often find half a set in the space of ten minutes.
- In Pokémon games, each generation is released with new legendary Pokemon, which are meant to be one-of-a-kind and incredibly rare. At last count, there are 48 of them, with fourteen of them being released in Gen IV alone.
- This will also lead to a meta-example: Every single player knows where every legendary is, knows it's a Game Breaker, and (ab)uses it. So it's entirely possible to have a four-player Mewtwo and Mewtwo vs. Mewtwo and Mewtwo match.
- With the introduction of Hidden Abilities in Gen V, many Abilities formerly exclusive to a single Pokémon or evolution line have spread to other species.
- The same occurs with unique type combinations and signature moves. Dragon and Ghost types used to be represented by a single family each back in Pokémon Red and Blue. Now there's a good selection of them to choose from.
- Kingdom Hearts introduced the Key Blade, a weapon that can open or close the heart of worlds, can't be stolen from the wielder, and can appear from Hammer Space. Only The Chosen One can wield it, but it turns out there were two chosen ones, and Riku giving into the darkness became a major dilemma since Sora had to fight his better and opposite. Then it turns out King Mickey is also a chosen one. Also Kairi. By the time of Birth By Sleep, it turns out there was a whole slew of them, at once!
- For the first two Metroid Prime games, phazon is a rare and mysterious substance, and the space pirates go to great lengths to secure sources of it; but in Corruption, phazon is everywhere. It's reasonably justified in many cases in that phazon has been weaponized and thus heavily adopted by both the space pirates and the Galactic Federation as part of the interstellar arms race, and that phazon is found in the environments because the pirates are deliberately trying to spread it everywhere and it's pretty good at spreading itself anyway. However, it stretches disbelief a bit that every other random indigenous alien space monster now runs on phazon (according to the scan data), when they've only been exposed to it for a few weeks.
- The night elves of World of Warcraft. In their introduction in Warcraft III they were ancient, immortal protectors of the world that had existed for 16,000 years at the bare minimum. As of Mists of Pandaria, it's easier to list the races that aren't at least as old as the night elves, with even the formerly-described "young race" of the humans revealed to have existed for 15,000 years, and the draenei have for a whopping twenty-five thousand. The elves were also close allies of the dragons, but since Wrath of the Lich King the dragons have been popping up helping people everywhere.
- Harry Potter might as well not appear in the Free Play part of "Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7":
In Years 1-4, he had four rare or unique abilities: Expecto Patronem, perfect broomstick control, Invisibility Cloak, and Parseltongue. The first was an essential combat spell in some stages, and all four were used in a lot of puzzles.
By the time Free Play is worth attempting in Years 5-7, any magical can use a broomstick perfectlynote , a lot of magicals have Expecto Patronem, and cauldrons with Invisibility Potion litter the placenote . Ron and Hermione have been gifted with one truly unique ability each, which are used in practically every stage, andnote Ron now has the ability to crack any Parseltongue code, not just the one required by the plot. Harry just takes up space in your roster.
- In Kirby's Dream Land 2, Dark Matter is thought to be a singular alien entity that tries to take over Dream Land. In Kirby's Dream Land 3, Dark Matter is actually just one of the larger entity of Dark Matter which goes and tries to conquer planets.
- In Mass Effect 2, ardat-yakshi are described as so rare that, according to Samara, only three are known to exist in the galaxy, all three of whom are her daughters. She does mention her desire to track down others that might exist undocumented. Skip forward a few months to Mass Effect 3, and there's a colony where hundreds of them live in isolation, and bringing more to the site seems to be a routine task for Justicars. This is later clarified that the condition exists on a spectrum, and most of the ardat-yakshi at the colony only have varying degrees of potential for the problem to emerge: the three Samara mentioned are the only "true" ardat-yakshi, the only ones with a severe enough case of it that it manifests fully.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds does this with the Triforce. Turns out that Lorule had its own version of the Triforce, only upside-down. Granted, it was destroyed ages ago, but it gets brought back at the end of the game by a wish on the Hyrulean Triforce.
- In The Legend of Korra, some of the rare and unique variants of the four Elemental Powers of Avatar: The Last Airbender have become commonplace:
- Lightningbending, which was emphasized as being dangerous and masterable by only a select few (all the ones in the original series were members of the royal family), has become so common that people who need low-paying second jobs can do it to run a power plant.
- Similarly, metalbending (previously exclusive to the original series's Toph) has an entire police squad of practitioners (though this is not an example of Continuity Drift, as all known metalbenders were either trained by Toph or by someone trained by Toph).
- Bloodbending was discovered by one vengeful waterbender enslaved by the Fire Nation, and she taught it only to Katara, who finds it so abhorrent that she uses it on extremely rare occasion and would definitely never teach it to anyone else. The control it requires is such that even for a master waterbender, it is possible only under a full moon, when a waterbender's power is at its peak. In The Legend of Korra, Tarrlok, his brother Amon, and their father Yakone are all revealed to be bloodbenders, powerful enough to immobilize a full room of people without a full moon.
- Permanently removing a person's bending abilities, introduced in the final episode of the first series as an ancient ability that had been lost to time, was a maneuver thought only possible by the Avatar in the Avatar State to boot, at great risk to himself. Amon, the Big Bad of the first season, is able to effortlessly debend someone, although the means that he does so are revealed to be completely different from Aang's.
- Though it's unknown whether chi-blocking was completely unique to Ty Lee, the Equalists use her Pressure Point-based techniques to fight against benders, though in her case it's mentioned that she did teach it to some others.
- For that matter, the previous show referred to Aang as "the Last Airbender." That may have been true at the time, but at least four of his descendants inherited the ability.
- The status of alicorns in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic seems to be gradually slipping into this. When they were first introduced, there were only two of them, Princess Celestia and her sister, Princess Luna. While they had the title of "Princess", the show treated them more as divine royality or Physical Goddesses. Halfway through season 2, we see a picture of an unnamed Winged Unicorn princess at the heart of a story in which after being subjected to a Love Poison, had her kingdom collapse. At the end of season 2, Princess Cadence was introduced. She was originally conceived as a unicorn, but was made an alicorn due to Executive Meddling. By the end of season 3, Twilight Sparkle, the main protagonist, was also made into an alicorn.
- A popular saying runs, "God made man, but Sam Colt made men equal." Prior to the revolver, handguns were expensive, inefficient, and inaccurate, but Colt managed to develop the relatively inexpensive revolver. The result was personal firearms becoming much more common.
- Nuclear armaments fit into this. During WWII, only a few countries were trying to split the atom. After the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the capability of nuclear weaponry became realized, more and more nations scrambled to get their own nukes ready. Now, there are five nations that openly are accepted to have nuclear weaponsnote , three nations that not-so-secretly have themnote , two more that are making strides to get themnote and one that might have been attempting to start a weapons program in the recent pastnote . And all that's not even getting into the dozens of nations that theoretically could get them at any time if they were willing to put up with the international pressure that would be put on them and the various nations that did have nuclear weapons or a weapons program at some point in the past. Combine that with the constantly decreasing difficulty of building more powerful missiles means that more than a few could have weapons capable of vaporizing cities and those weapons could be fired at targets thousands of kilometers away. Unsurprisingly this means that a lot of nations get very uneasy whenever two or more nuclear-armed nations get into a standoff.
- Really this applies to nearly any technology that people want. Computers, weapons, cars, cell phones... as the cost of making something decreases and the knowledge of the makers increase every technology eventually will lose its rare availability.
- The color purple. Once used as a color for royalty, now a color for just about everyone thanks to cheaper synthetic dyes.
- Aluminum used to be worth more than gold. Refining its ores used to be very difficult, making pure aluminum very rare. The Hall-Héroult process made obtaining pure aluminum much easier and its high price subsequently collapsed.
- When being a person who enjoys a certain thing stops being rare, It's Popular, Now It Sucks is born.