Needs Help (Titles Crowner 7/6): Shonen Upgrade

Deadlock Clock: 24th May 2013 11:59:00 PM
Total posts: [68]
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Shonen Upgrade is defined as follows:

Even though the definition says "Shonen Upgrade is a common trope in, well, Shonen series" there seems to be no readily apparent reason to think that this trope would be limited to or originates from Shonen works, Anime and Manga, or Japanese Media in general.

Therefore the name does not appear to be justified. Also, given the rather broad definition of the trope, its use appears to be stunted by the overly specific and needlessly Japanese name. There are only about seven examples on the page not from Anime and Manga. There are also only about 122 wicks, most of them being on anime.

I propose that we need to do the following.

  1. Decide on a clear, concise definition for this trope that does not overly depend on simply listing a bunch of other tropes.
  2. Determine if there is is in fact a reason for this to be limited to Japanese Media.
  3. Decide if we need to rename the trope.
2 SeptimusHeap17th Mar 2013 09:58:08 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
I agree on a rename. Even knowing what the term "shonen" means, I do not get the trope from it.
Petting Zoo Person
I'm sure I've seen this in Power Rangers and several RPGs, probably a couple Western cartoons as well. We need a new description and name.

Heroic Upgrade is the first name that springs to mind for me, but that might be going in the direction of making it sound too vague.
I must be cruel, but to be kind
That bad may begin, and worse be left behind
4 shimaspawn17th Mar 2013 11:10:40 AM from Here and Now , Relationship Status: In your bunk
What differentiates this from New Powers as the Plot Demands and Power Creep? We also need to nail that down as part of defining it.

This seems to be a sort of exponential power growth.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
5 SeptimusHeap17th Mar 2013 11:18:39 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
New Powers as the Plot Demands is when the "upgrade" comes as an Ass Pull or otherwise arbitrarily. Power Creep is apparently limited to multi-players and with added content.
I think this shows why it's generally not a good idea to name tropes after the genre they're commonly found in.
7 Noaqiyeum17th Mar 2013 06:26:22 PM from the October Country , Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
The it-thingy
[up][up] That makes it sound like removing negativity from New Powers as the Plot Demands would broaden it enough to encompass this as well.
Anyone who looks dangerous is dangerous.

Anyone who doesn't look dangerous is dangerous and sneaky.
8 SeptimusHeap18th Mar 2013 12:12:18 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Ass Pull and "Upgrade" do not really overlap, I feel.
Raven Wilder
What about just Power-Up?

EDIT: Oh, that's already a trope.

edited 18th Mar '13 1:32:21 AM by RavenWilder

"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
10 RJSavoy19th Mar 2013 04:48:05 PM from Edinburgh , Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
The reason it was named after the genre is that whilst it certainly happens in Western superpower-based shows, in shonen it is expected as a convention. The hero is up against a more powerful enemy and must get better. Japanese Spirit explains it a bit.

Which leads me to the question: should the trope be about any single upgrade, or only cover shows where they happen regularly? (Say once a season at least.)

Also, villains can get upgrades (otherwise you need a matching supply of new ones). Could this trope cover them too, or is there a qualitative difference?
11 SeptimusHeap20th Mar 2013 04:46:27 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
The trope is more about the upgrade than the numbers of upgrades. Villains don't really look like examples of this trope.
A shounen upgrade is one part of the three-part system of fighting/sports anime:

  1. A challenge or opponent who is advantaged or seemingly undefeatable.
  2. Training to defeat that opponent.
  3. Gaining a new power/ability to defeat that person, often coupled with a physical transformation to symbolize a new level of growth.

That's the entire concept, summed up.
Seems pretty close to Took a Level in Badass and Time to Unlock More True Potential, though the former is less specific (anyone getting stronger, regardless of how important they are or whether it makes much difference) and the latter moreso (the formula King Zeal [up] posted, but excluding powers granted by an external source).

edited 20th Mar '13 11:10:11 AM by Prime32

Userstyle for the new site (v2.5): TVTropes 1.3 - Wide and Colorful
Mid-Season Upgrade is another seemingly identical trope that also claims to be specific to an anime genre. Merge?
Mid-Season Upgrade has better wicks, but not quite as many inbounds. I wouldn't be opposed to a merge.
Are you guys even reading the descriptions? They are completely different tropes.

Shonen Upgrade is when the hero finds a new level of power, often in the form a transformation or Super Mode, that lets them deal with a threat or challenge.

Mid-Season Upgrade is when the hero starts out as an invincible juggernaut, and the Big Bad makes his normal mooks stronger to compensate.
In many such cases, the series starts with the protagonist mecha so powerful that no enemy unit can stop them, then to get some balance the enemy catches on eventually and creates weapons powerful enough that defeating them gets virtually impossible. Finally, the heroes get their upgrades to devastate their enemies and restores their superiority.

It goes both ways, for heroes and villains. Sounds like a broader version of Shounen Upgrade to me.
18 AnotherDuck20th Mar 2013 07:03:26 PM from Stockholm , Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
I'm not really seeing a significant difference between Time to Unlock More True Potential and Shonen Upgrade. They both follow a similar pattern and have similar effects on the plot.

[up][up]No need to attack people.
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19 SeptimusHeap21st Mar 2013 04:46:55 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
I agree on merging Time to Unlock More True Potential and Shonen Upgrade.

Mid-Season Upgrade needs its mecha references removed, but if it's a villain trope it should be kept separate, or narrowed down to it.
So Last Season and My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours are also related, though the latter is more of an attitude.

edited 21st Mar '13 7:55:23 AM by Prime32

Userstyle for the new site (v2.5): TVTropes 1.3 - Wide and Colorful
I'm seeing a difference between Time to Unlock More True Potential and Shonen Upgrade, though it's hard to figure out because the page quote on the former is misleading.

Time to Unlock More True Potential is the moment in which a character can no longer improve themselves or with the help of familiar training/trappings. The world they live in is too small to contain them now, so they need to move on and find that guru in the mountains, or the legendary hero who walks the Earth, or that old master in the Dagobah system to expand their growth. That's directly what the description says and what the examples imply.

By comparison, Shonen Upgrade seems to be a Super Trope for any named or clearly differentiated ability that signifies that a hero has achieved a new level of power to persevere over a current problem. Doesn't matter if it's a Super Mode, a new attack, or becoming a different being altogether.

In other words, Time to Unlock More True Potential seems to be a storyarc or a subplot within a greater work. Shonen Upgrade may or may not be what results from it.
22 AnotherDuck22nd Mar 2013 06:58:39 AM from Stockholm , Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Your explanation in #12 suggests at least a subplot, though.
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As I said, it's part of one, in the same way that the Final Battle is part of a plot, but you couldn't really call it a plot in itsself.
This entry for Bleach seems to signify the most important aspect of the Shonen Upgrade to me:

Shinigami in Bleach have 3 forms to their Zanpakuto, "Unreleased", "Shikai", and "Bankai". Ichigo starts unreleased, loses his powers, skips straight to Shikai upon regaining his powers, and later gains Bankai through a pure Shonen Upgrade moment. In addition, Ichigo's Hollow powers are a similar example, powers acquired, not through training, but by dramatic need, usually after being stabbed.

bold for emphasis.

The main distinction from New Powers as the Plot Demands would be the non-asspull nature of it. And the focus on in-universe perspective.

It's not mentioned in the description, but another feature of most Shonen Upgrades (at least all the examples i can remember) would be it's part in character growth. It's not only a means to defeat the villain or overcome whatever threat is looming, it's about the personal growth of the character in question. The Upgrade is a part of the character's ongoing arc, often with the character's entire power set partially changing with the character's development.

I think this is something that should be included in a cleared up description of Shonen Upgrade.

I do also agree with renaming Shonen Upgrade, but not with merging.

P.S. To build on the Star Wars example, Luke's sudden reliance on The Force rather than the guidance computers to make the final shot at the Death Star in episode IV, is a fine example of suddenly achieveing mastery of a new ability in the situation which needs it most, concluding a part of character development for Luke. Said ability (and indeed his entire status as a Jedi) is showcased heavily in the next film, but is heavily outclassed by Darth Vader. This is a good (untraditional but no less correct) example of Shonen Upgrade, while not at all being an example of New Powers as the Plot Demands
25 AnotherDuck22nd Mar 2013 11:01:47 PM from Stockholm , Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
So, what we have here is a mess of a lot of related tropes. Sorting them roughly in an items-powers-plots order. Additionally, the bolded tropes rely on or affect the Sorting Algorithm of Evil.

Did I leave any out? And what in the list is wrong?

edited 22nd Mar '13 11:03:03 PM by AnotherDuck

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Alternative Titles: Shonen Upgrade
6th Jul '13 1:20:01 AM
Vote up names you like, vote down names you don't. Whether or not the title will actually be changed is determined with a different kind of crowner (the Single Proposition crowner). This one just collects and ranks alternative titles.
At issue:
Previous crowner decided to make this not Japan-specific and to rename this.

Total posts: 68
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