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  • The leaders and other high-ranking dogs are always among the strongest fighters in Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin. Justified by this being how it tends to go in groups of wild animals in real life, too.
  • One Piece:
    • Every leader of organization or group is always stronger than all their subordinates. Even the seemingly frail criminal masterminds like Captain Kuro suddenly whip out amazing martial arts or devil fruit skills. The Marines are all more or less ranked in strength, with the generic guys at the bottom always as weak cannon-fodder and everyone at the top made of pure badass. The only exception to this rule usually comes in the form of anime-only filler arcs, like the Jabba the Hutt-like Commodore Nelson who was so fat he could barely move.
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    • Justified for Wapol and his ministers; as Dr. Kureha says, the only reason the people of Drum Island couldn't rebel against his corrupt policies is due to Wapol's Devil Fruit powers and his ministers' fighting abilities.
    • CP9 arc shows two aversions of the trope. First, some of the most powerful government assassins in the world were led by a guy who was weaker than a common soldier. He's simply the one who hands out directives, and is cowardly and arrogant. He tried to make up for it with his sword-elephant, but Funkfreed didn't amount to muchnote . On the opposite side there's Iceburg, mayor of Water 7 and owner of Galley-La. All his workers even those not in the CP9 agents are certified badasses while Iceburg himself lacks fighting ability but is the best when it comes to building and repairing ships.
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    • Also a notable aversion is Buggy, at least with his current crew. When he was first introduced, he was the strongest member of his original crew. At the end of the Marineford arc, he gains a crew filled with former Impel Down prisoners, each and every single one of them stronger than he is. He was able to recruit them based partly on luck and partly on reputation, as he revealed that before he became a captain he and Shanks were members of the Roger Pirates. He doesn't care that Shanks has become one of the Four Emperors since then, and addresses him so casually that the Impel Down escapees believe Buggy to be just as strong.
      • Interestingly, Oda once noted that Buggy could have become as strong as Shanks if he applied himself.
    • Applies to the protagonists, too: Luffy is the captain and the strongest, Zoro is unofficially the firstmate and the second strongest in the crew.
  • Bleach:
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    • The Gotei 13 is supposed to be ranked according to capability - the higher the rank, the more badass the shinigami becomes. Captains are Nigh Invulnerable, unranked foot soldiers are Cannon Fodder. It is possible to become a captain via Klingon Promotion, but only the 11th Division uses that method, and produces the most powerful captain (called the Kenpachi) underneath the super-powerful Head Captain. Captains have to be good enough to retain that rank, but the rank system really only confirms a shinigami's minimum power level as there two lieutenant-capable shinigami of lower ranks (Ikkaku and Yumichika, both of the 11th Division).
    • Hollows are also ranked according to power, with the Mooks the Cannon Fodder shinigami fight, and power increasing up to the Menos Grande class, which itself is split into three levels of power. The Gillians are the weakest Menos-class hollow, the Adjuchas are the mid-class and the Vasto Lordes are the most powerful, even stronger than captain-class shinigami. Aizen produced the Arrancar from the Menos Grande with the Espada being the most powerful Arrancar (numbered from 1 to 10 or actually 0 to 9 in order of power) and the Privarron (ex-Espada) and Fracciones a level below.
  • In Air Gear, the leader of any given team of Storm Riders is, with only one exception, the most capable of kicking ass.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yami Yugi used to be a pharaoh and Kaiba was his High Priest. In the spin-off Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Jaden is a reincarnated king.
    • Subverted by Abidos III, an ancient pharaoh who was famous for never losing a duel. As it turns out, he's pretty average; his subordinates just lost to him on purpose because he was the pharaoh and they didn't want to make him angry.
  • Samurai Deeper Kyo also uses a military ranking within the Mibu Clan: while Red Shirt cannon fodder are unranked, the protagonists have to fight the Five Planets (Goyosei), comparable to Captains, then the Taishirou (the Four Sages or Stars, who order the Goyosei around), comparable to Gods to the rest of the Mibu Clan, and truly possessing godlike powers, to finish with the former Red King, Nigh Invulnerable, possessing a power far beyond that of a Taishirou, and only remaining clan member to know the truth about the clan, making him a Magnificent Bastard and One-Winged Angel. The twelve generals can also be found in this manga, each possessing power slightly under or on par with a Goyosei's, and although they were created by the Mibu, they were given as henchmen to the evil Oda Nobunaga, who is unsuspectingly controlled by the Mibu.
  • Murder Princess uses it fairly straight; the most powerful swordsman in the kingdom, possessing Implausible Fencing Powers, and the only non-Red Shirt member of the army? The crown-prince, of course... as a matter of fact, the only one who can match him blow for blow, is the titular Princess...
  • In Kiddy Grade, Eclipse is initially believed to be a mere high-ranked administrator and bureaucrat (except for a few hinting flashbacks) until about halfway through the last story arc, she is revealed to possess G-class ES abilities on par with the two lead girls of the series. And it's justified too; her ability is part of the reason ES members can effectively live forever.
  • The Leader of Yamainu is the only one of them who lasts long enough against Akasaka near the end of Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni Kai for him to get serious and reveal his true badassitude. On the other hand, his boss is just a regular woman. She just bought him and his men out.
  • Averted in Hellsing. While Integra is skilled with swords and guns, she's nowhere near as powerful as either of the vampires under her command or her Battle Butler. Enrico Maxwell and Montana Max the Major, despite commanding legions of Church Militant soldiers and Nazi vampires respectively, have little fighting ability at all. Especially the Major, who in one humorous scene is unable to shoot a person standing right in front of him, and when he finally runs out of bullets just tells his underlings to kill the target for him.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • The Führer, King Bradley. Justified by the fact that he's actually a homunculus with superpowers. In his case this was true for the 2003 anime version, where he is the strongest homunculus, Pride. But in Brotherhood, where he is the second strongest, Wrath, all being a homunculus did for him was give him the Ultimate Eye. His skill, strength, and everything else that made him badass were things he worked to achieve.
    • Also Ling Yao and Mei Chang, children of the Emperor of Xing, are expert fighters, with Ling Yao taking on Bradley one handed while holding someone.
      • Both Ling Yao and Mei Chang are justified, in that the Xing Empire is obviously based on ancient Chinese kingdoms, in which the emperor and all potential heirs were required to be good at EVERYTHING in order to be a fair and well-balanced ruler. Ling Yao in particular has had assassination attempts made on him since a young age, making him learn all sorts of dirty tactics and fighting methods in order to survive, so this trope is justified.
    • And don't forget Olivier Mira Armstrong. Her troops' credo? "Survival of the fittest". While her group is probably the most badass people of all army, she tops all of them became the most badass general from all of the generals in Central circle.
    • All State Alchemists are given the Rank of Major, which is a pretty high rank, and given what they can do, it seems pretty fitting for it to be applied to all of them.
    • And then it gets subverted. All of the chief government officials are pansies who get killed by mooks that patient, trained soldiers can handle.
  • The Three Kings of Makai in Yu Yu Hakusho. Raizen, Mukuro, and Yomi control their own parts of Makai, along with vast armies of warriors, and major influence. The strength of the king is the vast majority of the strength of the entire kingdom, meaning the kings are effectively the only worthwhile fighters (Yomi is smart enough realize and take advantage of it by putting together an elite force with the only job of wearing his opponent down in the lead-up to Raizen's death of starvation making war with Mukuro inevitable). It was explained at the end of the third season that a single S class fighter would be more then powerful enough to casually take over the Earth and possibly destroy it (Sensui causing an earthquake by simply letting his true power manifest seems to confirm it), with the same being true for the Spirit World as well (S-class being the qualification assigned to any fighter too strong for the Spirit World's elite to handle)-and as it happens, each of the Three Kings makes a normal S class look tame in comparison. No wonder S class fights never happened on Earth.
  • Members of the royalty and nobility in Crest of the Stars are obligated to service in the Imperial Navy. The higher one's rank, the greater one's responsibility; members of the royalty are at the top of the scale with many decades of required service.
  • Code Geass:
    • The anime subverts this trope and plays it straight. Humongous Mecha pilots in Britannia are called knights and those identified are always some level of nobility. Also there is Lady of War Princess Cornelia. Subverted however in that the ace pilots of the series (Kallen and Suzaku) hold only moderate rank and are not commanders in any sense.
    • It's most notably subverted with Zero himself. Lelouch is an above-average pilot (with average being Mooks and Red Shirts), but he's physically unimpressive, and ultimately gets his ass kicked by anyone with a name. He turns down the Black Knight's first Super Prototype, giving it to Kallen, noting he's the commander and she's the expert. Even when he does pilot Knightmare Frames, he sticks to ones that focus on long-range bombardment because he knows he doesn't have the skills for close-range fighting. Of course, his long range Knightmares have really big guns, so their kills are roughly equivalent.
    • Same goes for Charles, who generally generally hangs out in the capital, while Cornelia handles the actual fighting. And Schneizel, who is an excellent commander, but never wields a gun (bar a single instance) or pilots a Knightmare Frame. On the other hand, even pacifist Euphemia can pilot a Knightmare, and in the DS game, is pretty decent at it, especially with one of the best weapons ever built by Britannia. Sadly, she doesn't keep it once you recruit her.
  • Trinity Blood:You would think a mere Departmental Director would be a middle-aged-man-in-a-suit-with-a-gut type of character. However, if the department in question's the Department Of Inquisition, and the director in question is Brother Petros, that'd be the last mistake you'd ever make.
  • The Meister Otomes (of which the Five Pillars/Columns are a subset) in Mai-Otome are vastly more powerful than the Corals and Pearls underneath them, getting all of the powerful weapons and Robes (and merchandise!). Such positions are usually held by heads of state or members of nobility. Natsuki, headmistress of Garderobe Academy, is also a Meister and one of the Pillars.
  • Somewhat subverted in the Ruby & Sapphire chapter of Pokémon Adventures. While the eight element-master Gym Leaders of Hoenn form the "high council"-type organization that rules and protects the region, the guy actually calling all the shots has never been shown to have any battle prowess - or, for that matter, to own any Pokémon. Although there is some confusion on whether the Champion and Elite Four of Hoenn have any political clout, if they are totally independent from the Pokémon Association and the Gym system, or if they are a kind of last-resort peacekeeping squad under the Association's order.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • Lordgenome manages to give a sound thrashing to and nearly defeats the heroes, something which almost none of his underlings came close to. When his mech Lazengann is ruined, he casually climbs out and fist-fights Lagann with his bare hands, eventually ripping the arms off. One of his direct underlings, Thymilph who is himself (itself?) a leader of many, fatally wounds Kamina. The Anti-Spiral King is the one who has a mech large and powerful enough to fight the heroes' final form ridiculously huge mech equally.
    • Deconstructed in the post-Time Skip human government. The officials are primarily old Team Dai-Gurren members, who showed their ability at asskicking in the war, but when it comes to governance they're generally incompetent. Simon in particular hates the job, the political crap, and would rather be back piloting Gurren Lagann. Rossiu is the only one who seems to thrive in the new order, he's actually good at politics and getting his policies implemented. The trouble is, those policies almost lead to disaster (see Alternate Character Interpretation for why). So the best asskickers got the highest authority, but proved to be totally unable to handle it.
  • Averted in Full Metal Panic!: Mithril is led by military officers who let the privates and NCOs do all the fighting, like in real-life armies. Amalgam is a straighter example, as only people higher up in the ranks get to drive around in Lambda-driver-equipped Codarls — and the true masterminds have even better ones.
  • Giant Robo:
    • Both played straight and averted. The heads of the IPO and Big Fire that we see are all enormous badasses, boasting power beyond any of their underlings. However in an ironic twist they are all eventually handed their asses by two characters both less powerful and lower ranked than them, and who turn out to be the real Big Bad's. (A lot can be said for having a bigger gun than everyone else).
    • Played straight when we meet Big Fire himself, the true leader of the organization which shares his name. The mere sight of him is enough to fill his generals with absolute, paralyzing terror; no small feat considering that most of them are strong enough to decimate armies single handedly.
  • The exorcists in D.Gray-Man are led by generals who earn their ranks by achieving a certain level of synchronization with their Innocence. Outside of the generals, however, the exorcists are not ranked by power, and there are also plenty of technical and ecclesiastical personnel with authority but no fighting ability.
    • The Noah family would bé à straighter justified example. They are Way stronger thanks the akumas (level 1-3 anyways) and have absolute command over them. But none of them are the cause for the other' No, actually, the very fact of being à Noah inherently both allow them to command akumas and make them insanely powerful.
  • Dragon Ball is all over the place with this one.
    • On the one hand, Lord Frieza fits this to a T. But then, Emperor Pilaf, Commander Red, Doctor Gero, and Babidi are all aversions to this trope (with the latter 3 being killed off by their most capable underlings. Piccolo and Vegeta are interesting takes. When Piccolo was once the "Great Demon King" (and for a little bit after) he was roughly comparable to the protagonist, Goku. Ditto Vegeta during his starkly evil "Prince of Saiyans" phase. But the further assimilated into the hero roster they became, the further from their heritage and titles they got, and the further behind our hero they fell. Piccolo, of course, has a shining moment where he is the strongest fighter present... AFTER FUSING WITH GOD. Vegeta, likewise, recaptures some former glory by magically reinstating his old Saiyan Prince persona.
    • In Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Vegeta tries to invoke this trope in a moment of sheer frustration.
      Vegeta: I'm the prince! I'm supposed to be the best by default!
    • Vegeta constantly invokes this trope, at least in the manga. Whereas Piccolo doesn't seem that bothered with being relegated back, Vegeta is completely obsessed with the fact that as a Prince he should be more powerful than Goku. There's literally nothing he doesn't try to become more powerful than Goku (including selling off his soul and willfully condemning himself to Hell. It's only in the fight against Kid Buu, a few pages before the end, that he finally admits that Goku really is better than him.
    • While Piccolo doesn't seem to mind his decline as he becomes more comfortable with heroics, it should be noted that any time he does wish to stand out he has a tendency to invoke his former title (and, thus, this trope) while doing so.
    • The gods of the show don't fair much better. Both Kami, the guardian of Earth, and King Yemma, the judge of the dead, are stronger than Goku when they're first introduced, but he quickly surpasses both of them. Same applies for King Kai, the god of a quarter of the universe. In the anime, the Grand Kai, the god of the Milky Way galaxy, seems to be vastly superior to Goku when he's first introduced, but Goku surpasses him off screen within the span of a few episodes. When Supreme Kai, the god of the whole flippin' universe, is introduced, Goku and many of his cohorts are already superior to him.
    • The Grand Kai is the superior to all the "lower" Kais. By the time Goku went to his planet, he was already stronger than the Grand Kai, he just didn't let this on (although he did say he's been out of practice for three centuries) The Supreme Kai point still stands. Turns out being capable of killing Freeza with a single blow is no longer enough by his introduction.
    • Then there's the Southern Supreme Kai, who's actually stronger than Goku ever canonically got given that he was able to fight evenly with Majin Buu. Too bad Buu surprised and ate him. Also somewhat of an aversion, as he's not the highest ranked of the Kais; that honor goes to the Grand Supreme Kai.
    • Goku did fight with Majin Buu evenly, but his stamina didn't hold up long enough, and actually lasted a lot longer and fared better than the Southern Supreme Kai did (the former had a Heroic Second Wind, in fact). I think it's fair to say that out of the Kais that had ever existed, Goku surpassed all of them.
    • There is (at least) one ultimate authority that Goku has yet to surpass in strength. And that is Lord Beerus: The God of Destruction. He completely toyed with him in his Super Saiyan 3 state, easily beating him. Even Goku ascending to a god himself didn't force more than 70% of his full strength. Then a subversion comes when Beerus mentions the attendant accompanying him, Whis, is even stronger than him. Whis demonstrates this by knocking him into a years-long sleep at the end of the movie.
    • Beerus' twin brother Champa, the God of Destruction of Universe 6, is only a little weaker than his brother due to his laziness and being out of shape. And his attendant Vados is likewise stronger than he is.
    • Played absolutely straight with Zen-O, the Top God and King of the Dragonball multiverse. He's also the one being that Beerus and Champa are terrified of ticking off, and according to Beerus, he's so powerful he could destroy the entire multiverse in an instant if he desired to.
    • One subversion of this is Jiren from Dragon Ball Super where despite being far more powerful than all other Pride Troopers combined, possibly even stronger than a God of Destruction, he is not the leader of the team, rather he is a subordinate of Toppo, leader of the Pride Troopers. He seemed to be content in following both Toppo and Belmod's orders without question.
  • Utawarerumono is a source of both good examples and aversions. The protagonist and emperor Hakuoro is a badass fighter who can also turn into a giant monster. Samurai General Benawi is likewise among the best fighters in the series. Kuya, ruler of Kunnekamun, is a little girl with an unstoppable Humongous Mecha. However, the first emperor killed by Hakuoro (by Benawi actually) was a pathetic coward with no means of self-defense.
  • Najica Blitz Tactics generally averts this. Most of the time, Najica's target and main opponent is someone's Dragon — a Humaritt — while their "masters" are utterly helpless in a fight. However, at the very end, they play it straight with a rare Mad Scientist example — Dr. Ren, creator of the Humaritts, displays superhuman physical strength, and goes Guns Akimbo with Golden Handguns! Okay, so maybe she's not on the same level as her Kill Sat-controlling, Gatling-gun-wielding Dragon... or is she?
  • Zigzagged in the Naruto universe.
    • It's rather unclear and somewhat self-contradictory whether becoming a Kage of one of the five great ninja villages is supposed to be based on one's fitness to lead or one's relative strength. At the very least, character does matter; Orochimaru, despite his immense abilities, was disqualified from becoming the Fourth Hokage because the Third (correctly) felt that he was too power-hungry. It also doesn't hurt if the candidate is a relative and/or student of the previous Kage, since at least the daimyos seem to consider tradition to be incredibly important.
    • The principle of having the leader be the biggest badass also seems to hold for minor villages, samurai nations, and any other ninja-run organization; Hidden Rain's leader, Hanzo, was so powerful that the Sannin became famous for (among other things) merely surviving a fight against him.
  • None of the civilian mermaids we see in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch ever even get to fight, only the princesses.
  • The manga version of Chrono Crusade both subverts this trope and plays it straight. Duke Daffau is the Leader of the Pursuers (something like a demon military, police and FBI all in one), and renowned for being a powerful fighter—as Chrono says, "The best of the best!" But although he is shown to be very powerful, he's bested by another fighter (albeit partially because of superior tactics), the leader of the Sinners, Aion. There's quite a bit of evidence that Aion is the most powerful demon out there (although Chrono is close, if not equal, in power). There's also a lot of talk of demons having "ranks", which heavily is implied to be both their place on the hierarchy and how powerful they are—basically, demons have a higher position in their government and society when they're more powerful fighters.
  • The Shogun, aka Masaomi Kida in Durarara!! exemplifies this trope in bad way.
    If there was a major flaw in Horada's plan, it would have been that he had completely underestimated the Shogun. He had dismissed the Shogun as an opportunist leader. But even if that was the case, the Yellow Scarves would still have had gathered around the Shogun for a reason - he was a strong fighter. He had probably taken on several gangs single-handedly by now.
  • Black Jack 21 featured a particularly inexplicable example - a woman who had previously appeared to be nothing more than a trophy-wife with a pretty face, suddenly turned into a crack shot, hitting several small, remote targets with a handgun, under highly unfavorable circumstances. There's no indication that she ever had any combat- or firearms-training, but she DID just take over her father's Ancient Conspiracy Organization, so...
  • Legend of Galactic Heroes:
    • Reinhard von Lohengramm always fights at the frontlines despite being the most important person in the universe, and if necessary he can also fight well in person. This happens out of his own conviction, but it's also a reason why he's such an incredibly popular leader: he doesn't hide behind his soldiers while giving out hypocritical speeches about the need of sacrifices.
    • A number of Reinhard admirals are decent combatant themselves, with Reuenthal getting in combat with two One-Man Armies (not at the same time) and not only living, but capturing one.
    • Ovlesser. During the Imperial Civil War, troops from Reinhard's faction boarded the station he commanded, and he personally drove back the invaders axe in hand, eight times. He's the guy Reuenthal captured.
    • On the Alliance side, Walter von Schönkopf. A general, he's so good that surviving a fight with him is a badge of badassery (he's the One-Man Army that Reuenthal survived by fending him off long enough for his reinforcements to show up). He's been ambushed only for the ambusher to recognize him and run. Even mortally wounded he's unbelievably badass.
    • Subverted with Yang Wenli: while a magnificent commander who has no hesitation in bringing his flagship where danger is, he's actually pathetic at fighting.
  • Dark Oak, the leader of the Meterex in season 3 of Sonic X. The guy managed to beat SUPER SONIC in a fight. Curiously, he doesn't really do anything else.
  • Yurippe, the leader of SSS, is one of the most competent fighter in the series. Same goes for Student Council President and the vice president, Angel and Naoi, who is more or less Nigh Invulnerable killing machine and a Guns Akimbo sharp shooter, respectively.
  • In Burn Up! Scramble, the Director spends most of the series as Mission Control for the Team Warrior Amazon Brigade. When she actually comes out to fight, she spends most of it handing the girls their asses.
  • The third season of Shakugan no Shana shows us what many of the leaders can do once they get serious.
  • In Medaka Box, Medaka is the president of the 99th Student Council and one of the most powerful characters in the series. Inverted by the 100th Student Council. Student Council president Zenkichi claims he is the weakest member of the council. The General Secretary is the strongest one.
  • This trope varies in Black Lagoon. On the one hand, you have characters such as Mr. Chang, Dutch, and Balalaika who are the heads of their groups, and are certainly in the upper echelons of the series lethality tiers. On the other hand, the Colombian Cartel and Sicilian Mafia heads are basically mere mooks, and lower level characters such as Robert and Fabiola (Maids) and Ginji (street vendor) are more than capable of taking out multiple mooks by themselves.
  • In Pandora Hearts, the titular organization Pandora subverts this since, even though members of the four most influential Dukedoms are the only ones allowed to contract the Black Winged Birds (who are some of the most powerful Chains in existence), Duke Oscar Vessalius is not a contractor and still well-respected. The Baskervilles, however, play this straight: before the Tragedy of Sablier, they were the only ones allowed to contract Chains, and their master Glen Baskerville was to contract all five Black Winged Birds before he could get his status of leader.
  • Rosario + Vampire: Kuyou, the then-head of Yokai Academy's corrupt Student Police, was able to outmatch Inner Moka and defeat her with relative ease. Keep in mind that, up until that point, Inner Moka was a borderline Invincible Hero who was essentially guaranteed to curb-stomp the Monster of the Week in at most a minute.
  • In Green Worldz, Akira presumes that the female human hybrid who leads the silkworm moth pack is weak since she is hiding behind her bugs and commanding from a safe distance. However he was proven wrong at the end when she survived a killing blow to the head & commented that she is stronger than all of her pets combined. She proceeds to knock Akira out with just one finger blow.
  • Averted in The Heroic Legend of Arslan. Though Arslan is a competent fighter on his own, those in his group like Daryun, Gieve and Farangis, are better fighters.
  • In K, those who are kings are stronger than their clansman and any other king's clansman. As seen in the series, if there was a fight between a king and a non-king, the king would immediately wipe the floor with them.
  • Fairy Tail: As a rule, the Guild Masters and the Magic Council. Though not so much for certain council members, who are Non Action Guys.
    • Subverted by the Oración Seis. The leader, Brain, actually goes down pretty easy; the actual strongest member is Midnight. Or not, as it's revealed Brain has a Superpowered Evil Side named Zero, who is both their strongest member and named explicitly as their true Master.
    • This is also subverted with Makarov, as while he is powerful the actual strongest member of Fairy Tail is Gildarts. Later on, several others like Laxus and Natsu are all but stated to have surpassed Makarov as well by the series' end.
    • Sting is a subversion as well. While he was able to gain the position of Sabertooth's Master after blowing a hole through Jiemma's chest in a fit of Unstoppable Rage, several of Sabertooth's elites are still his equal (fellow Twin Dragon Rogue) or even superior (Minerva), and later on when he fought a demonized Jiemma he only won with a Combination Attack with Rogue. At least until he ate Rogue's Shadow Dragon Slayer magic and unlocked White Shadow Dragon Mode to gain a powerup against his strongest foe in Larcade.
  • This is generally the rule with Ghoul Investigators in Tokyo Ghoul. The top two ranks are reserved for the most distinguished individuals in the organization, while the vast majority either die or retire without ever earning such an illustrious position. As such, anyone that is an Associate Special Class or Special Class is going to be an One-Man Army. The only exception is the Rank 3 Investigators, individuals hand-picked by the organization's Chairman and given a back-door entrance into service.
  • Dino Geist, the leader of the Geisters in Brave Exkaiser is definitely this. His minions are Laughably Evil idiots who the Kaisers can normally handle without combining into their more powerful forms. Dino Geist? The heroes have trouble harming him after combining, he's far more competent, and is durable enough to tank a city killing meteor and survive.
  • In the anime, InuYasha, you see it several times. It begins with Naraku. He is the great villain of the plot. And although he is a half-youkai, he has many "lower youkai" as his followers. And they are so weak that each of the protagonists can defeat them easily. Naraku recreates later "descendants". While these are clearly stronger than the lower yokai, but still weaker than Naraku himself.
    • A youkai named Gatenmaru has posed as a human, and became the leader of a group of bandits. He was a youkai, but the bandits were just ordinary humans, and thus much weaker than he.
    • Later in the series we see the ninja youkai Hoshiyomi. He has four more ninja yokai gathered around him, but they are much weaker than he.
    • The daiyoukai Taigokumaru is a bat-youkai. And he is much stronger than any other bat-youkai who fight against the protagonists.
    • Koga is probably the strongest of the wolf-youkai, and he is the leader of an great pack, and also one of the strongest fighters in the series. However, it is inverted with Ayame. She comes from another wolf-pack, and there is not the leader, but still stronger as the most common wolf-youkai.
      • In fact, the wolf-youkai appear to be more or less strong, depending on how the plot it takes. Perhaps there is an inconsistency of Rumiko Takahashi.
    • The Panther-Devas themselves are quite strong youkai, but their leader, the undead Panther-King, is a daiyoukai and much stronger than they.
    • Menomaru was a powerful youkai from China. But all his subordinates were much weaker than he. Many of them were also "lower youkai".
    • Izumo/Gyu-oh was also the leader of a group of youkai, although he himself was a half-youkai. Inuyasha defeated the youkai in the fight quickly, but Gyu-oh was a much stronger opponent for him, and also very smart.
  • In the anime Claymore the awakened being Isley gathered an army of awakened beings under his command. And he was by far the strongest of them, because when he was a warrior, he had the highest rank in his generation, the number one.
    • Riful, which is also an awakened being, and as a female warrior was the number one, also tries to create an army of awakened beings, but this is prevented by the protagonists. However, she and her "husband" Dauf, have several yoma under their command. And yoma are much weaker than awakened beings, even if these were not as a warrior of single-digit-rank.
    • If an awakened being is fought, a group of female warriors is usually sent that are leaded of the female warrior, which has the highest rank, and thus is the strongest.
  • In Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle, the royalty and nobility tend to be the focus of the action while commoners make up the Mooks and Red Shirts. This is due to the upper classes having control of the distribution of Drag-Rides, the Mini-Mecha that are used to fight in the setting, with almost all users of the powerful Divine Drag-Rides being royals or nobles. There may also be a genetic component, as compatibility for Drag-Rides seems to be inherited to some extent.
  • Sailor Moon 00 examples:
    • Sailor Venus is the leader of the Inner Senshi, and when she appears she's the strongest Sailor Senshi by far. She's quickly surpassed by Sailor Moon (that the Inners guard), but she remains the most formidable of the Inners (and, when pissed, a terrifying danger for everyone, including Sailor Moon) for the whole series.
    • Sailor Moon is the heroes' leader, and by the end of the third season is the strongest as well.
    • Among the villains the leader is always the most powerful, with Galaxia being flat-out the strongest enemy ever faced and only surpassed by Chaos.

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