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Better Than New

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"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
T. Bert Lance, Jimmy Carter's Director of the Office of Management and Budget

But, on the other hand, if something is busted up and you already have to fix it, why settle for making it as good as new, when you can make it Better Than New?

This trope has been around for ages, takes many forms and can be applied to many classes of objects (or people).

The end result is generally that what once was not working (or broken) is now back and better than before it the problems arose. Typical gains are anywhere from a ten percent to a ten thousand percent improvement. The change is usually permanent.

This is a super-trope to things like Came Back Strong, We Can Rebuild Him, Stolen Good, Returned Better, to some degree Turns Red or One-Winged Angel and often Reforged Blade.

Compare with Status Buff, which may give a temporary bonus to The Hero but it wears off and he generally reverts to "normal" afterward. In some cases, the change is permanent but the initial effect is transitory until they learn to control their new power reliably.

Cases where someone tries to make something better than new (often with comically catastrophic results) may be a case of Tim Taylor Technology. If something doesn't work, all it needs is More Power (beware of Explosive Overclocking)!


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • This is a trope used repeatedly throughout the run, mostly in regard to Saiyans. When they are severely injured, they become stronger once they've fully recovered, which is the primary reason why Goku and Vegeta become as obscenely powerful as they do (the other half of it being Training from Hell).
    • Cell surviving his own self-destruction and returning stronger than ever is a textbook example, as he gains an enhanced version of his perfect form; the same one that Gohan had beaten out of him just prior.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Yusuke appears to be dead, however he eventually wakes up better than new as his demonic half awakens.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Fiction 
  • A Growing Affection has a couple after the Rescue Naruto arc.
    • Shino loses his leg to the Three-Tails. It is replaced with a special colony of Aburame beetles that work just as well as his original leg and can be used like his other insects if he needs to. And that is before he teaches them to carry back-up weapons and perform an extending kick.
    • Thanks to the Akatsuki's attempt to remove the Nine-Tails, the Fox ends up merging with Naruto instead. The result? Naruto is now has the abilities of his four tails cloak all the time, without the drawbacks.
  • In Intrepid, Bryce triggered as a result of his sister's death and his parents being useless, becoming a Tinker who specializes in this. Everything he builds is better than before, scaling until he runs out of resources.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Inspector Gadget (1999): John Brown is an average Joe security guard at Bradford Labs until Sanford Scolex raids the lab, resulting in a confrontation that leaves Brown with a broken body. Brown is re-built into a better than new, if bumbling, cyborg detective: Inspector Gadget. Gadget has all sorts of technology and comedic gadgets built into his rebuilt body.
  • Kung Fu Hustle: The Hero gets fully healed (and becomes much more powerful than before) because being beaten so bad by the Big Bad turned out to awaken his Chi.
  • The Matrix: After he gets killed by Agent Smith, Neo becomes The One and gets much more powerful than before because of being beaten by Big Bad which was prophesied earlier, in passing, by The Oracle when she remarked " looks like you're waiting for something... your next life, maybe".
  • The repaired and upgraded Gipsy Danger in Pacific Rim. This trope's exact name is also the title of a song in the soundtrack.
  • RoboCop (1987): After officer Alex Murphy is pronounced dead, OCP takes his remains and effectively resurrects him using cybernetic / robotic technology into the Nigh-Invulnerable cyborg police officer RoboCop. Not only do they "fix" him, they make him about 1000% better. Granted, he ostensibly loses his memory in the process, but that eventually wears off.

  • In the BattleTech novel Measure of a Hero, the main character's Penetrator battlemech had been nearly destroyed in combat prior to the start of the story, but he'd been allowed to rebuild it with Clan weaponry, giving it a huge boost to its damage and range and making it much deadlier than it was originally (and the Penetrator is considered a very good mech).
  • In Durarara!!, Shizuo Heiwajima has noticed that he seems to be prone to this: not only was he never crippled by his constant, severe childhood injuries like other people would be, but he'd always come out of them stronger than he was before.
  • In The Emperor's Soul, this practice is considered a vital part of a forger's arsenal. When you must leave a copy of something behind you, make the copy better than the original, so that there's less reason for the mark to reject it out of hand. Shai demonstrates it thrice during the story: the first time with her desk (making it a better version of itself), the second time with the rest of her room (slowly redecorating and remodeling her cell until it's nicer than the emperor's quarters), and the third time with the titular soul itself.
  • Done accidentally by Aziraphale in Good Omens, replacing Anathema's simple gearless velocipede with a more modern, geared bicycle. He corrects his mistake after she points it out to him.
  • In Machine Man, the protagonist Dr. Charles Neumann does this to himself. After accidentally amputating his leg, he designs a robotic prosthesis that he considers superior in every important regard. Things do not go entirely to plan.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Bionic Woman: Jaime's chute fails on a parachuting date with The Six Million Dollar Man and she suffers catastrophic injuries. He convinces his boss to authorize bionic replacement surgery to restore Jaime's destroyed legs, right arm and right ear.
  • Done accidentally by Aziraphale in Good Omens (2019), replacing Anathema's simple gearless velocipede with a more modern, geared bicycle. He corrects his mistake after it is pointed out to him.
  • At the beginning of Kamen Rider BLACK RX, the new Big Bad breaks Black's Kingstone, his Transformation Trinket and the source of his power, and throws him into space, causing him to come crashing to Earth like a meteor. However, as Kamen Rider Black is the 'Child Of the Sun', being exposed directly to the sun repairs his broken Kingstone and revives him as the far more powerful Black RX.
  • Kitchen Nightmares: Applies a similar principle to Pimp My Ride when trying to resurrect failing, insolvent restaurants, making them over into high-class fine dining establishments that are far better than new. Sadly, the effects are sometimes transitory, or the businesses are in such bad shape that they go out of business anyway.
  • Pimp My Ride: Xzibit and the crew at West Coast Customs take in viewers' Alleged Cars and turn them into better than new Cool Cars, even though they often end up being Awesome, but Impractical. In similar fashion, Overhaulin' takes a similar approach, except that the mark is unaware their beater is being overhauled until they're reunited with their car during some contrived comedic setup.
  • Power Rangers: In several seasons, the existing Zords were So Last Season, and so got defeated and/or blown up by The Man Behind the Man and were then rebuilt into more powerful better than new versions.
  • The Six Million Dollar Man: Seriously injured in a test flight, former astronaut Austin is given bionic replacements for his legs, his right arm, and one eye, leaving him with superhuman speed and strength and telescopic vision. He can run more than 60 MPH, jump several stories, see objects from miles away and in the dark, and lift impossible weights (the latter without the addition of a bionic spine).

    Video Games 
  • Downplayed in Flash Element 2. If the self-healing critters are permitted to heal all the way, they end up with exactly one hit point more than the "maximum" they started with.

  • In Girl Genius, the Heterodynes' famous constructs Punch and Judy were torn apart by Von Pinn early in the series. Gilgamesh Wulfenbach not only repaired them, he improved them. Punch for one gained the ability to talk (quite eloquently too). What's even more amazing is that the two gained the ability to have children — they are now the proud parents of a rambunctious little girl.
  • The villain shatters Roy's sword the first time they meet in The Order of the Stick, in order to demonstrate that even with a temporary undead-killing enchantment on it the fight is still hopeless for Roy. This naturally leads to a Side Quest where Roy obtains a piece of star metal to reforge the broken blade into a proper undead-killing weapon (complete with green flame effect whenever it activates).