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Breaking Old Trends

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So you've got yourself a Long Runner, and one that's remarkably still popular enough to go on for some time to come. You couldn't be happier except... don't things seem to be a bit stale now? Sure, you've made some refinements here and there to the plot, the characters, and even the gameplay. But overall? The last major shake-up in your franchise or work was years ago, and the fans are starting to notice. Criticisms of It's the Same, Now It Sucks! are starting to be thrown towards you, and you aren't exactly fond of that. As a creator, what can you do the solve this problem? Why, change the series formula of course!

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Breaking Old Trends refers to exactly that: when the creators of a work decide to reinvigorate it by rethinking some of the more long-standing elements in it and changing some of them to make it seem fresh again. If the main characters usually spend a book hanging around a City of Adventure, perhaps the reader picks up a new installment that has them suddenly Walking the Earth in search of action. If someone's favourite video game series has been getting more and more linear, they may discover the next entry to be a Wide-Open Sandbox. If your favourite show has a penchant for ending each season in the same way, then prepare to be caught off guard by a Meta Twist. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but at the end of the day, the creators are trying something new (be it major or minor) while also trying to maintain what made their work well-liked to begin with.

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While the presence of this trope can just as often be a one-time thing to surprise the audience, it can also lead to the new idea becoming a mainstay element of the series in its own right, resulting in the old trend it was breaking becoming an example of Early Installment Weirdness that could end up being revisited further down the line. If it ends up becoming a permanent fixture rather late into the series' lifespan, it can become a case of Later Installment Weirdness.

Due to its nature of breaking established, unspoken rules within a work, this trope should only apply to works within their third installments or further. After all, the creators are still trying to figure what the formula actually is when making the second entry.

Compare Retool, Genre Shift and Franchise Codifier. Contrast Strictly Formula. See also Formula-Breaking Episode, where usual formula is dropped for a certain installment.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Monster Musume: Out of all the girls, Lala does the least fanservice, doesn't have a nickname for Kimihito, and doesn't try to pursue him because she's fine with the fact that she'll have him forever once he dies.
  • Pokémon: The Series, for all its tendencies to patterns, is not above breaking them from time to time.
    • The first four Pokemon movies each had an opening theme sequence which used a remix of the then current opening theme from the show. The 5th movie broke this trend by having the opening be another remix of "Mezasei Pokemon Master" instead of the 5th opening "Ready Go". The following 6th movie broke the trend further by having no opening theme song at all, and since then the opening themes have been more sporadic with the movies.
    • Due to Hoenn bringing an end to the "original" series, this region is where you start to notice the first notable breaks to certain trends.
      • After wearing the same outfit for the Kanto, Orange Islands, and Johto arcs, Ash has a new outfit. It would be the default trend to switch up Ash's clothes for every new series.
      • In both Kanto and Johto, Ash caught the three regional starters. Starting with Hoenn, the starters were divided between him and his companions, and Ash wouldn't end up obtaining all three again until Unova.
      • May is the first companion to be given her own separate Myth Arc with consistent focus, with her Contest arc alternating alongside Ash's badge quest and Battle Frontier trek.
      • Hoenn is the first series where the core cast is made up of more than three people by adding a Tagalong Kid.
      • This is the first region where Ash only starts off with just Pikachu instead of bringing over his current team from previous arcs, as in the Orange Island and Johto arcs. Starting with the Unova arc, it would be the standard procedure from then on once a new generation of Pokémon is launched.note 
      • When it comes to Ash's regional birds, a lot of people felt that Pidgeotto and Noctowl weren't given much to do. Swellow on the other hand went on to being one of the biggest contributors to his Pokémon team.
      • In Japan, the series would actually begin to change titles for each generation starting with Hoenn, after being just known as Pocket Monsters for the Kanto, Orange Islands, and Johto arcs.
    • Streaks that were broken in Sinnoh.
      • Ash finally catches a pseudo legendary Pokémon, or at least a member of its line.
      • Sinnoh was also the first series where another Pokémon shared the spotlight with Ash's Pikachu as the series mascot. This being Dawn's Piplup, who spent almost all of his time outside of his Pokéball.
      • Similarly, Piplup's promotion to mascot status reflects his trainer's status as Ash's co-lead, as Dawn was the first companion to receive near equal focus to Ash (to the point where in the Japanese openings, her name is mentioned alongside Ash's in the opening summary). The only other companion to be treated with so much importance is Goh, who was introduced over a decade later.
      • This saga is noticeably more story-driven than the previous ones, with more Call-Backs and ongoing plot threads that build up throughout the series.
      • At first, the English dub movie openings used extended versions of the most recently released anime season theme song that came out before each movie. Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai on the other hand didn't reuse the English dub's Diamond and Pearl theme from Season 10, but instead used a brand new theme called We Will Be Heroes.
      • The English dub opening for DP: Battle Dimension (Season 11) actually breaks two trends. It's the first English opening to include opening credits, and its theme song, We Will Be Heroes, wasn't a newly introduced seasonal theme, but was instead a remix of the opening theme from the Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai film that aired beforehand.
      • Sinnoh is the first region where Ash participates in a Full Battle outside of the Pokemon League, which he has against Paul at Lake Acuity.
      • Previously, the Pokémon League Conference were held in locations that existed in the game. For the Kanto and Hoenn Leagues, they were in the locations where the player fought the Elite Four and the Champion. For Johto, it was held on Mt. Silver, where the Bonus Boss battle against Red was. For Sinnoh however, it was an anime original location and nowhere near where the Elite Four and Champion were fought in the games. In fact, future league tournaments never took place where the final battles of the game's main storyline took place.
      • Previous arc conclusions had Ash learn of another region and deciding to go there following his return to Pallet Town. The Sinnoh arc was the first arc to not mention anything of the next generation of games, with Ash just returning to Pallet Town.
    • The Unova arc broke some notable trends. In particular:
      • Ever since their introduction in the 2nd episode of Kanto, it was a given to have the Team Rocket trio make an appearance in every episode, even if it's just a small 30-second cameo. This trend is finally broken in the 16th Unova episode where they don't make any appearances whatsoever.
      • In addition, Unova plays Team Rocket as jarringly more competent arc villains who often put up a much better fight against Ash and co and frequently evade their "blasting off" Running Gag, as well as letting Giovanni and the rest of the organization have involvement. While their breakaway from comic relief naturally doesn't last, the trio dabble with being Not So Harmless Villains more often following this.
      • Since Kanto Ash either had Misty or Brock traveling alongside him, with Johto being the only other region he had both. Unova was the first region where neither of them were among his companions.
      • The Nurse Joys and Officer Jennys of Unova have new looks compared to the ones in previous regions. Future regions will have their own distinct looks for both of them as well. Furthermore, Joys in Unova don't have Chanseys assisting them, but Audino, with later regions having a different assistant Pokémon from then on.
      • With every League tournament Ash either improved or stayed on par in terms of performance. However, in the Unova League, he ended up Best of 8, vs Best of 4 in Sinnoh.
      • Unova is the only region where Ash never has a proper 6-on-6 Full Battle. His Unova League battle against Cameron was intended to be one, but thanks to Cameron's absentmindedness, he accidentally handicaps himself by only bringing 5 Pokemon instead.
      • Unova was the first region where Ash doesn't encounter the regional villain team until after completing the league, where they got a short arc dedicated to them.
      • Usually there's a few breather episodes between major arcs/series. However, after finishing the Unova League and taking care of Team Plasma, there is a twenty episode long filler arc about Ash getting home from Unova and setting up his journey to Kalos.
    • Kalos broke several streaks.
      • First region where Ash doesn't catch the Grass-type starter. He doesn't even catch a Grass-type at all in Kalos.
      • The previous example actually breaks another trend where Ash had some sort of variation of the Fire/Water/Grass trio throughout the previous 5 generations. The lack of catching a Grass-type in Kalos finally broke this tradition.
      • First evolution of a Water-type starter, as well as a Water-type Pokémon finally evolving ever since way back in Kanto when Krabby evolved.
      • First generation where Ash doesn't cross-dress.
      • Talonflame did not learn Flamethrower like all the rest of his Fire-types.
      • First region where all of Ash's Pokémon (save for Pikachu, of course) fully evolve.
      • First region where Ash does not reunite with an old companion from the previous region's journey. Cilan did appear, but it was in a post-epilogue episode meaning he only met Clemont and Bonnie.
      • Kalos also broke a trend involving the villains, namely that they didn't target either one of the initial cover legendaries, but rather the third Legendary Pokémon connected to them.
      • The trainer who beat Ash at the League, Alain, also broke some trends. He became the first rival Ash never beat in a battle and first rival who was not introduced during the League to beat Ash.
    • Alola also broke several streaks.
      • Alola changed up the overall series formula where instead of being an ongoing adventure around the region, it's now more of a Slice of Life series where Ash goes to school. He still has adventures all over the region, but he only goes there as part of a school field trip. Ash still does take on a variant of the game's Island Challenge, but only faces off against the Island Kahunas.
      • The core cast that adventures around the region was usually made up of 3 or 4 human characters. Alola is the first series that goes beyond that by having up to 6 characters that the show focuses on, these being Ash, Lillie, Kiawe, Mallow, Lana, and Sophocles.
      • Because of the stationary school setting in Melemele Island, Alola is the first region where Ash's friends aren't "traveling companions" in the traditional sense. As a result, it's the first series where his friends don't appear in every episode after their debut.
      • After six regions, Alola is the first where Ash doesn't catch the regional bird Pokémon, or a Water-type Pokémon.
      • Ash's outfit is different from all previous versions: shorter pants, no jacket/sweatshirt, and no fingerless gloves.
      • This is the first region where the main cast are given Mythical Pokémon. Ash caught a Meltan, and at one point had a temporary Poipole in his party. In addition, Mallow is seen caring for a Shaymin.
      • With a few notable exceptions, such as the main cast using some of the special Kurt balls in the original series, the creators of the Alola series finally take advantage of the fact that there are a variety of Poké Balls that the cast can use apart from the basic red-and-white ones. Some examples include Jessie catching Mimikyu with a Luxury Ball, Gladion using an Ultra Ball, Premier Ball, Heal Ball and Dusk Ball for his Lycanroc, Silvally, Umbreon, and Zoroark respectively, and Lana catching Eevee (Sandy) with a Dive Ball.
      • The Alola League breaks multiple trends that have been prevalent across all previous regional tournaments. Previously, the only important characters of note that enter are Ash and his rivals, with the standard 3-on-3 battles gradually building to full 6-on-6 as the tournament progresses. Here, all of Ash's companions, Team Rocket, Team Skull, and a Pokémon Professor (Samson Oak) also participate, with a gradual shift from 1-on-1 at the start and 3-on-3 at the end.
      • The biggest shake-up of all: Ash finally wins the league and becomes regional champion, not to mention the first of that region, breaking his 22-year losing streak contested only by the anime-original Orange League sandwiched between the Kanto and Johto Leagues.
      • There are no guest appearance of any of Ash's companions from the immediate predecessor series, unlike before, though the long retired Brock and Misty from the original series do make a couple return appearances to continue shaking things up. Also not appearing are Early-Bird Cameo of Pokémon from the next generation of games in either the TV series or any of the movies released during the time.
    • The anime series that debuted alongside Pokémon Sword and Shield has already broken a few trends.
      • In Japan, it'll be referred as just Pocket Monsters instead of having a series subtitle.
      • Similarly, the English title is Pokémon Journeys: The Series instead of sharing the names of the recent games, which it had done since the 4th generation games Diamond and Pearl.
      • The plot has Ash traveling on all of the known Pokémon world, not just the Galar region, as a research assistant instead of getting involved with the Galar Pokémon League. Although he does later get involved in something called the World Coronation Series in order to challenge Leon from Sword and Shield.
      • The primary supporting cast is made of Canon Foreigners instead of adaptations of existing game characters.
      • Ash's traveling companions have a least consisted of one guy and one girl. Here only Goh accompanies him on his travels. While Chloe fits the role as the token girl of the supporting cast, said role is less prominent compared to previous series.
      • Ash first captures for the series aren't any of the Generation VIII additions to the Pokédex, but rather Pokémon from previous generations.
      • Related to Ash's first capture, the Dragonite he catches breaks several traditions. 1) Breaks the tradition of the first catch in the new series being the regional bird, a Bug-type, or a starter Pokémon. 2) First capture of a Pokémon in their final stage since Noctowl all the way back in Johto. 3) First time Ash catches a Pokémon that one of his companions (Iris) also owns. 4) First catch of a past generation Pokémon since Gligar all the way back in Sinnoh.
      • Related to Ash's second capture, the Gengar he catches turned out to have been abandoned by its previous trainer, which breaks the tradition of Ash's abandoned Pokémon catches all being Fire-type starters (Charmander, Chimchar, and Tepig).
      • Similar to Ash, Team Rocket doesn't get any Pokémon from Galar to train personally. Instead, they primarily use the Rocket Prize Master, a gacha machine loaded with Team Rocket-loyal Pokémon, so the Pokémon they use in their plans are randomized for each episode they appear in. It wouldn't be around the second season of the series that they would catch a Galar Pokémon, namely the recurring Morpeko.
      • Voice acting wise, the English dub often used actors based mainly in New York. Here, some Los Angeles based voice actors are thrown into the mix, such as Zeno Robinson and Cherami Leigh, due to the production of the dub being moved from NY to LA.
      • The Journey Starts Today is the first English dub opening that doesn't use "Pokémon" as a word in the song lyrics.
      • Outside of specials and Pokémon Chronicles, the 32nd episode of Pokémon Journeys is the first ever episode of the main anime series to not feature Ash and his Pikachu in any capacity.
      • Ash catches his very first fossil Pokemon, a Dracovish.
      • Ash doesn't obtain any of the Galar starters. Goh does instead.
    • Trends that the numerous movies for the Pokémon anime broke:
  • Most Time Bokan series share the same kind of situations, but the fifth series, Yattodetaman, changed around multiple things:
    • First, for the first time the main character actually transforms into the titular hero while becoming stronger and braver than usual, rather than just donning different clothes and a mask like the other Time Bokan main characters did.
    • Second, it's the first time there is a single hero: while there's a female main character, she doesn't transform when fighting the bad guys.
    • Speaking about the bad guys, the two male members of the Terrible Trio look completely different than the usual: Julie has a smaller nose, lacks a moustache and stands more upright compared to Boyacky and all his expies, while Alain, instead of being a short hunch with broad shoulders with a five o' clock shade like Tonzura and his derivatives, is a tall, fat guy with a prominent beard.
    • As a last difference, instead of a bunch of different Funny Animal mechas, Yattodetaman has a single Humongous Mecha. This change was kept around in the subsequent series Ippatsuman, only to come back with the old style in Itadakiman.
  • Related to the above, Yatterman Night is the first direct sequel to a previous Time Bokan series, as well as the first to have a Terrible Trio be a heroic Power Trio. This is also the first series to not have a trio serve as recurring villains, instead opting for a singular entity and his robot army.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • Yes! Pretty Cure 5 switched from the original two-girl team of the previous Pretty Cure seasons to a a Sentai-styled Five Girl Band, along with each member being capable of a Finishing Move, rather than requiring both Cures to be together to finish off the Monster of the Week. After later installments adopted this as standard procedure, Maho Girls Pretty Cure! would break the new trend by returning to the two-Cure format. In addition, it is also the first series to have a female Big Bad in Despariah, except this is later subverted when her male secretary Kawarino turns out to be the real villain.
    • If male characters are seen with anything resembling Cure powers, the boys themselves are responsible for their creation and it only lasts one episode.note  In HuGtto! Pretty Cure, the main heroines themselves imbue Henri with the power of a Cure, and while he powers down and stays out of the fight for most episodes afterwards, the results stick: when everyone is gifted Cure powers in the finale, Henri turns back into Cure Infini.
    • Maho Girls Pretty Cure! is the first season since Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash★Star where "Pretty Cure" isn't part of the transformation phrase (which had been introduced in Yes! Pretty Cure 5 and used in every other season until then). This continued for a number of seasons until Healin' Good♡Pretty Cure brought it back.
    • Each season's team of villains had at least one member who reformed by the end of the series. This trend was broken by Healin' Good♡Pretty Cure, where absolutely none of the Byogens reform and all of them are dead by the end of the series.
    • Every main Cure from Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash★Star onwards has been a Pink Heroine. Cure Summer of Tropical-Rouge! Pretty Cure breaks the trend by having white as her main colour, although there is some pink in her outfit.
  • Danganronpa:
    • Killer Killer note  is the first installment to have its protagonist murder the focus culprits. It's also the first to feature adult characters almost exclusively, up to and including the main characters.
    • Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School breaks quite a few trends:
      • The plot of Side: Future focuses on the first killing game intended to take place over a few hours rather than several weeks. There is also no trial or execution system, and the game is much more similar to Werewolf or Town of Salem.
      • Monokuma's never physically present for the game, only communicating through video footage.
      • The Mastermind dies fairly early into the game, with the game essentially being crafted to run without him. The Final Boss winds up being his protoge. For that matter, not only is he the first male Mastermind, he's also the only one to not have Despair as his primary motive.
      • Only two new characters survive the Final Killing game, both being their arc's respective "Naegis" (Ryouta for Side: Despair, Munakata for Side: Future).
      • Chiaki's death is the only execution that wasn't the result of a trial.
      • None of the new Power Trios stay together by the start of Side: Future. It is also the first installment to have an entire trio die during a killing game.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS breaks a lot of trends followed by the previous Yu-Gi-Oh series. For one, the series runs on pure science and doesn't have any mysticism the series is known for. Yusaku started out as a revenge-driven loner instead of a protagonist that believes in The Power of Friendship, doesn't use a single ace monster to win, his aces Firewall Dragon and Decode Talker break the pattern of Dragon or Warrior type aces.
    • There are two Duel types used in the show: Master Duels, which operate by the normal Duel rules, and Speed Duels, which are a modified version of the Speed Duel rules from Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, except deck sizes stay the same. They also retain the Skill system from that game. Speed Duels are done on D-Boards similar to Riding Duels on D-Wheels.
    • In the dub, this was the first series to NOT have any vocals in the opening song whatsoever. In the original Duel Monsters, it was mostly instrumental with some lyrics of "Your Move" or Yugi saying "It's Time to D-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-duel". GX through Arc-V had dub original opening songs that differed from the original Japanese version. VRAINS' dub OP is a full instrumental song.
  • Jewelpet: Magical Change is so far the only Jewelpet season to not implement the main mascot trio. It also has no major villains.
  • Digimon Adventure: (2020) broke one of Digimon's oldest trends: They didn't kill Leomon like most series do.
  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You: The covers of the first seven volumes have two characters for each cover (with Kusuri's dual forms counting as two). Volume 8 breaks the trend by having every girlfriend at the time (up to Naddy) dressed in the outfits they wore as Idol Singers.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • Bambi was the first animated Disney movie that is not truly a musical film, instead having songs as part of the feature.
    • The Black Cauldron was the first to not be a musical at all.
    • Dinosaur was the first CGI Disney movie, which became the standard style of animation for all films from Wreck-It Ralph and onward.
  • Pixar has several examples:
    • 2011 Cars 2 was the first non-Toy Story sequel the studio produced. On a related note, the previous year's release of Toy Story 3 broke a decade-long trend of the studio producing solely original films.
    • Normally one of the curiosities that this animation studio uses to distinguish their films from Disney Animated Canon is them not making musicals, but then they made Coco, the first to be such, though as a Music Story rather than a full-on, randomly-bursting-into-song musical.
    • Cars 3:
      • Unlike the first two, this exchange is absent.
        Old character: If there's anything you need, just let me know.
        Main character: I sure appreciate that. Thank you. [Beat] Actually, there is one thing... [Gilligan Cut to the request, usually a Brick Joke from earlier, being fulfilled]
      • Same with this:
        Lightning: You know who you're talking to, this is Lightning McQueen. I can handle anything. [Gilligan Cut to the random request he's asked to do]
    • Soul is the first Pixar movie to not have John Ratzenberger in a voice role (his likeness does appear as a background character, though), and Luca is the first Pixar film where neither his voice nor likeness show up at all.
  • My Little Pony:
    • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
    • My Little Pony: A New Generation:
      • While there have been important male characters in the franchise before (such as perennial sidekick Spike the Dragon and an antagonist named Tirek, both of whom have appeared in multiple MLP generations), Hitch Trailblazer is the first male pony to be a main character.
      • In the past, the only known ponies who have become alicorns were those who completed high-level magic, and had only been unicorns or pegasi. Here, Sunny is an earth pony who never had any genuine experience with any kind of magic until she herself becomes an alicorn at the movie's ending for the act of returning the Magic of Friendship and thus magic itself back to Equestria.
      • In Friendship is Magic, pony villains are almost invariably either alicorns or unicorns made dangerous by their magical powers; the one exception is a pegasus. G5's first villain is an earth pony backed up by technology and an angry mob.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is the first installment in the series to not have the Bookends of starting with "This is Berk" as the first words spoken in the beginning and have it again near the end in a monologue about Berk, and also the first movie to not end with the words "our dragons".
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part marks LEGO's fourth theatrical movie, and the first one to lack a father/son conflict, or a redemption arc for the main villain.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • DC Extended Universe:
  • James Bond:
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe examples:
    • The first two Phases lasted for 6 films. Phase 3 on the other hand went on for 11 films.
    • Phase 4 then broke the trend of major installments of the setting being just movies as it started to include shows from Disney+.
    • In Iron Man, Tony Stark basically goes "screw it" at the end, and reveals to the world on live television that he is Iron Man. This was viewed as such a game-changer at the time since what was considered the norm was superheroes never revealing their real identity.
    • In Captain America: Civil War, Zemo becomes the first main villain since Loki from the Thor movies to not be killed off at the end of the film. Civil War is also the first film where the villain's overall plan doesn't outright fail in the end. Zemo set out to break up the Avengers, and was able to accomplish that.
    • In Black Panther (2018), Killmonger becomes the first villain where the hero, Black Panther, accepts that a portion of the villain's plan is the truth, which is that it's not in the nation of Wakanda's best interests to continue hiding from the rest of the world, and keeping all the best technology to themselves. By the end of the film, Black Panther officially reveals the truth about Wakanda to the world.
  • Descendants 3 is the only film in the franchise that doesn't end with someone saying, "You didn't think this was the end of the story, did you?", because this it is the last installment in the franchise and indeed, the end of the story.
  • The 6th film in the Mission: Impossible Film Series franchise, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, is the first that has the main villain of the previous film (Solomon Lane) make a return for a second film. Fallout was also the first film that doesn't swap in a new one time director. Christopher McQuarrie directed the 5th and 6th films, and is hired to eventually direct the upcoming 7th and 8th films.
  • The The Fast and the Furious franchise starts off as a film series that show off car racing for its first 3 movies. By the 4th film onward, the franchise transforms itself into heist films that involve the use of cars.
  • The MonsterVerse breaks quite a few trends set up by the Godzilla and King Kong franchises.
    • The series marks the first time where Godzilla has been unambiguously portrayed as a hero for the entire franchise.
    • Kong: Skull Island has Kong fight a group of aircraft (attack helicopters as opposed to biplanes due to the Setting Update) and outright win.
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the first time since his debut where King Ghidorah is the Big Bad of the story.
    • Similarly, Godzilla vs. Kong sees Mechagodzilla returning to being a villain in this story.
    • Godzilla vs. Kong breaks up an internal trend by having Godzilla return to being villainous although for understandable reasons.
    • A major one in Godzilla vs. Kong: for the first time in roughly eighty years, Kong gets a happy ending, as while Godzilla effectively exiles Kong from the Earth's surface, Kong returns to his ancestral home of Hollow Earth, where he becomes its new king.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Britain's Got Talent: 2016 was the first year that David used his golden buzzer on a performance where none of the judges buzzed the act. This was also true of the acts who received his Golden Buzzer in subsequent seasons.
  • American Horror Story: Hotel:
    • This is the very first season without both Jessica Lange and Frances Conroy, the latter of which could not return due to a prior commitment.
    • This is the first season where Sarah Paulson's character is killed. She previously survived all four seasons. Though, this is also downplayed. Paulson plays two characters this season. One was killed before the series started, and one survives. So, she's still never been killed during the series.
    • Despite the casting of Lady Gaga, there's no musical number in this season.
  • American Horror Story: Cult doesn't include series mainstay Lily Rabe for the first time.
  • American Horror Story: 1984 is the first season without series mainstays Evan Peters and Sarah Paulson.
  • Burn Notice spent six seasons with a familiar pattern; Michael and company face an overriding arc for the season which they make incremental progress on during each episode while most of the episode is spent dealing with a Villain of the Week criminal or whatever. The final season dumped this pattern, became much Darker and Edgier, and focused almost entirely on a single long arc of Michael working for the CIA. There were some occasional side issues to deal with, but they were generally quite brief and quickly resolved.
  • For over 54 years, the Doctor of Doctor Who was traditionally cast as a man. However, the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor heralded the first female incarnation of the character.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers Zeo: As part of the Retool after three seasons of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, the franchise would swap in new powers and suits instead of retaining the ones from Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger.
    • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy was the first series to abandon the Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World angle the previous seasons used, something that would return for Power Rangers Dino Thunder, disappear again and reappear starting with Power Rangers Megaforce. Lost Galaxy was also the first series to have all new characters taking up Ranger duties instead of bringing holdovers from previous seasons. Lost Galaxy also noticeably lacks a Big Good.
    • Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue is the first season in which the Rangers do not have secret identities. It is also the first season in which the villains are not extraterrestrial and the first season in which the Rangers' technology is man-made instead of being of alien origin.
    • Power Rangers Ninja Storm is the first season to start out with three Rangers rather than five and the first to have the Sixth Ranger be a regular cast member from the very beginning rather than joining much later. It is also the first season to have a female Blue Ranger and a core male Yellow Ranger, and to only have one female Ranger in the entire cast, as up to Dino Fury, the adaptations would retain the original Super Sentai's installments male/female cast numbers vs swapping a male Ranger for a female one.
    • Power Rangers S.P.D. is the first Power Rangers season to have more than six Rangers.
    • Power Rangers RPM is the first season to take place in a separate continuity from the main series. It is also the first and thus far only season to have most of Earth conquered by the Big Bad. It's also the only one where the Black and Green Ranger both get more focus than the Red and especially the Blue.
    • Power Rangers Dino Charge is the first season not to have a Yellow Ranger (if you don't count the Gold Ranger, that is).
    • Power Rangers Dino Fury is the first season to have a female Green Ranger who also becomes the first openly gay Ranger on the show.

    Networks 
  • Original series produced by streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Paramount+, Peacock) tend to have their seasons last from 6-13 episodes, sometimes 16. However, certain seasons tend to break that limit from time to time.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Garfield: Jon Arbuckle is portrayed as an Abhorrent Admirer to Liz the veterinarian in her first appearance in June 1979 and for most of the subsequent 27 years. In July 2006, they start to date, and she makes much more frequent appearances from then on.

    Video Games 
  • Pokémon:
    • Generation III (Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire)
      • The first generation to introduce more than one pseudo-legendary — Salamence and Metagross.
      • Team Rocket is not the villainous organization in the game. Instead Team Magma and Team Aqua are the region's villains. From this point on, a new region meant a specific villain team operation within it. Also they would have heavier plot significance within the game, targeting the one of the cover legendaries for their goals.
      • This is the first time that Elite Four has a distinct Battle Theme Music of their own instead of sharing a theme.note 
    • Generation IV (Pokémon Diamond and Pearl)
      • Moves are now separated into physical and special instead of being dependent on type.
      • Cynthia is the first female Champion of a region.
    • Generation V (Pokémon Black and White)
      • Professor Juniper is the first female Pokémon professor.
      • Most games have the final battle with the villainous team occur at some point around the 7th or 8th Gym, and Pokémon League Champion as the Final Boss. Generation V's Pokémon Black and White, however, has Team Plasma interrupt the Pokémon League challenge before you get to fight the Champion, resulting in their leader being the Final Boss and the League Champion being a post-game Bonus Boss.
      • Technical Machines are now being infinite use rather than single-use items. This would remain the case for all future games, including remakes. Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl would make TMs single-use again, but multiple copies can be optained for all of them.
      • The Unova Elite Four are the first Elite Four that can be battled in any order the player wants, rather than the player being forced to battle them in a specific order.
      • The Unova region is the first region not to be a counterpart of a region of Japan, being based on New York City instead. It's also the only region to have a Dub Name Change, being known as Isshu in the Japanese version.
      • Traditionally, after the first two games of a generation were released, an Updated Re-release in the form of singular separate game is made to act as the "definitive" version. However, this generation got direct sequels instead, and since then, following generations lacked a traditional third version: Generation VI chose to remake Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire rather than follow up its main pair of games, Generation VII's third version came in the form of another pair of games instead, and Generation VIII went the route of a downloadable Expansion Pack for its mainline titles.
    • Generation VI (Pokémon X and Y)
      • The Gen VI games not getting any third game or sequel, as previously mentioned, makes it the only generation pre-Sword and Shield where a third Legendary Pokémon related to the main duo (often seen as a postgame Bonus Boss in the initial games) doesn't headline said title with a major role (and often a new form or two).note  Emerald had Rayquaza, Platinum had Giratina, Black 2/White 2 had Kyurem, and Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon had Necrozma. Zygarde did receive a major role in the XYZ season of the anime and a minor appearance in Sun/Moon, however.
    • Generation VII (Pokémon Sun and Moon)
      • Gym Battles were replaced with the Island Challenge Trials and Grand Trials. In addition, Hidden Machines have been replaced with the Ride Pager, with future installments also replacing HMs with similar mechanics.
      • Sun and Moon introduced Legendary Pokémon capable of evolution, while Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! introduced Mythical Pokémon that can do so as well.
      • Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon were the first games to add completely new Pokémon mid-generation.
      • The role of the of the villain team shifted in this generation in contrast to Gens III to VI, with Team Skull playing second fiddle and being just muscle to Lusamine and the Aether Foundation. Then you have Team Yell in Generation VIII merely being just loony fans to one of The Rival characters, while having no association to the Big Bad Chairman Rose. The role of the cover legendaries also shifted to being sought out/awakened by the player character to thwart the plans of the villains.
      • In previous generations, the Pokémon League is an existing institution. However in this generation, the League is newly created during the story, meaning there is no previous Champion to challenge for the title, making the player character the first Champion in the region ever.
    • Generation VIII (Pokémon Sword and Shield, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl and Pokémon Legends: Arceus)
      • The Fossil Pokémon of the Galar Region are the first fossils to not be part Rock-type.
      • Rookidee is the very first early-game bird to be pure Flying-type, unlike the previous early-game birds which started out Normal/Flying.
      • Piers is the very first Dark-type Gym Leader.
      • Raihan is the first Gym Leader since Liza and Tate to have a Double Battle format for his challenge, and his Gym has a second specialization on top of Dragon — weather manipulation.
      • The Galar League is the first league to lack the Elite Four group of Trainers to face before taking on the Champion, instead having an anime-style League Conference known as the Champion's Cup.
      • In the postgame, Bede becomes the first male Fairy-type Gym Leader.
      • Instead of a traditional Updated Re-release, the games were the first to use Downloadable Content expansions that added new areas and Pokémon to the base game.
      • The Isle of Armor expansion brings us the move Poltergeist, which is the very first Ghost-type move to not have 100% base accuracy or be an Always Accurate Attack.
      • The Crown Tundra gives us Calyrex, the first Pokémon capable of having two Abilities simultaneously when mounted upon one of two horse Pokémon.
      • Eternatus is the first Pokémon to have a form and moves that absolutely cannot be used by the player in any legitimate capacity, making it feel more like an actual boss battle than previous plot-relevant Legendary Pokémon did. It's also the first Legendary Pokémon to be a Poison-type.
      • The box art Legendary isn't caught during the main story (although it does help in the battle against Eternatus). Instead, it can only be captured during the postgame.
      • Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, the remakes of Diamond and Pearl are the first games to be considered a part of the main series and to not be developed by Game Freak. They are also the first remakes to not redesign the human cast.
      • Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the first main game where it is neither part of a version, a remake, or a sequel. Instead it is a game with only one version that has its own storyline. It is also the first game to have a different battle system, have the playable character be attacked by Pokémon directly, have starters that originated in more than one Generation, and have other ways to make it easier to catch Pokémon aside from battling them. The setting also isn't analogous to Real Life Present Day, and instead based on a previous era of human history.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's:
    • In Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location, rather than hiding in one room and fending off hostile animatronics until 6 A.M. for all five nights, the player has to do night-specific tasks to progress, rather than waiting out a clock. At least, not until Night 5's fake ending... In addition, Bonnie is only Funtime Freddy's handpuppet, Chica is nowhere to be found, and the animatronics are almost entirely brand new.
    • Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator drastically changes the usual formula, with 50% of the game being a Lighter and Softer tycoon simulator based on creating your own pizzeria (and avoiding lawsuits), with the other half being untimed and task-based like Sister Location. A cautious player can even avoid dealing with animatronics altogether (though this does mean losing out on the Golden Ending).
  • Devil May Cry 4:
    • Dante only has one leading lady in each of the first three games (Trish in DMC1, Lucia in DMC2, Lady in DMC3). This game broke the trend by having both Trish and Lady working with him in the Devil May Cry business from now on.
    • In the first three games, the Shotgun doesn't have a unique name and must be obtained as an unlockable weapon somewhere in the stages. In this game, Dante has a shotgun named "Coyote-A" as one of his starting ranged weapons alongside Ebony & Ivory.
  • Devil May Cry 5:
    • DMC1 has 23 missions in total, but it became an Early Installment Weirdness because the sequels from DMC2 to DmC consistently have no more than 20 missions each. DMC5 plays with that number a bit. While there are missions numbered from 1 to 20, the game actually has 21 missions in total because the Prologue chapter is counted separately from Mission 1.
    • In the classic continuity, Dante's gauntlet-based Devil Arms (Ifrit, Beowulf and Gilgamesh) consistently had similar movesets derived from Ifrit; the next weapon expands the older one's moves but doesn't radically change them. All three also have the straightforward "hold button to deal more damage" variant of Charged Attacks as their main gimmick. In this game, Dante's new gauntlet-and-greave Devil Arm, Balrog, retains only a few of the recurring classic moves. And instead of reusing the same charged attack variant shared by the three aforementioned Devil Arms, Balrog's combos have an entirely different mechanic for powering up. Balrog's attacks also differ depending on Dante's stance, in contrast to those weapons not having any stance system.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition has been a departure from many traditions established by the previous two and a half installments of the Dragon Age series, such as a Wide-Open Sandbox replacing previous tightly-scripted levels, a complete removal of healing magic, and the artsy blood red-saturated covers being ditched for a green-dominated palette.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild combines this with Revisiting the Roots. The game features a lot of aspects that used to be Early Installment Weirdness, such as it being an open-world game with RPG Elements, as well as completely new elements, like equippable weapons and armor, the ability to jump and climb, and fully voiced cutscenes. Even Link's classic green tunic and pointy cap is no longer his default outfit, relegated to unlockable status instead. Promotional artwork would also show Link with his blue Champion's tunic as well.
    • Cadence of Hyrule is the first game in the franchise, Spin-Off or otherwise, to be produced by a Western studio. The gameplay is no less unusual, as it features the rhythm-based roguelike design of the developer's previous game, Crypt Of The Necrodancer.
  • Assassin's Creed: Unity has the first player character in the main console series not to be an ancestor of Desmond Miles. He is also the first since Altair to have only one Hidden Blade, and isn't a Walking Armory.
  • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance features Ike, the first protagonist in the series who is not some form of royalty.
  • Mario & Luigi:
  • All of the Big Bads of the Paper Mario series went after the Mario Bros., Bowser and his minions or Princess Peach. Olly of Paper Mario: The Origami King, however, is out to get the Toads. Every. Single. Toad. TOK is also the first Mario RPG where Bowser is never fought at any point.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
  • Shin Megami Tensei V: Your main friends at the beginning of the game are Ichiro and Yuzuru. Ichiro, much like prior Chaos Heroes, resembles a Japanese Delinquent, is quick to get himself into trouble to fight monsters, and gets an extremely demonic-looking partner. Yuzuru, like most Law Heroes, is extremely sophisticated in appearance and behavior, as well as summoning a demon of the Holy Race. They're the Law and Chaos Heroes, respectively.
  • In Persona 5 Royal is not only the first re-release to have a new Final Boss, should the player unlock the third semester (previous re-releases would add new content before the original endgame but keep it unchanged), but said final boss is not a god born from the collective unconscious, but a human with an unusually powerful Persona.
  • Mega Man (Classic):
    • Mega Man 7 broke away from the prior games in the series in various ways. First, it did away with the villain misdirection that the previous three games had, presenting Dr. Wily as the Big Bad from the very beginning and having only one endgame fortress. Next, it uses elements from the Game Boy subseries, splitting the eight Robot Masters into two groups of four with a small stage in between, as well as incorporating an item shop. Finally, before you play the main Robot Master stages, you have to play through a short introductory stage setting up the storyline, a feature originally introduced in Mega Man X. These changes were retained for Mega Man 8 as well.
    • While the first four Game Boy games largely recycled Robot Masters from the NES games, Mega Man V features a completely original set of bosses, all named after planets of the Solar System instead of "___ Man". It also replaces the traditional Charge Shot with the Mega Arm, a boomeranging Rocket Punch. On a series-wide scale, it's also one of the very few games where Dr. Wily isn't the Final Boss.
  • Half-Life: Alyx is the first Half-Life game where the Player Character is fully voiced, rather than a Heroic Mime.
  • Before the release of Guilty Gear -STRIVE-, all of the mainline installments' Final Bosses have been women. -STRIVE- bucks the trend by pitting you up against a male opponent at the end of Arcade Mode.
  • For the Gears of War franchise, the first 4 games follow a completely linear storyline that keeps the player moving along the same path the whole way through. Gears of War 5 changes this up as the first game in the series to play around with open landscapes that can be explored to complete Side Quests.
  • Unreal series:
    • During the early games, the Rocket Launcher had two firemodes that launched either up-to-six rockets (in spread or spiral formation) or grenades. This trend was broken in Unreal II: The Awakening with the Hydra Rocket Launcher, which can launch either one big rocket, or the rocket itself splitting mid-path into up to four subrockets, each dealing less damage. But it wasn't until Unreal Championship and Unreal Tournament 2003 that the Rocket Launcher would find its definitive design, with the main fire shooting a rocket and the alternate fire shooting up to three rockets in spread or spiral formation.
    • The XMP expansion for Unreal II would introduce vehicles, big maps with focused objectives and player classes with their own loadouts to the series. Vehicles would also appear in Unreal Tournament 2004 and Unreal Tournament III, these games also feature a gamemode with big maps and focused objectives (Onslaught and Warfare, respectively), and Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict's proto-Hero Shooter style of gameplay would feature player classes with their own (both individual and race-based) loadouts.
    • Unreal Tournament 2003 and Unreal Championship extended the player's moveset by adding Wall Jump, dodge-jump, Double Jump, combo-jumps (i.e. Wall-Dodge-Jump) and polishing the Lift Jump (with certain maps having shortcuts or rewards for those who managed to pull them at the right spot). Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict would extend even more these movesets with chimney jumps and the third-person exclusive Jump Attack.
  • Metroid Dread breaks several trends the series is known for:
    • Most Metroid games have Samus start from her gunship and occasionally return to save and restore her health and missiles as the game continues. This game inverts this, with Samus ending up deep underground, separated from her ship after the direct elevator back to the surface is destroyed, and her primary goal throughout the game is to find a way back to the surface and return to her gunship. She only manages to return during the ending Escape Sequence, after the acquisition of the Hyper Beam and the collapsing infrastructure allows her to blast a path back to her gunship in time to escape the exploding planet.
    • The Morph Ball and Bombs are usually found pretty early, giving the player a lot more places to explore. In Dread, the two items are found quite a bit later, which means all those narrow spaces and items placed behind them will be inaccessible for a while.
    • Players who beat a Metroid game fast enough usually get to see Samus outside of her suit in a variety of ending sequences, with the exception of Metroid Prime where only her helmet was removed. Dread bucks the trend by not doing either of those: the game only has one ending sequence and not a single inch of her suit is removed during it.
    • The Chozo are always a story background element and don't make any actual appearances unless you count the Chozo Ghost enemies in Metroid Prime. Dread has actual live Chozo that Samus can meet and they are an integral part of the story.
    • In the 2D games, Samus would usually get the Hi-Jump Boots, which allows her to jump a lot higher. Dread uses the Spin Boost instead, which acts as a Double Jump similar to the Space Jump Boots in Metroid Prime.
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake is the first Final Fantasy game since the original NES release of Final Fantasy where no character named Cid appears or is even mentioned. The Cid of Final Fantasy VII, Cid Highwind, wasn't introduced in the original story until after the part of the game the remake covers.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony:
    • This is the first main series game to not have an Ultimate Lucky Student in the main cast.
    • This is also the first game where Megumi Ogata doesn't play a newly-introduced character in the original Japanese.
    • Unlike Hifumi Yamada or Teruteru Hanamura, Ryoma Hoshi, the student with a Non-Standard Character Design this time around, isn't a pervert and has a much more serious personality that either of them.
    • Unlike Leon Kuwata and Teruteru Hanamura, the culprit of Chapter 1 is prepared to be executed. And unlike Mondo Owada and Peko Pekoyama, the culprit of Chapter 2 tries their hardest to escape execution.
    • Like Aoi and Akane before her, Angie is a sexy dark-skinned girl with a name beginning with A. Unlike Aoi and Akane, Angie doesn't survive the Killing Game. In addition, both Aoi and Akane's talents were sports-related (the Ultimate Swimmer and the Ultimate Gymnast respectively), whereas Angie is the Ultimate Artist.
    • Tenko, unlike the previous Stalker with a Crush characters (Toko and Kazuichi), doesn't survive the killing game. She's also the first of these characters to actually establish a friendship with the character she has a crush on, albeit posthumously.
    • Rantaro, the Ultimate ??? after Kyoko and Hajime, dies. To add insult to injury, he dies first.
    • The Big Guy dies in Chapter 4, but as the culprit, not as the victim (though Sakura was both a victim and a culprit due to her comitting suicide).
    • In the main series, this game is the first one to allow you to play as a female protagonist. This is also the first main installment where the player character has a known talent (rather than a gifted title or Ultimate ???), and actually feels secure of it. The character that takes her place, however, is male and is just as insecure of his talents as Makoto and Hajime were.
    • In the previous two games Kiyotaka and Hiyoko respectively lose someone close to them, there is a build up to them getting Character Development, only for both of them to be unceremoniously killed in the very next chapter. In this game Himiko loses someone whom she was close with, but not only does she not get killed in the next chapter, she survives the Killing Game and gets to have her Character Development.
    • This game is also the first game in the franchise's history where not only does the player character die, but they are also the culprit! However it turns out they were actually successfully framed by the mastermind, who tricked them into believeing that they murdered someone. Which means that this is the first game of the franchise where a character successfully gets away with murder in a class trial.
    • This game is the only game to have more than three playable characters, even if it's temporary.
    • This is the first mainline game where the mastermind is one of the students you know from the start. In the first game, the mastermind was actually hidden and only revealed herself in the last chapter. In the second game, a co-mastermind was the protagonist's alter ego, but only physically appeared in Chapter 0 and during his nightmare sequence in the finale.
    • This is the first game to lack a person labelled as the traitor. Tsumugi is the mastermind while K1-B0, unknowingly, works as a sort of her cameraman and the audience's surrogate, though.
    • This is the only game where no explosion that knocks out the Butt-Monkey happens in the penultimate chapter.
  • Fangames get on it too. For instance, Danganronpa Another:
  • As for its own sequel, Super Danganronpa Another 2:
    • The mastermind's identity is openly revealed at the end of the prologue. The Driving Question throughout the Killing Game is instead "Who are his 4 accomplices?"
    • 3 people die in Chapter 3. Instead of there being 2 victims and 1 killer, it is distributed as 1 victim and 2 killers.
    • Chapter 4's culprit is executed for breaking school regulations. The victim killed himself beforehand.
    • Chapter 5 ends with a successful Frame-Up and mass execution.
  • Tokimeki Memorial Girl's Side 4th Heart breaks its trend with the studious love interest. In the previous games, they had varying shades of blue or green hair and wore glasses. Iku Honda breaks this by not wearing glasses and having blond hair.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations:
      • The first case in the game doesn't have the player control Phoenix, but Mia in a Flashback Episode.
      • In the previous two games, only the first case purely takes place in the courtroom with no investigation. Here, the third game's fourth case is also purely in the courtroom.
    • Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney:
      • The first case in the game is the first opening case where you face a witness who is neither law enforcement, the defendant, nor the culprit. Olga Orly is set up to be the obvious Starter Villain like Frank Sahwit, Richard Wellington, and Dahlia Hawthorne before her, but then the game pulls a fast one on you by fingering your own mentor as the true murderer.
      • Klavier Gavin is the first rival prosecutor that wasn't completely antagonistic towards the protagonists, having instead a friendly rivalry with them. If anything, it was inverted: Apollo is the one who possesses an irrational dislike of Klavier but mostly of his music.
    • Case 2 of The Great Ace Attorney is the first time in the series that a case only lasts a single day, but has no trial (usually, one-day cases consist entirely of a trial with no investigation), with the culprit instead being found during the investigation (even the Ace Attorney Investigations spinoffs featured segments equivalent to Cross-Examinations, which The Adventure of the Unbreakable Speckled Band lacks.)

    Web Original 
  • Chorocojo used the male trainer during his Pokemon Black 2 LP, as opposed to the female trainer he was using in his previous LP's. However, by this point he was tired of doing female characters, viciously lampshading it the last two times beforehand, but during Pokestar Studios filming he used the female trainer.
  • The Hobo Bros' "Hobo Theater" videos originally had Kevin read a list of words relating to the video's theme, with Luke having to work each word into the story. However, this eventually led to Kevin saying phrases, or even full sentences, instead of single words, and they seem to have abandoned the idea of using single words despite doing it for many videos.

    Western Animation 
  • In Archer, the running gag of shouting "Phrasing" after a line of dialog that could be taken the wrong way was broken in Season Five, when after a long string of lines that would provoke the gag were said without anyone saying "Phrasing," it was lampshaded and the gag is now wondering out loud if their Phrasing gag was still a thing.
  • South Park would famously kill off Kenny Once an Episode for the first five seasons. Then Kenny got Killed Off for Real for one season before reviving him. Since then, Kenny has only been killed occasionally, usually with a huge lampshade hung on it.
  • Patchy the Pirate is known for wanting to meet SpongeBob SquarePants in person, but always ends up failing due to the Status Quo and Rule of Funny. And then, at the end of the special "SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout" in Season 12, Patchy (or at least his head) and SpongeBob meet in person and interact for the first time in the show's history.
  • Miraculous Ladybug:
    • "Reflekdoll" breaks a few.
      • It's the first time Marinette and Adrien use a different Miraculous.
      • As such, it's also the first time someone else uses the Ladybug and Cat Miraculous.
      • The first time the main villain is someone that has already been Akumatized once with the same identity.
      • It's the first episode to be named after a Sentimonster.
    • "Miraculer" has the first time someone rejects Hawk Moth's offer.
    • "Party Crasher" is the first episode where more than three heroes fight the titular villain.
      • It's also the first episode where the titular villain manages to obtain both the Ladybug and Cat Miraculous.
    • "Felix" is the first episode to be named after a civilian.
      • It's also the first episode to have a named group of villains.
    • The third season's two-part finale, "The Battle of the Miraculous" is the first season finale where Lila doesn't make any appearance at all.
    • Kagami's third Akumatization, Lies, isn't based on Japanese culture.
    • "Gang of Secrets" has the first time someone breaks free of Hawk Moth/Shadow Moth's influence.
    • In "Psycomedian", Ladybug gets her mind influenced by the villain instead of Cat Noir. And for once, he has to be the tactical one.
    • "Sole Crusher" has André NOT indulging Chloé's rantings for once.
    • "Gabriel Agreste" has the first time someone who hasn't been Akumatized before resists Hawk Moth/Shadow Moth's attempt to do so.
    • "Crocoduel" features the first time where multiple Akumatized villains don't work together and instead fight each other.
    • No one is Akumatized in "Sentibubbler", with the antagonists instead being Shadow Moth himself and a Sentimonster copy of the Bubbler.
    • "Glaciator 2" isn't the first episode to be named after a previously Akumatized villain. It's the first time it's not a villain from Season 1, however, instead being from Season 2.
    • "Dearest Family" is the first time where, not counting "Heroes Day", an Akumatized villain who debuted in the same season returns. In the very next episode, even!
    • "Kuro Neko" is the first episode where the main antagonist is a Sentimonster that has neither been Akumatized nor assisted another villain.
    • After Antibug, all of Chloé's Akumatized forms have followed a black and yellow colour scheme and had "Queen" in their names. Penalteam, her fifth unique Akumatization, is still black and yellow but does not have "Queen" in her name.
      • Additionally, her episode is the first where instead of three or less heroes debuting, it's four of them.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Starting in Season 2, presenting the Aesop was no longer a Once per Episode ordeal. In Season 4, it went from being presented in a "Dear Princess Celestia" format to a diary format, with that being abandoned by Season 5 in favor of the characters simply discussing the episode's moral with each other.
    • The Season 6 finale breaks the tradition of a musical number being featured in the finale two-parter.
    • The Season 7 premiere "Celestial Advice" is the only season premiere to not be a two-part episode.
    • After the trend of a Musical Episode appearing Once a Season began Season 3, these were ceased out by the final three seasons.
  • Total Drama:
    • The second season, Total Drama Action, is the first one to have two main antagonists, one of the first half of the season and the other of the latter. It's also the first season where finalists are from different teams.
    • The third season, Total Drama World Tour, was the first one to introduce new contestants: Sierra, Alejandro, and Blaineley. It also featured songs and had three smaller teams instead of only two. It's also the only season of the main series to feature an adult as one of the contestants upon their debut.
    • The fourth season, Total Drama: Revenge of the Island, is the first one to introduce a whole new cast of contestants. It's also the first and only season where the finalists are of the same gender. This is also the first time when the red-colored team is the superior team of the season.
      • It's also the very first season where its finale did not feature any couples kissing onscreen. The Ridonculous Race's finale followed a similar pattern.
    • The fifth season, Total Drama All-Stars, is the first one where: two different generations of contestants compete together, no one ends up being bald (counting the reveal of Chris being bald in the second season), no one's shown naked at any point or heard swearing, no one sings at any point, Chris doesn't get a punishment of some sort in the finale, no one returns after being previously eliminated, and not everyone returns for the finale (although those who don't were inside balloons).
    • The second half of the fifth season, Total Drama: Pahkitew Island, is the first season to introduce a whole new cast, but not reference the previous ones at any point. This is also the first time where a highest-ranking member of one team is someone who switched teams earlier.
    • The spin-off, The Ridonculous Race, not only has a format based off of The Amazing Race rather than Survivor, but is also the first time in the franchise where some of the finalists are the ones who returned from previously being eliminated.
  • Sofia the First broke many trends over the course of its 6 year run:
    • The specials:
      • The first 3 specials (Once Upon A Princess, The Floating Palace, The Curse Of Princess Ivy) were all 48-50 minutes long. The remaining 3 specials (Elena And The Secret Of Avalor, The Mystic Isles, Forever Royal) were all 66 minutes.
      • The royal family and court were always together in some way for the first 3 specials. Elena And The Secret Of Avalor sees Baileywick and Cedric absent, while the only main character besides Sofia to appear in The Mystic Isles is Amber .
      • The first 4 specials premiered on the Sunday before Thanksgiving in primetime. The last 2 specials, both in season 4, premiered on Saturday mornings in summer.
    • During Sofia's more intense moments, one of the Disney Princesses would come to help her out. During "The Mystic Isles: Olaf And The Take Of Miss Nettle", it's instead Olaf who helps her out. Also, the whole practice of someone being summoned to help Sofia was abandoned after season 3. Both were broken in the series finale when the princesses help Sofia during the climax, albeit in a silent cameo.
    • "Royal Dragon" is Crackle's first focus that doesn't involve her dynamic with either Clover and/or Vivian.
    • While the first three seasons have largely self contained episodes with some light continuity sprinkled in, the fourth season tells more of an overarching story, and even the more self contained episodes call back to elements from many seasons ago.
  • Winx Club:
    • The fifth season finale, "The End of Tritannus" marked the first finale where no kisses were involved. This also carried onto the seventh and eighth season finales.
    • The eighth season is the first with no involvement from singer Elisa Rosselli, having left to work on Club 57.

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