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"Remember that part between panels four and five? That was not time-lapse magic! I kicked a chair across the room, and seconds later I knew Jarate!"
Sniper, Team Fortress 2

Congratulations! You just won the Superpower Lottery! You now have at your disposal super-strength, flight, super-speed, nigh invulnerability, fireballs, and heart. And Just in Time, too, because on the other side of the city (requiring you to fly really quickly, even through buildings if necessary), there's an emergency that can only be solved with fire and making animals do things.

There's a few problems, though: you've never thrown a fireball before in your life. Beyond that, you've never flown and you've never had to control the immense speed and strength that you have now. Or heart. But, don't you worry. Powers are programs, and so it follows that you are also programmed with the instruction manual on how to use them. Within seconds of being struck by lightning after being infused with radioactive nanomachines that alter your genetic structure, you're both physically and mentally ready to bathe supervillains in hellfire and plague them with assorted urban animals.

This is especially true of characters whose main ability is to copy other characters' skills. Whether or not they initially have trouble figuring out their own powers, they are almost universally capable of instantly figuring out how to use their stolen powers, typically to the same level of skill or effectiveness (or even a greater level!) as the character who had the power first. Shapeshifters (especially animal-based shapeshifters, or with otherwise non-humanoid forms) get bonus points for intuitively being able to transform into various objects and intuitively control limbs and other moving parts that weren't there previously.

For some characters, this newfound knowledge doesn't always come instantly. At times, they'll remain blissfully unaware that they have powers, accidentally shooting laser beams out of their eyes when staring too hard or ripping doors off hinges when opening them too abruptly. The opposite end of the spectrum is severe Power Incontinence, where the character can't figure out how to turn off his telepathy or stop sending people flying with each exhale. Rarely will extensive training be needed to fix this; a Training Montage is enough. Give the new hero a day and he'll be ready to put his newfound powers to use. At most, a mentor will have to stop by to tell the new hero the activation phrase or show the hero how it's done a few times.

Often, this is coupled with a time limit to become the greatest x in the world. In these cases, Training from Hell is sometimes used, but the character still emerges an expert — one of the greatest people to ever learn the craft — after only a month or so of work. Especially jarring when it's used to explain away gaining a skill most people take a lifetime to perfect. There's rarely even any hand waving to explain this away, the audience is just supposed to believe that the characters are that damn good.

If they become really good at their skills through trial and error, including bruises and collateral damage along the way, then odds are they were Taught by Experience. If a device is shown to give them the knowledge, it's an Upgrade Artifact. If they're an expert while in control of an unfamiliar vehicle, they're Falling into the Cockpit.

Tropes Are Not Bad. In video games in particular, it would be far too resource-intensive and time-consuming to fully animate different levels of proficiency at different character levels. Characters in RPG games, for instance, often learn their new weapon skill or super attack the instant they hit Level 43, and not a moment before. However, there will usually still be a semblance of progression - weak fireball at Level 10, medium fireball at Level 21, huge fireball at Level 45 -, thus still leaving a sense of improving the skill even if each stage comes in its own instant update. Evidently, skill is a quantum effect like particle energy.

Furthermore, this can also be an implicit superpower, more specifically as 'innate capability' or 'intuitive aptitude'. This usually extends to a character being instantly able to master certain things like complex theory or skills.

Compare Possession Implies Mastery, Suddenly Always Knew That, Universal Driver's License, and Ghost Memory. Contrast How Do I Shot Web?. See also Like a Duck Takes to Water, which is this Trope for non-super skills.


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  • Health Hotline: Grandma can't even stand at the beginning of the commercial. Just minutes after Grandma gets a knee brace and begins to stand again, she already knows how to skateboard, and she's good enough to out-speed Ellie.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Battle Royale, Kiriyama copies Hiroki's martial arts (which took years to learn) just by watching for a few moments. Also, despite being absent often in the novel, he has the highest grades in the class, somehow.
  • In Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin, it supposedly takes years for the wolves to master a single Battouga. This doesn't prevent the dogs from learning them by just seeing them used in battle (usually against themselves) and then using them just as effectively. Taken to extremes by Gin, who learns three of these moves this way, one from a battle he only watched from the sidelines.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Goku and most of the other protagonists to a lesser extent. The Muten-Roshi took almost a century to master the Kamehameha wave; Goku picks it up by seeing Roshi do it once. Similarly Goku picks up Tenshinhan's Solar Flare technique simply because Tenshinhan used it twice on him. However, it's averted with learning how to fly, which requires a timeskip.
    • Tenshinhan explicitly has the ability to pick up and master other people's techniques by studying them briefly, while Buu can master any technique known by someone whom he's absorbed as well as the former's study.
    • Taken to extremes with Goten and Trunks, who somehow master the Super Saiyan transformation before they even hit puberty, whereas their fathers spent months or years training in deep space under extreme conditions to learn it. Even more than that, they skipped several requirements of achieving the transformation, such as experiencing a moment of pure rage. Handwaved later with the explanation that hybrids can access the transformations more readily at the cost of lower overall enhancement from said transformation and the now-confirmed fan theory also states that if someone has already achieved Super Saiyan on their own, any children they might have after that point will have a much easier time accessing it.
    • Subverted with Captain Ginyu, who is extremely weak after performing a "Freaky Friday" Flip with Goku, whose greatest fighting potential (at the time) requires the use of the Kaioken technique, which Ginyu does not know. He does begin to get the hang of Goku's body, but just how far it would have gone is unknown.
    • Vegeta seems to instantly learn to sense people by their ki energy (as opposed to needing a scouter to detect them) while being temporarily blinded during his fight with Goku. Since this isn't even something that can be "observed" at all, apparently he instantly learned to do it simply by being told it was possible. By contrast, it took Goku several months of complicated training to develop the same ability.
    • Because Lamarck Was Right, Goku's bother and DBZ Starter Villain Raditz was retroactively given this ability in Dragon Ball Heroes.
  • Gundam:
    • Zeta Gundam's Kamille Bidan strangely manages to have impressive piloting skills his first time in combat in contrast to the original series' Amuro Ray, who barely knew enough about piloting the Gundam to be a mobile punching bag for Char. Although he won a junior MS competition, they use mini mobile suits for that, so it doesn't explain how he can pilot an experimental, full-sized combat model without any training. Of course the fact he's a Newtype helps, but then again Amuro, who is also a Newtype, had no idea what to do when he first climbed in a MS even with psychic powers.
    • Invoked in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn: hand-carried mobile suit equipment have device drivers (which makes sense). When Banagher first gets his hands on a beam gatling gun intended for the Kshatriya, the Federation-built Unicorn automatically ports the Neo-Zeon weapon's driver to make it usable (though the process takes a few minutes), after which it works perfectly.
    • The back stories of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 tell that Union Ace Pilot Graham Aker is also this: When he was test-piloting the Union Flag (then in its initial testing stages), he managed to make it transform at high speeds (normally something that should only be done while stationary due to intense G and aerodynamic forces inducing stress on the fuselage), after having read the instructions once. Thus, the maneuver itself garnered the nickname "Graham Special" thanks to him.
    • In Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Allenby is somehow able to perfectly copy Domon's Finishing Move, the Exploding God Finger, despite Domon never teaching her anything about it and her Gundam not being equipped to perform it. But since G Gundam is a Super Robot show, Rule of Cool justifies everything.
  • Ranma ˝: The titular character can practically osmose an entirely new martial art or technique in the span of a week, mastering it so well that they can beat the rival of the week who may have spent a lifetime honing that skill in a Cooking Duel. Handwaved in that Ranma is the heir of the "Anything Goes" School of Martial Arts, a school that focuses on incorporating moves from other martial arts.
  • Naruto:
    • Zig-zagged with the eponymous character, who despite being an idiot with little natural talent, can pick up highly advanced techniques in a very short time through a cloning technique. By creating a thousand or so clones of himself, he trains a thousand times faster. Even with that, most of his moves aren't perfected, he just gets better at working around the drawbacks caused by imperfection.
    • That cloning technique is itself an advanced technique, and almost no one can use it on the same scale that Naruto does. He learned at the age of 12 by reading a scroll for a couple of hours. So much for not having natural talent.
    • One perfect example of this at work was when he first used the Kyuubi's purified chakra. He immediately sensed a hidden enemy, chased him down when he fled, and managed to land a devastating blow, all faster than could be perceived by trained shinobi. The only problem is he broke his leg in the process because he's not used to the power.
    • Another perfect example? Well we have one genius in his twenties. He graduated the ninja academy before he was 10. He's incredibly strong, fast as sound, and throughout part I, is regarded as THE fastest character in the series. On the other hand, we have a 12-year-old brat who barely graduated the ninja academy after three straight failures. He is terrible at concentration, is known as a village prankster, and for a time was considered the "Dead last" of his team. So, the 24-year-old genius invents an awesome jutsu. The problem is, it takes him three-and-a-half years to fully create it. Years later, the 12-year-old idiot hears of the technique, and learns it in a week.
    • Sasuke, and anyone else with the Sharingan, has instant learning of new techniques as a basic ability. An example of this in work is when he developed the Mangekyo Sharingan. In a single battle he managed to seamlessly combine its offensive and defensive ability into a single ability. Unfortunately for Sasuke, his overconfidence in his abilities nearly got him killed, and his overuse of them nearly left him blind.
    • Immediately after Obito's lingering will gifts Kakashi with temporary Mangekyo Sharingan in both eyes, Kakashi can summon and control the Perfect Susano'o with apparent ease.
  • Macross:
    • Averted in Super Dimension Fortress Macross. After Falling into the Cockpit, the young hotshot aircraft pilot prodigy proceeds to fall over repeatedly and cause extensive property damage, due to his lack of experience with actual mecha. A crash course by a pilot who's actually qualified in operating robots keeps him from bumping into things, but only after signing up for the army and undergoing combat training does he become competent.
    • Somewhat subverted in Macross Frontier, where the main character gets punched in the face and kicked out of the hangar for wanting to repeat his no-training Falling into the Cockpit experience when a mission alert goes up.
    • Played with in Macross Delta. The main character already has plenty of experience piloting civilian mecha, so he's able to do just fine with the Transforming Mecha he hijacked when it's in humanoid mode. However, he has zero experience at piloting aircraft, so he ends up being shot down almost the instant he transforms his ride into jet fighter mode.
  • Bleach:
    • Ichigo goes from rank novice to one of the strongest fighters in the story, able to go toe-to-toe with shinigami captains and take out lieutenants without even using his sword, after two Training from Hell sessions which collectively comprise about twelve days. He can take on any training to master any ability within a fraction of the time it takes normal Shinigami to learn anything. Even if it takes centuries to master something, Ichigo rarely needs more than a month.
    • When the Stern Ritter steal Bankai, the Quincies can master the stolen Bankai well enough to defeat the Shinigami they stole them off. It leads to As Nodt defeating Byakuya in one of the most brutal, gory attacks in the story's history.
    • It took both Yoruichi and Soifon years to master Shunkou. However, Yoruichi only recently taught Yūshirō Shunkou, so she's startled to see he's mastered it so quickly.
  • Like with many other tropes, Excel♡Saga parodies this when Excel's bowling training from Nabeshin is over in a matter of seconds, leaving Excel capable of scoring strikes while simultaneously knocking her opponents' balls out of their alleys. Lampshaded when Nabeshin notes there's nothing more he can teach her, whereupon Excel complains, "That wasn't even five seconds!"
  • Multiple examples from Fate/stay night:
    • Whenever Shirou uses Projection to replicate a weapon, he will instantly gain all experience of battles the weapon itself has gone through, allowing him to wield it (or, depending on interpretation, for it to wield itself with his body following its lead) with ease as if he were a complete master. However, he is unable to copy Saber's swordmanship skills because of their different physiques.
    • Projection itself. Not only is he an instant expert literally better than anyone at it in the entire world, he's even doing it in a form that should be more difficult. And he learns enough to project a perfect Noble Phantasm in less than two weeks. His projection is so good that some of it actually breaks the rules of magic and doesn't disappear, which is apparently almost one of the True Magics. Naturally, he's unconsciously cheating like crazy to do it but...
    • The Saber and Rider classes have the passive Riding skill, which allows the user to ride any mount or vehicle (with limitations in the cases of some exotic or unique mounts—say, dragons) with perfect mastery. This works even if they know literally nothing about a vehicle. Saber once mentions that she could fly a plane; she just needs to get on the saddle and take the reins.
    • A more literal and weaponized example comes from the prequel Fate/Zero. The servant Berserker, the Black Knight, whose ability, Knight of Owner, can turn anything even remotely usable as a weapon into a Noble Phantasm and use them to their fullest extent, even better than Shirou and his Projection magic. This ability brings to mind one of the tales with the figure he's based on (Sir Lancelot) winning a duel armed with only a twig of wood. Combined with his "Eternal Arms Mastery" (which allows him to keep all of his prodigious fighting skills even when under the effects of Mad Enhancement) he turns out to be a nearly unstoppable combatant who only loses due to a sudden loss of mana supply — and all this despite being insane the whole time. Among other things, Berserker is shown picking up and kicking ass with a street lamp, the mythical weapons of other legendary heroes, an F-15 fighter jet, and the gun from that same jet.
  • Code Geass:
    • Downplayed with Lelouch's Geass; upon receiving it, he instantly knows that he can command people to do anything by looking them in the eye, but he finds out a couple of its limitations by accident, and then experiments at length to find out the others.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • When one of the main character's Pokémon evolves, they tend to istantly learn a new move after the evolution, like Ash's Krookodile instantly learning Dragon Claw after evolution.
    • Otherwise averted for the most part in the anime, played straight in the games. The anime shows Pokémon actually practicing new attacks, complete with funny misfires, while in the games, the mon becomes an instant expert with a move simply by reaching the right level.
  • Kintaro Oe of Golden Boy can master complex skills overnight, through nothing more than insane determination.
  • Sesshomaru, from Inuyasha, being Sesshomaru, is stated in his official character profile to be able to use any weapon to its full potential as shown in the manga by his ability to understand weapon attacks even when he's not touching the weapon itself. He even uses Hiraikotsu perfectly on one occasion. The only sword he struggles to master is Tenseiga because mastering it requires compassion rather than sword skill. This is especially noticable when Tenseiga gains the Meidou Zangetsuha technique. He masters the control and activation of the attack instantly but struggles to increase the attack's strength and potential because doing so requires compassion not skill. Then soon after regaining his original arm he also gains a new original sword Bakusaiga, a weapon that does the polar opposite of Tenseiga.
  • One Piece:
    • Kaku and Kalifa, two agents of CP9 who were given their Devil Fruits hours (if that) before going into combat against the Straw Hats. Kalifa in particular, while they should have had barely enough time to grasp the basics of their powers (Giraffe-transformation and strength sapping soap bubbles respectively), is shown to be quite proficient when she faces Sanji and Nami. Kaku flounders a bit more, though, coming up with ideas and attacks on the spot in the course of his fight with Zoro.
    • Averted otherwise, where Devil Fruit users often have at least some difficulty figuring out what their powers are, and often take a great deal of time figuring out how to use them to full effect. After over ten years for Luffy and over twenty for Robin, the both of them are still learning new ways to utilize their abilities. In Luffy's case, it took him a while to even manage to throw a punch properly after eating his Devil Fruit.
  • The Familiar of Zero:
    • Saito gained this as his power of a Gandalfr familiar. He instantly understands how a given weapon works and how to use it, and also gains a considerable boost in speed, endurance, and strength when using a weapon. There is just one condition that must be met: the weapon must have been created for combat. For example, a sword that was created as a decoration won't trigger Saito's powers. Also it can be any weapon, from a simple sword to a fighter plane or artillery cannon.
    • Sheffield gained this as her power of a Myozunitonirun familiar. She can understand how to use any magical artifact and almost any spell.
  • Claymore has a disturbing subversion. Clare tries to learn the Quicksword skill and after several days is told she is mentally incapable of ever mastering it. But her teacher has nothing left to live for and cuts off her own arm so Clare can use it. In the final chapters, it is also shown that Teresa of the Faint Smile can easily replicate other warriors' combat techniques simply by observing them in action, even if it took their creators years to perfect them.
  • Adam Blade in NEEDLESS has the power to learn most Needless abilities simply by encountering them. Handwaved in that his power is the ability to memorize other powers. Adam Arclight takes it further and has surpassed Blade's Zero power, as he can copy anything.
  • Memorably averted in Slam Dunk. Hanamichi Sakuragi is The Fool and does have enormous potential, but not only does he have no idea of how to use it, but his sempai and teammates also treat him like the rookie he is and he's stuck for a long time learning the basics.
  • Hunter × Hunter
    • Kurapika invokes this by restricting some of his powers to work only on the Phantom Troupe and no one else or he will die as a consequence, and Using his lifespan whenever Emperor Time is used, allowing him to use Nen techniques at 100%. This allows him to learn the basics of Nen in a few months, allowing him to go toe to toe with, and eventually kill Ubogin and kidnap Chrollo, both very accomplished fighters and Nen users. As a consequence, if he'd been fighting anyone else of similar experience, he'd be disadvantaged since a few skills would be detrimental to use and this takes a toll on his body that Wing advises Gon not to do the same thing.
    • Gon and Killua are stated to be 1 in 10,000,000 when it comes to mastering Nen with both rapidly learning Nen in just a few months and even more under Biscuit's tutelage. When it comes to battles, Gon learns pretty quickly as he has sharp instincts and he's actually smarter than he looks, and a few characters note he grows rapidly during a fight. Meanwhile, Killua is stated to be the most talented of the Zoldyck family as mastered advanced assassination techniques at a young age. His mastery of Nen counts as he shows during the dodgeball game, he was able to act as a lever and balance his Nen with only a 1% error rate. Biscuit noted how excellent his aura control is as it took her 25 years to reach that level.
    • Tserriednich Hui Guo Rou. If Gon and Killua are 1 in 10,000,000, he has a more astonishing talent than them as he mastered the Nen basics in just one week even when his teacher sabotages his learning. And as a Nen Specialist, he immediately develops Combat Clairvoyance that allows him to change the future and develop a Nen Beast that's pretty much a Superpower Lottery. This isn't a good thing since he's one of the vilest characters in the manga that even his own teacher dreads what will happen if he actually masters Nen.
  • Played straight with Apollo of Genesis of Aquarion in the first episode.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Ku Fei notes that in a mere few hours Negi reached a level of martial arts mastery that would take normal people months. He also learned instant movement after two separate training sessions. Not even training from hell. It is explicitly noted that his specialty is really rapid learning and improvising rather than extreme power, however. Another example is Asuna instantly grasping the kanka technique while Takamichi had to work seriously hard at it. As in, spent years at it. Asuna's kind of a special case though, as (when learning in the present) she had already done it before, and even in the past, she wasn't your average person. Also, she gave Takamichi tips on how to do it.
    • Kurt Godel is another example in his backstory. As a teen he wanted to learn Shinmeiryu swordsmanship, but Eishin refused to teach him, so he simply learned the techniques by watching Eishin perform them at which point Eishin gave up and took Godel on as his student.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • All Might didn't take long to get accustomed to One For All's full power, whereas his successor Deku is struggling with One For All's overwhelming power. Subverted when it is revealed that All Might had mastered only the physical aspect of the Quirk and remained ignorant of its latent power. In contrast, Deku has an unusually strong affinity for One For All's esoteric aspect and is the first person to be able to unlock its secret powers. Still Deku is yet to master them.
    • Averted in All For One's case. He can steal any Quirk he wants (except One For All), but cannot instantly master it. Which is why he prefers to steal strong and/or easy to use Quirks, especially strength enhancing Quirks, making him an example of Unskilled, but Strong.
    • Neito Monoma's Quirk allows him to copy most Quirks for short durations, although his skill in using them is limited compared to their original users.
  • The Prince of Tennis:
    • The main character Ryoma Echizen is shown to be easily copying and mastering techniques such as the snake, Rising Shot, Zero-Shiki Drop Shot, etc., while constantly employing new techniques such as the single-footed split step. However, it's explained that this is because he was trained at a very young age by his father, not because of any natural talent.
    • Played straight in the Prince of Billiards episode, where Ryoma somehow managed to not only copy everyone else's techniques, but also beat the resident billiards genius. All despite never having played billiards before and committing two fouls in his first two hits.
  • Averted to an extent in Soul Eater. Maka, Black Star and their Weapons are shown to take some time to get used to new powers/techniques, although in the meantime they do make do with a less refined version. Shadow Star didn't last very long to begin with and was dangerous, and Demon Hunter served its purpose when it first turned up, but Maka only really put it into practice in the fight with Arachne. And between the two she's shown talking with Ox about possibilities for her new technique, which is a nice touch. Demon Hunter's predecessor, Witch Hunter, turns up with less fuss than it did initially.
  • Ui Hirasawa from K-On! is implied to be one. Episode 12 of Season 1 revealed that she was the one that taught Yui how to read guitar sheets, implying that she learned to play the guitar so she could help her sister learn how to play the guitar, which she does very well when she pulled her Twin Switch. In Season 2, when she, Azusa and Jun went to play at batting cages, she overhears a father give his son baseball tips... and hits a home-run immediately after.
  • Haru Glory combines this with New Powers as the Plot Demands in Rave Master. It's an explicitly stated gift of the Rave of Wisdom that it allows Haru to call upon and correctly use the different forms of his sword, the Ten Commandments, as the need arises.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya:
    • Yuki Nagato is assumed to be one, since she has a direct link to something that is basically a god of knowledge and intellect.
      Haruhi: Yuki was really good with that guitar! I wonder when she learned?
      Kyon: [thinking] Probably the second you asked her...
    • The espers are a variant. They all just woke up one morning with their powers, knowing how to use them, what to use them for, and that Haruhi Suzumiya was responsible. You can understand why some of them theorize that she might be God.
  • Digimon: Whenever a Digimon digivolves for the first time, they instantly know the name of their new form, as well as all of their new attacks, and have no problems getting to grips with them. Handwaved with the fact that Digimon are programs.
  • In episode 5 of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, local Idiot Savant Mashiro scores zeroes on all of her tests, including English, which Sorata wonders how that could have happened in the first place since she lived in Britain for most of her youth. Later she's given some study sheets, and instantly remembers all of the information on it, which Sorata briefly tests her on. She laters scores all 100's when she takes the tests again.
  • In Vividred Operation, The girls immediately know how to use their abilities, and they know how to summon and use their weapons by just taking a glimpse at some schematics. That "docking" thing at least takes a flashback sequence to work properly.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Phantom Blood: Jonathan masters Hamon in half-a-day when it would take a lifetime for anyone else.
    • Battle Tendency: The Pillar Men are the remnants of a race of superhumans who can learn new things very quickly. The first Pillar Man, Santana, can grasp the basics of modern language after overhearing a few conversations and immediately figures out how to disassemble a machine gun all after waking up from a 4,000 year hibernation. The other three Pillar Men are even stronger and smarter than Santana and can converse normally using modern language after overhearing a few words.
    • Stardust Crusaders: Jotaro gains full control of Star Platinum once he engages Avdol during their brief encounter.
  • In Girls und Panzer, Team Anglerfish brings Mako into their tank during their first battle, and after Hana (who was initially their driver) passes out, Mako takes the controls and, after looking at the manual, learns how to drive better than Hana almost instantly. Interestingly enough, her quick learning causes her to have trouble trying to tutor others in driving, such as the volleyball team in the anime or Sodoko in the manga.
  • Katanagatari: Nanami is an unparalleled prodigy capable of learning any technique after seeing it once, and mastering it after seeing it twice. She never learned the family fighting style because her father was too afraid of what she'd be like if she did (and then she learned it anyway). She goes from a powerless waif to the strongest in Japan after she kills her way across the country, gaining the powers of everyone she killed. Unfortunately, she's also a) an antagonist, meaning the hero has to fight her, and b) a Death Seeker, meaning she's trying desperately to die in battle, but is so superhumanly tough that she can't lose a fight.
  • Zigzagged in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Despite having no combat experience, Sayaka manages to be a capable swordfighter on her earliest missions, even hurling her weapons with a surprising amount of accuracy (however, she's still considered to be subpar by Puella Magi standards). Homura, on the other hand, remained physically weak and uncoordinated upon first contracting, being exhausted by less than a minute of physical activity.
  • Downplayed in Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu. When Daiya first takes control of Gaiking, he knows how to run, jump, and fight well enough, if a little roughly, but he has to be taught how to use any of the robot's attacks.
  • In Inazuma Eleven, characters will often be able to pull off certain moves without much, or any, practise, and a lot of characters who have seemingly never played soccer before end up having a natural talent for it and become instantly great at it. The most obvious and glaring example is Tachimukai, who after just seeing Endou pull of God Hand once, was able to perfectly replicate the move. He's able to do the same for Majin The Hand, although it takes him a little while to actually master that one. In fact, this combined with the fact he was copying Endou's moves was so glaring a problem with Tachimukai's character that the third season actually addressed the fan hate for the character by having Tachimukai get depressed over being the very thing many fans accused him off being a copycat.
  • In World Break: Aria of Curse for a Holy Swordsman, Moroha learns how to use Isurugi's super-speed after watching him a few times. The latter meanwhile states that it took him two years to master that move.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Ed instinctively knows that he can do transmute without a circle, what with having seen the Truth and all. This fits in with how he was able to bond Al's soul to a suit of armor immediately after losing his leg when alchemists who had devoted years of research to it had far less luck with human transmutation.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Yugi and Atem are very quick to adapt to games they never played before and are able to put their expert opponents off-guard within a single game.
    • In the original series, most duelists get the hang of Kaiba's new rules for Battle City (which better resemble the ones of the OCG) rather quickly. The only one who has some difficulty is Jonouchi (who's always depicted as slow) who makes a mistake in the duel with Esper Roba, but he catches on quickly after that.
    • Subverted in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, where Aki has a lot of trouble learning Riding Dueling, and even makes a mistake trying to use a Speed Spell in her test exam, but manages to adapt.
    • However, in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, the heroes, for one season, get sent to the Synchro Dimension, which greatly resembles Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds where people duel on motorcycles. Despite never riding motorcycles before, the heroes adapt pretty quickly. Yuzu manages to jump her bike and perform a barrel roll, and Sawatari even beats Yugo in a brief race.
  • In Re:CREATORS the fictional characters that come from fantasy/sci-fi universes into the real world are this. One of them is shown to be instantly able to drive a car, in the middle of traffic no less. She justifies it by being a mecha pilot in her work of origin and saying that a car's controls are much less complex than her mecha's; that said, while she takes to making a car move surprisingly quickly, her technique still needs a lot of work, and it's rare that a car she gets behind the wheel of remains in working order by the time she's done with it. They also get the hang of smartphones and video games surprisingly fast. Averted with the other fictional characters that come from fictional representations of the real world, since they're already supposed to know how stuff works.
  • Downplayed in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. Elma is completely unable to figure out how to work a computer at first, due to the technological level of her world, but thanks to Kobayashi's guidance, she manages to become a fairly competent coder not long after. Kobayashi lampshades this by calling dragons "high spec". A justification is given later on when it's revealed that the company's programming dialect was designed by wizards who emmigrated from her world and modeled after their magic system (something she'd already have at least passing knowledge of).
  • In The Mysterious Cities of Gold, blocks of orichalcum can be manipulated by somebody wearing a Heva crown. Zia instantly and effortlessly starts making geometric shapes with hundred of cubes whereas Pedro and Sancho can't even levitate a single block, no matter how hard they try.
  • During the final arc of Getter Robo, we are introduced to Takuma Nagare, son of the legendary Getter pilot Ryoma Nagare. For Takuma, piloting the Getter is literally In the Blood: Ryoma was exposed to such a massive amount of Getter Rays that they're part of Takuma's biology, allowing him to just climb into the cockpit of a Getter and instantly be capable of piloting it perfectly.
  • Dr. STONE: Kaseki has such skill as a craftsman that he can craft suitable glass jars immediately after seeing molten glass for the first time (and watching Senku and Chrome fail miserably). He's also just as good as Senku in creating the gas masks.
  • In Jujutsu Kaisen, it's pointed out several times that Yuji is an extremely fast learner, getting a basic grasp of his ability to control Curse Energy within days of being given an exercise by Gojo. His brawling skills grow by leaps and bounds after Todo starts giving him advice, and he performs the highly advanced Black Flash just minutes after being given a basic explanation, and matching the record for most Black Flashes in a row in the ensuing fight.
  • Kaguya from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War tends to pick up on new skills very quickly thanks to a combination of her excellent memory and her wealthy background giving her a wide variety of other skills to cross reference from. Ironically, once she decides that she wants to pursue photography as a career, she discovers that it's the one thing that she has zero natural talent for. This leaves her at a complete loss since it's the first time in her life that she didn't pick something up immediately, but at the same time shows her passion for the art given that she sticks with it rather than switch to something easier.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman does this, occasionally in-frame, but constantly by implication. Advanced use of computers, forensic chemistry, multiple ( Otherwise all ) martial arts disciplines, stunt driving, acrobatics, marksmanship with a variety of ranged weapons (firearm, thrown and otherwise)... all these are barely scratching the surface of the immense collection of formal training and acquired skills Mr Wayne apparently acquired by the time he was 30. Consider that he didn't even start seriously training for anything except CEO-hood until after his parents were killed when he was 8 and that some of the skills he's obtained would normally take even an exceptionally talented real-world student more than 20 years of dedicated training to learn, individually, to Batman's degree of proficiency. And don't forget that, the entire time he was doing all this learning, his training had to compete for his time with nocturnal crime-fighting, running a major corporation, cooking the books so that anyone receiving a Wayne Enterprises stock report wouldn't immediately know his secret identity, designing tons of cool, but distinctively branded, toys, jumping through hoops to purchase such toys in ways that wouldn't immediately give away the identity of the purchaser of the world's entire supply of Batarangs, and all of this while maintaining enough of a carefree social life to maintain his cover identity.
  • Black Alice from the Birds of Prey can temporarily steal the magical powers of any spellcaster she can think of and is shown to be pretty proficient with their powers with no prior experience. At one point she stole power from two spell casters at once. She even stole the powers of the Spectre. Crosses over with Power Copying. She was nerfed to hell and back in the Reign In Hell event but has made a comeback in Secret Six, where it turns out the trope has been subverted... she attempted to use Raven's healing magic to cure her father's asthma, but screwed up and accidentally gave him cancer.
  • Prometheus, a supervillain of the DC Universe, has a helmet with some fancy technology where he can just pop in a disc with whatever skill or knowledge he needs. This can range from the blueprints for a space station to the skills of the top thirty martial artists in the world—with which he handily defeated Batman (until the rematch, when Batman uploaded the combat skills of Stephen Hawking). Captain America (Even though he himself is a great user of this Trope) was not impressed.
    Captain America: Neural chaff. Hypnotic lights. Pre-programmed skills. Try fighting the Wehrmacht, mister— It teaches you focus!
  • One character in the French comic Les exploits de Poison Ivy (no relation) has the superpower to instantaneously absorb the knowledge of any book she reads or simply flip through, thus becoming able to fly a plane or operating on someone after flipping through a flight manual or a book of medicine. The drawback is that she can't turn this ability off, which causes the poor girl to embrace Nazi ideals when she happens to glance at Mein Kampf.
  • Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four does this as part of his suite of Super-Intelligence powers. In one instance taking a piece of previously unknown alien tech that transmitted information by smell and rigging a device that translated it... into a video... in ten minutes... after saying that he wasn't confident in his ability to do the job.
  • Gold Digger has Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy Ryan Tabbott, who is very proud of his ability to learn any skill just by watching someone else do it. His fighting style comes from having watched martial arts movies, and he is a strong fighter. Nevertheless, he gets taken down a peg when the Highly-Visible Ninja member of the Peewee's Terrible Trio uses a Hadoken-like energy attack and Ryan soon finds out that while he can mimic the physical action perfectly, he doesn't know how to focus his chi properly.
  • An obscure Justice League of America villain only seen once named Paragon explicitly had this as part of his power, which was to be better at everything than those within a certain range of him. So he wasn't just instantly instilled with all the powers of the JLA when they were near but he had greater power than they had and greater skill and ability at using their own powers and abilities.
  • The original Mister Terrific. As a result of his natural raw intellect and physical ability, Terry Sloane instantly masters anything, anything, he tries—shaming even lifelong experts. Because every single thing he put his hand to came so easily to him, by the age of twenty Terry had become jaded and depressed, ultimately planning to drive his car off of a bridge. However a chance encounter led to him realizing that turning his talents toward helping others as a costumed hero would provide him with the fulfillment and novelty he was seeking in life. He and his successor share the tagline "The Man of 1,000 Talents".
  • The second Mr. Terrific, Michael Holt, from the Justice Society of America. It's not an explicit metahuman power — he just has a natural talent for learning. Before he became a superhero, he had 14 Ph.D.s on top of being a gold medal-winning Olympic decathlete.
  • Skull Island: The Birth of Kong: Riccio in this Kong: Skull Island sequel graphic novel. Aaron's narration mentions that he's "scary smart" enough that upon coming in contact with the Iwi, he learns their language practically overnight.
  • In Spirou and Fantasio, the Count of Champignac has invented a serum that grants super intelligence. His first test allows him to invent a submarine and scuba gear apparatus both years ahead of their time despite not know beforehand on the subject (he only needed to flip through a few books about it).
  • Invoked in Steelgrip Starkey and the All-Purpose Power Tool. The tool can be programmed to perform any construction task, using "technalchemy" to instantly form and synthesize new components out of thin air, yet Steelgrip can control all of its features with the precision and skill of an expert. The tool has an unspecified mental link to its operator, and the controls and instruments it creates are in construction forms that Starkey would be familiar with.
  • Adept from Strikeforce: Morituri had this as a super-power — she could analyze and understand something just by touching it, though the speed of mastery varied according to the complexity of the subject. She learned to fly a spaceship in a minute, while alien machines from other worlds could require weeks of study.
  • Taskmaster, in the Marvel Universe, can instantly learn how to do any physical skill or martial arts maneuver his body is physiologically capable of surviving simply by watching anyone else do it once, either live or via recorded media. Handwaved away by explicitly giving him the superpower of "photographic reflexes," or the ability to instantly learn by watching. His most recent mini-series also gave him the more conventional form of photographic memory in addition to his superpower, further enhancing his rapid learning abilities. He also has Awesomeness by Analysis in that he understands what he learns so thoroughly that he can teach other people how to do it. The whole thing worked against him, however, when he tried to use it on Deadpool, who is just too unpredictable. He even started dancing partway through the fight with Taskmaster, just because.
  • A character from The Tick comics, Oedipus Ashley Stevens, is a bored rich girl who becomes one of the world's greatest ninjas... after training for "nearly two weeks!"
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Diana learns languages incredibly quick, picking up Saturnian enough to eavesdrop on her opponents within hours of first hearing it.
    • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): Diana can learn languages incredibly quickly, and can learn how to fly a plane after being told how once (in the cockpit but without the plane leaving the hangar).
  • High-end Telepaths in the X-Men universe can do this by psychically downloading the knowledge and skills of others into their own minds or even the minds of others. Professor X and Emma Frost have both made liberal use of this ability in their roles as teachers (Charles even used it as a Mundane Utility when he was still in school to become a star student), while Cable, X-Man, and Exodus of Magneto's Acolytes have exhibited what more combat-oriented applications can do.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon):
    • This works two ways for San and Vivienne Graham via their Twin Telepathy. San picks up the English vocabulary directly from Vivienne's brain, and Word of God states Vivienne in turn can use her innate Bone Singer ability fluidly despite her lack of experience with it due to her mentally "piggybacking" on San's natural understanding of Titans' communication.
    • The Many's Hive Mind enables Ghidorah to read the socio-cultural knowledge of all the Many's human victims at its leisure.
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Peter didn't need much time to master his powers, build his own web-shooters, and learn to web-sling on his own. As a result, his advice to Izuku can come across as frustratingly vague, especially since Izuku's powers operate somewhat differently on top of having two powers that Peter doesn't. Peter acknowledges this and uses his teaching background to make up the difference, but his limited resources mean he's still pulling at straws much of the time.
    Peter: [after Izuku fails to web up soda cans] I mean… [tapping his head] You aim with this. You need to thwip it out and be confident you're going to hit what you are aiming for. [shrugs] I mean, that's how it worked for me and I'm doing alright.
    Izuku: [moaning] That doesn't teach me anything!
  • Played for Drama with Whisper from Boldores And Boomsticks. She masters new moves very quickly, meaning she doesn't realize struggling is normal and thinks not doing so makes her a failure.
  • Child of the Storm:
    • Harry, a demigod, finds as he develops his powers, Asgardians have ridiculously good muscle memory, meaning that they only have to go through a move a few times to have it down perfectly. Since they're pretty much designed to be perfect warriors, this is not entirely surprising. It's also helpful when learning how to dance.
    • Psychics are also very good at this too, picking up languages incredibly quickly, and being able to upload and download information with ease - something Harry also demonstrates. In general, this is something he's particularly good at, something he attributes to an intuitive personality and a knack for/experience with psychic links.
  • Daystar: This is Taylor's most fundamental power. For skills that align with her nature as a Solar Exalt or her core personality, she attains in months a level of mastery that would take mortals decades to reach. This ability is somewhat lessened for skills that don't directly complement her nature as a hero, granting "only" the equivalent of superlative natural talent rather than nigh-instant mastery.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager/Stargate Universe crossover "Destiny and Voyager: Crossroads", the Doctor becomes a version of this once the two crews start working together to get home. In order to help TJ understand some of the technology in Destiny that the crew have never been able to determine the purpose of, the Doctor is given a complete download of the Ancient language, allowing him to determine what the equipment does and even what diseases the Ancients have cured.
  • Fates Collide:
    • The RWBY characters get their weapons converted into Noble Phantasms. Ruby Rose can call Crescent Rose to her hand on her first try, which amazes the others.
    • As Sabers have Riding Skill, Jaune Arc is amazed that, despite never riding a horse before, he can control a horse and ride it.
    • Medea teaches Glynda Goodwitch some of her magic and is amazed at how quickly she picks it up.
  • In The Games We Play, this is one of the base benefits of being The Gamer. Whether by using a skill book or some other method, Jaune can instantly gain and begin using skills that for anyone else would take years or decades to grasp.
  • In the The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess fanfic The Golden Power, Link is revealed to have always had an instinctive knowledge of weaponry, allowing him to adapt and use any weapon he comes across. The fic calls such a person a "Blademaster".
  • In A Growing Affection, Madara uses his Susano-o power to download decades on ninja training into civilians' brains in a matter of hours. Downplayed in that afterwards it takes them a few weeks or even months for their bodies to get up to speed.
  • In Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles, Harry somehow knows the Bible inside-out from the moment he converts to Christianity, referencing a specific passage as the reason why he won't hold the Dursleys' treatment of him against them even though the narrative leaves absolutely no time in which he could have read it. He is also shown time and time again to be a far better Christian than anyone else in the story and clearly understanding the will of God perfectly, as demonstrated in Harry and Draco's "pray-off".
  • Discussed in Imaginary Seas. Percy is baffled by how comfortable he is with Riptide's new laser function even though he never used it in life. Chiron explains this as a consequence of being summoned as a Servant, but the specifics of the metaphysics quickly bore Percy.
  • Haruhi gains Mind over Matter powers in Kyon: Big Damn Hero, and instantly knows how to use them. She had just altered reality to grant herself them, though.
  • Juxtapose:
    • Defied hard with Neito Monoma's Power Copying Quirk. The fact that he doesn't gain any experience with any Quirk he copies has had a big impact on him growing up, like not getting any skill with his hero Best Jeanist's fibers, not being used to a villain's Anger Point Quirk and going berserk as a result, and not seeing any utility to Izuku's Minor Banishment Quirk despite witnessing it taking out a giant robot.
    • Played straight with Megumi, who quickly learns martial arts through her Touch Telepathy.
  • In Mauling Snarks, a Worm fanfic, Taylor's new Tinker power is named Understanding, Maintenance and Repair. The first part gives her an innate understanding of most machines and Tinkertech, allowing her to fix it, detect any problems and even write user manuals - although building it herself isn't included.
  • In My Hero Playthrough, Izuku can learn and master skills just by spending his skill points. This also applies to people he invites into his party. Izuku would rather grind the skills at low level, and save skill points for higher levels when grinding is slower. Unfortunately, he keeps ending up needing to spend points to improve his skills to help/save others.
  • My Hero School Adventure Is All Wrong As Expected: Hikigaya Hachiman has a relatively weak Quirk that allows him to copy up to 108 other Quirks but only at 1/108 the power of the original. Extensively training his ability doesn't make it any stronger, but it does make it much more informative. With but a single touch, Hachiman acquires such an extensive knowledge of others' abilities that he is often able to instantly advise his fellow students on methods to vastly improve the strength and effectiveness of their own Quirks in ways that they never knew possible.
  • Averted hard in the Arrow fic The Outbreak. Felicity does manage to use the ATOM suit to save Oliver, but wrecks it in the process. This leaves them with no way to distribute the vaccine for the Alpha and Omega virus, leading to many deaths. Ray even chews her out for thinking she could use it with no training.
  • Deconstructed in Reflections Of Demons where Sasuke almost dies from trying to perform Kage Bunshin no Jutsu via Power Copying with his Sharingan. Zabuza explains that while his Sharingan shows him HOW to perform the jutsu, he doesn't know the mechanics behind it or the amount of chakra required so it can backfire on him.
  • Xander Harris in The Plagiarist learns how to do any physical task with supernatural quickness after he's empowered. Two noteworthy cases being one of his minions/copies saying he went from "fumbling like a virgin" the first time they had sex to "ringing [her] bell like a pro" the third time, and going from having to tank attacks by Nightwing and Batgirl to fighting evenly within a few minutes.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines either averts this trope or plays with it. For example:
  • Averted in Power Rangers Take Flight (an adaptation of Choujin Sentai Jetman)- the other Rangers aside from Red Ranger Luke are totally clueless when it comes to combat, so Luke has to give them crash courses in things like martial arts. Meanwhile, they get instructions on how to utilize their weapons and gear via instructions in their helmet visors.
  • Witches in the afterlife setting of Resonance Days tend to be this for any skills relating to their original monstrous form, despite being wiped of their memories. For instance, Oktavia, who had an orchestra-themed labyrinth, can play nearly any instrument within seconds of picking it up.
  • In fanfic, Risk It All, several of Ren's skills let him quickly master things he's never done before. Multilingual and Driving make it easier for him to learn languages and operate cars respectively. Meanwhile, combat techniques like Water Stream Rock Smashing Fist lets him instinctively take combat stances, perform Combat Parkour, and axe kick someone hard enough to take them out of a fight.
  • In Shinobi The RPG Daisuke can instantly master skills by putting points into them when he levels, balanced slightly by regular training doing almost nothing for him. Also, having maxed out INT stat and chakra control from a young age lets him pretty much make up new jutsu on the spot.
  • In Star Wars: The Sith, Zero Louise has the Gandalfr Runes etched into her hand allowing her to master any weapon she touches as long as she is touching it. It also gives her some other perks such as increased speed, endurance and strength, however it takes a toll on her stamina when she 'powers down'.
  • This Bites!:
    • Soundbite, thanks to hearing the Voice of All Things, can listen to objects and figure out their functions.]]
    • Boss Dugong has dedicated himself to "learning how to learn". After only 10 minutes with a Six Powers cheat sheet, he can replicate it to its full effect.
  • Triptych Continuum:
    • In the Continuum, every unicorn has a single trick, a personal spell that they simply know how to cast without having to be taught. However, learning additional spells beyond the unicorn's trick requires study and practice (and can go very wrong if you try to rush it).
    • Averted for a newly-ascended Twilight in Triptych itself. While her ascension gave her access to pegasus and earth pony magic, it didn't give her any proficiency with how to use either of them.
  • Trump Card: This is explicitly part of Taylor's power in this fic. Whenever she copies a power, the Shard tells her what the power is, how to use it, and what all the special tricks she can do with it are.
  • Vow of Nudity: Averted. Despite Haara following D&D leveling mechanics, the series breaks from the core rules by preventing level-up until her current adventure is over. Any XP earned in between is backlogged and granted as starting bonus in the next story.
  • With Strings Attached:
    • As soon as John opens himself up to the Kansael, he knows how to use it and its water powers perfectly—as opposed to the others, who all have a learning curve with their magic (especially Paul). That's because the Kansael is semi-sentient and grants him complete control.
    • Also, he did fly the first time he jumped off a cliff, but Varx noted that when he transformed him into a Winged Humanoid, he made sure to give him the requisite instincts to be able to fly.
    • When George shapeshifts he gains all the instincts of the creature he becomes, although it takes him a while to get used to the actual change. And sometimes he gets a little too expert...

    Films — Animation 
  • Buck in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs rides a pteranodon skillfully when it's his first time doing it.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, Vanellope picks up racing very quickly for someone who never drove a cart before. This was because she was coded to be a racer but was forced to forget how. When she repeatedly says "racing is in my code", she was right.
  • Francoeur from A Monster in Paris literally has a guitar drop into his lap and is left alone in a room to experiment with it, without any instruction. By the time Lucille comes back his playing is so good, her aunt mistakes him for an incoming talent and includes him in the show. Bonus points because this is basically his first day of existence.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: While she has trouble like everybody else with the original Wild Magic or her later Super-Speed, Rainbow Dash takes to flying like a fish to water from the very moment she gains wings. Of course, considering her pony counterpart, this isn't so surprising.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie: Luigi spends a majority of the movie captured by Bowser, so he's unable to do any fighting. But in the climax, as soon as he becomes invincible with the power of the Super Star, he's immediately on par with Mario's skill, who spent quite a bit of the time training and fighting Bowser's army.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • May be a case of knowing more than he lets on instead, but the Cloud Cuckoolander "swami" character in the Steve Martin film All of Me is "accompanying" a saxophonist on the piano, by occasionally playing a single note with one finger (the same note almost every time, with one exception, where he appears inordinately pleased that the new note fits into the chord progression properly). As the saxophonist finishes up the intro, the swami looks bemusedly at the rest of the keyboard, places both hands on the keys, and launches into a rather sophisticated passage bridging to the main song.
  • Assassin's Creed (2016): The Bleeding Effect allows Cal to acquire his ancestor's martial skills insanely fast. It's implied that the Crane Style Animus accelerated the process by using augmented reality and Ancestral Weapons.
  • Avatar: Jake goes running out the door as soon as he physically can, while Norm is still doing motor skill tests. And that's only the beginning: Jake learns to speak the native language, ride a direhorse, ride a Giant Flyer, archery on the Giant Flyer, and rally the Na'vi people against Quaritch all inside 3 months. It's even pointed out before they first get in the pods that Norm has logged hundreds of hours in the simulator, while Jake has only read the manual. Not to mention the fact that Jake hasn't been able to walk for months (subjective time, since he spent years in cryo).
  • The enslaved humans from Battlefield Earth. Despite never having worked with any technology at all, they quickly become expert pilots, due to a "teaching machine" which beams information straight into the user's brain.
  • Parodied in Better Off Dead: "Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn."
  • In Demolition Man, cryogenically frozen prisoners can have information implanted into their minds. Simon Phoenix/ Wesley Snipes is implanted with martial arts styles and a password that help him escape, while John Spartan/ Sylvester Stallone is implanted with knitting skills. And is still badass, of course.
    John Spartan: I come out of cryo-prison and I'm Betsy fucking Ross.
  • In Earth Girls Are Easy, the three aliens manage to learn English after watching television for just a few hours. (Not very well, but enough for them to pass as human.)
  • In The Fifth Element, Leeloo (a cloned human-alien-hybrid-thing) learns English in the space of about a day. She does this by speed-reading the 23rd century equivalent of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Even before that, after falling into Korben's cab, she figures out how to say "please help" (albeit making "please" sound like "ple-is") by reading the various signs in the cab. Someone without prior language knowledge shouldn't be able to figure out how written words sound.
  • Troy and Gabriella in High School Musical, despite neither being a trained singer, manage harmony and perfect pitch with a song playing on a karaoke machine. And highlighted at the end of HSM2 where Troy is told to learn a new song, literally two minutes before going on and after goggling for a moment tells Ryan "I can't learn a new song." Of course, when he goes on stage two minutes later, he's not only learned a new song but learned how to harmonise with his absent partner.
  • James Bond's apparent expertise at everything becomes a running joke during the Roger Moore era, but less so in more recent films.
  • Daniel-san, of The Karate Kid fame, manages to go from dweeb to a Force To Be Reckoned With in the space of a few weeks, with some yard work thrown in. It's to the point of being able to defeat Cobra Kai dojo and Johnny who had far longer training. Although Daniel does learn exceptionally quickly, this is treated more that Mr. Miyagi was teaching him a superior discipline than what the Cobra guys were taught. This is reflected in the way the fight scenes were choreographed; others moved faster and more aggressively, but Daniel behaved more efficiently. Plus, there is a lot to be said for a 1:1 teacher/student ratio.
  • The Last Samurai has Tom Cruise's character, Nathan Algren. He was built up as a quick study at linguistics and warfare, and before being captured by a Samurai group he was already intensely studying their ways. However, in the course of one winter (three months) that he stays with them, he picks up enough Japanese to carry a conversation. He also becomes proficient with the katana in the same time period, but he was already shown to be a badass fighter with various other weapons. The most egregious example, though, is that he is given a full set of samurai armor, which he has never trained with, mere hours before the final climactic battle, and is instantly proficient in fighting with it.
  • Averted by most Kryptonians and Superman in terms of learning powers in Man of Steel. Clark spends 30 years learning how to control his abilities and has a significant advantage over the Kryptonian soldiers who only seem to have access to Super-Strength and Super-Speed. Played straight by Zod who, after what seems like no more than a few days of practice on Earth, discovers his full power-set. Additionally, from what we can see of Clark, it is highly unlikely that he's ever so much as thrown a punch before his first fight with Zod's minions. Nevertheless, on his very first outing, he fights like, well, Superman. It's noted that he's not as good in a fistfight as Zod's minions, but he's still able to hold his own against multiple trained super-powered warriors at close quarters.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Iron Man:
      • Obadiah Stane in the first movie relies on computer assistance to pilot his Iron Monger. When Tony rips out its wires, he can't shoot a missile at Tony even when his target is at close range.
      • Col. Rhodes from Iron Man 2 is an aversion. He is clearly wobbly the first time he uses the Mk.2 suit and it is controlled to a large extent remotely in the climax. He is never shown to have the same level of skill as Tony, the designer who worked out the kinks, until much later.
      • Tony's superpower is pretty much being a genius at everything (he's called "the Da Vinci of our time") and makes even other MCU inventors look like morons. There doesn't seem to be any problem in any field that he can't master in short order. In Iron Man 3 he made a breakthrough in a cutting edge limb regeneration technology within five minutes of being introduced to it, despite having no apparent background in biology. He was also half-drunk at the time.
        Hill: When did you become an expert in thermonuclear astrophysics?
        Tony: Last night.
    • Ant-Man gives us Scott Lang, who learns how to effectively utilize the Ant-Man suit (both its size-changing mechanism and the device in the helmet that allows him to mentally control swarms of ants) in about a day, while also receiving a crash course in martial arts. It is established early on that he's a really smart guy who's already in great shape, but learning three skills like that so quickly is a stretch.
    • Justified in Black Panther (2018). Everett Ross is already a pilot, and although he has no knowledge of the advanced Wakandan aircrafts, when he remotely takes control of the Royal Talon Flyer, Shuri has configured the interface "American-style" for him, meaning the controls are similar to those of a fighter jet Ross would be already familiar with. He only needs coaching for a gesture-activated function that you wouldn't find on an ordinary jet, but otherwise has no problem shooting down the transports by himself.
    • Avengers: Endgame: Captain America/Steve Rogers proves himself worthy and wields Mjölnir. In the battle against Thanos, despite never using Mjölnir before, he demonstrates more skill and creativity with it than Thor ever did, including its lightning powers.
    • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: Katy Chen is a completely ordinary civilian who gets caught up in a world-saving situation. However, she masters archery very quickly and is good enough to contribute to the final battle.
    • Played for Laughs in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, where alien band Bzermikitokolok and the Knowheremen (played by real-life band Old 97's) perform an entire musical number with Earth instruments they only recently acquired. Peter Quill even lampshades it.
  • Justified in The Matrix, where all humans spend most of their lives plugged into a computer network through which they receive simulated experiences anyway — their Unusual User Interfaces can also act as Upgrade Artifacts, making it a trivial matter to have a full training regimen for anything from martial arts to piloting written directly into your brain in a matter of seconds. Whether this carries over to the real world is up in the air, though the series' only real-world hand-to-hand fight scene is considerably less flashy than all of the other action scenes.
  • Men in Black: Dr. Laurel Weaver, Linda Fiorentino's character, is smart enough to figure how to use a MIB gun, just in time to shoot Edgar the Bug from behind and kill him once for all.
  • In the film The Meteor Man, anyone with meteor powers can temporarily absorb all the information in a book just by touching it. Apparently, they can also apply it, considering that at one point the protagonist acquires martial arts skills from touching a book on the subject. And immediately afterward? Runway modeling.
  • George Malley, John Travolta's character in Phenomenon, develops the ability to do this as a result of his unexplained encounter. It's most blatant when the town needs a translator, and he learns a significant portion of the Portuguese language in twenty minutes. (Slightly justified in that he was already fluent in Spanish, which is sufficiently similar to Portuguese that he didn't have to learn the language from scratch.)
  • In Push, Nick has been telekinetic all his life, but sucks as the film opens because he never practices. It doesn't really take him very long to become quite adept at it, and he starts kicking ass once he confronts Carter and Victor. Slightly subverted in that Victor is still shown to be a better Mover, as he can effortlessly defeat several dozen Triad members with automatic weapons by throwing up a telekinetic shield and then defeating each enemy in turn by "moving" them. Nick manages to defeat him by starting a hand-to-hand fight.
  • In Short Circuit, Johnny 5 can learn how to operate a complex device in seconds by speed-reading through the instruction manual. He learns how to drive a car this way.
  • Despite being all of eight when imprisoned in solitary confinement and having no training whatsoever, Snow White in Snow White & the Huntsman is apparently a highly-skilled soldier and warrior.
  • Averted in the first Spider-Man movie, where Peter has to learn to use his spiderweb (and gets hit quite a bit for it). Though his technique isn't terribly graceful the first time out, by the middle of the film he can web-sling his way across town with ease.
  • Madison from the movie Splash was able to learn English in a single afternoon simply by watching TV. Granted, she's a mermaid with magical powers, but this does seem a bit of a Handwave.
  • Many characters in various Star Wars media. This is usually explained as due to their Force-sensitivity.
    • Luke plays with this. He technically starts his training with Obi-Wan in A New Hope and begins getting a feel for his powers, but thanks to Obi-Wan's sacrifice against Vader he leaves off on that for the remainder of the film. Three years later by the start of The Empire Strikes Back, Luke's Force skills have improved somewhat, but he still needs a lot more training (struggling to pull off a Force pull for one thing) and goes to find Yoda, with the majority of said training occurring over the unspecified period of time it takes the Millennium Falcon to reach Bespin sans hyperdrive. We see only a few minutes of it directly and no indication is given of extreme time passing. Although real Jedi apparently started training in early childhood, Luke can put up a good fight against Vader (although he's holding back somewhat thanks to coming to a revelation about his relationship with Luke) and use powers such as Force jump by the time he leaves the planet. By Return of the Jedi, Luke, who's otherwise spent most of his time over the one-year timeskip looking for Han rather than training, is now a full-blown Jedi, being able to employ mind tricks and numerous other Jedi powers with little effort. He's also a far better swordsman, though only able to best Vader when overcome by Unstoppable Rage.
    • Paploo the Ewok in Return of the Jedi gets the basics of speeder bike operation instantly, despite coming from a stone-age culture and being too short to reach most of the controls.
    • Rey in The Force Awakens can manage the Jedi Mind Trick, do a Force pull, and wield a lightsaber in short order with no training whatsoever. She performs the mind trick within minutes of discovering she has the ability to use the Force. In fact, in her final clash with Kylo Ren, he overpowers him (who's had much more training than her) in direct combat. The later film, The Rise of Skywalker provides a suggestion as to how she can master all of this so quickly: she's the granddaughter of the Sith Lord Palpatine, one of the most powerful Force users in the Galaxy.
  • Lampooned mercilessly in the "We Need a Montage" sequence of the film Team America: World Police, where the protagonist Gary goes from being a talented actor to a talented actor capable of performing at Special Forces levels with any or all weapons and his bare hands... in about ten minutes of real time. But hey, he had a really cool montage sequence, complete with '80s-style power ballad, so why not?
  • TRON: Legacy:
    • Quorra apparently has never flown before. Not that it stopped her from deftly mixing it up with six Light Jets in the Light Flyer. May be an aspect of her ISO-ness.
    • Sam is often mistaken for this. However, he gets lucky in Round 1 of Disc Wars, cheats in Round 2, and gets beaten soundly by Rinzler in Round 3. Then, the Light Cycle competition comes down to him and Clu, and Clu has the fastest bike. Sam would have lost that, too, if the event had not been interrupted by an "illegal combatant". Later, he and Quorra mix it up with some red guys and some blue guys, and find themselves on the losing end of that battle until Kevin shows up. He later kills two mooks who were not shown even putting up a fight, then he and Quorra work together (with Sam using two discs, no less) to defeat Rinzler and succeed only in slowing him down. Toward the end, he found himself on the losing side of an aerial dogfight until Rinzler does a Heel–Face Turn... this is not a case of Instant Expert so much as Random Number God.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: By simply touching a TV screen, Apocalypse connects himself to all TV networks on the planet and learns modern languages and history of the world in a matter of seconds.

  • All The Skills - A Deckbuilding LitRPG: Prince Marion has an "Instant Tool and Weapon Competence" card that gives him an effective level 10 skill with whatever he picks up. However, the skill is lost if he puts down the weapon or card. When Arthur temporarily steals it, he discovers that it has powerful synergy with Master of Skills; tools, but not weapons, gain an extra three levels, and moreover, they don't lose the proficiency when the competence card is removed, allowing him to quickly gain 13 levels each in wielding spoons, forks, trowels, letter openers, rope, and whatever else he has on hand.
    He had no idea what a fork and spoon competency would grant him, why he hadn't gained these before, or even if any of these skills would stay with him once he gave up the card.
  • Cradle Series: Higher-level sacred artists have an intuitive understanding of the sacred arts themselves. Ziel mentions that a Sage or a Herald could invent a new technique every five seconds if they felt like it, though they don't, because using techniques engraves them on your soul and improves them, so it's better to have a small number you've perfected instead of a thousand you haven't. Regardless, we do see this incredible speed and knowledge a few times. The Herald Fury watches Lindon practice the Empty Palm once, masters it, and then shows Lindon two different upgrade paths he could choose for it. When Lindon finally returns to Sacred Valley, he masters his clan's ancient Path of the White Fox in seconds, describing the elders of the clan as children playing at being swordsmen who don't realize they're armed with sticks.
    First Elder: You may have great power, but we have honed our techniques over many years. You have never seen the true Path of the White Fox.
    [Lindon sees through all his illusions and grabs him by the arm]
    Lindon: No. This is the Path of the White Fox. Pay attention.
  • Digitesque: Becoming gifted means more than just the obvious superhuman powers, you also gain an immediate understanding of how best to use those powers and related skills. Pathfinders have a camouflage power, but they also have enhanced senses, an innate understanding of stealth, and excellent memory.
  • In Galactic Odyssey by Keith Laumer, the protagonist is put to work sorting indistinguishable glorm-bulbs... which turns out to give him the ability to learn essentially anything with a single run-through.
  • Gentleman Bastard: Thoroughly (and realistically) averted in Red Seas Under Red Skies when Jean and Locke are forced to pose as naval officers. While their years of work as con men allows them to realistically act the part, they lack the knowledge and skill of sailors. Despite weeks of intensive training, they are only able to learn the very basics. As soon as they are in a situation without their Hyper-Competent Sidekick to cover for them, it is immediately apparent to everyone that they have no idea what they're doing.
  • One of R. L. Stine's earlier works, The Golden Sword of Dragonwalk, had this as the power of the titular Cool Sword. It doesn't make them invincible, it just makes the ordinary kid from modern suburbia a good enough sword fighter that he might, conceivably, be able to use it to fight his way to the Evil Sorcerer terrorizing the kingdom and win.
  • In the Harry Potter series: Harry is an instant expert at flying the first time he rides a broom the first book, because it wasn't the first time. He'd been given a toy broomstick on his first birthday. It's implied this is somehow genetic, as Harry's father James was mentioned to be an exceptional Quidditch player, despite James dying before he could have taught Harry anything.
  • Homecoming Saga: When the refugees from a high-tech society end up living off the land, they need to relearn things like making/using bows and arrows, so they go to their computer god and ask. Unfortunately, transferring thoughts from one mind to another is painfully impossible, so they end up receiving muscle memory instead, as that's just reflex rather than conscious thought.
  • Zoey Redbird of The House of Night has super-special Elemental Powers that she doesn't even need to practice to use without breaking a sweat. All she needs to do is to wait until her goddess-given sixth sense tells her exactly what she needs to do, and she can turn invisible, fly over walls, blow opponents off their feet, hurl fireballs, regain the memories the Big Bad wiped from her mind, restore the humanity of bloodthirsty vampyres, and much more without any beforehand practice whatsoever.
  • Inheritance Cycle:
    • Eragon goes from never having used a sword before to being skilled enough to hold his own after a month of practice. He similarly goes from totally illiterate to being able to read to a basic level in a month. He also manages to write a fourteen-page epic poem about his experiences up to the point where he's getting trained by the elves in an hour and a half. This is a language that a few months ago he only knew a couple of words of (although since then he had been learning every day while living among people who speak it as their main language, which is Truth in Television as far as that effect goes for learning real languages).
    • Eragon learning magic, considering that we are told that most Riders are years into their training before they are even told that they can do magic, although it is both acknowledged as exceptional in-universe, while also not being unheard of, just rare, since the normal method for training magic users involves forcing them to attempt physically impossible tasks, causing them to eventually unconsciously use magic to perform it. It's also notable that doing so leaves him unable to walk from exhaustion after the first time, and once the instinctual moment has passed, he was unable to so much as levitate a pebble until he learned to use it consciously, this being far closer to how magic users are generally trained.
    • The Ancient Language itself is an interesting case. On the one hand, it does seem that Eragon learns it awfully fast. On the other hand, it is a magical language. In the third book, a Muggle who doesn't know the language and by all rights should hear nothing more than gibberish, complains that the words ring in his ears longer than they should. And understands his true name when it is spoken to his face. The magical nature of the Ancient Language might cause the words to stick in a person's mind easier.
    • The most obvious example of this trope would be when Eragon breaks his right arm, forcing him to learn to use a sword with his left. Normally, this is extraordinarily difficult; try writing for a long time or perform some other complex task with only your non-preferred hand. You probably aren't even holding the object correctly, as all your actions must now be mirrored from what you normally do, which works against the natural habits of your brain. Learning to sword-fight with your 'wrong' hand *can* be done, but your non-preferred hand will never be as strong as your preferred, which is why most swordsman never bothered. Not only does Eragon learn to use his left hand to swordfight in a few weeks, but he is also apparently totally equal to Murtagh, who has been learning to use a blade his entire life and fights Eragon with his preferred hand.
  • Lord Hong of Interesting Times regularly masters in a matter of weeks disciplines that require other human beings a lifetime of study. Everyone else's problem is that they just don't focus.
  • Unlike the film version, the literary James Bond often averts the trope. For example, in Diamonds Are Forever, M has to tell Bond how to properly wear a jeweller's glass. In You Only Live Twice he has to be lectured on various aspects of Japanese culture (moreso than in the movie).
  • The Kingkiller Chronicle tracks Kvothe's upbringing as he learns a wide variety of skills, from music to magic to swordsmanship. As a prodigy with amazing talent for virtually everything, Kvothe learns skills far faster than normal people, quickly gaining the ability to perform magical, physical and intellectual feats far beyond his age and experience. However, this is all balanced by the fact that, in the short scope of the story, he doesn't have time to reach the heights of most actual experts in these fields, who have studied them for decades and have no small portion of talent themselves.
  • Left Behind: The series takes place after all the 'good' Christians have been taken from the earth, and follows a group of people who converted to Christianity after witnessing this explicit miracle. And who talk, think and behave like those 'good' Christians instantly after their conversion. Justified in the case of Bruce, who was a pastor before all this and just lacked proper faith. Not at all justified in case of Buck, who can quote Bible passages, uses unusual lingo, and starts considering holding hands with his new girlfriend to be taboo after knowing each other for just a few weeks.
  • Lensman: Second-stage (and above) lensmen are capable of extracting huge chunks of knowledge and skill from others' minds with some rapidity, and also of granting such to others (eg. 'teaching' someone used to 1940s tech everything about the operation of blaster pistols and spy rays near-instantaneously).
  • The narrator in Love and Freindship.
    Of every accomplishment accustomary to my sex, I was Mistress. When in the Convent, my progress had always exceeded my instructions, my Acquirements had been wonderful for my age, and I had shortly surpassed my Masters.
  • Memoirs of a Geisha revolves around this trope, deconstructing it at one point: The protagonist explains that, due to a wager made between her legal guardian and her teacher, she wasn't given much time to actually practice certain skills. Instead, she would visualize them constantly, study when her mind was most pliable and invented a plethora of mnemonic devices to help her because there was absolutely no other way for her to achieve her goals and change her situation. She explains that while it looked to others like she was mastering her skills without ever practicing, in truth her mind was working on little else.
  • The Night's Dawn Trilogy thrives on this. Everyone with neural nanonics can partake of 'Didactic Learning', which basically embeds any knowledge they might need. They might not be quite as good as someone who's been doing it for years, but they can certainly operate complex objects or understand the local phlebotinum competently. It has basically abolished school. If only we had this tech.
  • In the Old Kingdom books, Sabriel's father, the previous Abhorsen, only let her read one page of The Book of the Dead at a time, ever, spaced out over careful intervals to prevent her from going mad from the information, because that book contains Things Man Was Not Meant to Know. Along comes Lirael some years later. She polishes off the entire Book of the Dead in one night. And when she officially takes up the mantle of Abhorsen, she's instantly proficient at it (though, granted, she's had some years of practice fighting Free Magic nasties). This is justified because the Book is all but directly stated to be sentient and unlike Sabriel, Lirael needed to become Abhorsen right now to prevent the destruction of reality.
  • Subverted in "Profession". Nearly everyone, on reaching their majority, gets an instant education implanted into their brains for the occupation that they are best suited for, based on aptitude testing. There is a downside to this, though: people who receive their education this way become incapable of much in the way of original thought. Only a selected few, with the aptitude to learn the hard, old-fashioned way, are capable of developing new technologies.
  • Subverted in Rainbows End, in which JITT (Just-in-Time Training) allows anyone to become an Instant Expert in anything, but with the added complication of "JITT-stick", which essentially turns the character into a semi-permanent idiot savant in the area they received JITT in. JITT-stick plays a significant role in the novel's conclusion.
  • The wielders of the famous BFS in the Redwall series can all pretty much do it instantly, even though they're mostly aged about twelve and may not ever have picked up a sword before. It's heavily implied that they're the reincarnations of the Sword's first bearer, Martin, and the skills carry over between lifetimes.
  • Kellhus from Second Apocalypse is an Impossible Genius who is raised as a Tyke Bomb by monks who train from birth to be "self moving souls." He can become fluent in a language in days and begins improving upon mathematical formulae almost immediately after learning them.
  • Doctors in Sector General can, if of sufficient mental health, have the entire medical knowledge of a master-surgeon of an alien species temporarily downloaded into their heads, to allow them to operate on that species without having to spend years learning their anatomy. With the downside that the donor being's personal quirks, racial traits, nightmares, sexual fantasies, and concepts of what makes a good lunch are also stuffed in there...
  • In Semper Fi, the first novel in W.E.B. Griffin's "The Corps" series, Malcolm "Pick" Pickering's flight instructor nearly brings him up on charges after his orientation flight, as Pick is so comfortable in the cockpit (and can easily fly and land the aircraft) that it implies that he lied when he wrote "none" in the previous flight experience box on his application.
  • Star Wars:
    • This is explicitly one of Luke Skywalker's abilities, extrapolating out from the movies. After all, he was able to deflect blaster bolts he couldn't even see within minutes of practicing with a lightsaber for the first time. Combined with the authorial tendency to give him New Powers as the Plot Demands, he can be a very Showy Invincible Hero — though if you are rebuilding the Jedi Order after having had no more than a few months' training, it doesn't hurt to be a quick study.
    • Lampshaded in Outcast when Luke goes to learn a technique from the Baran Do Sages, one allowing him to produce and control a low-level electromagnetic charge in his own body. Since he's the highly experienced exiled Grand Master of the Jedi Order, not a sage-in-training, he's put through the accelerated course, without ritual or training artifacts. All the same, it takes thirty seconds for him to produce a charge - since he knows a vaguely similar technique - and his teacher dryly says, "Well, that's about eight weeks of apprentice training bypassed." Now he has to learn to control it, which is the tricky part. Luke then asks how long it took his nephew to learn to control his charge and was told three days. Luke smiles.
      "It's very un-Jedi-like of me, but I want to break his record."
  • In the second Sword of Truth book, the protagonist learns the "dance with death" using the eponymous blade. The sword apparently stores all the sword fighting skills of anyone who's ever wielded it, and Richard can download the knowledge into himself, to the point where he can slaughter garrisons of trained soldiers even without the magic blade.
  • In Time and Again, Si is told at great length that achieving Mental Time Travel is so extremely difficult that nobody has managed to pull it off yet, and the project is getting desperate for volunteers because only a tiny percentage of the population even have a chance of mastering it. Si can get the hang of it after a few weeks of training, which is impressive enough...but both Kate and Julia can master it immediately with absolutely no training at all just from Si describing it to them, making the project look pretty clumsy in comparison.
  • Becoming an instant expert in more or less anything that takes their fancy is one of the advantages of the transhuman Luculenti in John Meaney's To Hold Infinity. Many taught themselves to paint or dance at the level of the masters of those arts on Earth... as hobbies, taking them perhaps a month or two of practice alongside their normal day jobs.
  • Played for Laughs in Touch (2017). James is trying to learn a technique to control his magic. His teacher notes that it took him weeks to figure out his approach, his grandfather took a full winter, and his grandmother is rather smug that she only took four days. All this confuses Caspar, who is only slightly more experienced than James and did this in an earlier chapter without much fanfare.
    "And you?" James asked.
    Casper shrugged.
    "Like, an hour or two, I think? I didn't have a phone on me."
  • Malena of "The Translator" can learn any new language instantly. Her first words are in Spanish followed immediately by the translation in Tupi... and she knows which is which, distinguishing her from normal kids who grow up in a bilingual environment. When she's in preschool, a traveler seeks her out to learn Tupi, and she ends up learning fluent English and German from the man without even trying, somehow picking up the parts of those languages that he never utters in her presence, and she is amazed that the man is having so much trouble. Once she does enter school, she perfectly masters French after a single lesson and then uses that class as a free period on all succeeding days. She's even able to learn Chinese by skimming through a book in that language.
  • The Twilight Saga: After becoming a vampire, Bella is instantly good at hunting, has no bloodlust, has perfect control, is almost as beautiful as Rose, is a perfect mother, and has all the same wonderful strengths as the other Cullens. She also learns how to perfectly control her mental shield within days despite basically everyone else with a power taking years to perfect their powers.
  • Uprooted: Agnieszka is registered as a Witch after only a few months of training and hard-fought experience, by which time she's gone from not knowing she had magic to accomplishing magical feats that a master-Wizard thought impossible. Then she learns that apprentices usually study for seven years before even attempting the registration test.
  • Warbreaker: Those who possess the Sixth Heightening instinctively know how to Awaken and can simply guess basic Commands without being taught them, and they can learn advanced Commands much more easily. Even before that, those with a lot of Breath find it easier to learn to Awaken and to figure out Commands.
  • In the third book of the Young Wizards series, High Wizardry, Dairine has the entirety of magical knowledge downloaded into her mind, which, combined with the massive amount of raw power she has, allows her to single-handedly fight the Lone Power to a standstill. Then the Lone Power pulls an And Your Little Dog, Too!, giving her the motivation to instantly devise a massively complex spell which actually defeats It.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrowverse:
    • Downplayed in Arrow. While the characters didn't attain their level of skills in an instant, they still learned them in an unusually fast rate:
      • Oliver Queen, even in the island flashbacks, was able to perform a complicated counterattack with just 10 days of training. In the third season, he was able to beat Ra's al Ghul in a sword duel despite only being trained for three weeks while Ra's is a centuries-old Master Swordsman who even curb-stomped Oliver earlier in the series.
      • Laurel Lance becomes expert street-fighter/superhero 'The Black Canary' after a few basic self-defense training (which she doesn't engage regularly in years) and a few months of evening boxing classes. In comparison, Oliver and Sara the previous Canary had five years of Training from Hell from spies, soldiers, assassins and martial arts experts before donning their masks. Even sidekicks Roy and Thea underwent at least a year of intensive training similar to Oliver and Sara's and are clearly still learning. Despite having every other character lampshade Laurel's lack of advanced training, the writers still have Laurel taking on multiple members of the world-renowned, legendary League of Assassins without trouble (though Ra's implies via Evil Gloating that they're the weakest members of the league).
      • Roy Harper was able to beat Tyke-Bomb (as in trained since early childhood) Nyssa al-Ghul despite only having about ten months of Training from Hell.
      • Felicity Smoak was able to perfectly fly Ray Palmer's Powered Armor despite it being twice her size and the actual user still having issues flying it (though it may be in auto-pilot mode).
    • Legends of Tomorrow: Ray's ATOM suit is extremely easy to use. While it's fitted perfectly to him, meaning anyone who is too far off his body type can't wear it properly, if they can wear it, they can figure out the rest easily. This causes problems when he lands in feudal Japan and the suit is stolen by a local warlord.
      Sarah: How does the Shogun even know how to operate your suit?
      Ray: I designed it so that an idiot could use it.
      Mick: An idiot does.
    • The Flash (2014): Speedsters can read something at superspeed, allowing them to become a low-level expert on any subject in seconds. It wears off over about half an hour, though, and then they have to do another speedread. It's impractical most of the time, but it lets Barry play lab assistant to Harry on a subject that Barry has never even heard of.
  • Played for laughs (and to give Bill Bailey a chance to show off) in an episode of Black Books. Manny sits down at a piano, idly taps a couple of notes, then instantly joins in with the music playing on the radio, much to his own surprise.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Xander keeps his military knowledge for a couple of years after everyone becomes their costume in "Halloween". By season 4, two years after the initial incident, his soldier memories are pretty much gone.
    • One of the powers of the Slayer is knowing how to use a weapon just by picking it. They still have to train to master it, though.
    • Inverted in "Earshot". Buffy gains telepathy by coming in contact with a demon and suffers Power Incontinence. She doesn't overcome it and learn to control it; instead, it keeps getting worse. She's unable to stop herself from overhearing thoughts at all, and goes from merely eavesdropping on the thoughts of the people physically closest to her, which is often fun, to suffering increasing mental trauma from hearing dozens and dozens of thoughts all going on at once across town. She only gets better when her friends manage to cure the condition completely, meaning that she never learns how to control her newfound, short-lived telepathy power.
    • Lampshaded when Buffy teaches Dawn about slaying; Dawn says that the vampire they're using for training shouldn't know all the kung-fu that most of them do since he was only recently turned.
  • Chuck: As the carrier of the latest version of the Intersect, Chuck can do about anything that a World Class Spy can do, and then some.
  • Subverted and even discussed with both Devon and Kenny Payne in Cobra Kai, who actually do develop into decent fighters over a relatively short period of time, and actually do fairly well in the All-Valley Tournament, but still soundly get beaten by more experienced opponents. As is pointed out to both of them, they've only had a few weeks of training each and were beaten fair and square by the much more experienced opponents Tory and Robby who had been training in karate for well over a year by that point.
  • Between seasons nine and ten of CSI, Ray Langston went to CSI school in a big way, and instantly caught up to (and possibly surpassed) the regular crew on suspiciously specific scientific knowledge.
  • It's never drawn attention to, but Dharma from Dharma & Greg is repeatedly shown to master complex skills in a matter of hours. All of them are forgotten by the end of the episode.
  • Doctor Who:
    • When Rory is quasi-resurrected through a Nestene duplicate as a Roman soldier in the first century, he mentions that he just woke up one day in Rome, his head full of "Roman stuff". He spends "The Pandorica Opens" fitting in with the Romans without any difficulty at all and displays the same weapons training that they do.
    • Clara gains super-hacking powers instantly courtesy of Brain Uploading shenanigans in "The Bells of Saint John".
  • The ability of imprinting technology to make Actives experts in any given field at the press of a button is a series premise of Dollhouse. However, a Doll can't possess more than one set of skills at a time without being wiped and reloaded... until Echo starts retaining imprints and they load her with every combat-based imprint they have.
  • Firefly:
    • Subverted when Malcolm has to learn to duel with swords overnight. In the actual duel, he seems to be doing well at first, but his opponent is only playing with him. He does win the duel, but with combat pragmatism rather than fencing skill.
    • River is implied to be one of these. Aside from being a gifted savant, she also possesses literal mind-reading powers, enabling her to pull complex knowledge from other people's minds, and it is implied that she had this ability even before she ended up in the Academy.
  • The 1980s show The Greatest American Hero is a funny aversion to this trope. The main character receives a super-powered suit as a gift from aliens -then immediately loses the manual, so he must resort to trial and error to learn what powers he has and how to use them.
  • Heroes:
    • Sylar's main power is the ability to "understand how things work," which goes towards explaining how he's able to rapidly master all his stolen abilities. And even he has to take a few days to iron out the kinks in particularly cumbersome abilities, such as super-hearing (high pitched noises become a Weaksauce Weakness) or shapeshifting (involuntary shapeshifting due to major psychological issues).
    • Charlie (and Sylar through power theft) can not only remember everything she read but could also properly apply it as well.
    • In Season 2 there's also Monica who can instantly learn how to do any physical skill or martial arts maneuver she's physically capable of simply by watching anyone else do it once, either live or via recorded media.
    • Initially subverted with power sponge Peter Petrelli, who has to be near someone to use their power and has no control over the power, as shown when he meets Claude and automatically becomes invisible. After some training, he can control them, but when he gets too many he has trouble suppressing all of them and goes off like a nuke. After that, though, he never has any issues again and can immediately use any power he gains.
    • Ted Sprauge has no control over his nuclear-based powers for most of the first season and constantly emits radiation (which kills his wife via cancer) or explodes when under stress. While Sylar is instantly able to control his power near perfectly, Peter is not so skilled, and nearly blows up New York.
  • House:
    • Not content at being the World's Greatest Diagnostic Physician, an accomplished musician and speaker of several languages, House recently was advised to get a hobby to help manage his pain without Vicodin. He accompanies Wilson to his cooking class, and by the end of the episode is told he has created "the best thing I have ever eaten."
    • After House fires him from the diagnostic team, Chase goes on to work in the OR. Not only does he quickly become a surgeon within a couple of months, but he's also suddenly Plainfield's best surgeon, and House's go-to both off the team and after rejoining it. Another fellow, Taub, was hired in part because he was a trained (cosmetic) surgeon, so this displacement causes him some angst, which House loses no opportunity to play on.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Resident ding-bat Charlie apparently learns to play the keyboard with almost no practice, saying, "Keyboards just make sense to me."
  • One of the side effects of eating brains in iZombie is the zombie temporarily gaining the deceased individual's skills. In the pilot, Liv learns to speak fluent Romanian. In the second episode, she becomes an artist. In later episodes, she becomes a martial artist, a master hacker/MMORPG player, and a sniper.
  • The title character of John Doe is a perfect example of this — he can look up any piece of information at any time, making him an expert in every field. This is consistently shown as he flies a helicopter with no training, is a capable doctor, makes significant profits in the stock market, and pulls off MacGyver-esque stunts. One episode has him lose his "walking encyclopedia" ability. With it, he loses all the skills he picked up from that, including such things as Driving Stick. He ends up losing most of his fortune due to a bad investment since his broker is so used to doing everything John tells him instead of making the calls himself. Presumably, he makes it back the moment his ability returns.
  • This trope is pretty much what makes the title character of Kyle XY so special.
  • Played with in Limitless. Brian can a lot of things he wasn't able to do before, but almost everything he accomplishes on his first dose was based on information he had been exposed to over his life but was unable to access from deep in his memory. When he realizes he might be able to help his father, he actually needs to go through his brother's old medical textbooks before he has any idea what he might be looking for.
  • Mako Mermaids: An H₂O Adventure: Zac is capable of replicating the magic that the mermaids use after seeing it once, even if he doesn't remember seeing it. This serves to terrify the mermaid trio, who are trying to De-power him, yet his powers keep getting stronger.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: Subverted. Recurring Character Roger Newsome seems to experience instant success at his various hobby clubs, but this is due to trickery like taking credit for a puzzle someone else filled out and planting a stuffed bird for him to "discover" in front of other bird-watchers.
  • A standard of the Power Rangers series, where the characters generally are barely old enough to have a driver's license, yet can handle a giant robot without so much as a training montage. The progenitor Super Sentai series, meanwhile, tend to vary- sometimes the team has been trained beforehand in the use of their weaponry, other times they have to learn (either via training, or instructions delivered either verbally or via a display).
    • The very first episode has Trini and Billy lampshade the fact they can pilot the Dinozords. It seems their powers provide the knowledge as well as fighting skills. Played with in that the heroes don't retain these skills when they change back: Billy still has to train with Jason and Zack to build his martial arts skills.
    • Downplayed a little the first time Tommy appears as the White Ranger. He has a little trouble piloting the White Tigerzord, mostly because Saba is something of a back seat driver.
    • Also lampshaded a little in Power Rangers Turbo/Gekisou Sentai Carranger where Tommy/Kyousuke has to break out a manual (mid-battle) to figure out a function of his Zord. (Note to beginning drivers, Don't Try This at Home.)
    • Averted with Ziggy the Green Ranger in Power Rangers RPM (it only took them 17 seasons) who doesn't get an instant martial arts download into his brain, and the other rangers were hand-picked martial artists. Though he can pilot his Zord better than he can a car, he still needs to get to grips with it.
    • Also averted in Power Rangers Lost Galaxy. Waving your arms and yelling "Galactabeasts, over here!!" is not how you summon your living mecha animal thing.
    • Also, a bit of a subversion for Power Rangers Time Force/Mirai Sentai Timeranger since their in-helmet visors show them what to do when operating their Megazords for the first time as well as some new weapons. Eric/Naoto even has a nice AI to instruct him on his new tech. And since the others were Time Force/Timeranger operatives and Eric/Naoto was a trained security force officer, the rest probably came naturally. Wes/Tatsuya, on the other hand, had some difficulty at first, though he got the hang of it.
    • In Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue/Kyūkyū Sentai GoGoV the heads-up display also tells them of their new tech and Mission Control tells them how to operate things as well. It was the first PR series (though not the first Sentai) to have tech-tech instead of Magitek and so such things were often turned on their heads.
    • Played totally straight in Power Rangers Jungle Fury, in which the Rangers master complex skills (including actual flight) within the space of a single fight going on elsewhere. A particularly egregious example, since the goal of the main characters is To Be a Master and thus a lot of the series focuses on hard work and training.
    • Subverted in Power Rangers Samurai; though it was stated that all of them were of varying skill levels, they were still trained to be samurai and rangers. Which makes sense, since in this series the ranger identities are hereditary, having been passed down from parent to child — Jayden (Red Samurai Ranger) in particular has been trained practically since birth to be the absolute best samurai he can be.
    • In the two recent Milestone Celebration Tokusatsu shows (Kamen Rider Decade and Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger), the protagonists have the ability to copy the forms and abilities of their precursors. Apparently knowledge comes with this as well; when the Gokaigers transform into the Dairangers or Gekirangers, for example, they bust out the super-powered Kung Fu for which those two teams are known.
      • It seems that Ranger Keyes contain not only powers but their skills too, considering that Basco can use them to summon Sentai members to fight for him.
    • In addition, nearly every main Kamen Rider gets a couple upgrades throughout the course of his show, and rather than take time to figure out how these new weapons and abilities function, will instead launch into a Curb-Stomp Battle to show off just how powerful his new toys are.
  • The whole shtick of The Pretender: with a little learning time, Pretenders such as Jarod could master any role from janitor to astronaut.
  • Mycroft pretends he learned Serbian in two hours in Sherlock. In fact, what he does is use his previous knowledge of some Slavic languages and figure out the key differences. Enough to be able to say a few phrases.
  • Smallville:
    • Lana Lang learned kung fu in three days. She also learned how to successfully run her own coffee shop instantly and while still in high school. The big issue with her was that she kept knowing how to do things someone in her situation would not know to keep her plot-relevant. The coffee shop was to explain why she kept getting involved in things-the whole school hung out there, Clark included. The kung-fu and so-called "military training" were because the writers had finally listened to all the Damsel in Distress complaints about her character. The second she needed to know something, it was known so they could say she was still relevant.
    • In "Leech", Jonathan points out to Clark (who has recently been Brought Down to Normal) that it took him 12 years to learn how to use his powers properly. In the same episode, the guy who gained Clark's powers masters them in the space of about a day.
  • In the Stargate Atlantis episode "The Prodigal", Michael and his hybrids are immediately able to use the Atlantis computer systems with ability similar to experts like McKay or Zelenka. When Michael was on Atlantis, he was never allowed to learn how to use their computers, nor were any of his hybrids exposed to Atlantis's computers. It is not credible that they would be able to use the Atlantis computers to lock everyone out or to set a destruct, or even use them at all without some prior training in human and Atlantean computers.
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Prometheus Unbound", the enemy character, Vala Mal Doran, not only can take over the ship, which is not possible the way she did it, but she instantly knows how to use the Prometheus' computers and can lock Jackson out and to run the ship. This is not possible, as it's the enemy's first exposure to human technology. She wouldn't even be able to read English using the Latin alphabet, never having been exposed to it before.
  • The Star Trek: Enterprise episode "In a Mirror, Darkly" has four individuals who become instant experts on running a Starfleet vessel, the U.S.S. Defiant, 100 years more advanced than they are used to. They can get it up and running and into combat within ten minutes. This would be like naval officers in 1912 trying to run a 2012 nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. They might be able to navigate the carrier, but they would have no clue of what most of the systems on the carrier would be. Fission didn't exist back in 1912, nor did the electronics, nor did the weapons systems. It would take a week just to crack open the manuals and find out what the major systems did. Starting up the reactors and running them would be impossible without a knowledgeable crew. Learning the basics of arming and firing the weapons would take days. Ironically, Archer and company could easily do it if the timeline was anything like the original one that Roddenberry wanted (the 1980 book Star Trek Spaceflight Chronology is based on that timeline) as the technology of the Defiant would about roughly 20 years more advanced than what they were used to. The Baton Rouge Class of the STSC of 20 or so years before the Constitution Class is roughly the equivalent of the NX Enterprise (except it had shields but no phasers) but it would not be that much of a stretch for a Baton Rouge crew to start up and operate a Constitution Class like the U.S.S. Defiant in the manner shown in those few minutes
  • Supernatural: The Special Children in the first two seasons are able to develop their psychic powers quickly if they give in to the demon's will; regular practice doesn't have as sudden and extreme results.
  • Thunderstone: Arushka masters horse-riding the minute she hops into the saddle. This is quite a feat, considering that she had never seen a live horse, or indeed a live animal until a few hours before. Averted, however, with the other characters, who are shown to actually need to learn how to ride.

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Finn's power of psychometry allows him to understand objects to such a degree that he can instinctively make use of them without proper training.
    • Benedict's Super-Intelligence, much like Finn's psychometry, allows him to retrieve so much data about any object that he wields that he can use it with the proficiency of an expert.
    • The mechanics of Amy's data consciousness form means that she can download information and 'learn' it near-instantly.
  • Played straight in Survival of the Fittest. Many characters pick up their weapons and seem to immediately know everything about it, despite there being no reason for their knowledge. Although instructions are provided this still does not fully justify this trope's presence.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Despite the claims of the fluff that some skills take years to master, this is played completely straight in BattleTech. It is possible for some rookie from the furthest corners of the setting, where the most common form of transportation still shits in a barn, to be exposed to a thirty-ton Humongous Mecha for the first time and demonstrate an instant affinity for piloting one. Players who want to learn skills can simply pay the point cost and pick it up, including really esoteric choices such as operating the setting's Subspace Ansible system—a feat that normally takes a few years, lore wise.
    • Somewhat relatedly, despite all the huff made about how differing 'Mech models have such drastically different internal layouts that it's difficult for pilots to cross train on a variety of machines, nothing in the game reflects this limitation. You can take an pilot with decades of experience in super-sized Assault Battlemechs and place them in a tiny scout 'Mech with no penalty to skills.
  • GURPS can represent this kind of thing in various ways, reflecting its generic nature. Obviously, these don’t tend to be available to realistic human characters.
    • For example, the advantage Wild Talent means that, a few times per game, you can try absolutely any skill at better than default (a medieval ascetic can try to program a superscience computer from ten thousand years in the future as well as an amateur programmer). For a few points extra this event provides enough experience to justify buying the skill with spare character points.
    • There's also a set of advantages that provide a pool of character points that can be reassigned as required to different skills and other character features. One notable use for these is in the Transhuman Space setting, where artificial intelligences (who can be playable characters) can be designed with interfaces allowing them to be given access to useful skills in the form of software. However, in this case, the benefits are somewhat downplayed, in that plug-in skill use is penalised in high-stress situations such as combat, because the plug-in skill isn’t bedded in like a "real" skill.
  • Mage: The Awakening:
    • Mind Mages are the kings of this trope (especially the powerful Mind mages, apprentices still exhibit this trope but to a lesser extent). They can, at any time, instantaneously learn any human skill, talent or knowledge. A Mind mage can become the master of kung fu, a virtuoso, a genius computer hacker or compete with a Nobel prize winner in his own field within seconds. Coupled with their ability to instantaneously alter their innate intellectual and social capabilities (becoming more intelligent, more charismatic, etc.) and there's virtually no non-athletic human achievement they can't duplicate(and even if they can't be the absolute and utter pinnacle of physical achievement, often they can still be scarily good). If they combine that with Life magic — which allows for the raising of physical attributes — then there's virtually no mundane feat that they can't duplicate.
    • Time Mages do them one better by temporarily rewriting their history so that they not only always knew how to operate widgets at a world-class level, but they grew up suited to the task (base stats changed to optimum) and have all the associated credentials, i.e. a Ph.D. in widget operations and three Nobel prizes in widgetology, granting them access to and knowledge of all of the resources that a world-class widgeteer would normally possess. For the extra cheap-shot, life and mind can add more stats on top of this as above.
    • It can even be argued that this is the core theme of Mage in general. The name of their casting stat is gnosis, which is an old word for divinely granted knowledge (as opposed to learned or a priori knowledge), aka the medieval word for this trope. Their magic isn't power so much as instant understanding of how things really work and where to nudge for maximum effect. First-level abilities generally reflect this: Matter — instantly understand how to operate a machine, Mind — instantly know how to interpret expressions, Fate — instantly understand how things fit together, Death - instantly understand how things decay and wear down. Etc.
  • In Nomine: Israfel, the Angel of Music, has such a thorough understanding of music that she can pick up any instrument that she has no experience with yet and play it proficiently within half an hour, and expertly within a day.
  • Exalted: Training in favoured or caste abilities takes no time. Spend the XP, and presto — instant competence.
    • Many Exalted (especially Solars) can also learn Charms that allow them to instruct others in record time.
    • One notorious goof in the first edition Autochthonian book's widely hated Locust War chapter had the Autochthonian invasion force become masters of ship-to-ship combat who neatly pwned the Realm Navy, despite it being only a few months since the first time they encountered a military fleet (there are oceans of oil in Autochthonia, but there are no navies).
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Since its creation, it has allowed characters to instantly gain new skills, languages and even entire classes at level up. A period of training is implied to be needed to gain these abilities, but it never was clearly stated in the rules, making it commonly ignored unless the GM enforces it.
    • The Warblade class has this as a natural feature, called Weapon Aptitude. Essentially, it allows them to transfer their feats that are meant to work with one weapon to work with another by practicing with that weapon for an hour. (Essentially, it's meant so that if you spend your feats in greatsword focus and then find a really cool magic spear, you can use the spear without having wasted half your build.) This can even apply to things like Exotic Weapon Proficiency, meaning a Warblade can become an expert with a weapon that they couldn't even wield without taking penalties an hour ago.
  • Pathfinder has a clearer example. A character who raises their intelligence may gain new skills. Pathfinder, unlike some editions of Dungeons & Dragons, makes all bonuses for high scores retroactive, including skill points gained for a high intelligence. This means if a very powerful character raises their intelligence and gains skill points, they could dump them all into one skill and become one of the best in the world instantly.
  • In Changeling: The Lost, the titular changelings can use pledges to raise some types of skills or gain new ones at will, albeit temporarily. They can even use pledges to give other people those skills, and if the other person is a normal human, they can achieve even greater levels of expertise, up to a rating of five on a five-point scale; supernaturals can only gain ratings up to three.
  • Members of VASCU in Hunter: The Vigil have a high-level power that enables them to temporarily become expert in a skill (or competent at a group of skills).
  • The main rule for fighting Caine the Original Vampire in Vampire: The Masquerade is "You lose", but some material goes on to explain that Caine's stats basically go beyond what the Game System can represent, he has long mastered all known vampiric Disciplines, can master the obscure ones within seconds, and, in fact, can invent new Disciplines on the fly as he needs them.
  • An explicit power of Tech Specialists in the Star Wars d20 RPG; the Instant Mastery class feature gives them proficiency in a new skill at certain levels, raising any skill they previously didn't have to 4th rank (the maximum a level 1 character can have).
  • In Aberrant, Mega-Intelligent Novas can take the "Mental Prodigy" enhancement, which makes them an instant expert in a particular intellectual field (be it science, engineering, medicine, investigation, finance, or something else), usually better at it than those who have trained in it all their lives. The sourcebook Brainwaves, which was only released unofficially after the line had already been cancelled, would have added the "Fast Learner" enhancement, which would have allowed the Mega-Intelligent to learn new skills faster (i.e., with less Experience Point expenditure) than other people.

    Video Games 
  • In Deus Ex, the player is allowed to train JC's various skills by using skill points gained at various points in the game. However, all that is needed to gain/upgrade a skill is the appropriate amount of skill points, and they can be learned at any time with immediate effect.
    • Praxis Points: Justified: Jensen's first-class augmentations come with a subconscious support system that automatically does all the heavy lifting of superpower maintenance. The catch is that he has to mentally get used to living with the augmentations (and suddenly becoming a cyborg in the first place), meaning he has to fine-tune the system with life experience for it to connect with him on any particular augment. There are also special kits called Praxis that do this fine-tuning in seconds, but these are as expensive as expected.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Celes from Final Fantasy VI is somehow able to not only pick up the ability to learn opera but is also able to memorize an entire musical score in the space of an afternoon. She does it well enough to be a convincing facsimile of the famous opera singer she resembles, to boot. But damned if singing her Leitmotif isn't nifty.
    • Cloud Strife in Final Fantasy VII can swordfight, spellcast and perform gymnastics on the level of an elite supersoldier, despite how before gaining his Super-Strength he was only trained to use guns and had little combat aptitude beyond guts. This is partially explained as being a combination of Fake Memories and Placebo Effect.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, when the plot requires that they do, Quistis, Selphie, Irvine, and Zell are each able to play any one of eight different musical instruments to concert level. The instruments themselves include orchestral, folk and pop instruments, encompass multiple instrument families, and one 'instrument' is tap dancing. They are all students/graduates of an extremely prestigious school, but there was no indication that music was even on the curriculum at all.
    • In Final Fantasy XIV, the Warrior of Light can pick up practically any craft ridiculously quickly. The Machinist questline begins with the Warrior outshooting their own marksmanship teacher after having a gun placed in their hands a scant few hours ago. It takes them just two practice sessions to be mistaken for a piano virtuoso. They can also flawlessly imitate dances they've seen just once, performing the Sunlift Dance as well as the Gundu's most seasoned warriors and performing the Moonlift Dance in perfect sync with Linu Vali after watching her for a few moments.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Dante seems to be able to use a new type of weapon just by picking it up, as well as gaining new moves just by paying for them. The move-acquisition is handwaved by the existence of the Time God, who grants "the power of the ancient magic clans."
    • Vergil can do it, so it's hand waved as just being something that Sparda's family is capable of doing. Nero, on the other hand, never gains different weapons from those he starts with; he simply gains new techniques.
    • Dante's character profile in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 explicitly lists this as one of his powers. He (and presumably Vergil) both have the ability to use any weapon they touch the instant that they touch them. In fact, this extends to anything, even if it's Not the Intended Use—for example, Dante is capable of using a motorcycle as nunchucks and using bullets to repel both automatic gunfire and melee attacks.
  • Mega Man:
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Link displays this to the degree that fans argue that it might be a side-effect of the Triforce of Courage. No matter how odd a new item is, he instantly acquires the knowledge of how to use them when he picks them up, although he usually starts the games living a fairly normal life. It's more believable in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, where he had Epona for a while and had a mentor teaching him a thing or two. Then again, the game also had some of the weirdest items in the series such as the Spinner (an apparently magical cog that can be used to ride on rails).
    • However, it is questionable if this is because of the Triforce: In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, where he starts without the Triforce of Courage (unlike most versions of Link, he's The Unchosen One), Orca gives him his very first sword-lesson ever, because he reached the age of twelve - and comments on how amazingly good he already is for a beginner.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask he demonstrates that he can also master new bodies. For instance, after getting a Goron body, he succeeds where the Goron hero Darmani failed, rescues all the Gorons, wins their races, and gets himself nominated as their new leader. However, this is justified due to Link gaining some of Darmani's memories upon transforming into him, as demonstrated when he gains the ability to read Goron script despite having never seen it before.
  • In many MMORPGs, learning a new spell or ability is usually just a matter of shelling out the appropriate amount of cash.
  • There is a Hand Wave in City of Heroes, in that you gain immediate benefits from leveling (increased HP), but to get new skills, you have to visit a trainer.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In Knights of the Old Republic, the main character picks up Jedi proficiency with a lightsaber and Force powers in a matter of weeks, where most Jedi apprentices take years. In this case the main character actually was a Jedi for years, then had his memories wiped as part of a brainwashing program. So the training really only had to reconnect the main character with their former powers.
    • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords actually makes this a plot point. You spend much of the game seeking out Jedi masters who teach you new force forms or lightsabers techniques, afterwards remarking in amazement that you're able to learn highly advanced techniques that should take you years to perfect in a matter of minutes. If you choose to attack the Jedi you find instead of gathering them, you go one better and can actually learn their techniques by watching their technique as you're in the process of killing them, which horrifies them. This is because Your real power is actually making connections with others and using their skills and powers for yourself. In fact, you never regained your Jedi abilities after they were stripped of you. You're instead using the sometimes latent Jedi talents and powers of your companions. Played straight with one sidequest if you choose to save up skill points, however; when Kreia tasks you to train your worst skill up, you can grab the Class Skill feat for that one (or use an actual class skill you hadn't put points into), drop all the stockpiled points into that skill, and suddenly have 19 ranks in it ex nihilo.
  • Half-Life:
    • Gordon Freeman, a theoretical physicist from MIT, came to work one day, and the place swarmed with aliens. Ever since he picked up a crowbar, he started kicking unfathomable amounts of ass, including use of every weapon he ever finds without even the slightest hint of natural inaccuracy. This is the guy who can hold and use a rocket launcher with both hands while climbing a ladder.
    • This is even lampshaded in one of Dr. Breen's broadcasts in Half-Life 2, chewing out the Combine Overwatch for their inability to capture or kill Gordon despite his lack of weapons or tactical training.
    • Adrian Shephard from the Opposing Force expansion, as not even career soldiers receive training on operating a symbiotic insect that fires electricity or a larval alien used to launch spores.
  • Vagrant Story takes this trope and runs with it. Ashley Riot spends most of the game recovering techniques he once knew, most of the characters who come to Lea Monde develop some new form of magic power that they can fully control (once they realize what they're doing), and Tomes, the game's approach to spellbooks, are an in-universe type of magical artifact that grants the ability to use magic just by reading them. Which is the explanation for the rest of it: Lea Monde, with its bizarre ancient carvings in every wall, is just one gigantic Tome that teaches the spell to control the Dark. Anyone who spends time there is naturally going to develop their latent magic talents just by being within its walls.
  • In [PROTOTYPE], Alex Mercer gains the knowledge of those he devours, giving him an easy two-step process to becoming an instant expert: 1) find an expert who's spent the requisite years and years of training and practice, and 2) eat him. He uses it to learn how to use firearms, operate helicopters, and lots of other stuff a biologist wouldn't otherwise be able to do so well, and that a virus couldn't usually do at all.
  • In Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, the protagonist (who had previously just been a first-person shooter hero for a game and three levels) is instantly and completely proficient with a lightsaber, having the exact skill level as he does at the end of the game, arguably better than all seven bosses at dueling. Then he goes on to gain powers at the Jedi Master (later "Jedi Lord") skill level after a few days or weeks at the most.
  • In Real Life, changing from one aircraft type to another requires at least some cross-training. In Ace Combat, Air Force Delta, H.A.W.X. and other flight sim-shooters, the player characters can jump between aircraft from any country in the world and have no problem controlling it flying it to its maximum capability and leaving a trail of smoking aircraft wreckage. Of course, this is partly excusable by Rule of Fun; Anyone remember flying school from Grand Theft Auto San Andreas?
  • This trope is almost ubiquitous in RPGs. You can rest assured that within the handful of days or weeks or months that make up the game's plotline, your utter weakling character who sets out to save the world with the clothes on his back and a pointy stick will reach the end as a nearly unstoppable engine of pain and death armed with an Infinity +1 Sword and capable of going toe-to-toe with nigh-Godlike entities. NPCs with many decades - or possibly centuries/millennia - more experience than you simply can't compete.
  • Fallout:
    • In Fallout 3, you can go from being a totally useless unskilled vault-dwelling teenager who has had some practice with a BB gun as a child, to being a complete badass after only a few weeks in the wasteland, mastering a range of extremely difficult skills and professions, such as:
      • Picking complicated locks and hacking military-grade computer software like a professional security expert.
      • Performing complicated surgical procedures that should take years to learn for a medical degree.
      • Becoming a negotiation expert, to the point where you can persuade almost anyone to do anything, and be such a master salesman that you can convince people to buy sand in the desert.
      • Learning to be as stealthy as an actual ninja, hiding in plain sight where you should easily be seen and being able to kill people in one blow with your bare hands if necessary.
      • Most importantly, being able to not only proficiently use any firearm you encounter, from a simple hunting rifle to a plasma gun, laser minigun, gauss rifle, or almost any weapon you can imagine, but you also intimately understand how they work and how to cannibalize other weapons to keep them working in absolute perfect order.
      • At least the game explains it with the perks you take. Daddy's Boy/Girl lets you gain a certain amount of Skill Points into Medicine and Science, since your dad was a doctor in the vault. Some of course the way that the player character can equip any weapon and use it differs how ever. Then again the Pip-Boy tells you the name/type of the weapon, so you guess that how you know how to work it.
    • In Fallout 4, in addition to the above, both the male and female Sole Survivor can use Powered Armor from the get-go, despite only the former having prior training and experience with it.
    • With The Courier in Fallout: New Vegas you are allowed to either play this straight or avert it as The Courier has no established backstory (even most of the revelations in Lonesome Road could be seen as Ulysses mistaking you for someone else.) You could be gaining new skills in an absurdly short amount of time or remembering things that you already knew how to do before Benny shot you in the head before the start of the game.
  • Averted in the second Master of Orion game, where only telepathic races can immediately use captured ships.
  • This is part of the plot in Assassin's Creed II:
    • The main character (Desmond Miles) is put in a machine called the Animus to relive the genetic memories of his assassin ancestor, Ezio, in the hopes that he'll gain Ezio's skills in a few days rather than years. The Animus and the Bleeding Effect allow him to pick up on lifetimes' worth of skills in a few days or weeks, but at the cost of a deteriorating mental state that is already causing hallucinations and may eventually leave Desmond entirely unable to differentiate himself from his ancestors. The strain (and the emotional trauma of killing a friend) eventually cause him to fall into a coma.
    • With Ezio himself it is used straight. The various kinds of weapon-fighting might have been taught to him in the past, and the training under Paola and Mario is given the flavour of a Training Montage - made explicit in semi-novelisation Renaissance - but he takes to the Hidden Blade incredibly fast with no apparent reason for it.
  • Super Mario Bros. (and its spinoffs). Mario doesn't apparently even need to train to suddenly learn new abilities once per game, master new power-ups and items per game, and be good at every single sport he's tried in some way. In the RPG games like Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi, he can literally get a new item or ability one minute and have apparently completed mastered it the next.
    • Double subverted with the Bros. Attacks in Superstar Saga in that the powered up Advanced versions can only be learned after using the original a bunch of times (and a cutscene when they are unlocked where Mario thinks of the technique), but both the original and the Advanced are instantly mastered (provided you know the button combos) upon unlocking them.
  • Kirby. Despite just having copied a creature's ability, he's able to use it instantly without problems (unless certain abilities are problems themselves... we're looking at you, Sleep Kirby). Plus, at least by anime Canon, Kirby is only an infant (which isn't farfetched, seeing him in-game).
    • This even extends to things that aren't abilities. For example, Kirby seems to be a tech whiz, capable of expertly piloting a Mini-Mecha as soon as he gets into it.
  • Company of Heroes:
    • Even though a battle-hardened American Riflesquad can crew a German Pak-38 and know exactly how to use it, any combat experience they have as Riflemen is lost and must be regained as an AT Crew.
    • The American Veterancy System. For example, a Riflesquad takes about 18 kills to gain Vet 3 (the highest). A Vet 3 Riflesquad can outfight an Elite Stormtrooper squad fairly easily. So that's 3 kills per person, and suddenly they're more skilled than Germany's best. Even more so as veterancy is not diluted by replacements, so five green-as-grass recruits can outshoot those stormtroopers as long as they have a veteran to give them some pointers on the way back to the front line.
  • In all of the Grand Theft Auto games the protagonist can learn how to use any weapon or vehicle from the moment they see it. The most ridiculous example is CJ from San Andreas, who can load and fire any weapon from an M1911 to a SA-7 Grail rocket missile launcher simply by picking it up and goes through a few (videotaped) lessons to learn to fly any aircraft. The height of ridiculousness is "Vertical Bird", where he sneaks aboard an amphibious assault ship, eliminates about a dozen trained soldiers with either stealth or firepower, and hijacks a Harrier jumpjet to shoot down two other fighters and destroy several boats. Quite impressive for a two-bit gang member from the ghetto. God bless the idiot-proof Air Force.
  • Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes, who won a beam katana in an online auction and entered the assassination scene, becoming part of the country's top 11 with little training in between.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Downplayed throughout the series in that you can generally equip any type of weapon or armor as soon as you find it, however, if you don't have the skills (and later, perks) to use it properly, you'll find it difficult to actually hit/damage enemies with said weapons and you'll receive far less protection from said armor. The way to become better with them is to actually use them. (This also applies to spells.)
    • Morrowind plays it straight by offering unlimited Training per level. As long as you have the gold to pay for the training, it is possible to be trained from a complete novice to matching your trainer's level of expertise in only a few in-game days. (Each training session takes two in-game hours. If you find a Master trainer who can train your skill to the max, you can go from the minimum skill level of 5 to 100 in 190 in-game hours.) Oblivion and Skyrim would limit training to 5 sessions per level (with 10 skill level increases still required to level up), taking it back to being downplayed for the series.
    • As best seen in Skyrim, anyone willing to devote themselves to a lifetime of training can learn to use the reality warping language of the Dragons, the Thu'um. What makes those who are Dragonborn (like the Player Character) special is that they have an instinctive knowledge of the Thu'um and can learn its shouts very easily. (Mechanically, in-game, this means reading the word of power and absorbing dragon souls.) This is because the Dragonborn are mortals born with the immortal Aedric soul of a Dragon.
  • Homeworld: Cataclysm:
    • Pointedly averted. Whenever a new technology is researched, it's not applied instantly to all units but small craft have to be recalled into a hangar for refit and capital ships have to go offline for a short while as the crew installs the new equipment.
    • It gets even better with the Beast who can only acquire some technologies by capturing an enemy ship in possession of said tech; once the unit is captured, it must be brought into a hangar and disassembled before the tech is even available for research. What makes it an aversion? The Beast is a technoorganic subversion entity that otherwise plays this trope straight by growing upgrades in the field and presumably sharing instructions among their selves.
  • Dynasty Warriors Online has each weapon contain the move-set of a character. The trope comes into play that one can copy that weapon's moveset from the original holder the moment they touch it, so they could go from welding a spike ball as big as them to knock enemies 50 feet in the air to using a fan with such grace they glide through enemies. While they do have practice it's very optional, but it is fun to do so you might not avoid it altogether. The only real change his first charge attack in the combo and the 6th, but those vary from individual weapon to individual weapon, so two flutes might have a slightly different combo.
  • Both played straight and averted in Battlestar Galactica Online. On the one hand, once you pass a certain level you can immediately upgrade to a new starship type without having to go for special training. You also don't need special training to switch between ship models. On the other, the skills that you can train in-game to improve your performance take a clear amount of time to complete, which gets increasingly long as you go up.
  • In World of Warcraft, learning a new skill, or upgrading it, or learning a recipe or formula from a trainer is easy; pay him the fee, and he casts a quick spell that teaches your player. Also, you can learn a new recipe or plan from a scroll in a few seconds, assuming you have the right skill.
  • Advanced V.G. II: Despite having no prior training, Tamao won her very first tournament by defeating several of Yuka's old rivals and, eventually, defeated Yuka, herself - simply by emulating her fighting style. At age 14.
  • The single-player campaign in Operation Flashpoint averts this by having you shift between four different playable characters who each have missions falling within their own specialization: an army corporal does frontline fighting, an air force pilot and a tank commander do the obvious, and a special forces operative handles scouting and sabotage behind enemy lines.
  • RealityMinds: Astrake and Silvana are capable of using each other's combat movesets without any difficulty, despite the former being a swordsman with healing magic and the latter being an offensive mage. Subverted in the story, where other characters note that Silvana's swordplay is amateurish and Astrake cannot use custom spells that Silvana developed.
  • In the Resident Evil series, it doesn't matter if you're an elite STARS agent, a university student, or a subway station employee, you will know how to expertly and safely use the handgun, assault rifle, flamethrower, or experimental prototype mine launcher the second you pick it up. The remake of the original subverts it a bit with Jill not being as skilled with firearms as Chris: When she picks up a new weapon she's not quite the expert with it that Chris would be, with slightly worse aim or slower firing and reload time, and she never gets competent enough with them to fire the shotgun from the hip or fire the magnum without stumbling back.
  • During The Matrix: Path of Neo you find out that Neo's instant expert training scene from the movie, to him, isn't quite instant as it's a series of virtual training levels.
  • At the end of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Raiden was able to master the high-frequency blade with just a couple of minutes of training upon his first time using it.
  • Explained in the remake Persona 2, where Tatsuya muses that he can use a sword like a master within minutes of buying one because having a Persona allows him to tap into the collective unconscious and take on an archetype of a skilled swordsman.
  • Right after acquiring guns, the heroes of Shin Megami Tensei I and Shin Megami Tensei IV can kill demons with them despite the former living in a country with strict gun laws and the latter not even knowing what a gun is.
  • Zigzagged in the Sly Cooper series. On one hand, Sly is able to instantly master techniques he learns from recovering the Thievius Raccoonus in the first game, and also proves to be a competent dancer, presumably owing to his natural propensity to thieving and elegant movement. Other characters however need time and practice: Murray studies a book on logging in the second game to compete in a lumberjack competition but Bentley makes plans to cheat as he knows none of them are skilled enough to beat a seasoned lumberjack like Jean Bison at his own game, Murray spends years training under The Guru but doesn't come even close to reaching the level of expertise The Guru has with Dreamtime by the time the third game rolls around, and Bentley's attempts at driving the Cooper Van are, to put it generously, "passable" at best.
  • Subverted in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel. Just because Rean knows to pilot his Divine Knight doesn't mean that he can pilot it well. Cue his loss from the Big Bad, forcing Rean to flee at the end of the game and take his revenge in the sequel. Played straight however with Neithardt who was able to pilot a soldat effectively, making it the hardest optional boss fight in a Divine Knight fight ever.
  • Justified in System Shock 2 - The Soldier can learn in a few hours more skills than in the 3 years of academy, but he's using incredibly rare and expensive hardware, and it's mentioned that skills gained with Cyber Modules tend to not stick.
  • In Puyo Puyo Tetris, the Puyo Puyo cast have never heard of Tetris and must be taught how to clear tetrominoes. When they do learn, though, they grasp the rules pretty quickly. Lemres in particular learns so quickly that he goes as far as to claim he can beat Tee, the person who taught him, in a Tetris battle... and the two have a Tetris fight in the next stage.

    Web Animation 
  • Dead Fantasy: The third episode had Hitomi disarm Tifa of her Materia, then instantly knowing what each of them were for and knew exactly how to use them... despite never having seen Materia before, since it doesn't even exist in the world she's from.
  • RWBY: Discussed in-universe. While Ozpin's own training will help Oscar along at an accelerated rate, he still needs to train to stand any chance in a real fight on top of the need to discover his own Semblance. When Team RNJR witness him training, Jaune is incredulous by the speed at which Oscar is picking things up. However, as Ozpin points out to Oscar, although his development is going to be unnaturally fast, he's still got a lot of hard work ahead of him, especially where developing his Aura and Semblance are concerned.

  • El Goonish Shive: Most transformation spells in this setting explicitly include "form acclimation", adjusting the transformee's muscle memory and skills to let them handle new limbs, a change in size, or a new center of gravity.
  • Justified with Charlie's firearms in Erfworld; thanks to magic, any unit that handles them is immediately imbued with the knowledge of how to properly wield them.
  • One Full Frontal Nerdity has the guys decide to try averting this trope in a superhero RPG — they play characters who start with their powers at maximum strength but have no control. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In Godslave, when Edith picks up the khopesh, she has the entire knowledge of how to use it uploaded into her mind instantly.
  • In The Greatest Estate Developer, Javier is noted to have enormous talent in all parts of being a swordsman, from bladework to aura manipulation to footwork. While being chased through elven territory, Javier imitates the elves' foot work to be able to traverse the forest quickly without harming a single plant. This shocks his pursuers, as he mastered a technique that usually takes 100 years to master in less than an hour.
  • In Homestuck, going God Tier gives you instant mastery of your powers as well as instant knowledge of everything you're capable of.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, peanut butter monsters reach physical maturity at the age of one month and spend that time learning voraciously.
  • Played straight in M9 Girls!: The M9 Girls quickly display their cosmic powers minutes after waking from the effects of radiation treatment. A quick Training Montage follows in which they manage to hone their skills, even though the radiation has affected them differently.
  • The Order of the Stick has multiple examples taking advantage of the RPG Mechanics 'Verse:
    • Parodied and invoked when Elan learns the skills of the Dashing Swordsman through an elaborate Training Montage... that they hammered out in 20 minutes with painted backdrops.
    • Played straight in this strip, where Vaarsuvius casts a single spell on Belkar (the callous, bloodthirsty halfling) that unlocks his potential as a healer and enlightens him to a life of kindness. Luckily for the fans, the spell doesn't last.
    • Exploited in this strip when Elan figures that he can instantly gain decades of arcane knowledge by dual classing to Wizard; Vaarsuvius, who spent a century studying arduously for this knowledge, is not amused.
  • The Marvel fancomic Project Riribirth shows what happens when an inexperienced superhero thinks she is this and charges into a fight against a powerful villain. It doesn't go well.
  • In Questionable Content, Hannelore learns to play the drums very quickly due to her OCD-induced love for counting.
  • Crosses over with Dub Induced Plothole. In the former Dutch translation of Superego, the shadows were given names, which were given in text even before they were formally named by runes that appeared under the panel. From the formal naming panel on, all characters started referring that specific shadow by that name, and it is unseen how they can read runes all of a sudden. This became especially jarring when one of them called Perry's Shadow "Ravenna" despite not being there when he was named. You can find a collection of all these over here.
  • Subverted and Discussed in this Two Guys and Guy strip.

    Web Original 
  • In Twig, the Wyvern formula has this effect on Sylvester at the cost of rapid degradation of any skills he isn't currently using. This means he can learn to expertly throw a knife given five tries but will have forgotten how by the next day. The only really permanent skills he has are his social ones since he's practicing those constantly.
  • Whateley Universe:
    • Chaka has the power to manipulate chi instinctively without the sort of training that anyone else requires. When her powers manifest, she does the sort of thing that takes a master fifty years to learn by accident, in her judo class. In the ninja fight, she watches the leader do a really complicated chi technique that is supposed to allow a paralyzing strike, then blocks it and does it back to him, perfectly, the first time. Oh, and she paraphrases his attack name (Coiling Viper Fang Strike) as "Something something strike!" Despite all this, she still needs to keep working on basics — so in a sense, she has to learn backwards.
    • Solange demonstrates the ability to do this with any skill someone else knows by using her Psychic Powers and general superhuman Exemplar ability to copy someone's skills, letting her be as expert as they are at anything.
    • Loophole is both a Gadgeteer Genius and a Technopath, which among other things give her the ability to sense a machine's past use (though only as general impressions) and understand how to use it intuitively. In her Fall 2006 combat final, she only needed to touch a motorcycle to learn how to drive it "like Jason Statham on crack".
    • Sahar's primary ability, aside from her ability to implant a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Doom into someone's mind, is the ability to learn another psychic's signature knacks just by getting close to them - really close. During her first two years at Whateley, she seduced any other Esper with a useful talent she wanted to copy before dropping them like a live grenade and moving on to her next target. She only stopped when she actually fell in love with one of her marks, Zenith.
    • Somewhat zigzagged in general, however, as How Do I Shot Web? is more the rule at Whateley Academy than the exception. It comes up specifically with Power Copying, in that while a Mimic can usually figure out how to use familiar powers such as Super-Strength, ones which require additional skills (such as knowing spells which they can case when copying the Wizard trait) or need them to also copy Required Secondary Powers (which for some Mimics has to be done intentionally), can lead to serious problems. For example, when Counterpoint copied Chaka's Ki Manipulation, he didn't know to copy the additional ability she had for controlling it, nor did he know that he'd need to avoid being overloaded with one type of energy, and he nearly died as a result.
  • In Worm, this is Uber's power, the ability to instantly be good at anything. This also applies to parahumans in general insofar as basic application of their power goes; when you get your powers you can and do instinctively use them perfectly well. Training and practice are important not for learning how to fireball, but learning how to make sure that you don't accidentally fireball your friends or figuring out tactical applications for fireballing in unusual ways that aren't easily countered.

    Web Videos 
  • Invoked and parodied in Immersion when they decided to test how well two shapely martial artists would cope fighting in video game costumes. They erred on the side of shapely since it is quicker to learn martial arts than to improve your looks.
  • In Noob, Gaea can force one of her guildmates into becoming an Action Bomb right after getting the ability to control other player's avatars. Oh, and the control lasts around ten seconds with the standard version of the ability.

    Western Animation 
  • Similar to the above example, Arthur has an occasionally recurring gag where Arthur's little sister DW becomes an instant expert at something. Usually something Arthur is failing at.
  • Averted with Gene from Bob's Burgers who wants to be instantly amazing at whatever he does, and doesn't want to practice or train to do it.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Katara acquires a Waterbending scroll and teaches herself from it, and in three weeks can hold her own against the recognized greatest Waterbender of the North Pole, though she still loses the moment he actually bothers to fight seriously. It helps that Waterbending is a martial art that relies heavily on creative use of its element, which one wouldn't need formal training to get a knack for. She also performs expert-level healing after a comparatively short training period. After a few days of training with an actual teacher he declares her a Master in her own right.
    • Played with when Sokka learns to use the sword in a matter of days. On one hand, not even Training from Hell would be able to give normal people any passable sword skills in that manner of time — and Sokka seems to spend just as much time doing calligraphy and feng shui as actual sword practice during said days. On the other hand Sokka only became a decent swordsman (certainly not an expert by any sense of the term) and already had considerable experience in combat and with using a boomerang and club. Furthermore, while he holds his own against Piandao one-on-one, it's largely only due to combat pragmatism on Sokka's part and it quickly becomes clear Piandao is merely testing him — even from the beginning Piandao is making clear, slow, and deliberately telegraphed sword strikes and making heavy use of non-lethal blows, and as soon as he's had enough he effortlessly disarms and defeats Sokka... while blinded.
    • Aang, much to Katara's jealousy, masters moves from a waterbending scroll she picked up. Justified in that it's Leaked Experience from all his previous lives as Avatar with Roku saying to one of his teachers that it's more like remembering a distant memory. It should also be noted that Aang picked it up faster because Katara was teaching him what she had to learn by experimentation, something Aang himself notes. Also, while Aang could use them with great skill, Aang did not actually master the bending arts except air until after the main story takes place
  • In the non-canon Ben 10 episode "Gwen 10", Gwen gains the Omnitrix instead of Ben and, while she's not a perfect Omnitrix user, she's miles better than Ben was when he first got it.
  • In the Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers episode "Prehysterical Pet", an alien dinosaur learns English in just a few hours by reading Dale's comic books.
  • In Danny Phantom, Danny masters his ice power to a tee through extensive training in the same episode when he first received them. Especially notable in that it took both time and practice for him to be even reasonably proficient in his other abilities (though he had the help of Frostbite, who's skilled in the usage of the power).
  • Averted with Della in DuckTales (2017), who missed out on the first ten years of her sons' lives and tries to make up for lost time all at once when she's finally reunited with them, only to find herself Maternally Challenged. As Scrooge points out, she can't be expetected to suddenly know how to be a parent and it'll take time for her to adjust.
  • If the opening intro of Dungeons & Dragons (1983) is accurate, those kids got the hang of the weapons that Dungeon Master gave them within seconds; Presto even uses the hat far better in the intro than he does in the actual episodes.
  • Futurama:
    • Used when Bender temporarily becomes captain of the Planet Express, much to Fry's annoyance. When Fry lambastes him and accuses him of not knowing the first thing about being a captain, Bender instantly reads the entire manual and then uses the info to chastise Fry. Justified in this case as Bender is a robot.
    Fry: Have you even read the captain's handbook?
    Bender: [flips through entire manual] I have now. And what's Peter Parrot's first rule of captaining?
    Fry: [defeated] Always respect the chain-o-command...captain.
    • In "Godfellas", when Bender encounters a mysterious entity strongly implied to be God, said God can only communicate in binary code. Since Bender only knows enough binary to ask where the bathroom is, he calls out "Do you speak English?" to which the God Entity responds "I do now."
  • Lexington of Gargoyles, despite having only lived in the twentieth century for a matter of weeks, manages to build a motorcycle from spare parts and restore a crashed helicopter to functioning condition. He also pilots said helicopter, having practiced his skills by fiddling with a helicopter flight simulator game given to the clan by Elisa. Lampshaded in the episode where he builds a motorcycle:
    Brooklyn: Come on, you've ridden one of these before, how hard can it be to build one?
    Lexington: You've ridden a horse before, can you build one of those from spare parts?
  • In the Hey Arnold! episode "Mugged", Arnold's grandmother teaches him karate after a bully stole his bus pass. While he's a little slow to get started, he essentially becomes a mini Bruce Lee within a short period of time.
  • The Highdefdigest review for Iron Man: Armored Adventures likes how in the first episode Tony's still (realistically) getting the hang of the suit, but gripes about how by the second episode he's already an (almost-)instant expert at it: "Unfortunately, he's already a pro by the second episode, but it's still nice to have some bit of believability if even brief."
  • Jackie Chan Adventures:
    • Frequently averted in the show, which features a set of talismans that grant any of a variety of magical powers. Even the good guys don't always use them to their full potential (though of course they do so most often), especially if someone gets them to drop their talisman.
    • Occasionally subverted for comic relief. An excellent example is the super-speed talisman, which has been defeated at least twice by dodging to the side, leaving the overconfident user to smash face-first into a wall.
    • Jade once tattooed herself with an image off of one of Uncle's books. Turns out this is the visage of Tarakudo, the Oni-king of the Shadowkhans, which granted her the ability to summon them. She quickly learns how to command them effectively...which resulted in her being corrupted into a megalomaniac. This happens again later where she accidentally gets half of an Oni Mask stuck to her face and is just as proficient in summoning them as before (All others usually required Tarakudo to provide some guidance), along with being exactly as vulnerable to being corrupted again.
  • The Justice League Unlimited episode "The Great Brain Robbery" has Lex Luthor and The Flash accidentally have their minds switched to each other's body. Lex is immediately able to use Flash's powers without difficulty. He also thinks of several new and destructive uses for Flash's powers.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Averted by Korra. While she can bend multiple elements years long before she's supposed to be able to, it still takes her fourteen years of intense training to master three of them. That amounts to a little over four and a half years per element (assuming that she spent all that time learning, which, since she was stuck in the White Lotus compound, is likely). Once the series starts and she begins her airbending training, her progress is slow due to Air not being suited to her non-spiritual personality and confrontational attitude.
    • Averted once again with Asami and mecha-tanks but played completely straight with General Iroh and airplanes.
    • Zaheer, one of the villains of Book 3, Change, manages to airbend like a master despite only being able to do so for all of two weeks after Harmonic Convergence (though it's partly due to his knowledge of the culture, and partly due to picking up firebending forms from his girlfriend P'Li). This backfires on him when he tries to infiltrate as a new airbending recruit and he inadvertently displays how good he is, which arouses suspicion. It is deconstructed when he fights Tenzin, a real airbending master, who easily beats him. Tenzin’s sister Kya gives him the second-best fight of the season because she grew up around him and their dad and is one of the very few people on earth who can say she’s been around airbending a lot.
    • Jinora is a natural at Airbending, as she was able to pick up astroprojection and other spiritual techniques at the age of 11 when her father, Tenzin, had been at it for all of his life (which even by the end of the series he never succeeds at). Naturally, Jinora is later recognized as a full master at the age of 11, beating the record set by her grandfather Aang (who was an avatar) by a year.
    • Korra picks up metalbending pretty quickly in Book 3, but she still has a ways to go in that regard.
    • Opal can copy Korra's moves with airbending on her first try, and is even able to successfully stop a fight between her mother and aunt, two of the strongest metalbenders in the world, after only a few days of training.
    • Also subverted with Bolin, when he learns lavabending. He's capable enough at it to protect himself, but in a one on one fight against the other practitioner of the art, Ghazan, who's been using it for far more than a few days, he could barely keep up and needed Mako to help turn the tide.
  • Let's Go Luna!: In "Boomin' Boomerang", Carmen succeeds at throwing a boomerang the first time she tries it.
  • This is lampooned by Bugs in the Looney Tunes short "The Unmentionables", when he uses a cereal factory packing machine to catch Rocky and Mugsy. "The way I'm usin' this, you'd think I know something about it!" quips Bugs.
  • Toyed with in Megas XLR. The main character, Coop, is (usually) an expert at piloting his enormous mecha, Megas. However, this is only because he had specifically modified it to control just like the video games he'd been playing his whole life. When Kiva (an experienced pilot who was designated to pilot Megas before Coop modified it) attempted to pilot it, she could barely get it to go in the right direction.
  • Molly of Denali: In "Fiddle of Nowhere," Mr. Patak starts taking fiddle lessons and instantly becomes a great player. He's a self-described fast learner.

  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • The Cutie Pox, a disease that makes a pony an Instant Expert at anything they get a Cutie Mark of. The problem is that they can't stop doing and are stuck doing multiple actions at once without break.
    • There's also Twilight Sparkle. While attempts to learn spells tend to be hit or miss, she's been shown to perfectly duplicate anything she's witnessed directly. Examples include being able to teleport properly after seeing Nightmare Moon do it once, and learning dark magic simply from watching Celestia do so during a presentation. In the latter instance, at least, it took considerably more effort on her part than the princess needed.
  • On Peppa Pig, this is a Running Gag with Peppa's little brother George.
  • Averted in The Real Ghostbusters when Janine tries using a proton pack for the first time.
  • Played for Laughs in an episode of Spongebob Squarepants, where SpongeBob decides to attend Squidward's art class. To Squidward's utter fury, SpongeBob, despite no apparent experience, demonstrates the ability to draw perfect circles and photorealistic pencil sketches, create sophisticated origami and collage art, and chisel a marble statue reminiscent of Michelangelo's David. Squidward continually denigrates and nitpicks SpongeBob's efforts despite them being far superior to his own, causing SpongeBob to quit in shame. Unfortunately, when a wealthy art collector comes by and likes SpongeBob's art, leading Squidward to try to talk SpongeBob into helping him out, SpongeBob has already taken Squidward's teachings to heart and become just as much of a Terrible Artist.
  • Starfire of Teen Titans can learn languages instantly just by kissing the speaker on the lips. That's straight from the comics. Like in the show, she does this with Robin when she first arrives on Earth.
  • In a Tom and Jerry cartoon, Tom teaches himself how to play the piano by doing five very easy keyboard exercises in a book. He's then able to play beautifully.
  • Wakfu: Due to his Power Copying, in "The Justice Knight", Anathar can istantly use the Eliatrope portals with extreme ease, and is even able to open up multiple portals at once, something that Yugo couldn't do.
  • Work It Out Wombats!: In "Crab Quakes," Super creates a detailed sand sculpture on her first try.
  • Rogue of the X-Men: Evolution universe lacks the Flying Brick powerset of her mainstream counterpart; so while in combat, she has to rely just on her natural Power Copying. So she either borrows an ability from a teammate or, well, "borrows" it from a nearest hostile mutant — and then wipes her opponents with these newly learned powers like a pro.
    • Justified as Rouge's powers, as well as copying a portion of the powers of whoever she touches, also copies a portion of their mind, which would likely include their knowledge of how to use their powers, as well as other skills.

    Real Life 
  • There is a concept called "The Natural Athlete," where the knowledge, skill, and physical ability of an individual allows them to succeed at nearly any sport whether or not they have spent time training for the needs of the game. Just having a natural gift for hand-eye coordination is invaluable in shooting a basketball, being a fast runner with quick feet is useful in football, etc.
    • Potentially zig-zagged for some martial artists. Those with experience in other martial arts may quickly pick up a new style, due to having a fundamental understanding of positioning, leverage, and the general way in which the body moves. However, they're also quite likely to deal with Damn You, Muscle Memory! moments when learning new techniques, reverting to older training until the new moves are successfully mastered.
  • Some savants have been known to become instant experts in certain fields, including one who learned a language in seven days. However, outside of their particular field, most savants learn like any other person, and some, if they also have intellectual delays, have a lot of trouble learning anything else.
  • Korean commander Yi Sun-Sin had never fought a single battle at sea, nor did he have any formal training in naval tactics, until he was thrust into the command of a flotilla during the Battle of Okpo against the Japanese. He sank most of the opposing fleet without losing a single ship, and would go on to repeat this feat multiple times over the course of the war.
  • Danny Kaye had never fenced before filming The Court Jester but was so quick and agile, and skilled in physical mimicry that he wore out Basil Rathbone (playing the villian), who was still one of Hollywood's greatest fencers at the age of 63, and even the fencing master brought in to double for the man supposedly asked him to take it easy on him!


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Absurdly Rapid Learning, Extremely Rapid Learning


Secret Invasion Objections

The Produce in Pitch Meetings has some questions about how Gaia from "Secret Invasions" gets the powers of other MCU characters. The Screenwriter tells him to shut up and just enjoy the fight scene.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / MST3KMantra

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