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Next Tier Power-Up

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With great power comes great costumes!
Goku: [transforms] This is a Super Saiyan. And this... [transforms again] ...this is what is known as a Super Saiyan that has ascended past a Super Saiyan. Or, you could just call this a Super Saiyan 2.
Babidi: Ho hum. What a useless transformation. You've changed your hair. So what?
Goku: Just wait...
Piccolo: Has he really found a way to surpass an Ascended Saiyan? Is that possible?
Krillin: He must be bluffing. I mean, what would that make him? DOUBLE ascended?
Goku: And this...!
Master Roshi: W-what's he doing?!
Goku: [begins powering up] is... TO GO... EVEN FURTHER... BEYOND!

Next Tier Power-Up is an item, power, or transformation gained by a main character to drastically increase their abilities. Most commonly it's some sort of "special ability" or "new move," like a Super Mode. It sometimes appears as an 11th-Hour Superpower, a Dangerous Forbidden Technique, or, rarely, I Am Not Left-Handed.

The Next Tier Power Up usually involves more than "just" training; there's always some exterior source for the power, like a magic weapon, a Transformation Ray, or having a dying character transfer their powers to you. One variant is that the character always had these extra powers, but doesn't learn about them until they're awakened by a moment of extreme danger or trauma. Many of the more powerful Next Tier Power Ups have some sort of downside attached, such as risk of a Heroic RRoD (if no worse) if used too much, or a risk of losing yourself to The Dark Side.

All true Next Tier Power Ups bring a shift in the status quo, a handoff in the caliber of villain the series will deal with. Villains of the past will now be entirely outclassed on their next appearance, if they even get one. Most should just take some time off, and find some low level monsters to beat up, or train, generally for a story arc or two before they come back. The status quo is reset to a new higher level compared to previous parts of the story, and the character grows.

One variable is when the upgrade happens. The upgrade could happen early in the arc/season, to give the hero a fighting chance on the new big bad, if so it is likely to have serious downsides that the hero must struggle with that prevent it from being used to its full potential until an important climax moment. Or it can happen at the end of an arc/season. When the next arc rolls in, the new big bad outclasses the old one in every way. Either event it marks a shift from a previous era of the series. Or it could come right before the arc's final battle, to let the hero defeat the Big Bad who's been outclassing the hero up til then.

Done well often results in a Moment of Awesome; however, if the new ability is poorly introduced, lacks proper build up, or is forgotten about after one use and this happens too much it risks mutating into New Powers as the Plot Demands. The mecha series equivalent is the Mid-Season Upgrade. This trope is the greatest weapon of a Small Steps Hero. Contrast One Super, One Power Set, which is more common in Western media than in the East.


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  • BoBoiBoy: The titular hero has Elemental Powers that can develop into higher tiers with new abilities. Some 2nd tier forms are unlocked via intense emotion or a power upgrade, often one that matches the element. The base forms wear one color each, while their 2nd tier forms wear black with colored highlights (except for the white and gold Solar). BoBoiBoy Movie 2 reveals the existence of 3rd tier elements that were used by predecessor holders of each elemental power. The 2nd season of the sequel series, BoBoiBoy Galaxy, has BoBoiBoy seek to unlock said 3rd tiers, but there's a risk of them being uncontrollable and corrupting him like Retak'ka. Of the 3rd tiers unlocked so far, the profound power gives him Glowing Eyes of Doom and dyes his hair to the color of said element.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The most well known example of this trope is the various levels of Super Saiyan from Dragon Ball Z, though early on there was a previous Next Tier Power-Up in the form of the Kaioken, which increased Goku's power at the cost of the toll it would take on his body if he used it at too high an intensity, as well as a later Next Tier Power-Up during the Majin Buu saga in the form of Fusions. That said, there's an impressive amount of subversion as well, as for all the ever-more elaborate transformations that the Saiyans unlock, nearly all of them have crippling design flaws that ultimately lead Goku to discard them in favor of focusing on the more reliable basic Super Saiyan form. Even when Goku gains the power of a god in Dragon Ball Super, the primary form he uses it with is the first-tier Super Saiyan.
    • Saiyans have this trope as a biological ability. Recovering from near-death injuries cause a permanent massive boost in strength, speed, and ki.note 
    • Subverted earlier on in Dragon Ball, after almost being killed by the world's deadliest assassin, he goes to Korin's tower to get the magic water. After spending several days trying to take it from Korin, he succeeds, and feels much stronger after drinking it... only for Korin to reveal that it's just tap water! The boost in strength he got was from the workout of trying to take it from him.
      • Played Straight when Goku, desperate to find ways to kill King Piccolo, drinks the Ultra Divine Water, a magical water that unlocks the drinker's latent powers if they can survive its poisonous and painful effects.
    • As far as supporting characters go, there's also Piccolo merging first with Nail and later with Kami; and Krillin, Gohan, and Dende getting their hidden potential unlocked by Guru.
    • Most major villains from Frieza onwards have their own set of transformations throughout the arc to answer any growth by the heroes. Frieza, after his revival, trains to unlock a new form that puts him on par with the heroes again.
  • Even Seinen manga are not immune from this. Though Guts of Berserk doesn't learn any shounen-y techniques as the manga goes on, his acquisition of the Dragon Slayer and the cannon-arm after the Eclipse definitely counts as an upgrade, as does the Berserker Armor later on, though this latter definitely comes with a downside in the form of his Enemy Within getting strengthened every time he uses it.
  • Bleach:
    • Shinigami have 3 forms to their Zanpakuto: "Unreleased", "Shikai", and "Bankai". Ichigo starts unreleased, loses his powers, skips straight to Shikai upon regaining his powers, and later gains Bankai in two-and-a-half days (it normally takes years for shinigami to gain Bankai, though in this case the method he used was explicitly meant to draw it out in at most three days...or he would die). In addition, Ichigo's Hollow powers are a similar example, powers acquired, not through training, but by dramatic need, usually after being stabbed. As the power levels increase throughout the story, Ichigo's dramatic power-ups have become more and more extreme. This actually was invoked by Aizen, who decided upon reaching new levels of power with the Hogyoku to give him some "down time" to train so that he could become a Worthy Opponent and force him to evolve further. Ichigo proceeded to upgrade much higher than Aizen expected him to.
    • In seven days, Uryuu goes from being unable to fight a lieutenant that's at 20% power to being able to one-shot a captain and his Bankai. Afterwards, he loses his power from the type of power-up he used and is chewed out by his father for it. His father comments that had he not run off half-cocked (before his power was ready for the power-up), he'd actually have been able to win his fight off his base abilities without needing that special power-up at all. Cue the final arc, and his power has suddenly become extremely important to everyone's fate; not only is he receiving Ichigo-style power-ups as a result, he's also destined to surpass Yhwach in power.
    • As a result of the villain power levels in the final arc, even the captains are being curbstomped, prompting interventions by the mysterious Royal Guard. The type of training the Royal Guard put several characters through results in lieutenants becoming far more powerful than the captains who have not been put through this training. Renji, Rukia, Byakuya and Ichigo are all given direct Royal Guard training whereas Kyouraku (implied to at the advice of the Royal Guard) orders Unohana to put Kenpachi through Training from Hell to receive his.
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo's Next Tier Power Ups are direct parodies of Dragon Ball Z's Super Saiyan and Fusions.
  • Buso Renkin: Half way through the series it is revealed that Kazuki's kakugane is actually one of the three black kakugane capable of turning its wielder into a super-powered Walking Wasteland that drains the life from everyone around them. The upgrade actually becomes the driving force of the second half of the story, since Kazuki needs his kakugane to live, and the transformation is supposedly irreversible and will eventually cause him to remain in that form permanently, causing his former allies to turn on him. The transformation also causes a more standard upgrade, in the form of a new Sunlight Heart.
  • Claymore has series protagonist Clare acquire new abilities by either observation, but she also does so by assimilating people. It's more friendly than most Power Copying, but the trope still applies. At one point, she gains a Next Tier Power-Up by taking another more powerful character's arm and attaching it to her own body. Especially interesting because the other character gave up the arm willingly as a "parting gift," and even cut it off herself.
  • In D.Gray-Man, Allen Whine Rand is the most guilty of them all and is all gained through sheer willpower and emotion. Kanda and Lenalee also earn this by having their Innocence transform into an unknown Crystalline form. Tyki Mikk as well, to an extent.
  • Digimon uses this fairly often; the evolving each digimon does could be considered a possible version of this trope, although a straighter example is the Burst Mode from Digimon Data Squad/Savers. The Burst Mode granted the digimon partners incredible power, beyond that of Mega/Ultimate level, but had a downside in that if negative emotions were used to generate it, the digimon would enter Ruin Mode instead, which would send it on a mindless rampage until it destroyed itself.
    • Adventure did this too, you can mark the change in the plot based on the last Champion level (Angemon), the first 'proper' Ultimate level (Metalgreymon), and the Arrows of Light and Hope creating Megas (Wargreymon and Metalgarurumon).
    • Adventure 02 shifts between two significant modes of evolution, from Armor Digivolving in the early series to DNA Digivolving in the second half.
  • Fairy Tail has a LOT of examples:
    • All Dragon Slayers have access to Dragon Force when the mage eats a powerful source of magic like Lacrima, bringing them closer to a true dragon. Sting and Rogue can freely entire Dragon Force due to having Dragon Lacrima installed in them, but this is noted to be far weaker than a natural Dragon Force transformation. Excessive use of Dragon Force would fully transform the user into a dragon, but the first- and third-generation Dragon Slayers had this outcome prevented by having their Dragon masters inhabit their bodies in secret, meaning Dragon Force is the highest form they can attain. With enough experience and training, Dragon Slayers with Dragon Force can truly defeat dragons.
    • Natsu gains two distinct power-ups over the course of the series besides Dragon Force:
      • His first power-up is the Lightning Flame Dragon mode, gained when he ate Laxus's lightning during the fight with Master Hades at Tenrou Island, which allows him to combine his fire-based attacks with lightning, more than doubling its powers. He can enter Lightning Flame mode at will, but using it will exhaust him faster than usual.
      • His second power-up, the result of his year-long Training from Hell, is Fire Dragon King Mode, where he draws upon the lingering magic of his adopted father Igneel stored in his body to achieve the power of a true dragon, though he's only able to use it to the fullest potential a few times due to being unable to regenerate it. Later, he's able to keep using the mode due to using his own power as a substitute, but the power boost isn't as great and closer to Dragon Force.
    • Gajeel has three different power-ups. He normally fights with his Iron Dragon Slayer mode, but can enter Iron Shadow Dragon mode at will, which he attained after he forcefully ingested Rogue's shadows during their fight at the Grand Magic Tournament. During his battle with Tartaros's Torafuza, he managed to turn his Iron Dragon's Sword attack into Steel Dragon's Sword by absorbing the carbon in Torafuza's poisoned Black Water attack. Finally, during his battle with Bloodman of the Spriggan 12 from Alvarez, he unlocks Dragon Force after absorbing the Etherious' anti-Magic Barrier particles thanks to the traces of iron inside of them.
    • Wendy has no special combined powers like Natsu or Gajeel other than her normal Sky Dragon magic, but she gained Dragon Force after breathing in the pure air of concentrated Ethernano in the cave where Face was found in her battle with Tartaros's Ezel. Unlike Natsu and Gajeel, she has mastered the ability to use Dragon Force at will after a year's worth of training. Before that, her original power boost came in the form of actually learning offensive magic as well as Magic Enhancement to temporarily boost her physical parameters beyond their limits.
    • Laxus is different than the other Dragon Slayers in that he typically fights with normal non-Dragon Slayer lightning magic, which by itself is as powerful as the others normal Dragon Slayer magic (he defeated the entire Raven Tail team with just this). He automatically enters Dragon Force whenever he uses his Dragon Slayer magic at all, and thus he only uses this when he fights powerful opponents like Jura or Tempesta (or a two-on-one match against both Natsu and Gajeel), and his Dragon Slayer magic has been seen to be more powerful than most of the Dragon Slayers' power-ups. Finally, during his battle against the Spriggan 12 Wall Eehto, he revealed his Red Lightning Dragon Mode, which turns his lightning red-black and gives him a power boost on top of enhancing his lightning attacks to even be able to harm those otherwise immune to lightning (Dragon Slayer or otherwise as Wall was), though he only properly mastered it by the time of the sequel manga.
    • Sting and Rogue have two levels of power-ups to their White and Shadow Dragon Slayer Magic. First, is the White Drive and Shadow Drive, which enhances their power and speed a step above their normal levels. The second is Dragon Force, which they can enter at will as they have Lacrima crystals embedded inside their bodies and which powers them up exponentially. Sting eventually reaches a third level in the battle against Larcade of the Spriggan 12 when Rogue lets him eat his shadows, obtaining White Shadow Dragon mode and, unlike Natsu before him, combining it with his Dragon Force for a truly spectacular power-up.
    • Right before the Tournament Arc, the main cast receives something called Second Origin from Ultear, which is basically just an increase of magic that one user can use. It has the same effect as this trope, though, as they all became exceptionally more powerful: Gray's ice making becomes larger, Lucy can summon and maintain two spirits at once when her previous limit was one at a time, and Erza can use an exceptionally powerful armor with it.
    • In the Tartaros Arc, Gray also gets a variant of slayer magic called Devil Slayer Magic which his undead father passed onto him. Not only does it make him stronger, but it is very effective against demons, who just happened to be the main antagonists of that arc.
    • After the second Time Skip, Lucy gets another power up that allows her to utilize the abilities of her spirits by donning different clothes similar to Erza's requip. Now she can fight on the frontlines along with Natsu and the others rather than just relying on her spirits.
  • Freezing's protagonist Will. Not. Lose. And because she refuses to give up, she keeps drawing on and gaining more and more power.
  • In Guyver there is the Gigantic upgrade for each character equipped with a Guyver. Only problem there is a limit on using it and is essentially a suit that can be worn by only one character at a time. Aptom himself can qualify in which he slowly gains more power by absorbing more Zoanoid types. Guyver I can take the Gigantic upgrade a step further by transforming into the Gigantic Exceed, an apartment-sized bio-armor. He's used it once so far, to fight the Zoalord Kabarl Khan in his equally huge zoanoid form. Later issues gave Agito his own Gigantic Dark bio-armor to use against the combined Zoalords and Apollyon.
  • HeartCatch Pretty Cure!: Super Silhouette, Heartcatch Orchestra, and finally the Mugen Silhouette. That last one is best described as Pretty Cure meets Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. HCPC is one of the most Shounen-y straightly-played Magical Girl shows ever.
  • Hunter × Hunter features Gon, a boy who has displayed impressive feats throughout the series, yet is always outclassed by other characters, because of his lack of experience with Nen. However, it's been stated several times that his potential is something to behold. When the Chimera Ant arc comes around, Chimera Ant King Meruem and his 3 Royal Guards are far more powerful than any opponent seen in the series up until that point. Ultimately, Gon goes up against Neferpitou, one of the Royal Guards. The problem is that the gap of power between these two is so great that Gon stands absolutely no chance as he is. To close this gap, he gains a Deadly Upgrade through his need of a Roaring Rampage of Revenge for Kite, Gon's friend that was killed by Pitou. This transformation forcefully aged his body to bring out his innate potential. He proceeds to completely decimate Pitou with very little effort. Of course, all of this enormous power in one instance has cost him his ability to use Nen ever again.
  • Inazuma Eleven gets rather obsessed with this.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure usually averts this trope, at least measured by the standards of shonen series: characters will by and large have the same powers from the beginning of their respective part to the end, and evolutions in their fighting style will come from training in a new way of fighting note  or applying their existing powers in unexpected ways note . However, there are several instances where characters have spontaneously gained new powers:
    • Famously, in the climax of Stardust Crusaders, Jotaro realizes that his Stand Star Platinum has the same time stop ability as DIO's The World.
    • In Diamond is Unbreakable, Yoshikage Kira is pierced by the same Stand Arrow that originally gave him his powers, which gives his stand Killer Queen the ability Bites the Dust: a small version of Killer Queen that possesses his fake son Hayato. If anybody learns from Hayato that Kira is impersonating the boy's dead father, that person will spontaneously explode, and time will reset to that morning, but that person will explode at the same time on every subsequent loop.
    • Also in Diamond is Unbreakable, Koichi's Stand Echoes is originally just a large egg, but has the power to evolve into various "Acts", each with their own ability:
      • Echoes Act 1 awakens in response to Koichi's rage at Tamami's attempt to extort his family. In this form, Echoes can apply manga-esque visual sound effects to objects which will then emit that sound. While Tamami dismisses the ability initially, he is defeated when he is covered with several loud noises, creating a debilitating racket inside his body.
      • Echoes Act 2 awakens when Koichi is abducted by Yukako and expands on the ability of Act 1 by applying properties to objects based on the noises used: for example, "whoosh" produces a strong wind, while "sizzle" emits a large amount of heat.
      • Echoes Act 3 awakens in response to an attack from Sheer Heart Attack. In addition to being faster and stronger than Act 2, Act 3 can make objects incredibly heavy with it's "Three Freeze" attack.
    • Similar to Kira in part 4, Golden Wind has two characters gain additional abilities from a Stand Arrow:
      • Polnareff's Stand Silver Chariot becomes Silver Chariot Requiem, who has the ability to swap the minds of sentient creatures in a wide radius around the user.
      • Giorno's Stand Gold Experience becomes Gold Experience Requiem, who has the ability to "reset to zero", essentially erasing the consequences of actions from time.
    • Pucci from Stone Ocean evolves his stand White Snake twice throughout the series, first into C-Moon, and then into Made in Heaven
    • In Steel Ball Run, Johnny Joestar's Stand Tusk evolves into 4 distinct Acts, reminiscent of Echoes.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's:
    • Fate and Nanoha have rebuilt forms of Bardiche and Raising Heart respectively after both were nearly destroyed in their first fight with the Wolkenritter. Aside from a general power boost, both Devices have the new Belkan cartridge system, new modes and both of them got new names: Bardiche Assault and Raising Heart Exelion. In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Nanoha and Fate got upgraded version of their Super Modes; Nanoha's Exelion Mode is upgraded into the Exceed Mode, and Fate's Sonic Form is upgraded into the Shin Sonic Form. Moreover, Raising Heart Exelion got the Blaster System, and Bardiche Assault got the Riot Zanber.
    • In Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, Thoma plays it straight. When Thoma reacted for the first time, his Reacted Mode had a red cape, his pants had free places, his waist cape was red on the inside, and he had one marking only on his face. He gained more marking on his body when he transformed a second time, and since his third time, his Combat Protective Clothing changed to the Kurokishi Mode ("Black Knight Mode"); it's more armored, the armor part on the left arm is completely different, the Divider is much bigger and looks more dangerous and crazier, the pants are different, the red cape disappeared and the waist cape is black on the inside now, there are much more markings on Thoma's body, and the Bible of the Silver Cross in accompanying him. After Thoma gained the ability to control his Eclipse powers, he doesn't get red eyes any more, but either green or purple.
  • Mashin Hero Wataru Series: Mashins are not Combining Mecha. So all ally mechs would go through various mid-season upgrades, post-season upgrades, and temporary super modes to enhance their abilities. If you combine the entire franchise together, just Ryujinmaru alone would have a total of 16 different forms.
  • Mazinger Z: Late in the series, Kouji Kabuto learnt to combine his Humongous Mecha Rocket Punch with Spectacular Spinning to create Big Swing Rocket Punch (essentially, Kouji spins Mazinger's arms at full speed before shooting its fists). It counts like this trope and not like a Mid-Season Upgrade because it was not a new weapon installed into the mecha, but a new technique invented by Kouji drastically increased his power (It was several times stronger than a normal Rocket Punch).
  • Deku's One For All Full Cowl from My Hero Academia is an inversion. Instead of an upgrade, it's a strategic downgrade, using only a small fraction of One For All's power spread across Deku's body to giving him enhanced power and speed. Before this, Deku was limited to using One For All at full power and with only one body part, which was Awesome, but Impractical as doing so utterly destroyed his body due to him not being able to handle the full power of his Quirk yet.
  • In Naruto, the title character's Kyuubi tails are a form of this, as is the forming of Sasuke Uchiha's Sharingan mid-fight-scene. Choji Akimichi's special Food Pills also count. There is also Orochimaru's Curse Seal, which Kimimaro, the Sound Four, and Sasuke all have. Kankuro gains more Ninja Puppets, while Tenten gets Weapon Scrolls. Later on, there is Jiraiya and Naruto again with Sage Mode. Naruto then gains full access to the Kyuubi's chakra by befriending it. And, of course, Rock Lee and Might Guy have the Eight Gates to move up through. Naruto uses the trope a lot.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi has several of these. Several characters are half-demons with superpowered demon forms to match. Anyone with a Pactio can supercharge their strength with magic as well as summon a powerful artifact. Negi himself has his Black Magic. Not to mention his own Pactio.
    • After being defeated in her rematch with Tsukiyomi, Setsuna eventually gets one of these in the Magic World arc via her new Pactio formed with Konoka, which granted her a different Pactio Card than the one she got from Negi.
    • And then there is the kanka technique Asuna (re)learns during the Mahora Festival Budoki.
    • It's also mentioned that Kotarou has the same ability as the Saiyans mentioned above — that is, after being defeated he comes back stronger.
  • One Piece:
    • Some of the Straw Hats gained a new tool or power in the Skypiea arc. Specifically, Zoro gained a Razor Wind attack (which, as it was used with only one sword, it served as the basis for being used with two and three swords) and Nami got a Jet Ski.
    • The real upgrade-showcasing arc before the Time Skip was the Enies Lobby Arc, when Luffy gained Gear Second and Gear Third by exploiting the properties of his Devil Fruit, Chopper became The Berserker (albeit temporarily for overusing his Rumble Balls), Nami and Usopp upgraded their previous weapons, Usopp started to gain confidence, Sanji learned to set his kick attacks on fire, and Zoro realized a technique to triple his swords to nine.
    • The Fishman Island arc has had the crew reveal even more upgrades, though these are completely justified, seeing as they spent two whole years training specifically to gain Next Tier Power Ups.
    • Invoked by Luffy during the Whole Cake Island arc, where he specifically fights against Charlotte Katakuri, using his Observation Haki the whole time, in order to gain the same power as the latter — an advanced form that lets the user see a short time into the future. Later, during Wano, he invoked the trope again by learning how to emit his Armament Haki through the air, rather than simply using it to harden his body or infuse an object.
    • Devil Fruits have the mysterious ability of "Awakening", which causes the user's powers to increase and evolve into a more powerful form. It's not until Wano when Kaido explains that Awakening happens when the user's body and mind catch up to and are finally able to harness their Devil Fruit's full powers.
      • The first Paramecia-type Awakening shown is Doflamingo, whose String-String Fruit — which originally allowed him to produce an endless array of string from his body — gained the ability to transmute any nonliving matter in his vicinity into string that is under Doflamingo's mental control.
      • Katakuri similarly displays the ability to transmute his surroundings into mochi.
      • While the Jailer Beasts in Impel Down were the first mention of Devil Fruit Awakening, the Egghead arc clarifies that most Awakened Zoans lose their minds, while showing what happens when they don't as Rob Lucci displays that he Awakened his own Devil Fruit during the Time Skip, turning him into a vastly more powerful threat. It is theorized by Vegapunk that Lucci didn't lose his mind because he was already a bloodthirsty animal.
    • Luffy undergoes his own Devil Fruit Awakening at the very climax of the Wano arc. It turns out his fruit actually isn't a "mere" Paramecia granting the user Rubber Man powers, but rather a Mythic Zoan variant of the Human-Human Fruit that turns its wielder into a living "rubberhose animation" cartoon character, complete with the ability to selectively warp reality to run on Toon Physics. For their part, Nami has her Clima Tact upgraded by fusing it with Zeus (a sentient thundercloud), Sanji upgrades his Diable Jambe to Ifrit Jambe after his genetic modifications grant him an exoskeleton like the rest of his siblings, and Zoro replaces Shusui with Enma, a powerful sword that constantly drains his Haki but grants him a massive power boost once he learns to tame it (and he also awakens Conqueror's Haki).
  • In Pokémon: The Series, this is subverted because no matter what evolutions Ash's team go through, and what he learns about battles during the story arc, he resets to Pikachu for the next region. Causing no change at all.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion has a dark example of this trope. At the end of the movie, Homura grabs onto Madoka's hands and prevents her from purifying her Soul Gem. Instead of turning into a witch, Homura's Soul Gem fills with The Power of Love, and the human Madoka is seperated from her goddess self. Homura's Soul Gem then shatters and is replaced with a new item named the Black Orb, while Homura herself becomes a self-proclaimed demon.
  • Tsukune from Rosario + Vampire receives one in the form of an emergency transformation. He has gained the powers of a vampire, subsequently received training from Inner Moka, and most recently had his body modified so that he can fight on par with Akuha. It worked.
  • Reborn! (2004) has this, especially when the various rings start kicking in. Especially with Tsuna, who gets glove and Box power-ups like nobody's business. This comes back to bite him when fighting his father. Reborn tells Tsuna that he relied too much on his Next Tier Power Ups and not enough on his strength which he needs to defeat Iemitsu. He doesn't, but he does better after Reborn's motivational speech.
  • Rurouni Kenshin has the eponymous protagonist learning Amakakeru Ryuu no Hirameki from his estranged mentor, while Sanosuke learns Futae no Kiwami (AAAAAHHHHH!) from the wandering monk Anji who is in league with the Big Bad Shishio. They barely win the day even with those Dangerous Forbidden Techniques. While these techniques are helpful in allowing the cast to make it to the end, ironically, what finally wins the day is a Victory by Endurance as Shishio dies from overheating after fighting for too long.
  • In Scryed, Kazuma goes out to upgrade his Alter power because it is too weak, then later gets an additional upgrade at the end of the series through willpower. Ryuho also follows this, but his first upgrade is more an I Am Not Left-Handed, in that he had it retroactively.
  • The new forms in Sailor Moon works as this. Best shown in Codename: Sailor V: in her Sailor V form Minako was evenly matched with Princess Linlin and could only win when Danburite critically wounded her for being of no more use to him, but immediately after recovering her past life's memories and unlocking her first Sailor Venus form she's powerful enough to one-shot Danburite.
  • Saint Seiya:
    • The Sacred Cloths of Athena change into sleeker, more impressive new forms whenever they're destroyed and have to be rebuilt (especially the Bronze Cloths, which are broken at least once per series.) Works as a non-sexual form of Fanservice as the Constellation form of the Cloths becomes more and more intricately detailed with each iteration — the original Pegasus and Cygnus Cloths required a LOT of imagination to resemble a winged horse or a swan, but by the time they became Divine Cloths through Athena's blood they were near-perfect reproductions — and they cover more and more of their Saint's body at the same time.
    • In regards to the Saints themselves, their goal in the Sanctuary Arc was to awaken to the mystical Seventh Sense, which would allow them to perceive the Cosmo of the faster-than-light Gold Saints and counterattack. In the Hades Arc, the objective was the Eighth Sense, which grants them entrance into the Hades while still being alive. Then, when facing Hades' Dragons, Thanatos and Hypnos, the overwhelming force of the Bronze Saints' Cosmo upgrades them (and their Cloths, see above) to godly levels.
  • Subverted with Shaman King, where "furyoku" is set at birth and can only be raised by near-death experiences. Then double-subverted when several characters who can resurrect people allows the Five-Man Band to die once or twice in order to get stronger, even to the point of having LITERAL Training from Hell.
  • In Soul Eater, the main duo's driving goal is to obtain their Next Tier Power-Up by turning Soul into a Death Scythe. They eventually succeed. Black*Star and Tsubaki also get the Uncanny Sword upgrade. After some training in Japan, Black Star and Tsubaki unlock the true potential of the Uncanny Sword, gaining a shadow form of every one of Tsubaki's forms. Death the Kid gets a kind of innate version as he matures, as the connection of each line of Sanzu increases his power level. Connecting the first allows him to fight on even terms with Mosquito's form from 400 Years Ago, who had previously defeated him in under a second, the second allowed him to kill the sorcerer Noah, and the third made him a True Shinigami with the Madness of Order and sufficient power to help defeat Asura.
  • This was mercilessly parodied in episode 5 of Tiger & Bunny when Kotetsu and Barnaby discover their "Good Luck Mode" and uses it to defeat an opponent only to find out that it doesn't do anything other than make them look cooler. There's also a much more serious subversion in the second half of the series. For reasons unknown, Kotetsu suddenly gains an incredible boost in power at the cost of a slightly shorter time limit on his Hundred Power. At first he's quite excited that his NEXT abilities are evolving...until he learns that this sudden increase in strength is actually the first sign that his powers are fading, "like a candle that burns brightest just before it burns out".
  • In Transformers, it's traditional for the Autobot/Maximal leader to get some sort of upgrade or Super Mode before the final scene.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! series, it's commonplace for the main characters' ace monsters to have more advanced forms, and are usually invoked with cards that enter the main characters' decks by pure willpower and The Magic Poker Equation. In real life, it's also not unusual for popular cards to receive new forms to keep up with Power Creep.
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, it's not as prevalent due to the main characters receiving MacGuffin cards (like the Egyptian God Cards) that get favored over their signature monsters, though we do have examples like Kaiba's Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon, Yugi's Dark Magician Knight, and Joey's Red-Eyes Black Metal Dragon.
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, it takes a while before Jaden gets a regular ace monster in the form of Elemental HERO Neos. Once that happens, though, you can expect him to unveil new Neos fusions as he Contacts with different combinations of Neo-Spacians.
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s, Yusei and Jack get regular upgrades to their Signer Dragons. First is their Majestic forms which take center stage in the Dark Signer arc. In the WRGP arc, they take different paths with their power-ups; Yusei performs Accel Synchro (Synchro Summoning using a Synchro-Tuner hybrid on the opponent's turn) to make Shooting Star Dragon, while Jack uses Double Tuning (Synchro Summoning with 2 Tuners) to make Scar-Red Dragon Archfiend. Yusei cranks his power-up even further at the series climax to make Shooting Quasar Dragon.
    • The forms of ZEXAL used by Yuma and Astral when they merge in Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL are most definitely this, labelled in Duels as ZEXAL, ZEXAL II, and ZEXAL III, all allowing the user to create new cards through Shining Draw, ZEXAL II can transform a card into its true form while in the hand via Shining Evolution/Re-Contract Universe, and ZEXAL III creates a ZEXAL Field to prevent the debilitating effects supernatural Duels can have. They look a LOT like Super Saiyan forms and get just as flashy each time they transform. Then, there's Dark ZEXAL, the dark version of the first one. And true to form, with each new form of ZEXAL they unveil, a new version of their ace monster Utopia is introduced.
  • In YuYu Hakusho this happens several times.
    • Before and during the final round of the the Dark Tournament all four of the core characters got one. Yusuke had Genkai's enormous spirit power transferred to him; Kuwabara received the Trial Sword; Kurama got a potion to turn him into his stronger kitsune form; Hiei had his Dragon of the Darkness Flame technique turned back on him and absorbed it for a huge power boost.
    • Kuwabara had the first of the Chapter Black arc when his jigen-tou manifested. Later, Yusuke died and came back as a demon.

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man: In The Other, after becoming the receptacle of the totemic spider-deity called the Other, Spider-Man develops night-vision and venomous stingers in his forearms, and his strength gets boosted a second time to 20 tons.

    Fan Works 
  • Equestria Girls: Friendship Souls: Given this is a Bleach crossover, this was inevitable. In the span of little more than a month, for each of the main characters...
    • Sunset starts out as a girl swinging around an Asauchi before she properly bonds with it to create an unreleased zanpakuto that she trains with for a time while learning Kido. She then unlocks her Shikai while fighting Sternritter "T" Fleur de Lis, and goes through Training from Hell to get ready for the assault on Soul Society. From there, she achieves Bankai in one day and learns she actually has dual Zanpakuto spirits in the process, and from then on continues to train to maximize her power and learn new techniques.
    • The Humane Five start out powerless aside from their magic, then gain their Fullbrings. They undergo Training from Hell to maximize their abilites and force their Fullbrings to evolve to their next level, which makes each of them easily a match for a Lieutenant-class Soul Reaper. From there, it's a matter of coming to an emotional epiphany with their own personal hang-ups about themselves or their powers to achieve their "complete" Fullbring, which puts each of them on par with Captains, Espada, or Sternritter.
    • Human Twilight Sparkle starts off apparently powerless, but begins training with her Quincy powers. However, her latent magic powers thanks to Midnight Sparkle flare up when her emotions peak and syngerize with her already potent Quincy powers to propel her rapidly to the level of and even past her Shadowbolt peers with comparitively less time spent training, especially when she and Midnight come to a mutual understanding. She then gains a Schrift as a Sternritter and access to Vollstandig and continues her research into magic and reishi to maximize her ability, including being able to switch control between herself and Midnight to maximize her control of magic.
    • Adagio Dazzle thanks to her latent magical power starts her evolution as a Hollow directly at the level of an Adjuchas, and after eating a large amount of souls from dead humans, other Hollows, and Gillians and Adjuchas evolves to a Vasto Lorde, which also comes with a newfound control of water. Shortly afterwards and during the battle against the Quincy at Las Noches, absorbing some of the lifeforce of the fallen Ninth Espada Squirk and her battle with Captain Luna to save her friend Ember from capture prompts Adagio to rip off her mask and evolve into an Arrancar, now strong enough to be worthy of the title of Sixth Espada and even greater control of water.
  • The One to Make It Stay: After learning that Luka figured out Marinette's secret, Master Fu begins researching and preparing for a special ritual for Ladybug and her allies to partake in. Said ritual grants the participants special powers as civilians, without relying upon or requiring them to have their Miraculous or kwami on hand. Said powers include safeguards against being akumatized and the ability to erase memories related to the Miraculous or Guardians, in order to protect their secret identities. This comes nestled in the middle of a Wham Episode which throws the status quo for a loop.

  • The Dresden Files: Harry Dresden's Hellfire, then Soulfire, then the Mantle of the Winter Knight. Two out of three were Deals with the Devil (one nearly literal), making them upgrades with a great deal of trade-off, and the odd one out causes temporary damage to his soul when used, but is overall very worth it. The 'enemies of the past are too weak to be an issue' aspect of the trope doesn't come up very often, since most of the entities he faces were crazy strong to begin with, consider how much trouble he had with ghouls and Red Court vampires in the earlier books compared with now. Okay, he doesn't actually have any trouble with the Red Court now on account of how he killed them all, but if he did it'd be less trouble than in earlier books. However, it is notable that in his early books, he often dealt with new wizards who'd just learned magic and got Drunk on the Dark Side. Given how skilled and powerful Harry is now, he would just bulldoze through them.
  • In High School D×D, a Sacred Gear exposed to particularly intense emotions can evolve into a devastatingly powerful form called a Balance Breaker — so named because it allows its wielder to step outside of boundaries imposed on humans by God, making it effectively a real-life Game-Breaking Bug. Initially forbidden by both angels and demons, by the present day Balance Breakers are sought after by both sides, and many characters have unlocking or improving one as a crux of their Character Arc.
  • The Locked Tomb: Necromancers who become Lyctors gain inexhaustible magical power, perfect awareness of Life and death energies, a massive Healing Factor, Biomanipulation, swordfighting expertise, and agelessness. Harrowhark and Ianthe begin Harrow the Ninth with these powers, having gained Lyctordom in the climax of Gideon the Ninth.
  • October Daye books. Giving her better magic, endurance, stamina, night vision, and just about everything else but humanity.
  • The Stormlight Archive: The Ideals are practically designed for this. Each Order of the Knights Radiant has five Ideals, with the first being the same for every Order ("Life before death, strength before weakness, journey before destination") and the next four unique. When a Knight swears the next Ideal, the efficiency of their Stormlight use increases, and they suck in all the Stormlight within range to heal from any wounds and glow like the sun. Interestingly, the Ideals only modulate efficiency. A Knight can use all their abilities before swearing any Ideals, they just don't know how. This is why the Heralds, who had no ideals at all, were so powerful; while their Stormlight use was much less efficient than the normal Knights, they had thousands of years of practice with their abilities.
  • Warbreaker has the Ten Heightenings. In addition to being used to fuel Awakening magic, holding BioChromatic Breaths grants various passive boons. The Heightenings mark places where either a boon reaches its peak, or a new power is unlocked. Since individual Breaths vary slightly in potency, the exact number of breaths needed to reach each Heightening is somewhat variable.
    • Though each Breath grants an increased ability to discern others' Breath auras, it is not until the First Heightening (at about fifty Breaths) that this ability becomes fully instinctual and automatic.
    • Those who attain the Second Heightening (at about two hundred Breaths) receive perfect pitch.
    • Though each Breath grants an increased ability to discern color, it is not until the Third Heightening (at about six hundred Breaths) that the Awakener can instinctively discern exact shades of color and chromatic harmonics.
    • Though each Breath improves the Awakener's lifesense, it is not until the Fourth Heightening (at about a thousand Breaths) that this ability reaches its maximum strength and sensitivity.
    • While each Breath slows aging and makes its bearer more resistant to poison or disease, those who have attained the Fifth Heightening (at about two thousand Breaths) are fully ageless and immune to poison or disease.
    • While each Breath makes it easier for the holder to learn Awakening, those of the Sixth Heightening and higher (about thirty five hundred Breaths) instinctively know basic Awakening commands without having to be taught them.
    • Those who have reached the Seventh Heightening (at about five thousand Breaths) can discern the Breath auras of Awakened objects.
    • Those of the Eighth Heightening (about ten thousand Breaths) can override Commands given to Awakened objects.
    • Those who have reached the Ninth Heightening (about twenty thousand Breaths) can Awaken non-organic substances such as metal or stone and can Awaken objects that they are not touching but that are within the sound of their voice.
    • Those who reach the Tenth Heightening (about fifty thousand Breaths) can issue Commands mentally, without needing to speak them aloud. They also can drain objects to white instead of gray, and cause white light to fracture into a prismatic halo in their presence. It also may come with other powers, but it is so rare that neither the audience nor the character who researches these things and writes summaries about them at the back of the book can be sure yet.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Since Kamen Rider V3, Kamen Rider has the general formula of the Riders getting their powers, learning how to use the many alternate weapons and forms provided by their Transformation Trinket, undergo Character Development right before getting a Mid-Season Upgrade then finally get their ultimate Super Mode form shortly before the finale. Serial Escalation with the summer movies providing an extra optional form.
  • The most well known example from live action TV is the conversion of Dinozords to the new Thunderzords in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. A lesser known example involves the Rangers themselves: recent seasons involve advanced versions of the Ranger suits, their usage ranging from Hour of Power to Mid-Season Upgrade variants.
  • Ultra Series: The trope is Played With, while Ultras do get special forms and transformations that make them stronger, a lot of times it is also shown in many cases that they're at their most powerful in their base form. The best example for this trope would be Ultraman Zero who over the course of various installments gains many Super Modes, upgrades to said modes and sometimes even fusing said Modes into a newer stronger one.

    Tabletop Games 
  • This is more or less how leveling up works in many games. A character grows in strength, allowing them to face more difficult challenges and go on broader adventurers.
  • Dungeons & Dragons typically has this at levels 5, 11, and 17.
    • In 5th edition, martial characters get Extra Attack at 5th, usually get a damage boost at 11th, and a Game-Breaker at 17th.
    • Also in 5th edition, these levels are when cantrips increase in power.
    • These levels are when spellcasters gain 3rd, 6th and 9th level spells. 3rd level grants classic wizardly powers like fireballs which are the first big damage aoe spells, healers are now able to bring back the dead at this level too. 6th level provides a new tier of magical power with bigger and bigger jumps between spell levels from this point on, Disintigrate in particular can one-shot anything below bosses. 9th level spells grant godlike power to all casters. The ability to travel anywhere at all short of a god's own house, or summon anything save said God from those places. The power to level cities with a single spell, or to transform into a Dragon, or to stop time is unlocked. Finally, the Wish spell is here. This is the point at which casters become literal reality warpers. Anything is possible with Wish, the only limits being what the DM is willing to permit.

    Video Games 
  • Being the equivalent of an interactive anime (With even more references than BlazBlue), Asura's Wrath under goes quite a few new transformations of this nature thanks to his anger. A more traditional version is Asura getting the Karma Fortress Mantra Reactor implanted into him and activated by Yasha, allowing him to use his wrath without harming himself, and super charging his already immense powers at base form up to insane levels, along with gaining a new planet-sized form known as Asura the Destructor, where he basically becomes a Humongous Mecha.
  • Being a tribute to all things anime, BlazBlue naturally invokes this trope by virtue of Bang Shishigami's Fu-Rin-Ka-Zan technique, complete with an overriding Theme Music Power-Up by Hironobu Kageyama and a golden sheen covering his body. It is awesome.
  • In Counter Side, various characters receive their power-ups in story results in their Awakened forms, which either amplify their current Counter abilities, or bestow new forms.
  • In Devil May Cry 5, Dante gets a power-up of his own when he runs himself through on a broken piece of his sword, Rebellion. His subsequently absorbing the Devil Sword Sparda unlocks a new form of his Devil Trigger ability: Sin Devil Trigger, which completely changes his moveset and massively buffs his damage. At the same time, he also gains a new, more powerful sword: Devil Sword Dante. Similarly, Vergil gains his own Sin Devil Trigger after V and Urizen are re-merged to bring him back, though a written lore implies he obtained this form thanks to Urizen. As a gameplay mechanic, Dante and Vergil access these forms by sacrificing bars of the DT Gauge to fill the SDT Gauge. And while Nero doesn't gain a Sin Devil Trigger, his own Devil Trigger is fully unlocked in the game's final climax, allowing him to enter a physical demonic form of his own like Dante and Vergil's standard DT. This is an upgrade to his first Devil Trigger in Devil May Cry 4 which functioned more akin to a Fighting Spirit that mimicked and enhanced his attacks.
  • Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City: Starting from the this game, characters in the Etrian Odyssey series gain access to subclasses, usually after the second or third stratum (out of six, five of which are needed to minimally complete the game). Subclassing allows a character to learn the skills of another class while retaining their original class; for example, an offensive caster-type class can subclass as a healer-type class and learn healing skills that their base class does not have access to while still being able to cast magic attacks that they've already learned, or a frontline damage-focused class can subclass as a tank-type class and learn some buffs and passives to improve their survivability, especially if they don't have much in the way of defense otherwise. Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth swaps out subclassing in favor of Legendary Titles, in which a character can take up one of two mutually-exclusive extensions to their class's Tech Tree.
  • Besides the standard Evolution Power-Up all monsters can go through in Evolve, they have a secondary method. Exposure to large amounts of minkowski radiation, the kind produced by Patterson tech, induces massive mutations. This drastically alters their physiology, sometimes inducing weaknesses to produce new strengths or just completely replacing their existing abilities with new ones.
  • Cecil from Final Fantasy IV, who undergoes Character Development and gets a class change from Dark Knight to Paladin. While his level is reset to 1, Cecil becomes a lot stronger over very a brief amount of time.
  • The basic Classes in Final Fantasy XIV — Gladiator, Pugilist, Marauder, Lancer, Archer, Rogue, Conjurer, Thaumaturge, and Arcanist — each receive their own major power-up after completing a quest at level 30 and inheriting the abilities of a powerful champion through a new Soul Crystal. Their new status is referred to rather prosaically as a Job. (Jobs added in later expansions don't follow this, as the developers considered it unnecessary.) The crafting classes can gain Soul Crystals too at level 55, though the change is much less flashy and just adds "specialist" to their name and a few new abilities.
  • Promotion/Class Change in Fire Emblem, where a magical "seal" or a special ceremony is used to grant a unit new power. Many protagonists notably get a class change based on the story events, where they either acquire legendary weapons or get their MacGuffin's power unlocked.
  • LaTale has this with its third jobs, where you're infused with the power of the goddess Series.
  • Megadimension Neptunia VII has a new form for the CPUs, appropriately called Next Form, where, in CPU mode, they change into an even more powerful version of themselves at the cost of one level of the EXE gauge. It also allows use of their respective strongest attacks, a Death or Glory Attack that does massive damage, but also depowers them to their weakest form. Doubly so in Neptune's/Next Purple's case, an Iaijutsu Single Stroke Attack.
  • The Mega Man X series has armor upgrades for X, which expand his capabilities significantly. In most games, getting an armor upgrade instantly grants you better abilities: typically, arm upgrades improve the X-Buster weapon, body upgrades improve X's defense, leg upgrades improve X's mobility, and head upgrades provide various enhancements depending on the game. Mega Man X5 and Mega Man X6 are the main outliers, as X can't use new armor until he gains all four components, but with the tradeoff of being able to use one of two different sets of armor: one that improves mobility and and special weapon usage, and one that improves defenses and X-Buster power.
  • Pokémon X and Y introduced Mega Evolution, the ability for select Pokémon to reach a Super Mode through The Power of Friendship (according to the lore at least).
  • Sonic 3 & Knuckles introduces "Hyper" forms for Sonic and Knuckles: after collecting the Chaos Emeralds during the Sonic 3 Zones, and unlocking the power of the Super Emeralds during the S&K Zones, Sonic and Knuckles's super forms are upgraded. In their Hyper forms, Sonic can perform an air dash that also destroys all Badniks on screen, and Knuckles can cause a small earthquake that also clears the screen of Badniks by gliding into a wall at top speed. Visually, they both gain additional sparkles, Speed Echoes, and Sonic flashes the colors of all of the Emeralds in lieu of his standard golden hue. Word of God is that the reason these forms have not appeared since then is because the developers don't want to deal with this trope and how out of control it can get.
  • Sonic gets two of these in Sonic Frontiers, when Sonic converts his cyber corruption into power during the "Another Story" scenario, serving as powered-up versions of Super Sonic. The first, internally referred to as "Super Sonic 2", gives Super Sonic blue eyes, a reddish aura on top of the already-present gold, and empowers him to be able to use the Perfect Parry, which can reflect any attack- even ones that Super Sonic's normal abilities are completely unable to defend against. When Sonic uses the full extent of the Cyber Corruption-derived power, he enters a state internally referred to as "Super Sonic Cyber", a black and cyan, glitchy version of Super Sonic who has monochromatic ringed eyes and and visibly sharp fangs, almost reminiscent of Fleetway's iteration of Super Sonic, which grants him enough power to outright one-shot SUPREME and THE END in one attack, though accessing the state quickly burns away all of his cyber corruption, causing him to permanently lose access to both forms.
  • In Stardew Valley, there are stardrops. Consuming these fruits will permanently increase the player's energy bar.
  • In Tales of Xillia 2, Ludger's Chromatus Super Mode is initially triggered involuntarily. He eventually learns how to activate at it will, which is when it becomes usable in battle, and from there, it evolves at key points in the story, initially only granting him a lance and armor on his arms, but eventually graduating to a full suit of armor. It also turns out that repeated use of it is life-threatening.
  • In Vindictus, you can get the power to transform into a Dark Knight or Paladin. Once you get enough training in transformed mode, you unlock a second transformation with an AP cost but even larger bonuses.
  • Played with in Zettai Hero Project. Your generic, nameless, pathetic protagonist has to learn several cliché hero traits such as the Power of Love in order to upgrade from Unlosing Ranger to True Unlosing Ranger. When the Wham Episode reveals that the protagonist has a backstory and is actually an Iron Woobie Determinator, the parody you've been expecting turns out to be genuinely awesome.

  • This happened to the Light Warriors in 8-Bit Theater when they got their class changes, complete with new, but similar costumes.
  • American webcomic Elijah and Azuu has a variation on this concept: Most of the cast are angels and demons, and their power increases substantially when they let their wings out (which are normally hidden, even when they have no reason to hide them).
  • The characters in Homestuck get these as they move up their Echeladders, slowly unlocking new abilities, with the ultimate objective of reaching God Tier. Of course, there are also multiple God Tiers, each with their own added abilities, including the ability to talk without the use of a digital chat interface.
  • During the "Zombizou" chapter in Scarlet Lady, the eponymous Nominal Hero falls prey to the Akuma, leaving Marinette/Marigold as the only Miraculous hero capable of fighting. Her despair and panic at the fact that she can't stop Zombizou without the Lucky Charm allows her to unlock Bee Balm, a low-tier World-Healing Wave that undoes an Akuma's effect near her.

    Web Original 
  • Worm:
    • There are rare cases where someone who already has a superpower gets a second trigger event, refining their power into a new form. However, this leaves the recipient so psychologically screwed up that they rarely last long. Moreover, Word of God states that second triggers are less an upgrade to the power and more a recalibration; for instance, a pyrokinetic might gain a longer range but lose precision. Most capes get better over time through just practice and using their powers more intelligently. Late in the story it's explained that the second trigger simply removes some of the limitations meant to protect the shard's host.
    • Some capes actually experience second triggers immediately after their first. The stress of triggering combined with the actual event pushing them over the edge twice in succession; these "double triggers" are weaker than a true second trigger (Word of God refers to them as "1.5 triggers"), with the change meant to mitigate whatever made the original power so diffucult for the host to handle. Taylor triggered twice in the locker, gaining her multitasking ability the second time to help her manage the input from all the bugs which was making the first trigger even more traumatising; it's unclear what she lost in exchange because we never see her power in its initial form.
    • Taylor manages to massively power up her ability by having Panacea directly modify her brain. At the cost of range and Sanity Slippage she gains the ability to control other parahumans during the final battle.

    Western Animation 
  • Miraculous Ladybug has quite a few of these. When Hawk Moth gives someone else the ability to power him up, Master Fu says he was worried Hawk Moth would eventually discover this workaround. Then there are the power ups in the grimoire: the heroes gain new forms to handle different environments (such as water and space) while the villains figure out how to fix the Peacock Miraculous so that using it stops hurting the user, whereupon Hawk Moth starts using it regularly and upgrades himself to Shadow Moth. And then both sides realize their powers are only limited by their imaginations. The outer limits of power are hinted at when sweet, lovable Tikki uses her power of creation to create an Earth-sized galette that, had it not been intercepted quickly, would have fallen to Earth - all because of Tikki's sweet tooth.
  • The fairy and witch transformations of Winx Club work exactly like this. The fairy transformations often require completing a quest of some sort to get the specific MacGuffin or entity that grants the transformation, passing a test of character, or both. Conversely, the witch transformations are almost always gained by receiving power from an external source, mostly evil magical beings, but you can also steal magic from places or people. Each new transformation is stronger than the previous ones and comes with new special spells and an outfit change (plus different wings in the case of fairies).
    • The basic fairy transformation (later named Winx) needs intense emotions and some previous usage of minor magic. It's stated to facilitate the channeling of magic and make one's magic more powerful. The Charmix boost is obtained after overcoming a great personal difficulty, such as a strong fear or a crippling psychological weakness. For the Enchantix, a fairy needs to outright die while saving a person from her home planet. The Believix is both earned and strengthened by making humans believe in magic and fairies. Its two sub transformations are acquired by means of the Gifts of Destiny, given by the Ethereal Fairies. The Harmonix is granted by the "Book of the Sirenix" as a temporary transformation to fare better underwater so a fairy can retrieve the MacGuffins from the magical oceans. Once that is done, the book summons the Guardian of the Sirenix to bestow the, well, Sirenix to every fairy that completed the quest. If the fairy fails, she's doomed to permanently lose her magic. Next, we have the Bloomix which a fairy can only access after being gifted a spark of the Dragon's Flame AND performing an act of great courage. The Mythix demands a fairy to prove herself worthy before the Ancestral Wands. The Butterflix is only granted to a fairy who is a true defender of the Fairy Animals who, when bonded, gift a Tynix Bracelet that upgrades the fairy to the Tynix transformation. Finally, the Cosmix is granted by the Queen of Lumenia (kind of when a King accolades a new knight to fight his enemies).
    • It is unknown how the basic witch transformation is obtained. Two of the following transformations are bestowed by a (usually evil) magical entity and are counterparts to the fairy transformations — the Gloomix by the Shadow Phoenix (the Great Dragon's opposite) and the Disenchantix by Valtor (dark keeper of the Dragon's Flame). Another two witch transformations in the list have been earned by means of stealing/absorbing an external magical source — the Dark Sirenix by draining Daphne's Sirenix powers and the Shape-shifting Witch by absorbing the Wild Magic source and fusing with a fairy animal. It's never clarified how the Dark Witch transformation is obtained, but it seems to be an internal boost born from determination. Or maybe just plain evilness, who knows.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Shounen Upgrade, Shonen Upgrade


Shadow Moth

Hawk Moth upgrades himself to Shadow Moth by joining the Peacock Miraculous with his Butterfly Miraculous, giving him the power to infuse an object with an akuma and an amok at the same time.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / NextTierPowerUp

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