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Quickly-Demoted Leader

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"Ha! Legendary guardian? I was just a boy. A boy about your age actually. I wanted to change the world too, but I changed nothing. That is my story."
Auron, Final Fantasy X

So, here you are, the top of your field. You felled countless enemy commanders, slew a dragon, worked up to your rank by the sweat of your brow, and became the envy of everyone. That's why you're the main character!

Wait, what's this? Despite your illustrious career, something disastrous just happened. You've been demoted and now you're working for some young, shiny hero instead! Hold on—weren't you the main character?

Sorry, but you're not the main character.

The Quickly Demoted Leader is established as a powerful character, but then immediately made to serve under the hero. This happens to provide the hero with the companionship of someone with much more experience and might put him in a position of authority quickly. The Quickly Demoted Leader can easily become The Resenter.

Possible reasons this character has lost his position:

  • He doesn't have the right balance of emotion—maybe he's too reckless, or maybe he's The Stoic.
  • He's not The Chosen One.
  • He made a mistake on a mission at the worst time. This can be realistic depending on the degree of the mistake and his reputation.
  • He attempted a Face–Heel Turn or other form of betrayal.
  • His character flaw finally got the best of him. Alcoholism is a common one.
  • He suffered a crippling injury or was otherwise weakened considerably. This is common if the demotion is figurative rather than literal.
  • She was demoted for not possessing a Y chromosome.

May overlap with Proud Warrior Race Guy. If resentful, the character may insist he's Still the Leader.


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     Anime and Manga 

  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, the plot is kicked off when Yuuno Scrya, the archaeologist responsible for unearthing the Jewel Seeds, sets out to retrieve them, feeling a sense of responsibility for them and knowing that they're dangerous if not properly contained (even more so if they fall into the wrong hands). It would seem like he'd become the protagonist, but unfortunately for him, he's unable to defeat even the first monster spawned from one of the Seeds, and so is forced to rely on the eponymous heroine. He serves as Nanoha's mentor and helps her with some of his support magic, but Nanoha does most of the fighting.
  • Prétear puts a harem of experienced capable male warriors behind an inexperienced teenage girl. Because she's The Chosen One and apparently their powers are rather ineffective without being able to merge with said girl. Subverted somewhat because this did not go well for the last girl who had to be the Pretear. One Face–Heel Turn later and our male heroes use the exact same methods to find the new Pretear. You think they'd learn.
  • In possibly one of the few inversions in existence, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny gives us Shinn Asuka's relationship with Athrun Zala. With war breaking out again between the Earth and the PLANTs, Athrun reenlists and in spite of getting a shiny new Savior Gundam does nothing for the greater part of the series, playing second fiddle to a well-meaning but flawed soldier. Then it becomes more apparent Shinn has been being manipulated magnificently by the evil Chessmaster chairman of ZAFT, and Athrun goes back to the actual hero group, and ends up owning Shinn in the final battle.
  • The Monk in Eureka Seven qualifies for this. He's supposed to be a very powerful "attuned" person to the will of the Earth (actually trained for this), and can even destroy large buildings. But he's arrogant, not interested in explaining almost anything he does and doesn't even bathe. He's also the Proud Warrior Race Guy. These all pale in comparison with his history of being in Renton's position and failing for no explained reason, unless he was the corralians' own, intended Obi Wrong.
    • Holland Novak is a MUCH better example of this. He is the leader of Gekko State, but was rejected by Eureka as her partner, and greatly resents and physically abuses Renton, who does become Eureka's partner.
  • In the Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross arc of Robotech, Sean starts out as the commander of the ATAC unit, but when Dana comes along, fresh out of the academy, he gets busted to private due to a combination of his own terrible discipline record and Dana having family connections in the brass.
  • Kiritsugu Emiya in the Fate series. Played with in that the prequel Fate/Zero has him as the protagonist and actually shows us how he became the Quickly Demoted Leader: failing to fulfill his wish, failing to destroy the Grail, and being cursed to lose his powers and die after mentoring Shirou for five years.
  • Tokyo Ghoul :Re introduces the Quinx Squad under the command of The Ace, Kuki Urie — noted for his incredible accomplishments at the Academy and quickly established as a genius Investigator. A few chapters later, his arrogance nearly gets the entire squad killed and he finds himself stripped of his command. Idiot Hero Ginshi Shirazu is given his command, and immediately protests that he isn't smart or experienced enough for the job. Since then, Urie has been plotting ways to reclaim his position.
  • Sailor Moon heavily plays with it: when Sailor V finally appears Sailor Moon hands the leadership of the Sailor Senshi to her, as she's the Moon Princess (or, in the first anime, simply the most experienced)-except Sailor Venus was actually a decoy (and, in all versions except the old anime, a Body Double) for Sailor Moon so she could gain the experience to come into her destiny, and showed up and took over when she did because the Dark Kingdom had stepped up their game to a point she couldn't stay on the sidelines anymore. She still remains the leader of the Sailor Guardians, but also recognizes that Sailor Moon outranks her.
  • In Snow White with the Red Hair, Queen Haruto Wisteria of Clarines abdicates the throne in the first chapter she appears in, handing the rule of Clarines to Izana only a chapter after she and her position have been established.
  • Hero Union BBS had one guy get dumped into the hero-destined-to-defeat-the-demon-lord role, but ended up vastly Overshadowed by Awesome by his own party. As a result, he doesn't really feel he's leading anything (and doesn't level up because his teammates keep one-shotting everything they run into).

    Comic Books 
  • Subverted in Punisher: The Platoon: The fact that 2nd Lieutenant Castle immediately tells the platoon he's in charge of that he's an Ensign Newbie gets the men to show some appreciation for him, which becomes true respect when they see he depends on Sergeant Dryden for advice instead of thinking he knows everything (including calling in an airstrike on a seemingly-deserted village on the sergeant's hunch rather than investigate it, killing 4 enemy soldiers).

     Films — Animated 
  • Ultra Magnus is given the Matrix of Leadership in Transformers: The Movie and can't get it open. It later falls to Hot Rod to kill Unicron with it. Foreshadowed because Hot Rod was the first to touch the Matrix as it falls from Optimus Prime's dying grasp.

     Films — Live-Action  

  • Star Trek (2009):
    • This happens to Spock by the time the third act hits. Spock Prime needs Kirk to take control of the Enterprise and for Kirk to do so, he needs to prove Spock is emotionally incapable of serving, which Kirk does by tap dancing on his Berserk Button.
    • Also, Captain Pike is quickly captured allowing the main cast to take control of the Enterprise. At the end, he's Kicked Upstairs to allow Kirk to retain his command.
  • Fung from Shaolin Soccer. He's a great soccer player who throws a game and is crippled by a hired mob, then years later becomes the coach to a group who use their shaolin martial arts to form their own soccer team.


  • Kratos May, from Javier Negrete's La Espada De Fuego. He is easily the greatest swordsman on the continent and second-in-command of a band of mercenaries so powerful that they're their own nation. When the time comes to fight for a Sword Forged by the Gods, a wizard who saved his life tells him to teach the much younger protagonist so he can win the sword instead.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe uses this on a couple occasions with Luke.
    • In Legacy of the Force, he is the commander, but killing Jacen would be the dark side because Jacen killed his wife.
    • In Fate of the Jedi he's in exile as a result of being blamed for Jacen going to the dark side.
  • Maul: Lockdown: Vas Nailhead and Strabo begin the novel as the leaders of large, feared prison gangs. Within the first third of the book, Maul lures the two gangs into a death trap, then rescues them once Nailhead and Strabo try to abandon the others to save their own skins. This display of cowardice loses the two most of their respect and allows Maul to take over their gangs and demote them to Mooks, beating up Nailhead when he objects.
  • In The Black Company books, Lady is the Big Bad of the first trilogy. Then someone speaks her true name, and she's Croaker's second-in-command from then on.
  • Many Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple novels has their star detective play a sedentary role. The bulk of the investigation is carried out by other sleuths, while Poirot and/or Marple would only become prominent when it's time to reveal the solution.
  • In The Curse of Chalion, Cazaril is given desperate warnings by the famously insane Royina Ista fairly early in the story, which he doesn't really believe. Half a book later, after he's absolutely ready to take the supernatural seriously, he goes back to her for an explanation... and discovers that, in accordance with the trope, she was The Hero of the last generation and stood exactly where he's standing before she fell prey to her personal weaknesses. She can, however, give him the key information and support that lets him save the day.

     Live Action TV  

  • 24: Bill Buchanan was introduced on Day 4 as the regional director of Division, which would have him overseeing all CTU bureaus in California. On Day 5 he reappears as the special agent in charge of just CTU Los Angeles, but both he and everyone else was okay with it since he was the first Reasonable Authority Figure to serve as S-A-C in a long time.
    • Arguably, this happened to Jack Bauer as well. In Season 1, he's introduced as the Director of CTU Los Angeles. In every subsequent season, he's just another CTU field operative, under the command of another CTU director. Justified perhaps, in that in most subsequent seasons, Jack isn't actually a full-time CTU agent and has only been temporarily reinstated. However, even in Season 3, where Jack is working at CTU full-time, he's only the Director of Field Ops.
  • Often shows up in Power Rangers and Super Sentai due to the series' use of Rookie Red Ranger:
    • Power Rangers Time Force: After her fiancee, Red Ranger Alex, gets apparently killed, Jen takes charge and swipes his and other morphers so her team can take down the villain. However, has to hand over the Red morpher to Wes, a civilian with no military training, because he's a dead ringer for Alex and the only DNA match close enough to unlock the morphers. But mostly averted in that while Wes leads the charge on the battlefield because the producers don't know how to not have the Red Ranger stand front and center, he only serves as (somewhat) dumb muscle or extra firepower while Jen still calls the shots on the team.
      • It was played straight both ways when Alex returns, alive and well. He quickly ousts Wes so he can go handle his destiny and takes over leadership of the team. However, his straight-laced, by-the-book attitude gets under everyone's skin and the team throws him out, leading to Jen to break off her engagement with him as well. Alex realizes he messes up and goes to get Wes back.
    • In Power Rangers Wild Force, Taylor had been the a Ranger for about a year, longer than any of the others, and yet had to step down from leadership in favor of a guy that was Raised by Natives in the Amazon because his patron Power Animal outranked hers. She wasn't happy about it.
    • Sky of Power Rangers S.P.D. was easily at the top of the police academy - the problem is that he knew it, and failed a test of character due to arrogance with a dash of sexism. His superior officer made him Blue Ranger to learn some humility, while the Red morpher went to Jack, a thief drafted into the Ranger program as a kind of community service sentence. He was even less happy than Taylor was, though Character Development eventually allows him to become the Red Ranger when Jack retires at the end of the series and he passes the same test of character that he had originally failed.
    • Power Rangers Jungle Fury had a bit of variation. While leadership never openly came up, an early episode had Blue Ranger Theo concerned that Red Ranger Casey was an untrained "cub". This was resolved when he was gently prodded "So train him."
      • Before that, Jarrod would be a ranger along with Lily and Theo but his arrogance made their sensei decide to demote him and that's how Casey took the spot in the first place. Jarrod was so much of The Resenter he ended up possessed by the Big Bad.
    • Near the end of both Samurai Sentai Shinkenger and Power Rangers Samurai, the resident Red Rangers, Takeru and Jayden, had leadership taken from them by Kaoru and Lauren respectively, as the titles were hereditary and the latter had more legitimate claims to them (Lauren was the firstborn child, while Takeru wasn't even part of Kaoru's family); the former had just been Body Doubles for them in the interrim. The difference here is that they knew this would happen all along and willingly stepped down; it was the other Rangers that had a tough time coping. After Kaoru's/Lauren's special sealing technique failed when the Big Bad found a way to counter it, leadership was passed back to Takeru/Jayden (again, willingly) out of recognition that he had earned the position by the way he led before (in Shinkenger, Kaoru even formally adopted Takeru to make him an official member of the family).
    • Mashin Sentai Kiramager has a similar setup to Wild Force where Juru is the last to be recruited and has the least obvious immediately-applicable skills, yet is made leader anyway simply because he's the Red Ranger. While nobody makes too much of a fuss about the arrangement, the entire team (Juru included) clearly has their doubts about it; especially Tametomo, who was the original leader due to his skill for battle tactics. But over time, it becomes clear that Juru is good at giving his teammates emotional support, helping them to use their own abilities to their fullest.
  • Subverted in Psych. Initially, and for most of the first season, Police Chief Karen Vick is Interim Chief Vick. She's also pregnant, providing one of the standard excuses for character replacement via this trope... Then, in the season 2 finale, it finally seems like she's going to be replaced, with Chief Vick outright saying, "I was originally appointed just to be the interim chief..." However, she ends up getting a promotion and from season two on holds the chief position permanently. Until she is fired on season 7, that is.
    • Shawn had a hand in keeping her on by photographing the man the mayor wanted while he was having an affair.
  • A disabled Dan Moroboshi is this to upstart Gen Ootori in Ultraman Leo. As Ultraseven, Dan battled Alien Magma and his kaiju goons in the first episode, but was badly beaten to the point his leg audibly broke and he was no longer able to transform. He unfortunately channels his anger and frustration into very harsh training.

     Video Games  

  • Maria of Sakura Wars is a firearms expert with intrigue and assassins in her past, so she seems like a good choice for leader in a war. But she is summarily replaced as field leader by...a rookie cadet we first saw swabbing the deck of a ship. Averted insofar as she stays on as second-in-command, remains competent in the field, and is tapped to be leader once again during the time Ogami is transferred to Paris.
  • Dodged in Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love with Ratchet, no-nonsense knife expert and prototype mech pilot. Leader and general badass, until shortly into Chapter 1. At this moment, her spiritual power gives out, rendering her unable to pilot her mecha and thus no longer able to lead from the front. Instead of getting demoted to following the new hero, Shinjiro Taiga, Ratchet gets the promotion she deserves from being Taiga's immediate commanding officer to still being his immediate commanding officer.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has one of these... namely, you. You, the player character, are actually a supporting character in the long-lost Emperor's son's story. Although you do more than your share of the work, it is he who the plot ultimately revolves around, he who will defeat the Big Bad, and he who will be remembered in future legends... or so we thought. In a long-term subversion, in Skyrim, there is a book about what happened. History is a bit fuzzy on the details but the Hero of Kvatch is remembered for a dizzying mix of heroic deeds, while Martin Septim is only really known for his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Orca in the .hack// games is Kite's best friend and mentor in The World. He's quickly data drained and spends the rest of the first game series in a coma, thus setting up the plot.
  • Ace Attorney has quite a few characters like this.
    • Mia Fey is killed early on so Phoenix can be a protagonist without the 'safety net' of his uber-awesome boss. Though Mia still does bail him out a few times and remains a key supporting player for Phoenix in the trilogy.
    • The end of the first game also has Edgeworth's mentor behind bars.
    • This even counts for flashbacks: Diego Armando in the third game took over the mentor duties over one of his collegues when the actual mentor failed to show up for her first case. He ended up hooking up with her... and then being poisoned to almost-death by her evil cousin.
    • In Apollo Justice, Apollo actually puts his own mentor in jail in the first case.
  • Final Fantasy VII
    • The game quickly puts Cloud in charge of AVALANCHE and the Older and Wiser Barret Wallace under his command. Barret is not necessarily the most reliable of leaders, Tifa doesn't especially support him, and Aeris firmly supports Cloud. Everyone kind of goes along with it, despite AVALANCHE originally being Barret's show.
    • When Cloud is temporarily off the board, Tifa briefly leads the group until they get Cloud to safety, but after that, she steps out and Barret is the obvious choice for team leader. Except that Barret admits that he's a terrible leader and instead picks Cid, on the grounds that Cid is an experienced commander and the best-suited for the role.
  • Final Fantasy VIII continues this with Quistis Trepe, who starts out as Squall's instructor. She's already on thin ice by the time you meet her for not being able to control her students and gets her instructor's license revoked after the raid on Dollet early in the game. Officially, this is because she "lacks leadership qualities," though unofficially it's because the disciplinary committee threw its weight around after she teased their leader. However, this only demotes her to being a normal SeeD, and somewhat subverts this trope in that Quistis, despite being upset over getting a demotion, actually seems happier to have the bureaucracy out of her way and returning to SeeD field work. She also has seniority over Squall up until events past Disc 1 in which Squall eventually gets promoted to leadership roles because of his proven ability to take control in difficult situations. As they are roughly the same age and both considered prodigies, this is not so surprising.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance has Marche's mentor Montblanc gladly hand over the keys to the clan after a single tutorial battle.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 does the same thing with Cid, though he's actually given a plot reason to back down from leadership. He still hands over the clan to Luso who, like Marche, is actually a normal schoolboy with little combat experience.
    • Although, to be fair, Luso kinda lends himself to being charismatic/somewhat endearing and full of potential, even if Cid is unimpressed it does help to gain new members.
  • Live A Live subverts this with Hasshe and Uranus, with a Wham Episode.
  • In Fire Emblem Gaiden, the veteran knight Clive is the leader and founder of the Deliverance, yet his inability to push forward in the face of his lover Mathilda's capture leads him to cede command to an untrained yokel named Alm at the first opportunity. The Video Game Remake Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia deconstructs this by having Fernand actually desert over this issue.
  • Titania of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance is first Ike's mentor and boss, and after his father dies, she becomes Ike's subordinate. Unlike many examples of this trope, Ike's youth and inexperience is actually a source of conflict and some of the mercenaries quit over it (Ike himself thinks this is too sudden). Titania and those that remain do so by choice. Titania also doesn't get demoted - she still has her "second-in-command" position, she just changed bosses.
  • Growlanser II includes several returning characters from Growlanser I. Many of them, including the first game's hero, end up Overrated and Underleveled, serving under the command of the new main character - who just recently graduated from the military academy. The game even lampshades this in the script, in a brief scene where the Growlanser I hero reassures the Growlanser II hero that he'll do fine despite his relative inexperience.
  • A variant occurs with Lifesigns; Suzu-sensei probably should have been fired. She's an alcoholic with some serious mental instability who puts her obsession with her boss and unrequited love above her responsibilities as a surgeon, placing her squarely under the "too emotional" category. Who picks up the pieces of her Freak Out and proves to be a better doctor in the process? The hero, Tendo. Afterwards it's hinted that Suzu quits, although this isn't entirely clear.
    • It's even worse in the JP-only prequel, where she's a hopeless drunk who hangs around in the basement drinking and attempts suicide at one point.
  • Captain Anderson in Mass Effect is your commanding officer at the beginning of the game, but once you become a Spectre he steps down and takes a desk job because a Spectre must have their own ship and the Normandy is too awesome not to give to the first human Spectre. (Though you'd think that they'd just reassign Anderson to a different ship.) However, at the end of the game you have an option of making him the first human Council member.
    • A few discussions imply that while Anderson could get another posting, he'd rather take the desk job and be able to support Shepard rather than leave him alone to deal with Ambassador Udina. Later events in the games prove him right.
      • It's also implied Anderson has been on the Citadel for several years serving in an advisory role.
  • In another BioWare game, Dragon Age: Origins, Teyrn Loghain has this done to him for killing the King and undermining the war efforts. Another choice is to have him killed.
  • Third BioWare example. Technically the whole Star Forge hunt in Knights of the Old Republic is being led by Bastila Shan. This quickly degrades into "leading only on paper" as your character is able to take command of the situation and your Ragtag Bunch of Misfits who mostly ignore Jedi authority.
    • Somewhat subverted in that Bastila was never meant to be the leader rather than a supervisor to the player character, brainwashed Dark Lord Revan. Their skills and memories were what were meant to and did lead the mission. It's that forced role of a glorified babysitter for someone far more important than herself (coupled with torture, naturally) what made her fall to the dark side by the end of the game
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic has Lieutenant Aric Jorgan, your first commanding officer in the Republic Trooper class storyline, who blames you for more or less everything that goes wrong, right up until your entire squad defects. The Republic demotes him as a result in order to be seen as doing something, turning him into your first companion character and subordinate. He's not necessarily happy about the demotion, but he is happy to actually be doing something about the defectors, so he follows your orders well enough. At the end of Act I, when the PC is promoted to Captain, General Garza offers you to appoint one of your organic squadmates (i.e. either Jorgan or Elara) to Squad Lieutenant—if you pick Jorgan, he tries his best to hide how happy he is about that.
  • Wild ARMs 3 strangely takes the two most experienced party members, Jet and Clive, and demotes them both to taking orders from Virginia, a complete newbie at combat, let alone Drifter work, as soon as everybody's tutorial is finished. Because they like her pep talks.
    • Not that Jet will admit it. While they follow her orders, they do so only if they agree with them. In several instances they flat out refused to do something Virginia proposed on the grounds of it being unforgivably dumb and suicidal and steered her towards a more reasonable choice without making it look like they were taking charge. In the end, the de facto leader is Clive, as Virginia near-constantly defers to his authority when he disagrees with her, because she trusts his judgment more than her own.
  • Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals gives us the record-setting example of General Selan, who practically within seconds of meeting Maxim—a scruffy traveler who became famous by recovering a stolen crown from two idiot thieves—is ordered to take orders from him.
  • Tales of the Abyss gives us the Necromancer, Jade Curtiss. When he first joins your party, he is level 45, hitting for hundreds of damage while your other two characters are around level 7. Shortly thereafter his magic is mostly sealed, reverting him to a more manageable level, and allowing the spoiled brat hero to take the lead again.
  • Griffin from Telepath RPG: Servants of God was originally the leader of the rebels who broke Duvalier out of prison. He handed off leadership to Duvalier because, while a complete rookie, Duvalier is a telepath and can mentally command and coordinate the entire team.
  • Cassandra in Dragon Age: Inquisition. At the start of the game, she is one of the four "de-facto leaders" of the Inquisition. In fact, she is the one who declared it. But, she quickly loses all of that authority and becomes a party member with no more power than Varric or Vivienne: well-respected, to be sure, but that's about it. Solas actually commends her on being able to walk away from her de-facto leadership once the de-jure leader was picked.
  • Subverted in Dragon Quest V, where the main protagonist isn't the legendary hero destined to wield the fabled Zenithian gear. Once said hero is found, however, the protagonist is still in charge... because the hero is still young enough to do what his dad tells him.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles Dunban is introduced as the wielder of the Monado and most renowned hero of the Homs, but it doesn't take long for him to play a secondary position to protagonist Shulk. He takes that in stride as it had been shown that wielding the Monado exerted a terrible toll on Dunban's body and he was never able to see the future with it as Shulk could, and he spends much of his time offering guidance to the other characters. Gameplay and cutscenes still make it clear that he's actually the superior swordsman (despite being forced to use his off-hand).

     Western Animation  

  • Downplayed in Ninjago. Kai is initially the leader of the Ninja on missions, and even after it is discovered that Lloyd is The Chosen One, Kai is still the leader due to Lloyd's lack of experience, ability, and age. It is only after Lloyd gets all of these things (he was aged up in one episode due to a permanent magic spell) that he eventually becomes the leader by Season 3.
  • On Young Justice, Amanda Waller was demoted from her position as warden of Belle Reve after the events of "Terrors," her first appearance. Turns out this was the villains' main goal, with her replacement, Hugo Strange, being in on the whole thing.
    • Likewise, Robin was quickly replaced as leader of the Team by Aqualad. Everybody, Robin included, mostly just assumed that Robin would lead the team but his inexperience in working as part of a team and Cowboy Cop tendencies compromised several missions. Aqualad, however, was The Stoic and Wise Beyond His Years and proved to be the only one with the patience and knowledge to effectively lead the Team in the field. He insists he's only holding the position until Robin is ready, which actually happens in the Time Skip between seasons.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998) has an inversion in "Not So Awesome Blossom". Buttercup becomes the de facto leader of the Powerpuffs after Blossom, whose confidence is shot, runs away from home.
  • Played with in Transformers: Prime, where Starscream is initially introduced as leading the Decepticons until Megatron returns from a soujurn into deep space. Megatron quickly makes it clear he's here to stay and Starscream wisely does not push the issue. However, he does try to pull rank on some of the other Decepticons whenever Megatron isn't around, with varying degrees of success. While it's true he's formally second-in-command, it's also very clear to just about everyone his attempts to boss others around are more about feeling he's still important.
    • This is demonstrated by how Decepticons Starscream assuredly outranks like Knock-Out (their medic) or Airachnid (a loose cannon only recently brought back into the fold) aren't afraid to mock him to his face in front of Megatron. This is presumably because they're aware that if Starscream tried to violently retaliate, Megatron would beat him down because only Megatron has the right to punish. Naturally, no 'con is stupid enough to ever be disrespectful to Megatron himself.

     Real Life  

  • In most armies, a platoon is commanded by a junior officer in his early twenties who's just finished his training. The most experienced member of the platoon will almost always be his second in command, the platoon sergeant. Even in larger units, until you get up to the level of regiments and brigades (commanded by senior colonels or generals), the person with the longest, most illustrious military career will probably be the senior enlisted man, not any of the officers.note  One reason for this is that it's quite difficult to take care of both the tactics and admin/discipline side of leading a platoon. They're also mutually incompatible to an extent: tactical leadership requires a certain distance from the men, while admin and discipline need a closer relationship. Therefore, the officer deals with the relatively easy tactical side of things (whilst learning from the sergeant, who will have learnt a fair bit of this himself), and the sergeant takes the job that requires more hands-on experience and a closer working relationship with the men. Another reason is that commanding a platoon is where officers start their career, and when they are promoted, they rise to higher levels of command (company or battalion), to be replaced by another young officer fresh from military academy. In contrast, a lot of the non-coms will lack the training and education to be commissioned officers and thus are stuck at being senior sergeants and the like.
  • Sports:
    • If a sports player steps in for an injured player and consistently plays better than that player, they are usually given the starting spot, while the injured player becomes a backup.
    • It's also common in professional sports for the primary backup to a key position (like a quarterback in football) to be a highly experienced older player, while the starter is a younger rising star. Even if the younger start gets demoted to the backup position, it's always expected to be temporary, and part of the older player's job is to be a mentor to the younger one, who's seen as the future of the franchise.

Alternative Title(s): The Obi Wrong